I am amused by the guidelines (Ten Commandments) issued to voters by the Catholic Bishops. Conference of India. The CBCI is harking back to the traditional ways of the Church to wean away Indians from the �Hindu nationalist� party, the BJP. Do the Catholic bishops believe that they can reduce the enlightened Indian electorate to the level of the ladies in Britain, in the now distant 1940s and 1950s, who were scared of "a Red under their bed"?
This is not the first time the Church is indulging in this wishful thinking. It happened first in 1957 in Kerala. The church leaders issued a 'fatwa' to their flocks not to vote the Communists to power because they were "Godless" and violent people who would nationalise and destroy all the churches in Kerala." Some listened to them, many ignored them and the then India correspondent of the London Observer cabled back London: "Out of the ballot box comes the miracle."
The Christian leaders have not learnt not learn their lesson. They repeated the call in all the subsequent elections too. And they are back with a bang today also.
As a �self-styled� enlightened Indian Christian, I cannot confine my secularism to the anti-BJP-ism advocated by the Christian leaders since communal consanguinity is present in varying shades in other parties of plural labels even while choosing candidates, although they naively make secular noises. The bishops must stop being dazzled by their own words. They must take the beams out of their own eyes before pointing out the mote in others� eyes. Fight against social evils, for example, discrimination against Dalit Christians, must begin in the Church, otherwise they will be told: "Physician, heal thyself."
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