Jeff King, president of International Christian Concern, recalled a video depicting how Chinese Christians cried upon reception of smuggled and contraband bibles, sharing his reflections on Thursday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with host Rebecca Mansour and special guest hold Dylan Gwinn.
“We will send bibles anywhere governments are trying to strangle the church or trying to restrict access to the bible” said King. “That video is probably, I think it’s about eight years old, so it’s a little dated, but it gives you a very clear picture, doesn’t it? The bible students [open] suitcases with bibles that were smuggled in, and they hesitate for a minute, and they all rush forward and are grabbing them, and they start crying and kissing [the bibles].”
King added, “A lot of people don’t know that they’re going through a major crackdown [in China], right now. The head of China is a Maoist. They’re going through the worst crackdown since the 1960s.”
Chinese pastors told King they view persecution of Christians in China as blessing through hardship: “I said, ‘Give me pastors. Bring pastors to me that have spent at least ten years in prison.’ So the group I met with — we met in secret — these guys had been in prison for ten to 25 years, and I asked them about persecution, and they said, ‘Look, this is what we think about a persecution. It’s a gift. It’s not one we would choose, but it is a gift because it keeps the church here.”
“These guys weren’t afraid of the arrests,” continued King. “They weren’t afraid of the churches being bulldozed and sentences of 25 years, and with torture, the worst you can imagine. Here’s what they were afraid of — they were afraid of materialism. They were afraid of ease, and the distraction that comes with the materialism, and they said, ‘We worry that the government is not hunting us, now, they’re not imprisoning us. That’s what we’re worried about, because the younger generation’s not as serious, and they’re not as devoted.'”
King went on, “If [Xi Jinping] was a student of history, he would understand what he’s doing. He’s getting a short-term gain, and this is going to backfire, and the church just spreads out and it grows, but they’re afraid. Xi, this guy’s a thug. Too many people are just not aware of who this guy is. He’s a thug. He’s a Maoist, and the party is essentially a mafia, and they have to hold onto power, and it’s all they’ve got left. If you look at all the abuses — all the murders, and the imprisonment and the torture, and all the lives wasted lives over decades. Can you imagine if these guys lose power what’s going to happen to them? And they know.”
King stated, “Anything that’s a threat — any organized group of people — they will viciously attack, and they show themselves to be the mafia that they are. It’s a shame more people don’t wake up and understand what we’re dealing with with these guys.”
The Trump administration, according to King, is doing a better job advancing the cause of religious freedom abroad than its predecessors.
“As far as the administration goes, the line-up of people they have that care about religious freedom is second to none that we’ve had,” assessed King. “Unfortunately … the world does not revolve around our topic, so it has to be balanced out with trade, et cetera. Trade and keeping jobs going is always going to be a number one concern. In the real world, we understand that. At the same time, this administration, and the head of the religious freedom office, are truly second-to-none. They’re very vocal. They’re very willing to step out and make bold statements and condemn. … Compared to administrations we’ve had over the years, this is a good one.”
Mansour said, “I have to think that the reason why the People’s Republic of China is so paranoid about religious belief or faith is because the human soul is the one area they can’t spy on. They can’t control what you’re thinking. They can’t control who you’re praying to. They can’t touch you when you’re in that place.”
One of our most fundamental drives as human beings is spiritual. What are our core questions? Where do we come from, why are we here, and where are we going? These things gnaw at us. People — when there are answers or perceived answers — we gather around and it becomes an extremely powerful force in society. That’s sometimes lost on the West, I think, as we drift towards the secular, and yet these organized bodies, whether it’s Christians, or Muslims, or Falun Gong, they represent an existential threat to the guys in control. And the party is what, it’s three percent of the population? These guys are a mafia and they survive by gun and by blade, and that’s the only thing they have, and they know how powerful religion is, and what a powerful threat it is.
Persecution of Christians, said King, strengthens Christian resolve: “What we fear is that the government is not hunting us, because when they do, it purifies the church, and the church grows. They see the courage, and they see people living for something more than materialism, for more than just to get food in the belly, and they see people with purpose and with courage, and they’re drawn to them, and the church grows.”
Religious liberty, said King, encompasses and is related to other freedoms and political values.
“People should understand how important a subject this is,” declared King, “because if you think about freedom of religion, why did the Founders give it such prominence? Well, think about it. It involves freedom of conscience, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, [and] freedom of thought. It just encapsulates so many other freedoms. When we see freedom of religion in countries, it’s a marker for prosperity and democracy, they’re all tightly tied together, so it’s very important that we push for it.”
Breitbart News Tonight broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot channel 125 weeknights from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern or 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.