Date: 6/24/2006


'CHRISTIANS UNDER SIEGE': A MISSIONARY PLOY////////////// - Dr. David Frawley////////// Missionaries in India are using their age-old tactic of posing as victims to camouflage their aggression////// Background: Christianity and intolerance/////// Christianity does not have a notable reputation for tolerance and respect for other religions. The Christian need to convert the entire world has been an historical obsession that continues in major Christian groups today, both Protestant and Catholic. The Christian failure to honor other religions, particularly non-biblical traditions, is well known, with Christians still denigrating the sophisticated yogic traditions of Asia as mere superstition, idolatry and polytheism. Christian missionaries have had a reputation for using methods to promote conversion that are not always honest, including employing military and political force during the colonial era. Their targeting of the poor and illiterate for conversion, shows that they don't like open debates in the light of day. Yet Christians like to ignore such inconvenient facts while posing as peaceful people concerned with human welfare, not with conversion. They are surprised if members of other religions are suspicious of them, even if they look at these religions and condemn them as works of the Devil. They feel easily hurt and insulted should anyone question their motives or their actions that they would certainly not allow other religious groups to practice in their own Christian communities./////// In the modern secular world Christians now demand conversion as a democratic right, even though their religion is authoritarian, not democratic, accepting only one way, and not honoring pluralism in approaching the Divine. Christianity and its Churches have always been despotic institutions. They offer no freedom of choice about the savior, the book or the creed that can bring salvation and there is little tolerance for those who chose another way outside their faith. Europe had to reject the church and Christian dogma in order to become democratic over the past several centuries. So Christian churches are the last people on earth who should be talking about 'democratic rights'. It is merely a smokescreen for promoting their own agendas, spreading their authoritarian and exclusivist beliefs, recklessly eliminating other cultures and religions along the way. /////// Posing as 'victims'////// The Christians of India continue to harbor attitudes hostile to the other religions of their country. They want a freedom to convert others but they are not willing to accept the other religions of the land as valid. They have abused Hindu tolerance and respect./////// for all religions, which allows Hindus to honor Christ and Christian mystics, and used it as a pretext to promote Christian superiority, not to reciprocate with honoring Hinduism and its great sages and yogis. They say Christ must be great because Hindus honor him. They don't honor Hindu teachers in return. //////// Today Christians in India are highlighting minor attacks on Christians done by unidentified groups as a concerted Hindu campaign against them, while they themselves are actively working to change Hindu India into a Christian nation by all available means. While Christians have a long history of aggression against other faiths that certainly has not come to an end, they are quite offended if their religion faces minor obstructions or even criticism from the groups they have long maligned and, not long ago, actively oppressed. In all this they assume an aggrieved posture and claim to be victims of the very type of persecution that they themselves have historically practiced. //////// This came to the fore soon after the arrest of the members of a Muslim organization showing it to be responsible for serial church bombings in South India. It proved that the charges made by Christian leaders against Hindu organizations for the bombings were unfounded, if not malicious. However, instead of admitting their mistake Christian leaders and organizations started a propaganda campaign, again blaming the Hindu organizations for 'creating an atmosphere' that led to these crimes! ///////// Recent arrests in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have shown that, Deendal Anjuman, a Muslim organization led by a Pakistani national was behind most of the bomb blasts and attacks on Christian groups in South India. The Christian response has been to ignore or deny the report, though it is quite well documented and occurred in states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, not ruled by the so-called Hindu BJP party. (See 'Church Blasts: Truth and Propaganda' by S.Y. Seshagiri Rao, in this volume.) In fact many Christians in India - especially its so-called 'leaders' - are defending the ISI, the Pakistani intelligence agency that has long tried to destabilize India, by absolving it of responsibility in the affair even without any investigation. This would be like an American religious minority defending the KGB during the Cold War. Whether the ISI is directly involved in such efforts to cause communal conflicts in India, we must recognize that it is a project it would certainly support and would be likely to promote. To dismiss their involvement out of hand, as Christian leaders in India are doing, is highly suspicious. Christians are publicly blaming Hindu organizations for attacks for which they have no evidence, let alone proof, and which no court has found them guilty of. (The latest evidence does suggest official Pakistani involvement, possibly of the ISI.) //////// Christians in India exaggerate such minor incidents into a national and even an international anti-Hindu propaganda campaign. More churches have been burnt in America in recent years than in India. Several dozen black American churches were burnt to the ground, not merely slightly damaged like the few Indian churches that have been attacked. Christian priests and ministers are also robbed, assaulted and sometimes killed in all Western countries in numbers not unlike what occurs in India. We should also note that many more priests in America have been arrested for sexual molestation of children than have priests been assaulted in India. Should we use that to make conclusions about the nature of Christianity? /////// That a few priests or ministers have been harmed in a country of one billion over a period of several years is not surprising even if we only consider ordinary crimes like robbery. Such things are law and order problems not an attack on one religion in particular. Many more Hindu religious workers are killed in India each year than Christians are in many years. That Christian missionaries have run into difficulties in sensitive tribal areas where there is not much government or police control is also not surprising, particularly given their hostility to tribal culture and tribal religions. The main purpose in all this drama is to whip up a propaganda campaign in order to bring international pressure on India to give Christians more freedom in their conversion efforts. Many Christians seem to prefer this to dealing with the Hindus in a spirit of give and take. //////// What makes this affair is especially distasteful is that even when there is a systematic cleansing of Christians in Pakistan, Indian Christian leaders are prepared to ignore their plight for their propaganda purposes against the Hindus. Even the Pope, while condemning Indonesia and India, refused to mention the atrocities against Christians in Pakistan. His equating of Indonesia where hundreds of Christians have been killed in recent months to India, where only a few have died over several years, also highlights the propaganda urge behind his statements. It was as though Christians wanted the situation in India to be worse and are trying to promote communal disharmony to highlight their presence in the country. Christians almost seem desperate to make a scene in India to highlight to the world media. ///////// All this is enough to make one wonder if Christians are staging some of these attacks to pose as victims of persecution. Whether or not this proves to be the case, certainly they are exaggerating such incidents out of all proportion. Christianity has had a long history of using victimization in order to promote conversion. We know of the stories of Christians being fed to the lions in Rome. We are not told that many more pagans were killed by Christians, and thousands of pagan temples were destroyed throughout Europe. The great Greek (Neo-Platonic) Academy in Alexandria was destroyed and its scholars like Hypatia killed by 'Saint' Cyril and his followers. The number of native Americans killed or forcibly converted by Catholics was also in the many millions, and yet the Catholics emphasize a few priests martyred by the native Americans as being the real victims. ///////// Such stories of Christian oppression are good ploys to gain donations in Western countries. India as a pagan country, where image worship is common, is an easy target for such conversion sentiments. /////// The Indian scene//////// Mother Teresa's successor, Sister Nirmala, claims that Hindu fears that conversion is being done by force, deception or propaganda are not true and are ridiculous. But she should well know that 'such devices have long been used in Christianity' We can find native peoples all over the world whose cultures have been destroyed and even whose populations have been decimated by the missionaries and by the colonial armies that they supported. The Indian public is by and large unaware of the magnitude of destruction caused by Christianity, which may. exceed the destruction due to Islam and its Jihads. Until recently, any discussion of even the Goa Inquisition was taboo, and it is still barely mentioned in Indian history books. This is due to the fact that Christian (colonial) institutions practically control the education agenda in India, especially in history and other humanities. In fact Christianity in India is much more conservative than that in the West where most Catholics violate the main tenets of the church about contraception and divorce and fail to attend church and take its rituals in any regular way. Christianity in India is still projecting a medieval view of the church triumphant that has long been discarded in the West. //////// Even if the Hindu fear of missionary mischief is exaggerated, it is entirely understandable. We should remember that the Pope in his recent visit to India himself threw down the gauntlet, stating a renewed church policy to convert Asia to Christianity in the coming years. To dismiss the Hindu fear as baseless only shows that it is not. If Christians were really sincere they would acknowledge that missionary activity has used such questionable methods in the past and work to insure that it does not do so in the future, and not simply ignore the issue. In the circumstances, it is prudent and proper for Hindus to view Christian. activities and statements with suspicion. //////// The missionaries have altered their tactics to what is possible in the post-colonial era, but that is not a change of heart. They have not opened to Hindus, dialogued with them sincerely, or sought a common ground with them for social harmony or for seeking true knowledge of God. They have aimed at the poor and displaced of Hindu society to promote a conversion effort that has failed with the educated and affluent of the country. They are striking below the belt and then complain of unfairness if their efforts are exposed. //////// Politics, not spirituality///////// What is most surprising is that Christian missionaries have more freedom of operation in India than in the rest of Asia. They are banned in Islamic countries, including Pakistan, and strictly monitored in China, which has its own nationalist Catholic Church apart from Rome. Even Russia under Putin has recently come out against Christian missionaries as causing mischief in the country and often being agents of the American government. Christians are under direct attack in Indonesia where thousands of Christians have been killed in recent years. Neighboring Pakistan does not allow the missionaries the freedom they have in India and routinely oppresses its Christians. A few years ago a Catholic Bishop committed suicide in a Pakistan court to protest the issue. But it is India that being called to task in the world forum for its oppression of Christians! ///////// Mexico, which used to be part of the 'Catholic Empire of Spain', does not allow missionaries the kind of freedom they enjoy in India. Only in some so-called 'Banana Republics' of Latin America do we find missionaries being so powerful. Even this, as has been revealed by recent hearings in the US Congress, was often financed by the CIA, with priests serving as CIA agents. //////// Such information suggests that Christian leaders have given up most countries of the world as beyond their reach but concentrated on India as the US did on the Banana Republics. //////// . Missionaries and Christian organizations are very much on the defensive in most of the world today, where they are simply trying to hold their ground. The West continues to discard Christianity. The Islamic world will not let it in and China is keeping it at a safe distance. In America such missionary groups, which would still like to ban the teaching of evolution in the schools, complain how the country has all but abandoned real Christianity. But in India the missionaries remain aggressive. The reason is simple. India allows missionary activity and so is a soft target. Islamic countries and China are hard targets. The missionaries are targeting India because they feel they can make headway in India, not because India is a place where they are particularly under siege! ///////// The hypocrisy of the whole thing is easy to see. It shows the condescending attitude that missionaries have towards Hindus, thinking that they can bully them or appeal to their tolerance by a feigned persecution. It ollly proves that Christians are still promoting a medieval religion that will not honor other religions and is still seeking world domination by any means, fair or foul. If we count the victims of Christian aggression on one side and the Christians themselves who have been victimized we will find that the victims of Christianity are overwhelmingly in the majority. While some Christians have apologized to African and Native American groups for such missionary misdeeds, the Hindus have so far not received any such apology, though they have suffered from the same methods. The reason is that the missionaries have not yet triumphed in India. The apology, like crocodile tears, comes only after the victim is dead. //////// In the nineteenth and the early twentieth century, Christian colonial governments used their influence to promote conversion in the countries they ruled. Now Christians want to use freedom and democracy, which they didn't allow under their rulership, to continue the conversion process. And all without an apology or explanation for this about face! If Christians want to be honored and respected let them first proclaim that Christianity is not the only true religion and Jesus is not the Only Son of God. Let them say that Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, J ainism, Zoroastrianism and other Indian religions are as good as Christianity. Let Christians say clearly that members of other religions will not go to hell but will gain immortality in the presence of God by following what is good in their own teachings. ////////// Major Christian groups, however, will certainly not make such statements, though they may cover over their exclusivism with platitudes about human peace, brotherhood and Divine love. Their,failure to honor other religions shows an intolerance that naturally breeds conflict and inevitably leads to communal tension. Christians wouldn't even accept a Mahatma Gandhi and worked to convert him, while the Mahatma described missionary activity as a great danger and as spiritually and ethically flawed. ////////// As a former Catholic I know in what little esteem the Church holds Hinduism and Buddhism with all their great sages and yogis. Christianity, like Islam, sees tolerance not as a virtue to be emulated but as a weakness to be exploited. Were Christians to really honor Hinduism as a valid religion all Hindu-Christian hostility could easily come to an end. As long as Christians hold that theirs alone is the True Faith and are working to convert the members of other religions in one way or another, they should not be surprised if members of other religions do not welcome their presence. ///////// It is only a matter of time before missionary Christianity is seen for what it is-imperialism in the name of God and Christ, the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing. It is a political, worldly movement with little spirituality in it. Unfortunately such Christians confuse the real Divine work, which is improving ourselves through introspection, with the institutional work of imposing a single belief upon all humanity. This political view of religion has no place in the global age of consciousness that is dawning in enlightened minds all over the world today. The quicker it comes to an end, the better it will be for all humanity.//////// ABOUT THE AUTHOR/////// Dr. Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri) is one of the few Westerners ever recognized In India as a Vedacharya or teacher of Vedic wisdom. His field of sfudy includes Ayurveda. Vedic and Vedantlc philosophy. Tantra and Yoga. His influential book. Gods. Sages and Kings is recognized as a pioneenng effort that set the stage for a revolution in the study of ancient history. His several books on the Vedas including his poetic translation of the Vedic hymns, Wisdom of the Ancient Seers have been published both in India and the west. He is the author of numerous books on Veda. Indian spirituality and current affairs including Arise Arjuna. Awaken Bharata, Hinduism. The Eternal Tradition and many more. He lives in Santa Fe in the United States where he is the Director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies.///////// 000000000