The Youth Group of Hydesville Community Church in Hydesville, California Shows God’s Not Dead 2. A Frank Discussion on White Evangelicals Warped View of Persecution

The youth group of an Evangelical Free Church in Northern California showed “God’s Not Dead 2” in May of 2017. Its my contention that the questionable movie franchise is the white evangelical Christian equivalent of pornography. This post is a frank discussion on the concept of white evangelical Christians facing persecution in the United States. In all honesty one must remember that many evangelical Christians not only engage in persecution of other faiths but of those who have no faith. Furthermore it is extremely disrespectful for white evangelical Christians to claim they are being persecuted in the United States when one considers what Christians are enduring in North Korea, Syria, Iraq, Russia or China. 

“Once you attempt legislation upon religious grounds, you open the way for every kind of intolerance and religious persecution.”

William Butler Yeats 

“You should read history and look at ostracism, persecution, martyrdom, and that kind of thing. They always happen to the best men, you know.”

George Elliot 

But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!

Matthew 5:44 NLT

The Hydesville Youth showing God’s Not Dead 2 on May 30, 2017

Trailer for God’s Not Dead 2 

There is a lot to say in this post. I have held off on other posts about the topic of white evangelicals facing persecution because I felt it needed a post all by itself. Its my firm contention that many white evangelical Christians have a warped view of Christian persecution. And as I hope to explain below the white Christian view of persecution is fantasy and no different than pornography. In addition there is a lot of other problems as well to consider. But before we get into the topic let’s look at an EFCA church in Northern California. 


Overview of Hydesville Community Church 

Hydesville Community Church is located in Hydesville, California. Hydesville is located in Humboldt County. This Northern California county is 270 miles north of San Francisco. Its a heavily forested area with the seat of government being in Eureka which has a population of about 27,000 people. Hydesville is small and has a population of about 1,300 people.  Hydesville Community Church appears to have a lot of influence in the locale. In a small rural area like this my guess is that many people come from miles around. Hydesville Community Church was established in 1879 as a nondenominational church. It joined the EFCA movement in 1963. Mike Delamarian III became the pastor in 1983. He grew the church from a congregation of about 50 people. From what I have read Mike appears to be gifted and loved by the community. According to my research in 2014 this church had about 600 people involved, and if I were to take an educated guess I would state that it is probably grown a little bit more. There is a good write up of this EFCA church in Hydesville in the North Coast Journal in 2007.  However, in researching Hydersville Community Church I also did learn that in 2014 that the associate pastor of Hydesville, Jeff Beltz was arrested for assaulting his wife in the church parking lot. According to local press he hit her so hard that her glasses were broken.  Today at Hydesville Community Church Dave Bruno is the associate pastor and Penny Fregeau is the director of counseling and women’s ministry. Doug Culbert, Greg Thomsen and Bryce Fields run the youth ministry. In May of 2017 the youth ministry showed the second film of the God’s Not Dead franchise. I honestly find that to be a disturbing, and believe that the franchise is warped and has serious problems.  


The “God’s Not Dead” Franchise 

According to my research the “God’s Not Dead” franchise began in 2014. The original movie is based off Rice Brock’sGod’s Not Dead: Evidence for God in an Age of Uncertainty.” There were two follow up films, one in 2016 and another in 2018. All of the films deal with evangelical Christians facing persecution in unrealistic ways. The original one deals with a Christian college student tested by a philosophy professor who is an atheist. In that film the Christian student can’t sign a declaration that God is dead. The second film deals with a Christian high school teacher who answers a question about Jesus and finds herself in court facing a case that could end her career. The third and final version of the franchise deals with college students who protest a church. A college starts to shut the church which shortly thereafter burns down and the pastor assaults the person who did so and is facing felony assault charges. The pastor drops a lawsuit realizing he made things worse and they give up the building and start another church nearby. Please keep in mind that is the condensed version. Honestly I have to tell you watching a couple of clips made me want to take a shower afterward. 

Many reviews trashed the “God’s Not Dead” franchise. Here is a sampling of the reviews. The Guardian called the first film “sick filth.” The second film was discussed between a Christian and an atheist which you can read here. And for a list of reviews you can see what is said at Rotten Tomatoes. In the atheist community there were some concerns about the way atheists were represented in this film franchise. For example here is a review by an atheist law student (Chris Line) who was troubled by the way atheists were portrayed. Another atheist Andrew Spitznas wrote a response to the film here.  While I could go on, you can read what Hemant Mehta who blogs as The Friendly Atheist wrote about various aspects of the God’s Not Dead franchise here, here and here. In some of the reviews people from the outside refer to this move as being “persecution porn.” Honestly I wish I could have invented that name. But seriously I have more to say about this movie and pornography below. 


Saturday Night Live’s take on God’s Not Dead 

The White Evangelical Christian View of Persecution is Fantasy and Similar to Pornography defines persecution as the following. “A program or campaign to exterminate, drive away, or subjugate people based on their membership in a religious, ethnic, social, or racial group.” Its my belief as a guy from the edge of evangelicalism that white evangelical Christians are not facing persecution in the United States. To believe they are being persecuted is a mockery and insulting to those who are suffering in China, North Korea, Syria, Russia and elsewhere. Evangelicals have always had this warped view of persecution that I have never understood. I recall when I was in Campus Crusade hearing staff boast about how they expected to face persecution from the government. I recall one staff member boasting about how he could endure his finger nails being pulled out but that he would have a difficult time being forced to watch the government torture his wife and kids. Today I think back on that and ask myself, what was I involved with? Many evangelical Christians struggle with bad judgement and discerning how to act in the secular world. This happens because many evangelicals live in a bubble and withdraw from their communities and neighborhoods. Plus, some construe persecution when there is a disagreement.  Remember that white evangelical Christians scream persecution the loudest. And often “persecution” is misunderstood. A disagreement happens all the time in the world. Disagreements happen in the business world, government, sports world and more. When a disagreement happens between departments in a corporation, does one department scream, “Were being persecuted!” No,  chances are its the evangelical Christians that scream that the most.  But that even applies to myself. When I have dealt with difficult churches from time to time at this blog  I have never viewed it as persecution. Instead I think about the corrupt nature of evangelicalism that I seem to find myself writing frequently about.

But I would also state that many white evangelicals have this fantasy view of persecution. It leads many to read and study people like Jim Elliot or Dietrich Bonhoeffer. But the reality of the question is this…could many white evangelicals endure persecution? Its my claim that they can not. That many when faced with trials and problems can be the first to run or cry uncle in a difficult situation. Because of this I view the way evangelicals look at persecution to be akin to the topic of pornography. One of the issues with pornography is that for some people it can give them a warped view of sex, as well as how women and men will look. For some people they forget that it is fantasy and this I think can affect their perspective. White evangelical Christians do the same thing with persecution. Many live in an alternative bubble with alternative facts and are making warped decisions based upon those situations. Its in these bubbles that you have movies like “God’s Not Dead 2” coming out of those alternative realities. From my perspective I would contend that to watch movies like “God’s Not Dead 2” is really no different than watching pornography. Or another way to put it, in the end what you have is a Christian version of pornography. 

Last winter a solid opinion editorial was written in the Washington Post by Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian. Bethany writes frequently on foreign policy and focuses on China issues. The article Bethany wrote actually detailed what I felt privately. Many white evangelical Christians are not being persecuted, but instead they are engaging in persecutions of those from other religions or even none religious or atheist. These statistics are validated by the numbers of evangelical in key posts of government, the legislative branch, state legislatures and more. But it also means that those on the outside should also push back against evangelicals and their theology systems especially when it impacts those outside the church. From my perspective as someone on the edge my concern is when evangelicals persecute atheists and come down on those in that camp. One of the goals I have with this blog is to speak out and push back in that area. But if you want to read Bethany’s article in the Washington Post, you can do so in, “Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian Asks Are White Evangelical Christians in the United States Facing Persecution?


What Would be Examples of Christian Persecution? 

Many white evangelicals as I have stated above are not facing persecution for their faith. Let me clearly illustrate as to what persecution actually is. In India there has been ongoing situations with sackings and violence against Christians. Schools have been targeted and robbed; and this occurs in an environment of fear by the Christian religious minority. In 2015 you had an extremely disturbing example of Christian persecution. On a beach in Libya affiliates of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS) took a dozen Egyptian Coptic Christians and decapitated them for being Christian. Meanwhile as a result of the war in Iraq violence and threats by ISIS have forced 125,000 people to flee for their lives. You can read about that in this CBS News report. In Russia as a part of anti-terrorism laws Russia has banned evangelism. Evangelicals and those from outside the Russian Orthodox faith are threatened with arrest. Many have been forced from the country. And this is happening as many evangelicals in the United States are cuddling up to Vladimir Putin and Russia. You can read more about that in, “Franklin Graham’s Affection for Vladimir Putin, Plus is Franklin Graham a Modern Day Charles Lindbergh with His Love for Authoritarian Leaders?” Meanwhile in Shanxi Province of China early in 2018 the Chinese Communist government dynamited an evangelical mega church. And shortly before that they dismantled a nearby Catholic church. And this happens while a campaign is underway to imprison Christians in house churches and place them in jail. Then in North Korea at least 70,000 Christians are locked in concentration camps. The concentration camps in North Korea are thought to be worse than the gulags that existed in the Soviet Union or the camps run by Nazi, Germany. And this occurs in a country where from time to time some have embraced cannibalism to survive.

So as The Wondering Eagle rejects the notion that evangelical Christians are being persecuted in the United States, that begs the question. What would I call Christian persecution in the United States? When the following happens then white evangelicals can claim they are being persecuted. 

  1. When evangelical Christians in New Hampshire are changing their names from David, Mark, Luke, Peter and more to names that are not associated with the Christian faith. That would be persecution.
  2. When the legal authorities evacuate a mega church in Minnesota and dynamite it before the congregation who is made to watch. That would be Christian persecution.  
  3. When the day comes that 25,000 evangelical Christians are being rounded up and thrown into concentration camps in Wyoming. And as a result evangelicals who are starving to death are practicing cannibalism to survive. Plus they are picking apart their own feces for consumption because they are desperate to live. When the conditions of North Korea are duplicated then evangelicals can say they are being persecuted.
  4. If a Sunday School class at an EFCA Church in New Mexico, or Colorado is taken outside and then decapitated for their faith; then yes white evangelicals can call that persecution.  
  5. When evangelicals are physically arrested and tortured in jail as the government tries to beak up house churches. Well in those circumstances white evangelicals can certainly claim they are being persecuted. 

Those are forms of persecution. It stands in clear contrast to what many white evangelicals are saying today. 


Why The Wondering Eagle is Concerned about Hydesville Community Church

When I was working through The EFCA’s Western District as led by Neal Brower I noticed that Hydesville Community Church was showing “God’s Not Dead 2.” I noted it and put is aside to write about it later. The “God’s Not Dead” franchise is pure garbage and highlights many of the issues within evangelicalism. For evangelicals to watch this film and support it is really a slap in the face to what Christians have endured in Russia, Syria, Iraq, North Korea and China. What also is disturbing is that I would suggest that Hydesville Community Church is compromising their witness and credibility by showing such films. If a church is going to show films like this I would hightail and run, or avoid it altogether. What I would have tried to do instead would be to try and get a North Korean defector to visit the church or a Christian who immigrated to the United States from China who could speak about the issues within the Christian community because of Chinese crackdowns. There are so many other options that should be considered. As I stated above I consider films like “God’s Not Dead 2” to be the Christian equivalent of pornography. For all intents and purposes if this is what is going to be shown at Hydesville’s youth group they might as well show regular pornography instead. In the end its no different. I am going to be writing about this EFCA church again. But I thought this is an opportunity to write about the topic of white evangelical Christian persecution. With that I will close with a song from Jars of Clay about Christian persecution. My hope is that this post will stir some discussion inside Hydesville Community Church. That is it for the day guys, know that you are loved! 

29 thoughts on “The Youth Group of Hydesville Community Church in Hydesville, California Shows God’s Not Dead 2. A Frank Discussion on White Evangelicals Warped View of Persecution

  1. I think you are being way too harsh here. Seems you have a HATRED for Christians, therefore, I consider you as persecuting Christians. Whenever our beliefs get trampled to the ground by people like you, THAT is persecution in my view. When Christians are being FORCED to comply with laws that were NEVER MEANT to be, that is persecution. When atheists mock our God, as if it’s the speghetti monster, that is persecution.

    Get off your high self righteous horse, dude. You don’t reallty care about Christians in North Korea being persecuted, or Iran, or China, or anywhere else for that matter.

    Ed Chapman


    • Thanks for the comment Ed. I had no idea that I am persecuting Christians in the United States. Let me go check the concentration camp I am running for evangelicals.


      • Concentration camps have nothing to do with persecution. You enjoy making fun of Christians. THAT is persecution, without concentration camps.

        You NEVER wish to tell anyone about salvation in Jesus. You mock those who DO want to do that. Jesus said to GO YE.

        What have you done to GO YE? Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit?

        But no, you just wish to mock Christians, all because they don’t behave in the manner that YOU wish for them to behave.

        For all have sinned. Except for you. You are persecuting Christians with YOUR self righteous attitude. So, in a sense, THAT in and of itself IS a concentration camp. With LOUD radio speakers called a blog.

        Ed Chapman


      • Even more Persecution-levelling (analogous to Sin-levelling).

        “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
        “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • From Meriam:

        Definition of persecute
        persecuted; persecuting
        transitive verb
        1 : to harass or punish in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict; specifically : to cause to suffer because of belief
        2 : to annoy with persistent or urgent approaches (such as attacks, pleas, or importunities) : pester


      • HUG and Ed, let me know if you want me to lead you in the sinners prayer to accept Donald Trump as your personal Lord and savior? For God so loved the world that he sent Donald Trump to save it, and whoever shall believe in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.


      • Wondering,

        I do believe that Donald Trump is doing what Jesus wants him to do.

        My problem with you is that you think that you are self righteous.

        Jesus made a point in telling the people that: Don’t think that you have never committed adultery, because just by looking at a woman to lust after her, YOU’VE ALREADY DONE IT. Thereby saying that NO ONE is immune to committing adultery, because we all have lusted after a someone in our minds already. All of us are also guilty of lying, cheating, stealing, coveting, etc.

        So, I’m not exactly sure as to why YOU want a SAINT (using Catholic terminology) in the White House, nor do I understand as to why you want a PREACHER-IN-CHIEF as your president, or as some say, Pastor-in-chief.

        Jesus does not like self righteous people. He didn’t like the Pharisees very much.

        I want a president JUST LIKE Donald Trump in the Office of the President to RIGHT THE WRONGS of the Democratic INSANE party that think Freedom means FREE-FOR-ALL, which to them means to DISOBEY the law, on purpose, thereby putting law and order at risk.

        LIFE was much more peaceful before the left took us to a place that I don’t even recognize.

        Donald Trump is bringing us back to a more NOBLE place, a place that I called HOME.

        The Dems have turned this United States of America into HELL, a place that I don’t even recognize anymore.

        I am all about Law and Order, where the law and law enforcement officers were respected. A place where the police would say, STOP OR I WILL SHOOT, a place where if you steal a mans horse, you were shot on the spot. A place where people were afraid to break the law for fear of punishment.

        Today, no one is afraid of the long arm of the law. No one is afraid of consequences. That, to the liberal side, is FREEDOM. Freedom to break the law, and face no consequences. Freedom to be entitled. Freedom to have an attitude. Freedom to treat your neighbor with disdain, and violence.

        Is that the freedom that our founding fathers had in mind?

        You are on the side of the law breakers who have NO RESPECT for their fellow man.

        Trump is doing what Jesus wants him to do. But of course, you will disagree. I don’t think that you even know Jesus. You just use his name in vain.

        Ed Chapman


    • I think there needs to be a distinction between criticism and persecution.

      What many American Christians claim to be persecution today is, rather, criticism. A statement “I disagree” or “I believe you are wrong” is not itself an act of persecution.

      I am an evangelical Christian. I have significant concerns about what I see many evangelical Christians doing, and how I believe many are misrepresenting aspects of both the world and the gospel message, and misplacing their priorities. I am going to speak to that. When I do so, that is not persecuting my fellow evangelicals, that is raising concerns, and offering (hopefully constructive) criticism of what I believe to be error and misplaced priorities. Others can respond to my criticism and concerns and say where they believe I am mistaken. We can discuss, converse, even argue (even vehemently) and it still does not arise to the level of persecution.

      Persecution implies utilization of a position of strength to inflict harm on someone else for their beliefs or their personal characteristics (ethnicity, nationality, etc.). If that word is redefined to include even mere disagreement, then the word has been redefined to where it means nothing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dave,

        That word can mean simply the following, by Meriam Dictionary:

        : to constantly annoy or bother (someone)…

        As Headless Unicorn Dude said, based on scripture,

        “All who live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer Persecution” and “Blessed are ye who are Perscuted for Righteousness’ Sake”.”

        Now, THAT is INDIVIDUAL, not GROUP, not lumping all Christians, not lumping, as Wondering likes to do, ALL, what is that word, Evangelicals? together as ONE BIG GROUP.

        Persecution is INDIVIDUAL, a PERSON that lives godly in Christ will be persecuted by ANOTHER individual, not country, nation, etc., at least in the context of scriputre that HUD provided. The D stands for DUDE, instead of G for Guy.

        All I see both Wondering and HUD doing, is making fun of, mocking, or harassing Christians based on their beliefs, henseforth, they are the ones doing the persecuting. So, I am calling the kettle black here.

        I read Wondering’s blog posts. To me, I do not interpret any of them as being criticisms. I see it as harassments.

        What I would LOVE to see is posts by him that goes like this:

        Preacher states Blah Blah.

        Scripture states Blah Blah Blah.

        Difference is Blah.

        Then it can be analyized properly, showing how preacher is in error of his interpretation of scripture.

        For example:

        Preacher states Gay Marriage is a sin.

        Bible states that engaging in homosexuality is a sin.

        Wondering Eagle doesn’t like the Bible’s interpretation, therefore, he becomes God’s advocate, telling God that IT’S OK, that NO ONE, including God, has a right to be a bigot, thereby, calling God a bigot.

        So, in my view, when people like Wondering and Hug “critisize”, using your term, he is in a very real sense, critisizing God. It’s HIS RULES, not ours.

        Jesus came to tell people to repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand. When Christians walk in that same walk, Wondering has a problem with that.

        Good News, Gospel means NOTHING without FIRST telling people what the bad news is, FIRST. Then, comes the good news on how to AVOID the bad news.

        But if we are NOT ALLOWED to tell people the BAD NEWS, and WHY, (emphasis on that word, “WHY”), then Wondering is indeed in the business of persecuting, calling it critisizing.

        He is harassing ALL AMERICAN CHRISTIANS, because they don’t fit HIS MOLD of what a Christian should be.

        I truly believe that he thinks that either God is a bigot. If not, then he thinks that Christians do NOT have the right to do as Jesus told us to do, which is to preach the gospel (which includes that bad new first before good news can be spoken, and in a nutshell, means that we tell gays that homosexual activity is a sin). Wondering hates it when we do that.

        in Conclustion, I do not see his posts as criticizing, I see it as harassing, aka persecuting, just like Jesuss said that Wondering would do.

        The definition of persecution can be extreme, or not so extreme. But there are many synonyms to that word, as well. Not everything pertains to concentration camps.

        Ed Chapman


      • Dave,

        From the following:

        Synonym #2
        “2 to disturb the peace of mind of (someone) especially by repeated disagreeable acts
        She likes to persecute her sister with pointless, annoying questions at very inopportune times.”

        BUT…you said:
        “Persecution implies utilization of a position of strength to inflict harm on someone else for their beliefs or their personal characteristics (ethnicity, nationality, etc.). If that word is redefined to include even mere disagreement, then the word has been redefined to where it means nothing.”

        Ed Chapman


      • So you are using a mild definition of Persecution (#2) to get under the umbrella of the full-honk definition (“utilization of a position of strength/power to inflict harm on someone else for their beliefs or their personal characteristics”). But the mild definition is a legit definition so you’re not really redefining it down to the Alice in Wonderland meaning.
        Persecution-levelling in the manner of Sin-levelling?
        Or just semantics games?


      • HUD, (Hope ya don’t mind me calling you DUDE instead of GUY).

        Your Full Honk Definition is:
        “utilization of a position of strength/power to inflict harm on someone else for their beliefs or their personal characteristics”

        My response:
        Acts 9:4
        And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Strong’s Concordance G1377) me?

        By your definition, the Apostle Paul had a position of strength/power to inflict harm on Jesus, for Jesus asks Paul as to why Paul is persecuting Jesus!!

        What concentration camp did Paul put Jesus in?




      • Dave, you nailed it. Thanks for the comment. There are many people who can’t handle disagreement. Its a problem. Challenges make many uncomfortable. To claim that they are persecuted gives them an out from facing their problems. Rare is the evangelical who is open to hearing other points of view.


      • Ed Chapman, Little late to the party here – but the Greek form of the the word “you” in Matthew 5:11 in plural, not singular. So you using it to argue that persecution in individual is rather invalid.


      • Eclectic,
        We both agree that the “you” is plural. But, the only reason that it is plural, is because he was talking to more than one person. If he was only talking to one person, the Greek word would have been translated as ” you”, in the singular. Thou, in the KJV.

        IN addition, 2 Timothy 3:12 NIV states “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

        Both Matthew and Timothy are individual, regardless of the plural, “you” in Matthew.

        Ed Chapman


  2. Just my own experiences with Humboldt County and God’s Not Dead(TM).

    According to Bing Maps, Hydesville’s on the 101 a little ways south of Eureka. (Haven’t been to Eureka since 1980… fishing port with GOOD seafood restaurants, bringing and cleaning the catch fresh off the fishing boats.)

    When you said “Humboldt County”, I first thought “Emerald Triangle?”, i.e. California’s largest cash crop. The major industry in Humboldt County used to be logging, but when that died out in the Eighties or so, potgrowing replaced it leading to a “Feds vs Heads” situation of DEA chopper raids (no “Ride of the Valkyries” on loudspeakers, though) and “Pot Mercs” (well-armed freelance raiders who robbed the growers around harvest time). Though with legalization, the Emerald Triangle growers are surfacing and going legit. (You should see the pot ads and 4/20 or 7/10 ads in OC Weekly…)

    Now for God’s Not Dead:

    My only run-in with this “franchise” (TRILOGY!) was three years ago in my opthamologist’s waiting room. On prior visits he looped movies on the waiting-room screens but this time I didn’t recognize the flick.

    Within a couple minutes I’d pegged it as Christianese Cheeze from the standard tropes of the genre; about ten minutes later I was able to identify it as God’s Not Dead from descriptions. Specifically, the Altar Call Ending where the Christian kid is Four-Spiritual-Laws Witnessing to the atheist professor who is dying in a car accident. (That was how I identified it as GND.)

    It was a long wait that time; movie ended with the prof saying The Sinner’s Prayer before he died followed by some sort of concert footage, followed by ending credits which gave me a positive ID. Then it looped back to the beginning; my appointment came up right after the scene which introed the Muslim girl student and her (Talibani?) father (I see how that three-second scene caught all that flak). And that was it. Next two visits were still Christianese Movies, but those two I couldn’t identify.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. On a beach in Libya affiliates of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS) took a dozen Egyptian Coptic Christians and decapitated them for being Christian.

    It was 20 Copts and one Ghanan (who made profession of faith on the spot), now canonized by the Coptic Church as “the 21 Martyrs” (with the Ghanan included under “Baptism of Desire”). Their feast day is 2/15 Gregorian Calendar, Amshir 8 Coptic Liturgical Calendar. The Coptic Cathedral in Amshir, Egypt, was renamed for them, and RCC. Pope Francis publicly recognized them as Martyrs (without formal canonization).

    P.S. They were denounced as “not really Christians” because of their False Theology by the usual gaggle of American Evangelical Leaders.

    P.P.S. Al-Daesh doesn’t behead with axes or swords, but by sawing with hunting knives or bayonets..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In all honesty one must remember that many evangelical Christians not only engage in persecution of other faiths but of those who have no faith.

    Remember the joke definition of “Persecution”?
    Not being allowed to Persecute everyone else?

    Furthermore it is extremely disrespectful for white evangelical Christians to claim you are being persecuted in the United States when one considers what Christians are enduring in North Korea, Syria, Iraq, Russia or China.

    I think one dynamic at work is trying to self-fulfill the Verses “All who live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer Persecution” and “Blessed are ye who are Perscuted for Righteousness’ Sake”. If I can claim Persecution, then I must be a Real True Christian — another take on “Holier Than Thou” one-upmanship.

    Even if you have to redefine Persecution as being on the receiving end of “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”. First World Problems and all that. This can come back to bite you HARD; what happens if the surrounding culture DOES become murderously hostile to Christians and you’ve been crying “WOLF!” for years and years?

    And there’s historical precedent. When Christianity was legalized in the Empire, classic/official persecution pretty much ended (at least in civilized areas). How then can you fulfill the above Verses? One tack was to go outside the Empire to the Barbarians as a Missionary; another was to Persecute Yourself through ascetic monasticism.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Can their be persecution in a first world nation? Is that even possible? Its my contention that there is no evangelical Christian persecution in the United States. There are disagreements but are evangelicals facing what is happening to those in China, Iraq, etc…? No…not even close.


    • Inside the Evangelical Bubble, “Persecution” has been so broadened in definition and application by activists that it’s becoming so broad as to be meaningless.

      Similar to how the word “Rape” has been broadened into near-meaninglessness by activists. (i.e. defining looking at a woman askance as “Mental Rape”.)

      When “Persecution” or “Rape” has been broadened into a vast spectrum to mean just about any slight whatsoever, what word is left to label the original REAL thing?


  5. This is not directly “Persecution Porn” but is definitely related:

    I’ve been an SF litfan since 1975 and have tried to write the stuff myself. (Only two or three non-paying small-press pubs.) During my time in-country (late Seventies/early Eighties), I noticed that Christian(TM) attempts at SF (in the Jesus Junk store shelves) were not only uniformly lame, but tended to be more accurately “Christian Apocalyptic” than SF. (And there are far worse Christian Apocalyptics than Left Behind Volumes 1-22. I’ve seen them, and what is Seen Cannot be Unseen.) In those that weren’t, Near Future Persecution Dystopias (such as a “God’s Smuggler” fictionalization set in a near-future Communist USA) .

    I also noticed there seemed to be four Forbidden Tropes in Christianese SF:
    1) No stories set offworld (because then Christ can’t take us in the Rapture).
    2) No stories set more than Twenty Minutes into the Future (because Christ is Coming Soon — any minute now!)
    3) No aliens (“There are no ‘Aliens’. Only Fallen Ones come to deceive us.”)
    4) No semi-human constructs (see (3) above).

    Well, a couple years ago I read this essay (now reprinted on my writing partner’s site) and the situation is worse than I thought:
    Yes, you read that right. The only SF Christians are ALLOWED to write is Near-Future Persecution Dystopias with an End Times/Christian Apocalyptic tie-in. As my writing partner once put it in a dedication: “Because Christians deserve a better future than Left Behind.” Whether this is Persecution Porn or imitation of the Dark & Edgy Dystopias that dominated Mainstream SF after the Seventies, the result is the same.

    In my first semi-pro publication (in the small-press Catholic SF anthology Infinite Space, Infinite God), I noticed half the stories in the anthology were set in Near Future Persecution Dystopias.

    When I was involved with the Lost Genre Guild (an association of Christian SF authors whose stuff was normally unpublishable — too Christian for the mainstream and too Secular for the Jesus Junk market — the flagship series was a “Christian take on Cyberpunk” by LGG founder Frank Creed, the “Flashpoint Trilogy”. Even these — trying to break the mold of Conventional Christianese Fiction — were set in a Near Future Persecution Dystopia. Again, “Christians deserve a better Future.”

    Add to it the restrictions of Christianese Fiction in general (as in this seminal essay by Brit SF author Simon Morden):
    And the situation just seems hopeless for a writer who wants to write that genre.

    Persecution Porn + SF = Near Future Persecution Dystopia.


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