Chinese pastor sentence, country announces more stringent religious regulations
In late 2018. Pastor Wang Yi of Early Rain Covenant Church in China, was arrested by governmental authorities, according to a December 30 report from China Aid, which states:
Wang was taken into custody on Dec. 9, 2018, along with 100 other members of his church. On Dec. 26, 2019, he was tried suddenly and secretly. Today, officials handed him a nine-year sentence along with three years of denied political rights and a 50,000 yuan [$7,000 USD] fine.The report says:
Wang, who is the pastor of Early Rain Covenant Church, was found guilty of “inciting subversion of state power” and “illegal business operations.” Both charges were given to him because of his position within the church.Dr. Bob Fu, Founder and President of China Aid, stated, “This is a pure case of unjust religious persecution against a peaceful preacher of a Chinese reformed church...This grave sentence demonstrates Xi’s regime is determined to be the enemy of universal values and religious freedom. We call upon the international community to stand up to the Chinese Communist Party and hold this evil regime accountable.” He called on high-ranking U.S. officials to "condemn and take immediate action" regarding these measures, which he termed, "barbaric."
Meanwhile, the continued absorption of religious practice in China into the activities of the state continues, with CBN News reporting that "the Chinese government announced it will soon require all religious personnel of any faith to support total submission to the Chinese Communist Party." This will go into effect February, according to an Asia News report referenced in the article, which relates:
Under the new measures which consist of six chapters and 41 articles dealing with everything involving religious communities – from gatherings to annual and daily projects – are subject to the approval of the government's religious affairs department. All religious personnel will also be required to support, promote and implement total submission to the Chinese Communist Party among all of the members of their faith communities.CBN also says that, "International Christian Concern, a persecution watchdog group, warns "with these latest measures in place, the government will use them as a legal tool to further tighten space for religious groups.'"
Texas court says that baby can be kept on life support
The infant girl at the center of a controversy in Texas is 11 months old and is named Tinslee Lewis, according to a WORLD Magazine report that says that Tinslee "...was born prematurely on Feb. 1 and has remained hospitalized with a rare heart defect, chronic lung disease, and severe high blood pressure." She ceased to breathe on her own back in July, and has received special treatment, including being sedated. The story relates that...
Her mother said that despite her sedation, Tinslee smiles, stares, and squeezes her hand. Doctors do not think those actions are purposeful and said Tinslee is in constant pain and will never recover. But her mother said she wants to be the one to decide whether to remove her from life support.The hospital had wished to remove the treatment keeping her alive, and has a judge's ruling to support it. Yet, according to WORLD, "The Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth ...ordered Cook Children’s Medical Center to keep Tinslee Lewis alive until it can make a final ruling in an appeal brought by Tinslee’s mother, Trinity Lewis." Texas Right to Life has supported the Lewis family, and Kimberlyn Schwartz of the organization said, "This gives us so much hope for Tinslee,” adding, “This is a prayer answered.”
President's evangelical supporters gather in Florida
It is clear by digesting media, including social media, that Christians are divided, in some cases, deeply so, regarding their position on President Trump - and his support varies in intensity, I think: from being ambivalent, to being a Trump voter, to being a strong supporter, and a vocal supporter, and everywhere in between. You'll find opposition in varying levels. And, the strongest of both extremes seem to be the most vocal - and offensive. And, there is plenty of criticism of evangelical Christians who support the President...by their fellow Christians. The level of division and mean-spiritedness on social media is disturbing, and some of the most provocative voices are actually those who are characterizing fellow believers who support Trump as malicious.
But, the President, no doubt, has strong support in the evangelical community, and a rally at a Miami church that occurred the first weekend of January featured a number of strong evangelical supporters on the stage. Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, in a piece that ran on The Stream website, provided a reminder about why Christians support the President, and it's not because of personality necessarily, but of policy. Perkins wrote:
When he tweeted, in classic Trump fashion, that no president had ever done more for Christians than his administration, it was true. From the unborn to judges, international religious freedom to Israel, this White House has earned the support it’s getting.
Christians, the president repeated, “have never had a greater champion — not even close — than you have in the White House right now. Look at the record,” Trump urged. “We’ve done things that nobody thought was possible. We’re not only defending our constitutional rights, we’re also defending religion itself, which is under siege.” That’s important, he argued, because “America was not built by religion-hating socialists. America was built by churchgoing, God-worshiping, freedom-loving patriots.”At this Evangelicals for Trump rally, the President drew the contrast between his policy positions and those who whoever will be his opponent. Perkins states that the President told the crowd, “every Democrat candidate running for president is trying to punish religious believers and silence our churches and our pastors. Our opponents want to shut out God from the public square so they can impose their extreme anti-religious and socialist agenda on America.” Not all will agree with the President, even in the faith community, and there are a number of faith-based groups that are attempting to change the calculus of the 2020 election. Prayer and searching the Scriptures are necessary components for a making an informed and Spirit-led choice in this year's elections.