In a letter signed by the heads of many churches in southern India, Church leaders are calling on Christians to vote for candidates in India’s national elections who will preserve India’s secular character and will protect the Christian community. Many Christians fear the rise of the Hindu nationalist party, BJP, who seem poised to take the majority of the votes in the national election. In states where BJP is already in power, the Christian community suffers. Please pray for the future of Christians in India.
4/10/2014 India (Times of India) – The apex body of archbishops, bishops and heads of Catholic and Protestant churches in the state has requested Christians not to vote for ‘communal forces’ this general election.
In a first-ever such pastoral letter signed by Bishop G Dyvasirvadam, moderator of Church of South India (CSI), the Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches (APFC) asked Christians to “elect leaders who are close to people and their needs, and only vote for those who uphold secular character and promote communal harmony.”
The rare pastoral letter, also signed by the Archbishop of Hyderabad Thumma Bala, has been sent to hundreds of member churches across the state, and will be read out on any Sunday, before the assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
Christian religious leaders say it’s common practice to ask Churches to pray for political leaders, but exhorting voters who to vote for or not, is never the laid-down norm.
Defending issuing the potentially explosive letter, which could have far-reaching ramification across South India, Bishop Dyvasirvadam said it was the ‘need of the hour’ to prevent communal forces from harming Christian minorities.