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. – IndiaToday.in, 23 November 2017

Thomas MacWan Letter