Conservative Evangelicals are so sickened by Obama’s lack of respect for God’s word, that watching him take his oath on the Bible only adds insult to injury. But in other nations, Obama’s public display of faith provokes a much less jaded reaction. According to the web magazine Quartz,
“Obama’s inauguration was a top trending topic on Sina Weibo, China’s massive microblogging site, with over 25 million posts on Jan. 21. Of these, one comment by a Weibo user by the name Wugou1975 was forwarded over 2,000 times, garnering over 500 comments. The blogger posted a photo of Obama taking the presidential oath with Supreme Court Justice John Roberts: Some Chinese find it unbelievable that this secular country’s democratically elected president was sworn in with his hand on a Bible, not the Constitution, and facing a court justice, not Congress. But actually, this is the secret of America’s constitutional democracy: It’s not just the Constitution or the government’s “separation of powers.” Above that is natural law, guarded by a grand justice. And below is a community of Christians, unified by their belief. Wugou’s post is part of a larger debate in China over religion and political reform based on China’s constitution. Religion, while legal in China, is not welcomed by the Communist Party (CCP). Last December, authorities arrested over 1,000 members of a Pentecostal sect. The CCP also forbids its members from following any religion, but as many one in six party members practice some form of religion. About 200 to 300 million of the country’s approximately 1.3 billion people practice some form of religion, mostly Daoism or Buddhism.”
I have a couple of reactions to this. The first is to appreciate the irony that Chinese observers give more credit to the Christian Faith than President Obama does for sustaining and upholding the distinctive national order that is the United States of America. The second is to wonder if God might be getting ready to show more mercy to China and perhaps more judgment to the United States.
Think about it. When Constantine officially changed allegiances from the gods of Rome to the Lord Jesus Christ, Christianity was not the majority religion in the Roman Empire. It was simply a strong minority. Christianity is still a small minority in China, but what would happen if, in the midst of economic crises, China’s leader was to publicly announce a change of heart and policy from their band of "Communism" to Christianity (and manage to avoid assassination when he did so)? It is within the realm of possibility that God might be setting up exactly that sort of scenario.
Whether that is God’s plan or not, the Quartz article provides evidence that Chinese Christians are praying for that future for their country. It also shows that at least some in China are able to discuss John Locke as a central figure in the development of Western concepts of liberty and carry on a conversation about how his thinking was affected by Christianity. I hate to question whether or not there are a majority of American Christians who could have that high of quality a discussion! But I do.
China is heading for many economic and demographic hardships due to their policy of debasing their currency (just like we do!) and their one-child forced abortion policy. I think it is worth praying that they are driven to Jesus for help in these tribulations. Perhaps, then, they will send missionaries to North America.