Guest / Limited Access /

On Friday, an open letter to President George W. Bush was delivered to representatives of the Bush administration, calling for action against anti-Christian violence in India. The letter's signatories asked him to urge Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to pressure regional and local governments to enforce the freedom of religion guaranteed in the Indian Constitution.

The letter was signed by 24 prominent Christian leaders, including leaders from historic church bodies such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Coptic Church, and the Armenian Orthodox Church, as well as mainline Protestant, evangelical, Pentecostal charismatic, and traditional African-American bodies. Signatories also included representatives from international religious freedom ministries such as Open Doors and Voice of the Martyrs. (See complete list of signatories below.)

Mob violence against Christians has centered on Kandhamal in Orissa state. Approximately 20 percent of those living in Kandhamal are Christian, compared with 2.6 percent in the rest of Orissa. The increase in Christians in this area has exacerbated long-standing tensions between ethnic and religious groups, and Hindu extremist groups have blamed Christians for the 2007 assassination of a Hindu swami, which was in fact perpetrated by Maoists, who claimed responsibility for the killing of a Hindu political worker this past week. Other factors, such as allegations of "aggressive" proselytization by Christians are also used to incite the mob violence. In sharing their faith, Orissa Christians have not broken the law, but have engaged in activity protected by the Indian Constitution and by international conventions.

The anti-Christian violence in Orissa has temporarily subsided, but it ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueNury Vittachi
Nury Vittachi
The Asian columnist employs subversive humor amid religious and government tensions.
Recommended11 Portraits of Charleston Survivors' Grief and Grace
Subscriber Access Only 11 Portraits of Charleston Survivors' Grief and Grace
CT sent a reporter and a photographer to be with the family members of several victims.
TrendingWho’s Who of Trump’s ‘Tremendous’ Faith Advisers
Who’s Who of Trump’s ‘Tremendous’ Faith Advisers
The Republican candidate finally names his campaign’s evangelical connections.
Editor's PickCT Makers: 20 of the Most Creative Christians We Know
CT Makers: 20 of the Most Creative Christians We Know
Meet the artists, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists using fresh ideas for common good.
Christianity Today
U.S. Christian Leaders Protest Anti-Christian Violence in India
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

November 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.