This one has been on the way for some time. Last week the new Ordinance on Religious Affairs was published, which is to take effect on 1 February 2018. To publicise the new rules, we find Yu Zhengsheng, a senior political advisor, making the following points:

Conflicts and disputes involving ethnic and religious factors should be dealt with in accordance with the law concerned to safeguard social harmony and stability.

We must resolutely resist overseas infiltration via religious means and prevent missionary activities in educational institutions.

Apart from promoting traditional Chinese culture and national unity, Yu also stressed that “socialist core values should guide and educate religious figures and their followers.” I love that one.

But what is the background to these new ordinances? The Institute for World Religion Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has been engaged in research for some time (I have played a modest part in the process). So we find Liu Guopeng, from the institute, observing that Protestant groups have been growing and – due to conservative tendencies among some – have been condemning Buddhism, Taoism and Islam. And external influences have radicalised some elements among the Xinjiang Uyghur and Ningxia Hui nationalities.

The key in these cases is that all religions should stick to independence and self-governance and not be controlled by any foreign entity – whether Christian, Muslim or indeed Buddhist. The Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), set up with the work of the Chinese Christian communist, Yu Yaozong, and Zhou Enlai, is perhaps the best example of this, which is one of the largest Protestant organisations in the world.

 

 

Advertisements

Danish churches (Lutheran) are a fascinating refit of pre-Reformation churches. The images might have largely gone, but in their place are endless texts from the Bible. But at Jesuskirken, in Valby, Copenhagen, one enters the church and encounters these:

Apart from the surpise at finding out that Tacitus and Suetonius wrote in Danish, these texts are the two external references to earliest Christianity. But I can’t help wondering why a church needs needs external evidence for such a thing. Is not the Bible, if not faith itself, enough?

The ideology instigated by these two figures is fuelled by dreams of a prior [Christian] golden age. [Radical Orthodox] sympathizers avidly read European fascist literature and pursue religious ends via atheist methods. Recruits to the cause are not the excluded uneducated poor, they are intellectuals with a radical critique of Western society and its impact on [Christendom].

OK, I’ve made a few minor editorial adjustments. Now here’s the original text:

The ideology instigated by these two figures is fuelled by dreams of a prior Islamic golden age. Al Qaeda sympathizers avidly read European fascist literature and pursue religious ends via atheist methods. Recruits to the cause are not the excluded uneducated poor, they are intellectuals with a radical critique of Western society and its impact on Islam.

Uncanny is about the best I can come up with for the likeness? But who are the ‘two figures’? Maududi and Qutb? Or the authors of this piece, Philip Blond and Adrian Pabst?