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Nepal Could Criminalize Conversion to Christianity

Nepal Could Criminalize Conversion to Christianity

In response to allegations of forced conversions among Nepalese citizens by over-zealous Protestants, the government is considering changing the criminal code to make it illegal to convert to any religion other than Hinduism and Buddhism.  This wouldn’t just be limited to the act of conversion itself; according to Asia News, under the new code, “anyone who preaches or tries to persuade others to change religion could get up to five years in prison and receive a fine of [around $900].”

Nepalese officials say that the move would not be intended to stigmatize Christians as a whole.  “The law is not against Christians who do great work in the service of the country,” Nepali Justice Minister Prabhu Sah said, “but is against the imposition of Christianity.”

He added, rather pointedly, that the allegations of forced conversions did not apply to Catholics.  Protestant groups vehemently denied the claims.

The issue of forced conversion isn’t just confined to Nepal; in 2006, the Indian state of Rajasthan banned forced conversion (not all conversion) after “hardline” Hindu parties accused Christian missionaries of coercing people to change religions.  But it also seems to be wrapped up in a good deal of politics, including the desires of these “hardline” Hindus, who were mentioned in the Asia News article as well.

Nepal became a secular state in 2006 after the centuries-old absolutist Hindu monarchy fell and was replaced by a non-sectarian government.  This was followed by a series of Hindu rallies and concern that cows, which are sacred in Hinduism, would begin to be slaughtered in secular Nepal.  Meanwhile, other religious groups were said to welcome the change.

Now, it’s unclear whether the move to ban conversions to religions other than Hinduism and Buddhism is an attempt for Hindu fundamentalists to gain power, or a genuine attempt to end forced conversions (or, perhaps, both).  But it certainly seems as though the government doesn’t need to ban all conversion, and the new section of criminal code, if loosely interpreted, could impinge upon religious freedom.

 

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Photo from Jean-Marie Hullot's Fotopedia page.

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56 comments

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7:44PM PDT on Apr 13, 2012

I realize that this article is almost a year old now, but there are only a handful of articles out there it seems that address this issue. I'm so tired of Christian missionaries tactics to convert other cultures and beliefs to Christianity. It's time that people take a stand and put a stop to this. Evangelical training camps send these young evangelical missionaries out in droves to fulfill their single minded mission to convert others to their belief - Christianity. They believe that what they're doing is right and in the name of their god. They are so narrow focused that they do not see the beauty of other people's beliefs. Really quite pathetic. If anyone reads this and knows of current petitions to sign, please send me a message here at my Care2 account. Thank you.

8:13PM PST on Feb 23, 2012

Good for them for standing up against pushy Christians.

7:49AM PDT on Sep 21, 2011

We are born into a religion. Later with more "understanding" we can use one that suits us(?)

10:51PM PDT on Sep 18, 2011

Christianity in NOT a rligion! It is one of HIs who made the Decision to follow Jesus's teaching, and that is ALL that Is REQUIRE by the LORD. - When Jesus told the young ruler who came to Him by Nnight, and asked Jesus, "hwo to be SAVED, Jesus Replie:" YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN, (FROM ABOVE), whas He not telling Him thr Truth? YES! ALSO: "MY sheep hear MY Voive and they follow ME, (Not a Religion!) _DId a "religin ever died for you?
Nay, and religion(s Will NEVER get anyone to Heaven. YOU MUST CALL ON JESUS: and REALIZE that you are LOST, in NEED of a SAVIOUR!! SEEK HIM TODAY, AND SETTLE THIS MATTER, NOW!- FOR YOU CAN'T DO NOTHING AFTER YOU TAKE YOUR LAST BREATH!_ NOW, IS THE DAY OF SALVATION! JESUS IS THE ONE & ONLY SAVIOUR, SO RUN TO HIM AND ASK HIM TO SAVE YOU, AND HE WILL....

5:54PM PDT on Sep 18, 2011

Good! Get rid of all the lying thieving hypocritical decieving parasitic missionary scum. Theyre like a cockroach scout. Where there's one more are bound to follow. ..Next thing you know you are wallowing in spiritual guilt and imagined sins.

7:22AM PDT on Sep 16, 2011

However, Paul told the Philippian jailor, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." Notice it was not, Believe on the LJC and do certain other things, but just believe. Thus conversion can NOT be coerced. You can force someone to attend a church meeting, dress a certain way, pay tithes, go through a ceremony, but you cannot force them to believe something.

In some religions you convert by doing or saying something; these can have forced conversions, but true Christianity cannot.

I am sorry for what the Portuguese Catholics did. Catholicism combines faith and works and believes that Jesus paid for some but not all of our sins. When you are baptized, the stain or original sin is wiped out, but after that, you must also be faithful by living holy, going to confession and paying pennance for sins committed subsequently, etc. Then the Church dispenses some grace to you that Jesus acquired by His sufferings. (Correct me if I'm wrong, folks!) What sins you have not paid for or received grace for, you pay for in Purgatory. But after great suffering, you eventually become purged of all leftover sins and now go to heaven. By that system, it becomes understandable why they would try to force conversions; it gives the former pagans a shot at heaven that they wouldn't otherwise have.

In protestantism (which predates catholicism ,although not by that name--in sum, when Constantine made Christianity the state religion and said that all local churches

11:12AM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

@Bunny V. & Marie W. -

From your lips (or fingers in this case) to God's ear! LOL!

However, I think that even if all religions were banned, we'd no doubt find something else to be self-righteous and arrogant - not to mention vicious, sadistic and brutal - about.

7:30PM PDT on Jul 22, 2011

agree with Marie W.
religion is a bit useless and outdated is it not? ;)

12:28AM PDT on Jun 27, 2011

Thanks for this post. No one can truly be forced to convert. Maybe than can be condoled into attending services in response to the kind gifts of a particular group, but that is not a heart thing!

11:01AM PDT on Jun 22, 2011

I agree with Timothy M - how can anyone be forced into practicing any religion?

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