Christians, you’re not being persecuted
by Kelvin Wade
In Rome, July AD 64, a fire broke out in the Circus area where shops were located. Fueled by high winds, the fire quickly grew and spread and engulfed most of the grand city. It raged for six days and seven nights. When it finally burned itself out, 70 percent of the city was in ruins.
Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, better known as the Emperor Nero, was rumored to have started the blaze. While he didn’t fiddle while Rome burned as the legend goes, the historian Suetonius claims the Emperor sang from the tower of Maecenas.
Tacitus writes that Nero sought to deflect suspicion from himself by blaming an obscure Jewish religious sect called the Christians.
Nero had those professing to be Christian arrested. He made them wear the skins of animals and then had them torn apart by dogs. He had Christians crucified, having huge nails driven through their wrists on wooden poles and hanging there in agony until they died of blood loss, sepsis or dehydration. Some were burned to death. They even used burning crucified Christians to illuminate the city at dark.
Some historians believe the persecution was unrelated to the fire. Christians were despised because they refused to acknowledge the deity of the Emperor. Their rituals, such as partaking of communion, symbolically drinking the blood of Christ, made many believe they were cannibals. Christians were seen as haters of mankind.
Whatever the reason, Nero is regarded as the first persecutor of the Christians.
So what passes for persecution today? An employee at a big box store saying, “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”, communities referring to Christmas trees as “Holiday Trees” and other slights that make up the Fox News promoted “War on Christmas.”
Christians go from being torn to pieces by wild beasts as a spectacle in coliseums in Rome to today being offended that someone spelled Christmas “Xmas”? Really?
The most absurd part of these annual stories is that Christmas trees aren’t even a part of Christianity. People adorned evergreen trees for winter solstice celebrations before the birth of Christ.
The true roots of what we celebrate as Christmas are pagan celebrations. The early Puritans understood this because they passed laws prohibiting the celebrating of Christmas with trees, caroling and the like.
And there is no biblical scripture commanding the celebration of Jesus’ birth!
Someone saying “Happy Holidays” isn’t a repudiation of Christmas. It’s not a persecution.
Might I suggest that instead of looking for sleights so they can pretend there is some ‘War on Christmas’ every year, why don’t Christians just focus on being good Christians?
Why not a focus on ‘peace on earth’ and ‘goodwill toward men?’ Donate money to a charitable cause. Donate food to a food drive. Send Christmas cards to the troops. Visit a convalescent home with candy, cards and a puppy for people to pet. Go caroling. Put up a manger in your front yard. Bake cookies for your neighbors.
Can’t we all just embrace goodwill and leave the persecution complex out of it?