Indian cardinal: ‘Forced conversions do not exist’
August 02, 2017
New legislation that would impose criminal penalties for forcible conversions in India’s Jharkhand state would be irrelevant to Christians, Cardinal Telesphore Toppo of Ranchi told the AsiaNews service, explaining: “No one can force another to convert.”
“Forced conversions do not exist,” the cardinal said. He explained that conversion requires an act of free will.
Cardinal Toppo expressed regret that Jharkhand might soon become the seventh state in India to enact legislation against coerced conversions. The bans have been demanded by Hindu activists, who complain that poor and ignorant people are being enticed to become Christians.
“For decades we have held many schools and colleges, clinics and hospitals across the state, serving the poor, the oppressed, and the abandoned,” Cardinal Toppo said. These institutions have served millions of people, the cardinal said, and none has been forced to become Christian.