03/08/2012 Nepal (MNN) – A bombing in Nepal’s capital city highlights the nation’s instability and tension as a deadline nears.
Political infighting and a stalled drafting of the country’s constitution have allowed militant Hindu groups time to push for the restoration of Hinduism as the state religion. They’re trying to gain traction for a referendum to decide if Nepal should remain secular.
Negotiations over contentious issues–including judiciary reform and state restructuring–remain unresolved.
Danny Punnose with Gospel For Asia says the reaction to the pace of change in Nepal is not unlike what has been happening in neighboring Sri Lanka and India. “Any time the government is trying to figure things out for the country–the stability of the country and constitutional things, you are going to find that it is a long, drawn-out process. These kinds of things where you have bombs going off happen almost every single day.”
For believers, the chaos promises challenge in the days ahead. “It does make it harder to be able to do ministry just because there’s a lot of fear and a lot of tension throughout the entire country. So the call is for us to just pray and ask God to give us wisdom.”
Will a lack of official recognition by the state expose Christians to more trouble? That depends on who you talk to. Punnose tells the people they help: “Whether the constitution is amended or not amended, or delayed, I think more and more people will recognize that the church at large is genuinely the hands and feet of the Lord doing ministry to the orphans and poor and those that are downtrodden.”
Christians make up 2.85% of the population of Nepal, a nation that is 16% Buddhist and 4.4% Muslim; Hindus are the majority at 75%, according to Operation World.