India: Churches Pay For Big Families

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India, Oct. 7 (UPI) — A number of Christian churches in the Indian state of Kerala have begun offering incentives to couples to produce more children, officials say.

After a report submitted to Kerala’s chief minister proposed imposing a strict two-child policy, church groups said they were worried about the dwindling number of Christians, the BBC reported Friday.

Christian populations have been dropping, with unofficial estimates predicting they could fall below 18 percent of Kerala’s population by the next census.

One church in Kerala’s Wayanad district has offered 10,000 rupees ($200) for a couple having a fifth child, the BBC reported Friday.

“Our campaign is for responsible parenthood but the decision on how many children a couple should have is personal,” said the Rev. Paul Thelakkat, a spokesman for Syro-Malabar Church, which is advocating the policy of rewarding procreation. “We are not against family planning.”

Kerala’s Catholic church has also begun an initiative to encourage larger families, the BBC reported.

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