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, June 23, 2009

This is what Kanchi Shankaracharya spoke at the inter-faith dialogue

This is what Kanchi Shankaracharya spoke at the inter-faith dialogue
By Radha Rajan

In 1999, Pope John Paul-II had stated that the mission of the Vatican was to plant the Cross in Asia in the third millennium to facilitate the Christianising of the world, which alone would cause the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The Pope must tell us the rationale for the First Coming of Jesus Christ when there was no Christianity or the Church to undertake the mission to Christianise the world.

(We have it on excellent authority of Kanchi Shankaracharya that the inter-faith dialogue did not go as planned by the Vatican. We are told that no one except the religious leaders themselves and one or two persons to assist them in the dialogue were permitted in the hall. Pujya Periava spoke as is characteristic of him, in the softest tone possible, with the unfading smile never slipping from his face, in chaste Hindi. However, it is obvious from the statement, which he released to the press and media after the dialogue, that the soft tone and chaste Hindi surprised the gathering. It is a good thing for Hindus that this time we had a man who knows his dharma, and more importantly, understands evil, and who spoke for Hinduism. Following are the points that Pujya Periava made at the inter-faith dialogue.)

1. Exactly one month ago to the date, the Pope went to Jerusalem where Jesus was born, for a similar dialogue that the Vatican had undertaken with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. At the end of that meeting when the Pope and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzer jointly addressed the press and media, the Chief Rabbi thanked the Pope for assuring the Chief Rabbinate that the Catholic Church would desist and cease from all missionary and conversion activities among the Jews. This is construed as endorsed and agreed by the Pope since he was present at the press meet. We need a similar commitment from the Church for Hindus.

2. After such inter-faith meetings, the points agreed have to be faithfully abided. Otherwise, there will be no point in holding such meetings. Unless the Church reassures Hindus that it will not conduct itself in a manner that wounds Hindu sensibilities and follows up on those assurances, such inter-faith meetings, no matter how frequently they are held, will be futile and not serve any meaningful cause.

3. In 1999, Pope John Paul-II had stated that the mission of the Vatican was to plant the Cross in Asia in the third millennium to facilitate the Christianising of the world, which alone would cause the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The Pope must tell us the rationale for the First Coming of Jesus Christ when there was no Christianity or the Church to undertake the mission to Christianise the world.

4. We see the USCIRF (US Commission on International Religious Freedom) as an intrusive mechanism of a foreign government to interfere in the internal affairs of this country. The USCIRF, which has been permitted to visit this country to hold meetings with our people to ascertain religious freedom in our country, must no longer be permitted to enter this country on this intrusive mission. We will not allow external interference into our internal affairs.

5. We know that very large amounts of money come into this country for churches and Christian groups, ostensibly for charitable work. These funds should be used only for social causes like health, education, etc, and should not be used for religious conversion. During these dialogues, it should be agreed that the funds should be distributed to all organisations who do charitable work, irrespective of the organisations’ religious faith. A common pool should be created and a committee formed to distribute and monitor the usage of these funds.
6. It has become easy for the missionaries to convert Hindus. All Hindu organisations and associations should work together to educate Hindus and eradicate the conversion activity.

7. Hindu dharma is by nature diverse and so all different panths and sampradayas co-exist on this bhumi without seeking to destroy the others. Hindu dharma has nurtured and supported all faiths and religions because that is the way of dharma. We expect that religions which have come to this bhumi from other lands will respect this vital characteristic of Hindu dharma and not do anything to subvert or disturb the sense of nationhood of this country. Hindu dharma and the Hindu people welcome Christians and Muslims, Parsis and Jews to make this land their home. We expect from these religions that they will not seek to destroy our faith, our religion and wound our religious sensibilities. We encourage all religions to live with mutual respect and harmony in a shared sense of nationalism which should bind us all as one nation. Nationalism should come first.

8. We are aware of the propaganda that they [the church] will cure diseases and ailments if the individual converts to their faith. This is illegal as per the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act 1954 and we call upon the Indian government to take action under the provision of law.

9. Most of the countries in the world (USA, UK, Japan, Middle-East nations, Pakistan, Sri Lanka etc.), adopt national resolutions and statements of intent proclaimed by their governments and their tallest religious bodies, affirming their determination to protect and defend the culture and the religion from which their cultures derive. In India alone we pass resolutions which officially and legally promote an irreligious and unspiritual creed called secularism. Secularism is an administrative quality; it cannot be the soul of this nation. The soul of this nation is religious and spiritual. We call upon our government and other important religious bodies to recognise this truth and affirm their commitment to protect the soul of this nation.

10. The Buddhist Mahasangh and the joint committee of Buddhist organisations have declared their intention to get the Sri Lankan government to pilot and pass a national anti-conversion bill and make it law. We welcome this move and strongly endorse this measure.

11. The Church in India must stop forthwith the use of Hindu religious words, phrases and symbols like Veda, Agama, rishi, ashram, Om and other such in what is referred to as ‘inculturation’ tactics, but which are only intended to deceive the vulnerable sections of our people who are the intended targets for religious conversion. This is also insulting to and wounding the religious sensitivities of Hindus. Similarly, it has been brought to our notice that some churches are scripting a new Bible for the new converts by usurping sections of our sacred Vedas, Upanishads and Puranas and incorporating them into the Bible. This must stop immediately and all such Bibles must be withdrawn from circulation. We urge the Indian government to look into the issue and do the needful.

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