CLASSIFIED | POLITICS | TERRORISM | OPINION | VIEWS





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RE: Attacking the Christian community in our motherland.

Sumith Perera


Dear Prasad De Silva,

Thank you for your reply.

You claim that "Christians are helping the needy." I agree that some genuinely are, and good for them. But others are merely interested in gaining converts to Fundamentalist Christianity through whatever means necessary. These particular Christian groups are not interested in religious harmony or tolerance, they want their religion (and their particular sect) to rule over all others. If you are truly interested in religious harmony as you claim, I'm afraid you wouldn't be trying to defend the very people who have been responsible for creating religious tension in Sr Lanka. Despite what you claim, the Christian missionary business is run with the expressed intention of gaining converts, or to use their terminology, to "harvest souls."

The Christian missionaries certainly do look into peoples' faiths before they begin to "help" - that is why they target all non-Christians with a zeal that is almost facistic in nature. I wonder whether you have heard of the Joshua Project? It is just one of the extremist Christian movements that wants to convert the entire world to one religion. It keeps tabs on the number of non- Christians, and lists them by country, ethnic group and religion. See:
http://www.joshuaproject.net/

Now Prasad, this is what is happening in Sri Lanka:

"I had a very interesting talk with a journalist from Sri Lanka the other day. Among other things, he spoke of the spread of fundamentalism on the island. Oh, not Islamic fundamentalism but Christian fundamentalism. It seems that Sri Lanka has been invaded by a multitude of reactionary Christian fundamentalist churches from the USA — Baptists, Assemblies of God, and a lot of others.

http://geocities.com/focussrilanka/gowland01.htm

You goes on to describe attacks on Christian places of worship, and I agree that all attacks on places of worship need to be condemned. But the attacks on Christian places of worship post independence do not even add up to one fiftieth of the attacks on Buddhist and Hindu places of worship carried out by Christians. Now this is only in Sri Lanka. Millions upon millions of people have been killed in the name of Christianity Prasad. Please see http://freetruth.50webs.orgBut the violence against evangelical Christian groups is not unique to Sri Lanka. Whereever these Christian extremists go, they create religious tension ill-will. We only have to look at neighbouring India to see what these missionaries have done. The same goes for Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia...the list goes on. If I can quote Peter Frawley here:

"Organized conversion efforts are quite another matter than the common dialogue and interchange between members of different religious communities in daily life, or even than organized discussions in forums or academic settings. Organized conversion activity is like a trained army invading a country from the outside. This missionary army often goes into communities where there is little organized resistance to it, or which may not even be aware of its power or its motives.
It will even take advantage of communities that are tolerant and open minded about religion and use that to promote a missionary agenda that destroys this tolerance."

This is exactly what has happended in Sri Lanka. Christian missionaries have taken advantage of the traditional tolerance and open mindedness of the Buddhists and Hindus and antagonised them. It is not enough that non-Christians in the island had to undergo nearly 500 years of having their religion oppressed by Christians, now they have to face the same thing today except in much more insidious ways. So, as much as the recent attacks on places of worship should be condemned, they should be understood as the reaction of people who have been pushed and goaded by the aggressive, unethical methods of proselytism employed by certain Christian groups.

As Venerable Dhammika, an Australian buddhist monk says
(http://www.geocities.com/focussrilanka/perspective.htm):

"The recent violent reaction against some evangelical churches is deplorable as it is explainable.
No one likes his/her religion being referred to as Satanic. They resent seeing their fellow religionists turning against the faith of their fathers when this so done by means they disapprove of. They don't like having their beliefs challenged, especially by people with an aggressive and superior manner. Most people endure such things in silence or grumble about them under their breath but some will inevitably react more strongly.

There have been churches in the towns and cities of Sri Lanka for years and I can not recall hearing of them being attacked until recently. There are numerous statues of Christian saints at street corners and junctions and I have never yet read of one of them being smashed.Evangelical Christians need to honestly consider what part they have played in creating the recent problem and what changes they must make to help ease it."

Prasad claims that Buddhist monks were supporting the JVP. I guess he hasn't realised that the JVP was the biggest opponent of Buddhism monks and Buddhism post-independence. The JVP killed numerous Buddhist monks in the most brutal of fashion and attacked the Dalada Maligawa along with other Buddhist places of worship long before the LTTE. The JVP has been one of the harshest critiques of the Sangha and even campaigned to have Buddhist temples removed. But how many Christian priests has the LTTE killed? And yet they are ready to kill Hindu priests and Buddhist monks at the drop of a hat. Do you not find that strange?

Now tell me, what are these Catholic priests doing at LTTE rallies? What are they doing allowing churches to be used as places to store arms and ammunition? What are they doing allowing church grounds to be used by the LTTE to launch attacks on the security forces? What are they doing holding up placards of Prabhakaran? What are they doing always giving a clean chit to the LTTE?
Why did Bishop Rayappu Joseph ditch the policeman who went to catch a paedophile and got caught by the LTTE? Why has Bishop Rayappu Joseph criticise the security forces for everything but never says a bad word about the LTTE? When have these Catholic priests condemned anything done by the LTTE? Do they thus support the use of child soldiers, suicide bombers, attacks on Buddhist monks and Buddhist places of worship, the killing of Hindu priests, bombs on trains and buses, claymore mine attacks, extortion and ethnic cleansing?

People have brought to fore what they see as flaws of the Buddhist clergy, so I do not understand why you are getting so upset when people do the same with the Christian clergy. If the Buddhist clergy can be criticised for their activities, then you should not expect the Christian clergy to be immune. Remember there is an old saying "what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander."

Both Christian and Buddhist priests in Sri Lanka have been brought before the court of law in Sri Lanka on charges of sex abuse and received jail terms. So your claim that they are not prosecuted is completely wrong, just like your claim that 99.9% of Christians in Sri Lanka are Sinhalese.
What I am pointing out by mentioning the US $600 million that was paid by one archdiocese in the US is the amount of money the Catholic church has at its disposal. Now that was just one archdiocese Prasad. So you can imagine the wealth of the Catholic Church, all the money it has hoarded. If they are genuinely interested in helping the poor, why is this money not going to help the millions of Catholic poor in Latin America and the Phillipines, let alone Africa? Instead, it is spent on building palatial churches and adding more gold, jewels and the finest marble to the Vatican City and other churches around the world.

You point out the gold plated roof and gold railings in Sri Lanka. But these are some of the holiest places in Buddhism. For Catholics it is the Vatican City. But the Dalada Maligawa or Bodh Gaya compared to the Vatican City are but poor man's temples. They absolutely pale in comparison to the Vatican City when it comes to expensive, over-the-top luxury. The Dalada Maligawa was neglected when Christians were in power, while churches were given special treatment. Do you know that there is a Christian Church set right in front of the Dalada Maligawa, and jutting into the temple's land? Can a Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim build their respective shrines in the Vatican City?
I think we all know the answer to that.

The lavish lifestyle led by Catholic priests is far removed from what is taught in the Bible. This is no different in Sri Lanka, with so much money spent on building bigger and better churches while the parishioners live in abject poverty and struggle to make ends meet. Is there a need for Catholic priests to wear the finest silken frocks and deck themselves out with solid-gold crosses, gem studded rings and caps? Yes, Prasad, a Buddhist monk's robe is far cheaper than the outfit worn by the Catholic priests. Not only that, Buddhist monks depend on the laity to donate their robe, but Catholic priests can obtain the outfit they wear all by themselves and are thus able make them as luxurious and expensive as they wish.

Like you Mr De Silva, I am not attacking any religion but voicing my opinion.

The Christian priests and the Christian people (I too mean only the extremists) should be more tolerant in our society. You see, Mr. De Silva, the Buddhists tolerated the oppression metered out to them by 500 years of rule by Christians both foreign and local. Even after all that oppression, they accepted the Christians with open arms, even providing refuge to the Catholics when they were attacked by the Protestant Dutch who were their very own Christian brethren.

Fundamentalist Christian groups need to stop looking at non-Christians in the island as potential converts and "heathens," and cease their aggressive and unethical proselytism. Their agenda of conversion is not going to create religious harmony, but rather, create religious tension and hostility.

If you want to believe that extreme Christians are not as violent as extreme Buddhists you are free to do so. But what the Christians did to Buddhists and Hindus and Buddhism and Hinduism in the country when they were in power will certainly tell a different story.

Kind Regards,

Sumith




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