persecution - n.
1. The act or practice of persecuting on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or beliefs that differ from those of the persecutor.
2. The condition of being persecuted.
persecute - tr.v., -cut·ed, -cut·ing, -cutes.
1. To oppress or harass with ill-treatment, especially because of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or beliefs.
2. To annoy persistently; bother.
oppress - tr.v., -pressed, -press·ing, -press·es.
1. To keep down by severe and unjust use of force or authority: a people who were oppressed by tyranny.
2. To weigh heavily on: Poverty oppresses the spirit.
3. Obsolete. To overwhelm or crush.
harass - tr.v., -rassed, -rass·ing, -rass·es.
1. To irritate or torment persistently.
2. To wear out; exhaust.
3. To impede and exhaust (an enemy) by repeated attacks or raids.
If it weren't for that persistently thing the second and least used definition might work for most Christians' definition of the word.