Photo Courtesy: Reuters | Anindito Mukherjee

Will religious extremists and criminal elements succeed in polarizing India’s Christians through their present high-decibel statements and actions against Christians on issues such as conversion, motivation for compassionate service, beef-eating, Valentine’s Day, ‘Blue Jean Culture’, Westernized Women, etc.?

Some political commentators are concerned this might happen.

Especially when an ex-Admiral, Sushil Kumar, and an ex-top cop, Julio Rebeiro, began to express insecurity.

The enemies of India would like this kind of polarization to happen.

But we are convinced that even if religious tensions deteriorate further, a Hindu-Christian polarization or divide will not happen.

Many of us, both Christians and Hindus, will not let this happen. Christians will need to act on Jesus’ teaching to be peacemakers in society.

Picture the following:

Indian Christians do not live in ghettos. Their next-door neighbor often is a Hindu. Most of their Hindu neighbors are not anti-Christian.

It is the fringe/extremist groups who engage in anti-Christian activity beating up nuns and girls in places like Mangalore and accusing Christians of false and forced conversions.

These are not the acts of our next-door Hindu neighbors. The time has come for the local and Central government to take immediate actions on these works of vandalism and religious hate.

Hindus and Christians have lived together for centuries.

They enjoy each other’s festivals. Christians love their Indian culture. They feel the same pride as any Hindu or other minorities when the national cricket team sings the national anthem in the World Cup cricket matches! And India wins!

Many Indian Hindu children study in Christian schools. Those educated in Christian schools have not experienced attempts to deviously convert them.


 Image Courtesy: ATI (atingl.nic.in)

Tens of thousands have received the love of Jesus through Mother Teresa. None of them experienced the motive of conversion behind her unconditional love. Many more thousands experience the same love through the Sisters of Charity. No complaints of conversion being forced on them!

It does not matter what anyone in India or overseas says of Mother Teresa. Her memory and work will endure in history and her critics forgotten.

Neither Sushil Kumar nor Rebeiro are saying that there is a Hindus-Christian divide.

It is the reports of the anti-Christian attacks ALONG with the high-decibel anti-Christian rhetoric of extremist elements that is bringing about this insecurity. The extremist elements are not helping the Government focus on governance.

It would have helped if the Prime Minister had made his stand on religious freedom and protection of Christians earlier than he did.

It would have helped if the Christmas controversy did not happen.

The Government could have come up with an alternative strategy to remember Vajpayee and his contribution to India. Christians respect Vajpayee. December 24 as Vajpayee day would have drawn huge political capital for the BJP and not taken away anything from remembering Vajpayee’s birthday on 25th.

Christians are aware of the attempts by various forces to polarize them. Thankfully Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness and loving our enemies holds huge sway among Indian Christians. This will prevent Christians from engaging in any religious divide that damages the nation.

+Joseph D’Souza
Bishop Moderator,
The Good Shepherd Church & Associated Ministries India.
(for feedback or comments please write to joseph.dsouza@gsoim.org)