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    Christians want to baptise all Indians.

    Southern Baptists, Expanding Effort, Target Hindus for Conversion
    By Hanna Rosin
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Thursday, October 21, 1999; Page A19

    The Southern Baptists expanded an aggressive new proselytizing campaign
    this week, publishing a short prayer book aimed at converting Hindus to

    The prayer book is the second published by the Southern Baptists'
    International Mission Board this year, and has again provoked charges
    of arrogance and religious insensitivity. Last month, leaders of the
    nation's second-largest denomination offended Jewish leaders by
    distributing a book urging its members to evangelize Jews during their
    10 holy days.

    Like the previous pamphlet, the latest one asks Southern Baptists to
    pray for the conversion of Hindus during their holiest week, Divali, a
    festival of lights commemorating the god Rama's return from exile. The
    board plans to distribute the guide to its 40,000 churches beginning
    Friday, in time for the celebrations in late October.

    Compared with the Jewish guide, this one uses far less tactful tones to
    describe Hindus, beginning with its very first sentence: "More than 900
    million people are lost in the hopeless darkness of Hinduism."

    "Pray that Hindus who celebrate the festival of lights would become
    aware of the darkness in their hearts that no lamp can dispel," the
    guide continues.

    Hindu leaders reacted angrily to these depictions, describing them as
    relics of an ugly colonial age.

    "Darkness! This is really offensive," said Suresh Gupta, president of
    the Durga Temple in Fairfax. "Why should they try to change us? We have
    a value system people crave in this country. We teach respect for
    others, for marriage vows, for elders. It's what every religion should

    The book is a kind of cultural anthropology written from a missionary
    perspective. Each page shows a snapshot of life in India described
    through a Christian lens:

    "Mumbai is a city of spiritual darkness. Eight out of every 10 people
    are Hindu, slaves bound by fear and tradition to false gods," it reads.
    Or: "Satan has retained his hold on Calcutta through Kali and other
    gods and goddesses of Hinduism. It's time for Christ's salvation to
    come to Calcutta."

    Southern Baptists defended the proselytizing campaign. "If I had a
    Hindu sitting right here at my desk I would apologize if I had been
    offensive," said Randy Sprinkle, who oversaw the book's
    publication. "Certainly God's love is not meant to be offensive."

    "Some people accused us of being arrogant when we were praying for the
    Jews of the world," he continues. "I would acknowledge that there is an
    element of arrogance. But it's the arrogance of truth."

    Gupta was unmoved. "If I had you sitting here, I would not want to
    convert you to be a Hindu," he responded. "I would want you to live a
    good life."

    Southern Baptists Target Hindus

    .c The Associated Press

    NEW YORK (AP)- The Southern Baptist Convention - the nation's largest Protestant denomination - is urging its members to pray for the millions of Hindus ``lost in the hopeless darkness of Hinduism.''

    Some 30,000 booklets to be issued Monday in time for Divali, the major Hindu festival of lights, calls for the conversion of those ``who worship gods which are not God.'' The booklet says that Hindus have no concept of sin or personal responsibility.

    The denomination previously published booklets soliciting prayers for Muslims and Jews, offending leaders of those faiths.

    The language in this publication is harsher, said Louis Moore, the book's editor. ``There is a clearer definition that Hindus are lost,'' he said, adding: ``We're all lost without Jesus Christ.''

    Divali is a major festival, dedicated to Laksmi, goddess of prosperity and goodness.

    Umaa Mysorekar, president of the Hindu Temple of Flushing in New York and secretary-treasuer of the Council of Hindu Temples, said the timing of the publication is insulting.

    Mysorekar said the thinking contained in the guide is ``not only absurd but also ignorant. I don't think Jesus himself would have said not to respect other religions.''

    Hari Sharma, president of the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago, said: ``Whoever publishes such a book does a disservice to the society. People should understand one another's religions, not go back into history when we were attacking one another.''

    A guide to praying for Buddhists is also planned.



      BBC has a an item on it's online magazine

      Christianity like Islam is a MISSIONARY religion. The main purpose is to make others Christian. Look at Latin America. All indigeneos religions of Africa and Latin America were destroyed when they were colonized. The only reason INDIA did not become entirely Christian was because of British. They were more interested in looting the country than speading Christianity. The Portuguese converted most Indians in Goa and Kerala to Christianity. French converted most in Pondicherry to Christians.


        We must go where the fish are found .... where the fish bite the bait on the hook''

        Conversions in India are being planned by the Evangelical Church of India (ECI). An article on conversions says while one section firmly believes that Christian missionaries are engaged in free medical service and other humanitarian activities, others feel that conversion to Christianity is a core theme and the ultimate goal of all (their) service activities''.

        ''The main target of the ECI, established in India in 1954, is the oppressed and suppressed class of the Hindu society.

        ECI has declared its objective in the following words:

        ``We must go where the fish are found .... where the fish bite the bait on the hook''.

        Christians are targeting the entire Indian subcontinent. This include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, SriLanka and Nepal. And these are not just Baptists. Lutherans, Mormons, Presybeterians are all targeting South Asia. Free literature is provided in Pakistan in places like Swat valley, Gujranwala etc.

        In Pakistan Christian missionaries have criticised the Islamic shariat system, female circumcision etc.


          A former Southern Baptist Convention official on Friday criticized the church's recent efforts to target non-Christians for conversion on their holiest days, saying it runs counter to the spirit of the Gospel.

          ``It was deliberately confrontative,'' said Keith Parks, who spent 13 years as president of the International Mission Board. He compared it to all Muslims trying to convert Christians to Islam at Eastertime.

          This week, the International Mission Board released a booklet urging members to pray for Hindus on their major festival, Diwali. Last month, the board enraged Jewish leaders by releasing a booklet aimed at Jews during the High Holy Days. Earlier, it targeted Muslims on Ramadan.

          Convention representatives say they do not want to offend, but to answer a divine calling - even in the face of criticism.

          Parks makes no apologies for spreading his faith as a missionary in Indonesia, but he does object to condemning other religions and singling out any group for conversion

          He's not sure Hindus, Jews, and Muslims would like his claim that he has access to the true God through Jesus Christ. But it's essential, he said, that a Christian's descriptions of other faiths be acceptable to members of those faiths. ``It's important that we do not caricature other religions,'' he said in an interview.

          Many Baptists, he said, prefer a more positive approach. ``We need to cultivate personal relationships rather than launch a new crusade that's confrontative and abrasive,'' Parks said.

          Parks left the Southern Baptists to join the more moderate Cooperative Baptist Fellowship after, he said, he was ``no longer acceptable'' to convention leaders who came into power in 1990.

          ``They were pushing a fundamentalist agenda,'' he said. ``Recent convention actions are an expression of that agenda. They emphasize more a confrontative kind of evangelism with less emphasis on living out the gospel.''

          Parks said many more moderate Southern Baptists objected to their leaders' decision to single out religious groups for conversion, but few have expressed their opposition publicly. Moderates, he said, have grown tired of battling with conservatives.

          ``We were not going to spend all our time and energy fighting what the convention is doing,'' he said.


            BOOK REVIEW: A history of torture by Christian missionaries

            Sarasvati's Children: A History of the Mangalorean Christians
            Alan Machado-Prabhu; I.J.A.Publications, Bangalore; pages 264; Rs. 300.

            The west coast of India is a land of ancient habitation, a two thousand kilometer a stretch of red laterite rising on its eastern edge into the thickly forested Western ghats. According to historians, probably some time around 1000 B.C. an unaccounted number of people who originally lived on the banks of the river Sarasvati migrated to this coast, bringing with them the tradition and beliefs of their homeland.
            The river Sarasvati, together with the Drishtadvati, is mentioned in the Rig Veda as a "nourishing stream". Over hundreds of years Sarasvati slowly began to dry up and the people who lived by its banks had no other alternative but to seek fresh fields and pastures new. Large numbers of them followed the ancient Dakshinapatha, the southern route and came all the way to Gomantak and to what is now called Goa.
            Here they settled, following their ancient ways of life, making a comfortable living out of the fertile land. They were the Brahmins of the north (Gaud) who hailed from the banks of the Sarasvati and so came to be known as the Gaud Sarasvat Brahmins, who were deeply read in the Vedas and Tedangemas and were justly famous for their scholarship and learning.
            Goa was to come under a succession of rulers until there appeared on the horizon, a new and alien force, the Portuguese. How the Portuguese conquered Goa, forced thousands of people to convert to Christianity and ruled with an iron fist has been recounted by other scholars but Alan Machado's recounting of that story adds a fresh poignancy to an ancient tale.
            In their zeal to convert, the Portuguese missionaries pulled to an ancient tale. In their zeal to convert, the Portuguese missionaries pulled out all tops. Churches were built. Temples were destroyed. Machado writes that "that overpowering presence of the Church in the lives of the people of Portuguese India was emphasised by the construction of grand churches of outstanding architecture all over the country-olds".
            ' The Saraswat Brahmins understandably resented the activities of the missionaries. They were destroying the essential cultural and spiritual unity of the people. Severe ostracism was exercised by the Brahmins against the converts. Abbe Dubois (1816) has written that "in no other country is a person who becomes a Christian exposed, by doing so, to the loss of kindreds, friends, goods, possessions, and all that he holds dear" with "a convert to Christianity cast out as a vagrant from society, prescribed and shunned by all".
            The manner in which the Church enriched itself was just scandalous. Half the property of a person found in possession of idols went to the Church. "The Church" Machado writes, "acquired urban and rural properties on an impressive scale". He wonder. Hindus were prevented from performing their festivals openly. The open performances of Hindu ceremonies were replaced by great public processions on Christian feast days. One of the worst criminals was Francis Xavier, later to be made into a saint.
            Machado quotes him as saying about the Saraswat Brahmins: "They are the most perverse people in the world... if there were no Brahmins all the pagans would be converted to our faith". Sarasvati's children were not to be so easily trod upon. The result of the brahmins' resistance was the Grand Inquisition, the kind of which has not been witnessed elsewhere.
            The chapter on the Inquisition is aptly headed: Horrendum Ac Tremendum Spectaculem. "In the principal market was raised an Engine of great height, at top like a Gibbet, with a Pulley for the Strapado which unhinges a Man's joints, a cruel Torture." the historian Fryer has written.
            But, writes Machado: "Fryrer's (1675) brief reference to the Inquisition barely does justice to the fearful dread it brought to the people living in Portuguese territories. Of all the organisations the Portuguese took to her overseas territories it was the Inquisition that stalked the land, menacing and seeking all it might devour". In its two and a half centuries of existence at Goa, the Inquisition burned at the stake 57 alive and 64 in effigy, 105 of them being men and 16 women.
            Others sentenced to various cruel punishments totalled 4,046 of whom 3,034 were men. The people who were converted but still continued occasionally and secretly to perform Hindu rituals were treated even more harshly. In the circumstances many of the Sarasvat families, both Hindu and Christian left Goa to settle in Kanara, in Mangalore and surrounding areas, safe from the long terrorist arm of the Portuguese priests. The Sarasvat (both Brahmin and Christian) migration to Kanara continued even after 1740 because of Maratha invasion of Goa.
            This was the beginning of the formation of what came to be known as the Mangalorean Christian as distinct from the Goan Christian. But the travails of the Mangalore Christians did not cease. Machado writes that January 1763 "ushered in a traumatic era in the history of the Kanara Christians" for now the territory came under Hyder Ali, the man who had usurped the throne of Mysore from the Wodeyars. Hyder Ali was soon succeeded by his son Tipu Sultan, another monster.
            The children of Saraswati had migrated from Goa to Kanara to escape Portuguese tyranny. Now they come under Tipu's Islamic tyranny. Tipu's men who had embarked upon large-scale conversion of Hindus in Malabar considered the Kanara Christians as his enemies and decided to exterminate them. His explanation was that the Christians were helping the British and had to be taught a lesson, a highly debatable point. But if the Portuguese were against Muslims, Tipu was against Christians.
            His forces soon started rounding up large numbers of Christians (Sarasvati's Children) to be taken to Seringapatam (Shri Ranga Pattana) there to be imprisoned. The actual number of Christians rounded up has not been accurately secertoined and the number ranges from 20,000 to 80,000. But the point is that the Christians were now under severe Islamic bestiality. And this is described in accurate detail by Machado.
            The sufferings of the Christians in prison were endless. It was only after Tipu died in the Battle of Seringapatam that the Christians (Sarasvati's children) were released - such as those who were still alive - and sent back to their homes in Kanara. At this point the book ends.
            Writes Machado: "It is now just over 200 years since the survivors of Tipu's Terrible campaign against the Kanara Christians returned to Mangalore. The settling of Goa by the Konkani speakers and the coming of the first Sarasvat Brahmins about 2,500 years. The great river is no more, but her influence on a people who drew inspiration and sustenance from her in their first steps on Indian soil lives on".
            Sarasvati's children are now dispersed, but in their memory the past survives, painfully and poignantly, a past full of terror at the hands of both Christian and Muslim zealots and murderers.


              Mission with a motive
              THE missionary business, one of the largest in the world, is particularly well organised in liberal India. The missionaries get their funds from many sources and operate just like multinational corporations but with a common goal.
              Native religions of the soil have about as much chance against these missionaries as a local food seller had McDonald's, backed by advertising and market surveys, moves into the neighbourhood.
              The missionaries approach communities who initially have no idea of their hidden power and motives. Slowly but surely, the missionaries break down all resistance by indoctrinating the community with values that have no connection to their history or heritage.

              Though most countries in the world today are secular, not all have made religion a level-playing field. Western missionary organisations, flush with cash, have yet to abandon their centuries-old goal of converting every heathen into one of their own. And they are making full use of modern mass-marketing techniques to promote their agenda.
              The isolated protests against the Pope's impending visit to India should be viewed against the background of Western missionaries' long history of conversion, by force or persuasion, targeted at vulnerable sections of the society.
              To ignore the full picture and highlight certain aspects of it will not serve the purpose of truth but only buttress entrenched viewpoints. -
              Harikumar Nair Elavumthitta, Dubai


                Christian missionaries will dare not convert any Muslims in Pakistan to Christianity. If they even convert even one Muslim to Christian there will be riots in streets, churches would be burned and hundreds of Christians would suffer. They are better off not spreading Christianity in the Islamic world. Hindus are soft targets for them like all these generations. Even in Bangladesh where there are many missionaries, most of the converts are Hindus and Buddhists (Chakma tribals). Most of the money for these missionaries come from United States.

                India should ban religious conversion. Russia has banned Hare Krishnas and Jehovas Witness and the Church of Scientology.

                [This message has been edited by peshawari (edited October 26, 1999).]



                  Missionaries of the 90's Target Muslims

                  They don't show up at pansy Interfaith breakfasts. They make adept use of the Internet and e-mail to network deep in their assigned fields. They're obsessed with winning the souls of Muslims. Call them the foreign legion of the Christian Coalition, call them missionaries of the 90s, but don't call them unwilling or unprepared to act.

                  For today's eager evangelical Christian missionaries, Muslims are like China for the Coca-Cola company: one billion people dying to hear. Mike and Cindy Bowen of LaGrange, Georgia first went to Malaysia in 1987, on a short-term outreach for the Pentecostal Holiness Church. According to the Bowens, it was on the plane home that God confirmed His call to them. "We both knew that God would eventually bring us back home to Malaysia to teach and preach to the Malay people who haven't heard," says Cindy Bow en, of her husband-and-wife team.

                  This year, the Bowens will leave their home in Georgia and commit full time to proselytise in Malaysia's capital city, Kuala Lumpur. They have been preparing nearly ten years for this opportunity. Since their first trip to Malaysia, Mike got a bachelor's degree in Missions and Evangelism from the South-western Assembly of God College in Waxahachee, Texas; Cindy majored in Christian Education. They will join an estimated contingent of 559 Christian missionaries (370 Catholic, 189 Protestant) in Malaysia.

                  'The Bowens plan to help establish two Pentecostal Holiness churches in Kuala Lumpur by training the pastors and bringing forth leaders to start plant more churches in this emerging Southeast Asian Muslim-majority nation of 19 million. A spokesperson for the National Evangelical Fellowship of Malaysia claims that 600 Christian churches have started there since 1992. Evangelical Christians like the Bowens tout Muslims as the largest block of unreached peoples in the world. Having scored remarkable successes among Catholics in Latin America, notably in Brazil, and spurred by the fall of the Soviet Union, missionaries in the 1990s regard Muslims as a "final frontier" for evangelism. Their strategies call for ''creative access, cultural sensitivity, and church-planting in the 10/40 Window." The 10/40 Window is evangelical-speak for the rectangle with boundaries of latitudes 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator; encompassing most of the Muslim World.

                  Muslim countries especially targeted are the newly independent states in Central Asia - particularly Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and the Southeast Asian tigers, Malaysia and Indonesia.

                  Nevertheless, Frontiers and other Christian groups strive to place missionaries throughout the tough "10/40 Window." Most Muslim countries remain closed, either because of the strong linkage between ethnic and religious identity amongst Muslims, or because of heavy restrictions on proselytization. This restricted access has led U.S. Christian mission groups such as Frontiers to lobby Congress on the issue of "the persecuted Church" in Muslim countries. These lobbying efforts have spurred the creation of a US State Department Commission on Religious Freedom, albeit one whose original stress on persecuted Christians has been slightly diluted. The Commission will now include representatives from multiple denominations and faiths, including Dr. Laila AlMarayati of the Muslim Womens League.

                  The "persecuted Church" primarily within the 10/40 Window has been a rallying point and foreign policy crusade for the Religious Right in their quest to gain wider access to the untapped millions of non-Christians within the Window. Frontiers, a mission group devoted completely to converting Muslims, boasts that "through creative approaches, patient sowing, and fearless proclamation, more Muslims have come to Christ in the last 25 years than in the previous 1400 years combined!"


                    Christianity is the Best Marketing story one can say. It's through sheer marketing, giving goodies to people that it has spread throughout the world. It has been packaged differently to suit different tastes, cultures, religions, tribes, countries and different languages. Even the Marketing Bible "Phillip and Kotler" has described it as a MARKETING SUCCESS STORY. Remember that there were no Christians in the world 2000 years ago and now it is the largest religion in the world.


                      Its all interesting and all, but what difference does it make? Are some of the people arguing here that the spread of Christianity is somehow a backdoor to Imperialism? Does conversions have economic strings attached to them, e.g., a convert will somehow become a Ďconsumerí or western merchandise? I donít see any logic in any of the above viewpoints. All missionaries have equal right to go and spread their message wherever they want. A conversion by its nature does not make an Indian into a Swede, or a Pakistani into a German. It only changes their outlook at world from a spiritual Kaleidoscope.

                      Christians have as much right to preach in other countries as much as Muslims or any others in the West. Interestingly enough, Jews usually donít have any such missions in the world, they are concentrating at teaching the principals of Judaism to Jews who have forgotten their heritage. It is also very difficult to be converted to Judaism. It is more like a race as much as it is a religion.


                        Several Western journalists and scholars have expressed support for the Sangh Parivar (the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its affiliate organizations) on the contentious issue of conversion of Hindus to Christianity. American scholar David Frawley was quoted as saying in news reports: "Missionaries are pumping in millions of dollars and sending trained workers to exterminate Hinduism, and Hindus need not hesitate in criticizing the missionaries." Francois Gautier, South Asia correspondent of Le Figario, France's largest circulated daily, said: "It is clear that the Christian community of India has over-reacted in the past 16 months."

                        Jagatguru Shankaracharya Swami Nishchalanand Saraswati of Puri, Orissa, has strongly opposed the forthcoming visit of the Pope to India, alleging that it was part of an "international conspiracy to make India a Christian country." The guru said on Wednesday that "the Hindu civilization is being dishonored and disgraced at the hands of foreigners."


                          These Baptists are crazy and dangerous.

                          Anger over Baptist's Islam slur
                          Muhammad called 'demon, pedophile'

                          By RICHARD VARA
                          Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle Religion Editor

                          ST. LOUIS -- Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention Tuesday refused to repudiate statements by the Rev. Jerry Vines of Florida describing the founder of Islam as a "demon-possessed pedophile."

                          Associated Press
                          Southern Baptist Convention President James Merritt wouldn't disavow statements on Islam.
                          Upset Muslim leaders and scholars cautioned that the remarks could hurt Christian missionaries in Muslim countries as well as harm American interests in those countries.

                          Vines, in an address to the convention's pastors Monday night, said, "Islam was founded by Muhammad, a demon-possessed pedophile who had 12 wives and his last wife was a 9-year-old girl."

                          Piety, patriotism and protest marked the opening of the two-day annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention Tuesday.

                          The uproar over the remarks overshadowed the arrests of 50 gay rights activists, including 12 people inside the assembly hall, who tried to disrupt the speech of the Rev. James Merritt of Georgia, convention president. It was a raucous morning session during which Merritt affirmed that Southern Baptists would hew to a hardline conservative course even if it caused controversy and was unpopular with American society.

                          Both Merritt and President-elect the Rev. Jack Graham of Dallas refused to disavow Vines' statements on Islam, one of the world's major religions.

                          "I believe his statement is an accurate statement," said Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas. He was elected president of the convention Tuesday by acclamation and made the comments in his first news conference.

                          Graham said Muhammad did have a 9-year old wife, which is a historical fact.

                          "In my book, that is a pedophile," Merritt said later.

                          "Allah is not Jehovah either," Vines said Monday. "Jehovah is not going to turn anyone into a terrorist that will try to bomb people and take the lives of thousands and thousands of people."

                          Ibrahim Hooper of the Council of Islamic-American Relations in Washington, D.C., said he was "utterly appalled" by Vines' statements.

                          "I am speechless," Hooper said. "It is so deeply offensive, so bigoted ... it is hard to frame a reply to it."

                          Hooper said the comments could "at the very least lead to hatred and at worst lead to violence."

                          He said he was fearful that the statements could inflame Americans who would then attack Muslims.

                          Hooper said the comments could cause harm to missionaries in Islamic countries and hurt America's image abroad.

                          Samuel Shahid, professor of Islamic studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, also cautioned that the comments could hurt missionaries. "I think we should be very careful what we say here," Shahid said. "We should be very careful to take into consideration our foreign missionaries."

                          Shahid said it is a fact that Muhammad had a 9-year-old wife, but it was the culture of the times and not a great issue then. He pointed out that Kings David and Solomon in the Old Testament had hundreds of wives and concubines and were considered men favored by God.

                          The Rev. Frank Ruff, representative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to the SBC, said the comments would hurt the national convention.

                          "It is shortsighted because they will have less credibility," Ruff said. "I would expect the derogatory remarks about Islam would increase hostility of Muslims toward Christianity."

                          The Southern Baptists are critical of "most other (religious) groups," he said. SBC leaders ended a dialogue with Roman Catholics in September, he said.

                          Delegates arriving Tuesday at America's Center for the opening of the denomination's annual meeting were greeted by about 170 protesters from the pro-gay rights group, Soulforce. Soulforce has protested at two other annual meetings.

                          The Rev. Mel White, Soulforce founder, said SBC officials including Merritt had refused to meet with the group. The activists marched to the entrance where heavily massed St. Louis police arrested 38. In addition, 12 protesters tried to disrupt Merritt's convention address.

                          The protesters yelled but were quickly arrested as they approached the platform singly and in pairs.

                          "We now face the fact that there are certain groups who protest us every year," Merritt said. "They have let me know in their correspondence, `We are not going away.' "

                          "Well, I got news for the pornographer, the adulterer, the homosexual, the pedophile and the abortionist -- we are not going away either," Merritt said to rousing applause. The hearty applause was similar to that given President Bush during a live satellite address to the delegates.

                          In other actions, delegates elected retired state appellate Judge Paul Pressler of Houston as first vice president of the national convention. Pressler is considered one of the engineers of the "conservative resurgence" that took control of the 16 million-member denomination beginning in 1979.


                            Durango thanks for pointing out teh fundo Christians, especially many of them who come from America. Some of these people are as crazy as Jihadis in their thoughts and beliefs. It is truly scary when supposedly educated people can also succumb to the religous disease.

                            And Pakistan too has had quite a bti of conversions in fact, though it is not well known. Espcicially in areas like rural Sindh with Sindhis, espcially Hindus and other native tribal religions.

                            They have even managed to convert some rural Pushtuns and Afghans in Pakistan.

                            But, unlike in India, it is not as widespread, so people don't raise theri voices against it that much. In fact the government helps the missionaries thinking they are just doing volunteer work.

                            NYA, please, ease up on your sucking up to Americans.