"Christianophobia" exists among a powerful elite subculture in the United States, University of North Texas sociologists George Yancey and David Williamson wrote in So Many Christians, So Few Lions: Is There Christianophobia in the United States? While Yancey co-wrote that book from an academic perspective, he now writes as a Christian speaking to the church in Hostile Environment on how Christians should respond to anti-Christian hostility. (The book is here.)
Yancey is careful throughout the book to distinguish between the discrimination against Christians in the United States and the violence against Christians in other parts of the world. He does not use the word "persecution," for instance, to describe the negative experiences of Christians domestically.
"Christians are not being persecuted, but religious discrimination and bigotry in our society can affect us. We should combat that discrimination and bigotry when it rears its ugly head", he says.
In response to the question what people with Christianophobia want, he replies,
"In a nutshell they want Christians to shut up and stay in their homes and churches. They also argue that Christians are leading us back to the "Dark Ages," want to set up a theocracy, and oppose science. They also demand that Christians do not proselytize others since they believe that Christians are not very intelligent or are trying to manipulate others for money or power.
These beliefs and stereotypes provide them with justification to assert that they, and not Christians, should run our society and government. For this reason it is not surprising that they want Christians to stay out of the public square."
Regarding persecution he observes,
"There are Christians who cry persecution at everything. Let me be clear that I am not, nor have I ever, argued that Christians in the United States are being persecuted. Christians in the United States, unlike Christians in certain other countries, are not thrown in jail, or killed specifically because of their faith. If that changes in the future then I will talk of Christians being persecuted in the United States. But right now, it is imprudent for Christians in the United States to talk about persecution."
From the description of the book,
"The only good Christian is a dead Christian."
In our heated cultural environment, comments like this are increasingly common. Sometimes Christians are too quick to claim that they are being persecuted. But Christians aren't just being paranoid or alarmist. Anti-Christian hostility is real.
Sociologist George Yancey explores the phenomenon of Christianophobia, an intense animosity against Christians and the Christian faith. Among some circles, opposition to Christianity manifests much like other historic prejudices like anti-Semitism or racial discrimination. While Christianophobia in the United States does not typically rise to the violent levels of religious persecution in other parts of the world, Christians are often still treated in ways that perpetuate negative stereotypes and contribute to culture war acrimony.
Yancey unpacks the underlying perspectives and root causes of Christianophobia, and he considers to what extent Christians have themselves contributed to anti-Christian hostility. At times, criticisms of Christians are justified, but Christians can confront untruths without capitulation. In this truthful yet hope-filled treatise, Yancey shows how Christians can respond more constructively, defusing tensions and working toward the common good.