Nepal (CD/ MNN) — Compass Direct reports some startling
developments in Nepal that could impact the future of Gospel work there.
Voice of the Martyrs Canada also confirms the reports which
indicate that there's a change coming in the criminal code.
Nepal abolished Hinduism as the state religion in 2006 but is now working
on giving the criminal code added "bite." Changes now forbid a person of one faith to "convert a person or
abet him to change his religion."
According to Compass, Article 160 of the proposed code also says no one will
be allowed to do anything or behave in any way that could cause a person from a
caste, community or creed to lose faith in his/her traditional religion or
convert to a different religion.
The standard clauses of "offering inducements or without inducement" and
preaching "a different religion or faith with any other intent" are also
included in the prohibitions.
Evangelists convicted under the code could face a five-year jail sentence as
well as a heavy fine (US$685). If the
offender is a foreigner, deportation would come within seven days of completing
The bill still needs to be approved by the House and also make it through
that body's Legislative Committee. However, if the committee approves the bill,
it would return to parliament and then be sent on to the president.
There's been a hitch. Last
weekend, the Nepalese government failed to complete a new constitution
providing for religious freedom due to a protracted battle for political power.
Pray for all those in authority in Nepal. Ask God to bring about genuine
religious freedom in this nation. Pray for the church and that it
will remain faithful, growing in strength and in number.