“If we look back into history for the character of present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution.” [Letter to the London Packet, 3 June 1772] ― B
It is a peculiarly unpleasant time to be an American Christian these days. Gone are the days when the Church ruled the roost as the center of community life, the influencer of governing affairs, the bedrock of family values. In its place we have turned to an amalgam of human rights designed to protect individuals, building borders for what is deemed safe. To do this, we practice a ruthless form of censorship that is the antithesis to freedom of expression. As an example, back in “the glory days” a tenured professor could only be dismissed if he had his hands in the college coffers or, on when it was enforced, co-eds. Now he can be fired for failing to call on a student by his/her favored pronoun.
Perhaps I digress, but allow me to build my case. And that is are American Christians being persecuted today? Are such practices as marriage equality a threat to family values? If we allow that “Black Lives Matter,” have we reversed the target of racism? Does the insistence to neuter God rob the Bible of its validity? As a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP), I have a vested interest in how these questions are answered. Am I willing to be cast down so others unlike me can be lifted up?
First, I should say that I do not believe we are genuinely being persecuted, but that some of our privileges are being called into question. There is a big difference. We who have been egregious persecutors or now being slighted and complaining and calling it persecution. The waiter is serving us cold food and we think it’s a conspiracy.
My response to this is both one of necessity and desperation. Like it or not, the wheels of history are turning. My days at the top of the food chain are quickly coming to an end. I might as well get used to it. But this notion that I must grin and bear it, stand idly by while my privileges are being revoked does not go far enough. If I am to be true to my calling as a Christian, I need to embrace the sacrifices to come.
Being a Christ-follower has never meant meant wearing a crown of jewels, but one of thorns; it is not about living in a castle, but camping out with exiles and refugees. If indeed the Church is being persecuted that means our life is become more like the life of Christ, who said:
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5.11-12)
Rejoice! Be glad! The next time we WASPs have our privileges revoked and are tempted to cry out, “Persecution!” instead of complaining, let’s count our blessings.