Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Allah, Christians, and BN Politics....

”Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:17, King James Bible

Such were the verses in the King James Bible – a commandment so clear and specific it’s within the comprehension of any individual. In the wake of recent and significant events –the Lina Joy verdict, the HINDRAF rally, corpse-kidnapping, and Najib Razak’s declaration that Malaysia had all along been an Islamic state, I have been utterly disappointed at the meek responses of the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF) and Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM).

Making a stand and Acting on It

At a time when individuals of all echelons of society are stepping out of their comfort zones to make a stand for social justice and absolute truth, many churches especially the politically-connected ones are shying away from facing the bitter truth about the direction Malaysia has taken in the last few years. Apart from a few well-worded, politically correct media statements on issues affecting Christians and non-Muslims, I see no concrete action on the part of the NECF and CCM.

Instead of being blunt and honest like Jesus was to the Pharisees of his time, Christian leaders are seemingly inundating believers with selective good news and lame reassurances that all is well in an ailing nation. Even as rose-bearing Hindraf children are courageously facing the water cannons of UMNO, the Christian and church leaders have hitherto remained strangely silent. It is in total contradiction to the Bible’s commandment for believers to ‘seek judgement for the oppressed’.

In general, Christian leaders have behaved as though the religious discrimination endured by our Hindu brethren bear no relevance to the present or future survival of the Christian community. Was it not spoken by Jesus in Matthew 25:40 that “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”?

Partakers of the BN regime

A quick review of NECF’s and CCM’s responses to significant Malaysian issues will show a dismay track record.

At the height of public anger towards the keris-wielding frenzy at UMNO’s 2006 Annual General Assembly, the NECF “lauds Umno President Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for his firm and assuring statements made while delivering his presidential address”, instead of rebuking UMNO’s threat of violence and slaughter upon the non-Malays.

When a memorandum to the Prime Minister calling for a review of laws affecting non-Muslims was withdrawn by the non-Muslim ministers, the Malaysian Consultative Council for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism deemed it as a “redemptive and reconciliatory act” – as though non-Muslims were at any fault trying to seek justice.

The Council of Churches Malaysia does not perform any better. In an obvious reference to Islam Hadhari, the CCM website describes Malaysia as a “nation where progressive and modern Islamic democracyis at work” and laments the fact that PAS “was able to retain its power on Kelantan after a marginal victory at the 2004 general elections”. Personally, I’d prefer the Council of Churches to openly declare its support to the BN regime rather than subtly incite hatred towards the PAS government.

In the Nov/Dec 2007 Berita NECF, the federation effectively condemns the Hindraf and Bersih rally, describing them as illegal gatherings that have caused massive traffic jams and inconvenience to the rakyat. In the same edition too, the NECF proudly publishes a dialogue session with the MCA.

Such politically-savvy moves are not limited to the NECF leadership. They trickle down to the individual churches as well.

A popular “Reverend Datuk Dr” pastor of a mega-church in Damansara Indah with close affiliation to Gerakan read a letter sent to the church by Abdullah Ahmad Badawi instead of preaching from the Bible. Has God’s word taken backseat to the dictation of worldly political masters? The pastor of another church in Seapark once led the congregation in prayer prior to an UMNO-vs-PAS in the Pengkalan Pasir by-election, asking in the name of Jesus for PAS to be defeated.

In recent times, the CCM seems to have taken a different stance in the wake of corpse-snatching and bible-confiscating incidents. Nevertheless, they are still afraid to ruffle the feathers of BN politicians by openly declaring support for more reasonable and sensible voices in the opposition parties. Instead of proclaiming their specific stand in the coming general elections, the CCM decrees a vague and ill-defined message to “Vote Wisely” at a time when the majority of the Malaysian population gains “wisdom” from BN-controlled mainstream media.

The failure of church leaders to make a clear and well-defined stand in this crucial general election is ultimately aiding the Barisan Nasional to perpetuate the politics of division, corruption and discrimination.

Selective Application of Bible verses

The NECF has been conveniently selective in quoting bible verses. In pre-election March 2004, the NECF’s media statement quoted Romans 13 and advised believers to maintain a “rightful relationship with the authorities”, equating such a greased relationship to an “open door”. It is an open endorsement of the existing BN regime and a subtle decree to Christians to continue voting a regime specialized in racial polarization and religious discrimination.

On another note, in a vain attempt to placate Christians with righteous anger at the degree of ill-gotten wealth among the BN politicians, church leaders be it pastors, priests, elders, ministers cite bible verses reminding the congregation that “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. To justify poverty as a result of rampant corruption, Christ’s words that “the poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me” come in handy. To mitigate themselves from their failure to rise against corrupted and big bully politicians, church leaders state that vengeance is the Lord’s, not ours.

The Need for Change

The Holy Bible contains thousands of others verses beseeching the believer to pay more than lip service.

In recent times, there have been but few vocal Christian personalities, with the exception of Father O.C Lim of St Xavier’s Church, Petaling Jaya. As a Christian, I am searching for Christian leaders in the likes of biblical characters like Moses, Daniel, Nehemiah, Esther and Ruth – personalities who stepped out of their comfort zones to take a stand for righteousness and justice.

Instead I am seeing plentiful of Balaams and Jonahs – characters who speak what the powers-that-be desire to hear and quasi-leaders who speak up only when they had no other options.

These are merely my personal thoughts and experiences, not necessarily gospel truth. Nevertheless, he that hath ears, let him hear.


Anonymous said...

I'am a christian and i voted for DAP. so is all my family members. so stop judging us!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm Christian. I support DAP. So get out into the world and find out more. O.C.Lim is not the only one. And also learn more about the order from which the priest come from. We are not blind.

Or perhaps you would like the likes of Urban II or Charles Mattel to show up? So do you reseach before you write anything.Boy.

Anonymous said...

I am a Christian and I support the DAP too.

We hear our Pastors but we don't have to listen if our conscience tells us otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Many years ago I also wrote a letter to Malaysiakini slamming the NECF for inviting Mahatir to open the World Evangelical Alliance conference in KL.

I still stand by what I've written though I think it may not be right for me to openly criticize NECF w/o first writing to NECF first.

I thought of apologizing but their response in Berita NECF pissed me off even more, taking verses out of context in condemning me, making stupid statements to justify their decision. In the end I just left the matter there.

Take heart my brother. I believe things are changing. Few days ago, we had a prayer meeting in church to pray for the coming general election. Our pastor prayed that BN will be denied the 2/3 majority.

Yes. I've also been voting the DAP since 4 General Elections ago

Collin Michael Nunis said...

"I'm Christian. I support DAP. So get out into the world and find out more. O.C.Lim is not the only one. And also learn more about the order from which the priest come from. We are not blind."

Hi, I'm another Christian here. First up, irrespective of what your political preferences are, that's something best left to conversations and at best, yourself. There is a possibility that we will all end up voting for the Opposition but its best when little is said. But again, the Church did not tell us to vote a particular party but to vote for someone who'll do what's right.

Now, I disagree with the approaches Fr. OC Lim takes but Fr. OC is a bold man who will stand up for Christ at any cost. Everyone, irrespective of Protestant or Catholic, hold him in high regard because of his work and they see him as their pastor. I am not lying when I say this.

As for his order, What else is there to learn about his order? What could you possibly be talking about? The fact that he is a Catholic priest from the Jesuit order? What did you hear about the Jesuit order? You are definitely not blind as you can see but you are blind indeed when you denounce your own Christian brother. What kind of examples are you setting?

"Or perhaps you would like the likes of Urban II or Charles Mattel to show up? So do you reseach before you write anything.Boy."

Now, why are these two names coming up? Do you have a personal vendetta against the Catholics? Sure, these two names are not exactly models of faith (which explains why they don't have "St." before their name) but to identify Catholicism with this people is just plain stupid and shows that there is propaganda. Why not talk about the Franciscan monks who saved so many Italian Jews from being slaughtered by the Nazi Regime? It wouldn't be fair if someone identified Jimmy Swaggart with Protestantism right? So think again before you say anything.

Sing Lau said...

Hello fellow Christians out there!

Romans 13:3-4
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

ONE: Civil government is an institution ordained by God.

TWO: God instituted civil government to promote good and righteousness (order, peace, safety, and equity and liberty for all under its jurisdiction) on the one hand, and to be a TERROR to all that is evil (especially injustice, crime, corruption, cronyism, etc.)

THREE: A civil government that does not fulfill its divine mandate HAS FORFEITED its right to administer rule over the people of the nation.

FOUR: It is the DUTY of the Christian citizens under such civil government to CAST OUT such scums and thieves and plunderers of the nation by the legal means.

Obey God and shoulder your DUTY wisely this time.
Pass on the message.

I am a pastor, and I support the ideals of DAP.

sing in penang