Chinese officials entered a church in recent weeks and ordered the removal of one of the Ten Commandments – the first one – In another example of the nation’s crackdown on Christianity.
Unlike previous cases of persecution, this one took place in a government-approved “Three-Self Church” and not in an illegal, unregistered congregation.
About 30 government officials from the “patrol inspection team” took part in the November examination of the church, according to Bitter Winter, which monitors persecution in the country. An “official inspected the church thoroughly, stopped in front of the pulpit, and pointed to one of the Ten Commandments” on the wall, Bitter Winter reported.
“This must be removed,” the official said.
He was referencing the First Commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me.”
When church officials protested, the government official responded that President Xi Jinping “opposes this statement.”
“Who dares not to cooperate? If anyone doesn’t agree, they are fighting against the country,” the official said, according to Bitter Winter. He warned the church, “This is a national policy. You should have a clear understanding of the situation. Don’t go against the government.”
Church members removed the Ten Commandments sign.
“This isn’t appropriate,” one member of the church said. “They’re falsifying the words of God! It’s resisting the Lord!”
It wasn’t the first time the church was targeted. In August, a cross was taken down.
“In China, practicing your faith is difficult,” a church member told Bitter Winter. Another said, “They are trying to corrupt our faith and make us betray God.”
All religious creeds must be subordinate to the government, Voice of America previously reported.
“In other words, religious citizens must first worship the Communist Party – only then can they worship their God,” Bitter Winter’s Jiang Tao wrote.
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Pixabay
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.