Christians Remain Tense Amid Honduras Coup Crisis

Christians in Honduras are living under great stress as their country's post-coup strife shows no sign of resolution in the near future.

Since the removal of President Manuel Zelaya from power two weeks ago, the government has imposed a 9 p.m. curfew on the entire country as well as a ban on public meetings, including religious services.

Media reports indicate that the nationwide curfew was lifted Sunday, but it is still unclear on whether or not the prohibition on public gatherings was also lifted.

"This impacts the evangelical church community dramatically, since believers have not been able to meet or fellowship together," said a Bible League official and local clergyman in Honduras, whose name was not disclosed for security reasons. "But we continue to monitor the situation and have faith that through this crisis the Christian community will unite together in prayer and continue its mission to share God's Word, which transcends politics."

The international community has denounced the ousting of Zelaya from office and has tried, but so far failed, to broker successful peace talks between the two parties involved.

Zelaya was expelled from Honduras by the country's military late last month and was replaced by Roberto Micheletti, who the military installed as the interim head of state.

Since then, pro-Zelaya as well as anti-Zelaya demonstrations have taken place in Honduras, some of them erupting into violence.

Those opposed to Zelaya accuse him of poor management of the country and of trying to change Honduras' constitution to remain in power. Honduras' constitution says a president can only serve one term and anyone who is found to "incite, promote, or aid in the continuation or re-election of the President" would face lost of citizenship.

Last week, Zelaya tried to fly back to Honduras but the interim government refused to allow his plane to land.

The deposed Honduran leader spent this past weekend in Washington trying to garner support from the U.S. government and officials of the Organization of American States (OAS). Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, a 1987 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, meanwhile, is trying to organize a follow-up face-to-face talk between Zelaya and Micheletti.

Honduras is one of the poorest and least developed countries in Central America. Nearly half of its citizens live below the poverty line. It also has a long history of military rule.

The country is also overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. The CIA World Factbook reports 97 percent of its population is Catholic. Evangelicals make up only about three percent of the population.