That mythical war on Christianity

Burma ‘orders Christians to be wiped out

The military regime in Burma is intent on wiping out Christianity in the country, according to claims in a secret document believed to have been leaked from a government ministry. Entitled “Programme to destroy the Christian religion in Burma”, the incendiary memo contains point by point instructions on how to drive Christians out of the state.

The text, which opens with the line “There shall be no home where the Christian religion is practised”, calls for anyone caught evangelising to be imprisoned. It advises: “The Christian religion is very gentle – identify and utilise its weakness.”

Its discovery follows widespread reports of religious persecution, with churches burnt to the ground, Christians forced to convert to the state religion, Buddhism, and their children barred from school.

Notice that it is those notoriously peaceful Buddhists who are persecuting others. This may come as a surprise to parochial, historically ignorant individuals such as Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, but to those of us whose educations actually included subjects outside of the traditional West, the violent traditions of Buddhism are no surprise.

In fact, rampaging Buddhist monks entered the fictional menagerie long before the first foam-flecked evangelical made his first of many frightening appearances in bad science fiction stories. In “The Tale of Genji”, the 11th century Japanese classic by Murasaki Shikibu, raids by monks storming down from their mountain monasteries occur nearly as often as the Shining Prince cries or seduces a Heian court beauty.