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Bhutan Facts

Score: 62 / 100
Region: Asia
Persecution Type: Religious Nationalism
Persecution Level: Very High
Population: 793,000
Christians: 20,000
Main Religion: Buddhism
Government: Constitutional Monarchy
Leader: King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck

Profile of Persecution Methodology

Violence 7%
Church Life 78%
National Life 68%
Community Life 74%
Family Life 69%
Private Life 71%

Where Persecution Comes From

Christians in Bhutan are viewed and treated as traitors to the country’s particular brand of nationalism. The government is intent on maintaining a strong national identity and unity by suppressing “foreign” elements, including Christianity. According to the government, the definition of Bhutanese identity is Buddhism, and it works to eliminate groups perceived as threats. Ethnic religious beliefs have merged with the Buddhist identity, further ostracizing Christians, especially in the central and eastern parts of the country. Converts to Christianity also experience a great deal of Christian persecution from their family members, who pressure them to return to ethnic or Buddhist beliefs and customs.

How Christians are Suffering

Because Buddhism and traditional Bhutanese religions are seen as the country’s heritage, Christians experience tremendous pressure to conform, and are persecuted accordingly. For Christian converts, cooperative surveillance at the hands of religious leaders, families and entire communities prevents the free expression and practice of the Christian faith. Along with this surveillance, there’s also a collaborative effort to compel believers to renounce their faith. No churches are formally recognized, meaning that all Christian worship is technically illegal. Baptisms cannot be held in public, and Christian burials are often denied.

Examples

One young student in Bhutan was kept from graduating from school for no other reason than her being a Christian.

A Christian man was denied a government ID because his Christian mother refused to renounce her faith in the registration process.

A church building was recently locked up, and another demolished.

Christian farmers are excluded from participating in the traditional communal planting and harvesting process, forcing them to do all of the work on their own.

Pray for Bhutan

  • Pray with believers who violate the anti-conversion law by leaving the Buddhist faith. Pray that efforts to persecute Christians in Bhutan will actually strengthen and unite them.
  • Buddhism is Bhutan’s spiritual heritage and has been for centuries, as enshrined in its constitution. Through bureaucratic means, Christians continue to be rejected and persecuted. Pray that the Holy Spirit would loosen the hold of Buddhism on the country.
  • Pray with Christian converts who face strong pressure from family, friends and neighbors to recant their faith. Pray that they might be strengthened when facing persecution and that the Lord would soften the hearts of their communities, making them receptive to the gospel.

Stories from Bhutan

February 6, 2018

Pray for a Young Woman in Bhutan Disowned by Her Family

She was given the choice to leave the family or leave Jesus Christ.

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March 1, 2017

Literacy in Bhutan: Now Martha Can Read the Bible

Sister Martha is a timid, unassuming lady. She has lived on the outskirts of Gelephu all her life and built…

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