A city of a hill: the case of Chen Guancheng

Last week Chen Guangcheng, a Chinese prisoner escaped house arrest with the help of Christian missionaries.  His charges were brought in retaliation for uncovering a massive campaign of forced abortions in his hometown.  Rumor has it that Chen is now in hiding at the U.S. embassy in Beijing.

Next week, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton will head to Beijing for an economic summit.  This certainly couldn’t come at a worse time for the Obama administration that undoubtedly will not want to be caught up on the issue of one man’s life.  But it is important that they do.

The quality that has made America great has always been its status as a light on the hill.  It wasn’t until the last generation that we gained our national identity from military superiority or a growing economy.  What brought immigrants to America was our stand for liberty and our opposition to tyranny.

It isn’t fair to any administration to derail economic talks with China over human rights abuses, but at the same time every administration must do it.  America is very, very sick.  The nation is in debt, China will soon equal our military and economic might.  But what China will never have that America does — is a reputation as the nation that stands up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.  We are a nation of unalienable rights with the freedom to speak and protest.

Most pro-choice Americans would agree that massive forced abortion campaigns are something to be opposed and detested.  Thus, this isn’t a partisan issue.  When our nation speaks, foreign people listen — even when their governments may not.  Opposition to policies such as this may not set Chen free but they provide a voice for good in the world that other countries will see.

Although we may be sick, America cannot lose its soul.  Now more than ever we must continue to be that city on a hill.  U.S. officials should continue to come out strongly against the policy of forced abortions in China and in defense of Chen Guangcheng, who should receive diplomatic immunity if he is indeed in a U.S. embassy and above all the spiritual and moral support of our country.