Wednesday, May 15, 2013

'Independent' and 'secular' media serving the Church and how

Here is a sampling of the language and idiom of the "servants of the Church" in their fight against "communal forces". These servants include a "woman activist and change agent".


It seems Narendra Modi has been deliberately fomenting “dissent” between Hindus and Christians by such communal activities as visiting a “Christian district” in Gujarat on “Indian Republic Day”. This “calculated move” by Modi to go to Dangs, last January, was also aimed at “pitting Christians and tribal people against each other”.

“Feeling politically threatened in the tribal areas with substantial Christian populations,” Modi’s party has been trying to “Hinduize the whole area”.

That’s according to a report – reproduced at the bottom of this post – filed by the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN) which describes itself as “Asia's most trusted independent Catholic news source” with operations in 22 countries (including India), 46 full-time staff with up to 200 reporters.

“UCAN is a media resource at the service of the Church. Our goal is to enhance the mission and the identity of the Church in Asia by applying the disciplines and processes of media professionals to the challenge,” says UCAN annual report 2011 available on its website (http://www.ucanews.com/)

UCAN lists its ‘values’ as: “independent, objective, respectful and humane”.

UCAN’s governing board includes Virginia Saldanha, who has been described on Christian websites as a Mumbai-based theologian. Her Linked-in profile describes her as “a writer, speaker, educator, woman activist and change agent, making the world a better and safer place for women”.

The UCAN report is posted on PesecutedChurch.info website.
‘PersecutedChurch.info’ belongs, of course, to India’s ‘persecuted religious minority’. It’s a website run by Mumbai-based Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) which describes itself as “India’s only social activist and human rights NGO for the Church, Community and others to be”. (http://www.thecsf.org/home.html)

Its founder and general secretary, Joseph Dias, describes himself as having been “serving the Catholic and Christian Churches in various capacities over the last three decades”. He also claims to have been the head of “the Trinity Group of companies”.
Dias also says he “participates and organizes demonstrations against communal forces throughout the country”.

Note that UCAN is “Catholic” and “independent” at the same time and CSF is “Catholic” as well as “Secular” without any contradiction. That’s universally possible as long as you are “Catholic” – or indeed “Christian”. With “Hindu”, it’s a different matter, of course.

Note carefully the language of the UCAN report that follows, especially words like “Hindu celebrations”, “Christian district”, “Indian republic day”, “Hinduize”, “pro-Hindu”, “Hindu revivalist”, “tribal Christian vote”, “anti-Christian” and “re-conversion”.

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Modi aims to sow dissent in Dangs, say priests
UCA News, January 29, 2013
Modi visits Hindu celebrations in Christian district

Gujarat, January 28, 2013: Church leaders have accused Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi of deliberately aiming to create dissent between Hindus and Christians.

This follows his appearance at an Indian Republic Day celebration on January 26 at Ahwa, the capital of the Dangs district of Gujarat, which is mostly populated by tribal Christians.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is “feeling politically threatened in the tribal areas with substantial Christian populations and they are trying to Hinduize the whole area,” said Father Cedric Prakash who directs a human rights center in the state’s business capital, Ahmedabad.

He told ucanews.com on Sunday that though Modi did not make any controversial speech at the event, it was a subtle strategy to widen the base of his pro-Hindu party.

Modi attended several other functions over the weekend, including a meeting of the Swami Vivekananda Yuva Parishad youth group. The state government launched the group to promote the ideals of Swami Vivekananda, a 19th century Hindu revivalist.

“It was a calculated move by Modi to go to the Dangs. He will try to pit Christians and tribal people against each other,” said Fr Xavier Manjooran, who provides legal help to tribal people against their exploitation by private and government agencies.

During the December 2012 state elections, BJP candidates were defeated in the Dangs and neighboring Dharampur, mainly because of the tribal Christian vote.

The Dangs district witnessed anti-Christian attacks in 1998 and again in February 2006, when local politician Swami Aseemanand organized a program for the re-conversion of tribal Christians.

Aseemanand has since been jailed, but Fr Manjooran believes that Modi wants to revive the program under the guise of a plan to develop religious tourism.

Indian states normally hold Republic Day and Independence Day programs in their capital cities. But Modi has introduced a system in which they are held in different districts on a rotation basis.
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