The disharmony began, when these Evangelical groups began to coerce Buddhists and use unethical methods to convert them;
the disharmony began when they deceived people by promising them instant cures to illnesses by praying and when the patients died;
the disharmony began when they began to sow the seeds of disunity in the rural villages by adopting favouritism to those who follow them as against those who don’t;
the disharmony began when they began to insult Buddha statues by smashing them and getting "the new entrants" to their faith to spit and urinate on the smithereens; [similar to Korea and India]
the disharmony began when they began to open Pre-schools like mushrooms all over the island in the guise of offering good English education, with a promise of entry into good schools-the objective was "child proselytisation";
the disharmony began when they began to teach these innocent Buddhist children of 4-5 years, that they "must not kneel in front of anyone other than God" thereby destroying the age old cultural practises of our Sinhala people who pay reverence to the Buddhist clergy, teachers, parents and elders;
the disharmony began when they paid men to don the yellow robe and misbehave in society to create a rift between the Buddhist temples and the Buddhists by getting these "fake Buddhist monks" to go and purchase liquor from the liquor bars, to go into meat stalls and super markets and purchase meat and fish for everyone to see, to go into restaurants after 12 noon and order food and partake of it, to be seen by others etc;
the disharmony began when they use young couples to go into village temples in the night requesting shelter from the temple monk (on the excuse that they were travelling far) and in a short while the male would leave the female alone in the temple, and go out- within minutes, the girl would ring the temple bell and inform the villagers that the monk had tried to molest her( the purpose is to bring disrepute to innocent monks);
the disharmony began when they started to chase the monks out of their temples;
the disharmony began when they began a scheme to send paid workers to destroy Buddhist archeological sites and rob temples;
the disharmony began when they began to teach innocent Pre-school children not to offer flowers at the temple, because the bees and butterflies will have no food;
the disharmony began when they teach the children that Prince Siddhartha was a bad father because he left his baby of one day and renounced the world to seek The Truth and ultimately to become Gauthama Buddha-The Enlightened One.
Note, however, that these Buddhists and Hindus avoid scrutinising Christianity and don't realise that the roots of the problems they face lie in this religion itself. Instead, they always contrast the horrendous Christianity they see and experience in practice, with a fictional "True Christianity" that can only be of their own imagination. They possibly got such ideas from the continous portrayal of Christianity in the media as a religion of peace and Jesus as the Prince thereof. That might explain why these gullible people remain ignorant of Christianity's own history, the Bible's promotion of intolerance and its sanction of extreme violence to this end.
Though Buddhists and others will criticise the aggressively evangelical side of Christianity they see, it does not occur to them that this is True Christianity, updated for the modern era (that is, without the Inquisition, and carefully ensuring all violence used is either deniable or will not be exposed in the media).
Concern has been voiced that Catholics planned to convert all of Sri Lanka by the year 2000. The goal was later changed to 2005 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Portuguese invasion. Rev.Sister M Immaculate in the Catholic Weekly Messenger of 18th October 1990, speaks of "spreading the Good News about Jesus Christ and the message of salvation. He brought to the world.... We [Christians] are called upon to be sacraments of salvation..... it is for us to help them to recognize Him." Although there has always been a potential conversion threat to Buddhists Hindus and Muslims from the Catholic community since 1970s a deeper threat has emerged.From: Tilling the Mission Fields in Sri Lanka, by Ven Kollupitiye Samadhindriya Thero [Ven here refers to a Buddhist monk.]
Unethical Conversions: taking advantage of the Tsunami
The Next Tsunami Coming to Sri Lanka is a Religious One - journalist Christian Eckert, May 22, 2005
...we came upon the more or less disguised (in parts also massive and direct) attempts of Christian fundamentalist groups to convert native Sri Lankan Buddhist and Hindu tsunami victims into born again Christians.
We later met Mr. D.S. a well-known businessman in the south, his reputation flawless. He has been helping his people, effective and fast. And he too, told us about this temporary housing area, where the Baptist Church of Omaha is ruling a strange region. He took us to a Tsunami Camp where we met a young woman, who had lost her beloved sewing machine in the tsunami. For her it was the income source for her family. The young woman was approached by members of this obscure church. She was told to attend services and masses for one week and pray to the Lord to give her a sewing machine.
A week later, after she had attended the services, she got a brand new sewing machine, worth 25,000Rs (US$250). She was told, that other needy things, too, could appear in that way, if she would keep up attending the Christian masses and bible reading hours. This reminds one of the Steven King Bestseller "Needful things - in a small town", doesn't it? And: it’s a deeply immoral way, of gathering "sheep" for the Christian Church.
D.S. sent us to a Buddhist Monk, living in Galle. He had more stories about these un-ethical conversions. We paid him a visit in the Buddhist Temple. He showed us pamphlets, by the Christian group "The sword of the lord", from Tennessee USA printed in Singhalese and Tamil and English.
The pamphlet claimed that the people would be better off, if they would give up Buddha, who is constantly alliterated as a reincarnation of the Satan himself. He collected the leaflets from four different Tsunami camps he used to visit to bless the Buddhist Tsunami victims in these camps by chanting Pirith the traditional religious chanting performed in Buddhist homes and religious functions.The monk said the Christian group who was in charge of these camps to do "humanitarian work" complained to the police about his presence and the way he publicly defended Buddha in his preaching in the Camps. - the Sri Lankan Police in return warned him and now he is no longer allowed to visit those camps due to an order. Strange world, isn’t it?.
It seemed to me that Sri Lankan Human Rights organizations and foreign Conflict Management Organization who cry loud in regular intervals of human rights violations and fundamental right abuses seems to be deaf, dumb, dead silent – and most certainly - absolutely inactive on this issue.
Join us in Prayer - Buddhism Sri Lanka - originally from The Guardian news, November 5, 2003:
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. They are all lavishly cashed up, and they pursue the same tactics.
The most popular method is to go to poor villages or poor urban areas, and display an interest in how the people are coping with poverty. Then they encourage everyone to "join them in prayer".There is probably a US government department — several, in fact — dedicated to fostering and supporting just such activity. It is after all merely a variant of the good old US political tactic of "pork barrelling".
The next day, when those same poor people get up, they find on their doorstep milk, fruit, packets of food, children's clothes etc. Like the poor cobbler and the elves, it seems like a dream come true. A day or two later, the Christians return, asking innocently how things are going, has anything interesting happened? Then they make their big play: the goodies left overnight were in fact left by the Christian God in answer to their prayers a day or so earlier. Having demonstrated that their religion actually works, they set about signing up recruits.
A Christian missionary (pastor) brings two boxes before little children. He says one belongs to Jesus and the other to Buddha (not even Lord Buddha). Children are asked to select any box of their choice. The Buddhist children select the box of Lord Buddha. They find the box empty. The pastor now says select the box of Jesus. It is filled with so many items. Then the pastor says "see how Jesus loves you."From: Which box do you want?
A few days ago, a Christian relief organisation came to them, offering aid. But the Buddhist Sri Lankans were asked to convert to Christianity. They refused the aid and are wary of accepting any more.More: Pocket money, gift parcels - not sword and prayer book
Some articles that highlight the depths to which Christianity is willing to stoop to accomplish its mission in Sri Lanka:
The Western Christian domination is most prominent in politics. Not only that all the political theories have been created in the Christian west but people are misled by terms such as peace, terrorism, moderates, injustices, embargo, proscription and even ethnocentrism and anthropomorphism. As we have often said by terrorism west means terrorism against the western Christian civilisation and not against any other culture or civilisation.From: Christian Domination of Lanka
The word terrorism fits into the agenda of the western Christian domination. The west is now busy with defeating terrorism directed by some Islamic groups against western Christian civilisation.
While they are not prepared to talk to these terrorists they want us to have negotiations with Prabhakaran and the LTTE. The word proscription also has different meanings according to the political agenda of the west. The UK is supposed to have proscribed the LTTE. But Anton Balasingham continues to live in London and make public speeches on behalf of the LTTE. What kind of proscription is that?The LTTE may be debarred from raising funds in the western countries. But their front organisations have no problem whatsoever in operating in these countries and raising funds. The western political scientists and the sociologists and their "golayas" in Sri Lanka call us ethnocentrists and ethnonationalists
Now why would that be? Why is it that suddenly, the LTTE is no longer described as a terrorist organisation? Because:
The Tamil terrorists(LTTE) is fully backed by the Catholic/Christian churches and is no secret. When they attacked religious places of worship, only Hindu and Buddhist places were attacked- not Catholic/Christian churches!Link
It is particularly interesting to note that there are Christians in positions of leadership in the millitant LTTE organisation. Anton Balasingham referred to in the first article above is not the only one, since the other person mentioned, Prabhakaran, is a Christian too:
Whispers from Kathmandu suggest that Prachanda, would-be President-King of the former Hindu kingdom [Nepal], is a Christian. There is little reason to doubt these voices, as similar murmurings about LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran proved correct, and Sri Lanka's Tamil Hindus admit that the organisation does not serve their political, economic or cultural interests in any way. Its objective is to provide its covert Western backers a foothold in the region.Link
An interesting entry in the CIA's factbook on Sri Lanka:
Political pressure groups and leaders:From: CIA - The World Factbook -- Sri Lanka
Buddhist clergy; labor unions; Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE [Velupillai PRABHAKARAN](insurgent group fighting for a separate state); radical chauvinist Sinhalese groups such as the National Movement Against Terrorism; Sinhalese Buddhist lay groups
These are most curious double standards that are being exercised here. The majority of Sri Lanka is Buddhist, it is also their nationally recognised religion which by law is promised special protection by the state. The country, though democratic and pluralistic, is recognised as a Buddhist country. With respect to these facts, why are Buddhist lay groups considered political pressure groups? The National Movement Against Terrorism appears to be supported by the majority of the democratic country. The world has (even if involuntarily) sanctioned Bush's global war on terrorism far beyond the borders of the U.S. Yet, when a country like Sri Lanka possesses a national organisation to combat internal terrorism, this is marked by the CIA as a "radical chauvinist" Sinhalese (which is silently equated with Buddhist) group. And why is the Buddhist clergy marked amongst the political pressure groups and leaders, put on the same level as the terrorist outfit of LTTE? Old media reports had shown LTTE terrorists operating, but they've yet to show Buddhist clergy carrying guns, throwing grenades or installing bombs.
Some of the leading Christian priests have acted as front men for the LTTE in Western countries. Fr. S. J. Emmanuel, former Vicar—General of Jaffna, who is now residing in Germany, is a prime example of the Church joining hands with the LTTE. He is on record saying that he is first a Tamil and then a Christian. Once he compared Prabhakaran to Jesus.The same article though shows that Sri Lankans who follow pre-Christian religions still believe in an imaginary peaceful "True Christianity".
The LTTE is not just anti-Sinhala, they are anti-Buddhists as well. And in this, they do seem to have a holy pact with certain sections of the Catholic Church and countless evangelical outfits all over the country.Once the LTTE become unpopular again and are once more demoted to their former status as a terrorist organisation, Churches worldwide will undoubtedly distance themselves from them and pull the usual "we never had anything to do with them - in fact we opposed them at every turn". However, like in Rwanda, denial only goes so far, after which documented evidence - all of which is to the contrary - will speak for itself.
Lying about "Christian persecution" with the support of the international media
The never-ending tales that are spun about Christian persecution by followers of pre-Christian religions has another chapter, this time set in Sri Lanka:
...many relief groups and NGOs from my area of the world are involved on the wrong side of Ceylonese politics. In particular, although they aren't the only ones, I am singling out for vitriol several so-called "evangelical" organizations. While it is bad enough that some within or representing these groups try to bribe indigenous Lankans, it is utterly reprehensible that some of them take a racist, anti-Sinhala attitude as well.From: "Christian" Aid Organizations
In particular, watch out for a magazine known as "Christianity Today", the organization World Vision, and the Anglican/Episcopalian churches. These groups are hard at work trying to sell Western evangelical believers a hardcore anti-Buddhist, anti-Hindu, anti-Jewish, anti-Sinhala, anti-Serb ideology. In particular, their anti-Yugoslav platform puzzles me, because Serbs are Christians (Eastern Orthodox) who for many years have warred against both the Nazis and Islamic marauders in Europe.
During the last few days there were reports of attacks on several Christian Churches by unidentified persons. In one recent case the Minister of Christian Affairs and the former Interior Minister himself accused the Evangelical Christian missions as the perpetrators of the crime. There are also reported events where the Evangelists themselves setting fire to their well guarded but ramshackle and illegal structures with the hope of building better structures – in the end with the full compliance from the Christian government in power.No doubt the reasons for doing so include blaming the Buddhists and then crying about persecution in the international media again, so they can get more funds, more missionaries and build more churches.
Anti-Buddhist elements attacking Churches (17.01.2004)Link (refers to a Sri Lankan paper)
The Jathika Sangha Sammelanaya (JSS) yesterday said that there is an organized campaign by anti-Buddhist elements operating in the country that is bent on making religious clashes by way of attacking Churches.
See also: Sri Lanka President's House converted to an Evangelists' head office
with a known evangelist as a spokesman so that the persecuted Buddhists have been made the persecutors.Fighting the Buddhists with 'God’s Armour':
Provoking people who do not agree with them and then accusing those violently provoked of intolerance and fanaticism has been the evangelist strategy, since colonial times. We see plenty of evidence of it today in Sri Lanka and India. Is there any other reason for these proselytizers to open prayer houses in predominantly Buddhist and Hindu areas?
The US State Department in a report on religious freedom issued recently described "an overall deterioration of religious freedom due the actions of extremists" in Sri Lanka.From: Who Created Religious Disharmony in Sri Lanka?
...The timing of this report in the US, is clearly to send a message to the Sri Lankan government and her people who are predominantly Buddhists, that it should not go ahead and pass the Anti-Conversion Bill and also to give warning signals that the US "may consider" some of its famous blackmailing tactics to silence the demand of the majority religion...
Distortion of Facts Through Christian Media
To carry their Catholic/Evangelist plots even further, they are known to give misleading information through various Christian websites to the international communities worldwide, that Sri Lanka is fast becoming a hell-hole of religious extremism, that Sri Lankan Buddhist clergy and laymen are barbarians who are attacking their "Christian Messengers" at every turn. One can check the truth of this if one goes through the websites of International Christian Concern (ICC), World Watch or Christian World News(CWN). Catholics too have their own websites which give similar distorted information. Most of the "so called churches" mentioned in these reports are "grossly illegal operations" which are not even registered, to which they try to give legality! Typical of their mentality, they overstep levels of moral decency and then rush to give publicity to the repercussions, through the internet and pro-Christian TV channels worldwide! It has also been exposed how Christian organizations have been using pictures and statues of Lord Buddha for commercial purposes solely with the motive of insulting and hurting the feelings of Buddhists worldwide. On the contrary, has there been any evidence of Buddhists or Hindus insulting Christ, Virgin Mary or Prophet Mohamed by using them for commercial purposes?
This article also has sections on Buddhist Tolerance, Who Created Religious Disharmony?, Necessity to Introduce the "Anti-Conversion Bill", Hypocrisy of The Catholic Church.
It must be noted that to get Buddhists vexed to the point that they want to pass an Anti-Conversion law must have required some serious crimes on the part of the perpetrators. In other words, the usual Christian methods of violence, terrorism, child abuse, genocide and fostering hatred and violence against indigenous beliefs.
Opposing unethical conversions is not religious intoleranceLink, shows how Christianity once again makes a minority out of the pre-Christian majority.
Mr. Zerney Wijesuriya writing in the Daily Mirror of September 11 and the two representatives of the Women Worker's Christian Association writing in the Daily Mirror of October 8, have raised an alarm over so-called attacks on the Christian community.
There have been no physical attacks on Christians or opposition to Christian religious worship in Sri Lanka by Buddhists as such. The few attacks, not that I condone them, have been against evangelists resorting to unethical conversions. What the colonialists did by brandishing the sword and the use of brutal force then, their agents today are repeating with the use of financial resources targeting the poor Buddhists and Hindus. The unethical conversion process involves the condemnation of Buddhism and the glorification of God asserting that it is God who gives all the money and material benefits which Buddhism cannot give them. There are confirmed admissions in this regard. Will any Christian or Islamic country tolerate the use of bribery and corruption to convert members of their faith to other faiths? They never will.
The Working Women's Christian Association has come out with half-truths claiming non-admission of children of Christian faith to schools and denial of the Christian dead. Who set up schools on religious basis? Was it not the Christians? Is it not the Buddhist children who are denied admission to Christian schools, even state assisted schools? I wonder whether the area rule applies to Christian schools ? Why is it that Christian schools limit the admission of Buddhist children to 10 % or less? Is it not to prevent Buddhist children outnumbering Christian children in those schools? Who introduced segregation of the dead on the basis of the faith? Is it not the Christians? The Christians can bury their dead anywhere if they so wish. But can the Buddhists bury their dead in Christian preserves?
UN intervenes in Sri Lanka on behalf of Evangelical organisations
Though it is not surprising that the paradoxically-named Committee for International Religious Freedom belonging to the U.S. government is headed by a born-again Fundamentalist Christian, it is rather worrying that a truly international organisation that is supposed to be impartial is all but:
Evangelicals are over joyed by UN willing to intervene in influencing Sri Lanka's anti-conversion bill proposed by the Buddhist Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) party and the Minister of Buddhist Affairs.From: UN's intervention in Sri Lanka's anti-conversion bill influenced by Evangelicals
Evangelicals, supported by churches and mission agencies in America are putting their best efforts to make it a Human rights violation.
The Joint Committee of Buddhist Organizations, Sri Lanka, has accused United Nation’s Special Rapporteur Asma Jehangir of falsifying and distorting facts in a press release on the issue of unethical conversions in the island.From: UN Special Rapporteur accused of Pro-Missionary Bias Sri Lanka is under siege - by Christian Eckert, June 9, 2005
We regret very much that Madam Jehangir has exhibited apparent bias towards forces operating against the interests of Buddhists and Hindus who constitute over 80% of the country's population.
Destruction of places of worship.
Madam Jehangir refers to reports of violence and destruction of places of worship, which she considers to be mostly churches, but refrains from mentioning the hundreds of Buddhist shrines and invaluable archeological monuments destroyed over the past few decades including the attacks on the Sacred Bo Tree and the Temple of the Tooth which are venerated by millions of Buddhists the world over, by organized anti-Buddhist elements
Christian Eckert, a German journalist, writes again about unethical conversions in Sri Lanka which was denied by Mrs. Asma Jehangir, UN Special Rapporteur, in her recent report on religious tensions
Mr. Eckert writes: I, too, was astonished - to say the least - on the remarks in the conclusions of the United Nation´s Special Rapporteur, Mrs. Asma Jehangir and her denial that there was 'no concrete proof' of anyone being forced or coerced into giving up their ancestral religion.My colleague Lalith Ganhewa, also a journalist and I had clearly stated in front of the commission that people we had talked to were being coerced and mentally being forced to change their native religion.
In Sri Lanka, US-backed evangelicals have succeeded in getting the United Nations to intervene in the matter of the island’s proposed anti-conversion Bill, mooted by the Buddhist Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) party and the Minister of Buddhist Affairs. The Bill is a sequel to the offence caused by foreign missionaries to the native communities in the wake of the tsunami.Link
Evangelists, however, managed to get UN special envoy, Asma Jehangir of Pakistan, who represents the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR), to visit Sri Lanka and assess the status of freedom of religion there. Although the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR) defines 'Freedom of Religion' as the 'freedom to pray and practice', missionaries always stretch this to mean 'freedom to convert'. They are now working overtime to dub the anti-conversion legislation as a violation of human rights. It remains to be seen how the Sri Lanka government tackles this menace.
Christianity has not learnt that "violation of human rights" means among other things genocide, terrorism or support thereof, abuse including child abuse, forced conversions of people and harassing people in other countries who are practising their indigenous religions. Those are the very things that Christianity has always been guilty of. (See History, Recent Genocide, the rest of this section on Present-day genocide and cultural extermination, Abuse.)
There is no violation of human rights in a law that bans conversions that are unethical in nature. In fact, the law is clearly being enacted to prevent such things from happening by nipping the catastrophic cultural erosion in the bud. Yet apparently "human rights violations" can only go one way, and Sri Lankan Buddhists or Hindus whose rights are perennially transgressed by Christians do not count.
A common front of organized Christian fundamentalists are rallying their forces internationally to block the Freedom of Religion Bill placed before the Sri Lankan parliament to prevent unethical conversions.From: Sri Lanka: Christian Fundamentalists Gang Up Against Unethical Conversions Bill
First, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) hosted a special meeting at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva last week highlighting, what they termed as, "religious persecution in Sri Lanka" and to "focus on anti-conversion legislation".
Second, on the other side of the Atlantic, the Institute on Religion and Public Policy organized a "Roundtable" with Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US, Bernard A.B. Goonetilleke in Capitol Hill, Washington, on April 12, 2005. This ‘Roundtable with the Ambassador’ was to discuss the proposed anti-conversion bill. It is a monthly forum attended by Administration officials, Congressional aides, NGOs, academics, the media and concerned members of the public provides an opportunity for honest and open discussion regarding the civil, political, religious and human rights environment in countries represented by the Ambassadors.Both were moves by Christian nations to impose their will on Sri Lankan parliamentarians through not-so-subtle pressure. The tone of these meetings was set by Janet Epp Buckingham, Director of Law and Public Policy of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, who said that meetings such as the one on 5th April at the UN was to "let the Sri Lankan government know that the world is watching their treatment of religious minorities." (WEA press release, April 11, 2005).
Lanka to Shelve Anti-Conversion Bill after US Pressure
The same success they achieved in southern India where the law to ban unethical conversion was withdrawn after lots of cries of "persecution" by Churches in that country and the international media.
Though the reasonable anti-conversion bill has been denied, the alien unwritten Blasphemy laws protecting Christianity, are in force in Sri Lanka and its media too. Such censorship have led to valid fears that they might eventually be enforced in actual legislation.
Methods for converting are tailored to the targets
The port of entry into conversions is carefully examined and determined by local need. In Nepal for instance where literacy and medical attention is low, schools and hospitals are established. In Sri Lanka where literacy and poverty are both high, Bible translations, published literature and financial aid are provided.Link
The "God squads" are creeping through Section 21 of the Companies Act: They come for your children and your heritage.From: God Squads: Creeping Through Companies Act
It was John Hancok who came up with the telling descriptive "God squads" to refer to the various evangelical operations operating under the cover of "people-friendly" NGOs. He describes in his revealing account of the business of development titled "Lords of Poverty" how officials of World Vision handed over two Honduran rebels over to the El Salvador military who summarily executed them. The work of Christian missionaries in our country needs no introduction.The colonial project came to our shores armed with the Bible in one hand and the gun in the other. Capitalism, or globalisation as it is now called, has not thought fit to abandon this time-honoured custom. What the guns cannot subdue, the missions will take care of. This is the operating dictum. Today there are those who lament the incapacitation of third world peoples to roll back the global processes that plunder our resources and exploit our people. What most people do not realise is that the physical incapacitation is nothing compared to the cultural defeats inflicted by capital. These include both a capitulation to western ideological prerogatives as well as a steady erasure of cultural ethos. The latter being the most telling in the final surrender of our independence. And here, the various "God squads" form the vanguard.
Refuting the 'racist' or 'chauvinistic' labels that non-governmental organisations (NGOs), local and foreign media give them, members of this 'patriotic' movement argue that they are trying to save the country from the forces of globalisation, that they say is being imposed from the outside.From: Sri Lanka Buddhists: Evangelism Issue May Swing Election
The PNM is deeply opposed to the privatisation of nationally-owned assets, especially their sale to foreign interests, and have been campaigning against Christian fundamentalist evangelisation.
Sri Lanka's Village-Based Alternative to Globalization "Sri Lanka's Sarvodaya Movement Uses Self-Help to Lift Poor":
Sarvodaya, a village-based movement in Sri Lanka, has been seeking for decades to improve the lot of millions of poor people with self-help programs based on Buddhist principles.Good luck to them. Hopefully international missionaries and local Churches won't resort to their usual defamation, arresting without evidence, murder or burning down of important facilities to prevent such indigenous methods for improvement from taking off. After all, if word got out that such local methods worked, then governments can do without missionary "aid". More on missionaries and globalisation: Sri Lanka is under siege by Christian Eckert, June 9, 2005
Inculturation with an eye on making more conversions
In India, the majority Hindu culture and religious practises are copied by Catholicism to make Christianity appear indigenously "Indian" on the surface and make it more appealing to the unconverted. In the same manner, in Sri Lanka, it is the majority's Buddhist culture and practises that are stolen:
...we have seen the Catholic church changing the tune of its hymns to sound like the ‘Bhakthi Gee’ of Buddhists. We have seen the Catholic church use traditional Gok Kola which Buddhists use (coconut leaves) to decorate their churches during religious festivals. We have also noticed the Catholic church adopting terminology used by the Buddhist clergy such as ‘ Maha Nayake’(Chief Monk), ‘Anunayake’(Deputy Chief Monk) to address their Catholic clergy, ‘Aramaya ‘(which is the Sinhala term for a Buddhist temple) being used to call a church, to use ‘Bhavana’ for meditation in the church. The very meaning of ‘Bhavana’ in the Buddhist sense, is totally different to the Catholic implication. Formerly Christians went to “Sunday School’ now they go to “Daham Pasala’ like in the Buddhist practises. The word ‘ Sunday School’ has a very specific meaning to the Christian community- why change it to ‘Daham Pasala?’ The word ‘Daham Pasala’ or ‘Dhamma School’ is very special to Buddhists because they are taught the Buddha Dhamma. Where would you find Dhamma being taught in a Catholic/Christian church? There are many more similar terminology which has been adopted by the Catholic church on instructions received from Rome, through a period of time which has given the Catholic church an artificial flavour. These changes have not been done without a motive behind it.From: Who Created Religious Disharmony in Sri Lanka?
Promoting hatred and violence in converts towards former beliefs
I have seen a letter sent by one such Buddhist priest. He named the agency, a well known religious group. They had set up an organisation, where the workers were paid. A childrens group was also set up. Adults were helped in various ways such as money, houses, jobs and other forms of financial support. These recruits were encouraged thereafter to become antagonistic to Buddhism. They became anti-temple. Dayakayas were specially selected and weaned away from the Buddhist temple. Attendance at the Daham Pasala dropped. A hall put up for an agricultural project, looked just like a church.From: Christian conversion in Buddhist Sri Lanka
More coming their way:
Foreign Funds for Evangelist teams in Sri Lanka - BMS World MissionLink
"As from November 2002 BMS World Mission will support five new national workers in their evangelism work around Sri Lanka.
BMS World Mission has been involved with work in Sri Lanka for almost 200 years, mainly in education, printing, translation and church work. More recently, BMS has been supplying annual grants and sending short-term personnel to work with five partner organisations which are now running some 600 projects throughout Sri Lanka."
Evangelical groups are not only highly organised in their methods to undermine indigenous religions in India, but also in Sri Lanka. As always, they have great clout in the media:
...there is a great commitment on the part of the collective evangelical movement in Sri Lanka to expand rapidly in terms of the numbers of church structures and adherents. Much of their activities are geared towards achieving these twin goals. It is in this urge for expansion that one may locate the aggression of evangelism. Let me offer a personal example. On December 22nd 1997, I was interviewed over the air by the Sinhala service of the BBC. During the interview, I discussed in some detail what contemporary Buddhist cultural practices owe to Christian religiosity.From: New Evangelical Movements and Conflicts in South Asia - Sri Lanka and Nepal in Perspective
A few days later, I received an unsigned letter written in Sinhala, which made a number of observations and suggestions. While congratulating me for my ideas, it stated that I would be given whatever help needed in the future to carry out my "activities." Interestingly, those who wrote the letter interpreted my academic discussion on cultural borrowing and culture change as an expression of anti-Buddhist sentiments. Hence their interest in me. The letter went on to make the following points:"--- We believe that by spreading Christian and Catholic ideas in society, Sri Lanka can be greatly developed. For that purpose, we have mobilized media apparatus in all sections of mass media --- When you express ideas such as these through public media a few more times, our center will contact you again under our own name. We will also assist you in your economic problems. May you have a happy Christmas."In a sense, this letter shows the alertness in which sections of the evangelical movement looks for followers. If they perceive an individual is ready for conversion, or can be tempted, activities towards that end begin immediately. This letter is merely one of such activities. The reason why I have referred to this letter is, because it places in context the notion of aggressiveness, which I wanted to address. Similarly, in the Kelaniya area, two Buddhist monks and at least one Catholic priest have told me that evangelical workers visited their institutions to "talk about their ideas." Generally, visiting homes, the distribution of literature, and the performance of large public healing or prayers services are all parts of this rather aggressive outreach program. As noted earlier, all these activities are generally geared towards the expansion of the overall evangelical project, which in turn also give them much visibility in society.
See also: Sri Lanka is under siege by Christian Eckert, June 9, 2005
Now it's spread to Sri Lanka. A recent example (Warning):
IGP directs probe on shady activities - Online edition of Daily News (a Sri Lankan newspaper), January 15, 2004
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Indra De Silva revealed he was in receipt of reliable evidence pointing to the involvement of certain Christian fundamentalist sects in various nefarious activities including child sex.
The IGP said that he had been personally provided with information including video footage of these shady activities that included molesting of underaged children by so called "pastors".
Mysterious death of Buddhist leader, assassination attempts on Hindu leader - both opposed to conversions.
Death threats to Buddhist leaders who are against unethical conversions.
The Venerable Gangodawila Soma Thera, 57, had arrived in Russia on October 10 on a ten-day visit to accept an honorary doctorate conferred on him by the International University Of Fundamental Studies (IUFS) in St Petersburg.From: Christian fundamentalists blamed for Ven. Soma's death - The Dhamma Times, December 24, 2003, also here
Mourners decorated the streets with yellow flags and levelled allegations against IUFS' Rector, a Sri Lankan who had invited the Venerable Soma Thera to Russia. According to the Buddhists, the Rector, who is also a Christian priest and a degree holder in Christian Theology, had invited the monk to Russia with ulterior motives.
They allege that Soma Thera was eliminated because he was an outspoken critic of Christian missionaries who were converting Buddhists to Christianity.
The Buddhist organizations say it is highly unlikely that a healthy Soma Thera would have suddenly had a heart attack the day of his arrival in Russia.
They claim Christian forces conspired and murdered the articulate and charismatic monk who was also the head of the Buddhist temple in Perth, Australia in the 1990s. Alleges the convenor of the National Buddhist Monks Congress, the Venerable Ellawala Medananda Thera, "Money was channelled here to silence those who spoke against the work of certain radical Christian sects that have even earned the wrath of the Roman Catholic Church here. Soma Thera was right on top of their hit list."Significantly, prior to his Russia visit, in several newspaper interviews, Soma Thera had spoken about a plot to murder him by these sects. The Sasana Sevaka Sangamaya, a lay organization formed by Soma Thera, claims it has information that Christian fundamentalists had arranged a sum of US $24,000 to silence him and Medananda Thera.
"The Venerable Soma gave leadership to the Sinhala Buddhists who were blind to the threat to their religion. His voice was the true voice of the Sinhala Buddhists. Now that he is no more, there's no hope for us," laments retired literature teacher, Sumana Perera.
But Thera fell ill immediately, dying of a heart attack on December 12, after being bed-ridden for several weeks.
But the Christians aren't ready to be thrown to the lions. Says an activist of the Assembly of God, Bandula Jayamanne, "The autopsy conducted on December 18 has made it clear that Soma Thera's death was caused by a heart attack. It is ridiculous to blame us." He adds, "We have never been involved in unethical conversions and those who join our church are doing so because they are convinced of our teachings."
It is most ridiculous that the Assembly of God churches have denied having ever been involved in unethical conversions. Unless of course, their view of ethics is shaped by their beliefs. In which case they can do no wrong in the pursuit of converts, as is evidenced by the conversion methods employed by all Christian denominations throughout history.
Buddhists in Sri Lanka and Australia demand a full investigation into the death of venerable Soma - at Go2lanka, December 16 2003 (Sri Lankan news):
...demanded a full investigation into the sudden death of Venerable Soma, who died in St. Petersburg Russia while being hosted by a Sri Lankan fundamentalist Christian priest Reverend Shanthi Pushpakumara Jayasekera.(The samples of Jayasekera's written correspondence presented on the page are in fact unintelligible. If nothing else about this case can be considered a laughing matter, his ridiculous list of credentials certainly are. Astronaut?!)
A spokesman for a fundamental Christian seminary in Pasadena, called International Theological University told this correspondent that Rev. Jayasekera who is the founder head of the Russian institution had obtained his law degree related to Christian theology, the JD (Juris Doctor) from their institution.
The International University of Fundamental Studies listed Jayasekera’s titles and degrees as follows:"Founder of the International University of Fundamental Studies and Rector - Chancellor of IUFS, Chairman to the Committee of Foreign Relationa - State Duma Sport Council - National Security Council , Vice President of the International Academy of Information, Communication, Control in Engineering, Nature and Society (Russia), Vice President of the Program of "Preservation of Mankind's Genefound", Vice Chairman of the World Scientific Association - Rev. Prof. Shanti P. Jayasekara, D.D, Ph.D., Ed.D., J. D., D.Sc., - Theologian (USA) - Professor in Satellite Television Systems - Academician (Russia) - Astronaut - Cosmonautics Federation of. Russia."Emails from this correspondent to Rev. Jayasekera requesting to explain from which universities the very impressive array of degrees were obtained by him was yet to be replied.
So, the attempt of this correspondent to check the credibility of at least the six doctorates he is claiming to hold failed. Despite the claim that some of these doctorates were obtained in the United States of America , Rev. Jayasekera showed poor English writing skills in some of the emails he wrote to sources close to Venerable Soma’s temple in Victoria, Australia when they inquired from him about Venerable Soma’s condition.
People who examined the writing of Jayasekera were amazed how a person who held six doctorates, some from the USA could write in such poor grammar and with that many spelling errors...
The Maharagama Sasana Sevaka Samithiya said that nearly 20,000 US dollars had been sent to Rev. Jayasekera when a friend of the late Venerable Soma heard that his friend was suffering from a heart ailment but Jayasekera returned the money to Sri Lanka without using them.Meanwhile the Maharagama Sasana Sevaka Sangamaya alleged Christian fundamentalist organizations in Sri Lanka had established funds to silence various elements in Sri Lanka who could become a threat to their movement: They said the money allocated to silence the late Venerable Soma and Ellawela Medhananda was nearly 24,000 dollars. They said all money came from the US from two organizations and one was Harvest World of America. Under the same project they had allocated funds to silence Chief Justice Sarath N.Silva, Supreme Court Judge Shiranee Bandaranayaka, and Diyawadana Nilame Neranjan Wijeratne who had taken certain steps in the course of their duties against Christian fundamentalists.
Meanwhile sources in Australia charged that under their knowledge Sinhala Buddhists in Moscow handed over five thousand dollars to Jayasekera to help Venerable Soma but the late Venerable Soma died without adequate medical attention. They said if not for murder criminal negligence should be investigated in to the death of the Venerable Soma who went to Russia to return after ten days but died there after two months without proper medical assistance when sources in Russia as well as in Sri Lanka provided funds necessary for the treatment. Australian temple authorities said the Moscow Sinhalese arranged hospitals under best expert care in Moscow but under the pressure of Jayasekera the late monk preferred to stay in St. Petersburg.
The demise of Ven. Gangodawila Soma Thero happened to be an unbearable loss to all Sinhala Buddhist in Sri Lanka. It was him who woke up the Buddhists who were in a deep sleep. It was him who showed the real Buddhism to the label Buddhists. It was him who lit the light to the darkness of ignorance of Sinhala Buddhist people. His sermons had been blasts for the Christian Fundamentalist Evangelists.From: Anti-Buddhist Feelings made Risen by exaggerated reporting
Does Lindsay Beck [who wrote a Reuters news article presenting Christians as victims of persecution and blaming Sri Lanka's Buddhists] know, that Soma Thero had been attacked on some occasions, by some Christians when he was doing sermons against unethical conversions? Why doesn’t the writer talk about the death threats, which Soma Thero got? Can anyone say that the whole incident is not suspicious?
Even though it is tried hard to emphasize that Buddhists have become powerful and they are harming Christians, the truth is in our own Buddhist land we have become helpless against the powerful hands of Christianity. Leading monks of the country are forced to shut their sermons, and they have started getting death threats as they have motivated to talk against the activities of fundamentalist sects, with the passing away of Soma Thero.
There are organized groups operated in Sri Lanka to collect information about active Buddhist laymen and monks. Even there are people who appears as monks to spy on the activities of Buddhists. There are enough people to support Churchism through the loopholes of corrupt politicians in Sri Lanka. Therefore the feelings arise are Anti-Buddhist, but not Anti-Christian.
Any amount of commissions or inquires conducted in Sri Lanka into the death of Ven Soma Thero will be pointless. What is essential is for a team comprising of a eminent cardiologist, forensic pathologist and a couple of C.I.D officers to be sent to Russia to conduct a detailed investigation. Was the monk lured to Russia with a bogus invitation? Why did a Christian priest of Sri Lankan origin, from a dubious institution, offer a doctorate to someone who had been so active in the crusade against unethical conversions? What was this man's motive?From: The death of Ven. Soma Thero - LankaWeb news.
The medical team will have to conduct a detailed examination of the medical records, the train of events that led to the monk's demise. Who were the people responsible for looking after the monk and the quality of their care before admission to hospital and after being sent to a sanatorium for rehabilitation. It is the job of the medical team to ascertain whether the changeover to insulin was neccassary in a foreign country and who instructed the change, specially because injecting insulin is an easy way to cause death. Who administered the insulin, what was the standard of care and was the blood insulin level and blood glucose level checked when the thero fell ill a second time? It is well known that unless severly warranted, diabetic therapy would normally be changed only by the physician who regularly monitors the diabetes.
More: Venerable Soma Thera's last letter - translated into English and published in the Buddhist News Network, February 19, 2004.
Assassination attempts on a Hindu religious leader of Sri Lanka in 2004: the "former Hindu Religious and Cultural Affairs Minister T. Maheswaran". He was also opposed to conversions. No one has been apprehended yet.
See Attempted Assasination on Anti-Conversion Hindu Religious Affairs Minister
Tallying it up, there's the death of a Buddhist monk who died under suspicious circumstances, who had received death threats and had already been attacked by Christians when speaking against unethical conversions. Then there are several other Buddhist leaders and monks who've also been sent death threats for their forbidding stance on conversions. And finally, there's the Hindu religious leader in Sri Lanka, also opposed to conversions, upon whose life an assassination attempt has been made. Taken together, these situations no longer seem to be quite that mysterious.
- The section on Nepal has some more on Christian evangelism in Sri Lanka today.
- Focus - Examining evangelism in Sri Lanka and South Asia
Looks at this reprehensible issue from a pluralistic perspective which believes there's also a peaceful Christianity. The Buddhists and Hindus of the Focus have convinced themselves that this True Christianity doesn't work like the violent one they are exposed to. Though the site defends True Christianity, it has articles about how Christianity (the only kind that ever existed) is working through Sri Lanka and the rest of South Asia like a storm leaving cultureless lands in its wake.
- Conversion: A Buddhist Perspective - by Ven. Dhammika from Australia (a monk). The writer of this article also believes in the fabled peaceful True Christianity.
- Christian Aggression
- a site about Indians and Sri Lankans who follow their indigenous religions and oppose the aggression perpetrated by Christianity against their cultures and beliefs.
- Amarasara's page on the monk Gangodawila Soma.
It also includes a section headed
Latest News > "Unethical & Immoral" Religious Conversions of Buddhists; and Articles > "Unethical & Immoral" Religious Conversions of Buddhists & Hindus