Category : India

A BBC Article on India’s General Election

But despite the massive mandate, the verdict on Modi’s performance has been mixed.

There have been some gains – more roads, rural works, cheap cooking gas for the poor, village toilets, a uniform sales tax, a promising health insurance scheme which could end up benefiting 500 million families, and a new bankruptcy and insolvency law.

But the economy is underperforming. India’s farms, where most of its people work, are beset by a crisis of low crop prices. Unemployment is rising, and a controversial currency ban ended up hurting the poor.

Socially, the BJP’s strident Hindu nationalism has left the country polarised and minorities nervous. India is in the grip of a fake-news epidemic, partly due to cheap phones and data. Some dissenters have been labelled as “anti-nationals” and thrown into prison.

Modi now faces another crucial general election….

Read it all.

Posted in History, India, Politics in General

(Christian Today) Situation for India’s Christians is ‘worsening year on year’+the Bharatiya Janata Party isn’t helping

After a steady decline in conditions for India’s Christian minority in recent years, there are fears that things may be about to get worse if the ruling BJP holds onto power in the forthcoming election.

Millions of Indians will cast their votes from 11 April to 23 May in the world’s largest democratic elections, but one pastor who asked to be unnamed for security reasons fears election rigging.

“People regret their choices of 2014. Where I live, most people don’t like the BJP at all,” the pastor told Open Doors UK.

“They shouldn’t win. But we are afraid that the elections will be rigged. Maybe the voting machines will be hacked or maybe people will be given money if they vote for the BJP.

“We, as pastors, were promised land and protection if we voted for them.”

Instead of land and protection, Christians have seen an increase in attacks since the BJP came to power in 2014.

Read it all.

Posted in India, Religion & Culture

(NYT) Murders of Religious Minorities in India Go Unpunished, Report Finds

The Indian authorities have delayed investigating a wave of vigilante-style murders of religious minorities, with many instead working to justify the attacks or file charges against some of the victims’ families, according to a report released Tuesday by Human Rights Watch.

The 104-page report said that since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party took power in 2014, attacks led by so-called cow protection groups have jumped sharply.

Between May 2015 and December 2018, at least 44 people have been killed, Human Rights Watch found. Most of the victims were Muslims accused of storing beef or transporting cows for slaughter, a crime in most Indian states. Many Hindus, who form about 80 percent of India’s population, consider cows sacred.

Data cited in the report from FactChecker.in, an Indian organization that tracks reports of violence, found that as many as 90 percent of religion-based hate crimes in the last decade occurred after Mr. Modi took office. Mobs hung victims from trees, frequently mutilated victims and burned bodies.

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, India, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Violence

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Charles Freer Andrews

Gracious God, who didst call Charles Freer Andrews to show forth thy salvation to the poor: By thy Holy Spirit inspire in us a tender concern, a passionate justice, and an active love for all people, that there may be one Body and one Spirit in Jesus Christ, our Savior; who with thee and the same Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, India, Spirituality/Prayer

(Forbes) Ewelina Ochab–Religious Freedom Is On The Decrease In India

Religious freedom in India continues to deteriorate and it has been on a gradual decline for at least a decade. As a result, the plight of religious minorities is reaching new levels. This despite the fact that the right to freedom of religion or belief is clearly recognized in the 1949 Constitution of India. Also, India acceded to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and so pledged to adhere to the international standards of human rights enshrined in the treaty. Nonetheless, these guarantees prove not to be enough yet again.

In its annual report, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) identifies several limitations to the right to freedom of religion or belief and challenges faced by religious minorities in India. For example, Hindu extremism is on the rise with several of cases of harassment, intimidation and violence being committed against Hindu Dalits, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, Christians and Sikhs. USCIRF identified groups such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sang (RSS), Sangh Parivar and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) who are responsible for an organised campaign of alienation against non-Hindus or low-caste Hindus.

Indeed, the issue is serious. The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Hansraj Ahir, reported that in 2017 alone, 111 people were killed and 2,384 injured in communal clashes….

Read it all.

Posted in India, Religion & Culture

(ACNS) Former Church of North India priest chosen to be bishop in the Church of England

A former priest in the united Church of North India’s Diocese of Calcutta has been chosen to be the next Area Bishop of Bradwell in the Church of England’s Diocese of Chelmsford. The Ven Dr John Perumbalath already serves in the Diocese, which covers the county of Essex and parts of east London, as the Archdeacon of Barking. He comes, originally, from the ancient Syrian Christian community in Kerala, India, and trained for ministry at Union Biblical Seminary in Pune.

Dr Perumbalath worked as a youth worker among university students for two years and as a theological educator for three years before his ordination in the CNI. In addition to his parish ministry, he served on the CNI’s General Synod and its theological commission. He moved to the Church of England in 2002 and served in three parishes before becoming Archdeacon of Barking in 2013.

He is a member of the C of E’s General Synod and sits on its appointment committee and mission & public affairs council. He is a trustee board of Westcott House, a theological college at Cambridge University, and chairs the national committee for minority ethnic Anglican concerns (CMEAC) and the London Churches Refugee Network.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, India

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Samuel Azariah

Emmanuel, God with us, who didst make thy home in every culture and community on earth: We offer thanks for the raising up of thy servant Samuel Azariah as the first indigenous bishop in India. Grant that we may be strengthened by his witness to thy love without concern for class or caste, and by his labors for the unity of the Church in India, that people of many languages and cultures might with one voice give thee glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, India, Spirituality/Prayer

(WSJ) Tunku Varadarajan: India’s Imaginary ‘Love Jihad’–Judges break up the marriage of a Hindu woman who converted to Islam

This is the story of Hadiya, currently the most famous woman in India. Like any person of modest profile rocketed into national headlines, she’d rather be leading an anonymous life. But her parents—and the Supreme Court of India—will not let her.

Hadiya, a medical student, was born 25 years ago into a Hindu family in the southern state of Kerala. In 2015 she converted to Islam, and last year she married a Muslim man. In the process, she changed her Hindu given name from Akhila Ashokan to the adoptive Muslim Hadiya.

Her parents, appalled by the decision, urged the courts to annul her marriage in December 2016. They contended that she had converted to Islam under duress. Worse, they alleged that their daughter’s husband, Shafin Jahan, was involved in terrorism and intended to traffic her to Syria.

In a judgment that was startling in its paternalism and sexism, the Kerala High Court annulled Hadiya’s marriage, holding that she could not possibly have converted and married of her own free will.

Read it all.

Posted in Hinduism, India, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Supreme Court

(Indian Express) Electoral Commission serves notice to R Catholic archbishop for letter seeking prayers for election

Gujarat Election Commission on Saturday served a notice on Thomas Macwan, Archbishop of Gandhinagar and sought an explanation on his letter issued to the Catholic community seeking prayers to ensure the election of leaders who “remain faithful to the Indian Constitution” so that the country can be “saved of nationalist forces”.

The notice, served through the District Election Officer of Gandhinagar, asks the Archbishop to explain why his appeal should not be viewed as a violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

Read it all.

Posted in India, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(WSJ) Mary Sherry–I Can’t Understand a Word My Priest Says

Now grown up, those pagan babies have cellphones, careers, Twitter accounts and many trappings of modern life. Some have become priests and nuns after learning English as the language of commerce in their native lands. Many see opportunities for ministry in the U.S. Some come as political refugees; others find salaries are higher here, enabling them to send money home to support their families. Still others find that life in the U.S. is just more comfortable. Most see the U.S. as spiritually needy—so privileged that its people no longer crave sacramental care.

No matter what motivates them, opportunity knocks loudly. They’re welcomed especially by U.S. bishops eager to avoid closing parishes for lack of clergy. That the U.S., once a rich source of missionaries, has become mission territory in less than 50 years is amazing.

The cultural differences can be unsettling. Some of these missionaries are unsparing in their criticism of matters like street-dress altar-server apparel, the custom in many American parishes. Add this to hard-to-comprehend English, and it’s no wonder the people in the pews get annoyed and check their emails—or start shopping for another parish.

Yet there can be a bright side to these cultural differences. Our pastor told us during a recent Friday Mass that a new priest from India would be coming to learn the cultural ropes for a few weeks before moving on to another assignment. He urged us to welcome the new priest at the weekend Masses with small gifts—some flowers or even cookies. We’d never done this with an American priest, but apparently it is an Indian tradition.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., India, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(WSJ) Tunku Varadarajan–Holy Cows That Weren’t: Hindu radicals’ beef with India’s bovine butchers is woefully undercooked.

In the past year India has been witness to numerous gruesome public murders of men suspected of eating beef or transporting ostensibly sacred cows for slaughter. A band of radicals calling themselves gau-rakshak, or cow-protectors, may lay claim to being the world’s first terrorists in a bovine cause. Yet this intolerant movement’s appeal to religion is greatly at odds with the facts.

Read it all.

Posted in Animals, Hinduism, India, Religion & Culture

Michiko Kakutani reviews ‘Ants Among Elephants,’ a Memoir About the Persistence of Caste

Gidla, who now works as a conductor on the New York City subway, conveys the strain of living in the sort of abject poverty she knew as a child, where some neighbors were skeletal from hunger, and an apple was a precious Christmas treat. She chronicles the horrifying violence that could break out between the police and Maoist rebels, and among local hooligans, hired at election time to intimidate voters. And she captures the struggles of women like her mother to pursue careers in the face of caste and misogynist bias, while raising children and helping to support, in her case, as many as two dozen relatives.

When asked about caste — and in India, she says, “you cannot avoid this question” — Gidla writes that an “untouchable” like herself has a choice: “You can tell the truth and be ostracized, ridiculed, harassed,” or “you can lie.” If people believe your lie, she goes on, “you cannot tell them your stories, your family’s stories. You cannot tell them about your life. It would reveal your caste. Because your life is your caste, your caste is your life.”

In these pages, she has told those family stories and, in doing so, the story of how ancient prejudices persist in contemporary India, and how those prejudices are being challenged by the disenfranchised.

Read it all.

Posted in Books, India

Movie recommendation–"Lion"

We finally went last night for Valentine’s Day–loved it.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Australia / NZ, Children, India, Marriage & Family, Movies & Television

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Samuel Azariah

Emmanuel, God with us, who didst make thy home in every culture and community on earth: We offer thanks for the raising up of thy servant Samuel Azariah as the first indigenous bishop in India. Grant that we may be strengthened by his witness to thy love without concern for class or caste, and by his labors for the unity of the Church in India, that people of many languages and cultures might with one voice give thee glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Church History, India, Spirituality/Prayer

(HT) Sonal Kalra: Adultery not cruelty, says Indian Supreme Court. Really?

The Supreme Court’s ruling on Thursday that adultery does not amount to mental cruelty per se runs the risk of treading a fine line between being seemingly progressive, and terribly detached from reality.
The remarks were made as the two-judge bench acquitted a man convicted by the high court for abetting his wife’s suicide, allegedly due to his affair with a woman colleague. While calling an extra-marital affair “illegal and immoral” and retaining it as a ground for divorce, the judges felt that it should still not draw criminal provisions under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, as the latter depends on evidence that the affair directly led to the suicide.
One wonders if in a country like India, the magnitude of social stigma attached to a woman whose husband left her for someone else can be ignored while defining cruelty.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, India, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Men, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Theology, Women

(Church Times) Church in South India celebrates mission’s bicentenary

Bishops and missionaries were among the tens of thousands of people to gather in the Nehru sports stadium in Kottayam, India, on Saturday, to celebrate 200 years of the Church Mission Society (CMS) in the country.

The public event, which began with a procession, fireworks, music, and speeches, was organised by the Church of South India. On Sunday, the Church commissioned 210 missionaries. It concluded four years of events marking two centuries since Thomas Norton first brought Christianity to the city of Alleppey, in what is now the diocese of Madhya Kerala, about 20 years after the foundation of CMS in London.

Hundreds of missionaries followed in his wake, championing the right to education for men, women, and children of all social classes. Their work resulted in the foundation of the CMS College (the oldest school in the country), and the CMS Press and Industrial School, in the diocese. Today there are about 27.8 million Christians in India: that is, 2.3 per cent of the population.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Church History, India, Missions, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Henry Martyn

O God of the nations, who didst give to thy faithful servant Henry Martyn a brilliant mind, a loving heart, and a gift for languages, that he might translate the Scriptures and other holy writings for the peoples of India and Persia: Inspire in us, we beseech thee, a love like his, eager to commit both life and talents to thee who gavest them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Church History, India, Spirituality/Prayer

(AP) Mother Teresa: 'Saint of the gutters' canonized at Vatican

Elevating the “saint of the gutters” to one of the Catholic Church’s highest honors, Pope Francis on Sunday praised Mother Teresa for her radical dedication to society’s outcasts and her courage in shaming world leaders for the “crimes of poverty they themselves created.”

An estimated 120,000 people filled St. Peter’s Square for the canonization ceremony, less than half the number who turned out for her 2003 beatification. It was nevertheless the highlight of Francis’ Holy Year of Mercy and quite possibly one of the defining moments of his mercy-focused papacy.

Francis has been dedicated to ministering to society’s most marginal, from prostitutes to prisoners, refugees to the homeless. In that way, while the canonization of “St. Teresa of Kolkata” was a celebration of her life and work, it was also something of an affirmation of Francis’ own papal priorities, which have earned him praise and criticism alike.

“Let us carry her smile in our hearts and give it to those whom we meet along our journey, especially those who suffer,” Francis said in his homily.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Church History, History, India, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, Women

(WSJ) Javier Martínez-Brocal–Teresa of Kolkata, From Mother to Saint

More than six decades after its founding, Missionaries of Charity now has more than 5,500 members following Mother Teresa’s credo in 133 countries. They work at leper colonies, hospices, orphanages, drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities. Hundreds of thousands of lay volunteers also contribute.

For her commitment to pluralism, as well as “the spirit that has inspired her activities,” she was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. After receiving the award, the already-famous nun achieved levels of popularity and influence second only to the pope, John Paul II. This in a church that supposedly oppresses women.

Mother Teresa’s ascension challenged the narrative that women couldn’t become significant players in the Catholic Church. In some ways, she was more powerful than the cardinals who select the pope, not all of whom had the personal relationship with John Paul II that Mother Teresa had.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, History, India, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(WSJ) Aatish Taseer–The Day I Got My Green Card

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, India, Pakistan, Politics in General, Theology

(CC) Philip Jenkins– Notes from the Global Church: Unequal dharmas in India

Sarva Dharma Sama Bhava: “All dharmas [truths, or religions] are equally valid.” Indians often cite this noble maxim, which was popularized by Mahatma Gandhi, and the country’s constitution remains firmly secular and democratic. In recent years, though, the country’s religious outlook has darkened to the point that minorities””including both Christians and Muslims””face dangers of severe persecution and violence.

The fact that that threat receives little attention in the West says much about our stereotypes of other world religions. If we saw a situation where tens of millions of Christians were being similarly maltreated by a Muslim regime, Western media and policy makers would speak out vigorously. But when the enemies of religious liberty are Hindu, members of a faith that Americans idealize, the public silence is deafening.

Although India’s Chris­tians do not represent a large proportion of the country’s vast population””only about 3 percent””they number about 40 million, comparable to the larger European nations. India’s Christians suffer from multiple disadvantages, especially because so many derive from people of low or no caste or from tribal communities on the margins of Hindu society. Official reluctance to accept the reality of conversions makes it difficult to assess the true extent of Christian numbers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Hinduism, History, India, Inter-Faith Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Local Reports Allege that ISIS crucified Indian priest Tom Uzhunnalil on Good Friday

Indian priest Tom Uzhunnalil was reportedly crucified by Islamic State (ISIS) on Good Friday. The gruesome act was committed by the Yemen unit of the dreaded terror outfit.

Father Uzhunnalil was abducted by ISIS on March 4 in the aftermath of an attack on a church in Aden. At least 16 people were killed in the Catholic prayer hall by the Islamic militants. Eyewitnesses reveal that Father Uzhunnalil was dragged out of his room and loaded into a van. The militants were not to be seen again in the region again following the attack.

Read it all.

Update: CNA is reporting the news is still unconfirmed.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, India, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(AP) 1000 Indian Muslim Clerics condemn Islamic State, calling it 'un-Islamic'

More than 1,000 Muslim clerics in India have ratified a religious ruling that condemns the Islamic State and calls the extremist group’s actions “un-Islamic,” a top Indian Muslim leader said Wednesday.

Religious leaders from hundreds of Islamic mosques, education institutions and civic groups across India have signed the edict, or fatwa, saying the actions of the Islamic State group went against the basic tenets of Islam.

The edict was issued by a leading Mumbai-based cleric, Mohammed Manzar Hasan Ashrafi Misbahi, and has been signed by the leaders of all the main mosques in India, which has the world’s third-largest Muslim population.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, India, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(CT) Humbled Hustler–the wonderful story of the conversion of Manoj Raithatha

The credit crunch of 2008 was quick and brutal. With some 900 apartments coming up for imminent completion, I suddenly found myself in the firing line, facing a queue of creditors demanding their money. Any value in my business disappeared overnight as the property developers stripped the company of its cash. The next two years were the hardest of my life as our family adjusted to the dramatic change in our finances.

That same year, my 2-year-old son became critically ill. Ishaan was a sickly child and had been hospitalized many times with severe breathing difficulties. Now, with the nebulizer failing, he was rushed into resuscitation. Within minutes the ER teemed with doctors and nurses fighting for his life. His airways shut, and he was intubated to keep him alive. He was later transferred to a hospital in London.

Over the next four days, my wife and I wept uncontrollably. An American couple whom we had recently befriended began praying for Ishaan. They even got their families’ churches in the United States to pray for him. On the fourth day in the hospital, the doctor stated that it was unlikely that my son would open his eyes anytime soon. We were distraught.

But as the consultant continued doing her ward round on that fourth day, Ishaan suddenly sat bolt upright in bed. The only explanation was that we had witnessed a miracle.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Children, Christology, England / UK, Hinduism, India, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Soteriology, Theology

(NPR) Fasting To The Death: Is It A Religious Rite Or Suicide?

A person who is very old or very ill decides to stop eating in order to die.

To members of the ancient and tiny faith of Jainism in India, that’s a tradition called santhara or sallekhana (literally thinning out).

India’s Supreme Court is considering whether to ban the practice as a form of suicide, which is punishable under law. The court is now reviewing the end-of-life ritual.

Some form of fasting is deeply rooted in many religions: Christians practice Lent. Muslims have Ramadan. The Jewish tradition is to fast on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The Hindu calendar is rich with days of forsaking food.

But right now the attention is on the custom of the Jains…

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, India, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(WQ) Modi's india: Caste, Inequality, and the rise of Hindu Nationalism

Indian democracy has not blown up. But Ambedkar’s contradiction persists, and the caste foundation of India’s political structure maintains the hierarchy at the root of the country’s tremendous inequality of status and condition. Much of the careful thought of the nineteenth-century reformers and the founding generation has been shunted aside by the force of caste-based politics on the one hand and capitalist materialism on the other. The political principles on which the Indian state is founded have not been sufficient to create an inclusive, egalitarian society. Although the post-independence generation of Congress politicians promoted a secular vision of the Indian nation, they did not pursue the kinds of reforms that might have brought social reality closer to their political ideal. In doing so, they opened the way for the ascendance of caste-based politics and, ultimately, the more reactionary rise of religion in politics.

Hindu nationalism, with its dual focus on cultivating traditional social practices and providing social services afforded neither by the state nor economic growth, would seem to provide the strongest alternative to a modern capitalist society. But Hindu nationalism itself has adapted to India’s increasing wealth. The upper castes, particularly the Brahmins, once prided themselves on simple, even ascetic, living; they now hold up material success as another sign of caste superiority. The traditional Hindu elite is no longer distinguishable from the modern economic elite.

Prime Minister Modi is the living embodiment of this troubling marriage of Hindu nationalism and capitalism, of traditional social hierarchy and modern materialism. While he has maintained the support of his elite urban business constituents, he has proven himself to be as much a disciple of the Hindu Right as he was in his youth. Even as the RSS offers hope and basic services to thousands of poor, lower-caste youth like Aakash, we cannot take the organization’s apparent social egalitarianism at face value. At its core remains the inequality that has long marked Indian life.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Hinduism, India, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Rural/Town Life

(FT) India launches crackdown on online pornography

India has launched a crackdown on internet pornography, banning access to more than 800 adult websites, including Playboy and Pornhub.
The restrictions followed a ruling from India’s telecoms ministry ordering internet service providers, including international telecoms groups operating in the country such as the UK’s Vodafone, to block 857 such sites.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government provided no public justification for the unexpected ban when it came into effect at the weekend.
However, on Monday India’s telecoms ministry said that the order, issued under India’s Information Technology Act, had been prompted by comments made by a supreme court judge during a hearing in July.

Read it all (another link Read it all).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Blogging & the Internet, Globalization, India, Pornography

(Local Paper) Grieving Gov. Nikki Haley forever changed by church massacre

Haley knew early on that she’d attend every funeral, even speaking at them when asked. She wanted each family to feel the state’s embrace of support.

“And I felt the need to go for me,” she says during a rare moment of quiet in a sitting room at the Governor’s Mansion.

Haley wanted to know the nine beyond a list of names.

“I had a need to meet them. I had a need to know, because I knew the forensic story. I knew the investigative part of the story. I needed to know the people.”

Through each funeral, she met them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Hinduism, India, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, State Government, Theology, Violence

(Aleteia) Philip Jenkins–Has Christianity Failed in India?

In India… [Tony Joseph] suggests, Christianity is doing far worse than in most parts of the world, while Hinduism is booming. Presently, he declares, around 78 percent of Indians are Hindus.

Well, yes and no. Nobody can claim that Christianity has claimed major shares of the Indian population, or that it is likely to do so in the near future. But some counter-arguments do need to be stressed, especially about the overall numbers. No sane person believes the religious content of the Indian national census, which is one of the world’s great works of creative fiction. At all levels, there is enormous pressure of all kinds ”“ cultural, political and bureaucratic ”“ to minimize the presence of all non-Hindu religions, including Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists. That pressure becomes overwhelming when dealing with people of low and no caste, those who are most tempted to defect to one of the alternative faiths. Bureaucrats are especially hard to convince in matters of religious conversion from Hinduism.

That matters because such low or no caste people are so very numerous. India presently has over 200 million Dalits, the so-called untouchables. If the census is failing to pick up just a few percent of those groups who have converted to other faiths, that is potentially a huge number. In consequence, the estimate of India as 78 percent Hindu represents an extreme higher-end estimate, achieved only by making that the default stance adopted and enforced by census takers and bureaucrats. I would confidently expect future estimates of Christian numbers to decline still further as the government attitudes become chillier ”“ which has nothing whatever to do with actual numbers on the ground.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Hinduism, History, India, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Church of South India

O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast gone to the Father to prepare a place for us: Grant us so to live in communion with thee here on earth, that hereafter we may enjoy the fullness of thy presence; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, India, Spirituality/Prayer