One of the things I think people sometimes miss here is the extent to which the belief that Christians are victims is taught and affirmed by the Christian community, the way it is ingrained. Growing up, I spent my summers at a fundamentalist Christian camp. My mom says when she decided to send me she didn’t realize what it was, that their materials just said "non-denominational." My mom grew up going to and loving Methodist youth camps and assumed this would be along those lines. It wasn’t.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved it. I begged to be sent back every year. I loved the lake, and the water skiing, and the canoeing and the tree house and being with my best friends and I loved the worship. But every year I came home irate that my mother had never explained to me that my Jewish friends were going to hell or that God’s perfect plan apparently includes a lot of really bad stuff. […]
Every year we played a game that I particularly loved. It involved being out around the camp after dark, in fact after the usual bedtime, making it a very special night indeed. It involved hiding and whispering and water guns and water balloons and getting captured on your way to a hidden location. It was absolutely fantastic.
It was called Gestapo. The counselors explained that they would be playing the part of policemen looking to arrest Christians who were on their way to worship at a secret church. If caught, they would ask if you were a Christian, and you would either have to admit it and be caught or lie and get away.
I don’t remember the exact moment when, a little later in life, I learned what the Gestapo really was. And I don’t remember the moment when I connected that knowledge to the memory of my favorite camp game. That’s probably because it makes me feel kind of nauseous even to think about it, to remember the actual physical experience of it, and how much I enjoyed it. But I know what it taught us about the way the world sees Christians: that persecution is a curse, but a blessing as well. A sign that you are righteous. It can even be fun.