If you think Islam is the biggest offender of religious liberty around the world, you are mostly right. In India, Hindu radicals are now making a run for that ominous distinction. The next time you hear a Hollywood celebrity talk about the acceptance and tolerance of Eastern new age religions, think about how Hindus are treating Christians in “modern” India.
Over the past few weeks, while we in America have been consumed with elections and hurricanes, churches in India have been burned to the ground and Christians thrown into prison, beaten, persecuted and in some cases, brutally killed.
An Oklahoma City church is partnered with Global Action to build an orphanage in Motipur. The following e-mail was received from Global Action:
“Twenty-fifth, August, 2008, has become one of the saddest days in the history of Orissa as the angry mob attacked Christian churches, institutions, burned houses to ashes, beat and even killed a number of pastors, missionaries and believers. Four thousand fourteen houses burned in 300 villages displacing more than 50,000 people. Two pastors were killed, six priests were severely injured, one nun was gang raped, two ladies were burnt alive, 24 other Christians were killed and many were injured. The young pastor of the church in Tatamaha was brutally killed. The mob dragged his dead body and threw it in the field by the road side. His wife and 2-year-old daughter are missing. At Sankarakhol, the pastor, was asked to deny Jesus. As he refused to deny Him, they cut his throat and killed him. His house and the church were destroyed.”
“The village of one of our students was attacked by the mob. Church buildings and houses were destroyed and burned. Three people were killed in this village. The believers are still hiding in forest. In Gajapati, about 15 villages have been attacked. Churches and houses have been burned, destroyed and looted. Another one of our students said, ‘Two men were killed; one of them was burned alive. People are still in the jungle as some of these villages have been attacked for the second time.”
“Another student serves as a pastor with Bible Fellowship Church. About 70 people came and ransacked his house and destroyed it. He, his wife and their two little children ran for their lives and escaped. Meanwhile the mob looted his house and another student, being unaware of what had happened, came across the mob as he was riding his bicycle on his way to conduct worship service at a house church four kilometers away from Khurda district head quarters. He thought some accident might have taken place, so the people had gathered. But when he came nearer to them, one from the mob said this fellow is a Christian, and to catch him. The mob got hold of him, beat him badly, and poured diesel on him to burn him alive. But something unusual happened, none of the match sticks lit up. By the time police came, he was rescued. Even our own office was not spared. The mob managed to take about eight cartons of books, dumped those in front of our gate, poured petrol over them and burned them.”
The churches in America need to pray for India. We must get the word out about the suffering of our brothers and sisters in this part of the world.
Spread the word. Indian churches are burning.