Southern Baptists Declare War on Hindus – Aggressive Proselytization Campaign for Diwali
Posted July 31, 2003, Author: Tej Rao and S. Mahabir, Source: Caribbean New Yorker, Oct. 29, 1999
For God so loved the Baptists that He gaveth them the right to conquer, proselytize, convert, and subjugate any nation or religion, by whatever means possible, including allurement, fraud, coercion and violence. This was our first thought when we read the article in the Washington Post October 21, 1999 ? the first paper to break the news on the resolution adopted by the Southern Baptist Mission to convert Hindus to Christianity.
The Southern Baptist Mission is the largest Christian Protestant group in the United States. That it is embarking on an aggressive proselytizing campaign to convert Hindus into Christianity is a blatant act of religious intolerance and insensitivity. The Baptist Mission targets the holiest Hindu celebration of Diwali to launch this new form of religious terrorism. The fanatic group has directed its 40,000 churches to carry out its atrocious campaign to convert Hindus. In a published pamphlet, the Southern Baptists? International Mission Board asks Christians to pray for the conversion of Hindus during their holiest week, Diwali.
The pamphlet, in its very first sentence states, “More than 900 million people are lost in the hopeless darkness of Hinduism?Pray that Hindus who celebrate the festival of lights would become aware of the darkness in their hearts that no lamp can dispel.”
It describes two Indian cities as follows: “Mumbai is a city of spiritual darkness. Eight out of every ten people are Hindus, slaves bound by fear and tradition to false gods?Satan has retained his hold on Calcutta through Kali and other gods and goddesses of Hinduism. It?s time for Christ?s salvation to come to Calcutta.” ?bla?bla?bla. The usual garbage they have been hurling on us for centuries.
These are without doubt, the baneful cries of the new crusaders. It is interesting to note how history can repeat itself. Now we hear the ominous rumblings of a desperate people, and desperate people are often violent. These new crusaders ? relics of an ugly colonial age ? have fired another salvo of hate into the flanks of the Hindus. The Southern Baptists? fanatical aggressiveness is tantamount to a declaration of war, and war is synonymous with violence. Poojya Swami Dayananda Saraswati, renowned Hindu scholar, founder of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam and host of Vishwa Hindu Parishad?s first Dharma Samsad in the US states (Hinduism Today, Nov., 1999), “conversion is an act of violence?aggressive religions have no God-given right to destroy ancient faiths and cultures? it is an act of violence because it hurts deeply, not only the other members of the family of the converted, but the entire community that comes to know of it. When the hurt becomes acute, it explodes into violence?humanity cannot afford to lose anymore of its existing religious traditions.”.
But Hindus have survived over a thousand years of violence through barbarous invasions and foreign oppression. We have had Alexander ” the great” and his fearsome Macedonian army in 326 BCE and before him Demetrius, king of the Greek Empire. Muslim conquerors, from the 8th century to the middle of the 19th century, unleashed murderous campaigns against Hindus, ruthlessly slaughtered millions of people, pillaged, desecrated, and demolished Hindu temples. Millions of Hindus were forced, at sword-point, to convert to Islam or face a gruesome death. Women were raped, murdered or sold into slavery.
The Portuguese were no less cruel. A.K.Priolkar?s book “The Goa Inquisition” gives graphic accounts of how Jesuit priests forcefully and violently converted massive numbers of Hindus to Christianity. Some converted Hindus would secretly pray to their Hindu God; those who were caught were savagely beaten and thrown alive into fires. It must very clear, that unlike Christian missionaries; Hindus have never been an aggressive people. Hindu missionaries have not gone to any country, sword in hand, to convert the pagans.
In a telephone interview with Poojya Swami Aksharananda, a prominent Hindu scholar in the Caribbean on the conversion plan of the Baptists?, he says, “The Christian obsession to convert members of other faiths to Christianity is based on the assumption of the inherent unworthiness of the other. It is only when the other is remolded in an image acceptable to the missionary that the other becomes worthy. Any speech that devalues, denigrates and caricatures others is an act of violence. Missionary theology is essentially a theology of violence. It diminishes not only the victims but also its authors.”
The erudite Swami Aksharananda continues, “We must urge all enlightened peoples of the Caribbean and the world, including those few in the Christian church who are outraged by missionary behavior tantamount to obscenity and who speak so unequivocally and eloquently for justice and humanism, to take a stand. We can no longer remain silent witness to the evils of missionary conversionism and the social and cultural dislocation that it causes in the Hindu community.”
The religious intolerance of the Baptists in secular America has met with almost no rebuke from the US authorities. Had the Hindus of India done this to Christians, the US and other Christian dominated countries would have declared war. This form of pseudo-secularism or secular double standards is hypocritical. Only a few weeks ago, the US office for International Religious Freedoms Abroad, headed by a Christian, criticized India for religious intolerance towards Christians. Now it is conveniently quiet about religious intolerance in the US. In conjunction with this office, the US embassy in India (probably in other countries as well) has embarked on compiling a laundry list of incidents of Hindu intolerance. India must make it clear that it will not tolerate the US interfering in its domestic affairs. According to an Indian Express (January 7, 1999) report, “alleged” attacks on Christians living in India “could invite censure and even sanctions under a new American law which has recently come into effect.”
Therefore, the master plan is to make converts. More converts mean more funds to the church treasury. It means more control and authority over more people. Essentially, it means that the church would have better ability to engage in domination and bondage. The truth of the matter is that in India, Christian missionaries have consistently violated the country?s constitution. The Judiciary has made it clear that “the right to propagate one?s religion doesn?t imply a right to convert another person.” In their fanatic zeal to make converts, they flagrantly violate the laws of other countries as well. The Christian Church is pumping millions of dollars for the sole purpose of reaping the rewards of conversion ? to increase their flock.
To achieve the aim of conversion, missionaries spread the lies that they are doing humanitarian service to the poor and down trodden members of society. In fact they are engaged in the age-old practice of purchasing the souls of the poverty stricken with trinkets and bells, old spectacle frames, old shoes, and used clothes. Mother Theresa, the woman with bloody hands, winner of the (Christian) Noble Peace prize, and the woman who was given a state funeral in India, her organization, the Sisters of Charity, was never interested in charity. They purchased and sold the souls of India?s poorest of the poor ? converting them to Christianity. For this the Catholic Church will soon make her a Saint. It is well known that charity and philanthropy are far from the minds (if they have any) of these false prophets. Sree Raviji Maharaj (Raviji) of Trinidad (Hindu scholar and activist) says “Christians have the will, the mindset, money and lack of conscience to execute their plan and the blessing of big and powerful nations.” If their purpose was of a humanitarian nature, could not the missionaries have delivered poor Hindus from poverty and hunger without tampering with their culture and religion?
An example of how missionaries take advantage of destitute Hindus is found in a Catholic publication called India and it Missions (1923). It discusses the spiritual advantages of famine. It quotes the Archdiocese of Pondicherry to his superiors in Europe: “The famine has wrought miracles. The catechumenates are filling, baptismal water flows in streams, and startling little tots fly in masses to heaven.”
Hindus never took advantage of peoples? destitution and poverty. Hindus have opened their arms to the Jews. A large Jewish population, found refuge in India during the holocaust days, and has been allowed to practice their faith freely.
The excuse of doing humanitarian service that missionaries love to employ must be rebuked swiftly and forcefully. Lest we forget, at this moment thousands of RSS (Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh) sevaks and sevikas are giving the prime of their lives in the service of Bharat Mata (Mother India). On a country basis, the RSS is the largest social service/humanitarian organization in the world. In India alone as many as 30,000 sevakaryas are serving in 579 districts of which 10 percent are doing humanitarian health-related work and 59 percent are engaged in humanitarian educational work. At any given time the RSS can avail itself of the service of 40,000 part-time Hindu workers and 42,000 Hindu volunteers. On the average, approximately 50,000 people received support directly from the RSS sevakaryas annually. Lest, some Christians conveniently forget, RSS sevaks have arrived at the scenes of disasters in India, even faster than the local police, engaging in emergency work, at far too many places to mention. In RSS emergency and disaster relief operations, Hindu RSS has never neglected Christians and Muslims. If that is not impressive, what is? So much for those who say that Hindus do not care for their poor? And let us be clear, this is only the RSS.
If Christians set up schools and colleges, so too have the Hindus. It was Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya who set up the now famous Banaras Hindu University. Vishwa Hindu Parishad alone runs thousands of schools and other humanitarian projects in India. In Trinidad, the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha runs a number of schools. In Guyana, there were schools run by Hindu organizations until dictator Forbes Burnham nationalized them.
Perhaps the Southern Baptists have forgotten their bloody past or they pretend to do so, but Hindus remember it very well; it is etched too deeply in our psyche to be easily forgotten. It will take volumes to document all the atrocities Christians committed on humankind. But just to jog their memories a little, let?s go back to the crusades. Organized by Popes and Kings, Christian soldiers, as they swept across Europe to Jerusalem, devastated entire cities, murdering millions of men, women and children in the name of Christianity. They pretend to forget the Inquisitions, the witch-hunts when Christians plucked people from their homes and chop off their arms and burned them alive for alleged heresy. Christianity has wreaked more havoc on humanity than any other religion in the annals of history. But there?s more; remember slavery and indentureship, the World Wars, the Pogroms (organized massacre of 6,000,000 Jews), remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki?charred remains and deformed survivors, these were Christian bombs, by the way!
Was it Mark Twain who said “Among the most humorous things in this world is the White-man?s belief that he is less savage than the other savages?” And Mahatma Gandhi said “There is nothing but vilification of Hinduism in the books distributed by the missionaries?the advent of a missionary in a Hindu household has meant the disruption of the family. The missionaries are vendors of goods who target the most susceptible when they are most vulnerable, using just not dialogue but allurement and violence. If I had power and could legislate, I should certainly stop all proselytizing”.
The Secretary General of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the largest Hindu organization in the world, Dr. Pravinbhai Togadiya, in an open letter to the Bishops of India on the eve of the arrival of Rev. Pope John Paul II to India, demand an apology for the Church?s past and ongoing misdeeds perpetrated on Hindus.
India has never invaded or initiated acts of aggression against another nation. Hindus do not proselytize or convert people of other faiths to Hinduism. Yet the ranks of Hindus have grown not only in India but all over the world. More and more Westerners are embracing the teachings of Hinduism, one that teaches universal love for humanity and for the elements of nature ? the essence of our existence. Our Upanishads declare, “Ekam sad vipra buhudha vadanti” (Truth is one, the wise see it differently). Hindus never make the error of even imagining that that their way is the only way to the ultimate truth and that no further inquiry is required. Hinduism teaches unity in diversity. Hinduism is the only religion that permits co-existence. In other religions, if you do not follow their path, you are a sinner condemn to hell. Thus, even Hindus like Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda would have gone to hell.
The Southern Baptists are not a fringe group by any imagination. It was established in 1845 and claims a following of 15 million in the United States alone. They have missionaries in various parts of the world including Unites States, Canada, India, Caribbean, etc. They claim to have active missionaries in 126 nations of the world. They must be taken seriously by Hindus. Conversions have no place in a civilized society. Hinduism must be defended by any means necessary.