Gospel for Asia Welcomes Ongoing Religious Freedom
KATHMANDU, Nepal — A highly contested constitutional crisis that has gripped Nepal since before the spring earthquakes passed another hurdle Monday with a landslide decision declaring itself a secular nation.
The Democratic Party Nepal had attempted to return Nepal to a Hindu state through a constitutional amendment. Though the vast majority of Nepalese are Hindu, two-thirds of Nepal’s lawmakers rejected the amendment.
Violence erupted in Kathmandu as police prevented pro-Hindu protestors from marching toward the nation’s Parliament. Later Monday evening in far eastern Nepal, low-intensity bombs exploded in two churches. A third church bomb exploded after being taken to a local police station, injuring three policemen, leaving one in grave condition.
Had the amendment passed, all minority religions, including Christianity, would have faced severe restrictions in practicing and sharing their faith legally in Nepal. An estimated 2 percent of Nepalese are Christian.
Gospel for Asia Founder Dr. K. P. Yohannan had issued a call for prayer in June asking that, “God’s people will be granted freedom to worship.”
“The Lord has answered our prayers for our brothers and sisters in Nepal,” Yohannan said. “Please continue to pray that peace and unity would prevail in this nation. Pray also for the leaders and decision makers who are working night and day on the constitution, to be filled with wisdom as they move forward.”
Response to the secular amendment vote resulted in protests and lawlessness. As a precaution, several Gospel for Asia-supported Bridge of Hope Centers have closed temporarily for the safety of tutors and children.
This remote nation wedged between China and India was historically a Hindu state, led by a monarchy. The people believed their monarchs were the reincarnation of Vishnu, a Hindu god.
A secular republic led by Maoists abolished the traditional monarchies in 2008 and welcomed the humanitarian aid of Christian organizations.
Gospel for Asia has a long-standing history of support in Nepal for Believers Church, a network of 450 churches and 20 Gospel for Asia-supported Bridge of Hope Centers that serve poverty-stricken or downtrodden children.
During the earthquakes in April and May, Gospel for Asia responded quickly with Believers Church workers already on the ground. Their response grew to include compassion services teams that delivered basic supplies and other goods and built shelters in remote mountain areas.
Gospel for Asia (http://www.gfa.org/info/
PHOTO CUTLINE: Gospel for Asia continues to serve the people of Nepal, especially those affected by the earthquakes earlier this year that spurred the completion of the country’s constitution.
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