Gujarat Archbishop calls for prayers to save country from 'nationalists'

Gujarat Archbishop calls for prayers to save country from 'nationalists'

The Archdiocese of Gandhinagar, Archbishop Thomas Macwan, has written a letter to bishops across the country ahead of the Gujarat Assembly election to "help save the country from nationalists".

In the letter dated November 21, that went viral on social media, the Archbishop urged bishops of the  country to pray in the light of the Gujarat election that people who would remain faithful to the Indian Constitution get elected.

"The dates of Gujarat State Assembly election have been declared. The results of this elections are significant and it will have repercussion and reverberation throughout our beloved nation. It will influence the future course of our country. We are aware that the secular and democratic fabric of our country is at stake. Human rights are violated. The constitutional rights are being trampled. Not a single day goes without an attack on our churches, church personnel, faithful or institutions. There is a growing sense of insecurity among the minorities, Other Backward Caste (OBC), Scheduled Caste (SC), poor etc. Nationalist forces are on the verge of taking over the country. The election results of Gujarat State Assembly can make a difference!" the Archbishop stated.

The letter by a religious leader of Christian community assumes significance in the wake of the impending election. The last time the Christian community was distressed in the state was in the late 1990s when several churches were attacked in the tribal district of Dangs in South Gujarat. No such attacks on any Christian organisation have been reported since.

The Archbishop, on behalf of bishops of Gujarat state, requested prayers, "…so that we may have such people elected in the Gujarat state assembly who would remain faithful to our Indian Constitution and respect every human being without any sort of discrimination."

Citing examples from history, where governments and dictators were toppled, he  urged the community to pray together during the election. "…It saved Europe during the victory of Lepanto from being taken over by people of other faith…It will save our country from nationalist forces too!"

Archbishop clarifies

When contacted, Father Thomas Macwan told DH that his letter should be seen in positive spirit and not as against anyone. "I am a nationalist and love my country. I have only called for prayers so that people of Gujarat get right people. I am not for Congress or against BJP," the Archbishop said when asked if he thought his letter was  viewed as anti-BJP or against the saffron brigade. "Every time, I have been writing to flock in Gujarat. This is an important election so I wrote to all the bishops across the country. Also remember, we are only 0.5% of Gujarat's population and insignificant for electoral purpose."

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