Predatory Proselytism is a phrase used to describe various unethical methods used in the attempt to gain converts. An ethical conversion is born of genuine faith, belief, study and/or religious experience that creates a true commitment to the new faith. Christian evangelism in India is almost universally predatory. The term "rice" Christian is used by people of India to describe families who need material assistance, reach out to Christian organizations for it, only to discover the aid is dependent upon their conversion. So they "convert" to get the help their family needs. Kupa descrbies one such incident:
"Consider the case of the watchman and his family in my parents' apartment building in Hyderabad. When their young daughter was ill, they obtained medical assistance through the local church. Unfortunately, the assistance from this church (which has ties to the US) came with strings attached: they were asked to convert to Christianity. Not having other means to obtain treatment for their daughter, they complied. And now the church people come every Christmas season to be certain they are still Christian--the visible symbol being a lighted star hung over their home. Seethamma continues to wear her traditional sari, her mangala sutra (the Hindu symbol of marriage) and the red mark of kumkum on her forehead; but her daughters now wear Western clothing, seeking to be more like the Christians who converted them."
Kupa and other Indians vigorously challenge the ethics of such predatory evangelism saying it is wrong on three levels:
1. material enticement, in which humanitarian aid or economic, educational, medical or social assistance is offered on condition that the person converts.
2. denigration of the person's own religion in order to make the new religion appear superior.
3. the promotion of bigotry--knowingly and intentionally promoting religious hatred and even violence.
Kupa concludes noting sadly that "predatory proselytization tears apart the fabric of the communities where it occurs and has led to the annihilation of cultures. "