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Bias of mainstream English language press on religious issues in Sri Lanka.

Sweden, April 8 -- On April 5, 2012 the 'Island' editorial echoing the views of a well-known University teacher and a Buddhist, Dr. Attanayake M. Herath called for the banishing of male chauvinism from the Sri Dalada Maligawa and its precincts and stated that since a woman bore Prince Siddhartha who as the Buddha gave utmost respect to women there was no reason why women should be debarred from taking care of the Buddha's tooth relic.

The issue here is not Dr. Attanayake's views but why the 'Island' and other mainstream English newspapers have not shown similar enthusiasm for reform when it comes to matters involving non-Buddhist establishments - problems that are glaringly patent to anyone.

In the case of alleged male chauvinism in the Dalada Maligawa, the 'Island's editorial focus is not only limited but is narrow and lacks balance. If the editor takes the trouble to open his eyes he will see there is another institution of a much bigger size where almost every kind of prejudice is entrenched. It is universal in its spread and has its tentacles also in Sri Lanka. I am referring to the Roman Catholic Church and in particular to the Papacy.

Let me refresh the mind of the editor and those who shares his views. Jesus Christ it is claimed was born in Bethlehem (Palestine) and technically an Asian. But the Papacy has been exclusively European since its very inception nearly 2000 years ago. Despite God's and Jesus Christ's love for humanity regardless of race, religion and colour, the managers of the Papacy have found it extremely difficult throughout its history to share that goodwill with others who are non-european when it comes to electing the head of the Roman Catholic Church at the Vatican.

No Indian, Chinese (or any other Asian) or Black African has been deemed fit to adorn that office. It is therefore no wonder that the Chinese Government in defense of its sovereignty and national pride refuses to allow a Chinese Catholic to owe allegiance to the Vatican. Likewise the Chinese Government refuses to recognize any appointment of a Chinese as a Bishop or Cardinal by the Vatican.

That is left for the Chinese Catholics to decide and not for foreigners or institutions outside the country. It is a good precedent for the rest of the world to follow. The Chinese example is a reminder, particular to leaders of Asian Christianity to learn to stand on their feet and grow unaided.

Their servile mindset and subservience to western colonial trappings is the chief cause for the failure and rejection of Christianity in Asia. Other Asians have still some pride left in them, despite 500 years of western colonial repressive rule in Asia.

The recent UNHCR vote at Geneva is a good example of Asian sense of togetherness in adversity and shared past under western domination. Almost all Asian countries comprising Buddhist, Muslim and even One Christian i.e. Philippines, bar one i.e. India, stood together as one and rallied round a fellow Asian nation. It was also a public display that Asian nations support each other, especially when nations outside of the group are targeting and bullying them.

In contrast almost all the Western European nations with Christian heritage, most of them with an indefensible track record of crimes against humanity, human rights violations and theft of national assets, during their colonial rule in Asia, Africa and Latin America, closed ranks and voted against a small Asian nation which was fighting for its survival against a ruthless band of terrorists. The inquisitorial and colonial mindset still governs western nations.

As for male chauvinism it would seem that a woman hasn't a ghost of a chance of ever ascending the pinnacle of the Vatican. The world is unlikely to witness a female Pope in the foreseeable future despite incessant western rhetoric of gender equality.

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Publication:Asian Tribune (India)
Date:Apr 8, 2012
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