According to history, the Pilgrim Fathers like the Eleutheran Adventurers left the Motherland- England- in order to enjoy religious freedom. I am not well versed in American history having had only one semester of a course needed for graduation from college. But through literature like The Crucible and The Scarlet Letter I discovered the attitude of people in Salem ,Massachusetts during an era in American History. Granted, the books may be fiction; but I bet they were based on true to life situations.
I am studying the Loyalists now and I discovered that some of them were tarred and feathered for wanting to remain loyal to Britain. This may not be 'religious persecution' as it may not have targeted one sect; but no doubt, some who were tarred and feathered may have been Christians.
What I know from real life is that people are selective about who qualifies as a hero or martyr. Many young people lose their life daily for daring to be a virgin or carry a Bible or believe in God.Columbine Incident contains such a story... or maybe a few. Not every human interest story makes headlines.
Recently in the news[2009/2010] some churches were burned down in a series of fires.Was that persecution for the congregration? A building is condemned and is expected to be torn down.The congregration who worships there would like to use the cost[money] to demolish the building to upgrade it.
Personally,I know that at one time a 'Christian' university in South Carolina 'stopped' their racial discrimination; but some students were refused admission because they belonged to the 'wrong' religious group or denomination .I am a Christian and I know.