Christians Continue to Face Persecution in Burma
Despite all this many are turning to Christ, and Christianity is growing rapidly.
By CFI Field Staff
MAE SOT, THAILAND — Burma, also known as Myanmar, is a nation in transformation. Fair elections were held in November 2015 and the country saw a landslide win for the opposition under Buddhist Aung San Suu Kyi, ending 50 years of military rule.
The transition from military dictatorship to civilian government is underway, and sanctions from the U.S. and other nations have been lifted. Trade and economic opportunities are abundant — however, religious freedom and human rights lag far behind.
While ceasefire agreements between the government and ethnic minorities have stopped most of the slaughter of Christians, persecution continues. Christians continue to face discrimination, forced conversions, violence, and the desecration of churches and Christian communities. Christian churches, cemeteries, and other Christian spaces are frequently desecrated and attacked. Christians themselves are attacked by authorities and civilians alike — and these attacks are often dismissed as false claims.
Throughout the country, Christians face restrictions on buying land for churches and for erecting Christian symbols, and even against assembling for religious worship.
Meanwhile, though forced conversions at gunpoint are rarely seen now in Burma, a more subtle forced conversion campaign is in operation through the military school system in Christian areas.
These schools — run through the military – are often the only choice for a secondary education in rural Christian areas. They offer this education free of charge, and promise students in impoverished areas a guaranteed job within the government of Burma after graduation — but only if the student converts to Buddhism. Furthermore, while at these boarding schools, students are prohibited from attending Christian worship services, and are required to be initiated as Buddhist monks or nuns.
The Buddhist majority, led by radical monks, increased their campaigns against religious minorities and successfully helped introduce four laws for the “Protection of Race and Religion.” The laws build insurmountable hurdles for conversions and religiously mixed marriages.
Despite all this, many are turning to Christ and Christianity is growing rapidly. People are asking Christian Freedom International for more Bibles and other assistance, and CFI is responding. House churches are forming throughout the rural areas at a rapid pace.
Christian Freedom International has been working in Burma for many years. CFI has assisted persecuted Christians in war zones, jungle villages, and refugee camps. We have delivered tons of medicine, food, and Bibles, among many, many additional, desperately needed supplies.
CFI also runs a strategic dormitory Bible school, the Huai Kalok Bible Institute, in neighboring Thailand, which trains future Christian leaders for Burma.