Christian Families Denied Access to Food
Fifty-two Indian families have been denied ration cards that enable them to buy food grains from the local government shops because they refused to pay a donation to the local Hindu temple in the village. For the past two months, these families have been unable to buy food.
Communication with the government about the problem has brought no relief. A special complaint was sent to the Food Ministry in a nearby town. When a food inspector came to investigate, the Hindu villagers attacked the Christians and threatened the Food Ministry representative. Currently their only recourse is to purchase food from the city. This is considerably more expensive and the villagers cannot afford to pay the exorbitant prices.
While freedom of religion is a constitutional right in India, and Christianity is growing, Hinduism is experiencing a significant growth, and religious intolerance is on the increase. Hindu nationalists, who claim that every Indian must be Hindu, continue to push their “Hindutva” ideology through political parties such as the BJP, which has strong support in the media. “Anti-conversion laws” have been adopted in five of the 29 states, and are frequently used as a pretext to disrupt church services and harass Christians. Pastors are frequently beaten up or killed, church buildings are destroyed, and converts have been forced to flee their homes. In spite of the opposition, the church is still growing, particularly among the lower castes.
Father, we thank You for the many Christians in India who are serving You and seeking to grow Your kingdom there. We pray for wisdom and perseverance for church leaders in states where it is now virtually impossible to get permission to build or renovate a church building. We pray for Your intervention on their behalf. We pray for the government to ensure justice for the Christian minority there in an atmosphere of discouragement. We pray for biblical training, literacy, and livelihood programs run by Open Doors, that You will use them to strengthen the knowledge and faith of Your church. Today, we especially lift up the 52 families who have been without food. We pray that You will overrule in the situation and provide for their needs and for food to sustain their lives. And, we pray for unity in the Christian community- that the message of Your gospel might go forth in much power and authority. In the name of Jesus, who grows His church and provides for her needs, Amen.