While in China I was struck by an incredible contradiction. I always thought that one of the main tenants of communism was that the state replaced all religion with atheism. And of course there are thousands of stories coming out of China about religious persecution against the Christians and particularly the home churches.
We were guests of the government at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the third anniversary of a Buddhist temple and the largest jade Buddha in the world. The speakers were the communist party leaders who pointed with pride at the temple and statue and invited all the special guests to come into the temple.
We discovered that the government pays for the upkeep of the temples and they pay the monks who live and worship there. We saw them lighting incense, bowing to the statue and paying homage to a 280 ton piece of jade.
So, not only has a wall of separation between church and state never been erected… the state-sponsored religion is Buddhism. But I always thought Buddhist were peace loving and never hurt a living thing. Why then are they beating, imprisoning, and killing Christians? Is that really what Buddhism stands for? Just curious.