Thursday, July 10, 2014
Brothers and Sisters in Christ
Not long ago we were reminded of the twenty fifth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massaqcres in China.. Commentators noted that despite the courage of the participants in the cause of freedom, little had changed in terms of freedoms and basic human rights.
Last Saturday the Globe amd Mail newspaper offered a feature look at the situation for Christiaenzhous in China today. The church is growing to the extent that China now has one of the largest Christian populations in the world at around 70 million. But harassment and persecution of leaders and congregations has increased under the current regime. Leaders are being detained and incarcerated, publishers are restricted and church buildings forced to take down external crosses. Documents indicate that there is an imperative to stem the growth of religion and Christianity specifically in China, even as officials deny this.
Even though Christians represent just 5% of the population, in 1949, at the time of the communist revolution, there were only four million Christians. Clearly they are perceived as a threat today. In the city of Wenzhou a huge new church was demolished shortly after it was finished.Wherever the churches are knocked down officials claim it is because of faulty building practices.
We need to pay attention to the plight of Christians wherever they are harassed and persecuted and marginalized. In Iraq ten thousand Christians in the north of the country have fled their homes and communities because of ISIS, the militant Islamist group. While we should be concerned about religious persecution of any kind, these are our brothers and sisters in Christ and their plight must matter to us.