Christianity in Bhutan
|Christianity by Country
|Full list •|
The French Internet site "Aide à l'Eglise en détresse" (Aid to the Church in Need) puts the figure of Christians in Bhutan at 12,255, with 1,000 Roman Catholics, making it a total of 0.9% of the population. The population also consists of 84% Buddhists, 11.4% Hindus, 3.4% Animists and 0.3% uncategorized.
The 2008 Constitution 
Article 3 of the 2008 constitution guarantees religious freedom, but also forbids conversion 'by means of coercion or inducement'. According to Open Doors, to many Bhutanese this rules out sharing the gospel.
Christian communities 
There is a relatively large Christian population in Southern Bhutan. 
Roman Catholics 
Mahayana Buddhism as state religion 
According to Article 3 of the 2008 Constitution, "Buddhism is the spiritual heritage of Bhutan, which promotes the principles and values of peace, non-violence, compassion and tolerance". "The Druk Gyalpo [or King] is the protector of all religions in Bhutan". Article 3 stipulates that "It shall be the responsibility of religious institutions and personalities to promote the spiritual heritage of the country while also ensuring that religion remains separate from politics in Bhutan. Religious institutions and personalities shall remain above politics."
Restrictions on the Christian faith 
Before 2008 
- In 2002 : According to a 2002 report cited by the Bhutanese Christians Services Centre NGO, "the 65,000 Christians [in the country] have only one church at their disposal."
- In 2006 : According to Mission Network News, "it's illegal for a Buddhist to become a Christian and church buildings are forbidden. (...) Christians in Bhutan are only allowed to practice their faith at home. Those who openly choose to follow Christ can be expelled from Bhutan and stripped of their citizenship."
- In 2007 : According to Gospel for Asia, "the government has recently begun clamping down on Christians by barring some congregations from meeting for worship. This has caused at least two Gospel for Asia-affiliated churches to temporarily close their doors. (...) Under Bhutan law, it is illegal to attempt to convert people from the country’s two predominant religions [Buddhism and Hinduism]."
After 2008 
According to the "Open Doors" ONG, "Persecution in Buddhist Bhutan mainly comes from the family, the community, and the monks who yield a strong influence in the society. Cases of atrocities (i.e. beatings) have been decreasing in number; this may continue as a result of major changes in the country, including the implementation of a new constitution guaranteeing greater religious liberty." 
Christian media 
- Bhoutan, Aide à l'Église en détresse, "Appartenance religieuse".
- Bhutan, Open Doors.
- "Persecuted Countries: Bhutan".
- , Bhoutan, sur le site Aide à l'Église en détresse: "[le] diocèse indien de Darjeeling [...] inclut dans son territoire la petite nation du Bhoutan" (i.e. "the Indian diocese of Darjeeling [...] includes the small nation of Bhutan in its sphere."
- "Catholic Online".
- Bhutan, International Religious Freedom Report 2007, State Department.
- Malgré la liberté de religion inscrite dans la Constitution, les chrétiens ne peuvent toujours ni pratiquer en public, ni construire de lieux de culte (Bulletin EDA n° 524), sur le site EDA (Églises d'Asie), Agence d'information des missions étrangères de Paris.
- Reports on Situation of Christians in Bhutan, Bhutan4Christ.
- Leadership change in Bhutan sparks hope for ministry, Mission Network News, 26 December, 2006.
- Bhutanese Christians Barred from Attending Worship Services, Gospel For Asia,July 5, 2007.
- 'New Research Shows Christians Worldwide Facing Increasing Hostility in Practising Their Faith', Says Open Doors, Press Release, 13 February 2009.
- "U. S. State Department's 2007 Report on International Religious Freedom".
- "Bhutan Society and Culture".
- "Mission Network News".
See also