Sri Lanka: tolerance within bounds

The island country of Sri Lanka is home to four distinct religions: Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and Christianity. Each religion is viewed as a matter of family inheritance and is maintained through idol worship and ritual. Less than 2 percent of Sri Lankans follow Christ alone.

Here a personís identity and religion are inseparable. To be Sinhalese is to be Buddhist. To be Tamil is to be Hindu. To be Moor is to be Muslim. Catholic Christians inherited their religion from generations before them who converted for Portuguese protection. Evangelical Christians inherited their religion from the British colonial days.

Sri Lankans view tolerance as a virtue. So the government honors all religious holidays, giving Sri Lankans more national holidays than any other country in the world. However, tolerance extends only to those who stay within the bounds of their religion, those who refrain from proselytizing.

In recent days, as the small evangelical church has extended its witness to the lost around them, the repercussions have been violent. Churches have been vandalized and believers attacked. Pray for boldness for believers who have tasted the goodness of the Lord. May they be salt and light in this land full of illusions, unashamed to stand for the Truth.

Photo: a young Sri Lankan