Sri Lanka’s Parliament considers anti-conversion bill

By July 14, 2004

Sri Lanka (MNN) — It was patterned after a bill in Tamil Nadu, India. It’s called, “The Prohibition of Forcible Conversions of Religion Bill” and it’s already received approval by the country’s cabinet. The country’s parliament is expected to consider it on July 20th.

IN Network’s Rody Rodeheaver is concerned. “The bill obviously is put in place to keep the evangelical Christian church from having any kind of ministry. And, it is being driven by the Buddhists who are really in the majority in Sri Lanka. And, the long range goal here is to make Sri Lanka a Buddhist country,” says Rodeheaver.

Rodeheaver says the Buddhists are threatened by the large number of people turning to Christ in the country. He says the church continues to grow and the Buddhists are responding. “There has been a backlash against the Christian church,” he says. “Last year there were like 91 reported incidents. And, there have been somewhere over 40 reported attacks against churches in Sri Lanka this year.”

Many Christians believe the legislation will backfire on the Buddhists. Rodeheaver agrees saying, “God usually blesses in the midst of that persecution by people coming to know Christ. People see how Christians deal with persecution. Instead of responding with hate, Christians respond with Love. That’s a great testimony and it has a drawing affect.”

IN Network runs a ministry for children in the slums of Colombo. Rodeheaver is praying that God will allow this to continue. “We have a school there that is taking these young children and educating them. In doing that, we’re also getting to know their families and their parents and through that being able to share the Gospel.”

Pray that the bill will fail and that IN Network’s ministry will be protected.

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