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.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Election prompt prayer campaign

Dr Mrs Hilda Raja,

A ministry working with the persecuted church is calling Christians round the world to pray for fellow believers in India as the country begins its national parliamentary elections.

The author conveniently refers to church in the singular—but there are so many churches and each with its own distinct Christian God and gospel, rite, beliefs dogmas etc. This election-prompt prayer campaign for Christians in India made by the ministry working for the persecuted church —hiding behind a ‘Church’ to broadcast its propaganda of lies, false allegations, anti-national statements is nothing but a political propaganda blitz.

Where is this persecuted church—and what in some countries where the church is the persecutor? Any one with a smattering of world history will know that the church started its mission with persecution and blood shed. It continues till date. Methods of persecution change according to time, clime, culture and exigencies. So it is caught in its own persecution phobia.

Did the Christian country—USA under Bush—belonging to the Born Again Church on lies and blatant lies not declare war on Iraq—tortured, killed, and demolished a whole nation? Soldiers knelt made the sign of the cross and fired on civilian areas. How Christian was that and on which side of the firing line was this Christian god, and is it to this god now the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) national president Sajan K George and Director Abhishek Singh of Open Doors are requesting Christians around the world to supplicate for the persecuted Christians in India?

I suppose this God will be able to differentiate election campaigning and a prayer of supplication. If God is Truth then is it not a blasphemy to supplicate to that Truth with lies?

The GCIC has made a grave accusation against the present UPA government—the threat of unfair elections—Yet it further appeals to the same political leaders who cannot ensure even fair elections to guarantee safety for religious minorities and ensure their participation in elections, defend freedom of religion and bring to justice those who discriminate against the Christians. That’s a tall order. If the UPA government till date was not able to ensure all this then how can it on the eve of the elections? If carefully scrutinized the statement calls for throwing out such a government and bringing in one which will fulfill the tall order made by the GCIC. So unwittingly it has accused the UPA government—under the leadership of Mrs Sonia Gandhi –an Italian Christian to have failed in protecting the minorities.

Another serious accusation made by Abhishek—director of Open Doors—that law had been restricted in its application in favor of the Hindu majority and to the disadvantage of the minorities such as Christians and Muslims (under the Congress led UPA government I suppose). Will it mean that he and other organizations with whom he collaborates want to throw out the UPA government which failed the minorities and bring in a government which will protect the minorities?

The judiciary is also accused—after elections does Abhishek Singh think that the whole judiciary will be overhauled, with a new one set up which will apply law without discrimination?

Singh’s exposition of Kandhamal is a concoction of lies. The Hindu Swamiji Lakshmananda becomes a fundamental Hindu. It is not in the chemistry of swamijis to be Fundamentalists. If Hindu religion was a Fundamental one then we would have no Christians and Muslims in this country.

It is the inbuilt tolerance of the Hindu religion that has nursed and nurtured all world religions to grow in this country. In Kandhamal—Orissa pamphlets were distributed by the World Vision a virulent Fundamental organization with a cover-up of humanitarian work but a hidden agenda of evangelization stirring up communalism. It found the work of Swamiji a great hindrance for its own proselytization. Even if Moaists had owned up the massacre—there was not a single condemnation from any quarters on this brutal and cold-blooded murder of Swamiji and his ashramities.

Christians were attacked—true, but according to reports Hindus also were attacked and killed, their houses too were destroyed. But the fury of the tribals on the brutal massacre of Swamiji and his three ashramites naturally took a heavier toll of the Christians. But today the displaced Christians are being cared for—fed and sheltered in relief camps. Not with the monies of the organizations which profess to work for the displaced Christians but by the government with the tax payers’ money.

The displaced Hindus get no relief and the Hindu victims of this communal riot have become beggars. Abishek Singh’s God will know the truth. ‘Open Doors’ must not work within closed doors with closed hearts when it comes to the truth.
What strikes me is how God is dragged into gutter politics and how commercialized the whole business of supplication and appeal becomes. This is called prayer.

A distortion of history is presented by Sajan K.George—Is it ignorance or is he resorting to cheap political rhetoric. According to him 2008 saw the worst kind of repression in our society as the church in India experienced a wave of violence and persecution unprecedented since the origin of Christianity in India 2000 years ago. The national president of the Global Council of Indian Christians must do some reading—When did Christianity come to India? This will lead to inter-churches claims and counter claims! Did Thomas bring it or did Francis Xavier carry Christianity to India first? How many years ago? The persecution started with the entry of traders—missionaries (Dutch, Portuguese, French and the English) who demolished hundreds of temples and through threats, coercion and killings converted the Hindus. Unprecedented persecution was unleashed by these foreign Christians against the Indians who were Hindus. This is not confined to India alone.

Mr Sajan George cannot hide the truth because this is world/Indian/church history –Christian religion was born in blood and persecution, thrives on it and made it its business to wage wars on spreading Christianity all over the globe. Now it has adapted other methods to proselytize because religion is a business and it has been commercialized to such an extent that the churches are today Transcontinental Corporates with the respective CEOs sitting in the Vatican, Geneva, England and its network of corporate offices all over the globe manipulating the media, funding wars, investing in arms and ammunition, subjugating whole tribes, whole regions, cultures and alienating the people from their own, in divisiveness it thrives. But prayers are scripted for persecuted church and peace missions are held—humanitarian works are undertaken—A soul searching will reveal how much of money does this ‘Open Doors’, and the GCIC attract from foreign countries?

With a preamble of lies and of election-prompt prayer for Christians to God just prior to this parliamentary election Christians are asked to pray for three specifics—in which God should play a role in ushering in a political party which will embark on the following:

1 - Officials in the government ignoring persecution of Christians will be replaced by officials who support and protect religious freedom. This sounds a promise rather than a prayer.

2 - The freedom and liberty of church and missionaries in India to share the Gospel and disciple believers.(A bit difficult even for God because there are different gospels and different sects of Christians—they are at each others throats and will not agree even among themselves to share!)

3 - God would move in culture to remove the caste system and create equal opportunities and rights for all people.

Again all the above indicates an election manifesto of a party if it wins and comes to power. Whose manifesto is this?

Is God standing for election? But the Christians are asked to pray thus—The third area is rather confusing—If the political party wins then God would move in culture to remove caste system and create equal opportunities. Which is this new political party which through the prayers of the Christians if wins will bring about all this?

Culture is not something that appeared in India with Christianity and no government can move a god into a culture. The Indian culture is not minus of god that a new promise is held out that god would move into culture. Where has he been so long? Is the Indian culture devoid of a god that a promise is held out for the future to move God into culture? Or is the present god going to be displaced a Christian god moved in.

What absurdity and what flights of fantasy these so called leaders of Christian organizations have. It implies that if a particular party wins for which the Christians are asked to pray then it will move in God in culture. How this movement is going to take place? Perhaps God will be rolled into culture with the help of Lulu in a roller!

The implication is that the political party will give a free run to the Christians and its churches and Christianize the whole Indian ethos. This is not communalism—only if the ethos is Hindu—then it becomes a blatant hindutva which is communal. But the name of the political party has not been mentioned to avoid violating the model code of conduct.

Throughout India the churches have violated this code by mixing religion with politics. The Catholic Church in Pune had its own prayer—the Andhra Pradesh CM’s son-in-law in his evangelization and prayer meetings had urged the people to vote for the Congress. Christian leaders have sent out circulars and directives urging the people to vote for a party (which will give it a free run). Only the minority religious leaders stoop to this and are not confident to allow its followers to vote according to their conscience. They have to follow the dictate of the religious leaders whose vested interest need be protected.

2000 years ago Truth was crucified by the conspiracy of the civil authorities and the religious leaders. The same is being repeated here. Religious leaders are misusing religion, misusing their leadership and straitjacketing the Christians.

Prayer is a cover up to coerce the Christians to vote for a particular party. This is an expression of Fundamentalism of the minority religions.

What if the Hindu religious leaders and all the Sankaracharyas issue such a direction to their Hindus? What kind of punishment will it attract from the Election Commission? Will the Minority religious leaders not oppose it? Ground rules must be same for all. Minority religious leaders cannot and should not misuse churches, pulpits and their positions to canvass for votes under the guise of prayer for a persecuted church. What hollowness and cheap gimmicks and what faith and trust in God that He leads on …. Perhaps the blue print of the efforts of Open Doors and the Global Council of Indian Christians will draw the attention of the funding agencies and will bring in more money—but their prayers will not move the heavens—they fall on the ground with a thud! Lucre and godliness do not mix

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