Articles, Opinions & Views: Keep our places of worship out of the election - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Death or Glory
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“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't

Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,

Lord, It needn't be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Keep our places of worship out of the election - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Malaysiakini : “Religious ideas, supposedly private matters between man and god, are in practice always political ideas.” - Christopher Hitchens, ‘The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish’
COMMENT | The Council of Churches issued various messages – coded – urging the flock to vote, with the diocese of Melaka and Johor bishop Bernard Paul going so far as to say, “This GE14 is that moment to move for a better Malaysia and a better future to create a nation that we can be proud of and die for .”Really? What nation is not worth dying for now? So all those state security personnel, they are what, just living on ‘dedak’? With all these mainstream Christian leaders urging the flock to vote and opposition politicians wearing their religious beliefs on their sleeves, is it any wonder that someone like Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor reminds civil servants to beware of the purported evangelical wing of the DAP?
The “evangelical” meme has been a staple of right-wing Malay social media ever since certain politicians and their churches made extremely careless remarks in their exuberance for regime change in the last election. Since then, this idea of a surreptitious evangelical invasion has gained currency among the Umno elite and this new front of attack against the DAP has made the old meme of “chauvinism” obsolete.
Opposition types like to go about how China is bailing out the Umno hegemon and that the China deals are an attempt to subvert the sovereignty of this country but maybe the Umno hegemon in its latest attack against the “evangelicals” is taking a page out of the playbook of how China deals with Christians in their country. From the Vatican/China deal to the policing of underground churches in the motherland, the idea of the state imposing control on the religious practices of non-Muslims could take on a new turn here in Malaysia where the state already defines Islam.
When I said, caretaker integrity minister Paul Low was giving bad advice to the Christian community, I meant it – “What this does is give pro-Umno propagandists the opportunity to further the narratives that Islam is under threat and that opposition parties are attempting to destabilise the country by religious means. Using religion as a political power tool always results in self-inflicted wounds.”
It is, of course, convenient for the Umno hegemon to lump every Christian, regardless of denomination, into the “evangelical” threat because that is exactly how propaganda works. You know what makes propaganda work more efficiently? When you supply propagandists with ammunition. Ammunition like asking the flock to be polling and counting agents, which is a direct intervention into the political process.
There is nothing wrong with Christians, Hindus, and however you self-identify, engaging in the political process but you are just giving Umno propagandists ammunition when church leaders urge their flock to directly engage in the political process, and in substance, choose a side. When you do that, you become political targets.
You really think that the Umno state would not use this as an opportunity to deflect and engage in propaganda operations against religious institutions in this country? Or do these non-Muslim religious leaders think that because possible victory is at hand, they can play fast and loose with their words. For heaven's sake, look at how the state polices the Islamic faith.
Dangerous times
These are dangerous times for non-Muslims in this country. We are heading into an election where we could finally have a two-party system. We could finally change the direction of this country. This is an opportunity for the opposition and those who support it to demonstrate that the secular impulses of the opposition is stronger than the religious imperatives of the Umno establishment, even though we have in the opposition many from the Umno establishment.
Because of the compromised composition of the opposition, the only real shield we have against the religious imperatives of the state is for the opposition to keep a strict separation between mosque and state, church and state, and temple and state. This is not the time for non-Muslim religious leaders of any religion to step into the political arena. This is a time of circumspection. This is a time when non-Muslims religious leaders should be encouraging brotherly love - to use Abrahamic nomenclature - and "not carpooling and overcoming obstacles", which is exactly the strategies of the opposition.
Mind you, those are good things, but non-Muslim religious leaders should be above the fray. Religious people will vote the way how they choose to vote, but this is not the time for non-Muslim religious leaders to overtly take sides. This is not the time for non-Muslim religious leaders to decide that it okay to step into the political arena and supply the faithful with religious bromides and silently pray for regime change in a country where the Muslim population is at war with itself.
Is it any wonder that the average Malay, already narcotised with propaganda of religion and race, views the inclusion of church politics as anything other than an attempt to subvert ‘bangsa’ and ‘agama’ in this country? Indeed, this is not the time for the non-Muslim religious leaders to think they have the upper hand because the Malay polity is split. This is not the time for non-Muslim religious leaders to issues overt messages of regime change merely because they think the regime is weak. I am just waiting for the Hindu/Buddhist (a difference of degree) leadership, whoever they are, to come out and make some equally obnoxious statement and this would complete the trifecta of religious stupidity that infects the political landscape of this country.
In ‘Hudud, Christians and religion already in politics’, I argued that there are times when we must cross that line between church and state. However, we have to be very careful if we cross that line and timing is everything.
Non-Muslim religious organisations making overt claims of regime change is a foolhardy endeavour, especially when the ruling regime in such peril, the Malay-Muslim community is in a state of agitation and when nobody knows how this election will turn out.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 8:02 AM  

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