Wednesday, February 13, 2008

News: Los Angeles Anglican Bishop apologizes for attempts to convert Hindus!

I've seen two versions of this story. One, which I consider to be genuine, is from the LA Times. The other is apparently from India Abroad, although I cannot find the actual source article; here's the article at New America Media.

In the genuine article, we read this:
... the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, issued a statement of apology to the Hindu religious community for centuries-old acts of religious discrimination by Christians, including attempts to convert them.

"I believe that the world cannot afford for us to repeat the errors of our past, in which we sought to dominate rather than to serve," Bruno said in a statement read by the Rt. Rev. Chester Talton. "In this spirit, and in order to take another step in building trust between our two great religious traditions, I offer a sincere apology to the Hindu religious community."

The bishop also said he was committed to renouncing "proselytizing" of Hindus. Bruno had been scheduled to read the statement himself, but a death of a close family friend prevented him from attending the service.
In the other article, we read this:
The Bishop of the Epsicopal diocese of Los Angeles has issued an apology to Hindus worldwide for what he called "centuries-old acts of religious discrimination by Christians, including attempts to convert them" reports India Abroad. The apology was given in a statement read to over 100 Hindu spiritual leaders at a mass from Right Reverend J John Bruno. The ceremony started with a Hindu priestess blowing a conch shell three times and included sacred chants.

This meeting was the result of a dialogue, started three years ago, between Hindu leaders and Rev. Karen MacQueen, who was deeply influenced by Hindu Vedanta philosophy and opposes cultivating conversions. "There are enough Christians in the world," she said. "What we need to see is more Christians leading an exemplary life and truly loving their fellow man." However the apology has triggered considerable debate among pastors across the US.
If the second article is not fraudulent, it is appalling. Either way, converting people of other faiths to Christianity (generally speaking) is not something to apologize for, it is an order the Church received from the mouth of Jesus (cf. Matthew 28:19-20). Conversion, however, must always be of the person's free will; if by "proselytize" the Anglican bishop mean "conversion by coercion", then yes, that's frowned upon (and the Catholic Church does not permit such acts).

1 comment:

preacherman said...

I think this is sad.
We need more faithful leaders.
Leaders that have a passion and heart of God.
God desires our hearts be like his. We should do what we can to gaurd it. I believe that is what lent and sacrifice is all about. Is the heart.
Thanks Japhy for your blog and this post.
I hope you have a great week.
In Him,
Kinney Mabry