Is Hindu Nationalism Behind Crackdown on India’s Christians?
(WNS)–Christian minorities in central India face a new threat as Hindu extremists in more than a dozen village councils have passed restrictions on religions other than Hinduism. The laws, passed under the guise of stopping false conversions, made Christian prayer, services, and “propaganda” illegal, World Watch Monitor (WWM) reported. The Bastar district president of the World Hindu Council, Suresh Yadav, told The Times of India that more than 50 village councils have banned all non-Hindu missionaries. The state government of Chhattisgarh, where the tribal Bastar villages are located, has not moved to intervene on the rules, but plans to wait and see what happens, according to the Times. Chhattisgarh Christian Forum president Arun Pannalal told the newspaper that village councils were wrong to think they could pass resolutions that override constitutional protections. Pannalal noted that Article 25 of India’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion for all. Church leaders say the resolutions have already harmed Christians and called for higher government officials to overturn them.
China’s Crackdown on the Cross Spreads
(WNS)–Three months after Chinese officials ripped down the gigantic Sanjiang Church in Wenzhou, the number of churches facing persecution—whether that means demolition, cross removal, or threatening notices—in Zhejiang province has reached into the hundreds, according to Texas-based Christian human rights group ChinaAid. Every few days, news of cross removals and confrontations between church members and police streams out of the region. ChinaAid has compiled many of the reports into this list. The government claims the demolitions are part of a three-year campaign to deal with “illegal structures” in Zhejiang, but authorities have only focused their attention on churches. Many fear this is a beginning of a nationwide campaign to slow the rapid growth of Christianity in the country. The past few weeks saw a number of clashes. On July 21, 14 members of Salvation Church in Pingyang County were injured as more than 100 government officials broke through a human wall the congregants had formed around their church.
France Loosens Abortion Restrictions Despite Strong Pro-life Protests
(WNS)–French lawmakers legalized abortion on demand for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy under a new law passed Aug. 5 despite pro-life protests. The law, part of a broader legal push to increase gender equality, alters France’s nearly 40-year-old law allowing abortions only for women who prove they are in situations of “distress.” Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the country’s women’s rights minister, called that limited restriction obsolete. France’s population may be overwhelmingly Catholic, but about 220,000 abortions are performed in France annually. And, one out of every three French women will have an abortion.