UNP, AoG, and assembly of political gods
Posted on March 28th, 2015

Source lakbimanews

The United National Party is now facing turmoil within the party as new Christian sects are dominating, and party sources say that these Christian sects have even funded the party in style and have given many lucrative benefits to the party stalwarts.

This story was exposed after the UNP leader decided on his own, disregarding party seniors advisers, to appoint a prominent member of the Assembly of God (AoG) church, Eran Wickramaratne from the UNP national list to parliament.

Senior members say that party`s Buddhist character is gone as a result of the various Christian sects and their influence and some of the prominent UNP MPs are members of newly emerged Christian sects. He attributed this as one of the reasons for continues defeats of the party, as rural masses have rejected the party.

The UNP is facing the biggest crisis of its 63-year existence. At the April 08 general election, the UNP suffered their worst defeat since 1956. The general consensus among the UNP MPs is that it`s essential to woo the Sinhala Buddhists who are gradually drifting away from the party. That is why many UNPers fail to see logic behind Ranil Wickremesinghe giving more prominence to members of Christian religious sects that have angered the Buddhists by unethical conversions.

During the last four years, especially after the beginning of Eelam War IV, UNP made certain policy decisions that didn`t go down too well with the majority of the Sri Lankans. The UNP were completely wrong-footed in their policy towards the military offensive, and while the whole nation rallied behind the military forces, the UNP leader Wickremesinghe and his close allies opted to down play the military victories that the people celebrated with joy.

Some of the comments made by the UNP leader, like the famous Thoppigala maha kelayak ney, (Thoppigala is only a jungle,) and siding with the pro terrorist Tamil parties caught up in the conflict, was seen by the masses as an attempt to stop the forward march of the army. Seizing the opportunity, the UPFA government seized the negative remarks of Wickremesinghe to ruin the party`s image in the majority Sinhalese-Buddhists constituencies in the country.

The UNP leader was portrayed as a traitor who tried to get Western assistance to stop the war. The UPFA`s campaign worked out so well, that in the general election the UNP suffered their worst defeat since 1956 when it received 27.44 of the total vote. But Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) which won the election obtained only 39.96 of the votes while in 2010 the margin was almost 40%.

Marginalizing the Buddhists

Looking at how various electorates voted, it is obvious that the UPFA has secured a large chunk of Sinhala votes that once used for UNP. A political party needs to understand the spirit of the times to come into power, a fundamental that`s lacking in the UNP leadership.

Speaking to LAKBIMA-nEWS many UNP leaders claim that in the past few years several members of controversial religious sects have received the backing of Wickremesinghe over Sinhala Buddhist and traditional Catholic/Christian leaders. The latest instance of that is the appointment of banker Eran Wickramaratne, who is a leading figure in the Assembly of God (AoG) church, to the UNP national list. It`s move that has divided the party and many UNP MPs claim that it`s ammunition that the government will be using against the UNP in the coming years.

A senior UNP MP and a long time critic of the UNP leadership claimed that the appointment of banker Eran Wickramaratne over many Sinhala Buddhist seniors, at a time when the whole nation seems to be heading towards a patriotic stance, and the majority of the Sinhalese voters seem to be taking the threats to Buddhism seriously, has sparked outrage among many MPs.

He added that he has received information that the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) is going to highlight the fact that the UNP has chosen an AoG leader, from a church that has been accused by many of leading a systematic campaign of unethical conversions, over Sinhala Buddhist leaders in parliament, when the need fora choice arose.

Assembly of God (AoG) is an American-funded church and its conversion methods and have been severely criticised by the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress report of 2552/2009. AoG has not only drawn the ire of Buddhists, but also the traditional Church has been very suspicious and critical of its activities.

Everyone has the right to follow any religion they want to I am a Catholic myself. But the appointment of an AoG big man at this time over someone like Rukman Senanayake is a massive mistake. I`m sure that the government is thanking their stars because no one is particularly fond of the AoG — not only the Buddhists but many Hindus and traditional Christians and Catholics view the AoG with a great deal of suspicions. But the UNP in the recent times has been very favourable towards Born Again Christians, he said. During the last Working Committee meeting MP Lakshman Senevirathne asked the leader the basis of Wickramaratne`s appointment to Parliament. He even called AoG`s mission in converting people from the traditional religions in Sri Lanka `insidious work`, and criticized the party for appointing a leading figure of the AoG to Parliament instead of wooing the Sinhala-Buddhist voters.

The UNP MP added that that the decision to appoint Wickramaratne over many party seniors who have done a lot for the party over the years, has lead to the resignation of Rukman Senanayake and the resignation has alienated a large chunk of the remaining Sinhala Buddhist voters. He added that when the number one priority should have been wooing Sinhala Buddhist voters it has given a signal that would further enforce the negative image among the Buddhists.

Not many are thrilled about Wickramaratne and Harsha de Silva being appointed.

Many feel that if the UNP leader didn`t want Rukman Senanayake, he could have at least used these two seats to prevent the crumbling of the alliance which occurred after the departure of Praba Ganesan and Palany Thigambaram, he said.

But the UNP leadership has been very favorable towards members of Christian religious sects in the recent past. He added that a female Born Again Christian was also given giant backing at the recent Western Provincial Council and General Elections.

And the appointment of an AoG man over Senanayake gives a clear message to the Sinhala Buddhist voters — we don`t care about what you think. It`s ridiculous. How can we expect to win any election without the support of the Sinhala Buddhists and the rural voters? And does Wickremesinghe think that the appointment of Wickramaratne would endear him to traditional Christians? If he thinks that he is seriously mistaken, a lot of us are a great deal suspicious of the AoG“, our source said.

Meanwhile former Deputy Mayor of Colombo Azath Sally told LAKBIMAnEWS that the UNP leader seems to favour deviants and that has lead to the unpopularity of the party among the public. He added that Wickremesinghe is angering Buddhists because he has no respect for the religion. He added that although he is one of the main donors to Kelaniya Temple in his heart, he is not a real Buddhist.

Wickremesinghe doesn`t know how to behave inside a temple. He does not know how to talk to monks or how to worship them. He has a set of close allies, most of them are deviants, sexually and otherwise and these individuals have their own hidden agendas. Most of the people in this country don`t like dubious religious cults and they don`t like unethical conversions and 95% of Buddhists don`t like groups like AoG, and will not vote for the UNP when this happens. It`s not an issue about religion I`m sure Wickramaratne is a good thinker but he doesn`t belong in parliament. If he wants to help the party he can do it from outside, Sally said.

The only qualification Eran Wickramaratne has over other men is that he has contributed a great to Wickremesinghe`s party coffers and panders to the UNP leaders unrealistic ideology, Sally said. But the UNP never had any problems with finding donors and the real need for this hour is charismatic leaders who can win peoples` trust.

Maybe the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim people are not willing to give the UNP money because they don`t approve of UNP policies. There are top Sinhala Buddhist businessmen and they don`t help the UNP because there is no place for Buddhists in the party. The more Wickremesinghe appoints people who are not known to the masses, he will lose more and more financial backing. In the end the UNP will be a fringe party funded by foreign religious denominations and other organizations.

UNP leadership and religious cults

Many long term UNPers claim that the prominence given to Colombo elites who belong to controversial religious sects is an indication that the UNP has become a party that does not understand the pulse of the majority. Although religion is a very personal matter giving prominence to `dubious` sects at a moment when Buddhists are very sensitive about unethical conversions, is harming the UNP politically, they claim.

There is a rumour spreading among UNPers that Wickramarathne along with two others met Wickremesinghe days before the election at a five star hotel. Someone might say it`s just a rumour, said a UNP Western provincial councilor, but all three persons were chosen to be on the national list, a list that omitted the third highest ranking official in the UNP. All of these men are from elite Colombo circles and I don`t know whether they understand even how the majority of Colombo 7 people feel.

The provincial councilor added that there is a strong suspicion that these men are funded by fundamental sects and that their enormous resources have been used to make the UNP leader see things their way. Many UNPers in Colombo are worried whether Wickremesinghe has accepted their brand of Christianity and is endorsing it.

But what I know is that the…





One Response to “UNP, AoG, and assembly of political gods”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    So what should the SLs do?

    Crying to gods above doesn’t work.

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