The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

EVANGELISATION 2000 OR POLITICS OF SUBVERSION?

- P.PARAMESWARAN

I.
India is passing through a very delicate, dangerous and tricky situation. It has to be handled with subtlety, skill and intelligent planning. Emotional outbursts and violent confron­tations are not only unhelpful but counterproductive also. It has to be realised that the forces which are ranged against us are adept in the art of manipulation and have international roots and resources.

It is no secret that all the world Churches - most important of them being the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Church - have a common agenda which they call 'Evangelisation 2000 and Beyond.' The nature of the agenda has been officially stated in the following words:

At this juncture, when we are at the close of the second millennium, many futurologists. secular as well as religious, are looking into the near future and making plans for a better world. In both Catholic and Protestant Churches many plans have already been launched in view of the year 2000. Already in 1970 Christian literature was published in view of this future event. The last decade of the second millennium is announced as the 'Decade of Evangelisation' and is known by different names in over fifty languages: for example, 'Decade of Evangelism', 'Decade of Harvest'. 'Decade of Decision', 'Uni­versal Decade of Evangelisation', 'Decade of World Evangelisation', 'Decade of World Mission', 'Evangelisation 2000', Tera Noor 2000' and so forth.

Over eighty global plans and another five hundred national plans have been announced with 2000 A.D. as their target date. The goal and objectives of these Christian groups vary. The Catholic charismatic office in Rome declared it as "to give Jesus Christ the two-thousandth birthday gift of a world of more Christians" (usually this is abbreviated as fifty-one percent Christians - birthday gift of a world with more percentage of Christians) or "to give Jesus a two-thousandth birthday present of a billion new believers". The Protestant radio plan entitled The World by 2000' aims to provide every man, woman and child on earth the opportunity by the year 2000 A.D. to turn on their radio and hear the gospel of Jesus Christ in a language they can understand. Its Catholic counterpart 'Lumen 2000' aims "to preach the gospel of Jesus to the uttermost parts of the earth spreading the love of Jesus around the globe" (pp. 372-373. 'Integral Mission Dynamics - An Inter-disciplinary Study of Catholic Churches in India' edited by Augustine Kanjamala, Secretary to the C.B.C.I Commission for Proc­lamation and Social Communication). It is thus clear that addition of a hundred crores of new converts before 2000 A.D. is the target fixed by the Roman Catholic Church.

Another point which emerges from these statements is that the additional numbers of converts have to be recruited from the two continents of Africa and Asia. This too has been explicitly stated by the highest authority, viz., Pope John Paul II himself. He says, 'There is nothing strange then that the African and Asian animists would become believers in Christ more easily" (p. 82, 'Crossing the Threshold of Hope'). Concerted efforts in this direction have been going on. Reinhard Bonnke, the leading evangelist, has stated that during his evangelisation of the last twenty years the percentage of the Christian population has increased from two to forty percent in Africa. During his missionary tour of India he frankly stated that now India js on the top of "God's Agenda".

Pope has no doubt as to which country and which segment of its population come on the top of his priority while launching the campaign for evangelisation. He writes in his latest book 'Faith and Reason' published in September 1998: "My thoughts turn 'immediately to the lands of the East so rich in religious and philosophical traditions of great antiquity. Among these lands India has a special place. A great spiritual impulse leads Indian thought to seek an experience which would liberate the spirit from the shackles of time and space and would therefore acquire absolute value. In India particularly, it is the duty of Christians to draw from this rich heritage the elements compatible to enrich the Christian thoughts." (Pp. 105-106, 'Faith and Reason').

Thus it is clear that India is the number one target. But that is not all. Even in India the prime targets are the innocent and illiterate tribal population. To achieve this objective the first step is to declare that the tribals are not Hindus but are much more closely affiliated to the Christian faith. There is an unambiguous command issued by the Pope to his missionaries that they should particularly concentrate on the tribal people for immediate conversion.

"At this point it would be helpful to recall all the primitive religions and animistic religions which stress ancestor worship. It seems that those who practise them are particularly close to Christianity and among them the Church's missionaries also find it easier to speak a common language....in this veneration of ancestors there is a kind preparation for the Christian faith.....is ultimately faith in Christ who alone is the source of life and holiness for all". (P.82,'Crossing the Threshold of Hope').

Sometimes it is stated that the tribals are neither Hindus nor Christians but that Christians have a better claim to convert them into 4heir fold. Repeated and forceful propaganda to this effect has been going on with the powerful backing of westernised intellectuals with the result that this idea has many takers in India and abroad. 'Indigenous People's Movement' organised by the World Council of Churches has also been propagate the idea that tribals are not Hindus despite the fact that they have been worshipping Hanuman, Ganesha and other deities belonging to the Hindu pantheon.

But the most fundamental question is this: What is Christianity's attitude towards other religions which Pope himself describes as 'the great religions of the Far East'? Does it consider them as equally valid approaches to God? Or does it still appropriate for itself a special position, something equivalent to the 'white man's burden' of the colonial days? If it is so we should frankly say that it is not acceptable to us. We shall fight it as valiantly as we fought colonialism. There seems to be no other way because of Pope's own declaration that Christianity alone is the 'true' religion. 'The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. The Church has a high regard for their conduct and way of life, for those precepts and doctrines which, although differing on many points from that which the Church believes and propounds, often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men. However the Church proclaims and is bound to proclaim that Christ is the truth and the life' (Jn 14:6) in whom men must find the fullness of religious life and in whom God has reconciled everything to Himself." (Nostra Aetate 2) {'Crossing the Threshold of Hope', pp. 80-81).

Catholic Church, the biggest, wealthiest and the most well organised Christian organisation, has been naturally in the forefront of the campaign for 'Evangelisation 2000.'

In his widely discussed book 'Crossing the Threshold of Hope' (1994) Pope John Paul II has stated: 'The call for a great re-launching of evangelisation enters again and again in a number of ways into the life of the Church (p. 105). As the year 2000 approaches our world feels an urgent need for the Gospel (p. 114). There exists today the clear need for a new evangelisation. Isn't such need itself already a sign of the new approach of the year 2000?" (p. 117).

With regard to India their plan has been clearly spelt out. The book says: "There is great freedom to spread the gospel despite efforts to limit this. Christians were the fastest growing minority in India until 1970s. In Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Orissa and the North-East States hundreds of new village congregations are being planted by indigenous missionaries and local churches." (Pp. 275 - 276). They too have specially targeted the tribal population for conversion.

It is this active interest among the tribals by the Christian missionaries, resulting in massive conversions by using force, fraud and allurement that has created social tension and even physical conflict in the widespread tribal belts of India. The recent disturbances in Gujarat are directly due to this. In a well-documented publication by the Protestant Church 'Opera­tion World' (1993) this fact has been brought to light. It states that "in the southern part of Gujarat, predominantly tribals, we have been planting one church every week and thus have increased the Christian percentage there substantially" (p. 281, 'Operation World'). "Many Bhil, Kukin, Gamit. Chaudhry. Koli, Dhadia and others have come to Christ possibly increasing the percentage of Christians in the State to 0.5%. Pray that this turning to God may continue unchecked by external opposition and internal failure" (p. 281). Regarding Orissa it is stated, 'The tribal peoples of Orissa are the most responsive to the gospel. Among triem a significant number are Christians. There is a large movement to Christ. There is an exciting development of mission vision among these believers." (P. 287, 'Operation World').

Planting a church every week necessarily involves converting a correspondingly large number of tribal people. Sudden uprooting from their age-old cultural moorings naturally disrupts the social fabric and creates tension between the converted and the non-converted, leading to strife even at the physical level. This is happening all over India. Estrangement from the traditional culture and way of life leads to a sense of alienation which is deliberately exploited by foreign missionaries to promote anti-national, secessionist tendencies and even to armed insurgency. This is what happened in the States of North-East, particularly Mizoram and Nagaland.

North-Eastern region of India has been another special target Regarding Mizoram they write, "No nation on earth has sent a higher proportion of their people as missionaries. There may be nearly one thousand Mizo missionaries serving in other parts of India and beyond." In Nagaland, "Christians made a solemn covenant in 1980 to live for worid evangelisation. They are trusting God that 10,000 missionaries will be sent from Nagaland." (Pp. 286-287. 'Operation Wortd").

The rising tide of evangelisation supported by enormous flow of foreign funds and missionaries with the conspiratorial connivance of Christian countries is causing great anxiety in the minds of the Hindus who feel that not only their religion but also the country's identity are being threatened. Unlike Christianity and Islam. Hinduism had its birth in India. The whole of India is a Holy Land for Hindus. Every part of it is dotted with holy places associated with their Gods and Goddesses, sages and saints, heroes' and martyrs. The entire fabric of social life is intimately connected with Hindu religion and its value system. Change of religion leads to change of identity. That is how conversion to alien religion is seen as a factor that upsets the harmonious life-style. Even such a great universalist as Swami Vivekananda has explicitly stated that when a hindu is converted to Islam or Christianity, it is not only that Hinduism loses one number but also gains an enemy. Opposition to massive conversion currently going on is to be seen in this light.

Mizoram and Nagaland where evangelisation is the highest are also areas of anti-national, subversive and militant terrorist activities against India and Indians. That the Church expects a very rich harvest from the southern hemisphere - Africa, Asia etc. - has been again emphasised, along with underlining the fact that the North is losing out heavily in the race for Christianity. In 1974 Walbert Buhlmann convincingly demonstrated how the centre of the world Christianity was shifting from the Atlantic region towards the Pacific region. At the beginning of the century eighty-five percent of the Chris­tians and seventy-seven percent of Catholic population were living in the northern hemisphere. The southern hemisphere had only fifteen percent of Christian population and twenty-three percent of the Catholic population. By the year 1960 the Catholic population had shrunk to fifty-two percent in the North and grown to forty-eight percent in the South. Twenty years later the population of the Catholics in the northern hemisphere was forty-two percent; and in the year 2000, sixty percent of Christian population will be in the South and the remaining forty percent in the North. Buhlmann's conclusion was that the First Church (Oriental Church) dominated the first millennium. The Third Church (a new Church in the southern hemisphere) will most probably dominate the Church in the third millennium (W. Buhlmann, 1976. 86-87,129-60). The Indian Church will hopefully play a key role in the process.



II.
Evangelisation is not a new phenomenon in history. Pope himself refers to earlier waves of evangelisation in his book 'Faith and Reason’. A great new wave of evangelisation began at the end of the fifteenth century originating above all in Spain and Portugal....With the discovery of America the evangelisation of that entire hemisphere, from north to south, was set in motion.....The sixteenth century is also the century of St. Francis Xavier whose missionary achievements were directed to the East, India and Japan in particular. He was enormously effective there despite the strong resistance he encountered from cultures which those people had devel­oped over thousands of years." (Pp. 109-110, 'Crossing the Threshold of Hope').

This wave of evangelisation of which the Pope speaks with such great admiration was in fact an event full of conflict, intolerance, tension and destruction. This was the period of the notorious Goan inquisition. According to the Jesuit historian Father Francis de Souza, the goal of the inquisition in India was to destroy Hinduism and also to persecute the Indian Jews who had lived there in peace for many centuries. Large numbers of Hindus had to flee Goa to escape conversion. It also gave rise to widespread disharmony between the earlier indigenous Christians and the new converts owing allegiance to Rome. It has not been healed.

Evangelisation is conversion in a new bottle. Even today missionary literature uses vituperative terms against Hindu Gods and Goddesses; they abuse Hindu customs and prac­tices; they exploit every weakness and dangle allurements for conversion. The only difference is that they have diversified their ways of approach. They have added to their original stock-in-trade words like 'dialogue' and 'acculturation' but these are only new tactics. It is old wine in a new bottle. It is like the modern multinationals' displaying irresistible advertisements to market their products to the gullible con­sumer. When Gandhiji was asked whether his criticism was not based on earlier conceptions he answered: "The outward condition has perhaps changed but the inward mostly remains the same." 'Vilification of Hindu religion, though subdued, is there. If there was a radical change in the missionary's outlook, would Murdoch's books be allowed to be in mission depots? Are those books prohibited by missionary societies? There is nothing but vilification of Hinduism in those books. You talk of the conception being no longer there. The other day a missionary descended on a famine area with money in his pocket, distributed it among the famine-stricken, converted them to his fold, took charge of their temple and demolished it. This is outrageous. The temple could not belong to the converted and it could not belong to the Christian missionary. But this friend goes and gets it demolished at the hands of the very men who only a little while ago believed that God was there." ('Collected Works', Vol. 61, pp. 46-47).

Pope refers to the great work of St. Francis Xavier with unmixed admiration. I shall quote what St. Xavier himself had said about his mission:

"I must tell you how in a kingdom out here (Travancore) which I traversed God moved many persons to become Christians. It was so that in a single month I baptized more than ten thousand men, women and children..... And then I baptized them giving each his Portuguese name in writing (in Tamil). It was the turn of women and girls next and I instructed and baptized in the same way. The baptisms over, I told the new Christians to demolish the shrines of the idols and saw to it that they crushed the images into -dust. I could not express to you the consolation it gave me to watch the idols being destroyed by the hands of those who so recently used to worship them. I thus went from village to village making Christians." (Pp. 104-105, 'St. Francis Xavier and his Shn'ne' by P. Rayanna). Such wanton acts of barbarity are described by the Pope as "holy stubbornness."

This is by no means the first instance of Christian fanatics' demolishing Hindu places of worship. It is officially claimed and publicly exhibited that when St. Thomas came to India in 52 A.D. he converted Namboothiris to Christianity (at Palayoor near Guruvayoor) and demolished the Siva temple in which they used to worship. (But the whole thing is a myth because no historian worth the name has ever accepted the historicity of St. Thomas's visit to India. But none the less the claim stands!)

Now let us look at it from another angle.

How sincere are the tears shed by the Christian mission­aries over the plight and status of the tribals and other so-called 'indigenous peoples'? How did they treat the Americans, the Africans etc? Worse than animals. This is common knowledge and part of history. Even in Kerala where Chris­tianity is supposed to have spread quite early every important Christian family proudly traces its lineage to a Namboothiri Brahmin and not to a tribal or a Harijan. Till recently and in some places even today converts from the Scheduled Castes are not admitted into the regular churches. They continue to be discriminated against. Why do the Christians not set their house in order before going in for fresh 'harvest'?

Let us see what happened in America. Within forty years, more than twelve million men and women who were the original inhabitants of America were slain and the great Amerindian civilization was destroyed. This was the "laudable contribution* of Christianity to the indigenous people.

Pope also refers to an earlier wave of evangelisation in which Christianity encountered the Greek civilization. In that encounter also the result was that the great Greek civilization which once gave the world a golden age suffered enormously and it never recovered from the disaster. Once Greece was Christianized she rejected her ancestral traditions and in the process vanished from the face of the earth as a living and vibrant civilization.

Christian missionaries vehemently oppose re-conversion of converted Christians back to their earlier religion. The situation is the same today also. At that time Gandhiji used to say:

"In my opinion they are not examples of real conversion. If a person through fear, compulsion, and starvation or for material gain or consideration goes over to another faith, it is a misnomer to call it conversion. Most cases of mass conversion, of which we have heard so much during the past two years, have been to my mind false coin. I would therefore unhesitatingly readmit to the Hindu fold all such repentants without much ado." {'Missionaries in India', p. 44). Even today the argument continues to be as valid despite the Christian missionary protestations.

Swami Vivekananda also held the same view as Gandhiji on the question of receiving back Hindus who were "perverted" from the Hindu fold. Asked whether he favoured receiving them back Swamiji said: "Certainly they can and ought to be taken." He sat gravely for a moment thinking and then resumed. "Besides", he said, "we shall otherwise decrease in number. When the Mohammedans first came. we are said - I think on the authority of Ferishta, the oldest Mohammedan historian -to have been six hundred millions of Hindus. Now we are about two hundred millions. And then every man going out of the Hindu pale is not only a man less but an enemy the more.

Again the vast majority of Hindu perverts to Islam and Christianity are perverts by the sword, or the descendants of these. It would be obviously unfair to subject these to disabilities of any kind. As to the case of born aliens [they] have been converted in the past by crowds and the process is still going on." {'Missionaries in India', p. 45).

Another instance is the Christians' intolerance to Hindus working among the tribal population whom they consider their natural 'prey'. We have seen how uneasy they are when Hindu activists start schools and hospitals for the tribals. The same was the case in Gandhiji's time also. Gandhiji said: "I see what you mean but I do not know why it should disturb them. We are not traders trenching on one another's province. If it is a matter of serving oneself, I should understand their attitude; but when it is entirely a matter of serving others, it should not worry them or me as to who serves them." ('Missionaries in India', p. 203).

"But perhaps the authorities in charge of a mission hospital would rightly feel worried if you sent your people to go and open a hospital in the same place," said the interlocutor.

"But they should understand that ours is a different mission." replied Gandhiji. "We do not go there to offer them simple medical relief or knowledge of the three R's; our going to them is a small proof of our repentance and our assurance to them that we will not exploit them any more. I should never think of opening a hospital where there is already one; but if there is a Mission school I should not mind opening another for Harijan children and I would even encourage them to prefer our school to the other. Let us frankly understand the position. If the object is purely humanitarian, purely that of carrying education where there is none, they [the missionaries] should be thankful that someone whose obvious duty it is to put his own house in order wakes up to a sense of his duty. But my trouble is that the missionary friends do not bring to bear on their work a purely humanitarian spirit. Their object is to add more members to their fold. and that is why they are disturbed. The complaint which I have been making all these years is more than justified by what you say." ('Missionaries in India', pp. 203-204).

Now Pope speaks about a new evangelisation that is sweeping across our very eyes. He says, "The mission of evangelisation is an essential part of the Church. The Church by her nature is missionary. There exists today the clear need for a new evangelisation. There is a need for a proclamation of the gospel and Christ as the truth, the way and the goal. As the year 2000 approaches our world feels an urgent need of the gospel." (P. 114-117, 'Crossing the Threshold of Hope"). It is going to be more destructive and devastating than the earlier ones considering the fact that the world has become much smaller. Means of communication, hold over the media, and economic clout of the evangelists have assumed unprec­edented proportions. Now you have the power to terrorise and victimise others and yet pass on as venerable martyrs. The tragedy of it all is that the victims are the tribal population now as it was the poor fishermen at the time of St. Francis Xavier.

Fr. P. Augustine Kanjamala openly admits: "The objective of conversion and numerical strength - the top priority during the colonial mission - is not rejected here." Hence the frenzied efforts for massive conversion currently going on. The declared objective is to convert at least one crore non-Christians into Christianity and make a Christian-majority world.

Sounds as if the Church is planning a world government in which the Christians will constitute the ruling party with 51 % seats and the rest of mankind sitting in the opposition! What a political concept for a religious movement! We Hindus have a totally different attitude in this matter.

-Sometimes an apparently legitimate doubt is expressed:

After all the Christians in India are a minuscule minority of 2.6 percent. What can they do against a vast majority?

This question was put to the Pope in another context. His reply was, "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your father is pleased to give you the Kingdom" (Lk. 12:32). "He spoke clearly. He spoke of the persecutions that awaited those who would believe in Him" (p. 103, 'Crossing The Threshold of Hope1). So the world already belongs to the Church. That is why in the fifteenth century the then Pope divided the whole world into parts and handed over to Spain and Portugal for conversion. The mindset has not changed. Heathens are either to be converted or be sent to hell. The Church wields enormous clout beyond the wildest possible imagination.



III.
The Church had a hidden agenda which is more political than religious. Evangelisation had powerful political overtones. It was, in fact, a part of their attempt to bring countries and governments under their power and influence. This is not all strange because the Church, right from the beginning, had exercised such powers either directly or indirectly. The Head of the Catholic Church is a Ruler with his own capital, administrative machinery and worldwide diplomatic apparatus. In their perception what they call 'the kingdom of God' is nothing but Christianity spread all over with the Christ as the supreme head and the Pope as his representative on earth. "In fact all who ruled could do so because God placed them in that position of authority whether they knew it or not. He can as easily remove them. We live in an increasingly stormy and uncertain world. We are not flotsam blown hither and thither by these storms but we are raised with Christ and seated with him in heavenly place. We are world-changers in him. We can take authority in his name over spiritual and secular leaders of the world - to support the righteous, to challenge self-seeking sinners and bind or remove those who defy our God or persecute the body of Christ. Use this authority." (P. 30, 'Operation World').

"Leaders who oppose the entry of missionaries and the spread of the gospel pray that the opposition may be used to actively prepare the hearts of those they rule for the coming of the gospel or that their attitude may change or that they be replaced by leaders more sympathetic to the gospel. Over the past fifty years there have been dramatic answers to prayer in closed doors being opened. Since 1983 and the writing of the last 'Operation World' many lands have opened up more for Christian workers in NGOs or even for mission agencies," (P. 31)

From what is stated above there is every reason to believe that the Church has no reservation about supporting or pulling down governments with the sole objective of spreading its influence through conversion. Church however chooses its own time to strike and chooses its allies after careful calculation. John Paul II demonstrated this ability by working in tandem with the CIA and the Reagan administration to pull down the Communist government in Poland in 1990. Is India a new target for installing an Italian Christian owing direct allegiance to Pope as the Prime Minister as pointed out by T.J.S. George, the Indian Express columnist?

Then it was Pope and Reagan. Now it is Pope and Clinton. Then it was Walesa in Poland; now it is Sonia Gandhi in India. In Poland they wanted to bring down Communism. In India they want to bring down Hindutva.

At least as far back as 1993 they had visualised a BJP Government's coming to power at the Centre. "Should the BJP become the Government party, federal legislation against minority religion is likely to increase." But nothing of that sort happened. In the meanwhile churches were anticipating friction with the policies of the Government and were preparing the minds of their followers for a head-on confrontation. This is evident from published literature.

"When the Church in Gujarat gets committed to working for the cause of God's kingdom, denouncing sin and injustice, even if it be the voice in the wilderness, the question posed by one of our lay collaborators will surely haunt the minds of many." Will the Church not be risking its peace and security by stirring up trouble among the poor and inviting the wrath of the powers that be in the government?

"One may conclude that the Church in Gujarat, though still very small in number and beset with many difficulties, is full of hope for the future, for we stand with the Spirit of God renewing the face of the whole earth in his own unforeseeable and inscrutable ways. He will not spare us conflicts and trials but we are confident of his strengthening presence in all of us (Lk. 12:11.12). Death to our own limited selfish interests will be the channel for the Spirit's unlimited work and of his using us as his instruments for the bringing about of the kingdom of God." (F3. 173)

It seems that the emergence of BJP as the ruling party at the Centre has prompted them to step up their activities with an unholy haste. Their plan is very ambitious. They are pouring in men and money on an unprecedented scale in India. Reinhard Bonnke, one of the top evangelists of the world, recently toured India addressing huge gatherings and spreading the message of the gospel. He said at a press conference in Kochi that for the last 20 years, he was working in Africa. When he reached Africa the Christian population was just 2% but within twenty years it rose to 40%. "Now India is on the top of my agenda." The message is loud and clear. Only the blind will not see and the deaf will not hear.

It is obvious that with their international allies and pseudo-political supporters they want either to browbeat into submission or tarnish and bring down the BJP Government at the Centre. Nothing and nothing else is their objective.

An average observer of the national scene may wonder how a few comparatively minor and sporadic disturbances in Jhabua or Gujarat are immediately flashed by the audio-visual media not only in India but also abroad in lurid colours. The reason is to be sought in the tremendous clout the Church in India wields in all areas of national life including the media. Father Kanjamala himself admits this when he writes: 'The influence of the mission and the Church in India far exceeds their numerical strength. The Church does need institutions to make her services effective and efficient. Institutions can be compared to the body through which the vision and the spirit is lived, transmitted and manifested." ('Integral Mission Dynamics', p. 399). And they have them aplenty.

But that is only the tip of the iceberg. The real might of the Catholic Church lies in what Auro Manhattan, a world renowned authority on Roman Catholicism and author of many works, describes as the overwhelming power of the 'Dollar and the Vatican Collaboration.'

"Catholic imperialism is not a myth. It is as ruthless a reality as the Capitalist and Socialist perils."

The ultimate goal of Catholic imperialism is the total Catholicization of the human race. Total Catholicization implies total elimination of whatever and whoever is not Catholic. Its goal therefore, is to be feared as should anything threatening the liberties of modem man.

"The USA is out to conquer. Not so much via military aggression as via economic expansion. The latter may not be as spectacular as military conquest but it can be as effective. Indeed it is far more advantageous than the former.

"Since the end of the Second World War, Catholic imperialism's wooing of the Dollar has been crowned by such success that it has managed to identify both its enemies and its interest with those of the USA. This astounding amalgam­ation was anything but accidental. It came about chiefly owing to the fact that both the Vatican and the Dollar were able to supply what the other partner conspicuously lacked: namely, the subtle omnipotence of religion in the case of the Dollar and the crass omnipotence of the Dollar in the case of organized religion. The result has been that both imperialisms have been able ever since to infuse renewed vigour into their expansionistic drives, in a manner extremely advantageous to both." (P. 23, 'Vatican and the Dollar.')

The USA knows it for certain that the next war, the Third World War, will have to be fought between Islam on one side and the USA and the Church on the other side. There was, therefore, quick shuffling of priorities. The USA turned its attention to Hindusthan as the next target and as the next great country to be balkanised.

The USA is fully conscious of her weakness although she is competent and is confident of her ability to supply unlimited arms and ammunition to men who might somehow agree to fight on her side. But she is painfully conscious of her inability to find adequate manpower. She looks, therefore, towards India as the unlimited source of supply of fighting men. The USA plans, therefore, to browbeat, subdue, cajole, coax and trick India to become an ally.

The Catholic Church controlled by the Vatican is too cognitive of the fact that Hindus who still continue to be the largest single ethnic group in India have always spurned the advance made by the Church to convert them to Christian religion. The Hindus have, by and large, rejected Christianity as a philosophical system.

The USA believes as did the Englishman that to secure loyalties of the Indians - the Hindus - they must first be converted to Christianity. The Hindus will not agree to take the Christian chestnut out of fire or willingly help the USA to win the Third World War. Therefore both the USA and the Vatican know it for certain that to bring the Hindu to their side he must first be made a Christian. The Vatican, therefore, plans to step up its evangelising and proselytising programme especially for women, gins, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward sections of the Hindu society. Only if the Vatican succeeded in its mission would it be possible to draw on the untlmited reservoir of manpower to fight the Third World War against Islam. This common cause has brought the USA and the Vatican once again together. The goal to be reached is first to destroy Hindusthan culturally and then to deliver it to the USA to be dismembered (balkanised or at least destabilised1 politically) as was done with the USSR; each, the USA and the Vatican, scratching the other's back to further mutual interests. And there are factions and forces inside India which secretly are out to support both.

There is unmistakable evidence to show that a great conspiracy is at work against India. An axis of the Vatican and Washington is operating. Their interests coincide. America has never reconciled to India's becoming a nuclear power. Sanctions have not worked. America wants to bring India to its knees. Vatican is out to evangelise India. A central government sympathetic to Hindutva is anathema to Rome. So it wants to denigrate, defame and pull down the pro-Hindu government at the Centre at any cost. It is openly stated in 'Operation World' that it is the God-given duty of Christians to pull down a government opposed to Christianity.

A Vatican-Washington axis is not something new. It had been there even before. As Pope's biographers have pointed out, ".......in the end it was Pope John Paul II who held the key to destroying the Soviet Empire. Startling Politburo minutes obtained by Bernstein and Politi show the Kremlin elders struggling in vain to overcome his alarming power and influence in Eastern Europe. Meanwhile, in Washington, Ronald Reagan secretly made the Vatican and John Paul II his principal ally and covertly despatched CIA Director William Casey to meet regularly with Pope. John Paul II became the inspiration and protector of Solidarity - a non-Communist workers' movement in the heart of the Communist world - and came to influence his time much as Churchill and Roosevelt did theirs. With Reagan he fashioned a holy alliance against the Communists that kept Solidarity alive underground after Moscow seemed to succeed in crushing it." ('His Holiness John Paul II and the Hidden History of our Time').

IV.
Sonia Gandhi's Tirupati visit without fulfilling the usual formalities is a calculated move to facilitate the process of evangelisation by de-sensitising the Hindu mind to the customary do's and don'ts of ritualistic Hinduism. Every religion insists upon such regulations and restraints for the benefit of its followers. They are not hindrances but aids in the path of progress. Hindutva no doubt is a liberal way of life and not a religion but Hinduism is. It cannot be scornfully tampered with. Even if reforms are needed in Hinduism the way to do that is by religious leaders giving the lead in preparing the social mind. That has been the Hindu way of evolutionary reformation. When politicians jump into the fray and force changes by indulging in one upmanship and blackmail, the faith of the people will be the casualty. Once the Hindu faith is shaken evangelisation is nearly half done.

During his tour of the affected areas in Gujarat, the Prime Minister suggested that there be a nation-wide debate on 'Conversion'. The ecclesiastical neads welcomed it. Most of the political leaders poohpoohed it as a diversionary tactics. Some others were of the opinion that the time is not opportune for a debate on the issue since the atmosphere is tense and' vitiated and hence not congenial for a calm and dispassionate exchange of ideas.

Those who questioned the very motive of the Prime Ministers diversionary are evidently those who have a vested interest and want to fish in the troubled waters of communal disharmony. The suggestion that debate should wait for better occasion misses the point that a time-bound evangelisatidn programme is at the root of all troubles and hence this is the real time for debate. Delay would mean further deterioration of inter-communal harmony. As the religious heads suggested, let the ball be set in motion; let a meeting of the minds be started. Let it be an ongoing process bacause that is the only civilized way of resolving differences. As the traditional wisdom says - "understanding is reached through debate and discus­sion."

The readiness for dialogue on the part of the Church has to be closely scrutinized. There can be two possible reasons for this. One is that the Church has thoroughly mastered the skilful use of dialogue to their advantage over the centuries. They have evolved a methodology in which they have hardly any equals. That is the experience of everyone who has entered into a dialogue with them.

The second reason for this acceptance may be that barring a few honourable exceptions like Sri Arun Shourie there is hardly any one who has mastery over the requisite scholarship as well as methodology. Hence dialogue with them should be undertaken with due caution. "Speak, publish and challenge every falsity. Avoid true and social intercourse with Roman Catholics since they invented and developed a complex boycott of liberal thought and will do the same with you. Resist the diversion of public funds to the upkeep of Roman Catholic schools, withdraw patronage from Roman Catholic booksellers, organize public protest at the inordinate preference shown by the B.B.C. for Jesuit discourse; and so on. Fight intolerance with intolerance. We have tolerated the Roman Catholic Church in England for more than a century believing that it would play a game of candour. We know better now." ('Crux Ansata - An Indictment of the Roman Catholic Church', p. 159).

Arun Shourie also had the same experience with the Roman Catholic Church when he was invited for a dialogue at Pune. It ultimately led to an acrimonious debate with Fr. Augustine Kanjamala. Finally Mr. Shourie had to write, "What you assert is not just a total falsehood. It is an absurd one" and he thoroughly exposed the double standards indulged in by Fr. Kanjamala.

It is only sharp intellectuals well versed in the biblical literature, in the history of Christian Mission working in India and elsewhere and who are thoroughly equal to their logical system who can successfully engage them in a dialogue. Look how Arun Shourie comments: "There is one thing on which I agree with him (Fr. Kanjamala) completely. In his article he says, 'In the post-Independence era the government as well as many other agents of modernization are systematically working to help the SC/ST and OBC to enter the mainstream of the Indian society. And most of these people are also struggling to catch up with modernization.'

"Actually modernization, if I may as a friend warn the Church, is bankrupting their business. Christianity has been finished in Europe and North America by modernization. That is the reason why you are targeting poor countries like India with that much greater force. You have been aiming since sixteenth century to convert the untouchables. You have not succeeded very far. But now what you say is happening -modernization - is exactly what is removing that potential target. Your scholars used to write: 'If the shadow of an untouchable falls on a South Indian Brahmin he has to bathe six times.' Everybody goes in over-crowded buses and trains^ today. Does anyone first find out whether the person pushing him is an untouchable or not?" ('Arun Shourie and His Christian Critic', p. 51).

Debate and dialogue are all right but there must be honesty, openness and willingness to learn and understand. Otherwise their whole exercise can be counterproductive.

"Dialogue with Roman Catholics is like using a live eel for a walking stick," warned H.G. Wells. They have mastered the art and do not stop at anything : stark lies including martyrdom of St. Thomas which is a concocted story to cover up the destruction of the Kapaleswar temple by Christian fanatics; and Bishop Caldwell's scholarly writings are motivated by his desire to justify conversion by providing cleverly formulated conjec­tures as historical and linguistic truths. Unless you know your enemy's tricks, you will be ropewalking into his trap.

V.
Evangelisation 2000 is not an isolated phenomenon. It comes in the wake of two other movements, globatization and westernization (which is another name for Americaniza-tion). Politically and administratively India had already been anglicized by the time of Independence. Ignoring the wise counsel of Gandhiji we adopted the Westminster model of parliamentary democracy.

Globalization is bringing about calculated destruction of Indian economy by imposing a neo-colonialism. West-emization/Americanization has culturally enslaved our mind and life. The more educated we become the more westernized our thinking becomes. Evangelisation seeks to deprive us of our very soul. our Swadharma. All this together constitutes a single, three-pronged onslaught on our national sovereignty -economic, cultural and religious.

Evangelisation is in fact homogenization. It seeks to impose 'one God, one Prophet and one Book' over all mankind. It will destroy cultural pluralism and religious diversity. Westernized intellectuals cry hoarse that Hinduisation will suppress cultural diversity. Hinduism will never do that. It has always encouraged plurality of forms of worship. It is the evangelising faiths that threaten the rich and colourful diversity and impose ^ mono­lithic way of life over all.

Swami Vivekananda in his famous Chicago Address says:

"As the different 'streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, 0 Lord. The different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee." "Whosoever comes to me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me." ('Swami Vivekananda's Complete Works', Vol. I, p.4). "But if any one here hopes that this unity will come by the triumph of any one of the religions and the destruction of the others, to him I say 'Brother, yours is an impossible hope. Do I wish that the Christian would become Hindu ? God forbid. Do I wish that the Hindu or Buddhist would become Christian? God forbid'." (Vol. 1, p. 24)

That is the Hindu way. That is the only civilized and acceptable way for the coming millennium. Any other way is bound to lead to strife and disharmony. That is the lesson Gujarat teaches.

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