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Pray for India
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By Mike Toth



Hebrews 11: 13-16: 13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (NIV)

Since May, 2014 the nation of India has been ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a right wing nationalist political party. While Christianity has always lived in tension in India, according to sources such as Open Doors and the Evangelical Fellowship of India Hindu persecution of Christian believers has been growing steadily under the BJP, and with increasing impunity.

While freedom of religion has been the law in India since 1947 (Articles 15 and 25 of the constitution) the history of this freedom is a bit more complex. Several incidents of violence against religious minorities have gained attention, such as the 2008 riots in Kandhamal that killed 50 Christians and saw 95 churches burned, much more sinister are the anti conversion laws that have been enacted in many areas of the country. These laws have been used as a pretext for the persecution of Indian Christians.

Recently 20,000 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) were stripped of their licenses to operate in India (out of a total of 33,000 nationwide) due to various violations of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act. The cancelling of the licenses means that NGO’s are no longer able to receive international funding, effectively ending their ability to operate. The move by the government is meant to limit the influence of international interests in the country, but aid organizations such as Compassion International are no longer able to serve the most vulnerable members of Indian society as they have for decades. There is no government alternative to these NGO’s.

When Compassion was forced to shut its doors in India it meant that nearly 147,000 babies, children and young adults registered in Compassion’s child development programs, as well as 127 staff were heavily impacted. Just over 4,700 Canadians sponsored more than 5,000 Indian children affiliated with 589 local Christian churches. While those Indian churches remain faithfully serving the fact that no funds from outside of India are allowed in will have a severe effect on their ability to alleviate poverty. Compassion’s statement on the issue can be seen by clicking HERE.

According to Christian sources in India the agenda of the BJP and its radical, Hindu only affiliate, the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) is as follows:
  1. Calling the country “Hindustan” instead of India, which is a traditional name.
  2. Making “Hindustan” a Hindu only country.
  3. Deleting the word “secular” from the constitution which is actually a reference to religions other than Hinduism rather than a reference to non religious entities.
  4. Making the penalty for representative of a non-Hindu religion converting a Hindu to that religion death instead of the current two year prison term.
  5. To demolish all non-Hindu churches in “Hindustan.”
  6. To strip Christians of their constitutional rights and protections.

The Christian population in India is an overwhelming minority, consisting of an estimated 2% of the population. Despite their comparative few numbers our brothers and sisters in India have been involved in mighty deeds, living out their Christian faith in love and in deed for decades, despite the constant threat of persecution.

It appears the world is growing increasingly callous to the persecution of Christians across the globe. The bombing and murder of 44 Egyptian Coptic Christians on Palm Sunday received little attention while social media exploded in rage at the video of a doctor being unjustly removed from a plane in the United States. We Christians who enjoy such wonderful religious freedom in the West must stand with our brothers and sisters in India as they are increasingly marginalized and shut out of society. Pray daily for the believers in India, for the children who are impacted by the NGO ban, and that the governments agenda to rid the country of Christianity would be thwarted. Though the situation is increasingly bleak there is always hope in Christ Jesus, the greatest hope of all.