INDIA, March 8, 2017 (Swarajya, by Aravindan Neelakandan): Compassion International, a US organization leading and funding Christian proselytization in India, has recently declared that it would shut down its operations in the country after facing tough restrictions related to foreign funding. Here is an account of how the Christian organisation has been secretly pursuing its missionary work in India under the pretense of "releasing children from poverty."
In 2015, Income Tax officials disclosed that Caruna Bal Vikas (CBV), one of the chief recipients of Compassion International funding of Rs 10 million every year, used only 10 percent of its funding for child development and diverted the rest to 300 other organisations. The officials discovered the discrepancies as early as 2013, one year before the present government took over.
At the time, Compassion International had moved ahead with an astonishing money-routing strategy. The CBV centre was closed, and another body, Adhane Management Consultants Private Limited, was opened immediately and registered as a non-governmental organisation (NGO). Adhane featured the same team as that in CBV, and Compassion International began directing money to all its organisations through this new NGO. This was in May 2014. It's evident from this series of events that Compassion International is more occupied with strategic operations rather than a group motivated by pure compassion.
The Christian charity says that local churches are so well-respected in multi-religious communities that they do not consider 'forced conversion' of children an issue at all. Even as they say this, they add that they 'do not force conversions'. However, the officials also concede that "yet honestly seek to present the Christian message of hope and the opportunities that it presents". It is unclear how much of "honestly seeking to present" Christianity to non-Christian children would be considered as 'forced'.
Compassion International's hidden agenda is even a problem in the United States for other religionists and humanists. Joshua Lewis Berg, the director of community programming at Jewish Educational Alliance in Savannah, Georgia, points out that though the aid organisation's website says they do not require people to believe or convert, there was no doubt that that was their goal. He also points out that their advertisements hid their Christian agenda well.
So, then, what kind of child development does Compassion International aim at?
Dr Brewster is director for child advocacy for Compassion International in Asia. In a 2011 document, Brewster, while discussing the child ministry in Asian countries including India, quoted another evangelist Peter Hohmann, associated with Boys and Girls Missionary Crusade. The child should be given "a missionary worldview," he said, adding, "We can give children no greater purpose ... to make His name known in all the world. This is the purpose stated in Bible. This is the purpose we need to impart to our children."
In other words, the aim of Compassion International is to make use of poverty in India to create foot soldiers for evangelism.
Given the historical context, and the multi-religious environment, of India, it would be foolish for any secular government to allow a US-based evangelical organisation to take advantage of the poverty in a country to recruit children, or foot soldiers for the religious right in the West.