Campaign Declaration by Christians Against Proselytization

A CAMPAIGN DECLARATION FROM BANGALORE INITIATIVE FOR RELIGIOUS DIALOGUE (BIRD)  – CHRISTIANS AGAINST PROSELYTISM

As Indian Christians, we believe that the best and perhaps the only way we can bear witness to our faith, is by extending our unconditional love to our neighbours and expecting nothing in return as Jesus Christ showed us. As such, we are against aggressive faith marketing by any religious group because such efforts discredit India’s tradition of respecting all religious thought and also runs counter to the true spirit in which the Constitution grants people the right to profess, practice and propagate their faith.

We are Christians. Some of us were born into Christianity others freely chose to embrace it. We also believe that the Great Commission in the Gospel according to Matthew unequivocally calls us to witness Christ in a pluralistic setting without violating the right of the other to preach, practice and profess his/her faith. Witnessing Jesus cannot in any case be done by questionable means, whether by exploiting people’s socio-psychological vulnerabilities or by running down other religions.

Furthermore, we believe the Christian injunction to make disciples of all nations in today’s context is best honoured by the bearers of the Good News living exemplary Christian lives and showing respect for the nation’s commitment to pluralism, for the larger public good in a civil society. Conversion of faith, given its life-changing nature, stems from a considered personal experience and is less likely in this day and age to be the stuff of dramatic immediacy.

When India’s Supreme Court ruled, in 1977, that a citizen’s right to “profess, practice and propagate” one’s religion does not include the right to convert another it was merely reaffirming both tradition and the Constitution. We believe that every nation should give primacy to maintenance of public order by ensuring safety and security to the life and property of its citizens.

India’s all-encompassing culture and secular Constitution allows not only its citizens but also visitors the freedom of religious practice. But, Article 25 of the Constitution which guarantees that right also subjects it to the maintenance of “public order, morality and health” of the citizenry.

We therefore call on the Government of India and all secular countries to seek an amendment to Article 18 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights by expanding it through the addition of a second sentence (capitalised): “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. HOWEVER, NO INDIVIDUAL OR ORGANISATION MAY SEEK TO CONVERT AN INDIVIDUAL OR A GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS, INCLUDING MINORS OR INDIVIDUALS OF LIMITED COGNITIVE ABILITIES, FORMALLY OR INFORMALLY, FROM ONE RELIGION TO ANOTHER BY OFFERING FINANCIAL OR OTHER MATERIAL INCENTIVES; THROUGH PHYSICAL, MENTAL, OR EMOTIONAL COERCION; OR THROUGH THREATS OR INTIMIDATION OF ANY KIND.”

While we decry the attempts of religious leaders and fundamentalists of all varieties to convert and re-convert, we pledge to work diligently for inter-faith amity in the best traditions of Indian culture. We hereby call on all Indians to join in our efforts to preserve a pluralist India founded on secularism and religious inclusion and governed by a Constitution that guarantees all its citizens all freedoms vital to the functioning of a modern democracy.

Signed by:

1) P.N.BENJAMIN,
Bangalore

2) EMERSON SAMUEL,
Bangalore

3) J. SUHAS,
Bangalore

4) NOEL NORONHA,
Bangalore

5) PRASANNA KUMAR,
Bangalore

6) REV. Dr. M. MANI CHACKO, Director,
Ecumenical Christian Cenrtre,
Bangalore

7) REV. DR. KIRAN SEBASTIAN,
Professor, UTC
Bangalore

8) REV. DR. ISRAEL SELVANAYAGAM
London

9) REV. JEEVAN BABU
Bangalore

10) Fr. Dr. ALBERT NAMBIAMPARAMBIL
Thodupuzha

11) Fr. Dr. MATHEW CHANDRANKUNNEL
Bangalore

12) Fr. Dr. GEORGE KOOVAKKAL
New Delhi

13) BRIAN SOANS
Bangalore

14) Rev. Dr. SIGA ARLES
Bangalore

15) KRIPA JOHN
Bangalore

16) KOSHY MATHEW
Bangalore

17) TINA MATHEW
Bangalore

18) ASHOK MATHEWS PHILIP
Bangalore

19) MIRIAM MATHEWS
Bangalore

20) GODFREY A.A.
Bangalore

21) SIJI MALAYIL
Bangalore

22) CIBY MALAYIL
Bangalore

23) REV. THOMAS NAINAN
Bangalore

24) ABY ABRAHAM
Bangalore

25) Mrs ABY ABRAHAM

26) JACOB ABRAHAM
Bangalore

27) KARTHYANI JACOB
Bangalore

28) M.A. SEBASTIAN
Bangalore

29) PHILIPS K. CHERIAN
Bangalore

30) KOMBAN A. ANTONY
Bangalore

31) C.V.JOSE
Bangalore

32) JOSEPH VANNERY
Bangalore

34) V.K.JOHNNY
Bangalore

35) GEORGIE C. GEORGE
Bangaore

36) NINA C. GEORGE
Bangalore

37) C.J. GEORGE
Bangalore

38) ANNIE C. GEORGE
Bangalore

39) MAY BENJAMIN
Bangalore

40) SNEHA OOMMEN
Bangalore

41) K.T.THOMAS
Bangalore

42) SHANTHAM THOMAS
Bangalore

43) DANIEL THOMAS
Bangalore

44) ANU THOMAS
Bangalore

45) C.T. KOSHY
Bangalore

46) MOLLY VARGHESE
Bangalore

47) ABRAHAM VARGHESE
Bangalore

48) VICTOR ABRAHAM
Bangalore

49) SATYAN PARAKKADAVIL
Bangalore

50) SIMON VARGHESE
Bangalore

51) C. J. YESUDAS
Bangalore

52) DERRICK FULLENFAW
Bangalore

53) Mrs. DERRICK FULLENFAW
Bangalore

54) SUNDER GEORGE
Muscat

55) SHAJI GEORGE THOMAS
Bangalore

56) VINCENT PANNIKULANGARA
Kochi

57) PETER ISSAC
Bangalore

58) SUKUMAR GEORGE
Kochi

59) GRACE GEORGE, Kochi

60) K.C. ABRAHAM
Bangalore

61) Fr. ROY PALATTIL
Bangalore

62) KING DASS
Bangalore

63) Prof. ISSAC GEORGE
Bangalore

64) Prof. MARIAM GEORGE
Bangalore

65) JACOB PUNNEN
Bangalore

66) Dr. MARIAM GEORGE
Kottayam

67) Dr. GEORGE JOHN
Kottayam

68) GEORGE THOMAS
Kottayam

69) Prof. ABRAHAM P. SAMUEL
Mallappally

70) MARKOSE PHILIP
Mallappally

71) JOYKUTTY JOSEPH
Mallappally

72) SUSAN JOSEPH

73) Rev. ABRAHAM VARKEY T
Thiruvella

74) P.N.SAMUEL
Mallappally

75) KURIEN JOHN
Peermade

76) ABRAHAM JOHN
Peermade

77) JOSEPH JOHN
Mallappally

78) P. J. KOSHY
Mallappally

79) Mrs. MARIAMMA KOSHY
Mallappally

80) EBBY JOSEPH KOSHY
Mallappally

81) Mrs. JOSEPH KOSHY
Mallappally

82) SAM J ABRAHAM
Bangalore

83) KURIEN GEORGE
Bangalore

85) Prof. ABY VEEMBUKATTIL
Mallappally

86) RAVI WALTERS
Bangalore

87) BABUKUTTY KURIEN
Bangalore

88) PRAMOD JOHN
Bangalore

89) LINCY JOHN, Bangalore

90) E.A. ANDREWS
Bangalore

91) Mrs. ERNEST ANDREWS,
Bangalore

92) C.M.JOHN,
Mallappally

93) Mrs. CHINNAMMA JOHN,
Mallappally

94) P.V.OOMMEN,
Mallappally

95) P.O. OOMMEN,
Mallappally

96) K.A. THOMAS,
Bangalore

97) Mrs. K.A. THOMAS,
Bangalore

98) DAVID CASTELLINO,
Bangalore

99) Mrs. MARY DAVID,
Bangalore

100) MARY MATHEW
Bangalore

101) ERNEST ALBERT,
Thrissur

102) Mrs Ernest ALBERT,
Thrissur

103) BABU MODAYIL,
Bangalore

P.S.

The addresses of the 103 original signers as well as the 550 others who came in later are with
P.N.BENJAMIN,
Coordinator,
BANGALORE INITIATIVE FOR RELIGIOUS DIALOGUE (BIRD)
7, 4th A Cross, HRBR Layour, Kalyan Nagar, Bangalore 560 043
INDIA
Tel. 080 25455620
E-mail: benjaminpn@hotmail.com

Please visit petitiononline.com/panaveli and sign it if you agree with its contents

P.N.BENJAMIN
Coordinator
Bangalore Initiative for Religious Dialogue
INDIA
Tel. 080 25455620