Religious freedom on the line

By August 14, 2014
(Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

(Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Nepal (MNN) — Religious freedom is at-stake in Nepal as political leaders feel pressure to add anti-conversion laws to the constitution. It shouldn’t be a surprise that India is pushing Nepal to make the change, say Patrick Klein with Vision Beyond Borders.

Listen to the full interview here.

“India’s very, very influential in Nepal’s politics,” Klein explains. “This radical Hindu group that’s mostly based down in India, they’re trying to push these anti-conversion laws because the Church [is] growing very fast in Nepal.

“People are seeing that Hinduism does not work and is not the Truth.”

On his Web site, Christian researcher Russ Mitchell identifies Nepal and China as the places where Christianity is growing the fastest. He uses information gathered from a 2013 report published by The Center for the Study of Global Christianity.

“The primary growth factor in Asia is conversion growth,” Mitchell writes. “China, Nepal, Cambodia, and Mongolia have high conversion rates among their indigenous people.”

This growth is what threatens the radical Hindu groups, Klein explains.

“There’s a lot of control through religion,” he says. “I think we’re going to see more and more persecution break out in Asia because these people are threatened.”

In a recent briefing, Christian Solidarity Worldwide draws attention to proposed anti-conversion legislation. It cites specific examples of pressure on Nepali leaders to restrict religious freedom and calls on the Constituent Assembly to protect citizens’ rights to choose which belief they will adhere to.

Religious Freedom in South Asia
Most of Nepal’s neighbors have something in their books restricting religious freedom. Five states in India have strict anti-conversion laws in place, while another three have laws under consideration. Only one state, Tamil Nadu, has successfully repealed such statutes.

south asia

Eight of nine countries in South Asia are on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List (WWL).
(Map courtesy SouthAsianConcern.com)

Anti-Christian sentiment is even more widespread on the social front in South Asia. From Pakistan to Burma, eight of nine countries in South Asia are on the Open Doors World Watch List (WWL). The World Watch List is a ranking of 50 countries where persecution of Christians for religious reasons is worst.

Nepal’s new constitution is expected to reach completion next year. If an anti-conversion law is added and enforced, it’ll have damaging effects on ministry.

Currently VBB works with local believers in Nepal to rescue women and girls from the sex trade. They also care for orphaned kids and match them with sponsors who can support them financially.

“When [girls] come into the safe house and hear the Gospel, they get saved. [Under the new constitution], that would be illegal,” explains Klein. “It would really hurt us.

“If one of those kids [in the orphanage] came to Christ, then the orphanage could be shut down and the directors put in prison.”

What you can do to help
Please pray about this situation, and pray for believers in Nepal. “Pray that the Church will be strong and that the Church will not compromise,” asks Klein.

“We also need to pray for the lawmakers in these countries, that the Holy Spirit would convict them of sin, of righteousness, and judgment to come.”

Will you write a prayer for Nepal in the Comments section below?

More stories from South Asia.

6 Comments

  • Rick says:

    Father, will You graciously provide grace, strength and protection for Your children in Nepal and bring them teachers who will lovingly guide them into spiritual growth so that transformational revival will even reach governmental leadership!

  • We are praying for all and for all your requests.
    May God bless you and give you strengh and protection.

    Eric De Jesus
    Rosy Hernandez

  • Father God, please protect your children in Nepal from the passing of an anti-conversion law that would make it so difficult to share their faith with those who need it so desperately. Pour out Your mercy and grace and enable them be good ambassadors for Christ. May your will be done in Nepal. We ask your help in the powerful name of Jesus.

  • Les says:

    Dear God let your Word be heard in these places so full of darkness.Let it be the Light of Truth for lost .Prayers for Courage in High places in Jesus’ Mighty Name!!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Father, your children in Nepal are so faithful and depend fully on you for every provision. Darkness can be felt. Shrines and idols and Hindu and Buddist temples are all over the place, but when entering a place where true worship is taking place, your Light shines so brightly that one can hardly see. The precious believers depend on You in every aspect of their life. After You open their hearts and minds to believe in You, they are kicked out of their families and are homeless, yet they find joy in every situation knowing You never leave them and always provide whatever they need. Please, Lord, do whatever it takes to allow the Good New of Your Gospel to spread like a wild fire in the hearts of the people in Your beautiful country of Nepal. Open the hearts of the government officials to know you so they will not make conversion to Christianity illegal. But, most of all, Lord, give Your strength, courage, peace, love, protection, and provision to Your children, so that no matter what happens, they will stand firm in their faith! You work so many miracles in their lives every day … please work this miracle so that they can be free to worship you and draw others into Your amazing family. Please protect your leaders and their families who boldly proclaim Your Truth and help take care of your people every day. I ask these things in Jesus precious name, Amen.

  • Lord you know the position of lawmakers in Nepal and you know that this new constitution if put in place stating there can be no conversions would be a hinderance to the spread of your Word. I pray in Jesus name you stop any hinderance to the sharing of the Gospel in Nepal. Your servants are doing your will and need your protection. Even now as I speak in your name Protect those that are high in the Himalayas preaching and teaching that they might have boldness and courage to keep sharing your Word. Please protect the lawmakers and give them insight to who you are and they may see a glimpse of your Glory that would change what men thought for evil God means for good. In Jesus name, worthy is the Lamb.

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