The three most popularly used words that I have heard from many in the Christian community who I have interacted with over the years are ‘I hate BJP’.
When I ask them: Why do you hate BJP? I have never received a logical answer. Most of the replies are devoid of logic. And most people end up sounding like they have rehearsed a common rhetoric.
Amusingly, my support for the BJP has made me the ‘Judas Iscariot’ amongst some in the Christian community in Goa. And here I am thinking that I am doing my work following the teachings of Jesus.
Even strange have been distant relatives who have resorted to mocking me and my wife on family WhatsApp groups, that we have now exited because of the diarrhoea on it against the BJP and us. Here too, no one answers logically or with facts, “Why they hate BJP”
A Catholic priest visited my home recently from my parish. His purpose of visiting my ancestral home was to convince my mother to convince me to leave the BJP and to open my eyes to atrocities meted out on Christians in India. I was not at home at that point of time. But I did make it a point to visit the priest personally to ask him, “Why did he hate BJP”. He too as a learned Catholic priest did not have a logical answer, all he had was rhetoric and an exaggerated view from knowledge that appeared to be acquired from the University of WhatsApp. “They will use you and throw you under the bus because you are a Christian. BJP is a party of Brahmins. They will not let anyone from any other community grow other than Brahmins.”
I looked at him rather surprisingly, I asked him, “Father, which caste do you think Narendra Modi belongs too or for that matter the former president of India Ramnath Kovind or the current president of India Draupadi Murmu belong to”. He kept staring at me in disbelief and replied, “I am telling you. Your fate will be that of George Fernandes. In the end he was completely disillusioned by the BJP.” I looked at him, smiled and said, “So be it”.
The hate some within the Catholic Church have been indoctrinating gullible parishioners with, is repulsive. So much so is their hate, some Christians have now resorted to demonising the Hindus and India. Hate for BJP cannot be hatred for Hindus or for India under the BJP government.
Recently in one of our outreach programmes, a senior teacher of a government-aided school in the Velim constituency, commented to me saying, “Why did you have to join the BJP. They are saffronising Goa and India.” She then went on to be rude to one our Yuva Morcha girls stating, “I thought you were a Christian that is why I allowed you to do an outreach programme in the school, I did not know you were not a Christian but a Hindu.”
I told the teacher with utmost respect even though she was obnoxious in her mind, words and behaviour, “You can continue to live in your well of hate. BJP is not going to anywhere. We came with good intention. You will only be able to see the good, if you take off your spectacles laced with a communal prism. Open your eyes to the truth.”
I had written in an open letter to Archbishop Anil Couto in 2018 and asked him for the data to prove his statement on the atrocities committed by the BJP against Christians in India. Religious conflicts are not unique only to India. Many countries are facing religious conflicts. Christians conflict with Muslims, Muslims conflict with Christian globally. But Christians in India never speak about the atrocities by Christians globally.
In some cases of conflict, the Vatican and its pontiff have openly declared their support to warring nations. In the Russia-Ukraine, Pope Francis has been fervently praying for the people of Ukraine. He has not prayed for the people of Russia because they are not a Christian nation.
In India, Muslims and Christians conflict with Hindus. In Kerala, Muslims and Christians are in conflict with each other. The Catholic Church has come out openly and strongly against Islamic radicalism and Love Jihad.
In a conflict, there will be a few cases of violence and atrocities. If a Hindu organisation conflicts with a Christian organisation would that mean that the BJP government is behind it. If we go by the same logic, then Vatican and Pope Francis must be held responsible for the emerging cases of clergy abuse of minors and nuns, globally. Should we opine then that the bishops, priests who have raped minors and nuns have got the protection and blessings of the Vatican, because the logic used, appears to be ‘Guilty by Association’?
Till today no Church leader has explained to me logically their fear of the BJP. Neither have Christians who tell me repeatedly that ‘They hate BJP’ explained to me their hate. Their rhetoric, I hear. Their hate, I am still trying to understand.
Such is the hate for the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi that many Catholic Church leaders from India have been lobbying with the Vatican to ensure that Pope Francis does not accept the informal invitation extended to him by Prime Minister of India in his last visit to the Vatican. Their reasoning, “Modi will use it promote himself a secular leader in India but he is a communal leader.”
Amusingly the reason for the decline from the Vatican, if a formal invitation will be sent by the Prime Minister’s Office, will be ‘Pope’s ill-health.”
According to a report United Christian Forum number of alleged violent crimes against members of the Christian community in India rose to 486 in 2021 from 279 in 2020. This was informed to me when I was in a conversation with a Christian laity who works with the CBCI. So, I asked this Catholic Church representative: The Christian population in India in 2021 was reportedly 3.12 crores. The case of reported religious conflict was 486, do we want to tell the rest of the remaining 3.12 crores Christians in India that they are in danger. Are the Christians really in danger? Why this fear psychosis? Are Christians not a part of nation building?
According to US FBI report in 2020 on hate-crimes in the country, there were 12 incidents against Hindus, compared to 951 incidents against Jews, 134 against Muslims, and 72 against Sikhs. To give another perspective, anti-black hate crimes were listed at 3,886 and anti-Asian at 335. There were 951 cases of hate-crimes against the Jews. Should the US President or USA be considered to be walking the path of Hitler and Nazis. Did you see any media call Donald Trump or Joe Biden as Hitler?
The fear psychosis created by certain Catholic Church leaders and Christians are acts of hate and religious bigotry. And in some cases, it is pure Hinduphobia. Like the CAA, I do not understand why most Christians thought that the CAA would be used against the minorities in India, when it had nothing to do with the minorities of India.
Not one Christian leader condemns the hate-speeches made by Christian priests and pastors against Hindu beliefs and Hindu Gods. But Christian bishops and priests are first to lead protests against the government, if the government’s plans do not fit with their agenda or if it can put the BJP-government in poor light.
Not one Christian leader condemns or speaks out against the rampant conversions happening all over India in the name of finding the true God. But when an Anti-Conversion Bill is brought to the fore, Christian leaders pontificate on the stomping of the constitutional rights of people to convert to Christianity by the government without telling the Christian followers that the law applies to all religious conversions by force not choice.
No government in India can work against the Constitution of India, therefore no wilful conversion can be targeted, if the person is an adult. So, what is there to fear. In fact, Catholic Church leaders have mooted numerous times about the rise of the Christian Believers sect in India and how they are taking people away from the Catholic faith. If that fear is justifiable, then so is the fear of the Hindus in the rampant forced and coerced conversions happening across India.
You can hate BJP that is your right. But at least have a logical reason for your hate and not be parroting absurdities that have no logic or facts. In most cases, Christians are led astray like sheep by some of the Church leaders, by some the politicians and by some media that have a vested interest in ensuring BJP and Narendra Modi’s plans for India fail.
A Catholic priest who is a well-wisher tells me every week, “Good person in a wrong party”. My reply to him always is: “Good person in a questionable religious institution”
Do not hate India under the BJP. Do not hate the Hindus because BJP is considered to be a Hindu-majority party. Do not be led astray. If any Christian is under attack by Muslims or Hindu extremist, it is an Indian (who could be a Hindu) who will come to save you. The game is to poision through religious divide. The outcome will be political polarisation and hate.
India is bigger than the BJP. Christians are an integral part of the nation-building process of India. We can do that by being outside the BJP or inside the BJP. Nation building is not politics it is giving a hand to any government whether you like or not in governance. Right now, the government is BJP.