Bolivian Christians Protest New Law Criminalizing Evangelism With Up to 12 Years in Prison

Evangelicals in Bolivia are “deeply worried” about the country’s new Penal Code, which they say could ban evangelism, and sentence so-called guilty parties with up to 12 years in prison.

The National Association of Evangelicals in Bolivia has established a National Emergency Commission, which will analyze how evangelical bodies respond to the new law, as reported by Evangelical Focus on Monday.

“We express our most resolute rejection of the inclusion of our ministerial activities in the list of possible conducts that go against the law,” reads a statement by the group.

“The legislator forgets that the evangelical Christian churches in Bolivia are religious organizations recognized by the Bolivian state, and, therefore, legal entities.”

The evangelicals are concerned that the Penal Code, which is to be approved by President Evo Morales, could lead to “state abuse” against believers.

Article 88.1 of the new legislation apparently threatens anyone who “recruits, transports, deprives of freedom or hosts people with the aim of recruiting them to take part in armed conflicts or religious or worship organizations” with between five to 12 years in prison.

The Bolivian evangelical association further warns that citizens have not been allowed to adequately participate in the writing of the new legislation, which they said could “severely restrict” religious freedom.

Some of the protests that have been organized include a march on Jan. 16 in the city of Cochabamba, while evangelical churches in the country will hold a day of prayer and fasting on the Jan. 21.

“We maintain the emergency alert of the evangelical people in Bolivia, and as a consequence, events, gatherings, prayer meetings and meetings of spiritual intercessions for our country will be organized in all cities and places where there are evangelical Christian churches and organizations,” the statement added.

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Source: Christian Post