Last week, seven Christians in Nepal were arrested after they were caught distributing a Bible handbook called “The Great Story” to 885 students. The Christians are charged with attempting to convert others to Christianity, an act made illegal by Article 26 of Nepal’s constitution. Despite the fact that proselytizing is illegal, Nepal is home to what many consider the fastest growing Christian population in the world. Will this news of these recent arrest curb this growth?
6/16/2016 Nepal (Christian Daily) – On June 9, seven Christians participated in an extracurricular activity in school in which they distributed a handkerchief and a Bible handbook titled “A Great Story” to each of the 885 students. Local politicians told the police about the activity, leading to the arrest of the principals of Mount Valley Boarding School and Modern Nepal School, and some members of Christian group Teach Nepal, UCA News reports.
Local sources say the seven arrested Christians would be charged with committing an act of religious conversion by preaching to schoolchildren.
In addition, sources said the Christians were forced to promise not to do it again if they want to be released from prison. Christian church leaders are set to meet with the officials of the Home Ministry to discuss the early release of the seven arrested individuals.
Based on Article 26 (3) of the 2015 Nepalese Constitution, the act is prohibited in the country. The article says no one is allowed to convert a person to another religion or do anything that may “jeopardize” that person’s religion.
Despite the tight situation in Nepal, Christianity is unexpectedly growing in the country. From zero in 1951, the census reflects that the number of Christians has grown to 458 in a span of ten years, Eric Metaxas says in an entry on Breakpoint.
Fast forward to forty years later, Christians in Nepal are now 102,000. In 2011, the number already ballooned to 375,000, and Nepalese Christian leaders believe that the actual figure is closer to 2.3 million, according to the International Institute for Religious Freedom.