Chinese officials recently entered a church in China and had a problem with the display of the Ten Commandments. Instead of expressing distaste with all ten, they only had a problem with one. According to Christian Headlines, the “patrol inspection team” performed a review of the church, and one of the officials voiced concern over the first commandment and demanded it be removed. The commandment reads, “You shall have no other gods before me.”
Bitter Winter monitors religious liberty and human rights in China. According to the publication, when church members protested, the official responded, “Xi Jinping opposes this statement. Who dares not to cooperate? If anyone doesn’t agree, they are fighting against the country.” The implication of his words contains the message of promoting the government over religion.
According to previous reporting by Bitter Winter, discrimination against Christianity has increasingly gotten worse due to the nation’s new actions promoting sinicization. “The state has banned sales of the Bible, has introduced a new version of the Bible revised by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and have required that ‘core socialist values’ be taught as doctrine in all churches.” This is the latest example of the government promoting the “sinicization of Christianity,” which is defined as a “process whereby non-Chinese societies come under the influence of Chinese culture.” This has led to authorities insisting that churches be led by people approved by the Chinese Communist Party.
The particular church involved in the incident is part of the “Three-Self Patriotic Movement,” which is a branch of protestant churches that belong to the Chinese Communist Party. While it may be assumed that such a church would not be targeted by the state, this case clearly demonstrates that this is not so.
This event is unnerving to many Christians since the Ten Commandments is an essential part of the Christian faith. However, the unwavering act of the Chinese government cracking down on religious liberty is something that should alarm people of all faiths–and even those who do not have a personal faith.
Bitter Winter reports that the Chinese official added in a threat after insisting that the commandment be taken down. “This is a national policy. You should have a clear understanding of the situation. Don’t go against the government.” This not only shows the Chinese government’s opinion of churches–but of anything that threatens to have authority over the state.