Missionaries are Colonialists
Gregory F. Fegel
This was originally posted on Pravda: http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/106593-0/
Christian missionaries make no secret of the fact that they use medical services, education, and employment opportunities to lure impoverished indigenous populations throughout the world into conversion to Christianity.
According to the popular and scholarly history of Christianity, the early Christian Church found its greatest appeal and attracted its greatest number of converts from the poor people of the Roman Empire. The early Christian churches raised money though a tithe, or ten per cent income tax, levied on their members, and the early Christian Church is said to have had a strong "sense of community", which implies that it had a well-organized social, financial, and political network among its membership.
Using your wealth to purchase other people's loyalty is a game as old as humanity itself. Rich men use their wealth to attract women, unscrupulous employers use material incentives and disincentives to manipulate their workers, and wealthy countries like the USA use their national wealth to keep their citizens loyal to the cause of aggressive and genocidal Imperialism. But historical longevity and common practice don't make the manipulation or exploitation morally or ethically right.
Organized religions are inherently POLITICAL organizations. There is a fundamental difference between the financial enterprise and political machinations of an organized religion versus a mass of independent unaffiliated believers, philosophers, and mystics who do not support any organized religion.
Christianity and Islam are known as proselytizing religions because they make an organized and systemic effort to gain converts, and they often provide services, products, or employment to attract converts. Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism show far less zeal about gaining converts, which is why you almost never hear about Jewish, Hindu, or Buddhist missionaries.
Modern medical and nursing schools usually teach their students the moral principle that the provision of medical services should never be used as a means to proselytize or promote a religion, but that does not deter many Christian health care providers from doing exactly that. Most of the medical and charitable organizations based in Christian countries are fronts for Christian proselytizing activities.
One of the largest international medical relief organizations based in the USA, Northwest Medical Teams, states in their recruitment brochure that their chief "mission" is to "spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ", that their medical relief services are subordinate to their stated goal of proselytizing Christianity, and that their medical relief work is merely an "aegis", or facade, for spreading Christianity.
The religious and cultural Imperialism performed by missionaries nearly always goes hand-in-hand with political and economic Imperialism. Christian missionaries often work in partnership with the CIA, with the US government, and with wealthy corporations to subvert the religion, the culture, the economy, and the politics of vulnerable indigenous populations. The CIA often uses planes owned by Christian missionary organizations and flown by Christian missionary pilots to smuggle drugs, arms, and prisoners.
During the CIA's illegal Iran/Contra scam of the 1980s, Christian missionary pilots and planes smuggled drugs into the USA and arms into Central America and Iran. Now the CIA is using Christian missionary planes to smuggle heroin from Afghanistan, cocaine from Latin America, and for "rendition" flights of "Terrorist" prisoners to secret prisons that practice torture and commit extra-judicial executions.
The USA's Faith Based Initiative law provides Christian missionary organizations with taxpayer funds that are used to proselytize Christianity to indigenous populations throughout the world. Christian missionaries are the leading edge of a religious, cultural, economic, and political aggression supported by the US government.
When missionaries bring outside wealth to an impoverished Third World country and use that wealth to provide services that are meant to attract converts, they are interfering with the local social and economic structure as well as the local cultural traditions. Indigenous people who take advantage of the privileges provided by the missionaries and convert to Christianity partake in a social organization that uses foreign wealth as a tool to eliminate the indigenous culture and replace it with Christianity.
A small and reclusive population of a few hundred people with a primitive Stone Age culture lives on North Sentinel Island, in the Andaman chain, which is administered by the government of India. To protect the culture of the inhabitants of North Sentinel Island, the Indian government has wisely banned anyone from visiting the island. I approve of the Indian government's policy of protecting the unique culture of the North Sentinels from outside influence. If anyone on North Sentinel Island should ever desire to leave, they could build a boat and do so.
Among a total of 195 nations in the world today, fifty-seven of those nations have a legally established, official State Religion. There are fourteen nations that claim Christianity as their State Religion, twenty-six nations that claim Islam as their State Religion, six nations that claim Buddhism as their State Religion, and the Jewish State of Israel. The Jewish State of Israel discriminates against its non-Jewish citizens and within its borders Israel officially prohibits the proselytizing of any religion other than Judaism. Many people believe that Israel has a right to exist in this manner as a Jewish State.
Many Islamic countries strive to protect the cultural identity of their citizens by enforcing a ban on preaching any religion but Islam. Considering the aggressive, insidious, and highly political nature of Christian missionary programs, the banning of non-Moslem religious preaching by Moslem governments makes sense.
Currently there is no officially Hindu State anywhere in the world, but perhaps India should become a Hindu State in order to protect its indigenous religion and culture from the predatory missionaries and State-sponsored cultural Imperialism that are coming from both Christian and Moslem countries. If the Jews have the right to establish and maintain Israel as a Jewish State, then the Hindus certainly have a right to establish and maintain India as a Hindu State.
When Western leaders talk about a "Clash of Civilizations", what they really mean is Judeo-Christianity and corporate Capitalism versus all non-Christians and non-Capitalists. Christian missionaries are essentially colonialists working for Christian cultural Imperialism.
When the Hindus of India rise up in riot and drive out the Christian missionaries and the Christian "cash converts", they are doing what the Iraqi, Afghani, and Palestinian Freedom Fighters are doing. They are protecting themselves and their indigenous culture from wealthy and unscrupulous invaders who have no respect for them or their culture. I wish the Hindu nationalists well in their efforts to defend and maintain the independence and survival of their indigenous culture and religion against the onslaught of predatory and disrespectful foreigners whose goal is to replace indigenous traditional cultures with a global Christian empire.
If Christian missionaries want to come to India and try to make converts to Christianity, let them come with empty pockets and compete on a level playing field. And if most of the locals don't want the missionaries interfering with their traditional way of life, they have the right to make the missionaries and their converts leave.
See also Hong Kong resident Virginia Yue on the subject when I interviewed her in 2008
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