Monday, November 15, 2010

Jailed for showing a film about Jesus

Bhutan means "Land of the Dragon."
Think about all the films you’ve watched in your lifetime. How many, if you had to guess, had a Christian theme or presented some angle of Jesus’ life on earth? Countless, no doubt. When thinking about what Jesus might look like, who in the Western world hasn’t thought of Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth, George Steven’s The Greatest Story Ever Told or Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ?

And, whom among us thought twice about watching those films or ones like them?

Last month, VOM sources reported that a Bhutanese Christian was sentenced to three years imprisonment for "attempting to promote civil unrest" by showing films about Christianity.

Prem Singh Gurung, a 40-year-old ethnic Nepalese citizen living in southern Bhutan, was detained while showing Christian films in the Gonggaon and Simkharka villages. A court in Gelephu, reportedly said Gurung had violated Sections 105(1) and 110 of the Bhutan Information, Communication and Media Act, requiring authorities to screen all films before public presentation.

Bhutan is one of the world’s least evangelised nations. Proselytism and incitement to convert are illegal. Bhutanese officials are reportedly defending Prem’s sentencing, saying that although they respect the freedom of religion, “no person shall be compelled to belong to another faith by means of coercion or inducement."

This past Friday, police attempted to arrest two more Christians for involvement in showing a film about Jesus. The two Christians were not found and were still in hiding, said advocacy group International Christian Concern (ICC), which closely monitors the case.

Please continue to pray for our Bhutanese brothers and sisters who make up less than 1 percent of the country’s predominately Buddhist population. Pray for true spiritual liberation and for growth of the Church in this land.

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