Why do Christians — America’s most populous religious group — feel so victimized?

Here are some excerpts from a recently published opinion piece by Chase Madar, an attorney in New York and the author of “The Passion of [Chelsea] Manning: The Story Behind the Wikileaks Whistleblower,” in Al Jazeera America:

It really annoys me that Christians in this country scream about oppression. A joke I once heard is that Christians are the only majority group that needs their own book stores. They don’t know real oppression and the vast majority of those who screamed it most loudly in 2012 voted against the Christian and for the Mormon.

I always felt that Christians screaming about being oppressed in America was because the Bible itself has passages about how they will face persecution, so they are quite intent to create it out of whole cloth in order to just feel persecuted.

I mean, health insurance companies being forced to pay for contraception is not oppressed Christianity. But here, according to way too many people, it is.

So does anyone here feel that Christians are indeed being persecuted here, or can add to the article I linked as to reasons why this phenomenon has taken root lately?

Given that Mormons consider themselves Christians I think you’ve done a bit of well-poisoning here.

Yes, but a majority of Evangelicals don’t consider Mormons Christian, or at least are quite suspicious of them. They’re none too fond of Catholics for that matter.


And from the linked Pew stody:

It’s safe to say that evangelicals would be considerably higher as a group on this one.

Frankly, I think a lot of it has to do with the Bible’s prediction that Christians will be persecuted. You’ll find several predictions of that sort throughout the Bible, and there’s a very real idea among some Christians that if you’re not being persecuted for your faith, then you must be lukewarm about it.

So it doesn’t take much imagination to either 1) interpret everything as “persecution” or 2) push the envelope until there’s some backlash that can be interpreted as persecution. Now that you’re being persecuted, you pat yourself on the back - you’ve been proven to be one of the fervently faithful.

Perhaps they read this message board.

The following is true for almost everyone. For me, probably for you, for most who’ll read it:
1.) Everyone likes to paint themselves as a victim if possible.
2.) When things are going your way you’re going to fear any threats to the status quo.

It’s particularly pathetic and ridiculous with these people but we’re all basically the same.

I realize this is snark, but that’s a pretty good example. If a bit of internet snark is “persecution”, the word has no usable meaning.

Perhaps you could explain to us how Christians are being persecuted on this message board. While you’re at it, perhaps you could give us what definition of “persecution” you are using in this context, and how it relates to persecution as defined in real life.

I suspect there is some general psychological reason why people are easily convinced that they are being persecuted, despite vast evidence to the contrary. It’s like on some level people wish to say they are persecuted, for some reason.

Dracoi’s comment about the biblical theme of persecution, is well taken. From the Jewish slavery in Egypt, and exile in Babylon, onto the Jesus suffering on the cross, and then the persecution of the early church by the Romans, there is a general theme that earthly suffering for your beliefs is holy. So even if they aren’t actually suffering they have a moral imparative to feel as if they are.

Secondly, there is the fact that in our culture there is a strong desire to root for the underdog. So to make themselves sympathetic they have to convince themselves that they are on the losing side.

Third, although its still dominant, Christianity in the US is no where near as dominant as it used to be. So it is easy for them to see the loss of dominance and rise of secularism, as a direct attack against them and the “natural order of things” which had them on top.

They believe it because their prophet told them they would be persecuted in his name:

I think it’s because all Christians secretly, unconsciously realize they’ve been duped by a fake, delusional image of “God” (or worse, a psychopathic soul-destroying entity masquerading as Jesus Christ Almighty) and due to psychological transference, or codependence, they need to blame something else for the mistake they’ve made. It’s akin to families of alcoholics and drug addicts who will ignore their loved one’s substance abuse problems, even in the face of irrefutable evidence, because few people can accept that they’ve been strung along by their drug addict family members – let alone admit their own addiction to a False God.

Some Christians equate not having a superior position with persecution.

Some of the things on this message board (and other places, for that matter) go well beyond snark, sometimes even into frothing hatred.

If you fervently believed in something, and your belief was based on both long-standing historical precedent and on deeply-held morals and religion – and then people started coming along and calling you all sorts of unpleasant names and calling you hate-filled and intolerant – you might feel a little bit persecuted too.

And if you read of fellow believers being dragged into court, and being forced to pay fines because of actions based on their beliefs, you might feel a little persecuted.

But somehow persecuting Christians for their opposition to gay marriage isn’t “real” persecution.

Two factors:

  1. As already stated, humans seem to enjoy complaining about being persecuted. From idiots whinging about the 1% being attacked, to Christians, Jews, Catholics, Mormons, Hobby Lobby, Chik Fil A, etc. everyone likes to complain they are being attacked.

  2. Christians HAVE seen their overall power structure change. Christianity is losing its default status as the religion of America; old practices of saying a prayer at school, or assuming that everyone is Christian, etc. is losing favor and court battles, etc. So a Christian can point to a prior time and comment that things have changed for Christianity in America. I don’t consider this to be persecution - but there HAS been a shift.

Frothing internet outrage impresses me as much as anything on the internet - not much at all. Again, if that’s persecution, it renders the word “persecution” useless in practice. It makes a mockery of millions of people who have truly been persecuted for their faith or for any other reason.

Oh, and by the way, I have made no secret of being Christian on these boards in this or other threads.

I’ve been called names and treated poorly in real life - not due to religion but for other reasons. I wouldn’t call that persecution, and the internet version is a mild irritant compared to some of that. Actually, that wasn’t entirely accurate. I have been called out based on my religion before - by other Christians who believed (based solely on my East Asian appearance) that I was not. And/or that I wasn’t the right kind of Christian (Southern Baptists are particularly bad about this).

For a group of people who worship a guy who supposedly got tortured to death, the American Christian has a pretty low tolerance for discomfort.

I don’t agree. Words have meanings, to be sure, but I usually take the dictionary’s meanings as authority for the proper use of words.

“Hostility and ill-treatment, esp. because of race or political or religious beliefs.” (per Google)

If you’d like to defend the proposition that on the SDMB, Christianity is NOT subject to hostility and ill-treatment, please feel free.

I agree, of course, that the SDMB is not inflicting bodily injury, hounding people from their homes, or denying them job opportunities. But that’s not the limit of the word.

Words have meanings. The word persecute means “hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of race or political or religious beliefs.” It does not mean, “hostility and ill-treatment, esp. because of race or political or religious beliefs, applied to persons of high tolerance for discomfort.”