New challenges to Christianity’s growth in Nepal
Over the past couple of years Nepal is home to one of the fastest growing Christian communities in the world. In fact, the latest figures suggest that there are now approximately 13,000 churches in the former Hindu kingdom.
Until 2008, Nepal was officially a Hindu kingdom with little Christian mission work allowed in the nation. That changed with the nation installed an interim constitution that provided Nepal’s citizens with some religious freedom rights and opened the doors to Christian mission work.
Since then, the Christian community of Nepal has grown from 0.2% of the country’s population to an estimated 1.5%. According to Christian leaders in Nepal, 65% of Christians come from the country’s low caste communities.
This amazing growth, however, has not come without challenges.
In 2015, Nepal adopted a new constitution after seven years of debate. In that constitution, Nepal was established as a secular nation that affirms the religious freedom rights of all its citizens. However, within the same article establishing religious freedom, Nepal adopted constitutional language that limited their citizens’ rights to share their religious beliefs with others.
Effectively, Nepal has limited religious freedom with the adoption of a nationwide anti-conversion and blasphemy law. Unfortunately, this law has been widely abused already, especially against Nepal’s Christian community.
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