Christian Persecution or Christian Privilege?

Most people are so oblivious to their Christian privilege that they have never thought to look at it from another perspective. Imagine that Islam was being pushed on you and your children against your will and that when you spoke out against it they cried “persecution!” Yes, somehow, when we ask you to keep your religion to yourself and out of everything that affects everyone else, you claim to be “persecuted.”

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Christians are so persecuted that they can expect time off for “religious holidays” and they are never pressured into celebrating a religious holiday outside of their own religion. Christians are so persecuted that they can readily find music and television programs pertaining to Christianity without fear of ever coming into contact with any from another religion. Christians are so persecuted that they can worship freely without any fear of threats, violence, or being socially stigmatized or disowned by family and friends.

Christians are so persecuted that it is almost guaranteed that the politician representing them or their area will be a member of their religion. Christians are so persecuted that they don’t have to fear losing their jobs due to their religion and people will not judge them in the workplace based on their beliefs. Christians are so persecuted that references to their beliefs can be seen every day by everyone, such as billboards, churches, and more. Christians are so persecuted that they can pretty much guarantee that anyone they come into contact with will have a decent understanding of their beliefs.

Christians are so persecuted that their faith can be an aspect of their identity without it being a defining aspect (e.g., people won’t think of you as their “Christian” friend like they would their “atheist” friend). Christians are so persecuted that they can complain about being “persecuted” and their religion being under attack without it being perceived as an attack on another religion. Almost like how someone is going to view this as an attack on Christians and Christianity. Almost, but not quite.

That’s only naming a few of the ways in which Christians are “persecuted”, yet they cling to this incessant idea that they are persecuted. When do they feel most persecuted and oppressed? When other people do not share their belief system! On closer examination of this “oppression”, it’s more commonly the case that claims of persecution are better explained as annoyance at the removal of privilege or the curtailment of their ability to force their views on others.

Everyone has the freedom of expression. There are still consequences to the expression. There are still legal limits to the expression. Your rights and freedom of expression end abruptly where mine begin. This perception of freedom of expression was well addressed by Oliver Wendell Holmes when he said, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”

Recognize that you have privilege. You are not being persecuted, but you are persecuting others. I am going to end this post on two amazing quotes that address this issue perfectly. Enjoy!

“…one of the great secrets of human nature is that the one thing people want more than love, security, sex, chocolate or big-screen TV’s is to feel hard done by. Why? Because being hard done by is the shit. Feeling hard done by is the sweetest of drugs. If you’re being persecuted — it must mean you’re doing the right thing, right? You get the mellow buzz of the moral high ground, but without arrogantly claiming it as your own. You get an instant, supportive community in a big dark scary world of such scope it may well literally be beyond rational human processing. When you are hard done by, you get purpose in a life where otherwise, you’d have to find your own. And when you ride that high, then no amount of logic, no pointing out that in actuality you and your beliefs are at a high point of popularity and influence for the last hundred years — is going to pry that sweet crack-pipe of moral indignation from your hands.” —John Rogers

“Racism tends to attract attention when it’s flagrant and filled with invective. But like all bigotry, the most potent component of racism is frame-flipping — positioning the bigot as the actual victim. So the gay do not simply want to marry; they want to convert our children into sin. The Jews do not merely want to be left in peace; they actually are plotting world take-over. And the blacks are not actually victims of American power, but beneficiaries of the war against hard-working whites. This is a respectable, more sensible, bigotry, one that does not seek to name-call, preferring instead change the subject and straw man. Thus segregation wasn’t necessary to keep the niggers in line; it was necessary to protect the honor of white women.” —Ta-Nehisi Coates

Some of this script was adapted from a wonderful post called 30+ examples of Christian Privilege by Sam Killerman on It’s Pronounced Metrosexual.


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