The purpose of this guide is to assist faith community leaders who want to address the absence of freedom of religion, conscience, and belief in China. You will know best how to accomplish this in a sermon or discussion with your community. We hope that the information below will assist you in your preparation.
What is the Solidarity Sabbath?
The Solidarity Sabbath is an international, interfaith, religious, and spiritual gathering focused on the plight of Chinese citizens who courageously live out their faith in face of the Chinese government’s increased persecution of religion, conscience, and belief. Held during the weekend of May 20-22, the Solidarity Sabbath is an opportunity for faith communities around the world to come together in solidarity as they worship and pray for religious and spiritual believers in China who desire to freely live out their faith and beliefs as we do.
Why the Solidarity Sabbath?
Freedom of religion, conscience, and belief is a liberty that we hold freely in the United States and in many other countries around the world. What many of us do each day or each weekend – attend religious or spiritual services – is an act that in China can easily lead to arrest, torture, or even death. With the world’s largest population and one of the world’s strongest economies, the fact that so many people cannot live out their faith is a cause for global concern.
How Can You Help?
- You can commit to participate in the Solidarity Sabbath by including this message as part of your worship service during the weekend of May 22nd. An interfaith show of solidarity in the form of sermons, devotionals, song, and prayer can inspire hope and draw on the powers of heaven on behalf of our brothers and sisters in China. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan on participating.
- You can share with us your sermon, prayers, or other information from your service so that we might share this information to the people of China. Please send copies to email@example.com.
Resources and Other Ways to Help:
There are many more religious devotees in China than there are members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) despite pressure from the CCP to reverse this trend. This is a source of hope that the persecution of religious and spiritual believers in China need not always be present. Despite the CCP’s efforts to demolish crosses and churches, the leaders of these religious communities still rise up in protest, even when they know it may lead to arrest, torture, or death. Falun Gong practitioners continue to defy the CCP by openly practicing their beliefs despite the knowledge that the Chinese government will show them no mercy. In Xinjiang, Uyghur Muslims are treated as second class citizens while being labeled as terrorists whenever they point out how they are being mistreated. In Tibet, hundreds of Buddhist monks and laypeople have independently set themselves on fire, feeling this is the only way they can get the world to notice the oppression that they endure each day. These stories and more are available in the Learn and News sections of this website.
So far, the governments of the free world have done little to help individuals and communities of faith in China. Because China is a growing economic powerhouse, increasingly interconnected with the economies of the free world, our elected leaders have become increasingly unwilling to take a stand on issues of such importance. China knows this and does not believe that we are willing to put human rights above profit.
The Solidarity Sabbath is a chance for the free world to not only take notice of the flaunting of religious persecution in China, but to also correct its up-to-now complacency in dealing with it. In addition to asking faith communities to discuss China’s religious freedom record, we are also petitioning governments of the free world to place more significance in our shared values when dealing with the Chinese government. We are also encouraging individuals to work with Solidarity Sabbath partners who are engaged in work in China.
How solidaritysabbath.org can help:
The Learn and News sections each provide a wealth of information regarding the current situation for individuals and faith communities in China. Whenever possible, links are made available to source information that can be used in preparing religious services. For example, if one wanted to focus on self-immolation in Tibet, one will be able to find stories explaining why these tragic protests happen, and what factors lead an individual to undertake them.
The Petition page will link you directly to change.org, where the Solidarity Sabbath petition is being hosted. This is the key way in which we can inform our elected leaders that we want them to hold religious freedom in higher standing when dealing with the People’s Republic of China.
The Partners page lists Solidarity Sabbath’s partner organizations and provides information about the projects they are engaged in. To help you lean more about what you can do to help, you will also find links to their websites to learn about the mission and activities of each organization.
Finally, if you need any assistance, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.