On this 4th of July, Nepal’s Arrest of Pastors Remind US of Our FreedomsJuly 4th is the date the United States of America has celebrated its independence for 245 years. It is a good time to examine the primary human sentiment that drove the original settlers to leave the old countries to begin with: religious freedom. So rare in their day, yet something we Americans take for granted, like most of our rights. We have understood since 1776 that all our different belief systems will be tolerated. Arresting preachers in the USA? Not for trying to save souls.
We wanted to bring to our readers attention the worsening situation in Nepal for Christians and other religious minorities right now. Our brother Barnabas in Kathmandu (his chosen Christian name) has provided an update on Pastor Keshav Acharya and other recently arrested pastors. Christians are moving back under ground and leaders are at risk of imprisonment.
Many wonder that there are Christians in Nepal at all. There are, and have been, a small – and this is the problem – growing minority there. In fact, it is considered likely that Christianity came to nearby India almost two thousand years ago.
Telling adherents not to invite others to believe as they do is simply impossible for the more Evangelically minded, which are most Christians in Nepal. Spreading the Word is at the heart of what Jesus told his followers to do: He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Mark 16:15.
This has more to do with ginning up the Hindu vote than any threat the Christians present to Nepali society. Nepal is known as a place of religious tolerance. Buddhism and Hinduism have coexisted for the ages there and Christians are as unobtrusive as one could be. They keep a low profile. For more about the Christians in Nepal go to our documentary The Flourishing Kathmandu Church free of charge at https://vimeo.com/215256075.
We have a built-in affinity for Christians struggling in faraway places. Christians in the USA are part of the most powerful economic and political force the world has ever seen. We can thank Adam Smith and “The Invisible Hand” that moved in him to publish the Wealth of Nations, also in that great bringing-fourth year: 1776.
Of course, many will point to the USA at this moment as an example not to be emulated. But our freedoms hold strong, all things considered, as we celebrate Independence Day - and try to make our Union more perfect.
In the end this is about freedom, not religion. If Nepal persecutes anyone for practicing their religion none are truly free.
Nepal can further meld Christianity and its other great religions in a way that the world can learn and benefit from. The world needs all these stories – and Nepal can tell then like other.
Nepal is sandwiched between two ascending rivals. China to the north is not free, India to the south is supposed to be. Nepal must be.
Pastor Keshav Acharya
From Brother Barnabas in Nepal (June 2020):
In such difficult times, we are facing persecutions! On the very first week of Lockdown announced, 6 pastors were arrested all over the country. Most of them were charged that they deliberately had broken the order, but reality was that they all were residing within the church premises. As my role to serve persecuted Christians for more than 3 decades is well-known widely, I was not allowed to stay in peace but had to work a lot for their release. Thank God, they were given freedom, but a pastor who was into social media was unjustly taken into custody. We noticed that the police was too bias on Christians.
The District Police of Kaski arrested Pastor Keshav Acharya with the intention to persecute him because he was a Christian, though the charge was something else.
First, the police violated the law arresting him without presenting an arrest note. Second, the police itself makes fake arrests on the 16th day within the custody charging on the attempt of 'religious offense' and arrested with no arrest note.
Third, the police created another case in Dolpa on the same charge and transferred him overnights despite the Lockdown situation. We hoped that knocking the supreme court we would be given justice, but prejudice in the legal system due to 'Anti-Conversion Law, has been implemented even though there is no proof that was claimed by the police or attorney that Keshav had committed.
The verdict comes against Keshav and rejecting the writ for his release. From this unjust move terrible precedence is established, not only Keshav, but against all Christians. The judicial procedure today has overruled all facts and legal/constitutional provisions and violated the freedom of religion or belief. So, stay watchful, since your all religious activities even inside the church building will be brought under criminal offenses! I am compelled to say this to you all that today is the Darkest Day to a religious minority in the So-called secular Democratic Country of Nepal. We lost the equality, justice, and peace as a religious minority, we lost citizen rights!!!