India's church leaders have firmly rejected a proposal by a prominent Hindu fundamentalist group for Christian churches here to be reorganized in a system similar to that adopted in communist China where official churches are regulated by the government and acknowledge no foreign authorities.
One of the main goals of the proposed model is the expulsion of all foreign Christian missionaries, whose presence is a bone of contention between Christian churches and many Hindu leaders.
"Why should foreign churches who do not believe in according equal respect to all faiths be allowed to function from India?" said K. S. Sudarshan, the leader of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh—National Volunteer Corps) on October 7.
Addressing an annual gathering of RSS members at the organization's headquarters at Nagpur in central India, Sudarshan urged Indian Christians to emulate Chinese Christians who have indigenous churches such as the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the China Christian Council, a post-denominational Protestant organization. These religious organizations promote Chinese values and do not recognize foreign religious authorities such as the Vatican. Buddhist and Islamic organizations in China operate under a similar system.
The RSS chief repeated remarks he made on October 2 in New Delhi which had been reported in the national media and provoked Christian anger. Sudarshan had told a convention of RSS volunteers: "It is advisable to have a totally Indian church like the one in China, and all foreign churches and missionaries should be asked by the government to pack up and go."
But the RSS suggestion that India adopt the Chinese model, which includes regulation of churches and other faith organizations by the government, ...1
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