Madhya Pradesh amends anti-conversion law

By July 31, 2006

India (MNN)–The Indian State of Madhya Pradesh has tightened its anti-conversion law.

Settled last Tuesday, India’s lawmakers added more restrictions on an already stringent law. Under the amended legislation, a person wishing to change religion must inform the district magistrate.

The religious leader or organization performing the “conversion rituals” is required to inform the authorities a month in advance and police will verify the credentials of the officiants.

This is to insure that the conversion is being done without force or allurement. Punishments include fines and imprisonments for those failing to follow the proper procedures.

Voice of the Martyrs’ Canada spokesman, Glenn Penner explains the ‘nutshell’ of the law’s impact. “If you want to change your religion, you’ve got to go ask the government for permission, and if the permanent government says ‘nope, you can’t’, then you can’t become a Christian.”

To an outsider, it looks like the new restrictions are added ‘hoops’ believers have to jump through to continue ministry. Penner agrees. “The purpose of these hoops is to stop the spread of the Gospel. There are thousands of Hindus that are coming to Christ, and the Hindu militants are very, very concerned about this and so they’re saying, ‘we need to put a stop to this’.”

Simply because they exist,thought, the body of Christ wins, but, Penner says, they’ll need prayer support in the days ahead. “To ask Christians to abide by this law is really to say that the government has authority that belongs only to God. Christians render under to Caesar that which is Caesar’s. We can’t give to Caesar that which is God’s. I just don’t think that most Christians are going to abide by this law, and potentially could face tremendous harassment for it.”

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