Savi Hensman

Resist intimidation during Sri Lankan election, bishop urges

By Savi Hensman
December 24, 2014

Christians should say no to violence and intimidation in the run-up to Sri Lanka’s presidential election, the Anglican Bishop of Colombo has urged. This is due to take place in January 2015.

There has been heightened tension and clashes have taken place, as President Mahinda Rajapakse faces the possibility of losing power. State repression, mistreatment of minorities and failure to address issues such as the cost of living have undermined his support. His main challenger is Maithripala Sirisena.

“We as members of the Christian church are a part and parcel of this country,” wrote Bishop Dhiloraj Canagasabey. “The development of the country, the welfare of all its citizens, internal peace and harmony amongst all groups, its independence and its standing in the family of the nations of this world should be of vital importance to us.”

He pointed out that it was “Advent, which will soon be followed by Christmas and Epiphany. We find the message of hope and liberation for all people running as a golden thread through all these seasons in the Christian calendar.”

“The God whom we believe in is a life giving and life affirming God, whose qualities of Mercy, Justice and Righteousness as well as His special concern for the weak and oppressed” are “re-echoed both in the Old and New Testaments,” he continued.

The bishop urged, “As followers of Christ, we must also abstain from all forms of violence ourselves as well as saying no to any form of violence and intimidation in the election process. Let us be guided by the Holy Spirit to act with responsibility and discernment in the forthcoming elections.”

He called for restraint by political parties and impartiality on the part of the police and armed forces. Many people of all faiths and none will echo that plea.

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© Savitri Hensman is a Christian commentator and Ekklesia associate. She was born in Sri Lanka.

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