A representative of the local Catholic bishops’ council called the remarks of an Indian High Court judge attacking Christian education “unfortunate.”
Madras High Court Justice S. Vaidyanathan on Friday said, “there is a general feeling among parents of students, especially female students, that coeducational study in Christian institutions is highly unsafe for the future of their children.”
The judge was speaking about a case involving a professor at Madras Christian College (MCC) accused of sexually harassing dozens of female students.
The MCC, affiliated with the Protestant church, is one of the most prestigious in India, educating the country’s elite for generations.
Samuel Tennyson, an assistant professor in the Zoology department, had gone to court seeking to overturn the findings of the college’s internal complaints committee, which had substantiated the charges. The college had officially reprimanded him, and curtailed his academic activity for the semester. It also banned him for accompanying students on field trips for three years.
The court denied his request, but Vaidyanathan used the opportunity to attack Christian schools in general.
“In the present era, there are several accusations against them for indulging in the compulsory conversion of people of other religions into Christianity. Though they impart good education, their preaching of morality will be a million-dollar question,” the judge said. “As long as a religion is practiced in streets in lieu of its worship places, like temple, mosque and church, such devastation, as in the present case, does occur and will be mushrooming.”
Father L. Sahayaraj, the deputy secretary of the Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council, told Crux that Vaidyanathan’s remarks were “unfortunate,” especially since “compulsory conversion is not a matter for legal consideration here,” given the case was about sexual harassment.
“Christian institutions right from the beginning have never indulged in compulsory conversions,” the priest said.
Read more at Crux.