Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
-- Matthew 5:10
At the time of the Boxer Rebellion, 230 Christian missionaries and 23,000 Chinese Christians were killed in China. In the years following, the number of Christians in China grew to 70,000. Then communist China really cracked down, outlawing Christianity and expelling all Christian missionaries. The number of Christians in China grew 100 fold to 70 million.
In our nation there is some concern among Christians about religious freedoms and the state recognition of Christian expression. These concerns are, for the most part, justified. Arguably. But there are many overreactions, many voicing of concerns that belie the reality of the God who is sovereign over everything, including nations, kings, and laws.
But let's not presume to think we are presently persecuted. In Matthew 5:11, Jesus says, "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account." Persecution is a blessing. Either he meant that or he didn't. The Beatitudes are proclamations, not commands, so we don't need to seek persecution. It's not the blood of the one with a martyr complex that is the seed of the church. Perhaps socialism is creeping into America. We should be concerned about this and talk about it, against it even.
But let's also not assume that persecution would be the worst thing to befall us. It could be, actually, that persecution, should it come, is the best thing to happen to the American church.