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Letter to Emanuel Gospel Fellowship
Letter of Complaint
Emanuel Gospel Fellowship:
To Whom it may concern:
I have received complaints from numerous Akha in your village who are Catholic that they are forced to listen daily to protestant broadcasts from the megaphones at your mission.
Traditional Culture Akha people have also complained that the practice of their traditional culture including that which is traditionally done during funerals has been forbidden.
In addition just south of your lower church construction site there is a bamboo pole with a megaphone on it for broadcasting religious messages which are not solicited to the Traditional Culture Akha village directly to the south of that location.
The village has repeatedly requested that this practice be stopped as it is an intrusion into their privacy and an afront to their cultural beliefs.
There is also pressure from pastors from your villages being put against their village, pressuring them to convert, which they do not wish to do.
It would be appreciated if the megaphone was removed and if the proselytization activities stopped.
We feel that peopleís right to privacy and to practice their own cultural beliefs should be respected, no matter how much you feel it your religious obligation to force them to believe in God the way you do.
It should also be noted the significant wealth of your mission surrounded by so many poor Akha, some of whom have committed suicide as a result of the distressed condition in which they live, certainly not reflected by the wealth of your "mission".
Continuous harrassment of a religious nature has been brought to the attention of people in Bangkok.
Freedom to practice your religion in Thailand does not mean freedom to force other people to practice it also.
Emmanuel Gospel Fellowship:
It has come to our attention that the Akha village in which your mission is located has many people who are not protestant and oppose having to listen to PA system protestant religious broadcasts to the entire village both early morning, throughout the day and late into the evening.
It has also come to our attention that a second church location near to your mission uses an amplifier system that is so loud that a traditional Akha village half a kilometer away is forced to listen to these constant activities against their will.
There are common reports that your mission pressures, requests and implies that the Akha must give up their traditional beliefs in order to believe in Jesus Christ.
This is clearly against UN policy on Indigenous Human Rights.
We have carefully documented that various Chinese Baptist Missionaries or their Affiliates are banning traditional Akha culture in village after village in your region and are displacing it. Individual Akhas who do not wish to abandon their culture see their culture and tradition removed wether they like it or not.
Numerous villages have stated that they were told they could not practice their traditional culture, that it was devil worship, that the dance, harvest ceremonies and songs were devil worship as well.
Akha men and women who engage in healing ceremonies have been told that they are using the power of the devil to heal people.
Besides sounding odd according to Bible teachings that it impossible to use the forces of evil to do good, this effort to damage, control, displace, forbid or discourage traditional Akha culture is against laws protecting the culture and traditions of indigenous people both here in Thailand and Internationally as set forth by the UN Draft Charter on Indigenous Human Rights.
We are opposed to the radical colonization of Akha villages and the destruction of their culture by Evangelicals who neither speak their language nor understand their culture.
Distorting the truth about what the Akha believe will still not make it ok to be engaged in actively suppressing, displacing or forbidding its practice.
As far as we are concerned there is a standing mandate comming from your mission that the Akha near to your mission may not practice their traditional culture. This is further reinforced by the fact that there is no evidence of traditional Akha culture near your mission. Had it not been forbidden it would seem that it would still be there.
We see no swing and no Akha gate nor any evidence of ceremonies and much evidence that these things have been forbidden.
Traditional Akha funerals take three days, during which time a water buffalo is killed in honor of the dead person, as part of traditional ceremonies and as a method for distributing protein in the village. We have been told that these are now forbidden and that the dead must be buried the same day.
Despite your very expensive and expanding mission facilities, the village itself looks just as impoverished as any other and certainly there is need of as much nutrition as possible.
According to one family, the husband killed himself in despair because he could not feed his children. His house is only 20 meters from your mission which costs millions of Thai baht to build and which you have since expanded dramatically. Another woman killed herself because there was no medicine for her child.
We find this a very odd form of "Gospel Fellowship".
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