Andrea Gagliarducci recently analyzed, for the Catholic News Agency, the Chinese government’s policy pushing to “sinicize religions”:
The new regulations on religious activities in China came into effect Feb. 1. Worship can be practiced only in designated churches, and according to a schedule approved by government administrators, while every other place, including private houses, is designated “illegal for worship.”
Group prayer is forbidden in private houses: if one is caught while doing that, he can be arrested. The regulations also require that every church must display at its entrance a notice that the building is “prohibited to minors under age 18,” and that children and teenagers are not allowed to take part in religious rites.
While this is obviously a more-extreme manifestation, I can’t help but find something familiar in the perspective on religious liberty taken by Western progressives. The Obama administration sought to impose a mandate to cover contraceptives on the Little Sisters of the Poor because they were not technically a church organization. Massachusetts pushed the Catholic Church out of adoption services because it wouldn’t conform to the government-approved definition of marriage. Progressives insist that every professional who provides services to the public has no right not to take jobs because they would conflict with their traditionalist beliefs. Rhode Island legislators recently proposed to give government authority to police public and private schools to ensure that they aren’t violating progressives’ understanding of discrimination.
So, yes, China’s oppression is far advanced, but would anybody think that American progressives would object to speech codes restricting traditional views to approved expression within the four walls of a church, or blocking minors from entering places in which they might hear such subversive things?