In a way admitting “inappropriate methods of exercising mission by resorting to deception and coercive means”.
By Robert Evans
Reuters – Tue, Jun 28, 2011
GENEVA (Reuters) – A coalition of major Christian churches including the Vatican launched a rule book on Tuesday for spreading their faith that aims to reduce hostility from Islam and other religions to efforts to convert their followers.
The five-page code of conduct, which has been under negotiation since 2005, was unveiled at a Geneva news conference by the World Council of Churches (WCC), a senior Roman Catholic prelate and the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA).
It urges Christians wanting “to share the good news of God’s kingdom” — missionary work or simply publicly testifying to their faith — “to build relations of respect and trust with all religions” and adapt their approaches to local conditions.
It reaffirms their right to proselytise, or promote their beliefs and seek converts.
But it also urges them to abandon “inappropriate methods of exercising mission by resorting to deception and coercive means”, saying that such behaviour “betray the gospel and may cause suffering to others”.
The code, entitled “Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct”, comes amid growing tension between small local Christian communities and majorities from other religions in many, especially Muslim, countries.
This is often sparked by the activity of missionaries, both overt and covert, who seek to convert non-Christians, and are often denounced by local religious leaders — Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist — as enemies of what they see as the true faith.
In some Islamic countries, a Muslim who converts to another faith can face the death penalty, and Christians who proclaim their religion are often accused of blasphemy, which can also be a capital offence.
In recent years, there have been increasing incidents of attacks on Christian churches seen as the focus for conversion activity — in Pakistan, Egypt, India, Indonesia and others — in which many Christian believers have died.
The new code — initially promoted by the Geneva-based WCC, which unites a wide range of Protestant and Orthodox churches — says conversion “is the work of the Holy Spirit”.
But Christians should “conduct themselves with integrity, charity, compassion and humility, and overcome all arrogance, condescension and disparagement” with regard other religions.
However, it declared that religious freedom — which many activists argue does not exist in Muslim countries — and the “right to publicly profess, practice, propagate and change one’s religion” are based in human dignity.
And it calls on governments “to ensure that freedom of religion is properly and comprehensively respected, recognising that in many countries religious institutions and persons are inhibited from exercising their mission”.
(Editing by Stephanie Nebehay and Alastair Macdonald)
The real part of the fight now begins. How far will Baba Ramdev go?
Most of the the civil activists will soon desert him or at least work hard to disarm him.
The media will not support him for obvious reasons – he is a committed nationalist, Hindu Swami – not the fake Agnivesh kind, not the “secular” Anna kind.
Media will only do “objective” reporting (in contrast to the frenzy they raised with Anna). They have already started attacking him from different angles – the assets of his organizations, his IT retuns, his safron attire, his association with Ritambhara (would have been fine if a pastor or imam supported him, but not a Hindu sadhvi should have to disown her religion and become a ‘secular’ Hindu to earn any credibility in Hindustan) and then may be his character next…..
The common public, fed by the corrupt media, will be confused.
Digvijays and Saibals will continue with the calculated attacks.
PM will be mumb and pretend ignorance.
Sonia, the queen, will be silent.
Rahul, who is ashamed to be an Indian, will be nowhere to be seen.
And the confused leadership of the so called Hindu party (i.e.BJP) will be debating eternally whether to stay as Congress”s B team forever or embrace a real struggle.
Ramdev has to understand that barring a few exception, almost everybody who is somebody in India, will be exposed if anti-corruption measures are actually implemented. He will soon be a persona-non-grata like a certain Chief Minister of a certain state of India.
Is he politically sauvy enough to fight this on his own? Will he get the help of the right people? Will he be able to carry on with the leadership that millions in India and abroad expect from him?
Police end Ramdev’s anti-corruption protest, yoga guru removed
New Delhi, June 5 (IANS) Hundreds of police swooped on Baba Ramdev’s protest venue here shortly after midnight Saturday and forcibly removed the yoga guru, less than a day after he began an indefinite hunger strike against corruption.
Even as his supporters were teargassed and dispersed with batons, police personnel physically removed Ramdev from the stage, refusing to heed to his pleas that he should be given time to talk to his aides.
Both Delhi Police and home ministry sources insisted that Ramdev had not been arrested and had left the place voluntarily after being served an externment order to quit the capital.
But his numerous supporters contested this and accused the police of brutalities.
“What has happened is disgusting. It was barbarous,” said a former Indian Navy officer from Chandigarh who was among the thousands who had spent the night at the Ramlila ground along with Ramdev.
He and others later said that between 12.45 and 1 a.m., a large number of Delhi Police and Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel reached the sprawling ground in what was clearly a meticulously planned operation.
A police officer said they wanted to serve the externment order on Ramdev because the Ramlila ground in the heart of Delhi had been allocated for holding a yoga camp and not for what it was being used.
Assuming that he may be arrested, Ramdev took up a mike and frantically appealed to his supporters not to indulge in violence. Very soon he jumped from the stage and ran into the mass of people in the tented enclosure, making similar appeals.
As his supporters threw a ring around him, the situation quickly slipped out of hand. Some protestors whipped out fire extinguishers to try to keep the police at bay.
Very soon, police personnel started using their batons on the crowds to disperse them, injuring many. Some people fell off the stage while trying to protect Ramdev.
Some of the demonstrators hurled stones at the police, who used them as missiles to hit back. Within three hours, most of the Ramlila ground had been emptied but a few hundred remained, angry and defiant.
Police said they were trying to clear out the last of the demonstrators and all roads leading to the Ramlila ground had been sealed.
Baba Ramdev beware