Thursday, October 30, 2008

Philadelphia Protest For Christians

The Peace Rally held at Dilworth Plaza of the Philadelphia City hall, by the Indian Christian Fellowship of Delaware valley on October 26, 2008.

I am happy to inform that about 2000 members attended the Rally from about 37 Churches of various denominations and languages for the first time expressing their solidarity to the suffering brethren in India.

Attendees included (1) Emily Fisher, Chief of Staff of the Office of Immigration and Naturalization Services in Philadelphia, local radio host and former Pennsylvania state senator and (2) Attorney General Bob Rovner, (3) Mr. Brendan Boyle, candidate for Pennsylvania state representative, the (4) Hon. Jimmy McLeon, municipal court judge, and (5) Mr. Anuj Gupta, Managing Director for Performance Management for the city of Philadelphia. (6) Sister Judy Crype and CIO President (7) Mr. Nick Shinoy represented the Archdiocese. Also present was (8) Dr. Victor Joseph, Chairman of Governmental Affairs, Federation of Indian American Christian Organization of North America. Also present to welcome these guests were well known leaders of the Indian community including (1) Mr. George Mathews, (2) Mr. Vincent Emmanuel and (3) Mr. Joby George.

Speakers encouraged the crowd and citizens throughout the city to contact their government officials – local and federal – to urge them to help bring and end to the attacks. Mr. Boyle emphasized this as not just a Christian or religious issue but a global issue, stating “I think we are all called to stand for peace and justice.” The Honorable Judge McLeon affirmed his support for human rights and all called particular attention to the situation in India. In an effort to further spread awareness, Mr. Rover promised a half-hour slot on his radio talk show focused on the ongoing crisis in India, to air from 3:30 – 4:00 PM EST on Saturday, November 8th.

Community leaders including Rev. Fr. K.K. John, Chairman of the Ecumenical Fellowship of Indian Christians in Philadelphia, Rev. Fr. Babu Joseph, Missionary priest from Orissa, Rev. Samuel John, Pastor of Grace Pentecostal Church in Philadelphia, Rev. Fr. Tony Uvary, Jesuit priest from Orissa, Dr. Abraham Mathew, Physician and local missionary, pointed to a common faith as a guiding principle for peace, even in the face of violence. Rev.Fr KK John gave an account of Christian Perspective of Persecution and Christian contribution to enrich India's cultural heritage. Pastor Rev Samuel spoke biblical perspective of the current situation stating that "We as Christians do not fear death". Dr. Mathew said, “It is the basic call of Christians to proclaim Christ. We continue to carry out our mission because it is the commandment from God.”

I must add that all the participants stayed the whole time of program with piety. Pin-drop silence was kept throughout. They carried plackards to shun violence and restore peace and yet not uttered a word. The discipline and decorum maintained at the scene has greatly enhanced the image of Indian Community. Never before such commendable discipline and public decorum was shown by a mass gathering like this. Every arrangement was meticulously detailed and carried out. Invisible hand of God was evident throughout the program. Thanks be to God and all fellow Christians.

It was certain that the participant's hearts were warmed by the inspirational words of speakers. Mr. Jerry George, gave the Vote of Thanks and closing speech. Mr. Rene Joseph led the hymn, ‘We Shall Overcome.” It was sung in English as well as four Indian languages, Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, and Guajarati. The song was specifically chosen to symbolize their faith and belief that the Indian community will indeed overcome the situation in India and human rights and peace will once again be restored.

My Speech at the Rally- Christian perspective of Persecution

“In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world,” John 16:33.

Honorable and distinguished, officers, media members, believers, ladies and gentlemen,

Greetings to you, in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As Chairman of the Ecumenical Fellowship of Indian Christians in Philadelphia, I represent 20 churches and 6000 families. I bring to your attention that while we enjoy the comforts, security and affluence of United States, our Christian brethren in India are subjected to sever torture, inhuman atrocities and persecutions by certain misguided, militant miscreants with their declared motto of wiping out Christianity from the Indian soil.

In the last six months more than 60 people, mostly missionaries, priests and nuns were brutally killed, many women, mostly nuns were raped, children were sliced in front of the parents for not denouncing Jesus, believers were forced to urinate on the Holy Bible, 15 schools and institutions were ransacked and destroyed, 80,000 were severely injured, 5000 homes were burnt down, 50,000 fled to forest and are still refugees. The actual account is still unknown. The State and Central Government have not taken any action to contain violence and assure human rights guaranteed in the Indian Constitution. The apathy and lethargy of the government serves an indirect support to the miscreants. These are black marks, which disfigured the face of India as the oldest surviving civilization and the largest democracy in the world. Deplorable indeed, it is not Democracy but ‘Mobocracy’ that rules in India, in these days. Until recently India had a reputation for its
tolerance of all faiths, love of peace and communal harmony, but not anymore.

As Christians our attitude toward the misguided fanatic persecutors is not revenge for, “Vengeance is mine,” says the Lord but sympathy and forgiveness; we pray for the persecutors. “Lord, convert them as “Chosen vessels” such as Saul to St Paul.”

But we are undaunted and cannot be intimidated. We continue our philanthropic social works to uplift the poor, the neglected and the downtrodden. Jesus has promised that the “Gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church and “I shall be with you unto the end of the world.” St Augustine said, “Human cities rise and fall, but the City of God remains.

We resolve to continue preaching the Gospel with added vigor, for, that is the Commandment from our Lord. Our Gospel is love, harmony, respect and peaceful co-existence. “The world was evolved out of love. It is sustained by love and the world shall cease to exist when love is lost.”

We strongly denounce proselytizing; but we believe, uphold and reiterate that a citizen of India has the individual freedom to choose and practice any religion. Conversion is a matter of heart and one’s birthright. No one has a right to interfere with another’s liberty.

The State and Central Government has duty ensure that the rights and privileges guaranteed under the Constitution of India are protected without favoritism or vested interests. Sadly indeed, the Government of India has utterly failed in this respect and that has led to rampant violation of Human Rights, in Orissa, Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala and elsewhere.

Those victims of violence became living sacrifices unto the Lord. We do not fear neither persecution nor death because Jesus said, “Be of good cheer when they persecute you for my namesake, for your reward in heaven is great. I have overcome the world” No earthly force can take away the comfort, hope and courage that we have in Christ.

United States Government is the most powerful democracy and indisputable leader in the comity of nations and financially helping India. We implore the Hon President and the US Government to invoke international pressure on the Government of India to immediately stop violence and restore law and order in Orissa, Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala and elsewhere, because (1) the victims-suffering Christians are too weak for self-defense and (2) the Government has been inactive having not taken necessary action to contain violence and ensure protection of human rights of the minority.

I appeal to the Media to raise their voice and do everything in their power to condemn human rights violation, wherever it is.

Let the American public and the fanatic radicals know that Christianity came to India in AD 52. Christianity is not a foreign religion in the Indian soil. Christians are law abiding, patriotic and hardworking both in the land of birth and the land of domicile. India is a secular republic. Use your good influence to help the suffering and persecuted Christian minority in India.

I admonish the persecutors and the misguided radicals to look at the history of Christianity and learn that those who hated it became its protectors. Emperor Julian, successor of Constantine the Great, reintroduced the ‘emperor worship’ and challenging Christ, let loose persecutions against Christians. He was fatally injured in a war, covered in his own blood, made a final statement, “O man of Galilee, you conquered” and died.

I say to the Christians, we have sinned against the Lord, by creating, nurturing and maintaining divisions in the Church against the will of God. The Lord prayed to the Father, “They may be one, just as we are one.” We grieved the Holy Spirit by not shedding pride and ego. Our division is the weapon in the hands of Satan and the strength to the perpetrators of hatred. Let us learn to unite.

Thank you and God bless you

K K Johnachen.

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Anonymous said...

A Christian Nun, A virgin lady is being raped by the anti social
elements in the name of the religion. The state government is
supporting that crime with silence and showing green flag to those
fundamentalist criminals. It will happen in India now because the
top most criminals are turning as politicians and they are becoming
ministers in the Government and that is the present wonderful
phenomenon of our so called traditional "Arsha Bharatham".

The victim is a Nun of the Catholic Church but does it an exemption
to other Christian denominations to keep silent? This great question
mark is in front of all the Christians as well as other faithful
religion because every one believes in God and the brutal act against
an innocent female is not justifiable by any religion. Even the
religion of Acharya Rajaneesh cannot justify it.

How far did our spiritual leaders listen about this brutality? "You
should not keep silent if someone is denied justice." That is the
teaching of the Christianity. Is it just for preaching only or is it
for bring in to being in practical life?

Every human being who born from a mother need to raise his or her
voice to get justice to that Poor nun who submitted her life to God,
otherwise there is no use with your tong. Then the "stones may raise
the voice against these brutality acts in India."

Which political party condemned this acts? Who did anything in
practical against these acts? The population of Christians in India
is only 2.3%, which is not countable in election for any political
party to get in power and that is also splitting to the baskets of
different political parties.

So the Christians in India are divided in the name of the
denominations and split into several groups and the majority is
ignoring the teaching of the truth of the Christianity and getting
the punishment one by one.

Now I am dreaming and praying to God the almighty to send St. John
once again to this earth to call the name " Sarppa Santhathikalee" to
the face of all the Christians those who are the namesake Christians
and fighting each other for the titles with a sugar coat of faith.

Charly V. Padanilam, Houston, TX

Anonymous said...

Indian Christianity is composed of two major communities: the orthodox and the heterodox.

The orthodox are composed of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The heterodox are composed of the Protestants, evangelicals and other heretical cults that are *modern* introductions into India.

The orthodox groups are bonafide Christians who include Christians that were in India from ancient times (at least the 4th century). The Syriac Christians of Kerala (Church of the East, Syro-Malabar Catholic, Syriac/Malankara Orthodox, Malankara Catholic) are the only remaining descendants of this community. The Latin Catholics are also orthodox in faith, and are the product of conversions. All of these groups --- orthodox Christians --- do not, in general, engage in haphazard missionary activity. Missionary activity is largely confined to social service; if conversions occur, they occur by choice and not through deception.

The Protestants on the other hand (evangelicals, CSI, CMI, Mar Thomites, etc) are a different breed. They are the product of modern missionary activity, often by "low Church" Protestants cults. They are *NOT* representatives of Christianity. They represent a heterodox pseudo-Christian faith --- and they are responsible largely for the irresponsible missionary activity that results in reprisals from Hindu fundamentalist groups.

Although all religious violence is vile, it is unfortunate that the actions of a heterodox cult minority is resulting in reprisals against *all* Christians.

It would be good if these ignorant Indian-American Christians cease their irresponsible painting of all Christianity as one homogeneous group. Christianity is certainly *NOT* unified. It is separated --- legitimately --- into orthodox and heterodox (i.e., cultish) groups.

Monastery of the Holy Martyrs - Orthodox Monastery, Syriac Orthodox

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