August 12, 2015
By Aaron Weaver
DECATUR, Ga. — After more than eight years of deliberation, the Constituent Assembly of Nepal is likely only days away from completing a final draft of a new constitution. A recently released draft of this Constitution keeps in place alarming language for the 20 percent of the people (roughly 5.6 million) who are not Hindu.
Section 31(3) of this new draft criminalizes “any act to convert another person from one religion to another.”
There are 167 Baptist churches in Nepal (20 members or more) and 250 Baptist fellowships (less than 20 members) representing more than 17,000 baptized believers.
In response to this developing situation, our friends at the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative have drafted a letter that will be sent to the Embassy of Nepal in Washington, D.C., asking the Constituent Assembly of Nepal to reconsider Section 31(3) and establish a Constitution that will ensure the religious freedom for all citizens of Nepal.
We are asking concerned individuals to join with us and sign a letter to the Embassy of Nepal and other key leaders asking for a constitution that embraces the rights for all citizens of Nepal. The letter can be viewed here.
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter encourages Cooperative Baptists and all people of faith to stand for religious freedom in Nepal.
“The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship joins the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative in urging the Nepalese government to adopt a constitution that protects the religious freedom of all,” Paynter said. “Doing so is an extension of our commitment to global religious freedom through our beautiful partnership with the Baptist World Alliance and with the leadership Mark Wiggs, our BWA United Nations Liaison Officer, as well as Elijah Brown and others.”
“Millions of Nepali face a constitutional crisis,” said Elijah Brown, Chief of Staff for the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative and Vice Chair of the Baptist World Alliance Commission on Religious Liberty. “We invite supporters of religious freedom to join with us in signing a letter that stands with those under threat and urge the government of Nepal to develop a constitution that would promote the freedom and flourishing of all of Nepal’s citizens.”
The 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative is a Christian human rights organization empowering a global movement to advance religious freedom as a universal right. Based in metro Washington, D.C., the organization was founded and is led by President Randel Everett, the former Executive Director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
If you would like to sign the letter, please e-mail your name, professional title, and city/state/country to firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of the day, Friday, August 14. An update will be provided next week.
Last week, 500 protestors gathered in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital and largest city, demanding an end to religious freedom and a return to a Hindu State.
Let’s partner together to send a letter indicating our support for religious freedom in Nepal.
CBF is a Christian Network that helps people put their faith to practice through ministry efforts, global missions and a broad community of support.The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.