March 11, 1894
The Christian Religion
Who Hide Their Heads behind Its Convenient Cloak
Hail Vive Kananda, the Hindoo.
A Nervy Writer Discusses the Abuse of Kananda
With a Very Bitter Pen.
Some Truths Which are Very Hard to Swallow.
An Open Letter to Vive Kananda
I rejoice to see that you are in the missionary field again in this part of our immoral vineyard. Truly "the harvest is great, and the laborers are few." We need more laborers in the harvest. "There's a cry to Macedonia, come and help us,
The light of the Gospel bring; oh! come."
True, we have had the great Chapman revival here, but the sheaves that were garnered would not fill one stall of the barn where his services were held. Missionary Stead has just shaken the dust of the most noted and wickedest city on earth from his brogans, and by this time is half seas over, and Chicago is unconverted. The Baptist brethren have failed to make cold water converts out of Detroit's ardent Spiritualists. The missionary convention brought forth a small army of raw recruits for service, but they were too green to make palatable roast missionary of, though they thought themselves capable of "roasting the heathen." Soon we are to have the Christian Endeavor Society, to endeavor to see what they can do, but alas! all their endeavors are directed to foreign shores. They want to send more missionaries to convert more heathen, and they want to raise more money to purchase more tracts, plug hats, and suspenders for "those poor men benighted, where only man is vile." In their eagerness to to go abroad, they forget that both man and woman are vile in their own country, and require much missionary work right at home. I rejoice to see that you are in the field. We need you, ... and we find by more than eighteen hundred years of past experience that we cannot depend upon our own missionaries....
You don't begin to know how vile the heathen are here, even though they dwell in the light of the nineteenth century.... We want some missionaries from India and China, and we want them bad, or rather, we want them good, ours are bad enough.... Your religion for thousands of years has been one of mercy and love. Of humility and truth. Of science, logic and law. Ours is one of bigotry, persecution, war, blood and hatred. One of fable and fallacy, of fraud and hypocrisy. "Prove it", why certainly.... Deldoc then proceeded to catalogue most colorfully the iniquities of American civilization. "In the first place," he says, "we worship idols. The idols are in silver and gold.... Other idolaters worship at the shrine of Venus and Bacchus.... Murder, bloodshed, riot, anarchy, cruelty to animals; yes, and cruelty to wife and children, whom they treat as slaves.... Patriotism wades knee-deep in human blood. Blood is the fundamental basis of our religion." He goes on to enumerate and castigate many a practice of nineteenth-century America: Child-murder, so common as to be unnoticed female slavery and child slavery. "Sweathouses," suicides, caste in society, state and church. Bribery and corruption in politics, press and pulpit. "We hang, burn and torture criminals. We suffer mob law and violence to rule over us. We build prisons and mad houses, and keep them full to overflowing.... We have opium eaters in our most fashionable circles." Highway robbery, polygamy, prostitution alarmingly prevail. Vile dens of infamy are rented by pew-holders. "Our clergymen are not all saints; they too frequently `fall from grace,' but when they lose caste here, they can be utilized in foreign missionary service. Our females are in such abject slavery that they have to organize Women's Rights societies to petition legislature to redress their wrongs.... As a result of all this moral depravity, we have starvation, beggary, and crime. Strikes and labor riots are common everyday occurrences among the lower caste....
Besides, we find the clerical cloak, like charity, covers a multitude of sins. One minister recently said, when asked what he thought you would do with the money gained from your lectures, that "you would probably stick to it." How well he knew the inner mysteries of missionary work; but it was unwise to give the snap away. Their whole attention now seems to center in India, instead of among the cannibals, possibly for the reason that your people don't eat flesh, and they are safer among the mild mannered natives of India.
These, dear Swami, are a few briefly noted facts, susceptible of ocular demonstration, which even in your short sojourn amongst us you must have noticed. Our watchmen on the walls of Zion have reviled you, figuratively speaking, have kicked you behind your back, and are "bearing false witness" against their neighbor in your own and other lands.... Where shall we look for help in this our time of need? We hopefully turn with anxious eyes to the Orient, or to the "wise men of the east," where the Star of Bethlehem arose, and where God's bright sunlight ever dawns. If you have a purer religion than we, and surely you can have none practically worse, I beseech you come over and help us.
Yours, for human brotherhood,
O. P. DELDOC.
- www.vivekananda.net edited by Frank Parlato Jr.