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NEPAL bans Christmas holiday


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Christians are protesting the Nepali government's recent decision to remove Christmas as an observed national holiday.

Since the Asian nation of Nepal became a secular state eight years ago, Christmas has been recognized as a national holiday, Christian Today reports. The government is blaming an over-crowded Nepali calendar for its decision to no longer observe the Christian holiday in the future, stating  that too many dates commemorating other religious holidays exist on its list of nationwide celebrations.

Many throughout the Himilayan nation believe that government officials are singling out Christians for discrimination because it chose to eliminate Christmas, instead of numerous other holidays representing other religions — with many having less adherants than Christianity.

In order to address this concern of anti-Christian bias, the Nepali government maintains that its determination to take Christmas off of the nation's list of nationally celebrated holidays was not intended to be an affront to Christians.

Nepal Minister for Home Affairs Shakti Basnet contends that government officials had no choice but to get rid Christmas as a public holiday because it had inserted too many others on its list — contending that the removal Christmas does not reflect any ill-intent on Christians living in Nepal.

"We are forced to take such a decision not to hurt Christians, but to control the rising number of public holidays," Basnet expressed to Asia News, even though the reasoning behing choosing Christmas instead of another one of the many observed holidays was not given.

Unequal freedom to observe?

Christians who work in the private sector have been noticeably more upset over the government's decision to axe Christmas from its list of nationally celebrated holidays — more than government employees, that is. This is because state officials announced to Christians holding government jobs that they will still receive Christmas Day off as a holiday, while privately employed workers — who comprise a significant proportion of the nation's workforce — must still work on December 25 like any other normal work day.

National Federation of Christians (NFC) Secretary General Rev. CB Gehatraj notes the rift that the removal of Christmas creates between private and government employees wishing to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

"If Christmas is not a national holiday, the workers of the private sector will not be able to celebrate it," Gehatraj stressed.

He also argues — in contradiction to the state's explanation — that the government is specifically targeting the one holiday that it alotted to Christians, while it purposely left more than 80 observances for Hindus and other religions on its list.

"The government recognises 83 festivities for Hindus and other communities, but none for Christians,” the Christian leader pointed out.

Backing up his assertion that Nepal is indeed moving to diminish the presence of Christianity inside its borders, Gahatraj asserts that the decisions of national authorities are motivated by sentiments against Christianty.

"[The Nepali officials' decision to eliminate Christmas was] influenced by anti-Christian tendencies,” the reverend contends.

Gahatraj announced that a number of faith groups are prepared to challenge the ruling of the Nepali government to exclude Christmas from its expansive observed holiday list.

“We are ready to sacrifice ourselves for our faith and the protection of freedom of worship," he proclaimed. "We strongly demand the restoration of the festivity and that the recent decision be dropped within a week."

The NFC leader says that a nationwide showing of Christian support will work to persuade Nepali government officials to replace Christmas on its nationally observed holiday list if the initial demand for religious freedom to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ is not successful.

"If the government fails to meet our request, we will protest across the country," Gahatraj insisted.

http://www.onenewsnow.com/persecution/2016/04/10/christians-protest-nepal-ousting-christmas

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