January 11, 2017

What Disney Overlooks in Shanghai

The pursuit of money is a driving force for any business that wants to be successful. That makes total sense. But there is also a solemn responsibility to make sure that people are living in healthy environments and are treated fairly. These type of human rights issues are vitally important. But are they important to Disney?

In a couple of highly credible annual reports, China's human rights violations continue to astound. When the areas of religiously motivated violence in the spheres of society are examined, the home of the newest Disneyland cannot escape being viewed as a source of continual persecution. The country does rank lower than much of the Middle East, Africa, or even a good portion of Asia. China's ranking when it comes to persecution of Christians is Number 39. Sure, it's far below Number 1- that dubious "honor" goes to North Korea. All this according to the World Watch List 2017, from Open Doors an organization which has been monitoring this inhumane activity since 1955.  

A whole new world of accepted persecution.

Keep in mind, most Chinese Christians and their churches are underground, so more comprehensive statistics may be difficult to come by. When you add the unfortunate reality of forced family size restrictions, things are about as rosy in China as the skies of Shanghai. (Top image from Theme Park University.)

Another watch dog group, International Christian Concern, reports there are 215 Million persecuted Christians in the world- one in 12 people on the planet, with new countries being added to the list.

The United States of America has now made that list- as shown in the photo above. See the article here

Definitely what we experience in the States is no where near what is experienced elsewhere in the world. I have personally listened to believers in other countries share first hand stories of beatings, losing family and career, and more, all because they chose to follow Jesus. Persecution in the States just happens differently, and it is growing.

In this country, no sane person with an honest and open mind can be convinced that free speech infringement and limiting public expressions of faith are not a form of persecution in our society. It's happening everywhere. Pastors are being scrutinized for their sermon content, having to turn over their sermons to the local authorities.  It's happened recently in Georgia and a little further back in Texas. 

Look what happened when an LGBTQ bully- the new thought police- went after HGTV's Chip and Joanna Gaines. Thankfully, a writer who identifies as gay- wisely and bravely- came to their defense. (My article here.) Think you won't be the next victim? Think again.

Hefty fines for Christian business owners who cannot in good conscience offer services when their religious beliefs are in conflict with what is requested is another effective method used to force a community to bow to modern thinking. Public bullying seems to be accepted to make Christians submit to an ungodly way of living and thinking. Often this thinking is in direct contrast with how God tells His people to live. Isn't He the One we must first answer to? If you call yourself a Christ follower, the answer should be obvious.

When our current administration refuses persecuted Christians from other countries access into ours but allows many Muslims in, what does that communicate. A good friend of mine traveled overseas to serve both Christian and Muslim refugees, and he heard this first hand. He was in the outlaying countries surrounding this hotbed of activity. The stories he has relayed about this kind of persecution and even within the camps themselves would make you cry with anger and disgust. Man's inhumanity to man. Man's sin nature gone wild. There is no other explanation.

Who will speak up in all this? Which Christians will be brave enough to stand up for what is right in a world gone crazy? Who will support the persecuted worldwide church? (You can go here if you're interested in doing so.)

The current state of our world reminds me of the incredibly famous but tragic poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984). With regard to the choice of intellectual German society not speaking out against the Nazi rise to power as they oppressed and exterminated various groups, he wrote:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

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