Church Apologizes for Conversion Attempts January 21, 2008

Church Apologizes for Conversion Attempts

You don’t see this every day.

On Saturday in Los Angeles, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church of Thousand Oaks held a joint service with local Hindu leaders.

Part of the service included the Christians apologizing for their past and present treatment of the Hindus:

During the service, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, issued a statement of apology to the Hindu religious community for centuries-old acts of religious discrimination by Christians, including attempts to convert them.

“I believe that the world cannot afford for us to repeat the errors of our past, in which we sought to dominate rather than to serve,” Bruno said in a statement read by the Rt. Rev. Chester Talton. “In this spirit, and in order to take another step in building trust between our two great religious traditions, I offer a sincere apology to the Hindu religious community.”

The bishop also said he was committed to renouncing “proselytizing” of Hindus. Bruno had been scheduled to read the statement himself, but a death of a close family friend prevented him from attending the service.

Not sure if there’s any course of action that will result from this, but it’s a nice gesture. Hell, any time a church apologizes for a wrong and changes what it’s doing, something good is happening.

I wonder if the proselytization of Hindus will still occur post-apology.

I wonder if the church is going to stop trying to convert those who are not Hindu.

I wonder how other churches will react to any of this…

(Thanks to Grazatt for the link!)

[tags]atheist, atheism, Hinduism, Jesus[/tags]

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  • Maria

    it’s about time!

  • At a mosque near my home, a church group showed up at prayers. They prayed over the Muslims praying, asking for God to forgive the Muslims for praying to a false god. It was real cute.

  • Sarah H.

    I’ve never heard of anything remotely like this happening, and it gives me so much hope! I know of plenty of churches who don’t make it their business to evangelize, but I’ve never seen one turn over a new leaf like this. As a daughter of firmly evangelical parents, I hope that some day they could learn from Christian leaders, such as this pastor, to peacefully tolerate and respect others’ beliefs and abandon the agenda to “save” non-believers.

  • Richard Wade

    Hey that church is within driving distance. Maybe I could go over there and ask if Rev. Bruno could deliver a public apology for Christians’ treatment of atheists! Oh, there’s probably a really long line of groups with a grievance going around the block. Maybe I could take a number for better service or call and schedule an appointment for several months from now.

  • grazatt

    At a mosque near my home, a church group showed up at prayers. They prayed over the Muslims praying, asking for God to forgive the Muslims for praying to a false god. It was real cute.

    and they didn’t get their asses beat?

  • Don’t expect this sort of sentiment to spread. The bishop in question is sadly in violation of the mainstream Christian view that everyone in the world needs to be brought into the fold. Anyone resisting the teachings of the church is by definition a pagan, and needs “salvation.”

    However, I like the idea of every deluded religious person praying for all the other deluded religious people to be forgiven for believing what they believe. There would be no end to such a prayer circle. At the very least, it would keep them out of my hair, out of our children’s schools, out of our sexuality, and out of our collective wombs.

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