Source: Christianity Today
Christians in Nepal are exulting over the national parliament's dramatic decision on May 18 to abolish the monarchy and declare the state secular, wiping out its tag as a Hindu kingdom.
"Our joy is beyond words," Simon Pandey, general secretary of National Churches Fellowship of Nepal (NCFN), told CT. The House of Representatives' unanimous vote, he said, will have "far-reaching impact on the life of the church." Most notably, Christians can now register their congregations and build church buildings.
The parliament has also made the king a taxpayer, abolished his privy council, and stripped him of all executive powers, including command of the armed forces.
Massive pro-democracy protests forced King Gyanendra to give up absolute power on April 24. He reinstated the parliament he had dissolved four years ago and swore in a popular government led by a coalition of opposition parties.
More than 1 million protesters choked Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, for three weeks in April. The king yielded only after 18 democracy protesters died and more than 5,000 suffered injuries in clashes with the police and army.