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.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Mumbai Christian turned off by Church Fanaticism

Alex Varghese
Letter to Editor Hindu Voice

I was a member of the Orthodox Syrian Church, Kalyan, till recently. Even though I was a rare visitor to the Church, whenever I used to go, I emphasized that the credit balance of one's deeds are all that matters, ultimately. Moreover, my promotion of Blood Donation, Eye Donation, etc. and my articles about the same in The Times of India earned me the wrath of the Orthodox clergy and they issued orders to other members of the Church to boycott me. Moreover, my learning Vipassana Meditation and my interest in other religious teachings (Theology) brought me the title of a "Rebel".

Recently, when I filled in the Body Donation Form of my ailing mother (body, after death to be donated to medical college students for research) through the Dadichi Dehdaan Mandal, Dombivli, I got a promotion from a "Rebel" to an "Outcaste".

The Church clergy then hit upon the idea of pressurising me through my wife, who is a practising Christian. Inspite of strained relationship with my wife, I refused to get my 2-month old son baptized as a Christian as my contention is that the child should be free to choose his religion as per his liking and nothing should be imposed on the child, till the child attains 18 years of age. Moreover, I myself resigned from the primary membership of the Church and am free from any dogma now.

When I wished to take my ailing mother to the Ramakrishna Mission Hospital at Khar Road, the Orthodox Syrian Church clergy opposed the same as they contented that it is a Hindu Hospital. Still, with the help of Press reporters and Ambulance, I could escape the hired goons set up by Church and reach the Ramakrishna Hospital. After a very good recovery, my mother has now been admitted to the Baktivedanta Hospital at Mira Road (East) for eye operation.

I wish to know from the Orthodox Syrian clergy that if a Hospital can be Hindu, then what about the schools controlled by the Church with grant from the Government? Are these schools Christian schools? If yes, why should the Government give grant to them, especially when this Church opposes a national programme promoted by the Ministry of Health like Eye Donation?

If such interference and blatant attack on the constitutional rights of an Indian citizen to choose his faith is allowed to pass, these very autocratic fascist forces shall be emboldened to resort to forcible conversions using both carrot and stick. Let Democracy triumph over such fanatic forces.

Your voice in this matter could make a difference.

Sampoorna Kranti aab naara hai
Bhavi Bhavishya hamara hai
- Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan

Thanking you in anticipation, Withy light and love,

(Alex J. Varghese)

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