Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pastors issued ultimatum in Sri Lanka

by VOM Canada Staff

Photo: Central Intelligence Agency
Christians in Sri Lanka are facing uncertain circumstances following the issuance of an indirect ultimatum by the government of the Hambanthota District to provide proof of their “legality” or be shut down.

 VOM partners say on May 10th, 2013 District Secretary R. C. de. Soyza summoned a meeting of Christian clergy with the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Buddhist clergy, and high ranking police officers. During the 3-hour meeting, Buddhist clergy set forth various accusations against the pastors present. Those in attendance were given very little opportunity to respond.

The District Secretary instructed police to bring all pastors from the district to a follow up meeting which took place on the 17th. During this meeting, a Buddhist monk said that 17 churches had already been closed down. The meeting continued with threats to close functioning churches in Hambanthota.

In their response, church leaders presented the fact that Sri Lankan law does provide Christians with the right to practice their religion and does not require registration with the Ministry of Religious Affairs. The meeting concluded without any definitive decision to close any churches.

This is only one more evidence of mounting hostility towards Christianity in Sri Lanka. In 2013 alone, around 30 churches experienced a wave of violence. These attacks have occurred with little or no state action to prosecute those responsible.

Please pray for Sri Lankan Christians:
  • Pray that our Christian brothers and sisters will continue to place their trust in the Lord during this time of increased pressure and persecution.
  • Pray for his protection for those who are at risk of physical violence.
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit will grant church leaders discernment on how to appropriately respond to the situation.

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