Sri Lanka (MNN) — Harsh anti-conversion legislation has been making its way through Sri Lanka, but right now it's on hold. The bill went through first reading, then to the Supreme Court, and then it went to committee.
Back to the Bible International's Sri Lanka Country Director James Kanaganayagam says, "One thing that's probably going to keep it at that stage for some time is the pressure that came upon the government by countries like the United States and the United Kingdom not to bring this to a law. I know in the U.S. the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Washington was called for a meeting. "
Kanaganayagam says that pressure is believed to be what caused the legislation to be buried in committee.
According to Kanaganayagam, the church in Sri Lanka was instrumental in seeing this pressure come to pass. "The evangelical church in Sri Lanka made presentations to the different embassies in Sri Lanka, including the U.S. Embassy. They sent reports of the different atrocities that were being done against the church."
The anti-conversion bill wanted to prevent Christians and others from causing fear to those they're ministering to. Kanaganayagam says that would have caused issues in their outreach. "In that sense, it practically prevents us from sharing the whole Gospel. We can't talk about hell. We can't talk about the punishment of sin. So if you were to take the law in that context, we would all be guilty of breaking the law."
It would also have prevented Christians from offering humanitarian aid, education, and other assistance. The law claims those "allurements" could cause people to convert to Christianity.
Kanaganayagam says prayer support and telephone calls to legislative leader made a huge difference.
Even though the anti-conversion legislation is on-hold, Christians are facing increasing violence as the civil conflict between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels have intensified. Many Tamil Christians have been accused of terrorism.
Pray for protection and for the salvation of many.