During the 2008 Summer Olympics, I wrote about the ethical concerns with Beijing hosting the games. Just as I did then, I have mixed feelings about these Olympics. Certainly I enjoy watching the athletes, and celebrating the cooperation between the nations that’s demonstrated. But are a number of the countries represented doing unethical things? Yes. (Including, by the way, the USA, since we are the leading proponents of child-killing in the world, funding abortions not only in our own country and in many others. See my note at the end of this blog.)
Should a country such as China, which violates human rights in dramatic ways, (including but not limited to the horrific genocide of the Uighur people) be rewarded by the global community by being given the Olympics? No.
This blog is not an appeal to boycott the Olympics, though some readers may feel compelled to do so. You can make your own decision about that. But just be aware—the face of China being represented is often not the real China, or at least not reflective of the whole China. Sure, any host of the Olympics wants to put their best face on, just as you probably do when you check the mirror before you go out and meet someone. But human rights violations in China are way worse than a blemish. Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council writes, “A six-hour plane ride away from the greatest sports spectacle of the last two years, the host is hiding the biggest torture network of the modern age. And the International Olympic Committee knew it.”
Ethically speaking, having China host the games sends the message “human rights aren’t that big a deal—you can persecute people, imprison them for religious and political reasons, but we’ll still honor you by making you host of the Olympics.” It also sends a “we’ll look the other way” message.
Again, in all fairness, prolife Christians should be just as disturbed by the U.S. government’s funding the slaughter of the unborn. Should we boycott the Olympics in China while celebrating the Olympics when it’s in the U.S.? Again, this is a decision of conscience individual believers have to make—there is no absolute revealed answer. In my case, I believe the Olympics do not serve to promote hostility and racism and genocide or global abortion. I think for the most part, they are a secular and of course imperfect attempt to help people see those in other countries around the world as fellow human beings who have dignity and are worthy of respect. So in my thinking the Olympics itself, regardless of its location, has more good to it than it does bad.
If you would boycott the Olympics when it’s in China, due to their human rights violations, should you also boycott all goods and services from China? Using the same logic, would you boycott the Olympics when in America, due to our human rights violations against our smallest and most helpless children? Will you also boycott all goods and services made in America? (How’s that going to work for you?)
However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t express our moral concerns. I am personally thankful that all the attention is bringing these human rights issues to the forefront, and again putting China under world scrutiny.
Also on the positive side, the Olympics are and will certainly result in the gospel being brought into China, because every Christian athlete, coach, trainer, and support personnel can bring in a gospel witness and perhaps many will bring in Chinese gospel literature. Ultimately, I believe our sovereign God of providence will bring good out of this. Also, with China being the focus of world attention, there will be more prayer for Chinese believers, and God will answer.
Since I wrote my novel Safely Home twenty years ago, I’ve often been asked if there is still persecution of Christians in China. The answer is yes. Still, many American Christians, including some Christian leaders, have been led to believe persecution is a relic of the past and that the picture painted in Safely Home no longer pertains. (I truly wish it didn’t!) Bob Fu, a Chinese national, now labors in the U.S. to call attention to millions of persecuted countrymen. I encourage readers to examine Fu’s website and listen to these stories: www.chinaaid.org. In his article With All Eyes on the Olympics, China Threatens House Churches, Bob shares about the 60 members of the Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church, nicknamed the “Mayflower church,” who fled to South Korea but have been denied their request for asylum. He calls upon the U.S. to help this group of persecuted Christians.
Voice of the Martyrs shares these five ways you can pray for Chinese Christians during the Olympic Games:
So just as we did in 2008, Nanci and I will enjoy watching certain favorite parts of the Olympics (maybe a couple of hours a day, anyway). And we will also pray that the touching unity and mutual respect and peaceful spirit of most of the athletes would carry over to the leaders of their nations. And that the churches of China, many of whom have a marvelous track record of great faithfulness to Jesus, will be blessed. And that the cause of Christ will be furthered as people of every tribe, nation, and language bring worship and praise to the Lamb of God.
Clarifying note about the USA’s accountability for not only tolerating but also promoting abortion in our own country, and also in funding the holocaust of global abortion:
As we’ve pointed out in my blog over the years, Planned Parenthood has long been the largest abortion provider and promoter in the world. In many states they have regular access to public high schools where they promote abortion as a birth control method. As an example of their reach, in 2019, Planned Parenthood announced it would be opening fifty clinics in Los Angeles high schools alone, funded by $6 million from Planned Parenthood plus a $10 million grant from Los Angeles County.
According to Planned Parenthood’s annual reports, The U.S. government (out of citizen tax dollars) gave them $616.8 million in 2018-2019. This exceeds their total of private contributions and bequests, amounting to $591.3 million. U.S. government funding of Planned Parenthood reached an all-time high under President Trump’s administration, despite his campaign promises to defund Planned Parenthood.
In 1984 Ronald Reagan, who actually wrote a prolife book when he was the sitting president (Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation), implemented what was known as the Mexico City Policy. It said that the U.S. government would only give global “family planning” financial aid to agencies working in various countries who would “not perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.”
That policy has normally been rescinded by Democrat presidents and reinstated by Republican presidents and has been in effect for 21 of the past 36 years. Just one week after his inauguration, President Joe Biden rescinded the Mexico City Policy.
In a January 28, 2021 article, ABC news reported, “[Biden’s] decision, while expected, was cheered by abortion-choice advocates and some humanitarian groups and denounced by anti-abortion groups.”
After quoting pro-abortion advocates who favor President Biden’s move, ABC reported these responses from pro-life advocates:
“U.S. foreign policy — and the foreign entities we fund with billions of dollars in grant money — should consistently affirm, care for, and tangibly assist women and children — including unborn baby girls and boys,” said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who has been one of the most vocal abortion opponents in Congress.
“Funneling U.S. tax dollars to abortion groups overseas is an abhorrent practice that flies in the face of the ‘unity’ Joe Biden and Kamala Harris promised to inspire,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which seeks to elect anti-abortion candidates to Congress and other offices.
Echoing the comments of others, she blasted the Biden administration for once again allowing taxpayer money to fund abortions, maintaining the move was payback for a group of “abortion industry giants” that support the president's campaign for president.
“Pushing abortion on other nations is not compassion, it is ideological neo-colonization,” said Lila Rose of Live Action, a national anti-abortion group. "This decision is a dark day for our nation — it will lead to more deaths of more children and for that, Joe Biden should be ashamed.”
Photo attribution / Creative Commons