The seven state-sanctioned religious bodies issued a joint initiative on "advocating frugality and abstaining from extravagance" to promote the Sinicization of religion in China.
On June 8, Christian groups such as the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association & Chinese Catholic Bishops’ Conference and China Christian Council & the Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee released the agreement entitled "Joint Initiative on Advocating Frugality and Abstaining From Extravagance", according to the National Religious Affairs Administration.
The document stated, "In recent years, religious organizations all over China have adhered to strict and comprehensive education and achieved results. However, for a period of time, unhealthy tendencies such as an extravagance, collecting money through religion, and wastefulness in spending, have spread in the religious field, corrupted the religious atmosphere, damaged the social image of religion, and hindered the further advancement of the Sinicization of Christianity in China. In order to curb and reverse these unhealthy trends, we have issued the following initiatives to the religious community in China."
"First, we advocate traditional virtues and oppose unhealthy practices. (The old saying goes,) 'Frugality is a common virtue, while extravagance is a big evil.' Diligence and thrift are the traditional virtues of the Chinese nation, and all religious teachings advocate frugality and forbid extravagance. The Buddhist scripture says, 'Frugality and thrift will curb your desires and help you reach wisdom.' Tao Te Ching says, 'The saints keep away from extremities, extravagance, and excessiveness.' The Qur'an says, 'Do not squander. The spendthrift is indeed a friend of the devil.' The Bible says, 'Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.' It is necessary to integrate frugality and prohibit extravagance into faith practice and preaching. Resolutely oppose such unhealthy practices as extravagance, collect money through religion, extravagance and wasteful spending."
The statement continued, "Second, we advocate environmental protection and practicality, and oppose being ostentatious. We should adopt new building techniques and materials that save resources, protect the environment, are green and low-carbon, and create green places for religious activity. We should oppose the use of rare and expensive building materials, the pursuit of luxurious decoration that exceeds the practical requirements, the local economic development level and residents' consumption level."
"Third, we advocate self-cultivation and morality and oppose wasteful spending. Religious personnel should adhere to a simple and contented lifestyle, adhere to the spirit of self-discipline, oppose fame and fortune, and pleasure-seeking, and guide religious believers to practice the virtues of thrift and a green and low-carbon lifestyle. We should incorporate the requirement of advocating frugality and forbid extravagance into the code of conduct that has a reward and punishment mechanism for religious personnel. "
"Fourth, we advocate simplicity and moderation and oppose wasteful consumption. Religious activities should be solemn, simple, and moderate, keeping sanctity, seriousness and purity, and oppose emulating the higher level. They should pursue ostentation and extravagance in order to fight secularization and vulgarization."
On the same day, the launching ceremony of the mobilization meeting of Christian education activities for "advocating frugality and abstaining from extravagance" in Cao County, Heze City, Shandong Province, and the learning month of ethnic and religious policies and regulations was held in the Christian Bo’ai Church of Cao County, reported the Heze CC&TSPM.
- Translated by Oliver Zuo