NASHVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 23, 2019—Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Sept. 22, about the importance of countering China morally, specifically in the areas of human rights and freedom of conscience.
The ERLC has called on the U.S. government to prioritize the fundamental right of religious freedom in all aspects of its foreign policy dealings with China and to counter China’s moral and human rights narrative. At the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, Southern Baptists passed a resolution condemning the Communist Party of China for their “extreme religious persecution and flagrant human rights violations.”
Moore’s piece highlights the abysmal record of the Communist Party of China on fundamental human rights. Below are a few excerpts.
“Americans have differing views about how to balance a firm response to these threats with a sustained interstate relationship, but we cannot ignore the Chinese Communist Party’s shredding of human rights and religious freedom. So although we may continue to render some things unto China, we must not allow China to confiscate what belongs only to God: the lives, souls and consciences of vulnerable human beings.
“In contrast with China, the United States was founded on the principle that rights are rooted in nature and nature’s God—not in government fiat. The U.S. should counter China with a resolute commitment to advance not only economic fairness, but also human rights and freedom of conscience.
“First, the U.S. government should insist that the Chinese government invite Sam Brownback, U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom, to visit the Xinjiang province and the Tibet Autonomous Region. The trip must allow unsupervised meetings with religious groups and their leaders, including those now facing criminal charges or convictions.
“Second, the U.S. should impose a financial penalty on the Chinese government officials responsible for the persecution. Congress and President Trump can use Magnitsky Act sanctions to freeze the international assets of Chen Quanguo, the leader of the persecution against the Uighurs, along with other high-level perpetrators of atrocities in China.
“Third, U.S. lawmakers should follow through on their own explicit commitment to counter violations of religious freedom abroad. In 1998 Congress passed the International Religious Freedom Act, which allows the executive branch to impose sanctions on nations it deems systematic violators of religious liberty. Last year the State Department labeled China a ‘Country of Particular Concern’ under the law, and now the president should enact new sanctions directly linked to Beijing’s violations.
“Finally, the U.S. should demand the release of China’s prisoners of conscience. The names of such prisoners should be made known throughout the free world, and President Trump should insist that they be freed—just as President Reagan and Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson did for persecuted Jews and political dissidents in the Soviet Union.
“We will continue to debate how best to counter China economically and militarily. Yet surely Americans, the heirs of Jefferson, Madison, Truman and Reagan, can agree that we must begin the long and good work of confronting China morally. The persecuted people there do not bear the image of the Chinese Communist Party membership card, nor do they bear the image of a bar code for international commerce. They bear the image of a Creator above the reach of any state, no matter that it pretends to be a god.
“Render unto China that which is China’s, but its people’s souls aren’t part of that deal.”
Moore’s full op-ed can be accessed at this link.