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Gospel for Asia – Attacking Hinduism January 22, 2010

Posted by reader111 in Religious Conversions.
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Gospel for Asia (GFA) is one of the largest missions organisations in the world, involved in evangelism and church planting in the unreached regions of Asia in the 10/40 window and is supporting more than 17,500 native missionaries at the moment. GFA is planting 17 churches and fellowships every day.

The ministry was birthed in 1979 by Br KP Yohannan.  Since 1992, GFA has discipled and baptised more than 3,100,000 believers, planted over 39,150 churches throughout Asia, and established 67 Bible colleges with 9,500 students enrolled.


Gospel for Asia (GFA) is reaching out to the 300 million ‘Dalits’ and 400 million other backward caste peoples of Asia.

In 2008/09 GFA reports that 572,339 primarily Dalits and OBC’s (other backward cast) were saved, baptised and going through discipleship courses.

Reference: http://eternity.biz/news/meet_lakshmi_a_dalit_girl_and_the_story_of_a_indian_church_planter/1001171718/


Preparing for the harvest … September 6, 2009

Posted by reader111 in Hindu Rights Register, Religious Conversions.
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A Tahelka article labelled TOP SECRET throws some light over some evangelist designs. Here is the link to this eye-opening article:


Ex-nun’s confessions set to rock Kerala Church February 22, 2009

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Shaju Philip, Feb 19, 2009


Thiruvananathapuram: Already reeling under several controversies, the Kerala Catholic Church is facing fresh embarrassment from a tell-all autobiography written by a nun who recently quit the Order alleging harassment from superiors.


‘Amen — an autobiography of a nun’, released last week, is written by Dr Sister Jesme, 52, who was the Principal of St Mary’s College, Thrissur, till last August when she quit the Congregation of Mother Carmelite (CMC).


“Dedicated to Jesus”, Amen is explicit in its details of the sexual repression and harassment behind the Church walls as well as the draconian rules and “greed” of the Order. Jesme claims that since the book was released, she has been getting calls pledging solidarity.


“Nuns mingle with the whole spectrum of the community around them. They teach students, comfort the aged and nurse the sick; still the brides of the Church remain an enigma. My work would throw light on the misunderstood convent life, engulfed in darkness,” says Jesme.


Apart from the Abhaya murder in which a nun and priests are accused, the Kerala Church was recently in the news for a priest “adopting” a 26-year-old woman.


RamadaBangalore.comAds By GoogleJesme’s autobiography includes a poignant version by her of how the convent authorities tried to twice prove that she had mental problems and get her admitted into a rehab centre after she reportedly spoke out against the malpractices within the Order.


Starting with her first days in the Church, 30 years ago, she talks of priets forcing novices to have relations with them and the closet homosexuality within nun ranks, “which the Church reckons as the dirtiest thing possible”. “If nuns developed unusual interest in each other, authorities would deploy other inmates to watch them,” she writes.


The book says Jesme herself was forced into such a relationship by a fellow nun, and that her complaints to a senior nun were ignored. According to her, the other nun said she preferred such a relationship as it ruled out pregnancy. There were others who had affairs with priests, she writes.


Another passage in Amen deals with a chance encounter Jesme had with a priest in Bangalore while on her way to Dharwar to attend a UGC refresher course in English. “My plan was to stay at the waiting room at the Bangalore railway station. But sisters in the convent gave me the address of a pious, decent priest. When I reached Bangalore, the priest was waiting to receive me. He embraced me and took me to his presbytery. After breakfast, he took me to Lalbagh (Botanical Garden) and showed me several pairs cuddling behind trees. He also gave a sermon on the necessity of physical love and described the illicit affairs certain bishops and priests had.”



‘Baptized’ south Gujarat tribals re-embrace Hinduism January 25, 2009

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(Kamaal Saiyed; Posted: Dec 19, 2007 )


Surat, December 18 Around 2,000 tribal men and women from different villages in South Gujarat, who had converted to Christianity, re-embraced Hinduism on Monday evening at a religious ceremony ( sammelan) at the Shivaji ground in Tapi district.

They took an oath by the fire in the presence of Jagat Guru Acharya Narendra Maharaj and submitted affidavits that they won’t convert to Christianity ever again in the future.


The people had started gathering at the venue since Sunday night listening to the Jagat Guru’s teaching before re-converting to Hinduism at the ceremony a day later.


Narayan Solanki, a disciple of Narendra Maharaj in Tapi district said, “There are many disciples of the Maharaj working in different villages of Vyara, Dharampur, Songadh, Mandvi, Ahwa-Dang, Vasda and so on. They visit these places and interact with the tribals who have been baptised earlier by various missionaries and convince them to return back to Hinduism.”


According to Solanki, the Maharaj also runs an ashram at Naneej village in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. It was after a visit to one such ashram that they became motivated to become his disciples. “We visit different villages and persuade those, who have been baptised, to come back into the Hindu fold,” said Solanki.


Giving details about the sammelan (ceremony), another disciple, Mahipal Thakur, said, “We have been working for the sammelan for the past few months and contacted tribals in various villages, who had become fed up with Christianity. These tribals gathered on Sunday night at Tapi district. They were provided with food and accommodation, and later they met the Maharaj during the night. On Monday, they assembled at the Shivaji ground where the Maharaj gave a religious sermon. Many of the tribal men also cut off their hair and took oaths, while all of them gave thumb impressions on the affidavits saying they have willingly returned to the folds of the Hindu religion.”


Deputy Collector of Tapi district N S Halbe said, “The organisers had taken prior permission to hold the sammelan. The district officials visited the venue and have submitted their report about it to me.”


Ref: http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Baptized-south-Gujarat-tribals-reembrace-Hinduism/251936/

An internal battle wages in the Church January 24, 2009

Posted by reader111 in Religious Conversions, Uncategorized.
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In Orissa, new converts quickly realize that religious change does not mean equality

Priyanka P. Narain

Mumbai: When Father William Premdas Chaudhary, the only Dalit priest in the Delhi archdiocese, began highlighting the plight of his community three years ago, his parish was taken away from him.
“I became a nuisance to the archbishop by raising issues faced by lower castes in churches. So they sidelined me,” he claims.

They converted to Christianity to escape the caste system of Hinduism, but even in the church, Dalits (or lower caste) remain at the bottom of the hierarchy, facing discrimination, unequal access to education, even the persistence of preface: “Dalit Christians”. But hope has stirred, ironically, out of attacks on their own. In an unprecedented move last week, the pope of the Roman Catholic Church issued a statement condemning the Orissa violence that killed dozens in the wake of the unsolved murder of a vocal anti-missionary Hindu leader. Since the Vatican has rarely addressed Indian Christians before, Dalit Christians hope the pope will now look deeper inside the practice of the religion in India—perhaps condemn caste, enforce equality, make conversions more honest and renew their flagging faith.

As churchgoers dwindle in Europe—according to pollster Gallup International, attendance declined from 60-65% in 1980 to 20% in 2000—countries such as India with its enormous potential for conversion have become more important for the Vatican. But an old hierarchical civilization such as India poses unique challenges, explains R.L. Francis, president of the Poor Christian Liberation Movement. Here, “the higher castes of Christianity, Syrians, Mangloreans and Goans from south India dominate churches in the country and treat Dalit converts like second-class citizens,” he says.

Some Dalit Christians also say that the violence in Orissa offers lessons for the church to proceed with caution in its approach to conversions—and first fix relations among existing followers. Pro-Hindu organizations such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad say, for example, that conversion should not be linked to basic needs, such as access to health care or school.

The meek shall inherit

“We have known injustice for generations. It’s wonderful when someone tells you, ‘All human beings are the children of god,’” says Francis, whose grandfather had converted from Hinduism to Christianity.

In Orissa, new converts quickly realize that religious change does not mean equality. For instance, among the Panos, who were originally animists, those who converted came to dominate the social order of the state. They own businesses, hold positions of power and also dominate the clergy, while the condition of tribals remains unchanged.

The strange hierarchy enters economics and politics in other ways; tribal Christians can avail of Scheduled Tribe status, while Dalit Christians cannot of Scheduled Caste status, although certainly there have been efforts to expand quotas to them. In the district of Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh, P.B Lomiyo, editor of the magazine, Christian Restoration, says Dalits face similar challenges nationwide. Lomiyo says, “The clergy raise funds for schools for Dalits, but don’t give admission to them. When Dalits demand their rights, they react and encourage the parish to boycott the Dalits.”

One area of great contention has been schools. Father Benjamin Chinnappa, a priest who works in Chicago, runs a school for Dalit children near Puducherry with his US salary.

Even though Dalits need the education and upliftment most, he says, “the school administrators want to keep performance high. They want to compete with other schools and want people who can pay tuition.”

The issue is not entirely new, though. Father Anthony Kurusinkal, editor of The Examiner archdiocesean newspaper for Mumbai, says he had studied the issue of Dalit Christians in 1984 at the request of the Vatican and had made a presentation in the city-state, advocating greater representation from the Dalit community in church leadership. “They wanted to know what the situation is,” he said. “And they decided that no appointments to the post of bishop or archbishop will be made on the basis of caste in India.”

But that was 24 years ago.

Since then, inequality has deepened and become entrenched in the church, says Chinnappa. “The bishops and archbishops will not accept it. But this discrimination against the Dalits is the bitter reality of the Christian church in India.”

The silent church

So far, the Vatican has not addressed the divide, saying it must be resolved by Indian church officials. The pope’s representative in India, Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, declined to comment.

However, the website of Catholic Bishops Conference of India discusses how the government and the Constitution of India have failed Dalits. But it does not list any programmes or policies specifically for them run by the church.
And the Vatican’s directive that bishops should not be chosen on the basis of caste has made no impact on the ground, Kurusinkal says. “There is constant in-fighting going on when a leader is chosen. If it is an area with high caste majority, they will insist that one among them becomes the bishop or priest. If it is a lower caste majority, they want a leader from among them,” he said. Francis alleges that there is no interest in fixing the problem and insists that like all other Dalit Christians, “I am subtly reminded to remember who I am—an untouchable.”

He says letters sent to the Vatican demanding help have met silence. “But we will not be silent. The church leaders in India should stop asking the government to give us the status of the Scheduled Caste. When we embraced Christianity, we came to the Church for a better life,” he says. “Now they cannot go back on it.”

In some cases, the Church’s willingness to look the other way has been in some Indians’ favour, on issues such as birth control and abortion, for example.

Francis says that is because the Vatican has one lone interest in India: conversion. “They have only set up a business enterprise here,” he said, “… solely for promoting conversions, none for Dalit upliftment. We are asking the Vatican to stop all conversion in India for the next 100 years and spend the money on healing those who have already come to the faith.”

Rajdeep Datta Ray contributed to this story from Orissa.

Next: In Orissa, Hindus and Christians alike say some missionaries have used deceitful means to convert villagers.

Ref: www.livemint.com/2008/09/03001625/An-internal-battle-wages-in-th.html