Friday, October 1, 2010

Don't Call it Persecution!

What is religious persecution? Le me state what it is not. It is not religious persecution to say that another person is wrong, and that their religion (or lack of it) will land them in hell if they do not repent. Sadly some people seem to think that is the case. Let me be a little more provocative - it's not even rudely telling someone that their religion (or lack of it) will land them in hell if they do not repent. That's just bad manners, but it's not persecution. It's my opinion that Christians ought to politely disagree with people. I have been trying to model that with a Jehovah's Witness on my doorstep recently. We finally parted still disagreeing, but amicably, and with him saying that we could be friends if it was not for the fact that we disagreeon some fundamental issues. But the people who rudely told him to push off were not being persecutors!

No, religious persecution means (as the dictionaries say) "to oppress or harrass with ill-treatment" for religious reasons. Ill-treatment is important. In a world where people are routinely killed for their religious convictions, to call being insulted by some witless fundamentalist hell-bent on living up to Lord Soper's definition "persecution" is an isult to those rotting in prison for the sake of Christ. The funny mentalist may be rude, he may be obnoxious, but he's not a persecutor. I speak as one who has been on the receiving end of King James Onlyism! Let's reserve 'Persuction' for the real thing, and adopt 'Religious irritation' for everything else. I speak as a former rligiously-irritating student! Not that I am any less outspoken - I'm just generally more polite!

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