Speak up for Christians suffering persecution in India
With a population of more than 1.2 billion people, India is the second most densely populated nation in the world, just behind China. More than 80% of Indians profess Hinduism as their religion.
The head of the Indian government is Prime Minister Narendra Modi, elected in May, 2014. Modi is a Hindu activist and extremist.
When Mr. Modi came into office, he had been blacklisted by the United States government for nearly a decade due his handling of religious riots in Gujarat, the state he led. The United States is a strategic partner with India, and as such we have leverage to encourage religious liberty in that country.
Christians make up just over 2 percent of India's population, but receive a disproportionate amount of persecution. And the persecution of Christians is on the increase as "Hindu nationalism" gains momentum across the country.
Converting to Christianity May Become Illegal
Modi's governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is forcefully pursuing the enactment of a national "anti-conversion" law that would make it illegal for a Hindu to convert to Christianity, or any other religion, without prior government approval.
Most of India's 29 states currently have laws in place forbidding religious conversions.
In the spring of 2014, in Central India's Chhattisgarh state 50 villages passed laws that banned non-Hindu religious ceremonies; in October of that year, Hindu radicals attacked a dozen Christian villagers in that same district.
Modi was asked by Christian leaders and secularists to condemn the violence against Christians, but he remained silent on the issue. In fact, many Christian leaders fear that Modi is effectively behind the recent wave of violence against Christians in India.
Recently, India began expelling foreign non-profits who are working in India---especially Christian organizations.
The Most Vulnerable
The poorest in Indian society are often the most oppressed. Dalits, also known as "untouchables," are the most severely oppressed group; living in extreme poverty. Women and children also suffer horrible human rights abuses. Christianity is attractive to many because of the core belief that we are all created equal by God. Jesus' teachings and treatment of women, children, different classes and nationalities models God’s love for all kinds of people. Life has become even more unbearable forDalits who profess to be Christians. State officials recently declared that only Hindu Dalits may receive government benefits.
Hindu extremists, claim that Christian missionaries centuries ago converted Indians by force.
One state in India, Himachal Pradesh, has approved a law with harsh penalties against religious conversion by deception, coercion, or marriage.
Under the Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act 2019, anyone convicted can face one to five years in prison, seven if it involves the conversion of Dalits, women and minors.
With Modi and his party in power, Hindu nationalism has been reinvigorated by the rise of the extreme-wing Hindu government in New Delhi. Hindu nationalist organizations have mass reconversion "camps," attempting to "reconvert" Christians back to Hinduism.
Please join this petition to ask President Biden to speak out for Christians in India.
Make a Difference. Sign the Petition.
Please demand that Prime Minister Modi stop the enactment of a national anti-conversion law. In addition, Modi should be asked to repeal all anti-conversion laws throughout India. Modi should be asked to guarantee the rights of all citizens, especially Christian Dalits. Further, Modi should speak out and condemn the growing persecution of Christians, including the destruction and confiscation of Christian property and violence targeting Christians.