During the holiday season I once again became aware of the fact that there is a dreadful disease plaguing the psyche of the Contemporary Western Christian (Just to clarify, these would be the Christians of the western nations, not the Christian cowboys of the Wild West. Though they would be included I guess…). This disease is called “Persecution Envy” and it causes severe loss of credibility as well as serious bouts of mocking laughter and sarcastic comments among non-Christians. For too long this disease has gone undiagnosed and untreated in the Contemporary Western Christian Community (CWCC) and I believe that it is high time that someone breaks the silence before this disease does any more unnecessary damage to the CWCC.
Persecution Envy (not to be confused with Jihad Envy) is a mutant strain of Christian Reality Denial Disease (CRDD). It causes some of the most fortunate, prosperous and free (aka blessed) people in the world to imagine that they are being discriminated against, persecuted and oppressed. Basically it causes the CWCC to view any and every disagreement, parody or insult as nothing less than the persecution of Christianity. Symptoms include (but are not limited to): constant whining in the media regarding the war on Christianity/Christmas/truth/conservative values/heterosexuality; the complete inability to see criticism as constructive; the constant need to feel victimized; the urge to feel offended by everything and the puzzling habit of dismissing valid criticism with Matt 5:10. Since the CWCC is not actually oppressed or persecuted in any way (quite the opposite actually), those afflicted with Persecution Envy will be forced to go to ridiculous lengths to find things to feel oppressed by. A perfect example would be the recently released “Top Ten Instances of Christian Bashing in America, 2008” by the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission (CADC). Of particular interest is number 3 – please note that this would be the 3rd worst instance of “Christian bashing” in 2008:
INSTANCE #3: Barack Obama Defames Christianity
According to research into President Elect Obama's own statements about faith, and an examination of Obama's position on moral issues, CADC has determined that by any biblical and historic Christian standard, Barack Obama is not a Christian, although he claims he is a “devout Christian.”
Yes, apparently the very fact that Barack Obama exists and calls himself a Christian not only counts as “Christian bashing”, it actually qualifies as one of the very worst attacks on Christianity in the year 2008! I’m sorry but are they freaking kidding??!! Honestly, this takes grasping at straws to a whole new level! Alas one of the symptoms of Persecution Envy is complete blindness to how good you have it in actual fact and how utterly ridiculous it is to pretend otherwise.
To date the only known treatment for Persecution Envy is a brutal regimen of uncomfortable truth and disillusioning questions:
Are you free to do business? Are you free to take part in your country’s political system? Are you free to share your opinion in the press? Are your children welcomed in public schools? Are you able to work? Are you free to go to the church of your choice? Are you able to freely purchase and read a Bible? Do you have free access to Christian radio and television broadcasts? If you answered “yes” to these questions then you are most certainly not being persecuted. If you answered no you may want to consider moving.
Does your government ever raid your church? Are you forced by law to meet in secret? Are you in any danger of being shipped off to a concentration/internment/”re-education” camp for your religious beliefs? Are you forbidden to vote or run for office due to your religious beliefs? Are you legally forbidden from raising complaints about government policies? If you answered “no” to these questions then you are definitely not being persecuted.
Comedians making fun of Christianity or aspects thereof may be guilty of bad taste but they are certainly not guilty of persecuting you. Placing an atheist sign next to a nativity scene may be a dick move but it doesn’t count as oppression of the Christian faith. Matt 5:10 only applies in cases where people are persecuted, insulted and mocked for doing good. It does not apply to cases where Christians are insulted (or prosecuted) due to fraud, blatant dishonesty, unfair censorship and general douchebaggery (See 1 Pet 2:19-20). As long as you have the freedom to disagree, people expressing opinions contrary to yours regarding religion, abortion, birth control and homosexuality are not guilty of persecuting you either.
It’s really not hard to tell those suffering from Persecution Envy from those who suffer from Actual Persecution – those suffering from Actual Persecution tend to be marked by a complete lack of whining over trivialities. Freedom of expression is something they long for, not something they wish didn’t exist. For some reason those who actually have their life and livelihood threatened due to their religious convictions hardly ever complain about people saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”. Imagine that!
I have to admit I am baffled by this disease and its cause completely eludes me. It is a complete mystery why a group as favored, prosperous and powerful as the CWCC would pretend to be victims of oppression just so they can feel justified in complaining about the most inane things. Why they would use their vast wealth and influence to fight bulletin boards and television programs instead of using it to help those suffering from Actual Persecution remains an enigma.