How is persecution defined in America?
We see it all the time in the news and on our own forums/questions/hubs, Christians asserting that they are being persecuted for their beliefs. In some countries, that is most certainly true, but not here. Having your beliefs challenged, mocked, criticized etc. Does not equal persecution to me. Being jailed, tortured or executed does. So how do you define persecution, and it's it possible to be persecuted for your beliefs in a country where self proclaimed Christians are the majority?
To hear some define it, whether discussing religion or not, anyone who hurts your feelings is "persecuting" you - which I find quite offensive. Most people who are crying about persecution here in the US have never been outside the borders to know and understand what real persecution is. I try to be forgiving of that kind of ignorance, but it is astounding that some people lead such sheltered lives isn't it?
Having embraced Atheism in the early 60's and now retired, I can say that I have never been discriminated against, ostracized or persecuted because of that belief. There have been many polite conversations over the years with many religious persuasions and that's where it ended.
From time to time there would be that person who would feel compelled to wear his belief, as a badge with most conversations beginning and ending with, 'Jesus Christ'. Usually the work ethic of this person was buried under this belief and would eventually be terminated. It would be this person that claimed religious persecution and the reason for the termination.
This was also the claim of many who felt entitled due to the color tone of their skin or, in later years, ones sexual preference or some other badge of entitlement. For these people it was all about them and how they defined themselves was more important than the job, a work ethic and others.
For years the work place was a work place and although varying conversations of belief and identity took place, no one made the attempt to push those definitions on others. That is not to say that it did not happen. When an individual attempts to stand out and against the norm and FORCE others to accept 'his' convictions people automatically move to an attack mode, that is human nature.
Your definition of religious persecution is correct. My fellow Christians who whine and complain about being persecuted have no idea what real persecution is. As you said, they think being mocked and criticized equates to persecution. If they want to experience real religious persecution, they should watch the news more closely or visit other countries and make their religious beliefs known to everyone. In those places, saying even one small sentence in disagreement with the government sanctioned religion is enough to get you executed.
Persecution is defined as hostility and ill-treatment, because of race or political beliefs..." Hostility is unfriendliness or opposition...the definition does not say specifically that one has to be physically injured...some people can feel mentally persecuted if they feel they are being talked down to or talked to in a certain demeaning way.
This is a hard one, because persecution is not limited to being jailed, tortured, or executed. There are more subtle forms. Not getting a raise or being promoted because of one's religion is a form of persecution. Mocking others beliefs is also a form of persecution, just not a serious one. I think if you're a person who likes to debate, you will find some people crying persecution when you don't mean to come off as persecuting...sometimes the line gets crossed, and these types of conversations get heated.
It does not matter whether you are the majority where you live...the internet is a different story---it encompasses the entire world, and Christians may not necessarily be the majority in the world. Whether you are in the majority or not depends on the group of people you are associating with. On a site where there are many atheists, one might be the minority.
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