In poll-bound Nagaland, Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC), the state’s biggest church organisation, has urged the ‘believers’ to choose between the ‘Trishul’ and the ‘Cross’ while fearing that voters getting seduced by money and development offered by those whose hands seek to “pierce the heart of Jesus Christ”. Earlier, Nagaland Baptist Church Council had called Yoga a ‘deeply Hindu’ practice, advising Churches not to practice Yoga.
The Christian organisation has written to all political parties in Nagaland and asked them to rely on state’s own strength. In an open letter, NBCC has stated that India has faced worst ‘persecution of minority communities’ in 2015-17 under the BJP. Referring to the BJP as the political wing of the RSS, the NBCC General Secretary, Rev Keyho, has said that the Hindutva movement in the country has become unprecedentedly strong and invasive in the last few years. He also added that Gods must be weeping to see Naga politicians run after those who ‘seek to destroy Christianity in India’.
Strongly opposing the ‘invasion of Hindutva forces’, Keyho in his letter asserted ‘Pastors, evangelists and missionaries are dragged openly in the streets, harassed, insulted and many made to suffer. Their homes destroyed and children discriminated in schools. Worship places were burnt down and believers are often disturbed and harassed. The Bible is openly burnt and confiscated.’
This is not the first time Church is trying to influence electoral politics. In poll-bound Meghalaya, too, it was reported that in a bid to stop the BJP, the churches are getting into electoral politics.
Last year, during Goa elections, Goan Padre had asked devotees to vote for specific candidates. In fact, a Congress leader from Goa had been forced to retire from active politics after the Church allegedly refused to back his candidature. Following that, in August last year for the by-polls, a magazine named Renowakao, run by a Panjim church Bishop’s House, carried an article which directly attacked the BJP and asked the voters to rein in the ‘tyranny’ prevalent in the whole nation by voting against Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
In the recently concluded Gujarat elections, too, a Church in Gujarat urged the people to save India from ‘nationalistic forces’. In a letter, Archbishop Thomas Macwan associated with the Archdiocese of Gandhinagar, had subtly tried to influence the voters’ preference.