'It's Their Fear': Hong Kong Protesters Persevere
“It’s their fear.” That’s what’s motivating the young protesters of Hong Kong to continue demonstrating after months of mounting threats from the Chinese government, according to Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). As Hawley told me on Washington Watch last week, “Beijing promised the people of Hong Kong when they took back over the city that they would protect the basic liberties of the Hong Kong residents — their right to worship, their right to speak, their right to assemble, free press. And now they’re trying to take those things away.”
Hong Kong protesters have continually appealed to the United States for help in the face of Chinese oppression. They often wave American flags or carry Captain America shields, hoping that the land of the free will be sympathetic to their own demands for freedom and democracy. As the demonstrations continue and the police violently crackdown, protesters are becoming more desperate and more afraid of Beijing’s encroachment into Hong Kong.
One request of the protesters is that the U.S. Congress pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019. This legislation would require the U.S. Secretary of State to determine whether Hong Kong remains sufficiently autonomous from Beijing to justify its unique treatment under U.S. law. Thus, incentivizing China to maintain Hong Kong’s unique “one country, two systems” arrangement under which Hong Kong has thrived. Sen. Hawley says this bill will give the U.S. government new foreign policy tools to use with China. “It also gives our government the power to reassess our trade status with Hong Kong if Beijing decides to try and do something truly foolish, like overrun the city.”
Hawley has been an ardent supporter of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, because he knows just how real the threat of losing their freedoms is to the people there. “The people of Hong Kong realize that if Beijing succeeds, they’ll never get their rights back. And so they’re standing up.”
While Hong Kong residents make their stand, Hawley had some advice for how U.S. leaders should deal with China. “Beijing only understands pressure… They’re a bully. So, they only understand if you stand up to them. You can’t you can’t be passive.” Indeed, facing off with the world’s most powerful authoritarian country requires courage. Such courage is shown by tireless protesters in Hong Kong and the U.S. politicians willing to spend political capital to send a powerful message to Beijing.
Originally published here.
The Bible Versus Secular Elites
The Bible. It’s a book owned by 88 percent of Americans and considered “sacred” by 8 in 10 of our fellow citizens. In the last two years, more than 2 million have been drawn to learn more about it at the Museum of the Bible. The influence of the Bible on our nation’s founding was so strong that President Calvin Coolidge once observed that “the foundations of our society and government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.” In 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt became the first president to declare a National Bible Week. There are many more examples of our nation’s leaders recognizing the Bible’s importance to our society with the most recent being the Wisconsin Assembly approving a resolution (AR 16) recognizing the week of Thanksgiving as “National Bible Week.”
The resolution notes that “Bible reading has been a great encouragement and comfort for many people throughout our state’s history and has contributed to the molding of the spiritual, moral, and social fiber of our citizenry.” The final vote was lopsided and bipartisan: 86-9. And of course, complaints immediately followed by one of the more extreme anti-Christian groups, the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) based in Madison, Wisconsin. Just two weeks ago, they slandered the Bible by saying it sanctions “conduct that modern society would be appalled at.”
With rhetoric like this, the FFRF should be concerned about their credibility. FRC’s David Closson last week on Washington Watch described the anti-Christian group as a “bully” that goes “around trying to cause trouble for Christians and people of faith.” He’s right. They threaten with lawsuits, preying upon the rural areas where there’s not a lot of money. And so they think, ‘well, these people won’t fight it, so we’ll win just by sending them these threatening letters.’“
FFRF called the Bible Week resolution "highly inappropriate.” They put their best argument first, “Imagine the uproar were the legislature to promote ‘National Quran Week in Wisconsin.’” But Closson noted this argument can be dealt with simply. “If 84 percent of the residents of Wisconsin were Muslim, I don’t think it would provoke any controversy whatsoever.”
The point is, religious freedom in America is for everyone. The First Amendment enshrined freedom of religion to protect the practice of minority religions, but that does not mean the majority religion must be handicapped in public. The idea is parity of exercise but that doesn’t mean a requirement of parity in terms of influence. And the vast majority of Americans still identify as Christians.
Elsewhere in the Mid-west Ohio lawmakers are advancing a measure that will protect the right of students to exercise their faith. The Ohio House of Representatives just passed a bill (HB164) to protect the religious expression of students by an overwhelming, bipartisan vote of 61-31. If it passes, the bill “would protect student rights to religious expression in public schools, including prayer, school assignments, artwork and clothing.”
Contrary to the wishful thinking of secular liberal elites, Christianity is alive and well and cannot be stamped out. Nor can they change or discard the truths of the scripture. As Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”
Other ancient philosophies may become irrelevant and aged and disappear with time. But Christianity is the one true religion of the resurrected, victorious conquering King of Kings. The latest news out of Wisconsin and Ohio reminds us not to fret about the future of Christianity, but to reach out to those who are lost, in need of a Savior.
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.