NY Times: “Hindu Threat to Christians – Convert or Flee”
This New York Times article falls mainly outside the usual subject matter of this blog, but it struck me very hard and I want to share it here.* Essentially, the article describes an ongoing flare-up of hostility and persecution directed against Christians in Orissa, a state in eastern India.
This is distressing news, as such stories always are. The history of Christianity in India is long and amazing, dating back almost to the foundations of the faith itself.** It is especially sad, then, that Indian Christians are often accused of somehow betraying their ethnic or national identity by believing in Christ.
What to do in the face of this dangerous situation (and the many, many analogous situations all over the world)? Pray. If nothing else, pray . . . no matter what else, pray! Please join me in praying for Orissa’s Christians — for hope, faith, and patience, and the courage to respond with kindness rather than retaliation — and for all Orissa’s people (Christians, Hindus, and others) who may face danger or be caught up in the sporadic violence in the area.
* This story hits me especially hard, personally, because I have a very dear friend working at a Christian HIV/AIDS clinic in a large Indian city. As far as I know, she has not experienced the kind of threats described in this article, but I am very aware of the relative proximity.
** According to respected historian R. E. Frykenberg, Christian communities were almost certainly established in India “from the second century onwards” — centuries earlier than Christianity reached most of Europe. -“India,” in A World History of Christianity, edited by Adrian Hastings (1999), p. 152 (This is a great book, by the way.)