Saturday, January 22, 2005

"Faith-Based Extortion"


This is another issue that's way over-due for exposure in the US media. Finally, an outlet in the United States publishes a viewpoint that the locals have known about for centuries.

...attempts at proselytizing are angering local Christian leaders, who worry that they could provoke a violent backlash against Christians in Sri Lanka, a predominantly Buddhist country that is already a religious tinderbox.

Last year, Buddhist hard-liners attacked the offices of the World Vision Christian aid group and vandalized or threatened churches and pastors 75 times. They accuse Christians of using money and social programs to cajole and coerce conversions.

Most American groups, including those affiliated with religious organizations, strictly avoid mixing aid and missionary work. But scattered reports of proselytizing in Sri Lanka; Indonesia, which is predominantly Muslim; and India, with large Hindu and Muslim populations, are arousing concerns that the good will spread by the American relief efforts may be undermined by resentment.

The Rev. Sarangika Fernando, a local Methodist minister, witnessed one of the prayer sessions in Sri Lanka and accused the Americans of acting unethically with traumatized people. "They said, 'In the name of Jesus, she must be cured!' " he said. "As a priest, I was really upset."

The Americans in Sri Lanka belong to the Antioch Community Church, an evangelical church based in Waco, Tex. Two members of the church were arrested, and accused of proselytizing, by the Taliban in Afghanistan in August 2001. When the United States invaded the country several months later, pro-American Northern Alliance forces freed the women, who church officials say did speak with Afghans about their personal "relationship with Jesus."

So these folks are the same folks that sent those girls over that attempted "suicide by proslytizing." Nice.

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