Just want to say that zoning is not religiously neutral, at all. I won't write a diatribe on it here, but there is very little out there that isn't covered by Biblical principles. There is plenty in the Bible about property rights, and God never gave government the power to take those away from people, and certainly never gave them rights to rule over churches, which fall under a different authority structure. When the government tries to rule over the churches (like taxing them) they are putting themselves in the role of God.

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What would one call COVID restrictions that closed churches and fined them if they opened while keeping liquor stores and infanticide mills open?

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There's a lot good here. It's important to maintain perspective and not be over the top. On the other hand, it's worth recognizing that persecution of Christians absolutely happens in this country.

Losing your job because of Christian doctrine or practice is religious persecution. We make a mistake when we think that pressure only counts as persecution if the bad guy says "I'm doing this because you profess Christ." Even the ancient Romans would happily have given Christianity a pass if only the believers would have said "Caesar is lord." Similarly, Nebuchadnezzar didn't care whether you loved Jehovah, he just wanted you to bow down when the music played. When some woke HR threatens your job unless you post a gay pride flag that is truly religious persecution. And yes, this requires we make an actual judgement on the merits of the case.

Another type of mistake is too think that persecution must be official policy or people have to die. Low grade, sporadic and even entirely personal persecution is still persecution. Again judgments must be made.

I will note that it will at times be appropriate to notice persecution without saying much about it publicly. But believers who face persecution should know what they're experiencing, and that it's normal for Christians throughout history. It's much easier to bear persecution if you have fellow believers who agree that it is in fact unjust treatment. Being united with Christ in suffering should be encouraging given the bible's statements on the subject.

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I too once had an experience where a church I belonged to ran into a zoning issue when it wanted to expand. The first primitive thought in my brain was, "Persecution! Someone in city government is probably going after us for LGBT or abortion!"

My rational brain took a second longer to decide, "Eh, probably not, the Zoning Commission here is dominated by conservatives, most of whom go to church." The issue in the end was purely pragmatic/legal and was resolved in a way that probably showed us favoritism, in all honesty.

It can be easy to jump the gun, the same way the other side might think every bad outcome is a product of racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.

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