Questions surround Karnataka anti-conversion law

By July 19, 2023

India (MNN) — Overturning a statewide anti-conversion law seemed like a sure bet this summer in India’s southern Karnataka state. The Congress party campaigned on a promise to do just that.

“They made this announcement in June: ‘One of our priorities [is to] overturn the anti-conversion law,’” Todd Nettleton with The Voice of the Martyrs USA says.

Ever since the Congress party won the Karnataka elections at the end of June, “I’ve been watching the news and checking regularly – ‘Hey, have they done it yet? Have they overturned the law?’”

After weeks of inaction, “I see they’ve now referred it to the Law Committee,” Nettleton continues.

“They want to do ‘due diligence’ before they move ahead on overturning this law, which sounds like ‘cold feet’ to me.”

A reversal like this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. “There was pressure from the Hindu nationalist party, the BJP, who had been in power before,” Nettleton says.

“They were saying lots of things about the Congress party overturning this law. [They said the Congress party was] pro-Muslim [and] they don’t honor Hinduism properly.”

In a dozen other states with anti-conversion laws, “These laws are being used as a weapon against the Gospel,” Nettleton says.

“They are being used almost weekly to attack churches [and] break up services, to arrest pastors.”

(Graphic courtesy VOM USA)

Pray that believers in Karnataka state will have strength and courage no matter what happens next.

“According to the working president of the Congress party, the issue has been referred to the Law Department, and the government will take an appropriate decision at an appropriate time,” Nettleton says.

“He doesn’t put a timeline on it and doesn’t say what decision that will be. That has to be disappointing for Christians, especially Christians who supported the Congress Party and thought this was a priority for them.”

Secondly, “Pray for boldness for our brothers and sisters in Karnataka state,” Nettleton requests.

“Our job as Christians is to share the Gospel and tell people about Jesus, regardless of what the law says.”




Header image courtesy of The Voice of the Martyrs USA.