Anti-conversion bill compounds problems in Rajasthan, India

By April 12, 2006

India (MNN) — Christians in the state of Rajasthan, India continue to feel the pressure of radical Hindus in their quest to eradicate Christians from that state. This is also the state that’s responsible for jailing the President of Hopegivers International, Doctor Samuel Thomas. Now, there’s another blow to religious freedom in India.

Hopegivers spokesman Bill Bray says, “The Rajasthan legislature met and passed a ridiculously strong and unconstitutional anit-conversion bill that has a whole section in it directly aimed at Hopegivers International and Emanuel Ministries and of course it’s a blow against all evangelical Christians.”

Bray says this law will have a huge impact on work with children. “That new law makes providing education and humanitarian services to children, defines it as coercion. It’s a bizarre twist, when we do good for people we are therefore coercing them to become Christians. The wording of it is very dangerous. It also denies freedom of press, freedom of speech, freedom of worship; it’s unconstitutional.”

While it’s unconstitutional, Christians are still in danger. “It’ll have to work through the court systems. This could take years. There are now four or five different states in India that have these anti-conversion laws and most of them have been struck down. In most cases it’s taken two or three years of costly court battles,” says Bray.

This is what Bray is calling a ‘delay tactic.’ “It’s the same with what they’re doing with our 12 orphanages and 65 schools. They’re hoping by putting our leadership in jail they can cripple these schools and delay us long enough in order that we will give up and quit.”

Christians are being urged to pray and continue contacting your representatives, asking them to put pressure on the Indian government to end this conflict for the sake of religious freedom.

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