India (MNN) — The Rajasthan
State Assembly has passed a new anti-conversion bill after a previous attempt
It's a controversial bill because
it states that if a group is found to be "contemplating" the use of money for
converting people, its registration can be cancelled.
However, the governor has hinted this
one may suffer the same fate as its sister. The current bill is now awaiting the approval of current Indian
President Prathiba Patil.
Anti-conversion laws are in force
in four states: Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Himachal Pradesh. Similar
laws also exist in Gujarat and Arunachal Pradesh but have not been implemented.
Concerns have grown over the new version
of the bill. It broadens its
anti-conversion scope to include women, children, Dalits and tribals. Christian groups fear these changes would
provide the pretext for numerous complaints against Christian organizations.
Dave Stravers with Grand
Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India
says this bill targets their audience. "The Holy Spirit is moving in the hearts of Christians who are
living there, even though they're outnumbered. They're very active. They're very committed. They're very loyal. This is an attempt to intimidate them and say,
'You shouldn't be doing this. You could be arrested.' People's lives may be
threatened. Just the fact that the law
exists will also embolden Hindu extremists who may take the law into their own
Stravers urges prayer.
"Christians are of two minds here. On the one hand, they're praying hard
that this law won't pass. On the other hand, they're rejoicing because this is
just another evidence that the Gospel is being received in the communities of
Rajasthan like it never was before."
Pray for believers who continue
in their work, that God would protect them. Pray, too, that He would raise up compassionate leaders in the legislative
elections later this year.