The Christian community need to put in place a mechanism to face such SOS situations. Catholic Christian Secular Forum (CSF) Genral secretary Mr Joseph Dias says, “we need to concentrate less on empowering others and more on equipping ourselves.” The anti-Christian violence has exposed weak links in the existing church and laity structures. Therefore –
1. The church & the community need to go back to the basics in the Bible. India is fast becoming like the West, in terms of most of us being Christian only in name. Of little importance, in the rush of modern living, are things like – the Great Commission, love & concern for our own, tithing or giving to God’s work, supporting the poor, sick, orphans, widows. Unless we put Christ back among Christians, our faith will be no less shallow than that of those in the “developed” countries – facing an economic meltdown for being selfish & ignoring God ?
2. The church & the community needs to introspect & support notable activist initiatives, for the tasks at hand are huge, needing much financial & professional resources. Most of the initiatives are dependent on private & personal funds, which will dry out in time. Soon, yet another anti-Christian attack will not create a big stir, like anti-Muslim riots don’t today. Rather, many more activists would rise to the cause, if they are supported financially, since or else they would have to do so, at the cost of their jobs or small businesses. We need to organize ourselves into a network – to take on a major community development exercises.
3. The church & the community needs to demand reservations for Christians in education / employment & Scheduled status for Dalit Christians. If we had done so at the time of Independence or during the Mandal Commission agitation, Christians would have been in a better position today. In case of such communal violence or discrimination, we would have had at least a handful of community members in the police, government, judiciary, administration, civil & defence forces, etc. to help us out. The Govt of India NSSO survey clearly states that Christians are in some cases, the poorest. What does the Church or urban Christians plan do about it.
Examples to learn from
The Parsi, Sikh & Jain minorities, who are just a tiny fraction of our numbers, have shown the way economically & politically. The Muslims too can teach us something in this regard. The Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) has put out an appeal for the better blessed Muslims to each contribute a little Zakat (tithe) annually and is working towards a 25 Million U$ Dollar / Rs.100 Crore community development fund. Details on http://www.unitedislamicaid.org/ Christian clergy, intellectuals, professionals, ex-servicemen, financially better-off laity … need to think on these lines.
If we don’t watch out & take urgent steps, our churches will be reduced to muesuems and vocations will stop happening. We are thoroughly ill-equipped to face the onslaught & dangers to come. If we have been spared to some extent is because, we have internationalized the issue. But this too has its limitations.
The CSF is making a humble beginning by setting-up a major DATABANK, which will be of great service in meeting the challenges we are presently confronting. Nothing of this kind exists in India & the expenses for the same are expected to be at a minimum Rs. 2,50,000 or US$ 5555 approx. This will be for staff, office, systems, stationery, communication, etc. We are looking for partners, who are prompted or blessed by the LORD to help us out. If you feel called to assist in any way, please send your contact details to the firstname.lastname@example.org
The CSF also has Dr. Peter Rodriques specifically looking into the issue of reservation – a subject very close to his heart. We invite others to contact The CSF and contribute (ideas, contacts, influence, volunteer…) your mite – assistance in kind is more valuable, than cash !
The CSF would also like to promote a national-level Federation of Christian NGOs & activists, to meet under one roof to see how best to organize the community effectively & come out with an action programme. We need to use the internet to tell the world and compel the Government of India to act. We have therefore put up a petition to the UNITED NATIONS & HEADS OF STATES and will follow it through internationally. We are closing this petition by 31 October ’08. If you haven’t as yet signed in, please do so at http://www.PetitionOnline.com/thecsf17/petition.html