The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has included India in the watchlist of countries which have failed to protect religious minorities, citing a “disturbing increase” in religious violence.
USCIRF mentions the anti-Muslim Gujarat genocide of 2002 and the anti-Christian attacks of Kandhamal in 2008 in particular. But it also talks of incidents in Karnataka, Chattisgarh and Maharashtra, and talks of the government’s largely inadequate response.
On the attacks on two New Life church halls in Karnataka in 2008, USCIRF says “the state response to these attacks has been inconsistent. Chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa did not order additional state security for churches and prayer halls until over a week after the first attack…. In the aftermath of the attacks, he attributed the violence to conversion activity.”
“It is extremely disappointing that India, which has a multitude of religious communities, has done so little to protect and bring justice to its religious minorities under siege,” said Leonard Leo, USCIRF chair. “India’s democratic institutions charged with upholding the rule of law, most notably state and central judiciaries and police, have emerged as unwilling or unable to seek redress for victims of the violence. More must be done to ensure future violence does not occur and that perpetrators are held accountable.”
A foreign ministry spokesman has termed India’s inclusion on the watchlist—which has Afghanistan, Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, Laos, the Russian Federation, Somalia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Venezuela on it—-as “regrettable” and the cliche response is “minority appeasement”, conversions and other racist stereotypes. Nevertheless, the question remains: is the USCIRF right? Are minorities unsafe? Does the State do enough to secure their lives and property?
Read the USCIRF press release here
Read USIRF’s 2009 annual report here
Also read: Why the US is right to deny Narendra Modi a visa
CHURUMURI POLL: Should the US restore Modi’s visa?
The Economist calls Narendra Modi a ‘disgrace’
Are they safe in all its meaning, except in a few states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu or West Bengal?
Though this report shouldn’t be owned up by Indian minorities, western agencies have time and again pointed this flaw of India. It is a dreadful flaw which needs to be fixed through constitutional provisions like those for SC/ST. We hope that congress does not remain a mute spectator.
What a crappy post!
reducing the menace of evangelism to a “cliche” is callous
“western agencies” have time and again pointed out….
western agencies can peddle a lot of theories because they are dominant in their domain and there are/were no challengers to their memes. they were insulant when they made those theories. they have done worse things in the past, and have already showed ample signs of reverting to them just because stared at their ivory towers.
western agencies. these guys dont do stupid things like burn prayer halls. when a mosquito bites them, they dont just squash the mosquito, they go drain the swamp.
when the state does the right thing, everybody conveniently ignores it ofcourse:
btw, no pakistan, saudi arabia, israel, bangladesh, sudan in that list?
Is the majority in india safe? that would be a better question.
@ tarlesubba – nothing surprising or new in the Tehelka article. Or illegal either I might point out. Unlike religious violence against minorities.
Minorities are safe in India? is no longer a question, that was gone the day Babri Masjid was demolished.
India has so many genocide, SIKHS in 1984, meerut, maliana, bhagalpur, kandhamal, Gujrat… the list is endless, all by the so-called peace loving normal middle calss of majority.
The day is not far, that the new super power will bring Justice like the one before brought “democracy!!
the article has concluded by saying that if the consciousness of nationalities in India could be aroused, social reforms in South Asia can be achieved, the caste system can be eradicated and the region can march along the road of prosperity.
In a climate where we all fear for our lives from a variety of threats ranging from foreign terrorists to powerful gangs to caste armies to Naxal violence… why does only the troubles of the minority bother Western agencies so much?
Who are the majority and minority in India? Is it religious minority, like Muslims and Christians? Or is it SC/ST/OBCs, which by the way account for more than 50% of the population, making the GM class of people a minority.
So what should the state do for these oppressed minorities? I have a few ideas
Give them free education: This is currently being done in government schools. The state of these schools is horrible. So what next needs to be done is that private schools must be arm twisted into giving free education for minorities. Let them charge 3-4 times fees to the GM category irrespective of the economic status.
Give them jobs in public and private sector: Implement reservations in both these sectors, up to 60% is what I suggest. As we all know, qualified people are nowhere close to people who have achieved their education through means of reservation. Neglecting such a talent in internecine for both the industry and people.
I think the best way to put an end to this debate is for the so-called majority(which makes up only quarter of the population) to give up any aspirations of jobs, education etc and let the minority(which accounts for 3 quarters of the population) take these up. This way there is no question of injustice to the minority.
this report is not worth more than a piece of cheap toilet paper..
daniel there is legal provision for it to ensure that individuals can pursue their spirituality freely. it is a good faith law. it was not intended do be a free market for the mcdonalds’ of spirituality. which is what evanjelism really is. it has nothing to do with spirituality.
shiny marketing. promise of instant gratification. but ultimately unhealthy to your constitution. smacks arrogance when it assumes taste is universal. more importantly, a product which is losing patrons for these very reasons in the west, but is cashing in on image of an advanced west elsewhere.
in the western countries, this is the law because it agrees with their ethics. here we have blindly adopted the law despite the fact that it is deeply against our morals and ethics. we have p-number of religions native to india and other pagan societies. not one of them is evangelistic. different groups criticize each others doctrines. but evangelism is a no-no. not correct actually. when i say no-no it gives it a sense of taboo. we know about it but dont practice it. not correct. that concept itself does not exist in our systems.
in muslims countries it is banned for a different reason. in all of these countries christian evangelism is banned because it is apostasy.
evangelism in pagan world is a vulgar attempt to drag them down to the obscurantist world view of one-book-ism. this relentless crusade of the one-book-walas is an assault on the diversity of humanity.
the most vulgar thing about it is, it feeds on the largesse and nobility of pagan societies and constantly works to undermine it. once it has established in the community the pagan worldview disappears. you think anybody in philipines or south korea now believes all religions are equal?
Who knows, with what’s going on, is anyone there safe at this point???
i) Typical arrogance of the super power – who has given it the right to decide on religious freedom or any other freedom in another sovereign country? Can say, India set up a commission to investigate the role of the Church in the US funding evangelical missions in India & put the US on a watch list?
ii) India is secular not because of the minorities but because the majority Hindus want it so. If Islamists and Christian evangelicals had had their way, India would’ve been a mess by now! Pradip Ninan Thomas’ research on the rise of Christian evangelicalism & media in Tamil Nadu is of course not something that mainstream media will cover incl Churumuri. That wouldn’t be secular!
iii) The collapse of the justice system and the administrative machinery is at the heart of the problem in India. That needs attention.
Khan, what is your opinion on the progress in Xinjiang? I’m sure your lovin’ it :) I know I am!
You’re going off topic. The post was about violence against minorities, not on whether evangelism is right or wrong. Even if evangelism were wrong, it still doesn’t give anyone an excuse for violence. But that’s exactly what people use to justify violence against minorities all the time. That’s what makes it a cliche.
Whether you want to consider evangelism as a menace and vulgar is entirely up to you, but irrelevant to this post. But since you brought it up, here are my two cents:
Christianity was and is always an intolerant religion. It does not accept pluralism. Christians believe their God is the only true God and that only His followers go to heaven.
That’s why they have to bring as many other people to Christianity as they possibly can. They believe they’re saving these people’s souls from Hell. They would be selfish hypocrites if they didn’t do this. That’s why they fund missionaries and evangelists. It’s a part of their duty.
It amuses me when people talk about this like it’s some sort of conspiracy. For Christians, its just a fact of life, something they take for granted.
“…there is legal provision for it to ensure that individuals can pursue their spirituality freely. it is a good faith law. it was not intended do be a free market for the mcdonalds’ of spirituality. which is what evanjelism really is. it has nothing to do with spirituality…”
So I disagree with you when you say that evangelism has nothing to do with spirituality. Personal observation has shown me that evangelism is all about spirituality, even if the methods are questionable.
“shiny marketing. promise of instant gratification. but ultimately unhealthy to your constitution. smacks arrogance when it assumes taste is universal. more importantly, a product which is losing patrons for these very reasons in the west, but is cashing in on image of an advanced west elsewhere.”
Arrogant, definitely, but not illegal. Let people decide for themselves what they should like and dislike. Our constitution wisely lets the people decide what’s best for them. If people don’t like evangelism, they’re free to reject it.
“in the western countries, this is the law because it agrees with their ethics. here we have blindly adopted the law despite the fact that it is deeply against our morals and ethics.”
Who’s morals and ethics are you referring to here? Certainly not mine. Why do we need laws to enforce one set of ethics and morals on people? That reeks of fear and protectionism to me.
“we have p-number of religions native to india and other pagan societies. not one of them is evangelistic. different groups criticize each others doctrines. but evangelism is a no-no. not correct actually. when i say no-no it gives it a sense of taboo. we know about it but dont practice it. not correct. that concept itself does not exist in our systems.”
Whether evangelism is native to India or not is irrelevant. It’s an integral part of Christianity. You can’t have one without the other. You are free to consider this to be vulgar If I were a Hindu, I certainly might. I would even feel threatened. But that doesn’t give me a reason to harm anyone.
Daniel, you’ve answered your own question about why there is violence against missionaries and their keepers.
Since you like to analyze, consider this –
Sanatana Dharma does not have a language to debate the evangelist. Islam does and so Islam does the straightfoward thing of banning the evangelist. That’s why you see very little, if at all, street violence between Muslims and Christians.
It’s not so in Hindusthan. Here is a Secular State that wants to treat all religions equally but does not know or care how Sanatana Dharma protects itself against predators.
Since Sanatana Dharma does not inherently possess the converting machinery that Christianity has, Sanatana Dharma will use what comes to it’s hands.
This above has nothing to do with a lack of “intellectual debate”.
Our experience is that evangelising religions cannot debate honestly.
Their minds are made up and they are already right.
Just read about what occured during the recent Hindu-Catholic dialogue in Mumbai. If the Church could address the Shankaracharya’s concerns honestly, there can be peace.
If not, we’re sorry.
What you however must try not to do is to ask Hindus to simply wipe the spit off their faces and smile. They won’t anymore, no matter what the Secular State thinks.
If a evangelical church driven organization points out a truth about us, what do we do?
1. Ignore it totally
2. Waste our time bashing the messenger (however self-serving or cunning the messenger is). Maybe this is what they want – anyway they dont care about the Indians – majority or minority, they just want to make trouble.
3. Try to fix the problems which give such external entities reason to make comments about our society or country?
The problems minorities face in India is just a variation of what a Mexican or even Indian immigrant faces in the US. You are the second class citizen, and your real rights and defense against exploitation only depends on how far up your group is perceived in society. The South American migrant in the US is a classic case. On the one hand everyone uses him for labour, exploits him to do their dirty work and make their profits, while at the same time they keep him ‘illegal’ so that they can keep the blame pinned on him forever while skirting the issue that they are the ones who require this cheap source of labour which does not demand rights like a citizen does. This is the case anywhere, the powerful will exploit the weak when they get a chance.
And anyway, there is no point wasting time tangling with a well oiled PR machine which has been built up with ruthless efficiency by organized religion (in this case the church), because the statements they pass will have no effect on ground reality (besides maybe stirring up some sentiments).
Our energies are best spent in solving our own problems – both for the minority and the majority. Everything else follows automatically.
I agree that true Christians won’t be able to sleep at night without trying to convert others… I also agree that they are helpless…they are bound by their gospel to do so…but the gospel says nothing of forced conversions…and if you know the Indian constitution, (as interpreted by the supreme court in Stanislaus Vs The state of MP) the right to practice and propagate one’s religion is not an absolute right in the lines of the right against exploitation. It is subject to prevailing communal harmony. When Hindus feel the heat of aggressive mindless proselytization, and are shackled by a pro-minority government’s ‘secular’ policies, it is only understandable that things get out of hand.
From now on, the situation is only going to get worse. I truly believe that since all TRUE Christians believe that Hindus and Muslims and everyone else is going to hell, they obviously have no respect for our faiths. Then how much more pharisaical(pun intended) can it get when they demand that Hindus respect theirs???
Dalit Christians who benefit from foreign aid and superior education compared to their Hindu counterparts requesting SC reservation!!!!
Another atrocity…It is a pretty astute strategy as the Christians know that once the pro-minority government capitulates to their demands, Dalit Christians will corner all the SC seats, thus leaving their Hindu counterparts no choice but to convert!!! And for what? only to be made to sit in separate seats in their own church, only to be oppressed and humiliated by upper caste christians not unlike what they faced while they were Hindus.
There is only one reason a Christian engages in conversion…Money…Avarice…Cupidity…Whatever you call it…it still sounds the same…
All these are only going to infuriate Hindus more. I don’t understand why fundamentalist Christians have this rabid zest to convert all under the sun. Those NON-BELIEVERS, will SEE THE LIGHT if they want to. By SPREADING THE WORD, especially in the obscene manner it is being done these days…you guys are just going to foment a rebellion…
And if you think i’m digressing from the TOPIC, you can refer to the OLD TESTAMENT, where GOD justifies purging the land of heretics and non-believers… That is exactly what we are doing… (even though our Gods condoned no such malevolence)
To all my Hindu Dalit brothers who face discrimination from their Hindu brothers and competition from their Christian rivals on a daily basis, I say, Bravo!!! Keep up the fight…
Khan, u forgot shia sunni riots which happens quite regulalrly across the world.
right of the crease, i agree it is illegal for one to take law into their own hands and thulp anybody. that i agree. i never argued against that.
what i am saying is that the story does not end with that assertion. i am sure you know the difference between law and justice. thankfully one of things about modern law is it is not a divinely ordained commandment. neither moses, mohammed or manu is an authority or consultant on it thank god for that. modern law is a set of rules agreed to by contemporaries. which means if we at liberty to constantly evaluate the relevance of the laws governing us and write them in our own image. so what i am saying is, for precisely the reasons why thulping a random person on a whim is illegal, so should evangelism be in a place like india. and one of the reasons i wrote what i wrote is to float a set of arguments against existing laws. another reason is because the west arrogantly assumes they are the lords of rationalism and whatever laws the west agrees to live by the “mystic” east, which has otherwise no tools to evaluate its own conditions, should blindly follow. that is one of the purports of reports like these. i mean the chutzpah of a country that has presided over the massacre of more than a million people to sit and judge on the existence of all other countries?
about your other point. what the internal rationalization of christians is to their act of evangelism is irrelevant to me. what i as a pagan see is only the effects of it. and when people live in a society amongst others they cannot afford to behave like spoilt brats in their mother’s care and throw fits at whims without a care. when in a group one should learn to tread carefully and with due respect to the sensibilities of others. for example, it is not illegal to randomly throw your arms in a bmtc bus. but if your throwing arms is landing on my face or my butt, then you can be assured that i am not going to be sitting around second guessing your rational for it and assuming the best. i am going to react like a human, assume the worst, first advice you and if you still dont yield, throw my own fist to your face and/or butt. (here you and i dont mean you daniel and me ts).
sir let me break this to you. you and i as individuals dont matter. a huge chunk of indians are unencumbered by theoretical niceties.
aside: i donot see any spirituality in evangelism, even if i can appreciate that there are spiritual aspects within the christian tradition. i have attended many a masses to know that much. in all of middle eastern theology i find the classic jewish theology with its non quantifiable god the most reasonable. (this will take a long time explain – the difference between eastern take on individual spirituality and middle eastern stress on political one – but it is known and you can look around for it.) but lets not digress.
BTW treatment of a minority in the US:
I find AG’s analysis interesting. This can work both ways.
Hindus can point to Church failure or more truthfully, deceit wrt Dailt converts who still complain about discrimination within their adopted community and its places of worship; and demand a ban on conversions till such time as the Church “fixes” the problem.
Also interesting is the analogy that minorities in Hindusthan are akin to Hispanics and other immigrants (legal or illegal) in the US.
I’m not going to argue against this so obviously a monstrous and laughable formulation but it still teaches Hindus some things.
1. The Majority Nationality (is) always wrong wrt its relationship with Minorities in the country.
2. The Majority Nationality must constantly be blamed for Minority indiscretion, if only to abide by rule (1) even if it involves cases where the Minority is clearly being deceitful (conversion) or when the Minority comes into another society illegally or when the Minority tries to overwhelm the Majority Nationality (legally(?)) through sheer numbers and/or demands on the host Civil society!
Btw, if illegal Minority immigrants in the US don’t like to be exploited, why don’t they just up and go back to wherever they come from?
Looks like Hindusthan should auto-legalize Bangladeshi entre’ if only to save Hindus the ignominy of being labelled “exploiters”!
Apart from the hyperbole of the observation, if one believes Daniel, one must ask – why should one be tolerant of the intolerants?
Although your belief system is questionable, there is no doubt about your spirituality! :)
Looks like you have graduated in your social engineering concepts applicable to India after deriving inspiration from an article by the scholar Cow-Tse-Dung.
I will go one step further and let you know that I am a great admirer of the Old Testament. some how the modern Christians have kind of divided their spirituality like a football game: Old Testament 1st Half: New Testament 2nd Half. In the second half, they are ell bent on issuing red cards to Hindus, yellow cards to Muslims. Of course the Christians get penalty kicks all thetime against the opposition.
Anti-Hindu Bias at U.S. Commission
This week, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) placed India on its “watch list.” By this designation, India, the largest multi-ethnic and multi-religious democracy joins a motley cabal comprised of the likes of Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Somalia and Venezuela. Countries like Bangladesh, that so recently forced the exodus of thousands of Hindus under an Islamist government, enjoy higher status with the Commission than India. How is this possible?
The watch list defines those countries that the USCIRF believes are in danger of being listed among the worst offenders of religious freedom. The government of India reacted predictably to this rather dubious distinction, “regretted” the action, said India guaranteed freedom of religion and aberrations are dealt “within our legal framework, under the watchful eye of an independent judiciary and a vigilant media.”
A closer look at the India designation, however, shows the Commission’s innate bias, lack of insight, absence of understanding, and loss of credibility. Worse, putting India on the watch list will be perceived as a self-defeating and egregious act that needlessly complicates relations between two diverse, pluralistic and secular democracies.
Created by Congress in 1998, the Commission can only advise the State Department, which has its own list of countries of concern and amiably ignores the Commission’s recommendations. But the Commission’s pronouncements still carry the symbolism of an official government entity judging the fitness of another’s country’s human rights record.
There is power in symbolism, and the attention credible human rights groups bring to a cause gives succor to the oppressed and isolate the oppressor . But therein lies the rub– credibility–and the USCIRF, in its composition, methodology and ideology, is running low on gas.
Let’s begin with the India chapter in the USCIRF report itself. In its 11 pages, the document details three specific episodes to justify slamming India: Riots between Hindus and Muslims in the state of Gujarat that broke out after a Muslim mob torched a train full of Hindu pilgrims killing 58 in 2002; riots between Hindus and Christians that left 40 dead in the state of Orissa in 2008 after a Hindu priest, long opposed by fanatic missionaries, was murdered; a brief incident where miscreants attacked “prayer halls” built by the New Life Church — a revivalist Protestant group — that had distributed a pamphlet denigrating Hindu Gods and Goddesses and allegedly engaged in mass conversions of Hindus.
These three episodes in a country of a billion condemn an entire nation?
Incredibly, the Commission’s India chapter paints a portrait of minority religions on the run in India, pursued by a rabid Hindu majority! This in a country whose last President was Muslim, whose leader of the largest political party is Christian and whose Prime Minister is Sikh. In contrast, behold the shrill outcry when our own President Obama was alleged to be Muslim!
A terrible riot that left hundreds of Muslims and Hindus dead and occurred closer to a decade ago mandates an entire section, but the ongoing attacks by jihadis in India’s Kashmir targeting Hindus; several recent bombings in Hindu temples carried out by Islamists, and Hindu temple desecrations in Christian Goa; and an analysis into the incendiary results of attempts to convert Hindus by coercive means fail any mention at all.
Indian Americans know the story of the subcontinent, and without an exploration of these original sins that sparked riots, is to tell half a story–a problem now wholly the Commission’s.
India’s history–beginning with the bloody partition of the country by religion into East Pakistan (1947)/Bangladesh (1971) and Pakistan in 1947 –created a tinderbox of tension. But a land that gave birth to Hinduism and Buddhism–a Mahatma Gandhi and a syncretic Muslim emperor like an Akbar centuries before were both defined by these traditions–offered a unique experiment that sought to replicate what our own Founding Fathers did here: create a secular, inclusive democracy.
That experiment is put to a singularly arduous trial by the machinations of Pakistan that sees its identity as an Islamic nation threatened by India’s pluralism — its adventures in Mumbai in 2008 and Kashmir massacres are examples. And a small minority of Indian Muslims choose the ideology of the Taliban rather than embrace that of the great Pashtun, Abdul Ghaffar Khan, the patriot whose non-violent struggle against the concept of carving a piece of India into Pakistan is legendary–reactionary Hindu groups form and trouble brews. It is in this context that terrible riots too often validate devious provocateurs–and a point that sadly eludes the USCIRF.
Then there is the explosive issue of coerced conversions in India. Today, the largest aid donor to India is not the government of any country. Nearly half a billion dollars are sent to India under the auspices of Christian missionary organizations. Some of these groups are involved in truly uplifting work amongst the poorest, but the underlying subtext for some churches is a bargain: convert and we will help. The New York Times famously reported on evangelical tsunami aid organizations disproportionately lavishing help on those communities that agreed to convert. Legions of converts testify to the pressure they received in the form of a job, medical aid, education — if they just agreed to change their faith. Families are turned against families and communities — a potent brew that also raises tensions that can escalate. And when these evangelical groups proclaim their work and their scores of new converts couched in colorful videos at suburban megachurches, the dollars flow and enrich itinerant missionary mercenaries — a fact blithely ignored by the Commission.
Examine the makeup of the USCIRF: Six members are Christian, one is Jewish and one Muslim. Not a single non-Abrahamic faith is represented. The chair is Vice President of the far-right Federalist Society, and another commissioner is an executive at the evangelical Southern Baptist Convention, which publishes material which calls Hinduism grand festival of Diwali “devil worship.”
Finally, Hindu Americans are wondering today if there is quid pro quo at work. The USCIRF was denied a visa this month to travel to India for a “fact-finding” trip. But the Commission was clear that it would not visit Kashmir (because of threats by Muslim terrorists) nor the Northeast of India where militant Christian terrorists are displacing Hindus and fighting for separatism. It would not look into Hindu temple desecrations in Goa and other attacks. It only wanted to visit Gujarat and Orissa. The Government of India said, “thanks, but no thanks.” The USCIRF was outraged at the denial, and we can only ponder whether this was payback.
“Daniel, you’ve answered your own question about why there is violence against missionaries and their keepers.”
You’ve missed my point entirely, please read my comment again.
Blaming violence against missionaries on conversion is like blaming rape on a woman’s dress sense. It’s twisted logic. Missionaries are what they are. Any violence against them is due to ignorance and being uneducated, resulting in not being able to think up any reaction other than violence.
It’s O.K to oppose missionaries and evangelism, just not violently. Hey, even Catholics oppose the kind of Protestant evangelism that produces mass conversions. They just don’t go about beating up Protestants :-) There’s a civilised way to do things.
“Sanatana Dharma does not have a language to debate the evangelist. Islam does and so Islam does the straightfoward thing of banning the evangelist. That’s why you see very little, if at all, street violence between Muslims and Christians.
It’s not so in Hindusthan. Here is a Secular State that wants to treat all religions equally but does not know or care how Sanatana Dharma protects itself against predators.
Since Sanatana Dharma does not inherently possess the converting machinery that Christianity has, Sanatana Dharma will use what comes to it’s hands.”
Agree with you completely.The question is how then should Hindus react to evangelism or conversion? IMO, any way they choose, as long as it’s non violent.
“Just read about what occured during the recent Hindu-Catholic dialogue in Mumbai. If the Church could address the Shankaracharya’s concerns honestly, there can be peace.
If not, we’re sorry.”
The Catholic church is only concerned about peace between its own members and other communities, not with keeping the peace between Christians and Hindus. It’s just one Christian church in over 700, separate and distinct from the others. The others don’t report to it nor is it answerable for their actions.
You see, Catholic missionary activities, though more numerous than non Catholic ones, are restricted to social justice, education, empowering the marginalised, etc. Conversion is not a Catholic agenda, though the Catholic Church does accept converts (the process is a long, drawn out, tiring one, designed to make sure converts know what they’re getting into, and to weed out those who attempt to change their religion only to escape caste, poverty, social problems, etc.).
Most people still don’t know about this, that’s what the dialogue is for.
Not that any of this matters. Peace will happen when people are educated and made aware of the law, when they realise that the sign of a vibrant successful democracy is one where anyone can walk about preaching his religion without fear of physical harm.
“What you however must try not to do is to ask Hindus to simply wipe the spit off their faces and smile. They won’t anymore, no matter what the Secular State thinks.”
No one’s asking anything of Hindus that’s not already in the constitution. Hindus and Christians don’t have to live in friendship, but that doesn’t mean they can’t live in peace.
An article which might give you cheddis something to smile about:
@ Rahul Krishnan
“…they are bound by their gospel to do so…but the gospel says nothing of forced conversions”
Not sure about the gospel, but I know that all Christians consider forced conversion to be a sin. Same for conversions by allurement, bribes or any kind of exploitation.
“…When Hindus feel the heat of aggressive mindless proselytization, and are shackled by a pro-minority government’s ’secular’ policies, it is only understandable that things get out of hand.”
Understandable? No, violence can never be understandable, at least by me.
“…I truly believe that since all TRUE Christians believe that Hindus and Muslims and everyone else is going to hell, they obviously have no respect for our faiths.”
True…there are limits to the kind of respect that a Christian can have for another person’s faith. Treating another religion as equal to their own would be disrespecting their own religion i.e heresy.
“Then how much more pharisaical(pun intended) can it get when they demand that Hindus respect theirs???”
Christians have never demanded that anyone respect their faith. Only that people respect their right to preach and practice it. There’s a big difference between the two. In fact, that’s pretty much what the constitution demands as well.
“Dalit Christians…thus leaving their Hindu counterparts no choice but to convert!!!”
Another common misconception. You see, Christians believe conversion is an internal process. It’s not something that can be forced upon you. It’s your choice. They do the preaching/talking and then you make a decision. You become a Christian when you believe in the tenets of Christianity, not during some sort or conversion ceremony. Ceremonies are merely a means to formalise this decision.
Any type of force or pressure used to induce conversion is a mortal sin to Christians and against the law in many states, and rightly so. And worst of all, a person who converts under force or allurement, etc. won’t even be recognised as a Christian by other Christians.
“And for what? only to be made to sit in separate seats in their own church, only to be oppressed and humiliated by upper caste christians not unlike what they faced while they were Hindus.”
A perfect example of why forced conversions doesn’t work. That’s why they’re not performed.
“There is only one reason a Christian engages in conversion…Money…Avarice…Cupidity…Whatever you call it…it still sounds the same…”
Way off the mark here. The Christian belief is ‘hate the sin, love the sinner?’. Believe it or not, love is the sole reason for evangelism or preaching aimed at conversion. To a Christian, there can be no greater way to hate you enemy than to let him die and go to hell without letting him ‘see the light’.
“All these are only going to infuriate Hindus more.”
Not if they understand the motives I’ve been talking about. Education and awareness are key.
“I don’t understand why fundamentalist Christians have this rabid zest to convert all under the sun.”
They have to…they believe they’re answerable to God if they don’t.
“And if you think i’m digressing from the TOPIC, you can refer to the OLD TESTAMENT, where GOD justifies purging the land of heretics and non-believers… That is exactly what we are doing… (even though our Gods condoned no such malevolence)”
The basis for Christian belief is in the New Testament. The Old one says a lot of things that Christians don’t follow, like ‘earrings are to be worn by slaves only’, ‘don’t mix different fabrics’, etc. Christians just use it for historical context.
you make it sound as if before modrun ejukashun and modrun law people used to live like animals without any sense of law or scruples and would slaughter each other all the time. well the vatican has been occupied by ejukated people since inception. that has not prevented them from ordering and presiding over all sorts of excesses, which have no parallel anywhere in the world.
this has nothing to do with law or education. if you let the local church and the local community talk to each other directly and sort these issues amongst themselves, as used to happen in early times, they would have found the justice that works for them locally. old communities have carefully developed mechanisms by which they know the rules of interaction. this is especially true in places where they did not depend on royal patronage. this hiding under the skirt of law, which is determined in dilli and its vassal courts is a trick of the colonial era, during which the church gained most of its support and legitimacy. the old christian churches and muslim communities dont talk about abstract principles like law. for them their relationship with the community they live in is primary. they would first check with their community.
a working example of this was in recent violence in mysore. the local sait jr. was immediately out talking to representatives and calling and working for peace. whereas, the neo-educated PFI with its ties to kerala’s NDF of Marad massacre fame, would have none of it. they injured a journalist, policemen, not to mention 3 people were killed unnecessarily. ofcourse i wonder why our fav website didnot make one single post on it.
so in kandhamal and in mangalore, christians were practicing their religion in full glory (otherwise how did they come to be there in such large numbers in the first place?). it was when newlife distributed their hate filled booklet(ejukashun anyone?) and in kandhamal when christians started subverting the local economy through their connections in the government not to mention killed a local swamy who was ejukating local kids, did the reaction manifest the way it did.
now instead of reviving the time tested ideas that have historically worked for us, and formalizing them, the ejukated amongst us distract us with non sequiturs like education and law. a time tested colonial trick. make people the problem. you are not good. what you know is useless. you are ignorant of what i know. i know better way. until you learn from me, and do by bidding. you are problematic.
so tell me daniel, what is it that everybody ought to study in schools & colleges that will help them make educated decisions on such issues? european history? indian history? civics, science? what?
No one’s asking anything of Hindus that’s not already in the constitution. Hindus and Christians don’t have to live in friendship, but that doesn’t mean they can’t live in peace.
see this is such a christian/western thing to say. the whole idea about tolerance. i hate your guts, cant stand you but will tolerate you. gee thanks man.
indian way is this:
(bihar india, august 2009)
and vice versa.
Daniel- What method does the Church, Catholic or otherwise, employ to gain converts? Can they be honest about their track record and intentions and still gain converts? Can they desist from abusing Hindu beliefs and still gain converts? Can they stop being salesmen and still sell something in the market? It’s impossible.
Allright. There are two options open before the Hindus. Ban conversions or use the same methods the Church uses.
We know the Church is opposed to any ban. Why is it also opposed to reconversions?
AG- I see the American “Hindu” is also adopting our modern perversion of “all religions are equally good”.
I don’t see the article as positive at all. Any move that will take the White American away from his roots is bad and worse, will weaken them as a Nation.
The Minority in the US can smile about this. The Minority in any country will smile at any weakening of the National Majority.
That’s the game isn’t it?
“What method does the Church, Catholic or otherwise, employ to gain converts?”
Catholics use the ‘lead good lives and be good to others so they see what you stand for and want to be like you’ mode for conversion. Understandably, this takes longer.
Protestants use the same but extend it with the ‘talk to others about your beliefs to show them they need a change’ mode for conversion. Understandably, this is a more urgent process.
“Can they be honest about their track record and intentions and still gain converts?”
Honesty about their intentions is precisely how they gain converts. Christians try to convince people that they’re going to attain an eternal afterlife with God if they change. So it’s in their best interest to remain zealous and make sure people know they’re trying to reach as many as possible.
“Can they desist from abusing Hindu beliefs and still gain converts?”
What kind of abuse are you talking about? Christianity’s very existence and basic principles are a form of abuse to all other religions.
“Can they stop being salesmen and still sell something in the market? It’s impossible.”
True, the product being sold is a way of life. The presentation is different, but the end goal is the same.
“Allright. There are two options open before the Hindus. Ban conversions or use the same methods the Church uses.”
I don’t believe that banning anything helps. Hindus are of course welcome to use the same methods the Church does (not sure which Church you’re referring to here). It’s their choice anyhow.
Personally, I believe that there are other options. Focus on education and development. Most converts are poor deeply impressionable people who are quickly moved by acts of kindness. Any wonder then that they change religions so quickly? Mass conversions will automatically stop when people are empowered economically and socially.
“We know the Church is opposed to any ban. Why is it also opposed to reconversions?”
No Church is opposed to reconversion.
@ Yella OK
“Apart from the hyperbole of the observation, if one believes Daniel, one must ask – why should one be tolerant of the intolerants?”
Answered this earlier. Because the law requires you to.
“what i am saying…… of all other countries?”
Interesting point, I’d like to hear more of your arguments against existing laws.
“…what the internal rationalization of christians is to their act of evangelism is irrelevant to me. what i as a pagan see is only the effects of it…when in a group one should learn to tread carefully and with due respect to the sensibilities of others…. for example…here you and i dont mean you daniel and me ts).”
Sensitivity is essential, but it’s absence is not an excuse for violence. Violence is only justifiable in self defense.
Moreover, sensitivity does not prevent violence. Christians are attacked no matter how much sensitivity they show. Most of the violence against Christians comes from organisations that assume the worst of them and take it upon themselves to make amends. I’d say they need sensitivity training most of all.
“you make it sound as if before modrun ejukashun and modrun law people used to live like animals without any sense of law or scruples and would slaughter each other all the time.”
Not at all. But they do slaughter each other today.
“well the vatican has been occupied by ejukated people since inception.”
“that has not prevented them from ordering and presiding over all sorts of excesses, which have no parallel anywhere in the world.”
Agreed, but not relevant.
“this has nothing to do with law or education. if you let the local church and the local community talk to each other directly and sort these issues amongst themselves, as used to happen in early times, they would have found the justice that works for them locally.”
Bu this is exactly what’s happening today. Most local churches and communities co-exist peacefully. Violence is usually planned and organised by (usually external) groups with an agenda that are ready to jump to conclusions.
“…this hiding under the skirt of law… they would first check with their community…”
I wouldn’t call it hiding under the law. When you’re doing nothing wrong and are attacked, the law’s your only hope. This is what both old and new churches face on a daily basis.
“so in kandhamal and in mangalore… it was when newlife distributed their hate filled booklet(ejukashun anyone?)”
People who were offended by the booklet could have chosen not to read it. It’s not an excuse for violence.
“and in kandhamal when christians started…swamy who was ejukating local kids, did the reaction manifest the way it did.”
Christians believe murder is a sin. They couldn’t have killed anyone. The reaction manifested the way it did because it was planned. Spur of the moment emotional decisions are quick. 600 men descending on a village with weapons is not justifiable in any sense.
“now instead of reviving the time tested ideas….you are problematic.”
“so tell me daniel, what is it that everybody ought to study in schools & colleges that will help them make educated decisions on such issues? european history? indian history? civics, science? what?”
Nothing, it’s not about knowledge, but about common sense and fairness. Indians need to understand that they don’t need to agree with someone’s views, but we need to defend that persons right to hold those views.
“No one’s asking anything of Hindus that’s not already in the constitution. Hindus and Christians don’t have to live in friendship, but that doesn’t mean they can’t live in peace.
see this is such a christian/western thing to say. the whole idea about tolerance. i hate your guts, cant stand you but will tolerate you. gee thanks man.”
It’s not western, it’s a common sense approach. We can’t call ourselves civilised until we’re strong enough to allow people to co-exixst with us even though we don’t agree with them.
Daniel, I don’t think your getting it.
Christians want Hindus to be like them and Hindus want Christians to be like Hindus.
There is no meeting ground here unless Christians take their evangelism to the Muslim. The Muslim is fine because he speaks the same language.
A Hindu will never understand this language and will continue to break an unjust law.
Evangelists leave the Hindu with no choice in the matter. Looking away or down is not an option.
So you must decide.
Slowly but surely, laws will start to reflect what the Hindu feels. It’s for everyones good.
Dan of the Book!
Then why isn’t education among Christians not enough to stop the reckless exploitation of the ‘rear real estate’ that is going on among the Catholic Bishops and their young wards everywhere in the World leading to traumatic experiences for many and an unholy bliss for the men in frocks!!? Well even the Pope is still worried about the subject you know…Also very recently the enlightened flock in Kerala hounded a nun who suddenly revealed to all and sundry the ‘fine practices’ among the men of God in that region. What do you say to that? So heal thyself Single-Book Doctor!
Hers is gospel according to DB:
The greatest sin is arrogance
Say the Lord’s prayer if you will
But keep your base emotions still
There are pseuds many among us
Who will always reveal ways to the bliss
The only tried and true path
Is knowing your way around the math
Of morals, fables, and mores
Some good, some bad, some useless
bit of a rush please look up prof. varshney (UoM wale) on this specific topic. this idea is not rooted in some romantic pastoralism or some romantic notions of times gonne by, there are real practical reasons mainly economic, why what i mentioned is true.
also look up prof. Ashis Nandy
i will post specific references some other day. i have to look up HDD.
here is a quick and pointed summary of some of the issues we have been talking about
Dan, I get the feeling you haven’t missed the SN Balagangadhara of Ghent University initiated discussions in India. It’s called “Rethinking Religion” and its on youtube too. The whole series.
@Daniel – With people like you, no wonder they say “Law is an Ass”
Roman Catholics don’t convert. Like the parsis they have a unique history and don’t even want to dilute their numbers.
But as an educated (and relapsed) Catholic, I’m with the majority here. We need to ban all conversion until they sort this mess out. Truth is, most catholics aren’t even aware why the majority seem so pissed off at them. But I’m with everyone else on this, they need to stop all conversions, regardless of whatever church is operating in the country.
And dan is right, conversion into Roman Catholicism is a long drawn out painful affair that lasts over 2 years.
>>Treating another religion as equal to their own would be disrespecting >>their own religion i.e heresy.
Your Words of this and about Christianity Opened my eyes :-).
OMG, Why are u ppl so bothered about Ppl from Other Religion(Non-Christian) going to hell…While Most of u ppl’s Life is already a Hell.
Pls stop worrying about Non-Christians and stop your “Taking-for-granted” conversion Saga….If u think rationally, It will all look stupid and may be to u as well.
May your Lord Jesus Bless u
Dondo- Perhaps the Catholic Church should publish and circulate widely the recent dialogue in Mumbai.
There must be a reason why Catholics don’t realize what’s going wrong.
Ignorance is also no excuse.
It’s not that I’m not getting your point. I’m just not buying it. I refuse to believe that Hindus and Christians can’t get along with each other, despite wanting to change each other.
Look guys, Hindus and Christians have been living side by side in peace for the most part, with converts on both sides. What then leads to violence? New fangled Christian evangelism and the way people choose to react to it?
Now, Christians need to do their part to prevent violence. Treading carefully, greater sensitivity, inter religious dialogue, working closer with communities on a more contextual situational basis making sure they don’t offend anyone, taking decisions in line with the overall good will of the community to maintain harmony, etc. I think we all agree on this point. Christians have already been doing this for the most part, and they still get attacked.
Granted, every now and then you observe insensitivity on the Christian side (usually by people who don’t even know they’re being insensitive). I’m not saying we condone these, but they can’t be equated with the violence by those who react, and thus be used as a justification for the same. We equate the provocation with the reaction, even though the provocation involves ideas and the reactions usually involve physicality.
Moreover, most cases of violence I’ve noticed are responses to perceived Christian aggression rather than actual aggression. Certain organisations are more than happy to assume that an AIDS awareness drive, free food handouts, or job carnivals organised by a church are really instruments of allurement for conversion, when they’re not, and see fit to attack them. Most attacks against Christians are along these lines.
Now how do we prevent situations like these? More Christian initiated dialogue? How much more? And shouldn’t dialogue be a two sided affair? Who gave these organisations the right to take the law into their own hands? Why can’t Hindu organisations, instead of burning down a church when they come across an offensive pamphlet, approach the church and verbally express that it hurts their feelings? The Christians will be more than happy to listen and do what they can to change.
Most Christians don’t even know why Hindus are mad at them. They assume it’s because of ‘higher caste’s’ anger at Christians trying to empower the ‘lower castes’. Christians are more than willing to listen to Hindus and their grievances but no aggrieved Hindu seems willing to talk instead of attack. This in turn strengthens Christian assumptions about Hindus. So why the immediate recourse to violence to begin with? To me this seems to be the main problem.
In cases where Christian aggression is real and leads to violence, the actions of pastors and new churches is not condoned. Why then do we bend over backwards to try to rationalise the attacker’s actions? Every time there’s an attack, we look for ways to explain why the victims were asking for it. We conclude that the attackers must have had good reason for what they did.
Why are we so willing to treat these people with kid gloves? They are a spoilt immature oversensitive bunch of gangsters who don’t even represent all Hindus. By justifying violence with cliches like ‘spontaneous emotional outrage’, we just end up empowering these ‘moral guardians’ to use violence as a means of protest to protect their own ‘perfect’ way of life.
Now, we Indians can change the law, we can ban conversion, we can even ban Christianity from India, but that won’t change the fact that those who resort to violence as a first option will continue to do so in the future. It’s a problem with their perception that can’t be changed easily.
Changing the law to prevent someone from expressing himself, because other people find it offensive and may grow violent, will never stop violence itself. Like I said earlier, violence manifests itself out of ignorance and frustration, an ability to not know any other way to respond to a situation. Even without Christianity in India, there would always be some other stimulus to provoke violence. The attackers will simply change targets. They’ll attack films and pub goers, or fellow Hindus who don’t share their version of how Hinduism should be depicted in art. We already see this happening.
The issue of violence against minorities like Christians isn’t only one of religious intolerance. Christians of course have their part to play to improve the situation, but the larger issue to me seems to be our acceptance of the use of violence as an only response, despite there being more reasonable ones. To me that’s the biggest menace facing us today, and most Indians turn a blind eye to it, ready to focus on the victim’s role instead. This is the mistake too many people make when they try to understand religious violence. By doing this, we simply hide the real issue of unacceptable violence. Until it comes back to bite us.
We might change the law to stop Christians from provoking those people that commit acts of violence, but what law will we change when those same people come after us? Maybe its time we started thinking about enforcing the laws we have rather than creating new ones that complicate our real problems?
Religious violence might reduce when both communities travel halfway to find a common meeting ground, but violence won’t stop altogether until we’re ready to accept it as a problem in itself, separate from religion.
Sorry Dan. Cannot agree. The Church initiates dialogue not to listen and change but to justify itself and what it does. No one’s the fool.
Does the Church not know that it’s literature hurts Hindus? That it’s men and women abuse our Gods and our ways? Have always resorted to such tactics?
This dialogue is not new. It’s over a hundred years old that included Vivekananda and Gandhi making the same arguments Hindus are making here.
It’s frustrating to see a reasonable person like you refusing to see this plain point and instead playing hide and seek.
The initiating of dialogue is nothing but a tactic because the Church does not change it’s ways.
Hindus don’t want Christians to become Hindus.
Just leave us alone! That’s what we want. Leave us alone!
If not, we will not bother even dialoguing again.
That was the message the Shankaracharya gave the Church in Mumbai.
We are still waiting for a response, stick in hand.
http://www.uscirf.blogspot.com is a blog advocating reforms at USCIRF. It highlights current shortcoming like Lack of standard structure and consistency across reports, Conflict of Interest, Lack of transparency and disclosure, Quality of content, Lack of independent verification of IRFA compliance, Faulty premise, Failure to represent both sides in an intra-member conflict etc. It analyzes USCIRF 2009 India report to illustrate and highlight most of the shortcomings. It also makes reform recommendations.
Table of Contents
2. Major Concerns
1. Conflict of Interest
2. Inconsistent Reporting
3. Error of Omission
3. Minor Concern
1. Error of Commission
4. Reform Recommendations