Shri Sankrant Sanu speaks on the Freedom of Religion Act giving emphasis on the two notions arising from native traditions vs. proselytizing ones, and which one of the two deserves privilege from the Indian state.
He lays bare the asymmetry of doctrine and resources as well as the underbelly of a deeply-entrenched systemic, strategic framework that the proselytizers have been using their advantage for decades.
The freedom of religion or freedom of practice is the freedom to pass on these traditions to our children without interference from other people. There is a massive war happening. It’s been happening for decades. Where one side means mobilized for the war. They have war strategies. They have soldiers on the ground. They are attacking every day and the other side does not even know the war exist. India has the largest number of Target groups in Joshua Project. Indian state has a scheme where, if you are a Muslim or a Christian you get scholarships from the government of India as minority scholarships where you keep scholarship to even study abroad, right? So, the state is funding the same religions are actively being funded all over the globe. The Indian state is also funding the same force.
First question we really going to ask is. Who defines religious freedom? So, they’re two different views on freedom of religion. And we need to be aware of these two different views. So, from the one point of view from the proselytizing religion, religion is a competitive endeavour. So, this is part of the key theological point of Christianity that religion is a truth claim and only one of the truth claims is possible to be to be valid. Either Jesus came and because of Jesus the entire world is saved and only if you believe in Jesus you are going to be saved or you’re going to go to heaven either this claim is true or this claim is false and so in their point of view religion is a truth claim and there are competing truth claims. So, there is a competitive Marketplace in which it is necessary for them to establish their truth claim, the validity of their truth claim above other truth claim.
The other point of view is completely different from this – the view of the Native traditions. This is not only traditions in India, but traditions of the natives all across the world, was that we have some traditions that we got from our ancestors; everybody has their own Traditions. So, they are not competing truth claims. There is no competition between these because everybody has their own tradition just like there’s no competition between the fact that I have my ancestors and you have your ancestors. There is no competition between the fact that I have my tradition and you have your tradition.
So, the freedom of religion or freedom of practice is the freedom to pass on these Traditions to our children without interference from other people. Okay? So it is a completely diametrically opposite point of view. One side is saying that religion is a truth claim only one of the truth claims is valid and it is necessary and it’s a competitive marketplace and we need to establish our truth over the falsehood of other people, Okay, and the others, the other side is saying everybody has their own tradition tum apna follow karo. mein apna follow karu, tumhe kya problem hai. There is no conflict because everybody has their own tradition, and everybody is free to follow their own tradition. So those are the two counterpoints and we have to understand this conflict between this counter point starts from the very Inception of Christianity.
So, this is the last Pagan prefect of Rome. So, when the emperor Constantine adopted Christianity as the state religion and as the church started to grow in power, they were persecuting the traditional practices of Rome, the Pagan traditions of Rome. So, the Pagan prefect said “Grant I beg you that what in our youth we took over from our fathers. We made our old age hand to Prosperity. The love of established practice is a powerful sentiment. Everyone has own Customs his own religious practices. The Divine mind assigned to different cities different religions to be their Guardians”.
So, this is very much in line with the native view of religion, native view of traditions, which is saying everybody has their own, there is no conflict between them; you follow yours, I’ll follow mine. And so, when the Christian conquest of the Americas was happening, many different kinds of native resistance was rising and so this is one example, where in the Pueblo Indians. These are again Native Americans. They pass this resolution, where they say, we have met because our most fundamental right of religious liberties threatened to pass this religion with hidden and secret knowledge and its many forms of prayer on to our children is a supreme duty to our ancestors, right? So again in this point of view, they are saying that we have our own traditions and our ability to pass this on his religious freedom and when somebody comes and tries to convert us, they are violating our religious freedom. It went because they’re interfering with our ability to pass on our traditions.
Now what is the other side of it and again here? I’m not making a… my goal here is to first understand the two sides. I’m not trying to… I want to represent them as accurately as possible. I want to represent the other side as accurately as possible. So, this is from the international Mission board, which is the proselytize the evangelizing arms of the certain Baptist. So, court there is, declare his God’s glory among the Heathen, his wonders among all people. God wants certain Baptist as a people to mobilize vast resources for reaching all people groups for Jesus Christ. So, this is their mission statement.
So, what they’re saying is that it is necessary for us to spread this among the heathens to save the heathens. So, the other people their religious, their traditions are not valid. In fact, their satanic Satan has captured their minds and we need freedom from Satan and the way is freedom from Satan is to spread the gospel. This is their point of view. We must realize that this is not our mission. It is God’s Mission. It is a vision that will be fulfilled that Jesus said in Matthew 24:14. The Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a witness to every nation and then the end will come.
So, a lot of times you don’t understand why the missionaries doing this why the evangelist doing it. They are doing it because they considered their religious duty that there are scriptures telling them, their Doctrine is telling them that, they have to do this and not only is it necessary for them to do it. It is apocalyptic meaning all of the Christians are waiting in their graves for Judgment Day. On Judgment Day, they will be bodily lifted from the grave and they will ascend to heaven. This is the belief. So, when will judgment day come… now, this is always been a question right from the beginning of Christianity and they were thinking, it is going to happen very soon. And in fact, there’s a lot of apocalyptic even movies that the West produces apocalypse.. now this is there waiting for judgment day. They are constantly waiting for the end of the world, so that they will be lifted up to heaven. And so, that is so. There was a big thing around here 82,000, also there was this idea that is the time but from the century somebody or the other has been predicting that the judgment day is about to come now and we finally get liberated because they are all rotting in grave; they have to get liberated from there and go to heaven.
So, then there is belief system. It says that, okay, maybe the once we reach the gospel to the whole world, then the end will come. Therefore, judgment day will come and then we will get to heaven. So, this is again one of the driving forces for the gospel mission. The other aspect which is more personal in a way is that, fear is very key aspect of the spread and belief in Christianity. I remember, I was in Buddhist temple in Seattle one time and I was talking to an American woman who had become Buddhist. So, I was speaking to her about her experience. I asked her what was the biggest difference for her? She said, the biggest difference was freedom from the terror of hell. What is the terror of hell? And this all happens in Islam as well?
You believe because you’re a Christian you’re going to heaven, but you never really know for sure. Maybe you’re not good enough Christian. Maybe your belief is not strong enough, right? And so, every week you’re being taught this doctrine of hell and there is a huge fear that you actually might end up in hell and children are terrified of this. I mean, this is something that creates terror in children because they are you’re going there, preaching there, fire and damnation is going to happen. So, there’s all these graphic, graphic details.
In fact, there’s a big best-selling American book called “Taken Away” or somethng. I forget the title… is a whole title. There was a whole series where they were talking about what is hell like, they were describing it in graphic detail. So there is a terror of hell and this terror of hell is a big force in driving the mission as well because they are hoping that, maybe they don’t know for sure, if they’re going to get saved, but maybe if they are doing this thing,. Then God will finally be happy at them and they will get saved and they won’t go to hell. It’s so, that is another motivation. And then finally if they do that then every nation will, then the end will come in, then Jesus will take them away to heaven.
The reason why I’m giving the story is, for us, for me, all of this was you meaning that I never understood. It took me at least, I said several years after being in the US and I was very curious about American society, I was interacting with many different kinds of people. In fact I remember, I was on a date, once in this woman asked me what brought you to America and I said I came here for the anthropology of the native. So, I came here to study the results. Kind of a joke… but it was also true because I want to study the society because they kept sending people to study us. But, we never sent people to study them, when study their society.
So in studying it we have to realize that there are several kinds of asymmetries, that happened. One of the asymmetries is the asymmetry of Doctrine right, as they have different belief systems. One belief system says that everybody has their own tradition, it is good for them and let everybody follow what they are following. What is the problem? The other belief system says that there is one truth, the rest are false, and it is important that we make everybody believe in the truth, right? So other symmetry of Doctrine… so that asymmetry comes from the Joshua Project. You’ll find go therefore and Make Disciples of all the nations. This is the asymmetry which is driving the mission.
So, what is the Joshua Project? There was a project before this call. the AD 2,000 movement. So, there was a lot of you know. And a lot of belief around 2000 years after Jesus came, that maybe, that was the apocalyptic moment, Judgment Day will happen and so they were driving towards saying, 2,000 years have passed and we still have not converted the entire world. So, we really need to focus on it. So, if you rather I read the documents in the 1990s on this AD 2,000 movement and they were like saying, in fact their Flight Deck said, just like Coke is there in every city, in every place, we need to market our mission like Coke is doing, is marketing and we need to do have this whole marketing effort that will bring this to the entire world. And this is the biggest multinational on the planet in terms of its marketing effort. They have the Jesus film. I don’t know what the current count is, but it is like translated into maybe 800 or 900 languages. So, they’ll go to some small tribal place, that tribe is never seen a film in their language, but these people have studied the language and dubbed it. And in that film Jesus is asking them to come to him. It shows, imagine the impact, that creates with is the biggest multinational marketing effort that dwarfs any multinational corporation on the planet.
So, this AD 2000 movement… this important to remember. Lot of times we in India haven’t studied her side. Here we have studied Christianity, this is not the Catholic Church, this is a protestant movement, Joshua Project in the early AD 2000 movement, is a Protestant movement. So, it’s different from the Catholic Church. In fact, I think Pope John Paul complained because these people, who are so aggressive that they were converting Catholics in South America and they were saying, they are like wolves, preying on our sheep because they are so, they are aggressively converting Catholics to protestant.
There’s a conflict between these two also. So, the Protestants believe the Catholic church is completely corrupt in and those people need to be saved. So there is a constant debate, right? Every Christian sect, believes actually that they are the only sect, that is also going to heaven. So, what happens is, Islamic sects also, all the other sects. So, in fact, we have two laws of exclusivism. So, these are exclusivism, Yeah, in the Islamic sects also, yes. All the other sects, so in fact, have a law of exclusive. So, these are exclusivisms, and I call them exclusivism that when exclusivism wasn’t split, each of the splits is also an exclusivism like. So then, they believe that the other side of the split is also going to hell and is not going to get saved.
So, Mormons have their own belief system. The Catholics have their own. The different Protestant groups, the Presbyterians and the Seventh-Day Adventists and now, there’s this big movement, where you’ve seen these videos. What is the name of this, you see all these videos, where these women are swaying like crazy and something it the charismatic one, but there’s another name for it. So, there is this whole other section. So they have these different sites and they have different strategies and different techniques and often times, they are in conflict with each other as well. But the AD 2000 movement actually tried to bridge some of the conflict at least between the Protestant groups. They said the Protestant groups should organize, they had target instead of each other, we should target the heathens, we should target those that needed to be converted and then from AD 2000 and the idea was to plant a church among every people group.
This is where, you go to a village in India and you see suddenly a church has cropped up this Is not just happening. We accidentally, you did something else happen. This is part of the entire war-like strategy that was set out over 20 years ago, almost 30 years ago and the idea was that they would go and they would plant a church and that church would become the seed for converting all the people around and the co-chairman was the Billy Graham and again, this is a very strong and powerful movement, that is intricately connected with the American power structure.
So, it intricately, you know, the president was talking with Southern Baptist, several US presidents have been Southern Baptist. Almost every US president including the Democrats of this, not some Republican thing, like for instance and Bill Clinton address the Southern Baptist convention, George Bush and his address the Southern Baptist convention. So this is a very powerful and in fact some years ago, even at the Tehelka report had come out and that report has said that, the CIA is involved, academics are involved, in entire fact-gathering, huge data gathering effort was involved for this Joshua Project Mission.
So, thousands and thousands of paid researcher in India, including Indians, are involved in all the data gathering and then on all the action plans. So, it’s like, there’s a war happening. There is a massive war happening. It’s been happening for decades. When one side is mobilized for the war they have war strategies. They have soldiers on the ground, are attacking every day. And the other side does not even know the war exists. This is the state we are in right now. And even, in fact, to talk about the fact that the war exists is supposed to be not right. We’re not even supposed to know that this war exists. This is somehow common to say that there is, this is a war going on even though the facts are out there. Anybody can go to the Joshua Project website and see this.
So, this is not something we’re making up and I’ve gotten some quotes and I actually originally wrote this article, I think in 2003-4. It’s called the freedom of religion article. So even for 15 years we’ve been talking about it, but the level of awareness in Indian Society is very low and so this was the quote some of these quotes and stats are from my article from 15 years ago. And so this is the approach, is very important to understand the approach, to they’re talking about the sonar people here in the project website and there’s a sonar people of Maharashtra the primary Crafters of gold and silver Hindu idols, and these Idols are the most powerful strong hold that Satan has upon Hindu worshippers in India and around the world because all these idol worship is satanic.
So, they are the ideas to go and target that Community. We say if we make it feed turn the gun on the Sonar into Christians, then if they embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will see collapse of Hinduism. So, this is the kind of thinking that drives that, they’re saying that this is a war path and we need to see the collapse of Hinduism. We need to eradicate it and that is the only way forward is.
I have a reference in my article in my own website. I don’t know if it is from the Joshua Project or the southern Baptist site. So, the reference is there in the article. Yep. I have noticed in recent times. They have cleaned it up a little bit. So, the older court might not be still available because they are trying to make it a little more palatable. But this is the basic Crux of the matter and India has the largest number of target groups in Joshua Project. They have something called the 10/40 window.
What is the 10/40 window? It is the window between 10 degree north latitude and 40 degree north latitude. This is the 10/40 window which had the most number of unconverted people. Out of those a lot of, if you look at it, a lot of those are Islamic countries, which do not allow the proselytization to happen. So India is the number one biggest target and the most easy target of the conversion war right and so they have the kind of detail they have, 100 and 2480 Bhatia people in Sikkim, 47000 share Pal, 162000 Tibetan Buddhist, 3165200 Bania Jains, 3.4 million Aurora’s for so they have like gone and done like very-very detailed and then it’s on every village level.
They’ve done how many of each community are there. How do you target them? How do you talk to a Jain versus how do you talk to a Sikh person? All of that is in very-very detailed. They have strategized it, and this strategized over decades. In fact, there is an entire field of theology, which is mission studies, right? So, they have colleges of professors, researchers, academy decisions that are looking at research on how do you convert somebody missionology? What is the Christology, Missionology? How, what is the oldest strategy deploy in India? Also, there are colleges, entire colleges that train Missionaries right on conversion.
So, all the way down to tribal Mongpa, 850 people or they’re there, the banjaras they are targeting or than a look at, I looked at the targeting of Banjara. There is something really sad feeling that came because it’s such a rich wealth of tradition of custom and once you say, you have to leave all that in and only Jesus is valid the whole thing starts to shift. You cannot have the same kind of devotion. You cannot have the same kind of music. You cannot have the same kind of dance all of that Is gets destroyed. So it’s not just saying all of you except one. God take another god, but is an entire ecosystem that gets destroyed. It’s part of that conversion. It’s also important to realize that the maximum conversion has happened over the last 50 years. For instance, in Africa, after the colonization ended.
Even in India more conversion has happened after Independence than happened before independence. Most of the Nagas people were also converted after Independence, in Northeast. All of the northeast is converted after Independence. Now, this is a huge effort in the South. There’s a huge effort in the Punjab. I think both things have happened. In fact, there were commissions, that were set up under the Congress, Indra Gandhi was also opposing some of these things because she was. So, there is definitely a collaboration because the way when you have this is likely in fact 2000, figure from over a decade ago fifty billion dollars is poured into missionary activity every year. If you look at the scale of that money, right it you can see that every level of society can be corrupted.
The media is obviously completely sold out. So, it’s very difficult to find this in media right. Now lots of the bureaucrats are with them. A lot of the politicians have also been co-opted right in India. You co-opted them very simply by saying this is secular. So right when Christianity becomes secular and opposing right-wing Christianity becomes communal, it’s the strangest thing in the world. So talking about the fact that this is and one of the reasons why I started taking this up and in some senses, they will, you could say, there is no need for me to speak about this and why bring this up at all and how does it matter is that grown up in a very plural notion of Indian society and I think that is one of us strength because the exclusive religion world over is in Conflict. There is a huge conflict that is happening.
And India actually is one of the solutions to the conflict. But when you bring an exclusive religion, and when you convert people to exclusive religion that conflict is going to increase. So all conversion is a conversion from pluralism to exclusivism. All conversion is a conversion from acceptance to Dogma, right? And in fact, there was one of the missionary, some of the missionary websites says that, they said that the biggest problem in India is that they accept Jesus very easily. The biggest problem in India has a saying that “ki thik hai Ram hai, Krishna hai, Jesus ko sath rakh do kya pareshani hai, Jesus ko bhi puzz lenge”. This is the problem. The problem is that you have the conversion can only happen If you spit on Ram. It cannot happen just by accepting Jesus. It can only happen once you throw away your Murti, once you destroy it. Only then the conversion can happen. So, it is a conversion into Dogma, into hate, into exclusive ideology, that militates against the plural society. All right.
So, this the most important thing to understand. So, this is the reason why I started talking about this because of a commitment to plural society because saying that that the Indian way in which we respect each other’s traditions is the way forward for the world because the path of exclusive religion has only brought conflict and it’s going to continue to bring conflict and this is the story from Africa. So over the last 50 years Africa got converted, especially if you look at an Africa map and see a religious demographic map is very interesting… the north, there is this Islamic conversion; from the south, there is the Christian conversion and in the middle, there are all these countries of conflict like Nigeria and all these countries where, Boko Haram was there and in a Boko Haram was Islamic terror group that that kidnapped… So these girls who are studying in a Christian School… all this.
So, you see, from top Islam exclusivism is there, from bottom Christian exclusivism is there. All of the middle is a huge conflict Zone, that is happening, right, and
a lot of the conversion happened in the last 50 years. So, this African scholar Macomb Toa says, “it’s very strange that the human rights regime facilitates this conversion war. Now we go back to this notion of what is freedom of religion, right? The human rights regime says that missionaries is coming to convert you, that is freedom of religion. Your ability to say NO to them, is a denial of freedom of religion. This is the Crux of the problem. This is the Crux of the problem. Freedom of religion has been defined by the aggressors, rather than the native people.
So, this guy says the human rights regime incorrectly assumes a Level Playing Field by requiring that African religions compete in the marketplace of ideas. Remember, the proselytizing view is that religion is a market competitive Marketplace of ideas. So then just like we’re converting, you can convert us, right. So, but the fact is, that is not true. How many missions are Naga sending to America to convert them to Nagaism. They’re not because it doesn’t make sense to them. It’s noises. So that’s the asymmetry of Doctrine.
So, the rights corpus not only forcibly imposes on African religions, the obligation to compete a task for which as non-proselytizing non-competitive greens. They’re not historically fashioned but also protects the evangelizing religions in their march towards universalization. It seems inconceivable that the human rights regime would have intended to protect the right of certain religions to destroy others. So, this is a, this is the central problem. The center problem is, that are the banjaras resource enough to fight the evangelism war right? They are their Community. They’re following their traditions, their doing, they’re doing their music. They have not sent people to study. What are the missionaries doing? They have not sent people to America to research the structure of Christianity. The other side is done that the other side had send people they have sent researchers they have studied them they figure out what their weak spots are, figure out what the conflict is and one of the best ways for evangelism is, you conclude, you create conflict within the group.
So, this is the fault line like this where the breaking India story also comes in because you exacerbate the fault lines, you deepen the fault lines. So when the conflict arises and then you say, ‘oh, you are being oppressed, you make somebody the oppressor, you make somebody the oppressed and then you can that, “no no no, your tradition are actually oppressive and the way to save you is to get out of reject these tradition and go forward’. So, all of that narrative comes to serve the conversion war. This is the main reason for the narrative fact.
One of the whole feminist narratives is also part of that. I had tweeted that, one of the biggest NGOs, so-called women’s rights NGOs Ranjana Kumari run is completely funded by Church groups coming from Europe, ‘Inter-church collective’ and other people are funding it and she is the biggest person who is arguing for women’s right to pray at Sabarimala. Its, very strange why would the church that regard Sabrimala satanic, that regards murti puja satanic, be funding somebody for right to pray at that satanic place. Right? So, because the point is not about right to pray at all. The idea is to attack the tradition, so that the faith of the common people in that tradition gets broken, right?
And so, you use all these different protects, use women right, somewhere use animal right, somewhere use child right, somewhere you use all this structure. But the aim is to create this barrier and one of the things they also identified was, one of the reasons why the church started funding feminist movements… Imagine! The feminist movement is of course in conflict with the church, it came occur in the west. It came across in the west, came across as the biggest critic of the church, was coming from the feminist movement. I mean the Catholic church was literally burning, which is that they call strong women in the community. They killed hundreds and thousands of women in Europe over strong spiritually rooted midwives and other women healing.
So that church is now coming and funding feminist movement. What is the story behind it? One of the things that realize was that the women are actually central to the propagation of Hindu traditions. The Hindu traditions are actually carried by the women and so they figured that if they attack the Hindu traditions as anti-women, as that then, if you take the women against the tradition, then the conversion war becomes much easier. So, this is again part of the strategy very well thought out strategy and that is why we are funding these so-called Rights groups in India.
So, the second asymmetry is the asymmetry of resources, one is the asymmetry of Doctrine and the other is the asymmetry of resources. So, this is again 2005, older figures, but that just one Mission board the budget was over 2000 crores and 21000 churches had been planted at that time, 2005, across the globe. One year revenue of institutionalized Christianity, again this is 2001 figures, is 260 billion dollars. Again, this is bigger than any other multinational on the planet. So, this is the kind of resources that are deployed. And on top of that the strangest thing is, for instance President Bush passed a law, where the US government separation of church and state did not allow church groups to be directly funded by the government. But Bush passed a law where faith-based initiatives could be funded and in 2004 alone 2 billion dollars were given by the US government directly to Christian organizations. Now the strange thing is in India, which is the only, really significant in the state, in the world, the government even takes over the temple wealth of the Hindus, let alone give money to fund the organisation; it is taking away the temple, even the collection that happens in the temple, the government takes away because the government controls temple whereas there are dozens and dozens of Christian countries in which the state actually is funding Christian organization.
So, secularism is talk to us, again is a part to disarm us, right to render us unable to compete on the secularism, is very strange. The secularism is one that drops into temples. It doesn’t say the separation of church and state, let the engine run their own institutions, which is one other factor in the Hindu Charter and then and actually fought in fact the Indian State funds the scheme, where, if you are a Muslim or a Christian you get scholarships from the government of India as minority scholarships, where you can scholarship students study abroad. So, the state is funding the same religions that are actively being funded all over the globe. The Indian state is also funding the same forces and taking away resources from the Hindus.
The other asymmetries can one say… So, for instance. let us say there is a small village and they saw their neighbouring village and these awesome missionaries came into the neighbouring village and they observed that it was not good for the society. Some conflict happened between the groups after those missionaries came so that village says that we are not going to allow missionary. So, the village passes, there panchayat passes a decision that we are not going to allow missionaries. As soon as they do that, the entire human rights regime is going to come and jump on them. Right and they’re going to say no, no, this is a violation of human rights. How can you stop missionaries? There is no violation of human rights, when you come and plant a church you create conflict between communities you break away people from the tradition. There’s no violation of human rights. But if you say no don’t do this, there is a violation of human rights.
So that is… it’s not just figurative thing. It actually has enforced. For instance, when Sri Lanka was trying to pass a legislation to restrict missionary activity, the US Secretary of State contacts the Sri Lankan ambassador and saying this is we consider this violation of freedom of religion and trade is going to be affected if you do this, right? So, there is a huge power structure which is backing it. It is not just happening in because once missionaries coming with, missionary as media narratives has got resources, got billions of dollars behind it and it has state power which is backing it. In fact, the entire is so called United States commission for international religious freedom USCIRF creates all these country reports. But the main aim is to continue unhindered access to the missionaries in the different countries.
Now, there is this other thing called project Thessalonica. How many people know about projects Thessalonica? Ok, only very few. So, go just do a Google search, one of the topics as well as an article. I wrote for Indiafacts on project Thessalonica. So, what project Thessalonica? So the project Joshua is overt effort. So, that is very public. Anybody can go look at the Joshua project. Project Thessalonica is a covert effort. So, project Thessalonica is saying that there are, we need to have strategic intervention as a war tactic. If you convert certain people, then our mission will succeed better. So, this is a quote from there. So, it aims to stop or limit Hindu activity by converting people who form the pillars of Hindu culture, also to stop Hindu festivals from happening and different traditions and activities and this comes from the Greece city of Thessaloniki. When Christianity was being imposed on Greece, the Olympic Games is to happen at that time, the ancient Olympics and in the ancient Olympics, they paid respect to the Greek gods, the Greek deities and this was considered to be a threat to Christianity. So, at that time all of this was banned and all of that was wiped out, the Games are also stopped at that time.
And because the popular Festival created faith and created connection from the coordinate people. Even when there was a game happening that was a problem for the church. So, all the attack on festival traditions comes from Project Thessalonica and what they’re saying is specific churches are funding for instance. The Baptist Church in Nashville adopted towns where the annual Kumbh Mela takes place, has been converting locals and visitors face extreme hardship during their next visit. Another mission group is adopting boat men of Kashi. Well so that the Boatman are being trained in other fields. So, they abandoned their profession rights, is very strategically they’re looking at what are the rituals that are followed, how can we attack and just make an intervention, so that some of the roots are cut off and so those activities will not be able to be happening. Right and then what they’re saying is… they’re saying, use different tactics. So in some cases the Environmental Group will protest.
If you start to trace the funding of the Environmental Group, you will see it is all coming from this Nexus. But the Environmental Group will protest against Ganesh Chaturthi, I will protest against Sri Sri doing this event in Delhi. So, all of these are looking as if something happens. This is what going to create a relationship of the people to this thing. And so, we need to figure out how to attack it. Then, somewhere Animal Rights group will be activated. So Jellikkettu to becomes an animal rights issue, somewhere women’s rights groups is activated.
So, this is all very systematic and because of the way the whole PIL system has been setup where FCRA NGOs anybody with no skin in the game can arbitrary file a PIL saying something is happening in the Tamil Nadu. And the Supreme Court will also nicely oblige. It’s so, all of these things making environmental groups are raised and this again, this is why writing this for 20 years. So, it’s not something happened to all of the things that we see happening our efforts that have been going on for 20 plus years. We’re just seeing… we just say, ‘oh, we get upset because something has happened, in other thing is happened’. There like being completely reactive because we think it’s all a local issue and some Hindus will also argue. No, no, no Jellikkettu is very cruel to animals something or some other person will argue. So, all this debate will take place as if this is actually a debate on the issue, but it’s not a debate on the issue at all. The main aim is these are popular traditions and if you kill the popular tradition, even this Sabarimala. What is that in the temple after the restrictions were lifted, the law the faith of the local people dilutes. So, less people start coming, same thing, in the Sabarimala thing, the collections have gone down so much.
So, the idea is… the main idea is to kill it. But the excuses… its about women’s rights, is about this, about that. But the goal is to kill it and so them, also in support over the past 20 years. Missionaries, again, this is from many years ago missionaries also appear to invested a lot in handling the political leadership, so much that their activities appear to be almost immune to the ruling political party and we have seen this as well. So, it does not matter if you change the political party, their activities continue unhindered. In fact every political party comes in start supporting it. So, any group exposing their activity finds a self-identified as a militant or extremist group in the news media. Again, not something my writeup right now. This is from a document that has existed for 15-20 years.
So, none of this is happening accidentally. So, the project Thessalonica is the… and this is anti-superstition bill that was in Maharashtra. It was passed by the Congress and in Karnataka also. So, it’s very interesting. What is superstition. Can somebody define superstition for me? What is superstition? Everybody uses this term. Somebody should have been happy able to Define it. Black magic. But what has logic, Christianity has logic? So yes, so if you say doesn’t have logic, then all you can say this superstition, Islam is superstition. But the Superstition will make sure that it excludes all those explicitly. So, it is very clear that the active superstition Bill excludes Islam and it excludes Christianity.
So that is very clear what the target should be. Okay, because otherwise if you use the rule of logic, then I can say all religions are Superstition. The reason why we cannot define superstition is… superstition is a Christian theological term. It is not the secular term. People think the Superstition word means of something; It doesn’t mean a single thing. It only makes sense in the context of Christian theology and the context of Christian theology can look at the Catholic encyclopaedia defines it very clearly. What is superstition? Superstition is worship of the false god or improper worship of the true God. This is what superstition is. So improper worship means of worship, which is not authorized by the church. That is what Superstition is.
So, superstition as a Christian theological term, you create an anti-superstition law. Its only aim is to eradicate native traditions because all our native traditions of superstition part of the Christian theological point of view, right so and very happily our political parties go, and they pass these laws and the very interesting thing is to not fall into these debates. So, there you can debate “oh this Jallikkettu to god, is this happening, not happening, though all those debates are part of the strategy. Something that has been going on for centuries. You certainly make a debate or reduce, raise a question on it.
So, the first thing that we are asking and I’ll talk about the freedom of religion act that we are proposing. Let’s actually go to the app. So, this is kind of the problem statement. So, what I’ll do a quick summary. What is the problem statement? There are two different views of what religious freedom is… Two different views of what religious freedom is. For one side it is the ability to proselytize and convert other people right. For the other side it is the ability to follow my traditions without interference. Okay. So now the problem is, if India is a secular state, secularism employer has this notion of neutrality. Now there can be no neutrality between these two points of view. Either the Indian state says religious freedom is defined by the first principle or the Indian states, religious freedom is defined by the second principle because these two principles are in conflict, which one has the real Indian state chosen. No, it has chosen the first one. It has saying religious ability to propagate religion, or this is in the Constitution. It is explicitly chosen the first one. It is in fact, no protection for the second one. So it is explicitly chosen the first one which means, as soon as I choose is, clearly not a secular state. If secularism is meant to be neutral between those two points of view; firstly, it is not possible to be neutral and secondly between these two choices. It is choosing the choice that is coming from the Christian paradigm. So the secular state is a Christian state. The secular state is a Christian state every aspect of secular state is a derivative of Christianity. It is secularized. So we’ve taken the notion of freedom of religion which comes from Christianity and with secularizing it appears neutral ‘arre tumko wo convert kar rahe hai tum bhi convert kar lo problem kya hai’. That appear very neutral.
But why is not neutral because of all the asymmetries right is not neutral because one side is saying this is their god given mission; they have to do it. The other side is saying arre kya farak padata hai tum apna follow kar lo hum apna follow kar lete hai. Right. Yeah, so that is what i’m saying. So it is inherently not neutral and that is coming from one notion and so the Indian state has to choose and the choice that Indian state has made consistently is choosing the secularized European which is Christian point of view and I’ll give you, I can give you lots of examples and very trivial example is, why does the secular state follow the Christian calendar? Why does the secular State doesn’t follow the Indian traditional calendar? Why does the secular State have a holiday on Sunday? The holiday in Sunday’s coming directly from the church. It’s coming from Sabbath. These are all theological ideas we have assumed this is secular. So the secularization is Christian European culture. So if we say holiday on Tuesday will be common. Holiday on Sundays secular.
So Christianity is secular and the native tradition are communal. So this is kind of what happens when you haven’t looked at the news in sort of the neutrality of secularism. It doesn’t exist. There is no neutral point of view. Either the Indian state has to be based on Indian traditions or is going to be based on Christian traditions. There is no middle ground. So this is what the freedom of religion act is asking. What is prohibition of institutional conversion, right? So we are not saying anybody can decide to worship who they want, go and pray where they want. We are not risking anybody’s individual freedom. But we are noticing that this whole conversion war that is funded by institutions, their course sales quotas, sales force has been given quotas if you convert somebody you get 1 lakh rupee benefit right you this. How many are you going to convert in this week in this month, right? Its an entire sales force that has been deployed. So this causes conflict in society. So we need to ban institutional conversion. This is not something that is helpful to our society. No direct or indirect compensation. So we are saying we don’t want no person shall receive any monetary benefit for converting others.
See so far the anti-conversion acts have only been for the particular person like, you shall not convert somebody through allurement. Actually even that is a theological idea that you shall cannot convert somebody through allurement is the theological idea because the theology says there must be a true acceptance of Jesus. Only then the conversion should take place, so that you’re not little ideas in the anti-conversion also, because a true conversion has not taken place because you used allurement. Therefore, it should be banned. So a conversion law is also coming from the same theology. So what rather than that, we have to look at, move to, study the other side and we have to look at the institutional mechanisms that are supporting it and then we have to say the institutional mechanism for conversion needs to be regulated, and that is and then they shouldn’t the whole sales force for conversion needs to be disbanded because anybody can change their religion, anybody can do it. But nobody shall receive monetary benefits for converting other people, types of this takes the whole sales force away.
So this is another proposal, no solicitation of minors. This is very important. One of the biggest ways. The missionaries has target schools, by the target schools, it we’re going to government schools, are going to private schools are targeting young children because the best time to implant absurd doctrines is when somebody’s a child, like you plan this friends and then you keep repeating it done. By the time the child is grown up, they have lost the ability to question it, right? So they specifically target – but if minors are not able to give informed consent for sexual activity for instance, why are they able to give informed consent for conversion activity? Are they able to study the theology, are they able to refute the theology? We are not able to do it. So that means no solicitation of minors should be allowed, no activities aimed at subtle or direct conversion of minors should be allowed and the passing on of traditions from one generation to the next without interference is a fundamental.
So here now, we finally defined a fundamental right which is based on the native Traditions all across the world rather than on the proselytizing religions. So we are saying, passing on the traditions from one generation to the next without interference is a fundamental right. So the Indian constitution again is not based on the native view of things. It is based on the abrahamic and Christian views of things. No unsolicited marketing of religious conversion right now. They are laws against spam. They’re saying you cannot spam me on my text messages. You cannot spam me an email. Why is religious spammer protected activity? I never asked for Jesus. Why are you coming, shoving Jesus. I can find them on the Internet a lot of searching is there. Google an Islamic, Google on and they will provide Jesus if I need Jesus.
So unsolicited marketing, right and also you should not be able to go and plant a church in a place where there are no Christians. What is the meaning of planting a church there unsolicited. The community is not asking for it. You are going and you are including into that community and you are planting something so. To propagate religious, isn’t is intended for individuals to share their faith with people they know, who expressed interest, not for unsolicited marketing, opt-in marketing we need to regulated using opt-in marketing. They should only be opt-in marketing. Okay. If I am greatly desirous of Jesus, I will say come tell me you don’t need to come and push it down my throat and this one is the right to practice. This is taking on all the because I said none of the right so far have been defined from the Native point of view. In fact, we are defining laws like anti-superstition law and all that all these are meant to curve the indigenous and native traditions.
So we are saying every Community will have the right to practice their tradition without interference from the state, including the courts, from other people or communities asking them to change their religion. The state shall follow the bar of rarest of rare in interfering with tradition practices and advocates self-regulation over state regulation. right? So, the Supreme Court has no business saying, how much should be the height of the dahi handi. The honourable justices in the somebody file a PIL, again the people who are actually doing the dahi handi not even involved, some third-party files a PIL. People who are doing it or not even represented the court gives a judgment and somebody is following this tradition. Is its banned?
This is honourable justices says, we are very scared of the height. Mr. justice don’t climb it, stay in your chamber. Why is it that you, somebody saying they’re scared of the height of the doing again? If you go to Barcelona in Spain, they have this immense pyramid building, which is there consolidated as their culture. I went there. I saw this pyramid, human pyramids and the human pyramid team in Barcelona came to India to study the dahi handi groups, to see how they do these remarkable developments, right and now it is restricted and banned. So, it is now killed as a sport. Basically, you can only do it at a certain height, which means that the whole point was this competitive pyramid building. If you restrict the height all of that is gone.
So, there is no reason for the state to interfere. If there is a safety issue, the state says why don’t you guys look at safety, you promote safety. No, and the people whose children are climbing, they’re the ones who should be worried. They are not the ones who are filing the PIL. The PIL is filing by some FCRA NGOs which is probably not even gone and see dahi handi. So, that problem is that the bill of right is itself being used as an attack for native tradition. They weaponized the Bill of Rights. They weaponized right to… you know, the quality of our Sabarimala they weaponized, something and the PIL system is completely arbitrary like you can go directly to the Supreme Court, which is self-absurd. The Supreme Court should be an appellate court. There should be process by somewhat something lands in the Supreme Court, you can directly get the Supreme Court to rule and is the highest court of the land. Is done right?
So this itself the whole PIL system, especially FCRA NGOs or funded PIL system, is a problem and finally nationalization of religious institutions is something that China has done. Where right now, the church is the biggest landowner in India and the orders for all of that is coming from the Vatican which is a foreign power which control all this institution and all this land. So, no religious institution India that own real property shall have a subsidiary relationship either formal, informal or ecclesiastical with a foreign religion entity. Control of land, institution shall be fully vested in the Indian authority without any formal or informal foreign ecclesiastical authority exercising control. Right. This is kind of thing that China has done, for instance, to nationalize the church. They are saying why should the bishop be appointed by some foreign power. The bishop should be appointed by somebody sitting in India. Now you can’t even fire a priest even on anybody who is molested some child, you can’t fire the catholic priest unless the order comes from the vatican. Yeah and nuns…. You can make sure that they don’t complain too much.
So again the problem the issue is not about a some specific institution, but the very fact that the foreign institution exercises so much control and it is some of that land was given from colonial time. In fact, even the leases have expired. So nobody has really taken that issue. So that’s kind of in the nutshell the freedom of native tradition act of the Hindu charter and again most important thing is to raise awareness among people. People don’t even know Right. And this article I had written in 2004 or something. So, it’s already 14 year, but the level of awareness of the people is still very very low. So, the main thing and the political party, don’t know who are ruling, don’t know they had not studied it. So, we need to study it and we need to let people know share the talk share the article.
So, you can follow me on twitter @sankrant and article is on Sankrant.org. I think its called the conversion war and religion freedom. This was the original article, I had written many years ago. So, thank you very much.