(CP) – Authorities in China replaced a cross in the home of an elderly Christian man with an image of Xi Jinping and ordered him to pray to the country’s president instead of God as part of the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to “sinicize” Christianity.
The 84-year-old man in Shanxi Province, China, was among a number of Christians in several provinces ordered to remove Christian imagery from their homes and replace them with pictures of Communist leaders, religious rights magazine Bitter Winter reported.
“The township [Chinese Communist] Party [CCP] secretary asked me to take down and throw away the cross and told me to pray to Xi Jinping from then on,” the unidentified Christian told Bitter Winter. “Xi Jinping is a man, not God. I feel saddened for the cross being taken down, but there is nothing I can do.”
Similar reports have emerged from at least five provinces over the last few months, with authorities urging believers — often low-income households reliant on government assistance — to replace crosses and images of Jesus in their homes with posters of Communist Party leaders, or lose welfare benefits. In June, a village official in Lin County repeatedly ordered villagers through social media to remove all religious symbols from their homes, Bitter Winter reported. READ MORE
There is a lovely thought that comes to mind from this sad but disconcerting impost on local Christian believers designed to keep the believer on Christ Jesus away from his beloved Saviour. The Holy Spirit dwells within the heart and soul of all believers born again through His precious shed blood. Therefore we have no need for Icons and ornaments directing our thoughts toward Himself. “When the people that call me by my name will humble themselves, I will hear their prayer and heal their land.” No Icons needed for prayer.