National Christian Fellowship concerned over attacks on churches

Friday, 29 March 2013 03:17 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The National Christian Fellowship Sri Lanka (NCFSL), which represents over 200 indigenous Churches in Sri Lanka, said in a statement that it views with serious concern the sudden escalation of violence directed towards pastors, Christian workers and religious places of worship all over Sri Lanka during the recent months.

The NCFSL confirms that 23 such incidents have been reported in 2013.

“As Sri Lankans, we are also concerned about the wrongful and distorted bias reporting of some of the electronic as well as print media concerning such attacks. We have documented cases of intimidation, threats, violence and arson, all this in the cause of religious intolerance,” said Rev. Rohan Ekanayake, General Secretary of the NCFSL.

“We note that Sri Lanka has suffered greatly through two major insurgencies and a 30-year war which tore at the nation’s heart and caused us all great grief. Not to mention the cost of lives as well the damage caused to the economy. As a nation, we need to ask ourselves whether we need yet another ethnic or religious conflict at this moment of time,” he added.

The NCFSL maintains that the laws of natural justice and the Constitution of Sri Lanka in Articles 10 and 14 (1) (e) recognise the individual’s right to adopt and practice the religion of his choice. “We categorically state that communication of the gospel is an inseparable part of the practice of our faith. Correspondingly, we recognise the right to every other religion to proclaim its beliefs.

Those who recognise this right may also agree that it is unethical to interfere with the expression of the individual‘s freedom to choose.”

The NCFSL believes that the attacks are attempted in order to justify the so called ‘unethical conversion’.

“To the Christian, helping the needy is a necessary part of the practice of their religion. The expression of Christian love and concern includes dealing with both the spiritual and the physical need of the person. While asserting the right to do so and the responsibility of Christians to care for the needy, we condemn the use of charity and care for the needy as an inducement to religious proselytisation.

If there are any offers of material inducements for the purpose of proselytisation, we condemn such their methods as abhorrent to Christianity,” stated Rev. Money Ratnam of the NCFSL.

The NCFSL says that the accusations, intimidation and violence against Christians are biased and illegal and should not be tolerated in a democratic society such as ours. In essence, it is a denial of the fundamental human rights of its citizens.  

The NCFSL upholds the integrity of a united Sri Lanka and condemns the attacks on the Buddhist clergy in Chennai, India.

The use of violence as a means of achieving any end is against the teachings of Christ and cannot be condoned.

The NCFSL asserts the need for peace and good will on the basis of mutual recognition, honour and respect for all communities in the country’s multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. Further, it calls upon the State to uphold the rule of law and to treat all its citizens equally.

The NCFSL calls upon all Christians to unite and to participate in a day of fasting and prayer for the nation and for the persecuted Church on 8 April 2013 at Holy Trinity Auditorium, 784, Prince of Wales Avenue, Colombo 14 at 10 a.m.

“We also call upon the authorities to enable justice to be meted out to all Sri Lankans in this connection including the affected Christian clergy and workers,” the NCFSL statement added.