Bolivia: Christians Fear New Law May Land Them in Jail

Amanda Casanova | Contributor | Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Bolivia: Christians Fear New Law May Land Them in Jail

Evangelicals in Bolivia say they are “deeply worried” about Bolivia’s new Penal Code, which could sentence evangelicals to up to 12 years in prison.

Christians are concerned the Penal Code, which Bolivian President Evo Morales is expected to approve, could lead to a ban on evangelism and “state abuse” against Christians.

The law warns against 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.” Those found guilty could face between five to 12 years in prison.

The National Association of Evangelicals in Bolivia has launched a National Emergency Commission that will analyze the impact of the new law.

"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."

Many have already protested the new law at a march on Jan. 16 and evangelical churches in the country have scheduled a day of prayer and fasting for Jan. 21.

Bolivia is predominantly Roman Catholic, according to the Christian Post. Evangelicals and Pentecostals are about 8 percent of the population, which Protestant Christians make up about 8 percent.


Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/PeterHermesFurian

Publication date: January 16, 2018