Skip to comments.Pope asks India not to ban religious conversions
Posted on 05/19/2006 6:12:50 PM PDT by nickcarraway
India has responded with diplomatic equanimity to Pope Benedict XVI's seemingly provocative remarks condemning attempts to ban religious conversion in certain states.
The pope had told Indias new ambassador to the Vatican, Amitava Tripathi, on Thursday that the country should "firmly reject" attempts "to legislate clearly discriminatory restrictions on the fundamental right to religious freedom". He had also taken note of the "disturbing signs of religious intolerance which had troubled some regions of the nation".
New Delhi responded on Friday with a statement, reiterating the constitutional "freedom of conscience" and the right to freely profess, practise and propagate religion. "It is acknowledged universally that India is a secular and democratic country where adherents of all faiths enjoy equal rights," said a foreign ministry spokesperson.
It was the pope's second declaration this week in defence of religious freedom in countries where Christians are a minority. In India, the statement comes in the backdrop of Rajasthan planning to become the sixth state to enact the anti-conversion law the pope was referring to. Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Orissa already have laws that bar conversions but allow re-conversions to Hinduism. Jharkhand has declared its intention to enact a similar law.
The BJP-ruled Rajasthan, however, has not been able to convince Governor Pratibha Patil to give her assent to the Religious Conversion Bill. She returned the bill making a point similar to the one made by the pope -- that its provisions would affect the right to freedom of religion.
The BJP has often attributed attacks on Christian missionaries, including the murder of Graham Staines in Orissa, as reactions to their proselytising. During his recent Bharat Suraksha Yatra, BJP president Rajnath Singh had described proselytising "dangerous" and asked all BJP-ruled states to enact a similar law.
Indian states attempt to deny religious freedom, and the Pope is being "provocative" by condemning this human rights breach? Give me a break!
unfortunately this pope is not as well respected as his predecessor
Kinda nice to have a Pope again....
"Kinda nice to have a Pope again...."
Did the Pope weigh in on that guy in Afghanistan who was facing death for converting to Christianity 20 years ago?
One could argue that it is the Vatican that needs to give religious freedom. The Pope should first allow a hindu temple to be built there.
Religious freedom? Good idea!
Hey Pope......how about a Hindu temple in Vatican huh?
A rather silly argument, and the same one used by the Saudis.
It doesn't fly. The Vatican is a special tiny state which houses a handful of buildings. The accurate comparison would be with Italy, which allows religious freedom.
"A rather silly argument, and the same one used by the Saudis.
It doesn't fly. The Vatican is a special tiny state which houses a handful of buildings. The accurate comparison would be with Italy, which allows religious freedom."
The only arguement made by your side is:
"I want to full right to enter your home (even if it maybe against your wishes) also have the right to denigrate and demonise your religion and culture as a form satanic ritual of "Pagans" and I want to have full right to covert you (through whatever means possible) ............. while I will allow no such nonsense on my turf.........because Vatican is a small .....blah blah...."
No takers for that brand of "Religious freedom" in India and rightly so.
Would it be fairer if Italy lets the non-Catholics have a "special tiny state which houses a handful of buildings" of their own, then?
Just wanted to see a reply to this Devil's argument.
And on the scale of the relative size of the Vatican and the country of Italy...I'd say it's fair for allowing the same privileges to India's state that enacted those "special privileges", compared to the rest of the country.
In my book, religion is personal. No citizen of the Vatican should be denied the universal right of choosing the religion of his or her will, or rejecting it outright.
The same goes to the bigoted governments of those Indian states in question.
Talking about "religious persecution", there are many Christian counties where the Hare Krishnas get routinely harrassed, tortured, assaulted and their temples are attacked. This is sometimes indirectly done by the government of those countries.
BTW I am fully in favour of the anti-conversion law.
It helps if someone could get the exact law in question here...I'll decide once I see it.
Theres no fundamental right to convert: SC TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2006 02:11:15 AM]
NEW DELHI: The Vaticans stand that the fundamental right to practice and propagate religion includes the right to convert was an issue considered and rejected by the Supreme Court.
In a 1977 judgement in the Rev Stanislaus versus the State of Madhya Pradesh, the court had upheld the constitutional validity of conversion-prohibiting laws enacted by Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.
The two states, which were then controlled by the Congress, had passed anti-conversion laws in 1967 and 1968, respectively. What the Constitution grants is not the right to convert another person to ones own religion, but to transmit or spread ones religion by an exposition of its tenets, the court had ruled.
According to the SC, organised conversion, whether by force or fraud or by providing help or allurement to persons, taking undue advantage of their poverty and ignorance, is anti- secular.
The court had said respect for all religions was the essence of our secularism, whereas religious intolerance constituted the basis of planned conversion. Given this, conversion cannot be a secular activity.
Besides Orissa and MP, three other states have anti-conversion law in the statute. They include Chhattisgarh which retained the law after the bifurcation Arunachal Pradesh and Gujarat.
Tamil Nadu, too, had passed a law in 2002, but repealed it when the AIADMK succeeded in projecting the law as one aimed at minorities in the state.
Thanks for the article.
Tiny vatican can definitely make place for a tiny temple. :-). By the way it isnt just the vatican, apparently a community in New Jersey doesnt want a temple to be constructed. There is definitely a bias against hinduism in the western world
Hindu temple divides neighbors
In Italy Hinduism isnt even recognised as a religion. So much for their so-called "religious freedom" (which is only for the Roman Catholics).
"The problem is serious in Italy, for Hinduism is not officially recognized by the government. An individual's conversion and name change cannot be legalized. Tax-deductable status is not granted to Hindu organizations"
This freedom should be recognized by all countries.
It's absurd to use the Vatican as a counter-argument for religious freedom. It's like asking for a church to be built within an existing religious building.
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