New officials protect constitutional freedoms

By July 1, 2009

India (MNN) — There's good news for Christians and other minorities in India. The newly-elected government is trying to halt further anti-conversion bills being introduced by
the former Bharatuya Janata Party (BJP).

K.P. Yohannan, president of Gospel for Asia welcomed this news, saying, "It's absolutely encouraging to see the government upholding the constitution and its secular values of freedom of choice and liberty for the people. Continue to pray for those in authority, that they will protect the rights of the minorities in their freedom to choose."

The current anti-conversion legislation is active in five states: Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, and Gujurat. It is referred to as the "Freedom of Religion" act. It was originally put in place to stop forced conversion. However, it has been used to falsely accuse pastors or evangelists. That can result in heavy fines, jail time, or both.

Anti-conversion legislation has been passed in Rajasthan and Arunachal Pradesh, though it hasn't been implemented. The Indian government plans to nullify it in
those states. In Madhya Pradesh, the new government plans to withhold consent on passing even more stringent laws which were proposed by the BJP. The Chief Minister of that state agrees that the proposal would cause the law to infringe upon the freedoms outlined in the constitution. 

In the past, persecution has been known to bring the church together as well as add to its numbers. However, it is a welcome change to see the government standing up for equality and
freedom.

Pray that the new government's efforts will not be in vain. Pray that God will protect and advance their work and that this will be a blessing to His church in India.

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