“Help! Help! I’m being repressed!” is part of a hilarious scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, but to some demented followers of some demented “Christian” ministers in the U.S., it is their battle cry. Not that this is anything new for any religion, mind you. It is merely a curiosity in a country where the religious majority is clearly Christian. In fact, in 2012, 75.9% of Americans identified themselves as Christians.
Recently, a video has been making its way through the social media circuit of a pastor named Greg Locke of the Global Vision Bible Church of Mt. Joliet, TN regarding the coming “Christian Holocaust” in America.
Yes, friends, “The American Christian Holocaust has officially begun” according to Pastor Greg. Not that he is a lone voice crying wolf in the wilderness. Christians have been claiming oppression and persecution for centuries; in some cases, it is indeed real, but not here, not now. In the United States, a certain ilk of Christians live to proclaim how horribly and dreadfully repressed they are and how this is a certain sign of “the end times,” which have apparently been ready to occur since Jesus flew up into the skies sometime in the First Century A.D. Wait! A.D. Anno Domini. “The year of Our Lord.” Hmmmmmm. Considering that this is still in common usage, I guess the oppressors missed it when making their list of things to rid the world of.
The good Rev.’s roadside chat, though not as polished as most, is just one of many available for one’s viewing displeasure. Type “Christian persecution in America video” into any search engine and hundreds of links appear, most of them 30 to 60 minutes long or more, each of them alarmist and guaranteed to fill the collection plate next Sunday at the Blessed Bible Holy Word of Jesus and the Holy Ghost Speaking in Tongues Rolling in the Aisles Snake-handling Church which can be found next to any trailer park in Your Town, USA.
“True” Christians! Get ready for your new FEMA camp home whilst you await your turn at the guillotine!
Far-right wing fundamentalist Christian media makes sure the fires are continuously well-stoked and have been doing so since time immemorial, aided mightily by the Internet in recent years. From the alleged “war on Christmas” to unsubstantiated anecdotes about Christians, the tales abound, as in “…there are just more and more stories of churches being burned, people being beat up in the middle of the streets because they are Christian.” Notice: no links, no names, no places, just “more and more stories.”
There are some articles that provide true-life examples, the problem is, as one writer notes, “…many of these cases stem from Christians violating local zoning ordinances…” and it also includes street preachers who harass passersby and are simply a nuisance.
“In reality, however, the real hate crime is to know the Gospel of Jesus Christ and yet fail to warn the wicked of the coming judgment. Even in the face of persecution, genuine believers must not keep silent,” states one article. This is a common thread throughout all the videos, blogs, articles: you must preach and preach and “witness” to everyone ad nauseum, as well as believing in the properly cherry-picked biblical lore and excerpts no matter how obscure or irrelevant.
So are Christians in the United States truly being persecuted for their faith and beliefs?
Statista is the go-to site for statistical information, and on its “Index of persecution of Christians in countries worldwide 2015“, there is a list of 50 countries where Christians do suffer real persecution. The good ol’ US of A is nowhere to be found on the list. Why do you suppose that is?
The most accurate list of Christian oppression in the US is completely empty. The same author details in another article how to tell the difference between true persecution and self-centered whining. Despite what the hard-core bible-thumpers want the rest of the world to think, no Christian churches here are being shuttered and each still enjoys its free-ride tax-free status; no Bibles are being confiscated and burned; no Christians are being dragged from their homes in the middle of the night and beaten in the streets or strung up in the nearest tall tree. None. Nada. Zilch. Zip.
Much of the problem stems from a seeming need for perpetual persecution. In 2013 Candida Moss of the University of Notre Dame authored “The Myth of Persecution. How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom.” According to Harper Collins, the book “… reveals how the early church exaggerated, invented, and forged stories of Christian martyrs and how the dangerous legacy of a martyrdom complex is employed today to silence dissent and galvanize a new generation of culture warriors.” It goes on to say “…the “Age of Martyrs” is a fiction—there was no sustained 300-year-long effort by the Romans to persecute Christians. Instead, these stories were pious exaggerations; highly stylized rewritings of Jewish, Greek, and Roman noble death traditions; and even forgeries designed to marginalize heretics, inspire the faithful, and fund churches.”
Moss suggested it would be prudent for “…Christians to abandon the conspiratorial assumption that the world is out to get Christians and, rather, embrace the consolation, moral instruction, and spiritual guidance that these martyrdom stories provide.”
She received death threats.
She later wrote, “Most of these people appear not to have actually read the book but, rather, have heard about it and see it as a further example of persecution. Many of them write to the university and ask it to fire me. An alarming number think that I deserve to be beaten, raped or killed (although blessedly very few of them threaten me directly).”
So, no, they are not being persecuted now, and many of their favored fairy tales of historical persecution are just that: fairy tales. Basically, they’re just bitching and whining that they are not allowed to hate and discriminate and regurgitate repulsive nonsense about whatever they feel is making them feel oppressed at the moment. That is what passes for “persecution” in some circles of American Christianity.
Never ones to let little annoyances like facts get in the way of a good paranoid rant, the fundies ramble on and on. There was even a film released in 2014 entitled “Persecution,” whose director said “…the idea for the film came from a vision of a man being hunted down by an ‘intrusive government trying to clamp down on his religious freedom.'”
Why, there are even ways financially to help the poor oppressed Christians! Redstate.com notes, “Dr. Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse has set up a fund for persecuted Christians in America.” Although, the Jesus haters had a small victory in that “As a side note, a fund had been set up at GoFundMe to help the Klein family, but gay rights activists attacked GoFundMe until the website decided helping the Klein family violated the terms of service for their site.” The Klein family referred to are the owners of the bakery that was successfully prosecuted for refusing services to a lesbian couple. “Hell hath no fury like two angry lesbians,” the website notes.
Lesbians! You know how THEY are!
Oh, we can expect plenty more “Help! Help! We’re being repressed!” from the far-right wingnut bible-thumping crowd. After all, as one of them says, “…we will all suffer persecution. The world hates us! If we do not suffer any type of persecution, what does that say about us? To me it says that we are not near bold enough. … We must realize that persecution is something that is going to happen, Jesus said so.”
So there! Jesus said so!