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.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Controversy over Evangelist's Proposed Visit

January 16, 2005, 5:13 pm

16 January 2005

The proposed 'Pray for India' programme later this week by American evangelist Benny Hinn has sparked a controversy with BJP and Sangh Parivar organisations up in arms against it, dubbing it as one that is intended to promote religious conversion.

The Florida-based pastor, who claims to have the power to heal the sick and dying, is slated to attend the three-day prayer meeting from January 21 at Jakkur airfield here which has been touted by the organisers as a big show, saying lakhs of people from across the country are expected to attend it.

The event has drawn strong opposition from the BJP, Bajrang Dal and Hindu Jagarana Vedike who see it as a conspiracy to convert the poor and vulnerable sections to Christianity.

Bajrang Dal has already announced that 10,000 people would stage a demonstration at the venue. Vedike activists yesterday burnt publicity material of the proposed congregation. In fact, hoardings, banners and posters are now dotting various parts of the city.

Speaking to reporters here today, the Opposition BJP leader in the Legislative Assembly B S Yediyurappa sought to take the state government to task for granting permission to hold the event at Jakkur airfield, which is "sensitive" from the defence and security viewpoint.

Yediyurappa termed as "unpardonable crime" and "insult to Hindus", the circulation of pamphlets by organisers of the event criticising idol worship. "Is the event not a conspiracy to convert people?" he asked.


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