In ancient Rome, there was an obligation to burn a pinch of incense before the statue of the emperor. Doing so was essentially an act of worship of the emperor as a god. The monotheistic Christians could not do this without denying their beliefs in one true God... or give scandal by appearing to do so. But if they refused, they would suffer consequences for standing up for what they believed.
To the morally lax pagans, the Christians doubtlessly were viewed as intolerant. However, by insisting that the Christians burn this incense and do what they believed was morally wrong, the pagans were the intolerant ones. They thought the Christian beliefs were either a threat or something so insignificant that the Christians shouldn't make a fuss about it.
Fast forward some 1700 years to the present. The Christians who, because of their belief in one God, find themselves in a dilemma. Either let your business acknowledge the so-called "gay marriage" (or cause the scandal of appearing to do so), or suffer the consequences.
Again, to a good many people, the Christians are viewed as either intolerant or fussing over something "not important." Laws seeking to protect Christians have been proposed, but they have been portrayed as discriminatory laws.
What makes it so sickening now is the First Amendment was intended to prevent the state from coercing someone into doing what they believed was morally forbidden. But now, it is the defense of these religious rights that is considered unconstitutional.
Once again, Lincoln's words have shown themselves prophetic:
"As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it, "All men are created equal, except Negroes." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read, "All men are created equal except Negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some other country where they make no pretense of loving liberty - to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, without the base alloy of hypocrisy."
I first posted these words in 2007. Each year, they seem more amd more reflecting our government.