Editor's Note: This column was coauthored by Bob Morrison.
Secretary of State John Kerry chose an interesting place to deliver his first foreign policy address. The former Massachusetts senator spoke at the University of Virginia. He was introduced by the university’s president, Teresa Sullivan. Dr. Sullivan noted that the university’s founder, Thomas Jefferson, had served as the first Secretary of State.
Unlike today’s foreign policy elites, Mr. Jefferson thought religious freedom was fundamental to our political liberties. He authored the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which he introduced into the state’s General Assembly in 1779. It was a world historical event. When James Madison, Jefferson’s loyal lieutenant, pressed that bill through to adoption in 1786, Jefferson was serving as this country’s second Minister Plenipotentiary to France. He took pains to have the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom translated into French and circulated widely in Europe.
All of this is worth noting because religious freedom is not on the back burner in this administration. It ain’t even in the kitchen.
We have seen numerous summits, official state visits, and extensive bilateral negotiations with the People’s Republic of China. None of this has slowed China’s brutal one-child policy. That policy has led to forced abortions and tens of millions of unborn baby girls being killed. This continuing horror has barely gotten a nod from the Obama administration or the State Department.
With the signal exception of granting asylum to the blind Chinese human rights activist, Chen Guangcheng (for which we thanked them and gave them our sincere praise), the Obama administration’s record on Christian persecution in China has been one largely of indifference.
Now, we see a new report on how China’s rulers plan to wipe out House Churches. In China, you have to “register” your church. That is something Christians in America resisted in the 1770s, and something the Virginia Statute forever abolished. A House Church, therefore, is one not recognized by the atheist regime. And China’s Communist rulers are not interested in American views of human rights.
China Aid is a human rights group that monitors the religious persecutions undertaken by Beijing. We should add that it is not just Christians who are being suppressed in China. The Falun Gong sect and the mostly Muslim Uighurs (WEE-gurz) in Xinjiang Province in the Northwest have also suffered brutal repression under the heel of Communist rule.