I said on someone’s blog that there is no christian persecution in the US and that the many examples I’ve seen of so-called persecution in the US and canada that christians call persecution are always bogus in my experience, and asked the person claiming christians are persecuted to cite examples. These are the examples cited and my response. I am posting it because it gets into what it really means to be persecuted etc and I thought it was interesting:
“Actually, I forgot about another case in England as well:
Swedish Pastor Sentenced to Month in Prison for Preaching Against Homosexuality,
While I agree that the law restricting hate speech is too strong and that he probably shouldn’t have been arrested (this is the only example I’ve found that comes close to actual persecution outside of a dictatorship), two things should be mentioned – 1) saying that homosexuality is a “cancer” in society is pretty inflammatory since it implies that a) it should be destroyed/removed and that it’s a threat to people, and describing it as a slippery slope to both animal rape and pedophilia is also (aside from being horrifyingly bigotted and ignorant) also something that verges on an incitement to violence and the same lies trying to link homosexuality with pedophilia actually got a law almost passed in uganda which makes homosexuality punishable by death “to protect our children from them”. Convincing people that a group is a direct physical threat by their mere existence is how you incite violence against that group. While I don’t think these hateful remarks rise quite to the level of incitement to violence, they’re the kind of thing that usually precedes one. But while I think the law is wrong I don’t think his arrest means christians are persecuted for the simple reason that the conviction was overturned. Abuses of police authority and frivolous charges happen to everyone. A black cop arrests a white cop because he’s racist, a christian cop arrests an atheist because he doesn’t like him and so on. The difference between persecution and someone being an asshole to you is whether there’s an actual systematic social movement to do it to all of a particular group, or whether it’s official government policy. And I don’t think it is here. Bear in mind the law restricts hateful remarks against gays which, while a violation of free speech, applies equally to christians and non-christians alike. Or do you think christians have a corner on anti-gay hate speech?
In England a chaplain got an atheist named Harry Taylor arrested for leaving offensive cartoons of religious figures in an airport – he was sentenced to two years of probation, barred from carrying “religiously offensive” material for five years, fined 250 pounds and ordered to do 100 hours of community service.
Unlike your examples the verdict was not overturned. So are atheists persecuted by christians? Are christians therefore morally bankrupt and destroying society? Because if we use your logic they are.
Decision: “I find that there is a circumstantial connection between the hate speech of Mr. Boissoin and the CCC and the beating of a gay teenager in Red Deer less than two weeks following the publication of Mr. Boissoin’s letter,” wrote panel chairwoman Lori Andreachuk.” (November 30, 2007, despite the fact that he had never advocated violence of any sort in his letter or otherwise.)
Pastor, Christian coalition violated human rights law, Alberta panel rules
This I think actually arguably rises to the level of an incitement to violence. Imagine for a moment that he had said what he said about gays about any other group. Imagine if he said “blacks are working tirelessly day and night to molest our children and we have to declare war against them” and it resulted in a black man being lynched, would you feel the same way about it? Free speech does not mean you can shout fire in a crowded theater, there are limits to it. Either way it’s something for a jury to decide, not a police officer.
UK Pastor Arrested Over Comments on Homosexuality,Dale McAlpine, a pastor in the United Kingdom, has been arrested after saying homosexuality is a sin. “I’m stunned,” McAlpine said. “I’m just an ordinary, law-abiding Christian who wants to share his faith with the public.”
He was arrested on a charge of the british equivalent of disturbing the peace on the grounds that he had allegedly been shouting about homosexuals, which is disturbing the peace just as much as yelling “fuck republicans” would be. Now is it true? I don’t know. Did the cop arrest him because he didn’t like him? I don’t know that either. But the law he was arrested under doesn’t mention christianity and at worst this is an isolated instance of abuse of power, not pervasive social persecution. That doesn’t make it right, but it does make it not persecution. If persecution just means anyone ever being unfair or mean to a member of your group, then everyone is persecuted and the word has no meaning. Slavery was persecution, women not having the vote was persecution – a cop being a dick to you doesn’t rise to that level. And that goes for atheists like harry taylor too.