Monday, October 13, 2008

Hindu Threat to Christians: Convert or Flee

Front page story in the New York Times today on Christians in India being forced to convert to Hinduism:
BOREPANGA, India — The family of Solomon Digal was summoned by neighbors to what serves as a public square in front of the village tea shop.

Borepanga has been rocked by weeks of religious violence.

They were ordered to get on their knees and bow before the portrait of a Hindu preacher. They were told to turn over their Bibles, hymnals and the two brightly colored calendar images of Christ that hung on their wall. Then, Mr. Digal, 45, a Christian since childhood, was forced to watch his Hindu neighbors set the items on fire.

“ ‘Embrace Hinduism, and your house will not be demolished,’ ” Mr. Digal recalled being told on that Wednesday afternoon in September. “ ‘Otherwise, you will be killed, or you will be thrown out of the village.’ ”

USA Today has already published a rebuttal from the Times of India:
Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, a BJP politician who runs the South Indian state, blames Christian groups for the violence.

"While Christians and Hindus have co-existed peacefully in the state, there have been unconstitutional and illegal efforts by some Christian organisations such as 'New Life' to forcibly convert or to induce conversion to Christianity," he says, according to The Times of India, adding: "Efforts of such organization include publishing booklets like 'Satya Darshini' in which Hindu gods and goddesses were denigrated. Our constitution provides for freedom of religion but does not permit forcible or induced conversion."

But I don't think booklets denigrating Hindu gods is a "forced conversion" in the same league with threatening to kill people. Actually, this response to the situation only serves to confirm the danger to Christians.

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