Category Archives: Christianiy Global South

2010: Suggestions for LDS Interactions with People in the Middle East and their Descendants and Followers in the United States and Orange County / Steve St.Clair

Stephen St.Clair’s Suggestions for LDS Interactions with People in the Middle East and their Descendants and Followers in the United States and Orange County

Based on my work in  Interfaith Relations  for Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and my own studies for many years, my approach to people and groups in the middle east and their co-believers living in the United States and the west will be, IN THIS SEQUENCE:


1. New Muslim-Background Christians in Islamic Societies and the West

New Christians converted from Islam are becoming a common phenomenon in the Muslim world.  Islamic estimates are that they are happening at about 6 million conversions per year, and are of great worry to Muslim officials in Saudi Arabia.  There are approximately 3 million new Christians in Iran, a million or more in half-a-dozen countries, and even 100,000 in Saudi Arabia. Many have been converted by seeing visions or having dreams of Jesus Christ.   Many are in small Charismatic house churches, in countries in which they would be persecuted or killed if they were known.

As a Latter-day Saint Christian (not a member of a fourth Abrahamic religion), I celebrate this, and will support the new Christians of Muslim origin, and their success.  I believe that this will solve the LDS Leadership’s dilemma of how to proceed in the Muslim world.  In all the countries of the global south, the Latter-day Saints thrive and grow as Charismatic Christianity thrives.

2. Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Christians in the Middle East and the West

We need to support the original Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Christians, and support their growth in their middle-eastern homelands and in their new places of residence in the west.  From many years of genocide and persecution at the hands of the Islamic population in their homeland, many of them have left their homelands and are living by the millions in the West (particularly the U.S.) They know that, if the United States becomes secular like Europe, and then Islamized as is happening in Europe, they have no where else to go.

Middle-Eastern Catholic Scholar Samir Khalil Samir on Islam’s Problems and Solutions

Dr. Samir was born to an Eastern Catholic family in Egypt; educated in France; a Jesuit (a member of the scholarly Society of Jesus); founder and director of a leading academic center on Eastern Christianity, St. Joseph’s University in Beirut, Lebanon; a world expert on the Arabic language and Islam; the advisor to Pope Benedict XVI on the subject is Islam; author of the book 111 Questions on Islam: Samir Khalil Samir on Islam and the West , and an Advisory Board member for Daniel Peterson’s Eastern Christian Texts Initiative at Brigham Young University. He understands Islam’s challenges as well as anyone alive; and also how Western civilization and Eastern Christianity can be crucial components in solving them.

  • Read virtually all of his book 111 Questions on Islam in Chapter-sized posts on my blog at the links below:

  • Other invaluable articles by Dr. Samir:

Historical and ongoing  persecution, marginalization, and genocide against Middle-Eastern Christians

3. Jewish People in Israel and Around the World

The Jewish people were the foundations from which Christianity sprang, including providing more than half of the Christian Bible. They are also part of the Judeo-Christian culture from which Western Civilization resulted, and the ones to whom Orson Hyde’s prayer of dedication promised some part of the Holy Land. My favorite classes as a BYU undergraduate were Biblical Hebrew and graduate seminars on the Old Testament by Kent Brown.  My five years of graduate work at Claremont Graduate School was in Old Testament and Early Judaism, including a year of Hebrew and a course in Aramaic.  90% of my library consists of books in the Jewish tradition, including the Mishnah, the Talmud, and as many midrashic works and books of Jewish Liturgy, inter-testamental literature, Jewish spirituality and Jewish mysticism as at the Hebrew Union College Library. I have very close relationships with Jewish academics and Jewish congregational leaders.   If that makes me a classic Latter-day Saint Judeophile, I am.  Any suggestion of antisemitism or Judeophobia or Israelophobia will cause a strong counter-reaction; and I sometimes encounter it among academic and LDS Islamophiles. The Jewish people’s historical and current persecution by Islamists has been staggering. So I will support the Jewish people in Israel and wherever they are.

4 .  Mystical Islam, Sufi

Sufism is an open, intellectual interpretation of Islam.  Here is an entirely indigenous and homegrown Islamic resistance movement to fundamentalism, with deep roots in South Asian culture. Its importance cannot be overestimated. Could it have a political effect in a country still dominated by military forces that continue to fund and train jihadi groups? It is one of the few sources of hope left in the increasingly bleak political landscape” (RAND Corporation Report)

We should support followers of the mystical branch of Islam, the Sufi’s; many of their followers in the west are exploring forms of this ancient practice that are true to Islam but compatible with democracy and pluralism. They are under frequent persecution in radically-oriented states such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Muslim India, and Egypt.

5.   Bahai’, a Post-Radical Form of Shi’a Islam

We should support Bahai’ism, which originated from a Shi’a background in Iran and offers a post-fundamentalist interpretation of religious pluralism, compatibility with science, and compatibility with democracy. They are also under extreme persecution in Iran and Egypt. Their safest haven in the Middle East is .. You guessed it … Israel.

6.  Islamic Reformers in the Middle East

We should support the Islamic Reformers in the middle east, and advance them in every way. Reformers among the leaders of Sunni and Christian leaders in Lebanon, Kurdish leaders in Iraq, and moderate leaders in Jordan, and Morocco, are trying to build a form of Islam that can co-exist with the modern world There are also numbers of reformers among the more highly-educated in many Muslim countries.

7.  Islamic Reformers in the United States and Europe

We should support the Islamic reformers in the United States and Europe. There are genuine reformers trying to build forms of Islam that can flourish in the west and be compatible with democracy and pluralism. They are frequently marginalized by radically-backed elements who have taken control of much of Islamic leadership here. They include the following and many more:

  • Dr. Ali A. Allawi, a senior visiting fellow at Princeton University. He has just been named one of the first two Gebran G. Tueni human-rights fellows at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. His latest book, The Crisis of Islamic Civilization, was published in March by Yale University Press. see his article Islamic Civilization in Peril.

  • Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, Chairman, Board of Directors, American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Phoenix, Arizona.  Dr. Jasser is the narrator on the movie The Third Jihad and makes frequent appearances on The Glenn Beck Show, among many other news organizations.  Being on his website’s e-mail list is the best way to keep informed on the day-to-day progress of reformers and problems with Islamists in the U.S.  He has just instituted a Youtube channel for excellent video content. YouTube Channel- AIFDtv.

  • Sheik Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour, President, International Quranic Center , Virginia.  President of the Free Muslims Coalition His description of Islam: “We find Islam has the same values as the West: freedom, unlimited freedom of speech, justice, equality, loving, humanity, tolerance, mercy, everything. This is our version of Islam, and we argue that this is the core of Islam according to the Koran.”

  • Dr. Abdulaziz Sachedina, core member of the Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism Project in the CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies) Preventive Diplomacy Program and a key contributor to the program’s efforts to link religion to universal human needs and values in the service of peace-building. He serves on the board of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy. Currently, Dr. Sachedina is the Frances Myers Ball Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia.

  • Imaad Malik, Fellow, Center for Islamic Pluralism ; founder of the Islamic Millennium Foundation, an independent nonprofit public policy organization in Washington, DC

8. Proxies for Islamic Radicals in the United States

  • C.A.I.R.
  • American Muslims for Palestine
  • The Islamic Society of North America,
  • The Muslim Students Association

  • See the speech by Congressional Committee Ranking Member Frank Wolf on the “Human Events” magazine site; Who Is CAIR?

Mosques and Islamic Centers funded by and thus infected by Wahhabi Money from Saudi Arabia (80%, according to a  Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson)

  • See an article about the extent of  Wahhabi influence in Mosques and Islamic Centers, Higher Education, and the prison systems on the Stephen Silverberg website at this link: The Wahhabi Invasion of America.

Islamic and Middle-Eastern Studies Centers and  Chairs at many Institutions of Higher Learning in the U.S. funded by billions of  dollars of Saudi-Arabian money

Hizb ut-Tahrir, Anaheim, California

The Islamic Educational Center of Orange County, in Irvine, California

Problems with Islam in History and in Our Time as recognized by eminent  scholars

BYU Professor Daniel Peterson’s Opinions on the problems of Islam

BYU Professor of Islamic Studies Dr. Daniel Peterson works to build bridges with Muslims.  But he also recognizes serious problems in Islam’s history and present that cannot be swept under the rug.

  • Watch on YouTube his debate with Robert SpencerIslam: Threat or Not? which Robert described as “boring because we agreed on almost everything.”

  • Dr. Peterson describes himself as having been a reader of National Review since he was very young,and his favoring of the American interventions in Iraq and Afganistan.

Opinions of the “New Atheists” on the Problems of Islam

Proponents of the “New Atheism” are hard on Christianity, but much harder on Islam.  The “Islamic Insights” website describes it in these words: “This brings us to the second major innovation of the new atheism: its opposition to Islam. Atheism is a rejection of all religion, or at least of all theistic religion, and since Islam is usually considered a theistic religion, atheism is in principle opposed to it. However, as a phenomenon with its roots in Europe, atheism has in the past concentrated its opposition to religion on Christianity. The new atheism, by contrast, emphasizes Islam as a particularly virulent form of religion that must be opposed. Often, the new atheists claim that because of the events of 9/11, they feel compelled to take a strong stand against religion in general and Islam in particular.”

Steve’s suggested changes in Interacting with Middle-Easterners and their descendants in the U.S. and Southern California

  • I suggest that we identify Muslim-background believers in Jesus Christ in Southern California, and strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ and help them adapt to Christianity and life in the West.  Some possible southern California contacts would include:

  • Pastor Sohrab Ramtin – Iranian Christian Church of San Diego, Mission Valley Chapel, 6964 Mission Gorge Road, San Diego, CA 92120; (619) 583-8295
  • Pastor Payame Aramesh – Iranian Christian Message of Peace; P.O. Box 3239 Tustin, CA 92781; (949) 707-0200;e-mail
  • Philadelphia Persian Church; Worship Service Sundays at 4:00 pm; 3000 W. MacArthur, Suite 150; Santa Ana, California 92704; (949) 955-1777
  • Pastor Azim Shariat – Persian Church Love Assembly (meets at the Covenant Presbyterian Church); Worship Service: Sundays at 6:00 PM; 1855 Orange-Olive Road, Orange, California 92865;  Mailing Address: P.O..Box 7313 Orange, CA 92863; (714) 777-1212

  • I suggest that we continue to identify and build relationships with Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Christians.  When their interests and success are threatened or harmed by those of Islamists, as they frequently are, we should take their part.  Some possible southern California contacts would include:
    • Archpriest George Morelli, Ph.D., Assistant Pastor at the St George Antiochian Church in San Diego, who is also Chairman, Department of Chaplain and Pastoral Counseling (one of the seven departments for Antiochian Orthodoxy nationwide) with offices in Carlsbad; he is also the California chapter president of the Society of Saint John Chrysostom,; e-mail
    • Mounir Bishay, President of the Los Angeles based Christian Copts of California as well as Vice-President, American Middle-Eastern Christian Association (AMCA), Southern California (the Public Affairs organization for all the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches); 1407 Foothill Boulevard # 235, La Verne, California 91750, Telephone (909) 392-1111: ; e-mail

    • Dr. John Mark Reynolds, Professor of Philosophy at Biola University who is a member of many years of an Antiochian Orthodox Church, St. Michael’s Antiochian Orthodox this Church in Whittier.  His father is Subdeacon Elias Reynolds. E-mail

  • I suggest that we work to identify and spend most of our time interacting with Muslims with a true reformist approach that will co-exist with modernity, pluralism, and democracy.  Some possible Southern California contacts would be:

    • Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl is one of the world’s leading authorities on Islamic law and Islam, and a prominent scholar in the field of human rights.   He is the Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Distinguished Professor in Islamic Law at the UCLA School of Law where he teaches International Human Rights, Islamic Jurisprudence, National Security Law, Law and Terrorism, Islam and Human Rights, Political Asylum and Political Crimes and Legal Systems. His book, The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists, was the first work to delineate the key differences between moderate and extremist Muslims.  E-mail:

  • I suggest that we phase out continuing interactions with C.A.I.R. and the local organizations that are made up of predominantly C.A.I.R. supporters; and avoid future contacts with people and groups associated with Hizb ut-Tahrir in Anaheim and the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County, in Irvine, California.
  • I am aware that the Muslim Student Association at U.C .Irvine makes life miserable for the Jewish students there.  I plan on throwing light on their unpleasant and unkind activities.


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2008: Proposition 8 Interfaith Activities Report / Steve St.Clair

Stephen St.Clair,
LDS Interfaith Relations,
Orange County, California
Interfaith Activities in
Orange County
Second and Third Trimesters. 2008

I am reporting for two trimesters, because I was too busy implementing my activities to stop and fill our reports in September.

Because I determined that the passage of Proposition 8 in California would do more to advance the genuine interfaith interests of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints than anything else, that became my complete focus for eight months.

In the process it became apparent that another goal would coincide completely with the passage of proposition 8, and it became a second driving focus:

I want to start building relationships with large groups of conservative Christian churches other than Catholics and White Evangelicals in the Los Angeles area with whom we have very little contact or familiarity.

  • These other conservative Christians agree with Latter-day Saints, Catholics, and Evangelicals on the social issues like abortion and the protection of marriage
  • They agree with many Latter-day Saints, Catholics, and Evangelicals on the death of Christianity in much of the west, and the resulting death of our cultural and moral compasses.
  • There are very interesting doctrinal similarities with some of them that would be very helpful to pursue; we should be having Robert Millet-style doctrinal conversations with Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholics, Black Christians, and global-south Christians as well.

I break my activities down into the following categories:

  • Mega-churches and Christian universities with increasing ethnic memberships
  • Conservative Black Christians
  • Evangelical Christians from the “Global South”
  • Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Conservative Christians

When LDS Public Affairs people, Orange County Priesthood Leaders, or General Priesthood Leaders wish to meet some of these Christian leaders and thinkers, I will soon be ready to introduce them.

Mega-Churches and Christian Universities with Increasing Ethnic memberships

  • All the thriving mega-churches (including Saddleback, Mariners, Calvary Chapel, Vineyard Christian Fellowship) and Conservative Christian Universities in California (including Pepperdine, Biola, Fuller, and Azusa Pacific) are increasingly full of Hispanics, Blacks, and Asians.
  • Their worship styles are consequently sounding more Charismatic like their ethnic churches, and increasingly including healings in their services.

Steve’s Activities with Mega-Churches and Christian Universities with Increasing Ethnic Memberships

  • When meetings on the subject of Proposition 8 needed to be arranged for Apostles Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder Quenton L. Cook and Seventies-Presidency Member Elder L. Whitney Clayton, I arranged or referred them to most of the meetings they untimately attBulleted Listended:
  • I arranged a meeting with Dr. Craig Hazen and other leaders at Biola University.
  • I arranged a meeting with Hugh Hewitt at Chapman University and some Evangelical Public Affairs and Legal acquaintances.
  • I recommended meetings with Kenneth Starr, Dean of the Law School at Pepperdine University (who will end up arguing the Proposition 8 case before the Supreme Court).
  • I arranged a meeting with the leadership at Mariners Church, which was pre-empted by a meeting with Chuck Smith at Calvary Chapel arranged by Pastor Greg Johnson.
  • I was nearly successful in arranging a meeting with Pastor Rick Warren at Saddleback Church through my friend Pastor Tom Holladay.

I attended “The Call” at the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, with equal numbers of white, Hispanic, and black attendees, presenters, and worship music groups, including James Dobson or Focus on the Family, and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. Attendance was 33,000 (thirty three thousand), and I suspect I was the only Latter-day Saint attendee. I attended the broadcast of the state-wide meeting of Evangelical churches and leaders on the Sunday evening before the election. I attended it at the invitation of Craig Hazen of Biola, and attended at his home church, the Yorba Linda Friends Church in Yorba Linda.

  • I attended a special service at the Vineyard Christian Fellowship, with Pastor Lance Pitluck, where people were encouraged to register on the spot and vote during the election. This is a white, hispanic, black, and Asian church with 3,000 people in attendance weekly.
  • At the invitation of LDS Ward Bishop Bob Davis of the Glendale Seventh (Young Adult) ward, I attended a young adult conference consisting of his ward and young adults from an Evangelical megachurch in the area. The program included a Robert Millet – Greg Johnson dialogue.
  • Brother Millet expressed his conviction that there would be nothing improper or wrong about a Latter-day Saint wearing a cross. “I’ve been a BYU Religion Professor for 30 years. I have listened to every General Conference, and read many books by the Brethren. I’ve been a Bishop twice and a Stake President. I have never heard any instructions saying Latter-Day Saints should not wear a cross or would get into trouble with the leadership for wearing a cross.”
  • I reported there that the 2008 Latter-day Saint Especially for Youth CD included a beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace”, which had also been played on the bagpipe at President Hinckley’s funeral. Perhaps this wonderful Protestant hymn will be added to the next version of our Hymnbook, as was previously added the Protestant hymn “How Great Thou Art.”
  • I helped set up, publicized, and sponsored a second Millet-Johnson dialog at Mariners Church in Irvine,which was improved by having two presenters on each side: Dr. Robert L Millet and Dr. Spencer Fluhman, Professor of church history at Brigham Young University and a specialist in the negative stereotypes of the Latter-day Saints during their first century, on the Latter-day-Saint side; and Pastor Greg Johnson and Dr. Dennis Okholm, professor of theology and philosophy at Azusa Pacific University and pastor at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach as the Evangelical presenters.
  • At Tom Holladay’s invitation, I attended the “dialog” at Saddleback Church moderated by Rick Warren and with the two U.S. presidential candidates. I also attended regular Saddleback services twice, and gave a copy of Kenneth Cope’s new CD “It’s All About You” to their Pastor of Worship Music, Rich Muchow.
  • I attended an advisory-committee meeting at the Fish Interfaith Center at Chapman University, and noted that one of the ongoing challenges at this school that promotes Religious Pluralism is helping the more conservative groups (Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Evangelical) still feel welcome. Chapman also has some conservative elements, particularly in Law School Dean John Eastman (who will be second attorney on the Proposition 8 legal team) and Law School faculty member Hugh Hewitt. I believe that my role there can be to reach out and be a facilitator for the conservatives there, and make them feel empowered to express their views and make sure that their concerns are addressed.

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2006: Evangelical Christianity shifting outside West / Philadelphia Inquirer

See the original of this article on the Philadelphia Inquirer website at this link.

Thanks much,
Steve St.Clair


Evangelical Christianity shifting outside West
Byline: Paul Nussbaum
Publication: The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Publication Date: 20-FEB-06

Evangelical Christianity, born in England and nurtured in the United States, is leaving home. Most evangelicals now live in China, South Korea, India, Africa and Latin America, where they are transforming their religion. In various ways, they are making evangelical Christianity at once more conservative and more liberal. They are infusing it with local traditions and practices. And they are even sending “reverse missionaries” to Europe and the United States.

In 1960, there were an estimated 50 million evangelical Christians in the West, and 25 million in the rest of the world; today, there are an estimated 75 million in the West, and 325 million in the rest of the world (representing about 20 percent of the two billion Christians worldwide), according to Robert Kilgore, chairman of the board of the missionary organization Christar.

Other experts differ on the number of evangelicals (estimates range from 250 million to nearly one billion) but agree that the number is growing rapidly.

“As the vibrancy of evangelicalism seems to have waned somewhat in the West, many in the non-West are ready to pick up the banner and move forward,” said Kilgore, a former missionary who is now associate provost at Philadelphia Biblical University. “Most Americans have no idea how big the shift has been.”

Todd M. Johnson, director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, writes that “Africans, Asians and Latin Americans are more typical representatives of evangelicalism than Americans or Europeans.”

The new evangelicals are more exuberant in their worship services; put more faith in spiritual healing, prophecy and visions; and read the Bible more literally than many of their Western cousins.

And many of the new evangelicals are on the fault lines of global unrest, where cultures and religions collide. Christianity and Islam are often competitors in these developing countries, and some scholars, such as Philip Jenkins of Pennsylvania State University, see the possibility there for cataclysmic conflict.

“A worst-case scenario would include a wave of religious conflicts reminiscent of the Middle Ages, a new age of Christian crusades and Muslim jihads,” Jenkins writes in his book, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity. “Imagine the world of the 13th century armed with nuclear warheads and anthrax.”

Others think such dire scenarios are far-fetched but see decades of friction ahead as Christianity and Islam compete, especially in Africa and Asia.

Evangelicals are among the fastest-growing segments of Christianity. Their global numbers are increasing at about 4.7 percent a year, according to Operation World, a Christian statistical compendium. By comparison, the rate of growth for all Protestants is put at 2.2 percent a year, and for Roman Catholics at 0.5 percent a year. The world’s population is growing at about 1.4 percent a year.

Broadly defined, evangelicals are Christians who have had a personal or “born-again” religious conversion, believe that the Bible is the word of God, and believe in spreading their faith. (The term comes from Greek; to “evangelize” means to preach the gospel.) The term is typically applied to Protestants.

American evangelicals have gotten most of the public attention because they’re in the center of the media universe and because they played a pivotal political role in the 2004 U.S. election. But American evangelicals are a distinct minority, and their beliefs and practices are often significantly different from those of evangelicals elsewhere.

In Africa, some evangelicals practice polygamy. In China, some revere their ancestors. In South Korea, many believe in faith healing and the exorcism of evil spirits. The melding of local traditions with Christianity has produced a religion that looks unfamiliar to many Westerners but is “vast, varied, dynamic and lively,” said Joel Carpenter, provost and professor of history at Calvin College, an evangelical college in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Carpenter, an editor of The Changing Face of Christianity, is soon to be director of the new Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity at Calvin.

Evangelicals in the global South and East are, in many ways, at least as conservative as their U.S. counterparts. But they often diverge on such issues as poverty and war. “On abortion or gay marriage, they sound like American conservatives. But on war and peace or economic justice, they sound like the Democratic Party,” Carpenter said. “And I have not met one foreign evangelical leader that approves of American foreign policy.”

Non-Western evangelicals may already be charting new directions with new leaders that the old bastions of Christianity are unaware of, said Mark Noll, a professor of history at Wheaton College. “Historically, in unpredictable places and unpredictable times, you get real savvy leaders,” Noll said. “I suspect that in Beijing, Nairobi or Cape Town, things will be very well along with innovation before Philadelphia, Chicago or London is aware of it. “Almost everything that’s significant takes place below the radar screen,” he said.

John H. Orme, executive director of the Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association, an alliance of evangelical mission groups, said the old citadels of Christianity could learn from the new. “I wish the Third World would have more effect on us,” he said. “The church in the developing world is much more alive to the working of the holy spirit.” Kilgore said “many Westerners feared they [foreign evangelicals] would mess it up, but the more they’ve taken their own course, the more it has produced growth. If there is anything that encourages me, it is that Christianity is no longer a U.S. or Canadian or European-dominated religious system.”

“We help where we can, but we have to stay away from being Uncle Sam and telling them how to do it.”

As the new evangelicals expand their influence and their territory, they face confrontation with other religions, most often Islam. The issue of how the world’s two biggest religions will interact “is a fantastically important question,” said Lamin Sanneh, the D. Willis James professor of Missions and World Christianity at Yale Divinity School. Muslims represent about 20 percent of the world’s population, compared with Christians’ 33 percent.

But Islam is growing more rapidly than Christianity, largely because of faster population growth in Muslim countries, and it may surpass Christianity as the world’s most popular religion in this century.

Sudan, Nigeria and the Balkans offer recent examples of violence between Christians and Muslims. But there are other examples, such as South Africa, where the two religions coexist peacefully, said Sanneh, a native of Gambia who is the author of Whose Religion Is Christianity? The Gospel Beyond the West.

In Islamic countries, the Western notion of separation of church and state is largely unknown, and Sanneh said American Christians ought to better explain the advantages — to both religion and government — of keeping the two separate.

“The American experience on that is relevant to the rest of the world in a remarkable way,” Sanneh said. “Americans confronted that centuries before the rest of the world.”

After centuries of receiving missionaries from colonial powers in the West, evangelicals in Africa and Latin America and Asia are now planting churches in the United States and Europe. As immigrants arrive here, many bring their own brand of evangelical Christianity with them, while others start churches specifically to minister to “post-Christian” Westerners.

The shift of the global center is unsettling to many American evangelicals used to the old order. “It will be humbling for the North,” Carpenter said. But he and Noll, the Christian historian at Wheaton, said this latest transformation of evangelical Christianity should be seen less as a loss of the old than a triumph of the new.

“When I’m thinking like a historian, I tend to be a little depressed,” Noll said. “But when I’m thinking like a Christian, I tend to be optimistic.”

To read the rest of Paul Nussbaum’s series on the evangelical movement, visit
Contact staff writer Paul Nussbaum at 215-854-4587 or

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2009: Replenishment vs. Replacement: Illegal Immigration and the Future of America / Larry Eastland, Meridian Magazine

From interacting with my Hispanic and Spanish Speaking acquaintances, both in my many visits to Charismatic protestant churches and withh Hispanic Catholics, I can vouch for the fact that their religious views, their unusually-moral lives and their sense of values, as well as their approach to civilization, closely match our own. I have felt for several years that speaking out against Hispanic immigration, legal or not, has been wrong for that reason. I’m glad that other LDS thinkers are starting to reach the same conclusion.

From a completely practical perspective, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a rapidly-growing membership among Spanish speaking Immigrants including Not-Yet-Legal immigrants in the U.S.. The Church will certainly grow faster in Central and South America by having that approach in the U.S. We have all noticed that the number of full-time missionaries departing for “Spanish Speaking Missions in the U.S.” has skyrocketed.

Elder Marlin K Jensen of the Seventy gave the official LDS position on Immigration as described in this article in the Deseret News: Have compassion for immigrants, lawmakers urged .

Stanley Kurtz talked about this phenomenon of demographic decline in 2005 in this post: Demographics and the Culture War: The implications of population decline / Stanley Kurtz, Hoover Institution .

Mark Steyn has some of the best descriptions of the demographic shrinking of natives in advanced cultures in Europe and around the world in his book “America Alone.”

Perhaps the most learned appeal to trying to maintain an “English Speaking, Protestant-oriented Culture” in the United States is Samuel Huntington’s “Who Are We? Challenges to America’s National Identity” (see some excerpts on my blog at this link). I agree with most of what Huntington writes, but I disagree completely with the fear that Hispanic Speaking Catholic-cultured Immigrants will not become part of the culture in the same way previous immigrants have. I believe they will. In spite of their numbers, and the large percentage of them who still speak Spanish, I think that they will follow tha pattern described beautifully in this current post by Larry Eastland:

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the 11 to 20 million illegal immigrants swarming across America today will: (1) learn to speak English at least as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger, (2) stay off welfare and out of jail, (3) pay their taxes on time and in full, and (4) send children to school who will perform as well as Asian kids. In effect, let’s assume that they become better citizens than many other Americans.

Samuel Huntington may have reason to worry that they will not. But after working with them on Proposition 8 and visiting their charismatic , protestant Spanish-speaking churches, I am certain they will.

See the original of Larry Eastland’s Outstanding article on the Meridian Magazine website at this link.

Love and thanks,
Steve St.Clair

Replenishment vs. Replacement
Illegal Immigration and the Future of America
Larry L. Eastland, Ph.D.
Meridian Magazine
June 20, 2009

Larry L. Eastland, Ph.D., is Chairman of the Board of LEA Capitol Advisors, Inc, and former President and CEO of Parks! America, Inc. He was a Staff Assistant to President Gerald Ford.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the 11 to 20 million illegal immigrants swarming across America today will: (1) learn to speak English at least as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger, (2) stay off welfare and out of jail, (3) pay their taxes on time and in full, and (4) send children to school who will perform as well as Asian kids. In effect, let’s assume that they become better citizens than many other Americans.

Eventually, a bill will pass Congress in some form about illegal immigration. And when it does, the liberal coalition 1 will have hit the demographic jackpot. As for the conservative coalition 2, at the moment, they don’t understand the political peril to themselves and to all they believe in.

Let me explain.

When legislation to grant citizenship to 11 million 3 to 20 million 4 illegal 5 immigrants eventually passes, five out of six6 will be of voting age. Thus, the new law will minimally add some 8.5 million new voters, mostly Hispanic, to the rolls of various states, not counting the estimated 700,000 – 800,000 7 new illegal immigrants who cross the borders each year. Indeed, this may be the single most important factor in deciding the nation’s future.

This question is an integral component of a larger population trend at work in America and, incidentally, in the rest of the Western world. Stated in general terms, we are in the middle of a war between two ways of bringing new people into the American family and its work force: replenishment vs. replacement.

As a technical term, replenishment is the means of supplying more of what has been used up. For example, rain replenishes lake water that has evaporated. Likewise, family members who die are replenished by new family members.

Replacement occurs when one thing is succeeded by something quite different. For example, the horse-drawn carriage was replaced by the automobile, and gas lights were replaced by electric lights. In the current population debate, replacement means substituting immigrants for native Americans.

The illegal immigrant replacements are having more children than native-born Americans. The Center for Immigration Studies reported that they estimate that the fertility of illegal aliens in 2002 was 3.06 children on average, or about half again as high as the fertility rate for natives . . . accounting for nearly one out of every 10 births in the United States. 8

Many regard the rapid growth of the immigrant population as ominous. However, a closer look reveals an encouraging fact: the dominant new immigrant groups in America — as opposed to the new immigrants in Europe — generally share the core religious and social values of Western culture.

The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that:

Mexicans make up by far the largest group of undocumented migrants at 5.9 million or 57 percent of the total . . . . In addition, another 2.5 million undocumented migrants or about 24 percent of the total are from other Latin American countries. 9

Thus, 87 percent of the illegal immigrants are most likely to be Christian and have the same Western cultural values held by the existing population of European ancestry. These values include: a fierce commitment to family, a strong work ethic, and church membership (whether Roman Catholic or, more recently, evangelical.)

So, for America, the issue is not growth vs. no growth, but what kind of growth and with what consequences. The question is which will influence the future culture more: replenishment or replacement – more children in American families, or more immigrant families moving into communities.

The political and social stakes are very high, and the resolution of this dilemma will determine which political party can jump from a dependable 48 percent of the two-party vote to a stable 53 percent or more. Neither party has been able to crack the ceiling in recent years, although the Democrats appear to be slightly ahead of Republicans (.5111 to .4889 respectively). But, even when the tide rises for one party, it seldom gets above 53 percent of the total.

So, let’s take a look at the replenishment vs. replacement dilemma we face.

First, replenishment.

For advocates of this viewpoint, replenishment is about maintaining a spiritual society, one dedicated to families, traditional social and religious values, and a continuity of generations.

Replenishment requires long-term commitment, sacrifice, time, resources and personal attention. Parent-teacher conferences instead of wine and cheese parties. Saturdays at little league games instead of a golf foursome. Weeknight attention to homework rather than after-work dinners for two at five-star restaurants.

Conversely, replacement.

Usually, replacement is based purely on pragmatic economic considerations. It is discussed impersonally, when you speak in terms of jobs to be filled — gardeners, fruit pickers, waiters. It is about numbers rather than people with names, families, and values. When you need someone to perform tasks, you import new backs to haul bags of mulch, new hands to pick oranges or carry trays. Your relationship with them is strictly business – dollars paid for hours worked.

The price of replacement is cheaper, too. The costs can be passed on to others through taxes and social welfare – in effect, spread out among all American taxpayers — while replenishment requires that large traditional families take care of each other and pay their own way.

Further, replacement has little spiritual content. Its gods are government and secular organizations: welfare, Medicaid, food stamps, public housing, public schools, advocacy groups, and ethnic alliances. The natural tendency of immigrants is to first cloister among people of similar language and heritage; and illegal immigration exacerbates that tendency, since any contact with the mainstream culture carries with it the risk of discovery and deportation. Thus, illegal status tends to produce even greater cultural isolation, which in turn results in gangs, crime, and hostility to mainstream America.

There also is a socialization process that accompanies legal immigration that is absent in illegal immigration: learning the basics of American civics, voluntarily accepting to live by the rules, and committing to totally forsake citizenship in their country of origin. What do they learn by illegally entering this country, defying our laws, and getting away with it? Isn’t that the prevailing ethic of the country they left? Is it not important to socialize immigrants into our legal culture, not just the social culture?

So which do Americans prefer: replenishment or replacement? Replenishment – and by a healthy majority. Luntz, Maslansky Strategic Research — in a recent study which I commissioned — posed the following question to a representative sample of Americans: “ Economists say that the only way to sustain economic growth in the long-term is to have a growing population. There are two ways we can grow the population in America. Which way do you favor? (Rotate): We can encourage families to have more children or we can encourage more immigration into the country. ”

By 40 percent to 26 percent, 10 Americans favor growth through replenishment over replacement. That’s 60 percent more. However, just as the “devil is in the details,” so is the richness in the data. (See Table I.) 11

· Fifty percent more Americans in the so-called “Red States” than in the “Blue States”
12 favor replenishment over replacement (44:30).

· A majority of those who voted for President Bush in 2004 favor replenishment, while only one-third of John Kerry voters do (53:36).

· Conservatives are three times as likely to favor replenishment as liberals (59:20).

· And, when combining Bush voters with conservatives, and Kerry voters with liberals, Bush conservatives were nearly four times as likely to favor replenishment as Kerry liberals (43:12).

But, the question is deeply embedded in other cultural characteristics as well. For example, active church goers (once a week or more), 13 were 50 percent more likely to support replenishment (46:29) than those who rarely or never attend church – whatever their denomination.

Without a doubt the political winners of the replenishment race are Republicans 14 and conservatives. 15They not only preach it, they live it. For every liberal household there are 2.3 children; for every conservative household there are 2.61 children. In Blue States its 2.4 children per household; for Red States its 2.78 children per household. 16

So what does all this mean? Here are a few implications of the conflict between those who favor replenishment and those who favor replacement.

Liberals and Democrats are losing the replenishment race – in large part because of their own views toward abortion and large families. 17If they want to replenish their dwindling base, they will have to start having larger families, something many currently refuse to do.

While Republicans and conservatives are winning the replenishment battle, they are in danger of losing the replacement war, what with our porous borders attracting literally millions of illegals.

To put it another way, when this issue came before Congress a few years ago, the Democrats and liberals “got it,” and Republicans didn’t. Liberals and Democrats had the luxury — and good sense — simply to allow the Republicans to self-destruct on this issue. During its majority rule, its policy disarray over illegal immigration made Republicans look intolerant and incompetent; an image custom-made for the Democrats. The 2006 election overturned the Republican Congress, and in 2008 . . . well, it was a tidal wave.

The stage is now set for the Democrats to give themselves the gift of 11-20 million replacements — a gift that will keep on giving. Their strategy after citizenship is granted is to do what they always do anyway: pass a series of entitlements, special protections, and pro-minority benefits – and they will become for generations the party that welcomed the new citizens and their hoards of children and showered them with presents.

If the religious and conservative leadership failed to grasp the true meaning of the issue, Americans as a whole understand. In the Luntz Survey, an overwhelming majority agreed on one thing: replacement currently is a big winner for the liberal Democrat political coalition. The question asked was: “ And which political party do you think will benefit more if citizenship is granted eventually to illegal immigrants? ” By an overwhelming margin of nearly four to one, virtually every demographic group recognized that the big vote-generating winner will be the Democrats.

So, Republicans beware and Democrats rejoice. Despite our nation’s solid commitment to replenishment over replacement, replacement stands poised to become the official policy of the United States; and the consequences of this sea change are obvious to predict: a new era of Democratic domination similar to what happened following Roosevelt’s election and the institution of the New Deal; the inevitable growth of welfare, entitlements, and Big Government; and, the intensification of divisive ethnic politics.

Could this trend be reversed by conservatives? Perhaps. These replenishers are people with religious and family values the conservatives ought to embrace – provided they can get back into the good graces of the millions upon millions who view them as intolerant of immigrants. Some time in the not-too-distant future, another Armageddon will be fought on Capitol Hill. Perhaps this time the conservative coalition can find a way to win the affection of these replacements, in the sure knowledge that they will immediately become the greatest replenishers of our families, communities, and work force.


1Generally, this refers to the liberal, secular, Democrat coalition. These labels, and the one that follows, must by necessity be rather open since none of the terms are exclusive.

2 Generally, this refers to the conservative, religious, Republican coalition.

3 Jeffrey S. Passel, Senior Research Associate, Pew Hispanic Center, “ Estimates of the Size and Characteristics of the Undocumented Population,” p. 2. A Pew Research Center Project, March 21, 2005. “ As of March 2005, the undocumented population has reached nearly 11 million including more than 6 million Mexicans, assuming the same rate of growth as in recent years.” Pew Hispanic Center estimates based on March 2002, 2003, and 2004 Current Population Surveys (Passel 2005); includes an allowance for persons omitted from the CPS. Estimates for California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, and New Jersey use “direct” methods; other states based on “synthetic” methods.

That number was corroborated in a report on August 18, 2006 by the Office of Immigration Statistics in the Department of Homeland Security. In an article analyzing that report, SUZANNE GAMBOA, Associated Press Writer, stated that “About 11 million illegal immigrants were living in the U.S. at the start of this year [2006], the federal government said in a report Friday. That’s up from an estimated 8.5 million living in the country in January 2000, according to calculations by the Office of Immigration Statistics in the Department of Homeland Security.” Click here for the link.

4 Charles Hurt, “ Congress open to passing bill on immigration,” The Washington Times, December 4, 2006. Congress will approve an immigration bill that will grant citizenship rights to most of the 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens in the U.S. after Democrats take control next month, predict both sides on Capitol Hill. While Republicans have been largely splintered on the issue of immigration reform, Democrats have been fairly unified behind the principle that the illegals currently in the country should get citizenship rights without having to first leave the country.

5 The focus of this article is “illegal immigration” only, not legal immigration. I believe that legal immigration greatly enriches America.

6 Jeffrey S. Passel, p. 1. “ Although most undocumented migrants are young adults, there is also a sizeable childhood population. About one-sixth of the population—some 1.7 million people— is under 18 years of age.”

7 Jeffrey S. Passel, p. 2.

8 Steven A. Camarota, “Birth Rates Among Immigrants in America”, The Center for Immigration Studies, October 2005.

9 Jeffrey S. Passel, p. 2 .

10 34 percent were undecided or refused.

11 It is too soon to know the sustainability of the 2008 winning Obama coalition. The 2004 election is used here because it was a referendum on President George W. Bush’s entire first four years in office.

12 Purple States are those states that gave neither candidate 53 percent or more of the vote. The Purples States are: (1) Bush: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico and Ohio. (2) Kerry: Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

13“How often do you attend organized religious services? (1) More than once a week; (2) Once a week; (3) About once a month; (4) A few times a year; (5) Rarely; (6) Never.

14 For a good review of why political parties are here defined by their voting behavior in the last presidential election, see: (1) the late Harvard University professor V.O. Key, Jr.’s seminal work Parties, Politics and Pressure Groups , Thomas Y. Crowell Company, (2) Party Politics in America by Frank J. Sorauf, or (3) any of dozens of subsequent books on the subject. While political parties can be defined in many ways (i.e., self-identification, the party in control of Congress, contributors to parties, and many more) the most useful for purposes of this article is to define parties as how people actually voted in the last Presidential election, because Presidential elections bring out the highest percentage of voters (as opposed to off-year elections) and forces people to make the choice between the two parties’ most visible standard bearers.

15 See Michael Barone’s article “The Return of Patriarchy”, February 28, 2006 in U.S. News and World Report that focuses on Phillip Longman’s article in Foreign Policy. “He is presenting an argument he also offered in his 2004 book The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity and What to Do About It. Patriarchy, Longman argues in a long look at history, ‘is a cultural regime that serves to keep birthrates high among the affluent, while also maximizing parents’ investments in their children. No advanced civilization has yet learned to endure without it.’ Another way to put it: Conservatives have more babies than liberals, and so the next generation will tend to have more conservatives—more people prone to patriarchy—and fewer liberals. His numbers are stark: The 17.4 percent of baby boomer women who had only one child account for a mere 7.8 percent of children born in the next generation. By contrast, nearly a quarter of the children of baby boomers descend from the mere 11 percent of baby boomer women who had four or more children. These circumstances are leading to the emergence of a new society whose members will disproportionately be descended from parents who rejected the social tendencies that once made childlessness and small families the norm. These values include an adherence to traditional, patriarchal religion, and a strong identification with one’s own folk or nation.”

16 Question: “ How many children have you had? ”

17 See my article that describes the political consequences of abortion in America since Roe v. Wade , “The Empty Cradle Will Rock,” OpinionJournal,, The Wall Street Journal , June 28, 2004. Also published in The American Spectator . This 2007 survey asked the same question as the 2004 survey (cited above) with similar results. The question was: As far as you know, has anyone close to you had an abortion? Among all respondents, 24 percent responded “yes.” That includes 21 percent of conservatives and moderates and 31 percent of liberals (50 percent more among liberals); also, 22 percent of Bush voters and 28 percent of Kerry voters. Finally, 30 percent of Blue State respondents, 29 percent in Purple States, and17 Red States (71 percent more in Blue States than Red States); finally, 20 percent of active church goers, 25 percent of occasional attendees and 32 percent of non-church goers (60 percent more among non-church goers).

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2008: Sacha Baron Cohen’s gay fashionista crashes rally against same-sex marriage / CBC News

I was in attendance at the amazing “Yes on Proposition 8” gathering at the Los Angeles City Hall grounds. Thousands upon thousands of faithful Christian families among our Korean, Chinese, Hispanic, Filipino, and other ethnic groups who are part of the rapidly-growing coalition that now has enough numbers to change laws and pass constitutional amendments, when required. Those nice but more secular Californians whose idea of where the line between appropriate and inappropriate behavior should be drawn are going to find themselves moving gently in the direction of a deeply religious, patriotic, and family-oriented society.
The passage of Proposition 8 tomorrow will keep California in synch with the attitudes of all the other states, where the only places where gay marrriage has been implented thus far has been by the rulings of tiny groups of judges intent on overriding the will of the people. My guess is that enough momentum has been gathered to proceed fairly rapidly with a marriage amendment in the U.S. Constitution, and federal or state legislatures standing in the way will be replaced.

I was interviewed by two local news organizations covering the event, which was very enjoyable. I was also one of the people whom Sacha Baron Cohen interviewed before he was discovered for who he is, and rushed out of the event.

Sacha saw me conducting coherent interviews with some other news agencies and probably felt certain that I spoke English well enough to actually be part of an interview. So he invited me to move over to an area away from the noise of the praise and worship band. He explained that they were with a news organization in Germany, and asked if I spoke German, to which I replied that I spoke French and my wife spoke German. So he conducted the interview in his supposedly broken English.
He began by asking several questions which seemed to be vaguely related to the event and the need for and possible success of Proposition 8, so I answered with what should have been coherent answers. But the questions had a very strange air; for example, when I mentioned the “slippery slope” of gay marriage leading to worse social ills such as polygamy or legalized prostitution, he kept babbling on for 3 minutes about the slippery snow-covered mountains in Germany. He and his crew did not react when I emphasized that, for most people in our movement, NOT BECOMING LIKE EUROPE is one of our highest and most effective motivators.

He then moved closer to me, like he wanted me to confide with him, and asked me about five times if what we really wanted to do with gays and lesbians was to do something unkind, or painful, or life-threatening, with each one getting worse than the previous. He also included in what we might want to do them numerous actions described with words fortunately unfamiliar to me but which evidently have reference to gay’s unusual (to put it mildly). sexual practices. My repeated response was that there was no such ill will on our side; that this was a political issue, and we would never do anything dangerous or unkind.

He then started asking what I thought when my boyfriend does something, at which point I realized that it was either a joke or someone out to do our cause harm, so I replied that I don’t have a boyfriend, and that the interview was over.

I enjoy good movies. But I confess that when “Borat” appeared I concluded that the movie had insufficient redeeming qualities to entice me to watch. It was helped by a somewhat standard LDS practice of never seeing “R” rated movies; the only one I have watched is “The Passion of the Christ.” I wouldn’t have had any reason to recognize this clever, likeable, actually very talented comedian (my children tell me that he is very funny but so outrageously-irreverent as to put off a lot of people). I’m glad I got to be in on his prank, and would enjoy it very much if I end up in his next movie, “Bruno. “. I enjoyed talking with him; he is a very bright person, and I’d like to talk with him as a practicing gay about his take on what I see as the dangers that gay marriage would cause to our culture.

I have studied the philosophy and history of cultures to a great extent,. I am convinced that one of the most important things that real high culture – like we had until the secular post-modernist thinkers did their work of destruction during the past generation – teaches us is (1) how and at what to laugh; (2) how and at what to cry; and (3) how and at what to be in awe. Part of this mix is that we don’t laugh at what is sacred to others. Sacha Baron Cohen, supposedly playing a person of fashion and culture in his next movie, seems to me to to be depicting there a real lack of culture. He laughs, cries, and is in awe at the wrong things. Hopefully it is just an act; otherwise, when he really needs to laugh (like when Proposition 8 passes) and to cry (like when he is an lonely old man because he has no wife and children to comfort him), or to be reverent (like when he meets our Loving … but O So Just Heavenly Father, whom Sasha will struggle to recognize because he’s never been a father), he will wish he had practiced more.

See the original on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation website at this link.

Thanks much,

Steve St.Clair
Sacha Baron Cohen’s gay fashionista crashes rally against same-sex marriage
Last Updated: Monday, November 3, 2008 12:17 PM ET

CBC News

(Description of photo: Actor Sacha Baron Cohen holds up a sign during a Yes on Proposition 8 rally Sunday in Los Angeles. (Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)
British actor Sacha Baron Cohen has returned to gate-crashing in the U.S., this time bringing his flamboyant gay fashion reporter character Bruno to a California rally calling for a ban on same-sex marriage.

Cohen, disguised as Bruno, joined marching demonstrators outside Los Angeles City Hall on Sunday and mingled with the crowd. The march was in support of Proposition 8, which seeks to overturn a state Supreme Court ruling that allows gay and lesbians to wed.

Photographers and reporters covering the rally eventually recognized Cohen, the star of the blockbuster faux documentary film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Though they tried to approach the star, members of his film crew attempted to shield him. He was later ushered away in a van.

Cohen has been filming a new mockumentary film starring Bruno, who along with Borat was first introduced in his cable comedy program Da Ali G Show.

In the past few months, the British star has crashed several fashion show catwalks in France and in Italy, dressed as Bruno. In Milan, his stunt briefly landed him in police detention, before a colleague could vouch for him.

Cohen rose to fame for conducting interviews — while disguised as one of his over-the-top characters — with unsuspecting regular people and celebrities. His alter egos typically offered up offensive comments or questions that either left the subjects squirming or provoked them to make surprising statements of their own.

In December, the Los Angeles-based Cohen told a U.K. newspaper that he was retiring Ali G (the dim-witted hip-hop interviewer) and Borat (the uncouth reporter from Kazakhstan) because they have become too well-known and he was increasingly unable to dupe new interviewees.


Filed under Christianiy Global South, Proposition 8, Western Civilization

2008: Multi-Ethnic Groups to Gather in Support of Prop 8 /

See the original of this article on the website at this link.

Thanks much,

Steve St.Clair
Multi-Ethnic Groups to Gather in Support of Prop 8
Media Advisory
October 31, 2008
Contact: Chip White, 916-446-2956

Saturday, November 1, 2008 Bi-Lingual Marriage Renewal Services
Who: Hispanic Churches unite to uphold traditional marriage
What: Bi-Lingual Marriage Renewal Service and Procession
When: Saturday, at 10:00 a.m.
Where: Christian Community Church, 1523 McLaughin St., San Jose, CA 95122

Sunday, November 2, 2008 Multi-Ethnic Groups Rally
Who: Family Leaders, Community Groups, and Supporters of Proposition 8
What: Multi-Ethnic Groups Rally
When: Sunday, at 2:30 p.m.
Where: L.A. City Hall South Lawn, 200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012

Sunday, November 2, 2008 Multicultural Prayer Service
Who: Acts Full Gospel COGIC Church (Predominantly African-American Congregation)
What: Multicultural Prayer Service
When: Sunday, at 7:00 p.m.
Where: 1034 66th Ave., Oakland, CA 94621

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Filed under Christianiy Global South, Proposition 8

2006: Spreading the Word: Korean Evangelical Growth in Orange County

See the original of this article from the Orange County Register in January 2006 at this link.

Thanks much,
Steve St.Clair
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Spreading the word
As north county’s Korean population swells, so are the number and size of churches catering to the community.
The Orange County Register

What began in 1984 as a living-room Bible study has steadily grown into the 700-member-strong Sam Sung Presbyterian Church on 10 acres in La Habra.

But that growth pales compared to the dreams the Rev. Wonkyu Stephen Shin has for the next decade.

He hopes to grow the church to 5,000 members and 2,000 missionaries, which would easily make it La Habra’s largest church.

That sounds ambitious. But if other Korean-American churches in north Orange County are an indication, Shin’s dream is attainable.

As the region’s Korean population continues to swell, north county has become home to some of the area’s largest Korean churches.

In Fullerton, Grace Ministries International holds Sunday services from some 2,500 members in a temporary sanctuary.

Grace has gained approval to build what will become Fullerton’s largest sanctuary.
And in Anaheim, Sa-Rang Community Church is bursting at the seams, boasting a membership of 11,000.

On Sundays, congregants park up to a mile away from the church and are shuttled in. The 900-stall parking lot just isn’t large enough to hold the cars during four services held throughout the day.

“We are all seeing growth and there is room for all of us to continue that growth,” said Shine Kim, business director at Grace Ministries.

“We are communicating and networking more. There’s never been a time like this.”

Church growth isn’t unique to the Korean community.

First Evangelical Free Church, Fullerton’s oldest mega-church, recently submitted plans to the city to add office space and build a parking structure to accommodate its growth.

But the rise of the Korean mega-church is a phenomenon that has caught some non-Koreans by surprise.

Church leaders attribute the church growth to several factors.

First, Korean immigrant families that had lived in Los Angeles’ Koreatown and surrounding communities are increasingly turning to Orange County for its suburban comforts – larger homes with more land – and for its reputation for fine schools.

As the Korean population spreads south and east from Los Angeles, Orange County churches provide a more central location for families from Cerritos, Norwalk, Chino Hills and Diamond Bar.

Also, second-generation Korean-Americans are looking to Korean-based churches for networking opportunities and as a way to grow spiritually while retaining their Korean culture, church leaders said.

Edward Cho, 28, said he had drifted from his roots. But now that he’s started a family – he is married with an 8-month-old daughter – he’s rediscovering church and his culture at Grace Ministries.

“There are people here that have had many of the same experiences as me,” said Cho, a finance consultant from Brea. “It’s helped me rediscover the Lord and set my priorities.

“I could go to an English-speaking church, but I feel more at home here.”

La Habra Councilman James Gomez, a business manager for Sam Sung Church, said Korean churches are becoming more involved with the larger community.

Sam Sung, for instance, is planning a community crusade at La Habra High School’s stadium in May.

Sam Sung leaders helped La Habra establish a sister city in Korea. Grace Ministries did the same in Fullerton. And both have led trips with local civic and business leaders to South Korea.

“It used to be that our church was like an island,” said the Rev. Solomon Kim, a pastor at Sam Sung. “But now our focus is reaching out to the community.

“And with that we will continue to grow.”

Sam Sung Presbyterian Church
Location: 951 S. Beach Blvd., La Habra
Moved to site: 2003
Membership: 700
Notable: “Sam Sung” in Korean means “trinity.” The church is located on a site that was originally a Lutheran church in the 1940s, before becoming a car dealership, then medical offices.

Grace Ministries International
Location: 1645 W. Valencia Drive, Fullerton
Moved to the site: 2002
Membership: 2,500
Notable: Grace established its church and world missionary headquarters on the former site of Hunt Wesson Foods, famous for its ketchup and cooking oil.

Sa-Rang Community Church
Location: 1111 Brookhurst St., Anaheim, CA 92801

Website (Korean):

Tel : 714-772-7777, Fax : 714-772-0777
Moved to the site: 1998
Membership: 11,000
Notable: Sa-Rang in Korean means “love.”

Contact the writer: (714) 704-3769 or

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2008: LDS beliefs help, but attitude toward native worship affects, church growth in Africa / Philip Jenkins, Mormon History Association

This is an article in reporting on a very important presentation at the Mormon History Association by Christian scholar Philip Jenkins.

This apresentation can only be understood in the context of the explosion of charismatic Evangelical Christianity in the global south, and our growing directly in proportion to our being part of it.

Philip Jenkins is the author of the book on the subject, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, about which I informed people last month. LDS growth in Africa in the last 25 years has been 15% a year, and Jenkins projects it to grow to 3 to 4 million members in the next 25 years. That is the most rapid growth of anywhere in the world. People there do not move into Mormonism from outside Christianity; they move into Mormonism from Catholicism and charismatic Christianity, and also move among Latter-day Saints and other conservative Christian churches. And the same pattern is happening in Central and South America, Mexico, and large parts of Asia.

Thinking that the Latter-day Saints as flourishing by being part of western civilization (especially Europe) will ever result in any growth is futile. In fact, LDS scholars with such deep knowledge of the Church in Europe will hopefully see that they are perfectly positioned to help Latter-day Saints be part of the re-evangelization of Europe, and of the United States not becoming Europe in 50 years (or less).

See the original of this article on the Mormontimes website at this link.

Thanks much,

Steve St.Clair


LDS beliefs help, but attitude toward native worship affects, church growth in Africa
By Carrie A. Moore

Deseret News
Published: Sunday, May. 25, 2008

Because LDS belief in prophets, angels and healing fits so naturally within the context of traditional African faith and practice, it seems logical that the LDS Church would spread rapidly throughout Africa.

But a lack of accommodation to native African spiritual practices has severely limited LDS conversion there, a religion scholar told members of the Mormon History Association on Saturday.

Philip Jenkins, a professor of humanities in the department of history and religious studies at Pennsylvania State University, said The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints deals with “something of a paradox” in Africa.

While membership there in comparison with other parts of the world has grown dramatically in the past quarter-century, averaging about 15 percent annually, “it’s surprising it hasn’t done even better,” he said.

Present LDS membership is about 270,000 in Africa, and 25,000 others are converts to the Community of Christ (formerly the RLDS Church). Jenkins predicted African Latter-day Saints will number between 3 million and 4 million in the next quarter century.

Still, he set out to find why Latter-day Saints “have a message so inherently attractive that has not swept the continent? Why is Africa not Mormon?”

The church has a long history on the continent, with missionaries arriving as early as 1853 in South Africa. But they appealed “mainly to English speakers,” rather than those who speak Afrikaans. The first stake there was not organized until 1970 — more than a century after the first LDS contact.

Though many suggest the church’s priesthood ban for black males — which was lifted in 1978 — was a major factor in the faith’s slow start in Africa, Jensen said that’s only partially true.”In some ways it is, but many of the Christian churches there were very slow to allow Africans into the clergy,” as well, he said.

That widespread dynamic is known as “veranda Christianity,” which says that, “yes, you can come to veranda, but don’t come into house.”The LDS faith “wasn’t that different from other churches — they have their history with race that’s very embarrassing and troubling for them. Africa is a very young society. The vast majority of Africans have no direct memory of 1978.

“To illustrate, he said the median age of the population of Uganda is 14. Most Africans “have no memory of anything as distant as the Clinton administration…. It’s a recent story.”

The relative youth of the church as a formal institution in Africa also has a large impact on conversion, he said, noting “Mormon churches tend still to be led by white faces. That’s unique in Africa. The vast majority of (Christian) churches there have been black African-led for a long time.”

They also rely heavily on women as leaders, both in the church and in political circles, in a way that isn’t mirrored by Latter-day Saints.

Also, the vast majority of LDS converts there are not leaving paganism or animism to join the faith. They’re leaving Catholicism or another branch of historic Christianity, and they have great loyalty to the denomination that first “led to their salvation” through Jesus Christ.

The LDS Church is also “very unique in its attitude toward native worship and worship styles. By the 1960s, most Christian churches had given up trying to make Africans look European.

“Now, most have moved across the spectrum from their European or American origins to embrace distinctly African religious practices as part of their worship. Some have struggled with how far they should accommodate, he said, and whether to “acknowledge blood sacrifice or polygamy,” which are traditional African religious practices.

Virtually every African ritual “begins with a sacrifice,” he said. Many denominations struggle with “what is the dividing line between what is Christian and non-Christian. The LDS Church has stated specific policy that it would make very few concessions to local custom.”

Jenkins said that is so because church leaders “do not want to let their African brothers and sisters feel they’ve been shortchanged. They want them to feel they’re equally believers with anyone else in the world. But what that means is that the LDS Church stands out dramatically from churches which accept local traditions.”

So how far should drumming and dancing be incorporated into LDS worship in Africa? One congregation in Uganda decided that Sunday worship would mirror LDS practices worldwide, but on Wednesday nights, drumming and dancing would be permitted.

The response from a local member? “But drumming and dancing is the real service.” Jenkins said he can’t conceive of an African worship service that excludes those cultural practices, yet he acknowledged a “realistic fear” on the part of leadership that “the LDS Church would mutate into something radically strange. They’re anxious to avoid doing that, but at the cost of exploiting so much potential,” he said.

“That may be the single largest reason there are 270,000 Latter-day Saints there and not 10 million.” That issue looms large among many others that would have to be resolved “before (Mormonism) would spread far, far beyond its present bounds” there, he said.Many churches also suffer from a high attrition rate, as members move between Christian denominations. Latter-day Saints are no different, he said, noting about half of membership “will slip out after about two years.”

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2008: LDS Missionaries Look to Immigrant ‘Chinatowns’ / I.P.S.

Evangelical Protestants are growing at an exponential rate in China, just as they are in all of global south (Central and South America, Africa, Asia and the Philippines). Based on this article in the Madison Times, Latter-day Saint missionaries are being sent on Chinese-speaking missions in the United States, just like they have for many years on Spanish-speaking missions in the United States. Clearly, LDS missionaries are not converting these people from some non-Christian religion, but from the growing numbers of Christian immigrants from those countries.

See an article about the growth of Evangelical Protestant Christianity in China at this link.

See a review of Philips Jenkin’s book describing the growth of Christianity in the global south at this link.

See the original for this post
about LDS missionaries teaching Chinese immigrants in the United States at this link.

Thanks much,
Steve St.Clair

KDS Missionaries Look to Immigrant ‘Chinatowns’
By Patty Lee
NEW YORK, May 14 (IPS)
As people rush in and out of butcher shops and bakeries on Brooklyn’s Eighth Avenue, He Zhanglao tries to get their attention. He speaks in clear Mandarin, and listens carefully to their replies. But he’s tall and blond, and sticks out in this part of Sunset Park, home to many Chinese immigrants.

His real name is Trevor Hess, and he’s a Mormon missionary. Though he’s studying Chinese, he has no plans to visit China, which bars Mormons from doing missionary work. He’s instead been sent to proselytise in a Chinatown.

Hess, whose Chinese name means “Elder He”, is one of several Mormon missionaries assigned to Sunset Park. Dressed in black or gray suits with small nametags pinned to their jackets, they are easy to spot in a neighbourhood where a quarter of the population is Asian.

Chinese attendance at the church the Mormons opened here five years ago has grown noticeably. “It started with no more than 20 members, and now has 80 to 100 weekly attendants,” said Hess, who has worked here for about two years.

Getting those results wasn’t easy. Hess works the street for at least 20 hours a week. He grew up in a Mormon family in Tremonton City, a tiny town in northern Utah. He studied microbiology and anatomy, and in a pre-dental programme at Weber State University in nearby Ogden, Utah. At 19, he decided to become a Mormon “elder” and missionary.

“I grew up as a member of the church, and saw others go away as missionaries, and saw how it changed their lives,” Hess said. To prepare, he studied at the church’s Missionary Training Centre in Provo, Utah. For three months he attended workshops on how to teach the gospel, and learned Chinese. Everything else he had to learn on his own. “They give you enough so you can start. You go out and speak it every day,” Hess said. Then he had to deal with culture shock (Asians are exceedingly scarce in Tremonton).

“I think, ‘Wow, I would have never seen that if I was back in Utah,'” said Hess’ partner, Mont Toronto. The men have found that newer immigrants, mostly from China’s Fujian province, are more willing to listen to them than immigrants who have lived in the United States longer. “It varies, from shock that this white guy’s talking to them, to the hand in the face if they don’t want to talk to you,” said Hess. Residents said they were surprised to see Hess and other Mormons around the neighbourhood, but had grown used to them. “At first, to see these tall white people speaking in Chinese was a bit of a surprise,” said Hui Guan, a mother of two and 20-year neighbourhood resident, in a conversation in Chinese. “After some time, though, I stopped paying attention, because I wasn’t interested.”

That doesn’t mean some residents haven’t absorbed the Mormon message. “A lot of Chinese people know about Christianity,” Hess said.

The Mormon Church says it had some 50,000 full-time missionaries worldwide, most of them young people under the age of 25. In the United States, it has churches that cater specifically to Chinese Americans in California, New York, Texas and Washington DC.

Missionary work by various churches and outreach groups in U.S. Chinese communities is increasing. “I’ve lived here for 11 years, and I think most of the churches already had programmes for the Chinese when I first moved here,” said Shao Mei Liang, whose daughter takes part in the children’s activities offered by the 2nd Evangelical Free Church near her home.

The New Life Gospel Church has been working with the Chinese community in Sunset Park since 1994. “We have English classes given twice a week. An American teacher teaches it, and we currently average 25 students,” said Siu Pik Lau, a member of the New Life Gospel Church’s committee.

Lau has also noticed a significant change in her church’s constituency, as the Sunset Park Chinese community changes. “Before it was mixed with Cantonese and some mainland Mandarin-speaking people, but now it’s primarily Fujianese,” Lau said. “A big part of the Cantonese has moved away.”

Rapid changes in the Chinese economy have opened the country up to different religious ideologies. Though China bans Mormon missionaries, the Mormons maintain U.S. churches in China, and have followers in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

After Hess finishes his assignment in Brooklyn, he hopes to travel, then to resume his pre-dental university studies. But he doesn’t plan to do business in China. “I have no interest in business,” Hess said. “I’ll probably become an orthodontist. Maybe an orthodontist for Chinese people.”

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2008: China’s Protestants: A Mustard Seed for Moral Renewal? / AEI

The explosive growth of Evangelical Protestantism in China, including communist China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, is a phenomenon unprecedented in the history of the world. It is part of the Christian growth in the global south, in South America, Africa, and many nations in the Far East, as described in the recent book by Philip Jenkins, “The New Global South”. Look at the places where conservative Christianity is growing, and the growth patterns for the Latter-day Saints follow them almost exactly (though at a slower and more controlled rate).

Might they be solving the Latter-day Saint’s China problem, as they have in Africa and Central and South America and the Phillipines?

See the original of this article on the American Enterprise Institute’s website at this link.
China’s Protestants
A Mustard Seed for Moral Renewal?
By Carol Lee Hamrin
Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2008
AEI Online
Publication Date: May 14, 2008

Click here to view this paper as an Adobe Acrobat PDF.
The number of religious believers in China continues to grow almost exponentially, far outpacing population growth.[1] Meanwhile, vague and unchanging official estimates, which since 1994 have reported “over 100 million faithful” in the country, reflect the government’s tendency to mask the rapid growth evident on the ground.[2] In February 2007, for the first time, the official media reported on an academic challenge to these earlier figures. Scholars in Shanghai had made very rough projections based on a limited survey, suggesting that there were up to 40 million Protestants in China among a total of 300 million religious adherents (not including estimated adherents of informal popular religions or “folk faiths”).[3]

Of the officially tolerated faiths, Christianity has grown at the fastest pace. There were fewer than 1 million Protestants and over 4 million Catholics in 1949–a little over 1 percent of China’s total population of 450 million. By 1965, there were far fewer practicing Christians, of course, as Mao Zedong pursued his policy of escalating persecution. Yet, by 1980, the total was back up to 4 million and growing. As of 2005, Christians were approaching 5 percent of the population, four-fifths of them Protestants, all with virtually no public support or access to China’s mass media–and with the majority not registered with the government. Projections for 2020 show even more growth, with a jump to 10 percent or even more.[4] Unregistered Christians may be the largest autonomous social group in China.

The revival and growth in the number of Protestants in the cities in the 1990s followed the resurgence of rural “house churches” in the 1980s. Protestants are no longer primarily female, elderly, and illiterate, but include men, youth, and members of the educated middle class. Moreover, there are new streams within the Protestant faith itself, including factions within state-sanctioned church organizations, house church networks that have become quasi denominations, ethnic churches (such as those in Chinese-Korean communities), and networks of urban fellowship groups that have grown out of campus-based Bible study groups in China or North America.

There is also reduced hostility within China to Christianity. Christian ministries working in the United States and in China note in particular that the so-called ’80s generation is free of the ideological prejudice against Christianity that had, in the past, cast the faith as a tool of imperialism. Perhaps the most important shift in attitudes has occurred among China’s opinion-shapers–the social, economic, and even political elites. Take, for example, the case of one individual I interviewed recently–the granddaughter and daughter of dedicated Chinese Communist officials, who, along with her husband, holds a state post dealing with issues in international law. When asked to recommend a subject for biographical research on China’s diplomats, she and her husband immediately suggested several figures whose Christian faith had given them courage to disobey orders and refuse to sign the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, under which China ceded territory to Japan. Similarly, the daughter of a military leader asked me for advice on a new project she was engaged in, a series of translated biographies of missionaries to China. Explaining her interest in the topic, she said, “I want to find out why so many of my friends have been telling me ‘wo xin jiao.'” This phrase literally means “I believe in religion” but is now understood to mean “I’m a Protestant Christian.” When asked whether the government might “rehabilitate” the missionary era, she replied that “it doesn’t matter. The public has already done so.”[5]

Globalization has also contributed to social diversity and competition in China’s cultural sphere. As sociologist Peter Berger noted in a three-year study of contemporary culture in ten countries, including China, globalization has produced something akin to a “cultural earthquake.”[6] State resistance is often difficult because today’s global culture allows social movements to cross borders easily, at times revealing fissures in the Chinese government’s once-impervious antireligious stance. The internal and transnational mobility of the Chinese people–and of the ideas they carry, both to and from China–have become the seedbed for novelty within Chinese society.[7] Pioneering research on the emerging religious “markets” in China by sociologist Fenggang Yang and others reveals the flux as both state and social actors seek to “modernize” competing belief systems to keep up with new conditions and needs within China.[8] As one might expect in times of such rapid and radical social transformation, China’s citizens are seeking new sources of meaning for their lives and new purpose for the communities they live in.

Back to the Future
An earlier phase of globalization produced the golden age of Chinese Protestantism, a period lasting from roughly 1900 to 1925.[9] As a result of new technology and growth in international trade, a tiny middle class sprang up in China’s coastal cities. The Chinese were introduced to the modern professions of journalism, medicine, education, law, industry, and military affairs, along with Western-style education, in the mission schools. In addition, late Victorian Britain and Progressive-era America provided models for moral renovation and social reform designed to address the challenges of industrialization.[10] Mission agencies and Chinese churches were active in campaigns to end practices such as foot-binding, concubinage, trade in coolie labor, and opium abuse. Big cities like Shanghai and Tianjin had hundreds of American-style voluntary associations of all kinds, including sports, professional, religious, and charitable ones. The YMCA in particular was a major player in developing China’s civic sector.

All in all, there was growing receptivity to Christianity within China as a movement that could help renew public morality and build an equitable modern social order. With the 1911 Xinhai Revolution led by Sun Yat-sen, a Christian medical doctor, and his many Christian associates, Protestants became hopeful that the “Christianization” of culture and society might be received as the solution to China’s problems.

During the 1930s and 1940s, however, under the combined pressures of economic depression, civil war, and war with Japan, the long-term reform agenda of Chinese “national renewal” gave way to urgent political-military mobilization for the sake of “national salvation.” In turn, for both the Nationalists and Communists, revolutionary Leninist-style party rule over both China’s civil society and economy became the norm.

Nevertheless, the era of Christian missions undoubtedly contributed to the recent revival of Christianity within China. As local communities and institutions are dusting off long-suppressed histories in time for centennial celebrations, there is more leeway to acknowledge the missionary roots of many hospitals and universities. Local congregations and schools are inviting the descendants of missionary founders to come back to China to celebrate these anniversaries, while Chinese intellectuals are more willing to explore and write about the pre-1949 period. And, finally, one is seeing a rise in the number of Chinese, especially among retirees no longer active in state jobs, reconnecting with their personal Christian heritages.

The Third Church
Younger and better-educated leaders are rising in both the older, official “patriotic” churches and unregistered house churches. These leaders seem more willing to set aside old animosities that reflected differences of doctrine dating to the fundamentalist-liberal controversy of the early twentieth century–a pivotal doctrinal debate among Protestant groups in the United States, which, as a result of competing missionary efforts, eventually manifested itself in China’s emerging Protestant community. The new crop of leaders is also less likely to call attention to the differences in culture between the elite, urban, “Confucian” Christians and less-educated, rural “folk” Christians. At the same time, a “third church” is growing rapidly in the cities, marked by an increase in middle-class fellowship groups that identify neither with the registered churches nor with historic house churches. Although networking keeps them in touch with both, they appear committed to the “house church” model of the early church from Roman times.

Members were typically converted after attending university-based Bible studies either in the United States or in China. Through the Bible study groups, Chinese Christians provide mutual support and focus on applying the principles of Christian faith in their professional and personal lives.

Most of the older house churches and younger urban fellowship groups are consciously apolitical in their goals and activities. Yet the implications of what it means to be apolitical have shifted somewhat; these communities and churches no longer see themselves simply as operating “underground.” As one leader of an urban house church network recently argued, “the church has broken from its underground status and placed its lamp on a lamp stand.”[11] Although they rarely confront state authorities directly, the churches carry out public activities–holding open seminars, publishing materials, renting space for offices and events, and disseminating information on the Internet. According to the same church leader, the responsibility of the churches as institutions is not to engage in social reform for “national salvation” or promote political activism in support of civil rights–although individual Christians might be called to do either or both. Rather, the focus should be on developing a cooperative community of faith that seeks cultural renewal through teaching everyday values–especially marriage and family values–and through charitable ministries.[12]

This younger generation of Protestants is highly networked for resources and cooperation, both in China and overseas. Overseas groups work directly with both registered and unregistered groups at the local level, bypassing central and even provincial state-sponsored religious hierarchies. The dearth of leadership training available in China’s single national seminary and its several dozen sanctioned Bible colleges has created a strong demand for informal “field seminaries” and lay leadership training; new online resources from the burgeoning “virtual” Chinese Christian community; and Chinese-language seminaries in Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, and North America. Overseas Chinese Christian communities are also growing–there are more than eighty Mandarin-speaking Chinese churches in Vancouver, British Columbia, for example–which has in turn abetted the high conversion rate among mainland Chinese living and studying overseas. Many of these communities are in communication and partnership with churches in China; perhaps 80 percent of Hong Kong churches have evangelistic, training, or social service programs on the mainland.[13]

Christianity’s Growing Reach
It still is rare to observe public manifestations of Christianity in China other than crosses on church buildings symbolizing the presence of a registered congregation. Most Christian groups–like the majority of all nonprofit organizations in China–are not members of the government-sanctioned associations and thus are not registered with the relevant authorities.

Nevertheless, most Christian groups no longer operate in strict secrecy. They meet in rural farmyards, urban apartments, factories, restaurants, or rented space in commercial or even state facilities. Church summer camps and weekend retreats are popular, too. A key result of this quasi religious freedom is that Christianity has begun to reach into different sectors and levels of society. The church has become a significant part of China’s unofficial “second society,” a concept introduced by sociologist Elemér Hankiss in the context of Communist Hungary to describe the social and economic activities thriving beyond the immediate control of the state and its official organs. Indeed, the church’s influence extends far beyond the visible religious activities and memberships within the officially sanctioned churches.[14]

Education. In the 1980s, Chinese scholars became interested in Christianity as what they perceived to be the cultural basis for American power and influence, and thus a potential source for social cohesion and cultural “soft power” within China. By the late 1990s, university humanities departments had spawned nearly one hundred religious studies centers or institutes. This interest in religion has since spilled over into the social sciences, where scholars have begun to look at religion in China, not just religion elsewhere. (A few academics have openly acknowledged becoming Christian but, in order to retain their jobs, have not become baptized members of organized religious groups.)

Scholars of religion have taken the lead in bringing discussion of religion into the public square. One leading expert on religious policy has sponsored conferences on religion and law and religion and national security. Another nationally known scholar of Christianity has openly challenged the concepts of a “patriotic” national church, a state “civil religion,” and national “cultural security” as dangerous anachronisms in the global era.[15]

Predictably, state officials have entered the arena with a heavily funded expansion of Marxist studies and a pilot moral education program in public primary and secondary schools in sixty Chinese cities based on a combination of classic Confucian, Taoist, and socialist texts. But in some cases–including in Shanghai–local educators have modified the programs’ curricula to include readings from the Bible. Similarly, enterprising university departments offer intensive ethics and management courses for business leaders that include Buddhist and Christian materials along with Confucian and Taoist readings.[16]

Nonprofit Sector. Protestants are beginning to surface more publicly in charity work. International faith-based organizations such as World Vision began disaster relief and antipoverty work, especially in western China, in the 1980s, and they expanded their programs in the 1990s despite continuing difficulties in registering and fundraising in China. There is also a growing number of Chinese faith-based nonprofits that run clinics, homes for the elderly, orphanages, and social centers. Most are small, with uncertain legal status and limited capacity; yet many have also established good working relationships with local authorities, who are stretched to provide similar services. The sole national Protestant “GONGO”–that is, a government-sanctioned NGO–the Amity Foundation in Nanjing, has become an active leader in charity circles, known for its efficient management and effective projects, largely with overseas funds. Its Catholic counterpart, Beifang Jinde Social Service Center in Hebei Province, is also growing in status and reach. With the increased level of operations of these faith-based organizations, the official churches are now being encouraged to get involved directly in social service provision.[17]

Business Sector. In the past few years, glossy mainland journals targeting the business sector have included as their cover stories testimonies from several Christian millionaires about their faith–certainly a novel development. In summer 2006, American journalist and social commentator Marvin Olasky traveled through China and interviewed dozens of Christian CEOs.[18] Many had converted while traveling or studying overseas or through the influence of family or friends who had been overseas. Their fellowship groups and Christianity-influenced management training courses use materials from the Internet or DVDs. Retreats for CEOs and spouses centered on marriage and family relationships have become popular. Many of the CEOs have started philanthropic projects, often in support of poor rural teachers and students.

The Legal Sector. A growing number of Protestants are surfacing in the legal profession, starting with students but including both law professors and practicing lawyers. They avoid “street politics” in favor of working through the courts in an effort to help build a new legal culture within China.[19] For many, inspiration comes from the Christian principles of nonviolent resistance of Martin Luther King Jr., whose life story has been publicized for decades in China.[20]

In many cases, these Christian lawyers have been advocates for marginal groups suffering from abuses of official power. They have defended the right of free association, bringing lawsuits on behalf of unregistered civic groups and organizing the Ark Church in Beijing and an Association of Human Rights Attorneys for Chinese Christians in 2005. They have also defended various local leaders of a national alliance of Chinese house churches.[21] The most well-known Christian lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, was even rated by the Ministry of Justice as one of the country’s top ten lawyers at one point. But after he initiated lawsuits on a wide range of sensitive matters, his law practice was shut down for alleged technical violations, just prior to President Bush’s visit to Beijing in early 2006.[22]

One common grievance with the greatest potential to bring together disaffected groups is the defense of property rights. The 2003 amendments to the Chinese constitution created, at least on paper, new rights in this area and a new basis for challenging local governments’ practice of arbitrarily expropriating property. In every locality, there are religious properties nationalized in the 1950s that have not yet been returned to their owners in contravention of 1982 directives.[23] Similarly, local officials have simply taken religious property that had been previously returned to registered congregations.[24] In July 2006, more than three thousand Christians in a suburb of Hangzhou, Zhejiang, clashed with thousands of military police over the demolition of a nearly completed sanctuary being built on land owned privately by a church member. With a number of their members in detention, congregation leaders retained prominent legal advocates from Beijing to defend their cause and called for an independent international investigation by human rights organizations and the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. By December 2006, eight congregants, including the church’s pastor, had received prison sentences ranging from one to three years.[25]

Prodemocracy Circles. Christians also have influence within China’s small circle of democrats, which includes Tiananmen dissidents living in exile overseas.[26] There are also prominent Roman Catholics active in politics in Hong Kong, China’s de facto frontier for democratization.[27] In Beijing, a number of legal advocates, environmental activists, and critical writers and journalists are Protestants. Wang Yi and Yu Jie, founders of the Chinese branch of the international writer’s association PEN, were among the handful of fifty “public intellectuals” listed in 2004 who were subsequently banned from publishing in China. Yu Jie had expressed his admiration for peaceful democratic change in Taiwan and Hong Kong and called for the removal of Mao’s portrait from Tiananmen Square; he also had argued for a process of national reconciliation before Beijing hosts the Olympics this summer.[28] Along with lawyer Li Baiguang, the two met with President Bush privately at the White House in May 2006 to discuss matters of faith.[29]

The State and Religion
China’s one-party state still clings tightly to its role as China’s moral arbiter. The 1982 constitution and central directive on religion are still in force and define freedom of religion narrowly; there is freedom of “religious belief” but not religious practice, which is restricted to the narrow private sphere of the home, family, or state-authorized places of worship. The five “patriotic” religious associations–all within the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA)–are viewed as social organizations serving members only with a limited writ of activities. For example, there is only one national Protestant magazine and one national Protestant publishing house, which produce materials for distribution in special members-only channels.

The top-down central command system is a variant of state corporatism that imposes indirect party control over social organizations through ostensibly independent “mass” associations. Matters involving religious and ethnic minorities are dealt with in the same bureau or section, sustaining a mindset that religious rights are only for historical religious minority communities, not for all citizens. Bureaucratic stagnation is evident in the Soviet-style structure and policies of the Communist Party’s United Front Department and its subordinate government bureaus, including SARA.[30]

In the 1980s and 1990s, central authorities delegated the management of religion to local authorities, but the scale of local corruption and abuse of power has led Beijing to reassert its authority in recent years. Current religious policy was set forth at a decennial party conference on religious affairs in December 2001, with implementing regulations going into effect in March 2005.[31] These are part of a larger set of regulations–including new tax and audit requirements–on foundations, charities, membership-based social organizations, and nonprofit service providers.

Additionally, in the wake of the democratic “color revolutions” in former Soviet states, China’s leaders have in recent years paid greater attention to foreign NGOs and Chinese social organizations that were not registered with the state. As an example, many faith-based international NGOs that had previously been praised for their charitable work have come under investigation and been pressured to operate within the religious affairs system. Meanwhile, at least one hundred foreign Christians working in the business or education sectors have lost their visa status. This distinctly illiberal trend was reflected in the July 2006 pronouncements by the SARA director, who stressed that the government must “properly guide” the “more than 100 million faithful” to restrain their “negative elements,” to help them adapt to the “socialist mainstream” of society, and to “direct them to practice faith rightly.” Religious groups, not errant officials, were portrayed as the obstacles to the goal of building a “harmonious society.” State-directed political campaigns were to continue reconstructing religious doctrine and management to serve state goals of increasing social services, protecting the environment, and maintaining social stability.[32]

Relatively moderate remarks by President Hu Jintao have surfaced recently, standing out amid increased scrutiny of religious activities. During a Politburo “study session” on religion in mid-December 2007–which was addressed by experts on Confucianism and Christianity–Hu made no direct reference to the failings of religious groups and did not warn of dangers from foreign religious “infiltrators.” Instead, he indicated that government religious officials needed to improve their understanding, respect, and use of lawful means. The meeting followed the first mention of religious policy in an amendment to the party’s constitution.[33] But both the amendment and Hu’s comments were vague, and, like so many that temporarily raised hopes in the past, they may prove to be a mere public relations pose prior to the Olympics. In short, despite the fact that Chinese authorities can no longer ignore the rapid growth of Christianity–especially Protestant Christianity–it remains unclear how they intend to manage or assimilate it as a policy matter. As a result, the various elements of the churches and church-related organizations, especially those not registered, face a fluid and insecure legal environment.

Chinese Christianity and the Prospects for Civic Renewal
Could Protestantism blossom as one source of a new public morality in China? Could it become a potential “school of liberty” as Christian groups and organizations experiment with grassroots efforts in education, social services, and self-governance? Protestants will remain a minority in China, making up some 5-10 percent of the population in the decade ahead. But perhaps this seed can grow into something with far greater impact than sheer numbers would predict. Today, China faces a situation in which it lacks other widely accepted and effective moralizing agents. The family, village, and neighborhood all have been seriously weakened, first by socialism and then by urbanization; socialist values are seriously discredited; Confucianism as a philosophy lacks an organized mass base; and variants of Buddhism and folk religion have not proved to be modernizing agents.

This gap in civic education of course is not news to Chinese leaders. Social critics and scholars have long pointed out the crisis in public morality.[34] This is one reason for the Chinese state’s new interest in Confucianism. Yet, last year’s “overnight sensation”–a book on Confucian ethics that sold like hotcakes–became a joke when it was revealed that the government had heavily subsidized the purchases. The joke was enriched with the serendipitous publication of a disdainful biography of Confucius titled Homeless Dog, highlighting the Sage’s fruitless efforts to find a political patron. In short, patriarchal Confucianism, monastic Buddhism, and state socialism are inadequate to meet the spiritual needs of the modern individual and the single-child nuclear family in China today.

Can Chinese Christianity help fill that gap? Surveys of the new middle class find greater interest in self-enrichment activities like travel, training, and sports, rather than in religious and charitable pursuits.[35] But one Beijing scholar argues that Protestantism has potential: it provides a moral framework for individuals, gives them a “higher” purpose than just making money, provides greater stability within family life, and stems the tide of negative social values–all the while helping Chinese identify with global modernity.[36]

The more practical Weberian bourgeois virtues also come with the Protestant package. Courses and training in biblically based business ethics and management are popular in a Chinese culture featuring rampant corruption. Faithfulness, truthfulness, and abstention from addictive habits build trust in the workaday world and have won Christians a reputation as model workers. Nevertheless, at times, the exercise of these virtues comes at a price. A number of Christian acquaintances have cited instances in which, upon refusing to carry out an illegal or immoral task demanded by their employers, they or their friends have lost their jobs–not an uncommon experience in today’s China.

But perhaps the core Christian value that appeals most to both rural “second class” citizens and modern urbanites flows from the essential Protestant belief in the individual dignity and equality of man in the eyes of God. From these principles arise opposition to special privilege and a desire to see social justice that transcends the traditional bonds of family and kinship. As one educated, middle-class Chinese acquaintance stressed, “Whatever else Christians preach, they should continue preaching equality.” This has provided a natural opening for local churches and Christians in local civic associations to help migrants gain access to education and medical care and to bring services to the poor in villages. Finally, the strong transnational nature of Christianity, with its commitment to a universal community built on the notion of the fundamental equality of mankind under God, makes it a natural incubator of cosmopolitanism in China. Among Chinese Christians, there is a sense of citizenship in the world, which is reflected in the support they seek from human rights advocates that live outside of China.

Christian communities in China are undoubtedly becoming stronger. But they are still too weak to generate a dramatic change in Chinese civic life, focused as they still are on survival and the care of their members. They have not yet articulated a vision, nor do they have the freedom necessary for taking on this larger role. That said, as one Chinese political analyst has suggested, “all the Christians have to do is grow in number, status, and financial resources. They have all the human resources needed in terms of social capital and spiritual capital.” Nor are Chinese Christians lacking in hope for the future, as the Washington Post’s former Beijing correspondent John Pomfret noted while researching a series of articles on the house church networks. When compared with the secular intellectuals he knew, for example, house church leaders were far more optimistic about the possibility–or even inevitability–of Chinese political reforms.[37]

In The Great Disruption, Francis Fukuyama posits that history is linear and progressive in terms of political and economic/technological progress but cyclical in social and moral spheres. Typically, the rate of technological change exceeds the rate of social adjustment. When culture fails to keep up with technological change–when the supply of social capital fails to match demand–societies run into trouble.[38] Fukuyama also argues that the loss of social capital can be regained through “renorming” or “remoralization” of society through discussion and argument, or even culture wars. The widespread adoption of key virtues leading to trust plays a central role in reconstituting social order. He argues, for example, that Protestant revivals and social reforms linked to them were responsible for the decline of the crime rate in Britain beginning in the 1840s and in urban America in the 1870s.

Fukuyama’s concept of cyclical change in culture fits well with Chinese history. Periods of major disequilibrium in the past have led to a moral crisis and a search for new political philosophies and institutions to bring about a new cohesive order. Examples include the fall of the Ming dynasty in the mid-seventeenth century, the decay of the Qing dynasty during 1870-1911, and the collapse of Republicanism by the late 1920s–and today, the long twilight of Communism since the Cultural Revolution.

With the collapse of the socialist model and the rise of an authoritarian capitalist model, there has been a distinct decline in public morality within China. Today, there is rampant materialism, sexual license, corruption, and, as a result, widespread cynicism. Yet, as Perry Link has indicated, people in China retain a strong moral impulse and are seeking a moral compass for both private and public life. They are “groping to reestablish some kind of value system that might do for China today what Confucianism used to do”[39]–and, I would add, what socialism did for a time.

Could Christianity play a leading moral role in China’s postindustrial, postcommunist society, as it once did in its early industrial modernizing society? Sociologist Richard Madsen is pessimistic. His studies of isolated Roman Catholic villages suggest they are still steeped in the martyr mentality of the underground church. Rural traditions have produced a typical Chinese attraction to millenarian, miracle-producing faiths. From this comes the hope among some Chinese Christian dissidents that their activism will weaken the socialist state in China, as it once did in Eastern Europe. He also sees “the sinification of Christianity” as leading to a fragmented church, in which the Christian faith is appropriated by many different groups for many different purposes. Given the wide variety of Chinese Christian doctrinal practices and organizational styles, in Madsen’s view, Chinese society in general–and turbulent Christian communities in particular–are returning to the early-twentieth-century fragmentation Maoists tried to overcome.[40]

By contrast, historian Daniel Bays is more optimistic. His research on early twentieth-century Protestantism leads him to conclude that the rise of Christianity in China is a force most compatible with the nature and needs of modern society. He sees Chinese Christian churches meeting basic human needs with social services, urban middle-class Protestants taking an increased interest in local civic life, and Chinese Christian professionals working to establish stable family lives. He also notes that studies around the world of Pentecostals steeped in allegedly premodern faith-healing and other charismatic practices demonstrate that they have actually helped smooth the way for a successful adaptation to the strains of economic modernization.[41]

At this point, it is simply too early to tell whether Protestant Christianity will once again play a significant role in the reordering of China’s civic life. So far, the state in China has avoided the constitutional and legal changes required to enable the nonprofit sector to fully contribute to the “remoralization” of society. Its contributions are still distorted by the legal strictures that keep civic organizations marginalized. Still, Protestant culture in particular is “coming out” in society. And there is no question that it meets a need that China’s government sees but also worries about. In sum, there is considerable potential when it comes to the impact of China’s Christians on the country’s social and civic order, but for all the growth in numbers and activities that has occurred since the end of the Maoist era, it remains to be seen how much of that potential will be realized in the years and decades ahead.

Carol Lee Hamrin is a research professor at George Mason University and a senior associate with the Global China Center in Charlottesville, Virginia. She is the coeditor of God and Caesar in China: Policy Implications of Church-State Tensions (Brookings Institution Press, 2004).
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1. The baseline for official numbers of religious adherents in China is a government census in the mid-1990s: 100 million Buddhists (including 7 million Tibetan Buddhists), 18 million Muslims (8.6 million Uighur, 7.2 million Hui), 11 million Christians (4 million Catholics, 7 million Protestants), and 50,000 Taoists.
2. In October 1998, the Compass Direct news service quoted an official charged with monitoring religious activity who acknowledged in an anonymous interview that Protestants likely numbered more than 50 million.
3. Jonathan Watts, “Chinese Survey Finds Religion Booming,” Guardian, February 7, 2007.
4. For official PRC figures of 5 million Catholics and 15 million Protestants versus Vatican figures of 10 million Catholics and State Department figures of 30-90 million Protestants, see “Crossing the Communists,” The Economist, April 21, 2005. Tony Lambert pointed out that even public figures from provincial Protestant associations in 2005 added up to over 20 million, compared with the 17 million that central association leaders were using. (Tony Lambert, “How Many Christians in China?” China Insight, August/September 2005.) Daniel H. Bays speaks of 40-50 million Protestants and 12-15 million Catholics. (Daniel H. Bays, “State and Religion in Historical Context in China–Christianity” [conference remarks, Washington, DC, January 19, 2005].) The upper range would be 5 percent of 1.3 billion, with growth to 10 percent of 1.4 billion in 2020 adding up to 140 million. In Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity Is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power (Washington, DC: Regnery, 2003), David Aikman posits that Christians will make up 20-30 percent of the population by 2030.
5. Throughout this essay, I share such anecdotal evidence but err on the side of caution by disguising names and places, given the repressive atmosphere in the civic sector.
6. The following discussion is based on Peter L. Berger, “Introduction: The Cultural Dynamics of Globalization,” in Many Globalizations: Cultural Diversity in the Contemporary World, ed. Peter L. Berger and Samuel P. Huntington (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 116.
7. See Kim-kwong Chan, “Accession to the World Trade Organization and State Adaptation,” in God and Caesar in China: Policy Implications of Church-State Tensions, ed. Jason Kindopp and Carol Lee Hamrin (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2004), 61ff. While overseas, some Chinese have come to embrace Mormon, Hindu, Greek Orthodox, Bahá’í, and even Shinto faiths not authorized in China. The proliferation of sects is part and parcel of cultural globalization; countries worldwide are trying to understand and manage such “new religious movements.” Over twenty have been banned in China since 2000 as “evil cults” (xiejiao) to be eradicated, including the Falun Gong spiritual movement and the pseudo-Christian Eastern Lightning sect.
8. Fenggang Yang and Joseph B. Tamney, eds., State, Market, and Religions in Chinese Societies (Boston: Brill, 2005). Political and cultural nationalists align with the government in using state power to favor Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. There are new types of congregational or evangelical Buddhism, distinctions among Muslim sects, and proliferating sects of “folk faiths.”
9. See Ryan Dunch, Fuzhou Protestants and the Making of a Modern China, 1857-1927 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001).
10. This discussion is drawn from Carol Lee Hamrin and Stacey Bieler, eds., introduction to Salt and Light: Lives of Faith That Shaped Modern China (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, forthcoming).
11. Sun Minyi, “Developing an Understanding of Urban House Churches in Mainland China,” informal translation from Behold magazine (U.S.) and the Christian Times (Hong Kong), May 2007.
12. Ibid.
13. Kim-kwong Chan, “Missiological Implications of Chinese Christianity in a Globalized Context,” Quest 4, no. 2 (November 2005): 55-74.
14. For creative research on the political economy of religion in China, see Fenggang Yang, “The Red, Black and Gray Markets of Religion in China,” The Sociological Quarterly 47 (2006): 93-122.
15. Guanghu He, “From the Scriptures to Life: A Hope for Education for Shared Values in Today’s China,” China Study Journal 19, nos. 2-3 (August-December, 2004).
16. Tang Yuankai, “Mindful of the Past,” Beijing Review, October 21, 2004. On October 20, 2004, Reuters cited a Shanghai Daily report on the Shanghai Education Commission’s academic research office list of recommended summer reading for middle school students, including the Bible.
17. Carol Lee Hamrin, “To Serve the People: NGOs and the Development of Civil Society in China” (testimony, Roundtable of the Congressional-Executive Commission on NGOs in China, Washington, DC, March 24, 2003), available at (accessed May 5, 2008).
18. Marvin Olasky, “Wildfire,” World, June 24, 2006, available at (accessed May 5, 2008).
19. Through 2005, the First People’s Intermediate Court of Beijing was forced to postpone trials and then to provide a second trial, with family present, for house church pastor Cai Zhuohua. Cai was accused of illegal business activities despite his claim that the Bibles and other religious material he published were distributed free of charge rather than for commercial gain. On the eve of President Bush’s November 2005 visit to China, Cai and two others received relatively light sentences and strong pressure not to appeal further. See the trial results as reported by Compass Direct, November 16, 2005, and more details on the case in Chinese Law & Religion Monitor 2, no. 1 (January-June 2006). Elsewhere in Henan, according to a press release from China Aid Association dated September 25, 2006, a district court in August revoked a “Reeducation through Labor” decision against a house church Christian who had pursued his right to request an administrative review and, when that failed, lodged a lawsuit with the court.
20. Martin Luther King Jr.’s activities are part of the public school curriculum, and his “I Have a Dream” speech inspired the 2008 Olympics slogan “One World, One Dream.” (Tony Carnes, “China’s New Legal Eagles,” Christianity Today, September 2006.)
21. China Aid Association, news releases, November 25, 2005, and March 1, 2006. Established in 2004, the alliance reportedly soon had 300,000 members in twenty-one provinces.
22. Gao defended cases involving a Shaanxi oil spill, Shaanxi coal miners, Guangdong farmers losing their land, evicted courtyard homeowners in Beijing, house church members brutalized by police in Xinjiang, members of Falun Gong, and a group of villagers who sought to recall their elected village chief for corruption. After Gao released an open letter to Hu Jintao in October 2005 reporting on atrocities of mental, physical, and sexual torture of Falun Gong and other alleged cult members, the confrontation escalated. Gao’s colleague, Guo Feixiong, was detained in Guangzhou for “illegal business activities,” and a Chinese filmmaker and Internet activist from the United States was detained just before a planned meeting with Gao. After several run-ins with police thugs, Gao released a statement of withdrawal from the Chinese Communist Party and joined others in a fast to protest persecution of rights activists. In August 2006, police in his hometown of Shandong detained and held Gao and his family incommunicado. Dissidents overseas and Tiananmen activists in China, led by writer Liu Xiaobo, registered their protest over his treatment, prompting the government to release him (no doubt with his movement restricted).
23. An example would be the Dongyue Miao, a vast Taoist complex dating to the rule of Kublai Khan, which was occupied by the Beijing Public Security Bureau until 2000 but even then not returned to the Taoist association. Foreign holders of deeds further complicate this issue. The Roman Catholic Church, with its vast landholdings before 1949, had an estimated RMB 130 billion worth of property under dispute in 2005. The South China Morning Post reported on February 19, 2002, that a number of historic religious sites are being restored in Beijing but are not being returned to religious bodies. An example is the Bada Chui Buddhist complex (with eight temples) in the Western Hills.
24. In Xi’an, the congregations of both the oldest Protestant church and the main Catholic cathedral in prime downtown locations were evicted and forced to accept less desirable locations for rebuilding, while their historic buildings were torn down. Hundreds of normally placid citizens in these registered venues demonstrated in protest, with little support from their respective association leaders. International attention followed the fierce beatings by hired thugs of sixteen Catholic nuns, five of whom sustained permanent injuries, prompting protests from international Catholic leaders and the European and Italian parliaments. (Philip P. Pan, “Five Chinese Nuns Hospitalized after Land Dispute,” Washington Post, December 2, 2005.)
25. Simon Elegant, “The War for China’s Soul,” Time, August 28, 2006. See also China Aid Association, news releases, August 2, 2006, and August 9, 2006. The independent Dangsha Church was founded by Hudson Taylor of the China Inland Mission in 1867 but was labeled “counterrevolutionary” in 1956, after the government occupied its property. In the July 2006 incident, when hundreds were injured and over fifty church leaders were detained by police without any information provided to families, the congregation requested a list and details of arrests, medical treatment and release of detainees, a permit for a proper place to worship, and a public apology and reimbursement for losses. Five of those detained were issued formal notification of criminal detention for instigating violence and obstruction of the law (although twenty remained in detention). On August 2, the Chinese House Church Alliance released a statement through China Aid Association that called for international intervention and detailed the history of this confrontation. On December 23, 2006, Xinhua reported that eight of the individuals involved in the protest had received sentences.
26. Precursors to Christian leadership for dissent date back to at least 1988-89. Seminary students in Beijing and Nanjing marched in the demonstrations carrying a cross, and a popular pastor in the Haidian church in Beijing was later dismissed for harboring congregation members who had been involved (including at least one lawyer active today). Throughout the 1990s, a surprising number of prominent dissidents who fled the country converted to Christianity in Europe or the United States, including activists Yang Jianli and Peng Ming, Zhang Boli, Yuan Zhiming, Wang Xizhe, and even the famous writer Wang Ruowang before his death.
27. Martin Lee (from a prominent mainland family) heads the Democratic Party, and Shanghai-born Joseph Cardinal Zen’s Hong Kong diocese has the largest number of Chinese Catholics in the world. Many Christians have participated in peaceful demonstrations over various issues. Zen was voted Hong Kong’s Person of the Year 2002 by readers of the Apple Daily, who called him the moral conscience of Hong Kong and found him a symbol of “the struggle for truth, freedom and universal love.” News of his appointment as cardinal in early 2006 monopolized the Hong Kong mass media for days. Notably, almost all of the younger bishops on the mainland had been his students when he taught there part time from 1989 to 1996. See Gianni Criveller, “Bishop Zen, Hong Kong’s Person of the Year,” Tripod 22, no. 128 (Spring 2003): 29-31; and Gianni Criveller, “A Cardinal in Hong Kong,” Tripod 26, no. 141 (Summer 2006): 55-58.
28. Verna Yu, biographical sketch of Yu Jie, South China Morning Post, July 31, 2003.
29. Sarah Schafer and Jonathan Ansfield, “Strength from Their Faith,” Newsweek International, July 24, 2006. The three, along with poet Bei Cun, journalist Jiao Guobiao, and law experts Fan Yafeng and Gao Zhisheng, are members of the independent Ark (fangzhou) Church in Beijing. The meeting was arranged by Bob Fu, founder and president of Christian Aid in Midland, Texas, which has become a major channel for communicating information on house church religious rights cases. Fu is a former teacher in Beijing who, with his wife, was detained and beaten for leading Bible studies at the municipal party school.
30. See Tong Zhan, “The United Front Work System and the Nonparty Elite,” in Decision-Making in Deng’s China: Perspectives from Insiders, ed. Carol Lee Hamrin and Suisheng Zhao (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1995), 66-75.
31. “Religious Affairs Regulations (Authorized Release),” Xinhua, November 30, 2004. See Peter Barry, “Regulations on Religious Affairs,” Tripod 25, no. 136 (Spring 2005): 5-18.
32. See a Xinhua report quoted in China Church Quarterly (Summer 2006): 5.
33. “Hu Stresses Full Implementation of Free Religious Policy,” Xinhua, December 19, 2007.
34. Shining Gao, “Faith and Values: Case Studies of Chinese Intellectual Christians,” China Study Journal 18, no. 2 (August 2002): 21-22.
35. Xin Wang, “Divergent Identities, Convergent Interests: The Rising Middle-Income Stratum in China and Its Civic Awareness,” Journal of Contemporary China 17, no. 54 (February 2008): 66-67.
36. Shining Gao, “Faith and Values: Case Studies of Chinese Intellectual Christians,” 28.
37. Personal communication with the author, 2004.
38. Francis Fukuyama, The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999).
39. Perry Link, “Corruption and Indignation: Windows into Popular Chinese Views of Right and Wrong” (Tocqueville on China, AEI, February 2008), available at
40. Richard Madsen, “Chinese Christianity: Indigenization and Conflict,” in Chinese Society: Change, Conflict and Resistance, ed. Elizabeth J. Perry and Mark Selden, 2nd ed. (New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003), 271-88.
41. Daniel H. Bays, “Chinese Protestant Christianity Today,” in Religion in China Today, ed. Daniel L. Overmyer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 196-97. See also David H. Lumsdaine, ed. Evangelical Christianity and Democracy in Asia (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

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