U.S. Christian Activists Protest Outside China's Embassy Over Its Decision to Tear Down Church Crosses

( [email protected] ) May 15, 2015 07:18 PM EDT

A group of Christian activists protested outside the Chinese embassy in Washington on Thursday to protest the decision from that country's government to forcibly remove crosses from churches.

China Persecution of Christians - Rev. Patrick Mahoney
Rev. Patrick Mahoney stands holding a cross outside the Chinese embassy in Washington D.C. on Thursday, May 14, 2015. (Twitter/RevMahoney)

According to CBNNews.com, the director of the Christian Defense Coalition, Rev. Patrick Mahoney, led the march by carrying a large wooden cross. Others expressed their support for religious freedom in China by using bullhorns.

"Officials in China's Zhejiang province have toppled crosses from more than 400 churches since early 2014. They say the crosses violate building codes," CBNNews.com wrote.

CBNNews.com reported that according to outside observers, China's government, which is run by the Communist Party, is nervous over the growth of Christian groups in that country, hence the action.

According to a press release issued on Christian Newswire, the event was part of the #orangejumpsuit campaign, which was designed to hold solidarity with persecuted Christians around the world. Mahoney covered the cross in orange ribbon to recognize that campaign.

"We are having a public display of the cross, to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and embrace religious freedom and human rights in China," Mahoney said. "It is an outrage that the Chinese government would trample public expressions of faith and crush free speech by removing hundreds of crosses from public buildings, destroying churches and imprisoning pastors."

According to the press release, Mahoney was "a longtime advocate of religious freedom and human rights in China" who "has led numerous demonstrations and protests around the world." He even went to China to organize protests in Tiananmen Square during the 2008 Beijing Olympics; the government there threatened him with six months in prison before deporting him back to the United States.

"The #orangejumpsuit campaign doesn't just stand for persecuted Christians in the Middle East but is a loud voice and witness for all those who suffer violence, intimidation and harassment because of the their Christian faith," Mahoney said. "The world and her leaders can never be silent or indifferent when people are persecuted for their religious beliefs and values regardless of what those faith traditions might be."

Mahoney broadcasted the event online through Periscope, an iOS app developed by Twitter for its users to stream video in real time. He even sent out a message from his Twitter account containing a photo of himself carrying a cross outside China's embassy in Washington.

"Standing for religious freedom and displaying across outside the Chinese embassy! #persecutedchurch," Mahoney wrote.

Mahoney, who is also the pastor of Church of the Hill in Washington, wrote on Facebook that they also held "a prayer and public witness" at the Chinese embassy. He then ended his post with a quote from Eric Metaxas.

"When the Chinese government tells its citizens that they can worship in a certain building on a certain day, but once they leave that building they must bow to the secular orthodoxy of the state, you have a cynical lie at work," Metaxas said. "They've substituted a toothless 'freedom of worship' for 'freedom of religion."

Tags : US Christians, Rev. Patrick Mahoney, Christian Defense Coalition, Church of the Hill, washington, China embassy, China, Chinese Embassy Washington, Christian activists, American Christianity, Christian protests, Chinese government, Communist China, Christian persecution, Christian persecution China