When you look around at the state of persecution for Christians around the world, you can’t help but weep for our brothers and sisters in the Lord who are risking their jobs, their homes, and their lives in order to worship God in spirit and truth.
One of the absolute worst and most dangerous countries to be a Christian, not surprisingly, is China where the State, not Jesus, tries to be the highest authority.
To be clear, Christianity itself isn’t illegal in China, per se. Instead, the communist dictatorship hyper-regulates all expressions of religion, forcing all churches and denominations to register with the government so that its citizens to only subscribe to government-approved faiths.
The Chinese crackdowns against unauthorized Christianity have gone from bad to worse now that Guangzhou, the nation’s fifth-largest city, began offering cash rewards for reporting “illegal religious activities,” including house church meetings.
According to Asia News, Guangzhou’s Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs has offered 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 yuan ($450, $750 and $1,500 USD, respectively) to citizens who report such activities to the authorities. The amount of cash awarded depends on the severity of the religious crime committed.
Speaking of the cash rewards, one Christian woman told AsiaNews that the reward has turned Guangzhou into “a Big Brother atmosphere.”
“The authorities could not have picked a better time, just before Easter to introduce these measures,” an anonymous priest told AsiaNews. “At this time, we often meditate on the passion of Jesus and Judas’ treachery for 30 pieces of silver. The Guangzhou government wants to turn people into many mini Judas.”
Last year, the city of Guangzhou shut down the massive, 5,000-member Rongguili Church. Like thousands of Christians in China, however, its members hold secret meetings and underground services, literally forsaking their own lives to worship Jesus.
Under Chinese law, people who “establish religious places without authorization; non-religious groups; non-religious institutions; non-religious places, temporary places of worship, religious activities and religious donations” as well as those who organize “unauthorized religious courses, conferences, unauthorized pilgrimages.”
I say the true danger is a government who seeks to knock God off of his throne and take his place as the supreme authority! Our founding fathers knew that the freedom to speak, think, and act according to one’s sincere religious convictions is a fundamental human right. To try to rob the people of that right—and punish them severely for exercising it—is among the greatest atrocities of our era.
We must demand justice for the Christians of China, and we must never let down our guard against our own ever-expanding government when it comes to the protection of religious liberty.
Rest assured, God remains on his throne and he will not let crimes against his people go unpunished—whether on Earth or in eternity. In the meantime, please continue to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters worldwide.
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