I attended a fairly conservative Christian college and one of the history professors made a point of challenging what he regarded as a “romantic myth:” He pointed out that, contrary to the belief that persecution makes Christianity stronger, it often is in fact historically successful in driving Christians out of a region.
A similar argument (that is, what the professor was arguing against) is often made in terms of abortion: “The absurd Texas abortion law is going to strengthen Planned Parenthood and the pro-choice cause.” Same for LGBT: “The murder of Matthew Shephard strengthened the LGBT cause.” “The death of George Floyd has strengthened Black Lives Matter and the police-accountability movement.” etc. etc.
But is it all about scale? Does persecution “work” if widespread, but backfire if limited? For instance, the killing of one gay man alone, Matthew Shephard, may have galvanized and boosted LGBT nationwide, but if there were really a massive killing spree of thousands of gays, the likely effect may instead be the opposite: mass flight of LGBT people from America. Same for abortion clinics; the bombing of one may strengthen pro-choicers, but if a hundred clinics were bombed wouldn’t much of the whole industry essentially shut down?
(“Work” only in the sense of achieving its practical aim; whether persecution is right or wrong is completely morally irrelevant in this debate context)