Does Modi Matter for Christians?

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Image Courtesy: Time Magazine (time.com)

Former BJP Minister, Arun Shourie has charged that the Modi government is good in managing headlines. Obviously, he must have seen the recent interview of Prime Minister Modi in Time Magazine as another case of managing headlines.

While pointing a finger at the several shortcomings of the Modi government, Shourie maintained that Modi is the leader India needs right now. However, his criticism must have hurt as it has come from inside the BJP

In any of his outbursts, Shourie failed to mention the positive social initiatives launched by the Prime Minister but assessed the macro level state of the nation. He also agreed that the Indian Christians were feeling alienated by the attacks on them.

Yet in the Time Magazine interview, Modi is categorical of his commitment to the Constitution of India. For him, it is the only holy book.

It is a major statement.

In the same manner, Modi is also categorical about the rights of religious minorities. This is about the fourth time Modi has stated his commitment to protect freedom of religion for all. We can’t think of any other Prime Minister, consistently stating this, in the space of their first year in office.

Modi’s statements on the Constitution and protection of minorities matter for India. It matters for the Indian Christians.

Modi needs to have zero tolerance for those who attempt to undermine the Constitution.

India is too diverse a nation for anything other than the Constitution to hold us together, without it, there would be a million mutinies. We are diverse by castes, languages, ethnicities, food cultures and religions.

However, as long the Indian Governments follows the Constitution, India is safe. India will stay united. India will develop as the potential of her people is enormous.

Then, does Modi follow through on his statements?

Modi had promised protection and security for New Delhi Christians. We have reports that the police have moved into action in New Delhi and surrounding areas in protection of Christian institutions. Pastors and churches are receiving protection. We hear reports that the Government is rebuilding damaged churches and institutions.

Indeed, these are good follow up through actions.

We would request of the Prime Minister to extend this kind of proactive protection of Christians to the States. We have regular reports of attacks against churches and institutions.

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 Christian Medical College & Hospital,  Image courtesy: cmch-vellore.edu

We would also request the Prime Minister that the FCRA law may not be utilized to target long standing legitimate Christian institutions. Churches and institutions are doing good social and spiritual work for many, many decades.

It may be that some over zealous officials are trying to please the Prime Minister’s in his reservations about NGOs, thereby causing harm to genuine socially contributing Institutions. Modi would know that nation building Institutions take years of painstaking work and investment.

Most citizens know that money for anti-national work does not come, for the most part, through legitimate means. It is the undeclared, unaccounted money that is behind much of the corruption and anti-national work.

The source and use of this money is what the Government needs to go after in order to protect the nation. The misuse of funds coming through the legal FCRA is limited as the Government is watching the records.

What Modi does and says through his Government and its institutions matters for the Minorities and the Christians.

+Joseph D’Souza
Bishop Moderator,
The Good Shepherd Church & Associated Ministries India.
(for feedback or comments please write to joseph.dsouza@gsoim.org)