Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bhutan: Their Intolerance for Christians

Prime Minister Jigmi Yoser Thinley
The first democratically-elected Prime Minister of Bhutan, is a country dedicated to improving its Gross National Happiness as opposed to its Gross National Product.  What is Gross National Happiness?

(YouTube link)

In the Kingdom of Bhutan, Christians have the right to proclaim their faith, but must not use coercion or claim religious superiority to seek conversions, the country’s prime minister has stated in an interview.

“I view conversions very negatively, because a conversion is the worst form of intolerance,” Jigmi Yoser Thinley said in his office in the capital of the predominantly Buddhist nation. 

“The first premise [of seeking conversion] is that you believe that your religion is the right religion, and the religion of the convertee is wrong – what he believes in is wrong, what he practices is wrong, that your religion is superior and that you have this responsibility to promote your way of life, your way of thinking, your way of worship,” Thinley said. “It’s the worst form of intolerance. And it divides families and societies.”[2]

Togbay said there are Christians who are tolerant and compassionate of other peoples, cultures and religions, but “there are Christians also who go through life on war footing to save every soul. That’s their calling, and it’s good for them, except that in Bhutan we do not have the numbers to accommodate such zeal.”

King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk

Interestingly, Bhutan’s current king, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk, who shapes the country’s foreign policy, studied at Phillips Academy, Cushing Academy, and Wheaton College in Massachusetts. But he has maintained a policy of “entertain, but not engage” with the United States. [3] They don't want to become westernized, although they are quite modernized with globally-minded ideas.

Do you see any parallels that can be drawn from this? Just as the Kingdom of Bhutan does not tolerate the thought that Christianity is superior, there will come a time when the laws in the US will prevent Christians from  seeking converts and witnessing for Christ for the same reasons. Intolerance toward Christians will become hip, and the laws will be there to back them.