Gujarat archbishop asks Christians to vote against nationalists – Bijin Jose

Gujarat Archbishop Thomas Macwan

“Human rights are being violated. The constitutional rights are being trampled. Not a single day goes without an attack on our churches, church personnel, faithful or institutions. … Nationalist forces are on the verge of taking over the country. The election results of Gujarat State Assembly can make the difference,” – Archbishop Thomas Macwan, Gandhinagar 

In what may polarise a communally sensitive election campaign in Gujarat, the Archbishop of Gandhinagar has issued an appeal to Christians across India to defeat the BJP, of course, without naming the party.

Though communal politics looms large over the state, no party has made overt calls to vote for or against any party to religious groups.

The choice of words in the appeal issued by Archbishop of Gandhinagar is also likely to trigger a controversy because it calls for prayers to defeat the “nationalist forces”, which the Bharatiya Janata Party will be quick to exploit.

In a letter to the “eminences, graces and lordships” of the churches throughout the country, the Archdiocese of Gandhinagar has exhorted them to pray for the defeat of the “nationalist forces”.

The letter dated November 21 and carrying the signature of Archbishop of Gandhinagar Thomas Macwan states that the Christians are aware that the secular and democratic fabric of our country is at stake.

“Human rights are being violated. The constitutional rights are being trampled. Not a single day goes without an attack on our churches, church personnel, faithful or institutions,” the Archbishop said.

The letter however does not mention where the churches are being attack on a daily basis. The letter also claims that there is a growing sense of insecurity among the minorities, OBCs, BCs, poor and others.

“Nationalist forces are on the verge of taking over the country. The election results of Gujarat State Assembly can make the difference,” it says.

The bishops of Gujarat have requested the Christian priests to organise prayer services in their parishes and convents.

The archbishop exhorted his community members to work towards having such people elected in the Gujarat Assembly “who would remain faithful to our Constitution and respect every human being without any sort of discrimination”.

Regarding the actions to be taken towards that end, the bishops said recitation of the Holy Rosary at individual, community, family and parish levels would be of great help. “Encourage your faithful to pray the rosary,” it said.

They claimed that time and again the rosary has proved to be a “protective hand” and that history bears witness to this statement.

“It saved Europe during the victory at Lepanto from being taken over by the people of other faith,” it said.

On October 7th, 1571, in Greek Lepanto, the Christian naval fleets of the Venetian and Spanish Empires had inflicted a major defeat on the fleet of the Muslim forces of the Ottoman Empire.

The exhortation claimed that rosary has brought the level of abortion incidents in Poland from 30 per cent to 4 per cent. Similarly, it said, the rosary will save India from “nationalist forces too”.

Since the Archbishop is a religious head, the Bharatiya Janata Party has already begun making it an issue. –, 23 November 2017

Thomas MacWan Letter


4 Responses

  1. Open Letter to Archbishop Thomas Macwan

    Let me at the onset of this letter turn to the book – The Holy Bible – that has inspired me for most of my life and has given me the Wisdom to discern the truth from the fabricated lie.

    1 John 4:7 says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God”

    I was much disturbed by your letter addressed to the Eminences, Graces and Lordships on 21/11/2017. So I decided to as a fellow Christian put forth my views.

    I do not belong to any political party. My views are personal and I pray you take it in the spirit of truth.

    For better understanding, I am going to express my viewpoint on the statements that left me confused and disturbed.

    ‘The secular and democratic fabric of our country is at stake’

    Democracy of any country and at any point of time is always at stake. It is not a new phenomenon to India.

    I am trying to understand your idea of democracy.

    In 2014, the people of India gave a thumping majority to Narendra Modi – led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) political outfit through a democratic process of elections. In the last three years the government has taken tough decisions such as demonetisation and implementation of GST. It faced considerable criticism for the decisions but if you do a thorough analysis of just these two decisions, you will see that the decisions could be debatable but the support Modi got from the people of India across states and across religious boundaries will outnumber the critics. So is that the failure of the democratic fabric of the country.

    I love this word ‘Secular’ – in context of our Nation it is most misused and misunderstood word. If you ask a common man to define secular, you will get a prompt answer, ‘As a Nation we respect and accept all religions’. That however is not what the true definition of ‘secular’ but the propaganda definition. To be a secular Nation is to not accept religion in affairs of governance – it is as simple as that. Keep religion out of governance. But unfortunately before Independence and after Independence religion has been the one thorn that pierces into the very heart of our country and the resultant impact is on the people. This is the bane of politics in India and you too Archbishop Macwan is using religion to spread your views because of a certain dislike towards a political party and its leader. There is then no difference between you and those evildoers that forced people over the years to hate on the basis of religion.

    ‘Not a single day goes by without attack on Churches, Church personnel, faithful and institutions’

    I live in Goa. The Christian population has dwindled over the years since many have decided to follow their Portuguese roots. Yet we are roughly around 27 per cent with the Hindu population being around 65 per cent. The BJP government has been here for 5 yrs in the state and now three-years at the Centre.

    Whenever I go to Church, I see the Churches filled with the faithful praying without fear or restriction; every village has the traditional Mother Mary novenas in different houses without fear or restrictions. Christmas and Easter are celebrated in pomp and fanfare. St Francis Xavier is revered and his feast is celebrated by Christians, Hindus and Muslims. I have not seen any Christian been attacked or stopped during his religious duties.

    I am finding it hard to understand this statement of attack on the Church and Christians that you elucidated. I have travelled extensively across the country – Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, Jaipur, Raipur, Ahmedabad – I have never been attacked for being a Christian or going to Church.

    I am not saying that there might not be stray incidents of over zealots and we have them across all religions but at a ground level as a common Christian citizen where am I or my family attacked.

    In fact if you do comparative analysis of deaths since the BJP government at the Centre, it would be the Hindus that have been killed more and not the minorities as it is portrayed out to be. Strangely this government has done nothing to curb the killings of the Hindus in states like Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

    So why then is the Church spreading this narrative of ‘nationalist forces’ out to divide and harm the minorities, OBCs etc?

    Let me ask you very openly just because a few priests have been guilty of sexually abusing children, should we paint all Christian priests as pedophiles. In the same logic just because some over zealots may have attacked some Pastors on allegations of conversions, which have no relation to the government directly or indirectly, should we blame the government? If so, then by that same logic we should blame you for all the pedophile acts of priests in Gujarat or Pope Francis for the pedophile acts of priests across the world? But I am sure you will not agree to this logic and even term me as a blasphemer. But the logic is irrefutable.

    ‘Nationalist forces are on the verge of talking over the country’

    Here Archbishop Macwan you get it completely wrong and it almost seems you are insinuating that citizens must not be nationalists.

    By definition ‘A Nationalist’ is a person who wants their country to be politically independent. Is that so wrong?

    Are you saying that we should continue to be slaves under the Portuguese like in Goa and British like in most parts of the country? Are you saying that the Independence we got from colonial powers was wrong and we should have continued to be slaves? Or are you (God forbid) saying that Anti-National should take over the country?

    I am a Christian and a proud Nationalist. This is my Bharat Mata and I am her son. Is that something I should be ashamed off?

    All the great leaders in the Church in their planned attack on the Modi government will fail. By edging people to vote on the basis of political biases which are really religious biases; you are polarizing the voters. In a polarized scenario, the majority always wins and in fact the minority will also support the majority if there is progress, peace and economic welfare. That is what Modi is doing. He is not bringing people together under a religious banner. If he did that he would fail. He is bringing people together under the banner of a New India. The people of India are starting to think as Indians and not majority and minority.

    There is no denial that there is an attempt to lay emphasis in restoring some of our Hindu culture, sciences and art that have been buried under mounds of invaders own interpretation of history. There is nothing wrong in that. If we celebrate Yoga Day in India and globally, we should be proud of it. Our roots are Vedic, irrespective what our religion today might be.

    Your letter reeks of a communal stink. You are sowing the seeds of doubt and hatred in the minds of gullible Christians. You will fail because this not the way of God but the way of the world you are acting on.

    Luke 6:31 states “Do to others as you would have them do to you”

    The beauty of the teaching of Jesus is that he urges his followers to be peacemakers. The beatitudes states, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called Children of God”

    All my life I have strived to be a peacemaker. Even as I write to you, I know you might not agree with me and many Christians will be upset with me. But the truth is in a world where religion has become the bane of inconceivable violence can we not grow beyond religion at least for our Nation and think as Indians and be proud of India.

    If the Narendra Modi government is wrong, it will be judged by its actions of governance. If BJP walks the path of religious bigotry, people of the country will reject Modi.

    This is New India. An India of hope and promise for our children built on strong nationalism and patriotism for our Motherland.

    Savio Rodrigues


  2. His suggestions are inappropriate. No church has been vandalised. Wherever churches were attacked they were the acts by thugs for stealing money. All secularists have kept mum and have not uttered a word. Had such a suggestion had come from Hindu organisations secularists would have raised hue and cry. Church is upset that a lot of their organisations have not been getting funds from outside as government has banned this.


  3. What a sorry state of affairs for the Hindus / Sanatana Dharma? The seeds sown by every foreign invader and abetted by insiders has taken deep roots in this country; they are very well supported by external agencies including Governments!! The Hindu majority within this country can not practice Hinduism; otherwise the ‘AIDS’ will be cut off !! added to that we are increasing our dependency on foreigners by way of job opportunities, sophisticated goods, petroleum, defense equipment etc.; at the same time, our own flock are questioning the rationale of many of our practices, disowning near & blood relations!! Materialism, communism, capitalism etc. drive our people to shed off ‘RELIGIONS & GOD–the accent is on Hindu Religion and Gods only’!! In the North East, Deep South and Coastal areas, the Non Hindus are very active and even Hate “INDIA”!! Unless Hindus become strong and committed, sooner or later, our entire culture will be lost! If Modi and the BJP fail, Hinduism will be lost! At the same time, they should devise / invent ways to economically support some of us!!


  4. Most malicious and unfortunate letter of the Archbishop Thomas Macwan

    The letter of Archbishop Thomas Macwan is most malicious and unfortunate. The very thing he has cautioned against by people using it. But he has masked the same with his overt and covert letter. It is projection of his real intent.

    He has addressed the letter to Cardinals (Eminences) Archbishops (Graces) and Lordships (Bishops) One feels like laughing because it is full of falsehoods. Not a day passes he says without attacks on Christians and the churches. This is far from the truth. The Archbishop should brush up the history of the Catholic Church which purged and committed genocide the world over. What did the RC Church do to the Jews right within Vatican? Denied even vaccination to the children, burned women and children within the synagogues.

    This is just one instance to depict the ‘Humane’ leadership of the R.Catholic church to which Archbishop Macwan belongs. What did the R. Catholic Church do with its Inquisitions—all over the globe and right here in India. It destroyed churches, brutalised the poor Indians. I am just citing two instances.

    So the Archbishop is ignorant of the Church history leave alone the history of India. He has no right to give lessons on patriotism and call for saving ‘our beloved country’. The kind of loot and scams that the RC. Church silently watched even abetted is history.

    The UPA government dented and shredded the Constitution of India and here comes Archbishop Macwan calling upon for safeguarding the Constitutional Rights. He goes further to state that the ‘secular and democratic fabric’ of the country is at stake.

    This if analysed would mean that the Congress must be thrown out of the country (not just Gujarat) because what ONE DOES NOT HAVE ONE CANNOT GIVE. How can a party which has no inner democracy safe guard democracy? How can a dynast for the simple fact that he belongs to one family rule democratically and safeguard democracy?

    Yes, vote for ‘humane leaders’. And what attributes does Archbishop Thomas Macwan give for being humane? Keep the ‘flock’ from birth to death in its clutches. Refuse them the freedom to think and brainwash them with the notion of One and Only God—which Archbishop Macwan has. If that is not oppression and tyranny then what is it?

    Is it not laughable that the Archbishop who belongs to the R. Catholic Church calls for humane leaders? He has forgotten the genocide the burning of the witches at the stake, he has no knowledge of the torture and the Inquisition right in Goa. He has no idea of the forced conversion, of luring the people with a plate of rice, a loaf of bread. He has forgotten that the Mother Teresa indulged to baptising dying children, refused them even painkillers. All this and more. Yet the R. Catholic Church saw in her a saint because of the thousands she baptised.

    Archbishop Macwan thinks that the elections in Gujarat is important because it will set the trend for the country. So he has advised and called upon the Catholics to recite the Hail Mary and Holy Mary. Recite the rosary he recommends. What if these Hail Marys and Holy Marys do not bring in the kind of result which Archbishop hopes for?

    So after the elections will he accept that the people have voted for ‘humane leaders’ and that the Hail Marys and Holy Marys produced that which the heavens wanted? Will he then talk of ‘secularism’ in the same breath and hail the verdict? The whole approach and the letter clearly depicts how ‘unsecular’ the Archbishop’s mindset is—and the R. Catholic Church to which he belongs. Where is the relevance for such a call in a secular environ?

    For ages now the Christian churches have destroyed the ethos of this country which was based on tolerance and pluralism. Did the Hindus stoop to conversion and that too through violence and the blood shed as the R. Catholic Church to which he belongs? In fact all the invaders be they the Dutch, the Portuguese, the French and the English all belonging to the various Christians churches indulged in conversion and forced conversions. The Hindus did not. So who is secular and who is tolerant?

    Can one forget facts of history? Today so much is made of a few incidents and attacks. But the bloody battles and the forced conversions are all pushed under the carpet. You get what you sow. There is no need for Archbishop Macwan to hide what he really wants.

    A few years ago I was in a church in B’lore when from the pulpit the preacher clearly instructed the ‘faithful’ on whom to vote. But one must have some guts to openly state ‘please do not vote for the BJP.’ Why has Archbishop Macwan tried to hide his real intention in ‘beloved country’ and ‘Constitutional rights’ and ‘humane leaders’ et al?

    Still like the ostrich which hides its head in the sand? If he is honest then he must openly state what his intention is to the Eminences and the Graces and the Lordships.

    Calling upon the Catholic community to daily recite the Hail Marys and the Holy Marys what if the recital of the rosary worked out exactly for the opposite of what Archbishop Macwan has in mind? Will he swear by its efficacy?

    At least one would expect an Archbishop to speak out his mind with some clarity and courage. This is what this country deserves for giving the Minority Rights which no other country in the world has. Naturally with such a right based on religion how can one expect a country to be secular?

    So I humbly plead to Archbishop Thomas Macwan to be more open and to pray that the Minority Rights be deleted from the Constitution so that we could call this country really secular.

    Dr Mrs Hilda Raja
    Vadodara, Gujarat

    (Years ago I was a member of the National Advisory Council of the National Bishops Conference of India)


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