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Reason 2: Mixing Governance & Religion

Missionaries in the 1850s mixed politics with religion. Europeans expected Asians who accepted Christianity were assimilating into the so-called colonial civilization.

Reason 2: Mixing Governance & Religion

Here is an example of what mixing religion and politics sounded like. George Bacon, an American in Siam, reported about the Christian missionaries efforts in 1881.

[The missionaries] have introduced Christian science; they have made a beginning of Christian literature, by the translation of the Scriptures; they have awakened an insatiable appetite for Christian civilization; and the end is not yet.”  George Bacon

Asian countries also mixed religion and governance.  From the Oriental Herald of October 1824 published in London, a report about the government of Burma highlights a  combination of religion and law:

The Burman laws, like those of the Hindoos, are inseparable from their religion; indeed, both are derived from the same source.  The Dherma Shastra of the Burmese is one of the best of the numerous Commentaries on Menû, and its regulations appear to be conscientiously administered.  “It is,” says Colonel Symes, “replete with sound morality; and is, in my opinion, distinguished above any other Hindoo Commentary, for perspicuity and good sense;…”  pg 214

Is Christianity separate from governance?

The British Oriental Herald acknowledged  the “sound morality” and “good sense” of the Dherma Shastra.  Why did Asians necessarily need a whole new Christian legal code?  Is Christianity really inseparable from governance?

If Christianity began in an Asian context, are there Christian religious principles of governance that Asians could interpret and implement differently?  What Christian principles are included in European governance and which principles are not included?


Source: Bacon, George. Siam: The Land of the White Elephant as it was and is. Compiled and arranged by George Bacon. Revised by Frederick Wells Williams. New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1893. (Kindle Location 3022)
Source: The Oriental Herald and Colonial Review. Vol III. September to December 1824. London, J. M. Richardson, 23, Cornhill. pg 214



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