Christianity and the State in Asia: Complicity and Conflict

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Christianity and the State in Asia

Christianity is one of the most rapidly growing religions in Asia. Despite the challenges of political marginalisation, church organisations throughout much of Asia are engaged in activities – such as charity, education and commentary on public morality – that may either converge or conflict with the state’s interests. Considering Christianity’s growing prominence, and the various ways Asian nation states respond to this growth, this book brings into sharper analytical focus the ways in which the faith is articulated at the local, regional and global level. Contributors from diverse disciplinary and institutional backgrounds offer in-depth analyses of the complex interactions between Asian nation states and Christianity in the context of modernisation and nation-building. Exploring the social and political ramifications of Christian conversions in Asia and their impact on state policies, the book analyses how Christian followers, missionaries, theologians and activists negotiate their public roles and identities vis-à-vis various forms of Asian states, particularly in the context of post-colonial nation-building and socio-economic development. This volume represents a critical contribution to the existing scholarship on Christianity’s global reach and its local manifestations, and demonstrates the significance of the Asian experience in our understanding of Christianity as a global religion. Francis Khek Gee Lim is Assistant Professor in the Division of Sociology, Nanyang Technological University. He is the author of Imagining the Good Life: Negotiating Culture and Development in Nepal Himalaya, and has published in a number of international refereed journals. His research interests include religion, tourism and globalization. Julius Bautista is an anthropologist and is Lecturer at the Southeast Asian Studies Programme, the National University of Singapore (NUS). He concurrently holds a Visiting Fellowship at the Asia Research Institute, NUS, and has published on topics on Philippine religion and culture in various scholarly forums. His broader interests include material religion and diasporic identity in Southeast Asia.

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Routledge Studies in Asian Religion and Philosophy

1 Deconstruction and the Ethical in Asian Thought Edited by Youru Wang 2 An Introduction to Daoist Thought Action, language, and ethics in Zhuangzi Eske Møllgaard 3 Religious Commodifications in Asia Marketing Gods Edited by Pattana Kitiarsa 4 Christianity and the State in Asia Complicity and conflict Edited by Julius Bautista and Francis Khek Gee Lim

Christianity and the State in Asia

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Complicity and conflict

Edited by Julius Bautista and Francis Khek Gee Lim

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First published 2009 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 270 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an Informa business This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2009. To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s collection of thousands of eBooks please go to www.eBookstore.tandf.co.uk.

© 2009 editorial selection and matter Julius Bautista and Francis Khek Gee Lim, individual chapters the contributors All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Christianity and the state in Asia : complicity and conflict / [edited by] Julius Bautista and Francis Khek Gee Lim. p. cm. – (Routledge studies in Asian religion and philosophy) Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. Church and state–Asia. 2. Christianity and politics–Asia. I. Bautista, Julius. II. Lim, Francis Khek Gee. BR1275.C47 2009 261.7095–dc22 2009002073 ISBN 0-203-88376-4 Master e-book ISBN

ISBN 978-0-415-48069-7 (hbk) ISBN 978-0-203-88376-1 (ebk)

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Contents

List of figures List of Contributors Acknowledgements 1

Introduction: Christianity and the State in Asia: Complicity and Conflict

vii viii xi

1

JULIUS BAUTISTA, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE; FRANCIS KHEK GEE LIM, NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY

2

Evangelism, the state, and subjectivity

18

BRYAN S. TURNER, WELLESLEY COLLEGE

3

Is Protestant conversion a form of protest? Urban and upland Protestants in Southeast Asia

36

OSCAR SALEMINK, VRIJE UNIVERSITEIT AMSTERDAM

4

Post-war Japanese Christian historians, democracy, and the problem of the ‘Emperor-System’ state

59

GREGORY VANDERBILT, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES

5

Negotiating ‘foreignness’, localizing faith: Tibetan Catholicism in the Yunnan-Tibet borderlands

79

FRANCIS KHEK GEE LIM, NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY

6

Conversions, complicity and the state in post-Independence India

97

BHAGWAN JOSH, JAWAHARLAL NEHRU UNIVERSITY

7

Singing yourself into existence: Chinese Indonesian entrepreneurs, Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity and the Indonesian nation state 115 JULIETTE KONING, VRIJE UNIVERSITEIT AMSTERDAM

vi

Contents

8

The issue of HIV/AIDS in the Philippines: The Roman Catholic Church and the Philippine government

131

DIGNA B. APILADO, UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES

9

Christian reactions to government-led cremation in South Korea

155

CHANG-WON PARK, DURHAM UNIVERSITY

10 Subject to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates

166

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GREG D. PETERSEN, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE

11 Accommodating relationships: The Church and state in Singapore

184

MATHEW MATHEWS, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE

12 About face: Asian Christianity in the context of southern expansion 201 JULIUS BAUTISTA, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE

Index

216

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List of figures

5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4

Grave of Father Maurice Tornay Depiction of Jesus the Saviour in Tibetan thanka style Book of daily readings and prayers in Tibetan Vineyards

85 90 91 93

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List of contributors

Digna Balangue Apilado is an Associate Professor of History at the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of the Philippines-Diliman. Her research has mainly been on colonial Philippines from the 16th to the 19th centuries, and on the Ilocos and Cordillera regions of Northern Philippines. She has written journal articles published in the Philippines, Canada, Spain and Macau on women, the environment, religious movements, and social history. She has served in the National Committee for Historical Research of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (Philippines) and in some projects of the National Historical Institute. Julius Bautista is Lecturer in Religious Studies and Visiting Fellow at the Southeast Asian Studies Programme and the Asia Research Institute (jointly appointed), National University of Singapore. He is an ethohistorian with degrees from the Australian National University and the University of Sydney. He research interests include Christian iconography in Southeast Asia and the theoretical and methodological issues pertaining to the study of religion more generally. Bhagwan Josh is Professor of Contemporary History at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Along with his wife, Dr. Shashi Joshi, he is the author of a three-volume history, Struggle for Hegemony in India, 1920–47, published by Sage in 1992. Besides writing for scholarly journals he has contributed essays to many edited books. He is one of the project committee members of “Europe-South Asia Maritime Heritage Project: teaching methodologies, distance learning and multimedia course materials development”. He has also been Co-Director (1983–87) of an ICSSR project on the “History of the Indian National Congress, 1885–1947.” Juliette Koning is at the Department of Culture, Organization and Management of the VU University Amsterdam and coordinator of the Southeast Asia program (SEAVU) of the Faculty of Social Sciences. She holds a PhD (1997) in social anthropology from the University of Amsterdam. Her current research interests focus on religion, ethnicity, and entrepreneurship

List of contributors

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in Southeast Asia. Books and edited volumes include Women and Households in Indonesia (2000), Natural Resources and Social Security (2001), Generations of Change (2004) and Local Ways of Managing Insecurity in Indonesia (2006). Her recent publications on Chinese Indonesian business, identity and religion have appeared in East Asia: An International Quarterly (2007, 24), Inside Indonesia (2009, 95) and the Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies (2009, 27). Francis Khek Gee Lim is Assistant Professor at the Division of Sociology, Nanyang Technological University. After earning his Ph.D. in Anthropology from SOAS, London, he took up a postdoctoral fellowship at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. His research interests include religion, globalisation, and tourism, spanning a number of ethnographic areas such as Nepal, Singapore, and China. He is the author of Imagining the Good Life: Negotiating Culture and Development in Nepal Himalaya (Brill 2008), and the editor of Mediating Piety: Technology and Religion in Contemporary Asia (Brill 2009). He has also published in a number of international refereed journals. Mathew Mathews is currently Visiting Fellow at the Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore. His current research examines the predictors of emotional and mental health and the formal and informal institutions that attempt to help with mental well being. Besides this, Mathew has a keen interest in researching Christianity. He has recently published articles and book chapters on how Christianity in Singapore relates to other religions, the state and social service provision. Chang-Won Park earned his PhD from Durham University, U.K., in January 2009. He was a Golders Green Research Fellow (2006–08) and is currently an associate of the Centre for Death and Life Studies, Durham University. His doctoral thesis was on death rites in modern Korea and it will be published by Continuum in the series of Continuum Advances in Religious Studies – book title: Cultural Blending in Korean Death Rites: New Interpretive Approaches (forthcoming, 2010). Dr Park’s academic interests include sociology and anthropology of religion; theology and social science; death studies (death, dying, and memorial practice); Confucianism; and Christianity in East Asia. Greg Petersen is Assistant Professor of Humanities in the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore where he functions as a one-man humanities department. He is a scholar with a diverse background and interests. Prior to becoming an academic he spent many years as a professional musician, performing with many international celebrities, on film scores and recordings, and for many touring shows. An intense interest in the disparate relationships between the arts and societies drives his research and teaching today. The interdisciplinary nature of his work has also lead to significant diversity in his research and publications.

x

List of contributors

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Excellence in teaching and learning at a higher education level is also one of his passions. Oscar Salemink is Professor of Anthropology at the VU University Amsterdam. He received his doctoral degree at the University of Amsterdam, based on historical and anthropological research on Vietnam’s Central Highlanders. Between 1996 and 2001 he held positions with the Ford Foundation in Thailand and Vietnam. Recent booksize publications include Colonial Subjects (1999); Viet Nam’s Cultural Diversity (2001); The Ethnography of Vietnam’s Central Highlanders (2003); and The Development of Religion, the Religion of Development (2004). Besides, he edited thematic sections in the journals History and Anthropology (1994), Focaal – European journal of anthropology (2006) and the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies (2007). His current research concerns the revival of religious and ritual practice in everyday life in Vietnam. Bryan S. Turner was Professor of Sociology at the University of Cambridge (1998–2005), Professor of Sociology at National University of Singapore (2005–9) and currently the Alona Evans Distinguished Visiting Professor of Sociology at Wellesley College, USA. He edited the Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology (2006), (with Craig Calhoun and Chris Rojek), the Sage Handbook of Sociology (2005) and the New Blackwell Companion to Social Theory (2009). He published Vulnerability and Human Rights (2006) and Rights and Virtues (2008). He is publishing Muslims in Singapore for Routledge with Alex Pereira and Kamaludeen Mohamed Nasir in 2009.He is editing the New Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Religion. His current research (with Professor Thomas Cushman) is on religion and economic recession in the United States. Gregory Vanderbilt is a lecturer in the History Department at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the translator of Mitsuo Miyata’s Authority and Obedience: Romans 13:1–7 in Modern Japan (New York: Peter Lang, forthcoming).

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Acknowledgements

Most of the chapters in this volume have been selected from papers presented at the Christianity and the State in Asia conference held at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, in January 2007. We thank all the participants for their papers and interesting discussions, as well as the Institute’s Secretariat for its excellent logistical support. Anthony Reid and Bryan Turner have been great sources of inspiration and support throughout this project. Our gratitude also goes to the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, for providing funds for the preparation of the manuscript.

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1

Introduction Christianity and the state in Asia: complicity and conflict

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Julius Bautista and Francis Khek Gee Lim

Christianity is one of the largest and fastest-growing religions in Asia. A survey of the relevant literature, however, reveals a relative paucity of comparative studies on Christianity in the region. Thus, one of the main aims of this volume is to examine the experience of being a Christian in Asia, particularly in relation to how the state has either hindered or facilitated the propagation, regulation or maintenance of the Christian faith. There are two aspects to this discussion. The first is the ongoing and complex interplay between the global reach of Christianity and the ways in which it is articulated in Asian localities. In spite of active foreign missionary activity in the region, the ‘indigenization’ of Christian theologies and rituals draws attention to local agency in the expression of faith. The experience of being Christian in Asia, in light of the faith’s ‘global’ orientation, has engendered new and diverse forms of interaction among its adherents (cf. Hefner 1993, 1998; Kaplan 1995; Horton 1971). As with the Dayak in Borneo or the samahans of the rural Philippines, indigenous Christianity has often exceeded the orthodoxies prescribed by their mission ‘sources’. This has in turn created highly contextualized forms of religious and doctrinal expression that this volume seeks to trace (e.g. Keyes 1996: 290; Love 2004). The second aspect of the discussion focuses on how Christian churches1 and their followers negotiate their public roles and identities vis-à-vis the state as arbiters of modernity (cf. Leung 1996; Viswanathan 1998; Gifford 1998). In both these themes, a fundamental concern is over the conditions under which Christian religious practices at various times either clash or converge with the mechanism of the state, in light of the challenges brought about by processes of modernization. In discussing the relationship between Christianity and the state, it should be pointed out that a certain kind of interaction with governmental authority lies at the very heart of Christianity’s birth story. That the Holy Family escaped the temporal authority of Caesar, highlights the fact that the birth of Jesus was possible only through the circumvention of the state’s jurisdiction. The death of Jesus – the other fundamental cornerstone of the faith – likewise came through the penal instrument of the state, even though the Bible records Pilate’s reluctant complicity. When Jesus famously exhorted Jews to render what is due to both God and Caesar, he identified two distinct sources of

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authority. Yet the fundamental message being promoted in this context is this: when Christians were forced to make a choice, they ought to place themselves under the will of God as the ultimate authority. This choice becomes particularly important when thought of in relation to how religious belief is articulated and practised in the context of modern state structures. One key focus of this volume is to consider what happens when broader concerns of Christian doctrine are brought to bear on the civic and patriotic responsibilities of Christian citizens. Such a situation can, at least in principle, become a source of contradiction and conflict, which ultimately concerns the respective goals of the state and Christianity. While the nation state aims to produce citizens for the sake of its own long-term survival, Christian morality sees individuals as ‘temples of God’ to be soteriologically conditioned in preparation for ultimate salvation. How have Asians responded to the fundamental exhortation to treat the divine will as the ultimate source of authority, and the secular jurisdiction of the state as secondary? And how does the state deal with a religion whose ultimate source of authority both transcends and relativizes state authority that is founded upon legal–rational principles? Let us consider briefly some examples from the region. Authoritarian or incompetent presidencies have been toppled more than once in the Philippines by popular movements, galvanized largely by the Church’s overt calls to ‘People Power’. The Church’s direct role in regime change in that country attests to a belief that secular authority should always be subject to God’s will, and to a faith in the Church hierarchy as a legitimate conduit for that will. This fact is brought out most poignantly in this volume by Digna Apilado’s chapter on HIV/AIDS in the Philippines, where the Roman Catholic Church and the government are engaged in intense debates on how to deal with the deadly disease. The strong tradition of Roman Catholicism in the country means that the Church is able to exert tremendous moral pressure over Filipino politicians who favour policies against the Church’s agenda. In contrast, Christian communities still often experience repression in places such as China and Vietnam: Under these regimes, placing one’s ultimate allegiance to an authority outside the state may still place the Christian faithful in an antagonistic and dangerous position in relation to state authorities. It is regarding issues such as the Church’s limited capacity to appoint its own bishops that the fault lines between Christianity and the state are at their most pronounced. These are but two examples among many that encourage us to ponder upon instances of complicity and conflict between religious and secular concerns. The contributors to this volume will demonstrate that there is much more fluidity in the ways in which Christians in Asia deal with their spiritual and civic obligations. As an introduction to the volume as a whole, this chapter is less an exhaustive survey of the literature on Christianity in Asia than it is an elucidation of the debates in which the contributors of this volume seek to participate. In this vein, we identify three thematic currents: firstly, the historical processes in which Christianity was introduced to the

Introduction

3

region, including the religion’s role in nation-building processes; secondly, the fervent proclamations of the rise of a new global ‘Christendom’, which ostensibly displaces or weakens the authority and even the relevance of the state in light of the demographic expansion of Christians in and from the ‘global south’; and finally, the conception of social development, which predicted the decline, disappearance or privatization of religion in light of modernization and pluralism.

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Nationalism and Christianity A historical perspective is essential in our effort to analyze the relationship between Christianity and the state in Asia. Specifically, this relates to the ways and historical moments in which Christianity, in its various forms, has been introduced to the region, and the religion’s role in nation-building processes. If nationalism necessarily involves the demarcation of boundaries that separate the ‘Us’ (citizens belong to a nation state) from the ‘Others’ (foreigners who are citizens of other nation states), then questions such as how a nation sees Christianity’s association with the ‘Others’, the degree to which Christianity has been localized, and whether the nation state practices explicit forms of civil or political religion, become directly relevant to our analytical concerns. Before proceeding further, we find it useful to adopt Robert Montgomery’s (1991) argument that we can fruitfully examine how Christianity is perceived by taking into account the international political relationships between the receiving and sending groups or countries: A key factor in these relationships for acceptance of a new religion is perception by the receiving group of the direction from which threat or domination is coming. If a religion is introduced from a source not perceived as threatening, while at the same time there exists some threat for which the new religion provides a resource for resistance, then a favourable condition is established for reception of the new religion … If, on the other hand, a group from which a new religion is being introduced is perceived as threatening the existence or the distinctive identity of a society, then a condition encouraging resistance to the new religion is established. (Montgomery 1991: 38–39) For many countries in East and Southeast Asia, the first extensive promulgation of Christianity can be traced to the arrival of European colonial powers in the regions. We are not suggesting, of course, that the relationship between colonial authorities and Christian missionaries were unproblematic, and we are certainly not arguing that the colonial states actively supported Christian evangelism. The relationship between imperialism and evangelism was a highly complex one. While many colonialists did, in fact, hold a favourable view of missionary efforts to convert the colonial subjects as part

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of the ‘civilizing mission’, in numerous cases the colonial authorities considered the work of missionaries more as a nuisance that might jeopardize existing social and political arrangements, and hence detrimental to colonial interests. In the case of Malaya, for example, given their reliance on traditional system of governance as an effective form of political control, the British discouraged (or did not actively support) evangelization efforts while supporting Islam in the Malay states. Missionary activities were restricted to other minority ethnic groups, which were not part of the centres of political power, such as the Chinese and the Indians, and to ‘tribal’ groups such as the Bidayuh and the Iban (Gabriel 1996). As Keyes (1996) has noted, at the height of colonialism in the nineteenth century, local rulers in Southeast Asia, whose legitimacy to rule was inextricably intertwined with notions of kingship stipulated by non-Christian religions such as Islam and Buddhism, were often hostile towards missionaries. The early converts were mainly among people from the ‘margins’, such as those from the highlands, the outer islands and recent immigrants. This pattern of conversion directly contributed to the tension and conflict that were witnessed in some countries, such as Indonesia, Myanmar and India, where many Christians in the peripheral areas were engaged in separatist movements in the transition from colonial rule to national independence. In such cases, Christianity as a religion fuses with ethnic identifications that are defined in opposition to a majority population and political centre allied with a dominant, non-Christian religion. However, Christianity as a ‘minority’ religion in Asia does not necessarily imply a marginal role in national societies. For example, although Christians comprise about 29 per cent of the total South Korean population, the history of Christianity in this country provides a good illustration of how the ways the religion is introduced to a country shape its relationship with the state, and how Christianity can play a pivotal role in national politics far beyond what the ‘minority’ status would suggest. The first important point to note is Korea’s different historical experience of colonialism compared with most other Asian countries. As Japan was the colonial power that ruled Korea from 1905 to 1945, the Koreans did not experience Christianity as the religion of the colonizer when Protestantism first gained a foothold toward the end of the nineteenth century. In the late nineteenth century, the spread of Christianity was facilitated by both Korean Christian returnees who had lived abroad, as well as foreign missionaries whose national profiles differed from that of the colonizers (Adams 1995: 14). Thus, unlike many other places in Asia where Christianity was associated negatively with colonialism, the religion in fact played an important role in the Korean nationalist movement against Japanese rule and the imposition of Shinto as a civil religion. Many Christians participated in the anti-imperialist effort against the Japanese, and a significant proportion of the signatories of the famous March Declaration of Independence in 1919 were Protestants. At the same time, Korean Christians (together with the Confucians and

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Introduction

5

Buddhists) were at the forefront in resisting Japanese efforts to introduce State Shinto; they instead sought to promote Christianity as a modern, ‘Western’ learning and civil religion for Korean national revival (Freston 2001: 63). When Korea regained independence following the end of the Second World War, its first president, Rhee Syngman, was a Methodist, and Christians were over-represented in his government. In this period, the positive image of Christianity was enhanced due to its association with the country’s ‘liberators’, the Americans. Moreover, in the context of the Cold War, and particularly in the subsequent division of the Korean Peninsula, Christianity became deeply entwined with the self-identity of many South Koreans vis-à-vis the officially atheistic Communist regime in the North. Meanwhile, many Christian churches and groups in South Korea were actively involved in the prodemocracy movement directed against the dictatorial military regime of Park Chung-hee. The participation of the Church in the struggle for democracy crucially led to the formulation of the so-called Minjung Theology that interpreted the Christian understanding of salvation in terms of ordinary people’s struggles against oppressive structures (including the state) that deny human rights and dignity. The Minjung Theology is significant because it is a theology of Christian social action and the state based upon the Korean experience, and at the same time it further deepens and broadens the Christian theological reflections on these issues. The Minjung Theology has been compared to the Liberation Theology of Latin America, but without the latter’s strong adherence to Marxist ideology (Suh 1995: 149). After the toppling of authoritarian rule, the first two democratically elected presidents of recent decades, Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung, were both profoundly influenced by the Minjung Theology. Thus, given the Church’s integral role in the Korean nationalist struggle against Japanese colonial rule, and its subsequent participation in the South Korean pro-democracy movement, Christianity’s position in South Korea seems assured. This fact is amply illustrated in Chang-Won Park’s chapter on the Christian reaction to the South Korean government’s push for cremation to replace burial for funerals to free up land for housing and commercial developments. Even though burials had been the normal Christian practice, most Catholic and Protestants did not consider the new government policy to be anti-Christian. For the Christians, the main concern was more over the tension between ‘modernization’ and ‘tradition’, rather than about secularization’s threat to their religious practices in society. By accepting and supporting the government’s argument that cremation was a way of ‘modernizing death practice’, the Korean Church has played an important role in the promotion of cremation as an acceptable form of funerary practice. The role that religion plays in a national culture is another factor that determines the nature of the relationship between Christianity and the state. Of particular concern, is whether a state promotes any form of ‘official’ or ‘civil’ religion (cf. Bellah 1965). In Japan, for example, the promotion of State Shinto that fused with the cult of the emperor and Japanese nationalism,

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created significant barriers to Christian evangelism and severely circumscribed Christian religious practices and public display of identity. As discussed in Gregory Vanderbilt’s chapter, the discursive identification of Shinto with an essentialized Japanese identity meant that many Christians in the period from the late nineteenth century to 1945 had to struggle with the issue of how to be both Japanese and a Christian. Vanderbilt investigates how a number of prominent historians and intellectuals have grappled with the possibility of ‘Christianity in Japanese terms’ within the contexts of post-war nation-building effort and the state’s role in defining religion in relation to the nation. In recent years, Japanese right-wing nationalist groups and politicians have been advocating the revitalization of State Shinto as a civil religion, most prominently in their effort to make Yasukini a national shrine (Takayama 1988). In a context where the link between religion and national identity is maintained through sanctions and physical violence wielded by the state, Christians’ public adherence to their faith has often resulted in high personal costs. This is particularly so if Christianity has been associated with foreign powers or threats that can potentially undermine the religious legitimation of state power. Francis Lim’s chapter on the social history of Tibetan Catholicism shows that Tibetan Buddhists considered Catholicism as both ‘culturally’ and ‘politically’ foreign, and hence a potential threat that could erode Tibetan national solidarity and undermine traditional Tibetan political structures that consist of mutually supporting secular and religious authorities. The conversion of Tibetans to Catholicism highlights not only the adaptation of a perceived ‘foreign’ religion into the existing local cultural milieu, but also how the process is underpinned by a ‘transnational awareness’. Historically, the perceived hostile nature of Christianity due to its ‘foreignness’ was also one of the reasons behind both the Chinese and Japanese rulers’ proscription of Christianity as a heterodox religion (cf. Madsen 2001). The adoption of a state or civil religion, such as Buddhism in Thailand, Islam in Indonesia and Malaysia, and Hinduism in Nepal, means that Christianity’s public activities and evangelization effort have to be conducted within boundaries imposed by the dominant religion backed by state authority. For example, a country with a state religion often enacts laws curtailing Christian evangelism, and restricts Christianity’s public roles to those that converge with the state’s developmental goals such as health care and education. Even in an officially secular country like India, the rise of Hindu nationalism and the religio-ethnic politics at various levels of government further complicate Christianity’s position in Indian society. Although India’s constitution (like those of many other secular states) enshrines freedom of religion as an inalienable part of individual rights (cf. Casanova 2001: 425–26), the claims made by various religious groups on state resources and protection for their activities unavoidably bring religion into the realm of politics. As Samuel Kim (2003) has elaborately documented, since India’s independence, the different interpretations and implementation of the policy of ‘religious freedom’ at the federal and state levels have provided opportunities for

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Introduction

7

powerful Hindu nationalist groups to try to curtail the influence and further spread of Christianity. In India, many individuals and groups have converted to other religious faiths – including Christianity – to escape Hindu caste oppression. To many Hindu nationalists, conversion to Christianity as an exercise of individual rights has to be opposed as it threatens a sacred notion of nationhood defined primarily in terms of the dominant Hindu religion. In this context, debates on conversion revolve around the issue of whether conversion is ‘genuine’ and ‘spiritual’ (i.e. as an exercise of ‘free will’ and not for material gains) or whether it is ‘coerced’ and ‘political’. As highlighted in Bhagwan Josh’s chapter on the controversies associated with conversion to Christianity, some Hindu nationalist groups – such as those associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh – have successfully put pressure on a number of Indian provinces to adopt anti-conversion laws. These groups argue that conversions are the result of ‘coercion’ by missionaries and that they are also inherently ‘political’, i.e. they challenge the integrity of the Indian/Hindu nation. However, the fact that these laws have not been universally adopted throughout the whole of India highlights the important point that religions, and in this case Christianity, relate to the state in different ways and at multiple levels, depending on local political circumstances, global geo-politics and the extent of transnational ties. We must also be mindful that the empirical difficulty (even impossibility) in delineating strict boundaries between state and society has resulted in the inability of supposedly ‘neutral’ state institutions, such as the judiciary and the police, to protect the minority religious rights of the Christians. In this case, the conflict between Christianity and the state is largely the result of the complicity between members of a majority religion and state personnel who wield political power. The majority–minority nexus also informs the ways in which Pentecostal Christianity is practised among the Chinese minority ethnic group in Indonesia. Juliette Koning’s chapter, based on fieldwork conducted in Yogyakarta among ethnic Chinese converts, argues that adherence to charismatic Christianity can be seen as an important practice of ‘Chineseness’ among an ethnic group occupying an ambiguous position in a nation state with a Muslim majority. Periodic attacks by some Muslim groups have contributed to a deep sense of social marginality among the Chinese community, even though the latter own a significant proportion of the country’s economic wealth. Economically dominant but socially and politically marginalized, the Chinese have found a viable source of belonging and identification in Christianity. Koning argues that the global Pentecostal-charismatic movement ‘offers Chinese Indonesians a new and different sense of belonging in an otherwise more compromised and oppressive local and national setting’. While Koning relates conversion to acts of protest, Oscar Salemink’s broad survey of conversion to Protestantism among the ethnic minorities in Southeast Asia provides another perspective on conversion: while Protestantism can sometimes be seen as a divisive ethnic boundary marker, processes of conversion can also result in

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new integrative vectors that link these minority ethnic groups more firmly with the state and transnational religious networks. In other words, Salemink offers an alternative interpretation on conversion that goes beyond the common approach among scholars that considers conversion as some sort of protest (and hence potentially disruptive to the existing social and political fabric). Christianity faces problems of another form in Communist regimes, such as Vietnam and the People’s Republic of China. Although Communist countries officially adhere to the atheistic doctrine of Marxist dialectical materialism and scientism, scholars of the religious affairs of these countries have highlighted the presence of political religion through the hero worship and deification of certain charismatic founding figures, such as Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam and Mao Zedong in China. Here, it is necessary to make a distinction between ‘civil’ and ‘political’ religion. While civil religion ‘connects the political order to the transcendental power of traditional religion’, political religion entails the ‘sacralization of the political order, claiming authority over all aspects of social life’ (Zuo 1991: 104–5). In the case of the deification of Mao Zedong during China’s Cultural Revolution, for example, Maoist ideology acquired the status of religious sacredness, with its own holy texts (e.g. the famous Mao’s Red Book) that offered a secular, this-worldly salvation from oppression, physical sufferings and false consciousness. Political religion, unlike civil religion, is inherently totalitarian, with its precepts governing conduct in all spheres of national life – economic, social and political. In this context, all competing sources of authority, including traditional religions, are considered threats and hence to be eradicated. In an important sense, the political religion in China was structurally similar to monotheism: there could only be one Centre (the Party) and one Supreme Being (Mao). The political religious fervour has diminished in recent years as China embarks on its ‘reform and open’ programmes spurred on by economic pragmatism. Currently, religion is tolerated, given its perceived usefulness in providing moral ballast to a population experiencing rapid social change. In this climate of greater state toleration of religion, Christianity has flourished in China. The Pentecostal-charismatic variant of Protestantism has particularly witnessed spectacular growth, with its number of adherents estimated to swell to 90 million by 2025 (Sanneh 2006: 124; Hunter and Chan 1993; Bays 2003; Yang 2005). The tremendous growth of Christianity in the country has prompted some observers to predict that it could become China’s dominant religion in the coming decades. That said, however, we have to remember that China’s ‘religious freedom’ policy is still formulated with the ultimate aim of eventually ridding ‘religious superstition’ from Chinese society as it embarks on a course of development underpinned by science. Francis Lim, in his chapter, has highlighted the perennial problem of Christianity’s alleged ‘foreign’ (read mainly as ‘Western’) connections that periodically arouse the suspicion of the Chinese leadership. This continues to be particularly pertinent given China’s sensitivity towards

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perceived foreign intervention in its domestic affairs (cf. Leung 1992). In the coming decades, as China engages in geopolitical wrangling with other powerful countries, will Christianity become a source of contention, or a bridge, between Western countries and China? Internally, will the rapid growth of Christianity in its various forms be seen by the Chinese Communist Party as a threat to its authority? As Bryan Turner argues in his chapter, ‘Evangelism, the state and subjectivity’, conversion is sociologically significant because it ‘almost inevitably changes social and political identities and therefore can often represent a challenge to the state’. While the Party leadership can to some extent monitor the religion through its official ‘Patriotic’ Catholic and Protestant churches, it has much less control over the highly independent, fractious Pentecostal-charismatic movement, and the so-called ‘house churches’. If China’s dealings with the Falun Gong can serve as a reliable guide, we can be quite certain that, should a Christian cultic movement gain widespread popularity, the Chinese authorities would not hesitate to exercise its full range of repressive capability.

Christendom and the state The issues discussed above lead us to ponder more generally on the global prominence of Christianity. There have been many works that describe, and even extol, the explosive growth of Christianity around the world. Latin America and Africa have received a great deal of attention from those who seek to articulate Christianity’s ‘new face’ among populations of the ‘South’. Taking a global perspective on Christianity, scholars have argued that there has been a perceptible shift in Christianity’s centre of gravity, so to speak, from the traditional European and North American areas to the southern hemisphere where most believers can be found (Jenkins 2002; Sanneh 2006: 120). It is interesting that some of those who proclaim this ‘Southern shift’ are also adamant about the diminishing role of the state in influencing this expansion. Indeed, the frenetic avalanche of conversions seems to encourage some confidence in the notion that the rise of ‘Christendom’ renders impotent, if not redundant, the capacity of the state as the main arbiter and determinant of religious loyalties among the faithful. Both Philip Jenkins and Lamin Sanneh – two of the more prominent commentators on the ‘Southern shift’ of Christianity – express a strong belief that the critical mass of Christian populations in the global south, coupled with the increasing numbers of Christian migrants to the West, will significantly alter the landscape of the international order, to one in which allegiances are grounded more in spiritual claims than in states and governments. The declining prominence of the nation state is thought to proceed in tandem with the re-emergence of a transcendent Christian identification that unites cultural communities of the South, under the banner of a worldwide Christendom. Jenkins (2002) conceives of this as a resurgence of a medieval identification – a Res Publica Christiana – defined largely by religious, not civic loyalty.

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‘Christendom was primarily a cultural reference’, Jenkins observes, ‘and it may well re-emerge as such in the Christian South – as a new transnational order in which political, social, and personal identities are defined chiefly by religious loyalties’ (Jenkins 2002: 12; Cf. Phan 2005: 65). Sanneh, in a similar vein, is adamant about the nation state’s waning relevance in the context of Southern expansion. He claims that the demographic expansion of Christianity is defined precisely by its autonomy from state structures, one that encourages Southern Christians to see their loyalties as belonging to God first and Country second, ‘involving as it does the emergence of new forms of civil society outside the sphere of state power and without the dogma of strident individualism’ (Sanneh and Carpenter 2005: 221). In contrast, the contributors’ analytic focus in this volume lies in tracing the contours of this growth in the context of state structures in Asia. While we do acknowledge Christianity’s rapid growth in the region, this growth must be contextualized according to the broader demographic and political realities in the region. In recent years, Christian communities in countries such as India, the Philippines, South Korea and Singapore have become important sources for overseas mission work instead of mere recipients of evangelizing missions originating from Western Europe and the United States. Despite the challenges of political marginalization, church organizations throughout much of Asia are engaged in activities – such as charity, education and commentary on public morality – that either overlap or conflict with the state’s interests. However, unlike in Africa or Latin America (regions that in Jenkins and Sanneh’s work are most representative of the global south), in Asia, Christianity remains an overwhelmingly minority faith in most countries. Only two countries in the region are predominantly Christian: the Philippines, is the fourth largest Roman Catholic nation in the world, while Timor Leste is over 90 per cent Catholic. There is a large Christian community in South Korea, where Christians comprise around 30 per cent of the population. Meanwhile, estimating the number of Christians in the People’s Republic of China is notoriously fraught with inconsistency and unreliability (Lambert 2003). One of the important issues discussed in Bautista’s chapter is how minority status affects the ways in which Asians understand and practice Christian social doctrines. It must be pointed out that there are many Christian populations in the region that do not have the critical mass necessary to engender the levels of autonomy from the state that Jenkins and Sanneh describe. A case in point is Vietnam, where vigil protests over the control of the Nha Chung Street property in Hoan Kiem District continue to be a point of tension between the state and the country’s 6 million Catholics. By erecting crosses and statues of the Virgin Mary, hundreds of Vietnamese Catholics have expressed indignation over the construction of a public park on land that they believe rightly belongs to the Church. The Socialist government has made many recent pronouncements of openness to religion and to Christianity in particular, such as the recent visits of government officials to the

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Vatican. However, the Roman Catholic cause has met with limited success, as evinced by reports of continued surveillance, intimidation and persecution of Christians in the region (France 24 International News). What this might suggest is that the increasing confidence among Christians in Asia may still not translate into an overwhelming and transcendent sense of ‘Christendom’ in the way that is being proclaimed for Africa and Latin America. One of the aims of this volume, therefore, is to suggest that for all the claims about Christendom’s explosive growth worldwide, and for all the claims about the decreasing relevance of the states, the Asian case may well offer some interesting counterfactuals. The demographic marginality of Asian Christians in most areas of the region, suggests that practising the faith effectively must entail some ways of negotiating with the temporal authority of state structures. This contrasts sharply with the experience of African and Latin American counterparts, which both Jenkins and Sanneh identify as the exemplars of the southern Christendom. For example, emboldened by their majority status, African Anglicans are making strenuous attempts to gain autonomy from state regulation and control. It would be premature to project this autonomy from the state onto the experience of Asian Christians who are, in most cases, negotiating the challenges of existing as the minority faith, particularly in countries with strong traditions of civil or political religion. Therefore, we call for a re-evaluation of the implied homogeneity of the notion of ‘global south’ that is associated with a medieval Christendom that transcends the state. A critical feature of this call is not so much to place the state ‘back in’ the discussion, but to suggest that in the Asian case it has never really ‘gone’. Sanneh would argue that Christendom is ‘remarkable for its civil character, its relative peacefulness and its non-reliance on the state instrument’, and that scholars should utilize methodological frameworks towards those that ‘modify, or even abandon, national state jurisdiction as the prerequisite of the international order’ (Sanneh and Carpenter 2005: x, 221). In contrast, works such as Wilford and George’s Spirited Politics: Religion and public life in contemporary Southeast Asia (2005) observe that the nation state has long been ‘the dominant socio-political institution for placing collectivities and individuals “in the world” – for making them legible to each other, and for drawing them into the currents of modernity’ (Wilford and George 2005: 10). The contributors to Spirited Politics emphasize the point that the state is not merely a governmental entity. Contrary to the suggestion that Christendom relegates the nation state to a less than critical position in the practice of one’s faith, the state is a conduit between the private and the public, fulfilling both a communicative and facilitative function that is essential to the practice of the faith, rather than redundant in the face of its numerical growth. The situation in Indonesia provides us with good examples in this regard. Smaller churches in Indonesia have been periodically harassed by government and fundamentalist groups, compelling Christians to keep a low profile. Ethnic Chinese Indonesians, who make up a large proportion of the Christian

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population, became the target of persecution and race riots, particularly at the height of the economic turmoil of the Asian Financial Crisis in the late 1990s. More recently, however, with decreasing incidences of violent attacks and improving economic conditions, the Indonesian government has been more accommodating of the building of American-style mega-churches, where Christians are able to assert their faith after more than a decade of persecution. So, while it can be seen that the practice of Christianity is manifested in the public sphere in an overt capacity, this vitality has become possible through some form of state toleration that has emerged from a history of struggle and persecution. It is vital, therefore, that the state be treated as an integral component in understanding the place and persistence of religious belief in the region. In this vein, this volume may be considered a contribution to the growing body of work that points to the resilience of religion in spite of what was thought to be the disenchanting impact of secular nationalism. Yet it is no longer novel to merely indicate religion’s persistence as a foil to the secularization thesis. While we agree that empirical evidence from Christianity in Asia refutes the argument that religion will decline in the face of rationalized state structures (if not be relegated to the private sphere entirely), this is not the agenda of this volume per se. It is more productive, we believe, to examine the contours and ramifications of the persistence of religions in the face of the process of modernization. A cornerstone of this volume is the methodological claim that it is through the focus on the relationship between states and churches that this issue can more meaningfully be understood. Significant strides in this endeavour have been made by volumes such as Keyes, Kendall and Hardacre’s Asian Visions of Authority: Religion and the modern states of East and Southeast Asia (1995). The contributors to that volume collectively argue that far from being irrelevant, religions have become viable alternatives in the face of state control. In seeking to regulate, some states in Asia have provoked people to look to religion as an avenue for criticizing, resisting and challenging those who control state power. In contrast to the positions of Jenkins and Sanneh, the editors claim that it is not the growth of religions per se that has encouraged this situation, but modernizers and nationalists, who, by reiterating the gap between rational action over traditional practice, ‘have made the limits of rationality much more clear; the gap between rational decision making and the practical reality of the world generates uncertainty and ambiguity that many seek to resolve through returning to religion’ (p. 15). A return to religion manifests itself as a ‘crisis of authority’ in the modernizing states of Asia, particularly as governments realize that no civic order encouraged by the state has been successful in addressing all the existential and moral vicissitudes that people face. This may well suggest that ‘religion and politics keep forming all kinds of symbiotic relations, to such an extent that it is not easy to ascertain whether one is witnessing political movements which don religious garb or religious movements which assume political forms’ (Casanova 1994: 41).

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There is a danger, therefore, in overestimating a ‘crisis of authority’ as characteristic of Asia as a whole. We agree that religion can offer an alternative source of authority to that of the state. However, we contend that it is also important to draw attention to instances of state complicity, indirect or otherwise, in the ongoing activities of Christian communities in the region. While modernization calls for a de-emphasis of primordial loyalties or irrational beliefs that are typically associated with religious sensibility, statesponsored calls for national unity inevitably entail the crafting of shared values and histories which form the bases of an imagined (or, as Hobsbawn and Ranger (1983) would argue, invented) community. In the few countries in Asia where Christianity is predominant, calls for nation-building are often articulated through the idiom of religion, reiterating its continuing relevance and vitality. The Philippines immediately comes to mind in this regard, considering the long history of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippine’s role in effecting and influencing political and social change. The experience of the Philippines is equally applicable for the region’s newest country, Timor Leste, which gained independence from Indonesia in 1999. While the Evangelicals are actively seeking converts throughout the volatile new nation, their effort is impeded by the dominance of the Roman Catholic Church, either through sheer pressure of numbers or through outright intimidation of converts who have received ‘visits from nuns, death threats or occasional beatings’(Wright 2008). The departure of the Indonesian authority after a 24-year occupation has left the field open for the Roman Catholic Church to exert its dominance, leaving Muslims, Buddhists and Protestants in the country less emboldened in the practice and propagation of their faiths. In spite of a huge Catholic majority, however, the official status of the Catholic Church is not codified in the country’s constitution, prompting moves to sign a Concordat with the Holy See. The Concordat would ensure that the Timor Leste government would likewise adopt the Vatican’s position on issues such as abortion and prostitution. Timor Leste’s President, Jose Ramos Horta, was blunt in acknowledging that ‘only an idiot or an atheist would govern this country completely alienated from the Church hierarchy and the Church as a whole’ (ABC Radio Australia, 16 October 2008). What this demonstrates is that the state continues to be a critical arbiter of Christian identity, even in places in which it is demographically dominant. Furthermore, such instances demonstrate that the mandate of the state is contingent upon at least the symbolism of Church backing. Indeed, Christian groups have often supported the various agendas of the state, hence wittingly or otherwise further legitimizing state authority.

Christians as dual citizens Wilford and George (2005: 11) have pointed to the fluidity of the interaction between church and state, arguing that ‘[s]eeking room for manoeuvre is not an intrinsically oppositional or resistant activity; individuals and groups can

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be quite calculating or complicit in using the state (and its internal contradictions) to advance their interests, religious or otherwise’. The ‘manoeuvre’ that they emphasize also describes the sense of pragmatism that a number of papers in this volume discuss. Unlike the many studies that focus on a state’s management of religion, Mathew Mathews’s chapter on the case of Singapore seeks to examine the ways religion manages the state. Based upon data collected from interviews with the clergy and Christian publications, Mathews demonstrates how the Church seeks to provide an impression of itself as a community of good citizen, in order not to attract the state’s wrath as it pursues its own religious agenda. While there has been great focus elsewhere on Protestant and Catholic missionary activities, Greg Peterson, in his chapter, provides a timely discussion on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), which is among the region’s fastest growing Christian denominations. The LDS Church in Asia – whose theology of secular power considers the state as a manifestation of God’s authority on earth, and hence should be actively supported – has shown repeatedly that they are willing to put some of their most fundamental values and principles on hold, including proselytizing, while being subject to governmental regulations. Peterson’s case study brings out an important issue with regard to Christian social action that is a concern for some contributors in the volume: if one important tenet of the Christian faith is evangelism and securing the world for Christ, under what circumstances would such an imperative to ‘act in the world’ either conflict with, or complement, the important goals of the state? In his chapter, Bryan Turner argues that the nation state, as a governmental authority ‘in the world’, was an ‘inevitable compromise’ made by the faithful who saw their lives as apprenticeships for the next world. In adjusting to the deferred promise of the Second Coming, Christians are living in a ‘parallel society’ of the temporal authority of the state and the divine authority of their God. It is in this respect that we see Christians as effectively living as persons with ‘dual citizenship’. In this parallel society, however, the fundamental truth has always been that the Church is a superior society. While ultimate deference should be paid to God, those working and living in this world should nevertheless abide by secular authority. That said, the case in Asia shows that there are many ways in which such dual citizenship is articulated, practised, expressed and negotiated. While there are many grey areas in between, this volume has sought to demonstrate the varied instances of complicity and conflict between the Church and the State in order to highlight the distinctive ways of being faithful in Asia today. In doing so, we respond to some of the more prominent debates about the nature of Christianity and politics in academic discourse. In contrast to those who proclaim that the rise of a global Christendom would entail the waning significance of the state (indeed as Sanneh suggests, ‘states have been more the problem than the solution’), we argue that the state remains an important locus upon which Christians in Asia deal with their political and social marginality. To those who may suggest, however, that the interaction between the Church and State is

Introduction

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characterized by a ‘crisis of authority’, we open up a space in which we can consider how the ‘compromise’ that Turner describes may well consists of a spectrum of positions – from intense conflict to negotiated complicity between the faithful and the state authorities that rule over them.

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Notes 1 For the purposes of this volume, ‘the Church’ is understood as an entity composed of a people who describe themselves as ‘Christian’, whether openly or clandestinely, and who at least nominally participate in Christian sacramental practices. Those in the Church believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, who was a real historical figure that they have accepted into their lives either by birthright or conversion. This is not to underestimate the doctrinal heterogeneity of Christianity. It is to emphasize, rather that, the Church, as a common denominator, has the advantage of highlighting most prominently the diversity of state structures in the Asian region itself.

References ABC Radio Australia (2008) ‘East Timor looks to new agreement with Vatican’, broadcast on 16 October 2008. Adams, D. J. (1995) ‘Church growth in Korea: A paradigm shift from Ecclesiology to Nationalism’, M. R. Mullins and R. F. Young (eds) Perspectives on Christianity in Korea and Japan, Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press. Bays, D. (2003) ‘Chinese Protestant Christianity today’, The China Quarterly, 174: 488–504. Bellah, R. K. (1965) Religion and Progress in Modern Asia, New York: Free Press. Carlson, E. C. (1974) The Foochow Missionaries, 1847–1880, Cambridge, MA: East Asia Research Center, Harvard University. Casanova, J. (1994) Public Religions in the Modern World, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. ——(2001) ‘Religion, the new millennium, and globalization’, Sociology of Religion, 62(4): 415–41. Comaroff, J. and Comaroff, J. (1986) ‘Christianity and colonialism in South Africa’, American Ethnologist, 13: 1–22. Dunch, R. (2002) ‘Beyond cultural imperialism: Cultural theory, Christian missions, and global modernity’, History and Theory, 41: 301–25. France 24 International News, ‘Catholics protest Hanoi Park on “Church Land”’. Available online at: www.france24.com/en/20080923-catholics-protest-public-parkchurch-land-vietnam-hanoi. (Accessed 24 November 2008). Freston, P. (2001) Evangelicals and Politics in Asia, Africa and Latin America, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Frykenberg, R. (2002). ‘The gospel, globalization and Hindutwa’, D. Lewis (ed.) Christian Expansion in the Twentieth Century Non-Western World, Grand Rapids: Erdmans. Gabriel, T. (1996) Christian-Muslim Relations: A case study of Sarawak, East Malaysia, Aldershot: Avebury. Gifford, P. (1998) African Christianity: Its public role, London: C. Hurst.

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Hefner, R. (1993) ‘Of faith and commitment: Christian conversion in Muslim Java’, R. Hefner (ed.) Conversion to Christianity, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Hobsbawm, E. and Ranger, T. (eds) (1983) The Invention of Tradition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Horton, R. (1971) ‘African conversion’, Africa, 41(2): 85–108. Hunter, A. and Chan, K.-K. (1993) Protestantism in Contemporary China, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Jenkins, P. (2002) The Next Christendom: The coming of global Christianity, New York: Oxford University Press. Kaplan, S. (ed.) (1995) Indigenous Responses to Western Christianity, New York: New York University Press. Keyes, C. F. (1996) ‘Being Protestant Christians in Southeast Asian worlds’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 27(2): 290–92. Keyes, C. F., Kendall, L. and Hardacre, H. (eds) (1994) Asian Visions of Authority: Religion and the modern states of East and Southeast Asia, Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press. Kim, S. C. H. (2003) In Search of Identity: Debates on religious conversion in India, New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Lambert, T. (2003). ‘Counting Christians in China: A cautionary report’, International Bulletin of Missionary Research, 27: 6–10. Leung, B. (1992) Sino-Vatican Relations: Problems in conflicting authority, 1976–1986, Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. ——(ed.) (1996) Church and State Relations in Twenty-First Century Asia, Hong Kong: Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong. Love, R. (2004) The Samahan of Papa God: Tradition and conversion in a Tagalog peasant religious movement, Quezon City: Anvil Publishing. Madsen, R. (2001) ‘Beyond orthodoxy: Catholicism as Chinese folk religion,’ S. Uhalley, Jr. and X. Wu (eds) China and Christianity: Burdened past, hopeful future, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. Martin, D. (2002) Pentecostalism: The world their parish, Oxford: Blackwell. Montgomery, R. L. (1991) ‘The spread of religions and macrosocial relations’, Sociological Analysis, 52(1): 37–53. Northcott, M. (1990) ‘A survey of the rise of charismatic Christianity in Malaysia’, Asian Journal of Theology, 4(1): 266–78. Phan, P. C. (2005) ‘A new Christianity, but what kind?’, Mission Studies, 22(1): 59–83. Sanneh, L. (2006) ‘Prospects for post-Western Christianity in Asia and elsewhere’, Brown Journal of World Affairs, 12(2): 117–28. Sanneh, L. and Carpenter, J. (eds) (2005) The Changing Face of Christianity: Africa, the West and the world, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Spyer, P. (1994) ‘Serial conversion/conversion to seriality: Religion, state and numbers in Aru, Eastern Indonesia’, P. van der Veer (ed.) Conversion to Modernities: The globalization of Christianity, London: Routledge. Suh, D. K-S. (1995) ‘Minjung Theology: The politics and spirituality of Korean Christianity’, M. R. Mullins and R. F. Young (eds) Perspectives on Christianity in Korea and Japan: The gospel and culture in East Asia, Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press. Takayama, P. K. (1988) ‘Revitalization movement of modern Japanese civil religion’, Sociological Analysis, 48(4): 328–41. Viswanathan, G. (1998) Outside the Fold: Conversion, modernity, and belief, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

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Wilford, A. C. and George, K. M. (2005) Spirited Politics: Religion and public life in contemporary Southeast Asia, Ithaca, New York: Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University. Wright, T. (2008) ‘Indonesia’s mega churches’, Asia Weekly, 2(37): 12–22, September 2008. Yang, F. (2005) ‘Lost in the market, saved at MacDonald’s: Conversion to Christianity in urban China’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 44(4): 423–41. Zuo, J. (1991) ‘Political religion: The case of the Cultural Revolution in China’, Sociological Analysis, 52(1): 99–110.

2

Evangelism, the state and subjectivity

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Bryan S. Turner

Introduction: Sociology of conversion The study of religious conversion is relatively underdeveloped in sociology, and the analysis of such conversion processes often concentrates on the individual rather than looking at the political implications of such religious changes. Why is conversion sociologically significant? Firstly, in changing individual subjectivity, conversion almost inevitably changes social and political identities and in so doing presents a challenge to the state, because these changes of identity can have far-reaching consequences for civil society. States in response may seek to control evangelical religions if they begin to change the composition of ethnic identities in a society significantly. Secondly, conversion necessarily implies religious change and brings with it the possibility of conflict and competition with existing traditions. Because evangelism characteristically questions the authority of existing teaching and practice, it is necessarily socially and politically disruptive, and again the state may have clear reasons to curb the behaviour of evangelical groups as a result. This chapter explores the growing tensions between the religious and the secular in Asia through the impact of religious renewal and missionary activity. Comparing different religious traditions and different forms of secularism, it considers the possible transformations of the public sphere associated with changing religious identities. The chapter argues that (private) religious identities typically assume (public) political significance, and hence states, in an era of increasing securitization, seek to survey and control religious expressions of collective membership. The terminology that is employed in this chapter – conversion, evangelism and so forth – is often problematic in the Asian context and, where necessary, inverted commas will be used to indicate that these notions are often somewhat specific to Western Christianity. By ‘conversion’, I am attempting to describe a subjective process that implies a sudden shift in self-definition that cannot be wholly understood in conventional accounts of education or by what sociologists call ‘socialization’. There are essentially only three ways by which each new generation can acquire religious membership and identity. These are obviously conversion, education (or to give the process its sociological title, by ‘socialization’), or a

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combination of the two. In the process of socialization, the collective intention is to preserve tradition in all of its completeness and richness. Children have to be trained in the traditions of the social group, but they also need to be motivated and rewarded. Talcott Parsons (1951) argued, in his sociology of the social system, that there is a built-in conservatism in the socialization process, because we are psychologically rewarded for our social desire to conform. In religious groups, catechism plays an important institutional role in conveying orthodoxy to the new generation. By contrast, conversion implies a radically different process; it claims to overthrow the dross of tradition and to transform the personality (or subjectivity) of the believer and to throw off the comfortable, but misguided, practices and beliefs of the past. Its cultural role is to make all things new. On this basis, it is common to distinguish what we might call traditional religions and evangelical religions. The latter invest many of their resources in gaining new members through campaigns to transform the lives of individuals by bringing them to an active and vivid experience of divinity. Of the Abrahamic religions, Christianity and Islam can be said, in this specific sense, to be ‘evangelical religions’. Jewish identity has a significant matriarchal element in that one essential criterion of Jewishness is to have a Jewish mother. In modern reformist Islam, there is a clear sense of the importance of da’wa and the need to bring about religious renewal through transforming the lives of traditional Muslims. In Christianity, the conflicts between Protestants and Catholics have often been influenced by different emphases on training versus conversion. Among the Protestant evangelical groups, sociologists often refer to the important role of ‘conversionist sects’ in the propagation of Christianity (Wilson 1970). Why is conversion sociologically significant? There are at least two major reasons. The first is that, in changing individual subjectivity, conversion almost inevitably changes social and political identities and therefore can often represent a challenge to the state. As a result, the state may seek to control or to exclude evangelical religions if they begin to change the composition of ethnic identities in a society or if they are in general seen to be a disruptive force that may alter the ideological composition of civil society. The second is that conversion necessarily implies religious change, and the possibility of conflict and competition with existing traditional patterns of religion. The idea of evangelism implies a clear contrast between true and authentic religion and false beliefs and irrelevant practices. Because evangelism questions the authority of existing teaching and practice, it is necessarily socially and politically disruptive, and again the state may have clear reasons to curb the behaviour of evangelical groups as a result. Evangelical groups are, for example, hostile to syncretism and pluralism, seeking instead to impose a clear notion of piety and correct practice over their disciples. In the light of these introductory comments, we could begin to define the ideal type of conversion. Within Christianity, the classical illustration from the New Testament is St Paul on the road to Damascus. Paul’s initial hostility

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to the Christians is transformed into a passionate devotion to the cause of the primitive Church and a desire to demarcate clearly the differences between old beliefs and the new reality of a life committed to Christ as Lord. St Paul’s conversion as an ideal type has four characteristics; (1) his conversion was involuntary; (2) it was total and dramatic rather than incremental; (3) it was not based on a prior period of training and education in Christian ways; and (4) his conversion created an entirely new subjectivity or consciousness. This ideal type attempts to emphasize the idea of a radical departure or total rupture. In symbolic terms, Paul’s conversion takes place on a road or journey, taking his subjectivity to a new place. Paul received a ‘gift of grace’ or charisma that gave him an authority over the Christian community. This ideal or normative notion of conversion has implications for how one thinks about religion at all. Emile Benveniste (1973) brought to our attention the difference between two notions of religion. The word ‘religion’ (religio) has two distinctive roots. First, relegere from legere means to bring together, to harvest or to gather (in). Secondly, religare from ligare means to tie or to bind together. The first meaning points to the religious foundations of any social group that is gathered together, while the second describes the disciplines or morality that are necessary for controlling human beings and creating a regulated mentality. The first meaning indicates the role of the cult in forming human membership, while the second meaning points to the regulatory practices of religion in the discipline of passions. This distinction formed the basis of Kant’s philosophical analysis of religion and morality. In Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, Kant (1998) distinguished between religion as cult (des blossen Cultus), which seeks favours from God through prayer and offerings to secure healing and wealth for its followers, and religion as moral action (die Religion des guten Lebenswandels), which commands human beings to radically change their behaviour in order to lead a better life. Kant further elaborated this distinction by an examination of ‘reflecting faith’ that compels humans to strive for salvation through faith rather than the mere possession of religious knowledge. The implication of Kant’s distinction was that (Protestant) Christianity was the only true ‘reflecting faith’, and in a sense, therefore, the normative model of all authentic religious intentions. Kant’s distinction was fundamentally about those religious injunctions that call human beings to moral action and hence demand that humans assert their autonomy and responsibility. To have autonomy, human beings need to act independently of customary norms and values, and, ultimately, independently of God. In a paradoxical fashion, Puritanism implies the ‘death of God’ because it calls people to freedom, and hence the Christian faith is ultimately self-defeating. While Kant’s philosophy of religion is useful in thinking about how individuals might transform their conventional religiosity and embrace a pious lifestyle, it does not tell us much about the social context of religion. Sociological research suggests that authentic religious change is always compromised by social conventions. The fact that charisma has become a routine

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part of religious movements, forces religious authorities to develop a compromise with secular power. When a messianic religion becomes domesticated, there is a parallel evolution of religious citizenship within the religious community and political citizenship within the state. Because the religious community was an institution of consent, it often happened that the participation of the laity within the Church provided a primitive model of secular citizenship. We could argue that the sociology of religion has therefore observed what we might call a tragic dimension to conversion and exposure to charismatic powers. Over time, charisma becomes a matter of routine and the second generation is born into a charismatic community rather than converted into it. Sociologists identified the so-called ‘church-sect typology’ to conceptualize these processes. Conversionist sects tend to become denominations as the second generation is born into rather than converted by an existing social group. The subjectivity of the second generation has no direct awareness of a vivid and decisive conversion, and hence, over time, there may be new sectarian offshoots, which emphasize conversion over convention, and the process starts all over again.

The secular and the sacred The implication of this opening discussion is that evangelical religions are, by their nature, radical. They are a challenge to existing forms of authority. There are two further questions: (1) are evangelical religions the only true religions, and (2) does evangelical religion inevitably confront the authority of the state? If the state demands loyalty from its citizens and if the state has a monopoly over force within a given territory, can it tolerate any religious challenge to its authority? In the West, the division between secular and profane authority was a central feature of political institutions. The issue of conversion raises questions about the division between the secular and the sacred, and hence we need to consider the historical origins of the notion of secularity. We can start with the nature of the charismatic breakthrough in Christianity. Jesus was part of the lineage of radical Jewish prophets who condemned the evils of this world against the demands of a righteous God. Christianity eventually emerged as a millenarian and chiliastic movement that eagerly anticipated the end of the world in the Second Coming of Christ. Building on Christ’s prophetic utterances (such as ‘My Kingdom is not of this earth’), the early Church regarded the affairs of this world as transient and irrelevant to the salvation of souls. Political life in this world was sharply separated from religious phenomena. The Christian community eventually had to adjust to the absence of a Second Coming and was forced to develop institutions and doctrines that recognized the continuity and importance of secular institutions. As a postchiliastic society, Christian theology was forced to begin the task of developing

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a view of citizenship. It was necessary to have a view of how Christians ought to behave in this world, just as Christian thought had an understanding of life in the next. Christians came to think of themselves as merely visitors or foreign residents in this world, because true citizenship was in another world. However, the very persistence of the Christian Church gave rise to the need for organizational structure and administration. The development of a state within a state involved an inevitable compromise with the world. In the works of Origen (185–254) and Tertullian (160–220), we see the emergence of an official view of the Church as a parallel society, and of the Christian as a person with a dual citizenship. In his reflections on martyrdom, Origen argued that life in this world was merely an apprenticeship for the next. Although the Church is a superior society, Christians working and living in this world should be law-abiding, honest and trustworthy. Patristic theology thus created a bridge between the teachings of Jesus and the classical world within which Plato’s doctrine of the forms perfectly suited the needs of an emergent Church. This reconciliation of Christianity as a millenarian religion of salvation and the imperial society of Rome produced a profound reaction against the materialism of Roman society, namely Christian monasticism and mysticism. The most profound articulation of this spiritual crisis can be found in the work of St. Augustine of Hippo (354–430), namely the City of God. This work was composed as a response to paganism, when Rome fell to Alaric the Goth in 410. Augustine’s City of God was written between 413 and 426, and has remained a central text of Western political philosophy. Augustine absorbed the idealism of Plato – for whom the world was transient but the forms or ideas of mind were permanent – and the republican philosophy of Cicero. Augustine starts by rejecting the view that the Roman Empire was a necessary step in the redemptive history of the Church on earth. Augustine was critical of the alleged virtues of the pre-Christian Empire, arguing that the military advances of the Empire were not motivated by true virtues. He rejected Cicero’s view of the glorious foundations of Rome and championed Christian virtue as the foundation of a civilized society based on love of neighbours. The Roman Empire was corrupt and Christians should focus their attention on the City of God that alone is perfect. However, Augustine did not support any spiritual flight from the world. While the Christian remains alien in this world, Christians should co-operate with the state and its administration. The legacy of Augustinian theology was a conception of the state and human society as a set of entirely secular and amoral institutions. In this respect, he departed radically from Eusebius of Caesarea (264–340) in that religious membership was no longer the basis of political citizenship. For Eusebius, Christianity was completely identified with the Roman Empire, and Constantine was compared with Christ as a light sent to inspire humanity. By contrast, Augustine, in book xix of the City of God, defined a people as ‘the association of a multitude of rational beings united by a common agreement on the objects of their love’ (Augustine 1972: 890). Augustine did not regard

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Roman society as just and, with the collapse of the empire in the West, he came to the conclusion that the Church could not rely on any particular state. Medieval political theory moved in a very different direction and was concerned to find some reconciliation between Church and state, and in particular ecclesiastical teaching returned to a view of the prince as a religious leader who ruled wisely and, where necessary, forcefully. The problem was specifically to develop a view of feudal kingship as, at least potentially, a religious institution. This theological trajectory was established by Charlemagne (768–814) who was crowned the Emperor of the Romans by Pope Leo III in St Peter’s Basilica in 800. The resulting Carolingian theory or rulership was ‘an amalgam of theocracy, consent and fidelity’ (Canning 1996:45). We can see this amalgam in the writings of Charlemagne’s teacher, Alcuin, who argued that the Emperor had two swords, one to keep the Church internally free from heresy and the other to quell its pagan enemies. Like King David, Charlemagne combined the roles of ruler and priest. These foundational developments in Christianity gave the meaning of secularity a specifically theological foundation and shaped the discussion of state and church in the West for centuries. This characterization of secular and sacred also had important implications for the expansion of Christianity into Asia.

Trade, empire and the religious struggle for Asia In discussing the spread of Christianity in Asia, we should distinguish between the Portuguese and Spanish empires, the British and Dutch trading empires, and the emergence of American military power in the region from the late nineteenth century onwards. The different stages of empire resulted in significant struggles between Catholic and Protestant missionaries, but there is the important question as to the religious dimension of the ‘civilizing mission’ of empire. In this respect, one can argue that there was a significant difference between, on the one hand, the Portuguese and Spanish empires and, on the other hand, the British Empire. It is often assumed that Christianity was a latecomer to Asia. This view of the historical spread of Christianity into Asia as primarily the product of imperialism serves important political functions in contemporary Malaysia and Indonesia, where it can be ideological important to define Christianity as a foreign intruder. In fact, Christianity arrived at more or less the same time as Islam in Southeast Asia, and both religions spread with the growth of commerce (Reid 1988). Of course, the early development of Islam has often been seen by Western commentators as simply the consequence of military expansion. Max Weber adhered to this view, regarding Islam as basically a faith of warriors (Turner 1998). In reality, Islam spread through Asia along with the arrival of Sufi traders from Hadramout in the Arab peninsula, probably through Gujarat, as a result of expanding maritime trade. Bengal and Gujarat became important after 1200 in the spread of Islam, following the conquest of north India and the Ganges Valley by Mohammed of Ghor,

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and in 1298 Cambay fell to Muslim troops. The development of Islam as a result of trade with Indonesia had a strong connection with Cambay. There is evidence of an Islamic presence in Trengganu as early as 1303, from a stone inscription, but there is little evidence of significant Muslim activity in the peninsula before the fifteenth century. There is ample historical evidence that Malacca had been a trading centre for many centuries. It was built up by Paramesvara, who converted to Islam and changed his name to Megat Iskandar Shah. He died in 1424. As an emporium, Malacca played a major role in the conversion of the peoples of the Malay Peninsula to Islam. By the fifteenth century, there was an important religious and trading network joining Mecca, Aden, Cambay, Malacca, Johore, Trengganu and China. In 1497, Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope, thereby opening the sea routes that led to Portuguese trade throughout India and Southeast Asia. Under the leadership of Admiral Alfonso de Albuquerque, the Portuguese seized Goa (1510), Hormuz (1515) and Malacca (1519), driving out their Muslim competitors. Portuguese dominance was made possible by technical improvements to the galleon, which served as both warship and merchant vessel. With their coastal fortresses, the Portuguese were able to impose taxes on shipping passing through the region and came to dominate the spice trade between Southeast Asia and Europe. Despite various attacks against Malacca in the second half of the sixteenth century, Portuguese Malacca continued to prosper. By the middle of the sixteenth century, the north coast of Java had become Muslim, and the spread of Catholicism depended on both the disposition of local sultans to European involvement in the region and on the military success of the Portuguese. For example, the Sultan Hairun of Ternate was an enemy of the Portuguese and attacked their fortress at Amboina, threatening Christian communities in the whole region. Portuguese economic and military expansion into the region was closely associated with the spread of Catholicism. In 1529, the Treaty of Saragossa established spheres of influence in Asia between Spain and Portugal. Being concerned to participate in the spice trade, Spain sought to bring the Philippines under its control. Having been discovered by Magellan in 1521, Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, in 1542, named the islands after Charles V’s son Philip, and, in 1564, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi landed on Cebu, creating the first Spanish settlement there. While Islam had spread to the southern parts of the Philippines among the Moros of Mindanao, Catholicism was able to gain control of the central and northern parts of the archipelago. The Filipinos were animist and had little political organization. By baptizing the Filipinos, Catholic missionaries brought them within the Church and made them citizens of the Philippines. In this sense Christian baptism created citizenship as a secular identity. After the conquest, the Church and state remained wholly interdependent, ‘ecclesiastical advance aiding the consolidation of political power’ (Hall 1966: 227). The Philippines proved to be strategically important, not only for the spice trade, but also as a bridgehead in the Christian quest to convert Japan and

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China. However, the attempt to bring China under the control of the Christian Church was unsuccessful. In what is now known as the Rites Controversy, the Pope issued a decree forbidding participation in funereal rites which were a fundamental part of Chinese popular religious practice and the Catholic authorities attempted to suppress the worship of ancestors, which they regarded as mere idolatry, and eventually the Emperor banished Catholic missionaries. Christian activity in Japan has also had mixed political fortunes. Catholicism was brought to Japan between 1549 and 1551 by Saint Francis Xavier, and was at first successful in achieving conversions among both ordinary people and daimyo or feudal lords, but, in 1587, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, the ruler of Japan, issued an edict banishing all Jesuit missionaries and ordering all Japanese Christians to give up their faith. The exclusion of Christianity remained in force until 1871, shortly after the restoration of the Meiji in 1868 (Beasley 1973). At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the Portuguese began to experience competition from the Dutch. This was particularly due to the creation of the Dutch East India Company or the Vereenigte Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) in 1602, which gave the Company a complete monopoly over Dutch trade. The VOC also had the right to build forts and to make war against local potentates. Having failed to take Malacca, they set up their headquarters in Jakarta in the Sultanate. The VOC attempted to legitimize its attacks on Spanish and Portuguese ships in Southeast Asia by reference to the natural law theories of Hugo Grotius. The attack on the Santa Catarina by Jacob van Heemskerck in the Straits of Singapore in February 1603 was a turning point and found its ultimate justification in Grotius’s De Jure Praedae. Grotius was one of the most significant political and legal philosophers of the seventeenth century. His importance rests not on his theory of state sovereignty, but on his conception of law regulating relations between states. Given the break-up of Christendom, Grotius was forced to consider the role of natural law in antiquity. Because a peaceful social order is a good in itself, private individuals should be bound by contractual obligations, fair trade and secure property rights. Before John Locke published his work on property, Grotius argued that private property in land arose from its cultivation. This idea became the classical legal justification for both English and Dutch colonialism in Asia. Grotius went on to argue that indigenous people could forego their subjective rights by entering into contracts with colonialists. As a result, Dutch traders had every right to enforce contracts, by violence if necessary, against indigenous peoples, once they had freely entered into such contracts. Because the lands outside Europe resembled a state of nature, Dutch traders had every right to enforce contracts. Grotius’s juridical legitimation of Dutch interventions in the colonial empires of Spain and Portugal in his De Jure Praedae (On the Law of Prize and Booty) and Mare Liberum (The Free Sea) assisted the dramatic ascendancy of the VOC in the Malay Archipelago in the early decades of the seventeenth century (van Ittersum 2006). Although Grotius was highly successful as a

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political lobbyist, his natural rights theories were inherently contradictory. On the one hand, he affirmed the validity of the VOC’s contracts with infidel rulers in Asia, quoting the natural law principle of pacta sunt servanda whereby treaties must be honoured. Contracts were valid when applied to free and rational human beings regardless of their religious convictions. On the other hand, while he supported the idea of freedom of trade and navigation, he defended the VOC’s monopoly in the Spice Islands during the AngloDutch conferences of 1613 and 1615. The publication of Mare Liberum in April 1609 proved useful to both the Estates General and the VOC directors in protecting Dutch commercial interests. These rights justified the continuing Dutch conflict against Spain and Portugal in Southeast Asia, as, for example, when the VOC resumed attacks on the Spanish in the Moluccas in April 1612. The British created the English East India Company to promote trade in Asia, but it did not enjoy the monopoly and wealth of the VOC. The English East India Company was also less successful in Asia, and they closed down their Japanese trading posts in Siam and Japan in 1623. Conceding Indonesia to the Dutch, the English focused their attention on India. They acquired Madras in 1639, Bombay became an English colony in 1665 and a settlement was established in Calcutta in 1690. The British Empire was, to a large degree, the unintended consequence of trade. There was, unlike republican France, no strong sense of a mission to take civilization to the colonies. Where France saw the Middle East, particularly Lebanon and the eastern Mediterranean, as an object of Catholic missionary zeal, British motivation towards empire was predominantly secular. In the late Victorian period, there emerged a greater sense of imperial power. Victoria was Empress of India from 1877, and the poetry and short stories of Rudyard Kipling provided a simple but romantic defence of empire against the criticism of London-based intellectuals. Because the British Empire was the unintended consequence of the quest for profit, Singapore and Hong Kong existed to promote British trade, not to civilize the inhabitants. This pragmatic attitude may also explain why Britain, unlike many other European colonial powers, did not engage in long, protracted colonial wars. India had been promised post-war independence in return for the support of the British war effort and, while Conservative politicians such as Enoch Powell had advocated the re-possession of India after the war, few British leaders took him seriously. Harold Macmillan continued this tradition of pragmatic, piecemeal post-colonial withdrawal. The pragmatic policy of post-war disengagement did not allow religious or cultural issues to overshadow secular politics. In addition, while many critics of colonialism have argued that trade, colonial state and missionary societies worked closely together to bring about both physical and spiritual control of the colonies, the historical evidence is more ambiguous. British attitudes towards India and empire were profoundly shaken by the Indian Mutiny of 1857–58. The Mutiny had many causes, but they included resentment against the reform of ancient Indian institutions, the use of either cow-fat or pig-fat in the greasing of cartridges and opposition to forcible

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conversion to Christianity. After the Mutiny, British civil servants were anxious to exclude missionaries from the colonies, because they wanted to avoid offending indigenous communities. The Westphalian separation of state and religion was thought necessary for trade to avoid communal conflict (Ferguson 2003), but it was not until the nineteenth century that the idea of ‘secularism’ was given a precise meaning by secular intellectuals like George Jacob Holyoake, who argued that public life should be conducted according to secular moral assumptions. At its peak in 1880, the British National Secular Society had a membership of 6,000. The Mutiny had lasting consequences. The British sought to strengthen their control not through the spread of liberal ideas but by defending the ‘real India’ of the countryside, the princes, peasants and retainers (Wolf 1982). In becoming an exclusive colonial elite, the English created a stereotype of the Indians as lazy, weak and cowardly. However, these racial stereotypes were not religious, but Darwinian. After the great age of mercantilism in the seventeenth century, British industrial supremacy meant that the Empire no longer provided any significant economic advantage and, where colonial selfsufficiency resulted in secession. British governments would not intervene – at least not with military means. Asian Christianity is in fact diverse, for reasons that are connected with variations in the relationship between politics and religion, and the particular and contingent nature of the historical path towards post-colonial independence. The history of the Christian churches has been chequered insofar as different states sought either to exclude Christianity or to embrace it as a necessary precondition of modernization. In this brief account of these separate trajectories, it is important to distinguish between the early arrival of Christianity in the sixteenth century to parts of Asia where there was relatively little competition and where local states were either weak or non-existent, and the later arrival of missionary churches in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when Christianity was often opposed by nationalist or communist movements. American missionary activity in Korea and Japan in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries was associated with the struggle against communism, and both societies came to identify with Western values and institutions in their quest for modernization. Christian identity in South Korea, Vietnam and Japan became a method of identification with Western values against secular communism. In Vietnam, the drive to impose Catholic Christianity was an important aspect of the political struggle between the South and the North, and meant that Christianity came to be identified by nationalists as an aspect of Western colonialism. Approximately one million Vietnamese were driven out of South Vietnam by the communist regime after the fall of Saigon, and the majority of these ‘boat people’ were Catholics. Christian missions played an important role in Asia, and particularly in China, in establishing institutions of higher education that became vehicles for modernization, creating a new intelligentsia that was well versed in Western literature and sympathetic to Western values. After the 1870s, American

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Protestant missionaries began to secularize their curriculum to include a wide range of subjects and to widen their appeal to a broader audience of Chinese. After the Sino-Japanese War (1894–95), there was a new emphasis on institutional reform, and intellectuals argued in favour of adopting Western institutions of citizenship and parliamentary democracy. In 1887, the formation of the Society for the Diffusion of Christian and General Knowledge made the communication of Christian values through secular subjects an effective method of extending the influence of Christianity. It is important to remember that the majority of the Chinese population perceived Christianity to be a foreign, disruptive sect. Christian reluctance to worship the ancestors and their disregard for Confucius were widely resented. Furthermore, the spread of missionary Christianity was also associated with gunboat diplomacy and humiliating treaties that gave special rights to foreign powers, including the right to propagate Christianity through missionary activity. On the pretext of securing compensation for an illegal search of a British registered vessel by Chinese officials, the British adopted a belligerent approach to relations with China. The British eventually attacked Canton and subsequently forced the Chinese authorities to agree to the Treaty of Tientsin, in 1858, which, among other provisions, opened new ports to British trade and allowed freedom of movement to both Catholic and Protestant missionaries. In 1860, the Convention of Peking allowed missionaries to rent or buy land for the construction of churches. Conversions to Christianity were, however, generally slow, and it was alleged that the missionaries bribed converts with monetary subsidies, and hence it was said that these converts ‘eat by religion’ (Hsu 1990). Hostility to Christian missionaries came to a head in the Boxer Uprising of 1900, when the Boxers attacked Peking, exhuming the graves of missionaries including Matteo Ricci, who had been influential in the early development of Catholicism in China before the Rites Controversy brought missionary activity to an abrupt end. There were important differences between the Portuguese and Spanish empires and their relationship to Catholicism, on the one hand, and between British and Dutch empires and Protestantism, on the other. We have also noted that, after the Indian Mutiny, the British authorities were reluctant to support missionary activity. Nevertheless, it is clear in Asia that Christianity spread as a result of both trade and military power. In Southeast Asia, where sultans supported Christianity, it was successful, but where Islam had the support of the sultans, Christian missions did not succeed. A similar set of power relationships had conditioned the spread of Christianity in the Pacific. Given the power of the traditional chiefs, conversion only occurred if and when the headman accepted Christianity (Sahlins 1985). In China, gunboat diplomacy opened up China to missionary activity. In the Philippines, the absence of Islam in the central and northern areas and the weakness of local leadership allowed Catholicism to become dominant. In Korea and Japan, American Protestant missionary activity became identified with national opposition to communism. In the Asian context, Thailand therefore represents

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a unique example of a society that escaped colonialism and indirect imperialism. As a result, it preserved its own version of Buddhism. The thrust to modernize Siam through a Western model of ‘official nationalism’ based on ‘King and Country’, resulted in the (superficial) secularization of the social class that ran the state bureaucracy, but successive kings emphasized the importance of Buddhism as a civil religion and the necessity of excluding evangelical Christianity (Mead 2004). Despite many violent changes of power, including military rule, the Buddhist sangha remains central to the legitimacy of the Thai kingdom (Tambiah 1976) in a country with only a small representation of other religions, such as the Muslims in the south (Gilquin 2002). Thus, the spread of Christianity was closely associated with Western secular power, the receptivity of local rulers to external cultures and the presence or absence of Islam.

Controversies over conversion There is a well-established view that conversion in Asia was a by-product of colonialism and constituted a form of ‘missionary imperialism’. There are several problems with this view. There are technical issues in sociology and philosophy that relate to this problem. The argument that conversion is only a consequence of changes of power in the social structure tends to ignore the agency of the actors themselves. It is true that Christian conversion was often a prelude to social mobility, as church members acquired literacy through Bible classes, and assumed Western manners and values through church education. But it does not follow that their religious faith was in some sense false or fake or simply pragmatic. There is also the philosophical problem relating to a distinction between causes and reasons. There is one view that agents give reasons for their actions – for example God called me to be his witness – whereas sociologists give causes – he was converted to Christianity to avoid a socially negative ethnic identity. However, there is a more sophisticated position that reasons are causes, and that a sociologist cannot ignore the reasons put forward by agents, otherwise conversion is not a choice but a matter of compulsive behaviour. Finally, conversion is not simply about individual reasons, but can involve collective agency to change national and international circumstances. We know, however, that conversion has often been a social process whereby marginal ethnic groups can join the mainstream of society through Christian conversion in the period of colonialism, but the unintended consequences of Christian conversion do not immediately question the authenticity of their conversion. In the history of Christian growth in Asia, the history of religion in modern Japan has also been one of conflict. The early establishment of Christianity in Japan was associated with trade and Francis Xavier wrote to say that Christians had received a warm welcome in Japan. Some members of the dominant class (the daimyo) converted to Catholicism and imposed the religion in their domains. While the Jesuits concentrated their efforts on the upper strata, the

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Spanish friars worked among the poor, and there was eventually considerable rivalry between the orders. However, the growth of Christianity was periodically stopped due to the displeasure of the emperor. For example, Hideyoshi ordered the death of some twenty-six Christians who were crucified at Nagasaki in February 1597. In 1612 and 1614, further edicts were issued prohibiting Christianity and ordering all foreign priests to assemble at Nagasaki and to leave Japan. The persecution of Christians was dramatically illustrated by the brutal suppression of the Shimabara rebellion by Christian peasants in Western Kyushu in 1637–38. Although Japan is often regarded as the classical illustration of the failure of evangelism, Japanese converts have sought to create ‘Christianity on Japanese terms’ and have produced a distinctive version of Asian Christianity through the leadership of such people as Uchimura Kanzo. Writing against militarism and traditional values, Uchimura championed the development of non-church Christianity and asserted the primacy of the individual over the collective, including over the authority of the church (Bellah 2003: 102ff). The major ideological problem is whether and to what extent Christianity collaborated with or resisted Japanese militarism and wartime aggression. Although Christianity is often associated with modernity, religious affiliation in contemporary Japan is relatively low and the only signs of religious growth are among new forms of privatized spirituality or among globalized Buddhist groups such as Sokka Gaki. As a generalization, Christianity is associated with (Western) modernization and, in the Cold War period, with anti-communism. In these two forms, Christianity has also been associated with nation-building. Perhaps the two most prominent examples of these processes are from South Korea and the Philippines. In the Korean case, Christianity was very closely connected with nation-building and with struggles against the communist regime in North Korea. Many institutions of higher education in Korea are the result of Protestant missionary endeavours in the late nineteenth century. South Korea’s first president, Syngman Rhee, was a Methodist. Conservative evangelical churches have continued to oppose any reconciliation with the North. The Philippines can be regarded as an Asian society that was created through the process of conversion to Catholicism. Filipinos refer to themselves as ‘the only Catholic country in Asia’ and think of themselves as a ‘closed Catholic society’ (Katoliko Sarado). By defining themselves as an exclusive Catholic society, they have also created an Islamic Other. The conflict with Islam began with early colonization when the Spaniards laid claim to Mindanao and Sulu, and continued into the nineteenth century when, in 1847, Oyanguren, the last of the conquistadores, captured the city of Davao, allowing the Jesuits to set up missionary stations in the region. The main strategy for incorporating the south into the state has been to settle landless peasants from the north in the region. In modern times, as a result of these policies, Muslims are now the minority. With globalization and further migration, Philippine society has continued a struggle with Islam in the south that shows no sign of resolution. While Catholicism is closely implicated in the dominant

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land-owning class and the military, Catholic groups have also had an important impact on civil society organizations to curb and eradicate political corruption. Christian conversion often brings strong opposition from the state, particularly where evangelism is seen to threaten the very composition of civil society. In nineteenth-century India, Christian conversion often meant an escape from the oppressive conditions of Hindu society. To stop this flow of conversions has been an explicit policy of Hindu national reformists, who are busy trying to construct Hinduism as the national religion. The Congress Government appointed the Niyogi Commission to examine these Christian missionary activities, and its report in 1956 was followed by an anti-conversion law by the state government of Madhya Pradesh. Conversion to Christianity is also an important social and political issue in contemporary China. The international erosion of communism in the wider world has often reinforced the conservative determination of the CCP to remain loyal to Marxist–Leninism. Contemporary Western pressure on the Party to liberalize its policies is often seen within the framework of Chinese history as further evidence of foreign meddling in Chinese society. The perception that the West manipulates opposition movements in China, such as ‘heretical sects’, to cause embarrassment to the Party also explains official attitudes towards Roman Catholicism, but suspicion about the disruptive potential of sects and cults has a long history in Chinese politics, thereby explaining the current hostility to Falungong (‘Wheel of Law’). The movement, which combines Buddhist–Daoist beliefs and traditional exercises, claimed the right to assemble to practise their healing exercises in public spaces. Despite the continuing prominence of secular Marxist–Leninism as an official political discourse, it is difficult to understand Chinese politics outside the framework of Confucian political philosophy of good government and peace in civil society. We might call this Confucian legacy a politics of virtue. While constitutional lawyers and dissident groups internally, and human rights lobbyists externally are attempting to impose the rule of law, we might better understand Chinese politics as a rule of virtue. The traditional legal arrangements of imperial China were based on Confucian values and can be described as a system of moral ‘familialism’. This system involved unconditional filial piety, the welfare of the dominant status group over the individual and reverence for seniority. This ‘Confucianization of the law’ meant that both judge and ruler drew directly from morality, particularly where strictly juridical guidelines were absent or ambiguous. This traditional system promoted the idea of rules of law and virtue. The criminal law was the cornerstone of this system, because it was the basis of social control. This system broke down during the Cultural Revolution and one can interpret the post-Cultural Revolution period of institution building and legal reform as an attempt to prevent any relapse into the excesses of class struggle and generational conflict. The 1999 national plan for managing public order sought to contain the growth of criminal gangs, the production of fake agricultural goods, the proliferation of cults and the emergence of juvenile

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delinquency, and to manage China’s floating, dislocated populations. With these reforms, there has been a political emphasis on the need to combine the rule of law with the rule of virtue. As an antidote to ‘blind Westernization’, Chinese citizens are called upon to embrace Confucian virtue in the form of the ‘four beautiful virtues’ or si mei of beautiful thought, language, behaviour and environment and the ‘four haves’ (si you) of consciousness, morality, culture and discipline (Bell and Chaibong 2003). China’s legal reforms and modernization are in many respects a re-assertion of traditional Confucian norms of respect, duty and stability. This feature of traditional rule and the failures of China’s criminal law institutions is perhaps nowhere better illustrated than in the Party’s response to the ‘Falungong problem’. When they were banned by the Ministry of Civil Affairs in 1999, the Falungong responded with acts of civil disobedience. The authorities have responded with a mixture of extrajudicial measures that amount to administrative discipline: hard labour for re-education, ‘custody for repatriation’, detention for ‘further investigation’, loss of jobs and so forth. These are forms of state instrumentalism. The CCP has defined religious heresy as a crime and employed state institutions to reinforce ‘socialist spiritual civilization’ against ‘feudal superstition’ (such as the beliefs and practices of Falungong). Between 1949 and 1997, cults were regarded as secret societies and hence constructed by the political elite as counter-revolutionary movements. The current treatment of Falungong continues a tradition of such criticism and displays the worst aspects of legal flexibility in which policy needs replace legal procedure. The ethos of ‘state instrumentalism’ and the use of the notion of ‘social harm’ give rise to considerable human rights abuse. The worst features of state instrumentalism include detention without trial, extralegal detention and custody for investigation. These procedures are enforced on the basis of the extrajudicial authority of public agencies. The future of citizenship and human rights in China depends on several factors. Firstly, it depends on the nature of American foreign relations with respect to China, Taiwan and North Korea, and pressure from the UN and human rights agencies for de facto compliance (Goldman 2005). Secondly, it depends heavily on sustaining economic growth, redistributing wealth, creating an effective taxation system and eliminating corruption. Thirdly, it depends on how the CCP responds to both external and internal political pressures, such as the growth of political parties, the Internet and the continuation of Hong Kong’s special status. Finally, it depends on how well the modernization of its legal system can successfully institutionalize the rule of law and how effective those juridical institutions are in sustaining the improvement in criminal proceedings. Given the rigid control of public life, contemporary Chinese people often experience Christianity as offering some degree of release from the stifling atmosphere of politics. Christianity is also seen as modern and cosmopolitan. With the current wave of nationalism that was further intensified by the Olympic Games, the prospects for Christianity hinge on whether it continues

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to be closely associated with Western interventions. However, we need to avoid easy generalizations when thinking about the daily religious lives of Catholics in villages in rural north China. While Catholics continue to live within the framework of traditional Chinese society, their religiosity is also deeply influenced by modernization and globalization.

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Christianity – Progressive or regressive? We can try to summarize various stages in the development of Asian Christianity. The early development of Christianity was closely associated with Iberian imperial and civilizational movements in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and later with Dutch and English commercial expansion. Through its educational work, Christianity came to be closely associated with modernity, laying the foundations for universities and medical institutions. During the Cold War, Christianity was openly associated with the West and with the defence of civil liberties, particularly freedom of conscience. This association of Christianity with Western notions of individual rights is still an important aspect of neo-conservative foreign policy in the Bush administration. The Other against which Christian monotheism was opposed was communism, but, in opposing communism, Christianity also became associated with the defence of authoritarian regimes that were supported by the West. In the post-colonial context, Christian conversion is still seen as an alternative to communism in China and North Korea, but increasingly Christian evangelism is opposed to Islam in the Philippines and Indonesia. In short, Christianity is now a major aspect of the clash of civilizations in neo-conservative foreign policy. Religious, particularly evangelical Protestant, attitudes to the state and secular authority are complex. In Indonesia, in response to religious conflict in Sulawasi, southern Kalimantan and the Ambon, there is an attempt to bring Christians and Muslims together not on the basis of religion but on culture and adat, thereby by-passing the Ministry of Religion. In historical terms, it can be argued that Christianity played a progressive role in India, when the new subjectivity of conversion allowed slaves to reflect and to articulate their experiences of social suffering and thereby signalled a new way of conceiving of themselves as human beings. The Church of Latter day Saints often attempts to adopt a neutral stance towards secular politics, including making agreements not to engage in overt proselytization, if necessary. Political neutrality is, however, not always possible or easy. The attempt to promote cremation over traditional forms of burial creates conflicts in South Korea. Thus the policy of secularism – the attempt to render unto Caesar – may not be a viable strategy since the unintended consequences of conversion typically brings Christians into conflict with governments. Three large questions emerge from these considerations. These are: (1) is Christianity both historically and today the major source of modernizing social change in Asia (against Buddhism, Confucianism and Hinduism)?

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This question is an extension of Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism – particularly an extension into the realm of democratic politics (Weber 2002). More specifically, is Protestantism the unique cause of modernizing social change? (2) If Christianity defined the political struggles of the Cold War, particularly in South Korea and Vietnam, will Christianity (with or without its own consent) come to define the cultural boundaries between Islam and the rest in the clash of civilizations? This outcome already appears to be the case in North America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, partly as the self-fulfilling prophecy of the ‘war on terror’. (3) What type of religion is Christianity? As a radical transformation of the individual, is it the only radical religion in contrast with Confucianism and Buddhism? Here again the conflict between Islam and Christianity is a conflict involving claims to be the last of the authentic prophetic religions unlike the conservatism of the classic Asian religions such as Taoism, Shintoism and Confucianism. In changing subjectivities, evangelism necessarily changes conduct, and nothing is more characteristic of Christian piety than sexual asceticism. From a Christian point of view, while sex is a private act, it must be regulated if the individual is to be protected from personal sin. While Christians may accept liberty of conscience, they cannot accept liberty of (sexual) practice. While Christians might oppose the state regulating belief, they are likely to support the state in opposition to (say) prostitution or drug abuse. But, Christian attitudes to sexual morality create major political and social problems. While Christianity may be progressive with respect to the public sphere of education and social mobility, its teaching on divorce, contraception, abortion and STDs is often seen to be highly regressive and reactionary. If the liberation of women is seen to be a criterion of modernization, then the legacy of Christian sexual teaching is often thought to be extremely negative.

Conclusion: Secularization and revival in Asia In modern history there have been two powerful forms of secularization. We might identify one form as secular liberalism and the rise of consumerism in the West. The second is communist secularization in the Soviet Union and Asia, specifically in China and Vietnam. The first form of liberal secularization was the unintended outcome of modernization, whereas the second form was a consequence of state policies. Communism attempted to suppress religion and regarded attempts to proselytize as virtually an attack on the state. Liberalism regarded religious conversion as merely a matter of private conscience. In a sense, both forms of secularization may have now come to an end. We are now confronted by two forms of resacralization. There is a resurgence of popular religion – sometimes referred to as ‘spirituality’ – and its commodification as religion becomes a lifestyle choice. By contrast, there

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is also the growth of ascetic evangelism and piety in both Christianity and Islam, which is often called, perhaps inappropriately, fundamentalism. In the global struggle for influence between the world religions, particularly in Asia, the problem of conversion and identity will become increasingly problematic if the growth of fundamentalism further challenges the balance between religion and the state. With migration into Southeast Asia, societies become more complex with the growth of multi-faith communities and there is considerable strain on the policies of secular states (Turner 2008). The growth of piety movements to revive and reform religion often brings these reformist movements into conflict with the state, thereby illustrating the continuing importance of religious identities in the contemporary world.

References Augustine (1972) City of God, New York: Pelican. Beasley, W. G. (1973) The Meiji Restoration, London: Oxford University Press. Bell, D. A. and Chaibong, H. (eds) (2003) Confucianism for the Modern World, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bellah, R. N. (2003) Imagining Japan: The Japanese tradition and its modern interpretation, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Benveniste, E. (1973) Indo-European Language and Society, London: Faber & Faber. Canning, J. (1996) A History of Medieval Political Thought 300–1450, London: Routledge. Chen, Y. (2004) Trying to Farewell the Subject, Beijing: Zhongguo Renmin Daxue Chubanshe. Ferguson, N. (2003) Empire: How Britain made the modern world, London: Penguin. Gilquin, M. (2002) The Muslims of Thailand, Bangkok: Silkworm Press. Goldman, M. (2005) From Comrade to Citizen: The struggle for political rights in China, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Hall, D. G. E. (1966) A History of South-East Asia, London: Macmillan. Hsu, I. C. Y. (1990) The Rise of Modern China, New York: Oxford University Press. van Ittersum, M. J. (2006) Profit and principle: Hugo Grotius, natural rights theories and the rise of Dutch power in the East Indies 1595–1615, Leiden: Brill. Kant, I. (1998) Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, New York: Harper & Row. Mead, K. K. (2004) The Rise and Decline of Thai Absolutism, London: Curzon. Parsons, T. (1951) The Social System, New York: Free Press. Reid, A. (1988) Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce 1450–1680, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Sahlins, M. (1985) Islands in History, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Tambiah, S. J. (1976) World Conqueror and World Renouncer. A study of Buddhism and polity in Thailand against a historical background, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Turner, B. S. (1998) Weber and Islam, London: Routledge. Turner, B. S. (ed.) (2008) Religious Diversity and Civil Society: A comparative analysis, Oxford: Bardwell Press. Weber, M. (2002) The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, London: Penguin. Wilson, B. (1970) Religious Sects: A sociological study, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. Wolf, E. R. (1982) Europe and the People without History, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

3

Is Protestant conversion a form of protest?

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Urban and upland Protestants in Southeast Asia Oscar Salemink Introduction In recent publications and lectures on the Protestant conversion of Vietnam’s central highlanders (or Montagnards), I have drawn attention to the religious profiling of ethnic difference through conversion (Salemink 1997, 2003a, 2003b). In 1997, I wrote that [b]y redrawing the boundary between the Yuan (Kinh) and themselves (Dega, Montagnards) in the one field where the current regime leaves some space in the form of a theoretical freedom of religion, Montagnards reclaim agency after their political defeat in the construction of a Montagnard homeland with a fixed territory and statut particulier. (Salemink 1997: 523) For an audience consisting of Vietnamese senior researchers and policy makers, I reiterated that analysis, pointing to comparative evidence of Protestant conversion among marginal minority groups in Asia and beyond (Salemink 2004a). Based on my reading of Keyes (1996) and other scholars working on Christian conversion among ethnic minority groups – Aragon (1996, 2000), Spyer (1994) and Keane (1996, 1997, 1998, 2002) in Indonesia; Tapp (1989a, 1989b), Kammerer (1990, 1996) and Hayami (1996) in Thailand; Elkins (1994) and Paredes (1997) in the Philippines; and Hefner (1993a, 1998) and Van der Veer (1996) in other areas – I drew the conclusion that Christianity – particularly evangelical Protestantism – is an attractive religious option for many marginal ethnic groups. During recent stays in Indonesia, however, I learned more about Christian conversion among the Javanese – a group that can by no means be called a marginal ethnic minority in Indonesia. While working with Indonesian researchers, I found that the dynamics and motivations of conversion were quite different there (Saptaningtyas and Dirdjosanjoto 2004; Singgih and Kana 2004). Moreover, in relative terms, conversion among dominant, majority groups may often involve only a small percentage of the overall population, but given the differences in the size of ‘ethnic’ populations, this

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movement is much more important in absolute numerical terms (Hefner 1993a, 1993b). This has led me to rethink my previous assumptions about the pattern of Protestantism as a primarily ethnic minority religion in Southeast Asia – an assumption which caused me and many other scholars to infer that Christian conversion is tantamount to religious profiling of ethnic difference among minority groups. In other words, religious difference would then be seen as an important marker for ethnic boundaries. While I still think that there is value in this analysis, I believe that the cases where Protestantism is making inroads in dominant population groups with established religious traditions may suggest that conversion not only divides, but integrates (into states, into markets and into transnational networks) as well. In this chapter, then, I would like to explore the structural causes of the Protestant conversion of marginal ethnic groups in the Southeast Asian uplands by first of all drawing a distinction between the conversion during the colonial era (when the Christianity propagated by the missions was often the religion of the colonizing power) and during the post-colonial era (when Christianity was seen as alien and even antagonistic by the Buddhist, Muslim, Confucian/Taoist and Roman Catholic majorities in the independent states). Second, by focusing my attention on the contemporary period, I propose to look at how the linked processes of state formation, market integration and transnationalization/globalization privilege the expression of cultural (ethnic and religious) difference in ways that facilitate integration into global networks of meaning and market-led transformation in a neoWeberian sense. This chapter, therefore, has the form of a theoretical exploration based on a survey of the literature. In doing so, I realize that this endeavour can only be very sketchy and preliminary. For the sake of simplicity, I will distinguish a number of dimensions or axes that are relevant for framing the argument. The first one is the time axis, which is relevant here because the historical context for conversion in colonial settings is vastly different from post-colonial settings. A second axis is a geographic axis, which distinguishes between geographic areas that are central to pre-colonial civilizations and modern states – usually the coastal lowland areas and valley bottoms that can sustain large population densities – and more ‘remote’ (but never ‘isolated’) regions. These remote areas – usually uplands/hinterlands – historically remained on the margins of state control, but, since the formation of modern states during the colonial era, they have become integrated into states and markets. The third cultural axis partly defines and is partly defined by the second, geographic axis, because it relates to majority and minority populations in the postcolonial states. Geographic and cultural boundaries do not neatly converge, though; they are compounded by migration and cultural policies, and influences of states and markets. A fourth axis with profound socio-cultural implications is political in the sense of (dominant) elite versus (subordinate) lower class. Finally, religion itself is an important axis, not just because of the differences within Christianity (between Catholicism, ‘mainstream’ and evangelical

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Protestantism), but also within the local community (between community religions or world religions, such as Islam and Buddhism). At the outset, I would like to state clearly that this is a preliminary exploration, and definitely not an exhaustive survey of the existing literature. My reading of the literature is at best selective, and lacks both depth and breadth. I focus more on social science literature than on the abundant missiological and theological writings, which often betray a specific agenda concerning the subject matter. Julie Ma’s work on the Assemblies of God in the Philippines, for instance, superficially, has the structure of a social science monograph, but her analysis of the factors of conversion comes down to the superior supernatural (healing) powers of the Christian God vis-à-vis local spirits (2000; see also Digan 1984; Singgih 2003).1 Furthermore, I focus on the post-colonial rather than the colonial period, because the relationship between Christianity and the state tends to be vastly different in both periods. I deal with the colonial period only insofar as it is necessary for understanding the contemporary period. For a variety of reasons I focus more on Protestant Christianity than Catholic Christianity, and within the former more on the Pentecostal and charismatic groups that tend to be most successful these days. Geographically, I limit my analysis to Southeast Asia, without assuming that there is any cultural self-evidence to this regional entity. The term Southeast Asia gained currency during the Second World War, as a political and military ‘theatre’ – a delimitation of military competencies between the British and the American armies in the Asia-Pacific war. This definition carried over into the Cold War era, when SEATO and ASEAN were formed to contain Communism in East Asia and Ghandian neutralism in South Asia. In my view, there is no reason to exclude relevant cases like the Garo in Bangladesh (Bal 2000), Mizoram or Nagaland in eastern India, or Christianization among ‘national minorities’ in Yunnan (China).2 In fact, China’s politico-religious history has had a major impact, in that the Communist victory in 1949 forced many overseas missions out of China, to be redeployed in other parts of Asia – often ‘tribal’ areas along China’s southern borders. For similar reasons, developments in South Korea, where currently 26 per cent of the 49 million people are Christian, have a deep impact in Southeast Asian countries with Korean communities – missionaries, but also business people in charge of overseas investments. I will return to these issues later. I will deal with a number of issues in the following order. In the second section, I will deal with a few comparative studies of Christianization that may frame my analysis. In the third section, I will deal with the ‘time axis’, in particular with the colonial–post-colonial equation that is relevant for understanding the dynamics of conversion. In the fourth section, I will focus on Christian conversion among marginal ethnic minorities, and the argument about religious profiling of ethnic difference. In the fifth section, then, I will deal with a number of cases where Christianity makes inroads into populations that are not ethnically distinct in their specific state contexts. The sixth section will examine a different conversion movement which de-emphasizes

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ethnicity, namely of cosmopolitan urban middle classes in a variety of national and transnational settings. In the final section, I try to bring these strands together and analyze Protestant conversion in terms of difference and/ or of integration into wider networks.

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Comparative studies of Christian conversion Most recent overviews of Christian conversion worldwide refer to the work by Jean and John Comaroff (1986, 1991) on southern Africa. Inspired by the theoretical insights of Michel Foucault on the disciplining of bodies, the Comaroffs expand their argument with the notion of ‘colonization of consciousness’ or the ‘colonization of the mind’ through the imposition of religious discipline (1991: 4 and throughout). Their argument recaptures E. P. Thompson’s seminal insight in The Making of the English Working Class (1968) about Methodism as a way of coming to terms with the behavioural requirements of early capitalism by sacralizing the capitalist work ethic and disciplining the workforce – a neo-Marxist reversal of the Weberian thesis of the Protestant ethnic and the spirit of capitalism. But, the Comaroffs and others also emphasized that Christianity could in turn become an inspiration for resistance – both politically and culturally – against capitalist subordination and exploitation in colonial and post-colonial situations. In the wake of the 1960s ‘political awakening’ of youth and intellectuals, a number of theologians wanted to turn Christianity into a social and political consciousness raising movement. ‘Liberation theology’ caught on among Catholic intellectuals in Latin America – although less so among the urban and rural poor (cf. de Theije 1999). For Asia, similar claims were made by hopeful Christians, such as Parig Digan (1984) who sees Christianity as an expression of (potential) social protest that, through its very transnational nature, would overcome narrow nationalism. In his influential Tongues of Fire, David Martin (1990) attempts to explain the Pentecostalist wave of Protestant reform in Latin America by pointing at its attractive ecstasy in the private, religious domain with discipline and educational aspiration in social life. In a context where society’s ‘sacred canopy’ (cf. Peter Berger 1990) is revealing serious cracks and gaps, its appeal lies precisely in the promise of economic betterment combined with the re-creation of a kin-like voluntary community, which, because of its a-political stance, creates a ‘free cultural space’ for these groups. Martin identifies the social groups that are most prone to Pentecostalism’s ‘peaceable cultural transformation’ as the ‘poor and marginalized’, consisting of independent producers, rural to urban migrants coming from the haciendas to the megacities, and minority groups (often tribal groups in remote areas) for whom evangelism is an opening to the – dangerous – wider world and the wider national community. In his recent comparative study of Evangelicals and Politics in Asia, Africa and Latin America, Paul Freston sees the conversion of tribal groups as particularly characteristic for Asia. In spite of the complexity and religious

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diversity in Asia, he observes ‘growing evangelical minorities’ which ‘lodged primarily in a politically and/or economically marginalized ethnic or caste group (Dalits and tribals in India, Chinese and indigenous minorities in Malaysia and Indonesia, tribals in Myanmar)’ (Freston 2001: 59). One reason for the lack of appeal for dominant groups was the hostility that missionaries encountered from rulers in the heartland areas and the facilitation of conversion in marginal areas under colonial rule. Under post-colonial regimes, Freston claims that Protestantism has often converged with political separatism (e.g. Karen in Thailand, Hmong in Laos and Moluccans in Indonesia). The one major exception to this ‘rule’ is Korea, where evangelical Protestantism has taken root in the dominant group and has become the dominant religion. A large part of the Korean population is Christian,3 which Freston attributes to the very different colonial history of Korea, where Christianity was not seen as the religion of the colonial power, Japan, and hence became a vehicle for nationalism. In his concluding remarks, Freston makes the salient observation that ‘evangelical organization, religious location and socio-political location are often more important for understanding its politics than is evangelical theology’ (282). With different contexts, political strategies and positions, the cultural ‘logic’ of fast-growing voluntaristic evangelicalism can be characterized as fissiparous and non-traditional. In his introduction to the edited volume Conversion to Christianity (1993), Robert Hefner discusses the ‘rationality of conversion’ in relation to the theories of religion as proposed by Max Weber, Robert Bellah, Clifford Geertz, Robin Horton and Peter Berger. Contrary to Weber, Hefner does not see secularization as an inevitable aspect of rationalization. In his ‘Multiple Modernities’ (1998), he even calls the secularization and ‘disenchantment’ theory plain wrong for most of the world – i.e. outside Europe. Most models of modernity fail to acknowledge complexity and diversity.4 Whereas in his 1993 introduction, Hefner dwells on the ‘moral economy’ of self-identification in relation to a ‘reference group’, he sees conversion in terms of ‘world building’ by relocating local customs and dogmas in the higher religious truths and transcendence of a world religion, combining a collective world view with the individualizing message of Christianity. However, he also stresses the multi-causality of conversion, which, in his 1998 essay, is transposed to the ‘varying logics’ of conversion: In one pattern, Protestantism takes hold among long-marginalized populations seeking to maintain an identity apart from the dominant culture even by appropriating the symbols and instruments of modernity. In this case, conversion reproduces the binary logic of ethnic categories even as it transforms their cultural content. [e.g. Karo] … The regions where Protestant conversion has been more extensive, however, are those where the organic linkage of religion and ethnicity has long since slackened and the differentiating demands of the state, capitalism, and migration have increased [e.g. South Korea] (Hefner 1998: 95)

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In both cases Pentecostalism offers ‘free space’ (cf. David Martin 1990) by challenging elite monopolies without explicit political message. While Pentecostalism is a modernist movement with often well-oiled transnational support from the US, it is ultimately also a local affair. In his overview of Protestantism in Southeast Asia, Charles Keyes (1996) uses the term ‘indigenization’ to describe the relation between world religion and local populations, particularly in post-colonial situations. This indigenization refers both to the substantive contents and to the religious organization. By translating the Bible, the core message and main source of authority of Protestantism becomes directly accessible to adherents. By training local cadres and relying on such local ministers, the organization is indigenized as well. Keyes does not interpret conversion in (positive) terms of creating ‘free space’ (cf. Martin 1990; Hefner 1998) but in (negative) terms of a personal and/or collective crisis. Applying his notion of a prevailing crisis of political and religious authority and legitimacy in Southeast Asia (cf. Keyes, Hardacre and Kendall 1994), he detects crises at multiple levels, in different contexts and for different groups. These complex and multiple crises require solutions, not just at instrumental (social and economic) levels but at a deeper, existential level as well. One example of such a crisis concerns tribal groups where ‘the practice of localized animistic religions is markedly disjunctive with the world in which they now live’ (Keyes 1996: 288). Protestant conversion, then, becomes a form of ‘modernization’ through the alliance with a major world religion that is different from the dominant religion of the nation or state, thus expressing ethnic difference without inferiority. Other factors can be involved, such as the politically motivated conversions in post-1965 Indonesia (see below), the charisma of the preacher or the connection of the Protestant religion with script, literacy and power. Common denominators in this discussion of the comparative dynamics of Protestant conversion in Southeast Asia and beyond are a dialectics of combining an affirmation of cultural difference with modernization (but not secularization), through the ‘voluntary’ embrace of religious and behavioural discipline – a ‘voluntary religious choice’ even if the old religious regime is no longer viable – which creates or re-affirms a separate social identity for the group of believers. All commentators mentioned above ultimately link the question of conversion to the question of power, but there are few claims about so-called ‘rice converts’ who would have instrumental motivations to convert to a powerful and/or resourceful Protestantism. In fact, while decisions about conversions often seem to be characterized by instrumental motivations or contingency, conversions out of pure self-interest are hardly durable, as I will argue in the next section.

Colonial and post-colonial situations In his overview of Protestantism in Southeast Asia, Charles Keyes (1996: 282 ff.) observes that colonialism in general created favourable conditions for

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Christian missions. This observation is in line with a more general tendency in the history of European expansion that colonialist and imperialist powers often sought to combine the military conquest of non-European territories; the subjection and rule of their populations; the appropriation and economic exploitation of natural resources and labour; with religious conversion. The history of the Catholic imperial powers, Spain and Portugal, in Latin America is well known (Neill 1986). Until the American conquest of the Philippines in 1898, Spanish colonial rule was simultaneously predicated on and aiming for the Christianization of the diverse Filipino populations (Rafael 1993). A late colonial power in Asia, France used the obstacles to and eventual persecutions of Catholic missions and conversions as a pretext for colonial intervention (Cady 1954; Lê 1975; Tuck 1987) but, once established, the relationship between the Catholic clergy and a fiercely secular Republican administration was far from smooth (Salemink 2003a). In this context, it is interesting to note that after the successful conversion of part of the Vietnamese population before the French colonial conquest, Christian conversion faltered during the actual French colonial rule of Indochina. Even though the Catholic community was largely privileged during the colonial era and acted as a pillar of colonial rule, missionary efforts at conversion were relatively unsuccessful then.5 The history of the Protestant missions in Southeast Asia is different. The British, Dutch and (after 1898) American colonial administrations were somewhat indifferent to the missionary endeavour, and did not encourage proselytizing among the dominant populations groups that already adhered to one of the world religions, to avoid antagonizing and hence politicizing these religious categories. This is not to say that there was no connection between colonialism and missionization. In spite of a widespread image – circulated in missionary magazines, publications and sermons – of the solitary missionary living far from the civilized (Christian) world among pagan – if not outright barbarian or savage – people, such people had usually already been ‘pacified’ by military and political means. Missionaries may have found themselves in marginal places, in actual practice they acted as and were regarded as an essential part of the colonial establishment, albeit often at the margins, as an outpost of colonialism. In addition, in a number of places, Christian populations were seen as more reliable constituencies of the colonial states, which tended to recruit from such populations in classic divide-and-rule policies (thus heavily mortgaging post-colonial ethno-religious relations, as may be evident from the specific histories of Moluccan, Karen, Hmong and Montagnard separatism). Even then, the relationship of missionaries with colonial administrators and settlers (e.g. planters) was often fragile, as Rita Smith Kipp (1990) and Mary Steedly (1996) showed for the Karo Batak in Sumatra. In her monograph, Fields of the Lord, on the history of the Salvation Army among the Tobaku in upland Sulawesi, Lorraine Aragon (2000) gives a detailed description of missionary and Tobaku actions and reactions within a wider political context of colonial and post-colonial conflict and integration.

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Her main point is that particular animist rituals were substituted with Christian ritual, or sometimes were simply given new function and meaning – although she also documents moving attempts to recapture and revitalize ‘lost’ traditions by Tobaku cultural leaders. In her conclusions, she summarizes her complex argument by stating that religious shifts or conversions occur through processes of political marginalization that: 1. redefine criteria of valid religion; 2. subvert local patterns of reciprocity associated with prior ritual patterns; 3. reclassify deity categories; 4. reformat ritual acts with introduced substitutions; 5. reroute transcendent verbal communications by congregation members and priests; 6. introduce new methods of healing authorized by the new deities; 7. index religious change to an idealized version of economic development or ‘modernization’; 8. legally subvert religious doctrines to political ones. (Aragon 2000: 321) In a wider context she sees the (external) development of the colonial and post-colonial states as having a profound impact on the ‘internal development’ of its citizens, thus echoing the argument made by the Comaroffs. Similar complex, indirect and multiple versions of ‘modernization’ – which includes religious modernization – can be found in the monographs by Mary Steedly (1993) and Anna Tsing (1993) for the Karo Batak in Sumatra and the Meratus of Kalimantan, respectively. What is also clear from the work by Kipp (1990), Kipp and Rodgers (1987), Aragon (1996, 2000) and Steedly (1993, 1996) on Indonesia, from the work by Kammerer (1990, 1996), Tapp (1989a, 1989b) and Zehner (1996) on Thailand, and from my work on Vietnam (2003b, 2004a), is that Protestant conversion was numerically very limited during the colonial era.6 However, after independence – resulting in the loss of formal legal protection from a kindred (neo)colonial state – the conversion efforts were much more successful, in the sense that, numerically, many more people converted to Protestantism. This is what Charles Keyes claims for some the major states of Southeast Asia (Indonesia and Thailand) in a more general sense (Keyes 1996: 287 ff.). Although many of the pre-war missions carried over into the post-colonial era, there is no neat continuity between the colonial and postcolonial denominations, because of the influx of new, evangelical missionaries from America. As Julie Ma shows in her ‘inside story’ about the Assemblies of God in the Philippines, their rejection of a rational secularism (that often characterized the pre-war European mission) and emphasis on healing, ‘power encounters’, miracles, ecstasy and their acceptance of the existence of

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spirits – redefined in demonic terms – is more compatible with the worldviews embodied in many localized community religion than with the formal pomp and circumstance of most pre-War European missions (Ma 2000: 25–26, 244–47). The settling in and initial successes of these evangelical – often Pentecostal or charismatic – churches influenced other Christian groups as well, including in many places even the Catholic communities. Even though in absolute and in relative terms these conversions are not (yet) terribly important, locally such massive conversions can alter power balances and influence perceptions. In the following sections, I will explore such localized conversion movements among ‘tribal’ ethnic minorities and among other population groups during the post-colonial era.

Ethnic minorities: Redrawing boundaries? To my knowledge, Nicholas Tapp, in his Sovereignty and Rebellion (1989a), first made the connection between conversion to Christianity and the retention of a distinct Hmong ‘ethnic’ religion. Propelled by what Charles Keyes, Helen Hardacre and Laurel Kendall call a crisis of religious and political authority (1994) or ‘deeply unsettling experiences of life’ (Keyes 1996: 289) in the context of state integration, the White Hmong of northern Thailand faced a religious dilemma, namely, to convert to mainstream Thai Buddhism – which is to assimilate in religious terms – or to retain their own Hmong religion and identity. This dilemma is in the process of being resolved by conversion to Christianity, which is also a modern world religion but which ‘increases the conceptual distance’ between this ethnic minority and the state (Tapp 1989a: 85). Tapp identifies a number of different motivations for this decision, and these motivations depend on different and changing contexts. At the beginning of the twentieth century, there were ‘rice converts’ in China (as there were in Laos in the 1960s) and there were other favourable ‘objective conditions’ (e.g. epidemics, war, migration and resettlement).7 However, Tapp focuses on the messianic tendencies among the Hmong, which seem to mesh wonderfully well with Protestantism – so much so that many Hmong prefer the more forbidding Protestant tradition to the more easygoing Catholic tradition (Tapp 1989a: 99). This messianism is partly fed by myths about the loss of writing, and prophesies about a Hmong king who will come down to redeem the Hmong script and literacy and restore the lost Hmong kingdom that they had to leave behind in China. According to Tapp, the centrality of the loss of writing in their myths and in their ethnic self-identification connotes a negative self-definition of Hmong ethnic identity (Tapp 1989a: 129). Tapp refers to a central theme in much of the mythology of highlanders in the mainland Southeast Asian uplands. In Mother of Writing: The origin and development of a Hmong messianic script, William Smalley, Chia Koua Vang and Gnia Yee Yang (1990) even devote an entire biography to Shong Lue Yang – an illiterate Hmong peasant who devised a complete Hmong script and rationalized or simplified it. Following on from the claim that the script

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was a gift from God, he was quickly seen as the mythical king would come to redeem the Hmong literacy and kingdom, giving rise to a messianic movement. Yoko Hayami (1996) speaks of the ‘loss of writing’ in the context of Christian conversion among the Karen in northern Thailand. Hayami speaks of legends about the loss of script, about the image of the Karen as orphans being in a patron–client relationship with surrounding peoples but betraying a willingness to receive wisdom from others. Defining themselves with ‘a mix of admiration and distrust, pride and inferiority vis-à-vis valley-dwellers’, the Karen are waiting for the golden book which their ‘younger white brother’ would return to them – a book that could well be the Bible (Hayami 1996: 339–41). It is not only messianic expectations about the return of a lost script and of a lost kingdom that spark the interest in Protestant Christianity. Language and speech play important roles as well. Mary Steedly (1996) focuses on the emphasis that Protestant missionaries placed on individual reading of the Bible, requiring the translation of the Bible in vernacular languages – and sometimes indeed the development of appropriate scripts for these vernaculars, as was (and is) the main preoccupation of the Wycliffe Bible Translators/Summer Institute of Linguistics. With Ben Anderson, Steedly notes the coalition between Protestantism and print capitalism – historically the technological cradle of the nation as ‘imagined community’. In the context of colonial Sumatra, the missionaries and Karo identified the coastal Malays as common enemies – albeit for different reasons. For the missionaries, the use of the Karo language was an exclusionary tactic from the ‘javanization’ of the Karo, whereas the Karo considered the missions an ally in the defence of their group rights. Eventually the Karo formed a new scriptural community through a common language, script and education, resulting in the ethnic unification of a group called the ‘Karo Batak’ with a ‘right to signify’ in the colonial and post-colonial states (Steedly 1996: 450–64). Similar stakes in language as carrier for the religious message but also for the cohesion of a distinct and more of less unified (ethnic) group have been described by Lorraine Aragon for the Tobaku (1996, 2000); and by Janet Hoskins (1987) and Webb Keane (1996, 1997, 1998, 2002) for Sumba. Conversion is not simply an imposition of new religious concepts on local categories – or the appropriation of a local group by a world religious order – instead, it involves an active negotiation and re-interpretation of meanings in the own categories – or an appropriation of the world religion by the local group. Aragon describes how the Tobaku re-interpret their traditional pantheon and rituals in Christian terms, sometimes keeping the traditional moral logic intact but phrasing it in Christian terms – changing the form but not the contents. Sometimes they keep the form intact but give it new meaning and function in their new Christian ritual. The Tobaku may not have completely appropriated Christianity, which continues to be associated with foreign missionaries, but their Protestant belief is an important factor in their relations with the Muslim majority in Indonesia (Aragon 1996; see also 2000). Janet

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Hoskins (1987) explains how, on Sumba, spirit worship is redefined as ‘religion, moving from adhesion to ritual practice to conversion to a rational, reflective belief ’ – as a precursor for Robert Hefner’s ‘Of Faith and Commitment’ (1993b). In a series of essays, Webb Keane (1996, 1997, 1998, 2002) elaborates on the issue of speech and language, juxtaposing the ‘sincere’, straightforward language appreciated by Protestants and the ‘sacred’, sometimes unintelligible language – or speech – of traditional beliefs. In his view, this new ‘representational economy’ requires a new kind of subjectivity, or a ‘reconceptualization of the subject’ (2002: 65) – comparable to the Comaroffs’ ‘colonization of consciousness’ and of Aragon’s ‘internal development’ parallel to the external state development. There are also ‘push factors’ which Keyes denoted as the ‘incompatibility’ of traditional animist beliefs with modern requirements. Elsewhere I have made this very argument to explain why Vietnam’s Central Highlanders are abandoning their old religious and ritual practices (Salemink 1997, 2003a, 2003b, 2004a). Yoko Hayami notes that many Karen wish to change religion because they are ‘tired of feeding the spirits’ (1996: 343), not just because the rituals are burdensome but also because they are felt to be inadequate or not efficacious. Kwanchewan Buadaeng (2003: 190) makes a similar observation for the Karen, whereas Cornelia Kammerer (1996) recapitulates an Akha myth about their many strict and burdensome customs which they – like other ethnic groups – received from the spirits in their basket. Because of their tightly woven basket, nothing fell through and all customs remained intact. In this mythical context, conversion means ‘discarding the basket’ by re-interpreting customs and by letting Jesus ‘shoulder the load’. In another article, Kammerer (1990) explains why Akha – who identify with and cherish their zah (traditional religion, rituals and customary prescriptions and proscriptions) – convert to Protestantism. Their zah is difficult, burdensome and inflexible, and therefore hard to change, but because of the incorporation into the Thai nation state it could no longer be maintained – both materially and intellectually. When they have to abandon their zah they adopt a new zah which is more in tune with modern requirements: the Protestant zah, which is also strict and involves not only belief but also practice (lifestyle). Moreover, by converting to Protestantism they will not become second-rate Buddhists (Kammerer 1990). This last argument is important, and confirms similar claims made by Tapp (1989a, 1989b), Aragon (1996), Keyes (1996), Steedly (1996) and myself – writing about the various Southeast Asian minority groups that we have been studying. In her 1996 article, however, Kammerer is less unequivocal about connecting Protestant conversion with ethnicity, claiming that there is no question of a radical departure from tradition but instead of ‘dialogues of identity’ between Christian and traditionalist Akha, but also with Thai and with Thai Buddhism (Kammerer 1996: 331–32). For the Karen group, both Hayami (1996) and Kwanchewan (2003) have difficulty interpreting religious conversion in terms of ethnicity. Hayami points at the religious eclecticism,

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pluralism and tolerance prevailing among Karen (at least in Thailand). Many Karen convert to Protestantism, but many other Karen convert to Buddhism. The Karen churches form a supra-local organization, which seeks co-operation with the Thai state and wider Thai society. Conversion facilitates a reformulation and enhancement of community through world religions (cf. Hefner’s ‘world building’) but is not necessarily an assertion of a non-Thai ethnic identity through religion. The Karen have ethnic markers other than religion, which situate them squarely within the parameters of Thai citizenship (Hayami 1996: 334–49). Kwanchewan (2003) backs up this latter argument, and reiterates another argument put forward by Hayami – namely that conversion is largely a matter of contingency rather than a purposeful ethnic statement. It depends on family circumstances, the coincidental ‘availability’ of a priest, and constant renegotiations over meanings. Contrary to Keyes and others, Kwanchewan claims that it is often well-to-do families who convert, rather than those who experience a crisis (2003: 230, 290). It is unclear for now whether these latter arguments apply to groups other than the Karen. It is, however, important to note that the claim of ‘religious profiling’ of ethnic difference is certainly not universally applicable in Southeast Asia. Add to that the fact that many highlanders traditionally defined their identity in negative terms – in particular in terms of lacking script – then that implies that they do so in relation to the dominant ethnic group or nation, and in the context of a larger arena of which various ethnic groups form a part. Similarly, Christian conversion can be seen as marking difference without breaking off contact, because it situates the converting subjects as citizens of the modern state and as an essential part of transnational and even global networks. Conversion is a manner of building ‘spiritual capital’ (cf. Berger and Hefner 2003) in a world where competition between religious denominations and congregations often plays out in a religious market (Iannaccone 2006). In the next section, I will ask to what extent Protestant conversion can be seen as an attempt at integration rather than at fencing off.

Minority religions or religion of minorities? In the vast majority of Asian countries, Protestantism constitutes just a small fraction of the entire population. One exception is South Korea, where Christianity has grown tremendously over the past decades and is now effectively the dominant religion. There, it is obviously not a minority religion in the sense that the Protestant community form a religious minority – or in the other sense that it is the religion of an ethnic minority group (Freston 2001: 59–60). We also have the remark by Singapore’s former prime minister and present strongman, Lee Kuan Yew, about the meteoric growth of Protestantism in modern, wealthy and urbanized Singapore – hardly the locality to maintain ‘tribal’ boundaries (although ‘tribal’ has acquired entirely new meanings in contemporary urban settings). Finally, we have the global and unspecific generalization by Robert Hefner that ‘[t]he regions where Protestant

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conversion has been more extensive … are those where the organic linkage of religion and ethnicity has long since slackened and the differentiating demands of the state, capitalism, and migration have increased’ (Hefner 1998: 95). This challenges us to look anew at the association of Protestantism and (minority) ethnicity, claimed by so many authors generalizing about Protestantism in (Southeast) Asia (see Freston 2001; Hefner 1993a, 1998; Keyes 1996). Let us first take a look at Indonesia, where Protestantism has taken root not just in the ‘outer islands’ of Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Nusa Tenggara, but also in the political and cultural heartland of Java, mainly among Javanese and ethnic Chinese populations (Quarles van Ufford 1980, 1988; Hefner 1993b; Morris 1996; Saptaningtyas and Dirdjosanjoto 2004). Although the Dutch Reformed Church has been established in Java since the nineteenth century, conversions were slow and few. Ironically, after the ‘favourable conditions’ created by the colonial protection of Christianity fell away with Independence (1945–49), the Christian congregations started to grow. One reason for the growth of Christianity in the 1950s was Indonesia’s Pancasila policy, which stipulated that each citizen had to adhere to a formal (world) religion – such as Islam, Christianity, Buddhism or Hinduism – to be indicated on the identity card. This created pressure on many followers of local traditions to proactively adopt a formal religion. This pressure only increased during the massacres of around one million suspected communists, which followed from a coup attempt blamed on the Indonesian Communist Party. As religious affiliations seemed to be antithetical to the communist faith (or at least to atheistic communist ideology), many mass conversions to Christianity were reported during this period (Kipp and Rodgers 1987; Spyer 1994; Saptaningtyas and Dirdjosanjoto 2004; Singgih and Kana 2004; Van Klinken 2003). Since then, a Christian identity has often been seen as the best guarantee against accusations of leftwing leanings, and Protestant Christianity has been a steadily growing religion in Java and in Indonesia as a whole. The threat of state and/or communal violence turned out to be a major catalyst for conversion in a variety of places, making the avoidance of state-orchestrated violence or damage a motivation for Christian conversion. In the words of Patricia Spyer, people who were stigmatized as ‘not yet having a religion – “pagans” and many ethnic Chinese – became Christians to save their lives’ in an act of ‘double conversion’ both to a world religion and to Indonesian citizenship (Spyer 1994: 176; see also Kipp and Rodgers 1987: 19–25). Simultaneously, the emotional public accountability that family and village members ask from individual converts leads to a reflection and reformulation of conversion in terms of confession – i.e. from ritual practice to confessional belief – in what Robert Hefner calls an intellectualist evaluation of doctrines (Hefner 1993b: 117–20). But how can that be in places where religious practices are often curtailed rather than encouraged? If Christianity touches many ethnic Chinese of Indonesia (and elsewhere in Asia), how is the situation in China itself ? According to Weiming Tu (1999), China – which had a strong Christian

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community before 1949 – has two ‘types’ of Protestants. The first type is peasants who have been converted by indigenous preachers, often with nativistic and anti-foreign inclinations – which includes a number of ethnic minorities on China’s fringes. Tu (1999: 91–92) designates the second type as students, professionals and executives in urban settings who are seeking a fit between religious belief and scientific and democratic concepts, and apparently finding such a fit in Protestantism. For the second type, there does not seem to be a direct link between ethnic identity and religion, but rather a desire to be modern. Another country with a sizable Chinese minority is Malaysia, where the government considers the ethnic Malays, constituting 58 per cent of the total population, as the basis of the nation. In official discourse and policies the ‘indigenous’ ethnic category of ‘Malay’ – as bumiputera or ‘children of the land’ – is conflated with a Muslim identity, both categories being subject to strict surveillance and regulation by the government. Outside this privileged but heavily disciplined category, the state leaves the field of religion for the other ethnic groups – people of Chinese and Indian descent, Eurasians, native orang asli in peninsular Malaysia and Dayak in north Borneo – to the forces of the religious market (cf. Lee 1993). In a book focusing on the rise of charismatic Christianity among ethnic Chinese and Indians in peninsular Malaysia, Susan Ackerman and Raymond Lee (1988) emphasize the multiethnic religious identity that Christianity offers against the backdrop of rapid urban and industrial development. In a market-dominated environment characterized by free (religious) choice – at least for the non-Malay, ‘secularized’ part of society – Christianity is associated with the middle classes who aspire to a Western lifestyle and use English as their common (religious) language. The centrifugal tendencies in individualized salvationary expectations within Christian confessions are contained by the ever-present Muslim–Malay domination of society, ensuring some level of commonality among the various Christian (ethnic) groups and denominations (Ackerman and Lee 1988: 79–89). In other words, in peninsular Malaysia Christianity is not affiliated with a specific ethnic constituency and identity, and ‘lacks’ the kind of political motives often found in groups where religious, cultural and ethnic boundaries seem to merge (Ibid.: 159). This latter would apply to those groups in the ‘Malay world’ who seek to resist assimilation to – an ethnically and religiously defined – Melayu-ness (Benjamin and Chou 2002: 50–54 and passim). The most ‘successful’ field of conversion from a Protestant point of view would be the Catholic-dominated Philippines. Since the introduction of Protestantism with the American conquest (1898), Protestantism has made inroads among different groups. One type of converts consists of tribal minorities, whose remote, upland locations protected them from wholesale incorporation into the Spanish colonial state, where Catholicism was the official state religion (Elkins 1994; Paredes 1997). It is more interesting, however, to look at more ‘inclusive’ brands of Protestantism even if these are

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fully indigenized. One such example is the Iglesia na Cristo (INC), founded in 1914 in urban Manila by the charismatic preacher, gifted speaker and shrewd organizer Felix Manalo, as a Filipino form of Christianity. Since then the church has grown in leaps and bounds, reaching out to other urban as well as rural areas, and usually doubling its membership every decade. As Robert Reed (2001) explains, the visionary church leadership of Felix Manalo and his son and successor Eraño Manalo saw the opportunities offered by particular events. The internal urban-to-rural migration triggered by the Second World War was seen as a way to spread the congregation and to establish pockets of conversion all over the country. The rapid post-independence urbanization constituted another such opportunity to convert people who had drifted away from their traditional moorings in urban or rural communities (Reed 2001: 571 ff.). Within the Philippines itself, the INC is now a social and political force to be reckoned with, with estimates of its membership ranging from 5 to 10 million. The post-Second World War international migration of Filipinos to the US, Europe and the Middle East (in fact around the world) was used to set up over 150 congregations in Filipino diasporas in 39 countries. With Filipino labour, the INC was exported too. Interestingly, in the process of transnationalization occurring within transnational ethnic networks, the ‘ethnic character’ of the INC as a brand of ‘indigenous Christianity’ is slowly waning as the INC opens up to non-Filipinos and assumes a ‘multi-ethnic’ character (Ibid.: 591–95). Such processes of transnationalization and mutual influencing of ‘sending’ and ‘receiving’ communities, of ‘host’ and ‘home’ societies, in the complex process of migration, have been – albeit less spectacularly – confirmed for other Protestant denominations as well (Gonzalez 2002). So where does this leave us if we wish to understand Christian conversions in – say – Thailand or Vietnam? The dominant image of Protestantism in both countries is that it reaches out mostly among tribal ethnic minorities seeking to re-affirm their ethnic boundaries with the dominant ethnic group. In his discussion of Protestantism and supernaturalism in Thailand, Edwin Zehner (1996) states that Protestantism is prominently present in a number of – numerically small – ethnic minority groups, like the Akha, Karen and Lahu. In the 1980s and 1990s, however, Protestant conversions among ethnic Chinese and Sino-Thai, but increasingly also among ethnic Thai (who are supposed to be Buddhist), took off in Bangkok and other urban areas. According to Zehner (1996: 306 ff.), the roots of this growth are manifold. He points to the accelerating social and economic changes that force people to engage in new types of relationships and engender a crisis of meaning with the loss of old structures. At the same time, Buddhism, as the traditional source of authority, has been challenged because of its politicized role in relation to the military coups and democracy protests since the 1970s. Within Thai Buddhism, there are now also modernizing and pluralizing tendencies that facilitate an individual quest for meaning – a quest for meaning that could lead individuals to question accepted authority and to accept the ‘power of God’. This conversion opening is facilitated by the introduction of

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new kinds of evangelical Protestantism that accept the ubiquitous presence of spirits. The old missionaries did not have any patience for the belief in spirits, and also the official, modernist Buddhism does not accept the widespread belief in spirits (Ibid.: 293–94). In contrast, Pentecostalist and charismatic Christians accept the spirit world and re-label the spirits as demons or as manifestations of the Devil, thus synthesizing the supernatural world with new forms that reject traditional rituals while accepting new forms for dealing with spirit-demons, e.g. through exorcism. In other words, the spirit world is reclassified according to new, evangelic categories, in what constitutes a ‘partial “replacement” of converts’ religion’ (Ibid.: 310–19). Returning to Vietnam, my second ‘home turf ’, we see that the picture is indeed more complicated than it seemed when interpreting the conversion of ethnic minorities such as the Central Highlanders (and the Hmong) to evangelical Christianity. Ethnic minorities are certainly not the only Protestants in Vietnam. Many towns and cities, particularly in the southern half of Vietnam, have evangelical Tin lành (‘good news’) congregations possessing large and conspicuous church buildings.8 Evangelical Protestantism is growing fast in urban areas as well, enjoying better connections with their brethren overseas. In Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the large Korean expatriate (business) communities organize religious meetings and encourage proselytizing among the Vietnamese. At the time of the first protests and demonstrations against religious repression in the Central Highlands, the Vietnam Evangelical Church held its first (after 1975) nationwide meeting, during which it was officially recognized as one of the ‘admissible’ religions in Vietnam, classified and supervised by the ‘Fatherland Front’ of the Communist Party.9 Although the ‘official’ Evangelical Church is dominated by these lowlander congregations, it is supposed to cover all the congregations. In an attempt to distinguish between admissible and illegitimate religious activities, the government has coined the label of Tin lành Dega (Dega Protestantism), referring to the politicized ethnic label adopted by the Highlander diaspora in the US (Salemink 2003b; Writenet 2002). While officially safeguarding the constitutionally enshrined religious freedom, the ‘ethnic’ version of Protestantism was outlawed as a separatist ideology in disguise until the new, more moderate Decree on Religion took effect in 2004. Apparently, religious transnationalization can work both ways on the ethnicity–religion nexus. The example of the Central Highlanders, Montagnards and Dega suggests that political claims for religious, cultural and territorial autonomy made by a vociferous diaspora with powerful public and political support within the world’s only remaining superpower have the effect of ethnicizing Protestant conversion – at least in the eyes of Vietnam’s Communist regime (see Salemink n.d.). However, the example of the Iglesia na Cristo shows that while transnationalization proceeds along – and in the process strengthens – transnational ethnic networks, it has the ultimate effect of universalizing, and thus, by implication and in practice, of de-ethnicizing the INC. By comparison, in an instructive case study, Nancy Smith-Hefner

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investigated the ethnic, national and transnational aspects of Christian conversion among Khmer refugees in America, in an article entitled ‘Ethnicity and the Force of Faith’ (Smith-Hefner 1994). Her findings show that Christian conversion is a sufficiently attractive option for the Khmer diaspora in the US to convince around 10 per cent of that population. This stands in sharp contrast with the situation in Cambodia itself, where Christianity is not an option at all. She compares this with the better-known situation of the Hmong diaspora from Laos, which has largely been converted to Christianity – a propensity that she relates to the ethnic minority status of the Hmong in Laos, which have struggled to maintain a distinction with the dominant religious group (Theravada Buddhism) in Laos. The Khmer in Cambodia, however, already adhered to a world religion (also Theravada Buddhism). The question that I would like to pose in this context is: to what extent claims to ethno-religious exclusivism must be taken at face value in the complex context of the centripetal and centrifugal forces of national and transnational integration and globalization?

Concluding remarks: Is Protestant conversion a form of protest? The notion of ethnic boundaries that are compounded with religious markers – through Christian conversion – and are thus re-affirmed by groups undergoing rapid cultural change is predicated on two important insights. The first insight concerns the notion of pre-existing cultural difference between – in general – lowland majorities and upland minorities. The second insight concerns the notion that cultural difference is re-affirmed or even strengthened by religious conversion to Protestantism, presented as a radically different religious option from the dominant, mainstream religion. Both insights are true at one level but are not exhaustive in their explanatory capacity, as I shall suggest below. ‘Pre-conversion’ cultural difference is not absolute. Since Edmund Leach (1954) and Thomas Kirsch (1973), cultural difference and ethnic affiliation can no longer be seen as absolute and exclusive categories. These and numerous other studies have suggested that tributary relations and longdistance trade have been important factors in the ‘internal’ political and religious affairs of so-called remote tribes (e.g. in supporting the ritual status of local ‘big men’), but have also played a major role in the political rituals of lowlander courts in Southeast Asia (cf. Li 1999; Salemink 2003a). I have alluded to accounts about the mythical role that the ‘possession’ of script played in the relative positioning of many upland minorities vis-à-vis surrounding lowland civilizations, but at the same time these myths prophesize the possibility of redemption of the script. In other words, the self-definition of dominant majorities and ethnic minorities is not absolute and occurs in reference to each other, in the form of mutually constituting discourses that recognize the existence of a shared world characterized by power differentiations.

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‘Post-conversion’ cultural difference is not absolute either. In a number of cases above (e.g. the Karen), it was argued that conversion to Christianity did not mark ethnic difference because conversion either to Protestantism or to (dominant) Buddhism was the outcome of contingency. In some other cases, Protestant conversion was the outcome of particular individual and/or collective choices made because of specific political requirements imposed by the state (affiliation with an ‘official’ world religion) or because of the threat of violence connected with the lack of a formal affiliation with a recognized religion (see Saptaningtyas and Dirdjosanjoto 2004; Singgih and Kana 2004). In other cases (like the Central Highlanders of Vietnam), conversion to the mainstream religion would be inconceivable because of specific conflicts and antagonisms. In such cases, conversion draws the ethnic minority populations into transnational religious networks that make use of ethnic affinities overseas but also of the organizational and communicative strengths of Protestant churches in the transnational realm. However, in all the country cases reviewed here, Protestantism is not the exclusive domain of ethnic minorities. Evangelical Protestantism also makes inroads in urban middle-class sections of the population where it tends to de-emphasize ethnicity. Although often tiny in relative numbers, in absolute numbers these ‘urban Protestants’ are often at least as, or more numerous than their ethnic minority compatriots. Through Protestant conversion, ethnic minorities become members of the same religious community as this more cosmopolitan, urbanized and de-ethnicized moral community. In today’s globalizing world, religious identity is fast becoming an individual choice, expressive of one’s personal identity, and hence a consumer item in a national, transnational and global religious market (Lee 1993; Aldridge 2000). In this context, all religious conversion – the adoption of a new religious identity – is a statement of cultural difference but simultaneously one of integration and incorporation into larger entities mediated by states, markets and (trans)national media. If the family metaphor of younger/older siblings – often used to denote the mythical relationship between ethnic groups – holds any currency at all, then religious conversion will diminish the gap while remaining under one (national) roof. Conflicts and rivalries occur in the best families, and the increasing proximity brought about by national integration and globalizing markets will inevitably risk exacerbating relations. Even if, in many cases, Protestant conversion can be interpreted as a protest against the state and its dominant culture, it is typically a move towards this elusive category of modernity – religious, transnational and national – and generally has the effect of integrating the convert more squarely into networks of market and state.

Notes 1 I do not wish to deny the importance of theological and missiological works, if only as source material for social science analysis.

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2 For a comparative view of a Muslim ‘fringe’ in China, see Dru Gladney’s Dislocating China (2004). 3 Opinions differ over the exact percentages. According to the CIA Worldfactbook, the current percentage would be 26 per cent (www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook, accessed 12 December 2006). 4 Peter van der Veer (1996) makes a similar argument – contrary to the secularization thesis – that conversion to world religions can be interpreted as conversions to religious definitions of modernity. 5 Estimates of the size of Vietnam’s Catholic population have consistently hovered around 8–10 per cent since the beginning of the twentieth century. 6 According to Kipp (1990: 226, 228), the missionaries initially had very little success among the Karo, converting less than 3 per cent of the Karo populations in the early twentieth century. After independence and 1965, Christianity became a defining marker for the Karo Batak group. The total Protestant population of Indonesia is estimated at around 5 per cent or almost 12 million (https://www.cia. gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html; see also Keyes 1996: 287). An estimated 9 per cent, or almost 8 million of the 85 million Filipinos, follow various brands of Protestantism, which is more than its Muslim population in the south. An estimated 10.8 per cent, or 400,000 of Singapore’s 4.5 million, is Protestant, although in 1988 Lee Kuan Yew claimed that a more exact percentage would be close to 20 per cent (cf. Keyes 1996: 290). The situation in Malaysia is very complicated. All of the 58 per cent Malay are classified as Muslim. In the 1980 census, 7 per cent of the overall population was Christian. In peninsular Malaysia this is only 2 per cent, mainly drawn from ethnic Chinese and Indian urban population – and they are mainly Catholic. In the thinly populated Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak the percentages range between 27 and 29 per cent – mostly Protestant (Ackerman and Lee 1988: 64–65, 177). In Burma, only 3 per cent of the 42 million population is Protestant, primarily among ethnic minorities like the Karen. In both Vietnam and Thailand, the Protestant population is less than 1 million (< 1 per cent) but it is growing rapidly – doubling each decade. Protestantism is a small presence among the urban middle class, but among some minority groups the majority are now Christian (Keyes 1996; Salemink 2003a, 2003b; https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/ factbook/index.html). 7 See also Zehner (1996: 297–98) on medical services in times of epidemics as motivating factors. 8 See Reed (2001: 579–82) for a discussion on the role of landscaping and church architecture as religious testimony. 9 It is interesting to note that both Communist and non-communist governments in the region tend to have systems in place that regulate and supervise officially recognized religions.

References Ackerman, S. E. and Lee, Raymond L. M. (1988) Heaven in Transition: Non-Muslim religious innovation and ethnic identity in Malaysia, Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press. Aldridge, A. (2000) Religion in the Contemporary World: A sociological introduction, Cambridge: Polity Press. Aragon, L. (1996) ‘Reorganizing the cosmology: The reinterpretation of deities and religious practice by Protestants in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 27(2): 350–73.

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Aragon, L. V. (2000) Fields of the Lord: Animism, Christian minorities, and state development in Indonesia, Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press. Bal, E. (2000) They Ask If We Eat Frogs: Garo ethnicity in Bangladesh, Singapore: ISEAS. Benjamin, G. (1996) Rationalisation and Re-enchantment in Malaysia: Temiar religion, 1964–1995, Singapore: National University of Singapore, Department of Sociology, Working Paper No. 130. Benjamin, G. and Chou, C. (eds) (2002) Tribal Communities in the Malay World: Historical, cultural and social perspectives, Leiden: IIAS / Singapore: ISEAS. Berger, P. (1990) The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a sociological theory of religion, New York: Anchor Books. Berger, P. and Hefner, R. (2003) ‘Spiritual Capital in Comparative Perspective’, Unpublished paper for the Spiritual Capital Research Program Planning Meeting, Metanexus Institute, Bryn Mawr PA. Available online at: www.metanexus.net/spiritual_ capital/pdf/Berger.pdf. Cady, J. F. (1954) The Roots of French Imperialism in Eastern Asia, New York: Cornell University Press. Comaroff, J. and Comaroff, J. (1986) ‘Christianity and colonialism in South Africa’, American Ethnologist, 13(1): 1–22. ——(1991) Of Revelation and Revolution: Christianity, colonialism, and consciousness in South Africa (Vol. 1), Chicago, IL and London: University of Chicago Press. Digan, P. (1984) Churches in Contestation: Asian Christian social protest, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books. Elkins, R. (1994) ‘Conversion or acculturation? A study of culture change and its effect on evangelism in Mindanao indigenous societies’, Missiology, 22(2): 167–76. Freston, P. (2001) Evangelicals and Politics in Asia, Africa and Latin America, Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. Geertz, C. (1973) ‘Religion as a cultural system’, in The Interpretation of Cultures, New York: Basic Books. Gladney, D. C. (2004) Dislocating China: Muslims, minorities and other subaltern subjects, London: Hurst. Gonzalez, J. L. III (2002) ‘Transnationalization of faith: The Americanization of Christianity in the Philippines and the Filipinization of Christianity in the United States’, Asia Pacific: Perspectives (An Electronic Journal), 2(1): 9–20. Hayami, Y. (1996) ‘Karen tradition according to Christ or Buddha: The implications of multiple reinterpretations for a minority ethnic group in Thailand’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 27(2): 334–49. Hefner, R. (1993a) ‘World building and the rationality of conversion’, R. W. Hefner (ed.) Conversion to Christianity: Historical and anthropological perspectives on a great transformation, Berkeley and Oxford: University of California Press. ——(1993b) ‘Of faith and commitment: Christian conversion in Muslim Java’, R. W. Hefner (ed.) Conversion to Christianity: Historical and anthropological perspectives on a great transformation, Berkeley and Oxford: University of California Press. ——(1998) ‘Multiple modernities: Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism in a globalizing age’, Annual Review of Anthropology, 27: 83–104. Hoskins, J. (1987) ‘Entering the Bitter House: Spirit worship and conversion in West Sumba’, R. S. Kipp and S. Rodgers (eds) Indonesian Religions in Transition, Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.

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Iannaccone, L. (2006) ‘Introduction’, in The Economics of Religion. Available online at: www.religionomics.com/cesr_web/papers/iannacconeper cent20-per cent20ERel_ book/Chapper cent2000per cent20Intro.pdf. Kammerer, C. (1990) ‘Customs and Christian conversion among Akha Highlanders of Burma and Thailand’, American Ethnologist, 17(2): 277–91. ——(1996) ‘Discarding the basket: The reinterpretation of tradition by Akha Christians of Northern Thailand’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 27(2): 320–33. Keane, W. (1996) ‘Missionaries, materialism and modern subjects in colonial Indonesia’, P. van der Veer (ed.) Conversion to Modernities: The globalization of Christianity, London and New York: Routledge. ——(1997) ‘From fetishism to sincerity: On agency, the speaking subject, and their historicity in the context of religious conversion’, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 39: 674–93. ——(1998) ‘Calvin in the Tropics: Objects and subjects at the religious frontier’, P. Spyer (ed.) Border Fetishisms: Material objects in unstable spaces, New York and London: Routledge. ——(2002) ‘Sincerity, “modernity,” and the Protestants’, Cultural Anthropology, 17(1): 65–92. Keyes, C. F. (1993) ‘Why the Thai are not Christians: Buddhist and Christian conversion in Thailand’, R. W. Hefner (ed.) Conversion to Christianity: Historical and anthropological perspectives on a great transformation, Berkeley, CA and Oxford: University of California Press. ——(1996) ‘Being Protestant Christians in Southeast Asian worlds’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 27(2): 280–92. Keyes, C., Hardacre, H. and Kendall, L. (1994) ‘Contested visions of community in East and Southeast Asia’, C. Keyes, H. Hardacre and L. Kendall (eds) Asian Visions of Authority: Religion and the modern states of East and Southeast Asia, Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press. Kipp, R. S. (1990) The Early Years of a Dutch Colonial Mission: The Karo field, Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. Kipp, R. S. and Rodgers, S. (eds) (1987) Indonesian Religions in Transition, Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press. ——(1987) ‘Introduction: Indonesian religions in society’, R. S. Kipp and S. Rodgers (eds) Indonesian Religions in Transition, Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press. Kirsch, A. T. (1973) Feasting and Social Oscillation: Religion and society in upland Southeast Asia, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Southeast Asia Program Publications, Data paper No. 92. Kwanchewan, B. (2003) Buddhism, Christianity and the Ancestors: Religion and pragmatism in a Skaw Karen community of North Thailand, Chiang Mai: Social Research Institute, Chiang Mai University. Lê, N.-D. (1975) Les Missions Etrangerès et la Pénétration Française au Viet Nam, Paris/La Haye: Mouton. Leach, E. (1954) Political Systems of Highland Burma, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Lee, R. L. M. (1993) ‘The globalization of religious markets: International innovations, Malaysian consumption’, Sojourn, 8(1): 35–61. Li, Tania Murray (ed.) (1999) Transforming the Indonesian Uplands: Marginality, power and production, Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers.

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Ma, Julie (2000) When the Spirit Meets the Spirits: Pentecostal ministry among the Kankana-ey tribe in the Philippines, Frankfurt: Peter Lang. Martin, D. (1990) Tongues of Fire: The explosion of Protestantism in Latin America, Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. Morris, L. (1996) ‘Reading the Bible in a Javanese village’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 27(2): 374–86. Neill, S. (1986) A History of Christian Missions, Harmondsworth: Pelican. Paredes, O. T. (1997) ‘Higaunon resistance and ethnic politics in Northern Mindanao’, Australian Journal of Anthropology, 8(3): 270–91. Quarles van Ufford, P. (1980) Grenzen van Internationale Hulpverlening. Een onderzoek baar de samenhang van de aard en effecten van de hulprelatie tussen de Javaanse Kerk van Midden-Java en de zending van de Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland. Assen: Van Gorcum (Ph. D. thesis Vrije Universiteit). ——(1988) ‘Cycles of concern: Dutch reformed mission in Central Java, 1896–1970’, P. Quarles van Ufford and M. Schoffeleers (eds) Religion and Development: Towards an integrated approach, Amsterdam: Free University Press. Rafael, V. L. (1993) Contracting Colonialism: Translation and Christian conversion in Tagalog society under early Spanish rule, Durham, NC, and London: Duke University Press. Reed, R. R. (2001) ‘The Iglesia na Cristo, 1914–2000: From obscure Philippines faith to global belief system’, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land-en Volkenkunde, 157(3): 561–608. Salemink, O. (1997) ‘The king of fire and Vietnamese ethnic policy in the Central Highlands’, K. Kampe and D. McCaskill (eds) Development or Domestication? Indigenous peoples of Southeast Asia, Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books. ——(2003a) The Ethnography of Vietnam’s Central Highlanders: A historical contextualization, 1850–1990, London: RoutledgeCurzon/Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press. ——(2003b) ‘Enclosing the Highlands: Socialist, capitalist and Protestant conversions of Vietnam’s Central Highlanders’, RCSD Conference The Politics of the Commons, Chiang Mai University, July 2003 (invited plenary speaker). Available online at: http://dlc.dlib.indiana.edu/archive/00001142/. ——(2004a) ‘Why do Vietnam’s Central Highlanders convert to Protestantism?’ Lecture for policy makers and researchers, hosted by the Vietnamese Association of Ethnologists, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi, 9 July 2004. ——(2004b) ‘Development cooperation as quasi-religious conversion’, O. Salemink, A. van Harskamp and A. K. Giri (eds) The Development of Religion, the Religion of Development, Delft: Eburon Academic Publishers, pp. 121–130. ——(n.d.) ‘Creating a Dega homeland: Vietnam’s central highlanders’, V. Wee (ed.) Political Fragmentation in Southeast Asia: Alternative nations in the making, London and New York: RoutledgeCurzon, in press. Saptaningtyas, H. and Dirdjosanjoto, P. (2004) ‘Religious conversions in Central Java: Struggling for space in two local communities’, O. Salemink, A. van Harskamp, A. K. Giri (eds) The Development of Religion, the Religion of Development, Delft: Eburon Academic Publishers, pp. 153–162. Singgih, E. G. (2003) ‘Indonesian churches and the problem of nationality and ethnicity’ in Doing Theology in Indonesia: Sketches for an Indonesian contextual theology, Manila: ATESEA Occasional Papers No. 14, pp. 201–22. Singgih, N. and Kana, N. L. (2004) ‘The Easter Pajatan celebration: Identity differences and efforts to restore harmony’, O. Salemink, A. van Harskamp and A. K.

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Giri (eds) The Development of Religion, the Religion of Development, Delft: Eburon Academic Publishers. Smalley, W. A., Chia, K. V. and Gnia, Y. Y. (1990) Mother of Writing: The origin and development of a Hmong messianic script, Chicago, IL and London: University of Chicago Press. Smith-Hefner, N. J. (1994) ‘Ethnicity and the force of faith: Christian conversion among Khmer refugees’, Anthropological Quarterly, 67(1): 24–37. Spyer, P. (1994) ‘Serial conversion/conversion to seriality: Religion, state and numbers in Aru, Eastern Indonesia’, P. van der Veer (ed.) Conversion to Modernities: The globalization of Christianity, London: Routledge. Steedly, M. A. (1993) Hanging Without a Rope: Narrative experience in colonial and postcolonial Karoland, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ——(1996) ‘The importance of proper names: Language and “national” identity in colonial Karoland’, American Ethnologist, 23(3): 447–75. Tapp, N. (1989a) Sovereignty and Rebellion: The white Hmong of Northern Thailand, Singapore and Oxford: Oxford University Press. ——(1989b) ‘The impact of missionary Christianity upon marginalized ethnic minorities: The case of the Hmong’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 20(1): 70–95. de Theije, M. (1999) All That is God’s is Good: An anthropology of liberationist Catholicism in Garanhuns, Brazil, Utrecht: Shaker Publishing. Thompson, E. P. (1967) ‘Time, work-discipline and industrial capitalism’, Past and Present, 38: 56–97. ——(1968) The Making of the English Working Class, Harmondsworth: Pelican. Tsing, A. L. (1993) In the Realm of the Diamond Queen: Marginality in an out-of-the-way place, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Tu, W. (1999) ‘The quest for meaning: Religion in the People’s Republic of China’, P. Berger (ed.) The Desecularization of the World, Washington, DC: Ethics and Public Policy Center. Tuck, P. (1987) French Catholic Missionaries and the Politics of Imperialism in Vietnam, 1857–1914: A documentary survey, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. Van der Veer, P. (ed.) (1996) Conversion to Modernities: The globalization of Christianity, New York and London: Routledge. Van Klinken, G. (2003) Minorities, Modernity and the Emerging Nation: Christians in Indonesia: a biographical approach, Leiden: KITLV Press. Volkman, T. A. (1987) ‘Mortuary tourism in Tana Toraja’, R. S. Kipp and S. Rodgers (eds) Indonesian Religions in Transition, Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press. Writenet (2002) ‘Vietnam: Indigenous minority groups in the Central Highlands’, Writenet Report 5/2001, Geneva, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Centre for Documentation and Research, January 2002. Available online at: www.unhcr. ch/cgibin/texis/vtx/rsd/+UwwBmerlQEswwwwnwwwwwwwtFqoUonBaNwMMFmq DFqm7ydFqt2IygZf3zmhwwwwwwwGFqmUNTBFqzl2bENNuEP/rsddocview.pdf. Zehner, E. (1996) ‘Thai Protestants and local supernaturalism: Changing configurations’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 27(2): 293–319.

4

Post-war Japanese Christian historians, democracy, and the problem of the ‘Emperor-System’ state

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‘For Niebuhr, true human formation is realized in the midst of the paradox … that the problem of sin is inextricable from his view of history and of humanity. Against the complexities of the desire for power and of individual and group self-absolutization, the men and women who are able to establish society as the overcoming of contradictions are those who can humbly and perceptively recognize the mystery of human life (and of evil) in themselves and in others, in their own class and in the class of their enemies, in their own country and in others. As Maruyama-sensei points out, as we go forward with these issues, the significance of human formation leads us to contemplate more and more the realities of this country we are in.’1

With these remarks, a thirty-six-year-old intellectual historian brought to a close a wide-ranging discussion of how the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr’s understanding of human nature shed light on ‘Japanese realities’. It was the autumn of 1950, five years after the defeat of Imperial Japan and five years into the US-led Occupation. A new constitution guaranteeing not only that ‘the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation’ but also that ‘freedom of religion is guaranteed to all’ had been in place for three years. No longer the spiritual axis of the nation and sole source of sovereignty, the Emperor had now been redefined as the ‘symbol of the state and of the unity of the people’. The four participants were historians of political and economic thought affiliated with Tokyo University, the elite national university that had recently dropped the word Imperial from its name. Among them was the liberal political theorist Maruyama Masao (1914–96). He was not a Christian but the speaker, Takeda Kiyoko (1917–), was. At this post-war moment, Takeda was one of a new generation of Christian social scientists whose assessment of their Japanese Christian forebears’ engagement with what they termed Tenno-sei, or ‘the Emperor system’, was key to their imagining of democracy for Japan.2 The realities Takeda was pointing to were both the wreckage of the Empire and the nascent Cold War. The aspirations that underlay their discussion were for the democracy that could be built in Japan in the wake of the collapse of

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the fifty-year-old cultural and ideological system that had animated Japan’s modernity and imperial expansion. This chapter looks at Takeda’s generation of Christian historians and their criticism of the Japanese state as a way into the question of the significance of Christians in modern Japanese society. Despite famously miniscule numbers (0.89 per cent of the population in 2006, including Protestants, Catholics and Orthodox Christians), the crucial role of Christians in the definition of the Japanese state and in the formation of a Japanese public has extended from the 250 years of the Tokugawa proscription of Catholicism to the modern era in which the re-legalization of the faith and the activities of missionaries followed the 1868 re-establishment of rule in the name of the Emperor. The question of Christians’ loyalties continues to crack open the definitions of concepts key to modern society: religion and education, state and nation, Emperor and God. When the Japanese Empire was defeated in 1945, the four men and one woman I introduce here were 29, 28, 27, 18 and 17, old enough to have made personal psychological and spiritual investments in Japanese imperialism and the war with the West and in Asia. In the post-war decades, they became intellectuals who engaged a public, believing that one exists or at least that it can be called into being. They worked as academics, three at national universities like Tokyo and two at private universities with missionary origins. They published with university presses and the two major Protestant publishing houses, Shinkyo- Shuppansha and the publishing office of the United Church of Christ, Japan. Importantly, each has been closely associated with Japan’s leading liberal publisher, Iwanami Shoten, and the cosmopolitan aspirations of its flagship journal of political and international affairs, Sekai or The World. That journal first appeared in 1946 but can also be said to continue a socially minded pre-war public sphere of journals and newspapers, where Christian intellectuals appeared alongside other writers. Just as the question of how society is to be formed was part of Takeda’s reflections on Niebuhr, the post-war Christian intellectuals I discuss here are social scientists and worked to define democracy for Japan through social science. Their engagement with society recalls the role of pre-war Christians as theorists and practitioners of social reform who could draw on both an ethical imperative for Christian love for their neighbours and on a transPacific exchange of progressive social ideas. The career of the emblematic figure Kagawa Toyohiko is suggestive of trans-war comparisons for the question of society as one central concept in the state’s engagement with Christianity. Though he did hold advisory roles in both pre-war and immediate post-war governments, Kagawa’s fame came through his best-selling 1920 autobiographical novel chronicling his attempts at selfless service among the denizens of the Kobe slum, and through his subsequent charisma as an evangelist. His career as a social reformer had two endpoints: he was pushed out of the nascent labour and farmers’ movements in the mid-1920s and he was erased from public and Christian memory after his death in 1960.3 It was in the periods following Kagawa’s two endpoints that the state took centre

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stage: both the 1930s fascist state and the post-1960 development-centred state collapsed society into the concerns of the state and with it whatever promise of democracy had existed before. At the same time, nationalist, as well as Marxist, explanations of Japanese society came to overshadow those articulated by Christians. Thus, though the conditions of the publishing world establishing a readership and the conditions of the new Constitution promising a secular democracy continued to offer a foothold, the positions this generation took were decidedly minority ones. They were prophetic, on behalf of democracy. Tokyo University was more than just the setting for the roundtable on Niebuhr. The generation I am addressing here, worked in academic connection to the university and in intellectual relation to what has been termed ‘modernist’ social science. Most closely associated with Murayama, ‘modernist’ scholars aimed to remove Japan’s ‘negative distinctiveness’ through rational inquiry, something which both did and did not fit with Christian faith.4 In the generation that preceded them at the university were a number of scholars who were Christians, mainly affiliated with the so-called ‘NonChurch’ (Mukyo-kai) brand of the faith that was started by Uchimura Kanzo(1861–1930) and which emphasizes rigorous and conscientious Bible study over ritual trappings. Some in that generation, such as the economic historian and Max Weber scholar Otsuka Hisao (1907–96) and the historian of political thought (and first post-war university president) Nanbara Shigeru (1889– 1974), had passed the war quietly, indirectly critical of state ideology in academic prose but not in public. In contrast, the professor of economics and colonial policy, Yanaihara Tadao (1893–1961), was pushed out of the university for publicly rebuking the state as aggression in China intensified in the summer of 1937. Moreover, this setting pointed back another generation, to the incident that made apparent the conflict (and the complicity) that Christians in Japan would live with as they faced down the modern state.

Religion, education, and the state: Christians, collision and belonging On 9 January 1891, at a ceremony at the First Higher School, one of the elite schools that prepared young men for Tokyo Imperial University, a teacher refused to bow before the school’s copy of the Imperial Rescript on Education. The teacher was Uchimura and what happened was to become known as the Lèse-Majesté Incident. The ceremony was something new, an intimation of a new kind of civic ritual that re-enacted the Emperor’s handing down of the Constitution in February 1889 and the Rescript the following October. Though the Constitution had included among the ‘rights and duties of subjects’ a ‘freedom of religious belief … within limits not prejudicial to peace and order, and not antagonistic to their duties as subjects’, the rescript posited a mythology of the nation. Like the Constitution, it was in the Emperor’s voice, but it affirmed the Confucian relationships and at the same time put forth the particular nature of a family-state:

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Our Imperial Ancestors have founded Our Empire on a basis broad and everlasting and have deeply and firmly implanted virtue; Our subjects ever united in loyalty and filial piety have from generation to generation illustrated the beauty thereof. This is the glory of the fundamental character of Our Empire, and herein also lies the source of Our education. For Uchimura, the situation recalled old ways that predated both his conversion and Japan’s becoming modern. In a letter to an American mentor, he explained that ‘the professors and students were asked to go to the platform one by one, and bow to the Imperial signature affixed to the Precept [the Rescript] in the manner as we used to bow before our ancestral relics as prescribed in Buddhist and Shinto ceremonies.’ ‘I was not at all prepared to meet such a strange ceremony,’ he continued, ‘so, hesitating in doubt, I took a safer course for my Christian conscience, and in the august presence of sixty professors (all non-Christians, the two other Xtian prof.’s beside myself having absented themselves) and over one thousand students, I took my stand and did not bow!’5 The controversy that followed came to be framed as a conflict between religion and education. Uchimura considered his patriotism unassailable, and, indeed, his semantic qualms were assuaged when the principal implored ‘me to conform to the custom of the nation, assuring me that the bow does not mean worship but merely respect to the Emperor’ and, before resigning from his position due to illness, he did send a representative to perform the bow.6 Uchimura left Tokyo and, in a flurry of publication between then and the beginning of war with China three years later, wrote How I Became a Christian – the English-language conversion narrative that made him the Japanese believer best known to American and European church-goers – as well as Consolations of a Christian – the Japanese-language autobiographical reflections that had a seminal influence in shaping a modern consciousness in Japanese literature. Later, his Mukyo-kai movement provided a distinctive intervention into the problem of separating Christianity from culture, as his declaration of love for ‘two J’s’ – Jesus and Japan – pointed to other possible relationships between Christianity and the nation. Among his disciples were the three academics mentioned above, as well as a number of courageous and conscientious objectors to the ideology now in place that came to be called ‘the Emperor system’. However, the meanings assigned to the 1891 incident were out of Uchimura’s hands. Within two years, an editor assembled 128 editorials, tracts and essays into two volumes on the Incident, with a third volume, containing another ninetyeight articles, following in the autumn of 1893. The diversity of opinion contained in the three volumes was as much a testament to an active public as it was to the charged nature of the debate, but the collection’s title, Dr. Inoue and the Christians, showed that the question had already been framed by a Tokyo Imperial University philosophy professor and ideologue named Inoue Tetsujiro- (1855–1944) (Seki 1988). In a lengthy treatise entitled The Collision

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of Religion and Education and in editorials drawn from it for educational and Buddhist publications, Inoue peppered his attack on Christianity with contemporary European thinkers critical of the church and other instances of disrespect gleaned from the newspapers. Elementary school students in rural Kumamoto had, for example, made faces at the photograph of the Emperor and reported to their teacher that an evangelist had told them to revere God alone. Inoue’s rhetoric echoed the older logic and the politics that had led to the expulsion of Catholic missionaries and the persecution of so-called Kirishitan three centuries earlier: allegiance to something transcendent meant loyalty to something beyond the purview of the state, whether in Rome or in Heaven. Now, however, education and the modern school system was a new and public forum for the inculcation and expression of loyalty to the modern state. It was inevitably in conflict with religion, for which Inoue used the word shu-kyo-, a neologism comprised of the characters for sectarian teaching, and which appeared to define Christianity. Though many of his Christian interlocutors defended themselves in terms of the Constitution’s ostensibly private ‘freedom of religious belief ’ and insisted that Christians could be good Japanese, and vice versa, for Inoue, conflict was inevitable and Christianity must be eliminated for the safety of the state.7 ‘State and Religion’ became the pairing by which several Christian intellectuals – and only Christian intellectuals – answered these questions in the decades to come. When they put shu-kyo- alongside a second neologism kokka, they had already reversed and significantly reframed the question of ‘Church and State’ as it had been formulated in the West. As it would come to be used, shu-kyo- was an object of knowledge and regulation, generally plural and encompassing Buddhist denominations and Shinto-based sects alongside the churches. Unlike a European state church, it neither legitimated nor benefited from the support of the state. Indeed, so-called State Shinto, the ritual apparatus of the modern state, was officially a ‘non-religion’. Kokka combined characters for household and country, indicating a family-state with telescoping patriarchies and ancestral lineages. The pairing appeared first in Religion and State, an 1893 defence of the faith under constitutional government written by two Catholic priests, one French and one Japanese, and published (and immediately banned) soon after the Lèse-Majesté Incident.8 The first book titled State and Religion was written in 1913 by the Congregationalist pastor Kozaki Hiromichi (1856–1938). A member of the first generation of Japanese Protestants, Kozaki’s conversion occurred as a young member of the newly abolished samurai status group as it sought a new position in post-Meiji restoration Japan. It was Kozaki who claimed to have chosen shu-kyo- as the translation for the modern and Western concept of religion. This occurred in 1881, only ten years before Inoue’s attack, when he was translating a series of addresses that Uchimura’s American teacher had given in India. That mentor’s ‘necessity of religion’ hinged on the singular truth of Christianity (as backed by imperial power) as the engine and purpose for civilization, but Kozaki’s task at that time, and in his 1885 New Theses on

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Government and Doctrine, was to show Christianity as both vital for the nation and as one valid religion for Japan. The pairing of government and religion-as-doctrine in the compound seikyo- recalled the ritual elements of pre-modern government and the early Meiji state’s short-lived attempts a decade earlier at a Ministry of Doctrine that was premised on the ‘unity of rule and doctrine’ (seikyo- itchi) and was dissolved in favour of a separation of the two (seikyo- bunri). The parallel contexts of seikyo- were the effort to eliminate the authority of the Buddhist denominations and the grassroots movements to shape the new government in terms of liberal political theory and the concept of rights. The main opposition Kozaki set out was between Confucianism and Christianity; where the former had been effective in the past, the latter promised something far greater. In an oft-cited passage, he contrasted the Confucian ‘Way of the King’ with the Christian concept of the Kingdom of Heaven: one is a concrete government, limited to a single nation and often to a single era, while the other aspires to a reign beyond form, encompassing all the countries of the world and all eternity; one serves to maintain an order based on hierarchies of high and low, noble and common, respected and despised, while the other calls all people to love each other as brothers and sisters because all are equal before God; in one, moral suasion (kyo-ka) extends downwards to the individual, but, in the other, upwards from the individual to the whole nation. While here Kozaki was connecting Christianity to the modern individual, this final term kyo-ka, which resembles evangelism in its calls for personal change but is for the common (or national) good and comes generally from the government, provided the context for Kozaki’s 1913 State and Religion. Here Kozaki hailed the first Assembly of the Three Religions, the assembly convened by the Home Ministry the previous year to ask representatives of sectarian Shinto-, Buddhist denominations, and the Christian churches for their assistance in the moral suasion of the nation. The assembly came in the wake of the assassination by a Korean nationalist of the primary architect of the colonization of Korea, and the subsequent annexation of the peninsula and the execution of a number of anarchists and socialists for allegedly plotting to kill the Emperor. For most Christians, it represented acceptance as full members of the Japanese nation. The image Kozaki chose was this: the two halves of seikyo-, government and religion, are like a husband and wife, working together on behalf of the household that is the state.9 In the summer of 1938, a Christian journalist and educator named Tagawa Daikichiro- (1869–1947) published the second State and Religion. Like Kozaki, Tagawa included an account of ‘foreign countries’ ranging from the American model to the Nazi system. He explained that he meant to answer a 1936 American report entitled Church and State in Contemporary America by a committee appointed by the Federal Council of Churches, an ecumenical league of liberal Protestant denominations. That report argued that two rivals to Christian European civilization – two ‘new religions, for we can describe them in no other way’ – had emerged in this new time of crisis in the 1930s.

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Communism challenged the ‘theistic basis’ for Christian civilization and ‘contemporary nationalism’ challenged its universalism. Both were totalitarian. Brown had made direct reference to Japan: Japanese Christians’ bowing at shrines ‘as a test of loyalty’ paralleled pre-Constantine Rome and was evidence that Japan belonged in the category of totalitarian state. Tagawa argued instead that Japan had very few problems regarding church and state, because the Japanese merely expressed reverence as people in East Asia had done since Confucius, something Western missionaries could not understand (Tagawa 1938; Brown 1936: 9). Much of Tagawa’s State and Religion was his response to an incident that spring in which the Osaka Military Police sent a questionnaire to Protestant pastors and teachers. The impetus was another allegation of disrespect (the president of the Congregational Church had misread a word in a poem by the Meiji Emperor) but the context was the purge of liberal academics under the rubric of the ‘movement to clarify the kokutai’. Tagawa provided strategies for answering. For the question on ‘the relationship between our Emperor and the Christian God’, he reported one Christian’s answer, which faced the purported mistranslation of God and Japanese deity or kami: our nation has a national polity the axis of which is the Emperor who is a direct continuation of Imperial line unbroken for ages and unique in the world and honors the Emperor as a living kami. This is the intuitive conviction of the people of the nation which supercedes abstraction. This ideal is a historical fact and differs from a theoretical view of the divine. Tagawa then suggested his own answer, adding that the ‘kami of heaven and earth’ mentioned in the Meiji Emperor’s Charter Oath of 1868 could be worshipped as if identical with the God Christians believe in. For Tagawa, that Christians could answer these questions at all was evidence that there need be no conflict between state and religion. Asia was absent from his discussion and he did not acknowledge that Christians in Korea and Taiwan were actively rejecting forced worship at shrines, resisting it as both the attempt to erase their national identity and as a violation of the First Commandment (Tagawa 1938: 128–36).10 Tagawa welcomed state regulation of religious organizations – as opposed to belief or practice – as a fair and impartial form of regulation normal for modern states. The proposed Religious Organizations Law (Shu-kyo- Dantai Ho-), which the Diet would pass the following year, was directed at Christian churches alongside Buddhist denominations, Shinto sects and ‘others’, a reference to Islam within the anticipated empire. It seemed to promise a kind of stability that was missing when the government used the Peace Preservation Law of 1925 and nebulous prosecutions for lèse-majesté to control religious groups such as the Shinto-based Omoto-kyo- sect that had been suppressed for the second time the previous year. Protestant denominations were organized into one body, and their leaders then announced their

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compliance to the kami at the Imperial Shrine at Ise. Although there was resistance from the Holiness and Anglican churches and a number of denominations withdrew soon after the 1945 defeat, what is now Japan’s largest Protestant denomination, the Nihon Kirisuto Kyo-dan, has a history of compliance not apparent in its English name, the United Church of Christ in Japan.

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The Emperor system There was a different way to have this conversation about State and Religion, but it was not yet available to Uchimura, Kozaki, Tagawa and their interlocutors. After the war, Christian intellectuals borrowed the idea of an ‘Emperor system’ to encompass the modern state ideological apparatus, including its use of quasi-religious rituals, such as the one that had given Uchimura pause for thought. Prior to the war, for strategic reasons, most Christians had only praised the person of the Emperor and, for legal reasons, they avoided the term kokutai. Translatable as something like ‘national essence’, it had been part of Our Kokutai and Christianity, a 1907 attack, reminiscent of Inoue, by the philosopher-ideologue Kato- Hiroyuki (1836– 1916) on Christianity (and Buddhism) as incompatible with being Japanese. The term ‘Emperor system’ first appeared in the theses the Communist Party drafted in the 1920s and 1930s, as a means of explaining the persistence of a peculiar feudalism in capitalist Japan. After the war, it served as part of the reflection on the pathologies of the pre-1945 past. In 1955, the political theorist Fujita Sho-zo- (1927–2003), a contemporary of the generation discussed here, offered three definitions. Pausing to note that their complexity as one characteristic, he explained that the term could mean simply the existence of the Tenno- (usually translated as Emperor, but applicable only in Japan) as lord and it could be defined more specifically as the political structure of modern Japan where sovereignty resided in the Emperor. If one stressed its function as political ideology, however, then one could see its ‘principles’ in circulation between the rulers and the depths of society. This peculiar social phenomenon was replicated emotionally in the Emperor systems of the family and neighbourhood. In other words, there were no boundaries and no escape (Fujita 1998: 2–12). Fujita was one of a group of scholars investigating the 1930s phenomenon of tenko-, the ‘apostasy’ or reversal in which communist and leftist intellectuals formally recanted their political positions and ‘returned’ to the Japanese fold. Tenko- was a kind of reverse conversion and, before noting that the churches’ continuity of faithfulness and practice throughout the war showed favourably on them despite the Kyo-dan’s co-operation with the state, the member of Fujita’s group investigating Protestants pointed out that the very image of apostasy in Japan had its origins in the pre-modern state’s relation to Christianity.11 This was the Tokugawa-era ritual of fumie which required treading on a Christian image as a way of uncovering ‘hidden’ Christians and

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affirming community membership, so memorably depicted in the Catholic writer Endo- Shu-saku’s 1966 novel, Silence. Subsequent usages move between Fujita’s three definitions. Where some of the histories discussed below limit its history to the period between the handing down of the Imperial Rescript on Education in 1890 and its revocation following the 1945 defeat, others stress what Fujita called its ‘flexibility’ and continuities both prior to the Meiji period and on into the post-war period, when the Constitution named the Emperor as the ‘symbol of the state’. As such, it has provided activists fighting discrimination against the socalled buraku outcaste with an explanatory framework of an ancient and durable hierarchical structure of purity and pollution that persists despite promises of equality and rights. It also provides a framework for the modern, hegemonic programmes for assimilation as subjects of the Emperor that were forced onto the peoples whose lands were occupied by Japan, beginning with the Ryu-kyu- Islands in the 1870s. These broader brushstrokes raise questions of religious meaning that Christians have proved well equipped to answer.

A post-war generation of historians imagines democracy The four men and one woman of this generation were born in 1916, 1917, 1918, 1927 and 1928, young enough to have not faced tenko- personally and old enough to have been educated into a spiritual investment in Japan’s war in Asia and with the West. They built careers in the post-war period, the era spanning Occupation and the return of sovereignty of the main islands in 1952, the assurance of economic recovery to pre-1941 levels in 1956 and economic superpower status by the 1980s, international diplomatic and cultural rehabilitation by the 1970s within the context of the US–Japan Security Treaty and numerous American bases, and the death of the Sho-wa Emperor in 1989 and the fact of Japanese troops in Iraq at the present. Within these transformations, they responded to a second set of contexts centred on the costs to democracy of the demands of development and on the ongoing (and, to them, unconstitutional) sacralization of the state at the Yasukuni Shrine, the principal war memorial in Tokyo, and in the person of the Emperor. In each case, the tragic history of the Emperor system was a core fable for imagining democracy. In a 1950 book entitled Christianity and the Formation of Modern Japan, a young Tokyo University economist named Sumiya Mikio (1916–2003) set out to apply Max Weber’s Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism to early Meiji Japanese society. Sumiya was from a Christian family active in slum evangelism and was imprisoned in 1939 for studying Marx as a Tokyo Imperial University student. His admiration for Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer led him to wonder why he could not find that kind of resistance in Japan. Though he could point to some individuals, such as Uchimura, who had resisted ‘the loss of the purity of faith’, he argued instead for a sociology of the church in Japan that recognized that, by the end of the nineteenth

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century, the faith had developed alongside capitalism and belonged largely to a ‘middle-class intelligentsia and their families’ for whom its individualism fits with their way of life. It did not reach the working class ‘which had arisen through capitalist exploitation laid over feudal pillaging’. He pointed to Kozaki’s New Theses and was pessimistic for the prospects of post-war democracy: although Confucianism, which he equated with the ‘spirit’ of the Imperial Rescript, had been deposed, the extent to which its hierarchies and its function of preserving the order of the state had permeated the minds of Japanese people was as much an obstacle to ideas of liberty and rights as it had been in Kozaki’s day. For Sumiya, following Kozaki, Christianity was a revolutionary religion that could only be at odds ethically with both the Emperor system and the patriarchal household system. The promise of democracy remained central to Sumiya’s career as an educator, as an economist and scholar of the labour movement in Japan, and as a social scientist seeking to employ its tools towards a rational and just resolution of social problems such as those raised by the construction of and local opposition to the new Tokyo airport at Narita.12 Sumiya’s question of the failure of Christianity to reach beyond the urban middle class led another economist and Christian historian to connect the faith to life in agricultural villages, both in Japan and in Asia, and to the possibility of citizen movements in post-war Japan. A professor of agricultural economics at Kyoto University, Iinuma Jiro- (1918–2005) examined post-war connections between Christianity, the power of the state and citizens’ movements in tandem with his own activism in the Citizens’ League for Peace in Vietnam (Beheiren) and more recently in the movements against the establishment of a national anthem praising the Emperor. He brought his scholarly work on the viability of agriculture in Japan and Asia to Christianity in a slim magnum opus, History of Rural Evangelism in Japan. Placing his own theory in a lineage of such forebears as Kagawa, Iinuma made two historical points: that pre-war Christians had compromised easily with the centralizing forces of the ‘Emperor-centered familial state’ and that Japanese agriculture would not survive post-war capitalism. Christianity was to inspire a spirit that might reinvigorate love for the land and for self-sufficient farming (Iinuma 1988). This same sense enlivened Iinuma’s passionate argument against the Emperor system, published in 1991. Here, using the term minzoku for the nation bound by blood, he pointed to conflict between ‘fundamental human rights’ and ‘minzoku egoism’, a force the Emperor system urged on in Japan at the same time as it suppressed ‘minzoku self-determination’ in Korea. Though the Jews of Jesus’s time had also been guilty of ‘minzoku egoism’, they, unlike the Japanese, had also had the injunction to protect the stranger, the widow and the orphan. In this spirit, Iinuma’s examinations of Christian interaction with the Emperor system made the colonization of Korea central as he worked on behalf of the Koreans resident in Japan, writing one of the first books on this ‘invisible’ community and co-editing the periodical Cho-senjin

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Post-war Japanese Christianity 69 dedicated to the abolition of the Omura detention centre for foreigners, as Korean former imperial subjects were redesignated when the Occupation ended.13 Takeda Kiyoko, who raised the relevance of Niebuhr to Japan’s post-war condition, is the third member of the generation considered here. A founding member of the Science of Thought group that analyzed tenko-, she published her first articles on Niebuhr in its first issues in 1946 as it set out to contribute to building democracy in the ruins of imperial Japan. Niebuhr’s The Children of the Light and the Children of Darkness opens with the observation that ‘democracy is … the characteristic fruit of a bourgeois civilization’ and ‘is a perennially valuable form of social organization in which freedom and order are made to support, and not to contradict, each other’. She has looked for the ‘well-springs of postwar demokurashii’ in earlier moments, favouring the transliteration of the English word, in moments like the so-called Taisho Democracy of the 1920s, a period identified above as one in which society had not yet collapsed into the state, and its leading Christians, such as the Tokyo University political theorist Yoshino Sakuzo- (1878–1933) who proffered a kind of popular sovereignty within the Emperor system in terms of minponshugi, where the ‘people’ or min take the place of the capital in the translation of capitalism (shihonshugi or, literally, capital-as-base-ism) (Takeda 1995). Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, Takeda had been studying with Niebuhr at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City and had returned to Japan on a prisoner exchange ship. Raised in a upper middle class Protestant family, which she, like Sumiya, recognized in her later reading of Max Weber, she spent the war as a YWCA leader working with members of a socalled ‘girls’ volunteer corps’, which was mobilized for factory work. From this experience she derived the concern of her early writings – of how people understand what it is to be human – and how her fellow workers could be described as ‘in a shell’. A glance through a chronology of Takeda’s life is further suggestive of how her history is connected to her participation in the ecumenical movement as it was reformed following the Second World War. She was a delegate to the first two assemblies of the World Conference of Christian Youth, in 1939 and 1947 (though she was not granted an exit visa by the Occupation government and did not attend), and to the first five assemblies of the World Council of Churches, of which she was elected a president in 1970. Her career at the International Christian University, founded in 1949 and opened in 1953, as professor, dean and founding director of its Institute of Asian Cultural Studies is further testament to the internationalist promise of the ecumenical.14 Takeda used two narratives to place Christianity into the intellectual history of Japan. First was conflict (so-koku). Here she offered a five-part typology of Christian responses to the Emperor system: falling into compromise due to a sense of traditionalism; allowing ‘rendering unto Caesar’ to co-exist with ‘rendering unto Christ’; facing persecution; looking to overcome gradually; and rejecting it absolutely. Between his New Theses and his State and

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Religion, Kozaki shifted from the fifth to the first.15 Second, however, she turned to the paths by which the faith was changed in Japan. These were named in the title of her best-known work, her 1967 book Indigenization and Apostasy. Here she identified patterns through which Christianity ‘was adopted or naturalized in Japan: through compromise, apostasy, isolation, confrontation, and tree-grafting’. For example, Uchimura’s refusal to bow can be classed as confrontation, but his ‘Representative Men of Japan’, five figures, such as the thirteenth-century Buddhist ‘saint’ Nichiren whose character showed Protestant values before the arrival of Protestantism in Japan, were an example of grafting. In her typology of apostasy, she drew her examples from creative individuals for whom the experience was not tenko-, but rather a stage in personality development.16 Underlying this emphasis on transformation was a tradition–modernization bifurcation, or, in her terms, an organic metaphor of the planting of a universal, modern idea into the soil of the ‘traditional ethos of Japan’. In other words, the Emperor system and the state were replaced by the nation as an ethos that, at its worst, can end up feeling ahistorical, amorphous and absolute. No event demanded a response from Christians more than the death of the Sho-wa Emperor in 1989 and the enthronement of his son. The historian Dohi Akio (1927–2008), addressed the dilemma head-on in What the Imperial Transition Means for Us. As an historian, Dohi pointed out that during the two previous modern enthronements, in the 1910s and 1920s, Christians had, for the most part, behaved as a minority competing to prove its loyalty. Now they were called to object to this ‘forced Emperor system’ on the grounds of both the unconstitutional violation of the freedom of religion and on unresolved war responsibility, both problems pointing to the issues surrounding the Yasukuni Shrine that have raged since the mid-1970s (Dohi and Tomura 1988). Following the accession of the present Emperor, Dohi organized two large-scale group research projects on ‘the Modern Emperor System and Christianity’, one at Doshisha University in Kyoto and one at the Tomisaka Christian Center in Tokyo. Echoing Fujita, he defined the Emperor system as the ‘ingenious and tenacious’ political structure of modern Japan, a system of rule in which the Emperor possessed all sovereignty and was the axis for military and civil government. The system employed absolutism and constitutionalism, Japanese spiritual tradition and Western modern thought as techniques of rule. In Dohi’s schema, Uchimura’s Lèse-Majesté Incident is integral to a second ‘establishment’ phase and the 1938 Osaka military police incident is characteristic of a fourth ‘desperate’ period that ended with defeat, but it is also worth noting that democracy is absent from his history because of the underlying political structure made frank in the 1925 Peace Preservation Law (Dohi 1996; Tomisaka 1996, 2001, 2007). The narrative Dohi and his contributors put forth is one of response, co-existence and compromise by Christians, and its heroes are found in the largely anomalous cases of resistance and imprisonment, including those of members of the Plymouth Brethren and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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Newly arrived at Tokyo University in the spring of 1948, a young man named Miyata Mitsuo (1928–) encountered a third monograph bearing the title State and Religion in a bookstall near the campus. Published six years earlier and subtitled ‘a study of the spiritual history of Europe’, that book was neither about Japan nor much about Christianity; instead, it consisted of essays on Plato and Kant and on Nazi Germany as a perversion of their ideals for freedom and the state. Its author, Nanbara Shigeru, was then the university’s president and a fervent advocate of Japan’s new pacifist constitution and would become an inspiration and mentor to young Miyata as he launched a career as an historian of political thought.17 As the culmination of his career as a scholar of Nazi and post-war German political thought at To-hoku University, Miyata published his own State and Religion: Romans 13 in the spiritual history of Europe in 1996, followed by a second book in 2003 entitled Authority and Obedience: Romans 13:1–7 in modern Japan (Miyata 1996, 2003b). Both focus on the interpretation of this one New Testament text, the seven verses in Paul’s letter to the church at Rome. They begin with the startling declaration ‘let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God’ and conclude with Paul’s echo of a command from Jesus: ‘pay to all what is due to them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom revenue is due, honor to whom honor is due’. Though these injunctions have often been cited as absolute legitimation of all political authority, it is the relative that is key for Miyata, both in that it is God who holds final sovereignty and who ordains the earthly temporal and temporary authorities and in that verse 5 adds the key component of conscience: ‘therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience’ (NRSV). No text troubled the definition of the Emperor of Japan as absolutely sovereign and as a deity incarnate (an arahitogami) than this one. Miyata’s guides through this thicket are Barth and Bonhoeffer. For Miyata, the Emperor system is best criticized as a modifier in the term ‘Emperor-system fascism’, which, though narrower in time span, connects Japan to a worldwide phenomenon. In a striking essay published in Sekai in 1983, he used the Barmen Declaration of 1934 to criticize the false political religion of the Japanese state. The leaders of the German Confessing Church, including Barth, had declared that ‘we reject the false doctrine, as though the state, over and beyond its special commission, should and could become the single and totalitarian order of human life, thus fulfilling the Church’s vocation as well.’ Miyata went on to point out deliberate, but false, equivalencies: a false Christology in the Emperor as deity incarnate; a false theology in Kokutai no Hongi, the 1937 curriculum of nationalist ideology issued by the Education Ministry to explain how Japan would overcome aspects of modernity such as individualism and liberalism; a false liturgy in rituals, such as the one that Uchimura had hesitated to perform; and a false missiology in the slogans of the empire, such as ‘eight corners of the world under one roof ’. Alongside Miyata’s admiration for Bonhoeffer’s courage to stand against the

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Nazi state (and implicit criticism of the Japanese church for failing to produce a Bonhoeffer) are the lessons he derives for post-war Japan: that ‘the maturity’ of politics lies in its being secular; that peace must transcend security and pacifism; and, unless Christians hold tightly to a faith preserved through what he called ‘the discipline of guarding the mystery’, there is a danger their political resistance will be merely ideological.18 For Miyata, the point is not whether Bonhoeffer and Barth were known by Japanese Christians of the day, but that the conditions they responded to were equally present in Japan. Barth was indeed translated and widely read in pre-war Japan, but in an apolitical way that masked his role in the struggles in the German church. For Miyata, this is his own ‘prehistory’: he encountered Christianity in the summer of 1945, as a student at the Third Higher School, and was baptized the next year. As one of ‘a generation baptized into militaristic education through the Cherry Blossom Reader’, the pre-war first-grade textbook that celebrated the military and the nation on its opening pages, Miyata experienced liberation with the collapse of wartime ideology and then when he ‘encountered Biblical faith while groping for guidance in the midst of the anomie of postwar society’.19 Miyata was looking for the prerequisites for democracy. In the conclusion of Authority and Obedience, he pointed to the transcendence of God and vitality of conscience as elements he extracted from Romans 13 that reverberate with conclusions Maruyama drew from elsewhere. Miyata paired Authority and Obedience with a second book that he told readers was his personal history, a collection of fifty-eight of his political commentaries over fifty-five years, entitled Living the History of One’s Own Time: Postwar democracy and Christianity. In one essay from August 1960, he addressed the post-war moment when society lost to the state; the Kishi Nobusuke government’s forcing the renewal of the US–Japan Security Treaty by the Diet in May 1960, despite tremendous citizen demonstrations. The new constitution’s principle of sovereignty residing in ‘we the people’ had clearly been violated, not by the old Emperor system per se, but by an anti-democratic spiritual system nonetheless. In order to create democracy in Japan, he called Christians to become fixed (teichaku) into the daily life of the nation as ‘the salt of the earth’.20 Miyata’s position on democracy is between Takeda’s and Dohi’s: it requires both a ‘spirit’ and a ‘structure’.

Democracy and religion on Japanese terms In this chapter I have put the historical narratives that a post-war generation of Japanese Christian social scientists wrote on behalf of democracy of their own modern history within what they termed the Emperor system. They continued a discussion of ‘state and religion’ that recognized that the Japanese realities of a Christian minority existing within religious pluralism often trumped by nationalism and of the promise of secular democracy contradicted by a quasi-religious state. I have not addressed specific issues such as recent

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government efforts to revise religious regulation laws in the wake of terrorist acts by the ‘new religion’, Aum Shinrikyo-, or to alter the Constitution to legitimate government support of the Yasukuni Shrine. Instead, I wonder what will happen once this generation has passed from the scene, since this will happen just as new possibilities open in Japanese society.21 Two years before the discussion of Niebuhr for Japan, Yanaihara wrote an English-language essay, Religion and Democracy in Modern Japan. He had been reinstated as a professor of economics at Tokyo University soon after the defeat, having spent the war years as ‘a voice crying in the wilderness’. He set out to reframe Christianity and the state not just as the democratization through Occupation reforms (and MacArthur’s welcoming of missionaries) but through religion (by which he largely meant Protestant Christianity). Yanaihara looked for a mission for Japan, concluding that: if Japan’s defeat in the late war goes a long distance in purifying the religion of her people, and help them effect their revival as a people in possession of an advanced world spirit and a high spiritual religion, it will bring happiness not only to Japan, but to mankind as well. Japan’s failure to do this already, stemmed from its failure to become a Christian nation, a failure due to the ‘insufficient dissemination of Christianity’. Here, in 1948, Yanaihara was able to remark that ‘the wise and learned who declared that “Christianity is not adaptable to the traditional national constitution of Japan” must be included in the category of the A-class war criminals’ (Yanaihara 1948). But Yanaihara’s message was not a post-war conversion but rather a consistent prophetic position. In 1933, Yanaihara gave an address with the title ‘Christianity on Japanese terms’, (Nihonteki Kirusutokyo-), the phrase originated by Uchimura to describe a Christianity not wed to Western civilization. By the late 1930s, it had come to describe the extremes of theological accommodation along the lines of the 1938 questionnaire, defining the Japanese classics as ‘equivalent to’ the Hebrew Scriptures for Japan and of the Christian trinity as ‘one and the same as’ a trio of Shinto deities headed by the imperial ancestress the sun deity. To make sense of ‘on Japanese terms’, Yanaihara invoked Nichiren, to whom he attributed a ‘Buddhism on Japanese terms’, spiritually akin to the Christianity he now called for, and he sought to face down Inoue and Kato-’s attacks by echoing Kozaki in that true patriotism could only come through Christian love. When he used the prophet Isaiah’s language to rebuke the Japanese state in the summer of 1937, Yanaihara contrasted it to minzoku, the term used both positively (for the selfdetermination of colonized and post-colonial Koreans) and negatively (in Japanese ‘egoism’) by Iinuma but which, for Yanaihara, offered something greater than and prior to the state, to which it must account (Yanaihara 1993: 172–81, 226–90). Here was the Japanese question: was Christianity in Japanese society possible without complicity in, or conformity to, state ideology?

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Here too was a place for Asia, which was not missing from the activism of the post-war generation nor from the churches’ post-war self-reflection, including the Kyo-dan’s 1967 confession of war responsibility and expression of contrition to the Christians of South Korea. The books entitled State and Religion all made their comparisons to the West, including Britain, the United States and Nazi Germany, and showed little interest in Christian resistance to coerced worship at State Shinto shrines in the colonies. In Religion and Democracy, Yanaihara recognized that that had been part of the colonial assimilation policy executed through ‘tyrannical oppression and Fascist pressure’, but, for him, the significance of Japan reborn as a democracy was to ‘carry out a noble mission which, from a historical point of view, [the Japanese people] believe they are entrusted with, namely—the interfusion of the West and the East’, which was possible if Japan could realize democracy (Yanaihara 1948: 27, 40). Such a statement points back to Romans 13. There, not only is Paul’s advice directed to a community with which Japanese Protestants might have recognized much in common as a tiny minority operating within a state that used civic religion as one tool of a violent patriotic hegemony, but Paul bracketed the passage by urging Christians to more fully devote themselves to loving their neighbours in this world, even under persecution, and to be aware of the imminence of Christ’s return and the end of this world.22 This is a call to society and it has been answered by contemporary Japan’s most interesting Christian, the Franciscan priest Honda Tetsuro- (1942–), who is offering a new translation of the New Testament on behalf of ‘those who have been made small’, the homeless of the Kamagasaki district of Osaka among whom he has lived since 1991. Written with the lessons of the churches’ complicity in militarism and the invasion of Asia in mind, Honda’s translation reverses the standard version of the passage: ‘Everyone is to obey authority that is excellent. Unless it is under God, it is no authority.’23 Harsher than Kozaki’s and those of the post-war generation, Honda’s test for authority is a challenge from Christians in the building of democracy in society, made all the more Christ-like by coming from the margins and not from the siren pull of the state.

Notes 1 ‘Niibaa no mondaiten to Nihon no genjitsu’, reprinted in Maruyama Masao Zadan, vol. 2 (Iwanami Shoten, 1998), quote from pp. 57–58. All Japanese books were published in Tokyo unless otherwise noted. All names are given with the family name first. 2 This paper is not about theologians per se. For an English-language history of theology in Japan, see Yasuo Furuya, A History of Japanese Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman’s, 1997). For recent scholarship on Christianity in Japan as a whole, see Mark R. Mullins (ed.) Handbook of Christianity in Japan (Leiden: Brill, 2003). 3 Though considered for the Nobel Peace Prize as late as 1955, Kagawa has subsequently been heavily criticized for both alleged collaboration at the end of the war and for racist assertions made about the discriminated buraku caste in one of his

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early works. Kagawa certainly did these things, but it can be argued that he has been made to stand in for the failings of the church in Japan as a whole. The autobiographical novel Shisen o koete (Kaizo-sha, 1921) was widely read in English as well: Thomas Satchell, trans., Before the Dawn (New York: George H. Doran, 1924). The term belongs to Andrew E. Barshay, The Social Sciences in Modern Japan: The Marxian and Modernist traditions (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2004). Letter to Mr. Bell (March 6, 1891), reprinted in William de Bary, et al., Sources of Japanese Tradition (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005), vol. 2, pp. 1166–67. (Emphases in the original). Uchimura felt it was the Emperor’s signature and seal that he had not bowed to, but over the next decades, the ceremony, enacted in all schools in the country and in the colonies, would centre on the official photographs of the Emperor and Empress as well as officially distributed copies of the Rescript. Ibid. On the formation of the category of ‘religion’, see Isomae Jun’ichi, ‘Kindai ni okeru ‘“Shukyo-” Gainen no Keisei Katei’ in Narita Ryu-ichi et al. (eds) Kindai Chi no Seiritsu, volume 3 of Iwanami Ko-za: Kindai Nihon no Bunkashi (Iwanami, 2001), pp. 163–96. Maeda Cho-ta and François A.D. Linguel, Shu-kyo- to Kokka (self-published, 1893), as discussed in Kevin M. Doak, A History of Nationalism in Modern Japan (Leiden: Brill, 2007), pp. 98–101. Kozaki Hiromichi, ‘Seikyo- Shinron’ in Kozaki Hiromichi Zenshu- (Keiseisha, 1938; reprinted by Nihon Tosho Sentaa, 2000), vol. 3, pp. 296–399; ‘Shu-kyo- Yo-ron’, in Kozaki Hiromichi Zenshu-, vol. 5, pp. 507–80 (a translation of Rev. Julius H. Seelye, The way, the truth, and the life: Lectures to educated Hindus, delivered on his late visit to India (New York: A.D.F. Randolph, 1873)); ‘Kokka to Shu-kyo-’ in Kozaki Hiromichi Zenshu-, vol. 2, pp. 385–528, quote from p.388. The shu-kyo- claim appears in Kozaki Hiromichi, Reminiscences of seventy years; the autobiography of a Japanese pastor. Nariaki Kozaki, trans., (Tokyo: Christian Literature Society of Japan, Kyo Bun Kwan, 1933), pp. 50–51. While a student at the Protestant Doshisha University, Kozaki was also the first to translate the writings of Karl Marx. On the early Meiji state’s religious policy, see James Edward Ketelaar, Of heretics and martyrs in Meiji Japan: Buddhism and its persecution (Princeton, NJ, 1990). Ketelaar’s central story is of the recovery by Buddhist organizations following the early Meiji ‘separation’ of Buddhism (redefined as foreign and corrupt) from Shintoism (redefined, initially, as a national religion) through ‘abolishing Buddhism, demolishing Shakyamuni’, by becoming a ‘world religion’. A later variation used in interrogations in the early 1940s was: ‘who is greater, Jesus or the Emperor?’ Yokoyama Sadako in Shiso- no Kagaku Kenkyu-kai (ed.) Kyo-do- kenkyu-: tenko(Heibonsha, 1959–62), vol. 2, pp. 339–68. Sumiya Mikio, Kindai Nihon no Keisei to Kirisutokyo- (Shinkyo- Shuppansha, 1950), reprinted in vol. 8 of Sumiya Mikio Cho-sakushu- (Iwanami, 2003), pp. 3–110, quotes from 106–7; a translated excerpt is available as Paul Yount and Dean Leeper, ‘The formation of “modern” Japan and Christianity’, Japan Christian Quarterly 17:1 (Summer 1951), pp. 7–14. Nihon Shakai to Kirisutokyo- (Tokyo Daigaku Shuppankai, 1954), reprinted in Sumiya Mikio Cho-sakushu-, vol. 8, pp. 113–96. Sumiya’s autobiography is Gekido- no Jidai o Ikite: Ichi Shakai Kagakusha no Kaiso- (Iwanami, 2000). Iinuma Jiro-, Tenno-sei to Kirisutosha Nihon Kirisutokyo-dan Shuppankyoku, 1991 Iinuma Jiro-, Mienai hitobito: zainichi Cho-senjin (Nihon Kirisuto Kyo-dan Shuppankyoku, 1973); Cho-senjin: Omura Shu-yo-jo o Haishi suru tame ni was issued from July 1969 until May 1991. Iinuma’s works on Christianity and on Korea were not included in his five-volume collected works, published by Miraisha in 1994, but,

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Gregory Vanderbilt interestingly, the compiler of the complete bibliography in volume 5 did list them as a single category, separate from ‘agriculture and economics’. ‘Takeda Kiyoko Ryakunenpu-’, Shiso- no Kagaku (December 1995); an autobiographical essay is ‘Shiso-shi ni manabu’, in Uozumi Masayoshi (ed.) Dento- to Kindaika (Ajia Bunka Kenkyu- Bessatsu 2, ICU, 1990). Ningenkan no So-koku (Kyo-bundo-, 1959) and Tenno-kan no So-koku 1978; trans. as The Dual-Image of the Japanese Emperor (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1988). Takeda Kiyoko, Dochaku to Haikyo-: Dento-teki etosu to Purotesutanto (ShinkyoShuppansha, 1967); an English-language version of the first two chapters appeared earlier as Kiyoko Takeda Cho-, ‘The Christian encounter with the traditional ethos of Japan: A study of Nitobe Inazo-’s ideas’, Asian Cultural Studies (October 1966). Takeda Kiyoko, Haikyo-sha no Keifu (Iwanami Shinsho, 1973) – a partial translation was published as J. Victor Koschmann, trans., ‘Japanese Christianity: Between Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy’ in Koschmann (ed.) Authority and the Individual in Japan (University of Tokyo Press, 1978); Takeda Kiyoko, Seito- to Itan no ‘Aida’– Nihon Shiso-shi Kenkyu- Shiron (Tokyo Daigaku Shuppankai, 1976). Kokka to Shu-kyo-: Yo-roppa Seishinshi no Kenkyu-, vol. 1 of Nanbara Shigeru Chosakushu- (Iwanami, 1972). There is no easy way to put into English this Japanese category of seishinshi, literally ‘spiritual history’ and, in practice, something like a cultural history or the history of zeitgeist. Miyata Mitsuo, ‘Seiji Shu-kyo- to Shu-kyo- Hihan’, Sekai (August 1983), reprinted as ‘Bonheffaa to Nihon: Seiji Shu-kyo- toshite no Tenno-sei Fashizumu’, in Miyata, Heiwa no Hato to Rivaiasan (Iwanami, 1988), pp. 201–67. Miyata Mitsuo, ‘Watashi no Seisho Monogatari’ in Mikotoba wa watashi no michi no Hikari (Shinkyo- Shuppansha, 1998), quotes from pp. 91, 93. Miyata Mitsuo, ‘Nihon no Minshushugi o tsukuru mono’, Fukuin to Sekai (August 1960) reprinted in Miyata Mitsuo, Do-jidaishi o Ikiru: Sengo Minshushugi to Kirisutokyo(Shinkyo- Shuppansha, 2003), pp. 95–108. Perhaps the closest successors to this group are the secular philosopher Takahashi Tetsuya (1956–) and the Buddhist scholar Ama Toshimaro (1939–). The Emperor system as a rubric has recently been of most use to gender scholars examining wartime military sexual slavery (the so-called ‘comfort women’). Others, such as the historian Komagome Takeshi (1962–), focus on empire and resistance (in his case, by Presbyterian believers in colonized Taiwan). Walter E. Pilgrim identifies this ‘ethic of subordination’ alongside Jesus’s ‘ethic of critical distancing’ and an ‘ethic of resistance’ found in Revelation. (Uneasy Neighbors: Church and state in the New Testament (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1999)). Honda explains this in his afterword to Ro-ma/Garateya no Hitobito he no Tegami (Nagoya: Shinseisha, 2006).

References Barshay, A. (2004) The Social Sciences in Modern Japan: The Marxian and Modernist traditions, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Brown, W. (1936) Church and State in Contemporary America, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. Doak, K. (2007) A History of Nationalism in Modern Japan, Leiden: Brill. Dohi, A. (1996) ‘Kindai Tenno-sei to Kirisutokyo-’, Dohi, A. and Tanaka, M. (eds) Kindai Tenno-sei to Kirisutokyo-, Kyoto: Jinbun shoin. Dohi, A. and Tomura, M. (eds) (1988) Tenno- no Daigawari to Watashitachi, Tokyo: Nihon Kirisutokyo-dan Shuppankyoku.

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Fujita, S. (1998) Tenno-sei Kokka no Shihai Genri, Tokyo: Misuzu. Honda, T. (2006) Ro-ma/Garateya no Hitobito he no Tegami, Nagoya: Shinseisha. Iinuma, J. (1988) Nihon No-son Dendo-shi Kenkyu-, Tokyo: Nihon Kirisutokyo-dan Shuppankyoku. ——(1991) Tenno-sei to Kirisutosha, Tokyo: Nihon Kirisutokyo-dan Shuppankyoku. Isomae, J. (2001) ‘Kindai ni okeru “Shukyo-” Gainen no Keisei Katei’, Komori, Y., N. Sakai, S. Shimazono, K. Chino, R. Narita and S. Yoshimi (eds) Kindai Chi no Seiritsu, volume 3 of Iwanami Ko-za: Kindai Nihon no Bunkashi, Tokyo: Iwanami. Ketelaar, J. E. (1990) Of Heretics and Martyrs in Meiji Japan: Buddhism and its persecution, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Kozaki, H. (2000 [1938]) Kozaki Hiromichi Zenshu-, Tokyo: Nihon Tosho Sentaa. Maruyama, M., K. Takeda, T. Matsuda and S. Yamamoto (1998) ‘Niibaa no mondaiten to Nihon no genjitsu’, in Maruyama Masao Zadan, vol. 2, Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten. Miyata, M. (1988) Heiwa no Hato to Rivaiasan, Tokyo: Iwanami. ——(1996) Kokka to Shu-kyo-, vol. 4 of Miyata Mitsuo-shu-: Seisho no Shinko-, Tokyo: Iwanami. ——(1998) Mikotoba wa watashi no michi no Hikari, Tokyo: Shinkyo- Shuppansha. ——(2003a) Do-jidaishi o Ikiru: Sengo Minshushugi to Kirisutokyo-, Tokyo: ShinkyoShuppansha. ——(2003b) Ken’i to Fukuju-: Kindai Nihon ni okeru Roma-sho 13-sho-, Tokyo: ShinkyoShuppansha. Nanbara, S. (1972 [1941]) Nanbara Shigeru Chosakushu-, Tokyo: Iwanami. Pilgrim, W. (1999) Uneasy Neighbors: Church and state in the New Testament, Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press. Seki, K. (ed.) (1988 [1893]) Inoue Hakase to Kirisutokyo?to, Tokyo: Misuzu Shobo-. Shiso- no Kagaku Kenkyu-kai (ed.) (1959–62) Kyo-do? kenkyu-: tenko-, Tokyo: Heibonsha. Sumiya, M. (2000) Gekido- no Jidai o Ikite: Ichi Shakai Kagakusha no Kaiso-, Tokyo: Iwanami. ——(2003) Sumiya Mikio Cho-sakushu-, Tokyo: Iwanami. Tagawa, D. (1938) Kokka to Shu-kyo-, Tokyo: Kyo-bunkan. Takeda, K. (1967) Dochaku to Haikyo-: Dento-teki etosu to Purotesutanto, Tokyo: Shinkyo- Shuppansha. ——(1973) Haikyo-sha no Keifu, Tokyo: Iwanami Shinsho. ——(1976) Seito- to Itan no ‘Aida’–Nihon Shiso-shi Kenkyu- Shiron, Tokyo: Tokyo Daigaku Shuppankai. ——(1978) ‘Japanese Christianity: Between orthodoxy and heterodoxy’, Koschmann, J., trans., Koschmann, J. (ed.) Authority and the Individual in Japan, Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press. ——(1995) Sengo Demokurashii no Genryu-, Tokyo: Iwanami. Tomisaka, K. S. (ed.) (1996) Kindai Tenno-sei no Keisei to Kirisutokyo-, Tokyo: ShinkyoShuppansha. ——(2001) Taisho- Demokurashii, Tenno-sei, Kirisutokyo-, Tokyo: Shinkyo- Shuppansha. ——(2007) Ju-gonen Senso-ki no Tenno-sei to Kirisutokyo-, Tokyo: Shinkyo- Shuppansha. Uchimura, K. (2005) ‘Letter to Mr. Bell (March 6, 1891)’, de Bary, W., C. Gluck and A. Tiedemann (eds) Sources of Japanese Tradition, New York: Columbia University Press. Yanaihara, T. (1948) Religion and Democracy in Modern Japan, Tokyo: Nihon Taiheiyo- Mondai Chosakai (Japan Institute of Pacific Studies); distributed by the International Pub. Co.

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——(1993 [1937]) ‘Nihonteki Kirisutokyo-’ and Minzoku to Kokka, reprinted in Ienaga, S., J. Kinoshita, Y. Sakamoto, M. Miyata and T. Iwamoto (eds) Nihon Heiwaron Taikei, vol. 10, Tokyo: Nihon Tosho Sentaa. Yount, P. and Leeper, D. (1951) ‘The formation of “modern” Japan and Christianity’, Japan Christian Quarterly, 17(1): 7–14.

5

Negotiating ‘foreignness’, localizing faith

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Tibetan Catholicism in the Tibet-Yunnan borderlands Francis Khek Gee Lim Introduction Given Tibet’s historical association with Buddhism, Tibetan communities belonging to other faiths such as Islam and Christianity have so far received little public or scholarly attention. Since the second half of the nineteenth century, communities of Tibetan Catholics have been living in remote mountain villages in the border areas of Tibet, Yunnan and Sichuan. To the Tibetan Catholics, August 11 is an important date. On this day in 1949, a young Swiss priest from the Order of Grand Saint Bernard, Father Maurice Tornay, was on an arduous and dangerous trek to Lhasa to seek the Dalai Lama’s permission to proselytize in Tibet. He had decided on this course of action as his mission station at Yerkalo, in south-eastern Tibet, had suffered constant attacks by anti-Christian forces led by local Buddhist leaders. Tornay thought that the last hope for Christianity’s presence in the Land of Snow lay in an appeal to Tibet’s highest religious authority. He never made it to Lhasa. His enemies heard about his itinerary and ambushed his party at a place called Choula; Tornay and one of his companions lost their lives on that windy mountain pass. The perpetrators must have thought that getting rid of Tornay would spell the end of the Catholic presence in the Tibetan regions. Little did they expect that Tornay would later be beatified by the Vatican and these days he is venerated by Tibetan Catholics as a martyr and saint. Half a century after Tornay’s death, Catholicism still clings on tenaciously in this tiny corner of Tibet. Tornay was neither the first nor the only missionary killed for their faith whilst trying to bring Tibet into the fold of the universal Church. The social memory of the present-day Catholic Tibetan community include traumatic and heroic stories of the martyrdom of French and Swiss missionaries, some of whose graves have become pilgrimage sites where the faithful gather to pray for rain and other forms of blessing. Tornay’s death, however, marked an important turning point in the history of the Tibet mission, because it coincided with the victory of the Chinese Communist Party in China’s civil war and the establishment of the new state of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). He was one of the last foreign clergymen to operate in the country,

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and his demise cast a grim pall over the end of an era. The founding and consolidation of the PRC eventually brought forth new dynamics and a new set of challenges in Church–state relations, engendered mainly through the changing nature of state authority and its attitude towards religion. For, unlike the pre-revolutionary imperial state and its successor that was the Nationalist government, the Chinese state, under the rule of the Communist Party from 1949 onwards, explicitly adheres to the materialist ideology of atheism. One issue that has constantly been the source of contention throughout the whole history of the Tibet mission is that regarding the ‘foreignness’ of Christianity. To this day, Christianity is still widely seen by non-believers in China as a ‘foreign religion’, similar to the situation in Japan described in Gregory Vanderbilt’s chapter in this volume. And given the strong association of the Buddhist faith and Tibetan identity, for the Tibetan Catholics the issue of the ‘foreignness’ of their religion is all the more pressing as they interact with other Tibetans, the Chinese state and the wider public. The discussion in this chapter seeks to achieve two main aims: First, to present an up-to-date ethnographic account of the ways the Tibetan Catholics practise their religion. Presently available anthropological and historical material on the Tibetan Catholics is restricted to accounts by missionaries and a number of scholars up to the late 1940s, prior to the founding of the PRC. The material presented in this chapter therefore fills the lacuna of research by examining the impact of China’s post-1949 socialist transformations and the current wave of socioeconomic development. Ethnographic fieldwork was carried out periodically between 2005 and 2007 among Catholic Tibetan communities in south-eastern Tibet and northwestern Yunnan. In these visits, I lived with Catholic Tibetan families and conducted extensive formal and informal interviews with the community and two Tibetan priests. In this chapter, I want to examine the ways in which Tibetan Catholics have practised their faith in the face of the wider perception of the ‘foreignness’ of their religion. In what ways does a Tibetan community being ‘Christian’ influence its political relationships with Chinese authorities and its share of state resources? How do they respond to the prevalent media portrayal and the public imagination of a strong correlation between Tibetan-ness and Buddhism? At the same time, I am aware of the potential problems in highlighting the issue of ‘foreignness’. For one thing, a continuous discussion of foreignness can undermine the effort by the Christians and others in China who have been trying hard to indigenize the faith to make it part of the cultural landscape of China today (e.g. Madsen 2001). In addition, since the 1980s, there has been a growing number of Chinese intellectuals, both Christian and non-Christian, writing on Christian history, culture and theology. These intellectuals, sometimes known as the ‘Cultural Christians’ (Zhuo 2001), have sought to investigate the role of Christianity in the process of Chinese modernization and its cultural movements. Many are concerned with the indigenization of Christianity in China and the formation of an indigenous Church. Despite these developments, Christians in China in

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general, and the Tibetan Catholics in particular, still face tremendous challenges in practising their faith – challenges often associated with different aspects of the perceived ‘foreignness’ of their religion. In the course of the discussion, this chapter also seeks to demonstrate the importance of charting the evolution of state policies to our understanding of Church–state relations.

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Brief history of the Tibet mission1 The Vatican sent its first wave of missionaries to Tibet in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. For a while, members of the Jesuit and Capuchin orders managed to establish a small number of mission stations in a few places in southern Tibet as well as in Lhasa. However, the missionaries were forced to abandon their effort and a small number of converts in the eighteenth century after encountering opposition from some sections of the Tibetan religious and political elite. A new effort to convert the Tibetans had to wait until a century later, when European powers established their imperial presence in Asia. In 1846, Pope Gregory XVI established the Vicariate Apostolic of Lhasa, and assigned the responsibility for Tibet’s mission work to the Société des Missionaires Étrangères de Paris (Paris Foreign Missions, abbreviated as MEP). By this time, the MEP missionaries had already established themselves in Sichuan, the Chinese province bordering eastern Tibet, and hence it made sense to assign the task of converting the Tibetans to the MEP. The Vicariate chose the western Sichuan town of Dajianlu (Tatsienlu, now known as Kangding), as its base from where missionaries would try to penetrate the heart of Tibet. In Tibet proper, the first MEP mission was set up at Bonga in south-eastern Tibet in 1854. Apart from bringing the Christian faith, the missionaries also introduced potatoes and cabbage to the area. For the MEP, Bonga was only a stepping-stone; the ultimate prize was Lhasa and the conversion of the Tibetan elite. However, that prize proved to be unattainable, and part of the reason, and the irony, is that the Bonga mission became rather successful in attracting converts, it had around 700 by 1863. In the same year, the Tibetan authorities, wary of the apparent success of the French missionaries, issued an edict commanding all converts to re-embrace Buddhism or face severe punishment. Several factors arrayed against the missionaries. One, as mentioned previously, the success of the missionaries in gaining converts posed a direct threat to the interests of the local monasteries, which depended heavily on the peasants in the area for their material income. There was a further geopolitical consideration behind Lhasa’s issuance of the expulsion orders: in the 1860s, the British were gaining influence in Sikkim, south of the Tibetan border, from where the Tibetan government worried that the British might invade Tibet. The simultaneous presence of the French missionaries in eastern Tibet, who often presented themselves as official representatives of France, caused the Lhasa authorities to suspect that the French were also preparing to invade their country.

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Despite the warnings from the Tibetan government, the missionaries refused to leave. In September 1865, the Bonga mission was attacked by a large group of Tibetans led by the lamas from three of the largest and most important monasteries in the region. This attack on the Bonga Catholic mission was the first in a series of violent ‘religious incidents’, or jiao an, that occurred in the Vicariate Apostolic over the next few decades. After their expulsion from Bonga, the missionaries and the Tibetan Catholics fled to Yerkalo (or Tsakha, Chin. Yanjing, ‘salt well’) and managed to set up a new mission there. Despite immense effort, the MEP missionaries were unable to proceed to central Tibet, and only managed to secure some converts among the Tibetans living in eastern Tibet and the border areas. In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the French missionaries established a string of missions in the culturally Tibetan areas in western Sichuan province such as Batang and Dajianlu. The MEP also achieved some success in north-western Yunnan, where converts also included other minority nationalities such as the Nu, the Lisu, the Bai and the Naxi. In 1862, the missionaries built a church in a village called Cigu (Tseku), on the banks of the Lancangjiang (the Mekong), in present day Deqin2 county in north-western Yunnan. In 1930, due to the shortage of missionaries within the MEP, Pope Pius XI entrusted the Tibet mission to the Order of Grand St. Bernard, which then established its headquarters in the northern Yunnan county of Weixi (Weihsi), close to the Tibet border. It was at Weixi that Maurice Tornay first started his work as a missionary.3 In 1951, the Chinese authorities expelled all foreign church personnel. And when the Chinese government set up the Catholic Patriotic church, the churches in the Tibetan areas were divided into different dioceses. The churches at Cizhong (Tsechung) and Gongshan became part of the Dali diocese in Yunnan province, while Yerkalo is in a unique situation whereby it currently does not belong to any diocese. Most parishes in Sichuan have become part of the Xichang diocese.

Negotiating ‘political foreignness’ Since the founding of the first missions, the Tibetan Catholics have had to deal with the issue of ‘political foreignness’ in relation to both the Tibetan and Chinese authorities. To the non-Christian Chinese, Christianity is often labelled as yangjiao, or ‘Western religion’. The term does not simply denote a religion with a foreign origin; discursively yangjiao is a negative term referring to a religion brought to China through European imperialism. This particular historical experience of Christianity for the Chinese from the second half of the nineteenth century to the early twentieth century has deeply affected the way in which Chinese historians tend to write about Christianity in China. Relevant in our present discussion are the Chinese accounts of violent ‘religious incidents’, or jiao an. Chinese historiography almost invariably attributes the cause of these ‘religious incidents’ to the local populations’ opposition to the presence of foreign missionaries.

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‘Religious incidents’ are usually portrayed in Chinese historical writings as manifestations of nationalistic feelings against European imperial arrogance and aggression in China. This is most evident in accounts of anti-Western movements, such as the Boxer Rebellion. Now, the problem arises when one applies the same sort of explanation uncritically, particularly to the ‘religious incidents’ that occurred in the minority areas, as I shall demonstrate. As the case of the Catholics in eastern Tibet shows, the foreigners who were targeted in these incidents comprised not only the European missionaries, but also the representatives of the Chinese state. Some of my elderly respondents can still remember that, before the expulsion of foreign missionaries by the PRC in the early 1950s, it was common for Tibetans to classify foreign missionaries as jya (Tib. rgya), or ‘Chinese’, and the religion they had brought were known to the non-Catholics as jya chi (Tib. rgya chos, ‘Chinese religion’). The term yang ri chi (Tib. yang rigs chos, ‘foreigners’ religion’) was used increasingly by state officials and in schools mainly after the founding of the PRC. The interesting question is why the non-Tibetan Catholics referred to Catholicism as the ‘Chinese religion’ prior to that? There are a number of reasons. First, missionaries often disguised themselves as Chinese merchants as they attempted to enter Tibet from China, and all were proficient in the Chinese language (Launay 1903; Loup 1956). Missionaries to the Tibetan areas would first learn Chinese upon arrival, and then started learning Tibetan when they arrived at their Tibetan missions. And since they usually entered the Tibetan areas from the traditionally recognized ‘Chinese’ areas (for example, the Tibet Apostolic Vicariate, created in 1849, was located at Tatsienlu4 in Sichuan province), the missionaries were labelled jya, ‘Chinese’. Even the Tibetan translation of the term ‘Catholicism’, gnam bdag po’i chos (Religion of The Heavenly Lord), was based on the Chinese rendition, tianzhu jiao. Another reason relates to the perceived close ties between the missionaries and the Qing authorities who ruled China at that time. Since the signing of the Treaty of Tianjin in 1858 and the Treaty of Beijing in 1860, the Chinese government, under the terms of the treaties that guaranteed freedom of religion, was often asked by the French missionaries to provide soldiers to ensure the security of the missions. The close relationship between the Chinese and the missionaries is well portrayed in a 1920 letter written to Lord Curzon by a British official in China: For fifty years the Catholics have been working on the borders of Eastern Tibet under the protection of Chinese bayonets, have identified their interest with those of the Chinese, and have aroused the bitter hostility of the Tibetans. As the Chinese wave in eastern Tibet goes forward, the Catholics follow in its wake; as it recedes they retire; and they consequently found their hope of entering Tibet proper on the eventual conquest of that country by the Chinese. (quoted in Bray 2003 [1993]: 495)

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In the nineteenth and early twentieth century, the Sino-Tibetan border area was a very unstable place made up of a number of principalities with strong links to both Tibet and China, but at the same time it maintained some degree of independence. The relatively political autonomy of these border regions was the result of the tusi system that originated in the expansion of the Chinese empire, which started in the Yuan dynasty and reached its most developed form in the Ming. The tusi system entailed the conferment of titles by the central imperial authority on indigenous rulers in the subdued border regions, to facilitate a system of local rule (Xie 2003). At the turn of the twentieth century, the Qing court, alarmed by the increasing British influence in Tibet, intensified their policy of bringing the outlying areas under tighter central control, known as the ‘Reforming the Local, Returning to the Mainstream’ policy (Chin. gaitu guiliu). The increasing presence of imperial troops in the Tibetan areas and their ‘reform’ programmes aroused immense local opposition that often resulted in violent clashes. For example, after Francis Younghusband led a British invasion of Tibet in 1904, the Qing government, fearing for the security of its western borders, pushed more troops into the Tibet–Sichuan border areas. This was the main cause of the 1905 Batang uprising in Sichuan against Chinese rule and the presence of foreign missionaries, an uprising that eventually spilled over to eastern Tibet and northwestern Yunnan. The uprising led to attacks on the foreigners and their followers: the Catholic missions and a detachment of Qing soldiers tasked to protect them. The fact that at the time when Christianity was called ‘Western religion’ (yang jiao) by the Chinese but known as ‘Chinese religion’ to the Tibetans, shows the different historical experience of the religion as ‘politically foreign’. While Christianity to the Chinese was associated with Western missionaries and foreign imperialism, for the Tibetans, at least for those in eastern Tibet, the religion’s ‘political foreignness’ was also closely associated with Qing China. This discussion of the different and changing labels attached to Catholicism points to the need for scholars writing on the history of Christianity to be more cautious when characterizing the major ‘religious incidents’ that occurred in the Tibet, Sichuan and Yunnan border areas as always against the Europeans and their religion. Some of these incidents could be part of the local rebellion against the Qing state and anti-Chinese movements by minority groups seeking to assert their political autonomy (cf. Xie 2003: 67–70). I suggest that the uncritical use of the term jiao an in mainstream Chinese historiography to refer to a general patriotic, anti-European imperialism movement can result in glossing over the problematic relationship between the Qing state, Chinese migration and the minority nationalities that existed in the western regions. The term jya chi to refer to Catholicism stopped being used after the PRC consolidated its rule over the western part of the new nation in 1950. This was because the Chinese official rhetoric in Tibet began to label Catholicism as yang ri chi, or ‘foreigners’ religion’ China’s anti-foreign (read Western) stance

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Figure 5.1 Grave of Father Maurice Tornay

in this period has to be situated in the appropriate geopolitical context: China was at this time engaged in political and military contestations with the West over strategic areas such as the Korean peninsular. According to those who had been through the tumultuous times of the 1950s and 60s, this label was used most extensive by the Chinese authorities at a time when the PRC was in the process of creating a Chinese Church independent of the Vatican, and the

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time when the Cultural Revolution was in full swing. Some of the major contentions between China and the Vatican since 1950 have been over the method of appointing Chinese bishops, and the relationship between the government-sponsored section of the church and the unofficial one. The Chinese government has for the past 50 years insisted on appointing its own Catholic bishops as part of an effort to create a ‘patriotic’ church, a proposition completely unacceptable to the Vatican, which insists on its ecclesiastical rights. China and the Vatican have very different perspectives on the problems that plague their relations. The Vatican views the problems of the Chinese Catholic Church as essentially religious problems, but for China, Catholicism has an added political dimension. China’s position is based on the fact that the Holy See is both a religious authority and a sovereign state. It is noteworthy that it is China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and not the Religious Bureau, that deals with the Vatican, hence emphasizing the diplomatic and political nature of Sino-Vatican relations. Therefore, China tends to treat any Vatican intervention in the church in China as constituting an infringement of China’s sovereignty, while any unofficial contact between foreign Catholic clergy and lay people with the locals can be seen as potentiality subversive. As such, the Tibetan Catholics, particularly those in leadership positions, are careful when dealing with foreign visitors. Foreign tourists are welcome to visit the churches, but Catholics tend to feel uneasy if a foreigner’s visit is not tourism-related. Over a particular Christmas period, when some officials from the county and prefecture visited the Catholic family I was staying with, the head of the family, who was a local lay religious leader, instructed me not to reveal my research interest in the area but to say that I was ‘just’ a tourist. This sense of unease is largely the result of China’s history of religious repression and the tight control the state still maintains over people’s religious practices, despite the guarantee of religious freedom in the Chinese constitution. The level of caution required on the part of Catholic Tibetan depends largely on location. In my fieldwork area, there are some communities that are headed by strong, independent-minded lay leaders that enjoy a high level of autonomy, particularly those located in remote hill areas outside the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR). For example, a lay Catholic leader told me that he once invited a Taiwanese priest to celebrate Mass in his local church. He was told by the village headman that only priests approved by the authorities were allowed to celebrate Mass in churches. This lay leader responded by inviting the Taiwanese priest to celebrate Mass in his own house. However, the Tibetan Catholics living in TAR are subject to more intense surveillance by the Chinese authorities and have to be more wary of the foreigners they deal with. A Tibetan priest confided to me that ‘the issue of religion in Tibet is much more sensitive, because of the authorities’ worry over the “Dalai clique” [the phrase the Chinese authorities used to describe the Dalai Lama and his supporters in Tibet]’. The priest’s passport had been confiscated by the county authorities, and an acquaintance of his who worked in the Public Security Bureau revealed that the police had a dossier on him.

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Therefore, given the state’s sensitivity over the issue of ‘protecting the country’s sovereignty’, Tibetan Catholics in general are very cautious about revealing their frank opinions on religious matters – particularly to foreigners who they do not know well. It is a well-known fact among the people I spoke with that both the official and unofficial sectors of the Catholic Church have been infiltrated by government informants. Religious leaders tend to avoid discussing religion over the telephone, which are widely believed to be tapped. That said, Tibetan Catholics these days do have greater freedom to practice their religion compared to the 1950s and 60s, as the Chinese authorities have in recent years adopted a more accommodative stance toward religion in general. What is interesting about the Chinese Communist Party’s attitude towards religion is that it has tended to change in accordance with the Party’s changing views on the actual stage of socialist development that China is believed to have attained (Leung 1992). This is because, in Marxist–Leninism, the existence or extinction of religion was a product of particular stages of historical development. During Mao Zedong’s rule, religion was seen as a competing ideology and thus had to be eradicated. Christianity (both Catholicism and Protestantism) was regarded as a tool of Western imperialism. With a tint of irony, the stated long-term goal of the PRC’s early policy of ‘religious freedom’ was intended to lead people to abandon religion. As a top official, Li Weihan, noted: The religious freedom policy is a revolutionary slogan … If we thoroughly implement this slogan, believers will gradually change from believing in religion towards non-believing. In short, the religious freedom policy is our Party’s basic policy towards religion (quoted in Leung 2005: 898). During the Cultural Revolution when the Chinese leaders declared that the country had attained the stage of Communism, China undertook a more militant approach against religion, closing down various religious organizations and suppressed religious practices. Religion was deemed ‘Public Enemy No. 1’ from the perspective of class struggle, an ideological practice that perpetuates class domination. During this period, both the Catholics who belonged to the state-sponsored Church and those who maintained their allegiance to the Vatican suffered under the state’s repressive measures to eradicate religion as one of the ‘Four Olds’ (Kindopp and Hamrin 2004). Like many followers of other religions who suffered a crackdown during this phase of militant state atheism, the Tibetan Catholics managed to sustain their faith secretly – by engaging in their religious activities in the privacy of their homes at night. An elderly woman called Ayi, who had received religious instructions from Father Tornay, revealed in an interview how the foreign priests, as they were about to leave the country, appointed some wellregarded faithful as lay leaders of the community to discharge essential religious duties. These included leading the community in secret prayer sessions,

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conducting catechism classes and administering certain sacraments such as baptism and anointing the elderly and infirmed. In such challenging times, the Catholic faith was transmitted through simple actions such as teaching the younger generation the basic tenets of Catholicism and the important prayers. Things changed in the Deng Xiaoping era, as the moderates gained power in the Chinese leadership. Since then, the PRC has adopted a more ‘pragmatic’ approach to religion (Potter 2003; Chan 2005). The more accommodative view of religion is justified by a re-interpretation of China’s societal development. These days the Party leadership promulgates the idea that China is still at an early stage of socialism, so that religion is still part of the ‘objective reality’ to be managed. Spiegel (2004) points out that, since the 1980s, the main thrust of the Chinese government’s religious policy has been to ‘reintegrate religion into the socialist mainstream and to repress those who resist’. Jiang Zemin, China’s former leader, has commented on this issue and is quoted in the United Front Work Department website: In modern China, even though the class aspect of religion no longer exists, other factors that give rise to the phenomenon of religion still persist, such as natural, social, and cognitive factors … Religion exists objectively in human societies, and not only in the past; it will also last long into the future (Jiang, my translation and italics) Since religion will be around for a long time to come, from the perspective of the Chinese Communist Party, it makes sense to manage and regulate it. And one consistent approach of the Chinese government in the past two decades of the modernization era is to unite the various religions in its nation-building efforts as the country increasingly opens up to the world.

‘Cultural foreignness’ and transnationalism Not surprisingly, according to many of my informants, the wider Tibetan society overwhelmingly views Catholicism as a foreign religion. In terms of religious identity, the Tibetan Catholics identify themselves as either gnam bdag pa or je to pa, while the Buddhist Tibetans tend to refer to Catholicism as yang rigs chos, or ‘foreigners’ religion’. Since the Tibetan Catholics do not practise their religion in isolation from the rest of the society, they have to constantly deal with the issue of the ‘foreignness’ of their religion, even as they adopt numerous practices that aim to translate an originally European form of Christianity into one that is more in tune with the general Tibetan cultural milieu. Tibetans refer to Tibetan Buddhism as bi chi (Tib. bod chos), or ‘Tibetan religion’. Here we see one problem that Tibetan Catholics have to face: the identification of the Tibetan nationality with a particular religion. The implication is that if you are a Tibetan, you should be a Buddhist. By calling Catholicism previously jya chi and now yang ri chi and contrasting

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these with the notion of ‘Tibetan religion’ (i.e. Tibetan Buddhism), the wider Buddhist Tibetan society sees Catholicism as culturally foreign. In the chapter by Vanderbilt on Christianity in Japan, we see the same kind of engagement with the issue of ‘cultural foreignness’ as Christian Japanese strove to argue that one can be both Japanese and a Christian. One respondent told me that there was a widespread rumour among the Buddhist majority in her village that Buddhist scriptures were hidden underneath the main entrances to churches so that Catholics would, as a gesture of disrespect, step over the scriptures when they enter the premises. During the Cultural Revolution, a Buddhist family used her local church as a pigsty. How do the Catholics react to the view of their Buddhist compatriots that their religion is ‘foreign’? The response of a person called Augustine, is highly representative: I would tell them that Buddhism was a foreign religion as well! It came to Tibet from India. How many religions actually originated in China? Buddhism and Christianity are all foreign religions, only Daoism can be considered indigenous to China. When people tell me that Catholicism is a foreign religion, I’ll tell them that. I’ll also tell them that Catholicism has become part of our ‘cultural tradition’; it’s been past down from our ancestors, who converted to Catholicism around hundred years ago. Therefore, for some Tibetan Catholics, one response to the charge of practising a culturally foreign religion is to accept the foreign origin of their religion, but to use the issue of ‘foreignness’ to their advantage by pointing out that Buddhism was a foreign religion as well. Just as Buddhism has become the part of the wider Tibetan culture, so Catholicism has become, as my respondents would say, a ‘tradition’ for them. This Tibetan Catholic tradition includes scriptures and prayers in Tibetan, the adherence of religious architecture to the local style and the presentation of religious images.. While the missionaries undertook the necessary tasks of learning Tibetan and translating important scriptures, prayers and hymns into the local language, they and their followers faced an uphill task in dealing with the perception of the wider Tibetan society that Catholicism was a foreign religion, be it as jya chi or, later, as yang ri chi. Catholicism was, and still is, persistently contrasted by the non-believers with bi chi, ‘Tibetan religion’, i.e. Tibetan Buddhism. This has led to a significant amount of tension between the Catholic and Buddhist communities. The hostility shown by the Buddhist Tibetans toward their Catholic counterparts has been as much due to the undermining of the traditional Buddhist clerical authority as the perception that Catholicism was a religion alien to Tibetan culture and identity. According to an interviewee from the parish where Maurice Tornay was the parish priest, after Tornay’s death and without the protection of the foreign missionaries, the lamas from the powerful local monastery forced all the Catholic households to install

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Figure 5.2 Depiction of Jesus the Saviour in Tibetan thanka style

incense burner on the roofs of their houses as a sign of allegiance to Buddhism (Buddhist Tibetans burn juniper as an offering the deities), while some Catholics were forced to work as labourers at the monastery. To this day, the Buddhist Tibetans I interviewed still consider Catholicism as a foreign religion. Not surprisingly, state officials also harboured the view that Catholicism is culturally foreign to the Tibetans. According to the Tibetan priest who was

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Figure 5.3 Book of daily readings and prayers in Tibetan

also a member of the Political Consultative Committee, some drunken officials during a party remarked to him that Christianity was a legacy of colonialism, and that all Tibetans should be Buddhists. On another occasion, while taking some officials on a church tour, the tour guide also referred to the link between colonialism and the foreignness of his religion.

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Recently, there has been an interesting twist to the issue of cultural foreignness, and that is the arrival of tourism. Over the last few years, the fieldwork area has witnessed profound changes due to increasing exposure to mass tourism. The extreme precaution with which the Tibetan Catholics deal with foreigners will probably ease somewhat as China continues to open up to the outside world. In his study of a Hakka Catholic village called ‘Little Rome’ in southern China, Lozada (2001: 24) describes how the meaning of being a Catholic for the villagers involves the desire ‘to be modern’ and ‘to be global in a local world’. For the Tibetan Catholics in south-western China, the forging of transnational ties has also taken on increasing significance in the practice of their faith. This has been greatly facilitated through the development of the Tibetan areas as some of China’s pre-eminent tourist sites. For example, both the Gongshan and Deqin counties in Yunnan’s north-western border with Tibet have been promoted by the tourism authorities as part of the fabled ‘ShangriLa’, and the Gongshan region is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of ‘Three Parallel Rivers’. The three rivers are the Nu Jiang (Salween), the Lancang Jiang (the Mekong) and the Jinsha Jiang. North-western Yunnan is fast becoming a major tourist destination, attracting large numbers of Chinese and foreign visitors every year (Kolås 2004). Catholic Tibetan communities have been appropriated by the official tourism discourse to display the supposedly harmonious relations between different religions and nationalities in a heavily touted ‘earthly paradise’. The counties of Gongshan and Deqin are often the areas through which tourists travel if taking the overland routes from Yunnan to Tibet. One of the two most popular routes takes the tourists to what is billed in tourism guidebooks as the ‘only Catholic church in Tibet’ – at Yerkalo/Yanjing. (No tourist guidebook mentions the violent missionary history in the area). As the Tibetan Catholics constitute a minority within a minority, they appear even more exotic in the eyes of many tourists; Catholic Tibetan villages and churches have become tourist attractions because of their uniqueness within a predominantly Buddhist environment. While the ‘cultural foreignness’ of the Tibetan Catholics living in a largely Tibetan Buddhist environment can be used by them to attract tourists, the fact that the Shangri-la area is heavily promoted by the tourism authorities as a mini-Tibet means that the majority of government funding for religious purposes has been used for the renovation of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, while the Tibetan Catholic churches received very little, if any, government aid. According to a Tibetan priest I interviewed, since 2001 the Religious Bureau no longer provides funds for the maintenance of historical religious sites. The lay leader of a local church, who was also a prominent member of the provincial-level Political Consultative Conference, complained to me that despite the church being officially classified as an important heritage site of the Yunnan province, over the last few years he has not been able to obtain funds from the government for urgent repair work. Currently, monetary resources are tightly controlled by the central authorities in Beijing. Where,

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then, can the various churches get their maintenance funds? One important source is private donations. However, the donations by local parishioners are far from enough, since most earn little cash. For some Catholic Tibetan communities, there is an important source of revenue that is related to tourism and consumption: the sale of local red wine. The French missionaries were the first to introduce grape cultivation into the region, as red wine was indispensable to the proper celebration of Mass. These days, many households in Catholic Tibetan villages in south-eastern Tibet have their own grapevines. The red wine produced at the Catholic villages in Tibet and Yunnan is much sought after by the tourists and government officials. One can often find this red wine being sold in the bars of Lijiang and Dali, in central Yunnan, branded as the ‘legacy of French missionaries’. Different labels of ‘Yunnan Dry Red’ made by the ‘traditional French technique’ can be found in liquor shops throughout Yunnan province. With the wine selling at 10 yuan per half a litre, some Tibetan Catholic churches and households are doing a brisk business that brings in the muchneeded cash. At one particular village in Yunnan, huge swathes of agricultural land, around 500 mu, have, over the past three years, been transformed into vineyards both to make wine for sale to the tourists and to supply grapes to major winemakers in the region. Hence, in an interesting way, the increasing commercialization of wine production has discursively facilitated the inscription of a ‘foreign religion’ into the local tradition of the Catholic Tibetan areas, through an advertising narrative that connects the legacy of the French missionaries with the exoticism of an earthly paradise in China.

Figure 5.4 Vineyards

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Apart from the cultivation of grape for sale to commercial wine producers and the sale of homemade red wine to visitors, many Tibetan Catholic churches are also increasingly looking to foreign donations as an important source of funds. Donation boxes can be found in many churches, and many tourists, both foreign and Chinese, do donate. The largest donations tend to be from Catholics on a religious tour of the region or visiting foreign clergy travelling on a tourist visa. The donated amount can add up to a hefty sum: I have seen church records indicating donations of up to US$1000 each by some foreign tourists. As the whole region is increasingly developed for tourism, it will be harder for the government authorities to determine who among the visitors are actually foreign Catholic clergymen sent by religious orders and the Vatican to establish contacts with, and offer assistance to, the local Catholic communities. Thus, with the cut in government funding for the maintenance for their churches, the Tibetan Catholics these days have little choice but to increasingly rely on foreign donations to fund their religious activities and church-building projects. This imperative has resulted in the intensification of transnational links between the Catholic Tibetan communities and the outside world, a development that could complicate the state’s effort to maintain tight control over religious affairs in the region.

Concluding remarks The tension between discourses of ‘foreignness’ of Christianity and the effort by Christians to localize their religion is accentuated particularly in cases where Christianity is transplanted into a social group whose self-identification is intimately entwined with a specific (non-Christian) religion. Western Christianity faces even greater challenges if it encounters the great non-Christian civilizations (Kaplan 1995). This chapter seeks to further examine the complexity of the phenomenon by demonstrating that there are at least two different types of ‘foreignness’ – namely, the ‘political’ and the ‘cultural’ – that the indigenous Christian community has to negotiate, in relation to both the state and the wider non-Christian society. In addition, I have shown here the analytic importance of a historical perspective to reveal the changing nature of Church–state relations: in this case, the crucial factor of the evolution of different state forms. When Father Maurice Tornay and his followers embarked on their fateful journey to Lhasa in 1949, they were hoping to appeal to a politico-religious authority that fundamentally acknowledged religion as a valid social reality. That endeavour was also undertaken in a period that witnessed constant shifting of state boundaries resulting from the contestation between Tibetan and Chinese centres of power, which in turn occurred in tandem with broader geopolitical contexts of anti-imperialism and nationalism. Meanwhile, the Tibetan Catholics, caught up in this geopolitical vortex, struggled to localize and practise their faith in the face of a new, officially atheistic state ruled by the Chinese Communist Party. As Tibet came under the tight control of the Chinese state, the discourses of ‘political’ and

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‘cultural’ foreignness underwent a transformation: in political rhetoric, Catholicism moved from a religion associated with Chineseness to one that is primarily associated with the ‘foreign (West)’ (yang ri chi). Under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party, the conflictual relationship between the state and Catholicism has revolved around two main issues. First, on the political front, China’s leadership tended to consider the Vatican’s intervention in Catholic affairs of the country as an illegitimate exercise of influence by one sovereign state in the affairs of another. Second, philosophically, the founding materialist ideology of the ruling party has resulted in periodic state militant atheism that sought to eradicate religion through both violent and non-violent means. Some sort of détente seems to be in place these days as the Chinese state co-opts religion in order to latch the Chinese society to a viable moral ballast, as well as opening the country to tourism in pursuit of its economic objectives. For the Tibetan Catholics, these recent developments have provided both benefits and dangers. While the tapping into their unique history as an important tourism resource can help to generate financial gains, the Tibetan Catholics’ cultivation of transnational ties ensures that the thorny issue of ‘foreignness’ continues to loom large in their dealings with the state and the wider Tibetan society.

Notes 1 The discussion in this section is based primarily on the works by Wu (1992), Goré (1939), Loup (1956), Bray (1993, 1995) and Chen and Liu (2003). 2 Also known as Atuntse. 3 From 1865 to 1950, fifteen missionaries were killed while working for the Tibet mission (Loup 1956: 146). 4 Now known as Kangding. The Tibet Apostolic Vicariate was renamed Tatsienlu Apostolic Vicariate in 1901, and finally became the Kangding Diocese in 1946.

References Bays, D. H. (2003) ‘Chinese Protestant Christianity today’, The China Quarterly, 174: 488–504. Bray, J. (2003) ‘Christian missions and the politics of Tibet, 1850–1950’, A. Mckay (ed.) The History of Tibet, Vol III: The modern period 1895–1959 encounter with modernity, London: RoutledgeCurzon. ——(1995) ‘French Catholic missions and the politics of China and Tibet, 1846–65’, in Tibetan Studies. Proceedings of the 7th International Association of Tibetan Studies, Graz. Chan, K-K. (2005) ‘Religion in China in the twenty-first century: Some scenarios’, Religion, State and Society, 33(2): 87–119. Chen, K. H. and Liu, D. Y. (eds) (2003) Yunnan zongjiao yanjiu: yunnan tianzhu jiao teji (Religion in Yunnan: Special Issue on Catholicism), Kunming: Yunnan Institute of Social Sciences. Covell, R. R. (2001) ‘Christianity and China’s minority nationalities—Faith and unbelief ’, S. Uhalley, Jr. and X. X. Wu (eds) China and Christianity: Burdened past, hopeful future, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.

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Goré, F. (1939) Trente Ans aux Portes du Thibet Interdit, 1908–1938, Hong Kong: Société des Missions-Étrangères de Paris. Kaplan, S. (ed.) (1995) Indigenous Responses to Western Christianity, New York: New York University Press. Kindopp, J. and C. L. Hamrin (eds) (2004) God and Caesar in China: Policy implications of church-state tensions, Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. Kolås, Å. (2004) ‘Tourism and the making of place in Shangri-La’, Tourism Geographies, 6(3): 262–78. Launay, A. (1903) Histoire de la Mission du Thibet (2 vols), Paris: Desclée, de Brouwer. Leung, B. (1992) Sino-Vatican Relations: Problems in conflicting authority, 1976–1986, Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. ——(2005) ‘China’s religious freedom policy: The art of managing religious activity’, The China Quarterly, 184: 894–913. Loup, R. (1956) Martyr in Tibet: The heroic life and death of Father Maurice Tornay, New York: David McKay Company, Inc. Madsen, R. (2001) ‘Beyond orthodoxy: Catholicism as Chinese folk religion,’ S. Uhalley, Jr. and X. X. Wu (eds) China and Christianity: Burdened past, hopeful future, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. ——(2003) ‘Catholic revival during the reform era’, The China Quarterly, 174: 468–87. Lozada, E. P., Jr. (2001) God Aboveground: Catholic Church, postsocialist state, and transnational processes in a Chinese village, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Potter, P. B. (2003) ‘Belief in control: Regulation of religion in China’, The China Quarterly, 174: 317–37. Spiegel, M. (2004) ‘Control and containment in the reform era’, J. Kindopp and C. L. Hamrin (eds) God and Caesar in China: Policy implications of church-state tensions, Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. Wu, K. M. (1992) Zaoqi chuanjiaoshi jinzang huodongshi (Early Christian Missionary Activities in Tibet), Beijing: China Tibetan Studies Press. Xie, B. S. (2003) ‘Tusi zhidu yu minzu quyu zizhi’ (The Tusi System and Self-government in the Minority Nationality Regions), in Xinan bianjiang minzu yanjiu (Research on Nationalities in the Southwest Border Regions), Kunming: Yunnan University Press. Yang, F. G. (2005) ‘Lost in the market, saved at MacDonald’s: conversion to Christianity in urban China’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 44(4): 423–41. Zhuo, X. P. (2001) ‘Discussion on “cultural Christians” in China’, S. Uhalley, Jr. and X. X. Wu (eds) China and Christianity: Burdened past, hopeful future, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.

6

Conversion, complicity and the state in post-Independence India

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Religious conversions from non-Muslim and non-Christian populations of Indian society, to Islam and Christianity have continued to be a very sensitive and serious issue in India’s modern history. Many Indian nationalist leaders and Hindu social reformers were opposed to conversions, as is evident from the numerous debates which took place before and after India’s Partition and Independence (Kim 2003). Mahatama Gandhi’s warning, ‘If I had power and could legislate, I should certainly stop them proselytizing’1 found its fulfilment after Independence in the attempts of sections of the Hindu population to prohibit the conversion activities of Christians and foreign missionaries. From the mid-1950s, there were three legal matters which imposed serious restrictions on conversion: the elimination of certain rights of the caste Hindu converts through the making of Hindu personal laws; the exclusion from certain rights and privileges of converts of Scheduled Caste origin; and the ‘freedom of religion’ legislation. The reservation benefits that are available to the Dalits, previously known as the ‘untouchables’, are not extended to Christian Dalits under the pretext that the converts have opted out of the caste system. For a long time, there have been struggles to persuade the Indian Government that the condition of Christian Dalits is no better than the Hindu and Sikh Dalits, and the same rights must also be extended to them. The relevant rule, ‘para three of Presidential Order of 1950’, was amended in 1956 to bring Sikh Dalits within its purview of reservation benefits. The National Democratic Alliance Government (1999–2004), led by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had rejected a similar request for inclusion of Dalit Christians within the category of Hindu Schedule Castes. Earlier a similar policy attitude was adopted by the state governments of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, provincial states ruled by the Indian National Congress, obviously with the tacit approval of the Congress Government at the Centre. (The Nehru government kept Muslims and Christians outside the purview of reservation for Scheduled Castes in education and government jobs. This was done through a Presidential order amending Article 341 of the Constitution, which enables the President of India to notify a particular caste as a Schedule Caste. According to the amended law, only those Dalits who were Hindus could be considered members of a Schedule Caste and hence

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eligible for the benefits under reservations. In 1956, this was extended to include all schedule castes professing Sikhism. In 1990, Dalits who had embraced Buddhism (‘Neo-Buddhists’) were also included among the Schedule Castes. For a long time, there have been demands for extending reservations to Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims.) The Hindu marriage Act (1955) states that a partner ceasing to be a Hindu by converting to another religion gives legitimate ground for divorce. The Hindu succession Act (1956) stipulates that, although a convert retains the right to inherit, the children born to that person after conversion and their descendents are disqualified from inheriting the property of their Hindu relatives unless the children remain or become Hindus. The Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act (1956) disqualifies a convert from being the guardian of his own child. The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (1956) states that a convert does not have any say over his/her partner adopting a child; one parent can give his/her child in adoption without the consent of the partner if he/she has converted.2 Clearly, this particular Act is designed to make it difficult for Caste Hindus to change their religion. It was clear to the Christian leaders that the transfer of power and the formulation of a new Constitution for India in 1947 were going to be of great importance not only for India but also for its Christian community. For them the questions of religious liberty and minority rights were of great personal and community significance. Even before 1947, despite considerable British persuasion and influence, certain Indian states had prohibited the preaching of Christianity and the entry of missionaries within their borders. One author observed, The Congress Party has committed itself to religious freedom and the protection of minorities. But the restraints of British neutrality and British protection of minorities are irksome to the strenuous elements, and they may be swept away in the name of ‘Indian unity’ or even ‘Hinduism restored’. All that has been associated in fact or in the emotion of Indians, with foreign rule and its cultural connotations will be a target for attack. (Bates 1945: 57–58)

But how the process of the formation of the Indian Constitution was to unfold depended upon many factors, the most important being the way it would be looked upon and received by the international community. After the Second World War, the nations of the world began to discuss what came to be called ‘fundamental human rights’. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in October 1948. Article 18 of the declaration reads: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion: this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom,

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either alone or in community with others and in public or private to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. (The United Nations and Human Rights 1984: 242, emphasis added) The Indian leaders were not unaware of these new developments within the community of nations. During this period, Indian Christian leaders held many conferences and meetings in Bombay, Calcutta, Lahore and Madras to formulate proposals for a future Constitution to be placed before the Constituent Assembly. These deliberations were reported in The National Christian Council Review. This is how they formulated their specific demand: We trust in any future Constitution of India that may be drawn up by a Constituent Assembly, religious freedom will be guaranteed and no let or hindrance will be placed in the way of Christians living, preaching and teaching their religion and taking into membership of their Church those who honestly accept their way of life and belief. (The National Christian Council Review 1946: 94) In their numerous statements the Christian leaders repeatedly stated that no Constitution of India would be acceptable to the community which did not guarantee freedom to every citizen to propagate his faith and to every adult to change his religion at his own free will without any legal hindrance. As far as they were concerned, the right to convert was a fundamental human right which could not be interfered with. The first Prime Minister of independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru, seemed to agree with the view that nobody should interfere with the right to spread one’s religion. However, he added a caveat: Unless a given faith proves a menace to public order, or its teachers attempt to thrust it down the unwilling throats of men of other persuasions, there can be no justification for measures which deprive any community of its rights. (Ibid.: 335–36) The Constituent Assembly started framing independent India’s Constitution in 1947, and completed the work by the end of 1949. Meanwhile, the Advisory Committee of Fundamental Rights, set up by the Constituent Assembly on 24 January 1947, had finalized the Draft Articles, which included ‘Rights relating to Religion’. On 17 March, K. M. Munshi presented to the subcommittee Draft Articles on Fundamental Rights. The Right to Religion under Article Three included the following clauses, among others: (1). All citizens are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and to the right freely to profess and practice religion in a manner compatible with public order, morality or health.

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(6). No person under the age of eighteen shall be free to change his religious persuasions without the permission of his parent or guardian. (7). Conversion from one religion to another brought about by coercion, undue influence or the offering of material inducement is prohibited and is punishable by the law of the Union. Many meetings of the sub-committee were held until its final report was submitted to the Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights on 16 April 1947. Meanwhile, the Draft Articles were subjected to numerous changes. They were formulated and reformulated in a language which could be acceptable to the contending parties. On 17 April, Mr. Ruthnaswamy3 pointed out that certain religions, such as Christianity and Islam, were essentially proselytizing religions, and provision should be made to permit them to propagate their faith in accordance with their tenets. On 19 April, H. C. Mukerjee, Chairman of the Minorities Sub-Committee, made the following recommendations: Clause (16): The clause may be redrafted as follows: ‘All persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion subject to public order, morality or health’. Clause (21): This clause may be drafted as follows: ‘(a) No person under the age of eighteen shall be made to join or profess any religion other than the one in which he was born, except when his parents themselves have been converted and the child does not choose to adhere to his original faith; nor shall such a person be initiated into any religious order involving a loss of civil status. (b) No conversion shall be recognized unless the change of faith is attested by a Magistrate after due inquiry’ (Rao 1967: 208–9, emphasis added). It is at this stage that the word ‘propagate’ entered into the discussions. K. M. Munshi’s hackles were up. He observed: The word might be brought, I think, to cover even forced conversion. Some of us opposed it. I am not in favour of it. So far as the ‘freedom of speech’ is concerned it carries sufficient authority to cover any kind of preaching. If the word ‘propagate’ means something more than preaching, you must know what it is and therefore I was opposed to this introduction of the word ‘propagate’. The amendment was subsequently accepted. Thus after discussion and compromise the clauses were renumbered and finalized as follows: Clause 13: All persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion subject to public order, morality or health, and to the other provisions of this chapter.

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Clause 17: Conversion from one religion to another brought about by coercion or undue influence shall not be recognized by law. (Ibid.: 298) On 29 April 1947, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel presented to the Constituent Assembly the Interim Report on Fundamental Rights as submitted by the Advisory Committee. The debate in the Assembly revealed two broad ideological tendencies. On one side were those Congressmen who were, like the Hindu Mahasabha and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), opposed to the very idea of conversion and therefore did not want the word ‘propagate’ to be included within the Fundamental Rights. The other comprised those who were more liberal minded, aware of new developments in world public opinion and not opposed to the idea of conversion as such. But they understood it as pertaining to an ‘individual’ conversion. As is clear from the views of Patel and Abul Kalam Azad, this ideological current was opposed to what they called ‘mass conversions’ (The National Christian Council Review 1947: 351). In the words of another Congress leader, K. Santhanam: Those who drafted this Constitution have taken care to see that no unlimited right of conversion has been given. People have freedom of conscience and, if any man is converted voluntarily owing to freedom of conscience, then well and good. No restrictions can be placed against it. But if any attempt is made by one religious community or another to have mass conversions through undue influence either by money or by other means, the state has every right to regulate such activity. (Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume 7: 834–35) Thus, finally, the idea of conversion was included in the Constitution as a fundamental right despite the resistance exerted by anti-Christian forces. And interestingly, this was achieved with the efforts of Sardar Patel and K. M. Munshi, leaders considered the defenders of Hindu cultural prestige and interests within the Nehru Government. This was the time when, along with Rajendra Prasad who was to be the first President of India, they were involved with the ‘restitution of Hindu glory’ project to rebuild the temple of Somnath, destroyed by Muslim invasions, despite Nehru’s opposition to this project (Joshi and Josh 1994). The debates in the Constituent Assembly made it clear to the anti-Christian forces that without carrying public opinion with them, the liberal Hindu Indian elite could not be forced to take an anticonversion position. But the way the right to ‘propagate’ was formulated by bringing in Clause 17 as a concession to those who were opposed to its inclusion in the statement of fundamental rights, gave birth to a new agenda of anti-Christian activities. Clause 17 stated: ‘Conversion from one religion to another brought about by coercion or undue influence shall not be recognized by law’. From now on, the anti-Christian forces were to focus on this clause and carry on the propaganda in society that all conversions were in fact being

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effected by undue influence and by denouncing Hindu gods and religion. The logic of democracy was being used to subvert a democratic right. First, public opinion was roused and mobilized to create the right atmosphere. This was followed by a demand for a new legislation to curtail the activities of the missionary institutions. This has provided an excellent weapon to these forces to harass, intimidate and demoralize the Christians in general and Christian workers in particular.

The Niyogi Committee report and its implications: A model for state complicity The forces comprising the abovementioned two ideological currents were also at work in the various provincial states of India. There were states where the anti-Christian Congress Hindu nationalists were in a relatively stronger position. R. S. Shukla, who was Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh for ten years after Independence, had been an active member of Madan Mohan Malaviya’s Independent Congress Party in the 1920s. Malaviya was closely involved with the fortunes of Hindu Mahasabha. He was also the founder of Benaras Hindu University, which was founded in 1915. Also, Madhya Pradesh was the birthplace of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Hindu Sabha of Nagpur. The Congressmen of Madhya Pradesh, particularly Seth Govind Das and D. P. Mishra, were important protagonists of the Hindi and cow protection movement and supported the anti-Nehru faction in New Delhi (Hooja 1956). In 1954, the Jana Sangh, the newly formed Hindu Nationalist Party, launched an ‘Anti-Foreign Missionary Week’ protest movement. By 1956, the Party had succeeded in building a Sangathanist network comprising 203 local committees in Madhya Bharat representing 10,000 members (Jaffrelot 1995: 138). The state government used the situation created by this agitation to set up its own commission of inquiry under Dr. Bhawani Shankar Niyogi, retired Chief Justice of the Nagpur High Court. Mr. K. C. George, a professor at the Commerce College at Wardha, was a member of the Committee to provide a Christian representative. In fact, long before the appointment of the Niyogi Committee, an antiChristian mood had started to foment. In 1952, Nehru received complaints from Christian missions and missionaries that they were being subjected to harassment and discrimination. In a long letter to the Chief Ministers dated 17 October 1952, Nehru explained his position in detail: I know that there is a hangover still of the old prejudices against Christian missions and missionaries. In the old days many of them except in the far south, where they were indigenous, represented the foreign power and some times even acted more or less as its agents. I know also that some of them in the north-east encouraged separatist and disruptive movements. That phase is over. If any person, foreigner or Indian, behaves in that way still certainly we should take suitable action. But

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remember that Christianity is a religion of large number of people in India and that it came to the south of India nearly 2000 years ago. It is as much a part of the Indian scene as any other religion. Our policy of religious neutrality and protection of minorities must not be affected or sullied by discriminatory treatment or harassment. While Christian missionaries have sometime behaved objectionably from the political point of view, they have undoubtedly done great service to India in the social field and they continue to give that service. In the tribal areas many of them have devoted their lives to the tribes there. I wish that there were Indians who were willing to serve the tribal folk in this way. It must be remembered that the Christian community, by and large, is poor and is sometimes on the level of the backward or depressed classes. Pleading for a balanced approach to the problem of conversion, he concluded: We permit, by our Constitution, not only freedom of conscience and belief but also proselytism. Personally I do not like proselytism and it is rather opposed to the old Indian outlook which is, in this matter, one of live and let live. But I do not want to come in other people’s ways provided they are not objectionable in some other sense. (Nehru 1996: 733–34) As a result of complaints and counter-complaints, the situation was heading for a showdown. In April 1953, the Home Minister, Kailash Nath Katju, made a statement in Parliament that ‘for a long time he had been in possession of information about questionable proselytizing activities of missionaries in Central India’ (Kim 2003: 61). Eventually, as stated above, on 16 April 1954, the Madhya Pradesh Government announced the launch of an inquiry into missionary activities. The tribes of the province comprised 18 per cent of total population of Madhya Pradesh, among whom there had been significant movements of ‘mass conversion’ during 1950s. In 1952, there were mass conversions of Uraon tribes in which 4,003 were recorded as converted (Kim 2003:62). In 1956, Madhya Pradesh was created in the course of a rearrangement of boundaries and merging the erstwhile princely states along linguistic lines. Almost the entire Madhya Pradesh is covered by missionary activities and there is hardly any district where a mission of one denomination or the other is not operating in some form or other. More than half the people of Madhya Pradesh (57.4 percent) consist of members of the scheduled caste, scheduled tribes and other backward classes and it is among these that missionary activities are mostly confined. (Report of the Christian Missionaries Enquiry Committee Madhya Pradesh, Nagpur, 1956, Part I: 23)

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There was a widespread political campaign, called the Jharkhand movement, among the adivasis in the area to have their own state. Despite the denial by the Christian leadership of any political involvement, the coincidence of the conversion of the tribal people with their political campaign inevitably raised strong suspicions among the Hindu politicians of the province. Given the background of India’s Partition, the best way to denounce the missionaries was to stigmatize them with ‘anti-national activities’ (Fox 2006). The most important and obvious theme that runs through the Niyogi Report is that Indian Christians’ profession of loyalty to India is not above suspicion. At the same time, the report is aware that missionary work in various fields commanded great respect in the eyes of leading Indian politicians and the general public. Indeed, Niyogi himself paid a handsome ‘tribute to the Missionaries’ (Report of the Christian Missionary Activities Enquiry Committee 1956, Part IV: 133, ‘Tribute to the Missionaries’). Despite this, Niyogi continued to express suspicion about the missionaries’ intentions. In other words, from the point of view of the majority of Hindus, the missionaries were serving Indian people through their legitimate activities. Strangely enough, the ‘conclusions of fact’, or what Niyogi calls ‘findings’, turned out to be very similar to the objectionable activities as already mentioned in clause 17 of the Right to Religion in the Indian Constitution: 1. Since the Constitution of India came into force there has been an appreciable increase in the American personnel of the missionary organizations operating in India. This increase is obviously due to the deliberate policy of the International Missionary Council to send evangelistic teams to areas of special opportunities opened to the Gospel by the Constitutional provision of religious freedom in some of the newly independent nations. 2. Enormous sums of foreign money flow into the country for Missionary work, comprising educational, medical, and evangelistic activities. It was out of such funds received from abroad that in Surguja, the Lutherans and other proselytizing agencies were able to secure nearly 4000 converts. 3. Conversions are mostly brought about by undue influence, misrepresentation, etc., or in other words not by conviction but by various inducements offered for proselytization in various forms. Educational facilities such as free gifts of books and education are offered to secure the conversion of minors in the primary and secondary schools under the control of the Missions. Money lending is one of the various forms adopted as a mild form of pressure to induce proselytization. Cases where coercion was reported to have been used are generally of those converts who wish other members of the family to join their Christian parents or to secure girls in marriage. 4. As conversion muddles the convert’s sense of unity and solidarity with his society, there is a danger of his loyalty to his country and state being undermined.

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5. A vile propaganda against the religion of the majority community is being systematically and deliberately carried on so as to create an apprehension of breach of public peace. 6. The objective is apparently to create Christian minority pockets with a view to disrupt the solidarity of the non-Christian societies, and the mass conversions of a considerable section of Adivasis with this ulterior motive is fraught with danger to the security of the state. 7. Schools, hospitals and orphanages are used as a means to facilitate proselytization. 8. Tribals and Harijans are the special targets of aggressive evangelization for the reason that there is no adequate provision of hospitals, schools, orphanages and other social welfare services in the scheduled or specified area. Some of the literature produced by both missionaries and national Christians explicitly proclaimed their objective of converting people to Christ to prevent the spread of Communism. In this context, the verbal and written testimonies of the local people, contemporary world politics and Christian writings promoting conversion gave enough evidence to the committee to justify their findings (Kim 2003: 68). Once the above facts/findings had been empirically established, the Niyogi Committee recommended that: (1) Missionaries whose main object was conversion ‘should be asked to withdraw’ and their entry into India should be monitored; (2) the use of medical or other professional services as a direct means of making conversions should be prohibited by law; (3) an amendment of Article 25 of the Constitution was required to limit the fundamental rights to Indian citizens only; (4) suitable controls on conversions brought about through illegal means should be imposed. If necessary legislative measures should be enacted; (5) distribution of literature for propaganda without the approval of the state government should be prohibited; and (6) Programmes of social and economic uplift by non-official or religious bodies should receive prior approval of the state. (Report of the Christian Missionary Activities Enquiry Committee 1956, Volume I, Part IV: 131–32) The underlying assumption of the Niyogi report was that conversion must be an act of individual, internal conviction and must be based on purely spiritual motives. Further, Niyogi was also convinced that instances of conversions due to a genuine conviction would always be extremely rare. He also made a distinction between ‘conversion’ and ‘proselytism’ and cited the following comment of Marcus Ward: ‘Conversion and Proselytism are not identical. Broadly speaking, to proselytize means to induce an individual or a group, by various motives, high and low, to change the outward allegiance, the religious label’ (Ibid.: 151. Ward 1954: 7). Marcus Ward, asserted Niyogi,

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did not deny that in the past and the present there were Christians who were guilty of doing this, and that it also happened between different Christian groups. Therefore, the mass conversions were due to the motive which was ‘not religious, but social and economic’ (Report of the Christian Missionary Activities Enquiry Committee 1956, volume I, Part IV: 151). Niyogi’s way of understanding conversion virtually placed an embargo on the mass conversion of the poor. There were undeniably complex motives in conversion. The poor and the suppressed approached the missionaries and the Church because of their desire for freedom from caste oppression, education of their children, good health, desire to rise up in the social scale and deliverance from the tyranny of the zamindars. If the missionaries were to work for the Niyogi’s notion of conversion, they must give relief to tribal people and the untouchables but without ever attempting their mass conversions. Faced with this situation, the missionaries could only argue that, contrary to the Hindu expectation of a purely spiritual and individualistic conversion, their understanding of Christianity entailed embracing both the material and community aspects of human life. As it turned out, the Niyogi Report was roundly criticized by many of his contemporaries for ‘not only erring in its presentation of facts, but also for overstepping the bounds of propriety and national interest in attempting to reverse the general trend in favor of a broad-based freedom’ (Krishnaswami 1957). What the Niyogi Report was saying was very simple: missionaries could not be allowed to carry on mass conversions of the adivasis and untouchables, as they would be considered entirely political and not spiritual. This placed the missionaries in a vulnerable position. If motives were questionable in the case of group conversions, they could also be questioned in the case of an individual. It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for any individual to prove the spiritual purity of his/her motives. Moreover, now the missionaries working in tribal areas and among the poor could easily be accused of harbouring political motives, of creating political disunity in the Hindu society. Thus, the Niyogi Report ended up becoming complicit with the anti-Christian agenda of the Sangh clan. The Report’s recommendations were implemented by the Congress-ruled provincial states in the ‘freedom of religion’ Acts of Orissa (1967) and of Madhya Pradesh (1968). The three important clauses of the Orissa Act ran as follows: 3. Prohibition of forcible conversion: No person shall convert or attempt to convert, either directly or otherwise, any person from one religious faith to another by the use of force or by inducement or by any fraudulent means nor shall any person abet any such conversion. 4. Punishment for contravention of the provisions of section 3: Any person contravening the provisions contained in section 3 shall, without prejudice to any civil liability, be punishable with imprisonment to the extent of two years and fine up to ten thousand rupees. Provided that in case the offence is committed in respect of a minor, a woman,

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or person belonging to the Schedule Caste or Schedule Tribes, the punishment shall be imprisonment to the extent of two years and fine up to ten thousand rupees. 5. Offence to be cognizable: An offence under this Act shall be cognizable and shall not be investigated by an officer below the rank of an inspector of police. The following year, the state of Madhya Pradesh adopted the Madhya Pradesh Dharma Swatantrya Adhiniyam (1968), which was almost identical to the Orissa Act. The Act made it compulsory for the converting person to tell the District Magistrate of his/her intention. Later on, the Arunachal Pradesh Government passed a similar Act in 1978. These acts were designed to place considerable power in the hands of the local authorities and the police. As will be clear from the evidence discussed below, the effective complicity between the state apparatus and the anti-Christian/anti-minority forces takes place, most of the time, at local levels before it involves the ministerial levels of the state. But, before we start that discussion, let us look at another instance when a serious attempt was made by the extremist Hindu political tendency to have a similar Act passed in the country’s Parliament. Om Prakash Tyagi was a Janata Party member of Lok Sabha elected after the Emergency (1975–77) in 1977. In December 1978, he introduced a bill in the Lok Sabha under the title, ‘The Freedom of Religion Bill’. In the statement of objectives, it was observed: Conversion from one religion to another, done by free consent and will cannot be questioned. But State protection is required where it is sought to be obtained by threat, undue influence, allurement or wrongful inducement. The importance of providing this protection to persons belonging to the Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes is all the more necessary and cannot be ignored. The policy of the state should be directed to achieve this aim. (Goel 1998: 39–41) Various Hindu organizations passed resolutions endorsing the Bill. The four Shankracharyas held a joint meeting and passed a resolution in support of the Bill.4 The Prime Minister, Morarji Desai, was in agreement with the intention of the Bill because he was opposed to conversions. In his interviews to the press, Om Tyagi cited the findings of the Niyogi Committee Report. A few months later, the Janata Party split and the Morarji Government had to resign. Tyagi’s Bill could not even be discussed in the Parliament. In India, violence is routinely inflicted on the poor and the minorities. It is in this context that the hideous face of complicity of the state apparatus is revealed. What is the mode or dynamics of this complicity at the local levels? No one knows more about it than Mr. Ved Marwah, a former Commissioner of Police, Delhi, who also investigated the role of the police during the 1984

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carnage of the Sikh minority in Delhi. The day-to-day functions of the state, particularly the maintenance of ‘law and order’, are not always carried on through written orders. The effective communication between those at the top of the hierarchy and men on ground takes place through a special language of ‘messages’. The individuals at various levels of the chain of command are always attentive and alert to read, receive and act upon these messages. The top echelons of the police are gripped with uncertainty when they see that the politicians are either vacillating or avoiding taking quick decisions. The words spoken, the body language, the mood, the hints, the gestures, etc., of the politicians in power, come to acquire the status of ‘an administrative performance’ for them, which must be read and interpreted carefully and quickly. If the politicians are not willing to take a quick decision to control a certain violent situation ‘a clear message goes out to the average policeman that the police should not use force against the agitators’ (Hindustan Times 10 November 2006). Ved Marwah summed up the implementation of this choreographed policy: No orders need be given to the police not to act. They become hesitant, even reluctant, to take action against the law-breakers. This explanation of police conduct does not, of course, absolve them of their legal responsibility. Mala fide inaction can be as lethal as mala fide action. Unfortunately, this has happened in the past and is happening more frequently in many parts of the country today. (Hindustan Times 10 November 2006)

The role of the Delhi Police during the 1984 riots was indefensible. The police were mostly absent from the city’s roads when bands of hooligans were killing Sikhs and destroying their houses and properties. In late 1992, the Babri mosque was demolished by a mob in the presence of thousands of armed policemen. The authorities did not summon the paramilitary forces stationed nearby. The tragic Gujarat riots in 2002 are too recent to need much recall. But all these occasions led to terrible consequence. ‘If the police are not competent enough to maintain law and order and enforce the rule of law in the capital of the country, what message are we sending to the police forces in the rest of the nation?’ (Ibid.). Let us reformulate the question: What message were the politicians in power sending when they passed the anti-conversion Acts? A clear message was sent to the local administration, particularly the police force, that the activities of the Christian’s institutions be carefully watched. Given the legitimacy bestowed by these Acts, nothing could stop some local policemen from colluding with the anti-Christian groups working at the grassroots, to not only harass but also to physically harm Christians. What follows is an illustrative example of how complicity of the state with extremist Hindu groups actually works on the ground.5 Rajasthan is one of the states where the BJP government is in place under the leadership of Vasundhara Raje. In Rajasthan, the Freedom of Religion

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Bill began to be talked about when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government came to power in 2004. But the issue assumed prominence after the president of the Emmanuel Mission International was arrested in March 2006. In the third week of February 2006, the Emmanuel Mission International (EMI), a Christian organization that runs a chain of schools in Rajasthan, became the target of attack by vigilante groups. The pretext for the attack was a book by one C. G. Mathew, a lawyer based in Kerala. Mathew’s book, Bunch of Truths (Haqeeqat in the Hindi translation) was a rejoinder to RSS ideologue M. S. Golwalkar’s Bunch of Thoughts. One Prahlad Panwar who ran the Matantaram Virodhi Manch (‘anti-conversion front’) had spotted the book at a bookstall during an EMI convention back in October 2005 and had bought a copy for Rs.200. He said that he had visited the EMI convention to check if there were any conversion activities going on. In Kota City, EMI run four schools, an orphanage and a hospital. The city happens to be the stronghold of Madan Dilawar, a minister known for his stand against alleged conversions in the district. On 14 February, Madan Dilawar filed a first information report (FIR) at a police station in Kota saying that the EMI was selling a book which insulted Hindu deities and thereby hurt the majority community’s religious sentiments. The book was brought to the notice of top police officers, including the Additional Director-General of Police (Crime branch). The Superintendent of police in Kota received a letter from his superiors asking him to make an inquiry. He directed the Station House Officer at Bhimganj Mandi, where the EMI is headquartered, to conduct an inquiry. The Station House Officer acquired a copy, ‘studied’ it, and concluded that it contained inflammatory material. On 14 February, he also filed an FIR. Now EMI had two FIRs filed against it. The EMI premises in Kota were raided on the same day. Copies of the book were seized from the organization’s library and arrest warrants were issued against Archbishop M. A. Thomas, the founder of the EMI, and his son, Samuel Thomas. While the investigating official was carrying on an inquiry, a group of people climbed over the gate of the Emmanuel Mission School and set fire to the cross on it. On 21 February, the Ministry of Social Welfare cancelled the registration of five societies run by the EMI. Their bank accounts were frozen, putting the Mission in a financial crisis. Five people, including the Mission’s accountant, Samuel Thomas and the translator of Mathew’s book, were arrested. On the night of 26 February, a group of people broke into the school and vandalized a statue of St. Paul. In Niwai in Tonk district, the manager of an EMI school and his wife were manhandled. According to the police, a mission school in Taleda was pelted with stones by Shiv Sena members. Two men in Kota announced a reward on Archbishop Thomas’s head. They were arrested, but the Chief Investigating Officer dismissed the incident as a ‘non-event’, likening it to a similar declaration by a Muslim leader in the context of the Danish Cartoons controversy. Throughout the whole affair, food and medical supplies to the orphanage and the hospital were disrupted, affecting 1,200 people,

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including children. The police in Kota have never been able to prove charges of forcible conversions against the EMI or any minority organization. Outfits owing allegiance to the RSS run some 30 schools in Kota and the success of the Mission’s schools may not look like a good thing to them. But there is always a wider context in which the local events are played out. In a public meeting near Jashpur6 the BJP president, Rajnath Singh, dared Christian missionaries to ‘try converting Hindus’. In all his meetings, Singh had a single theme: Those who are converting Hindus take heed. There is no mercy for you (The Indian Express 10 April 2006). Referring to the Rajasthan Government’s new law on conversions, he pointed out, ‘as soon as I became the BJP president, I told all my party Chief Ministers to enact laws to check conversion and foil the designs of Christian missionaries’ (Ibid.).7 Conversions comprise the biggest danger to society, he told his audience, and we cannot allow the demographic profile of the country to be changed. We will not let Hindus to be converted into a minority, as somebody has said they would be by 2060. As long as the BJP is on the political scene, it would fight such attempts tooth and nail. (Ibid.)8 On 7 April 2006, the provincial government of the BJP-dominated legislative assembly passed the new piece of legislation, the Dharma Swatantrya Bill, banning religious conversion. Offences under the new law are non-bailable. A few weeks before, Christian organizations led by the Rajasthan Christian Fellowship had organized a rally to protest against the bill in Jaipur. Rajasthan has less than 1 per cent Christians. The Bill bans all conversions through allurement, force or deceit, and imposes two to five years imprisonment for the offence. The guilty can also be fined up to Rs.50,000. The Bill has provisions to punish institutions supposed to be indulging in conversions. The Bill allows converts to return to their original faith.9 The State Governor, Pratibha Patil, considered as the representative of the central government, has not yet given her assent to the controversial Bill. Article 200 of the Constitution allows Governors to withhold assent to Bills indefinitely. State Congress chief B. D. Kalla requested the Governor not to clear the Bill as it is ‘aimed at terrorizing the minorities’ (Hindustan Times 9 November 2006). Gujarat, also BJP governed, is another state which has passed a similar Bill. That the Gujarat government has not framed rules for the said bill, or that so far no case, either in Madhya Pradesh, Orissa or Arunachal Pradesh of ‘forceful conversion’ or ‘conversion by allurement and fraud means’ has come to light, is not the concern of BJP governments. It is enough that such legislation is on the statute books so that minorities in general and Christian missionaries in particular, who are rendering selfless service to marginalized people in remote areas – are intimidated. (Emmanuel 2006)

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According to one perceptive observer, the attacks on Christians, unlike in Hindu–Muslim riots, very rarely involve mass clashes between people of Christian and non-Christian faiths. Instead, the intimidation takes mainly three forms. The first is of violent assaults on Christian priests, rape of nuns, destruction and desecration of churches and chapels, and burning of Bibles. A second form of intimidation involves attacking converts and burning down their houses. The third form of intimidation involves the mobilization of large masses for ‘re-conversion’ to Hinduism.10 The police, while making a show of protecting the Christian families, rarely restrain or register complaints against the attackers. The new Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, has, during his tenure, dutifully carried out the Sangh clan’s agenda of enacting a more stringent anti-conversion law and changes in school textbooks. The new law stipulates that any person or organization planning to carry out evangelism must first inform the local administration. All criticisms of the Sangh government’s anti-Christian campaign are deflected by giving one standard answer: There are numerous articles by even Mahatama Gandhi decrying conversion. It was a Congress government in Orissa which first introduced an anti-conversion law. Subsequently, a similar law was enacted under a Congress regime in Madhya Pradesh. We have to see that conversions do not take place under duress or due to greed or temptation. (The Indian Express 27 August 2006)11 The Congress-led government at Himachal Pradesh, a small state in the north of India, has also recently passed an anti-conversion law. There are only 10,000 Christians in Himachal Pradesh, out of a total population of 6.4 million. Karan Thapar, an astute political commentator, described the development as an effort to demonize the minority Christian community, and argued that the law ‘criminalizes all forced and fraudulent conversions although, like its BJP counterparts, it is silent about re-conversions’ (Hindustan Times 18 March 2007). Pointing to the complicity of the Indian National Congress with the BJP, not withstanding its declarations of secularism,12 Thapar underlines his inescapable conclusion: If you ask me, the intention behind this Act is obvious. The Himachal Congress Party, which faces elections next March, is pandering to Hindu votes by borrowing BJP policies. To corroborate this interpretation, I’m told the chief minister introduced the measure after a BJP MLA tried to do the same thing through a private member’s bill. Equally significantly, all the amendments tabled by the BJP were accepted and passed (Hindustan Times 18 March 2007) From a historical perspective, the Congress President’s refusal to stop the passage of this bill very much conforms to a certain pattern of praxis.

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The paradox is Sonia Gandhi has shown that Congress critics could be correct. They have always claimed the Party’s secularism is simply a cloak of convenience. After all, they argue, it was Congress that opened the doors of the Babri Masjid, began the 1989 campaign offering Ram Rajya and promised to create a Christian state in Mizoram. The Party preaches secularism but often acts with sectarian motives in mind. The Himachal anti-conversion law fits into this practice. (Hindustan Times 18 March 2007) The objective of breaking the spirit of Muslims and forcing them to live in fear in ghettoes has already been substantially achieved after the Babri Masjid demolition and Gujarat massacre. And this task was performed with the direct or tacit support of the administrative apparatus at local levels, particularly the police. The anti-minorities campaign now seems to be preparing to target the selective pockets of Christian population.

Notes 1 Harijan, 11 May 1935. 2 The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (Act 78 of 1956). 3 On 30 October 1945, representatives of the Catholic Union of India and the ALLIndia Council of Indian Christians elected Mr. M. Ruthnaswamy, Vice-Chancellor of the Annamalai University as its Chairman. 4 Dharma Svatantrya Vidheyaka Kyon? A Hindi booklet published by Raghunath Prasad Pathak, Delhi. 5 The narrative is mainly based on the following reports: Frontline, 21 April 2006 ‘Saffron Strikes’; The Indian Express 29 April 2006, ‘What is this Law about? Anticonversion legislation is being used to intimidate minorities’; Hindustan Times 9 November 2006, ‘Rajasthan Conversion Bill in a bind’; The Indian Express 10 April 2006, ‘On Conversion, Rajnath takes on Missionaries’; Tehelka 21 January 2006; Seminar, no. 485, January 2000, ‘Poverty in the conversions debate’; Hindustan Times 4 August 2006, ‘Chhattisgarh flashes green light to anti-conversion Bill’; Hindustan Times 22 July 2006, ‘Tough conversion law in MP’; The Hindu 17 September 2006, ‘Governor seeks detail of religious conversions’; The Indian Express 23 September 2006, ‘Six arrested for firing at mob after attempted conversion in Gujarat’; Frontline 10 March 2006, ‘Festival of Fear: intimidating the tribal Christians’. 6 Rajnath’s choice of Jashpur has a strategic significance. The area has the biggest Church in Chhattsigarh at Kunkuri, and has a sizeable Christian population. Not surprisingly, the Sangh groups have boosted their activity here. The countryside is dotted with Saraswati Shishu Mandirs, meant to counter missionary schools. In April 2006, VHP general secretary Praveen Togadia conducted a ‘trishool diksha’ programme at Kasabel. 7 In a letter to the Pope Benedict XVI, Rajnath Singh wrote that Indian anti-conversion laws had stood the scrutiny of the Supreme Court, which had come down heavily against fraudulent conversions. India’s Supreme Court, in a 1977 judgement in Rev. S. Stanislaus versus state of Madhya Pradesh, upheld the Constitutional validity of conversion-prohibiting laws enacted by the Madhya Pradesh and Orissa governments. The two states, which were then controlled by Congress, passed anticonversion laws in 1967 and 1968 respectively. Earlier the pope had told the Indian

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Ambassador that religious intolerance is being practised in some regions of India (Hindustan Times 23 May 2006). In an article in the Seminar magazine (vol. 485, January 2000), Dilip D’Souza commented: ‘To begin with, how many conversions are happening anyway? I really don’t know. But it takes no more than a look at Indian Census figures to realize that however many they are, they are not having much of an effect on the fraction of India’s population that Christians represent. In 1971, India had 14.2 million Christians (2.6 percent of the population); in 1981, 16.2 million (2.4 percent); in, 1991 19.6 million (2.3 percent). The simple story these figures tell: the Christian share of India’s population is steadily decreasing’. The Sangh groups call it ghar vapsi (home returning). In Chhattisigarh this campaign is being carried by one Judeo Singh, a scion of an erstwhile royal family. Harsh Mandar, Hindustan Times 27 June 2007, ‘A Heavy Cross to Bear’. The attacks on priests have recurred with growing frenzy since 1999–98, when a priest was paraded naked in Dhumka, and nuns were raped in Jhabua and Mayurbhan. In the same district, a priest was murdered in 1999. Churches were destroyed in the Dangs in Gujarat in 1998. India’s then Home Minister, L. K. Advani, admitted in Parliament that there were 400 attacks on Christian priests, nuns and churches between 1998 and 2000. The gruesome burning alive with his two small sons, in the interiors of Orissa in 1999, of Australian missionary Graham Staines shocked the liberal consciousness in India. There are eighteen cases against Christian missionaries over conversions in Madhya Pradesh. The National Commission for Minorities found, after a visit to the state, that most of these cases were based on false charges. This interview with the Chief Minister was conducted by a group of journalists, including Saubhik Chakrabarti and Jayanth Jacob. In July 2006, when John Dayal of the All India Christian Council wrote to Sonia Gandhi about the anti-conversion acts passed by BJP Governments, she replied: ‘The Congress Party’s views on this are well known. However, these are enactments passed by state legislatures where the Congress is in opposition. The Congress has opposed them strongly’. The leading intellectuals of the Christian community have brought the passing of this Bill by the Congress Government to Sonia Gandhi’s notice. In a letter to her, Archbishop Concessao wrote: ‘This is certainly the last thing that the citizens, particularly the minorities, expected from the Congress … [it] contradicts the integrity and the stand of the Congress on this issue’. Sonia Gandhi did not intervene and the Governor signed the Bill into law.

References Bates, M. S. (1945) Religious Liberty: An inquiry, Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Emmanuel, D. (2006) ‘What is this law about?’, The Indian Express, 29 April 2006. Fox, F. F. (2006) ‘Foreign money for India: Anti-dependency and anti-conversion perspectives’, International Bulletin of Mission Research, 30(3). Harijan, 11 May 1935. Goel, Sita Ram. (1998) ‘Vindicated by time’, Voice of India, New Delhi. Hooja, B. (1956) A Life Dedicated: Biography of Govind Das, Delhi: Delhi University Press. Jaffrelot, C. (1995) The Hindu Nationalist Movement in India, New Delhi: Viking. Joshi, S. and Josh, B. (1994) Struggle for Hegemony in India: Culture, community and power, New Delhi: Sage Publications. Kim, S. C. H. (2003) In Search of Identity: Debates on religious conversion in India, New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

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Krishnaswami, A. (1957) Study of Discrimination in the Matter of Religious Rights and Practices, United Nations document E/CN.4/Sub.2/l.1233, November 15, 1957, pp. 59–60. Nehru, J. (1996) Selected works of Jawaharlal Nehru (vol. 19), New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund. Rao, B. S. (1967) The Framing of India’s Constitution: Select documents (vol. 2), Bombay: Universal Law Publishing. Report of the Christian Missionary Activities Enquiry Committee, Madhya Pradesh, 1956, (1956), Nagpur, Government Printing, Madhya Pradesh. The National Christian Council Review, 1946, p. 94. The National Christian Council Review, 1947, p. 351. The United Nations and Human Rights, (1984), New York: UNO. Ward, Marcus. (1954) The Christian Home, No. 30. Webster, John C. B. (1992) The Dalit Christians: A History, Delhi: Indian Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (ISPCK).

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Chinese Indonesian entrepreneurs, Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity and the Indonesian nation state1 Juliette Koning Introduction Benny Hinn, superstar Christian televangelist and faith healer, made a multicity tour of Indonesia in late March. More than 100,000 arm-waving disciples paid more than $100 each to hear his electrifying sermons and to witness him raising cripples from wheelchairs. Indonesia, home of the world’s biggest Muslim population, seems an unlikely destination for Hinn. But Indonesia’s big cities are now part of the international evangelical circuit, and charismatic Protestant churches are growing apace. The rich, urban ethnic Chinese of Indonesia are flocking to Christianity. … The ebullient and staggeringly rich charismatic churches are thriving by spreading a message of personal confidence and material success that seems to hold special appeal for young Chinese. (Brazier 2006)

As the news report above reveals, charismatic Christianity is gaining popularity in Indonesia, and particularly so among Chinese groups in urban areas. While it is argued that countries like Indonesia, and also Singapore, China and Malaysia, have the fastest-growing Christian communities in the world, and that the majority of these new believers are middle-class Chinese (Brazier 2006; Yang 2005), little is known about the reasons why they are converting to this vibrant form of Christianity. This chapter aims to resolve this lack of understanding by focusing on a group of recently converted Chinese Indonesian entrepreneurs in the city of Yogyakarta, central Java. The case of Chinese Indonesians has a particular edge to it because of the precarious position of Chinese Indonesians within the Indonesian nation state (Coppel 2002). In the mid-1960s, the New Order regime of former president Suharto (1966–98) installed a severe assimilation policy, which meant that Chinese schools were closed down and Chinese religious traditions were banned from the public sphere. Being Chinese became a contested position within a nation state that many Chinese Indonesians consider theirs. Apart from ethnic and religious quandaries, their economic predominance has also been troublesome, of which the often heard stereotype that ‘all’ Chinese Indonesians are ‘extremely rich’ is the best example. Although Chinese

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Indonesians supposedly control 80 per cent of Indonesia’s corporate assets (Yeung and Olds 2000: 7–9), the large majority of the three to seven million Chinese Indonesians are shopkeepers and traders.2 Their strong representation in entrepreneurial activities is closely related to the fact that during the New Order regime they were not allowed to occupy political, civic and military positions (Freedman 2000). Their multiple contested positions have made Chinese Indonesians into easy scapegoats in times of economic and political turmoil; the most recent outburst of violence against them took place in May 1998. The late 1990s saw a culmination of environmental, economic and political crises, and Chinese Indonesians faced heightened insecurity due to financial losses, but more importantly because their physical safety was under attack. This leads to the question of whether the intense insecurity of the late 1990s was the trigger for some Chinese Indonesian entrepreneurs to convert to Charismatic Christianity. In the remainder of this chapter I shall discuss the research methodology followed by the positioning of Chinese Indonesians within the Indonesian nation state. The next section reflects on the global and local ‘faces’ of Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity, while the subsequent empirical part, by way of a narrative approach, explores the reasons behind the move towards charismatic Christianity. In the final section several conclusions are drawn.

The narrative approach The research on which this paper is based set out to assemble the life and business histories of Chinese Indonesians who are active in charismatic movements. Based on local information that Chinese Indonesian entrepreneurs were turning to Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity, the initial aim was to explore possible relationships between business and belief, taking into consideration the precarious position of Chinese Indonesians in the Indonesian nation state. Narrativity is the most basic form we use for making experiences ‘meaningful’. Much centres on the manner in which experiences are framed, ‘the typical form of framing experiences (and our memory of it) is in narrative form’ (Bruner 1990: 56), with stories as one type of narrative (Plummer 2001). The stories collected in this study are moderated life stories focusing on family and religious events, business endeavours, and possible overlaps in family, business and religious networks. As Denzin (1989) has argued, important structuring devices in life story narratives are turning point moments. These so-called epiphanies ‘are interactional moments and experiences which leave marks on people’s lives’ (Denzin 1989: 70). The turning points often inspire changes in perceptions and behaviour. In this study, specific attention was paid to the epiphanies that led to religious change. In understanding conversion, I have followed Hefner (1993) and AustinBroos (2003) who stress that studying conversion needs a holistic time–space approach. In other words, conversion cannot be understood either from the

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individual experience or from its purely social, political and institutional contexts. The analysis departed from the perspective that narratives are in retrospect interpretations of events and happenings in our lives (as acts of meaning). For the analysis, features of the stories have been related to each other (religious and business issues) and connected to phenomena shared by the group (the delicate position of Chinese Indonesians) (Lieblich et al 1998: 12–13). What stands out in all the stories is the experience of a change; that the narratives express a ‘before and after’. The ‘before’ was troublesome but the ‘after’ is better; that there is an expressed ‘improvement in sense of adequacy and competence, and a greater increase in post-conversion spiritual experiences’ (Zinnbauer and Pargament 1998: 173). The narratives used in this chapter stem from ethnographic fieldwork (2004) in the city of Yogyakarta, Central Java. I talked at length with Chinese Indonesian owner-managers of small and medium enterprises (mainly retail and services, with some manufacturing companies). They share a common descent from southern China (Fujian province) and are mostly second or third generation Chinese born in Indonesia. Before joining the Pentecostalcharismatic movement, 50 per cent were already Christian (traditional Protestant) while the others adhered to Buddhism or Confucianism. In order to contextualize their narratives, I conducted observations in the charismatic churches, meetings of the local Full Gospel groups, and the social, charitable and political activities of the ethnic Chinese in this city. The interviewees were contacted through visiting two Pentecostal-charismatic churches. The Chinese Indonesians that participated in the research either were a member of one of these movements or were contacted based on snowball methods. In total twelve entrepreneurs were interviewed, all of them twice on different occasions and the interviews (two to three hours each) were tape recorded with the consent of the interviewees and translated from Indonesian into English by the author. The interview topics related to personal histories, business histories and religious experiences. The timeframe of this study is quite relevant as the interviews took place in the autumn of 2004, during the election of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as President, and room for expressing Chineseness was just starting to open up. There was a good deal of uncertainty among the Chinese Indonesian groups in Yogyakarta at that time, as it was still unknown what the new, first directly-chosen president and vicepresident would signify for the Chinese Indonesian population.

Chinese Indonesians and the Indonesian nation state My attempt here is to bring the state into the discussion as it relates to the position of Chinese Indonesians. I consider this relevant for an understanding of the role of the state in ‘the selective creation and manipulation of ethnic identities’ (Tan 2001: 952) in the process of nation-building, which in Indonesia can be characterized as an ongoing attempt to forge a national identity out of a multi-ethnic populace. However, it is equally necessary in order to

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understand the economic dominant but politically weak position of the ethnic Chinese. The matter of the citizenship and identity of Chinese Indonesians comes to its full meaning in the contention by Aguilar (2001: 505) that the ‘alienness of Chinese can be understood as the ideological product of sociohistorical processes specific to Indonesia, particularly in its construction of nationhood’. One of the more important facets from that history is the fact that the Dutch colonizers positioned the Chinese as intermediaries for European enterprises. Next to being the largest group of immigrant Asians and being powerful in economic terms, the colonizers assigned them shares in the lucrative opium trade at the expense of native entrepreneurs and the gap between the natives and the Chinese only grew (Hefner 2001: 17–19). As Hefner (2001) argues, this turned out to be crucial in the formative years of independence and thereafter. The division into Europeans, Foreign Orientals (such as the Chinese) and pribumi (children of the soil), each with different rights, by the colonial government continued during and after the formation of the nation state. According to some, government policies are usually accountable for the fact that inter-ethnic relationships change into violence (Kleden in Dahana 2004: 55) and New Order policies have indeed been detrimental. Various restrictive laws for Chinese Indonesians were installed so that ‘such citizens shall be assimilated as to avoid any racial exclusiveness and discrimination’ (Winarta 2004: 72). Examples include the restriction of traditional Chinese religious expressions to the family worship house, the requirement to change Chinese names into Indonesian ones, the banning of the Chinese language from the public sphere, and the obligation to always carry a letter to prove Indonesian citizenship. Most of the discriminatory regulations date from the early years of the New Order regime when the assimilation policy was aimed at ‘repudiating’ Chineseness (Lindsey 2005: 54). The Assimilation Program was an attempt to construct a national identity by ‘identifying significant others’, the significant other being the non-pribumi Chinese (Hoon 2006: 151). Obviously, this affected issues of ethnic identity and self-identification among Chinese groups. This systematic othering resulted in an anti-Chinese rhetoric and many violent attacks. For Chinese Indonesians the choice was an either or position; they could either be Indonesian or Chinese, but not both: ‘to be completely Indonesian, the Chinese had to give up all their “Chineseness”’ (Hoon 2006: 152). The possibility of a hybrid identity, according to Ang (2001) the more logical outcome of a Chinese migrant’s daily life in a non-Chinese environment, was never a real option. In discussions on being Chinese, it is clear that the state (bureaucracy and instruments of government) has been one of the most important ‘variables, which has contributed to the “separateness” of the Chinese in Indonesia, particularly in Java’ (Suryadinata 1993: 77). In the years after the fall of Suharto (1998), the ban on the manifestation of Chinese cultural and religious expressions was abolished, and Im Lek

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(Chinese New Year) was installed as a national holiday. However, it is questionable whether there is enough political and judicial confidence among Chinese Indonesians to reclaim their citizenship and legal rights as these still belong to a system controlled by the state, a system by experience both inaccessible and hostile to the ethnic Chinese. Furthermore, much of the antiChinese sentiments are played out at the lower levels of government, where rules and regulations directly affect the daily lives of the Chinese Indonesians (Lindsey 2005). The year 1998 was also the year of severe violent outbursts against ethnic Chinese people and their property. Many Chinese Indonesians fled the country; those who stayed encountered heightened feelings of insecurity (Purdey 2006; Susanto 2006). Some Chinese Indonesians took new citizenship initiatives and formed political parties and pressure groups. However, others wanted to be left alone and ‘continue to go about their business and hope and pray that their family will survive this multiple crisis’ (Tan 2004: 35). According to Freedman (2000), two perceptions about Chinese Indonesians have persisted; the idea that they are not true citizens and might turn their back on Indonesia whenever they feel like it, and the idea that they have always benefited disproportionately from economic opportunities granted by the cronyism of former president Suharto. Chinese Indonesians themselves feel ‘they are discriminated against even though they have Indonesian citizenship and have chosen the country as their homeland’ (Freedman 2000: 17). In short, since colonial times, the Chinese in Indonesia have had contested citizenship positions and have been perceived as outsiders. They have had to cope with countless insecure circumstances on top of their already insecure day-to-day existence. Government policies and the implementation thereof have played a decisive role. The question that comes up is: do Chinese Indonesians seek ‘identity’ and ‘protection’ beyond their nation state and is global Christianity a good alternative?

A global religion and its local Indonesian expression Charismatic Christianity is considered the fastest growing religious movement. In 2000, it had millions of adherents worldwide (Anderson 2005: 2).3 Charismatic Christianity singles out those Christians who share ‘religious or spiritual experiences and the activities of the Holy Spirit’ (Poewe 1994: 2). Its emphasis is on conversion; being born again, which means having left behind a ‘sinful past’. Investing in faith (through Bible study, evangelizing, paying tithes, activities in charity and church work) sets into motion a process of continual self-overcoming and results in personal success. Salvation is very much ‘this-worldly’ and results in a ‘new life’ in material and spiritual terms (Corten and Marshall-Fratani 2001: 7). The worship meetings are very lively with music and singing, and with claims of supernatural miracles. The music, singing and clapping not only create a very stimulating atmosphere in which people can forget their everyday problems, it also makes people ‘ready’ to experience the Holy Spirit.

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Charismatic Christianity has an enormous worldwide appeal. This global growth is related to its egalitarian character, as salvation and the gifts of the Spirit are open to all and everyone can evangelize once they are inspired by it. There is a strong social organization stretching out from global networks to local prayer groups, which bring about a sense of belonging. The worship meetings are very special and, with a focus on spirituality and ecstatic music and singing, are in stark contrast to the daily lives of the converts (Robbins 2004: 123–27). The global attraction can furthermore be found in a ‘theology of practice’; theology is acted out rather than philosophized (Anderson 2003: 8). And finally, Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity is de-territorialized, not tied down to one place in particular, and addresses local issues and concerns (Robbins 2003: 222). Among the more successful charismatic revivals are movements that stress health, wealth and prosperity. They often attract urban middle class and welleducated followers with their teachings of ‘positive confession’ (Coleman 2000: 28), and with an approach that offers solutions to individual and collective problems. However, these movements are also criticized for putting too much emphasis on being able to solve all problems, spiritual, physical or financial (Coleman 2000: 27). This materialist orientation can be found in the way they interpret the power of God, which is ‘reduced to a spiritual force which can be tapped by various formulas in order to appropriate material benefits’ (Hunt 2000: 333). These prosperity teachings also found fertile ground in various parts of Asia Pacific, particularly in nations with booming economies where these churches give expression to a ‘new capitalist culture’ (Hunt 2000: 340). The above is aptly illustrated by one of the Chinese Indonesian entrepreneurs from the study: The charismatic movement is about The Holy Spirit; it focuses on mercy. In the beginning, the charismatic movement in Yogyakarta had considerable growth, there were many cases of healing. Success theology is a spectacular theme and attracts many people. The principle that Jesus will help is there. Such spectacular themes are quite popular in Indonesia at the moment. Businessmen are also people who encounter problems and they try to find a solution in this belief. Asian charismatics are characterized by their literal approach to the Bible as the ‘Word of God’, and a strong preference for a personal, often individualistic, pursuit of salvation. Many are active in personal evangelism (Anderson 2005: 2). The Pentecostal-charismatic movement in this region is typified as ‘young’, as it was well after the 1950s when it started to attract the first followers. This label also applies to its present-day followers who are young people attracted by the ‘modern’ worship style with entertaining singing. The Asian movement is said to exhibit a specific Asian spiritual awareness and a ‘more positive, this-worldly message to the prevailing pessimistic or even escapist world of Christian thought’ (Ma 2005: 67).

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Indonesia’s Pentecostal (charismatic) history starts in the 1910s and 1920s with the arrival of Dutch missionaries, from whom the Pentecostal Church of Indonesia (GPdI), the largest Pentecostal denomination, originated. The Pentecostal movement was successful but also hampered by many schisms and, in 1924, there were already more than 50 denominational groups. It is from the GPdI that one of the larger congregations arose, the Indonesian Bethel Church (GBI), which grew from 51,000 in 1970 to 420,000 in the 1990s (Wiyono 2005: 312–13). It is these Bethel churches that have seen a tremendous growth in the last few years. These churches are autonomous, and exhibit an entertaining worship style and pragmatic preaching with testimonies. They have preachers who are former businessmen and professionals, show aggressive church marketing and emphasize divine healing (Wiyono 2005: 318–19). The meetings are not very formal and often concern matters that affect people’s everyday lives. There are many specialized programmes for women, the young and business people. It is a modern movement characterized by strong leadership (Robinson 2005: 340–42). The Indonesian Pentecostal-charismatic movement has seen two moments of rapid growth. The first sudden increase took place in the late 1980s, in the slipstream of rapid modernization, industrialization, economic development and Islamicization, particularly in urban Java. It is argued that new religious groups, such as the charismatic movement, filled the ideological vacuum that the rapid modernization processes created. In these years, the influx of adherents mainly came from the middle class, professionals and business people. The second moment of growth occurred in the late 1990s, with the start of the economic crisis and the fall of President Suharto, when tens of thousands of people attended such services in Javanese cities and large numbers of conversions took place (Robinson 2005: 337–38). Although Christianity (encompassing Protestants and Catholics) is one of the officially recognized religions in Indonesia, the Pentecostal-charismatic movements are regarded with suspicion by the more mainstream Christian churches (as these lose their church members), by local and regional government officers (as they are in charge of administrating requests for permits), and by local residents in case the ‘noisy’ meetings take place in Muslim neighbourhoods. Most of the groups and movements assemble in restaurants, hotels, conference halls and private buildings, and the majority do not have permits. Public gatherings frequently bring local unrest and resistance and are usually prohibited. Under Suharto’s New Order regime, restrictions were placed on ‘churches regarding evangelism and missionary work’ (Robinson 2005: 339). Even today, almost ten years after the New Order regime, these Christian worship meetings remain contested (Jakarta Post 15 June 2007).

Narrating the religious turn How do the Chinese Indonesians in this study narrate their religious turn and what do these narratives reveal about their reasons to convert to Pentecostal-

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charismatic Christianity? As this chapter started with arguing that the group under study is precariously situated in the Indonesian nation state related to their long history of contested identities as ethnic Chinese and as economic actors, I discuss the religious change at two levels. The first level discusses issues of religion, ethnicity and the state; while the second level focuses on the personal religious experiences of the Chinese Indonesian entrepreneurs here under study.

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Chinese Indonesian empowerment after the New Order Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity is, according to some, frequently found among ethnic minorities, stigmatized as inferior where it ‘acts as a revitalization and assertion of moral standing’ (Martin 2005: 28). In such instances, converting to charismatic Christianity is an act of empowerment and religion works as an identity marker. The suppressed Chinese identity instigated by the assimilation policy and the ethnic manipulation by the state has left its marks. The end of the New Order regime in the late 1990s opened up room for Chinese Indonesians to express their concerns as an ethnic minority. The following narratives by Chinese Indonesians in this study demonstrate this: We want to revive the idea that Chinese culture is a very beautiful culture; we want to correct the wrongs being done to the Chinese, to get rid of the discrimination. We want the same rights as other Indonesians. If we look at the facts, we can say that in the past the Chinese felt like a group that was held down. They were afraid and fearful. This is exactly why they went looking for justice, love, mercy, spirituality, protection, God. Indonesia is full of problems, especially since the crisis (1997). There are increasingly more Islamic movements; we have terrorist problems. Indonesia has a very weak political and law system and is the third most corrupt country in the world. This is why praying is so important. We [Christians and Chinese] cannot join practical politics. We can only follow the politics of the Lord. Many threatening things happen to Christian and business people in Indonesia. In the middle of these threatening experiences Jesus opened their eyes. Business people only know money. But then their stores were burned to the ground in Solo and Jakarta [attacks on Chinese in 1998]. This and the crisis opened their eyes. They became aware that there is something beyond them that is bigger. They started to put their hope in Jesus; they started to see that Jesus is there and that He wants to help. They aspired to get closer to God and learn how to pray; they started to have meetings and get-togethers. The narratives show that the fall of Suharto created an opening for Chinese Indonesians to speak about the legal, social, cultural and political discrimination they endured during Suharto’s New Order regime, and to claim

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the same rights as any other Indonesian citizen. However, in 2004, many Chinese Indonesians were still ambivalent as the fear and apprehension of the last thirty years had not yet disappeared. The economic crisis, and the rioting and attacks against Chinese Indonesians in the late 1990s confirmed that their long felt insecurity was not yet over. For some Chinese Indonesians, religion turned out to offer comfort. Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity, as a revitalizing, global movement, holds the promise to offer protection beyond the nation state: ‘Christian churches have links to powerful international constituencies that eagerly defend the rights of Christian minorities worldwide’ (Brazier 2006). The charismatic movement also most aptly used its international networks ‘for syncretizing salvationary ideologies with local experiences’ (Lee and Ackerman 1997: 143–44). An illustration is found in the following words by the preacher of a charismatic movement in Yogyakarta: The senior preacher from our Solo branch went to Korea, to learn from Yonggi Cho. In 1997 a trip was made to the church of Lawrence Khong in Singapore and in 1999 my father went to Colombia to the biggest charismatic church: the International Charismatic Mission (ICM). From these networks we gained knowledge of the cell group phenomenon; the idea is that the cells multiply. We were the first in Indonesia to work with this cell group method. Within five months time the number of cells quadrupled. In the above two, closely related, narratives, epiphanies can be detected. The first epiphany is the fall of the New Order regime in 1998 that suppressed all expressions of Chineseness. The ‘after’ consists of redressing, although hesitantly, this discrimination. The second epiphany is the economic crisis and the attacks on the Chinese in 1998. The ‘after’ consists of seeking protection in a rapidly growing salvationary global religious movement. At the group level, a combination of protection and empowerment is found in becoming involved in the ‘politics of the Lord’ as one of the interviewees expressed it. But there is also an individual dimension involved that better explains the choice of charismatic Christianity. Religion and business: individual empowerment At the individual level, it appears that Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity is particularly appealing for the group of Chinese Indonesian entrepreneurs under study because it is a religion that offers solutions. All the interviewees have found their way to charismatic Christianity in difficult times and many refer to the rioting and economic crisis of the late 1990s as extremely troublesome for them. In their moments of crises, it is often ‘a stranger’ who introduces them to the new religion. There is a moment of deliverance, something supernatural that they experience and express as having met Jesus face-to-face. Afterwards their problems are solved and the experience of being better off is a shared feeling. The following narrative illustrates this:

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Juliette Koning Before the crisis I had ordered materials from the factory but nothing was delivered while the prices were rising because of the crisis. My children said, ‘papa do not just trust on your own strength but trust in Jesus’. They took my wife and me to church and there I started crying, I felt very embarrassed but I could not stop. At that point I was ready to give my worries to Jesus and I raised my hands. I was the only one. It felt as if electricity went through my fingers. In the meantime no order came through and the prices kept rising, but I stayed very calm and knew Jesus would take care of it. By the time the prices had risen to the highest point, finally my trucks with materials arrived and notwithstanding the extremely high prices we sold almost all our stock.

Apart from solutions to their problems, the spiritual encounter brings another very important change; having found God and being able to ‘surrender’ brings peace of mind and moral support with inner feelings of being able to cope with whatever circumstances they are confronted with. God will lead and guide them through their difficult moments. Such protection (not to fall in sin) and guidance (support) strengthens and empowers them in their own leadership positions. The deeper awareness of God (who is there beside you) and the divine encounters have the effect of increased ‘self-esteem’ and changes in the ‘self-concept’ (cf. Poloma 1997). Through their new faith, the ownermanagers under study feel the potential to be or become more successful: After I have found God I am much more at ease in my business. Before finding Jesus I did my business with my head, rational thinking, wanting to be as perfect as possible. I thought this would get me the best business results. But after many tough experiences I let Jesus into my heart. I pray every day before I start work. I give the day in the hands of God and whatever happens that day is the way God has meant it to be. I have found peace in that. Before that I would constantly be thinking about the business, not able to sleep. But after my encounter with God I know all is in His hands. I do my work as good as possible but I am no longer worried. I know it will work out well. For the Chinese Indonesians in this study, active as they are in business, access to information, in particular trustworthy information, is vital. As was outlined earlier, Chinese Indonesians are also contested in their economic positions, and for business deals they often turn to each other. But trust does not automatically include co-ethnics, as the following narrative shows: Personal networks are very important. If I contact a Chinese businessman whose name I have from a friend, he will not trust me immediately. He will try to find references; find people who know me. We have to invest time in reaching the right feeling. You can call it trust building. That is our way of doing business; we do not work with contracts, as these might

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be worthless. If we would bring a case to court it will never be tried but it will cost us a lot of money; that is Indonesia. In such insecure (business) circumstances, their engagement in the Pentecostalcharismatic movement and in the business clubs that are associated with it, such as local branches of the Full Gospel Business Men Fellowship International (which by nature is interdenominational), offers them a trustworthy environment.4 Religiously active entrepreneurs often have strong personal ties of trust with co-worshippers, as ‘the network reinforces the behavioural norms of the faith, and also provides a primary source of contacts for the individual’ (Dodd and Seaman 1998: 73). Furthermore, they can share their business experiences, and other topics that cannot be discussed in any other religious group they know. Hence, these networks of co-worshippers fuse ethnicity and religion and, except for possible new business partners to be found on this axis, they also find an enhancement of their economic identities as entrepreneurs. As the following narrative shows: Most of our problems are not discussed in the mainstream churches. But the Full Gospel meetings can be used to discuss business opportunities although this is not among the major intentions. A while ago some property deals were closed via FG. It is rather natural that business issues arise among this group. As mentioned above, Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity is also known for being among the few religions that explicitly endorse wealth creation and the accumulation of capital. As Meyer (2006: 11) has argued, ‘Born Again Christians have a right to enjoy prosperity by the grace of God’. Although Chinese Indonesians share with Christian churches the importance of the family, the more mainstream Christian churches do not speak to the business spirit of the ethnic Chinese (Wijaya 2002). This is where the charismatic movement proves different and where many Chinese Indonesians find their answers: ‘in contrast to Buddhism or Catholicism, the charismatic churches endorsed the accumulation of wealth – a message that is attractive to a group for whom money has been a major cushion in a boisterous and volatile society’ (Brazier 2006). These are not unimportant issues for the entrepreneurs under study, as it is their day-to-day task to make a profit. In the words of one of the interviewees: ‘in business, the Chinese can be very pragmatic. The most important thing is profit. Maybe being a minority has taught the Chinese to be opportunistic and pragmatic at the same time’. Whereas Weber suggested that capital accumulation was the unintentional consequence of the ‘calling’ in combination with a Puritan ethic (Weber 1930), there is not much that is unintended in the capital accumulation of converted Chinese Indonesian Christians in this study. In fact, there is a very intentional appeal to spiritual guidance, support by God and the reception of ‘gifts of the spirit’ – in return for praying, leading an honest life and paying tithe.

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The narratives above reveal a common epiphany in the lives of the Chinese Indonesians in this study: in particular the turbulence of the late 1990s, and the economic crisis that affected them all in their day-to-day existence as owner-managers of firms. The Pentecostal-charismatic movement and Christian business clubs, such as Full Gospel, are unique in that they speak directly to the issues that are among the major worries of Chinese Indonesians in their private and business lives. These religious movements offer moral support, guidance, and an environment to meet like-minded people and trustworthy partners. The overall feeling is one of being at home, a feeling of belonging and more importantly of being taken seriously as Chinese Indonesians and as Chinese Indonesian entrepreneurs. The ‘after’ thus brings self-esteem, personal empowerment, and the promise of a better and more successful (business) life. However, in order to maintain ‘the after’, singing and praying during the weekly sessions, joining in the specialized group meetings, being active in charity, and the retelling of conversion stories is required. As argued by Coleman (2003:17) the retelling of ‘conversion’ stories by Born Again Christians is ‘a means of recreating and reconverting the charismatic self ’. Chinese Indonesian entrepreneurs have discovered that through Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity they can sing themselves into existence.

Conclusion The aim of this chapter was to come to a better understanding of why Chinese Indonesian entrepreneurs converted to Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity in the late 1990s; a turbulent period in Indonesia with the end of the New Order regime, an undemocratic stronghold for over thirty years, and the stern economic crisis that brought many into severe financial and business problems. As the narrative is the most basic form we use for making experiences ‘meaningful’, life and business histories were assembled with particular interest in epiphanies and the manner in which the ‘before and after’ is narrated. The Chinese Indonesian case was furthermore situated in a discussion of identity politics in the Indonesian nation state and the global growth of the most expressive form of Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity. In conclusion, I argue that opting for a global religion is to be interpreted as a turn away from the nation state and the embracement of a larger more global frame of reference. Global Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity offers Chinese Indonesians a new and different sense of belonging in an otherwise more compromised and oppressive local and national setting. Because Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity is a global movement with many local expressions, individual members may feel connected to believers all over the world. For Chinese Indonesians this connectedness to a global community takes on a special meaning. It reduces their insecurity and offers an escape from a depressing situation in which their wealth and economic success does not translate to a position of shared political standing or equality in citizenship. Apart from the global–local nexus, there is another important dimension

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involved as well: the Gospel of prosperity. The attraction of the Chinese Indonesian urban, entrepreneurial, middle class towards Charismatic Christianity is closely related to its this-worldly character, where religion and everyday problems are aptly combined. The charismatic movement is unique among religious movements in endorsing wealth creation and the liberty to discuss business problems that reaches the very ‘heart’ of these economic actors. More importantly, these charismatic movements, with their lively sessions, specialized cell groups and specific business clubs, provide a forum where Chinese Indonesian entrepreneurs can share their insecurities. There is instant care and relief; particularly when get-togethers with fellow Christians and, in most cases, co-ethnics bring moral and material support. in other words, Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity provides moral support in coping with their insecurities as a contested minority through praying and singing, and practical support in the newly created trustworthy business networks. In a sense, a new arena of belonging has been found. Those who make the religious turn, by doing so, convey a preference to be primarily charismatic Christians who belong to a global community; as a family within the larger family of God. It is in their weekly meetings that Chinese Indonesian entrepreneurs sing themselves into existence beyond, but to a certain degree also within, the Indonesian nation state.

Notes 1 The title of this chapter is inspired by the title of an article by Steven Smith (2004: 499) ‘Singing our world into existence’. Smith explains that he took his title from the practice of Australian Aboriginal people who, during their period of ‘dreamtime’ sing their world into existence, a practice written about by novelist Bruce Chatwin in his book The Songlines published in 1987. 2 Since the 1930s, the estimated number of ethnic Chinese was held to be somewhere around 5 to 6 million. The results of the 2000 census, in which, for the first time since the colonial 1930 census, Chineseness was mapped again, show that this number is lower (3 million). The 2000 census is based on self-identification, meaning people could choose how to be registered; seen against the insecure position of the ethnic Chinese it is assumed that the 2000 result is an under-representation (Suryadinata, Arifin and Ananta 2003: 73–101). 3 In this chapter, I use Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity and charismatic Christianity as the movements and churches in the research that have their roots in Pentecostal denominations (which in their turn stem from the Protestant evangelical tradition). Pentecostal theology stresses that ‘Jesus offers salvation; Jesus heals; Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit; and Jesus is coming again’ and this ‘full gospel’ pattern of the Pentecostal theology has entered a variety of cultural contexts all over the globe (Robbins 2004: 121). 4 The Full Gospel Business Men Fellowship International is seen as one of the most important vehicles through which charismatic Christianity spreads around the world.

References Aguilar, F. (2001) ‘Citizenship, inheritance, and the indigenizing of “orang Chinese” in Indonesia’, Positions, 9: 501–33.

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Anderson, A. (2003) ‘The proliferation and varieties of Pentecostalism in the majority world’, lecture at the symposium Non-Western Pentecostalism, Amsterdam. ——(2005) ‘The charismatic face of Christianity in Asia’, A. Anderson and E. Tang (eds) Asian and Pentecostal. The charismatic face of Christianity in Asia, Oxford: Regnum Books International. Ang, I. (2001) On Not Speaking Chinese: Living between Asia and the West, London: Routledge. Austin-Broos, D. (2003) ‘The anthropology of conversion: an introduction’, A. Buckser and S. D. Glazier (eds) The Anthropology of Religious Conversion, Lanham, MD: Rowan & Littlefield Publishers. Brazier, R. (2006) ‘In Indonesia, the Chinese go to church’, International Herald Tribune Thursday, April 26. Bruner, J. (1990) Acts of Meaning, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Coleman, S. (2000) The Globalization of Charismatic Christianity. Spreading the gospel of prosperity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ——(2003) ‘Continuous conversion? The rhetoric, practice and rhetorical practice of charismatic Protestant conversion’, A. Buckser and S. D. Glazier (eds) The Anthropology of Religious Conversion, Lanham, MD: Rowan & Littlefield Publishers. Coppel, C. (2002) Studying Ethnic Chinese in Indonesia, Singapore: Singapore Society of Asian Studies. Corten, A. and Marshall-Fratani, R. (2001) ‘Introduction’, A. Corten and R. MarshallFratani (eds) Between Babel and Pentecost. Transnational Pentecostalism in Africa and Latin America, London: Hurst & Company. Dahana, A. (2004) ‘Pri and non-Pri relations in the reform era: A Pribumi perspective’, L. Suryadinata (ed.) Ethnic Relations and Nation-Building in Southeast Asia. The case of the ethnic Chinese, Singapore: ISEAS Publications. Denzin, N. K. (1989) Interpretive Biography, London: Sage Publications. Dodd, S. and Seaman, P. (1998) ‘Religion and enterprise: An introductory exploration’, Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 23: 71–86. Droogers, A. (2001) ‘Globalisation and Pentecostal success’, A. Corten and R. MarshallFratani (eds) Between Babel and Pentecost. Transnational Pentecostalism in Africa and Latin America, London: Hurst & Company. Freedman, A. (2000) Political Participation and Ethnic Minorities. Chinese overseas in Malaysia, Indonesia and the United States, London, New York: Routledge. Hefner, R. (1993) ‘World building and the rationality of conversion’, R. Hefner (ed.) Conversion to Christianity. Historical and anthropological perspectives on a great transformation, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. ——(2001) ‘Introduction: Multiculturalism and citizenship in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia’, R. Hefner (ed.) The Politics of Multiculturalism. Pluralism and citizenship in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press. Hoon, C-Y (2006) ‘Assimilation, multiculturalism, hybridity: The dilemmas of the ethnic Chinese in post-Suharto Indonesia’, Asian Ethnicity, 7: 149–66. Hunt, S. (2000) ‘“Winning Ways”: Globalisation and the impact of the health and wealth gospel’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 15: 331–47. Lee, R. and Ackerman, S. (1997) Sacred Tensions. Modernity and religious transformation in Malaysia, Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press. Lieblich, A., Tuval-Mashiach, R. and Zilber, T. (1998) Narrative Research. Reading, analysis, and interpretation, London: Sage Publications.

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Lindsey, T. (2005) ‘Reconstituting the ethnic Chinese in post-Soeharto Indonesia: Law, racial discrimination and reform’, T. Lindsey and H. Pausacker (eds) Chinese Indonesians. Remembering, distorting, forgetting, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Martin, D. (2005) ‘Issues affecting the study of Pentecostalism in Asia’, A. Anderson and E. Tang (eds) Asian and Pentecostal. The charismatic face of Christianity in Asia, Oxford: Regnum Books International. Ma, W. (2005) ‘Asian (Classical) Pentecostal theology in context’, A. Anderson and E. Tang (eds) Asian and Pentecostal. The charismatic face of Christianity in Asia, Regnum Books International. Meyer, B. (2006) ‘The Pentecostal aesthetic and the spirit of modern consumerism. Faith, prosperity and vision in African Pentecostal-Charismatic churches’, Princeton Lecture in religion and global culture, Centre for the Study of Religion, Princeton University, 26 April. Plummer, K. (2001) Documents of Life 2. An invitation to a critical humanism, London: Sage Publications. Poewe, K. (1994) ‘Introduction: The nature, globality, and history of charismatic Christianity’, K. Poewe (ed.) Charismatic Christianity as a Global Culture, Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press. Poloma, M. (1997) ‘Mysticism and identity formation in social context: The case of the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement’, Unpublished paper. Purdey, J. (2006) Anti-Chinese Violence in Indonesia, 1996–1999, Singapore: Singapore University Press. Robbins, J. (2003) ‘On the paradoxes of global Pentecostalism and the perils of continuity thinking’, Religion, 33: 221–31. ——(2004) ‘The globalization of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity’, Annual Review of Anthropology, 33: 117–43. Robinson, M. (2005) ‘The growth of Indonesian Pentecostalism’, A. Anderson and E. Tang (eds) Asian and Pentecostal. The charismatic face of Christianity in Asia, Regnum Books International. Smith, S. (2004) ‘Singing our world into existence: International relations theory and September 11’, International Studies Quarterly, 48: 499–515. Suryadinata, L. (1993) ‘The state and the Chinese minority in Indonesia’, L. Suryadinata (ed.) Chinese Adaptation and Diversity. Essays on society and literature in Indonesia, Malaysia & Singapore, Singapore: Singapore University Press. Suryadinata, L., Arifin, E. N. and Ananta, A. (2003) Indonesia’s Population. Ethnicity and religion in a changing political landscape, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Susanto, A. (2006) ‘Safety-first: Strategies of managing insecurities among Chinese Indonesians in Yogyakarta’, J. Koning and F. Hüsken (eds) Ropewalking and Safety Nets. Local ways of managing insecurity in Indonesia, Leiden and Boston, MA: Brill. Tan, E. (2001) ‘From sojourners to citizens: Managing the ethnic Chinese minority in Indonesia and Malaysia’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 24: 949–78. Tan, M. (2004) ‘Unity in diversity: Ethnic Chinese and nation-building in Indonesia’, L. Suryadinata (ed.) Ethnic Relations and Nation-Building in Southeast Asia. The case of the ethnic Chinese, Singapore: ISEAS Publications. Weber, M. (1995/1930) The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, London, New York: Routledge. Wijaya, Y. (2002) Business, Family and Religion. Public theology in the context of the Chinese-Indonesian business community, Bern: Peter Lang AG.

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Winarta, F. (2004) ‘Racial discrimination in the Indonesian legal system: Ethnic Chinese and nation-building’, L. Suryadinata (ed.) Ethnic Relations and Nation-Building in Southeast Asia. The case of the ethnic Chinese, Singapore: ISEAS Publications. Wiyono, G. (2005) ‘Pentecostals in Indonesia’, A. Anderson and E. Tang (eds) Asian and Pentecostal. The charismatic face of Christianity in Asia, Regnum Books International. Yang, F. (2005) ‘Lost in the market, saved at McDonald’s: Conversion to Christianity in urban China’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 44: 423–41. Yeung, H. and Olds, K. (eds) (2000) Globalization of Chinese Business Firms, Hampshire: Macmillan Press Ltd. Zinnbauer, B. and Pargament, K. (1998) ‘Spiritual conversion: A study of religious change among college students’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 37: 161–80.

8

The issue of HIV/AIDS in the Philippines

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The Roman Catholic Church and the Philippine government Digna Balangue Apilado The Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines has an image of conservatism, particularly in issues of public morals and sexuality. In its stand regarding the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS (Acquired ImmuneDeficiency Syndrome), the Catholic Church enters the area of public health, and has therefore brought itself into an adversarial position against the Philippine government. The government has a number of agencies and institutions that are connected to and deal with the issues and problems of HIV/ AIDS, and therefore has an articulated and established policy regarding the disease, ranging from education and prevention to the care of those who have been infected. Although HIV/AIDS is regarded as a public health issue, the Catholic Church has involved itself in a policy of debate, mainly because of the aspects of sexuality and public morals that are inherent in HIV/AIDS. This chapter examines the role of the Catholic Church in the Philippines in policy-making, and the status of its stand on HIV/AIDS. It also examines the possible direction of the Church in the near future, particularly the factors which could possibly lead to a change. The involvement of the Catholic Church in public debate is to be expected, given that the major mode of HIV/AIDS transmission is through sexual contact. The majority of Filipinos claim to be Catholics, and many still seek guidance from the Church on sexual matters. Other factors, however, magnify the influence of the Catholic Church on public issues. These include the personal influence exerted by the Church on political leaders such as the incumbent president, the legal courts and the legislature; the significant role of Catholic schools in the educational system; and the emergence of some Church officials as public personalities in the political field, and therefore in mass media. The involvement of the Church in public debate brings up social development concerns that the government has to deal with. HIV has such a devastating effect on those people who are infected with HIV, as well as their families, because most of the people infected are in their most economically productive years or are raising young children. The huge economic cost of AIDS on a large scale, as has happened in some nations of Africa, includes lost human potential as well as expenditure for social services for affected individuals and

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their families. Moreover, the large number of Filipino overseas migrant workers (over five million men and women in 2006) increases the statistical probability of transmitting the disease to their spouses back home. A third consideration is the government’s economic development programmes that have resulted in rapid urbanization of outlying regions, the greater mobility and migration of people, and the loosening of social restrictions on personal and sexual behaviour. The corollary to this is the prevailing poverty in both rural and urban areas and its concomitant social problems, such as prostitution. Thus, the Church itself has to consider these social, economic and political conditions even as it chooses to defend its moral stand on human sexuality. Some developments indicate that some of the doctrinal positions of the Catholic Church might soon be in a state of flux. One such development is the stand of the Vatican and the new Pope on human sexuality in the real world. Current debates on Church theology reflect new ways of interpreting doctrine in a post-modern world. Another is the fact that the Catholic Church is not a monolithic institution, but shows flexibility in its interaction with the laity and with the state. A third is the emerging possibility of co-operation between the Church and the state, where this is possible, given the complexity of HIV/AIDS in clinical terms, and of the various issues involved. Thus, the Church–state debate on public health policy is shown as less a simplistic pro-con issue but more of an evolving dynamic interaction of state policy, religious morality and social reality. My interest in the issue of HIV and AIDS goes beyond ordinary academic research. The involvement of friends and family members in public health work and the activities of the Catholic Church have enabled me to observe the process of interaction between the government and the Church through the years. The Church and government at various times have collaborated or been adversaries, and interest groups have allied with one side or the other in various permutations. This has been amply documented in recent political history writing (Abinales and Amoroso 2005), but less so in health issues (Shirley 2004; Moreno 2006). The emphasis on institutional history writing on the one hand and researches on the disease’s medical aspects on the other has often meant that the social dimensions of the Church–state controversy over HIV/AIDS have not been adequately explored. Technical and quantitative data on HIV/AIDS do not convey the debate it has aroused and strong opinions, particularly as expressed by editorial writers, tend to emphasize the conflictual aspect. This chapter hopes to be a more balanced presentation of the HIV/AIDS issue that considers how the Church and the state negotiate the historical perspective. In writing this chapter, I have used oral narratives as much as various pertinent documents. I have cited only two interviews as sources; these interviews were done in accordance with the methods of Western oral history investigation of specific questions and specific answers. However, underlying the interviews and documents cited is a matrix of information that can be accessed only through ‘information-seeking conversations’ with people involved in

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HIV/AIDS work and in Catholic Church concerns. These conversations may appear to be casual, but one can obtain much information that otherwise will not arise or be revealed in a more structured interview. In the Philippine setting, the conversations are called ‘kuentuhan’ in Filipino (Tagalog) or story telling, and the topics, whether in a serious vein or not, are usually called ‘kuentong buhay’, stories of life. Such conversation is possible when one has established rapport with the other party. Emotional closeness or long acquaintance is not necessary to establish rapport. Sensitivity to the other person’s feelings and alertness to the social nuances required by the topic at hand, as the kuentuhan goes along, is more important. In this manner, one can ask questions considered too personal or confidential in nature by Westerners, by being adept at this type of information-seeking conversation. Thus, this chapter contains much information, including the personal experiences and perceptions of many people, which cannot be attributed to specific individuals. Feelings of social shyness (hiya), feeling apprehensive about inadvertently causing trouble (manggulò) or fomenting intrigue, or in consideration of the feelings of other people or groups who may become angry (magalit) or feel hurt (masaktan), are reasons why some sources would rather not be cited in print. For Filipinos, the social interaction of kuentuhan always includes hearsay, gossip and jokes, so only verifiable and first-hand accounts have been included here.

HIV and AIDS in the Philippines The disease known as AIDS was first detected in 1981 (WHO 1994) when a cluster of cases of white homosexual men stricken with previously rare diseases was reported in hospitals of the East and West Coasts of the United States. The disease was first known as Gay Related Immune Deficiency Syndrome (GRID), then by other names such as Haitians’ Disease, because these were the sectors with the highest reported number of cases. The identification of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) by medical researchers in France (1983), and then in the United States (1984), revealed that the virus attacks and destroys the human immune system. The disease has two stages: first is the latent infection, when the virus (HIV) is detected in the bloodstream of the person but no overt symptoms are visible. The second is the AIDS stage, when the viral infection overwhelms the immune system and the infected person eventually succumbs to multiple diseases and massive organ failure. HIV is transmitted through direct contact with blood or body fluids. So far, no medicine or vaccine can reverse the infection. Based on the research of doctors and scientists, guidelines to prevent the spread of the disease, such as testing blood donors, the use of condoms during sexual intercourse and avoiding the sharing of syringes and needles among injecting drug users, were formulated by concerned agencies. At present, transmission through contaminated blood transfusion or mother-to-child infection, have become rare because of the mandatory guidelines and precautions in health-care facilities.

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Although AIDS was widely reported in the Western press, the greatest number of people stricken was in sub-Saharan Africa. The disease spread rapidly to all regions of the world before preventive measures could be taken because little was known of this new epidemic. By the time the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was identified and the mode of transmission understood, the disease had become a pandemic. The consequences of AIDS on individuals, families and society were amply demonstrated, particularly in Third World countries. For those in the medical profession, AIDS is primarily a public health problem that can be managed by medical and scientific measures. For the national government of a developing country, the impact of the devastation of AIDS is greatest in the economic aspect. The adults stricken are in their most productive years, the course of the disease taxes the resources of the family to the utmost, and the next generation are either infected or orphaned. The global impact of AIDS was articulated by the World Health Organization, an agency of the United Nations, and, eventually, a separate programme, the UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS), became operational in 1996 to deal with the accelerating rate of infection worldwide. UN member states, including the Philippines, which had a very low rate of infection at the time, had to set up their respective national policies on AIDS. The global scope of the disease, in spite of the ongoing efforts of national governments, prompted the UN Security Council to tackle the problem in 2000 as part of the Millennium Development Goals for the first decade of the twenty-first century. The disease of AIDS is a global epidemic, with over 38 million people infected worldwide as of December 2005; of these, 36 million are adults and 2.3 million are children (under 15 years old) and babies. The first reported AIDS case in the Philippines was in 1984; at present, the National AIDS Registry of the Department of Health has recorded a cumulative total of over 2,500 HIV and AIDS cases as of May 2006 (DOH-NEC 2006). This might seem a very low number, but the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Department of Health estimate that at the end of 2005, there were about 11,200 Filipinos infected with HIV. The groups that are at high risk of infection and have the highest incidence of infection are: sexually active young adults; men having sex with men (i.e. both self-ascribed homosexuals and bisexuals); and women and men engaged in commercial sex (HAIN 2005). At present, the fastest rate of infection is among Filipino overseas contract workers (OCWs) and among older adults who inject drugs. The former is particularly significant as there are currently more than two million Filipino male overseas workers, with more than 200,000 of them employed as seamen (ACHIEVE 2004). Not counting the over 200,000 undocumented workers, the potential for future large-scale infection is quite large. According to local experts, these hidden numbers of infected people would have reached a critical point by 2007, when the statistical projection indicates that most of those infected will most likely be from the previously low-vulnerability category of wives of returning overseas contract workers, and young people who tend to

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engage in risky sexual behaviour. When the rising numbers reach the level of 1 per cent of the total population of 87 million, this will merit the declaration of an epidemic situation for the Philippines.

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HIV/AIDS and state policy The first Filipino with AIDS was diagnosed in 1984, when testing for the virus began to be implemented in some government hospitals. As AIDS became a global epidemic, the Philippine government established the National AIDS/STD [sexually transmitted diseases] Prevention and Control Program under the Department of Health (DOH) in 1987 (PNAC 1995). This programme was elevated into a government agency in 1992, when the President of the Philippines issued an executive order (E.O. no. 39) creating the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC). The Philippines, being a signatory to the covenant of the United Nations to respond to the AIDS pandemic, had to implement a national AIDS policy, ideally through a national commission on HIV/AIDS. Thus, the Philippine government, through the DOH, worked for the passage of the Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998 (Republic Act 8504) during the presidency of Fidel V. Ramos. President Ramos, a member of a mainstream Protestant denomination, was popular at first among the Church leadership for his role in the overthrow of the Marcos dictatorship, but later was denounced (‘Infidel Ramos’, according to some) by conservative Catholic sectors for his advocacy of family planning, legalized abortion and a condom distribution programme (Shirley 2004: 105). Another Protestant in the Ramos Cabinet was Secretary of Health Juan Flavier, who had served as a medical doctor to the masses. Dr. Flavier was a popular Health Secretary, whose grandfatherly and down-to-earth personality later won him a seat in the national Senate. The two officials endorsed and assisted the passage of versions of an AIDS bill through the House of Representatives and the Senate. The HIV-positive community, health officials, non-governmental organizations involved in the response to AIDS and other members of civil society lobbied actively for the passage of the bill, and painstakingly reviewed dozens of drafts of the bill. Objections from Catholic groups and the subsequent rewriting of some sections of the original version presented by the Senate Committee on Health slowed down the crafting of the legislative bill. There was also the time constraint, as the imminent national elections of that year would soon mean the end of the legislative sessions and the politicians focus on the election campaign. The bill’s approval in early 1998 could be considered an important accomplishment of President Ramos, Dr. Flavier, the NGOs and the HIV-positive community. The perception of many was that a national AIDS law was finally passed because two key officials (President Ramos and Secretary Flavier) had political will: they were Protestants who could not be intimidated by the Catholic Church. The debate over the bill generated controversy, and this came primarily from the objections raised by the Roman Catholic clergy and conservative

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Catholic organizations, such as the Opus Dei. They were opposed to two provisions of the bill, namely, the use of prophylactics, i.e. condoms, as a preventive measure of HIV transmission, and the information dissemination on AIDS through the secondary public school system under the Department of Education. The government agency (PNAC) tasked with the HIV/AIDS programme implementation was also downgraded from the proposed national commission to a national council instead, upon the insistence of a Senator identified as a member of the Opus Dei, the secretive lay organization of Catholic ultra-conservatives. A surprising development, however, was the unexpected approval given by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to a revised version of the bill. The CBCP had been consistent in its opposition to family planning – other than the natural family planning method – and to the legalization of limited abortion, divorce and prostitution. These issues have been part of the legislative agenda since 1987 to implement or decriminalize the four above. The CBCP finally endorsed the AIDS bill, on the condition that the lawmakers delete or re-state some provisions according to linguistic guidelines suggested by the CBCP. When that proved acceptable to the legislators, the bill was passed into law. R.A. 8504, commonly called the AIDS Law, is a comprehensive Republic Act that includes the testing, screening and counselling of at-risk groups, the regulation of safe medical practices, providing health services through government clinics and hospitals, and a nationwide information campaign. These provisions strengthened the mandate of the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC). The law’s provisions cover several areas. Among others, this includes state protection for the political and legal rights of infected persons and prohibits discrimination and stigmatization; providing services through its hospitals and clinics; links with the private sector; research and monitoring; and education. The policies are based on informed and scientific data available about the disease. The policies are aimed at prevention, protection for the vulnerable and care for those already infected. The extent of the government’s response can be gauged from the list of government agencies and national projects involved. The executive departments are Departments of Social Work and Community Development, Local Government and Interior, Health, Labor and Employment, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Foreign Affairs, and Education, and their auxiliary agencies. Some of the programmes currently in implementation include the following:    

Guidelines, Standards and Protocols of the DOH for reporting, treatment, care and support. HIV/AIDS Surveillance System (Reporting of HIV/AIDS cases). HIV/AIDS Core Team in all government hospitals (Department of Health). Partnership of NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) with government agencies.

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Local Government Units (LGUs) to set up Local AIDS Councils and AIDS ordinances. Development of AIDS Teaching Modules for public schools (Department of Education). HIV/AIDS Policies in the Workplace (Department of Labor and Employment). Foreign Service Institute curriculum that includes HIV/AIDS issues (Department of Foreign Affairs).

People’s response to government policy on HIV/AIDS: Defining a compassionate state Historically, the active involvement of government in public health began during the American colonial era in the Philippines from 1901 to 1935 (Heiser 1936). The American colonial government’s intervention in epidemics had always involved some degree of social engineering, but also recognition by health officials that culture and social mores must always be considered when implementing public health policy. This tradition of the government providing health care has become not only part of the political culture, but part of the social values that give much respect and importance to doctors and nurses among other professionals. A new development in the post-1986 period (after the Marcos dictatorship) was the establishment of mass-based people’s organizations (POs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in public health that took the initiative in advocacy and pro-active involvement in preventive and ameliorative projects. The government’s policies and programmes have been well received by those in health services and development work. The legal protection granted to people with HIV/AIDS, and the linking of the government agencies with non-governmental organizations and sectoral organizations enabled the rapid implementation of policies at ground level. Although it is outside this paper’s scope, HIV/AIDS entered the general Filipino consciousness by the early 1990s. The mass media, with the co-operation of the DOH, was instrumental in generating this general awareness when the first person with AIDS to go public in 1992 became a media sensation. Serial coverage by the major TV networks and print media (broadsheet and tabloids) of that person’s dramatic physical decline during confinement in a government hospital created a sort of real-life national soap opera that engaged the emotional interest of millions. A component of this collective emotional interest that was apparent to many observers was the Catholic notions of suffering (pagdurusa), and a corresponding pity (awa) and compassion (damay or pakikiramay) elicited on the part of those who observe the suffering. Media coverage contributed to AIDS awareness and a more compassionate perspective on AIDS by the general public, as well as the need for a national AIDS policy. Although the media over-exposure ended with that person’s death, information about AIDS and an acceptable emotional response to the disease had

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come to the fore. Discrimination and stigmatization of people with HIV/ AIDS are still common responses among Filipinos, but an emotional climate that allowed a more tolerant acceptance of infected persons (RAF 2003) and a greater openness to ways of coping with the disease and suffering were factors that gave more leeway for the implementation of HIV/AIDS programmes by government and civil society. In the past decade or so, Candlelight Memorial (every third Sunday of May), in memory of those who have died of AIDS, and World AIDS Day (designated by the WHO every December 1) are celebrated in public parks with local and national health officials and NGOs in attendance. People who have tested positive for HIV (who informally refer to themselves as Positives) have set up their own organizations that are openly identified as such. Legal protection of people living with AIDS minimizes discrimination, stigmatization and human rights violations. The HIV/AIDS wards, health-care services in government hospitals and clinics, and the continuing advocacy and education programmes are firmly in place in government agencies. The government-sponsored programmes are augmented by similar services by non-profit groups and NGOs. Although government agencies are perennially hampered by lack of funds and other limitations, the situation in the Philippines for people with HIV/ AIDS is perceived as better than some countries such as the United States (Burkett 1995), as a few HIV-positive Filipinos who have travelled there have noted. The HIV/AIDS programmes have become established as state policy, approved of by the public that sees it as one manifestation of the government caring for the ordinary people’s well being. The concept of a ‘compassionate state’ has become a common notion for many Filipinos today. Even though the government seems unable to make life better for most people, it will still have public approval if its agencies can provide assistance (tulong) and show damay in times of crisis or unusual suffering. Government officials in agencies providing social services are aware of this and make it a point to show their concern through public appearances and television broadcasts during a breaking crisis. In this sense, the concept of a state has been given a new definition, one that has emotional resonance for the poor and ill. In another sense, the role of the state, redefined as such, moves it into the realm of compassion that has traditionally been the role of the Catholic Church.

The Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines For non-Christians, and even for non-Catholic Christians, the Roman Catholic Church appears a monolithic institution. This monolithic image does not represent the real situation of the Catholic Church, however. In the course of my research, I have identified four sectors of the Church, each of which has its own views and policies concerning how the Church has to respond to HIV/AIDS. These are: the Catholic Pope, the spiritual and institutional leader of the Church; the Archbishop of Manila, who serves as the

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leader of the Philippine Church, and is also a Cardinal of the Vatican; the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, the formal organization of the heads of dioceses; and the religious orders for men and women. In looking at the views expressed, policies and activities of these sectors, qualitative differences emerged, and thus indicate more complex dynamics within the Catholic Church. These four sectors are what I would regard as exerting the greatest influence on the Catholic community. The titular head of the Catholic Church has both power and influence, but his image among Filipinos is that of a benign elderly father figure who is both holy and wise. Filipinos regard the late Pope John Paul II and the present Pope Benedict XVI primarily with affection, and their television persona, broadcast during Easter and Christmas masses, is appealing to many. This emotional response can be seen in the outpouring of devotion during the times that John Paul II visited the Philippines. However, most Filipinos are unaware of the pope’s role in shaping doctrine, or sometimes choose to ignore it, and they can ignore or accept Church teachings without diminishing their affection for the Pope. The two popes are considered doctrinal conservatives on abortion, but priests often point out that neither had made pronouncements regarding the use of condoms. This fact is frequently cited in defence of the conservative Church while providing some room for manoeuvre for future change. The Papal Nuncio, as the Vatican’s ambassador to the Philippines, has always been a shadowy figure for most Filipinos, but for many health workers today, a liberal-minded Nuncio gives them encouragement. This indicates the perception of a struggle within the Vatican itself, as there is within the Catholic Church in the Philippines (ASP 2005, 2006). The face of the Catholic clergy in the Philippines is the Archbishop of Manila, who is also a Cardinal to the Vatican, and is regarded as the first among equals of the Philippine archbishops. The position is a venerable one, with an Archbishopric established in the late sixteenth century when Manila was proclaimed as a city through a Spanish royal decree. During the tenure of Cardinal Jaime Sin, after the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986, the ecclesiastical position became highly politicized. The last three years of the Marcos regime and the subsequent ‘People’s Power Revolution’ in 1986 resulted in a close identification of the Catholic Church hierarchy with the restoration of democratic institutions and with the new post-Marcos administration of Corazon Cojuangco Aquino (Carroll 2004; Abinales and Amoroso 2005; Moreno 2006).The Cardinal spoke out on many political matters, was consulted by political leaders, was an advisor to President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, and had a high media profile. The current Archbishop has declared, however, that he will not involve himself in political controversies, but instead will emphasize his pastoral role among the faithful. The most vocal voice of the Philippine Church is the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). The CBCP began as the Catholic Welfare Organization in 1945, composed of bishops organized by the apostolic delegate to the Philippines, to deal with the emergency conditions of the

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Second World War and the Japanese Occupation (CBCP website). By 1988, the new constitution of the CBCP declared that:

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The purpose of the Conference is to promote solidarity in the Philippine Church, formulate joint pastoral policies and programs, engage the Philippine Church as abide in the pastoral thrusts of the universal Church, assume the responsibilities as evangelizer in relation to all people and with the civil authority in particular, and to foster relations with other Episcopal Conferences. The 1988 constitution has made the CBCP a powerful body. The organization enables the highest-ranking leaders in the Philippine church to declare policy or take a stand on issues with one voice. The activities and projects of priests and nuns in a diocese must have the knowledge and approval of the diocesan bishop. This becomes a problem in providing social services to people with HIV/AIDS, when the bishop takes the conservative line. But, like other groups within the Catholic Church, the CBCP has conservatives as well as liberals, who participate in the formulation of Church policy. This division may not be apparent in the official statements of the CBCP, but it is discerned by laypersons and non-insiders through the involvement of individual priests and bishops in AIDS work and advocacy, as well as statements made through the male and female religious congregations, i.e. the missionaries, priests and ‘sisters’. Nuns and priests are part of the daily life in the Philippines in their role as educators, and providers of relief services, religious guidance and ritual services. In the history of the Philippines, there has always been the presence of the clergy. During the Philippine Revolution for independence from Spain, many Filipino priests were active participants as advocates. The religious orders for females have long been involved in social services such as education, hospitals and nursing care, orphanages and social rehabilitation (De Bevoise 1995; Santiago 2005). In the contemporary history of the Philippines, the Catholic religious were part of the opposition to the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. Some became insurgency leaders or were one of the hundreds of ‘disappeared’, while others, such as the Archbishop of Manila Cardinal Jaime Sin, had some official association at times with the President and his wife Imelda Marcos. When the AIDS epidemic broke out, many Filipino nuns were sent on mission posts to Africa and Thailand by their congregations and had first-hand experience of the realities of the disease. They are therefore the most experienced, the most committed and possibly have the most knowledge of what dealing with AIDS entails. The Roman Catholic Church and the AIDS epidemic The first Church leaders to make official statements on AIDS were in areas with a high prevalence. In December 1987, the United States bishop issued a pastoral statement – The Many Faces of AIDS: A Gospel Response – which

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noted the need of the Church to respond to the health crisis. Beginning in 1989, bishops from Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda and South Africa were calling for information dissemination, medical intervention and hygienic prevention of HIV/AIDS, in co-operation with the government and other concerned organizations. In 1987, Pope John Paul II spoke of AIDS in the context of Christian love and compassion. In 1989, the Vatican sponsored the first Vatican AIDS Conference, which was a response to the disease that had become a global epidemic by then. Pastoral statements in the early 1990s, issued by bishops of Canada and New Zealand, show that the Church had taken a more active role aside from the spiritual response, which included education, advocacy and care. Although the response of the Church in areas hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic is beyond the scope of this paper, we must note that Church leaders there recognized that the health crisis required responses that go beyond the parameters of Church doctrine. The rising prevalence of HIV/AIDS in all populated areas of the world indicates that efforts of the past 25 years to stop the epidemic have not been fully successful. The largest numbers of people living with HIV infection are in sub-Saharan Africa, while Southeast Asian countries including Cambodia, Myanmar and the Philippines show an increasing rate of infection annually. In Asia, the epidemic caused economic losses in 2001 of US$ 7.3 billion, and made economic development much less attainable. The most vulnerable groups are injecting drug users, sex workers and their clients, young people, migrant workers, rural migrants and refugees of wars and disasters. Thus, the use of condoms by Roman Catholics and its approval by Church officials has revolved around the moral and theological concept of ‘the lesser of two evils’. In the context of Catholic teaching, this means that the use of condoms can be allowed under certain circumstances, such as preventing the infection of a spouse by the HIV-positive partner. The Catholic Church had to resolve apparent contradictions in its doctrine vis-à-vis the realities of AIDS, and theologians have been wrestling with this for the past two decades. At least four concepts pointing to some resolution have emerged in the re-examination of Church doctrine. One is a ‘casuist’ argument that compassion for human suffering is central to the Biblical Christian belief as exemplified by the life of Jesus (MacDonagh 1994). A second is the work of charity as a manifestation of the work of the Church and is part of a theology of liberation (Clague 2005; Vitillo 2003). A third is that to interpret the fundamental teachings of the Church in modern terms is possible (Keenan 2001). A fourth is that AIDS, as it has evolved today, is ‘a product of globalization’ that must be interpreted as a justice issue by the Catholic Church (Kelly 2006). Applied to the Philippine setting, the theological debate highlights the conservatism of the CBCP at a time when Church officials in countries with a high AIDS prevalence have begun to reinterpret Church doctrine in light of epidemic conditions. Fr. Martin Rhonheimer, a priest of the Opus Dei (known to be extremely conservative on doctrine) wrote in an article (Rhonheimer 2004) that ‘there is

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no reason for the Church to consider the campaign promoting condoms as helpful for the future of human society. But nor can the Church possible teach that people engaged in immoral lifestyles should avoid them.’ There can be several possible interpretations of this statement, but what is significant is that condom use can be considered, and this by a priest of the Opus Dei. The Vatican’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations, Msgr Silvano Tomasi, urged the adoption of four points based on Church doctrine, namely, strengthen the health systems; global attention to the critical shortage of health care; integrate health infrastructure into human development programmes; and provide access to affordable medicines and diagnostic tools (Tomasi 2006). Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, who heads the Vatican’s health-care institution, confirms that a dialogue is ongoing with regard to ‘bioethical issues’ such as the use of condoms by married couples where one partner is infected. Other high-ranking Church officials have begun discussing the acceptance of condom use based on the principle of ‘lesser evil’, that is, either using condoms or be at high risk of becoming infected. That these proposals have not been disavowed, nor has the Vatican under the current pope, Benedict XVI, silenced those who speak in their favour appear to imply that a change has already occurred in the Church’s doctrinal stand (Murphy 2006). Church and state debate over AIDS in the Philippines In contrast to the less-inflexible stand of the papacy, the Philippine bishops issued a conservative interpretation of the papal encyclical Humana Vitae of Pope Paul VI that forbade the use of artificial means of birth control and abortion, for whatever reason (CBCP 1993). The family planning programme of the Philippine government at the time was modest, although it was a means towards poverty reduction through population control. Family planning services had been available in government clinics, which are primarily for maternal/children’s health, since the 1960s without much publicity. But when AIDS entered the popular consciousness and condoms were part of AIDS prevention, members of the Catholic clergy claimed that this was artificial contraception entering by the backdoor. This marked a period of impasse between the Catholic Church and the Philippine government. Editorial writers and even broadcast media, most of whom approved of the DOH programme, criticized the conservative stance of the Church and its interference in enlightened state policy. Among many government health workers, the perception was that the Catholic clergy was doing its utmost to influence HIV/AIDS and reproductive health policies. There was talk of a Supreme Court nominee who failed to get his appointment because of the clergy’s opposition to his liberal stand on family planning. Conservative Catholic groups reportedly watered down some provisions of the AIDS Law. Conservative legislators allied with the Church jeopardized the passage of the AIDS Law itself. Thus, while bishops in other countries have taken a liberal

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stance regarding the prevention and treatment of AIDS, the Catholic bishops had become openly conservative, and therefore openly adversarial towards the Philippine government. In the Philippines, the AIDS situation in the early 1990s was numerically one of the lowest rates of infection worldwide. However, the statistical projections indicated that this was still to increase, so the DOH recommended preventive measures such as condom use and mandatory sex education in secondary schools. However, the Catholic Church, primarily through the CBCP, has spoken out strongly against some of the programmes of the government. The opposition of the CBCP was in two areas: that the use of condoms as a preventive (prophylactic) in HIV transmission will also be used as a contraceptive; and that teaching AIDS prevention in sex education in secondary schools will promote early sexual experimentation. The condom issue was emphasized because of the Department of Health’s condom distribution programme through local clinics and health centres. The statement of the CBCP was contained in its pastoral letter dated 23 January 1993. The statement is as follows: The moral dimension of HIV-AIDS urges us to take a sharply negative view of the condom-distribution approach to the problem. We believe that this approach is simplistic and evasive. It leads to a false sense of complacency on the part of the State, creating an impression that an adequate solution has been arrived at. On the contrary, it simply evades and neglects the heart of the solution, namely the formation of authentic sexual values. Moreover, it seeks to escape the consequences of moral behavior. The ‘safe-sex’ proposal would be tantamount to condoning promiscuity and sexual permissiveness … Furthermore, given the trend of the government’s family planning program, we have a well-founded anxiety that the drive to promote acceptability of condoms for the prevention of HIV-AIDS infection is part of the drive to promote the acceptability of condom use for contraception. For the above reasons, we strongly reprobate media advertisements that lure people with the idea of so-called safe sex through condom use. As in contraception, so also in preventing HIV-AIDS infection, condom use is not a failsafe approach. The CBCP pastoral letter had the weight of a policy statement. Other members of the clergy, as well as conservative sectors such as the Philippine Opus Dei, issued statements in a similar vein. But the perception of many was that the Catholic clergy wanted to make Church morality determine public health policy, a situation that further blurs the separation of Church and state. Related to the condoms controversy but less publicized was a government plan to require sex education in secondary schools, with a strong component on AIDS prevention. The objection of the Catholic clergy and conservative lay organizations was that the teaching modules encouraged early awareness of sexuality among adolescents, promoted condom use, and therefore encouraged,

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or at least, condoned irresponsible sexual behaviour among teenagers. The Catholic Church, through the various religious orders and congregations (e.g. the Jesuits or the SVD Fathers), administers schools from the primary to the tertiary levels. The Church’s criticism of this policy therefore merits serious consideration on the part of the government, parents and educators. At present, government-run secondary schools teach about AIDS as part of Health Education or integrated into the Civics subject, neutral ground as it were rather than a more controversial outright sex education subject. A 2003 survey carried out by the Population Institute of the University of the Philippines revealed that the number of teenagers having sexual experience has increased to around 20 per cent of those surveyed (Puyat 2005). This situation is a matter of public health concern, given that young people are regarded as a vulnerable group. Outside of morality considerations, it is in the interest of the state to protect young people, the most practical means being through advocacy for safe sex and reproductive health education. Health officials do not see their role as advocating celibacy, sexual abstinence, chastity before marriage and sexual fidelity within marriage, even if they personally adhere to these values. A common view of many concerned parents is that if young people’s sexual activity is on the rise, this is partly a failure of the Catholic Church to have its moral teachings heeded. Nevertheless, the concomitant social and health problems have to be shouldered by government agencies. The opposition of the Catholic sectors to the reproductive education subject has, so far, generated much less controversy because many parents and school officials share a more conservative view of sex education in secondary schools. Conflict and transformation: Politics, society and the Catholic Church Although it is difficult for someone who is not an ecclesiastical official to determine why the CBCP turned conservative in the early 1990s, it is possible to speculate. One reason might be that the Catholic Church seemed to be losing its influence on government policy when the term of President Corazon Aquino, who personally and officially endorsed conservative Church policy, ended in 1993. Fidel Ramos, a former army general and a Protestant, who succeeded Aquino to the presidency, did not seek as much advice from the Catholic clergy as Aquino did. A second reason might be that under the Ramos administration, the Department of Health under the leadership of Dr. Juan Flavier began promoting a stronger family planning programme that included the distribution of condoms in government health centres, while a legislative proposal to legalize abortion was not opposed by the President. The CBCP took a hard line on both issues. A third possible reason was the lifting of restrictions on social and cultural life in the ‘democratic space’ after the Marcos dictatorship, wherein free expression by public personalities and previously repressed groups (e.g. gay rights and women’s reproductive rights) was now possible. Moreover, the free

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trade policy that began during the Fidel Ramos administration rapidly opened the Philippine market to Western imports and foreign investment, and a modernization programme resulted in the expansion of new media technology. The number of overseas contract workers ballooned, providing added income for their families, but also introducing different values and attitudes. Many young adults in particular proved receptive to the ‘seductive’, sexy, youth-oriented Western culture streaming in, and turned away from the spiritual, Church-centred life demanded of Catholics. The Catholic Church and religious organizations could denounce the proliferation of commercial sex in its various guises, such as pornography and sex clubs; but by the late 1990s, fashion wear, public behaviour and social values that used to be identified with ‘people of loose morals’ (such as television and movie personalities) or commercial sex workers had become common in mainstream television shows and magazines. But Church warnings of a moral breakdown was rejected by many younger people who embraced such attitudes and behaviour as expressive of a novel, exciting and ‘modern’ lifestyle. The Church, through the papal encyclicals, has spoken out against Western materialism and worldliness; the CBCP statement was a reiteration of those concerns, one particularly appropriate to the rapid changes in the Filipinos’ social mores. At face value, the government’s condom policy was under attack, but the statement actually pointed to the fundamental issue of moral breakdown. The CBCP statement, therefore, confused people into thinking that condoms were the main issue, rather than the Church’s concern about increasing moral laxity of a society undergoing rapid change. A fourth factor could be that other religious groups gained new adherence at the expense of the Catholic Church, whether these were Protestant Evangelicals or the Philippines-based Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) denomination (Sunquist 2001). The rapid increase in membership of these new religious groups saw a corresponding defection of Catholics who saw the Catholic Church as too impersonal, too lax and in deep doctrinal error. Some saw the CBCP statement as asserting the power of the Catholic Church by opposing a government policy that touched on public morals. Finally, the Philippines in the late 1990s was not yet in an AIDS crisis situation, and the bishops could issue anti-condom statements without appearing to put a large number of human lives in danger. The factors mentioned above need to be studied and verified further, as these are complex political, social, economic and cultural conditions in themselves. The controversy over condom use simmered on and seems to have been exacerbated by a series of political crises that have hit the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Certain members of the clergy have taken a hostile position vis-à-vis the President, despite the initial support of the Catholic Church to then-Vice-President Arroyo’s succession to the presidency when the Joseph Estrada administration was overthrown in 2001. (Estrada was perceived as a corrupt and extremely immoral man, and the Catholic Church’s condemnation gave legitimacy to Estrada’s ouster.) In

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2006, controversies over state-sponsored gambling, mining and environmental issues, corruption and influence peddling, constitutional amendments and coup d’état attempts by disgruntled military factions, have all found the clergy and the President on opposing sides. The language used by some Church leaders is quite strong and emotionally charged, although the President herself has personally refrained from making any statements against the religious opposition. This vocal role has again raised criticisms of Church meddling, the blurring of Church–state separation, and the backward thinking of some clergy. Thus, the adversarial role of the Church is not always regarded in a positive light by more liberal journalists and the academe. The conservatism of the CBCP 1993 pastoral letter indicated the thinking of the majority of the Filipino bishops. However, other religious personnel have taken pragmatic and active responses to AIDS within the constraints that the CBCP pastoral letter imposed. Pioneering HIV/AIDS responses were the Caritas Manila educational programme in 1992 (which has expanded to include care and support for persons living with HIV), and the Catholic Relief Services that began providing funds for civil society AIDS organizations such as the Pinoy Plus Association (an organization of HIV-positive persons). Priests and nuns involved in hospital work and social services have applied the Catholic doctrines of Christian love and compassion to their work with HIV-positive people in their respective jurisdictions (Arellano Perez 2005). In their ministry work as hospital chaplains, medical nurses, social work practitioners and spiritual advisors, the nuns and priests are doing a two-fold service (CAFOD 2006). They contribute services that the government agencies can not provide, and their religious ministry is a spiritual anchor that gives a moral dimension to both those have HIV or AIDS, and particularly to the health workers who attend to the sick and the dying. At present, some of the Catholic organizations active in HIV/AIDS work are the following: Daughters of Charity (a congregation with a long history in the Philippines); Caritas Manila; Order of the Knights of Malta; Missionary Sisters of the Holy Spirit; University of San Carlos run by the Divine Word Society (SVD) Missionaries; and Apostleship of the Sea of the Scalabrini Congregation. The work done by the religious congregations shows that it is still possible to expand the role of the Catholic Church. At present, Catholic charities and religious congregations are doing 20 per cent of AIDS care and medical work worldwide (The Catholic Register 2006). The three-fold increase in the past two decades indicates that the Catholic Church has been active in its response to the AIDS pandemic.

Mediating change in the Philippine setting: The Church, the state and the United Nations In the Philippines, the degree of involvement of the Catholic Church in its various manifestations has increased tremendously in the past fifteen years. I believe that there are at least three factors that could account for this

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development. Two of these – the escalation of the devastation wrought by the AIDS pandemic and the statements made by Catholic theologians, the Pope and other high-ranking Church officials on AIDS – have already been considered above. The third factor is the mediating work of the United Nations agencies to bridge the gap between doctrine and practice within the Catholic Church in the Philippines on the one hand, and to promote an area of co-operation between the ongoing Catholic Church AIDS work and the government’s HIV/AIDS policies on the other hand. One significant development is the rapprochement between the United Nations and the Catholic Church. Because the two institutions have a global reach and span a hierarchy of organizations from the grassroots level up, the cordial relations set new activities into motion. A new UN co-sponsored programme, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), became operational in 1996. The United Nations has recognized the importance of the Catholic Church in the work it is doing on AIDS, particularly in Africa where the epidemic is most severe. The Catholic Church for its part is aware of its responsibility, as well as actual involvement in AIDS work, and the call of African bishops for the engagement of the Catholic Church could no longer be ignored. In 1999, Caritas Internationalis, the international relief services agency of the Catholic Church, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UNAIDS. In the Memorandum (MOU), the areas of joint cooperation are: promoting HIV/AIDS awareness; advocacy; elimination of stigmatization and discrimination; and projects to mitigate the social and economic impact of AIDS. This was the crucial breakthrough, wherein the Catholic Church voluntarily entered into a partnership with a global secular institution engaged in AIDS work. Implicit in this was that the national churches had to comply with the Memorandum through a partnership with the state. The outcome of this agreement has been that UNAIDS has initiated some projects in the Philippines that established partnerships with religious congregations, and with leadership building among the members of the Catholic Church who are most responsive to the needs of the AIDS effort (UNAIDS 2005a, 2006a, 2006b; Vitillo 2006b). As of October 2006, Church organizations that have begun implementing projects include the congregations of the Daughters of Charity and Sisters of the Holy Spirit. Equally important is a discussion paper submitted by UNAIDS to the CBCP Permanent Council Meeting in September 2005 entitled ‘Partnerships to strengthen the response to HIV/AIDS’. The discussion paper identified five areas where the CBCP and UNAIDS can work together: 1) care for children infected with HIV/ AIDS; 2) reduction of the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS; 3) care and support for people with HIV/AIDS; 4) HIV/AIDS education in various Catholic institutions; and 5) prevention programmes among overseas contract workers. The presentation to the CBCP of the fifth area of co-operation is significant. That the CBCP took note of this prevention programme for migrant workers indicates a tacit change on the part of CBCP: condoms will not be promoted

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by the CBCP, but the Church will be active in AIDS work even if this involves the recommendation of condoms by health agencies in certain circumstances. Thus, the issue of condoms appears to have been separated from that of artificial contraception, and that co-operation between Church and government in AIDS prevention becomes possible in the future. The co-operation between the United Nations and Church organizations is a significant development because it opens the way for the CBCP to depart from its conservative position and reduce the adversarial stance towards government agencies involved in AIDS. This relationship of co-operation was made possible because of at least three factors. First, the United Nations made active efforts to establish a good working relationship with the Catholic Church at the highest levels. Two institutions with a global reach have common ground in the ideal of ameliorating the suffering of humankind. Second, the United Nations has a good image among Filipinos, with United Nations Day celebrated with parades and programmes in primary and secondary schools throughout the country. The posting of Filipino officials to the UN is considered a prestigious career achievement, and the Philippine government takes pride in its involvement in UN activities. The UN and its agencies are therefore seen as partners of the government in development and stability. However, the Catholic Church does not agree with the programmes of some UN agencies, but the Filipino religious personnel as individuals generally have the same high regard for the United Nations. A third factor is the perceived neutrality of the UN with regards to both the Catholic Church and the Philippine government, an honest broker in Church–state controversies, and it can be trusted to be fair. The effort at sensitivity and sincerity of UN agencies in dealing with the Catholic Church elsewhere tends to encourage the Catholic Church in the Philippines to be receptive to UN initiatives. The institutional mediation of UNAIDS has thus minimized tensions and promoted rapprochement. In the Philippines, where almost every public issue is contested, the Church could revise its stand on HIV/AIDS without the fear that this could turn out to be another threat to its teachings and influence. Although the tensions between the Philippine government and the Catholic Church over HIV/AIDS have not been removed completely, some first steps have been taken, leading to a Church–state co-operative effort. The Church and the state on HIV/AIDS policy Despite this increasing co-operation, there are areas of controversy that find the Catholic Church and the Philippine government on opposing sides. This includes issues such as the failure of the current Arroyo administration to deal with problems such as illegal gambling, and the policies of the government such as the opening of mining franchises to foreign companies. These controversies tend to increase antagonism on the part of supporters of both sides, and the HIV/AIDS issue becomes entangled in arguments over reproductive health.

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Another is the resistance of some local governments to the implementation of HIV/AIDS programmes. An example was the passage of a specific resolution by the Manila city council that resulted in the closure of an NGO health services facility in the BASECO Compound, a dockside, urban poor enclave, with an estimated 8,000 population, because condoms were made available there. Health workers who know the events behind this say that city council officials and the city mayor believed that they were acting in accordance with the Catholic doctrine on abortion, even if it meant that the other health services on offer were also withdrawn. Health workers also cite the conservative attitude of many schoolteachers, who are unable and unwilling to teach appropriate materials dealing with HIV/AIDS because that meant including the fundamentals of sex education. One medical doctor says that ‘the influence of the Catholic Church in this case may not be obvious, but it is very deep’. Conservative Church-sponsored organizations also oppose the implementation of the HIV/AIDS policies of the government. One example was in Legazpi City, in a region some eight hundred kilometres south of Manila, where families take pride in having a son who is a priest or seminarian. Proposed HIV/AIDS local ordinances that were recommended by the local AIDS council and the DOH were attacked by some Catholic lay organizations. The cause of disagreement was a provision that mentioned the use of condoms for protection against HIV infection, interpreted as actually synonymous with legalizing artificial contraception, promoting extramarital sex and condoning sexual promiscuity among the young. The HIV/AIDS programmes have been discussed and explained in public consultations nationwide in the past ten years by government physicians and advocates, but many parents and local authorities continue to insist that the loosening of sexual morals, particularly among young people, is being hastened by the Department of Health, a convenient and visible institution to blame. Mistakes were also made by government agencies concerned in the process of implementation that angered the Catholic Church. One was the inadvertent distribution to secondary school students some years back of comic books (called ‘komiks’ by Filipinos) intended for sex workers and sexually active adults (DOH-PNAC 2002.) Although the content of the komiks was accurately based on scientific data, the illustrations and language verge on the pornographic and they are thus unsuitable for minors. Another was the teachers’ module for reproductive health (DepEd 2003) being circulated by the Department of Education in 2004. This was recommended as a guide for Population Education in secondary schools and meant to serve as ‘prototype lesson plans’ that were ‘carefully crafted’ by an NGO. An examination of the contents shows the inclusion of information material inappropriate for earlyteens students, and the manner of presentation, particularly in the case studies, was critical and even openly hostile to the Catholic Church. One can conclude that the fundamental guidelines and principles for module development prescribed by the Department of Education have been disregarded by the said NGO, or else were overlooked by the Education officials.

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Incidents such as these, whether unintended or not, tend to make the Catholic Church wary of government programmes. Government health workers are aware of this, and say that more could have been done by the PNAC to reach out to the Catholic Church. But a partnership project has not been actively pursued by the Department of Health since 1997, a lapse acknowledged by medical workers, mainly because this was not a priority of the government (PNAC 2003). Technical personnel in government agencies are wary of the Church ‘meddling’ in state policy, and Church officials are often critical of the government. For these reasons, the work of UNAIDS in bridging the gap between the Church and the state has been particularly significant.

Concluding remarks The AIDS disease is better understood now than two decades ago, such that theologians can now speak about ‘the first generation of HIV prevention’. The passage of time has shown the extent and limits of the AIDS epidemic, and how agencies and institutions can best deal with it. The advocacy of HIV/AIDS organizations for the protection of basic human rights, de-stigmatization and access to medical care and affordable retroviral drugs for people with HIV/AIDS is a continuing concern of governments and international institutions. The Catholic Church itself has taken the initiative in examining the problems of AIDS, with theologians providing answers that hew more to the spirit of Jesus’s Biblical teachings than to the doctrinal orthodoxy and hierarchy of the Catholic Church (Vidal 2001). The Catholic Church has changed its stand on a number of contemporary issues and these developments are likewise manifested in the Catholic Church in the Philippines. The Catholic Church continues to hold an important role in the daily life of the people, and as a major player in the political arena and public debate. The active role of the Catholic Church in the history of the Philippines, from the sixteenth century to the present, means that the Church will continue to be involved in controversial issues and could be adversarial towards the Philippine government. This is based on what it perceives as its moral mandate and its ability to shape the present and the future of the Philippines. Many Catholic Filipinos may not agree with the Church stand on morality and sex, but they are also aware that the Church teachings have shaped them in more ways than they are aware of, and that the debate between the Church and the state is also a debate on their personal beliefs and convictions. The Catholic Church is a complex institution, and this complexity enables it to be both flexible as well as unyielding at times. It is a formidable institution still, and will often be at odds with the Philippine government and succeeding administrations in the future. As the AIDS issue has shown, the confrontation of Church and State over AIDS policy is a manifestation of the structures and dynamics of Philippine politics, society and contemporary culture.

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References Abinales, P. N. and Amoroso, D. J. (2005) State and Society in the Philippines, Pasig City: Anvil Publishing. Burkett, E. (1995) The Gravest Show on Earth: America in the age of AIDS, Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. Carroll, J. J., SJ. (2004) ‘Cracks in the wall of separation: the Church, civil society, and the state in the Philippines’, Lee H. G. (ed.) Civil Society in Southeast Asia, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. De Bevoise, K. (1995) Agents of the Apocalypse: Epidemic disease in the colonial Philippines, Quezon City: New Day Publishers. Fuller, J. D., SJ, and Keenan, J. F., SJ. (2001) ‘Introduction: At the end of the first generation of HIV prevention’, J. F. Kennan (ed.) Catholic Ethicists on HIV/AIDS Prevention, Quezon City: Claretian Publications. Gale, F. and Fahey, S. (eds) (2005) The Challenge of Generational Change in Asia, Bangkok: The Association of Social Science Research Councils. Guan, L. H. (ed.) (2004) Civil Society in Southeast Asia, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Harvey, N. P. (2001) ‘Listening in England to a woman’s life experience’, J. F. Kennan (ed.) Catholic Ethicists on HIV/AIDS Prevention, Quezon City: Claretian Publications. Heiser, V. (1936) An American Doctor’s Odyssey, New York: W.W. Norton & Company. Hogan, L. (2001) ‘An Irish nun living with contradictions: Responding to HIV/AIDS in the context of church teachings’, J. F. Kennan (ed.) Catholic Ethicists on HIV/ AIDS Prevention, Quezon City: Claretian Publications. Keenan, J. F., SJ. (ed.) (2001) Catholic Ethicists on HIV/AIDS Prevention (Philippine edition), Quezon City: Claretian Publications. Kelly, M. J., SJ. (2006) HIV and AIDS: A justice perspective, Lusaka, Zambia: Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection. MacDonagh, E. (1994) ‘Theology in a time of AIDS’, Irish Theological Quarterly, 60 (2): 81–99. ——(2001) ‘The reign of God: Signposts for Catholic moral theology’, J. F. Kennan (ed.) Catholic Ethicists on HIV/AIDS Prevention, Quezon City: Claretian Publications. Moreno, A. F., SJ. (2006) Church, State and Civil Society in Postauthoritarian Philippines: Narratives of engaged citizenship, Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press. Murphy, B. (2006) ‘Vatican “dialogue” on AIDS, condoms: Does the good outweigh the bad?’, in Manila Standard Today, 5 May 2006, p. A7. Obaid, T. A. (2005) ‘Religion and reproductive health and rights’, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 73(4): 1155–73. Puyat, J. H. (2005) ‘The Filipino youth today: Their strengths and the challenges they face’, F. Gayle and S. Fahey (eds) Youth in Transition: The challenges of generational change in Asia, Bangkok: UNESCO. Santiago, L. P. R. (2005) To Love and to Suffer: The development of the religious congregations for women in Spanish Philippines, 1565–1898, Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press. Shirley, S. (2004) Guided by God: The legacy of the Catholic Church in Philippine politics, Singapore: Marshall Cavendish. Sunquist, S. W. (ed.) (2001) A Dictionary of Asian Christianity, Grand Rapids, MI and Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

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Vidal, M. (2001) ‘Progress in the moral tradition’, J. F. Kennan (ed.) Catholic Ethicists on HIV/AIDS Prevention, Quezon City: Claretian Publications. World Health Organization (WHO) (1994) AIDS: Images of the epidemic, Geneva: World Health Organization, United Nations.

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Documents (published and unpublished)1 Action for Health Initiatives, Inc. (ACHIEVE) (2004) Positive Response: A guidebook on handling migration and HIV/AIDS issues for foreign service personnel, Quezon City: Action for Health Initiatives, Inc./ CARAM-Philippines. AIDS Society of the Philippines (ASP) (2005) Proceedings of the ‘Interfaith Discussion on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care’ Forum, 5 August 2003, Manila: AIDS Society of the Philippines. ——(2006) Scaling up interfaith responses to HIV and AIDS, Accomplishment Report, 2005–6, Quezon City: AIDS Society of the Philippines. Arellano Perez, L. F. (2005) Religious Men and Women in the World and the HIV/ AIDS Pandemic, Rome: Colombini Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus. Asia Pacific Leadership Forum on HIV/AIDS and Development (APLF) (2004) Act Now: Asia-Pacific leaders respond to AIDS, Bangkok: UNAIDS. Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), Ann Smith et al. (2006) ‘HIV prevention from the perspective of a faith-based agency’, London: CAFOD. Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) (1993) ‘The compassion of Jesus: A pastoral letter on A.I.D.S.’, Tagaytay City: 23 January 1993. ——(2006) ‘AIDS prevention training manual based on Catholic teachings’ by Pinky Barrientos in CBCP Monitor, 6 November 2006, 10(15): 3. ‘Brief History’ and ‘Plenary Assembly’, from the General Info web page of the CBCP website www. cbcponline.net/gen_info/plenary.html. The Catholic Register (2006) The Church and AIDS, Special Supplement, Toronto, Ontario: August 2006 and September 3–9, 2006. Clague, J. (2005) ‘Living positively with Roman Catholic teaching and transmitting the truth about HIV/AIDS’, London: CAFOD. Department of Education, Bureau of Secondary Education (DepEd) (2003) Lesson Guides on Adolescent Reproductive Health (A Population Education Concept), Department of Education and the United Nations Fund on Population Activities (UNFPA). Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (2006) ‘Talking Points’ for the International AIDS Conference, Toronto, Canada, 13–18 August 2006. Health Action Information Network (HAIN) (2005) 2005 Philippine HIV and AIDS Country Profile, Manila: Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC). MacLaren, D. (ed.) (1996) The Church Responds to HIV/AIDS: A Caritas Internationalis dossier, Caritas Internationalis. ——(1998) Memorandum of Understanding Between Caritas Internationalis and UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS), signed by Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS and Luc Trouillard, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis. Monitoring the AIDS Pandemic (MAP) Network (2004) AIDS in Asia: Face the Facts, A comprehensive analysis of the AIDS epidemics in Asia. Available online at: www.mapnetwork.org/reports/aids_in_asia.html. Pacific Rim Innovation and Management Exponents, Inc. Philippines (PRIMEX), Action for Health Initiatives, Inc. (ACHIEVE) and Remedios Aids Foundation

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(2008) Fighting HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (RETA 6321-REG) – Subproject 5: Strengthening Country Response to HIV and AIDS Among High-Risk Groups: Situational Analysis Report–OFW [Overseas Filipino Workers] Component (Draft), Manila: March 2008. Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC) (2006) Snapshot: HIV/AIDS in the Philippines, Quezon City: The PNAC Secretariat, June 2006. ——(2005) Evolution and Reconstitution (Draft). Manila: Department of Health. ——(1995) Philippine National HIV/AIDS Strategy, Manila: Philippine National AIDS Council. Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care (2005) ‘Message of Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan on the Occasion of the World AIDS Day’, Vatican City: 1 December 2005. Rhonheimer, Fr. Martin. (2004) ‘The truth about condoms,’ The Tablet, 10 July 2004. Rosales, Cardinal Gaudencio B., Archbishop of Manila (2005) ‘Message for the World AIDS Day’, 1 December 2005. Remedios AIDS Foundation (RAF) (2003) I Am Not Sarah Jane: Life stories of Filipino people with HIV/AIDS, Manila: Remedios AIDS Foundation Inc. Servants of the Holy Spirit. (2005) ‘A web of hope: The SSpS response to the challenge of HIV/AIDS’, Rome: General Administration of the Missionary Congregation. Tomasi, S. M. Msgr. (2006) ‘The pastoral care of infectious diseases from the politicalsocial point of view’, Vatican City. UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS). (2003) Causality Analysis of the HIV/AIDS Situation in the Philippines, Makati: UN Theme Group on HIV/AIDS. ——(2005a) HIV/AIDS in the Philippines, Keeping the Promise: Primer of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, Makati: UNAIDS Philippines. ——(2005b) Intensifying HIV Prevention: UNAIDS Policy Position Paper, Geneva: UNAIDS. ——(2005c) A Scaled-up Response to AIDS in Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok and Geneva: UNAIDS. ——(2006a) Synthesis of ‘A Forum for Catholic Church Leaders Responding to AIDS’ by Mario Taguiwalo, Manila. ——(2006b) Training Manual on HIV and AIDS for the Catholic Church: Instructional guide (Draft Copy), Makati: UNAIDS Philippines. UNESCO (2006) UNESCO Guidelines on Language and Content in HIV- and AIDSRelated Materials, Paris: UNESCO. United States Department of Health and Human Services and the National Coalition of Pastors’ Spouses (2004) HIV/AIDS: A manual for faith communities, Washington, DC and Memphis, TN. Vitillo, R. J. Rev. (2006a) ‘Report on XVI International Conference on AIDS, Toronto, Canada on 13–18 August 2006’, Geneva: Caritas Internationalis. ——(2006b) ‘The Response of the Catholic Church to the global pandemic of HIV and AIDS’, Paper delivered at the Forum with Catholic Church Leaders ‘The Catholic Church to HIV and AIDS: ‘Action in Charity and Justice’, Manila: 8 February 2006. World Council of Churches and Fr. Robert Igo, OSB (2003) Listening With Love: Pastoral counseling, a Christian response to people living with AIDS, Geneva: World Council of Churches.

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Philippine government publications Department of Health National Epidemiology Center [DOH-NEC] (2006) Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry. June 2006. Manila: Department of Health. Department of Health, Philippine National AIDS Council (DOH-PNAC) (2002) Comics Pamphlets. Manila. ——(n.d.) Malasakit at Batas [Compassion and the Law], 16 pp. Quezon City: Kabalikat. ——(n.d.) Macho: Komiks ukol sa reproductive health ng kalalakihan [Macho: Comics About the Reproductive Health of Men], 16 pp. Pasay City: Reach Out. ——(n.d.) Mga Pangarap ni Cristina (Para sa GRO’s at sa mga Babaing Nagtatrabaho sa Nightclubs) [The Dreams of Cristina: (A publication) for Guest Relations Officers (GROs) and Women Working in Nightclubs], 11 pp. Pasay City: Reach Out. National Epidemiology Center, Department of Health (NEC-DOH) (2006) HIV and AIDS Registry, June 2006. Manila: Department of Health. Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC), Committee on Policy Development (1995) Philippine National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Manila. Republic of the Philippines, Congress of the Philippines (1998) ‘Republic Act 8504: The Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998’, Metro Manila: Tenth Congress: 1–8.

Interviews Dr. Roderick Poblete, former Officer-in-Charge of the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC) Secretariat, 2003–5, and member of the Technical Working Group on HIV/AIDS legislation, 1997–98. Dr. Ferchito Avelino, Officer-in-Charge, PNAC. 2006–07.

Acknowledgement 1 I am indebted to Mercedes Apilado for her invaluable assistance in obtaining the documents and publications listed below.

9

Christian reactions to government-led cremation in South Korea

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Chang-Won Park

This chapter examines the issue of Christianity and the state with particular reference to Christian reactions to government-led cremation in South Korea. Until the mid-1990s, burial had been the norm for Koreans in general and for Christians in particular, while cremation had largely been practised among very poor people in urban areas and employed in the case of bad deaths such as suicide. Since the early 1990s, however, the South Korean government has begun to promote cremation as a way of tackling a pressing national problem of the absolute lack of space caused by centuries-old burial practice. Welcomed by Buddhist sectors and supported by various civic groups, cremation has been rapidly popularized in South Korea over the last ten years or so, with the nationwide rate of cremation increasing from 20.5 per cent in 1994 to 56.5 per cent in 2006. Since the turn of the twenty-first century, cremation has emerged as one of the most intensely debated issues within the Christian Church and the matter is not fully resolved. Having been conservative in their belief and practice, many ordinary Christians are facing a new and difficult choice at their death. This paper examines the ways in which the Christian Church has reacted to the issue of cremation in recent years. It first considers the history of Korean funerary customs, focusing on the relationship between religion and the state, which will situate the issue of Christianity and the state in a broader context. It then describes the rapid increase of government-led cremation over the last ten years or so and, finally, it examines the ways in which the Christian Church has approached the issue of cremation.

Death ritual, religion and the state in pre-modern Korea While Buddhist cremation was a common form of funeral in Korea at the turn of the second millennium, later centuries of the millennium witnessed the popularization of Confucian burial and the disappearance of Buddhist cremation. At the beginning of the third millennium, however, more than half of the dead in South Korea were cremated, this time not as part of Buddhist rites but as a civic ceremony. This diachronic difference in prevailing forms of funerary practice reflects the changing relationship between the dominant

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religion and state policy. That is, while the Goryeo dynasty (918–1392), which adopted Buddhism as its state religion, promoted the Buddhist forms of death ritual, the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910), the most stalwart Confucian state in history, legislated Confucian burial and ancestral ritual while prohibiting Buddhist cremation in an attempt to turn the whole society to Confucianism. Buddhism was introduced into the Korean peninsula via China in the late fourth century and it soon became a dominant religious force in the following centuries. Consequently, Buddhist funerary rites based on cremation were introduced and became popular among the ruling class during the Unified Silla period (676–935) and the Goryeo dynasty (918–1392). During the Unified Silla period, for example, eight of the twenty-seven kings were cremated (Kim 1990: 197). During the Goryeo dynasty as well, although Confucianism was influential in government administration, it was Buddhism that profoundly affected funerary customs of the time. The Goryeo people frequently awaited their death at the Buddhist temples and cremation was commonly adopted as a Buddhist rite among aristocrats and ordinary people alike.1 The establishment of the Confucian state of the Joseon dynasty (1392– 1910), however, resulted in dramatic changes to the existing social structure in general and death rituals in particular. While Buddhism adopted cremation in the hope that the dead would reach paradise without delay, Confucianism employed burial to keep the dead in the ground as secure as possible. According to Confucian teachings, a well-preserved grave was not only a manifestation of ‘filial duty’, one of the core Confucian values, but also a guarantee of the well-being of both the dead and the living (Deuchler 1992: 197). In 1401, Confucian burial and ancestral ritual were incorporated into the first of a series of codified laws and thereby the state endeavoured to establish Confucian death rituals while uprooting the Buddhist practice of cremation. But the old customs persisted and, according to a historical study, 60 to 70 per cent of the upper class still preferred cremation by the midfifteenth century (Haboush 1991: 102). Thus, the state had to reinforce the punitive measures by promulgating a new law in 1470 which criminalized cremation, and by decreeing in 1474 that not only people who cremated their deceased parents but also local officials and neighbours would be punished (Kim 1990: 203–4). Buddhist cremation eventually disappeared by the end of the fifteenth century and Confucian death rituals had gradually taken hold among the ruling elite by the sixteenth century (Haboush 1991: 102–3).

Ancestral ritual, the Catholic Church and the Confucian state When Catholicism and Protestantism were introduced into Korea in the late eighteenth century and in the late nineteenth century respectively, the country was at its zenith as a normative Confucian society (Haboush 1991: 84). As far as death rituals were concerned, Korean people had practised the Confucian funeral based on burial and performed Confucian ancestral rites for centuries. Unlike countries like Nepal, where the introduction of Christian burial practice

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has resulted in serious confrontation with long-standing Hindu and Buddhist cremation (Sharma 2005: 325–26), Korean Christians have not experienced much conflict with existing funeral customs, perhaps because burial was the common method of body disposal in both the Christian and Confucian traditions. Rather, the Christian principle of burial has been culturally intensified by deep-rooted Confucian burial practice and, in fact, many elements of Confucian funerary rites have been assimilated into Christian rituals. The issue of ancestral ritual, however, was at the heart of serious conflict between the Christian Church and the Confucian state during the late period of the Joseon dynasty.2 In 1791, for instance, two local Confucian elite, who had recently converted to Catholicism, abolished Confucian ancestral ritual in order to obey a papal instruction in which the ritual was banned as idolatry. It brought a great disturbance to their relatives and local residents, as it was an unthinkable ‘crime’ in a Confucian society where the practice of ancestral ritual was established as a prime practice of ‘filial duty’. The incident was reported to the local authority and eventually to the king, and ended with the two people being beheaded.3 For the Confucian state, it was clear that Western religion was ‘evil teaching’ that demoralized filial duty, thereby threatening family values and social order. The incident eventually triggered the formation of strong anti-Christian sentiment within the Confucian government and precipitated a series of severe national persecutions during the nineteenth century. The state’s persecutions of the Catholic Church continued until the late 1880s, when pressure from Western countries made the Confucian state announce the freedom of other religious activities. The Protestant mission, which began shortly afterwards, however, did not experience much conflict with the Confucian state, although serious conflict continued at the family and community levels.

Death rituals and the Japanese colonial government Unlike the case of ancestral ritual, as mentioned above, the introduction and spread of Christianity did not cause any significant conflicts with existing Confucian funerary practice. The Korean practice of Confucian burial continued, despite the fall of the Confucian state in 1910 and the sweeping Christian and Western influx at the turn of the twentieth century. A significant blow to this trend, however, occurred during the Japanese colonial period (1910–45). Through new legislation on ‘grave, crematorium, burial and cremation’ in 1912, the Japanese colonial government introduced the system of public cemeteries and the modern form of cremation. Its purpose was to promote cremation and public cemeteries while prohibiting the centuries-old practice of burying at a private or a family graveyard. This was an historic law, in that it lifted the ban on cremation issued in 1470 by the Confucian government. The colonial government began to build crematoria from 1914 – the first crematorium in Seoul was built in 1930. However, the Japanese policy to promote cremation was not at all successful. The cremation rate of the Seoul

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region, for example, did not reach even 1 per cent during the colonial period (Song 2002: 207). The Korean people were reluctant to cremate because of their strong rejection of the Japanese coercive policy of cremation as well as their desire to maintain traditional burial customs. They understood that the Japanese cremation policy was part of its colonial strategy for obliterating Korean traditional customs. Cremation was not even employed during the Korean War (1950–53) when there was a need to dispose a massive number of dead bodies within a short time. For this distinctive Korean religious and historical context, cremation remained a social taboo until the last decade of the twentieth century while burial had been the norm for most Koreans in general and Christians in particular. The national sentiment of reluctance to cremate was also reinforced by memories of Japanese imperialist rule. Furthermore, old and unattractive crematoria added a further negative impression. As a result, cremation was largely practised among very poor people in urban areas and was limited to the cases of the death of children, unmarried people and other exceptionally bad deaths such as suicide. Cremation was not popular even among the Buddhist population, which constituted one of the largest institutional religions in modern Korea. Despite its steady increase, the nationwide rate of cremation remained below 20 per cent until the early 1990s: 1955 (6 per cent), 1970 (11 percent), 1981 (14 per cent), 1991 (18 per cent) and 1993 (19 per cent).

Governmental policy on cremation and its effect From the early 1990s, however, a fundamental reform of funeral culture has become a major national issue. This is, mainly, because of problems raised by the encroachment on land by graveyards all over the country. It was reported that, by 1998, graveyards occupied approximately 1 per cent of the gross area of South Korea (998 km²), which was even bigger than the area of Seoul metropolitan city (605 km²): about 9 square kilometres was passing into graveyard every year. Moreover, the landscape was seriously deteriorating with rampant private gravesites and uncared-for tombs across the country. In addition, there was the absolute shortage of burial sites in Seoul and other major cities. To improve these problems, the South Korean government launched a new funeral policy promoting cremation and restraining burial, whilst also modernizing crematoria, columbaria and other related facilities. From the outset, however, the government faced serious difficulties with its proposal of 1993 for the new funeral policy. It was completely rejected by the National Assembly, and this rejection was followed by a series of strong opposition moves from politicians, Confucians and the general public. The same happened again in 1997, when the government submitted a slightly revised proposal to the National Assembly. A series of governmental failures, however, resulted in unexpected consequences. Civic groups, religious organizations and academic associations

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began to discuss the problem of existing burial customs more seriously and they attracted considerable attention from the media. Towards the end of the last decade of the twentieth century, the government, the media and civic groups were working together to promote cremation as a viable solution to the nationwide problem caused by established burial practice. Public opinion was now gradually changing towards a more positive stance on cremation. Revised legislation on funeral policy in 2001 also spurred the shift of funeral practice towards cremation, placing stricter controls on the size of graveyards and restricting the period for holding graves to a maximum of sixty years. The nationwide rate of cremation doubled in less than ten years and showed an even more speedy increase with the turn of the new millennium. It first reached 20 per cent in 1994, 30 per cent in 1999, 40 per cent in 2002 and 50 per cent in 2005. By 2006, the cremation rate was recorded at 56.5 per cent nationwide, with 136,854 cremated out of 242,268 deaths, and it had reached 70 per cent in some major cities – Busan (77.7 per cent), Inchon (72.4 per cent) and Seoul (68.2 per cent).4

Christian reactions to cremation General tendency Within the space of a century, Christianity emerged from a marginal foreign religion to a major Korean religion with the largest membership. While there were only about 200,000 Christians on the Korean peninsula in 1920 – 1.3 per cent of the total population of 16 million – at the beginning of the twenty-first century there were some 14 million Christians (9 million Protestants and 5 million Catholics) in South Korea – 29 per cent of the total population of 47 million.5 The issue of cremation was hardly discussed within the Christian Church before the 1990s. As cremation has come to be rapidly employed as a solution to the existing national problems caused by long-standing burial practice, however, it has emerged as one of the most actively discussed ecclesiastical issues since the late 1990s. The turn of the twenty-first century witnessed the emergence of various Christian organizations promoting cremation, as well as numerous Christian events and conferences in relation to the issue of cremation. While the Catholic Church has been almost unanimous in taking a positive stance on cremation, there has been no consensus on the issue within the Protestant Church. Heated debates are still ongoing and Protestant reactions to cremation are largely divided into negative and positive positions. While more liberal Protestant denominations tend to be positive on cremation, more conservative counterparts, who constitute the majority of Korean Protestant denominations, tend to be negative towards cremating the dead. While a key claim of the former is that cremation is not an anti-Christian practice, that of the latter is that cremation is not the Christian way of disposal. In general terms, public discourse in South Korea recognizes the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church as two different religious bodies rather

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than two sub-groups within Christianity. When Korean people refer to Gidokgyo, which means Christianity, they usually mean the Protestant Church alone. For the Catholic Church, they use different terms such as Chonjugyo and Gatolic, both meaning Catholicism. This practice is deep-rooted in everyday language and reflects the popular perception of the division of Catholicism and Protestantism within the Korean context. Reflecting this view, the following accounts treat Catholic and Protestant reactions separately.

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Catholic reactions to cremation The year 1964 witnessed a significant worldwide change in the Catholic attitude to cremation: the Roman Catholic Church announced a new Instruction, a decision approved in the previous year by Pope Paul VI, in which its 1886 ban on cremation was lifted. As the following quotation from the Instruction shows, however, the Catholic Church did not intend to replace the existing tradition of burial with cremation. In fact, it continued to encourage the burial tradition: The burning of the body, after all, has no effect on the soul, nor does it inhibit Almighty God from re-establishing the body again. Cremation does not, in itself, constitute a manifest denial of the above-mentioned doctrines … Christian people should maintain the present custom of burial and not abandon it unless driven by necessity. (cited in Jupp 2006: 165) The whole effect, therefore, was the softening of the ban on cremation rather than the unconditional acceptance of cremation, which directly influenced Korean Catholic practice until the early 1990s. Despite the Catholic approval of cremation in the 1960s, cremation had never been widely practised among Korean Catholics, and their funerary rites had until recently also been based on burial. Church cemeteries were the most popular place for the burial of the Catholic dead. As church cemeteries were rapidly becoming full, due to the widespread practice of burial, the Korean Catholic Church began to discuss the issue of the lack of burial sites as early as 1990. The Church suggested both the introduction of columbaria – for placing bone remains – within church cemeteries and a new policy of putting a limit of twenty years on the usage of church graves. Still the issue of cremation was not manifest in the discussions of the early 1990s. Then, in the late 1990s, cremation emerged as a desirable alternative to burial within Catholic discourse. It gained momentum in January 1997, when Bishop Chang-Moo Choi and ten other priests from the Seoul diocese took the lead by making their wills in which they asked for their body to be cremated.6 According to a survey carried out by the Seoul diocese between 2000 and 2002, the cremation rate among the Catholic dead within the diocese increased by an average of more than 3 per cent per annum: 36 per cent

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(2000), 39 per cent (2001) and 43 per cent (2002). In 2001, to meet the Catholic demand for the place for cremated remains, the Seoul diocese decided to build family columbaria within all the church cemeteries.

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Positive Protestant reactions to cremation The year 1998 saw the first organized attempt to take cremation positively within the Protestant Church. In December of that year, some influential Protestant ministers started a campaign to promote cremation by opening the ‘Christian Centre for Promoting Cremation’. These ministers stated that cremation was not against the Christian doctrine of resurrection and asked other church ministers to take the lead in encouraging ordinary Christians to opt for cremation. The Centre also launched another campaign to make one’s will in which cremation is specified as the disposal method of one’s corpse. The turn of the twenty-first century witnessed a growing number of conferences, seminars and public lectures that aimed to promote cremation among the Protestant population. Major proposals suggested through these meetings include the following: existing burial practice involves many non-biblical aspects such as belief in pungsu (fengsui in Chinese) or geomancy;7 and if the Protestant Church, as a major Korean religion, could play a leading role in establishing new funeral culture based on cremation, the Church could not just contribute to improving the pressing social problems caused by deep-rooted burial practice but could also benefit in terms of evangelism. In line with such a positive trend within the Protestant Church, several columbaria reserved only for Christians have opened in recent years. In February 2002, for example, the first Protestant columbarium opened within the city’s public cemetery in Chonju, a city located in the south-western region. The columbarium, a three-storey building, can accommodate up to 25,000 cremated remains. To be placed in this columbarium, one needs to be a Protestant Christian and to submit a reference from the minister of one’s church. Fees are about £750 per person with extra annual maintenance fees of £10, which is much more economical when compared to expenses for burial. In April 2005, another Christian columbarium, the Christian Memorial Park, opened in the GyongGi province, which is close to the city of Seoul. Its columbarium has eight buildings which can accommodate up to about 25,000 cremated remains and, as in the previous case, this columbarium is open only to Protestants. Alongside the emergence of Protestant columbaria, an innovative practice of treating cremated remains has been introduced by some Protestant churches. It is commonly called the ‘memorial-stone funeral’ (Chumobijang) and is being recognized as a Christian way of disposing of cremated remains. The first church that introduced this type of the funeral is the well-known Somang Presbyterian Church in Seoul.8 In 1994, when cremation was still negatively perceived within Korean society as well as within the Christian Church, the church made a small memorial garden in its retreat centre located in a remote

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area and erected a memorial stone within the garden. The church has offered an annual communal memorial service in the garden, where there is a noticeable quotation from the Bible inscribed on the memorial stone: ‘you are dust, and to dust you shall return’ (Genesis 3: 19b). This garden, as the final resting place, has become increasingly popular among the congregation in recent years: it is said that the cremated remains of some 1,000 members of the congregation have been scattered in the garden. Funerals in this memorial garden serve a double purpose as they bond the solidarity of the congregation and they become a heritage of the church to the next generation. The practice of the Somang Presbyterian Church has become a role model for other churches, and now some ten influential churches across the country are said to employ this type of the funeral for the members of their congregation: the memorial-stone funeral has thus become increasingly recognized as a Christian funeral. Negative Protestant approaches: A representative case Despite the positive trends discussed above, negative approaches to cremation are still strong within the Protestant Church, although media attention has largely focused on the positive reactions. As a result, the Protestant situation can be misrepresented and the fact that quite a significant number of Protestants are still choosing burial tends to be overlooked. The following is an example of a negative Protestant approach to cremation. In 1999, the Presbyterian Church of Korea (Hapdong branch), one of the largest Protestant denominations, announced its official stance on the issue of cremation at its 84th annual conference (The General Assembly of Presbyterian Church in Korea 1999: 344–52). In a short document entitled ‘The Christian way of funerals: Burial or cremation?’ the denomination concluded that burial was to be the principal method of Christian funerals. As the document represents the general views of conservative Protestant denominations on the issue, it is worth closer examination. The document begins with the recognition of a recently growing increase of cremation and of some Christian movements promoting cremation. Then it asks what stance should be taken for the denomination which has maintained Bible-centred Reformed theology and conservative faith. In an attempt to suggest a desirable Christian way of the funeral, the document consults the Bible, the history of Christianity and the tradition of Korean Christianity, respectively. An examination of funeral customs within the Old and New Testaments, which constitutes the longest part in the document, emphasizes that people of faith were all buried while cremation was employed only for the death of severe criminals as God’s punishment. In particular, quoting the original Hebrew text for the passage of Moses’ burial in a valley in the land of Moab (Deuteronomy 34: 5–6), the document stresses that burial was a method of body disposal chosen by God himself. It goes on to stress the fact that funerals within the New Testament were also based on burial, the prime examples

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being those of Jesus (Matthew 27: 59–60; Mark 15: 46; Luke 23: 53; John 19: 40–42), John the Baptist (Mark 6: 29) and Lazarus (John 11: 37–38). The document then moves on to an examination of funeral customs in the history of Christianity and its conclusion is that burial was the traditional Christian method of body disposal for the last two millennia. The document states that although cremation was prevalent in the Greco-Roman Empire between the fourth century BC and the second century AD, early Christians rejected cremation as a pagan custom negating the resurrection of the body. The document stresses that, despite its variations, the funeral based on burial continued to be the normative Christian way of body disposal in the periods of the Middle Ages, Reformation and afterwards. Moving on within the tradition of Korean Christianity, the document mentions that, in line with the tradition of the Bible and church history, Korean Christians practised burial from the early days. In particular, it refers to a statement made by the Rev. Dr. Hyung-Yong Park (1897–1978), one of the most influential theologians within the conservative circle, in which he said that as cremation was not employed for the people of God, Korean Christians should avoid cremation which is of pagan origin. The document ends with a sentence summarizing the official stance of the denomination: ‘burial is the principal of the Christian funeral yet cremation could be employed when burial is impossible’.

Concluding remarks By way of conclusion, this paper discusses two distinctive aspects in relation to Christian reactions to government-led cremation in South Korea. The first concerns the absence of Christian discourse claiming that the government policy is anti-Christian. Even the anti-cremation sectors of the Protestant Church do not see governmental policy on cremation as a ‘persecution’ of Christianity. They simply do not accept cremation as a Christian method of body disposal, based on the literal interpretation of biblical and doctrinal sources. When the government proposed a new policy on cremation in the 1990s, strong opposition came from politicians and Confucians, but not from Christians. Indeed, there have been no organized anti-governmental activities from the Christian Church in relation to the issue of cremation. Rather, Christianity, particularly the pro-cremation sectors of the Protestant Church, supplements the governmental policy by building Christian columbaria and establishing a Christian funeral based on cremation such as the memorialstone funeral. The issue of cremation has never featured as a source of conflict between the Christian Church and the government. Rather it could be said that the relationship of mutual support has gradually been established in order to promote cremation. Another distinctive aspect concerns the absence of the equation of the cremation movement with secularism or secularization. The history of the development of modern cremation in Western societies shows that cremation

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has been one of the major vehicles through which secularist ideologies could be pursued against the Church’s authority (Davies 2005: xxiii–xxiv, 373–74). Indeed, the popularization of cremation in these societies, in many cases, is in parallel with the process of secularization. Although the Christian Churches in many Western countries have approved cremation in the face of its popularization during the twentieth century, they have not been proactive in promoting cremation. Within the Korean context, however, without equating the popularization of cremation with the process of secularization, the Christian Church, both Catholic and Protestant, has played an important role in transforming funeral culture from burial-based to cremation-based. Accepting the governmental propaganda, the Korean Church generally sees cremation as a way of modernizing death practice. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Christianity has emerged as a significant non-state actor in the popularization of government-led cremation.

Notes 1 According to a recent revisionist approach to the issue of cremation during the Goryeo period, the reconsideration of archaeological and historical evidence suggests that cremation was not as popular as the existing scholarship has maintained: the popularity of cremation during the period has been unduly exaggerated and burial was still prevalent (Chung 2002). 2 Ancestral ritual, a crucial issue of the clash between the Christian Church and the state, has been a universal problem in the encounter of Christianity and East Asian countries where Confucian ancestral rites have long been practised. For further details on the issue, see Ro (1985). 3 For a more detailed study on the incident and its consequences, see Baker (1979). 4 For a brief study on cremation in Korea, see Park (2005). 5 According to the 2005 national census, while some 22 million (47%) South Koreans identified themselves as having no affiliated religion, some 14 million people (29%) identified themselves as Christians and some 11 million (23%) as Buddhists. 6 Similar cases can be found in the history of the development of cremation in the UK when, for instance, the cremation of the body of William Temple, the archbishop of Canterbury, in 1944 spurred the popularization of cremation (Davies, 2005: 116). 7 One of the popular beliefs in pungsu is that if ancestors are buried in an auspicious site their descendants will prosper in this world. 8 The Somang (meaning ‘hope’) Presbyterian Church is typical of middle and upper class congregations in Seoul. The church was established in 1980 by Rev. Dr. SunHee Kwak and witnessed an enormous numerical growth during the 1980s and 1990s, with the current members of the congregation numbering some 30,000. Rev. Kwak, now retired, has been one of the pioneers among Protestant ministers who advocated cremation as a Christian funeral. Indeed, he was one of the leading figures who founded the ‘Christian Centre for Promoting Cremation’ in 1998.

References Baker, D. (1979) ‘The martyrdom of Paul Yun: Western religion and eastern ritual in eighteenth century Korea’, Transactions: Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch, 54: 33–58.

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Chung, H.-C. 정형철 (2002) ‘고려시대 화장에 대한 재검토’ (A Review on Cremation in the Period of Koryo), 석사학위논문. MA Thesis. 동아대학교. Dong-A University. Davies, D. (ed.) (2005) Encyclopedia of Cremation, Aldershot: Ashgate. Deuchler, M. (1992) The Confucian Transformation of Korea: A study of society and ideology, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Haboush, J. H. K. (1991) ‘The Confucianisation of Korean society’, Gilbert Rozman (ed.) The East Asian Region: Confucian heritage and its modern adaptation, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press: 84–110. Jupp, P. C. (2006) From Dust to Ashes: Cremation and the British way of death, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Kim, H. E. (1990) ‘한국의 화장제도에 관한 연구’ (Historical Review on Cremation in Korea), 농업과학연구 (Journal of Agricultural Science) 8: 196–208. Park, C. W. (2005) ‘Korea’, Douglas Davies (ed.) Encyclopedia of Cremation, Aldershot: Ashgate: 289–91. Ro, B. R. (ed.) (1985) Christian Alternatives to Ancestor Practices, Taichung, Taiwan: Asia Theological Association. Sharma, B. K. (2005) ‘Nepal’, Douglas Davies (ed.) Encyclopedia of Cremation, Aldershot: Ashgate: 325–26. Song, H. D. 송현동 (2002) ‘근대이후 상장례정책 변화과정에 대한 비판적 고찰’ (A Critical Examination of Changing Funeral Policy since the Early Twentieth Century), 역사민속학 (Historical Ethnology) 14: 198–224. The General Assembly of Presbyterian Church in Korea. 대한예수교장로회 총회. (1999) ‘기독교 장례문화: 매장이냐 화장이냐?’ (The Christian Way of Funerals: Burial or Cremation?), 제84회 총회보고서 (84th General Assembly Document): 344–52. Sanneh, L. and Carpenter, J. (eds) (2005) The Changing Face of Christianity: Africa, the West and the world, Oxford: Oxford University Press. The Sydney Morning Herald (2008) ‘Outrage over Britain’s first gay wedding in a church’, Monday 16 June 2008.

10 Subjects to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates

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‘We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honouring, and sustaining the laws of the land.’ The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1989c

Among the worlds most curious and fastest growing religions is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly known as ‘Mormons’, but hereafter referenced as ‘the Church’ and its members ‘Latter-day Saints’). Some people, such as Harold Bloom, argue ‘beyond reasonable dispute’ ‘there are no more patriotic Americans than the people called Mormons’ (Bloom 1991: 91). Today, Latter-Day Saints are replete in the FBI, CIA, armed forces and other US government agencies. In 2008, Mitt Romney was one of the top Republican presidential candidates, while Senator Harry Reid, a Democrat, presided as the US Senate Majority leader. A close relationship between Church and state exists in US politics because it is required by Church doctrine. However, Asia is a different political environment. To what extent is this relationship between the Church and Asian states similar as we begin the twenty-first century? Church and state relations are very different today from those during the nineteenth century. Initially the Church was severely persecuted. The evolution of change shifted gradually. Even at the end of the twentieth century, after the Church had been in the US for 170 years, two of the religions significantly discriminated against were the atheists and Latter-day Saints (Servin-Gonzalez and Torres-Reyna 1999: 592–621). By comparison, the Church in Asia is very young. Congregations were established in Japan shortly after the Second World War, then in other places such as Hong Kong and Korea in the 1950s, Vietnam and Singapore in the 1960s, and Indonesia in the 1970s. More recently, the Church was recognized in Cambodia in 1994. Is it possible that in another 150–200 years Latter-day Saints will be as integrated in the Asian political landscape as they are in the US? The Church, ‘together with its acceptance of civil government, was, almost from the start, involved in politics’ (O’Dea 1957: 172). Joseph Smith, the first prophet and founder of the religion, ran for President of the United States in 1844. His candidacy was cut short when a mob killed him. Other Latter-day

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Saints suffered severe persecution, particularly in the State of Missouri where ‘Governor Lilbum Boggs issued an extermination order against the Latterday Saints’ (Augustine-Adams 1998–99: 570). In the midst of this persecution, ‘they repeatedly enjoined to work within the country’s legal system’, providing ‘ample testimonial to their respect for due process’ (Underwood 2000: 53–54). After repeated failed petitions to the government, they moved from the states into the western territories. Some interpret this move as an attempt ‘to become a “new nation” and create a separate social order’ (Kendall White 1978: 161–81). Those who do, fail to consider that Church courts could not supersede civil courts (Augustine-Adams 1998–99: 584). Even the first attempt to establish a communal order separate from society in 1836 was not started until they received permission from the state of Missouri (Baer 1988: 9). Cities built by Latter-day Saints followed the same charge as that given when they created Nauvoo, Illinois, ‘the city council could enact any ordinance as long as it did not conflict with federal and state laws’ (Baer 1988: 9). As Thomas F. O’Dea concluded, ‘the Saints had always recognized the legitimacy of civil government, despite the theocratic nature of the church and its totalitarian claims’ (O’Dea 1957: 167). Allegiance to the state did not result in state support. In the US, ‘it can accurately be argued that no religious group in the United States has suffered more discrimination – often severe and deadly persecution – than the Mormons did in the nineteenth century’ (Fowler et al. 2004: 70). Opposing groups that ‘misunderstood and feared’ this new religion successfully represented the Church as a threat to ‘public’ and ‘social order’, and justified their persecution as ‘a manifestation of patriotism rather than bigotry’ (Wessinger 2000: 17–18). This allowed the Church’s antagonists to circumvent religious freedom guaranteed in the US Constitution. Even today, non-traditional religions ‘are the most likely to suffer persecution’ (Ibid.). For this persecution ‘to be culturally sanctioned’, it must take ‘the form of political rather than denominational interests’ (Huntington 2001: 57). It also allows the state to participate in the persecution. Since the victors write history, the histories of these persecutions have been justified and reified. One scholar concluded that authors ‘accept a little too readily the self-exculpating constructions of the Saint’s antagonists’ and as a result ‘the tropes of the old anti-Mormon literatures appear in contemporary studies in only slightly revised form’ (Underwood 2000: 58). Douglas Palmer, an Asia area public affairs representative for the Church, affirmed that many people in Asia know little about the Church’s doctrines and practices, and some who profess to know about the Church merely repeat the tropes of those antagonistic to the Church (Ibid.). This was verified when I had an extended conversation with a respected and prominent Singapore religious leader at a conference. These tropes were successful historically and in many places remain successful today (Palmer 2006a). State religious persecution has repeated itself many times throughout the world. However, are any conflicts between the Church and states the result of

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Church doctrine and practice, or a political manifestation of religious persecution? For example, the Church entered Singapore in May 1968 when they sent four missionaries to the new country. In 1968, approximately forty people joined the church and 242 in 1969 (Servin-Gonzalez and Torres-Reyna 1999). There appears to be no record of how many additional people were investigating the Church. In February 1970, the Singapore Inter-Religious Organization ‘harshly denounced’ the Church for creating ‘friction and ill-feeling’, and the Singapore government expelled the missionaries (Yeong 1981: 34). This is not a singular event in history, but a single history that repeats itself. Similar patterns can be seen more recently in Ghana (Ibid.: 34–35) and the Ukraine (Meyer 1998: 15–37). Typically, the persecution leads to observation, observation leads to acceptance, and acceptance leads to collaboration. Persecution eased two years after Latter-day Saints fled the states and entered the western territories. President James Polk wanted five hundred Latter-day Saint men to fight in the Mexican–American War. The new leader of the Church, Brigham Young, encouraged Latter-day Saints to respond to their country’s call and 541 enlisted and made one of the longest infantry march in history: 2,030 miles. The Church had been literally driven out of the United States. Nevertheless, they responded to their country’s request because they still considered themselves subjects of the United States. President James Buchanan returned to state-sponsored persecution in the ‘Utah War’. This ‘war’ was called ‘Buchanan’s Blunder’ after everyone learned that Latter-day Saints were not ‘in a state of substantial rebellion’ (Wanner 2004: 732–55). While numerous articles and books have been written about the Church and US state relations, there is very little written about the Church in Asia and other non-Western environments. Latter-day Saints use the same Bible as Protestant sects, but also follow additional scripture: the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Like the Catholics, they have a central religious leader, which they call president and prophet. The president has two councillors; together they comprise the First Presidency. They also have and follow twelve living apostles. To understand the Church’s history and current activities in Asia, one needs to understand the teaching from these sources and how Latter-day Saints live them, especially in an Asian context. Among its most fundamental beliefs influencing its relationships with governments are two ‘Articles of Faith’. From one I borrow the title, ‘We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the laws of the land’ (Poll and Hansen 1961: 121). In many instances, the term subjects is used to describe people under the jurisdiction or control of others by force, but in this case it is voluntary. The list of rulers is not comprehensive, but representative. Marion G. Romney, while serving in the First Presidency of the Church, stated, ‘“The law of Christ” is all-inclusive. It concerns not only rules that shall govern beyond the grave, but also the law of nature here and now – local, national, and international.

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Latter-day Saints should strictly obey the laws of the government in which they live’ (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1989c). Romney then continued:

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Civil authority is of divine origin. It may be more or less adapted to the needs of man; more or less just and benevolent, but, even at its worst, it is better than anarchy. Revolutionary movements that aim at the abolition of government itself are contrary to the law of God. (Romney 1973: 2) Their subjectivity includes all forms of governments; the only exclusion is anarchy. Latter-day Saints are primarily interested in the Kingdom of God, but they prepare for that Kingdom using existing political structures. The Book of Mormon has many sections that discuss the governmental organization of humanity. They range from democratic to totalitarian governments. In each form the emphasis is on ‘righteous’ living, rather than the political systems. Two great civilizations discussed in the Book of Mormon were destroyed because of ‘secret combinations’ (Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, quoted in Romney 1973), or conspiracies. The Book of Mormon teaches that these activities are the ‘most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God’ (The Book of Mormon, Ether 8:22) and are a sure sign that the people are ‘ripening for destruction’ and ‘could not be governed by the law’ (The Book of Mormon, Ether 8:18). While some people mistakenly associate the temple with ‘secret combinations’, the rituals are not conspiracies against the government or other organizations; rather, they are covenants with God, like the ritual of baptism performed in many churches (The Book of Mormon, Helaman 5:3). Church leaders assert sacredness, not secrecy, when asked about their temples. Since political activities are not sacred, Latter-day Saints shun such secret combinations and government activities. Doctrine and Covenants Section 134 contains some of the most explicit statements respecting the Church’s relationships with governments. The first sentence reads: We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society. (Smith 1973: 55) Article of Faith 12 states that obeying, honouring and sustaining are the acts required. Failure to do so is to break God’s laws. As it states in Doctrine and Covenants Section 58: Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land. Wherefore, be subject to

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the powers that be, until he reigns whose right it is to reign, and subdues all enemies under his feet. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1989b: 134:1) Like other Christians, they believe in the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, an earthly theocratic Kingdom of God; however, until He comes, they see themselves as bound to ‘the laws of the land’. Among the first examples of the Church’s submission to governmental authority was God’s commandment for them to organize the Church according to New York State laws, where the Church was founded. The Doctrine and Covenants reads: The rise of the Church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh, it being regularly organized and established agreeable to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April. (Ibid.: 58: 21–22) Prior to this date, 6 April 1830, the Church existed according to the laws of God, but not man. Latter-day Saints were within their legal rights to preach, baptize and otherwise conduct the affairs of the Church because the US Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. David Whitmer, one of the founding members of the Church, asserted, ‘We were as fully organized— spiritually—before April 6th as we were on that day. The reason why we met on that day was … we had no right to officiate in the ordinance of marriage, hold church property, etc.’, so it was necessary to ‘organize according to the laws of the land’ (Ibid.: 20:1). Consequently, according to all official Church literature, the organization of the Church took place on 6 April 1830 when it satisfied state law. With the legal precedent established, the Church has taken the necessary steps to be legally recognized everywhere the Church is organized. The directive to keep the laws of the land has few exceptions. If Latter-day Saints disagree with the laws of a particular government, or the laws contradict their religious beliefs, they are not justified in disobeying or circumventing the government. Doctrine and Covenants Section 134 later reads: We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience. (Whitmer 1887: 33)

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Consequently, when ‘laws [were] enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages’ the Church announced its ‘intention to submit to those laws’ (The Doctrine and Covenants: 134:5). All Church leaders that had the authority to perform marriages were ‘to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land’ (Ibid. Official Declaration 1). The Church did not rebel or commit acts of sedition, but acquiesced because the US government otherwise guaranteed their inalienable rights. Those that continued to practice polygamy were excommunicated from the Church and are now known as ‘Fundamentalist’ movements. ‘Inherent and inalienable rights’ are not explicitly defined in the Church’s scriptures, but they are implicitly defined in Section 134 as ‘the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life’ (Ibid.). The latter two are somewhat defined in the same section as ‘murder, treason, robbery, theft, and the breach of the general peace’ (Ibid.: 134:2). If governments fail to protect these rights, Church doctrine allows for self-defence only: We believe that men should appeal to the civil law for redress of all wrongs and grievances, where personal abuse is inflicted or the right of property or character infringed, where such laws exist as will protect the same; but we believe that all men are justified in defending themselves, their friends, and property, and the government, from the unlawful assaults and encroachments of all persons in times of exigency, where immediate appeal cannot be made to the laws, and relief afforded. (Ibid.: 134: 8) It is noteworthy that in times of exigency, Latter-day Saints are to not only defend themselves and friends, but also their governments. The first right, the free exercise of conscience, is explicitly stated as Article of Faith 11: ‘We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship, how, where, or what they may.’ (Ibid.: 134:11). There are a number of conditions attached to this declaration. For example, one person cannot harm another person as part of his or her free worship. Doctrine and Covenants Section 134 includes the following: We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul. (The Pearl of Great Price, The Articles of Faith, 11)

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If someone’s religion or belief system denies the three rights to another it is the responsibility of the government to restrain the activity. While many states attempt to control or influence ‘personal belief, conviction, or conscience’, ‘religion is beyond the scope of government action’ (The Doctrine and Covenants: 134:4). Consequently, Latter-day Saints advocate governments allowing people to worship how, where, or what they may, as long as that worship does not infringe on the rights of others. The Church has a historic pattern of withdrawal from governments that do not provide the three inherent rights. When members of the Church are unable to get redress from the government after others violate their rights they consistently move, if possible, to another government that provides them. Such was the case with almost all of the Church’s historic migrations. It is also the historic pattern in Asia. The Church has repeatedly left Asian regions that are politically unstable and unable to guarantee the rights. For example, in 1949, the Church briefly organized itself in Hong Kong, and then retreated with the instability caused by civil wars in the region. In 1955, the Church again entered Hong Kong and quickly spread to Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines and other Asian countries (Chidester 1988: 226). Because of political conflict and instability, the Church did not enter Vietnam until Latter-day Saint military personnel entered the country in the early 1960s. Initially the Church was only granted permission to organize services for military personnel, but was later given permission to proselytize in 1967 (Encyclopedia of Mormonism 1992). In 1973, the Church had approximately three hundred Vietnamese members in the Republic of Vietnam. Jerry D. Wheat, President of the Church’s Far East Mission, did not trust the Democratic Republic of North Vietnam. Towards the end of the war, he made the decision to evacuate the Church from South Vietnam when the North Vietnamese were one hundred miles from Saigon (Ibid.). The expatriates were successfully evacuated, but not all the Vietnamese Latter-day Saints. The Churches tried to evacuate as many Vietnamese Latter-day Saints as possible, fearing the communists would persecute them as they did in Eastern Europe after the Second World War. Vietnamese Latter-day Saints were low on the evacuation priority list and only ninetyeight members were evacuated before the fall of Saigon (Britsch and Holloman 1980: 25). These members were relocated to countries that guaranteed their rights and the Church was quick to establish a religious organization for them inside the refugee camps. Wheat’s concerns proved correct, as the remaining Vietnamese Latter-day Saints were imprisoned and/or re-educated under the new communist government. Nguyen Cao Minh and Nguyen Van The and their families found life in communist Vietnam unbearable. After ‘many months of political indoctrination and re-education’ (Ensign 1975: 77), they took to the sea with the other ‘boat people’. Nguyen Ngoc Thach was one Latter-day Saint imprisoned because of his Church membership. In 1982, because of changes taking place in Vietnam, he was able to send a letter to US Church members,

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in which he affirmed his free exercise of conscience in the midst of persecution (Britsch and Holloman 1980). Latter-day Saint Vietnam veterans responded by forming the Veterans Association for Service Activities Abroad (VASAA) to give assistance to Vietnamese Church members. Political changes in Vietnam throughout the 1980s made it possible for many remaining Vietnamese Latter-day Saints to leave Vietnam using the United Nations’ Orderly Departure programme and be reunited with other family members or be ‘relocated in countries where they could worship freely’ (Ensign June 1992: 62). Consistent with history, Latter-day Saints were not involved in subversive efforts against the government, but instead withdrew or used legal means to relocate to places where they would have their rights. Today the Church is active again in Vietnam. The country opened its doors to foreign businesses after most members left the country. Most Latter-day Saints in Vietnam are expatriate businessmen and women or Vietnamese citizens who joined the Church in other countries and then returned to Vietnam. The Church is probably under close scrutiny in this early phase, as it was under previous communist governments. It is likely that we will see collaboration between Vietnam and the Church in the future if these Latter-day Saints are true to their religion. According to the Church’s doctrine, there should be a strict separation of Church and government. As recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants, ‘We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.’ (Ibid.). Simply, the three inherent and inalienable rights should be applied equally to all citizens, governments should not mingle in religious affairs, and religions should not mingle in civil government. This does not mean that they cannot collaborate with governments in areas of common interest, including the virtues of society. Nevertheless, as stated in the Doctrine and Covenants, the Church is fully aware that it does not enact or administer laws as these responsibilities belong to governments. While some religious practices, past and present, enforce their religious code under the guise of civil rule, Latter-day Saints believe their only recourse is to adopt regulations that determine the standing of its members in their Church. The doctrine reads: We believe that all religious societies have a right to deal with their members for disorderly conduct, according to the rules and regulations of such societies; provided that such dealings be for fellowship and good standing; but we do not believe that any religious society has authority to try men on the right of property or life, to take from them this world’s goods, or to put them in jeopardy of either life or limb, or to inflict any physical punishment upon them. They can only excommunicate them from their society, and withdraw from them their fellowship. (Doctrine and Covenants: 134:9)

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Consequently, the Church reserves the right to admit people into the Church through baptism or remove them through excommunication. It may also decide a person’s standing in the Church, like issuing or revoking a ‘temple recommend’, the document necessary to enter their temples. Church leaders can determine whether an individual’s free exercise of conscience is consistent with the Church’s doctrine, but only the government can make decisions that effect life or property. In accordance with Article of Faith 12, it is common for the Church to make its teachings dependent on governmental laws. For example, the Church teaches that every Latter-day Saint should have one year of food storage, but with a condition. The First Presidency’s most recent letter to all Church members on this topic, dated 20 January 2002, tells members to begin ‘by storing the basic foods that would be required to keep them alive if they did not have anything else to eat’ and that would ‘meet the needs of their family for one year’ (Ibid.: 134:10). However, Latter-day Saints are to put the law of the land before this directive from them. The letter later reads, ‘Some members … are prohibited by law from storing a year’s supply of food. These members should store as much as their circumstances allow.’ (Hinckley, Monson and Faust 2002). As a result, Latter-day Saints must first know or learn their government’s laws pertaining to hoarding and food storage. Clearly, obedience to the Church’s directives is dependent on state laws. One revealing word in Article of Faith 12 is sustaining. Obeying has linguistic overtones that imply subservience and duty. Honouring resonates with respect and approbation. Sustaining is unique because it requires supportive action; it requires Latter-day Saints to endorse and preserve state laws. The Church works most closely with key countries and cities that they consider ‘sources of strength’ (Ibid.). These appear to be states that provide these rights and where the Church feels comfortable obeying, honouring and sustaining them. Latter-day Saint temples scattered around Asia (Palmer 2006a) are one indication as to which governments provide these rights, since temples usually appear only where the Church is flourishing. The Church sustains states by focusing on common objectives – junctures where the Church’s objective to build the Kingdom of God overlaps with state objectives. For example, the Church emphasizes education and career security, something that is also important to most governments. The Church advocates this for the following reasons: When we have knowledge and wisdom, we are better able to discern truth from error and make good choices. Education and literacy are also keys to personal growth, preparation for suitable employment, building strong families, service in the Church, and making a meaningful contribution to the society in which we live. (www.lds.org/temples/geographical/0,11380,1899–2,00.html, accessed 1 December 2006)

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Because this is important to the Church, it provides resources to help Latterday Saints accomplish these objectives, like Employment Resource Centres. These facilities ‘help members [of the Church] and non-members find jobs suited to their skills and aptitude’ and assists ‘entrepreneurs who like to set-up a small business’ (http://providentliving.org/channel/0,11677,1704–1,00.html, accessed 1 December 2006). These centres are not limited to Latter-day Saints; anyone in the community may use one. Councilor Pilar C. Braga in Davao City, Philippines recently lauded the centre there for ‘the service and assistance it is giving to Dabawenyos and its contribution in creating a better business and investment landscape for the city’ (Sun Star 2 November 2006). The manager of the centre, Philip Tan, said, ‘non-members comprise a large number of jobseekers who come to the center’ (Ibid.). Both Church and state share the same objective: seeing people self-reliant in a prosperous community. Consequently, the Church sustains the government by making their services available to everyone in the community. The Asian countries in greatest need were those hardest hit by the 26 December 2004 tsunami. Boyd K. Packer, acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, called Alwi Shihab, at that time Foreign Minister of Indonesia, shortly after the tsunami to offer assistance (Ibid.). The Church also began working closely with the other affected countries. On 29 December 2004, the First Presidency petitioned its members worldwide for donations. The letter reads: In association with other relief agencies, the Church is extending substantial humanitarian aid to the stricken people of southern Asia. We have representatives on the ground who are assessing needs and who are administering help. This coming Sunday, 2 January 2005, will be our regular fast day. In the present circumstances, we urge our people to remember in their prayers those in the devastated areas and to contribute most generously in fast offerings, which will make it possible for the Church to increase its aid to those whose suffering is so great. (Packer and Shibab 2006) On the first Sunday of each month, Latter-day Saints fast for two meals and donate the equivalent value of the two meals, ‘or more if their means allow, to their local congregation leader’ to ‘care for the poor and needy’ (Ibid.). Bill Reynolds, the director of the Church’s tsunami relief efforts said, ‘the [Latterday] Saints were very generous and donated many millions of dollars’ (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, News Releases 2004). Church membership is very small in these countries. Nevertheless, it worked to sustain these states and their people in their time of exigency. Each country was asked three questions, ‘what are your plans’, ‘what are your needs’ and ‘how can we help you accomplish them?’ (Reynolds 2006). The Church acknowledges that its own objectives overlap with the government’s authority and

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responsibility, but insists, ‘the approach we’re trying to take is to collaborate’ (Ibid.). Most of the work was not done in the name of the Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but the humanitarian arm of the Church, Latter-day Saint Charities, to not offend Muslims in the region. While many of the resources came from the international Church, Indonesian members also participated in tsunami relief efforts. One of the best examples came after the Saturday 27 May 2006 tsunami that also hit Indonesia. Immediately the Church’s buildings in Solo and Yogyakarta were turned into food kitchens and had produced more than 1,500 meals by Sunday morning and 2,000 meals per day thereafter to meet the needs of the devastated population (Hunter 2006). All Church workers that participated in the relief efforts did not distribute literature or preach the gospel. Many Church members involved made statements like, ‘I wish I could bear my testimony, but I can’t and won’t!’ (Meridian 2006). Statements like this seem contradictory, coming from a church internationally famous for proselytizing. Reynolds insists, ‘We absolutely honour our non-proselytising commitment.’ (Reynolds 2006). While sustaining the government and its people, the Church obeys voluntary restrictions, such as Latter-day Saint Charities, and mandatory restrictions, such as the non-proselytizing commitment. The Church has also been involved in humanitarian projects in many other Asian countries. When challenged that the Church does humanitarian efforts to get their foot in the door to do missionary work, Reynolds replied: We do humanitarian aid work for the sake of doing humanitarian aid work and we are true to our word. We do not use it as a tool for proselytising. We would lose our credibility and we can’t let that happen. We never want to do anything that would be viewed by the ruling government as being subversive. (Ibid.) Richard Hunter, the Church’s head public affairs director for all of Asia, replied with a quote from the Doctrine and Covenants: Ye shall obtain power to organise yourselves according to the laws of man; that your enemies may not have power over you; that you may be preserved in all things; that you may be enabled to keep my laws; that every bond may be broken wherewith the enemy seeketh to destroy my people. (The Doctrine and Covenants, 44:4) When asked to clarify what it means he stated, ‘The Church wants to go in through the front door; it is never political. It is always based on the greatest need and where we can do the greatest good.’ (Hunter 2006). It was very clear from both conversations that obeying the law and maintaining the Church’s

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integrity are more important than proselytizing. They firmly believe they will be blessed in the future for governmental obedience today. Ezra Taft Benson, President of the Church 1985–94, told Latter-day Saints that the Church has three missions, ‘first, to teach the gospel to the world; second, to strengthen the membership of the Church wherever they may be; third, to move forward the work of salvation for the dead’ (Benson 1986: 77). It is unclear whether these are in a priority order. Nevertheless, it is at least in the top three. Subjectivity to earthly governments is not part of the three-fold mission, but appears to be a higher priority than these three. When I asked the Church’s representatives about this phenomenon, Palmer’s response was typical of the others, ‘things will happen in the Lord’s due time; we have faith that things will happen when and how God wants them to’ (Palmer 2006a). They insist they will wait until the governments that currently restrict proselytizing grant them this right. Freedom to proselytize has allowed the Church to flourish in places like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Since some governments in Asia are more totalitarian, one should question the relationship between the Church and these governments. One of the closest links is with communism. As has been noted elsewhere, ‘social idealism versus political conservatism is a very real conflict in Mormonism’ (O’Dea 1957: 253). A communal living system called ‘the United Order’ (The Doctrine and Covenants: 104) was attempted during the 1830s, and sporadically thereafter. In 1939 one of the Church’s most prominent leaders stated: There is a growing – I fear it is growing – sentiment that communism and the United Order are virtually the same thing, communism being merely the forerunner, so to speak, of a reestablishment of the United Order. I am informed that ex-bishops, and indeed, bishops,1 who belong to communistic organizations, are preaching this doctrine. (O’Dea 1957: 254) Latter-day Saints first responded to communism by saying it will not succeed unless people live according to the teachings of Christ and the Spirit of God. It should be noted that ‘more than 40 percent of the members of Utah’s Socialist Party during the early twentieth century, and various Mormons, including ward officers, ran and occasionally won election on the Socialist ticket’ (Baer 1988: 15). This positive view changed when Stalin severely persecuted religions in Russia. Ezra Taft Benson, while serving as one of twelve apostles, was one of the most outspoken Church leaders against communism. Ironically, Benson was President of the Church when it worked closely with the European communist countries in the late twentieth century. Church leaders stopped speaking out against communism after communist governments granted the free exercise of conscience. The relationship between the Church and communist states is parallel to US history. After a long period of persecution and monitoring, Kurt Löffler,

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the GDR State Secretary for Religious Affairs, told Church leaders, ‘We’ve observed you and your people for twenty years. We know you are what you profess to be: honest men and women.’ (Monson 1989: 50). Erich Honecker, General Secretary 1971–89 and Chairman of the Council of State 1976–89, further stated, ‘We know members of your Church believe in work; you’ve proven that. We know you believe in the family; you’ve demonstrated that. We know you are good citizens in whatever country you claim as home; we have observed that.’ (Ibid.). As a result, the Church flourished in a communist country just as it did in the US, and a series of Church and state collaborations began. Even before these events unfolded in communist Europe, one scholar concluded, ‘that Saints throughout the world may proclaim loyalty to their respective nations is no longer disputed’ (Kendall White 1978: 179). Responsibilities of a Latter-day Saint citizen can be found in many places. Among the most quoted is the final speech given by King Benjamin, recorded in their scripture The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1989a: Mosiah 2–5). He teaches his people to follow the teachings of Jesus, stating if they do they ‘will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due’ (Ibid.: Mosiah 4:13). The last phrase he subsequently defines as properly raising and caring for children, succouring those in need of succour, being honest and many other moral virtues. He emphasizes serving God by serving other people. It does not include the Mosaic eye for an eye or tooth for a tooth. All forms of injury to others are condemned in harsh terms. Gordon B. Hinckley’s book, Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues that will Heal Our Hearts and Homes, (Hinckley 2000) also defines what it means to be a Latter-day citizen today. His book is divided into two sections. The first section focuses on ten virtues: love, honesty, morality, civility, learning, forgiveness and mercy, thrift and industry, gratitude, optimism, and faith. The second section focuses on what he calls ‘the guardians of virtue’: marriage and family. These virtues are not unique to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These virtues have been important hallmarks of Asian cultures for centuries, if not millenniums. If the Church and the state can build upon these common virtues, then their relationship can and should be one of collaboration. In Taiwan, and many other Asian countries, the family has been dramatically affected by modernization. Consequently, the Church and Taiwanese leaders have been collaborating to strengthening the family. Since the Church is relatively new in Taiwan, we should first address the stress conversion places on Taiwanese families. Many Taiwanese converts were sons and daughters to parents loyal to traditional Chinese religion. One Church leader in Taipei explains: Most Taiwanese parents expect that when they die, their children will burn paper money and incense for them and offer food. Otherwise they

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fear they will be hungry and poor in the next life. That is why older people sometimes panic when they see their young people join the Church. (Bigelow 1998: 39)

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Such tensions were difficult for both those who wanted to join the Church and the parents who were opposed to their conversions. Another church leader proposed resolving the conflicts between new Latter-day Saints and their parents by outwardly adhering to cultural traditions while changing their inward meaning. He teaches: Showing respect for and honoring our deceased loved ones is in complete harmony with gospel principles, but what to one person is a religious and spiritual ritual to another is simply a way of showing respect to deceased ancestors, no more a religious ritual than the custom of placing flowers on a grave. For example, two people could be performing what appears to be the same rite of ancestor worship, each bowing reverently several times before a wooden tablet listing the names of deceased relatives. The one could easily be in harmony with the precepts of the gospel, while the other is in opposition to what the Lord has commanded. (Ibid.) This of course does not resolve all conflicts, but compromises like these have made, and continue to make, a lasting impact on the strength of the family unit and local culture. The Church has repeatedly stated that it does not want to change local cultures, insisting they ‘do not attempt to make Filipinos or Asians or Africans into Americans’ (Oaks 2003: 37). Most agree the Church only wishes to change behaviour that is not in harmony with its teachings, like promiscuity, smoking, alcohol, etc. After spending four months with Latter-day Saints, Wong Sing Yeong stated that there is an American influence in the Church because all the Church’s materials come from its headquarters in the US, but that ‘this is not an intentional development – in fact the church is trying to encourage its members to be enriched in their own cultures as well as to understand other cultures’ (Yeong 1981: 38–39). Taiwanese and Latter-day Saint leaders have been working together to strengthen the family as a basic unit of society. Recently, the Church introduced Family Home Evening, also called Family Night, to government leaders. This programme requires families to do specific activities one evening per week to strengthen the family. The Church worked with many prominent leaders to create materials that the government would distribute to the population, including information about how to hold a Family Night. Distribution materials also included a family enrichment manual, first distributed to 2,000 workers in Taiwan in late 2006 (Hunter 2006). Another booklet, ‘3 Simple Ways to becoming a Happier Family,’ was originally created for the Church’s proselytizing efforts. A secular version of this booklet was created in collaboration with the Taiwanese government that could be distributed by the

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government. The Church also helped create the government’s marriage training course required for all newly married couples. For three consecutive years, the Church has also been in charge of the Family Values Award Program, which is supported and attended by many prominent church and government leaders (Palmer 2006b). D. Russell Crane and E. Jeffrey Hill, both prominent marriage and family scholars and Latter-day Saints, were also recently guest presenters in Taipei to ‘city government leaders from the departments of Social Services, Civic Affairs, Education, and Health and their staffs’ (Ibid.). Certainly, both parties agree that more is accomplished through such collaborations. The Church has also worked with many other Asian governments. However, Palmer reported that it is not uncommon for some Asian governments to meet with Latter-day Saints to discuss and collaborate on issues of common interest, but wish to not have such events publicized (Ibid.). Perhaps this is because some Asian governments do not want to be affiliated with religion, a Christian religion, or a religion that can easily be associated with the US. The irony is that Latter-day Saints have a ‘civil society’ that ‘looks much like those described for “non-western” societies’ because it is ‘a civil society which is not based on private individuals, but rather on a moral system of community interaction’ (Dunn 1996: 27–28). The result is that the Church closely collaborates with governments that share these same virtues, and withdraws from subjectivity, to the extent possible, from those that do not. In all circumstances, the Church has repeatedly shown that honouring Article of Faith 12 is more important to them than the three-fold mission of the Church – perfect the saints, redeem the dead and proclaim the gospel – believing that it is the best path to accomplishing the three-fold mission of the Church. Recent events in Asia illustrate what can happen when government and religion work together. When they collaborate, they accomplish much. When there is conflict between them, people suffer. There are many religions working with Asian governments to benefit the people, although few face the same persecution or scrutiny. While most other religions and other antagonists still often represent the Church as being as non-traditional as possible, scholars like Harold Bloom argue, ‘It is weirdly true, in 1991, that the Mormons are as mainstream as you are, whoever you are, at least in terms of the religion of politics, and the politics of religion’ (Bloom 1991: 88). In the midst of this opinion war or a new world religion, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints is a strong model of responsible citizenry and state and church collaboration. The Church has experienced dramatic changes in Asia, and elsewhere, since the Second World War. If the past is any indication of the future, many of the countries that now persecute or restrict the Church will eventually grant the rights Latter-day Saints desire. With the tremendous similarities between Asian cultural values and Latter-day Saint values – love, honesty, morality, civility, learning, forgiveness and mercy, thrift and industry, gratitude, optimism, faith, marriage, and family – it is possible that the past has only been the prelude.

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Notes 1 A bishop is a leader of a congregation.

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References Augustine-Adams, K. (1998–99) ‘The web of membership: The consonance and conflict of being American and Latter-day Saint’, Journal of Law and Religion, 13(2): 570. Baer, H. A. (1988) Recreating Utopia in the Desert: A sectarian challenge to modern Mormonism, Albany: State University of New York Press. Benson, E. T. (1986) ‘A sacred responsibility’, Ensign (May 1986): 77. Available online at: http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/1986.htm/ensign%20may %201986%20.htm/a%20sacred%20responsibility.htm. (Accessed 1 December 2006). Bigelow, C. K. (1998) ‘Taiwan: Four decades of faith’, Ensign (September 1998): 39. Available online at: http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/1998.htm/ ensign%20september%201998.htm/taiwan%20%20four%20decades%20of%20faith.htm. (Accessed 1 December 2006). Bloom, H. (1991) The American Religion: The emergence of the post-Christian nation, New York: Simon & Schuster. Britsch, R. L. and Holloman Jr. R. (1980) ‘The Church’s years in Vietnam’, Ensign, (August 1980): 25. Available online at: http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/ Ensign/1980.htm/ensign%20august%201980.htm/the%20churchs%20years%20in%20 vietnam%20.htm. (Accessed 1 December 2006). Chidester, D. (1988) Patterns of Power: Religion and politics in American culture, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall. Dunn, E. (1996) ‘Money, morality and modes of civil society among American Mormons,’ C. Hann and E. Dunn (eds) Civil Society: Challenging western models, London: Routledge. Encyclopedia of Mormonism, (1992) s.v. ‘Asia, The Church in’. Available online at: www.lib.byu.edu/Macmillan/. Ensign (July 1975) ‘News of the Church’, 77. Available online at: http://library.lds.org/ nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/1975.htm/ensign%20july%201975.htm/news%20of %20the%20church.htm. (Accessed 1 December 2006). ——(June 1992) ‘Giving new meaning to military “service”’, 62. Available online at: http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/1992.htm/ensign%20june%20 1992%20.tm/of%20good%20report.htm. (Accessed 1 December 2006). Fowler, R., Hertzke, A., Olson, L. and den Dulk, K. (2004) Religion and Politics in America, 3rd ed. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. Hinckley, G. B. (2000) Standing for Something: 10 neglected virtues that will heal our hearts and homes, New York: Random House. Hinckley, Gordon B., Thomas S. Monson and James E. Faust (2002) Salt Lake City, to General Authorities; Area Authority Seventies; Stake, Mission, and District Presidents; Bishops and Branch Presidents, 20 January 2002. Available online at: http:// providentliving.org/pfw/multimedia/files/pfw/pdf/6855_FPOLetterOnHomeStorageJan 02_pdf.pdf. (Accessed 1 December 2006). Hunter, R. (2006) Asia Area Public Affairs, Hong Kong. Interview by Greg Petersen, 2 November 2006.

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Huntington, S. P. ‘Religious persecution and religious relevance in today’s world’, E. Abrams (ed.) The Influence of Faith: Religious groups and U.S. foreign policy, Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Kendall White, Jr., O. (1978) ‘Mormonism in America and Canada: Accommodation to the nation-state’, Canadian Journal of Sociology / Cahiers canadiens de sociologie, 3(2): 161–81. Meyer, B. (1998) ‘The power of money: Politics, occult forces, and Pentecostalism in Ghana’, African Studies Review, 41(3): 15–37. Meridian, (2006) ‘Mormon chapels used as food kitchens in Indonesia’. Available online at: www.ldsmag.com/churchupdate/060602indonesia.html. (Accessed 1 December 2006). Monson, T. S. (1989)’Thanks be to God’, Ensign (May 1989): 50. Available online at: http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/1989.htm/ensign%20may%201 989.htm/thanks%20be%20to%20god.htm. (Accessed 1 December 2006). O’Dea, T. F. (1957) The Mormons, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Oaks, D. H. (2003) ‘Repentance and change’, Ensign (November 2003), 37. Available online at: http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/2003.htm/ensign% 20november%202003.htm/repentance%20and%20change.htm. (Accessed 1 December 2006). Packer, B. K. and Shibab, A. (2006) ‘Building bridges to harmony through understanding’, BYU Forum Speech, 10 October 2006. Available online at: www.byubroadcasting. org/devotionals/?selectedMonth=10&selectedYear=2006. (Accessed 1 December 2006). Palmer, D. W. (2006a) Asia Area Public Affairs, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. Interview by Greg Petersen, 12 October 2006. ——(2006b) ‘Information on family’, 19 November 2006, personal email. Poll, R. D. and Hansen, R. W. (1961) ‘“Buchanan’s Blunder” The Utah War, 1857–58’, Military Affairs, 25(3): 121. Reynolds, B. (2006) Director of Field Operations, Southeast Asia, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Interview by Greg Petersen, 7 November 2006. Romney, M. G. (1973) ‘The rule of law’, Ensign (February 1973): 2. Available online at: http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/1973.htm/ensign%20february %201973.htm/first%20presidency%20message%20the%20rule%20of%20law%20.htm. (Accessed 1 December 2006). Servin-Gonzalez, M. and Torres-Reyna, O. (1999) ‘Trends: Religion and politics’, The Public Opinion Quarterly, 63(4): 592–621. Smith, E. G. (1973) ‘Why do Latter-day Saints build temples?’ Ensign (January 1973): 55. Available online at: http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/1973. htm/ensign%20january%201973.htm/why%20do%20latterday%20sai95nts%20build% 20temples%20.htm. (Accessed 1 December 2006). Sun Star (2 November 2006) ‘Councilor lauds Mormons’ job resource center’. Available online at: www.sunstar.com.ph/static/dav/2006/11/02/news/councilor.lauds.mormons. job.resource.center.html. (Accessed 1 December 2006). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (1954) Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Co. ——(1989a) The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Mosiah 2–5. Available online at: http://scriptures.lds.org/en/mosiah/contents. (Accessed 1 December 2006). ——(1989b) The Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: 134:1.

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Available online at: http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/134/#1. (Accessed 1 December 2006). ——(1989c) The Pearl of Great Price, The Articles of Faith, 12, Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Available online at: http://scriptures. lds.org/en/a_of_f/1. (Accessed 1 December 2006). ——(1981a) The Book of Mormon, Ether 8:22, Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Available online at: http://scriptures.lds.org/en/ ether/8/#22. (Accessed 1 December 2006). ——(1981b) The Pearl of Great Price, The Articles of Faith, 11, Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Available online at: http://scriptures. lds.org/en/a_of_f/1. (Accessed 1 December 2006). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, News Releases, (2004) ‘First presidency urges generous support for Asian victims’, 29 December 2004. Available online at: www.lds.org/newsroom/showrelease/0,15503,3881-1-20741-666,00.html. (Accessed 1 December 2006). Underwood, G. (2000) ‘Millennialism, persecution, and violence: The Mormons’, C. Wessinger (ed.) Millennialism, Persecution, and Violence: Historical cases, Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press. Wanner, C. (2004) ‘Missionaries of faith and culture: Evangelical encounters in Ukraine’, Slavic Review, 63(4): 732–55. Wessinger, C. (2000) ‘The interacting dynamics of millennial beliefs, persecution, and violence’, Catherine Wessinger (ed.) Millennialism, Persecution, and Violence: Historical Cases, Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press: 17–18. Whitmer, D. (1887) An Address to All Believers in Christ, Richmond, MO: David Whitmer. Yeong, W. S. (1981) ‘The Mormons in Singapore: An introductory study’, Unpublished Honours Thesis, National University of Singapore.

11 Accommodating relationships The Church and state in Singapore

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One model of Church–state relations is the theocracy where Church and state are virtually unified into an undifferentiated entity, and the nation’s religious leader acts as the sole political authority. Communist societies similarly, exemplify the case where power is centralized in one location, the all-powerful state, and the Church is nothing but an appendage of the state machinery (Stan and Turcescu 2000). Another model, epitomized by the United States, is the separation of Church and state enshrined in the nation’s constitution. Ideologically the Church and state make no attempt to control each other, although in practice this arrangement has sometimes been challenged (Hamburger 2002). These two models are at best ideal types though, with the reality of Church–state relations often lying on a continuum (Tamney and Johnson 1987). In many Asian societies, the intricate interplay between religion and politics has been the hallmark of government (Leung and Chan 2003). Here clergy and politicians sometimes engage in unholy alliances to guarantee each other’s interests, while at other times, as in the case of the 2007 uprisings in Myanmar, the religious elite operate independently to the detriment of current political arrangements, to bring about needed social change. Although forms of Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism have a long history in many Asian societies, having had at least some political control in the past, Christianity has a much more recent history in Asia. While Christianity possibly arrived in the southern tip of India as early as the first century, and in parts of China through Nestorian preachers in the sixth century, it did not have a strong following until the last few centuries through Western colonial activity (Moffett 1998). Western powers arriving in Asia were primarily concerned with economic expansionist interests, but were also sometimes interested in civilizing these societies through converting the population to Christianity. Apart from the Philippines, where the vast majority of the population embrace Roman Catholicism, in most parts of Asia, Christianity is held by a minority of the population (Freston 2001). Despite their small representation within Asian populations, Christianity has had a significant effect on societal dynamics. Christian clergy in Hong Kong, for instance, were among the most vocal religious authorities to demand freedom for religious

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expression from China and later to take state authorities in both the mainland and the Special Administrative Region (SAR) to task for various social injustices inflicted on vulnerable groups (Leung and Chan 2003). Similarly, Taiwanese Presbyterians have been powerful advocates for nationhood, going against sentiments for reunification with the People’s Republic of China (Rubinstein 2003). One way of conceptualizing Church–state relations in Asia is using the notion of the patron–client relationship (Leung and Chan 2003). In discussing the case of Church–state relations in colonial Hong Kong, I use Walder’s (1986: 22–25) definition to point out that in such relationships, the patron has a monopoly over vital resources, having ownership and control to distribute these resources. Clients in turn pledge their allegiance to the patron with the hope that they will be able to share in the resources. Leung and Chan (2003) argue that in colonial Hong Kong, the Christian church was dependent on the state for financial resources crucial for its survival, and the state supplied this in the form of generous aid for it to run educational and social service institutions. Being such a contractor in a dependent relationship, the institutional church was essentially curbed from raising issues with the state, something only a few daring and outspoken clergy were willing to do and then risk censure by the Church. In the discussion by Leung and Chan (2003), it is evident that they view client–patron relationships as essentially dependence relationships. Suggestive of this point is an earlier article by Leung (2001), where she argues that if the Hong Kong church does not restructure itself before it reverts to Chinese rule, then it will become a client in a client–patron relationship rather than being accorded partner status. However, client–patron relationships need not necessarily be seen as dependent relationships. Scott (1972), in discussing client–patron relationships in Southeast Asian societies, argues that there are observable variations in such relationships based on differences in the relative strengths of the patron and the client. Clients who have their own resource base and are therefore not dependent on the patron may be best deemed as strong clients who may greatly reduce the power of the patron. This then allows us to distinguish between different patron–client dyads. Notwithstanding the definitions used to understand client–patron relationships, it is evident that relationships between Church and state follow a continuum from relationships of dependency to those which resemble partnerships. While the form of dependent patron–client relationship may have some applicability when applied to Church–state relations in Asia as the case of Hong Kong shows, where the Church is weak and requires the support of the state for its survival, its applicability may be limited. This is particularly the case where the Church is constantly growing and able to attract a broad base of society including those from the upper and elite classes. I argue that in such a case, as in Singapore and in other Asian societies such as Indonesia and South Korea where Christianity is growing substantially, models of Church–state relationships need to recognize the increasing

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position and power of the Church. Accommodation then becomes the hallmark of such relationships. Gill (1998), in considering such accommodation in the context of Church–state relationships, notes the ongoing exchange between institutions that both parties must view as equitable bargains in their ultimate goals for survival. State officials, in their desire to minimize the cost of ruling, especially in obtaining a compliant citizenry, view the Church as a possible source of ideological support. Since churches have a special role in providing norms and values for their congregations, having ideologies wrapped in supernatural beliefs that secular ideologies cannot possess, they offer an important support to legitimize the presence of the state and its agenda. Christian theology, as found in the pages of the New Testament, encourages loyalty to state officials citing that they are God’s agents whose ultimate goal is to be a terror to those who are evil.1 However, church officials require the assistance of the state both in providing it with sufficient protection from possible opponents of the Christian faith and for resources to expand its influence within society. In this chapter, I focus on the case of Church–state relations in Singapore by focusing on the accommodation that occurs between both parties in this relationship. While a comprehensive examination of this relationship should consider both the Protestant and Roman Catholic section of the Church, I confine my examination to the Protestant Church, since the dynamics of the relationship are possibly different. I show that, while the strong and interventionist Singaporean state tries to gain greater control over religion, the Church has not become a puppet in its hands, having its arms tied from engaging in action independent of the state. Rather the Christian church has interests and goals which are not derived from the state, although many are congruent with state interests. This combination then makes it possible for both Church and state to accommodate one another to achieve the much needed support of the other. As part of its strategy for accommodation, the Christian church accedes to various state demands that do not impede on its fundamental mission, so as to obtain other concessions vital for its survival. To better understand the dynamics of this accommodating relationship between Church and state, I first discuss the nature of the state and its attempts to control religion. I then discuss the nature of Singaporean Christianity, particularly its conservative nature. I then point out the areas of tension between these two entities, through showing how and why accommodation has become necessary. Central in the administrative philosophy of the Singaporean state is pragmatism (Chua 1995). Here, decisions are not made based on ideals but upon practical considerations, one being the political survival of the party that has ruled virtually unchallenged since independence. The state has maintained its legitimacy by ensuring a stable economy and the peaceful co-existence of different races and religious groups, which constitute this multi-racial and multi-religious population. To ensure economic well being, the state values economic development, even if there is some compromise on formerly

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cherished moral principles. This is evident in the recent relaxing of various legislations. Bar-top dancing, late closing hours at night spots, the setting up of casinos and the hiring of homosexuals in the public service, all anathemas in former years but now accepted as new norms crucial to the creation of a society conducive to global talent, often cited by state officials as crucial for economic progress (Tan 2003; Lee 2007). On its other important pursuit of maintaining a peaceful nation state, the state is committed to ensuring the ethnic and religious balance of the nation (Giok 2005). While it keeps ethnic balances by ensuring a proportional stream of migrants from China and India, and ensuring that the main racial groups have proportional representation in parliament (Yap 1993), ensuring a religious balance has been more difficult, particularly with evangelistically oriented Christians. This, for instance, prompted the state in the late 1980s not only to carefully study the phenomenon of conversion but also seek ways to help encourage other religions to compete better in the religious economy (Kuah-Pearce 2003). The state, which has a reputation for micro-managing and wielding high levels of control in practically every facet of life, is keen to gain substantial control over religion (Tamney 1996; Hill 2004). This is because religion is an important priority for a majority of the population, despite the high levels of modernization present in the city-state (Pereira 2005). Based on the most recent census data, Buddhists comprise 42.5 per cent followed by Muslims and those of no religious affiliation constituting 14.9 percent and 14.8 percent respectively. Christians make up 14.6 per cent while Taoists 8.5 per cent and Hindus 4.0 per cent. The religions that have shown marked growth – Christianity, since the 1980s, and Buddhism in more recent years – have been able to present a rational version of religion appealing to the increasingly educated population in Singapore (Tong 2007). Christianity, which has been growing in popularity among the better educated Chinese, has resulted in Christians ‘exerting an influence, politically, socially and economically, far greater than the number they represent in the population’ (Kuo, Quah and Tong 1988: 11). Considering the educated population of religious adherents, it is not surprising that the most significant showdown with religion was in the 1980s with a well-educated group of professionals, religious workers and priests associated with the Roman Catholic Church who were supposedly espousing liberation theology, an ideology which legitimated armed struggle to ensure social justice. The Marxist conspiracy as it was called, saw the detention of this group under the Internal Security Act that allowed indefinite detention without trial, since it was reasoned that the evidence used to incriminate the individuals would not be sufficiently rigorous for the courts (Rerceretnam 2006). At the beginning of the conspiracy, the Roman Catholic Church rejected the state’s allegations, voiced its discontent with the state’s actions and appealed for the release from detention of those who were supposedly innocent. Since this event, the state has increased its attempts to control religion, noting its power to destabilize political regimes. The Maintenance of Religious Harmony bill, passed in 1990, clearly spells out that religious clergy

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and institutions must stay out of the political arena (Sinha 2005). Furthermore, religious institutions are responsible for maintaining the peaceful coexistence of religious groups existing on the island. They thus must ensure that insensitive acts or statements, which may cause religious tension, are avoided. The state machinery is given ample powers to bar errant clergy who flout such regulations from preaching and if such a restriction is not successful, to introduce more stringent penalties. As far as the functionalist state is concerned, religion has a place in society. In the words of the then Minister of Community Development, Abdullah Tarmugi, making his keynote address on World Religion Day, religious bodies should focus on how they could ‘contribute to community bonding and community development’ (Tarmugi 1998). On describing the nature of Christianity in Singapore, the Protestant segment is best described as conservative2 (Mathew 2006; Wong 2000). This form of Christianity, as opposed to the more liberal form, prides itself on its strong commitment to preserve fundamental tenets of faith, particularly a belief in the literal interpretation of Scripture (Bartkowski 1996; Woodberry and Smith 1998). Such readings call for accepting the uniqueness and exclusivity of the Christian gospel, shunning any attempt to compromise this exclusivity. Because conservative Christianity views eternal salvation as only within the reach of those who profess and follow Christianity, there is an evangelistic fervour to direct as many people to the ranks of the saved before it is too late. The Church thus takes pains to ensure that its market share within the religious economy is growing, an indication that it is heeding the divine mandate to reach as many people as possible with the Christian message (Hunter 1987). Besides being evangelistic, the conservative nature of Christianity is concerned with the evils of society, especially those which distract both its constituents and society at large from moral purity. Unlike liberal theologies, which are focused on reducing inequality and ensuring a just system that provides freedom, conservative Christianity champions morality. Thus, the preservation of traditional family values such as heterosexuality, marriage between a male and female, and the curbing of immorality whether it is promiscuity, pornography or prostitution is high on the agenda (McConkey 2001). In more recent years, as part of a global push among conservative Christians worldwide, the leadership of conservative churches locally have been forced to champion moral purity and not remain silent. This has led to the Church increasingly identifying its role as a moral conscience to society (Mathew 2009). It is evident that the concern of the Christian church, which rests on the preservation of certain ideals, will inevitably create tension for a state focused on pragmatism. The debates surrounding the setting up of casinos in Singapore and the liberalization of policies pertaining to homosexuality in the public sphere saw very active participation by the church. This then demonstrates how the conservative church is attempting to live out its vision to be a moral conscience to the state (Mathew 2009). This, however, creates tension for a state that has been wary of being challenged about its plans. Actually,

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secular civil society groups have sometimes come under criticism from the government and been relegated to pressure groups when they have launched criticisms at the state (Rerceretnam 2006). While the Church sometimes seems to be a hindrance to the pursuits of the state, the state is careful not to marginalize the Church. The state recognizes how much it benefits from an active Christianity, particularly in its ability to contribute to quality social service provision. As early as the founding of Singapore, the British representative of the East India Company, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, though not caring for much missionary involvement during his early term on the island, citing that he found little religious virtue in Christianity compared to the other Asian religions he encountered on the island, became an avid supporter of Christian missionary activity later because of his belief that Christianity could bring needed educational progress to the Singaporean population (Sng 2003). With his open door policies towards missionaries, a number of them opened up not only educational institutions but also orphanages and hospitals. Christian missionaries were the first to establish facilities for counselling provision, crisis care, education for those who were intellectually disabled and drug rehabilitation (Mathew 2008a). At present, based on a count of Singaporean voluntary welfare organizations, those that are affiliated to Protestant Christian churches and denominations comprise 41 per cent of the total number of such organizations, a significant portion of the sector (Mathew 2008a). The state’s interest in getting Christian involvement in social service provision stems from the consideration that Christian organizations have large congregations that can be mobilized for various community causes. The state, which has always opposed a welfare system, encourages the population to share the burden of the community (Mendes 2007). The Christian church, which is largely middle class with many having better occupations than the rest of the population, is seen as a group that is more than capable of volunteering and giving for such community needs (Kuo, Quah and Tong 1988). The state also prefers to channel its budget for community improvement to social service agencies that can assist in providing help and services to those who need them, rather than building a bureaucracy to tends to welfare needs. This is because a state bureaucracy tasked with ensuring welfare may not have the needed passion to engage in such tasks. As articulated by the Minister of Community, Youth and Sports, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan: … we want commitment, we want passion, we want dedication. We want people whose hearts and minds are truly resonating and in sync with the people they are trying to help. Hearts and minds like that cannot be bought, cannot be employed. (Balakrishnan 2006: 7th paragraph from end) However, groups with such commitment and passion are often ideologically motivated. As such, Christian churches who establish social service arms are

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a great asset since they fit the bill of doing social service with passion based on various ideological motivations intrinsic to Christianity (Jeavons 1994). Similarly, the state for many years has recognized that Christianity can bring necessary moral guidance to its citizens, which unlike itself has greater moral authority to dispense (Tamney and Johnson 1987). Just after independence the then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was quoted as saying: I have assured the Christians that Singapore has many people with no religious guidance whatsoever … more than 70 per cent are either vaguely agnostics or iconoclasts … and there is a very wide field of operation … I think there are 60 to 70 per cent of people who are in need of some form of religious and moral guidance. (quoted in Thio 2001: 142) This need for moral guidance was perceived by the state as particularly pressing with the increasing challenges that the newly formed nation was facing. The communist insurgency, the menace posed by drugs and the poor behaviour of its newly recruited soldiers were just some of the concerns which convinced the state that some form of moral guidance was needed. Interestingly, as Lee seems to be positing in the above statement, the great majority of Singaporeans who were ancestor worshippers were in need of moral guidance, something that his administration perceived such traditions were unable to do. Christianity, however, was seen differently because it represented a modernized religion that was canonical and ethical in nature. The moral guidance that religion could give would later be echoed by Goh Keng Swee, the then Deputy Prime Minister, when he discussed the need for religious education in schools (Tan 1997). His own and his friends’ education at Christian mission schools proved to him that moral education produced through religious teaching and the atmosphere of a religiously principled school was integral to developing good citizens (Tan 1997). While the state recognizes the need to accommodate the Church, seeing the many benefits it accrues in the process, the Christian church has taken the first move to accommodate the state. This has primarily been done through an impression management strategy (Goffman 1959), where the Church presents itself as a good citizen. An important feature of such a presentation is active social service involvement. While Christian involvement in social service has been notable, during the years of Christian revivalism, the Church focused its efforts on the evangelization of the nation state (Sng 2003). During this period, it did not remarkably change the social service landscape, as the Buddhists were doing with their establishing of many institutions for the destitute and aged. However, when the state began to be concerned about increasing Christian conversion and noted the anxieties of the leaders of other religions, the Church began to immerse itself into social service provision. The Bishop of the Anglican Church, in his yearly synodal address, seems to concur with this when he tried to explain why many churches were becoming

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involved in social service projects by reasoning that it ‘seems to be more a matter of pragmatic survival as the secular state frowns upon public evangelism’ (Chew 2003: middle section). The National Council of Churches of Singapore, an association which unites Protestant churches on the island and often represents the Christian church to the state, at this time also produced a coffee table publication portraying Christianity in Singapore entitled Many Faces, One Faith. The book emphasized the contribution of early Christians to the nation state, particularly their involvement in social service provision. The theme of the book was based on the idea that Christians were committed to seeking the welfare of the city they were in, a practice which the book argued persisted to the current era (National Council of Churches of Singapore 2004). Since the book was marketed for public consumption, it is very likely that this was part of a project to present to a concerned state that the Church was indeed a committed and responsible citizen. The Christian church portrays itself as a good citizen not only by its involvement in social service provision but also by showing its respect to the state leadership. Much of this patriotism associated with being a good citizen is displayed around the Singaporean National Day. An announcement on the church bulletin of the Church of Singapore, a large Pentecostal church, is representative of such patriotism: Happy Birthday Singapore! Singapore, our homeland, a place we call our own. Praise the Lord for our nation! Let us come before His throne of grace with a heart of gratitude; giving thanks to God for watching over our nation, and for blessing our homeland in every way it has been, it is and will be. Let us continue to intercede for our nation; pray for God’s guidance upon the government, harmony among the different races & nationalities, and good relationship with our neighbouring countries. (Church of Singapore, unknown) Christian churches for several years now have not only dedicated prayer sessions throughout the month leading to national day but also hold a nationwide prayer service, known as Day of His Power, to coincide with National Day3 (Wong 2000). An annual prayer booklet published by Love Singapore, a local Christian movement that networks many churches across denominational lines, has been in use since 1996 in many participating churches who encourage their members to fast and read the devotions for forty days preceding Singapore’s National Day celebration. An important feature of both the booklet and the prayer sessions focus on prayers for state officials. Cabinet ministers are mentioned by name in prayer4 and the church is exhorted as mentioned in the closing line of the 2008 edition of the prayer booklet to ‘(stand)ing with our Government, moving as one – for the love of God and nation. Majulah Singapura!’ (Love Singapore 2008: devotion for August 9). At this time, a good number of pastors also memorialize the government, particularly the first prime minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who is deemed the

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architect of Singapore’s rapid development. Good wishes are made to him, as in the following by the Rev (Dr) Timothy Tow (2002: middle section), a Bible Presbyterian church minister, ‘Mr Lee Kuan Yew, father of our young Singapore nation of 37 years, I believe, is 78 years. We wish and pray he may live up to 108’. Pastor Rony Tan, the senior pastor of a 12,000-member congregation on his part composed a patriotic music video entitled the Singapore Song, along the lines of the official National Day theme song (Wong 2008). In his words the song was ‘[i]n deep gratitude to our protective and caring government all these 43 years, the Singapore Song was written in their honour. It is also specially dedicated to Mr & Mrs Lee Kuan Yew’ (R. Tan 2008). The prevalent theme of patriotism can be found even in the well-circulated Love Singapore prayer booklet. A devotional within it entitled, ‘Honour Your Parents’, the authors of the 2007 edition of the prayer booklet note a televized dialogue where the Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew engaged a group of ten young Singaporeans, who apparently were viewed by some as not giving sufficient honour to the founding leader. The authors of the prayer booklet then insert their guidance to readers by asserting, ‘It is alright to disagree, but irreverence towards our leaders displeases the Lord!’ Later in that same devotional, Christians are urged to ‘repent where we’ve taken our national leaders for granted’ and ‘repent where we’ve criticized them’ (Love Singapore 2007: devotional for July 17). While much of this patriotic show occurs during the National Day season, church leaders also use other opportunities to show their allegiance and support for the state. Denominational leaders, whom I interviewed, recounted how, when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong took over the helm of the government, they were quick to send letters of congratulations and words of support to the new Prime Minister. Other churches, when organizing community wide events, invite the Member of Parliament of the constituency as guest of honour and offer public prayers asking God to bless the state representative. The Church also presents itself as a good citizen by supporting state agenda. Bishop Moses Tay, the former Archbishop of the Anglican Church, in recounting the Prime Minister’s national day speech on 9 August 2007, mentions that the minister is looking forward to a ‘new Singapore’ or a ‘transformed Singapore’ in the next decade. The bishop then calls on the Church ‘as the light and salt of the world, [to] actually do their parts, a few steps ahead than the government, in the transformation process’ (Transform World Connections 2007: fourth paragraph). At least one area that the Church has seriously tried to aid in the state’s agenda has been in fostering better racial harmony in a nation where race is sensitive. As the Bishop of the Methodist Church, Robert Solomon, in discussing the multi-racial church in Singapore reports: The church is truly a multi-racial community and therefore the ideas of racial harmony and a multi-racial society are not foreign to Christians. With its experience, the church has contributed to racial harmony and

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thus the process of nation building in Singapore. The challenge is to continue this contribution at a time when there is an increasingly felt need for racial and religious harmony in Singapore. (Solomon 2004: 71) While the church has little problem championing many aspects of the state agenda, such as racial harmony, in the area of religious harmony, the Church has had more difficulties. This is primarily since it is periodically implicated by local residents of being insensitive especially when proselytization occurs. Evangelistic activity, to at least some segments of the population, is an invasion of individual personal privacy and is particularly distasteful if it is done in the public sphere such as schools and hospitals (Li and Kwek 2005). In a letter published on the forum page of the main local daily, The Straits Times, a reader called for a law to be enacted to prohibit public evangelism, an act she calls ‘religious touting’ (Wee 2008). Since the Church wants to portray a good citizen image, and keep in line with state interests as much as possible, it has tried, particularly in the years after the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Bill was passed, to adjust its evangelistic methods. Such changes are advocated for instance in Gordon Wong’s (2000) article in an influential publication of the National Council of Churches of Singapore to mark the millennium. The pastor-scholar encourages Christians to share their convictions ‘with gentleness and respect’ and notes that the biblically based Christian evangelist will ‘neither pressure someone into making a quick decision, nor speak disrespectfully of a person’s differing religious beliefs’ (G. Wong 2000: 70). Wong pre-empts that some of his audience will think he is bowing down to state pressure and so quickly disclaims that ‘this gentle approach is not forced upon the church because of Singapore’s Religious Harmony Bill’ but rather ‘it is part of the biblical ideal, and it is theologically grounded in the sovereignty of God’ (G. Wong 2000: 71). In fact, as my own examination of more recent church evangelistic practices show, many churches are arguing that an evangelistic strategy based on witnessing by doing good deeds, such as charity and caring for the community, will have the greatest effectiveness in growing their churches (Mathew 2008b). Since the timing of the reduction of aggressive evangelistic strategies came in the wake of the state’s call for greater religious harmony, it is possible to argue that this clearly was the catalyst to change, although the Church itself noticed that new strategies were possibly more effective especially in the long term. Besides the issue of proselytization, the state’s push to involve religious leaders in consultation and religious dialogue has also not been a palatable move (Tan 2007). Interviews with Christian leaders from different denominations in Singapore revealed that a sizeable portion were hesitant about interreligious dialogue because of the perceived possibilities of compromising tenets of faith (Mathew 2008b). A ‘One World Religion’ and other ecumenical projects that could rob conservative Christianity of its distinctiveness were greatly feared as consequences of greater inter-religious intermingling at a

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clerical level. Despite this, Christian leaders accommodate the state and do what is necessary to participate in various programmes that have developed to allow religious leaders across faiths to meet and talk. Clergy, whom I spoke to, often clarified that they realized that this was important to the state and so, despite their reluctance, they would support such a project to show their allegiance to the government. In 2008, the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) organized an inter-faith games event with state auspices, to demonstrate such a commitment (Hussain 2008). However, the liberalization of policies to allow homosexuals in public service and a casino in Singapore have been state agendas which the Christian church has not been able to accommodate in good conscience. In fact, the increasing pressure within the Church for it to act as a moral conscience to the state has necessitated that the Church take a stand on these matters. Once again, however, the Church has been cautious to ensure that it portrays itself not as a political force, or in any way destabilizing the government but as working with it in a consultative relationship. During these two recent occurrences, the NCCS made representations appealing to the government to adopt a cautious front to homosexuality and the proposed casino. In its official statements, the council presents itself ‘as a responsible Christian community which is also interested in the socio-economic and moral well-being of the wider society’. It also amplifies its commitment to nation building, in statements such as ‘will continue to contribute to the building of a compassionate, just, prosperous, peaceful and flourishing Singapore’ (NCCS 2005). In describing the intent of issuing its statements, it qualifies that ‘We present our position below as a guide to Christians in our member churches and as our witness, as concerned citizens, to the society in which we belong’ (NCCS 2003). In this manner, the Church presents itself neither as an authoritative voice nor as a competing power to the state. Rather it presents itself as ‘concerned citizens’ and its statements as ‘our witness … to the society in which we belong’ (Mathew 2009). Besides presenting itself as a concerned citizen, the Church also carefully managed its expectation as to the outcome of its pleas with the government. When the state continued with its plans to build the proposed casino, Bishop Robert Solomon, vice president of the National Council of Churches of Singapore was quoted in the press as saying: We are disappointed we are going in this direction. On our own part, we need to educate members on the casinos, the dangers of gambling, and perhaps develop services and help train members to help those with gambling addiction, and promote family values. (as quoted by Rahim 2005) It was evident that the Church understood that its role was not to pressure the state in the direction of its concerns, rather to offer the needed support for the state’s agenda.

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In all this it is apparent that the Christian church has made provisions to accommodate the needs of the state. The state too, on its part, has accommodated Christian concerns, particularly when these do not pose major concerns to its own operations. One of the most significant ways in which it has supported the Church, has been in its willingness to allow Christian growth and evangelism, and not overly restrict such practices. Among the concessions it has made has been on the use of land areas for worship purposes. Based on legal statutes, religious activities must be performed in areas designated for such religious use. However, land dedicated for such use is extremely limited (Kong 2002). The nearly 500 Christian churches, many not having a building of their own in an extremely expensive land area, have then occupied diverse venues. This has included factories, warehouses, office buildings and areas dedicated to entertainment. While Kong (2002) discusses the difficulties that a number of churches have experienced with regards to obtaining state approval to use various spaces for church use, in more recent years state authorities have allowed churches to function in these different locations as long as they proved to be of no disruption to other public activities, and often, if they engaged in other community work. Thus, a number of large churches, which require prominent areas for religious use, have fronted their premises as buildings catering to various community programmes, which they clearly do. With that, the state allows them the use of these locations for religious purposes as well. The state has also been accommodating to concerns raised by Christian leaders. For instance in the recent attempt to repeal an act from the Singaporean legislation which incriminates sexual intercourse between men, the state, while heavily pressured by gay advocates, gave due credence to religious sentiments (Pakiam 2007). In fact, the Prime Minister expressly announced that the penal code would not be repealed partly because of Christian and Muslim sentiments (Straits Times, 24 October 2007). It is likely that the Christian voices, particularly vocal during the debate, even in parliament through a Nominated Member,5 kept the state from repealing the ordinance. In this chapter, I have demonstrated the accommodation that occurs in Church–state relations in Singapore. This accommodation is essential as the Church tries to work alongside the state as a more equal partner. Unlike Hong Kong, where Leung and Chan (2003) argue for a kind of dependent patron–client relationship as most apt in explaining Church–state dynamics, in Singapore this is not so, primarily because of the nature of Christianity here. As I discussed earlier, Singaporean Christianity is largely conservative, unlike that of Hong Kong, which has a substantial liberal segment. The conservative nature of Singaporean Christianity has resulted in it ultimately focusing on its mandate to grow. In this process of growth, the Church has been successful in reaching the elite in society who then have become good financial supporters of the Church. As such, the Singaporean Christian church is not dependent on the financial support or other resources that the state can offer. In fact, the state looks to the Church as a useful resource in

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meeting various community needs. The state recognizes that a strong church, which has ideological and pragmatic reasons for involvement in social service, could operate as a much-needed safety net in social service provision, an area the state prefers not to burden itself with. Despite its economic power, the Church also realizes that, being a minority religion, it has to contend with the larger players in the religious economy who may not be favourably disposed towards it. In fact, because of the presence of Christian conversion, practically all the main religions in Singapore have voiced their discontent over the Church’s evangelistic efforts at one time or another. As such, the Church looks to the state to support and arbitrate matters on its behalf. The conservative nature of the state also means that the Church is less of a political threat to the state. Liberal theology, as opposed to a conservative one is focused on issues such as freedom and social justice. Social action becomes the mandate of the Christian. This is unlike the case of conservatives who focus on a personal relationship with God, and persuade others to do the same. Since the conservative Church does not see its role as a political force, and does not attempt to provide new visions for social justice or freedom opposed to those set by the government, but concentrates on spiritual matters, it becomes much less a concern for the state.6 This is even when in more recent years it has become vocal about the moral standards on the island. This is partly since the state itself has always taken a conservative stance to ensure the nation’s morality, albeit for pragmatic social control reasons. My discussion then shows that future considerations of Church–state relationships need to seriously consider the nature of Christianity itself. Liberal and conservative positions, though theological have important ramifications for how ministry is practised. This then also relates to how the Church relates to the state.

Notes 1 Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Romans is possibly the most referenced passage concerning a biblical view of the state. In this passage he asserts, ‘Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience’ (Romans 13:1–5, New International Version). Nissen (2000), however, calls for the adoption of a critical perspective that considers social and historical contexts when referencing this passage to provide a biblical perspective to Church– state relations. Failure to do this brings the risk of ‘proof texting’, a problem biblical scholars often refer to when quotations are taken from Scripture out of its original context to support a claim.

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2 Although there are pockets of Christians who might consider themselves as leaning to a liberal position, their size and influence is very limited. This is clear when examining local theological seminaries, all of which have been markedly evangelical and conservative in outlook since their inception, except for Trinity Theological College, which is the official seminary for the Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian churches. While Trinity Theological College had a pocket of more liberal theologians in earlier years, they were often missionary lecturers whose influence has waned in recent decades since they have left Singapore. Mainline denominations in Singapore are generally conservative in theology in contrast to their brethren in Europe and North America. In fact the conservativeness of the Anglicans in Singapore is well noted and has been an issue of contention, particularly to the more liberal quarters of the Anglican church in the Western world (see Jenkins 2007). 3 While some may be tempted to view the prayer services around National Day as indicative of alternate celebrations, and a subtle counter-resistance movement to the state, it is important to note that this is clearly not the expressed motivation. For one the celebrations are held on a separate day from the official National Day celebrations. Moreover, as the organizers of this prayer service state, the celebrations and prayer vigil are ‘a public declaration of our faith in God and our love for Nation’ (Love Singapore, 2007:1). 4 For an example of a call to prayer for state officials, see devotional for 8 August 2006 where all key cabinet officials are mentioned by name. 5 Thio Li-ann, a Nominated Member of Parliament, law academic and Christian, vocally defended the penal code in Parliament. 6 An exemption to a focus on personal spirituality and morality has been the emphasis of the 2008 prayer booklet published by Love Singapore on social justice, particularly for the marginalized foreign worker community. However, no attempt is made to implicate the state for their problems or put pressure on it to give in to the needs of the marginalized. Rather the booklet tries to indict Christians for failing to live up to their mission to bring help to the marginalized. The emphasis on proper treatment for foreign workers is congruent with the state’s own recent attempts to toughen legislation for the protection and well being of foreign labour, after years when such legislation has been thin. The emphasis on the marginalized then should be seen as the Church once again reinforcing state directives which are congruent to Christian concerns.

References Balakrishnan, V. (2006) Parliamentary Speech (Social Safety Net) 10 Nov 2006. Available http://app.mcys.gov.sg/web/corp_speech_story.asp?szMod=corp&szSubMod= speech&qid=3322 (accessed 23 March 2007). Bartkowski, J. (1996) ‘Beyond biblical literalism and inerrancy: Conservative Protestantism and the hermeneutic interpretation of Scripture’, Sociology of Religion, 57 (3): 259–72. Chew, J. (2003) ‘Moving together for the Lord’. Diocesan Digest (December). Available online at: www.anglican.org.sg. (Accessed 10 November 2006). Chua, B. H. (1995) Communitarian Ideology and Democracy in Singapore, London: Routledge. Church of Singapore (unknown) Church Announcements. Available online at: www. cosb.org.sg/content/blogsection/10/54/lang,en. (Accessed 12 February 2008). Freston, P. (2001) Evangelicals and Politics in Asia, Africa and Latin America, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Gill, J. A. (1998) Rendering unto Caesar: The Catholic Church and the state in Latin America, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Giok, L. O. (2005) ‘The role of the developmental state and interethnic relations in Singapore’, Asian Ethnicity, 6: 109–20. Goffman, E. (1959) The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, New York: Anchor Books. Hamburger, P. (2002) Separation of Church and State, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Hill, M. (2004) ‘The rehabilitation and regulation of religion in Singapore’, J. Richardson (ed.) Regulating Religion: Case studies from around the globe, New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publisher. Hunter, J. D. (1987) Evangelicalism, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago. Hussain, Z. (2008) ‘They work up a sweat for religious harmony’, Straits Times, 20 April. Jeavons, T (1994) When the Bottom Line is Faithfulness, Bloomington and Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press. Jenkins, P (2007) Global Schism: Is the Anglican communion rift the first stage in a wider Christian split? Available online at: http://pewforum.org/events/?EventID=145. (Accessed 11 August 2008). Kong, L. (2002) ‘In search of permanent homes: Singapore’s house churches and the politics of space’, Urban Studies, 39: 1573–86. Kuah-Pearce, K. E. (2003) State, Society and Religious Engineering: Towards a reformist Buddhism in Singapore, Singapore: Eastern University Press. Kuo, E. C., Quah, J. S. and Tong, C. K. (1988) Religion and Religious Revivalism in Singapore, Singapore: Ministry of Community Development. Lee, T. (2007) ‘Towards a “new equilibrium”: The economics and politics of the creative industries in Singapore’, Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies, 24: 55–71. Leung, B. (2001) ‘Church–state relations in Hong Kong and Macau: From colonial rule to Chinese rule’, Citizenship Studies, 5: 203 – 219. Leung, B. and Chan, S. H. (2003) Changing Church and State Relations in Hong Kong, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Li, X. and Kwek, K. (2005) ‘Say aaah … men’, Straits Times Insight, pS9, 15 October. Love Singapore (2006) Defining Moments, Singapore: Love Singapore. ——(2007) The Stones Cry Out, Singapore: Love Singapore. ——(2008) Beyond Words, Singapore: Love Singapore. McConkey, D. (2001) ‘Whither Hunter’s culture war? Shifts in evangelical morality, 1988–98’, Sociology of Religion, 62: 149–74. Mathew, M. (2006) Clergy & Counsellors: Mental Health Care in Singapore. Unpublished PhD thesis, Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore. ——(2008a) ‘Saving the city through good works: Christian social service in Singapore’, A. H. Lai (ed.) Religious Diversity in Singapore, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and the Institute of Policy Studies, National University of Singapore. ——(2008b) ‘Negotiating Christianity with other religions: The views of Christian clergymen’,A. H. Lai (ed.) Religious Diversity in Singapore, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and the Institute of Policy Studies, National University of Singapore. ——(2009a) ‘Christianity in Singapore: The voice of moral Conscience to the state’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 24(1).

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——(2009b) ‘Christianity in Singapore: the voice of moral conscience to the state’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 24,1, 53–66 Mendes, P. (2007) ‘An Australian perspective on Singaporean welfare policy’, Social Work & Society: An International Online Only Journal, 5(1). Available online at: www.socwork.net/2007/1/articles/mendes. (Accessed 1 May 2008). Moffett, S. H. (1998) A History of Christianity in Asia, NY: Orbis Books. National Council of Churches of Singapore (2003) ‘A statement on homosexuality’. Available online at: www.nccs.org.sg/statement.html. (Accessed 10 January 2007). ——(2004) Many Faces, One Faith, Singapore: National Council of Churches of Singapore. ——(2005) ‘A statement on casino’. Available online at: www.nccs.org.sg/statement. html. (Accessed 10 January 2007). Nissen, J. (2000) ‘Conformity, nonconformity, and critical solidarity: The church–state issue and the use of the Bible’, Mission Studies, 16: 240–62. Pakiam, G. (2007) The Internet and Civil Society in Singapore. Available online at: www. freedomofexpression.org.uk/resources/the+internet+and+civil+society+in+singapore. (Accessed 12 March 2008). Pereira, A. (2005) ‘Religiosity and economic development in Singapore’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 20: 161–77. Rahim, F. A. (2005) ‘Most Singaporeans not surprised by casino go-ahead’, Channel NewsAsia, 18 April 2005. Available online at: www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/ singaporelocalnews/view/143251/1/.html. (Accessed 10 January 2007). Rerceretnam, M. (2006) ‘The 1987 ISA arrests and international civil society responses to political repression in Singapore’, Asia Rights Journal, 5. Available online at: http://rspas.anu.edu.au/asiarightsjournal/. (Accessed 15 April 2008). Rubinstein, M. A. (2003) ‘Christianity and democratization in modern Taiwan: The Presbyterian Church and the struggle for Minnan/Hakka selfhood in the Republic of China’, P. Clart and C. B. Jones (eds) Religion in Modern Taiwan: Tradition and Innovation in a Changing Society, Taiwan: University of Hawaii Press. Scott, J. C. (1972) ‘Patron–client politics and political change in Southeast Asia’, The American Political Science Review, 66: 91–113. Sinha, V. (2005). ‘Theorising ‘talk’ about ‘religious pluralism’ and ‘religious harmony’, Singapore. Journal of Contemporary Religion, 20: 25–40. Sng, E. K. (2003) In his Good Time: The story of the church in Singapore (3rd edn.), Singapore: Bible Society of Singapore. Solomon, R. (2004) ‘The church as a multi-racial community’, Church & Society, 7(2): 64–74. Stan, L. and Turcescu, L. (2000) ‘The Romanian Orthodox Church and post-communist democratisation’, Europe-Asia Studies, 52: 1467–88. Straits Times (2007), ‘Why we should leave Section 377A alone: PM’ 24 October. Tamney, J. B. (1996) The Struggle Over Singapore’s Soul: Western modernization and Asian culture, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. Tamney, J. B. and Johnson, S. D. (1987). ‘Church–state relations in the eighties: Public opinion in Middletown’, Sociological Analysis, 48:1–16. Tan, J. (1997). ‘The rise and fall of religious knowledge in Singapore secondary schools’, Journal of Curriculum Studies, 29: 603–24. Tan, K. B. (2007) ‘Norming “moderation” in an “iconic target”: Public policy and the regulation of religious anxieties in Singapore’, Terrorism and Political Violence, 19 (4): 443–62.

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Tan, K. P. (2003) ‘Sexing up Singapore’, International Journal of Cultural Studies, 6: 403–23. Tan, R. (2008) The Singapore Song. Available online at: www.youtube.com/watch? v=2O67SyJiyzY. (Accessed 10 October 2008). Tarmugi, A. (1998) ‘Religion’s agenda for the 21st century’. Keynote address delivered at World Religion Dat’s fourth observance in Singapore, 18 January 1998, Singapore Islamic Religious Council, www.sprinter.gov.sg. Thio, L. A. (2001) ‘The secular trumps the sacred: constitutional issues arising from Colin Chan v Public Prosecutor’, G. Rodan (ed.) Singapore, Aldershot: Ashgate. Tong, C. K. (2007) Rationalizing Religion: Religious conversion, revivalism and competition in Singapore society. Leiden: Brill. Tow, T. (2002) What are the Christian’s Responsibility to his Country? Available online at: www.febc.edu.sg/assets/treasury_sermons/y2002/treasury_of_sermons02_11aug. htm. (Accessed 21 January 2008). Transform World Connections (2007) ‘Report from TCS Prayer Meeting on 3rd September 2007’, Transform World Connections Newsletter, 9. Available online at: http://transform-world.net/newsletters/2007/07/TCSReport.pdf. Walder, A. G. (1986) Communist Neo Traditionalism: Work and authority in Chinese industry, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Wee, F. Y. (2008) ‘Its Touting she says’, Straits Times, Forum Page, April 12. Available online at: www.straitstimes.com/print/ST%2BForum/Story/STIStory_226394.html. (Accessed 10 May 2008). Wong, A. (2008) ‘Debate over clip: Video aims to help youth appreciate hardships of elders’, Today, 8 August. Wong, G. (2000) ‘With gentleness and respect: Evangelism in the 21st century’, I. Lim (ed.) The Christian Church in 21st century Singapore, Singapore National Council of Churches of Singapore. Wong, J (2000) ‘Vision and mission of the National Council of Churches’, I. Lim (ed.) The Christian Church in 21st century Singapore, Singapore National Council of Churches of Singapore. Woodberry, R. D. and Smith, C. S. (1998) ‘Fundamentalism et al.: Conservative Protestants in America’, Annual Review of Sociology, 22: 25–56. Yap, M. T. (1993) ‘Policy options for low fertility countries: The Singapore experience’, International Population Conference Montreal, 4: 73–89, Belgium: International Union for the Scientific Study of Population.

12 About face Asian Christianity in the context of southern expansion

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The profile of a ‘typical Christian’ is undergoing rapid change. Many scholars point with great alacrity (and in some cases, with great alarm) to the staggering numerical growth of the faith outside the West. Scholars such as Phillip Jenkins (2002, 2006), Lamin Sanneh (2008) and Alister McGrath (2002a) are among the many who suggest that the global character and direction of Christianity is undergoing a rapid ‘southward’ upheaval. In each of these works, a distinctive analytical framework can be observed: that is, that a ‘New Face of Christianity’ can be recognized by contrasting declining participation rates in Europe and North America with the explosive growth of the faith among Africans, Latinos and Asians. What this suggests is that statistically speaking, a chance encounter with a Christian is likely to mean coming face-to-face with someone who is, more often than not, a poor yet devout person of colour. It is important to understand that this new face of Christianity evokes a sense of urgency not because of population growth per se, but because this growth has the capacity to destabilize, undermine and decentralize Christianity’s traditionally Western visage. In this respect, the idea of the southern expansion of Christianity is not just a demographic reality. Rather, it is a discourse which has as its main essence a strong sense that the population statistics will greatly influence the doctrinal and theological directions of various Christian denominations around the world. If we think about the debates raging within the Anglican Communion for example, where Bishops from the global south are vociferous and influential over issues such as sexuality in the clergy, population statistics that indicate a lopsided ethnic composition may evoke a heightened sense of alarm and even crisis. But is this discourse of southern expansion applicable to the Asian context, where Christianity has always been, in most parts, a minority faith? In this chapter, I argue that, while the demographic growth of the faith outside a European and North American milieu is a significant issue for Christianity as a whole, we must not assume that the impact of population growth is homogenous in all countries of the global south. What I seek to do is to point out that while Asians have been associated with the staggering march of Christianity to the global south, there are some specificities about the Asian

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experience of secularism, nationalism, ethnicity and statehood that we should take into consideration. At issue here is the homogeneity of the global south as a cultural and religious category. While the global south is most prominently associated with the Anglican Communion in Africa, Asians have had various experiences with the relationship between religion and politics that encourage us to interpret the population statistics in significantly different ways. To state the issue more bluntly: can we really say that that the impact of the burgeoning growth of Christianity in Africa and Latin America is the same one that we find in Asia? Can we say that the global south, as a category that denotes a kind of crisis of authority and leadership in Christian churches, is applicable to all other Christians in Asia? The chapters in this volume demonstrate that the Asian case provides us with some reasons for being less excitable and alarmist about Christianity’s southward expansion. It is not my intention to refute outright the occurrence of a southern shift, or to suggest that Asia be excluded from the projections of the growth of Christendom as a world religion. What we will find, rather, is that Christianity in Asia is defined not by an overwhelming, frenetic and vociferous avalanche of demographic resurgence, but by continuing struggles brought on by economic and political marginalities. It might be difficult to imagine this if one were viewing things from the perspective of avid Christian populations in South Korea, East Timor or the Philippines – indeed, proponents of the New Face of Christianity frequently draw upon these examples. But for the majority of Asia, the fact is that Christians have to face overwhelming challenges brought about by regimes that are reticent, if not repressive or hostile, towards Christian churches. As the chapters in this volume demonstrate, the insights we gain from Asia come from interrogating the ways in which Christians deal with their embattled status vis-à-vis other more dominant and more populous religious groups on the one hand, and with regard to the nation state as arbiters of inter-religious interaction on the other. The topic of this chapter, therefore, is the more specific context within which we can understand the patterns of complicity and conflict among Asian Christians and the political and cultural structures in which they are embedded. In considering this topic, we may find that the alarmist projections about the rise of the global south may well be applicable in some contexts, but somewhat displaced in others.

Christianity’s new face Let us describe, firstly, the kind of global Christendom of which Asia is routinely assumed to be part. While the proportion of Christians in the world remains fairly stable, at around 34 per cent, it is the distribution of Christian populations that has generated much interest. Philip Jenkins is among the more prominent of scholars who point to this, with great reliance on demographic data. He concedes that by 2050 the country with the largest population of Christians will still be the United States. But what is more significant

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is that this is followed by Christian populations in countries of the global south such as Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, the Congo, Ethiopia, the Philippines and China. The statistics Jenkins cites are all the more dramatic when seen in light of the overall decline of the faith in the West. ‘Not on the list [of countries with the most populous Churches]’, he adds with a tone of concern, ‘are Britain, France, Spain and Italy’, upon which Jenkins jokingly asked in a speech he delivered at the Heritage Centre in 2004 ‘Is anyone here old enough to remember the mythical creature called “Western Christianity”?’ (Jenkins 2004). While Jenkins is probably the most prominent exponent of the discourse of southern expansion, he is not alone in seeing the significance of the demographic data as signalling a shift in the centre of gravity of world Christianity. Alister McGrath (2002a) makes similar statistics-based estimations and projections. Like Jenkins, the growth of Christians around the world is projected as an overwhelming and unstoppable demographic juggernaut. Often, this juggernaut threatens to erode the traditional primacy of Western Christianity if only by the sheer force of numbers. Consider the type of comparative statistical juxtaposition that is typical of the ‘genre’ of southward expansion: McGrath, a Minister of the Church of England, finds it ‘profoundly unsettling’ and ‘frightening’ that ‘there are more Anglicans at church on Sunday in Nigeria than in the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand put together’ (McGrath 2002b). Jenkins, in a similar kind of logic, notes that ‘in 2005 there were more Catholic baptisms in [the Philippines] than there were in France, Spain, Italy, and Poland combined’ (Jenkins 2004). The corresponding decline of adherents in Europe and in North America is even more staggering considering that waves of migrations into Europe and America itself mean that adherents in those countries may themselves have ethnic and cultural roots from the global south. The impression one gets from such works is that the defining characteristic of the new Christendom is the unstoppable avalanche of non-Western Christian adherents. While this growth is manifested in real numbers in places such as Nigeria, Brazil and Mexico, the demographic composition of Christians in its traditional Western bastions is itself becoming increasingly diverse. A prominent example of this is the Anglican Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir Ali, who is the only UK Bishop of Asian descent in the Church. He is considered at the forefront of the ‘traditionalist’ wing of the global Anglican Communion, with strong views against homosexuality in the clergy. His prominent profile, particularly in his participation in the ‘renegade’ Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON) Conference held in Jerusalem in 2008, reflects the changing composition of the Church’s membership and its leadership as well. GAFCON, organized as it was outside the legitimate jurisdiction of the Lambeth Conference, is seen as an expression of the crisis of leadership in the Anglican Communion about which there is much nervousness and alarm. Indeed, Christianity’s southern expansion is not merely a numbers game. The global south as a religious category denotes the sense of recalcitrance and

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destabilizing potential of a shift in growth and ethnic composition of Christian populations. Jenkins and McGrath point to there being a very a real, doctrinal sea change in the way the faith is read, practised, articulated and lived outside Europe and North America. It has been suggested that the character of southern Christianity is defined by a revival of its conservative inclinations. Jenkins writes of the new Christianity’s ‘return to scriptural roots’ in designating the fundamentalist nature of the southern Church’s reading of the Bible. He describes this as: a much greater respect for the authority of scripture, especially in matters of morality; a willingness to accept the Bible as an inspired text and a tendency to literalism; a special interest in supernatural elements of scripture, such as miracles, visions, and healings; a belief in the continuing power of prophecy; and a veneration for the Old Testament, which is considered as authoritative as the New. (Jenkins 2006: 4–5) Southern Christianity here is depicted according to a kind of cultural determinism. African Churches in particular are supposedly prone to literalism in light of an indigenous culture more inclined towards supernaturalism, which makes the biblical themes of the Bible resonate more strongly with a nonWestern reality. Jenkins’s arguments in this regard are most forceful when referring to the African experience. In a paper he gave at the Carnegie Council on October 2006, Jenkins declared: I have a very bad habit: whenever I meet American evangelicals who use concepts like ‘power in the blood’ and atonement, I tend to ask them, ‘So have you ever seen a blood sacrifice? Have you ever smelled a blood sacrifice?’ The answer is very rarely yes. This is not a question you need to ask in much of Africa. (Jenkins 2006) The implication is that biblical notions of blood and sacrifice correspond closely with African rites of sacrifice and ritual. In this respect, it is not simply that Christianity in the global south is scripturalist or literalist. It is also prone to mysticist and supernaturalist tendencies and inclinations. Inasmuch as Jenkins conflates the experience of Christians in the non-West, presumably the same kind of supernaturalist, literalist and scripturalist (read fundamentalist) Christianity is prevalent in Latin America and Asia. This is a point made by McGrath who insists that: The experiential religion of Pentecostalism resonated especially well with these concerns, and also allowed important bridges to be built with significant elements of popular Latin American culture. The Pentecostal worldview includes elements such as the exorcism of demons (which tend

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to make western academic theologians cringe with embarrassment) that related easily and naturally to the fold religion of the region … The decentralization of Christianity is well under way. (McGrath 2002a: 38) The kind of conservative and fundamentalist scripturalism of southern Christianity that is described with some apprehension by both Jenkins and McGrath is particularly pronounced when seen against the backdrop of an increasingly liberal and secular Western Church. Issues such as the ordination of women, homosexual marriage and contraception are the fault lines in which the distinctions between a ‘fundamentalist, indigenized’ southern Church and a ‘liberal’ Western Church is brought into great counter-distinction. These issues are pertinent flashpoints not only from the perspective of apprehensive Western clergy lamenting a perceived moral laxity within the Church, but by theologians from the southern churches as well. The 2003 ordination of partnered homosexual Gene Robinson was one such issue that catalyzed internal rifts within the Episcopal Church in the United States. More recently in June 2008, moreover, the first homosexual ‘marriage’ in an English church was held much to the lament of the the Archbishop of Uganda, Henry Orombi, who called the ceremony ‘blasphemous’. Calling on Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, to take action against the wedding so that the Church would not ‘disintegrate’, Orombi suggested that it is the Western Church that is at the forefront of the Church’s degeneration: ‘what really shocks me is that this is happening in the Church of England that first brought the Gospel to us’ (Sydney Morning Herald 16 June 2008). Jenkins and McGrath’s logic suggests not only a revolutionary shift in the global composition of Christians, but also a new assertiveness among those in the global south in what is considered ‘normal’ Christianity. It also points to a change in who may make pronouncements about the Church’s current state and future directions, as the 2008 GAFCON Conference in Jerusalem indicates. The argument is that if more people believe in a particular type of Christianity, then that will eventually prevail as the conventional form of the faith in spite of the reservations of its leadership. Indeed, Jenkins makes these pronouncements based primarily on demography, but also suggests that a shift in numbers can also have an impact on the Western Church. Nigerian Christianity, for example, by virtue of favourably shifting demographics, will eventually become the centre of the Anglican Communion. The demographic juggernaut is not merely a question of faces and country profiles. The southward decentralization of Christianity away from Europe and North America has the potential to change the very character of the faith in all places in which it exists. The issue we must address at this point is whether these trends and characterizations – applied readily to African and Latin American contexts – is applicable to Asia in light of the demographic and political situation in that region.

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About face: The Asian demographic data Proclamations of the New Face of World Christianity by the likes of the scholars above, suggests a diffusion in the experience of the faith across diverse cultural, political and economic contexts. As such, Asia is identified as one of the new beachheads of the Christian faith in the coming half century. The subsumption of Asia into the rubric of southern Christianity is taken to be more than semantic. One might point out in support of this that Christianity is, strictly speaking an Asian religion. From its origins in Asia, Christianity had reached the Far East in China and Sumatra as early as the seventh century, while inroads had been made in the Malabar Coast as early as the fourth century. The modern missionary movement made some inroads into parts of Southeast Asia, such as Malacca and the Philippines, from the sixteenth century, buttressed more or less by the wave of European expansion and colonialism. The twentieth century saw great progress, particularly through Protestant missionization in other parts of East and Southeast Asia. Indeed, any account of the faith in the region cannot neglect the fact that Christian churches are flourishing in certain parts of Asia. For example, we find the largest single Christian churches in the world in South Korea. The Presidency of South Korean Elder Lee Myung Bak has been perceived as an administration inclined towards the country’s growing Christian population. In this volume, Park’s exploration of government-sponsored cremation in that country provides us with some insight into the contours of the burgeoning success of Christianity that began in the 1950s. The majority of Filipinos, meanwhile, remain staunchly Roman Catholic, with a Church hierarchy very actively involved in the installation and deposition of leaders and regimes over the past two decades. As Apilado’s paper in this volume shows, however, the Church’s relationship with the state may sometimes be manifested in contestation and conflict, particularly in issues such as HIV/AIDS which evoke, and in some respects question, their mandate as arbiters of public morality. It is important to note that only in the Philippines and, more recently in East Timor, does Christianity predominate among the populations of Asia. Claims of Asia’s inclusion in the southward expansion of Christianity are drawn selectively from these exceptional cases above. McGrath (2002a), for example, uses South Korea as a remarkable case, citing the success of Christian missionization through the relief programmes that followed the end of the Korean war, and the Church-inspired programmes of restoration in the 1960s (Ibid.: 31). The adoption of Christianity in South Korea, however, is not just a simple case of adoption and conversion. McGrath sees something ‘special’ about the way the faith has been accepted among Koreans that goes some way towards explaining its vibrancy in that region today. South Koreans, he claims, ‘have rediscovered something that West has largely overlooked: namely that there is something very exciting and dynamic about Christianity … [which is] very celebratory, very experiential, it’s something that will captivate you’ (McGrath 2002b).

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These descriptions of avid Christian populations may well be true. However, Jenkins, McGrath and Sanneh do not emphasize that, as far as the demographic data is concerned, Asia is the weakest link in their projections about the future of global Christendom. With the exception of the countries mentioned above, Christianity forms but a miniscule part of the overall population in virtually all countries in Southeast, East and South Asia. Whereas Christians comprise around half of the population of Africa and over 90 per cent of Latin America, the faithful constitute at best a mere 9 per cent of Asians as of 2005 (Johnson 2008). Moreover, the proportion of Christians in Asia’s total population is not expected to exceed 12 per cent by 2050. Among the most populous nations in Asia, the numbers are equally telling. Although they are projected to have the largest concentrations of Christians in the years to come, the proportion of Christians in India and Indonesia hover somewhere around the 1 per cent mark of their total population, while in China (with less than reliable statistics) there are estimated to be just 200–300 million Christians (Ibid.). While the absolute number of Christians in Asia is high, they are not as compelling when seen as a proportion of a rapidly increasing total population, most of whom profess a faith other than Christianity. In the context of the long engagement of Christians with inhabitants of the Far East, moreover, there is a logic to Theologian Peter Phan’s somewhat joking response to Jenkins: After almost 20 centuries of missionization, we have less than 3 per cent Christians in Asia. If I were Jesus, I would fire all the bishops and all the priests and so forth. You sell a product for 15 – 20 centuries and only 3 per cent? It’s not a good job … so you have to fire them. (Phan 2004) While a southern shift is remarkable for the idea that Christianity could be decentralized as a pre-eminent Western religion, the demographic data in Asia suggests that the faith is, and will continue to be, a minority religion. It is Phan who offers a more contextualized portrait of Christianity in Asia, one that may well dampen one’s enthusiasm in associating Asia with the juggernaut of Christianity’s decentralizing. After the many centuries of evangelization, Phan considers Christianity as ‘still a “small remnant” in Asia, and contrary to Christianity in Africa and Latin America, Asian Christianity is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future’ (Phan 2005: 75). Asia’s rich cultural mosaic – with a wide array of competing religions – is one of the main reasons for Christianity’s continued marginality. As such, Phan believes that we must be careful about the inclusion of Asia within a unified southern Christian flank, arguing that ‘the prospect of Asian Christians forming political and ecclesiastical alliance with their counterparts in Africa and Latin America to build a Christendom is nothing more than a pious wish’ (Ibid.). I agree with Phan’s argument (2008, 2005) that Asian Christianity, most notably Roman Catholicism, cannot be understood according to the demographic

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and analytical frameworks that scholars, such as Jenkins use. Rather the Church in Asia must be understood according to a framework that emphasizes conciliation and ecumenism not merely within the Church but between religions as well. He suggested that the Church can be understood according to a threefold dialogue. This dialogue – a ‘new way of being Church’ – is enacted with (1) the poor, crafting a sense of solidarity in working with them and providing the theological means for their liberation; (2) other cultures; and (3) other religions (Cf. Phan 2008: 283). Overall, Phan characterizes the Church in Asia as concerned more with a communion ecclesiology protected by canonical structures that prevent disagreements, instead of being confrontational and antagonistic. He comes to this conclusion by examining Asian Christianity from the perspective of its wider cross-border institutions such as the Federation of Asian Bishops Conference (FABC) and the Asian Synod. While there is demographic evidence to suggest a significant change in the composition of Christians in Africa and Latin America, as well as the composition of Christians in Europe and America, we must not draw an overly hasty conclusion about Asia’s statistical involvement in the discourse of southern expansion. It is important to realize that, as a largely minority faith in the region, Christianity in Asia is articulated and lived from within a different set of cultural and political circumstances. Those circumstances have encouraged, at least as far as Catholicism is concerned, policies of conciliation and co-operation. Crafting a Church ‘with an Asian face’, as Phan put it, requires the co-optation of the mechanism of the state as a facilitator of social welfare and an arbiter of inter-religious dialogue. It is to the specificities of an Asian Christianity’s engagement with the state that this chapter now turns, since it is with this in mind that the chapters in this volume have been gathered and presented.

Complicity and conflict: The state and Christianity It is certainly not the point here to suggest that Christianity is not important among Asians, or that the Asians will not make significant contributions to the global picture of Christianity in the years to come. What this volume calls for is a more nuanced understanding of the place of Asians in the overall growth of Christianity’s membership. The main argument is to suggest that, while Asian Christianity does not quite manifest the demographic growth seen with some foreboding in Africa and Latin America, Christians in Asia still exert large influence in the political, cultural and economic landscape of the region. The contributors to this volume have each been asked to comment upon how this is so by examining the extent to which the nature, intervention and influence of various Asian states are significant in the discussion of a religion that, though for the most part in the minority, exists in pockets of strength in certain areas. An evaluation of the role of the state in Christianity must be seen according to the suggestion of the former’s demise, or at least a blunting of its

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potency. Those who proclaim the southern shift in Christianity are also adamant about the diminishing role of the nation state in influencing this expansion. For Jenkins (2002), the rise of religious fervour in the global south coincides with the declining prominence of nation states, which itself will result in the re-emergence of a medieval Christian identification – Res Publica Christiana. In such an event, religious affiliation is primarily a cultural and personal affair rather than a political one (Jenkins 2002: 12; Cf. Phan 2005: 65). Sanneh is more forceful in his proclamations of the nation state’s waning relevance in the context of southern expansion. He predicts that the rise of Christianity in the global south will radically re-inscribe the international order to one in which allegiances are grounded in spiritual claims rather than in state and governmental configurations. Under such a condition, according to Sanneh, we must be prepared to: modify, or even abandon, national state jurisdiction as the prerequisite of the international order. Nation-states have been more often the problem than the solution. It is certainly the case now that the global religious resurgence has undermined confidence in the standard cultural consensus on the relations among church, state, and society that has defined the modern world. The current transformation of Christianity in a postcolonial world should end. (Sanneh and Carpenter 2005: 221) Specific to Asia, Digan (1984) has claimed that because Christianity has the latent possibility of social protest, religious affiliations displace the efficacy of national identifications in articulating their concerns and predicaments, much less alleviating their vicissitudes. While Sanneh and Jenkins suggest that southern Christianity is remarkable for its autonomy from state structures, several chapters in this volume describe the latter’s influence as vital towards the articulation of the faith in the context of its minority status. Turner, in this volume, is explicit about this in emphasizing that the diversity of Asian Christianity is a reflection of the variations in the relationship between the faithful and the political sphere, and the vicissitudes of the historical experience Asians have had with Christian missionization. Likewise, the contributors to this volume each reflect upon how the state remains relevant for the discussion of Christianity’s rise, particularly in the context of Asia where the state both facilitates and restricts the practice and continuance of the faith in the face of ‘competing’ religions. The overarching theme around which this volume revolves is the suggestion that the significance of Asian Christianity on a world scale lies not so much in its demographic impact but in the ways in which it interacts with national institutions and regulatory entities. The way in which Asian Christians have emerged historically in the context of colonialism is telling of the kind of faith being practised in the region today. Historical encounters with the faith in Asia have come upon missionary

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agency, as Turner’s chapter describes. Indeed there have been many studies of Christianity in Asia, however (notably that of Ileto (1979)) that show how Christianity is not simply a replication or even a transplantation of European Christianity. Asians, like their African and Latin American counterparts, have historically formulated their own ways of engaging with Christian doctrine, even to a point of seeing the scripture through their own lenses. The localization of the faith is not simply a two-way relationship between missionary and (potential) convert. As the other chapters of this volume show, Christianity in local terms takes on a distinctive character as a result of its negotiation with even the daunting spectre of the nation state’s ‘preferred’ religious inclinations. Francis Lim’s chapter describes a minority group of Christians in Tibet, where local inhabitants are typically imagined by outsiders as necessarily Buddhist. Like the Hmong Protestants, Tibetan Catholics have used their Christianity to acquire state resources in light of the religious policies of the Chinese authority. What is significant, moreover, is that the Christian groups that Lim talks about frame their Christian identity according to both their national and their transnational roles. Localization and conversion, therefore, is not merely a process that is grounded in spiritual claims, as Sanneh describes. Both Tibetan and Hmong Christians related to and resisted the nation state as a regulatory institution, particularly as they become more aware and articulate about their transnational roles and how this affected their embattled minority status.

Asian states and their continued relevance The more immediate way in which the Church and the state interact in Asian contexts can be drawn from the example of the countries with a large Christian population, which is the result of relatively successful missionary engagement. In South Korea and in the Philippines, Church institutions exert and articulate significant influence on the nature and efficacy of governmental policy. One may not assume, however, as the chapters by Apilado and Park demonstrate, that the numerical strength of Christianity alone will preclude instances of contestation between the Church and states. Apilado recounts how governmental policy on HIV/AIDS in the Philippines runs into significant opposition from the Roman Catholic Church. The government’s conciliatory stance to the Church – in spite of the warnings of world health organizations to the contrary – is a form of complicity that itself attests to the historical influence of the Church in the continuance and overthrow of regimes. Various Church groups, apart from the Catholic Church, such as the El Shaddai and the Iglesia Ni Kristo, have exerted tremendous political influence in the Philippines. While this influence has in recent years been channelled directly through electoral politics, it is in issues such as birth control, abortion, contraception and reproductive health that we see how the nature of and complexion of Christianity in the Philippines is itself defined by interaction with the political sphere. South Korea, meanwhile, is demographically

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less Christian dominated than the Philippines. Like the issue of HIV/AIDS, government-sponsored incentives for cremation is a flashpoint where Christians in South Korea are insisting upon the need to live by the Word with increasing confidence and assertiveness. More recently, the election to the Presidency of the head of the largest Christian church in Korea attests to the palatability of a Church-inspired presence in the political sphere. Both the cases of the Philippines and South Korea demonstrate the vehement involvement of Christian institutions in issues of public morality and piety – preserves that are seen as belonging to the jurisdiction of the Church in spite of the formal separation of the religious and political sphere. The widespread acceptance of the faith in places such as the Philippines and South Korea also defies the supposition that the Faith is no longer seen as a religion imposed by Europeans. Perceptions of Christianity as a foreign religion is a persistent one, even in places such as the Philippines where it has been entrenched for over four centuries. Elsewhere I have described how Filipino Catholics see Church rites and rituals as more or less legitimate according to the extent to which they correspond with Vatican directives (Bautista 2004). While scholars have depicted a ‘Filipino-blend’ of Catholicism prone to animism (see Bulatao 1967), the Filipino concept of Christianity is of a colonial-introduced Roman Catholicism that is an extension of a foreign, European state (the Vatican) with a diplomatic apparatus and its own political power. While African Christians are portrayed for their assertiveness and audacity in talking about the Church (as the example of Henry Orombi above demonstrates), Filipino bishops have not been as confident in their capacity to criticize the Roman Church, much less act in a way that seeks to alter the tradition of the entire faith. Two recent examples demonstrate this. The first also relates to the demographic trends that the scholars cited above discuss. In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI appointed 18 new members to the College of Cardinals, the conclave comprised of Cardinals from around globe, bringing the current total to 201. What is significant about this body, however, is not just its administrative and electoral function, but also its composition. As of 2007, 62 per cent of Cardinals were from Europe and North America, while the rest were from outside the West. Of the total number of Cardinals in the conclave, 76 Euro-Americans have electoral powers, compared to 44 from the global south. In the Philippines, a Senate resolution called for a redress of this ‘lopsided’ representation of Cardinals in the conclave. Senator Joker Arroyo relies solely on statistical factors in justifying the ‘request’ for more cardinals to be appointed from the Philippines. This request is also premised upon the discourse that the Philippines remains a bastion of Catholicism in a region otherwise dominated by non-Christians. The appeal was brought to the newly appointed Papal nuncio who remained less than optimistic that the Vatican would accede to the Senate’s request (Mendez 2007). The Papal Nuncio’s pessimism may be taken as an indication of the lethargy with which changes in the upper hierarchy of the Catholic Church

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respond to the demographic realities of its flock. It also highlights the reticence of Filipino Cardinals themselves, relative to their African counterparts, in feeling entitled to assert that the Church should reflect and adapt to the demographic realities of the Roman Catholics. Global south theologians and clergy becoming increasingly self-assertive in the face of eroding memberships in the West may well be an accurate portrait of African Christianity, particularly the Anglican Communion. That a GAFCON conference was held right before the 2008 Lambeth conference, the latter boycotted by many Bishops from the global south, attests to a confident assertiveness that many have interpreted as the seeds of schism. This recalcitrant assertiveness is not something that defines Roman Catholic Bishops in the Philippines, however, who have tended to be more inclined towards defending the orthodoxy of the Vatican rather than challenging its authority and mandate. Instead, the appeals for change come from the mechanism of the state (in this case, from the Philippine senate). While the Philippines is often used by various commentators as an example of the Asian face of Christianity, the Philippine experience affords us with insight into the relationship between the state and religion which makes us once again think twice about the suitability of associating Asians experience so readily with their Latin American or African contemporaries. It is in this sense as well that Asian Christians would sit awkwardly with the portrait of southern Christians that Jenkins, Sanneh and McGrath describe.

Christianity and its minority status The majority of Christians in Asia do not have the benefit of having assertive, well-entrenched Christian institutions with many politically active clergy. More often than not, the practice of the faith does not just have to be articulated, but repressed, kept secret and negotiated, if not openly fought for. In India and Japan in the past half century, Christian missions had to endure political discourses often vitriolic and sometimes hostile to Christian missionization. Vanderbilt’s chapter, for example, describes how post-war intellectuals in Japan sought to negotiate the idea of Christianity with a Japanese face – ‘Nihonteki Kirisutokyo’ – with the state’s ideological position towards Western Modernity. The challenges of that endeavour became more pronounced in light of the promotion of Shinto as a state (non) religion. The spectre of the religious majority is also a prominent theme in Josh’s chapter in the context of India. Individuals who sought the ‘refuge’ of conversion to Christianity as a foil against caste oppression came under pressure from Hindu nationalists who sought to outlaw such conversions. While several anti-conversion bills at the state level fell short of eliciting the governor’s assent to a widespread Religious Conversion Bill, the political pressure of hostility towards Christianity conditioned many converts’ responses. In both examples, the promotion of national religions, in this case Shinto and Hinduism respectively, defined the conditions under which Christian converts

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lived the faith. And what we saw in these two examples is the tenacity of the faith under the most difficult of political and social circumstances. Religious freedom is not the only cause of friction between the state and the faithful. There are many examples from Asia in which ethnicity and religious belief are intertwined. In this volume, Koning discusses ProtestantCharismatic Christians among Indonesian entrepreneurs of Chinese decent. In the context of a the largest Malay Muslim nation in the world, in which less than 10 per cent are Christian, Koning’s discussion focuses on how conversion to Christianity is seen as an avenue towards re-inscribing embattled ethnic Chinese identities, often as a form of negotiating the prevailing dominant attitudes that seek to marginalize and even ostracize them. It is interesting that this form of protest is facilitated not through coalescence with the dominant religion but through voluntary engagement with a minority faith. Conversion in this context is an avenue towards protest against the dominant groups from whom they are alienated and marginalized. Salemink would agree with Koning in suggesting that ‘conversion draws the ethnic minority populations into transnational religious networks that make use of ethnic affinities overseas but also of the organizational and communicative strengths of Protestant churches in the transnational realm’. Although Salemink deals with the same area, the discussion he provides departs from the theme of conversion as protest, as he argues that conversion actually facilitates the integration of the marginalized faithful into the spectre of the nation state. Conversion to Protestantism, argues Salemink, forges new forms of solidarities through networks that transcend ethnic boundaries. Conversion into a minority faith such as Christianity, in other words, does not necessarily have to be seen as a subjectivity that ‘fences them off’ as believers engaged in opposition to state hegemony. Rather, the appeal of conversion to Christianity in places such as the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand is its capacity to reinscribe belonging and membership to dominant entities such as the state as an alternative strategy to hostility and protest. Salemink and Turner’s insights lead us to a more heightened appreciation of the chapters by Mathews and Peterson. Their discussions take the theme of creative complicity further by demonstrating how Christian groups are proactive in their strategies of engagement with higher governmental authority. The upwardly mobile, middle class and largely Chinese Christians that Koning and Salemink describe do not quite fit with the typical portrait of a southern Christian as destitute and populous. Nevertheless, we can gain some insights into the faith in the ways in which such groups deal with their marginality. In the context of an interventionist state, Mathews also asks how the church has ‘managed’ itself into an accomodationist position in order to earn the state’s magnanimity. Church authorities in Singapore have learned to package their religious message according to the extent to which that coincides with the state’s agenda. In instances where state policy and Church beliefs clash, evinced more recently by the contestation over the building of casinos in the city state, Christian churches vocalize their opposition as

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emanating from a community of good citizens, rather than from a specific religious standpoint. This is not, however, a zero-sum game. The Church’s managerial position is framed upon the expectation of receiving favourable treatment from the state when it engages in activities in which they would benefit from the state’s reciprocal complicity. Peterson’s chapter, similarly, examines the range of accommodations to state authority from the perspective of the Church of LDS. What is remarkable in this case is that the LDS leadership accommodates their theology and practice according to the political environment conditioned by the governmental authorities and policies. What Salemink, Peterson and Mathews demonstrate is that, far from operating independently from state structures, an engagement with the state is a presumed, natural part of the operation of religious groups in Asia. Turner’s chapter, meanwhile, is a broader view of the issue of conversion that Salemink touches upon, furnishing us with a horizontal insight into the historical integration of Christian conversion in various Asian regions.

Concluding remarks What the chapters in this volume show is the relevance of the nation state as a lens through which the Christian faith can be understood in Asia. While Jenkins, Sanneh and McGrath are correct in suggesting that new forms of Christianity are emerging in specific parts of Asia, the point of this chapter has been to contextualize the demographic and political realities of Asia according to the global growth of the Christianity. What we can see is that, in spite of excitable projections of the burgeoning growth of the faithful in Africa or Latin America, the less frenetic population data from Asia necessitates a more nuanced picture of Christianity that implies a kind of interrelationship with the state in ways that range from co-optation to contestation. It is important to emphasize that this chapter is not disputing that Asia has a role to play in the growth of Christianity as a global religion. Places such as Korea and the Philippines will continue to exemplify the extent to which Christianity has become entrenched in the region, as well as the growth of Christian populations. Yet it is precisely because of its minority status in the rest of Asia – in counter-distinction with Jenkins’s strong emphasis on the overwhelming demographic revolution and revival – that the Christian faithful throughout the region have had to engage with the state mechanism in the pursuit of its mission. As scholars of religion, it is important that we do not discount the continuing relevance of the state in spite of the growing strength of religious and extra governmental institutions. It is incumbent upon us not to be seduced by the worldwide demographic projection that runs the risk of homogenizing the experience of Christianity, particularly as it is lived outside the Asian region.

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References: Bautista, J. (2004) ‘The Christchild in the Philippines: The Santo Niño as culture hero’, Warne, E. and Zika, C. (eds) God, the Devil and a Millennium of Christian Culture, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, pp. 195–214. Bulatao, S. J. (1967) Split-Level Christianity, Manila: Ateneo University Press. Digan, P. (1984) Churches in Contestation: Asian Christian social protest, New York: Orbis Books. Ileto, R. C. (1979) Pasyon and Revolution, Manila Ateneo de Manila. Jenkins, P. (2006) The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the global south, Oxford: Oxford University Press. ——(2004) ‘Christianity’s southern flank: What the changing face of the global church means for politics and culture’. Paper presented at the Heritage Foundation, Washington DC, 13 October 2004. ——(2002) The Next Christendom; The coming of global Christianity, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Johnson, T. (2008) ‘Christianity in global context: Trends and statistics’. Prepared for the PEW Forum on Religion and Public Life sourced from the World Christian Database. Available online at: http://pewforum.org/events/051805/global-christianity. pdf. (Accessed 14 May 2008). McGrath, A. (2002a) The Future of Christianity, Oxford: Blackwell. ——(2002b) Interviewed on ABC Radio National Religion Report, 20 March 2002. Mendez, C. ‘Grossly Disproportionate Appointment of only 3 Cardinals’. The Philippine Star, 8 November 2007. ‘Outrage over Britain’s First Gay Wedding’. The Sydney morning Herald, 16 June 2008. Phan, P. C. (2008) ‘The church in Asian perspective’, Mannion and Mudge (eds) The Routledge Companion to the Christian Church, New York and London: Routledge. ——(2005) ‘A new Christianity, but what kind?’ Mission Studies, 22(1): 59–83. ——(2004) ‘Christianity’s southern flank: What the changing face of the global church means for politics and culture: A response to Peter Jenkins’. Paper presented at the Heritage Foundation, Washington DC, 13 October 2004. Sanneh, L. (2008) Disciples of All Nations: Pillars of world Christianity, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Sanneh, L. and Carpenter, J. (eds) (2005) The Changing Face of Christianity: Africa, the West and the world, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Index

anti-conversion law 7, 31, 81, 97–112 authority 1–2, 12–13, 14, 74, 84, 86, 168–70, 175, 190 burial rites. See funerary customs. caste system 7, 67, 97–98, 106–7 Catholic Church. See Roman Catholic Church. Catholicism 2, 6, 24, 28–30, 42, 60, 79, 84, 86, 88–9, 142–4, 156, 207–8 Charismatic Christianity. See Pentecostal Charismatic groups. China (People’s Republic of) 8–10, 28, 31, 32, 38, 48–9, 79–80, 82–88, 92–4 Christendom 3, 9–11, 14, 25, 202–3, 207 Christian intellectuals 59–61, 63–5, 69–72, 80 Christianity as a religion of foreign origin 5, 6–8, 28–33, 63, 65, 68, 73–74, 79–95, 80– 6, 89, 93, 156–57, 211; and other belief systems (e.g. Animism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam, Shinto) 4, 5, 28–31, 37–47, 63, 69–72, 87–8, 97–102, 156, 176, 178–9, 184, 187, 212–14; and the Global South 9–11, 39, 42, 147, 201–5, 209, 211–12 local practices. See indigenization and localization Church of [Jesus Christ] Latter-day Saints 14, 33, 166–80 Church and state 3–5, 7–9, 11–15, 22–3, 37, 47–52, 61–5, 68, 72–4, 81, 85–8, 121–23, 131–50, 160–3, 166, 173, 177–80, 184–6, 208–14 civil religion 3, 5–6, 8, 29 civil society 18, 31, 180, 189

clergy. See religious clergy. Cold War 5, 30, 38, 59 colonialism/imperialism 3–4, 5, 23–9, 26–7, 30, 37, 41, 68, 81, 84, 117–19, 137, 157–8, 184–5, 189, 209–10 Communism/Communist countries 5, 8–9, 27–8, 30, 33–5, 51, 66, 86–8, 172–3, 177–8 Confucianism 28, 31–3, 61–5, 68, 156 conversion 4, 7–9, 18–21, 28–33, 39–41, 47–53, 73, 97–112, 115–27, 145, 173–80, 212–14 cremation. See funerary customs. Cults 9, 32, 65–6, 73 death rites. See funerary customs. demographic factors 10, 13, 110, 134–5, 201–8 democracy 5, 28, 59, 60, 67, 71–4 diaspora 4, 51–2 education/literacy 6, 18, 27–29, 33, 60, 71, 105, 131, 138, 143–4, 149, 174, 190 Emperor system (Japan) 5, 59–62, 65–7 ethnicity identity 4, 7, 18, 45–8; minority groups 4, 7–8, 11, 44–53, 108–12, 115–19, 213–14; evangelism 5–9, 14, 18–19, 30, 34–5, 39–41, 53, 64, 188, 193 funerary customs 5, 155–64 globalization 30, 33, 37, 52–53, 120 harassment of Christians. See violence against Christians. health policy. See public healthcare.

Index

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HIV/AIDS 2, 131–50 homosexuality 188, 194, 203 human rights 32, 68, 98–101 identity 1, 5, 6, 9, 27, 46, 49, 52–3, 80, 88–91, 115, 118–19 India 4, 6, 10, 97–112 indigenization. See also localization. 1, 5, 41, 50, 70, 73, 80, 85–6, 204–5, 210–12 Indonesia 4, 7, 11–12, 36, 45–6, 48, 115–27, 185 Japan 5–6, 59–74 law 136, 168–174,195; regulation of religious organizations 65, 73, 187–8 localization 5–6, 44–7, 52–3, 85–6, 89–93, 94, 145, 179, 204–5, 210 loyalty 13, 21, 60, 62, 63, 65, 70, 104, mass media 53, 115, 131, 137–38, 146, 159 Marxist ideology 5, 8, 31, 61, 87 migration 34–35, 48, 50, 84, 132, 134, 141, 147, 172 middle class 49–50, 68, 189 Minjung Theology (Korea) 5 missionaries (and their activities) 3–4, 10–12, 24–5, 27–9, 42–4, 49–52, 79–84, 88–93, 97, 103–5, 140, 189, 206, 209–10 modernity 1, 33, 60 modernization 1, 3, 5, 13, 27, 32–3, 41, 43, 49, 64, 70, 80, 120, 145, 164, 178–79 national culture and identity 5–6, 27, 117–19, 122–26 nationalism/nation building 3, 6–7, 13, 32–33, 37, 61, 65, 94, 117–18, 184, 191–4, 202 patriotism 62, 86, 166–67, 191–2 Pentecostal Charismatic groups 7, 8, 38, 39–41, 51, 119–27, 191, 205 Philippines, the 2, 10, 13, 49–50, 131–50, 175, 209 politics. See Religion and politics. post-colonialism 27, 33, 41, 53 proselytism 42, 105–6, 172, 177, 179, 193 Protestantism 4, 8, 30, 36, 48–53, 66, 135, 145, 156, 159, 161–3, 188–96

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print capitalism 60–74 publications. See print capitalism. public healthcare 6, 105, 131, 135–8, 142, 146–50, 210 religion and identity 6, 18–19, 34–5, 47–50, 53, 97–98; and politics 2, 6–9, 12, 14, 23–34, 47–52, 60, 64, 68, 72–74, 81–2, 102–12, 144–50, 156–9, 184–6, 190–1, 208–12 religious clergy 14, 135–6, 138–40, 143, 146, 168–9, 184, 187–8, 194, 211–12 religious freedom 6, 8, 26, 87, 98–9, 107, 184, 212–13 revivial 5, 34, 122–23, 190 Roman Catholic Church 2, 13, 79, 131–50, 156–7, 160, 187, 210–12 salvation 2, 20, 22, 49, 120, 188 Second World War 5, 38, 50, 60, 67–9, 72, 74, 172, 180 secularism 2, 5, 21, 27, 29, 33–5, 43, 163, 202 Shinto (including ritual) 4–6, 63–4, 74 Singapore 10, 14, 186–96 state instrumentalism 32, 98–112, 135–6, 187–94 South Korea 4–6, 10, 47, 64–5, 68–9, 73, 85, 155–64, 185, 209 sovereignty 25, 66, 67, 69, 70, 71, 86–7 Taiwan 65, 178–80 Tibet 79–84 theology (Christian) 2, 5, 4, 22–23, 70–4, 141, 145, 170–2, 196 trade 23–29, 93, 123–5 transnational network 6–8, 10, 37, 47, 50–1, 88–94, 123–6, 140–2, 173, 186, 210, 213 tourism, impact of 86–87, 92–4 United States foreign policy 32–3 urban middle class. See middle class. Vatican, the 11, 13, 79, 81, 85–7, 94, 132, 139, 141, 211–2 Vietnam 2, 8, 10, 36, 46, 51–52, 172–3 violence against Christians 6–7, 12–13, 48, 79, 82, 84, 87, 90, 107–11, 122–3, 157, 167–9, 172, 187