According to dictionary.com, to persecute is to pursue with harassing or oppressive treatment, especially because of religious or political beliefs, ethnic or racial origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation; to annoy or trouble persistently. It is clear to at least me that it can take many forms. Certainly no one would deny that Christians fed to the lions in the Roman Coliseum in the first century under Nero were being persecuted because they were Christians. Nero saw to that by charging them with the burning of Rome (Nero himself secretly gave the order to begin the fires). It galvanized the whole of the Roman nation against them – they were unjustly hated for nearly a century after that, not just by those in Nero’s day. In fact, that set of historical events made Christianity itself illegal until Constantine legalized it to make it his chosen state religion, as which point, a small group of people who were not Christian but claimed to be started to persecute who they define as non-Christians, and that has continued to the present (and includes all Protestants today as it turns out).
I read an article this morning that nearly made me spit out my coffee through my nose. I post a screenshot below, because the kind of guy that writes this is usually a bit of a snowflake, and it may end up hidden. Here it is:
Whether or not young Mr. Guiltner realizes it or intends it, this is in fact oppressive speech, and is most certainly meant to annoy and/or trouble anyone who would support Dr. MacArthur and Grace Community Church (GCC) as we do here at BereanNation.com. That means that Mr. Guiltner’s words are in fact persecuting anyone that would support GCC, intended or not.
Now, it must be understood that Mr. Guiltner is NOT the enemy. It is our duty to pray for him, that God would open his eyes to the irony that it is the very same constitutional rights that allow him to spit his venomous blather that Dr. MacArthur and GCC are standing upon in regard to their issue with the city of Los Angeles. If you need an enemy, aim at the principalities and powers of the air, and forces of wickedness in the heavenly places that are the true enemy that stand behind every thought that is not brought into obedience to Christ.