In a video-clip surfaced on social media, a Christian evangelist is seen climbing up to the Adiyogi statue in Isha Yoga Center, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, and screaming, “Neither Yoga, nor Yogi can liberate you from sins, only Jesus can.”
Incidentally, the Isha Yoga Center has symbols of all major religions including Islam and Christianity, reflecting the unity and harmony between all faiths.
The incident is one in a long history of attacks on Hinduism by Christian evangelists. In September 2018, Christian convert Mohan Lazarus called Hindu temples, “Satan’s strongholds”. The preacher who owns Tamil television channel Sathiyam TV is notorious for making insulting remarks against Hinduism and Hindus repeatedly, including respect spiritual leaders like Kanchi mutt’s.
Recently, a Christian organisation called for planting churches among Hindus during “great spiritual darkness” of Navratri. This year, Swaminarayan Temple in Kentucky was vandalised by miscreants. They sprayed black paint on the deity and sprayed 'Jesus is the only God’ on the walls. The Christian cross was also spray pointed on various walls. Several influential and eminent Christian personalities have openly and frequently referred to Hinduism and other Indic faiths such as Buddhism as “demonic” and monstrous.
During colonial occupation, Christian missionaries not only spread hatred against Hinduism, but systematically imbibed Hinduphobia through textbooks etc. During Goa inquisition, Hindus became victims of egregious violence, including burning on stake. The church hasn’t apologised officially for the crimes committed against Hindus. Instead, the hatred against polytheists and ‘non-monotheistic god’ is prevalent.
In India, Christian evangelists not only utilise several dubious methods to convert people to Christianity but openly abuse Hindu deities calling them “false gods”.
The interference of Church in politics is also significant. Recently, in a video making rounds on social media, a Goa Christian priest was seen calling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah a ‘devil’ and threatening people who vote for BJP with God’s punishment in his church sermon. He also said that God punished Manohar Parrikar with cancer, “Parrikar changed law on holiday of Francis Xavier. He died in pain."
The Church also holds significant money and political power in India. While Christians are officially only 2.3 per cent of the Indian population, the church owns and runs around 20,000 educational institutions in India, second only to the union government. It also runs over 5,000 healthcare facilities, thousands of vocational training centres, and is known to own enormous amounts of property.
Alumni of Church-run institutions hold high positions in government, private sector as well as non-governmental organisations, giving it unique lobbying power. A case in point is the Kerala church properties regulation bill, which was quietly withdrawn by communist state government after protests. A posture sharply in contrast to Pinarayi Vijayan’s zealous and pro-active stance on Sabarimala issue.
Already mired in controversies over culture of sex-abuse, forced conversions, land scams, interference in politics and illegal foreign funding, the church is under the public eye for active and blatant Hinduphobia.
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