Blessed are those who are persecuted
because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
There are many different levels of persecution. Some are more effective than others.
I have heard that the Chinese water torture was to strap a person down, and let a bucket of water drip onto the forehead. A drip of water is nothing compared to other tortures, but that slow continual dripping begins to work in the mind. And as it would go on and on, eventually that drip wouldn't seem like a drip anymore. It would seem like a hammer smashing down on the forehead.
The same thing is true with Americans, and many others of the "modern" world. We may not be persecuted outright, but we are persecuted for our righteousness. We are ridiculed as teenagers. We are mocked as adults. Those around us consider us stupid or backward, simply because we actually believe the Bible. And that slow continual dripping begins to wear. And so many of us cave in.
If you are persecuted today, remember, that you are part of a new kingdom. We are just passing through here.