CCP Will Never Defeat Faith

Photo caption: In mid-July, Mr. Samuel Brownback held the 2021 International Religious Freedom Summit (IRF) in Washington D.C. and invited allies from all over the world who advocate for religious freedom.

An Interview with Sam Brownback

How can Western democracies fight against the growing threat from China? The Liberty spoke with Sam Brownback, co-chair of the 2021 International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit, as well as the former U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

Interviewer: Satoshi Nishihata


Sam Brownback

Former U.S. ambassador for international religious freedom

Born in 1956. After serving as the U.S. representative, senator and governor for Kansas, Sam Brownback served as the U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

—As China takes lead, people are starting to question what makes democracy so great.

Brownback: One of the hallmarks of democratic countries is human rights. [Religious freedom] is one of the things that the Chinese Communist Party is most opposed to because it has an allegiance to a higher authority, to God.

I think this is one of the key hallmarks of distinction between democracy and what the Chinese government is doing. The international religious freedom, or belief alliance, is 30 nations pushing religious freedom. This is a place that we could push cooperation greatly.

We ought to point it out, that if China wants to be a leading global country, that they have to grant human rights, particularly religious freedom, to all their citizens. They have to stop things like the genocide and persecution of Muslim Uyghurs, of Tibetan Buddhists, of Christians, of Falung Gong, of all the religious groups. I do think that is one of the key distinctions we need to point out to the world of the difference between the autocratic system in China and democratism.

I think [the Biden administration has] been very clear on the genocide, and I think they have been clear on confronting China. But it’s my hope that the administration would be very clear on the religious persecution taking place in China. I think they’re still finding their way a little bit on that.

They’ve got a higher priority on climate change, and they want China to cooperate with them on climate change, but they’re confronted around economic security. What they’re going to find out is, you’re not going to be able to have it both ways. We are either going to have to confront China on human rights and economic and security issues. That’s got to be your priority. I think we’ve got a lot of work we need to do on the climate, but I don’t think you subjugate it to human rights.

—Thank you. My next question is about the economy. Many democratic countries including Japan have not been able to break off from China due to economic relations.

Brownback: It’s a tough choice, but you can do it. It’s not a matter of you can’t do it.

I think we’ve got to stand for our human rights values and be willing to sanction China for things like forced labor, for things like religious persecution. We need to sanction them, regardless of its impact on economic issues. We really out to press China to either quit the genocide or move the 2022 Olympics. To have China host the Olympics at the same time they’re conducting a genocide, it’s a terrible thing to show the world.


Faith Will Never Be Subdued

—Please share your idea about the power of faith in liberating China.

Brownback: I think it’s faith that will ultimately win. In the history of mankind, governments have often tried to subdue faith in many different settings. They have never ultimately won. Never. The kingdom of man will not subdue the kingdom of God. It may put it down for a while. It may hold it back. It may imprison it. It may kill a lot of people, but it will never subdue it.

I think China would be wise to see they’re not going to conquer faith even as much as they try or as much as they think they can subdue it. They can hold it back for a while and they can hold it down. They will never defeat it. It’s a matter of the soul. It’s a matter of eternal issues. It’s a matter of the spirit that will not be contained with whatever you do to the flesh.


Religious Freedom Is a ‘Foundational Piece’ to All Other Freedoms

—Do you think there is lack of understanding, even in the West, that freedom does not exist without religious freedom?

Brownback: Yeah. I believe religious freedom is the cornerstone. By that, I mean a foundational piece of it that if you don’t have religious freedom, your other freedoms are going to be hurt. If you do have religious freedom, your other freedoms are going to be helped.

That is so foundational because it’s a matter of the heart, and 80% of the people in the world have a faith of some kind that they claim. They may practice it to varying degrees of intensity, but they orient their lives somewhat along faith. Less in the west and much of the rest of the world. Most of the world outside of the west orients their life around faith. As such, it’s so foundational because it’s what I’m orienting my life in my eternal view of things.

Where religious freedom prospers, you generally will see freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of association. Where you see a thwarted religious freedom, you’ll see less freedom of assembly, less freedom of speech, less of your basic freedoms.

That’s why to me it’s just such a foundational piece of it. I don’t think you can argue the fact that this is a foundational piece of what it is to be human, that you get to determine what you want to do with your own soul.

I think you can pursue democracy without a faith in God, given that you can pursue the right to vote without a faith in God. But I think you’re going to have a hard time sustaining [democracy] without guaranteeing people their right to pursue their faith as they see fit. Whereas if you base your democracy on this foundational freedom, the dignity to choose what you do with your own soul, it means the dignity to choose your own government if you’ve got a bigger foundation to build a stronger building.

CCP Will Never Defeat Faith
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