01/10/2018, 17.15
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Hindu radical accuses Christianity of destroying the environment

by Nirmala Carvalho

A Hindu fair was held in Gujarat from 5 to 8 January bringing together 315 Hindu organisations. The extremist S Gurumurthy claims that Christianity has no "reverence for nature". For Syriac Christian leader, such a view sows “seeds of suspicion and division in people against the Christian community.”

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Christianity has destroyed the world’s environment, this according to the latest anti-Christian provocation by a right-wing Hindu radical in India.

S Gurumurthy, a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh RSS), a Hindu ultra-nationalist paramilitary organisation, made the claim at a Hindu fair in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

From a stage he railed against the Christian religion, which he deems responsible for environmental destruction because it has no "reverence for nature".

In his response to such a charge, Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), said that the Bible (Gen 2:15) teaches the “wholeness of creation and calls on human beings to care for the Garden of Eden. The care of the environment is a fundamental part of the Church's commitment to social justice and the common good of the human family.”

The Hindu fair was held from 5 to 8 January and was organised by the Hindu Spiritual and Service Foundation (HSSF). In total, 315 Hindu organisations came together. So far, 24 similar gatherings have been held in 13 Indian states. The one in Ahmedabad was the first in Gujarat.

Speaking at the event, Gurumurthy said that Hinduism stresses conservation, saving the environment for posterity, and even teaching compassion towards wildlife. The Hindu civilisation is the only one that teaches mankind to live together despite differences.

“We have a culture in which even the wildlife is worshipped and importance is given to the conservation of nature. In my village, nobody cuts the tree when even a single woman is pregnant. It is a way of linking our lives with nature.”

According to Sajan K George, Gurumurthy's claims “are baseless. Since the 12th century, Saint Francis of Assisi has been the Church’s historical ‘champion’ of environmental concerns and the RSS leader’s comments are propaganda to sow seeds of suspicion and division in people against the Christian community.”

The GCIC president, who is a Syrian Orthodox, notes that in 1989 “the 1st September was proclaimed a day of prayer for the environment by the late Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I of Constantinople.”

“Over the years, all major Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant and Anglican organisations have come together to encourage the 2.2 billion Christians in the world to pray and act on ecological issues.”

"The GCIC considers as irresponsible Gurumurthy's comments against Christianity, which is instead deeply committed to giving voice and caring for God's creation".

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