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.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Church’s higher aspirations

With the UPA government coming into power and Congress president Sonia Gandhi becoming all powerful, the aspirations of the Church seem to be growing. It is now seeking direct intervention in politics right from Jharkhand to Kerala.

Last week, in Jharkhand showing deep interest in politics, nine Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church asked permission from the Church to participate in panchayat (village council) elections in the villages, due in September. In Ranchi, the Bishops raised the issue with Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, who has promised to examine the issue. They were demanding amendments in the existing rules that bar Church priests from fighting elections.

Whereas, in God’s own land, another Church is ready to blackmail politicians. Now, Kerala’s Pentecostal Church is seriously thinking about entering politics. The Pentecostal Church, which claims a membership of one million, will have discussions with its followers at its centenary celebrations. 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 centenary celebrations of the Church will be held at Thiruvalla from December 6 to 11. Here again due to the Christian connection, PCI is hopeful that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will inaugurate it.

The Church is confident that with its strength it can tilt the political fortunes in many assembly segments in the forthcoming polls in the State. The followers of the PCI are mainly concentrated in central Kerala besides major cities in the State.

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