A judge in India sentenced 12 people to six years imprisonment on Tuesday for their role in the mass violence against Christians in Orissa's Kandhamal district in 2008, in which dozens were killed.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a Christian organization working for religious freedom, sent a press release to The Christian Post that details the court's decision. Besides the prison sentence, the men will also have to pay 5,000 rupees (about $90,000 U.S. dollars) in connection with arson, rioting and the torching of houses in Jarkinaju village on Aug. 25, 2008. Ten other people accused in the case were acquitted, however, due to lack of evidence.
"Justice must be done, and must be seen to be done. The aggregate of justice in the fast-track courts in Kandhamal does not inspire a sense of confidence and closure among the victims. Many killers are roaming free, and a Member of the Legislative Assembly is at large after his conviction, because the courts seem to think he is too important to be incarcerated," said Dr. John Dayal, a Member of the Government's National Integration Council (NIC). more >>
On August 30, an Indian state High Court struck down a law requiring people who want to convert to Christianity to give a civil magistrate 30 days advance notice. Just how one provides advance notice of a future intent to convert is anyone's guess, and was doubtlessly one of the reasons the Indian court struck this crazy law down.
The law was one of two anti-conversion laws challenged in the state of Himachal Pradesh that drastically restricted the religious freedom of Christians and those of other religions considering converting to Christianity.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allies represented Evangelical Fellowship of India in the lawsuit that led to the law's invalidation. Having won the battle over this law, we knew the second law provided additional barriers to religious freedom and that the High Court had refused to strike it down. This second law essentially bans any successful evangelism under the pretense of protecting the weak-minded and the weak-willed. more >>
CHICAGO – It doesn't sound right: someone claiming to be both a follower of Jesus Christ while still identifying himself as a Hindu or Sikh. But some respected missiologists are defending the new communities in India called Yeshu Satsang as biblical.
Formed as a direct response to broken relationships that Hindus or Sikhs in India who convert to Christianity often must endure, members of Yeshu Satsangs seek to follow the Bible while still retaining their cultural identity as Hindu or Sikh, and thus retaining harmonious relationships with their family members and community. The communities are also a pushback against Western ways of worshipping Jesus that is seen as "other" and foreign to the community. A Yeshu Satsang can loosely be defined as a gathering of Jesus followers whose members are socially still identified as Hindus or Sikhs.
"Even though [they have] rejected the word and practices of church, they have retained a theological identity of church while seeking to retain their Hindu and Sikh socio-religious identity," explained Darren Duerksen, director and assistant professor of Intercultural Studies at Fresno Pacific University, at the recent North American Mission Leaders Conference in Chicago. more >>
The Christian Post recently had the opportunity to travel to India to observe the work Christians are doing throughout the country to help empower a societal group that has been neglected for the better part of recorded human history. This is the first part of a four part series detailing their work.
"You were born in the image of God." For many Christians across the globe this is a well-known and common Biblical verse from Genesis 1:27, but for Kumar Swamy and his family this would be the most radical and life-changing message they had ever heard. Though the words are simple, the power contained in them was enough to have them dedicate themselves to Jesus in an instant and compel them to spend their lives fighting for the oppressed, as well as spreading His name to everyone who would listen. Swamy and his family are Dalits.
There are over 250 million Dalit men, woman and children who are abused, neglected and exploited in what is widely considered the world's largest human rights atrocity. Currently, there is an effort to empower Dalits with education and through the grace of Jesus Christ, but the greatest challenge is a suppressive socio-religious order which has been engrained into the psyche of the Indian people. more >>
Pranitha Timothy is a soft-spoken Indian woman who has led over 50 rescue operations to free slaves in Chennai, India. She has survived a brain tumor and a number of run-ins with violent slave owners, and says God has cleared the path for her to fight injustice in the world today.
According to the website for The American Anti-Slavery Group, there are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today. As the director of aftercare for International Justice Mission in the Province of Chennai, Timothy and her teams have rescued 4,000 slaves in the last nine years. She has regularly risked her life for these forced laborers, never knowing for sure if she will see her husband and young daughter again, and she gives God all of the credit for her success.
"God goes before us into the places of darkness and makes the paths straight for us to bring rescue," Timothy told attendees of Willow Creek Association's Global Leadership Summit on Friday. more >>
Pastor Ponnachan George, a senior leader of Gospel for Asia in India, is recovering in a hospital today after being held hostage for nearly a week by a terrorist group before he was finally released on Sunday.
GFA Founder and President K.P. Yohannan told The Christian Post on Monday that the terrorists targeted George because they believed they could ransom him for money. George is a prominent leader in the region – he oversees about 300 missionaries, 200 churches, 26 Bridge of Hope centers, three radio broadcasts and a Bible college – and he was the only person kidnapped by the terrorists.
"For years we have been doing tremendous amount of community development ... but all these things we do so that Christ's love can be communicated. So these terrorist groups must have concluded, 'These people have a lot of money, so you kidnap their leader and that means they have to give the money,'" said Yohannan. more >>