Wednesday, November 15, 2017
What a Friend we Have in Jinping?
During his Asian trip President Trump has been pal-sy with the dictators of the Philippines, Russia, and China. Horrendous human rights violations in the Philippines? U.S. security experts claiming that Russia interfered in the election? C'mon, these guys are just misunderstood! Particularly vexing is Trump's about face on China. The nation was evil incarnate during the election, the bane of American prosperity. Now Trump is signing trade deals with no recognizable benefit for his own country.
To be fair, Prime Minister Trudeau wasn't exactly a shining beacon of justice during his junket. He did cautiously raise human rights concerns with Philippine president Duterte, who later threw a hissy-fit about the PM's temerity. Tyrants can be sensitive about others challenging their lawlessness.
Meanwhile, China's President Xi Jinping is consolidating power, cracking down on dissent, with little resistance anywhere. ! found it chilling to read a Washington Post piece about Xi Jinping's efforts to silence Christians in China. The Christian religion has grown since the days of persecution under Mao, but it hasn't been easy under subsequent regimes. Read this:
BEIJING — Jesus Christ won’t drag you out of poverty or cure your illnesses, but the Chinese Communist Party will, so take down those pictures of Christ and put up a nice photograph of President Xi Jinping. That’s what thousands of villagers in southeastern China have been told by local officials, in a sign of the growing cult of personality around the country’s powerful leader, as well as rising pressure on Christian worship.
A social media account in Jiangxi province’s Yugan county said villagers had “willingly” removed 624 posters showing Christian religious sayings and images, and replaced them with 453 images of Xi. The move, while still on a small scale, harks back to the personality cult surrounding Communist China’s first leader, Mao Zedong, whose picture was in every home...
A resident of another township in Yugan, a man surnamed Liu, told the South China Morning Post that villagers had no choice but to comply.“Some families put up gospel couplets on their front doors during the Lunar New Year; some also hung paintings of the cross. But they’ve all been torn down,” he said. “They all have their belief and, of course, they didn’t want to take them down. But there is no way out. If they don’t agree to do so, they won’t be given their quota from the poverty-relief fund.”
This is really disturbing, but another reminder that religion is often seen as a threat to the state, or a challenge to the violence of the state. In the Philippines Christian leaders have been vocal about Duterte's death squads which have murdered thousands of drug dealers and addicts but this comes with a risk.
As always I encourage you to pray for Christian brothers and sisters in other parts of the world who are under threat. We enjoy freedom of assembly and expression which we can't take for granted.
I do wonder when some evangelical leaders in the United States will begin encouraging their followers to take down their crosses and put up posters of Trump, but that would be a cynical thought...wouldn't it?