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USCIRF hypocrisy: It's about the Protestant worldview, not religious freedom
Tuesday, 12 May 2015


By Jakob De Roover

The annual reports of the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) have long irked politicians and citizens from countries placed on its ‘watch list’. This is no different in India. In the 2015 report released about a fortnight ago, the country again occupies an unenviable spot in Tier 2, which includes countries where the religious freedom violations engaged in or tolerated by the government are serious.

Striking about this year’s report, however, is its claim that incidents of religiously-motivated and communal violence have ‘reportedly’ increased for three consecutive years in India. “According to Muslim and Christian NGOs that track communal incidents,” it adds, “2014 statistics, yet to be released by the ministry, will be likely higher” than the 823 incidents recorded in 2013. 

Has Christianity really failed in India?
Friday, 08 May 2015


In the Indian magazine Outlook and in a number of other publications, Tony Joseph recently sought to find out ‘Why Christianity Failed In India’. That is a deeply troubling question for Christians anywhere, and all the more so given India’s vast importance in the world. By the 2040s, that country will have the world’s largest population, perhaps 1.5 billion.

But is Joseph right?

Before reading his argument, it is important to know where he is coming from. In no sense is Joseph writing an anti-Christian rant, denouncing that faith as some kind of sinister foreign importation into India. To the contrary, he is arguing against that kind of bigotry, which has become so widespread in recent years, as Hindu extremists try to condemn and root out all other creeds. He rejects any suggestion that Christianity is a surging menace threatening pure Hindu India, so that therefore, extremist claims should be treated with a major pinch of salt, and should not supply the basis for official anti-Christian measures. He favors a secular nation that gives preference to no single faith. 

Why Christianity Failed In India
Friday, 08 May 2015


f you have been following Indian mass media or social media in the last few months, you couldn’t have escaped the narrative being spun by the Hindutva right-wing. It goes something like this: “Christianity is posing a growing and serious demographic threat to Hinduism by converting large  
numbers of Hindus through aggressive proselytising. This effort is heavily funded by Christian organisations in the West that see India as being ripe for large-scale conversions. Since proselytising and conversions are not part of Hindu tradition, or that of any religion that originated in India, the playing field is tilted against Hinduism, and this is causing serious societal friction. This sometimes leads to spontaneous and violent reactions.”

There are about four individual assertions in there, so let us take them one by one, put them to the test of data and historical evidence, and see which ones hold up, and which ones do not.

Christianity poses a serious threat to Hinduism

To put it bluntly, this assertion would be laughable if its consequences were not so destructive of social cohesion. The fact is, the story of Christianity in India is a story of dismal failure, demographically speaking. No believing Christian would like to admit this in this manner, but both they and their detractors should open their eyes to the simple fact that stares them in the face: that India has mostly passed up Christianity, and that there is no other country in the world that has proven so resistant and so impervious to it as India.

And not for lack of effort on the part of the Christians, or for lack of listening on the part of the Hindus. Very few regions in the world have provided Christianity as much freedom to tell its story and propagate itself as India, and in no other country has Christianity tried to spread its message so hard and for so long—for nearly 2,000 years to be specific—which is about half as long as Indian civilisation itself. 

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