Thursday, August 28, 2008
Pray for the people in Orissa State, India, where over the past few days tension between Hindus and Christians has led to rioting, and the burning of the homes and churches of Christians, as well as the death of at least 11 people. I have been trying to sort through all of the information available to get a sense of what is going on, but it seems as though this all started when a leader of a Hindu party was killed. Hindus blamed his death on Christians, who deny their involvement. (Many other stories point to Maoists for the initial murder.) In any case, the man who was killed was speaking out against proselytizing laws, and it seems this is where the violence began.
Reports have come in of churches and orphanages being burned, missionaries fleeing to the jungle, a nun being raped, police aiding or ignoring the violence, and much else. This is the same state where Graham Staines and his two sons were burned in 1999.
Please remember that these are real people living in the midst of violence. Pray for their protection and comfort. Pray that the Christians in the state would be voices of peace. Pray that God's kingdom would be spread as He wants it to be, and pray against the spread of Christianity being used for any political purpose. Pray that the eyes and hearts of the children would be protected from evil. Pray for people of wisdom to step in an provide relief.
Here are some relevant facts (as I understand them):
India is the world's largest democracy, and freedom of religion is granted.
There are anti-conversion laws where people cannot be forced to change their religion.
Orissa is the poorest state in India, where most people live in small villages, and vigilante justice is common here.
P.S. This area is not close to where Ben is right now.