A pair of stories from China illustrate how freedom of speech and freedom of religion go hand-in-hand. Many conservatives (especially Christians, like myself) advocate moral positions that I generally agree with and are eager to ban sexually explicit material; however, when a government has the power to decide who gets to say what, it's generally easier to ban Bibles than to ban pornography.

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese court on Tuesday sentenced a Protestant minister, his wife and her brother to prison terms of up to three years for illegally printing Bibles and other Christian publications, one of their lawyers said.

The conviction of house church minister Cai Zhuohua, 34, and his family by the Beijing People's Intermediate Court came days before U.S. President George W. Bush arrives for a state visit.

In atheist China, printing of Bibles and other religious publications need special approval from the State Bureau of Religious Affairs. Bibles cannot be openly bought at bookshops in a country long criticized overseas for intolerance of religion.

And from the second story:

BEIJING (AFP) - China's media watchdog has launched a monitoring system to step up surveillance of illegal websites with sexual and violent content.

The General Administration of Press and Publication has already issued warnings to 53 websites that provide downloads for pornographic games, the communist party mouthpiece People's Daily reported Tuesday.

The 14 games included "Lives filled with the blessing of sex," "Love the sisters" and "Artificial young girls," it said.

The move was launched in a bid "to safeguard the order of the Internet, purify the web environment and to protect the physical and mental health of the youths," the report said.

Even though freedom can be used for disgusting, evil purposes, God created humanity with free will for a reason: he wants us to choose to do right. If we try to take that freedom away from other people we diminish their God-likeness and we risk giving others the power to restrict our preaching of the gospel.



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