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.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Kerala's Pentecostal Churches To Communalise Vote Bank

Monday July 18 2005 00:00 IST

Kerala's Pentecostal Church that claims a one million strong membership appears keen to enter the state's political scene, disillusioned by successive regimes.

"Over the years we have been merely used as a tool by both the political fronts in Kerala. We are going to seriously discuss the issue (of entering politics) among our faithful at the centenary celebrations," N M Raju, vice president of the Pentecostal Council of India (PCI), told reporters here on Sunday.

The centenary celebrations of the church will be held at Thiruvalla from Dec 6 to 11. The PCI is hopeful that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will inaugurate.

"We expect a large number of our members from across the country to be present at the celebrations," Sam Kuzhikala, convenor of the celebrations, told IANS.

The PCI is confident that with their numbers they can tilt the political scales in several of the state's 140 assembly constituencies.

"Till now we have not put forward any demands unlike other churches which bargain with political leaders. The parties use us when elections come and then they forget us. Don't be surprised if we put up candidates in the forthcoming assembly polls," said Kuzhikala.

The PCI in Kerala is a conglomeration of five Pentecostal churches - Indian Pentecostal Church, Church of God, Assemblies of God, Sharon Fellowship and WME Church.

The followers of the PCI are mainly concentrated in central Kerala besides a strong presence in major cities in the state.

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