systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another individual or group
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Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another group, including the inflicting of suffering, harassment, isolation, imprisonment, fear, pain or exclusion.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness. ~ Matthew


  • The religious persecution of the ages has been done under what was claimed to be the command of God. I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do to their fellows, because it always coincides with their own desires.
  • It has become a settled principle that nothing which is good and true can be destroyed by persecution, but that the effect ultimately is to establish more firmly, and to spread more widely, that which it was designed to overthrow. It has long since passed into a proverb that "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church."
    • Albert Barnes, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 450.
  • There can be no Good Will. Will is always Evil; it is persecution to others or selfishness.
  • Christianity has made martyrdom sublime, and sorrow triumphant.
    • Edwin Hubbell Chapin, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 450.
  • Bigotry may be called the appalling frenzy of the indifferent. This frenzy of the indifferent is in truth a terrible thing; it has made all monstrous and widely pervading persecutions. In this degree it was not the people who cared who ever persecuted; the people who cared were not sufficiently numerous. It was the people who did not care who filled the world with fire and oppression. It was the hands of the indifferent that lit the faggots; it was the hands of the indifferent that turned the rack. There have come some persecutions out of the pain of a passionate certainty; but these produced, not bigotry, but fanaticism — a very different and a somewhat admirable thing. Bigotry in the main has always been the pervading omnipotence of those who do not care crushing out those who care in darkness and blood.
    • G. K. Chesterton, Heretics, Ch. XX - Concluding Remarks on the Importance of Orthodoxy (1905)
  • Persecution cannot harm him who stands by Truth. Did not Socrates fall proudly a victim in body? Was not Paul stoned for the sake of the Truth? It is our inner selves that hurt us when we disobey it, and it kills us when we betray it.
    • Khalil Gibran, The Secrets of the Heart, trans. Anthony R. Ferris, p. 157 (1947)
  • [Australian scholar David Thomas] Smith’s theory of religious persecution shows us that a general “system of tolerance of minorities” is perfectly compatible with the persecution of some groups, and the two things in fact go together in many modern democratic states, which answers the objection that Tai Ji Men cannot be persecuted because Taiwan in general protects religious liberty. It also shows that democratic states, unlike their totalitarian counterparts that are often irrational, cease the persecutions when they understand that the political cost of persecution has become higher than the cost of tolerating a group they do not like.
  • Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Any body of men who believe in hell will persecute whenever they have the power.
  • The central belief of every moron is that he is the victim of a mysterious conspiracy against his common rights and true deserts. He ascribes all his failure to get on in the world, all of his congenital incapacity and damfoolishness, to the machinations of werewolves assembled in Wall Street, or some other such den of infamy.
  • The dictum that truth always triumphs over persecution, is one of those pleasant falsehoods which men repeat after one another till they pass into commonplaces, but which all experience refutes. History teems with instances of truth put down by persecution. If not suppressed for ever, it may be thrown back for centuries.
  • We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.
  • Few of those living in what we call the “free world”—an endangered concept and sometime a rather ambiguous one, which yet retains an important value—know what [it] is like to be considered “bad” for the mere fact of belonging to a certain group. The violence of all this is hardly understandable for those who have never suffered it, and it is literally incredible when we see it performed in front of our eyes.
  • To persecute
    Makes a faith hated, and is furthermore
    No perfect witness of a perfect faith
    In him who persecutes.
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