As part of a push to “sinicize” religion, the Chinese Communist Party has embarked on a 10-year project to rewrite the Bible and other religious texts.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus famously confronts the accusers a woman caught committing adultery, saying “let the one among you who is guiltless be the first to throw a stone at her.”
The chastened accusers slink away and Jesus says to the woman, “‘Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she replied. ‘Neither do I condemn you,’ said Jesus. ‘Go away, and from this moment sin no more.'”
Unless you’re a CCP official. Then it’s a story of a dissident challenging the authority of the state. A possible sneak preview of what a Bible with socialist characteristics might look like appeared in a Chinese university textbook in 2020. The rewritten Gospel of John excerpt ends, not with mercy, but with Jesus himself stoning the adulterous woman to death.
Across Henan province, local CCP officials forced Protestant churches to replace the Ten Commandments with Xi Jinping quotes. “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me,” became diktats like: “Resolutely guard against the infiltration of Western ideology.”
The 10-year project to rewrite the Bible, Quran, and other sacred texts is all part of Xi Jinping’s quest to make the faithful serve the party rather than God.
At the 19th Party Congress, Chairman Xi declared “We will… insist on the sinicization of Chinese religions, and provide active guidance for religion and socialism to coexist.”
Let me translate: Xi Jinping has no problem with the first commandment, just so long as he and the CCP are playing the role of God. You might expect the Vatican, the leaders of the largest Christian congregation in the world, to be incensed and defiant. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.
In a secret 2018 negotiation, the Vatican agreed to allow the CCP to select Catholic bishops in China, supposedly in exchange for vague reassurances of “safety” for some Catholic congregations which were immediately abrogated.
The CCP wants the authority to select the next Dalai Lama, a sacred tradition in Tibetan Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhists are attempting to stand up to CCP coercion, but Beijing counters that even Pope Francis, leader of the mighty Catholic Church, accepts their authority over Church leadership.