Wednesday, January 10, 2007

It's Not Just Moslems and Atheists who Want to Kill You

From (spelling from original article):
Christian pastors and believers are facing severe persecution in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra in India in between 29 December to 7 January.

Bangalore (Karnataka): Pastor Robert and a church member Mr. Rajendran suffered severe injuries in a daring daylight attack inside their church, the Jeus Preethi Church in Laggere, Bangalore in Karnataka on 7th January 2007. A couple of men dragged Pastor Robert and beaten him up. They shouted and asked them to stop worshipping Jesus in that place. “We will crucify you in the same way that Christ was crucified”, they threatened Pastor.

The church member Mr. Rajendran rushed to the pastor’s defence. But the attackers detached the mike base from the stand and attacked him with it, causing severe head injuries which later needed 13 stitches. The pastor was attacked with the mike stand made by steel pipe on his face, back and head. Pastor has three daughters between the ages of 10 and 17.

Nizamabad (Andhra Pradesh): Pastor M. Gabriel of Nizamabad in Andhra Pradesh was attacked on 6 January 2006. He is hospitalized due to broken ribs and head injury and his wife remains terrified as a result of the attack on their home.

Pastor Gabriel is a Dalit, and planted a church in Shivalingam village. He was warned against his christian services several times by the upper class Hindus. A mob attacked him while he was going back home after a prayer meeting on Saturday night.. They beat him up severely, using clubs. "He is severely beaten on the head that his face is fully swollen up and cannot open his eyes and was taken to hospital", Mr. Lion Francis, the Co-ordinator of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) said.

Kaldurki (border of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh): A mob severly attacked Pastor Pavan Kumar and 14 believers at Kaldurki, a border village of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh on 29th December, 2006.

The Pastor and 15 members of the Hebron Prayer House of Bodhan in Andhra Pradesh, including 8 women and a baby hired a taxi and visited the house of Mr. Issac to conduct a prayer service at Kaldurki. As they were conducting the prayer meeting in the small hut, about 200 people surrounded the house. At first they sent the jeep away, damaging its glass. Then they entered the house, switched off the mains, and began to beat up the pastor and the believers. They made a heap of their Bibles, song books, sound system, etc, and set them on fire.

Sister Mariamma tried to prevent the pastor, but she was also terribly beaten and the attackers even stamping on her.

Nagashettihally (Karnataka): Pastor Michael and the believers of Nagashettihally, near Bangalore in Karnatake were attacked on 31st of December, 2006, the New Years eve.

Pastor and believers were putting up a shamiana to conduct the watch night service for the New Year at about 4 pm. Suddenly, a group of young men gathered and stopped them from putting up the shamiana. A woman church member, Anjanamma severly injured in an attack by one of the assailants who was trained in karate. She suffered from chest pain after the attack and was admitted to the KC General Hospital for observation for 3 days. The gang attempted to slash the face of the Pastor’s wife, Stella Geetha, with a razor, and another one also injured.

The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) and the Christian Ministers of the Churches in India (CMCI) condemned the attacks towards christians in India and asking prayers for the persecuted Christians.

We normally think of Christian persecution as coming from either Moslems or Secularists, not Hindus. Most of the Hindus I run into are extraordinarily nice folks, though I confess to a thorough bewilderment at Hinduism itself. (Beloved but expensive daughter has a pretty good academic background in Hinduism – I really need to get her to explain it to me sometime.) I know that it is an extremely syncretistic religion, and prefers to absorb other faiths rather than eliminate them. However, there is no shortage of Hindu extremists in India, and there is a surprising amount of persecution.

I suspect their violence is related to three factors. (a) After the Moslem occupation of India for several centuries, some Hindus probably view Christianity as an invader. In a similar vein, a lot of people tie Hinduism directly to Indian nationalism. (b) Christianity, as an egalitarian faith, threatens the social structure by giving rights to the lower classes. The Dalits (Untouchables) are a primary source of Christian converts. The caste system, though theoretically abolished, is still heavily embedded in Indian society. (c) Christianity, as an exclusive religion, won’t be absorbed. (b) and (c) are largely the same problems the Romans had with Christians; giving hope to the underclass and refusing to worship according to the state religion.