I am not a fan of evangelizing religions. I’m even less of a fan of religions which travel to areas in the so-called “Third World” and offer the people there food, clothing, and shelter in exchange for accepting Jesus as their Lord and Saviour™. Offering someone help (that may not necessarily even be wanted) on the condition that they adapt your religion is disgusting and patronizing. One particular case from my memory didn’t involve people even going to the country, but it stood out in my memory today of just how misguided evangelizing can potentially be deadly.
A few years ago, I was involved in a letter-writing campaign, where people sent letters to schoolchildren in Afghanistan. I was sorting through the letters and seeing examples from past campaigns, and a couple of them disturbed me, they all sent a nigh identical message, which went along the lines of: “Hello, how are you? Do you love Jesus? We love Jesus here in America! You should learn more about him and how he can save you.”
At the time, I was pissed off that a campaign of students from many different religious backgrounds writing to children from an Islamic country was being hijacked by someone with a religious agenda. I made my concerns known to the group leader, but I don’t know if anyone ever stopped the letters with the “Jesus” messages from reaching Afghanistan.
I thought about it again this morning for some odd reason, and realized something with horror: In Afghanistan, you can be stoned to death for apostasy from Islam, and the leaders of Afghanistan are notorious for not requiring much evidence to condemn someone to death. Those stupid letters aren’t just a nuisance, they could very well spell out a literal death sentence for some poor child in Afghanistan, even if they don’t believe in Christianity or even understand the message, possession is 9/10s of the law, after all.
I wonder if that ever passed the thoughts of the people writing those letters in Montana. If it did, did it give them pause for thought, or did they think that they weren’t responsible for it, because of course, it’s better to die with the word of Jesus than to live as a heretic?