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A Christian thought

A Christian thought

Author: Balbir K Punj
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: July 29, 2000

Does the Church in India believe in good Christian values? Going by the conduct of a section of the Church during the last two years, particularly in the aftermath of recent blasts in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa, it appears it does not.

In popular mind (particularly among the English educated elite) Christianity is identified with some of the intra-religious noble human values such as regard for truth and honesty.  In case of a believer making a mistake, the holy Bible also provides for the seeking of forgiveness.  The faith has a valuable practice of `confessions' by the sinners who wish to make amends.

The Bible clearly says deceitful actions and words are wrong and condemned by God.  It further says a person is considered guilty even when he tells only half the truth; if his purpose is to hide the full truth (Gen 20:1-3, 9-13).  In case a person makes false accusations against the innocent, he is guilty of lying and is assured of God's severe punishment (Deut 19:15-19; 1 Kings 21:8-19).

Ever since the BJP-led coalition has come to power at the Centre, the Church has carried on a relentless tirade against the Sangh Parivar and is guilty on all the above counts.  In its zeal to blacken the Parivar's name, the Church zealots have pasted several heinous crimes on its face ranging from burning of copies of the Bible and churches, murder and bashing of Christian priests, raping of nuns and plundering of church properties.  Subsequent independent investigations revealed that most of those charges were either white lies or at best half-truths.

It all started with the infamous case of ransacking of a church and rape of nuns at Jabhua in Madhya Pradesh.  The church and secular Press painted the town red, held the Sangh Parivar guilty of these crimes.  Investigations by the police (controlled by the secular Congress Government of Madhya Pradesh) revealed that all the 24 persons accused of the crime were tribals, and half of them Christians.  None of them was associated with the Parivar.  By the time the truth surfaced, the Church and its friends in the media had successfully converted a simple criminal action into a case of religious persecution.

Jabhua was not an isolated case where the Church had erred.  It was followed by a string of reports in the media with a set pattern.  Jabhua enacted in Jhajjar was another falsehood circulated at the global level by the Church.  While Jabhua was a case of half-truth, Jhajjar was a total lie, for no rape had taken place there.  The list of such instances is endless.

In any incident, even if a Christian was involved accidentally, the Sangh Parivar was pronounced guilty.  Events were also manufactured to blemish Hindutva and paint it as an intolerant faith.  In some of the cases (particularly in Gujarat), where competing sects of Church were trying to convert the poor tribals through fraudulent means to meet their targets of harvesting souls for Christ, the resultant local resistance was termed persecution of Christianity.  The Church, guilty of robbing the poor of their identity, successfully presented itself as a victim and the victims who tried to protect their faith, as oppressors.  And truth was a natural casualty of the Church enterprise.

The spate of bomb blasts that rocked Andhra, Goa and Karnataka recently were seen as one more godsend by the Church (and its friends in the media at home and abroad) to embarrass the BJP-led Government at the Centre.  As usual, without a shred of evidence, the Sangh Parivar was pronounced guilty.  The Karnataka Legislative Council Chairman, David Simen, termed the Sangh Parivar as one of the suspects without any evidence.  The secular English media took virtually juvenile pleasure in joining hands with the Church in pasting these crimes on the Sangh Parivar.

It was the Bangalore Police (again under the direction of the secular Congress Government of Karnataka) which blew the lid off the conspiracy.  According to police investigations, the blasts were the handiwork of an Islamic sect, possibly funded and inspired by Pakistan.  The Deendar Anjuman sect was founded by Syed Siddiq Deendar Channa Baseshwar in Gulbagra district of Karnataka in 1924.  The founder died in 1952.  Of his five sons, four had migrated to Pakistan.  The members of the sect in India visit the headquarters of Deendar Anjuman in Pakistan regularly.

After interrogating the suspects, the investigators are convinced that these explosions have their roots in Pakistan.  The terrorist group started its operation on May 21 and in a month targeted a Christian congregation, several churches, one temple and a mosque.  Their aim was to spread chaos in the country.  The Church officials through their irresponsible (mischievous?) statements and conduct made the jobs of these miscreants easy.  In Hubli, agitated Christians, misguided by their leaders, went berserk and indulged in violence and damaged public property.  Pressure was sought to be brought on Andhra Chief Minister Chandra Babu Naidu to ditch the NDA in the name of secularism and endanger the existence of the Vajpayee Government at the Centre.

I, for one, would like to take a charitable view of the situation.  I find it difficult to believe that any one sincerely speaking in the name of God (irrespective of religion) can allow himself to be used by the enemies of the country.  Religious identity has nothing to do with the patriotism of a person.  Maybe the Church had made an innocent error of judgement in making sweeping allegations against the Sangh Parivar.  The Church alone can answers these questions.

While the country waits for answers, India s reputation as a civilised country has suffered a great deal of damage thanks to the smear campaign by the Church.  Worse is the needless tension in the affected areas between the Hindus and Christians.  If the Church sincerely believes in good Christian values it must confess.  The Bible says if a person s sin has been against another person, he must also confess his sin to that person and put right any wrong he may have done (Num 5:6-8; Matt 5:23-24; James 5:16).  Here the Church has not sinned against an individual, it has wronged an entire civilisation.  It should seek forgiveness from God if it is to escape the judgement (Exod 32:32; Rom 3:23-24), since He alone can grant this forgiveness (Mark 2:7,10; Acts 5:31).  Will the Church do all this? The answer to this question will decide to what extent the Church believes in Christianity.

(The writer, a well known journalist, is a BJP member of the Rajya Sabha)

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