Publications

Donors Proceed With Caution, Tithing Declines

A new research study by the Barna Group explores how the charitable landscape has changed over the last two and a half years. The study examines how many Americans have been affected by the economic downturn, how this has influenced their donations, and their outlook on economic recovery.
Reducing Donations & Tithing
Tracking the percentage of adults who have reduced their giving in the last three months the report shows that in the immediate aftermath of the economic crisis in late 2008, two out of 10 Americans (20%) had reduced their giving to a church or religious center; three out of 10 (31%) had downsized their giving to other nonprofits. Then, 14 months later, in January of 2010, both measures had increased: three in 10 adults had reduced giving to churches (29%) and nearly half said they had curtailed their generosity to other nonprofits (48%).
Based on the latest research from Barna, conducted in April 2011, the percentage of those who are reducing their giving to churches has not abated (30%). At the same time, the proportion of Americans who reported declining giving to nonprofits has dropped somewhat, to 39%. This is still higher than the measures revealed during the early months of the economic crisis, but softened since early 2010.
Those who have cut back charitable giving in recent months were most likely to be women, Boomers (ages 46 to 64), lower income households, families with young children, married adults, Catholics, and Hispanics.
The donors most likely to reduce church-related giving were Boomers, lower income households, Northeastern residents, and those who identify themselves as Christians but are only moderately involved with a church.
Among those whose church giving has declined, 24% have stopped all giving to churches; 17% have decreased their giving by 20% or less; 7% have lessened their donations by 20% to 45%; 17% have reduced their giving by half; 12% have decreased their giving by more than half. In comparison with just 15 months prior, church donors were nearly one-quarter more likely to have reduced their church giving by half or more.
Consistent with this trend, the Barna study revealed that the number of people who are tithing has also dropped. The practice of tithing – donating at least 10% of one’s income to churches or other charities – has been relatively stable over the past decade, hovering between 5% and 7%. Currently, the national tithing rate is down to 4% of the adult population. This is slightly below the levels of the last 10 years and significantly lower than last year’s rate (7%).
Outlook
Many Americans remain pessimistic about the prospects of a pending recovery. Nearly half of adults (47%) said they expect the economy to take in excess of three more years to recover. This is up from 42% in January 2010 and just 32% in November of 2008.
Three-quarters of Americans now believe the economy will take at least two years or more to get back to normal, or say that it will never fully recover.
Men, Mosaics (ages 18 to 26), those earning less than $40,000, unmarried adults, evangelicals, atheists and agnostics, and Hispanics were among the most likely to express concern about economic renewal.
http://www.evangelicalnews.org/indiv_pr.php?pr_id=19429

Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife by Lisa Miller. Harper, an imprint of Harper Collins, 2010

A history of the hereafter, Heaven draws from both history and popular culture to reveal how past and presage visions of heaven have evolved and how they inspire both good and evil. http://www.harpercollins.com/books/Heaven-Lisa-Miller/?isbn=9780060554750

Christian Counsellors Claim Discrimination over Religious Beliefs on Gays by Maggie Hyde.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/26/christian-counselors-clai_n_696322.html

The Inquisition: A Study in Absolute Catholic Power Arthur Maricle http://www.mtc.org/inquis.html

Conversion: Unethical and Otherwise – A Buddhist View by Ven Dhammika, http://www.crusadewatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=172&Itemid=79

Eastward, Evangelical Soldiers! By Vijaya Prakash The Frontline 22(4) February 15-25, 2005 http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl2204/stories/20050225000506400.htm

Are Forcible Religious Conversions Part of Fundamental Human Rights? Sunny Mendes http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items04/200604-2.html

Evangelism – General

The Armies of God: A Study in Militant Christianity by Iain Buchan. Citizens International, 2010, 400p.

The book looks at how some of the powerful evangelical outfits operate – often as US government proxies- in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, and of course, India, and the disastrous effects this has had on the relationship between the Christian West and non-Christian cultures, religious communities and nations. He also unmasks the role played by the seemingly secular ‘success motivation’ industry, and its leadership gurus such as Zig Ziglar and Ken Blachard, who are not only management experts but also conscious agents of US-style Christian evangelism.http://www.dnaindia.com/lifestyle/interview_evangelical-christianity-devils-in-high-places_1524855-all

Their Other “Dirty” Linen: Evangelism’s Quest to Conquer the World
by S. R. Welch

Each year Americans contribute millions of dollars through corporate-giving campaigns and Sunday tithes to support the “faith-based” humanitarian work of overseas Christian missions. This work–feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving medicine to the sick–seems a worthy cause, an outwardly selfless endeavor unsullied by the salacious headlines and bitter disputes now roiling the life of the church at home. But Christendom’s missionaries bear their share of controversy. Though most private donors and corporate sponsors are unaware of it, overseas missions in certain parts of the world have long been embroiled in scandals involving allegations of predatory behavior towards the vulnerable. Though the largely poor and illiterate victims have complained loudly for decades, their allegations involve no sexual misconduct and thus garner few headlines in the West. Their outrage, vented from halfway across the globe, rarely reaches English-language media at all.http://www.infidels.org/kiosk/article363.html

Some Analogies to Illustrate the Unethical Nature of Conversions by Waruna Fernando

Discusses unethical conversion within the context of the changes in the Judeo-Christian culture and western hegemony.http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items04/230704-1.html

Who’s That Knocking on the Door? A Buddhist’s Guide to Evangelical Christianity by Ven.Sravasti Dhammika

Gives examples of the tactics used by evangelists.http://www.buddhismaustralia.org/knock.htm

Proselytism and International Law http://religionhumanrights.com/Research/proselytism.htm

Proselytism and the Freedom to Change Religion in International Human Rights Law by Tad Stahnke  D:\ 1999- 1\ FINAL\ STA-FIN.WPD Ja n. 8, 2001

Proselytism is one form of expression that has resulted in inevitable, and some times fierce, conflict. But on proselytism-whether it is viewed as an exercise of free expression or a manifestation of religious belief-is not in it self the problem. The problem lies in finding the proper balance between the freedom to proselytize and the multitude of rights, duties, and interests of religious groups, individuals, and the state that may conflict with that freedom. http://lawreview.byu.edu/archives/1999/1/sta.pdf

Neutrality, Proselytism, and Religious Minorities at the European Court of Human Rights and the U.S. Supreme Court by Nicholas Hatzis Harvard ILJ OnlineVol 49 June 22, 2009

The existence of every new, non-mainstream, or minority religious group depends on the ability to make its doctrines known and to proselytize new members. Only by persuading people to change their religious affiliation (or in case of atheists or agnostics, to adopt one for the first time) will a group be able to survive as a religious community. While minority religions may on occasion compete against each other for new adherents, for practical reasons, their main target group will be the membership of the majority religion, who may react by lobbying the legislature and the administration to impose restrictions on religious teaching by minorities. This is not only a contemporary phenomenon. Michael McConnell notes that in 18th century Virginia, the most intolerant of the colonies, the Church of England was the established church and the authorities blocked efforts by Presbyterians and Baptists to preach their faith. More recently, the prohibition of proselytism came before the European Court of Human Rights in Kokkinakis v. Greece.2

Kokkinakis is a seminal case, not only in its discussion of the issues of religious teaching and proselytism, but also for its discussion of freedom of religion in general. http://www.harvardilj.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/HILJ-Online_49_Hatzis.pdf

Why Evangelicals Hate Jesus by Phil Zuckerman

White Evangelical Christians are the group least likely to support politicians or policies that reflect the actual teachings of Jesus. It is perhaps one of the strangest, most dumb-founding ironies in contemporary American culture. Evangelical Christians, who most fiercely proclaim to have a personal relationship with Christ, who most confidently declare their belief that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, who go to church on a regular basis, pray daily, listen to Christian music, and place God and His Only Begotten Son at the center of their lives, are simultaneously the very people most likely to reject his teachings and despise his radical message.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/phil-zuckerman/why-evangelicals-hate-jes_b_830237.html

Conversion as an Economic EnterpriseRamani Samarasinghe

Religious conversion has to be examined in its global context, because coerced conversion is not a spiritual but a political act with economic motives. So was colonization; though they said they came to civilize us! The so-called religious wars such as the Crusades were about wealth and dominance.http://christianaggression.org/item_display.php?type=ARTICLES&id=1263492537

Changing Face of Religious Conversions Ramani Samarasinghe

Evangelism – Marketing

Religious Broadcasting at the Crossroads by Peter Horsfield

Evangelical broadcasters have thrust the church into the electronic age. Their aggressive use of television, communication satellites, computers and mass marketing practices has created an array of effects and implications with which the church is still grappling.

http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1279

Religious Conversion

Religious Conversion in 40 Countries by Robert J. Barro, Jason Hwang, and Rachel M. McCleary, Harvard University, Cornerstone Research, Harvard University

http://www.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/barro/files/Conversion+paper+072209+_2_.pdf

Unethical Conversion

India

Expressions of Christianity with a Focus on India
by Parameswaran

Though claiming to act from and for “the love of
Jesus,” Christianity has brought suffering and destruction to
individuals, communities and cultures in almost every region of the
world. This collection of papers by Indian and foreign scholars, which spans two millennia and includes Europe, America, Asia and Australia, does not focus on Christianity’s teachings or theology, but on its actual expressions in the  world. http://www.indiaclub.com/shop/searchresults.asp?ProdStock=23599

Challenge of Religious Conversion and Hindu Response by Dr Subramanian Swamy
January 3, 2006

Excerpted from the address of The Chief Guest at the Anniversary Celebration of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam

Religious conversion of Hindus is threatening individuals, families, communities and the nation. Coercive religious conversion of Hindus contains a threat to spiritual tradition and the freedom of choice. If carried unchecked, coercive religious conversion would threaten the very existence of India as a nation.

Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines by Rajiv Malhotra and Aravinda Neelakandan. Amaryllis, 640p.

Of the three global networks that have well established operating bases inside India and that are undermining its integrity is the Dravidian and Dalit identity separatism being fostered by the West in the name of human rights. This book focuses on role of U.S.and European churches, academics, think-tanks, foundations, government and human rights groups in fostering separation of the identities of Dravidian and Dalit communities from the rest of India. The book is the result of five years of research, and uses information obtained in the West about foreign funding of these Indian-based activities. The research tracked the money trails that start out claiming to be for “education,” “human rights,” “empowerment training,” and “leadership training,” but end up in programs designed to produce angry youths who feel disenfranchised from Indian identity.

The book reveals how outdated racial theories continue to provide academic frameworks and fuel the rhetoric that can trigger civil wars and genocides in developing countries. The Dravidian movement’s 200-year history has such origins. Its latest manifestation is the “Dravidian Christianity” movement that fabricates a political and cultural history to exploit old fault lines. The book explicitly names individuals and institutions, including prominent Western ones and their Indian affiliates. Its goal is to spark an honest debate on the extent to which human rights and other “empowerment” projects are cover-ups for these nefarious activities.http://vivekajyoti.blogspot.com/2011/04/rajiv-malhotra-and-aravindan.html   http://www.breakingindia.com/

Proselytization in India: An Indian Christian’s Perspective by C. Alex Alexander

http://www.hinduwisdom.info/Conversion6.htm

Conversion, Murder and India‘s Supreme Court by Mathew Schmalz
February 5, 2011, Huffington Post

http://www.christianaggression.org/item_display.php?type=ARTICLES&id=1297274324

How Christian Evangelists Target Hindu American Students
by Francis C. Assisi http://www.indolink.com/displayArticleS.php?id=051706093445

Sri Lanka

Report of the Commission Established to Investigate and Report on Unethical Religious Conversions. Colombo: All Ceylon Buddhist Congress, 2552/2009, 303p. Annexes

A 16th Century Clash of Civilisations by Susantha Goonetilake. Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2010.

A Sociological Examination of Post Colonial Role of Western Cultural and Religious Influence with Special Attention to Sri Lanka-Ramani Samarasinghe

Unethical Conversions by Brindley Jayatunga http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items01/091201-6.html

Christian Fanaticism in Sri Lanka by Meredith de Silva

Today, even after independence, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims are still being targeted by Christian extremists. While foreign Christian groups have set up shop in the island, many of the most fanatical followers are actually locals who care naught for religious diversity and pluralism. Extremist Sri Lankan Christians have attacked Buddhist temples, destroyed Buddha statues and beaten up Buddhist monks who have dared to stand against their aggressive and unethical methods of proselytism. In the eastern city of Trincomalee militant Christians have tried to convert Hindus by planting crosses near Hindu temples and handing out inflammatory phamplets that attack Hindu Gods and ask people to convert to Christianity to supposedly escape the caste system. The driving force behind this fanaticism is both foreign and Sri Lankan Christian priests, who have been brought up to hate non-Christians and non-Christian faiths. http://balawegaya.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/christian-fanaticism-in-sri-lanka/

Examining Christian Evangalism in Sri Lanka and South Asia (geocities.com – 26/07/07)

My Experiences with the Pentacostal by Mukesh (geocities.com – 26/07/07)

Christian Conversion in Buddhist Sri Lanka by Kamalika Pieris http://www.christianaggression.org/item_display.php?type=ARTICLES&id=1058908729

Forcible Religious Conversion Ananda Samaraweera http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items04/020804-1.html

Mrs Bandaranaike’s Courage by Ananda Samaraweera http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items04/020804-2.html

Norway in a hurry to meet Thamil Selvan, and the Archbishop against the Anti Conversion Bill By Charles Perera

http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items04/200604-1.html

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka Statement by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Sri Lankaon the Proposed Anti-Conversion Legislation.14th January 2004 http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items04/200604-3.html

Communication and Proselytism
(religion-online.org – 20/06/04)

USA

Our Public Schools their Mission Field by Valerie Tarico http://www.crusadewatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1130&Itemid=128

Islamaphobia and Religious Pluralism: America’s Real History by Eddie Galude Jr. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eddie-glaude-jr-phd/is-it-time-we-got-rid-of-_b_694539.html

U.S. Army Christian Flag Folding Ceremony Shows Official Sanction of Church-State Violations by Valerie Tarico

This is a series on religious boundary violations in the U.S.military and what soldiers are doing to fight back.When American soldiers come forward with tales of divisive evangelism run amuck in the military — for example, proselytizing by commanding officers, coerced attendance at revival meetings, distribution of Bibles to Afghans or Jesus coins to Iraqis — one problem they face is that people find the stories too outrageous to be credible. A combat soldier being forced to pick hairs out of a latrine because he wouldn’t pray? Another being told he’s responsible if any of his buddies die? An Iraqi child post-IED given a tract that shows dead Iraqis going to hell and Americans (Christians) going to heaven? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/valerie-tarico/christian-flag-folding-ce_b_819927.html