from François Gautier’s Blog
The ‘vandalizing’ of churches in New Delhi in the past weeks has been an embarrassment to Mr Modi and his government and has helped to propagate here and abroad the idea that Christians in India are ‘persecuted’.
Firstly, it is necessary to bring about a little bit of a historical flashback, which very few foreign correspondents (and unfortunately also Indian journalists) care to do, which would make for a more balanced view of the problem… …If ever there was persecution, it was of the Hindus at the hands of Christians, who were actually welcomed in this country, as they have been welcomed in no other place in this Planet. Indeed, the first Christian community of the world, that of the Syrian Christians, was established in Kerala in the first century; they were able to live in peace and practice their religion freely, even imbibing some of the local Hindu customs, until the Jesuits came in the 16th century and told them it was “heathen” to have anything to do with the Hindus, thereby breaking the Syrian Church in two.
When, Vasco de Gama, landed in Kerala in 1498, he was generously received by Zamorin, the Hindu king of Calicut, who granted him the right to establish warehouses for commerce. But once again, Hindu tolerance was exploited and the Portuguese wanted more and more: in 1510, Alfonso de Albuquerque seized Goa, where he started a reign of terror, burning “heretics”, crucifying Brahmins, using false theories to forcibly convert the lower castes, razing temples to build churches upon them and encouraging his soldiers to take Indian mistresses. Indeed, the Portuguese perpetrated here some of the worst atrocities ever committed in Asia by Christianity upon another religion. Ultimately, the Portuguese had to be kicked out of India, when all other colonisers had already left.
British missionaries in India were always supporters of colonialism; they encouraged it and their whole structure was based on “the good Western civilised world being brought to the Pagans”. Because, in the words of Claudius Buccchanan, a chaplain attached to the East India Company, “neither truth, nor honesty, honour, gratitude, nor charity, is to be found in the breast of a Hindoo”! What a comment about a nation that gave the world the Vedas, at a time when Europeans were still grappling in their caves! And it is in this way that the British allowed entire chunks of territories in the East, where lived tribals, whose poverty and simplicity, made them easy preys to be converted to Christianity. By doing so, the Christian missionaries cut a people from their roots and tradition, made them look westwards towards a culture and a way of life which was not theirs. And the result is there today for everyone to see: it is in these eastern States, some of which are 90% Christians, that one finds the biggest drug problems (and crime) in India. It should also be said that many of the eastern separatist movements have been covertly encouraged by Christian missionaries on the ground that “tribals were there before the ‘Aryan Hindus’ invaded India and imposed Hinduism upon on them”. The trouble is that the latest archeological and linguistic discoveries point out to the fact that there never was an Aryan invasion of India – it just was an invention of the British and the missionaries to serve their purpose.
Secondly, Christianity has always striven on the myth of persecution, which in turn bred “martyrs” and saints, indispensable to the propagation of Christianity. But it is little known, for instance, that the first “saints” of Christianity, “martyred” in Rome, a highly refined civilization, which had evolved a remarkable system of Gods and Goddesses, some of whom were derived from Hindu mythology via the Greeks, were actually killed (a normal practice in those days), while bullying peaceful Romans to embrace the “true” religion, in the same way that later Christian missionaries will browbeat “heathen” Hindus, adoring many Gods, into believing that Jesus was the only “true” God.
Most if the incidents of ‘persecution’ of Christians in India are between converted tribals versus non-converted tribals, clashes of pent-up jealousies, of old village feuds and land disputes. It is also an outcome of what – it should be said – are the aggressive methods of the Pentecost and seventh Adventists missionaries, known for their muscular ways of converting.
Thirdly, conversions in India by Christian missionaries of low caste Hindus and tribals are sometimes nothing short of fraudulent and shameful. American missionaries are investing huge amounts of money in India, which come from donation drives in the United States where gullible Americans think the dollars they are giving go towards uplifting “poor and uneducated Indians”. It is common in Kerala, for instance, particularly in the poor coastal districts, to have “miracle boxes” put in local churches: the gullible villager writes out a paper mentioning his wish: a fishing boat, a loan for a pukka house, fees for the son’s schooling… And lo, a few weeks later, the miracle happens ! And of course the whole family converts, making others in the village follow suit… American, Australian or British missionaries (and their Governments) would like us to believe that democracy includes the freedom to convert by any means. But France for example, a traditionally Christian country, has a Minister who is in charge of hunting down “sects”. And by sects, it is meant anything that does not fall within the recognised family of Christianity – even the Church of Scientology, favored by some Hollywood stars such as Tom Cruise or John Travolta, is ruthlessly hounded. And look at what the Americans did to the Osho movement in Arizona, or how innocent children and women were burnt down by the FBI (with the assistance of the US army) in Waco Texas, because they belonged to a dangerous sect.
Did you know that the Christianity is dying in the West ? Not only church attendance is falling dramatically because spirituality has deserted it, but less and less youth find the vocation to become priests or nuns. And as a result, say in the rural parts of France, you will find only one priest for six or seven villages, whereas till the late seventies the smallest hamlet had its own parish priest. And where is Christianity finding new priests today ? In the Third World, of course ! And India, because of the innate impulsion of its people towards God, is a very fertile recruiting ground for the Church, particularly in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Hence the huge attention that India is getting from the United States, Australia, or England and the massive conversion drive going on today. It is sad that Indians, once converted, specially the priests and nuns, tend to turn against their own country and help in the conversion drive. There are very few “White” missionaries left in India and most of the conversions are done today by Indian priests. A few years back, during the Bishop’s conference in Bangalore, it was restated by bishops and priests from all over India, that conversion is the FIRST priority of the Church here. But are the priests and Bishops aware that they would never find in any western country the same freedom to convert that they take for granted in India ? Do they know that in China they would be expelled, if not put into jail ? Do they realize that they have been honored guests in this country for nearly two thousand years and that they are betraying those that gave them peace and freedom ? Hinduism, the religion of tolerance, the coming spirituality of this new millennium, has survived the unspeakable barbarism of wave after wave of Muslim invasions, the insidious onslaught of Western colonialism which has killed the spirit of so may Third World countries and the soul-stifling assault of Nehruvianism. But will it survive the present Christian offensive ?
Many Hindu religious leaders feel that Christianity is a real threat today, as in numerous ways it is similar to Hinduism, from which Christ borrowed so many concepts (see Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s book: “ Hinduism and Christianity”).. It is thus necessary that Indian themselves become more aware of the danger their culture and unique civilisation is facing at the hands of missionaries sponsored by foreign money. It is also necessary that they stop listening to the Marxist- influenced English newspapers’ defense of the right of Christian missionaries to convert innocent Hindus. Conversion belongs to the times of colonialism. We have entered in the era of Unity, of coming together, of tolerance and accepting each other as we are – not of converting in the name of one elusive “true” God. When Christianity will accept the right of other people to follow their own beliefs and creeds, the only will Jesus Christ’s Spirit truly radiate in the world.