The Times of India newspaper reported this week that three American Christian women–Shelly Louise Deeds, a nurse from Pennsylvania, Katelyn Heather Deeds,also from Pennsylvania, and Diane Geen Harrington, a Wisconsin teacher–were approached by Indian authorities and were asked to leave the country. Several Hindu organizations went to the police accusing the women of trying to convert the poor to Christianity in Kerala, an Indian southern state.
Police chief Asok Kumar of the region stated, “We have not received any evidence to indicate the three US women were engaged in conversion-related activities. However, they were about to attend religious prayers session.” Kumar went on to explain that the visas the women have don’t allow them to attend any organized meetings including prayer sessions. According to Kumar, “We were not clear about their intentions. That is why we asked them to leave the country, and they agreed.”
The police are also investigating three pastors who were seen associating with the women. International Christian Concern (ICC), which advocates for religious freedoms, filed an official complaint this past Friday, June 17, with the U.S. government over the incident. ICC points out that evangelicals are often accused, without proof, of offering incentives to India natives if they convert to Christianity when the evangelicals always make it clear to authorities that becoming a Christian is completely an act of free will and offering incentives is totally against their beliefs.
ICC also highlighted the fact that people from all over the world visit India with the same type of visas and attend Hindu or Buddhist religious ceremonies without any hindrances. They point out that this shows the obvious religious discrimination carried out by local authorities under pressure from Hindu organizations against Christians having equal protections in spite of the fact that India’s constitution calls for religious freedom.
The same type of anti-conversion sentiments are also occurring in neighboring Nepal, which is contemplating a national anti-conversion law. Hindus may claim that they are very tolerant of other faiths, but their practice is the opposite of their claims. Many of them hate the idea of having a Christian in their presence, which is why they raise false accusations against them.
Hindus are feeling threatened by Christianity because the number of converts to Christianity is increasing more and more. Individuals in bondage to Hinduism who choose to convert realize how oppressive and untruthful Hindu teachings are and the gospel of Jesus Christ offers them the freedom they long for. May God continue to draw the lost in India to his household of freedom.
–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–