Against the backdrop of celebrations to mark the countdown to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government has angered religious- freedom activists by attempting to assert greater influence over the choice of a successor to the Dalai Lama.
Beijing reiterated demands this month that the Vatican must break its diplomatic links with Taiwan and practice “noninterference” in China’s internal affairs if the Roman Catholic Church wishes to improve its relations with the communist-ruled state.
In antiquity China acquired a beautiful name, Shen-zhou, which literally means “state of God.” Unfortunately, the title probably was used as a political term meaning that God had given the elite the divine right to rule rather than that Yahweh claimed China as the chosen land and the Chinese as a chosen people.
The House of Representatives has approved a bill that would prohibit federal courts from ruling on the merits of a 1996 law that allowed states not to recognize gay marriages performed by other states. On July 22 the House adopted, 233-194, the Marriage Protection Act, which would tie the hands of all federal courts—including the U.S.
Walking toward Chicago’s Federal Plaza a few months ago, I saw what appeared to be a rather large aggregate of people engaging in aerobic exercises. On closer inspection, however, the group—many of them of Chinese background—proved to be performing the slow-motion rituals of the spiritual movement known as Falun Gong, which claims a worldwide following of around 100 million.
Chinese translators and Smithsonian Institution label-writers can be garblers. Let me illustrate: Soli Deo Gloria, an adventuresome group on whose board I have served, charters and sees to the performance of a major new choral work each year. It also sponsors an annual choral-orchestral concert in China.