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

Evangelisation or Satanism: Cause and effect

V SUNDARAM

The Congress government of Himachal Pradesh deserves the congratulations of the Hindus in majority in India for having passed a Legislation banning forced religious conversions. The Congress-led government in the State passed the legislation during its four-day winter session in the last week of December, 2006.

Kaul Singh, Law Minister, Himachal Pradesh, said that 'according to the bill if someone was forced to change his religion without his consent then he could come back to his own religion within a month. Under the bill, persons who had forced or induced someone to change his/her religion, then he/she would be liable for punishment.'

The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also welcomed the Bill. Already five States ruled by the BJP or its allies have introduced such anti-conversion laws. They are meant to protect India's religious identity and to foster communal harmony. Under most of these new laws, anyone planning to leave the Hindu fold must obtain certificates and affidavits from courts to the effect that they are converting out of free will and not by inducements in cash or kind.

It is reliably understood that an Indian-American Christian outfit in the United States has expressed concern over the new anti-conversion bill passed by Himachal Pradesh, alleging that it is aimed at harassing Christian workers in the Congress-ruled State. In a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the Federation of Indian American Christian Organisations sought help in stopping the bill passed by Himachal Pradesh in December 2006, saying the law will be used to harass and intimidate minorities. In that letter copies of which have been sent to President A P J Abdul Kalam and Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, they have protested against the anti-conversion legislation and said: 'We cannot understand the basis of these anti-conversion bills/laws. 'As you mentioned on several occasions, particularly in your letter to Dr John Dayal of the All India Christian Council on 27 July, 2006, the Congress party was opposed to this divisive, hate-filled anti-religion strategy used by some bigoted members of certain political parties. Everyone knew about your views on this issue. The development in Himachal Pradesh therefore comes as a profound shock to us. We express our utmost disappointment and urge you to use your influence to ask the State to rescind the law or withdraw it altogether. As President of the Indian National Congress, you must undo the grievous damage being done to the sanctity of the Indian Constitution and to the freedom of faith of the Indian People.' According to these international evangelists, induced conversion is not a fraud on the Indian Constitution. At any rate, their attitude shows total contempt for the final verdict of the Supreme Court to the effect that freedom of faith and induced conversions are incompatible and that there is no legal sanctity for unfettered induced conversion founded on induced fraud under the Indian Constitution.

Every enlightened Hindu all over the world who does not want to sell his soul for a mess of pottage offered as incentive or inducement by the Christian establishment is fully aware of the fact that the Christian Church in India does not want to severe its ties with its foreign masters even 60 years after the British have left our soil. In order to survive and to consistently prey upon the heathen pagans as part of an organised campaign for what they call 'Harvesting of Souls,' the church establishment in the country has no other option but to continue to receive a steady flow of cash or bigoted missionaries or both into India from abroad. Most of them are indulging in disgraceful acts of national subversion and national sabotage. Keeping in view this background, and having regard to the imperative national need for the prevention of induced or forced conversion of Hindus which only promotes anti-nationalism in India, the RSS called for nationalisation of the Christian Church in India. Without furnishing any logical reasons against this suggestion, the Christian community vehemently opposed this suggestion.

All the Christian missionaries in India know very well that they can never succeed in persuading the Hindus and other pagans to convert to Christianity by using logic alone. Therefore, they have set up an outfit in the country which cons the unsuspecting 'heathens' and then robs them of their religion and way of life. In order to maximise the 'harvest of faith,' these con artists resort to disgraceful practices of forcible conversion, apart from financing separatists movement in the country in a subterranean and surreptitious manner. It is a well-known fact that in this goal of national subversion, the Church establishment in India is hand-in-glove with the naxalites and the hard core communists who are anti-nationalists to the core. Its members are trained for the sole purpose of converting the heathen pagans, i.e., Hindus, Buddhists, etc. through all possible means fair or foul.

Let me give a few telling instances in this context. Sometime ago in Kothapara, in the Idukki wildlife sanctuary, Kerala, the forest department discovered a series of 14 crosses put up by the Christhuraj Church. The wildlife sanctuary was being used as a pilgrimage centre by the Church. When the church trustees were confronted and told that they were breaking the law by trespassing and creating an imbalance in the eco-system, they explained to the authorities that the Church had been using the forest as a pilgrimage centre for over 50 years. This was a complete lie as the Forest Department authorities had proof that the crosses had started coming up only a few months earlier. Father Mathew Pandyamakkal, a former parish priest of Christhuraj Church, justified the putting up of the crosses by saying that forest stretch where the crosses had been set up was rocky and therefore people visiting this area could in no way harm the forest and the wildlife! It is clear that the Church set up this pilgrimage centre in a remote location, only to quietly conduct conversion ceremonies. The Kerala Forest Department is fully aware of the fact that the preservation of wildlife sanctuary is the least of their concerns.

A similar situation also occurred in Nilackal in Kerala when a Church attempted to construct a shrine after unearthing a stone cross from the forests close to the Sabarimala Hindu pilgrimage centre. The Church claimed that the cross was installed by Apostle St Thomas, but when the Kerala government wanted to send it for archaeological study and scrutiny, the cross mysteriously vanished from the site. It was later revealed that the cross had been mischievously planted only to perpetuate the myth of the greatness of St. Thomas, so that the pagan Hindus in the area could be converted with ease.

India's much neglected north-eastern region is the hotbed of atrocities committed by the Christian Missionaries against the heathen pagans. Sometime last year the Indian Church of Christ in Assam was caught red-handed in the act of forcibly converting 14 Hindus. Over a period of six months the missionaries belonging to this Church offered money, jobs and other economic benefits to these extremely poor Hindus if they chose to convert to Christianity. These Hindus were threatened with dire consequences if they chose to reveal to anyone the circumstances under which they had been converted. However, two brave individuals who had been forcibly converted came to the police and gave them the lurid details of how the Christian priests had lured them to their residence with the promise of jobs and money. In return for this favour, the priests then asked these individuals to convert to Christianity. The police have identified Father Jojy Vomen as the mastermind behind these forcible conversions. It is understood that he moved to Assam from Bangalore in 1995.

The Christian Church establishment in India is also involved in anti-national activities supporting various separatist movements throughout the country. To cite just one example, in Tripura, the Church authorities known to threaten innocent Hindus with reprisals from the naxalites if they do not convert to Christianity.

I was shocked to note that some Indian missionaries belonging to Gospel for Asia had intruded in to the site of the 'Ardh Kumbh' festival at the confluence of two sacred rivers at Prayag (Allahabad) in the last week of January, 2007 to carry out their disgraceful deeds of induced conversion, as they did in Tirupathi Tirumala Temple a few months ago. GFA native missionaries and Bible College students were attending the event to offer the pilgrims an alternative to the traditional rituals by introducing them to Jesus. The team for the festival outreach included staff members from the GFA State office, women from local churches, students and staff members from Bible colleges as well as pastors from Allahabad. Some of them were driven away; some beaten and some were arrested by the police. Islam-embracing, Christianity-coveting and Hindu-hating UPA government would view these splendid deeds of 'Gospel for Asia' as acts of benediction - or at any rate as a legitimate exercise of minority rights in a land of pseudo-secularism!!

Perhaps Helen Ellerbe had missionaries like 'Gospel for Asia' in mind when she wrote the following lines: 'The dark side of Christian history can help us understand the severing of our connection with the sacred. It can teach us of the most insidious and damaging slavery of all: the control of people through dictating and containing their spirituality. This ignored side of Christian history can suitably illuminate our minds, opening our eyes to the pernicious ideas and beliefs which foster the denigration of human rights, the intolerance of difference and the destruction of the natural environment.'

Mahatma Gandhi during the course of his famous trial in Ahmedabad in 1922 described the British Government in India as 'Satanic'. I would like to describe the conversion tactics of Evangelism as evils of 'Satanism.'

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