The ruling Chinese Communist Party has continued its widespread offensive against the Christian faith by stripping church sanctuaries of the Ten Commandments.
Among state-mandated churches, persecution watchdog Bitter Winter reports that almost all the Christian buildings under the government’s watch have been forced to remove the Ten Commandments and replace them with quotes from President Xi Jinping.
Increasingly, Christianity is being labeled as a “Western Ideology” that must be resisted at all costs by the Chinese people. Simply put, the Chinese government is fostering demand for total devotion and loyalty to its leader and chief, warding Christians away from putting their hope in a religious deity like Jesus Christ.
Citing a member of the so-called “Three-Self” state church, Bitter Winter reported that many of these congregations have “been shut down for not implementing the government’s demand to replace the Ten Commandments with the president’s quotes.”
“Some congregations have been threatened to be blacklisted by the government, meaning that their travels will be restricted and schooling and future employment of their offspring will be impeded if they refused to overhaul their churches according to the current national policies,” the watchdog added. “Disobeying the orders means opposition to the Communist Party, officials claimed.”
One preacher from a state-led protestant church explained that the government is determined to destroy all Christian communities by replacing their Biblical theology with a doctrine of socialism that they promise will cure the peoples’ problems.
“The government’s first step is to prohibit religious couplets. Then it dismantles crosses and starts to implement the ‘four requirements’ by ordering the national flag and ‘core socialist values’ to be placed in churches,” the minister explained.
“Surveillance cameras to monitor believers and religious activities are then installed. The last step is to replace the Ten Commandments with Xi Jinping’s speeches. The Communist Party’s ultimate goal is to ‘become God.’ This is what the devil has always done.”
Christians of Hong Kong continue to resist Chinese authority
Fully aware of the Chinese state’s staggeringly oppressive attitude toward religion, the Christian community of neighboring Hong Kong has spent months resisting an extradition bill that could see many of them locked up in mainland China for their faith.
Now, with Hong Kong’s pro-China Chief Executive Carrie Lam finally conceding to a withdrawal of the extradition bill, Christians are breathing a huge sigh of relief — the threat, for now, is over.
This could change, however, as the Chinese government could make another hasty attempt to force the legislation through. In that instance, Lam would be almost completely powerless to resist it — she is, after all, a mere figurehead, controlled by the central communist government under the command of President Xi Jinping.
Despite the withdrawal, violent skirmishes continue in Hong Kong, with vicious incidents of police brutality taking place most days. Earlier this week, footage emerged of one man being sprayed point-blank in the face with mace as he was forcibly pinned to the ground, blood pouring from a deep head wound.
Many believers remain horrified by the sustained level of violence they are facing from law enforcement on the streets of Hong Kong — indeed, this indiscriminate mistreatment, they say, continues to fuel anti-government and anti-China sentiment.
Irish Bishop Against Practicing Yoga in Christian Schools
An Irish bishop has written to Catholic schools urging them to ban yoga as it is ‘not of Christian origin’ and the children should spend their time ‘in adoration of Jesus’ instead.
Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan, wrote to principals, teachers and school staff members in Waterford City and County, Ireland, on October 10.
In his letter, he said: ‘Yoga is not of Christian origin and is not suitable for our parish school setting and especially not during religious education time.
‘I have been asked by several people to say a word on yoga and mindfulness. My question is, ‘Will they bring us closer to God or replace him?’
The bishop claimed that Christian Mindfulness is ‘meditation on Christ’ which empties the mind of ‘everything unnecessary’ in order to become ‘aware of the presence and love of Christ’.
While he also quoted Pope Francis that practices like yoga are ‘not capable of opening our hearts up to God’.
The bishop added how people can ‘take a million courses in spirituality’ but this activity ‘will never be able to give you freedom’, echoing Pope Francis’s speech in 2015.
He said Pope Francis’s philosophy was in keeping with Ireland’s Grow In Love programme. This touches on Christian doctrine, Scripture, morality and prayer.
Teacher’s were reminded that October is the ‘month of the Rosary’ and they should each pray in a bid to get closer to Jesus, in the letter.
But the primary school curriculum allows a degree of flexibility about how its implemented, according to the Irish National Teachers Organisation, who hit-back at his view.
John Stokes, a yoga instructor in Waterford, said the practice of yoga, meditation and mindfulness should be ’embraced’ in ‘an age where children are really suffering from anxiety and stress’.
‘There is no dogma taught in our classes and Yoga in it’s truest sense is a movement and breath awareness practice for health and wellbeing.
They said ‘here’s to tolerance, love and unity’ and invited him to a one-to-one yoga session or class of his choice’ at their Wellness Centre in Youghal, Ireland.
The Irish National Teachers Organisation said the primary school curriculum allows schools a certain amount of flexibility and autonomy with regard to its implementation.
They said the schools ‘are best placed’ to make the decisions about how the subjects are taught, taking into consideration the ‘school culture, ethos and needs of the pupils’.
This is not the first time Bishop Cullinan has received backlash for his views as he said he was to establish a ‘delivery ministry’ group to rid people of the devil through exorcism, last year.
He also claimed the cervical cancer vaccine could lead to promiscuity in 2017.
The bishop said the vaccine ‘lulls girls into false sense of security’ and encourages sexual activity, adding: ‘Prevention, the number one and most effective protection, is abstinence. A good old traditional value.’
He later apologised and admitted he was not fully informed about the vaccination programme. Cullinan’s ‘intention was solely motivated to protect people from HPV’.
China Demolishes 3,000-Seat Megachurch during Worship Service
The People’s Republic of China destroyed a church that reportedly could seat 3,000 people and detained its pastors, according to a human rights organization.
An international nonprofit Christian human rights group based in Texas, reported the incident in a statement released Saturday. According to the group, Chinese authorities provided no legal papers to justify the demolition.
The church was located in Funan, Anhui province. Its pastors, Geng Yimin and Sun Yongyao, were detained under suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disturb social order.”
China Aid President Bob Fu said in a statement that the incident was “yet another clear example showing the escalation of religious persecution today by the Chinese Communist regime.”
“The total disregard of religious freedom’s protection as enshrined in the Communist Party’s own Constitution tells the whole world President Xi is determined to continue his war against the peaceful Christian faithful. This campaign will surely fail in the end.”
While China’s persecution of religious groups has existed for many years, recently under President Xi Jinping a wave of crackdowns on religious practices in China has taken place.
The Communist government has destroyed or damaged several churches, reflecting concerns about the increasing Christian population of the country.
In the summer, True Jesus Church in Henan province was razed to the ground, according to persecution watchdog Bitter Winter. Police officers reportedly dragged out all believers from the church before they demolished the property.
Bitter Winter also reported last month that the Ten Commandments have been removed from nearly every Three-Self church and meeting venue in a county of Luoyang city and replaced with the President Xi Jinping’s quotes as part of the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to “sinicize” Christianity.
In addition to cracking down on its Christian minority, China has engaged in violent persecution of its Uighur Muslim and Falun Gong communities.
The China Tribunal, a human rights group, told the United Nations Human Rights Council last month that the Chinese government is harvesting organs from religious minorities, with possibly hundreds of thousands of victims.
“Forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, including the religious minorities of Falun Gong and Uighurs, has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale, and that it continues today. This involves hundreds of thousands of victims.”
“Victim for victim and death for death, cutting out the hearts and other organs from living, blameless, harmless, peaceable people constitutes one of the worst mass atrocities of this century.”
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