Glimmers of hope in India

By November 19, 2008

India (MNN) — On November 13, the state of Andhra Pradesh in India signed an order to accommodate the financial interests of Christians. This significant mercy is notable, considering the ongoing persecution in neighboring Orissa.

Based on information from International Christian Concern, the new legislation was created in response to several Christian pleas to the government over the course of a decade. Despite the fact that 80 percent of Christians in the state live in poverty, they have only now been given the opportunity to share a piece in the welfare system.

It is not an uncommon practice in India to provide welfare by allowing the poor to receive low interest rate government loans to be paid off. Not only are these Christians poor, but they are an extreme minority, representing only 1.6 percent of the Andhra Pradesh population, while Muslims account for 9.2 percent and Hindus for 89 percent. As a result of new law, the Christian minority will be able to obtain cheaper loans, thus giving them an opportunity to maintain quality of life while still being responsible for payments.

Christian leaders in the state have praised God for the order which, although just, was rather unexpected. Andhra Pradesh borders the state of Orissa in which dozens of Christians have been murdered in the past few months. Believers have fled their houses, have lost family members and have watched their belongings burn just meters away from an area that is now allowing Christians the opportunity to have better lives. As minimal as this new order may be, it is ironically a glorious mercy to believers considering their treatment elsewhere.

The hope now is that this initiative will catch on. If nothing else, the government of Orissa will take note that their southern neighbors are subtly disagreeing with their treatment of minority Christians. Pray that this may be the beginning to the end of the life -threatening persecution of Christ followers in India.

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