Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Attacks on Christian in India

The Anglican Communion News Service reports on attacks on Christians, churches and other Christian institutions around India with more than 30 dead:
"The recent murder in Orissa of Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati, a leader of Bajrang Dal (a radical section of the Hindu nationalist organisation RSS, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) has led to very serious attacks on Christians and on churches and Christian institutions in various parts of India. Christian church after an attackThe leader of Bajrang Dal was trying to convert Dalit and Tribal Christians forcibly back to Hinduism and was shot dead by a member of a Maoist group. Because this Maoist group includes Christian Tribal people among its membership it was interpreted by extremist Hindus as a Christian attack on a Hindu leader. As a result Christians were attacked in return - suffering loss of life (more than 30 dead), loss of property and forced flight, and in some cases forced conversion to Hinduism. The attacks have now also spread to Mangalore in Karnataka state. Although there are anti-Christian incidents on a regular basis in these states (and others such as Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh) the recent attacks appear to be the most serious violence against the Christian community in the last 50 years....
Christians represent 2.3% of India's population (25 million Christians) with Christianity going back on the Indian subcontinent to shortly after the time of Christ. The report notes that Christians are now often accused of forcibly converting Hindus to Christianity and goes on to state:
The reality is that Christians do not have the power to forcibly convert any non Christians into the Christian fold. Occasional stray incidents or examples from the North Eastern states where Christian are in a majority are used by Hindu extremist organisations to create a false picture. However the RSS blames Christian educational and social developmental organisations for using scholarships and funds for projects etc as inducements for conversion, even though the reality is that Christian institutions try to avoid such incidents.

Photos from Redemption Church, IndiaChristians are also accused of creating fear among non-Christians to convert them to Christianity i.e. with threats such as you will not go to heaven if you do not follow Christ.. It is a big theological challenge how to be Christians without such theological claims. When one of the churches was attacked during the worship services, some of the attackers specifically told the priest not to preach Christ as the only way; he should preach about other ways too. It is clear that underlying many of these criticisms of Christians is the desire to unite Hindus emotionally and turn their anger into votes.

However it is true that there are problems within Christian circles as well. The work of the mainline churches in India is undermined by television evangelists who regularly attack other religions and display converts from Hinduism as a kind of trophy.
The full report is online here: Attacks on Christians and Churches in Orissa and Karnataka.

The report offers this prayer written by Indian Christians:

Servant Christ,
Help us to follow you
Deep into the waters of baptism,
To break the chain of past wrongs;
To become fit to face your coming age:
Servant Christ, help us all to follow you.

Help us to follow you
In untiring ministry to town and village,
To heal and restore the broken body of humanity,
To cast out the demonic forces
Of greed, resentment, communal hatred
And self-destructive fears
Servant Christ, help us all to follow you.

Help us to follow you on the road to Jerusalem,
To set our faces firmly against friendly suggestions to live
A safe, expedient life;
To embrace boldly the way of self-offering,
The way of life given for other’s gain.
Servant Christ, help us all to follow you.

Help us to follow you out of the dark tomb;
To share fully in your resurrection life,
To re renewed daily in your image of love,
To serve daily as your new body
In ministering to the world.
Servant Christ, help us all to follow you.



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