January 01, 2015
In July 2012, I embarked on a challenging, but blessed journey to teach nonviolence to seminarians in Pakse, Laos.
Even before my experience I knew something about the difficult history of Laos and how Christians are regarded there. Buddhism is the predominant religion, with approximately one percent of the population practicing Christianity (CIA World Factbook). Laos gained its independence from France in 1953. In 1975, after decades of political unrest and civil war, it became a communist country, officially known as the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos. Though traditional Marxist communism rejects all forms of religion, the regime in Laos manipulates widely-held Buddhist beliefs to serve its political goals, including forcing Buddhist monks to study and preach communist policies.