HolyCoast: Bush Calls for Religious Freedom in China

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Bush Calls for Religious Freedom in China

We all know that President Bush is a guy who's not afraid to dream big, and his call for religious freedom in a communist state may be one of his biggest:
President Bush challenged China's repression of religion Sunday as he opened a diplomatically sensitive visit here, but he kept most of his focus on an economic and security agenda that included a multibillion-dollar sale of U.S.-built airplanes.

In his first public appearance, even before the welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, Bush attended a service at a state-sanctioned Protestant church to send a message about free expression of faith in a country that harshly smothers it. The president has been offended by the recent harassment of religious people trying to practice their faith without state approval at underground churches, aides said.

"My hope is that the government of China will not fear Christians who gather to worship openly," the president told reporters outside Gangwashi Church, a modest brick building and one of a handful of official Protestant churches in Beijing. "A healthy society is a society that welcomes all faiths."
The biggest threat to communism, which in many ways is a faith of its own, is religion, and the ChiComs know it. They've allowed a handful of churches to exist in an effort to make themselves appear to the rest of the world to be tolerant , but I guarantee you that those folks in that picture with the president are probably very closely followed by government agents. It takes no small amount of courage to stand up for your beliefs in that society.

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