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Part III



The joint Committee appointed by the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America and the Foreign Missions Conference of North America in the year 1944, in their �Statement on Religious Liberty�, have defined the term as given below:-

�Religious Liberty shall be interpreted to include freedom to worship according to conscience and to bring up children in the faith of their parents; freedom for the individual to change his religion; freedom to preach, educate, publish and carry on missionary activities; and freedom to organise with others, and to acquire and hold property, for these purposes�. (Religious Liberty: Bates, page 309.)

2. Religious Liberty, as defined above, has been in existence in India from times immemorial.  India is a land of many religions-Hinduism, majority religion, is itself a co-ordinated combination of various beliefs. It has survived through ages by its liberal and receptive attitude towards other faiths.  There have undoubtedly been controversies in India of a religious and philosophical nature but there has been perfect freedom of Conscience.  Coercion and religious persecution have been unknown in Hindu society.  The alleged persecution of the Budhists has been held to be a myth on critical research. [Budhist India by Rhys Davids, p. 211 (Sushil Gupta, Calcutta).]

The all-embracing polytheism of the early Hindus afforded ample scope for different beliefs to exist side by side without trying to oust one another.  Both Jainism and Budhism were deviations from some aspects of early Aryan faith.  �Their rise and progress, the standardisation of Jainism as a minor sect of ascetic tendencies; the extension, the export, the decline of Budhism within a Society of Hinduism,��� all were essentially peaceful.  The changes came by persuasion and by slow social pressures or movements, without clear conflict of group wills against other groups or against individuals�. (Religious Liberty : Bates, page 267.)

Hindu India provided in the person of King Ashok the Great, who subsequently became a convert to Budhism, a unique instance of goodwill and toleration towards other religions. One of his well-known inscriptions reads as follows:-

�King Piyadasi (Ashok) dear to the Gods, honours all sects, the ascetics (hermits) or those who dwell at home, he honours them with charity and in other ways.  But the King, dear to the Gods, attributes less importance to this charity and these honours than to the vow of seeing the reign of virtues, which constitutes the essential part of them.  For all these virtues there is a common source, modesty of speech.  That is to say, One must not exalt one�s creed discrediting all others, nor must one degrade these others Without legitimate reasons. One must, on the contrary, render to other creeds the honour befitting them.� (Religious Liberty, pp. 267-268: Bates.)

What a lucid and comprehensive exposition of liberty of religion? It is, as it were, �faith in the goodness of faith�.  Refraining from speaking well of one�s own faith and ill of others enables us to appreciate in a friendly discussion the truth and beauty in the teachings of other groups which enriches one�s own belief. Charity and toleration are thus developed.  Hindu India has maintained this spirit of religious toleration.

3. According to some of the Christian writers, intolerance in religion came in the wake of the advent of Christianity. Professor Guido de Ruggiero in his article on �Religious Liberty�, published in the �Encyclopedia of Social Sciences�, writes:-

�The antagonist in the major struggle of mankind for religious freedom has been Christianity, which accentuated the elements of intolerance included in its Hebraic heritage and supplemented them by the introduction of two new and potent incentives-the idea of a universal mission, a rigid dogma, the conception of the Church as an indispensable mediator between God and man.� (Religious Liberty: Bates, p. 132.)

In exposition of the above statement, Professor Raffini writes in his book �Religious Liberty�:

�When the idea of a single and universal God was set, first by the Hebrews and then by the Christians, against the ancient polytheism, there arose a new form of religious exclusivism, contrary to the old not less in its basis than in its effects.  The Gods of the other peoples were said to be false and fallen and religion lost its national and public character and became on the one side cosmopolitan and on the other proper to each single individual.  From this followed not only an inextinguishable spirit of proselytism but also the principle that he only could be saved who worshipped the true God, that is to say, the principle of absolute intolerance (italics ours). (Religious Liberty: Bates, p. 132.)

4. During the first three hundred years of its existence Christianity itself was faced with the question of how it could make its way in a non-Christian society ruled by the Roman Empire.  The question of its being intolerant, therefore, could not arise.  The early Roman Emperors looked upon Christianity with suspicion as it preached �novel principles and sanctions, not Roman�.  Until Decius� Edict of 250 there was, however, �no general and systematic persecution of Christianity�. Then an era of torture and persecution started in full swing.  First, the Christians were required to sacrifice to the old Gods under penalty of imprisonment.  Then their Churches were seized.  Christian assemblies were banned, their bishops and priests were executed and even laymen of standing lost their posts, their properties and even their rights of residence. Ultimately their Churches were destroyed, their scriptures confiscated, their clergies imprisoned and subjected to great tortures and finally all Christian were required by law to offer sacrifice to old gods or die. There was a change in policy when Constantine rose to the throne of the Roman Empire. He issued an edict in 312 or 313 of conscience, for full rights to Christianity on an equality with other recognised religions, and for restoration of Church property recently confiscated.  Emperor Constantine was anxious to consolidate his vast Roman Empire comprising peoples of different faiths.  He considered Christianity as a useful handle in unifying the complex empire.  Thus �favour was soon advanced to privilege and privilege to prestige that approached exclusive power�.

5. The tables were now turned against other faiths. �By the Codes of Theodosius and Justinian, heretics were forbidden to build Churches, to assemble for religious purposes, or to teach their doctrines even in private.  They denied rights of bequest and of inheritance, even of contract.  Death was prescribed for lapse from Christianity into pagan rites.  By the time of Justinian pagans were required to hear instruction in the Churches and were subjected to exile and confiscation of property if they refused baptism. Young children of pagan families were to be baptized�. (Religious Liberty: Bates, p. 135.)

It is thus evident that repressive measures against non-Christians were plentifully decreed.  In fifty-seven years from Valentinnian I, no less than sixty-eight laws against heretics were enacted.

6. Theodosius II and Valentinian III (5th century) made deviation from orthodoxy �a crime against the State carrying even the death penalty�.  By 407, heresy was made a public crime.  Soon it was enacted that the Imperial service should receive �no one who disagrees with us in faith and religion�.  Thus Theodosius the Great, relentlessly pressed his subjects to conform to �Catholic (Trinitarian) Christianity�.  By the year 386, all public-discussion of religious issues was prohibited.  Imperial authority in spiritual matters was thus fully established in utter disregard of the �proud Christian conviction that the Emperor was not to be considered in terms of divinity�.

7. What was the attitude of Christianity towards the Jews after Christianity itself was in authority?

At first Judaism remained as in pagan Rome, �a permitted religion�, subject to certain disabilities.  It was characterised by Theodosian Code as �abominable superstition�.  Jews were not eligible to public office.  A Christian who adopted Judaism lost his right of bequest.  Exile or death was the penalty prescribed for the Jew who married a Christian wife. Capital punishment was awarded to a Jew who carried out proselytization of Christians.  In the seventh century in Spain, Italy and Frankish Empire, Jews were ordered to choose between baptism and expulsion. It is really a matter of great surprise how the Christians could justify �the severity and ostracism� practised by the entire community against the Jews with doctrine of �tolerance and protection� which the teaching of scripture required of them:

�The employment of organised religion on behalf of the State power and of State power on behalf of organised religion, both in contradiction of liberty, is found in the policy of Charlemagne among the Saxons.  In his first capitulary for them he not only provided extraordinary honour and protection for the Church, he decreed death for those participating in pagan sacrifices and for those refusing to accept baptism� (P. 136, Religion Liberty: Bates.)

8. Kenneth S. Latourette in his book �A History of the Expansion of Christianity� writes :

�The conversion of the Saxons was achieved by a combination of armed force and zeal of the missionaries.  The completion of conversion of the entire Roman Empire in the fourth and fifth centuries, accomplished though it had been under the urge of imperial legislation, had probably not entailed the killing of as many non-Christians as did the winning of this comparatively small area in North-Western Germany� (Ibid, p. 136).

9. The above procedure was repeated again and again in the next thousand years of the history of Christianity from eighth to nineteenth century.  Invaders and conquerors have been employing the Church for the purpose of consolidating their political conquests.

10. Religious liberty was woefully crushed as a result of the unholy alliance between the Church and the State to persecute and torture those who did not subscribe to the official religions.

11. Reaction came at last.  There was demand for separation of the Church from the State and vice versa during the period (1500-1700) called the Reformation Era.  Luther led the movement of Reformation.  He gave expression in his early life to views like these: �Belief is a free thing which cannot be enforced�.  �Heresy is a spiritual thing which no iron can hew down, no fire burn, no water drown�.  Later on, there was, however, a change in his attitude.  His vehemence against his opponents, whether Roman Catholics or other sects, which did not follow his pattern, led hint to leap �all bounds of love and mercy� In one of his Table Talks he is reported to have said:

�Heretics are not to be disputed with, but to be condemned unheard, and whilst they perish by fire the faithful ought to pursue the evil to its source and bathe their hands in the blood of the Catholic Bishops, and the Pope, who is a devil in disguise.� (Religious Liberty: Bates, p. 156.)

12. To the Duke of Saxony, Luther commanded both political and religious compulsions.  His words are significant.  �It will lie heavy on your conscience if you tolerate the Catholic worship for no secular prince can permit his subjects to be divided by the preaching of opposite doctrines�.  �The fact�, as pointed out by William Sweet in his book �Religion in Colonial America,� �is that the rise of Protestantism was accompanied by an unprecedented outburst of intolerance and cruelty in which both Protestants and Catholics participated�.

13. The spirit of intolerance exhibited either by the Catholics or the Protestants was not confined to heretics or the Jews but was directed even against each other.  John Robinson wrote as follows in the early years of the seventeenth century:-

�Protestants living in countries of Papists commonly plead for toleration of religions: so do Papists that live where Protestants bear sway though few of either especially of the clergy�� would have the other tolerated, where the world goes on their side�. (P. 155 ibid.)

Such is the history of religious liberty under Christianity in the West.

14. Let us now turn nearer home and study the question of religious liberty under the domination of the Christian countries of the West.  As pointed out by Shri K. M. Panikkar in his book �Asia and a Western Dominance�, the coming in of the Portuguese in India marks the advent of Christianity on Indian soil.  �With the Portuguese, Christianisation was a State enterprise�.  Since the power was Roman Catholic in its religion, it were the Roman Catholic missionaries who carried on missionary work.  On the recommendation of the Pope, King Joao III of Portugal appointed Francis Xavier and sent him to India for the propagation of Christian religion.  He landed ashore in 1542 and set to his work in right earnest.  He, however, soon realized that without State aid it was not possible to spread Christian religion in India.  Writing to Father Rodrigues he said:

�According to my experience the only effective way to spread religion India is for the King to proclaim by means of an edict to all his officials in India that he shall put trust only in those who will exert themselves to extend the reign of religion by every means in their power.�

To King Joao III he wrote as follows:

�To your servants you must declare as plainly as possible�� that the only way of escaping your wrath and of obtaining your favour Is to make as many Christians as Possible in the countries over which they rule.� (P. 382, Asia and Western Dominance)

In 1546, he wrote a letter to the King of Portugal requesting him to establish the Holy Inquisition, as it was called.  This �unholy and wicked institution� lasted for nearly two hundred and fifty years.  It perpetrated innumerable atrocities on both Christians and non-Christians.  It proved the worst of its kind, established anywhere.

15. The Portuguese power became ruthless the more it got itself established in India.  Royal Charters were issued from time to time making invidious distinctions between Christians and non-Christians and subjecting the latter to untold disabilities.  In 1559 an enactment was passed debarring all Hindus from holding any public office.  In the same year another law was enacted confiscating the properties of non-Christian orphans if they refused to be converted to Christianity.  Yet another law ordered destruction of Hindu temples and images and prohibited all non-Christian religious festivals. In 1560 all the Brahmans and goldsmiths were ordered to accept Christianity otherwise they were to be turned out of Goa.  By a law passed in 1567 the Hindus were prohibited from performing their important religious ceremonies such as investiture of sacred thread, marriage ceremonies and even cremation rites.  Hindu religious books were proscribed.  All non-Christians above the age of 15 were forced to attend the preaching of Christian religion.  Hindu temples were destroyed and in their place churches were built.  In 1575 another law was passed by which the Hindu nationals were debarred from their civic right of renting state land.  People of Goa were prohibited to use their native language by an order of 1684 and were allowed three years to learn the Portuguese language under pain of being proceeded against under law of the land.

The aim of all these enactments was to compel the people either to accept Christian religion or to leave the State.

16. The activities of the Christian Mission during the days of Portuguese�s sway in India were confined to South India and were carried on by the Catholic Mission.  The decay of Portuguese power in 1660, adversely affected the missionary activities in India.  The first phase of Christian Missionary activities in India, came to a close by the middle of seventeenth century.

17. From 1660 the second phase in the history of Christianity in India begins.  There was a great set back to Christian activities in India during the second phase.  In the words of Shri K. M. Panikkar, �The European Nations that followed the Portuguese in Indian ocean were interested solely in trade, and as they were organised as commercial corporations, the question of converting the heathens was of no significance to them�.  Further, the Dutch, who followed the Portuguese in the first instance, and the British, who displaced them ultimately, were Protestants and had no sympathy with the Catholic Order.  Till the end of the eighteenth century, the Protestant zeal for Missionary work had not developed.  Consequently there was a lull in Christian Missionary activities.

18. From the beginning the policy of the East India Company was one of discouraging the Missionaries.  Its primary concern was trade and it was felt that any interference with the religious beliefs and practices and social habits of the people of India would create a prejudice against the company and go against its interests.  From 1757 East India Company assumed political power in its hands.  Its decision to exclude Missions from territories under its sway became even more definite and pronounced.  The fact that organised Protestant Missions with political influence did not exist in England helped the company to uphold and follow its policy of religious neutrality.  By the end of the eighteenth century a spirit of evangelism permeated the Protestants as well.

19. A new phase of Christian Missionary activities in India set in with the abolition of the East India Company�s monopoly in 1813.  Till then no European who was not in the service of the East India Company could set his foot on Indian soil without the permission of the company, but when the ban was removed in 1813, any European could visit India freely and the company had no legal right to stop him.

20. The progress of modern Christian missions in India began with the consolidation of British power in the country.  The Catholics had done much work in the land but their work was limited to the areas in the south.  The fact that the political influence of the Portuguese was confined to a small part of India did not favour the spread of Christianity to other parts.  The number of converts and the areas they belonged to were limited.  The field of the Christian work became extensive during British rule in India.

21. Protestant missionary work in India was initiated by Dr. William Carey who landed in India in 1793 and settled in Serampore-a Dutch settlement, as the East India Company did not give him any quarter in their territory.  Dr. Duff joined Dr. Carey soon after and the two laid the foundations of Christian missionary work under the Protestant denomination.

22. The war of Independence of 1857 was a turning point in the history of Indian politics.  Thereafter the governance of India passed off from the control of the East India Company to that of the British Crown.  As regards the cause of the revolt there were two schools of thought in England at that time.  The majority view according to Mr. Arthur Mayhew, attributed the disaster primarily to popular resentment caused by the Government patronage and support of Christian missionary work in its educational and philanthropic side, by its legislation on Christian principles against social evils such as infanticide, suttee, and converts� loss of civil rights and by the open profession of Christianity and support of  proselytising agencies by many of individual officers�.  The other view held was that catastrophy was the result of �nervous apprehension of the British Government, its dread of emphasising its true faith and occasional appearance of repudiating it and its pandering to heathen prejudice�.

23. There seems little doubt that the mind of the general populace was profoundly disturbed by the new policy in administrative and educational matters that had been followed by the Government since 1813.  Things, however, came to a head when under the very aggressive rule of Lord Dalhousie several laws were passed which struck at the very root of Indian social life.  In some cases he was no doubt, prompted by his zeal to help christianisation of the country.  Thus for example, a law was passed preserving the right of inheritance of a convert to Christianity in Hindu family.  There was already a seething mass of discontent amongst the people.  Thus, only a spark was needed to start the conflagration and the same was provided by the greased cartridges used in rifles. It was suspected that the fat of cow and pig was used for the purpose.

24. The British Government having realised the gravity of the situation decided to make administration of India as a direct responsibility of the British Crown.  To allay the excited religious feelings of the people of India Queen Victoria, at the time of assuming direct control, issued the following Proclamation in 1858:-

�Firmly relying ourselves on the truth of Christianity and acknowledging with gratitude the solace of religion, we disclaim alike the right and desire to impose our conviction on any of our subjects.  We declare it to be our royal will and pleasure that none he in any wise favoured, or molested or disquited by reason of their faith or observance but that all shall alike enjoy the equal and impartial protection of the law, and we strictly charge and enjoin all those who may be in authority under us that they abstain from all interference with religious belief or worship of any of our subjects on pain of our highest displeasure.�

25. The above Royal Proclamation has been considered as the Magna Charta of religious liberty and neutrality.  Till the year 1947, the official policy of the British India Government, in matters of religion, continued to be that enunciated in the above Royal proclamation.

26. There was however difference between theory and practice.  Although the British Government of India were wedded to a policy of religious neutrality, yet indirectly the Christian officials holding positions of importance, afforded considerable encouragement and facilities to the Christian missionaries with whom they had their natural affinity.  The Christians under the British rule in India enjoyed a priviledged position.  To quote K. M. Panikkar from his book �Asia and Western Dominance�, �Legislation Protected the rights of the converts to their share n the Hindu joint families and the decision of the High Courts enabled converts to blackmail their wives to follow them into the fold of their new religion.  The Government also encouraged the Missionaries to work among the backward tribes, being satisfied that Hindu opinion would not be offended by it.� The author further adds-�On the whole however it may be said that the British Officials preserved an attitude of neutrality and the British Government always vigilant, in matters affecting law and order and the loyalty of the elements on which they depend for their rule discouraged methods of propaganda offensive to the Hindu sentiments�.

27. Before Christian Domination, India was under Muslim domination.  Although the first Muslim invasion of India took place in 711 A.D., yet �consistently progressive conquest� of India began about the year 1000 A.D. It was however from the sixteenth century onward that the �Muslims dominated Hindu society, in a political and military sense�.  Babar and Akbar however tended to be �indifferent to all, but the political aspects of religion�. But Akbar�s son, Shah Jahan, ordered in 1633, �the destruction of Hindu temples. which the faithful had begun openly to erect in his father�s time.� Intermarriages of Hindus and Muslims which were frequent in the Punjab and Kashmir were prohibited. �Aurangazeb, the puritan champion of Islam�, writes Searle Bates, �piled persecution upon repression�. In 1669 he issued orders �to the Government of all provinces to demolish the schools and temples of infidels and put down their teaching and religious practices strongly�. As a result a large number of Hindu shrines, including the famous Hindu places of worship suffered destruction. �Gross desecration�, writes Searle Bates, on page 270 of his book Religious Liberty, �was frequently added, such as the killing of cows in sanctuaries and the trampling of idols in public squares.  In 1679 Aurangazeb reimposed �the Jizya Tax on the unbelievers with the object of spreading Islam and overthrowing infidel practices�.  Hindu religious fairs were prohibited.  People were encouraged to embrace Islam by the offer �of grants to converts or of jobs in Government employ, or of liberation from prison�. These measures resulted in �a noticeable bulk of accessions�, to the Muslim immigrant minority from �weak portions of heterogeneous Indian Society�.  �The Mohamadan invasions�, in the words of Searle Bates, �helped to extinguish the fading Budhism and were severe upon the Jains.  The Sikhs, a relatively late sect to arise within Hinduism, preserved themselves by strong organization and by military powers, alike difficult to overwhelm and valuable to placate�.

28. According to Searle Bates, �In general India has not thought or organised or legislated in terms of the oppression of religion or of the liberty of religion.  Striving of religio-social groups there has been�. (P. 271: Religious Liberty.)

29. Coming to more recent times we find that in 1924 there was a Unity Conference held at Delhi.  Quite a number of Indian representatives of various religious Communities and political leaders attended the Conference. Mahatma Gandhi took a prominent part in the deliberations. The Conference passed a resolution on religious liberty, which rims as follows:-

�This Conference is emphatically of opinion that the utmost freedom of conscience and religion is essential and condemns any desecration of places of worship to whatsoever faith they may belong, and any persecution or punishment of any person for adopting or reverting to any faith, and further condemns any attempt by compulsion to convert people to any one�s faith or to enforce our�s own religious observance at the cost of the rights of others.

�With a view to give effect to the general principles promoting better relations between the various communities in India laid down in the above resolution and to secure full toleration of all faiths, beliefs and religious practices, this conference records its opinion.

�That every individual or group shall have full liberty to hold and give expression to his or their beliefs and follow any religions practice, with due regard to the feelings of others and without interfering with their rights.  In no case may such individual or group revile the founders, holy persons or tenets of any other faith.

�That every individual is at liberty to follow any faith to change it whenever he wills, and shall not by reason of such change of faith render himself liable to any punishment or persecution at the hands of the followers of the faith renounced by him.

That every individual or group is at liberty to convert or reconvert another by argument or persuasion but must not attempt to do so or prevent its being done, by force, fraud, or other unfair means, such is the offering of material inducement.  Persons under sixteen years of age should not be converted unless it be along with their parents or guardians, by a person of another faith.  If any person under sixteen years of age is found stranded, without his parents or guardians, he should be promptly handed over to a person of his own faith.  There must be no secrecy about any conversion or reconversion�.

Such in brief is the History of religious liberty in Europe and India, with special reference to Christianity.

30. We have so far dealt with the history of �Religions Liberty�.  Let us now consider the question of Religious liberty as it exists today in various countries (other than India),

31. There are at present four great religions prevailing in the world, viz., Hinduism, Budhism, Christianity and Islam. Hinduism prevails in India alone.  Budhism prevails in China and Japan.  Islam prevails in Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

32. The Christian countries of the world may be divided into three categories, viz., first those where Catholic Church is the prevailing church and secondly those where Protestant Church predominates, thirdly where orthodox church prevails.  Prominent under the first category are the States of Italy, Spain, Belgium and Portugal.  Russia and Greece are the countries of the Orthodox Church.

33. Let us first take Italy, which is the official seat of Catholic Church, being the residence of the Pope, head of the Catholic religion.  Before Italy became Fascist, the state was subordinate to the Church.  The Pope dictated even the politics.  When Mussolini came in power the relations of the Church and the State were readjusted by initial consent under what is known as Concordat.  Art. I of the Concordat lays down:-

�Italy recognises the Catholic religion as the sole religion of the State.�

Previous to the Lateran Agreement of 1929, Art. I of the Constitution of Italy read as follows:-

�The Apostolic Roman Catholic religion is the only religion of the State.  Other cults now existing are tolerated in Conformity of law.�

34. Pope Pins XI interpreted the said article as implying that any discussion of religion, written or oral, which might �easily mislead the good faith of the less enlightened� must be punished by law.  In Italy it is only the Catholic religion that is provided unqualified protection under the penal code (Arts, 402-405) against public abuse and libelous attacks.  If such offences are committed against other churches, extenuating circumstances are to be considered in assessing the offence.

35. In the matter of education, Art. 36 of the Concordat lays down:-

�Italy considers Christian doctrine in a form handed down by the Catholic tradition as the basis and apex of public education.�

Such education in Italy can be imparted only by teachers or priests approved by the Church authorities and any withdrawal of approval is at once effective against the teacher.

�Liberty of Conscience� in a Catholic State was interpreted to mean �liberty to accept the church�s guidance of conscience without interference by the State.� (Religious Liberty: pp. 42-45.)

36. Next in importance to Italy amongst the Catholic countries is Spain. �Religious liberty for other than Roman Catholics�, says M. Searle Bates in his �Religious Liberty and Inquiry�, �scarcely exists in Spain today, as has been largely true throughout the modern history of the country.�

37. The Catholic Church in Spain, in course of time, became a dominating power which had �subjugated the political power and was nearly omnipotent in public, social and economic life�.  There was reaction against this amongst the inhabitants and hence the Spanish Revolution of 1931-39.  The frenzy of the lovers of political freedom was let loose against the Church administration in Spain.  The Church in Spain came in for persecution at the hands of the Fascists who subscribed to atheism.  It is said that 20,000 churches were destroyed or looted, 16,000 priests, monks and nuns were either executed or murdered and 300,000 inhabitants lost their lives.  Peace was ultimately restored after this blood-bath between the Church and the State.  The accord with the Holy See reaffirmed the four articles of the Concordat of 1851 which ran as follows:-

�(1) Catholicism continues to be the sole religion of the Spanish nation, to the exclusion of any other, and is always to be maintained with all the rights and privileges which it should have in accordance with God�s law- and the prescriptions of the sacred canons.�

(2) Instruction in all schools shall conform in all respects to the doctrines of the Catholic religion, and, therefore, bishops and their aides shall have full and free supervision over the purity of faith, and customs and the religious education of youth, even in public schools.

(3) All authorities shall be charged with showing and causing others to show the bishops and the clergy the respect and consideration due to them according to divine precepts, and the Government shall grant effective protection and sup port to the bishops wherever they request it, particularly when they combat, �the inequity of men who attempt to pervert the souls of the faithful and to corrupt customs,� or whenever it is necessary to prevent the publication or circulation of evil or harmful books.

(4) In all other matters relative to the exercise of ecclesiastical authority and to the ministry of holy orders, the bishops and the clergy shall enjoy full liberty according to the sacred canons.� � �Religious Liberty�, pp. 14 to 19.

38. The Church has regained its position in Spain.  The head of the State has an important say in the selection of the Spanish bishops and archbishops, although the Pope participates in. the process.  Catechism is obligatory in all State Schools and the baptising of all children is insisted upon.

39. In Spain, Catholic Church occupies a privileged position.  �One people, one State, one leader, one faith, one Church� is the common slogan.  �No rights or status�, says Searle Bates, �exist for other religious beliefs or organisations of any sort.� A police order of 1940 decrees that, �through a generous tolerance of religious opinions of foreigners who reside in our country, in so far as they are not opposed to Christian morality or infringe upon police and health rations, �foreigners may continue to gather in chapels in which rites and ceremonies different from the Catholic religion are celebrated�.  The �general tolerance�, further orders that foreigners �must withdraw from the walls, entrances, doors and other visible places, any lettering, emblem, flag, or other sign which might lead to confusion of the said chapels with churches of the Roman Catholic religion�- �Religious Liberty�, pp. 19 and 20.

40. Not to speak of freedom of conscience being guaranteed to non-believers in Spain, even the believers not subscribing to the tenets of the Catholic Church have no religious liberty in Spain as is evident from the following extract from the Report on Religious Liberty by Searle Bates:-

�According to the reports of the year 1944, it seems that twenty out of two hundred Spanish Protestant churches are now open.  Some pastors have been driven out of the country and others work under persecution, covert or naked.  All Protestant schools were closed.  In the large cities members are able to get along, but in smaller communities recognised Protestants are commonly refused employment, sale of goods and government relief.  No Spaniard can secure a certificate for leaving school or can enter the Civil Service unless he has official evidence of instruction in the Roman Catholic religion� -�Religions Liberty, p. 20.�

41. Portugal is often presented by the Catholic Missionaries as the Catholic State par excellence founded on the religious, political and social principles of the great encyclicals from Leo XIII to the present day.  There is no State Church as such in Portugal.  The Concordat, however, provides in Articles II and III an
open course for the Catholic Church in the Portuguese Republic:-

The Catholic Church may freely exercise her authority; in all the matters within her competence, she may carry out without impediment any acts consonant with her rules and jurisdiction��

The Catholic Church in Portugal may organise herself freely in harmony with the provisions of Canon Law and thereby constitute associations and organisations whose personality at law the State shall recognise.�-�Religious Liberty�, pages 97 and 98.

42. The place of the Church in education is well established in Articles XX and XXI of the Concordat 1940 quoted below:-

�The teaching administered by the State in public schools shall be guided by the principles of Christian doctrine and morals traditional to the country.  Therefore, the Catholic religion and Catholic morals will be taught in public elementary, complementary and intermediate schools to pupils whose parents or guardians have not lodged a request to the contrary.

For the teaching of the Catholic religion, the text-books employed must be passed by ecclesiastical authorities.  In no case shall religious instruction be given by persons not approved by the ecclesiastical authorities as competent.� � �Religious Liberty�, p. 98.

43. In the case of her colonial possessions the Portugal.  Government follows a policy which is a negation of religious liberty.  The Portugal Catholic Church has monopoly of spiritual training of African and Asian people.  The non-Catholic Missions are subjected to serious restrictions and discriminations in clear violation of religions liberty and of international agreements. Article 24 of the Colonial Act runs as follows:-

�Portuguese Catholic Missions overseas being an instrument of civilisation and national influence, and establishments for the training of staff for service therein and in the Portuguese Padroado, shall possess juridical personality and shall be protected and assisted by the State as educational institutions.�

Article 2 of the same Act lays down as follows:-

�It is the essential attribute of the Portuguese nation to fulfil the historic functions of possessing and colonising overseas dominions and of civilising the native population inhabiting them as also that of exercising the moral influence ascribed to it by the Padroado in the East.� (Religious Liberty, p. 515).

44. How did the Portuguese Mission authorities act in christianising and civilising the native population of India can be seen from the following extract on page 161 of �The Heritage of the Indian Christian�.

�The next comers were the Roman Catholic Portuguese who obtained the settlement on the west coast early in the sixteenth century, and proceeded to follow their usual policy of rapid christianisation of the Indian people under their immediate influence.  Thus, Goa remains nominally Christian to this day.  But this incident in Indian History is chiefly important because it provides St. Francis Xavier and his fellow-Jesuits with an opportunity for evangelistic work in South India.  The Portuguese soon discovered the Nestorian Christians in Malabar, and immediately sought by all possible means, fair and foul, to bring them under the obedience of the Pope, and to a profession of the orthodox faith.  By dint of wholesale employment of force, bribery, they succeeded in subjugating the larger part of them.�

45. In Columbia the Catholics have forbidden the evangelistic activity of non-Catholics, i.e., to proselytise or propagandise outside their places of worship (page 246, National Christian Council Review, May 1954).

46. �France� in the words of Searle Bates, �has not, since 1870, been considered a �Catholic country� in the old meaning and not in recent years a �Catholic State� in the new sense of corporative structure based on the doctrines of the encyclical fully supporting the Catholic Religion and Catholic education.  Yet France remains a nation in which Catholicism is first and dominant among religious influences. (Reli. Lib. p. 103).

�SWEDEN maintains a constitution of the year 1809.  Article 2 requires: �The King shall always belong to the pure evangelical faith as adopted and explained in the unaltered Augsburg Confession and in the resolution of the Upsala Synod of 1593�.  The King�s ministers must belong to �The pure evangelical Faith� as so defined (Article 4).  Freedom from constraint of conscience and protection of every one �in the free exercise of his religion, provided he does not thereby disturb public order or occasion general offence,� are secured by article 16.  To offices other than that of royal minister adherents of other Christian faiths and of Judaism may be appointed; but �no person not belonging to the pure evangelical faith shall take part, as Judge or in any other position, in the discussion or decision of questions relating to divine worship, to religious instruction, or to appointments within the Swedish Church.� (Article 28).  Reli. Lib. p. 524.

47. The imparting of religious instruction is compulsory in the State elementary; secondary and teacher training schools for all pupils whose parents are members of the State Church.  Only members of the State Church are appointed as teachers.  Denominational groups and persons not members of the State Church are not permitted to establish their own schools for children.  Up to the end of the 19th century Sweden was a Lutheran State in the full sense of the word and liberty of conscience was nonexistent.

�All administrative and judicial posts, the entire teaching and medical professions, required a Lutheran profession of faith.  Attempt to get a Lutheran to chance his confession were penal offences, and apostacy from the State religion made a Swede liable to banishment for life.� Reli. Lib. p. 205.

48. NORWEGIAN constitution is as old as 1814 with amendment from time to time.  Article 2 of the Constitution declares:

�The Evangelical Lutheran religion shall remain the public religion of the State.  Such inhabitants as profess this religion are required to educate their children therein. Jesuists shall not be admitted.� Article 4 implies active furtherance of the State religion by the Government, which acts for the sovereign : The King shall always profess, maintain and defend the Evangelical Lutheran religion, �More than half the King�s ministers must belong to the State church.  On the other hand, the king and his ministers prescribe the ritual and worship of the Church, appoint and discipline the Clergy (Articles 12, 16, 21).  Reli. Lib. p. 523.

The Cardinal principle of educational policy of Norway is that the children should receive �Christian education . Therefore, religious instruction is compulsory for all pupils in State elementary, secondary and normal schools.  Except as exemption is claimed by parents who have left the State Church.  Class teachers given religious instruction and are appointed with the approval of the Bishop Non-conformist schools are not given any State-aid. (Reli. Lib. p. 332).

49. In DENMARK Lutheran Church is the State Church.  King must be a member of the Church.  The State controls and subsidises the activities of the Church and has not yet given it a separate constitution. (Reli. Lib. p. M).

The Danish constitution of 1915 is based upon the document of 1849.  Article 3 of the Constitution lays down-

�The Evangelical Lutheran Church is the national Church of Denmark and as such it is supported by the State�. (Reli. Lib. p. 523).

In schools under State management all children receive instruction in the Bible, Shorter Catechism and Hymns in the lower classes and in church history in the upper class.  Each child of fourteen years or more belonging to the State Church, is obliged to attend �Confirmation classes� twice a year but can be exempted from actual confirmation on application. (Reli. Liberty p. 104).

50. Of the European States subscribing to Orthodox Christian Church, Russia is the most important example.  �At no time and in no land has the world known so dramatic a denial of religious liberty as in Russia since 1918�.  The provisional Government (1917) had freed all recognised Churches from State control and interference.  By the beginning of 1918, the Soviet decrees �nationalized Church property and the schools, instituted civil marriage and separated the Orthodox Church from State and school alike.� Freedom of conscience was granted and all restrictions of fights based on belief or non-belief were annulled.  Religious instruction in private was authorised, but was barred from all public or private schools, where general subjects were taught. (Reli. Liberty p. 2).

UP to 1929 the Constitutions of the various republics constituting the Soviet Union contained the following article :

�In order to provide the workers actual freedom of conscience, the church is separated from the State, and the school from the church, while freedom for religious and anti-religious propaganda is recognised for all citizens.  �The Stalin Constitution of 1936�, still in force, has the following provisions:-

�For the purpose of providing to citizens freedom of conscience, the Church in the U. S. S. R. is separated from the State, and the school from the Church, freedom for the conduct of religious cults and freedom for anti-religious propaganda is recognised for all citizens.� (Article 124).

The period from 1937 to 1939 was a period of persecution of the Church leaders and the Church.  In 1938 alone several prominent bishops were shot, while over fifty bishops were sent to prison or to the concentration camps.  A heavy rent charge was imposed upon Church buildings with the result that in 1937 alone 1,100 orthodox churches and hundreds of other places of worship were forced to close.  The Soviet statistics for 1940 showed that there were then 4,225 listed Orthodox Churches with 5,665 priests as against 46,457 such churches and 50,960 priests before the revolution 1917.  There were 28 Orthodox bishops and 37 monasteries in 1940, as compared to 130 bishops and 1,026 monasteries before Revolution.

The situation, however, changed by 1944.  The Central Organisation of the Russian Orthodox Church has been officially restored. (Religious Liberty, pp. 4-9).

51. Second in importance amongst the countries having Orthodox Church is GREECE.  The Constitution of Greece grants freedom and protection of rights to every recognised religion.  The Church of Hellas is established by the State, which pays the bishops and exercise supervision of all temporal matters in church affairs. Spiritual authority vests it the synod of all the bishops.  Marriages and baptism of evangelical groups are recognised as valid.

Art I of the constitution lays down as follows :-

�The Dominant religion in Greece is that of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ.�

�The Orthodox Church of Greece is inseparably united, from the dogmatic point of view, with the Great Church of Jesus, Constantinople, and every other Church of Jesus Christ of the same dogmas, observing immutably, like it, the holy apostolic and conciliar canons and the holy traditions.  It is autocephalic; it exercises independently of every other Church its sovereign rights and it is administered by a Holy Synod of arch bishops.  The ministers of eve cult are subject to the same surveillance, on the part of the State as those of the dominant religion.�

�The liberty of conscience is inviolable.

All the known cults may be exercised freely under the protection of the Law, provided they are not contrary to public order or to good morals.  Proselytism is forbidden.� (Religious Liberty, p. 525).

The official definition of term Proselytism as given below not only guard against the possibilities of its abuse but prevents any religious change even by persuasion or information.

�Any attempt by force, or threats or illicit means, or grants of promises of financial or other aid, or by fraudulent means or promises, or by moral and material assistance, or by taking advantage of any person�s inexperience or confidence or by exploiting any person�s necessity or spiritual (mental) weakness or thoughtlessness, or in general, any attempt or effort (whether successful or not) directory or indirectly to penetrate into religious conscience of persons (whether of age or under age) of another faith, for the purpose of consciously altering their religious conscience or faith, so as to agree with the ideas or convictions of the proselytising party.�-(Religious Liberty, P. 112).

52. Of the remaining Christian countries, Great Britain, Germany and U. S. A. deserve special mention.

53. Question of religious liberty in GREAT BRITAIN centred round the historic position of the Church of England as the National Church.  The King and the Lord Chancellor must be members of the Church of England.  Twenty-four bishops and two arch-bishops are members of the House of Lords.  The Church enjoys properties and endowments.

The problem of the church schools and religious education in State schools of England has aroused controversy.  In the elementary and secondary schools under the control and management of the Church of England religious instruction is imparted.  In the

VINDICATED BY TIME - The Niyogi Committee Report On Christian Missionary Activities

Sita Ram Goel
The Sunshine of �Secularism�
Rift in the Lute
Christian Missionary Activities Enquiry Committee, Madhya Pradesh
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Tour Programmes of the Committee
District Raigarh
District Surguja
District Raipur
District Bilaspur
District Amravati
District Nimar
District Yeotmal
District Akola
District Buldana
District Mandla
District Jabalpur
District Chhindwara
Replies submitted by Shri J. Lakra
Replies to Questionnaire concerning the area covered by Jashpur, Khuria and Udaipur of the Raigarh district
Replies submitted by the Catholic Sabha of the Raigarh district Replies
Replies submitted by Shri Gurubachan Sing, Raipur
Replies submitted by Chairman and Secretary of the General Conference, Mennonite Mission in India, Saraipali, Raipur district
Replies submitted by Rev. Canon, R. A. Kurian, Nagpur
Replies submitted by Rev. E. Raman, President, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Madhya Pradesh, Gopalganj, Sagar
Replies submitted by Miss M. L. Merry, Khirkia R. S., Hoshangabad district, Madhya Pradesh
Replies submitted by Shri L. E. Hartman, Amravati Camp, Berar, Mission Bungalow, Amravati Camp, Berar
Replies submitted by Umri Mission Hospital, Umri, via Yeotmal, Madhya Pradesh
Replies submitted by Shri F. B. Lucas, President, Independent Christian Association, Yeotmal
Replies submitted by Shri R. W. Scott, Secretary, National Christian Council
Replies submitted by Dr. E. Asirvatham, Nagpur
Replies submitted by Shri P. S. Shekdar, Khamgaon, district Buldana
Replies submitted by Shri Sohanlal Aggarwal, Secretary, Vedic Sanskriti Raksha Samiti.
Replies submitted by Shri T. Y. Dehankar, President, Bar Association, and six others of Bilaspur
Replies submitted by Shri M.N. Ghatate, Nagpur Sangh Chalak.
Replies submitted by Shri R. K. Deshpande, Pleader, Jashpurnagar
Correspondence of Roman Catholics with the Committee, the state government and the Central Government
Extracts from Catholic Dharma ka Pracharak and other pamphlets showing the methods of propaganda
Short History of Chhattisgarh Evangelical Mission
Camp: Raipur (22-7-1955)
Camp Bilaspur (25-7-1955)
Raigarh (28-7-1955)
Jashpur (22-11-1955)
Jabalpur (8-8-1955)
Sagar (11-8-1955)
Mandla (15-8-55)
Khandwa (17-8-55)
Yeotmal (10-8-55)
Camp Amravati (13-8-1955)
Washim (16-8-1955)
Buldana 18-8-1955
Malkapur (20-8-1955)
Nagpur (20-9-1955)
Camp Ambikapur (19-11-1955)
Activities of Christian Missions in the Eastern States and proselytism in the Udaipur State by the Jesuit Mission