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Laos: Local Officials Stop Worship, Expel Christians

The constitution of Laos ostensibly protects the freedom of religion. Nonetheless, Christians in Laos remain subject to harassment by people hostile to the faith, as well as local officials.

For more ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in Laos, see here.

“Local Officials in Laos Stop Worship, Expel Christians,” Morning Star News, October 3, 2023:

(Morning Star News) – A month after a Christian family in Salavan Province, Laos lost their home and were expelled for their faith, officials in another province on Sunday (Oct. 1) disrupted the worship service of a house church and threatened to arrest them, according to a rights group.

In Savannakhet Province’s Khampou village, Assaphone District, the village deputy village chief and local security officials on Sunday (Oct. 1) disrupted the service and ordered church leader Sard Onmeunsee and 17 other Christians to stop the worship, according to Human Rights Watcher for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF).

“They were threatened with arrest and a huge fine if they did not follow the officials’ order to discontinue exercising their religious freedom or belief to worship,” HRWLRF said in a press statement.

On the supposition that the church members had angered spirits or gods by leaving them for Christianity, the officials also threatened to impose large fines on the Christians if other people in the village became ill or died. In addition, two Christians from a nearby village who had come to the service were threatened with automatic arrest if they rejoined the church for worship, according to HRWLRF.

After a family in the animist village became the first Christians there in 2019, about 180 Lao villagers accepted Christ over the next two years, HRWLRF stated.

“Thus began pressures and threats from the local government upon Christians, coercing them to give up their religious faith,” the group stated. “The local government subjected Christians to intimidations, threats, and coercion throughout 2022 and 2023, forcing them to abandon their Christian religion until today; only three families (15 Christian believers) from around 180 Christians remained in the Christian faith, led by Mrs. Sard Onmeunsee.”…

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