China Now Banning Children From Attending Churches; Don’t Assume America Can’t Be Next

If you want to know what the Bernie Sanders and AOCs of the Left have in mind for people of faith in America, look no further than the People’s Republic of China, where bad things routinely happen to Christians.

Surprisingly, perhaps, Beijing ranks “only” 17th among the top 50 worst places for Christians to live around the world, according to Open Doors, the human rights watchdog group that annually issues the World Watch List.

Thanks to the Taliban victory and President Joe Biden’s disastrous withdrawal of U.S. troops, Afghanistan ranks number one on the 2022 compilation, followed by North Korea, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Eritrea, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iran, and India.

Note that eight of the top 10 are Islamic countries where neither Christians nor any other religious adherents are allowed to practice their faith in public. For the most part, even being suspected of being a follower of Jesus Christ will get you killed in all eight of the Muslim countries in the top 10.

Open Doors estimates that around the world there are 360 million Christians who are persecuted for their faith. That’s one of every seven Christians on Earth. Many believers in this country when told of such facts will remark something to the effect of “how lucky we are to live in America.”

That has been true throughout American history and for the most part remains so today, thanks in great part to civil liberties groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), First Liberty Institute (FLI), Liberty Counsel (LC) and the Thomas More Society (More) that are devoted to protecting the First Amendment rights of believers.

But the very fact those groups have so many cases on their respective agendas is just one indicator of the continuing assault by the Left on Christian practice and expression in the American public square.

Related: Christians in the UK Can Celebrate These Religious Liberty Victories

Just last week, for example, LC’s Mat Staver was before the Supreme Court arguing on behalf of Boston’s Hal Shurtleff and his organization, Camp Constitution. The group was banned from displaying its flag at the Boston City Hall on a flagpole reserved for just such displays.

City officials admitted they barred Camp Constitution because the word “Christian” appeared in the application. Hundreds of other groups, including many representing other faiths, were able to have their flags displayed.

“The U.S. Supreme Court should protect religious viewpoint in the marketplace. Boston opened a forum for ‘all applicants’ and then discriminated against those with a Christian viewpoint. That precedent is dangerous and should be reversed. The precedent set by the Supreme Court could impact generations for decades,” Staver said.

It seems impossible that the present Supreme Court would uphold such blatantly illegal discrimination, but there are no guarantees that a future bunch of judges won’t be quite willing to do so. (For more on the present High Court, check out these posts on HillFaith, my Christian apologetics ministry’s web site):

After all, look how many churches were shut down completely by California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other like-minded state chief executives during the Coronavirus pandemic. Churches, pastors, and individuals should not have to go to court to secure their right to meet, preach and practice.

The Progressive assault on traditional religious practice and expression is unceasing, especially in the court system. Just ask Jack Phillips, the Colorado cake maker successfully defended all the way to the Supreme Court by ADF attorneys. But no sooner had Philips been vindicated by the Justices than the enemies of the First Amendment back home in Colorado launched two more legal actions against him.

And check out how the U.S. Department of Defense is systematically denying the religious practice rights of thousands of sailors, airmen, Marines, and soldiers who request exemption from being forced to be vaccinated against the virus. Victories on their behalf are being won by FL and LC, but they shouldn’t have to defend their First Amendment rights to begin with, even if they are in the military.

Meanwhile, in China, according to Open Door, the official suppression of Christianity is steadily being tightened, with the latest move being that the government is now barring children under 18 from attending church services.

The consequences for parents who violate the new policy are serious, according to Open Door CEO David Curry, who described them for Christian Headlines earlier this week:

“So parents either have to disciple them themselves or sneak them into some sort of Bible study. What happens, in this case, is that the kids may not be let into the college of their choice if they attend Bible study, they may not get jobs, the parents may lose their job. So there’s repercussions for this sort of thing.”

Curry went on, noting that China’s estimated 96 million Christians must deal with official suppression at every turn.

“They watch, and they track everybody in what they’re doing — through facial recognition and other things. Imagine if the IRS owned every camera in every restaurant on every street in America. We would be very concerned that the IRS has that. China has that plus other means of surveilling, and so they have the ability to track and to score behavior.”

Churches must receive official approval or face having their buildings leveled or taken over by the government, pastors’ can have their sermons censored by the authorities, and arrests of those who meet underground to study the Bible are common.

Yes, America is still the freest country in the world for religious expression and practice, but it may well be much later than too many of us realize.

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