A Case for *Justified* Christian Martyrdom in America
In the book of Revelation in the Bible (Revelation 6:9-11) there are verses that describe some pretty terrible events concerning people being killed for claiming and witnessing in the name of Jesus. It’s all very disturbing and each passing generation hopes that it won’t be them crying out for justice to God and awaiting the full number of murdered people for Jesus to be completed without some form of retribution against the killers.
I used to wonder how the world could hate the message of unconditional love and peace so much that they’d want Christians dead. It baffled my mind! It terrified me to watch movies like A Thief in the Night and A Distant Thunder in middle school at my Christian (and also politically right-wing and kind of racist at times) school just thinking that people would be so mean to senselessly attack believers in Jesus because they believed in Jesus. Just exactly how and why would Christian martyrdom happen in the United States?
And then I grew up.
I gotta be honest, I can see it happening. Why? Not so much because they hate Jesus and thus they hate believers but because a lot of Christians are jerks, especially in America. The problem extends back to when Christianity because the mandatory religion of the Byzantine Empire. Sure, it was a great thing to have Constantine be so in love with Jesus that he used his newfound faith to take over paganism, which held political power then. The problem with this is that power corrupts and because we are human beings, we are susceptible to corruption and poisoning the work done by Jesus.
How are Christians being jerks? Go research the Holy Roman Empire and the Crusades, and then research how Hitler’s holocaust of Jews was directly related to beliefs about Jews perpetuated by Martin Luther (yes, he of the Protestant Reformation) way back 1514 in Germany. Some of his propaganda against Jews was used. He only did it because they refused to convert to Christianity, and he got pissed off and started spreading lies about Jews in Germany. It wasn’t very hard for Hitler and his ilk to invent things when a lot of centuries of hate based on lies was just lying around.
Once you’re done researching those things, lets then research how the Bible was used to keep slaves docile across the West during the African slave trade. Then lets get into America and how Jim Crow started and was actually backed by the Bible in many churches in America to keep the races separate (“the proper order”) because God told Israel to not intermarry with pagan people (done out of them being susceptible to leave the God of Israel more than anything to do with preserving a “clean” ethnic line) and somehow white people believed they were the ones God talked to about this when they weren’t even anywhere in the Bible until Rome came around…and by then that’s New Testament anyway.
Once you’ve done your book-learning on that, let’s get into how Jerry Falwell hurt Christianity in this country forever by establishing the Religious Right and marrying politics with faith. Christianity hasn’t been the same ever since, especially because to be Christian and evangelical in America automatically means that you must be white, straight, well-off financially, and vote Republican because you’re a good, moral person and Republicans are good, moral people (even though Republicans hold the record for most public officials caught in sex scandals). This means that you are mean to gay people, lesbians, bisexual people who aren’t married to someone of the opposite sex, trans people, women who’ve had abortions, women who have children out of wedlock, women in general unless they’re homemakers, brown people who are here both legally and illegally (you also ignore any white people or Asians here illegally), black people, Native Americans, and you’re nice to people who have a lot of money or make you feel that you can get to where they are as they poison your drinking water with coal debris.
When you vocally stand up against that many people and you keep saying it’s because of the Bible giving you the airtime and authority to do it when those people are just minding their business and trying to EXIST with the same rights to life that you have, they tend to not think kindly of you whatsoever. Eventually, they will say F you and F your Jesus. You’ll be baffled at how someone could be so mean to you when all you’re trying to do is love them and show them the way to an abundant life, but all you’re really doing is picking apart their lives because they don’t match your standards of the day.
I want the church to do better. I want the church to do things that stand up against the Trump administration because they are systemically dismantling America bit by bit until we have nothing left. New cabinet positions are headed up by people hostile to those agencies. LGBT rights are being dismantled. Women’s right are being dismantled. Anything that helps minority groups get a space in the public majority space is being taken away. The rich are being catered to and the poor are being told they’re lazy, to work harder, and to get more hours that don’t exist for jobs they can’t get because they don’t have the skills necessary to compete in a global marketplace. Also, not being a robot hurts because robotics are replacing humans in manufacturing.
Yet, the church mostly sits idly by and lets it happen because they voted for the man. Now we have ICE doing raids and pulling undocumented immigrants out of cars and even hospitals where they were getting treated for a brain tumor to be placed into detention in pain, likely never to be heard from again. Shout-out to churches that are doing the right things by having an underground railroad for them as well as suing the Trump administration for infringing upon their religious practice over the anti-Muslim travel ban.
If anyone can right this ship, it’s the church. I mean, Trump and his ilk outchea just slandering the name of Jesus and His followers and y’all just letting him do it. When people have had enough and start coming for anyone who claims to love Jesus, it likely won’t be because of Jesus that you lose your life. It will be because you didn’t stand up at all for “the least of these” and they want justice.
I can’t really blame them. Do the right things already, Christians. Treat others the way you want to be treated and stop replacing your faith in Jesus with a perverted form of American patriotism before you wind up missing your head. It’s better to die for Jesus than Donald Trump or even some twisted version of what you think America is.