Religious freedom in word only – not in practice

Monday, March 13, 2017
 | 
Bill Bumpas (OneNewsNow.com)

IndiaInternational Christian Concern says a constitutional guarantee of citizens' religious freedom in various parts of India is "meaningless" if you're a Christian in that country.

Christians in India are feeling the heat as they see more and more villages pass resolutions banning practices of non-Hindu faiths – specifically, resolutions intended to banish Christianity. The latest ban came last month in Benje village in Chhattisgarh state, essentially making Christianity illegal.

William Stark with International Christian Concern says Article 25 in India's constitution grants religious freedom to its citizens and even the High Court of Chhattisgarh affirmed it; yet authorities are ignoring this right.

"Article 25 for these Christians living in Chhattisgarh is essentially just words on paper – it's meaningless," he says. "Until enforcement comes through, Article 25 means nothing."

Stark tells OneNewsNow that a light needs to be shone on this situation.

"... I think actually spreading the word, making people understand the human rights abuses that are happening, including the persecution of religious minorities, is really the first step towards dealing with this," he shares.

"... I think if there is enough international pressure – not just by the United States or not by just a segment of the U.S. population, but more of a global effort – I think we will see India actually change around quite a bit."

Stark says these resolutions banning Christianity have already led to years of intense violence and discrimination against Christians in Chhattisgarh.

Meanwhile, Compassion International will be closing its child sponsorship program in India this week as the government there has restricted the flow of funds into the country for nearly a year.

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