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.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Seers join anti-Benny stir

The seers have decided to hold a dharna tomorrow in front of the Vidhana Soudha.

BANGALORE, DHNS:

Pressure on the government to reconsider the permission given to a three-day prayer meeting by Americian evangelist Benny Hinn in Bangalore mounted on Monday with as many as 17 seers representing various maths across the State deciding to stage a dharna in front of Vidhana Soudha on January 19 in support of their demand for a ban on the programme.

The pontiffs including Pejawar Mutt Seer Visveshatheertha Swamji, Vokkaliga Mahasamsthana Seer Kumara Chandrashekaranatha Swamiji and Ramakrishna Math President Swami Harshanandaji, who met at Shankara Mutt premises in Chamarajpet, Bangalore, unanimously resolved that the government should stop the evangelist from coming to Bangalore. The swamijis also resolved to stage a dharna near the West Gate of Vidhana Soudha on January 19 at 11 am in support of their demand.

The seers alleged that the meeting was a conspiracy to convert the poor and vulnerable sections of society to Christianity and allowing the programme was a threat to the secular fabric of the nation. The swamijis also appealed the public to boycott the event, which they said was intended to promote religious conversion.

Sri Visveshatheertha Swamiji said the government by giving permission to the event had insulted the Hindus. He termed it unfortunate that the government instead of exposing the �misdeeds� of Benny Hinn was associating itself with the programme.

Sri Harshanandaji feared that innocents would be duped in the name of �faith healing� at the event and the government should withdraw permission to the �fraudulent� programme immediately. Ramakrishna Vivekananda Ashrama Seer Nirbhayananda Saraswathi, Ramakrishna Yogashrama Seer Yogeshwaranada, Omkarashrama Seer Shivapuri Mahaswamiji, Kaveri Ashrama Seer Vivekananda Sharanaswamiji, Koladamath Seer Shanthiveeranada, Kudli Sringeri Math Seer Vidyaranyabharathi Swamiji, Vidyasevasharama Seer Chidathmanada Swamiji and Vibhuthipura Math Seer Mahanthalinga Shivacharya swamiji attended Monday�s meeting.

The Benny Hinn event has already drawn strong opposition from the BJP, Bajrang Dal and Hindu Jagarana Vedike, who see it as an event intended to promote conversion.

Advocate file petition

Two advocates have filed a petition before the 8th Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate seeking action against the organisers of Evengelist Benny Hinn�s spiritual healing programme �Festival of Blessings - Pray for India�. In their petition, K Gangappa and Sharanappa stated that the programme organised by Benny Hinn, Rev Paul Thangaiah and T Yashwanthkumar harms the communal harmony between Hindus and Christians.

Besides action against the organisers, the petitioners have requested the court to order for the seizure of anti-Hindu publicity material, CDs and other materials.

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