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Chinese Bloggers and the Roots of the Free Society

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Is Christianity and the Christian worldview the path to a free society? Chinese bloggers are asking that question. Many believe the fascination with American politics and democracy is at an all time high in China. Technology and internet access is surely responsible for much of the trend. From one report,

Obama’s inauguration was a top trending topic on Sina Weibo, China’s massive microblogging site, with over 25 million posts on Jan. 21. Of these, one comment by a Weibo user by the name Wugou1975 was forwarded over 2,000 times, garnering over 500 comments. The blogger posted a photo of Obama taking the presidential oath with Supreme Court Justice John Roberts:

‘Some Chinese find it unbelievable that this secular country’s democratically elected president was sworn in with his hand on a Bible, not the Constitution, and facing a court justice, not Congress. But actually, this is the secret of America’s constitutional democracy: It’s not just the Constitution or the government’s “separation of powers.” Above that is natural law, guarded by a grand justice. And below is a community of Christians, unified by their belief.’

Undeniably, there has been and continues to be a systematic attack upon the Christian roots of the West and this nation. Marcello Pera, who teaches at the Pontifical Council in Rome, sums it up well:

“With its words, liberal secularism preaches freedom, tolerance, and democracy, but with its deeds it attacks precisely that Christian religion which prevents freedom from deteriorating into license, tolerance into indifference, democracy into anarchy.”

There is a level of irony in Chinese bloggers recognizing the significance of the religious foundations of democracy, while many Western scholars have abandoned or even attacked such notions. America’s religious heritage is vibrant and was a unifying factor promoting shared values and purpose throughout its history. The American framers knew religious vibrancy was required for ordered liberty and virtue to reign and prosper throughout society. Alexis de Tocqueville praised these characteristics and noted it was the foundations of America’s freedom and strength of its people. When it comes to the basis of our rights and foundations of government, Jefferson asked,

“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?”

Ray Nothstine is opinion editor of the the North State Journal in Raleigh, North Carolina. Previously, he was managing editor of Acton Institute's Religion & Liberty quarterly. In 2005 Ray graduated with a Master of Divinity (M.Div) degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky. He also holds a B.A. in Political Science from The University of Mississippi in Oxford.


  • But what about the Christian religion that teaches that we can promote our agenda through legislature and overseas warfare?

    • RayNothstine

      Hi Timothy, thanks for the comment. I am talking more about the inherent idea of government and its foundations. I think I sense what you are getting at, maybe meaning a theocracy? The founders sought to protect us from that with our Constitution, but they did not mean for religion to not influence government or even legislation. But it is certainly true, that with greater secularization, more legislation and law is heaped upon us. Thanks for reading.

  • Any religion that teaches that we can promote our agenda through legislature and overseas warfare is “Christian” in name only and bears no relation to Christs teaching. It would however have firm foundations in the Koran, which is rather ironic given the theatres the USA is currently involved in.

  • [Re – Marcello Pera’s quote] With the limitations of godlessness, secularists are really only aiming for license, indifference and anarchy and just calling them “freedom, tolerance and democracy”. But without Christianity, there would be none of these manifesting in practice or idea anywhere in the world. Secular initiatives simply cannot produce Christian outcomes (freedom, compassion, justice). The Church ought to learn this as well :)