August 11, 2008 – from the Family Research Council
Since the Opening Ceremonies, America’s First Family has been a prominent fixture at the Beijing Games. Apart from the athletic competition itself, one of the most talked-about events was the President’s symbolic appearance on Sunday morning at a Christian church service, where he and Laura applied even more pressure on the Chinese government to stop its brutal oppression of people of faith. Although the President has taken a lot heat for his presence at the Games, he has used every opportunity to encourage his hosts to welcome the role of religion in public life. In an interview last night with Bob Costas on NBC, President Bush spoke candidly about his desired outcome of the Beijing Games:
THE PRESIDENT: …[I]f you’re a religious person, you understand that once religion takes hold in a society it can’t be stopped…
COSTAS: [D]o you find Hu Jintao… receptive [to Western ideals]?
THE PRESIDENT: It’s hard to tell. I mean, it’s-all I can tell you is that it is best to be in the position where a leader will listen to you. I went to church here, and I’m sure the cynics say, well, you know, it was just a state-sponsored church. …[A]nd that’s true. On the other hand, it gave me a chance to say to the Chinese people, religion won’t hurt you, you ought to welcome religious people. And it gave me a chance to say to the government, why don’t you [recognize] the underground churches and give them a chance to flourish?
Our prayers are that as these Olympians compete, the international Church will not forget the Chinese Christians who are running to finish the real race and to keep the faith.