ACTUAL PERSECUTION VS IMAGINED PERSECUTION…. The New York Times has a tragic story today on Iraqi Christians fleeing from their country in the face of violence.

A new wave of Iraqi Christians has fled to northern Iraq or abroad amid a campaign of violence against them and growing fear that the country’s security forces are unable or, more ominously, unwilling to protect them.

The flight — involving thousands of residents from Baghdad and Mosul, in particular — followed an Oct. 31 siege at a church in Baghdad that killed 51 worshipers and 2 priests and a subsequent series of bombings and assassinations singling out Christians. This new exodus, which is not the first, highlights the continuing displacement of Iraqis despite improved security over all and the near-resolution of the political impasse that gripped the country after elections in March.

It threatens to reduce further what Archdeacon Emanuel Youkhana of the Assyrian Church of the East called “a community whose roots were in Iraq even before Christ.”

Those who fled the latest violence — many of them in a panicked rush, with only the possessions they could pack in cars — warned that the new violence presages the demise of the faith in Iraq.

Reading this, I was reminded of last week’s Fox News segment on the annual Parade of Lights in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Gretchen Carlson asked, “[I]f we’re supposed to be tolerant of all these other religions, which pretty much everyone accepts, why does it always seem like Christianity is the one to take the boot?”

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who’s boycotting the event until organizers include the word “Christ” in the parade’s name, added, “[W]hy do they always pick on the Christians?”

In context, “they” appeared to refer to those Americans who wish people a “happy holidays” and organize public holiday celebrations that are inclusive and reflect communities’ diversity.

If Republican culture warriors are genuinely worried about Christians being “picked up” and “taking the boot,” they’re clearly looking at the wrong country.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.