Gospel Festival: Clear conversion agenda
— TP Saran
The Light Ministries originate in the USA and are lavishly funded. Their declared objective is to seek new adherence worldwide, for which purpose they send professionally trained members of their organisation all over the world to aggressively market their brand of Christianity known as Pentecostal evangelism. However much this may be denied, the Gospel festival at Triolet forms part of the larger agenda of Christian conversion, in line with Pope John Paul II’s statement when he was graciously allowed by the generous and rather too credulous Indian authorities to visit India. He was on a quest to ‘reap a rich harvest’ in Asia in general, and in the Indian subcontinent in particular because he had received a firm refusal from China to be allowed to tread the Chinese mainland. One must congratulate the Chinese for their no-nonsense stance, something the Indians have yet to learn to do.
The Pope’s foray was because the benches of the Catholic Church have been emptying in Europe, the latest on this issue being highlighted in the French magazine Le Point day before yesterday, while commenting on the silence of the current Pope regarding the news about paedophilia scandals in Bavaria, shortly after a similar Irish scandal. According to Le Point : ‘Le quotidien Süddentsche Zeitung affirme même que, depuis début mars, dans la très catholique Bavière, l’église a enregistré une véritable hémorragie, avec le départ de près de 180 fidèles par jour !’ In the UK, in connection with the same issue, it has been commented that: ‘Multi-culturalism has supplanted Christianity as the religion of choice; hardly anyone goes to church any more; a Christian tradition going back 1,500 years is discarded as immigrants belonging to every faith and none pour in. In our adoration of pop stars we have produced a new reign of idolatry.’
One can recall the mobilization of the local press some time ago against the alleged conversion activities of the Christian sect headed by Mrs Hardy, which was a source of concern to the mainstream Catholic Church as its flock was drawn to that sect. There are 7 categories of conversion methods: 1) Pre-evangelism, 2) Personal Evangelism, 3) Preaching Evangelism, 4) Persuasion evangelism, 5) Pastoral evangelism, 6) Programmed evangelism, and 7) Prayer Evangelism.
In the wake of the incident in Triolet, a very respected religious head, Pandit Ved Gopee, has decried the house-to-house campaigns that are led by trained salesmen and women of these sects. For that matter, even in Singapore, Reuters reported on 9 February 2010 as follows: Singapore has warned a Christian pastor that his online videos are offensive to Buddhists and Taoists, underlining the city-state’s concerns that religion is a potential fault line for its multicultural society.
Pastor Rony Tan, of Lighthouse Evangelism, apologized and pulled the video clips off the internet after being visited by the government’s Internal Security Department on Monday, the pastor and the government said on their websites. The Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement on Tuesday Tan’s comments were “highly inappropriate and unacceptable,” and could “give rise to tension and conflict between the Buddhist/Taoist and Christian communities.’
So it’s not as if what happened in Triolet is a new protest against the activities associated with these sects. If a progressive country like Singapore estimates that its social stability and religious harmony is threatened by the activities of such sects, it must have a good reason to do so and the Mauritian government had better take note and draw the lesson from Singapore’s official stand on the matter.
We have a suggestion to make to the Light Ministry: why it does not, for example, decide to hold such a fest in say, Vallée Pitot, Bambou or Roche Bois? These are regions where the people are supposed to be more vulnerable and are therefore in greater in need of consolation and help. After all, Johnny Lever must be as popular there too, since he is a comic and comedy is understood and appreciated by everybody.