Christians in India are still persecuted
Earlier this week, as an Indian court convicted 13 Hindu radicals of the 1999 murder of Australian missionary Graham Staines, Weblog noted that Christians in the country were on edge, justifiably worried about backlash from militant Hindus.

But they don't need a high-profile murder verdict to be on edge. "There are attacks practically every week, maybe not resulting in death, but still, violent attacks," Richard Howell, general secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India tells The Christian Science Monitor today. "They [India's controlling BJP party] have created an atmosphere where minorities do feel insecure."

Prakash Louis, director of the secular Indian Social Institute in New Delhi, agrees. "We are seeing a broad attempt to stifle religious minorities and their constitutional rights," he says. "Today, they say you have no right to convert. Tomorrow, you have no right to worship in certain places."

Need one more example? Yesterday morning, about 50 activists from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, closely associated with the BJP, went to a Christian prayer meeting in Borivali and forced the believers to leave.

"They said we paid Rs 5,000 to each person to convert to Christianity," Pastor Prakash Boyin told the Mumbai newspaper Mid Day. "Around 100 people had already come for the prayers. They asked them to get out of the hall and locked the hall."

"The prayers should have been held in a church and not in an area where there are no Christians," a VHP spokesman replied.

Meanwhile, Christians are asking the Indian government to release census figures in order to prove that Christianity isn't growing as much as Hindu activists are claiming in their effort to pass a national anti-conversion law. "The government is reluctant to release data because it runs contrary to its propaganda about conversions. If the figures are released, the government's lie about large-scale conversions will fall apart," All India Christian Council secretary Dolphy D'Souza told Mid Day.

More articles

Church life:

  • A how-to kit for the ministry | From his Lake Forest mega-church, Rick Warren offers seminars, stats and items on the Internet to help pastors boost attendance (Los Angeles Times)

  • Church noises pollute the environment | Every new day, preachers become more and more robust and ear-shattering in their trade (Harry Nwana, Vanguard, Nigeria)

  • Harlem church closing shows challenges | Embittered parishioners have responded with their Sunday vigils and weekday protests outside St. Patrick's Cathedral, the seat of the archdiocese (Associated Press)

Article continues below

Missions and ministry:

Christian animation:

  • David vs. cash flow | Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber are in a pickle (Jonathan Eig, The Wall Street Journal)

  • Lutherans reviving 'Davey and Goliath' | There's a simple reason why "Davey and Goliath" remains part of pop culture 28 years after the last installment was produced: Simplicity. (Tim Cuprisin, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)


  • Passion misplay | Who killed Jesus? Time for both Jews and Christians to fess up (Steven Waldman, Slate)

  • Earlier: Who Killed Jesus? | After centuries of censure, Jews have been relieved of general responsibility for the death of Jesus. Now who gets the blame? (Christianity Today, Aug. 24, 2000)

  • The Cardinal & the Passion | Gibson's controversial movie gets a Roman endorsement (Antonio Gaspari, National Review Online)

  • Cardinal praises Gibson's 'The Passion' | "Anti-Semitism, like all forms of racism, distorts the truth by putting an entire race in a bad light. This film does nothing of the kind," Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos said in Thursday's La Stampa newspaper (Associated Press)

Article continues below


  • Exhibit celebrates history of church and gospel music | You can't understand African-American history without understanding the role the black church and gospel music have played (Dawn Turner Trice, Chicago Tribune)

  • Intense singing, intense fashion | Evanescence, from Arkansas, has become one of the country's most popular bands by mixing nu-metal guitar riffs with high, airy vocals, adding lyrics that turn love and religion into a series of pop-psychology analogies (The New York Times)

  • Local ministers weigh in on hymns | A new exhibit of the Top 10 Hymns of all time recently opened at Christus Gardens in Gatlinburg, Tenn., a leading non-denominational religious attraction in this East Tennessee tourist mecca (Selma Times-Journal)

  • Powerful 'Superstar' revival rocks center | "Superstar" is a super show (Los Angeles Times)

Life ethics:

  • The face of the partial-birth debate | Moderates and conservatives have worked for almost a decade to put a stop to this procedure. There is neither medical reason nor moral justification for further delay. (Editorial, The Washington Times)

  • Ban nears on partial-birth abortion | The Senate cleared a key hurdle and sent the legislation to be finalized in a conference with the House (The Washington Times)

  • Religion and reproduction | The most fascinating aspect of a new PBS documentary on religion and reproduction is that the traditionalists embrace science in defining human life and the progressives repudiate it (Lou Marano, UPI)

  • Russia tackles its high abortion rate | Worried the country's population could plummet, officials toughen the rules (Los Angeles Times)


  • Religion Today: Mohler's Seminary | R. Albert Mohler Jr's unbending conservatism has helped Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's enrollment reach record heights, but it also has brought criticism and suggestions of intolerance (Associated Press)

Article continues below

Interfaith relations:

  • Priest embraces Jewish roots | Born a Jew, raised a Catholic, Father Weksler-Waszkinel spreads his most unusual story and a message of sharing (Chicago Tribune)

  • Congregations of Jews, Christians embrace for holidays | Jewish High Holy Days, that is, which will be celebrated this year in JupiterFirst Church (The Jupiter Courier, Fla.)

  • Fundamental advice | A traditional Christian group says Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and New Agers may mean well, but they are spiritually incorrect (St. Petersburg Times)

Faith-based initiative:

  • House approves expanding tax breaks for donations | The bill would allow those who don't itemize to take a write-off. Proposal is a lesser version of Bush's 'faith-based initiative' (Los Angeles Times)

  • House okays faith-based initiative package | In a 408-13 vote, House members OK'd a scaled-down version of the president's faith-based initiative package aimed at encouraging private donations to both faith-based and secular charities. The chamber left out the most contentious aspect of the president's original plan: expanding the government's so-called charitable-choice initiative (The Washington Times)

  • House passes more than $12B in tax cuts (Associated Press)

Politics and law:

  • Norway's Prime Minister may face papal rebuke | Cardinal Angelo Sodano and the Pope himself are likely to raise the question of Norway's new marriage law, which Catholics feel violates their religious freedom (Aftenposten, Oslo)

  • Georgian Orthodox head warns against Vatican treaty | The head of Georgia's Orthodox Church urged the government on Thursday not to sign a treaty setting down relations with the Vatican, saying it was not ''expedient'' for the ex-Soviet state (Reuters)

Article continues below


  • Unearthing the Bible | Dallas exhibit traces evolution of the holy book and displays parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

  • God's word goes glossy | But not everyone agrees that having questions and answers like the ones in the "Blab" section of the Revolve magazine are helpful (Fox News)


  • Baptists being punished for independence | The less you collaborated with the old Soviet state, the more likely you will suffer repression today (Lawrence A. Uzzell, The Moscow Times)

  • Religious scholars flay misuse of blasphemy law | Police investigation into a campaign against a local plastic footwear business house on blasphemy charges found it to be the result of company's refusal to bribe an alleged gang of blackmailers (Dawn, Pakistan)

Sex, marriage, and family:

Social justice:

Article continues below
  • Keeping faith with nonviolence | Parishioners in NW Washington remember victims of street killings, seek answers (The Washington Post)

  • Yale bristles at critics in clergy | The president of the Board of Aldermen is charging Yale University with trying to muzzle critics and feels an effort to network Hispanics to jobs on the campus is being hurt in the process (New Haven Register, Conn.)

  • Many faiths meet in belief on environment | 120 leaders representing a diversity of Oregon faith communities will gather in Salem to decide their next move (The Oregonian)

Religious symbols:

Ten Commandments:


  • Disciple under duress | From the world's standpoint, Bonhoeffer gambled with his life and lost (The Oregonian)

  • Inside job | Below the high altar of St. Peter's, investigators have found sheep bones, ox bones, pig bones, and the complete skeleton of a mouse. Was Peter himself ever there? (Tom Mueller, The Atlantic)

Sexual ethics:

Article continues below

Anglican troubles:

  • Episcopal Church targeted | Draft resolutions by S.C. Diocese rap national body (The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.)

  • Quincy diocese to consider leaving Episcopal Church | The three resolutions drafted by officials state that the Quincy diocese, one of the more conservative in the country and one of only three that refuse to ordain women, would become independent of the Episcopal Church, be regarded as its own branch or be combined with other like-minded churches at a future date (The Dispatch, Moline, Ill.)

  • Archbishop faces gay bishops debate | The Archbishop of Canterbury is set to face renewed pressure to resist the ordination of gay bishops as Church of England evangelicals gather in Blackpool (BBC)

  • Welsh church to debate gay clergy | The Church in Wales has said it will openly debate the issue of sexuality - an issue which has caused rifts in England (BBC)

Other stories of interest:

Related Elsewhere

Suggest links and stories by sending e-mail to

What is Weblog?

Check out Books & Culture's weblog, Content & Context.

See our past Weblog updates:

September 18 | 17 | 16 | 15
September 12 | 11 | 10 | 9 | 8
September 5 | 4 | 3 | 2
August 29 | 28 | 27 | 26 | 25
August 22 | 21 | 20 | 19 | 18
August 15 | 14 | 13 | 12 | 11
August 8 | 7b | 7a | 6 | 5 | 4
and more, back to November 1999