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September 24, 2006
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September 24, 2006




Page: 5/43

Home > 2006 Issues > September 24, 2006

Loreto: Evangelicals must apologize
By Sandhya Jain

It is even more duplicitous that a Catholic school resorted to such a cheap subterfuge to force minor children into baptism against the knowledge and wishes of their parents. When challenged in a recent television interview that such a practice was against Catholic theology, sister Monica admitted that the church was against sorcery and that Jesus could not enter the body of any mortal, as claimed by Mandal. It needs to be emphasised that all talk about freedom of religion in this context is erroneous; the constitutional guarantee of freedom is so that a community can preach and teach the tenets of its faith to its own people. It does not include the imposition of a faith upon another community.

Christian organisations protesting the breakage of some flower pots by BJP activists at Lucknow?s Loreto Convent owe the Hindu community an apology for the shoddy conspiracy to virtually terrorise 300 school girls into a forced baptism ceremony. The Sonia Gandhi-led Congress party, which has demanded a CBI probe into the incident, has exposed its evangelical bias and is complicit in the targeting of minor children by missionary schools.

There are many serious issues at stake in Lucknow. To begin with, it is well known that foreign-funded Christian organisations have been told to concentrate upon Uttar Pradesh for the next round of soul-harvesting. The Loreto incident was planned as a ?trailer? to see if they could get away with aggressively propagating Christianity in a secular country, on the premises of a school, which is supposed to teach only the CBSE curriculum. As soon as they ran into trouble, the secular (sic) Congress rushed to their rescue, and inadvertently exposed the evangelical leanings of its Italian-born Roman Catholic supremo.

The invitation by an orthodox Catholic school to a man who is obviously some kind of Christian tantric also exposes the fact that all Christian denominations and unorthodox sects are united in the conversion agenda, and do not hesitate to resort to all kinds of tricks to force baptism upon unwilling people. According to the theology of the Roman Catholic church, the faithful must believe completely in the virgin birth of Christ and his death on the cross to redeem the sufferings of mankind for all eternity. There is thus no self-realisation in the church, only blind faith and submission to papal (and priestly) authority. Protestants and others who do not subscribe to papal infallibility are considered heretics.

However, in order to ?attract? Hindu students towards the church, the Loreto school, at the instance of one Father Sebastian, invited a Christian rickshaw-puller from Kolkata, Nobo Kumar Mandal, for a two-hour show before more than three hundred students. Clearly, this was no normal 10-minute assembly, as the principal, Sister Monica, later tried to claim.

Mandal?s claim to fame is that he goes into a trance, and Jesus Christ ?appears? in his body, leading to the miraculous healing of many diseases, including cancer. Some years ago, a tribal convert in West Bengal had claimed to be cured of cancer by the locket of Mother Teresa, until doctors in a government hospital debunked the claims and pointed out that she had undergone treatment with them for several years!

Loreto?s occult show, with Mandal writhing in agony before rising and claiming that Jesus had entered his body and he was ready to bless them (that is, baptize them), caused consternation among the audience, and caused many students to faint with fear. The students were of tender age, just 13-17 years old, and some even needed medical aid. Even teachers were frightened and upset by the incident, which was a scandal by all accounts.

It is even more duplicitous that a Catholic school resorted to such a cheap subterfuge to force minor children into baptism against the knowledge and wishes of their parents. When challenged in a recent television interview that such a practice was against Catholic theology, sister Monica admitted that the church was against sorcery and that Jesus could not enter the body of any mortal, as claimed by Mandal. It needs to be emphasised that all talk about freedom of religion in this context is erroneous; the constitutional guarantee of freedom is so that a community can preach and teach the tenets of its faith to its own people. It does not include the imposition of a faith upon another community.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of India has tried to deflect criticism of the attempt at forced conversion of Hindu children by claiming that the s?ance was a non-issue. Public attention is now being focused upon the protest by the BJP, the party with the brand equity of being a pro-Hindu party, and hence opposed to conversion agendas. Sadly, Chief Minister of UP Mulayam Singh Yadav has not revealed his mind about the episode, though he has ordered an enquiry into the scandal. Yet it is not clear if he intends to side with the beleaguered Hindu community or appease the minorities in view of next year?s elections to the state assembly.

It bears noting, however, that Hindus are not the only community being targeted by the evangelical industry, which has become increasingly aggressive after the rise of Ms. Sonia Gandhi as UPA chairperson. Only a few days ago, authorities in Jammu & Kashmir had to order a five-day closure of a missionary school in Pulwama district and investigate allegations that it was pressurising people to convert to Christianity. District Magistrate Mehraj Ahmad Kakroo told the media that the closure was ordered after tensions rose amidst allegations that the school was indulging in conversion activities in the guise of education.

Timely action by the district authorities prevented a physical reaction by irate residents upon the school. Later, the school management assured the district magistrate that it would terminate the services of some teachers for ?moral impropriety.? It is worth considering that if missionaries can be so daring in a Muslim-majority state where the ISI and its trained terrorists have a major presence, what is there to inhibit them in states that kow-tow to minorities for electoral considerations? A uniform anti-conversion act has never been more imperative.




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