Despite the insistence otherwise from such authorities as FOX News, the persecution of Christians has long lagged behind the persecution of other religious sects in America. Hatred of Jews may have peaked some time ago, but when Mel Gibson and many other people get drunk, it still rears its ugly head. Atheists were recently discovered by a poll to be no more trusted by most Americans than rapists. Muslims, mosques and Qurans are held in wide disrespect and occasionally burned while Sikhs, Hindus, Zoroastrians and other faiths about which every American knows nothing are persecuted by being lumped in with the Muslims.
Almost any non-Christian American can enjoy being thought ill of and looked askance at without even trying, but about Christians almost nothing is done. How is this fair? And this is despite Christians' desire to be persecuted. So eager are Christians to be reviled that they think losing your advertising deal with the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain for a few days, as the Duck people just did, and then having it restored with a public apology or being forbidden to set up cardboard Nativity figures on the courthouse lawn at Christmas is a promising step in that direction.
Such an appetite for public flogging cannot, and should not, be denied. But how can we Americans give our Christian brethren the gift of persecution they obviously want and probably deserve? The Roman model will not work here. Lions are now an endangered species, and feeding them a bunch of chubby Christians, who are typically crammed full of bake-sale cakes and high cholesterol Cracker Barrel meals, could not be good for the digestion of these stately carnivores and might further imperil the preservation of their species.
Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, a man often admired by right-wing Christians for his work promoting the unification of church and state and getting people to vote for him for no good reason, might provide us some guidance, for this is a guy who knows how to persecute. Ask Pussy Riot, the girl band with the greatest girl-band name of all time, whom he just let out of prison after serving the couple of years of hard time they did just for calling him a bastard. Tossing Christians randomly behind bars would be the ultimate answer to their prayers for persecution, but unfortunately here in the US our prisons are already full of non-violent drug offenders and making sure they stay behind bars as least as long as Pussy Riot did is also a public priority.
American history also provides us with a uniquely American model of religious persecution, which is to shoot and beat believers in an unwanted faith until they cram themselves into covered wagons and all move to Utah. We already did this to the Mormons, though, and they still occupy the place. Lack of enough empty space with the national borders prevents us from offering this service to Christians as well.
So no easy solution presents itself. Christians, ensconced in their thousands of comfortable churches spread across this great land, look at the rest of us in silent reproach. Since our nation's founding, they have loudly proclaimed it to be theirs; they have given the rest of us centuries of moral guidance, no charge; if any of us dared to think we could be any sort of worthwhile person without being one of them we were promptly corrected. Our very national economy depends upon us spending six weeks every year frantically shopping on behalf of Their Savior.
And yet we can't even decently persecute them. The fact that they own and run everything should not be used by the rest of us as an excuse. They don't want to be smug and content and morally superior, free to pluck out an occasional phrase from the Bible and use it to lash out at practices that seem fair but that they don't like, like gay marriage, or women deciding whether they want to have babies or not, or poor people being in the same health network as they are.
They want to be shunted into catacombs. I don't know how we're going to do it to them, but I guess we owe them. We need to ramp up the persecution of Christians, or else admit another national failure.
Either that, or just wait for the Rapture.