The absurd utterances of Bishop Oswald Gomis on February 4 this year and Catholic Church’s despicable role both highlighted by former Sri Lankan Naval Officer Gracian Fernando (a Catholic himself) this month in an open letter to the Bishop are only the tips of an iceberg. This and the almost successful resistance to the Anti-Conversion Bill and the veiled threats the U.S. has issued against the enforcement of such laws are all part of an anti-Sri Lanka conspiracy hatched by a loose alliance of different Christian groups, federalists, dubious NGOs, LTTE sympathizers and various foreign elements that are hell-bent on weakening the Sinhala Buddhist majority in the name of peace now that the Tigers are on their last legs.
Out of all Sri Lanka’s religious establishments it is sections of the Christian Church (though not all individual Christians) that has been most vociferous in calling for ‘peace’ and ‘dialogue’ with the LTTE terrorists. Not even the Hindus by and large have been that supportive of the Tiger cause. Today it is the Anglican Church (the so-called National Christian Council) that has taken the lead in scoffing at and condemning the anti-LTTE military campaign.
But this same Christian Church here over 65 years ago prayed for an Allied victory in World War II although Germany and Italy too were Christian nations. And even today in the West Christian Church does not call for ‘peace’ and ‘negotiations’ with the Al Queda or other Islamic groups. When it suits the interests of the church it is a case of “Onward Christian soldiers” and “Pass the ammunition and Praise the Lord” – but not in Sri Lanka.
However Sri Lanka’s Catholic Church found itself in a uncomfortable position when Britain went to war against Fascist Italy (a predominantly Catholic country) which had reached an understanding (The Lateran Treaty) with the Vatican. Sri Lanka’s leading Catholic Educationist, the late Fr. Peter Pillai was a known sympathizer of Catholic Spain’s Fascist Dictator Francisco Franco. This is similar to the Catholic Church virtually sympathising with the LTTE today.
When India kicked the Portuguese out of Goa, South Asia’s last European colony the Catholic Church here was not very happy about the Indian military action. Portugal was then ruled by Catholic Fascist Dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar.
How is that despite Christians being only around 10 percent of the country’s population that the churches have succeeded in exercising so much power in the media and other sectors of the Sri Lanka society in varying degrees even after independence?
Today it is not merely a case of converting non-Christians to Christianity or trying to undermine Buddhist rights. Politically it goes far beyond that. As in the European colonial era Christianity is still a political tool of the West – whether or not the majority of Westerners are true believers. The stronger the local Christian Church is the easier it is for Washington and London to manipulate a country – especially in the Third World – to serve their interests. They cannot do it in China or Myanmar. Please note that almost all the NGO anti-war crusaders in Sri Lanka are either Christians or linked to Christian-funded organizations.
The only exception to this situation is the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church, which is virtually indigenous to Slav nations like Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece. They are equally opposed to Western-funded evangelists as non-Christians in Asian countries. Russia (like China) has always stood by Sri Lanka on the LTTE issue.
What is strange is that the U.S. is maintaining a deafening silence on Israel’s stringent anti-conversion laws, although Sri Lanka is indirectly warned not to push through the Anti-Conversion Bill. Washington is tongue-tied in Israel’s case because of the strong Jewish lobby there.
Israel’s anti-conversion law came into force on April 1, 1978, under the premiership of Nobel peace laureate Menachem Begin. Henceforth, no Christian missionary could even offer a Bible to a Jew with a hope to convert him to Christianity. This singular act could constitute an offering of ‘material inducement’ which could land a Christian missionary to five years in jail in the exclusive Jewish state. Under the same statute, a Jew could be jailed for three years if he converts to Christianity.
Sri Lanka’s Christian Churches strongly opposed to Buddhism being given the pride of place in the Constitution despite the fact that it has not prevented non-Christians from practicing their religions freely or building churches, mosques and Hindu temples.
Christian organizations here are among the most ardent advocates of multiculturalism and secularism today. That is because they are not as strong as they were in the pre-1956 era. But when they were strong and in positions of power they fully enjoyed all the privileges they were given – not only during colonial period but also in the immediate post-independence era. Although the Soulbury Constitution was supposedly secular, in practice Christians enjoyed an advantageous position far more than Buddhists or Hindus, especially in government service, the armed forces etc. Then there was less talk of a multi-religious society.
On the day the Rt. Rev. Lakdasa De Mel was elevated to the dignity of Assistant Bishop of the Anglican Church, he said:
“The task of the Church in Ceylon will not be finished till the remaining ninety percent of the population, who are not Christian, are converted.” (Revolt in the Temple)
The Buddhist Commission Report of 1956 (republished in 2006) gives a clear picture of the role of the Christian churches of that era.
Writing in Russia’s national newspaper Pravda on October 21, 2008, Gregory F. Fegal clearly exposed the political agenda of Christian Evangelists. He noted that Christian missionaries make no secret of the fact that they use medical services, education, and employment opportunities to lure impoverished indigenous populations throughout the world into conversion to Christianity. What he states is perfectly applicable to Sri Lanka’s situation.
Fegal further observed:
“According to the popular and scholarly history of Christianity, the early Christian Church found its greatest appeal and attracted its greatest number of converts from the poor people of the Roman Empire. The early Christian churches raised money through a tithe, or ten per cent income tax, levied on their members, and the early Christian church is said to have had a strong ‘sense of community’, which implies that it had a well-organized social, financial, and political network among its membership.
Using your wealth to purchase other people’s loyalty is a game as old as humanity itself. Rich men use their wealth to attract women, unscrupulous employers use material incentives and disincentives to manipulate their workers, and wealthy countries like the USA use their national wealth to keep their citizens loyal to the cause of aggressive and genocidal Imperialism. But historical longevity and common practice don’t make the manipulation or exploitation morally or ethically right.
Organized religions are inherently POLITICAL organizations. There is a fundamental difference between the financial enterprise and political machinations of an organized religion versus a mass of independent, unaffiliated believers, philosophers, and mystics who do not support any organized religion.
Christianity and Islam are known as proselytizing religions because they make an organized and systematic effort to gain converts, and they often provide services, products, or employment to attract converts. Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism show far less zeal about gaining converts, which is why you almost never hear about Jewish, Hindu, or Buddhist missionaries.
Modern medical and nursing schools usually teach their students the moral principle that the provision of medical services should never be used as a means to proselytize or promote a religion, but that does not deter many Christian health care providers from doing exactly that. Most of the medical and charitable organizations based in Christian countries are fronts for Christian proselytizing activities.
One of the largest international medical relief organizations based in the USA, Northwest Medical Teams, states in their recruitment brochure that their chief ‘mission’ is to ‘spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ’, that their medical relief services are subordinate to their stated goal of proselytizing Christianity, and that their medical relief work is merely an ‘aegis’, or facade, for spreading Christianity.
The religious and cultural Imperialism performed by missionaries nearly always goes hand-in-hand with political and economic Imperialism. Christian missionaries often work in partnership with the CIA, with the US government, and with wealthy corporations to subvert the religion, the culture, the economy, and the politics of vulnerable indigenous populations. The CIA often uses planes owned by Christian missionary organizations and flown by Christian missionary pilots to smuggle drugs, arms, and prisoners.
During the CIA’s illegal Iran-Contra scam of the 1980s, Christian missionary pilots and planes smuggled drugs into the USA and arms into Central America and Iran. Now the CIA is using Christian missionary planes to smuggle heroin from Afghanistan, cocaine from Latin America, and for ‘rendition’ flights of ‘Terrorist’ prisoners to secret prisons that practice torture and commit extra-judicial executions.
The USA’s Faith Based Initiative law provides Christian missionary organizations with taxpayer funds that are used to proselytize Christianity to indigenous populations throughout the world. Christian missionaries are the leading edge of a religious, cultural, economic, and political aggression supported by the US government.
When missionaries bring outside wealth to an impoverished Third World country and use that wealth to provide services that are meant to attract converts, they are interfering with the local social and economic structure as well as the local cultural traditions. Indigenous people who take advantage of the privileges provided by the missionaries and convert to Christianity partake in a social organization that uses foreign wealth as a tool to eliminate the indigenous culture and replace it with Christianity.
A small and reclusive population of a few hundred people with a primitive Stone Age culture lives on North Sentinel Island, in the Andaman chain, which is administered by the government of India. To protect the culture of the inhabitants of North Sentinel Island, the Indian government has wisely banned anyone from visiting the island. I approve of the Indian government’s policy of protecting the unique culture of the North Sentinels from outside influence. If anyone on North Sentinel Island should ever desire to leave, they can build a boat and do so.
Among a total of 195 nations in the world today, fifty-seven of those nations have a legally established, official State Religion. There are fourteen nations that claim Christianity as their State Religion, twenty-six nations that claim Islam as their State Religion, six nations that claim Buddhism as their State Religion, and the Jewish State of Israel. The Jewish State of Israel discriminates against its non-Jewish citizens and within its borders Israel officially prohibits the proselytizing of any religion other than Judaism. Many people believe that Israel has a ‘right to exist’ in this manner as a Jewish State.
Many Islamic countries strive to protect the cultural identity of their citizens by enforcing a ban on preaching any religion but Islam. Considering the aggressive, insidious, and highly political nature of Christian missionary programs, the banning of non-Moslem religious preaching by Moslem governments makes sense.
Currently there is no officially Hindu State anywhere in the world, but perhaps India should become a Hindu State in order to protect its indigenous religion and culture from the predatory missionaries and State-sponsored cultural Imperialism that are coming from both Christian and Moslem countries. If the Jews have the right to establish and maintain Israel as a Jewish State, then the Hindus certainly have a right to establish and maintain India as a Hindu State.
When Western leaders talk about a ‘Clash of Civilizations’, what they really mean is Judeo-Christianity and corporate Capitalism versus all non-Christians and non-Capitalists. Christian missionaries are essentially colonialists working for Christian cultural Imperialism.
When the Hindus of India rise up in riot and drive out the Christian missionaries and the Christian ‘cash converts’, they are doing what the Iraqi, Afghani, and Palestinian Freedom Fighters are doing. They are protecting themselves and their indigenous culture from wealthy and unscrupulous invaders who have no respect for them or for their culture. I wish the Hindu nationalists well in their efforts to defend and maintain the independence and survival of their indigenous culture and religion against the onslaught of predatory and disrespectful foreigners whose goal is to replace indigenous traditional cultures with a global Christian empire.”