David Curry of Open Doors USA says this “blame game” is part of a wider trend in India.
“Prime Minister Modi is part of the political party that’s putting the ‘Hindu first’ agenda forward and emboldening radicals to blame religious minorities. Right now, you see them attacking Muslims, blaming them for the coronavirus outbreak; you also have some groups blaming Christians,” Curry says.
“People are using religious minorities as scapegoats or they’re targeting them, or they’re withholding aid.”
COVID-19 doubles believers’ difficulties
As previously noted, India’s Prime Minister put the world’s second-most populated country under lockdown in March to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Churches haven’t been able to meet since then, so pastors don’t have the financial support that normally comes through tithing. More details here.
Furthermore, as reported here, some states won’t let Christians receive government food rations. “Christians in India largely come from the lowest caste, the Dalit. That means that they’re deeply affected by these sort of lockdowns because they’re living hand-to-mouth,” Curry explains.
“You can certainly see that there’s going to be issues of starvation. Open Doors has a Rapid Response Program to help feed Christians in India and throughout Asia who are from these low caste systems.”
This isn’t the first time religious minorities face pressure from India’s government and society. “India has risen on our World Watch List to number 10, which means it’s one of the most difficult places for Christians to practice their faith. There’s a radical Hindu agenda that has developed since 2014,” Curry explains.
“We need to continue to challenge Prime Minister Modi to control religious extremists within his country. He’s doing an exceptionally poor job of this,” he adds.
“He (Modi) has instigated a lot of the attacks against Muslims and Christian minorities in India. There’s no question about it.”
How to help Christians in India
Click here to send tangible support to persecuted believers through Open Doors USA. Most importantly, pray. “Pray for Christian leaders in India who try to find ways, even while they’re suffering themselves, to help their flock: people in their church who might be without food, without jobs, without access to medical care,” Curry requests.
“Pray for individuals who are on the frontlines helping people.”
Header image courtesy of Open Doors USA.