Monday, January 24, 2005

Christian Conversions attempts in the time of grief

What a shame on these evangalists , they want CONVERSIONS IN EXCHANGE OF SERVICE ??

Public should take a not of this and protest this trend

Shobha Warrier in Nagapattinam | January 24, 2005 15:45 IST
Last Updated: January 24, 2005 16:17 IST

When I entered one of the rows of temporary shelters built for
tsunami victims in Pattancherry village in Nagapattinam, I witnessed
a minor scuffle in a corner.

Some inmates had surrounded a Christian priest and two nuns, and a
war of words was going on.

"We are Hindus and we want to live as Hindus. Why do you want to
convert us?" some young men shouted at the missionaries.
The priest said, "We are not here to convert people. We were only
offering prayers for your peace of mind."
But flashing some pamphlets distributed among them by the three, the
inmates snorted, "What does this mean?"
The priest had no answer.

"Why do you enter our houses and pray?," they asked. "Your nuns do
this when our women are alone at home. We know how to pray."
The young men were extremely furious. The priest was unruffled. But
the nuns were shaken by the sudden surge of animosity from the
muscular men.

The scuffle went on till the three were forced to leave the place.
Day two:

As I was visiting the areas close to the sea that were badly
affected by the tsunami waves, I saw another angry scene outside
another temple in another village.

Police jeeps were seen parked outside the temple in Samandapettai.
So was a van.
Villagers were complaining to the police about a missionary group to
which the van belonged.

They said the group had taken away to another place their belongings
and the relief they had got from nongovernmental organisations and
the government, which they had kept inside the temple, because they
refused to listen to its missionaries.

"They want to try their luck at some other place. Since we resisted,
they took away our things. We won't allow this to happen," they
said. "Why don't you arrest all of them?" the villagers asked the

The villagers' torrent of angry words continued. "We have lost
everything to the sea. They said they would help us if we followed
their religion. What logic is this? Are they here to help us or
change our religion?" The police couldn't cool their tempers.
The group said it did not take away the belongings of the villagers
and insisted that the contents inside the van belonged to it.
That evening, some villagers came with the news that the police had
arrested the priest they had confronted the previous day. Apparently
some angry villagers had gheraoed him, and forced the police to
arrest him.

"He shouldn't be doing this when we are grieving, when we are
suffering. Everything has its time and place," a villager said.
When I wanted to talk to the panchayat president and locals of the
Karakkalmedu village at Karaikkal, they called me inside the village
temple. That was where they met outsiders. The temple has become the
centre of activity in the village.

Before we started talking, one of them opened the door to the
sanctum sanctorum and pointed to a mark left by the strong tsunami
waves. They told me that water stopped at the feet of their deity
and then receded. "We might have suffered, but our Goddess saved us."
This belief had taken the villagers all the more closer to their

"That is why it hurts us when others come and tell us that it was
because of our God and our belief that we suffered. We won't let
anyone exploit us when we are down," the panchayat members asserted.


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