by Joseph DeCaro
NEW DELHI, India (Worthy News)-- A legislative panel in Nepal proposed keeping a ban on religious conversions in the country's new constitution.
Although the proposal has yet to pass Parliament, Christian leaders fear it will be approved in the ensuing confusion as Nepal transitions from the world's only Hindu monarchy into a democracy.
Bishop Narayan Sharma of the Believers Church expects approval of the ban, which was recommended by the Committee on Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles; a preliminary draft the CFRDP penalizes activities aimed at conversion, yet it doesn't punish individuals for converting.
"We do not have any fear, and we will continue to do what we are doing, whether it's a Hindu constitution or a secular one," said Sharma. "Conversion is by God; people simply respond to Him. Our philosophy is, 'We propose and not impose.' The growth of the church in Nepal is due to the Christian witness, and not just by preaching.
"We know that the new constitution will restrict conversions to 'protect' the country's demography and thereby its culture, but Nepalese Christians live as per the country’s culture. I myself never wear a tie, which is seen as Western."
Sharma said the only benefit of a conversion ban would be to impede conversions that are not genuine.
"Only those who are willing to pay the price will remain," he said.