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-Laos: Three Pastors Arrested for Duplicating a Christian DVD

by Dr. D ~ February 12th, 2013

English: A map of Laos with Savannakhet provin...

       ( Laos- Savannakhet province: Wikipedia)

According to the Laotian Constitution citizens in Laos are free to “believe or not to believe in religions.” However there are a number of restrictions on proselyting and on the reproduction and dissemination of religious materials. In the following article, 3 Christian pastors were arrested and put in prison for merely duplicating a Christian DVD for their own use. From CSW News:

… three Christian pastors in Laos have been arrested and detained for “spreading the Christian religion” by reproducing a DVD of a Christian film. Pastor Bounma of Alowmai Village Church, Pastor Somkaew of Kengsainoi Village Church and Pastor Bounmee of Savet Village Church, were arrested on 5 February 2013 by the Phin District police in Savannakhet province.

According to CSW’s sources, the pastors took a DVD copy of a film about the ‘End Times’ to a shop in Phin District market in order to make three copies. After the copies were made, the owner of the shop, along with the three pastors, tested one of the DVDs and watched the film through to the end. While they were watching, a police officer came to the shop and saw the shop owner and the pastors watching the film. The police officer then contacted his superior, Lieutenant Khamvee, who came to the shop accompanied by two deputies. The police arrested the three pastors and took the shop owner to the police station for further questioning. The shop owner was later released without charge.

During their interrogation, the pastors claimed that the three copies were for their own use, but the authorities insisted that they were “spreading the Christian religion” through the film. The three pastors are currently being detained in Phin district prison.

<Read the whole article>

Response: Although there is supposed to be freedom of religion in Laos in reality there are far too many restrictions on religion and local bureaucrats seem to be free to make up their own rules. So many times Christian pastors and even whole Christian churches find themselves in trouble with little recourse but to rely upon the mercy of unsympathetic government officials.

In some ways the experience of Christians in Laos reminds me of first century believers in the Roman Empire. In the past, whole Christian churches in Laos including all of the believers and their families have been kicked out of their homes and villages and left to starve and fend for themselves in the wilderness because they refused to worship the traditional village gods.

Nevertheless, the church continues to grow in the country but it is always a good time for us to remember to pray for our brothers and sisters in Laos and specifically for the 3 pastors who are now in prison and their families.            *Top

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