By Diane Robertson
The Chinese have not had much religious freedom for more than a generation. But the communist-run government has recently made laws to restrict religious worship even further. Government officials in China have issued warnings to hundreds of churches stating that no child will be allowed to enter a church building or attend religious services anywhere, even with their parents.
Notices sent to churches in China’s Zhejiang province gave an additional threat to individuals stating that anyone caught taking a child to church “will be dealt with severely.”
Chinese officials have also given notice that they will be going under cover to check up on underground and state approved churches to assure they are heeding the new law. They claim that church attendance thwarts children from developing “a correct worldview and set of values.”
The Ouhai district’s notice states that “Minors receiving religious education and formation too early in churches would seriously affect the normal implementation of the education system.”
Additionally, primary and secondary school teachers are banned not only from attending Christian churches, but from joining any Catholic or Protestant church.
The ban mainly affects Chinese Christians. According to Lifesitenews, “The persecution against Christians in China became more intense in 2014 when the government banned crosses in Zhejiang. By 2016, the plan to eradicate Christianity was official and open. Chinese leader Xi Jinping started a formal campaign to ‘sinicize’ (make more Chinese) religion by enforcing atheism throughout the nation.”
Chinese government officials know full well this law will affect adult church attendance. The ban on children effectually prevents young families from attending church services; parents with young children certainly cannot leave their children home unattended.
China is not the only nation cracking down on religious freedom. Last year, Russia banned all religious people from talking about religion outside a church building. Christians in western nations, who previously had a lot of religious freedom, have found it increasingly difficult to pray in public or act on their religious beliefs in business and everyday life.
As governments suffocate religious freedoms and strip families and individuals of their rights to personal worship, assuming the parental role of deciding children’s religious education, the values and morals that guarantee strong families, communities, and nations disappear. The systematic destruction of family ideals and religions concentrates the State’s power while weakening, and limiting, the freedoms of its people.