Hindu Nationalists Persecute Christian Charities, Including Mother Teresa’s Nuns

By Jason Scott Jones Published on July 1, 2024

Few threads are as sensitive or as consequential as those governing the flow of money across borders. India, the world’s largest democracy, has recently tugged at these threads with the heavy hand of intolerant Hindu nationalism. India has implemented its amended Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) Rules 2022 in the name of enhancing “transparency and accountability” in foreign contributions to nonprofit organizations. In fact, the government is using this law to strangle Christian charities.

Rules such as India’s threaten freedom in many countries, as do Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) in Western democracies and the “social credit” system in China.

One Bank Branch Now Controls Entire Foreign Funding of Nonprofits

The led government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi now requires NGOs to pledge that foreign contributions would not be used for activities detrimental to “national interests,” which for the Modi’s party includes preaching the Gospel.

These amendments have their root in the ruling political parties’ affiliation to the Hindutva philosophy. Hindutva is an extremist political ideology that advocates for the primacy of Hindu identity and culture in India while coming down hard on religious minorities and their rights. For instance, open street Gospel preaching, once common in India, is no longer seen anywhere. Gospel conventions and large public prayer gatherings also have disappeared.

But the control extends beyond religious activities and has impacted the charities associated with Christian organizations. Several, including Compassion International, have been forced to cease operations in India due to FCRA-related issues. Many smaller Christian NGOs have reported difficulties in maintaining their programs due to funding restrictions. Thousands of orphans who were once supported by foreign funding now face a bleak future, with no access to schools or a healthy diet. Many struggle to have two morsels of food a day.

Under the “FCRA 2022” rule, foreign contributions must be received only in the “FCRA account” of the New Delhi Main Branch of State Bank of India (SBI). In other words, one bank branch will now control the influx of all foreign contributions, including those to religious nonprofits and charity organizations that feed millions of homeless people and orphans. This has created a chokepoint for monitoring and potentially controlling these financial flows.

The centralization of FCRA accounts in a single bank branch in New Delhi represents a level of state control over financial transactions that is rare in democratic societies.

Targeting Christians

Analysts argue the rules disproportionately affect Christian religious minorities in India, many of whom rely more heavily on foreign contributions due to their smaller domestic support base.

The All-India Catholic Union says these rules place “unreasonable restrictions” on religious organizations and the work they do to help millions of people. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has expressed concern that the FCRA amendments could be used to “silence civil society organizations and restrict activities of religious organizations.” In 2024, the USCIRF recommended that India be designated as a “country of particular concern” due to persistent and egregious violations of religious freedoms.

In 2023, the Indian government canceled the FCRA license of one of the largest church networks in the world, the Church of North India. It also canceled the license of the social charity arm of Tamil Nadu Catholic Bishops Conference. Besides, the Indian government also canceled the FCRA licenses of several prominent Christian nonprofits in the country. Reports suggest that since 2015, the FCRA registrations of more than 16,000 nonprofits have been canceled. As Christianity Today reports:

Prominent secular human rights groups, humanitarian aid organizations, and policy groups have also lost their licenses. This includes Oxfam India, the Centre for Policy Research, CARE India, the Programme for Social Action, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, and Amnesty International.

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Former Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said the Modi-led government is

targeting Christians to advance its majoritarian agenda. … Nothing can be more shocking than denying future foreign contributions to the Missionaries of Charity (MOC) in Kolkata, West Bengal. This is the greatest insult to the memory of Mother Teresa who devoted her life to care for the ‘poor and wretched’ of India” …

West Bengal (the state where MOC is located) Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted, “Mother Teresa herself set up Missionaries of Charity. And now they are also not being spared. Malicious attempts to malign their name. The Sisters are being targeted.”

Digital and Financial Power Grabs

This sort of thing has already happened in China. That country’s use of the “digital yuan” (e-CNY) serves as a stern warning. It gives the Chinese government unprecedented surveillance over citizens’ financial activities. It allows Beijing to reward or punish citizens through their financial transactions. Eventually, the capital control would limit citizens’ freedoms. If you think this is crazy and overreaching, wait until CBCD reached American shores.

India’s FCRA, China’s e-CNY, and the Western CBCD: all three systems involve a degree of centralized control over financial transactions, albeit to varying extents and with different motivations. While the specific context and scale of India’s regulations differ from the potential implementation of CBDCs in the US or China’s digital yuan, they all point to a future where the relationship between citizens, their money, and the state is fundamentally altered. Big Brother has his eyes on you and his hand in your pocket.

 

Jason Jones is a film producer, author, activist, popular podcast host, and human rights worker. He is president of the Human-Rights Education and Relief Organization (H.E.R.O.), known for its two main programs, the Vulnerable People Project and Movie to Movement. He was the first recipient of the East Turkistan Order of Friend-ship Medal for his advocacy of the Uyghur people. Jones was an executive producer of Bella and an associate producer of The Stoning of Soraya M. His humanitarian efforts have aided millions in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and the Ukraine, as well as pregnancy centers and women’s shelters throughout North America. Jones is a senior contributor to The Stream and the host of The Jason Jones Show. He is also the author of three books, The Race to Save Our Century, The World Is on Fire, and his latest book The Great Campaign Against the Great Reset. His latest film, Divided Hearts of America, is available on Amazon Prime.

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