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, February 06, 2005

U.S. Turns Blind Eye To “Proselytizing” In Iraq

February 6, 2005, 11:53 am

WASHINGTON, May 1 ( & News Agencies)

The White House, which fears the rise of an Islamic regime after the downfall of ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, announced last week, it wound not interfere with “proselytizing” in Iraq, a leading U.S. magazine reported Thursday, May 1.

Upon hearing the White Hourse’s announcement, evangelical charities are now readying their literature—albeit cautiously, given the hazard of appearing to be “Christian crusaders,” Newsweek said.

The weekly stressed that the International Bible Society has already sent 10,000 booklets created for Iraqis entitled “Christ has brought peace!”

The society said it plans to produce at least 40,000 more copies in May, noting that English versions were not readily available and declining to release names of aid groups that were distributing its booklets.

The mass-circulation magazine said it is not only the International Bible Society, which intends to send missionaries to Iraq, noting that they were all cautions and skittish.

“We’re going to be discreet and careful,” says Robert Fetherlin, spokesman for the Christian and Missionary Alliance.

So discreet that Fetherlin asks that “missionaries” be referred to as “workers associated with a Christian church.”

“Proselytizing” has become a bad word too.

“I think that’s an interesting word,” says International Mission Board spokesman Mark Kelly.

“We’re not proselytizing; we are evangelicals.” (Both words can imply an effort to convert.)

The board’s sending food with JOHN 1:17, a Christ-centered Scripture, printed on the boxes. Bibles will likely follow, Kelly says.

Some Christian groups aren’t taking chances. The Mormon Church—known for its overseas proselytizing—will supply aid without religious lit.

In fact, a proposal to include letters from church members with relief was “killed before it started,” a Mormon spokes-man says, “for fear that someone would say something about the Christian faith.”

On March 28, the Southern Baptist Convention, the U.S. largest Protestant denomination, and the Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse said “workers” were on the Iraqi-Jordanian borders ready to go in as soon as it is safe.

Graham, an outspoken critic of Islam who once called it a "wicked" religion, had also said he has relief workers "poised and ready" to go into Iraq to provide for the populations post-war “physical and spiritual needs.”

A free lance translator told that he was approached by “some organizations” to forge up a team of translators to carry out a translation job from English into Arabic, adding that “extracts I saw from the project were of a missionary nature, targeted to three countries; Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq.”

When U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was asked about an Islamic regime in post-war Iraq, he answered “that isn't going to happen."


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