In the name of God

Free Malaysia Today
May 17, 2011

The Christian story will not easily go away. Christians will always be on the crosshairs of religious bigots and unscrupulous politicians.

The country is still seething over the so-called “Christian plot”. At one stage, the rage threatened to get out of control. The issue burst on the national stage with such sudden force that all were caught up in a whirlwind of emotion and passion.The spectre of another bloodletting loomed, evoking the dark days of May 13. It had all the makings of a religious strife which echoed ancient animosity and hatred. Christians and Muslims appeared to be heading on a collision course, with dire consequences seen for the Christian minority. For the Muslim majority, it is like a call to a holy war because the “infidels” had reportedly insulted the pre-eminent position of Islam. Even the government, elected to protect its citizens, seemed ready to throw its weight on the side of bigotry and fanaticism. A small country built on the toil and sweat of all races is about to go up in flames because intolerance, irrationality and arrogance got the upperhand.

It all started when one Malay language newspaper highlighted a meeting that purportedly took place in a hotel between the leaders of an opposition party and some Christian pastors. If you believe the report, the cabal was cooking up a diabolical plot to take over the country, make Christianity the official religion and install a Christian prime minister. Maybe someone played the role of Judas and blew the cover open when he whispered to a high-ranking editor of the newspaper about the dastardly conspiracy. All hell broke loose the next day when the paper went to town with its top news. Everyone bought the story and fired volleys of criticism at Christians without reason or rhyme. Even Muslims who did not toe the official line but argued rationally were branded as traitors to their race and religion. There was not much help from the government, either, which was seen as biased in its response – it only wagged its fingers at the Christians while slapping the wrist of the main culprit.

Then there was the crucial meeting hastily arranged between the prime minister and some Christian leaders. It turned out to be a farce because the pastors were made to look guilty when they promised to respect the position of Islam. There was no dissenting voice; not a single one told the prime minister that he had cordoned the evil machination of the newspaper. The Lord was supposed to lead them to fight for truth but these “children” came out looking meek beside the political master. It appeared that the delegation that met the most powerful man in the land did not represent the majority opinion. They spoke for themselves. They spoke to a mirror which reflected only their timidity. The high-level meeting was a one-sided affair that represented a defeat for justice and truth. Justice was not served when only the Christians were flogged. Truth was not served when the root cause of the problem remained unsolved.

It all boils down to the question of truth. Who was telling the truth – the newspaper which whipped up the storm or the pastors who vehemently denied there was a foul scheme in the making? The daily is controlled by the government and is reportedly taking orders from the political overlords. This makes it an enemy of truth because it is the mouthpiece of the government. It becomes a purveyor of cheap gossip. The pastors are the followers of the good Lord and they must speak nothing but the truth. They must tell the whole world what transpired at the meeting at the hotel. Protesting their innocence is not enough. The fact that they came out of the conference with the prime minister speaking on their behalf implied that they had a hand in the “Christian plot”. When no one wants to speak the truth on an issue of great national importance, the country will be the ultimate loser. Political leaders place very little value on truth. They have no scruples when it comes to fighting for their own political survival. They are fork-tongued and are experts in double-speak. Religious leaders are the best hope against dirty politics. But they must stand their ground and not be led by the nose.

The Christian story will not easily go away. Christians will always be on the crosshairs of religious bigots and unscrupulous politicians. Anything they do or even think will be scrutinised for fresh evidence of treason. Every movement will be monitored and every conference of Christian leaders will be closely watched for any wayward behaviour. Even sermons will be keenly listened to for any feeble signs of sedition. No place is safe because all the walls have ears. Christians will be pushed to the brink because they are too small a minority to put up resistance. But it will be a grave miscalculation to conclude that the Christians can be persecuted or even wiped out at the hands of the numerically superior race. To evoke age-old animosity like launching a crusade will not do anybody any good. It will only burn both sides. To replay “wild scenes of anarchy” to curdle the blood as in the olden days will only harden the hearts. When all champion the cause of their religion, no one will yield ground. Christians and Muslims have been implacable foes since time immemorial but in Malaysia history need not repeat itself. There is enough space for tolerance to flourish and for all to live in peaceful co-existence. Just make sure to keep those nasty politicians at arm’s length – them and their pesky press zealots.

  1. #1 by ChinNA on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 - 6:05 pm

    Esther, where are you and when are you coming to Malaysia? Christians will need an advocate.

You must be logged in to post a comment.