Home News False and misleading: Bangalore archbishop on Bible in class row

False and misleading: Bangalore archbishop on Bible in class row

The archbishop challenged the public to provide “even a single instance of conversion” in hundreds of Christian schools

Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore dismissed as false and misleading media reports that some Catholic schools in the southern Indian city force children to buy Bibles and bring them to class.

According to an ndtv.com April 25 report a row erupted in Karnataka after a Catholic school in Bengaluru, the state capital, had allegedly taken an undertaking from parents that they would not object to their wards carrying the Bible to class.

The news portal also said the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (Forum to awaken Hindus) accused Clarence High School of making it mandatory for students to carry the Bible.

The group’s state spokesperson Mohan Gowda alleged that the school has asked non-Christian students to compulsorily carry and read the Bible adding that it violated Articles 25 and 30 of the Constitution.

“It has been brought to my notice that the Christian Institutions are once again being targeted for conversion in the allegation of the children being forced to buy Bibles and bring them to Schools in Bangalore. This allegation is false and misleading,” said Archbishop Machado in a press statement.

The prelate said Clarence High School’s management has clarified that such a practice existed in the past but since last year, no child is required to bring the Bible to the School or asked to read it by force.

“Being a Christian Minority School, it is within the rights of the management to conduct Bible or Religion Classes for Christians outside of the School hours,” said Archbishop Machado.

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He noted that the school is more than 100 years old and no complaint of conversion was made anytime against it.

“The school has justified that moral education, based on the examples of the Bible, cannot be considered as forced religious education. The Institutions run by other religious sects also give religious instructions, based on their sacred books. It is extremely unfair to target only the Christian Institutions, and whatever good is being done is labeled as ‘For Conversion,’” said the archbishop.

The prelate drew attention to a Karnataka government plan to introduce lessons on values from Bhagavad Gita and other religious scriptures from next academic year.

“If Children are requested to buy books of Bhagavad Gita or other religions, can it be considered as forcing them to be influenced or inducing them to be converted to these particular Religions? Certainly not! Therefore, using the scripture books in minority schools to promote moral and ethical values cannot be considered as forcefully alluring the students towards their religion,” read the prelate’s press statement.

The archbishop also said that the freedom of the parents to choose the school is as important as the management’s prerogative to convey “certain concepts of moral rectitude and good behavior in society. This cannot be interpreted as forceful conversion.”

The archbishop challenged the public to provide “even a single instance of conversion” in hundreds of schools managed by Christians in the last few decades.

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