Attacks on churches.
Posted on February 4th, 2014

The Examiner ”Colombo

Reference Fr.Sarath Iddamalgoda,s write up to the Island of  18.01.2014 no sensible Buddhist will condone any attacks on any  place of worship  as it is against the tenets of Buddhism.

Inter-religious conflicts have been taking place in different parts of the world in the past and continue to take place even today, sometimes leading to the creation of new States on a religious basis. As of the recent ones, this is in spite of the UN declaration of Rights to which Fr.Iddmalgoda refers. While we condemn them in no uncertain terms, what is happening in Sri Lanka pale into insignificance compared to what is happening elsewhere in the world. International Religious Freedom Report of USA for 2011 has the following to say about Sri Lanka: “In general members of the various religious groups tended to be tolerant of each other’s religious beliefs”(page 5 of the report).

Commenting on the attacks on places of worship of minority religions in SriLanka Fr .Iddamalgoda states “It is widely noted that the apparent attack is to safeguard the primacy of Buddhism”. As Fr. Iddamalgoda seems to be quite conversant with Buddhism we would like to refer to one of the basic tenets of Buddhism which is, “cause and effect”

Now let us go into the question what cause these so called attacks .It is “unethical conversions”, a subject which has been delved into comprehensively in the “Report of the Commission appointed to Inquire and Report on the Conversion of Buddhists in Sri Lanka, to other religions by immoral and fraudulent means”. Some of the unethical methods adopted according to  the above report  are , healing prayer sessions, monetary & material benefits,  counseling and English language classes, pre-schools and child care centers, promise of jobs ,taking advantage of emotions and many more .(All these are substantiated in the report).

We do not want to go back to the history of the Island when the Portuguese converted the Buddhists and Hindus by force and later when they were  persecuted, Buddhist Sinhala kings came to their rescue .

If Buddhist temples along the maritime coast are not older than 150 years it is because the Portuguese destroyed them with the blessings of the Roman Catholic King of Portugal, his Viceroy in Goa, the Pope in the Vatican and Roman Catholic Church in Sri Lanka.

Hence we would like to mention that the kind of attacks on so called ‘Churches’ today are nowhere near any of these atrocities. We would also like to ask whether the Catholic Church of Sri Lanka or its parent Church of Rome could afford to be talking of religious intolerance today, when neither of them had either returned these plundered temples and kovils, or paid any reparations or at least apologized for their historic misdeeds. We leave it to the best judgment of the readers whether they justifiably complain of religious intolerance on the part of the Buddhists, now taking cover behind the Fundamental Rights imposed by the West on the rest of the world.     

The present unethical conversions are mainly the result of the so called Evangelical(fundamental) Christian groups who according to one study numbered more than 300 in 1998. The two groups which were the cause for the recent incident which took place at Hikkaduwa  belonged to Evangelists.

The population of Hikkaduwa Divisional Secretary’s area on religious basis is as follows

Buddhists   100510; Hindus 245, Islam 79;Roman Catholic 264 ;other Christians 273,others 11.(2011 census report) .

With a population of  273 which include the followers of the Anglican church, one wonders whether there is any room for additional places of worship which we are told are not churches but prayer houses.!

We would like to ask here, what is the purpose having two more ‘churches’ in this township? To minster  whom? What right have they to interfere with the religious beliefs of the other  religionists? Now who is violating the religious rights of whom?

We presume Fr.Iddamalgoda is aware that the Evangelists pose a threat not only to Buddhists but also to Catholics. In the International Freedom Report of 2011 to which we have already referred ,reference is made to a statement published November 4,Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith ,Head  of the Catholic Church in the country ,accused what he called American fundamentalist churches converting large numbers of Buddhists and Catholics  through  inducements. In his statement he, the Cardinal called upon the government to control the spread of these churches

This is exactly what the Buddhist Commission Report asked for .If the Government had listened to the Buddhists and /or the Cardinal this unfortunate situation would not have happened.       

Finally we must thank Fr.Iddamalgoda for highlighting that the Constitution accords Buddhism the ‘foremost place but does not recognize it as the state religion.”

The Commissioners were aware of this lacuna and made the following recommendation in the report:

“38 .A ruling shall be obtained from the Supreme Court on what constitutes the phrase ‘giving to Buddhism the foremost place’ and the phrase ‘protect and foster the Buddha Sasana’ in terms of Article 9 of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. A ruling also should be obtained “what constitutes the responsibility of State and the Executive”

 

4 Responses to “Attacks on churches.”

  1. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    The days of conversions are coming to an end. The Christian and Islamic faiths with impunity converted others to their faiths while preventing other faiths from converting Christians or Muslims to that faith. It is far more pronounced in Islam and if it takes reconversion, laws that bands such acts, to even a legitimate claim to dismantle a Mosque or a Church if they have been built on the foundations of a Vihara.

    Another article addressed the issue of commemorating Sinhalese soldiers and warriors of the past with monuments which will go far in educating the people of the ferocity shown by these defenders of the Buddhist faith. In the same light ancient Viharas, Dagobas, monasteries which were destroyed should be rebuilt.

    In India the Somnath temple has been destroyed seven times by the Muslims, and each time it was destroyed the Hindus rebuilt it. Currently the latest Somnath Temple in Gujarat has reclaimed her rightful place. Sri Lanka needs to rebuild her history which has been vandalized by foreigners for so long.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    “the Constitution accords Buddhism the ‘foremost place but does not recognize it as the state religion.”

    FOREMOST PLACE indeed. Need not be the “state” religion because the state has more than 15 religions!! SL is a Buddhist country as much as England is a Christian country because of its people and Buddhism supposed to be at the FOREMOST place. Only ONE can be at the FOREMOST place.

    IF Buddhism ACTUALLY has the FOREMOST PLACE then how can BUDDHISTS be converted to other faiths?
    IF Buddhism ACTUALLY has the FOREMOST PLACE then how can there be ANIMAL SACRIFICE because it goes against the philosphy that has the FOREMOST PLACE?
    IF Buddhism ACTUALLY has the FOREMOST PLACE then why not the anti conversion act?
    IF Buddhism ACTUALLY has the FOREMOST PLACE then why 2 ISLAMIC universities in SL and one HINDU university in SL and NO SIMILARLY EXPENSIVE BUddhist university for lay people?
    IF Buddhism ACTUALLY has the FOREMOST PLACE then why POPE has visited SL twice since 1948 and Dalai Lama, NONE?
    IF Buddhism ACTUALLY has the FOREMOST PLACE then how the HELL the NPC emblem be a HINDU one with a bull in it?
    IF Buddhism ACTUALLY has the FOREMOST PLACE then why Buddhist principles are TOTALLY DISREGARDED when making laws?

    It is not possible. Looks like Article 9 of the constitution is JUST LIKE the 6th amendment. ONLY IN LETTER not in reality.

  3. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    LTTE confiscated all the coconut estates from Tamil speaking Sri Lankans and Hindu Temples. But they never touched coconut estates belong to the Catholic Church.
    The fact that the LTTE created huge cemeteries for their dead “Hindu” Tigers shows exactly which religion was in charge. Real Hindus cremate their dead !!

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    NT,

    Not true about land.

    MOST Hindu Tamil people didn’t lose their property to LTTE. It was the Sinhalese (100%) and Muslims (100%) who lost their land.

    MOST TN people, TNA voters and Tamil diaspora are HINDUS.

    HINDU Endia (HINDUSTAN) is SL’s worse enemy, always.

    Hinduism consumed Buddhism in Endia and is trying the same trick in SL.

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