Our sixth-grade teacher at St. Michael’s Elementary School in Flushing, New York, sometimes challenged the class with a question referring to Christianity’s early years of persecution: “What will you say when they come up to you and ask, ‘Do you believe in Jesus Christ?'”

Vito Del Vecchio (names have been changed) had apparently heard this once too often. This time, he sighed loudly enough in his front-row seat that even Sister Mary Agnes, well into her 70s by then, heard him.

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“What?” she said to him.

One of the tougher kids of the school but never a bully, my classmate never hesitated to voice disagreement — even with grown-ups. “That’s not gonna haaappen,” he said with exasperation, adding the customary eye-roll.

“You don’t know,” Sister Mary insisted, then repeated her question. Throughout, Vito shook his head.

The rest of us? I, at least, would have put my money on my classmate. This was the early ’70s, after all, and nobody hunted down Christians anymore by then.

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These days, I’m far less certain. But President Donald Trump’s election has been a ray of hope to anyone concerned about freedom of worship.

Related: Why We, as Christians, Are Glorified with the Light of Light

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Defending faith is “discrimination.” Not long before the 2016 election, the Barack Obama administration was still defending the rule of the Affordable Care Act that required most employers to offer “qualified” health insurance. This included coverage of birth control products, among them abortifacient drugs, which by definition induce abortion.

The plan’s architects apparently didn’t care that to fund coverage of abortion services or allow them to be provided, by offering such insurance, was to be complicit in abortion — a mortal sin, to many.

When Trump in October reversed the Obamacare rule to let employers with religious or moral objections drop birth control coverage from their health plans, response was swift.

“Women shouldn’t be denied access to basic health care based on their employers’ religious beliefs,” said Sarah Lipton-Lubet, vice president of the nonprofit National Partnership for Women and Families, based in Washington, D.C. “We all have the right to our religious beliefs. But the way that this rule treats religion is really an excuse to discriminate.”

We’ve seen attacks from within. If not for WikiLeaks, we might never have learned what else was under discussion and being planned in the campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. One email exchange from February 2012 showed that John Podesta, later to become Clinton’s campaign chair, explained how certain purportedly Catholic groups, such as Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, might be able to fundamentally alter church dogma from within. The emails’ subject line: “Opening for a Catholic Spring?”

Said Sandy Newman, then president of the progressive organization Voices for Progress, to Podesta: “There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a Middle Ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic Church.”

Language can be used as a weapon. Politicians’ efforts to nullify Christian voices in society are symptoms of an even broader effort that has swept through our lexicon. Think of the word “hate,” for instance — and you can’t ignore how it’s now used to describe anyone who disagrees with the politically correct mindset. It’s the worst of many words bandied about so blithely that they have lost their meaning — other than their deployment as a cudgel.

Increasingly, it’s in expressed attitudes that would be familiar to anyone who’s read “1984.” Care about giving the unborn every chance at life? Then you hate women — and are a sexist to boot. Want to preserve your religion from its enemies? You’re a bigot. For a little perspective, this is the same world that once brought charges against God’s Word made flesh, the son of God, for blasphemy.

In America, we need not fear being lined up, forced to kneel before a hooded executioner, and beheaded for our religious beliefs — as did 20 Coptic Christians and one Ghanaian at the hands of ISIS almost three years ago. But it’s not uncommon for someone here to lose his or her job and livelihood for being too open about faith. In a society that increasingly eschews personal responsibility and the notion of conscience, anything that holds dear to absolute truth, particularly as inspired by a higher power, is an enemy to be attacked.

Related: Outrage! This Christian Group Was Booted Off Campus

Recalling Sister Mary Agnes’ words today brings a chill to me — for even she could not know how prophetic she was. True, the election of Donald Trump to the White House serves to slow down the pace of the enemies of faith. But three or seven years from now, I shudder to think who next will be at the helm, and with what agenda.

I wonder whether my classmate, wherever he is now, agrees today that people may someday indeed come and ask that very question. I pray that I will have the courage to take up my cross — and respond to her question about whether I believe in Jesus Christ: “Yes, I do.”

Ed Perratore is copy editor at LifeZette. He can be reached at [email protected]