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.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

BJP steps up campaign against evangelist

Tuesday, 18 January , 2005, 16:58

Bangalore: The BJP on Tuesday stepped up its campaign against controversial American evangelist Benny Hinn's three-day "Festival of Blessings" programme.

The party demanded a ban on the programme and the arrest of Hinn, accusing him of making fradulent claims about miracle healing and deceiving people.

Maintaining that Hinn's claims about miracle healing had been exposed as "bogus" by the international media, BJP National General Secretary Ananth Kumar told reporters that the state government should also conduct a probe into it.

Kumar said despite a court order for search and seizure of materials relating to the programme, the police had not acted on it, which amounted to contempt of court.

He said the Karnataka government should clarify as to how permission was given to hold the programme at Jakkur airfield which was meant for a public purpose of carrying out civil aviation activities and is a prohibited and "secured" area.

Kumar said the status of Hinn's visa -- whether it is a tourist visa or work permit -- should be clarified. The government should also reveal the expenditure incurred for providing security to Hinn.

"Is it a state-sponsored programme", he asked and accused the Dharam Singh government of being a "collaborator". The BJP would fight out "peacefully" against Hinn's programme, he said.

The "Festival of Blessings" has come under attack from the BJP and Sangh Parivar outfits which accuse Hinn of aiming at religious conversion. But the organisers have dismissed any such intention, saying he would only deliver a spiritual discourse.

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