India (MNN) — Remember those massive Christmastime “re-conversion ceremonies” in India we told you about a couple of weeks ago? In answer to prayer, they were shut down, reportedly by the government.
But now, another threat is rising: there’s talk of a nationwide anti-conversion law.
“There is definitely a move in the government to make India a Hindu nation,” says Voice of the Martyrs USA spokesman Todd Nettleton.
“We need to be aware of that; we need to be watching that.”
If put into law, such a ban would make it illegal for Indians to follow any religion except Hinduism.
“Ostensibly, it’s to protect the minorities: to protect the Christians, to protect the Muslims,” notes Nettleton.
BJP officials claim “re-conversion ceremonies” wouldn’t have happened at all if a nationwide anti-conversion law was in place.
“Well, the reality is: anti-conversion laws–in the states where they exist–are primarily used against Christians as a way of stopping the Gospel work, stopping mission activity.”
India’s current anti-conversion legislation
Five of India’s 29 states currently have laws in place forbidding religious conversions: Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Gujarat, and Himachal Pradesh.
“A national anti-conversion law would really be a step back for religious freedom in India,” Nettleton states.
“Right now, this is talk at the government level of a national anti-conversion law. But it’s talk from the party that controls the Parliament there.
“So, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that they could get this kind of legislation through the process, because they have a majority.”
Over the past year, India has moved up seven spots on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List, due to its persecution of Christians. Ranked #28 on the 2014 list, 2015 finds India at #21.
Another move to restrict religious freedom, such as passing a nationwide anti-conversion bill, would likely move India further up on the World Watch List.
“There may come a point where we need to make our U.S. officials aware of what’s going on, and encourage them to be a voice and to take a stand for religious freedom in India,” says Nettleton.
“There are radical Hindu leaders in India who say, ‘Listen, India is a Hindu country. Indians are supposed to be Hindus; therefore, we’re going to have these people come back to Hinduism,'” Nettleton adds, referring to last month’s “re-conversion” push.
What you can do about anti-conversion laws
Along with advocacy, Nettleton lists two ways you can help the Body of Christ in India. First and foremost, pray.
“Please pray for our brothers and sisters there,” Nettleton requests. “Pray for encouragement and faithfulness, and that God will be with them through this time.”
You can also support persecuted Indian believers through VOM.
“There are many ways that Voice of the Martyrs is involved with the Indian Church,” says Nettleton, “from distributing, literally, tens of thousands of Bibles across India, to providing training for pastors and church planters.”
Praying and supporting our brothers and sisters
My hearts and prayers are with our brothers and sisters in India
Hi I am from City Amritsar, Punjab, India. I want to help my dear brothers and Sisters, plz can somebody guide me in it, or How i can help except prayers! Thank you!! I believe God will work out!
Praying for our brothers and sisters there in India, thank you for sharing this story!
WE DONT GO US And convert christian to hindus we are just reconverting our brothers and sisters who left hinduism Which is their true identity
As Americans who often”pray” for more “material items “and “personal” desires, may we remember those in India who are suffering and being ostracized because of their belief in the Son of God and sincerely ask Father God for His protection and hedge of protection for our brothers and sisters in India.
People are changing their religion everywhere in the world. There are many Europeans and Americans who are accepting Hinduism in the Western nations. Many temples are built in many cities across US, and Europe.
Not all Indians were Hindus and India was never 100% Hindu but mixture of different religions and cultures. Tribals in Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, North Bengal, Orissa, Assam and the rest of the Northeast have been animists and had their own indigenous religion. When they had accepted Christian faith, for example, they did not come from Hindu faith but from animism and they have the choice to change their religion to any religion they wish to chose and profess.