In recent days we have been covering a lot of news concerning the intense Hindu persecution of Christians in India. According to a story here India not only has a major problem with killing preborn girl babies, but also dealing with intense persecution towards Christians, including some of those who worked with the late Mother Teresa.
It is a violence that has risen to a crescendo in recent years, especially in certain states. Gujarat and Orissa are among them. In Orissa, which faces the Bay of Bengal, south of Calcutta, Australian Protestant missionary Graham Staines and his two children were killed after their car was set on fire in 1999.
Those who are hostile toward Christians accuse them of proselytizing, and therefore violating the Hindutwa, the identification between India and Hinduism asserted by intolerant Hindu nationalist currents.
In reality, out of 1.2 billion Indians, Christians of all confessions make up little more than 2 percent. And they are not expanding, but slowly declining: from 2.6 percent in 1971 to 2.3 percent in 2001.
But at the same time, Christians run one of every five elementary schools in India, one of every four houses for widows and orphans, and one out of three houses for lepers and AIDS patients. Mother Teresa of Calcutta is the nation's pride. Except among fanatical Hinduists.
In fact, the latest explosion of anti-Christian violence that took place in Orissa did not even spare the sisters and brothers of Mother Teresa. Last Christmas three of their houses in the district of Khandhamai were attacked by an enraged mob armed with swords, axes, iron rods, and clubs. The sisters and brothers had to flee into the woods. The aggressors vented themselves by devastating the houses and chapels.
Please remember to pray for Orissa today and all of our brothers and sisters in the faith who live in India.