Some Things Never Change: BJP Victimization of Christians Mirrors Nazi Moves on Power

The shocking story of Christian persecution in India in recent months has all the markings of a politically motivated campaign. The atrocities are across several provinces, and now there is footage of soldiers and police engaged in the persecution, in the regions where BJP is in control. It is clear that BJP supporters are utilizing hatred and fear of Christians as a way to gain political power. There are certainly conversions to Christianity, especially by aggrieved lower castes in India. This is nothing new, and at 3% the Christian population is absolutely no threat to anyone, but they are an interesting scapegoat.

The Nazis did the same thing. Appeal to the basest instincts of a wounded majority, get them to persecute a tiny minority, scapegoat them, and then take over the country based on concocted grievance rather than on substantive issues. Once in power, invent reasons for wars with neighbors and keep your majority busy with hate, fear and paranoia, thus distracting them from their authentic needs. The center of Indian politics is far stronger than this kind of fascism, but the formula for fascism always lurks beneath the surface of any majority-run democracy. It suggests the central importance of national legislations of anti-discrimination with firm federal enforcement of those laws. This is the only way to marginalize fascistic politics. Majorities can never be safe in democracies as long as minorities are at the mercy of the mob. This is a constant lesson of history. One can hope that the Indian government passes serious federal anti-discrimination laws that will make this behavior illegal. See the Christian Science Monitor article for an excellent overview of the situation. I was on Al Jazeera English last night commenting on the terrible situation. Hopefully the pictures emerging of soldiers and police participating in the rampages will encourage the leaders in New Delhi to take legislative steps.

Protests in Orissa
Protests in Orissa
© Marc Gopin