As a Christian how to deal with persecution when the government itself opposes us for what we believe by stopping us to have job opportunities ?
As a Christian how to deal with persecution when the government itself opposes us for what we believe by stopping us to have job opportunities?
While the source of Christian persecution in India depends on the location within the country, most of it comes from a variety of Hindu radical groups and organizations, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Shiv Sena and Vishya Hindu Parishad (VHP). Hindu radicals also dominate the central government in New Delhi. In Muslim-majority areas, Christians experience persecution at the hands of the Muslim majority. In the poorer regions of the country (Bihar, Jharkand and Chhattisgarh), the Naxalite movement (Maoist rebels) also persecutes Christians.
How Christians are Suffering
Because Hindu radicals view Christians as outsiders, they are experiencing increased persecution. These radicals are intent on cleansing the nation of both Islam and Christianity and employ violence to this end. Usually, converts to Christianity experience the worst persecution and are constantly under pressure to return to Hinduism. Campaigns known as Ghar Wapsi (or “homecoming”) are used to get Christians to denounce their newfound faith. These converts are often physically assaulted and sometimes killed for refusing to deny Christ. The government continues to look away when religious minorities are attacked, indicating that violence may continue to increase in the coming years.
In November 2016, a pastor and his family showed the Jesus Film to people in their village. When they returned to their home, it had been burned down.
In March 2017, U.S.-based Christian charity Compassion International ended its activities in India because of increasing governmental restrictions. Since the pro-Hindu BJP party came to power in 2014, radical Hindu groups have accused Christian charities of attempting to convert Hindus.
In May 2017, six pastors were arrested at a prayer meeting in a believer’s home in the village of Salempur in Uttar Pradesh. The pastors were charged with disturbing the peace, creating hostility between religions and attempting to incite a riot.
To whom do we turn to for our income, housing, education, a good family structure, healthy children, alleviation of poverty, protection from evil and personal security?
If you’re a believer you may answer ‘God’. But for many people today, the answer is the government. And so when it all goes wrong in our society, it’s the government that gets the blame.
Not evil, the devil, poor individual human choices, sin, or just bad luck. In our dominant cultural narrative, it’s always the government’s fault when there is poverty, crime, selfishness and greed. Government is god.
In this worldview, the hope for the future depends on good government. The ‘correct’ state will usher us into a greater age, a utopia, where there is less suffering and crying and pain. This tendency was shown so clearly after the referendum and the US election, and in our current general election: those who get their preferred outcome are ecstatic, those who don’t are despondent and hopeless.
Yet the Bible speaks of these things in a spiritual sense: God is our provider, our defender, our healer. For many Christians, it is God who they put hope in. It is the devil who is blamed for the evils of the world. People may make good or bad choices, but we believe that ultimately God is in charge, and people in government are still made in the image of God and have value.
However I think that the government is often an idol – a false god, and Christians are as risk as anyone else. When our hope is in government, the political situation causes us to be despondent or euphoric. It causes us to blame and hate the opposing side, whatever that may be. We create messiahs who we think will save humankind if they are in charge.
We stop looking to God and start looking to a fallible set of human beings for salvation, who try to control things that often aren’t under their control. Romans 13 can become a proof text to institute government as god: as if God has abdicated and handed his powers to the state.
I wrote an article recently that questions to what extent Christians should get into politics at all, at least as politics is understood as mission or part of following Jesus. The issue isn’t as clear cut biblically as some make it out to be.
Jesus commands us to act in many ways: to give to the poor, to love our neighbour, to heal the sick. He doesn’t say we should do this via the intermediary of a government. If there is a homeless person on the street, why blame the government? Why not take responsibility and do something about it ourselves? If someone is struggling financially, why is it the government’s responsibility to help, and not our own? I fear it’s a lot easier to project our sadness and disappointment towards a government rather than take action. Government can be a very useful scapegoat for a broken society.
Passing the buck to the state also means that we create an entity with a lot of power. We might intend to vote for a government that uses this power benevolently, but what if it decides to use it for ill? And who decides what’s right and wrong anyway? We may find that our attempts to create utopia, we create a Frankenstein that we can’t control.
As our society increasingly forgets or rejects God as a reality, perhaps it’s no surprise that there is a corresponding increase in rage and anger, political division, and intolerance: as people battle on behalf of their gods of ideology and politics, and seek for their ideology’s supremacy over others. Perhaps we have an intrinsic need to seek a higher power. Maybe we all need to be aware of exactly who we are placing in that role in our lives.
Whatever happens this week, I fear that those people whose god is government will ultimately be very disappointed.
Dr Katju, India’s Minister for Home Affairs and Law, has told Parliament that, while everyone in India was free to propagate his religion, the Government of India did not want people from outside to come and do it. Dr Katju was answering a question on the work of foreign missionaries and said: “If they come here to evangelise, then the sooner they stop doing it the better.”
This view faithfully reflects that which Mr Rajagopalachari, Premier of Madras, told me two years ago when he explained that Hindus are most tolerant but that this did not mean that missionaries could forever come and treat Hindus as heathen and expect Hindu tolerance to protect them against the rightful indignation of respectable people described as heathen.
Since April, 1951, four American missionary societies and one English one have applied for permission to operate in India, and Dr Katju informed the House that in one case permission had been refused while in others it was still under consideration. The normal procedure is for the National Christian Council of India and the Roman Catholic bishops’ conference to recommend any such application. There are now 65 Catholic societies and fifty Protestant societies operating in India.
The Minister assured the House that missionaries are welcome to do educational, medical, philanthropic, and rural work, but they must not meddle in politics nor must they evangelise. Missionaries are missionaries precisely to evangelise either by word of mouth or by their living example, as one woman MP pointed out.
The future of foreign missionaries in secular India is now somewhat gloomy. The reason for this sudden interest and animosity against missionaries from a most tolerant Home Minister, himself a Sanskrit scholar, is perhaps to be found in the attitude of the Naga National Council who boycotted Mr Nehru’s meeting in Kohima because they want independence (the Nagas are a hill tribe on the Burmese border) - it is widely believed that missionaries lie at the bottom of the Naga mischief. Indeed, Government officers in the Naga hills have already begun investigating missionary activities, and at least one search of a missionary’s house has been reported in the Indian press.
If it is true that missionaries are overstepping their function and are guilty of politics then Dr Katju’s warning will doubtless bring them effectively to heel for he has added the stern warning that the Government of India is keeping a close vigil on the activities of missionaries in India.
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Indian Christians experienced almost as many attacks in the first half of the 2017 as they did in the entire year of 2016.
That’s according to a new report from the persecution watchdog organization Open Doors. According to the report, there were 410 reported incidents targeting Indian Christians in the first six months of this year. Last year, there were 441 reported incidents total.
Eighty-four of those incidents were violent assaults. Of those 84 violent attacks, 32 would have been deadly if timely medical-aid had not been provided.
One partner told Open Doors the Indian government fails to punish attackers, which emboldens them to target Christians even more.
“When Christians are beaten up by extremists, they are injured mostly on their heads or vital body parts. There was one incident earlier this year when the victim was attacked by a sword to his head. He was bleeding profusely and was critically injured… Attackers do not care if the person dies. They know they will not be punished because the Government (and hence the judiciary) will take their side. In most cases attackers go unpunished,” the partner said.
While some Christians may not be physically attacked, they pay a heavy societal toll for following Christ.
According to the report, many Christians become social outcasts or are forced to leave their homes for fear of their safety.
The biggest perpetrators of this persecution are Hindu extremists.
While the Indian government speaks of religious freedom and secularism, the government is run by a Hindu nationalist party called RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh).
Leaders are embracing Hinduism more and becoming less tolerant of other religions, especially Christians.
One Christian leader said he was once a Hindu nationalist and persecuted Christians before he made the decision to follow Christ.
“Before I converted to Christianity, I used to be a staunch Hindu. I also joined RSS at that time and started working with them. The party upholds Hindutva ideology and believes that if Christians in India aren’t controlled, they would convert all the Hindus in the country and Hindutva would lose its identity,” he told Oepn Doors. “Hence RSS wants to do their best to stop Christians from preaching about their faith. They would go to any extremes for that. I myself persecuted many Christians until I came to the Christian faith and realized what I had been doing.”
India’s Christians are fighting back by lobbying their government officials.
The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), which represents 14 million Protestant and Orthodox Christians, recently wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in hopes he would condemn the persecution.
As per Central Government Act Section 12 in The Passports Act, 1967.Everyone coming to India need to obtain proper VISA / travel document before they enter India. Section 3 of the act specify that wrong information furnished to obtain such visa or travel document should be denied entry to INDIA.
We are asking Government of India to enforce existing law and DO not issue TOURIST visa or e-Visa or Visa on arrival at port of entry to Christian Missionaries. A missionary visa category exists and any all missionaries coming to India need to obtain correct visa by providing truthful information.
Any tourist engaging in Missionaries activities “shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to five years and with fine which shall not be less than ten thousand rupees but which may extend to fifty thousand rupees” as per Indian Penal code