Indian Church’s human rights violations
By Moorthy Muthuswamy, February 2006
(The writer is a nuclear physicist based in America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Assisted by foreign funding and organizational help Indian Church has been involved in various charity, education and conversion activities. The church, reflecting various denominations, has brought along marketing skills of advanced western nations, unheard of among the native religions in a developing India. With Indian Church’s conversion-related activities intensifying, the time has come to ask whether any of its activities violate Articles of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If so, how should Indian public and govt. respond to such violations?
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Adopted and proclaimed by United Nations General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948 -- is the framework under which human rights are viewed internationally. The Article 18 of this Declaration talks about “freedom to change his religion or belief”. This Article is the basis for allowing proselytizing missionaries to operate in India.
A recent statistical survey of Church-controlled educational institutions has revealed massive institutionalized religious/apartheid discriminatory practices in employment and likely in student admissions (http://www.ivarta.com/columns/OL_050704.htm). This was found to cut across various church denominations and in different parts of India. Typically, Christian employment in these institutions run anywhere from 40-80%, this, when their local population percentages are only between 5-20%! The apartheid-encouraging Article 30 of Indian Constitution allows up to 50% reservation for minority established/controlled institutions. However, in many Christian-run institutions employment percentages run well above this ceiling of 50%. Typically, these employment positions are tax-payer funded and constitute unfair reservations in favor of minorities and are at the expense of majority. Indeed, high literacy rate of the Christian community (81%) in comparison to the Hindu community (53%) reflects Christian wealth and influence.
Articles 23 and 26 of Universal Declaration of human rights talk about “free choice of employment” and “higher education shall be made equally accessible to all on the basis of merit” respectively. Hence these unfair reservations in favor of Christians, sanctioned by Indian Church, are a gross violation of the Declaration.
With Church controlling disproportionately large number of educational and other professional institutions such as hospitals, a growing Christian population percentage (through conversions) and an increasingly influential Church is ensuring that the majority Hindu community is kept out of education and employment opportunities through discrimination. This scenario is making majority increasingly poor, ignorant and not qualified to hold positions of significance. Such a majority is powerless to defend its interests and repulse discrimination. This scenario has already developed at a massive level in a barely-Hindu majority Kerala -- with over 20% Christian population percentage and at smaller levels in areas where Christians are a smaller percentage of the population. Lack of education and jobs would mean Hinduism will cease to reform positively. Such a Hindu community fits the Church’s description, along the lines of “belonging to an outdated religion that doesn’t bring progress to its followers”. Hindu community will then have no other choice, but to convert to Christianity to have meaningful existence – leading to a deliberate extermination of Hinduism. It is a self full-filling prophecy, planned and executed by Indian Church.
Doesn’t this look like “deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural (religion) group”? Indeed, it does and this is the definition of genocide, according to Merriam-Webster online dictionary! This devastating observation has not become apparent until now as this genocide is occurring slowly and the violent component is thus far restricted to North East India. Besides, the data on which this analysis is based is also very recent. Indian Church-related groups in North East have been involved in violent ethnic cleansing of non-Christians. Both violent and non-violent forms of genocide conducted by Indian Church constitute crimes against humanity.
Given this proven genocidal nature of Indian Church, even its sometimes good-intentioned charity work is coming across as a tactical tool to shield its real intent and to falsely create “feel good” image to attract converts.
While doing some charity work, throughout history Church around the world has also been involved in sponsoring and supporting despicable activities. History records of American Church’s support for driving out Native Americans from their vast lands and its convenient description of them as “beasts” -- so that discriminate and overwhelming use of force on natives can be justified. Church’s support for treating blacks as slaves is also notable. But American Church has since reformed and the tolerant, progressive and pluralistic America we see today reflects its Church. But unfortunately, this is not the case with Indian Church!
Doesn’t the majority controlled institutions in India too discriminate on the basis of religion? They certainly do. But this is due to a lack of civil rights laws in India that prohibit discrimination. However, as the majority Hindu community, by and large, is not involved in proselytizing activities, these discriminatory activities do not lead to genocide of other religions.
The western and in particular, the US embassy officials in India who support proselytizing activities as a fundamental human right should do a rethink in light of this analysis. India needs a number of structural changes before proselytizing can be allowed. Otherwise, the Hindu majority genocide by proselytizing religions will only accelerate.
The marketing arm of Indian Church, while emphasizing its theological consistency has successfully exploited apparent weaknesses in native religions’ short-comings. But here is a bigger issue: How do theological foundations and teachings of Indian Church stand up from a scientific point-of-view? We now live in technologically-dominated world that is defined and shaped by science -- making such an evaluation pertinent and necessary. The fundamental question remains is how accurately Church’s theological “revelations” were taken down, preserved and converted in the form of books or any other form of information storage two thousand years or more ago -- when we know from archeological studies, Middle Eastern civilizations of the time lacked credible technology for processing and storing information? The scientific answer is, just about all information in Church’s teachings, including God’s “revelations”, are neither reliable nor likely accurate. Hence it is downright fraudulent on the part of Indian Church to claim that it possesses divine knowledge.
The majority community, organizations and parties representing its interests should work to launch a propaganda blitz aimed at making India a secular state with equal opportunities, and not the latest sad chapter in the history of genocides. Toward this end, here are some suggestions: