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Friday, October 7, 2022

“Missionaries humiliate traditional practices, by saying their dances and beliefs are things of the devil”: Brazilian anthropologist

Indigenous communities all over the world are threatened by the scourge of Christian missionaries. These missionary supremacists who are massively funded by the USA-led West, use every tactic in the book to destroy the cultural and religious diversity of the world and convert the entire world into what they call ‘Kingdom of (their) God’.

In Bharat, we have seen how they spew venom at diverse Hindu communities, even comparing murti puja to prostitution. In Canada, mass graves of native American children who died due to abuse and neglect in residential schools run by White Christian missionaries, have been discovered.

Brazil, a nation which was brutally overrun and conquered by Portugese colonisers, has a very small indigenous population who still follow their ancestral belief systems and lifestyle. Only 900,000 indigenous people, or 0.4% of Brazil’s population, spread across 300-odd tribes survive in Brazil today. The government has recognized 690 territories for its indigenous population, covering about 13% of Brazil’s land mass. Nearly all of this reserved land (98.5%) lies in the Amazon. 87% of the country is Christian (65% Catholic and 22% Evangelical Protestant).

But for Christian missionaries, nothing short of total eradication of other religions will suffice. So they keep trying to enter the reserved areas and ‘civilize’ the indigenous peoples.

Now, Brazil’s highest court has upheld a ban on missionary activity inside reserves that are home to isolated or recently contacted Indigenous people. However, the ruling has come ‘to protect the communities against COVID-19’ and not to protect and preserve their priceless indigenous religious & cultural identity.

As per this report

A federal law passed in July 2020 allows religious missionaries to remain inside these reserves. This triggered a lawsuit by Indigenous and political organizations, which the Supreme Federal Court (STF) has now ruled in favor of.

The 2020 law attempted to “legitimize something that is already forbidden,” said Carolina Ribeiro Santana, a lawyer for the Observatory for the Human Rights of Isolated and Recently Contacted Indigenous Peoples (OPI), one of the co-authors of the lawsuit. “As we are under an anti-Indigenous government, it is important to have a decision which reassures the Indigenous policy.”

OPI authored the lawsuit along with the Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (Apib) — the country’s largest Indigenous organization — and the Workers Party (PT). Justice Luís Roberto Barroso issued the court’s ruling on Sept. 24.

…threats against uncontacted Indigenous groups have escalated under the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, who has called for Indigenous people to be “integrated into society.” Bolsonaro’s hostility toward Indigenous people is no secret; last year, in his weekly live transmission on social media, he declared that, “more and more, the Indigenous is a human being just like us.”

At the same time, Bolsonaro is hugely popular with Brazil’s evangelicals, who are credited with helping him win the 2018 election. (His middle name translates to “Messiah.”) Once in office, he appointed evangelical leaders to key posts in his administration, including Ricardo Lopes Dias, who, until November 2020, headed the department responsible for protecting isolated and recently contacted communities at Funai, the Indigenous affairs agency. Dias was a pastor with the New Tribes Mission, an evangelical group notorious for reportedly spreading disease among the Zo’é people living in northern Pará state. More than a third of the Zo’é population subsequently died. Another top official, Damares Alves, the minister for women, family and human rights, is also reportedly linked to missionary groups, according to BBC News Brasil.

…the threat of disease isn’t the only one introduced by missionaries, even to non-isolated groups. According to lawyer Eliésio Marubo, from Vale do Javari reserve in northern Amazonas state, missionaries undermine the social cohesion of the community by favoring the leaders who support them.

“The culture of our people is also weakened because certain practices are forbidden [by the missionaries], like traditional medicine,” Eliésio Marubo said. “The relationship with the territory also changes. Before, we used to move around a lot, but the missionaries want us to stay in one place only.”

“It is a cultural destruction,” anthropologist Aparecida Vilaça said of the missions’ presence in Indigenous reserves. Vilaça witnessed the effects of missionary groups on an Indigenous community in Rondônia, also in the Amazon region. “They do a very deep process of humiliation of the traditional practices, by saying their dances and beliefs are things of the devil,” she said.

According to Vilaça, these changes in the traditional way of life make the Indigenous people more vulnerable to several economic interests. “The missionaries lead to the settling of all the community in the same place, releasing land to farmers and loggers. We can’t forget that these lands are very coveted,” she said.

Vilaça said the desire to convert Indigenous groups started with the colonization of Brazil, by the Catholic Church, and is now led by evangelical groups, some of which have deep pockets.

Rejection of “consentement” thesis

As the lawyer for Univaja, the Union of Indigenous People of Vale do Javari, Eliésio Marubo went to court last year against Andrew Tonkin, a U.S. evangelical Baptist missionary who was planning to travel to the reserve amid the pandemic to contact isolated Indigenous groups.

Missionaries have been harassing us for 60 years,” he said. “They have helicopters, airplanes and they fly from here to the United States.”

Besides granting Univaja’s request to ban Tonkin’s entry, a federal court also ordered the expulsion of missionaries still inside the territory. Despite the victory, the missionaries are still lurking, Eliésio Marubo said. “They remain on the borders of the reserve, trying to co-opt people,” he told Mongabay over the phone.

In a setback for the Indigenous groups, Justice Barroso denied their request to remove the missionaries already inside the reserves. Besides creating a risk of contagion, Barroso said — since evicting them could “require third parties to enter such areas” — it was not clear that isolated groups had not consented to their presence.

“How can you give consent for something that you have no idea what it is? To people who don’t even speak their language?” Vilaça said. She added that missionaries use several strategies to win over the isolated people. “They offer axes, knives, and other benefits to those who join them.”

In their argument to the STF, the Indigenous groups noted that the way isolated communities express their will is different from the rest of society. “Our society gives prevalence to speech, to writing, and these people are talking to us in a different way. When they run away or attack an approaching person, it is a way of saying no,” Santana said.”

Bharat should lead the global fight for indigenous rights

Every Hindu and Dharmik of Bharat – including the vanvasis who have been living in harmony for millennia alongside the village and urban dwelling Hindus – will identify with what the indigenous people of Brazil are facing.

Missionaries have been harassing us for over 500 years ever since the Portugese landed near Goa, using the same stick & carrot approach of denigrating and humiliating our beliefs, while offering financial and other allurements (including promises of magical cures, heavenly after-life etc) to get us to convert. The same policy of dividing society by manufacturing fake theories like Aryan Invasion or Aryan-Dravidian racial divide have been deployed to telling effect in Bharat.

Of course, in the colonial era, they had the option of ordering brutal inquisitions or carrying out mass genocide like they did in Americas. Now, their strategies have adapted, but the end goal remains the same.

Sadly, self-appointed representatives of vanvasis (forest dwellers aka ‘tribals’) in Bharat like Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren or Tribal Army founder Hansraj Meena, never utter a word against the Christian missionary mafia, but instead attack Hindu organisations like Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram which are fighting hard to stop conversions and protect vanvasi culture. This is how devious and well-connected the missionary mafia is.

And America is the hub of these global missionary supremacists, although European countries like UK, Germany, Holland, Denmark etc also fund them in a big way, including through government grants. Recently, an American missionary John Allen Chau was killed by the Sentinelese, a self-isolated uncontacted people living on the North Sentinel Island in Andaman & Nicobar union territory of Bharat, in an attempt to preach Christianity to them.

Western media was awash with the news of his death, and he was almost made into a hero. None bothered to ask why Chau and others of his ilk want to impose their religious worldview on others?

‘Liberal, progressive’ NY Times glorifies missionary John Allen Chau

The experience of indigenous people all over the world shows us that wherever European colonialism spread, missionaries were at the forefront and often worked hand-in-glove with colonial rulers. They provided the religious justification for the ‘civilizing mission’ that colonial powers used to cloak their genocide and loot.

And till today, the mainstream view in Western society is that missionaries are working for the ‘greater good’. Even those Westerners who claim to be ‘left-wing progressives’ or atheists do not oppose missionary activity, because ultimately they believe in the superiority of Western civilization and in Western Universalism. Also, missionaries are a good way to meddle in the internal affairs of ‘developing’ countries. They provide a useful stick to beat nations like Bharat in the name of ‘religious freedom’ and ‘human rights’.

In this regard, the Muslim nations have shown the right approach of dealing with missionaries. They simply do not allow any Christian preachers. Any missionary found operating in their countries is ruthlessly dealt with. For that same reason, missionaries are scared of preaching in Muslim-majority areas of countries like Bharat too. Of course, the Muslim world has its own missionary madness called da’wah – or ‘inviting’ others to Islam – which is as dangerous as the Christian evangelicals.

The non-Christian and non-Muslim world must come together to ban these global Abrahamic missionary networks which are threatening the harmony and religious-cultural diversity of the entire world. Mutual Respect and not just tolerance must be our motto for the 21st century.

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