Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Politics and religion just don’t mix


I READ “Keep faith out of politics” (Sunday Star, Nov 11; related post: Don't mess religion with politics!) with great interest. As you rightfully said “religion and politics, that’s a potent mix to be explosive”.

My name is Joseph Sta Maria, 50, and I am a member of the Portuguese community in Malacca. Having once been involved in politics, I can understand how dangerous it is for religion and politics to be mixed.

But sadly, many leaders of the Roman Catholic Church and churches from the various Protestant denominations seem to be getting carried away with their political beliefs and cloud this with their religious obligations.

While it is all right for them to support any political party as individuals even if the policies of the parties that they support go against the grain of their religious beliefs, preaching politics from the pulpit instead of spreading the word of God is a gross perversion and can be the biggest sin they are committing.

I am deeply saddened that the Church has been dragged into the political debate in the country.

The Church must always remain apolitical and priests and pastors must confine themselves to preaching the gospel and help provide spiritual guidance to their flock.

What we are seeing instead are sermons slanted towards one side of the political divide and the spreading of political hate against the other.

There appears to be blatant support to political leaders of questionable morality or a tendency to “close one eye” when it comes to their misdeeds and political shenanigans.

I can proudly say that my ancestors brought the Catholic faith to this part of the world, particularly to Malacca, in the 15th century from which it spread to the region.

As such, I feel I am qualified to give an opinion of the present position of some of the Catholic churches.

As custodians of the Catholic faith, the Malacca Portuguese community will take the lead in urging all Catholic churches to stop allowing politicians from using the premises and its congregation as a means of wooing votes for the next general election.

It is sad that some church grounds are been used by irresponsible people to spew partisan hate to the congregation.

As Catholics, we should never have allowed this to happen.

As for the leaders of the church, they must be made aware that they are taking a big risk by throwing their support behind any political party.

As you pointed out, politics and religion must never be mixed especially in Malaysia where religion is a matter, which can raise sentiments to boiling point.

If anything goes wrong, the Malacca Portuguese community will hold these errant leaders of the church responsible.

As the adviser of the Malacca Portuguese village community, I wish to remind all churches to be mindful of the possible consequences and the irreparable damage to the religious harmony that we have been enjoying all these decades.

I reiterate that the Church is a house of worship and it must never be allowed to be misused by politicians whether they are from the BN or the Opposition for the repercussions would be very serious.

I believe there are many people like me who object strongly to churches being used by politicians but are too afraid or just don’t want to raise their objection to their pastors and church leaders knowing that their objections will be shot down.

I urge all those who agree with me to come out loudly and clearly to do justice for their religion and their belief.

This paragraph from the Bible, Mark 12:17 clearly shows Christians the difference between politics and religion: Then Jesus said to them: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him.

JOSEPH STA MARIA Malacca

Related posts:
Don't mess religion with politics!
Politics and religion a bad mix ! 
Politics, Religion don't mix! 
Malaysia is a Secular state or an Islamic country? 
Former Malaysian leaders were clear on Secularity of Constitution but their successors seem unclear! 
Malaysia a transit point for terrorists or a terrorist recruitment centre?