From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
NCCCUSA China Delegation Email
Victor Hsu, Director, East Asia & the Pacific, NCC
12 Oct 1998 09:31:36
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.
Contact: NCC News, 212-870-2252
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101NCC10/12/98 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
EMAIL FROM THE NCC CHINA DELEGATION
NEW YORK, Oct. 12 ---- Ambassador Andrew Young's
Nanjing/Hopkins University lecture and sermon at a Nanjing
church . NCC comment on the U.S. religious persecution bill
- these are the subjects of emails received over the
weekend from the National Council of Churches delegation at
the midpoint of its Oct. 8-15 visit to China.
Ambassador Young, the NCC's President Elect for 2000-
01, and the Rev. Dr. Joan B. Campbell, NCC General
Secretary, are leading the delegation, which is looking at
the current status of church-state relations in China.
The email comes from Victor Hsu, Director of the NCC
East Asia and the Pacific Office, who is staffing the
Date: October 12, 1998
Re: Ambassador Young's Lecture & Sermon
On arrival in Nanjing on Saturday, October 10, our first
event was a lecture by Andrew Young at the Nanjing
University/Hopkins University Center for US-China Studies.
Though a Saturday afternoon, there were about fifty
students and faculty in attendance. Ambassador Young spoke
from his personal experience. He talked about how he tried
to ignore China but was not allowed to because of its
significance in the world as the China related agenda
continues to thrust itself onto the world stage.
He referred to the maintenance of contacts by U.S. churches
and progressive movements with the Chinese Churches during
the difficult days of the Cultural Revolution and of the
importance of those contacts in helping to build key
bridges across the ideological and political divide. He
reminisced the time when he was with Martin Luther King
after a visit to the U.S. Mission headed than by Arthur
Goldberg. King was attacked by many for saying afterwards
that "800 million people will not cease to exist just
because we don't want to recognize their existence."
In an extensive question and answer exchange, he said that
it was very important to both maintain good relations with
and develop strong advocates for China because of, among
other factors, its economic potential. For example, it
stood as a rock of stability during the recent Asian
financial crisis. It was essential that the economic well-
being of all people be assured otherwise there would be
civil strife for any nation including the United States.
He said, taking his home city of Atlanta as an example,
that if there would be a 10-year long recession it would
explosively exacerbate existing and underlying tensions .
Answering another question about affirmative action, he
said that he was both a beneficiary of and advocate for it.
He also said that good economists realize that poverty is
dangerous and therefore it is necessary to help all nations
enjoy economic development. He said that was the genius of
the Marshall Plan and saw the contradiction among those who
oppose helping China because it is allegedly an enemy.
Answering another question about the recent spate of films
about China, he noted that they had not been constructive
for promoting better ties with China. He urged the
audience to write to the producers like Richard Gere to let
them know that the reality of China is very different from
the picture portrayed in the films.
On Sunday Ambassador Young preached at the Mochou Church to
a packed congregation. He used Psalm 91:14-16 as his text
and preached the theme of "God's All Powerful Love."
Saying that we are all precious in God's sight he marveled
at the mystery of such a love. He compared that
"unconditional" love to the love of the mother for her
children and expressed his wonder that God's love could be
understood and appreciated from Atlanta to China. It was
as mysterious as the way the cell-phones work or the
lightening speed of transmitting photos digitally by the
phone line. He gave testimonial to his own grandmother's
and mother's love for him during his time away from home in
college. He believed that their prayers and love for him
acted like a cell-phone and were responsible for keeping
him from going astray or yielding to the many temptations
of youth. He then spoke of the all powerful message love of
Martin Luther King who believed that we are all children of
God whatever our color. Equally powerful was his message
of loving your enemy and of the way of non-violence. He
believed that Martin Luther King's death was powerfully
transformed by God into a resurrection of a more racially
conscious, more accepting and less unequal American
Date: October 10, 1998
Re: Religious Persecution Legislation
Here is a October 10, 1998, statement from our General
Secretary, the Rev. Dr. Joan Campbell while on an official
visit to China:
The vote of support in the U.S. Senate for the religious
persecution legislation brings to the conclusion our
creative year-long debate on the effective use of American
influence on this international human justice issue. We
believe our ecumenical Christian voice has contributed
positive insights and sensitivities to the present
Through the National Council of Churches our churches have
stood with our overseas partners in facing religious
liberty issues for nearly fifty years. Even now human
rights issues including religious persecution will continue
to need active attention by all religious and caring
We will be attentive to the implementation of the
legislation when it becomes our nation's law. We continue
to believe that economic sanctions against any nation are
most effective when evoked through multi-national
decisions, not the USA acting alone. We continue to
believe that religious persecution must not become a
recurring issue in the domestic politics. We continue to
believe that such aspects of religious persecution as the
experiences of the persecuted themselves, the varied
traditions of religious freedom in countries other than our
own and the need to be concerned for people who seek asylum
for all human rights violations including religious, will
need to be monitored. We look forward for instance to the
report of the Senate's special commission on sanctions and
its implications for the religious persecution legislation.
We continue to believe that the USA must not act as the
religious police of the world. Our respect as Christians
for the various religious traditions of the world lies at
the heart of our commitment to religious freedom.
Preserving religious freedom, not a new issue to be
exaggerated or exploited, will require ongoing vigilance
and commitment of all of us.
We commend those peoples of faith whose passion about
religious persecution has renewed the awareness of us all,
including the Congress, to the urgency of the issue. We
trust that our continuing attention will draw us together
as religious communities.
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