The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Kerala Catholics Join in Vote Bank Communalisation

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
New Indian Express
July 30, 2005

Along the lines of the SNDP-NSS leaderships, the Latin Catholic Church is making swift moves to step into Kerala’s political arena by creating a vote bank of its own.

The Latin Catholic Church Archbishop Soosa Pakiam revealed that the Church had decided to make its foray into politics by developing its two laity organisations as its political arms.

In a candid interview which appeared on the latest issue of ‘Sathyadeepam’, the official mouthpiece of the Syro Malabar Church, Soosa Pakiam said that the Church’s idea was to develop the Latin Catholic Association (KLCA) and the Christian Service Society (CSS) as the political wings of the Church.

The Church will hand over the socio-political responsibilities of the community to the leadership of these outfits.

“They will strike bargains for the community. I am sure that these steps will transform the community into a formidable political force. You may be right in calling it pressure tactics, but it is not aimed at grabbing more than what we rightly deserve,” he says.

To the question whether organising communities on the basis of religion and caste would not give the impression that the Church was in agreement with the BJP on dividing society on communal lines, Soosa Pakiam replied: “No. As Church leaders, we are aware of the risks of being branded as communal leaders because of the initiative we have taken. We want to emphasise that we will remain committed to secular ideals and will never be a party to turning the community into a formal political outfit. We are only responding to a situation.”

Asked whether the Church move would not affect the social fabric of the nation, the Archbishop quipped: “Ours is not a stand that we have chosen. We have grave apprehensions about the move we are making. And, therefore, we are taking extra care to keep it free of communal overtones.”

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