Monday, April 29, 2013

Christians should come out to vote, even on a Sunday

This article is taken from Malaysiakini. Click on the Title to read from the Original source

William de Cruz | 9:44AM Apr 29, 2013

Christians are getting a bad name for themselves in Malaysia, and some of us may only have ourselves to blame as fence-sitters, fear-mongers and fantasists.

Case in point - hudud, which might as well be a four-letter word for the obscenity of fear and paranoia it has ingrained among some followers of the faith.

In spite of history showing the system has not been imposed on two east coast states that have been under the rule of PAS for years, Christians continue to question the credentials of the opposition coalition on one, logic-defying notion: that a vote for Pakatan Rakyat will transmogrify Malaysia into an Islamist state where, like an advocate for change recently said, armless men will walk the streets in Putrajaya.

The truth of the matter is, it won't happen for at least the first five years of any new government, and in fact any party at any time in the future would need a two-thirds parliamentary majority in order to effect such a fundamental, anti-secularist change in secular Malaysia.

So, if you cannot imagine PAS commanding such overwhelming numbers in the Dewan Rakyat, the odds of the Islamist party imposing hudud are next to nothing, or worse.

BN won't do it and is in fact campaigning on the bogey that PAS will, and if we believe DAP and PKR will agree with PAS on such a fantastical move, we will have snow in Kuala Lumpur.

In other words, the imposition of hudud is plain impossible, even in spite of the best efforts of Karpal Singh of DAP, who continues to cry ‘over my dead body' every time someone gives vent to the fear of something so improbable as to be beyond any immediate, medium or long-term reality, and who should know better as a lawyer but continues to inflict damage on his own opposition coalition with an infuriating and totally uncalled-for war cry.

Most sacred duty

As if the haunt of the hudud is not enough, Christians using the same, defective moral compass are also complaining about the insensitivity of an Election Commission, which chose a Sunday as voting day, and has delivered to church-goers the inconvenience of having to forego their obligation to worship because they may have to vote on May 5, and God won't absolve you of your wrongdoing simply because of the queue at the polling station.

The entire country is gearing up for the most critical and historic federal election Malaysia has ever seen, and some Christians see a higher calling in going to church.

Oh, my God, how we pain you, through our fault, through our fault, through our own most grievous fault.

There can be no greater Christian duty on May 5 than lodging the vote, and if all leaders and followers of the church don't begin telling their respective flocks that they are relieved of their obligation to worship this fateful Sunday, they will be failing in a most sacred duty to their fellow Christians, and all other Malaysians.

To be sure, some priests are already telling their parishioners to prepare for meeting your obligations in a Saturday sunset Mass, as it should be. And yet the public voice of the church is loudest when it complains of the EC's ways, as if this particular insensitivity is the worst of its sins as a constitutionally-mandated commission.

One begins to suspect that if Christians are factoring hudud, impossible as it is, as they decide where to put their cross on the ballot form, and speaking of Sunday worship overriding the need to vote, they are actually in search of a reason to keep the status quo in parliament and ease their conscience at the same time.

In a perverse extension of the spurious argument that we might all have to live under the yoke of corporal punishment, legless and armless some of us, if not stoned to death, there are yet Christians who will say that, even if the hudud were introduced, they should have no cause for fear, because it would only be for Muslims - as if by deviant design Muslims are not Malaysians.

Malaysia will never rise from the trenches of religion, or race, if we keep denying that one Malaysian's problem is the whole country's problem.

If a Muslim ever faced having his or her limbs cut off, it is not an Islamic issue - it is a human rights issue that must concern all Malaysians, irrespective of race and religion.

If the EC chooses to insult Christians by calling GE13 on a Sunday - precisely because it thinks it will make for a lower voter turnout - all the more reason we must defy their foolhardiness, as Christians.

Flying home

For the record, Christian Malaysians are among the citizens who are flying in from all over the world to vote in this coming election.

If jet lag and the polling queue conspired to keep them away from Mass on that day, they are no more sinners than the man in East Malaysia who chooses the ‘pondok pilihan' over an ‘attap' house of worship because the ‘sampan' can only do so much on 5 May.

One Bersih activist will leave Sydney on May 4 morning, and return within days to her job. Another from London will arrive on Saturday, and catch the return flight on Monday.

Christians seem to forget that the very man whose name has been given to their faith was himself a politician.

He fought against the rulers of his time, railed at the temples of government, and in the end defied Pontius Pilate himself, who begged Christ for a reason that would allow him to set free the rabble-rouser.

Ultimately, to set the example for the rest of us, Jesus voted with his life, so we may live, to do the right thing in his name, to cast our ballot, even on a Sunday, and to think of all Malaysians, not just Christians, as we put cross to paper.

Only a record voter turnout, in excess of 85 percent of the roll, can bring about any meaningful change, and Christians must count in that number this Sunday.

If by his example, Jesus did not tell us to do the right thing this coming Sabbath, we must be God forsaken.

WILLIAM DE CRUZ is a Christian Malaysian based in Australia. He has returned to Malaysia to vote in GE13.

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