Acton Institute Powerblog

‘Maintain Social Order’

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In a move that sets a dangerous precedent in an already muddled area, U.S. immigration officials revoked the asylum of a Chinese Christian who had been imprisoned for organizing underground church meetings. The INS decision was upheld last month by an Appeals court panel. Here’s an in-depth story from Christianity Today.

Ann Buwalda, founder and executive director of human-rights group Jubilee Campaign USA, said that the ruling “Essentially…removed religion as a basis of gaining asylum.” The U.S. government’s contention was that when China imprisoned Xiaodong Li “for engaging in illicit religious activities, China was simply motivated by a desire to maintain social order, not persecute based on his religious beliefs.”

The idea of maintaining social order by sharply restricting and heavily regulating religious worship and activity strikes me as a throughly Hobbesian notion (see post below).

HT: Persecution Blog

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.


  • Jackie Masciana

    I don’t think that it is right to take away religion. There are so many people in this country that depend on religion, so taking it away would be like talking away their food, water, homes, and kids. I think the government should be focused on things more important, like the people who STILL DON’T HAVE HOMES!!!! from katrina and ike and other hurricanes that have hit that area in the past 7-10 years. Or, the schools that don’t have the money for all the supplies they need to give the kids their proper education.

  • Bill in NJ

    I’m surprised that this happened under the Bush Whitehouse.
    If Christians don’t have a friend in the Whitehouse under this president, I don’t see them having one under the next one.

  • MWalk in CA

    And we have San Francisco providing “Asylum” to repeated violent illegal aliens only to find them murdering American citizens. Asylum was created for people such as this, not the scum who are still now being protected across America in so-called sanctuary cities.