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Barnabas Update – April 1st 2020

New anti-conversion bill for Sri Lanka?

Barnabas, 24 March 2020

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa hinted that he is prepared to introduce an anti-conversion bill to “save this country” from falling into deep difficulties.

Addressing the annual convention of the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress, he identified the conversion of “traditional Buddhist families to other religions” as a major “threat”.

He implied that an anti-conversion bill could be introduced after the parliamentary elections.  “There are many that oppose it and that is why we don’t want to touch it,” Rajapaksa told his audience. “If you want it you must bring it forward unanimously otherwise it will be my neck on the line,” he added. 

Christian leaders in Sri Lanka say the latest proposal is part of the government’s pre-election campaign. “They are using extremism to be popular,” said a pastor. “They have already started to collect information regarding churches through local government authorities. I believe they are strategically working out something against the house church movement.” 

Another pastor added, “The government is frightened to see the growth of the local churches in rural areas.”