When Will Enough be Enough?
Did you happen to read the chilling story over the weekend, about Bao Guohua and his wife, Xing, who were sentenced to fourteen years in prison in China?
The crime this couple committed? They opposed the order of the Chinese government to remove crosses from the Christian Church where he, Reverend Bao, serves as pastor.
No surprise . . . the Chinese communist government has viciously harassed and persecuted Christians and other religious missionaries for over six decades.
What is a surprise is that we who cherish the “first freedom” of religious liberty here in the United States do hardly anything to protest such harsh discrimination.
One wonders what mighty China, so eager to be a leader in trade, manufacturing, industry, and economics, so desirous of a positive image in the world, has to fear from a humble pastor who simply wants to place a cross on top of his tiny church.
Not long ago, I had breakfast with a prominent, prosperous Catholic here in New York. I admire him immensely, and had invited him for a bagel and coffee to talk about St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
As he left, he told me he would be heading to China, there to meet with business and political leaders about expanding his very successful business ventures in that vast country.
“Will you insist that the Chinese leaders stop persecuting Christians?” I asked him.
He looked at me somewhat cluelessly, and replied, “I did not know there were any believers in China.”
So, I filled him in on the situation. While obviously worried about the persecution, he finally shook his head.
“I don’t think it would be appropriate to bring religion into this. I’m going only on business.”
I was not going to give-up.
“Tell me this: if one of your Jewish business associates were going to a country where they were harassing Jews – – and there sure are many – – do you think he would defend his people to the leaders?”
I could see he got the point. Whether he did anything about it or not, I don’t know.
Not long ago, Ronald Lauder, the respected head of the World Jewish Congress, stopped in for a thoughtful visit.
“You Catholics better get your act together,” he challenged me. “We Jews have learned the hard way: persecution will not go away, but only get worse, if you throughout the rest of the world do not constantly and loudly condemn it.”
How right he is . . .
I wish I could say this persecution against Christians was limited to China. It’s not: Africa, India, the Mid-East, Indonesia has it in epidemic proportions, and in some places it has become a genocide, as the Knights of Columbus recently pointed out so convincingly.
And we eat bagels, drink coffee, and decide it’s not just not “appropriate” to get involved.