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Religious leaders must come forward together

24 January 2013 06:56 pm - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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For more than 2500 years, whenever there was a national crisis, the Buddhist clergy has come forward and acted effectively to save the country. With Sri Lanka now facing one of its biggest constitutional crises, former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, who is one of the leaders of the National Movement for Social Justice, has called on the Maha Sangha to come forward and lead a people power movement to restore democracy, the rule of law, accountability, transparency and good governance. 
 
If the Buddhist clergy takes the forefront, leaders of other religions also are likely to join them. In this context a leading prelate has appealed to his congregation to observe February 3 and 4 as days of lamentation because of the complete breakdown of the rule of law and what appears to be the end of constitutional democracy in Sri Lanka.
 
Colombo’s Anglican Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Dhiloraj Canagasabey, in a prophetic letter to the priests in the Diocese, has told them to ask their church members to wear white, fast and pray for Sri Lanka on the 65th anniversary of Independence, and the day before it. In the forthright, outspoken and courageous appeal, Bishop Dhiloraj says he is making the appeal with a heavy heart. He says the rule of law means we as a nation are governed by a system of laws to which the lawmakers themselves are subject. This is a way of ensuring that power is not concentrated in the hands of one person and exercised arbitrarily. 
 
Bishop Dhiloraj, in what many see as one of the strongest indictments of the impeachment process, says this breakdown of such accountability is a process that has been building up for the past several years. It has now climaxed in the recent events that have seen both the Executive and the Legislature disregarding the provisions of the very Constitution which they swore to uphold and defend, giving the appearance of a country ruled on the principle that “Might is Right”.
 
The numerous warnings that the Church, other religious organisations and civil society bodies repeatedly issued have been ignored. There is currently a climate of fear and helplessness, where people remain silent rather than speak out against rampant injustice, intimidation, violence and falsehoods.
 
The Bishop says the Christian Church cannot remain silent in this situation. Such silence will be dishonouring of God and a betrayal of the Church’s identity as His people. Often this has led to suffering and persecution. The Church must always be prepared for this eventuality. 
He says this is a time for the Church to take an honest look at itself, where the Church may have shamelessly compromised its loyalty to God. “We need to repent of ways in which we, as individuals as well as collectively, have been silent when we should have spoken; allowed ourselves to be used by those in authority to speak lies or commit wrong and unjust acts; consciously received benefits for ourselves through acts of injustice committed against others” the Bishops says.
 
He has called the Church to a period of lament together for the terrible state of our nation today, and repentance for the failure as a Church to “love mercy, to seek justice and to walk humbly with the Lord”.
 
If all religious leaders come together, Sri Lanka could also restore religious and racial unity in diversity. Today being the birthday of the Holy Prophet Mohammed, we appeal to Muslim religious leaders and also Hindu religious leaders to come together to build a, beautiful new Sri Lanka. 
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  • Zulkifli Nazim Monday, 28 January 2013 05:52 AM

    I sincerely wish, everyone in Sri Lanka, without exception, thinks like this and promotes this urgently needed unity. A Wonderful article.

    Pasel Sunday, 27 January 2013 11:00 AM

    Can you see the picture of Sri Lanka ?
    The northern Sri Lanka ( the tip of the picture) is already starting
    sweat
    Because this only in the paper and if anyone wants to materialize il will be another Ethnic War


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