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.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Bush-sponsored Evangelisation of India

V SUNDARAM

Recently one of my friends gave me a copy of Tehelka's February 7th, 2004 issue which carried a cover story under the title 'George Bush has a big conversion agenda in India.' I am given to understand that on the same theme there was a smaller follow-up article in the February 14th issue of Tehelka. I would like to give the details and analyse the national implications of the investigative report developed by Tehelka's team of journalists, which any one can see particularly from the point of view of our national sovereignty, territorial integrity and national security. As a known, saffronised, communal, obscurantist, illiterate, uncivilized, barbarous, half-savage Hindu, I am aware of the fact that my credentials can be questioned even to look at a report of this kind. In order to match the official, if not the intellectual, stature of President Bush, I would like to quote the words of another fellow American of equal official stature called Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), one of the great founders of the American State.

Thomas Jefferson in a brilliant letter to his nephew Peter Carr in 1787 declared with conviction: 'Religion. Your reason is now mature enough to examine this subject. ... You will read the New Testament. It is the history of a personage called Jesus. Keep in your eye the following two opposite pretensions: 1, of those who say he was begotten by God, born of a virgin, suspended and reversed the Laws of Nature at will, and ascended bodily into Heaven; and 2, of those who say he was a man of illegitimate birth, of a benevolent heart, enthusiastic mind, who set out without pretensions to divinity, ended in believing them, and was punished capitally for sedition, by being gibbeted, according to Roman Law. ... I repeat you must lay aside all prejudice on both sides and neither believe nor reject anything, because any other persons or descriptions of persons, have rejected or believed it. Your own reason is the only oracle given you by Heaven, and you are answerable, not for the rightness, but the uprightness of the decision. I forgot to observe, when speaking of the New Testament, that you should read all the histories of Christ including those which a Council of Ecclesiastics have decided for us, to be pseudo-evangelists. ... because, those pseudo-evangelists pretended to inspiration, as much as the others, you are to judge their pretensions by your own reason, and not by the reason of those pseudo-ecclesiastics.'

One of the early and most important major policy decisions which President Bush took on 29 January, 2001, was in regard to a 'Faith Based' social service initiative that included a new White House office to promote government aid to churches and Christian faith-based organisations. This had the immediate effect of throwing the massive weight of the federal government behind religious groups and religious conversions. The Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives was set up in the White House in the first week of February 2002 and a man called Jim Towey was appointed as Director. The most interesting and important point to be noted in this context is that Jim Towey was the legal counsel to Mother Teresa in the late 1980s. Thus he was fully qualified in every sense of the term to play the role of an aggressive evangelist. What is most disturbing to note is that though Bush's initiative as a 11th century Crusader to fund 'salvation and religious conversion' has been stalled in the Congress over constitutional and civil rights concerns, yet he has pushed for its implementation through his own executive orders. Consequently, new waves of aggressive evangelism have been emanating and issuing out from America. According to V K Sashikumar, this White House-sponsored movement for the evangelisation of India is well funded, superbly networked and backed by the highest of the land in America. This is being fully supported informally by the Islam-embracing, Christianity-coveting and Hindu-hating UPA government in New Delhi under the stranglehold of a de facto Prime Minister, tracing her spiritual and cultural roots to Italy in general and to Vatican in particular.

I am quoting verbatim from the Tehelka Website on their correct assessment of the serious implications of the Bush-sponsored Massive Evangelization of India (MEOI): 'Religious expansionism has not witnessed this scale, scope, and State resources in a long time. Detailed investigations by Tehelka reveal that American evangelical agencies have established in India an enormous, well-coordinated and strategised religious conversion plan. The operation was launched in the early 1990s but really came into its own after George W Bush Jr, an avowed born-again Christian, became President of the United States in 2001. Since then, aggressive evangelists have found pro-active support from the new administration in their efforts to convert some sections of Indian society to Christianity. At the heart of this complex and sophisticated operation is a simple strategy - Convert locals and then give them the know-how and money to plant their own churches and multiply.'

When Bush and Blair invaded Iraq in 2003 to remove the 'carefully planted weapons of mass destruction' in that small country, I wrote in these columns that it is a savage act of Anglo-American Imperialism. Bush has been behaving like the Nazi Dictator and Tyrant Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) ever since he took over as President in 2000. His attitude towards the non-Christian masses of India, particularly the Hindus in majority, is no different from his attitude towards the Muslims in Iraq. Seeing this Nazi-type attitude in Bush, I am only reminded of another character in American history called Anthony Comstock (1844-1915). Who is Anthony Comstock? In 1873 Comstock created the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, an institution dedicated to supervising the morality of the public. Later that year, Comstock successfully influenced the United States Congress to pass the Comstock Law, which made illegal the delivery or transportation of both 'obscene, lewd, or lascivious' material as well as any methods of, or information pertaining to, birth control. George Bernard Shaw coined the term comstockery, meaning 'censorship because of perceived obscenity or immorality,' after Comstock alerted the New York police to the content of Shaw's play Mrs. Warren's Profession. Bernard Shaw, by no means a saffronised, communal, superstitious and obscurantist half-savage Hindu, remarked that 'Comstockery is the world's standing joke at the expense of the United States. Europe likes to hear of such things. It confirms the deep-seated conviction of the Old World that America is a provincial place, a second-rate country-town civilization after all.'

President Bush has become the Anthony Comstock of today through his programme of Massive Evangelization of India (MEOI).

In this context, I would like to imagine that I am playing the role of another great American called D M Bennett (1818-1882), who was a courageous and controversial historical figure. Few Americans were as courageous - and suffered more - in their search for truth in the cause of 'Free Speech, Free Press, Mails free from espionage and Comstockism.' He was revered and hailed as the 'American Voltaire,' while his Christian adversaries of today's Bush variety called him the 'Devil's Own Advocate.' Inspired by the life and example of Thomas Paine (1737-1809), Bennett founded the Truth Seeker in 1873, devoted to science, morals, and free thought. Bennett promoted birth control, supported women's rights, and opposed dogmatic religion. In less than a decade, he became the country's leading publisher of liberal literature. Mark Twain, Clarence Darrow, and Robert G Ingersoll - 'the Great Agnostic' � were only a few of the illustrious freethinkers who subscribed to the Truth Seeker. Bennett took great pride in debunking the Bible and exposing hypocritical clergymen. He was the first editor in America to routinely report the misdeeds of Ministers, compiling a list of crimes by clergymen that he published as 'Sinful Saints and Sensual Shepherds.' A prolific and provocative writer, Bennett was vilified by religionists for denouncing Christianity, which he called 'the greatest sham in the world.'

Bennett's publications were censored, prohibited at newsstands, and denied access to the US mail long before the expression 'banned in Boston' was heard. At the same time Bennett began publishing the Truth Seeker against all odds. Free speech came under attack by Anthony Comstock, the US Post Office's 'special agent' and America's self-appointed arbiter of morals. Comstock was the chief vice-hunter of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, an organisation founded by wealthy and powerful purity crusaders including soap tycoon Samuel Colgate. Comstock arrested Bennett for publishing his incendiary 'An Open Letter to Jesus Christ' and entrapped the elderly editor for mailing a free-love pamphlet. Bennett was prosecuted, subjected to a widely publicised trial, and finally imprisoned in the Albany (New York) Penitentiary. Like Emile Zola in France later in the 19th century, Bennett wrote: 'The charge is ostensibly 'obscenity.' But the real offence is that I presume to my utter sentiments and opinions in opposition to the views entertained by the Christian Church.These great traditions of Comstock are not only being maintained but enriched by President Bush using the transient authority of his fleeting office in the White House, not in the United States, but in several other parts of the world like Iraq and India. President Bush's programme of Massive Evangelisation of India (MEOI) reads very much like an Agatha Christy crime story!

No responsible journalist committed to the sacred cause of stating the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, can overlook the fact that when President Bush was moving into the Oval Office in Washington in January 2001, a worldwide Conversion Movement, comprehensively funded and promoted by American evangelical groups, was already at its height in India. This movement, which originally began as 'AD2000 & Beyond' and later divided and transformed itself into Joshua Project I and Joshua Project II, was designed to be a sledgehammer, a breathtaking, decade-long steamroller of a campaign that would set the stage for a systematic, sophisticated and self-sustaining 'harvest' of the 'unreached infidel people groups' in India in the 21st century. The grandiloquent dreams of these aggressive evangelists are like those of Adolf Hitler when he first attacked Poland on 1 September, 1939 through his Blitzkrieg Operation. Even as this Nazi-type operation was taking off in India, by a quirk of fate, their original script changed overnight. Much to the delight of American evangelicals, one of their own kinsmen, George Bush Jr, became the occupant of the White House. Now began the planned invasion of India - particularly South India, by the pseudo-evangelists from USA. It is no figment of my wild imagination that I am comparing the approach of President Bush towards Global Evangelisation with the approach of that Nazi tyrant called Hitler who dreamed of a global German Aryan Empire.

In this context, I would like to quote from an article by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr under the title 'Private Armies, Captive People' (21 March, 2006), 'In 2001 the Cheney-directed government of President George W Bush, Jr, seized the opportunity created by the terrifying moment of the 11 September destruction of the World Trade Center buildings, to push through an attempted copy of the form of dictatorship which was given to the Adolf Hitler regime through Hermann Göring's organization of the burning of the German parliament, the Reichstag. The attempt was led by Vice-President Dick Cheney, on the same evening as that attack, to introduce forms of dictatorship which had been prepared in advance of that terrifying incident (see LaRouche January 2001 warning). These measures did not date from the January 2001 inauguration of George W. Bush, Jr, as President. This represented measures already underway in 1991, from the office of then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, under President George H W Bush Sr.

Even during his webcast on 3 January, 2001, when Democratic leader Lyndon LaRouche announced his advance campaign for the 2004 Democratic Party Presidential nomination, he issued the following prophetic and sharp warning about the dangers the nation immediately faced under the leadership of President Bush Jr.: 'You don't know - We're going into a period in which either we do the kinds of things I indicated in summary to you today, or else, what you're going to have, is not a government. YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE SOMETHING LIKE A NAZI REGIME. Maybe not initially at the surface. What you're going to have is a Government which cannot pass legislation, meaningful legislation. How does a Government which cannot pass meaningful legislation, under conditions of crisis, govern? They govern, in every case in known history, by what's known as artificially created crisis management (words in italics added by me!). In other words, just like the Reichstag fire in Germany.... You're going to get planted crisis management. .....where members of the Special Warfare types, of the Secret Government, the secret police teams, and so forth, will set off provocations, which will be used to bring about dictatorial powers and emotion, in the name of crisis management.'

'You will have small wars set off in various parts of the world to remove weapons of mass destruction (words in italics added by me!!), which the Bush Administration will respond to, with crisis-management methods of provocation. That's what you'll get. And that's what the problem is, and you have to face that. You've got to control this process now, while you still have the power to do so. Don't be like the dumb Germans, who, after Hitler was appointed to the Chancellorship, in January 1933, sat back and said, 'No, we're going to defeat him at the next election.' There was never a next election - there was just this 'Jawohl,' for Hitler as dictator. Because the Notverordnung of February 1933, eliminated the political factor.......And behind Bush - and I know these guys very well, because I've been up against them; most of my problems came from these characters - these guys, pushed to the wall, will come out with knives in the dark. They will not fight you politically; they will get you in the back. They will use their thugs to get you. That's their method. Know it.'

Like Adolf Hitler letting loose the II World War upon the world in September 1939, President Bush Jr. has planned, organized and launched a cataract of cultural and religious horrors upon the people of India in the benevolent name of Christian Evangelism which in simple English means violent Religious Expansionism. In its long and chequered history, India has never faced an avalanche of organized religious aggression on this scale and scope, fully backed by the financial resources of mighty America. American evangelical agencies have established in India an enormous, well-coordinated and strategised religious conversion plan. The operation was launched as a Ten Year Plan (1990-2000) in the early 1990s but really gathered momentum only after George W Bush Jr, an avowed born-again Christian, became President of the United States in 2001. Since then, aggressive evangelists have received active support from the new Bush administration in their efforts to convert many sections of Indian society to Christianity. At the heart of this complex and sophisticated operation lies this simple thesis - convert the locals and then give them the know-how and money to plant their own churches and multiply in Christian religious slavery in perpetuity. Here, the words of David Frawley become very relevant: 'Missionary activity always holds an implicit psychological violence, however discretely it is conducted. It is aimed at turning the minds and hearts of people away from their native religion to one that is generally unsympathetic and hostile to it ... Missionary activity and conversion, therefore, is not about freedom of religion'.

One of the most important early major policy decisions that President Bush took on 29 January, 2001, related to his 'a faith based' social service initiative that included the establishment of a new White House office to promote government aid to churches and Christian faith-based organisations. This, in effect, threw the massive weight of the federal government behind Christian religious groups and Christian religious conversions. The Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives was set up in the White House in the first week of February 2002 and a man called Jim Towey was appointed Director. The vital point to be noted in this context is that Jim Towey was the legal counsel to Mother Teresa in the late 1980s. Despite the fact that Bush's initiative to fund 'salvation and religious conversion' through the instrumentality of the American State was stalled in the Congress over constitutional and civil rights concerns, yet, Bush has been shrewd and audacious enough to push through its implementation through his own executive orders.

Why did President Bush try to outdo the Global Evangelization Mission of the Pope in Rome? The answer is simple. Bush wanted to give his 'Return Gift' to the Christian Right lobby in USA for having loyally supported him during his Presidential Campaign. The Christian Coalition, established by American TV Evangelist and Head of the Multi-billion Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Pat Robertson, played a very leading role in the 2000 election. Subsequently in his TV programme, Club 700, broadcast on CBN, Pat Robertson created a commotion by cavalierly announcing that he was confident that President Bush Jr would win the 2004 election as well in a 'blowout' because God has told him so. In my view, Bush was very keen to retain 'the base' of his Far Right Christian Evangelist vote bank - they were also the strongest supporters of his hard-line no holds barred militarism in Afghanistan, Iraq and in other parts of the world.

It is also a well-known fact that Bush was keen on supporting his evangelist friends who run huge transnational missionary organisations (TMOs). In the decade 1990-2000 these TMOs were running a global intelligence operation which was so complex and sophisticated that in terms of its scale, magnitude and intensity of coverage, the real short-term and long-term implications from the point of view of India's territorial integrity and national security, were indeed frightfully staggering. This operation has succeeded in puting in place a system in India which enables the US government to access any ethnographic information on any location virtually at the click of the mouse. This network in India, established with funding and strategic assistance from US-based TMOs, gives U.S. intelligence agencies virtually real time access to every nook and corner of the country.

Ever since the time of assumption of office as US President by George W. Bush Jr., this network of TMO networks has multiplied rapidly in India. Bush supports conversion in India because he supports those American TMOs who fund, strategise and canalize aggressive conversion activities in this country. Organisations like the International Mission Board, Southern Baptist Convention, Christian Aid, World Vision, Seventh Day Adventist Church and multi-billion enterprises run by Evangelists like Pat Robertson, Billy Graham and Roger Houtsma, amongst many others, were running a coordinated conversion campaign in India under the banner of AD2000 from 1995 to 2000. These conversion activities were later brought under the Joshua Project-I and when the decade-long movement officially closed down in March 2001, Joshua Project-I gave way to the successor Project called Joshua Project II.

Joshua Project II has been conceived as a war project and is now being implemented like a military model - to be precise a Blitzkrieg Operation, with the intent to invade, occupy, control or subjugate the population of India. This Nazi-type military strategy was based on solid intelligence emanating from the ground on various facets of selected people groups. The idea was to send out espionage missions to locate, collect and collate micro details on religion and culture. The social and economic divisions in the various Indian communities were closely studied and analysed. Taking note of the fact of untouchability among certain sections of Indian society, the American evangelical strategists chalked out programmes for reaching these various 'unmixable and untouchable' caste groups. This kind of organized approach has thrown up a mass of useful ethnographic data covering all parts of the country in terms of ethnicity, caste, creed, language and class.

The fundamentalist American missionaries belonging to the World Evangelical Fellowship (an international alliance of national evangelical alliances) launched a world-wide evangelical movement over the 1990s which brought together a wide variety of individuals and organisations, under the single umbrella of achieving 'a church for every people and the gospel for every person by the year 2000.' Its focus was missionary mobilization and church planting in India and other regions of the world where the Christian population was negligible. This movement was also a massive intelligence gathering exercise funded and supported by American missionary organisations that were responsible for the election of George W Bush. After the election of President Bush in 2000 December, this movement collaborated with the AD2000 and this joint initiative has taken off in a spectacular manner today on account of a unique and close cooperation between the American Government of President Bush and US-based evangelical agencies.

AD2000- a 'Global Evangelism Plan' - first attracted attention at a convention of international evangelical missions called Lausanne II in Manila in 1989. The movement then spread rapidly around the globe to help catalyse evangelism. It should also be noted that an evangelist by name Ralph Winter, founder of the US Center for World Mission, characterized the AD2000 movement as 'the largest, most pervasive global evangelical network that has ever been created.' AD 2000 movement mobilized and funded massive evangelical operations in India.

American tycoons in the world of evangelical imperialism sponsored the Global Consultation on World Evangelization (GCOWE) in Seoul in May 1995, South Korea, where nearly 4,000 Christian leaders from 186 countries, including India, gathered to draw up secret and covert evangelical plans. The Seoul Conference has been hailed by many American evangelists as 'the most strategic Christian gathering in world history.' Year 1995 also saw the transformation of the earlier movement into a higher plane in the name of JOSHUA PROJECT. The first GCOWE consultation was held in Singapore in 1989. The first five years of the decade (1990-2000) were the years of seeding the clouds with the vision of a church for every people and the gospel for every person by the year 2000. This involved the building of a new kind of partnering relationships, a grassroots networking structure based on a 'Network of Networks.'

Joshua Project II now under active implementation in India provides for a 'blue-print' of the unfinished task of world evangelization programme. The mission of Joshua Project II is to highlight the savage plight (!!) peoples of the world who have the least exposure to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The mission of evangelism of the Joshua Project II is threefold.

1. First, to gather, manage and distribute strategic population, progress indicator and ministry activity information to maximise the visibility of the least-reached peoples to the Church in different parts of India. The goal is a comprehensive, accurate, validated, public ally available list of all the ethno-cultural people groups of India.

2. Second, to be a 'least-reached peoples networking resource' to be made available to the Christian mission community for lightening conversion operations in remote areas.

3. Third, to enhance the flow of information between Great Evangelical Commission organisations by using standardised data coding based on known Postal Pin Codes.

In respect of India this 'standardized data coding' has been perfected to the utmost degree. This has been fine-tuned to such an extent that even the diverse language groups of India have been divided into PIN codes. The ability to plant evangelists that are familiar with the language and culture in each Pin Code area greatly facilitates the pace of conversion both in terms of speed and efficiency. This data base also enables any Christian missionary organisation anywhere in the world to source any ethno-cultural or ethno-linguistic data on India at the click of the mouse. Just about any detail it wants is available on demand. To give another concrete example. Let us assume that somebody at the CIA headquarters wants specific information on a particular district or region in any part of India. All that needs to be done in CIA headquarters, is to call up Bush's mentor Rev Billy Graham. Rev Graham will in turn log into databases maintained by a network of American Evangelical Missions in India and supply the needed information to the CIA. All this can happen in seconds and this is how technology has made evangelical activities so potentially dangerous and subversive from the point of view of our national security. Why am I citing the name of Billy Graham as an example? I am doing so only because Billy Graham, a known Christian fundamentalist and a rabid evangelist (who was mainly responsible for George Bush's 'born again' Christian status and whom President Bush considers as his godfather) was the honorary co-chairman of the AD 2000 movement.

Joshua Project II deploys paid evangelical spies all over India to get an accurate picture of opportunities and challenges facing their large-scale conversion programme in our country. They have evolved suitable subversive strategies to implement their plans. Concepts like PLUG, PREM and NICE have been conceived. PLUG refers to the target group-people in every language, urban centre and geographic division. PREM refers to the techniques of using prayer, research, evangelization and mobilization. NICE refers to how the work is to be done - networking, taking initiative, and using an evangelist to spur existing groups and cohorts in their efforts to convert people to Christianity. There is always a close and continuous cooperation between the White House, CIA, and all the Evangelical Organizations like the International Mission Board, Southern Baptist Convention, Christian Aid, World Vision, Seventh Day Adventist Church and multi-billion enterprises run by Evangelists like Pat Robertson, Billy Graham and Roger Houtsma, etc.

Thus it will be clear that under the direct personal supervision of President Bush, the US Government's faith-based initiatives have funded major Christian groups in the US to pursue their programme of massive religious conversions in India. These funds are officially deployed for social work in India only on paper, but are actually used for dual-purposes, most of it being used for massive conversion and only a nominally token amount for social services. These activities are linked to forces that are subversive to India's territorial integrity and national security. Against this background, there is an urgent national need in USA for a US Congressional or media inquiry into the alleged use of US taxpayer funds for religious conversions in India without the knowledge of US taxpayers. There is no doubt that many of these American Evangelists, apart from potentially undermining India's stability, also play into the hands of subversive forces, which in the final round could eventually backfire on American interests as it has happened in Pakistan and many other countries.

I am highly amused by the massive intelligence collecting operation launched by Joshua Project II in India. I am of the view that there is going to be a larger cosmic auditing of the evangelical movement in India. I am not very sure whether the massive volume of Himalayan data collected Pin Code-wise in India will be of any real use to the evangelical missions in USA. World history clearly shows that figures and planning of this scale cease to be meaningful. The massive survey of Joshua II Project may seem to be eminent in statistics but is positively poor in philosophy and spiritual wisdom. In fact, its psychic source is not either spiritual or philosophical. It is nothing but crass materialism.

To quote the brilliant words of Gautham Sen: 'The contemporary assault on Hinduism is reaching acute proportions. The reason is pure opportunism. All the mannered subterfuges cannot hide the fact that a Hindu bigot rules Hindu for the first time since the end of colonialism. No nominal Hindu ruler has dared to underwrite Hindu proselytising so brazenly though they surely laid the ground for the unfolding aggression. At present much of Hindu is ruled directly by adherents of Catholic and Protestant denominations, in cahoots with foreign powers and assisted by Hindu renegades. The different denominations of Hindu proselytisers have postponed conflict over a division of the spoils among themselves in favour of first displacing the Hindu upper castes, perceived as the principal obstacle to their unfettered rule....'

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