Posted November 28, 2004
Bangalore, Karnataka, one of Indias fastest growing cities and IT hub, is now in the crosshairs of missionary physicians. The International Mission Board (IMB) says that through its efforts it will convert the local population to relieve them from the spiritual suffering of those who fear Hinduism’s vengeful gods.
A IMB map of Bangalore shows the city dotted with Baptist churches – mainly due to conversion through hospitals. Just a few years ago, when Baptist Missionaries scouted one community a couple of miles from the hospital years ago, there were no Christians and no churches. However, within a year there were 20 converted Christians. Today, the Trinity Baptist Church has started 18 other churches and is attempting to convert other communities as well.
The Bangalore Baptist Hospital, one of the most primary institutions used for conversions, delivers nearly 1,500 babies a year (about 4 a day) and treats more than 100,000 patients a year. Though these medical services are needed by the local population, there have been numerous reports of extortion by the local population. Many Indians have complained that the hospital only provides services to those who either pay an exorbitant fee or convert to Christianity. For many impoverished patients, they are forced to choose the latter in this life or death decision. Others complain that the hospital clearly discriminates against non-Christians and reserves a majority of the beds for those who have already converted to Christianity. The hospital also tries to convert patients when they in emotional distress. When a man died at Baptist Hospital some years ago, the staff gave the mans wife and family a Bible and soon after converted the family.
With the government failing to protect the poor from these practices, the hospital has begun to establish clinics in smaller villages as it targets the lost people in the state of 52 million in 33,000 villages, towns and cities.