Christmas as a day of persecution

Some people in India’s state of Orissa are calling for a complete shutdown of all areas of society on December 25. Not to celebrate Christmas but to catch Christians going to church so they can be brutalized. From Christians in Orissa, India Fear Violent Christmas :

Christians in Orissa state are anticipating Christmas with fear as Hindu extremists have called for a state-wide bandh, or forced shut-down on all sectors of society, on Dec. 25 – a move that could provide Hindu extremists the pretext for attacking anyone publicly celebrating the birth of Christ.

Last year one of the area’s worst spates of violence came during the Christmas season.  

The state’s chief minister has said there should be no such shut-down but stopped short of prohibiting the Hindu extremists’ plan. The federal government has expressed its disapproval of the proposal, but the Hindu extremist umbrella organization Sangh Parivar has vowed to press ahead with the shut-down, reported newspaper Outlook India on Nov. 20.

Though such shut-downs were declared illegal by India’s Supreme Court in 1998, the president of the Laxmanananda Saraswati Condolence Society (SLSSS) sent a threatening notice to the Orissa government on Nov. 15, warning that the Hindu extremist group would impose a bandh on Christmas unless the state government arrested those who murdered Hindu leader Laxmanananda Sararawati on Aug. 23.

A Maoist group on Sept. 1 admitted killing Saraswati and four of his aides, and police on Oct. 6 confirmed that Maoists killed them, but the Hindu extremist Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council or VHP) has continued to blame local Christians for the assassinations, stoking anti-Christian sentiment that led to a wave of violent attacks for more than two months. At least 500 people, mostly Christians, were estimated to have been killed, according to a report by a Communist Party fact-finding team, and at least 4,500 houses and churches in Orissa’s Kandhamal district were destroyed.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Let us pray for the Christians in India’s state of Orissa and for those who are Hindu in that place, that they may come to know the love and forgiveness of Christ Jesus Whom they are persecuting.

  • Efrem

    I don’t suppose those Hindus have any “coexist” bumper stickers on their cars.

  • FW

    and the MSM is where on this?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    While this certainly is terrible and merits our prayer, I do wonder why the Christians wouldn’t just celebrate on a different day, frankly. It’s not like we’re commanded to celebrate Christmas in the first place, much less on a certain calendar day.

    I realize some might think this would be tantamount to denying Jesus, but then, wouldn’t that also apply to, say, meeting in house churches or in the catacombs? There is a time to die for the gospel, but we are also called to be wise as serpents. Just wondering.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    The idea has merit, tODD, for Christians in India, but isn’t it obvious from what has already happened that as soon as the authorities hear of this change they will declare their “bandh” on that day as well. So, celebrate Christ’s incarnation, nativity, life, death, and resurrection everyday! Christ is our sabbath rest and is Himself our righteousness through faith every day! Vishnu can do nothing against the only living God. They can’t even kill His followers. Christ alone be praised.

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