This is a very interesting post. I wonder where we are in these five steps in America? Somewhere between steps three and four perhaps?
There are five steps that are generally followed by a government or ruling power in harassing any group such as the Church, which leads to outright persecution and eventual Red Martyrdom:
1. Identifying: This involves finger-pointing by the ruling authority for the purpose of placing the blame for the nation’s troubles on one particular group. In 1 Kings 18:17, King Ahab identifies the prophet Elijah as being the one responsible for the drought that took place in the land of Israel. He accused Elijah by asking the question, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” The true body of Christ and Biblical Christianity in America today are blamed for being the greatest obstacles to the liberal establishment’s plans for a totally humanistic “utopian” society.
2. Marginalizing: By this means, the “politically incorrect” portion of the Church is looked upon as not being part of the mainstream of society. This is done by an organized smear campaign conducted by the ruling authorities through the national news media. They do this by the use of such trigger words as radical, extremists, separatists, and fringe.
3. Vilifying: By this means, the persecutors employ such methods as uttering slanderous and abusive statements against targeted groups as to cheapen and debase their worth and significance in society. The accusers need no factual evidence for their accusations, but innuendoes, insinuations, hints and making associations with other previously known undesirables of society.
4. Criminalizing: In implementing this step of persecution, it gives the state “legal” justification for arresting and incarcerating the accused. Here the state charges the persecuted with accusations of alleged criminal wrong-doing. The state naturally picks on the most vulnerable segment of the Church in order to send their threatening message to all the rest who adhere to similar views and practices. Incarceration of a few means intimidation of the many. Victimization of a government- protected group is a direct result of the incrimination of the accused. This gives the state “legal” authority to take a heavy-handed control in “protecting” its citizens. Presently, our federal government has several groups which they deem as “victims” for whom they feel responsibility to protect.
5. Terrorizing. This is the blatant and outright acts of terrorism carried out by the police powers of the state against the persecuted. These are acts of coercion by threat or by violence and are intended to create anxiety and fear in the hearts of its victims, with the purpose of silencing and neutralizing the opponents of the tyrannical government in power.
After these five steps are sufficiently implemented by the statist governmental authorities, then there is “justification” for banishment and/or elimination of those who are the object of persecution. The prime example is the persecution of the Christians of the early Church by the emperors of ancient Rome.