Politics and religion a heady mix

Politics and religion a heady mix

Malaysiakini letter by Anushka Anastasia Solomon | Sep 3, 08

“… All mankind is of one author, and is one volume…”

                                        –For Whom the Bell Tolls, John Donne.

I read with interest what Lim Guan Eng said about not wanting Malaysia to be a theocratic society, whether Islamic or Christian.

His vision is akin to the Father of the United States, George Washington, who maintained the place of each man, woman and child under the olive tree. He refused to be coerced.

Religion ought to be a personal matter between man and God. Otherwise, it becomes a freak show of power and politics as in recent years has happened in both the United States and Malaysia.

So politicised is religion in the United States, that the two men running for president of the United States were invited to a game show type Christian forum at the Saddleback Church.

The grand prize being – the evangelical Christian vote. Both nominees were invited to discuss their faith before Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life.

John McCain’s answers were in sync with the expectations of evangelicals. He answered ‘A’ is for Apple and emerged in the eyes of some, the blue eyed boy of the faith.

Barack Obama’s answers evinced, for me, a man wrestling with faith in some of the more complex and contemporary issues facing us today in the areas of God and government.

The Bible exhorts us to be living stones, hence the application of faith to life has the Lord as the epicenter and cornerstone.

However, in America today, the convert will find a menu of the Christian faith, each vying with the other for ‘political and religious correctness’.

As I observe religion play out in America, I recognise the wisdom of heeding Lim Guan Eng’s vision for Malaysia. I am loath to see religion become the diabolical possession of the well-heeled instead of divine blessing upon those who are poor in spirit.

Looking back, a person of faith would have to acknowledge that both Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Guan Eng have suffered for and in their faith, both men and their families have been persecuted, and both Malaysians continue to make great contributions to Malaysia.

I regret that once I painted Anwar Ibrahim with the same brush as former PM Mahathir Mohamad and Abdullah Badawi. Now, watching, Anwar and his family, battling persecution within their own faith, from fellow Muslims, I find my faith strengthened.

Islam is not the religion of my faith, but Anwar Ibrahim and his family have demonstrated the integrity of their personal faith with its impact on moral character. If we say we worship and honor God, then our lives and character would reflect Him.

Who am I to judge God’s work in my fellowman? It is my own salvation that I should work on with fear and trembling. God has His own mysterious ways of working.

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