Why Christian Prayer Alone During the Oath Taking Ceremony of A Government? By Father Dr. Anand Muttungal


A question that comes to our mind is that why should there be a Christian prayer alone during the oath taking ceremony of the Mizo National Front (MNF) Government in Mizoram. The act gains significance because the whole minority community in the Country is arguing to establish secular values in the Country. The decision of the MNF to have a religious atmosphere in the oath taking ceremony with singing of gospel and reading of verses from the Bible followed by the national anthem will definitely have a long bearing in the secular fabric of the Country in the long run. A question that needs to be asked here is that, will this act not fuel further, the policy of religious appeasement of various Governments?
India faces a greater threat to its integrity and secular credentials from the religious oriented activities of various Governments. It is seen through spending the money of the tax payers for the up keeping of religious places, celebration of various festivals, naming various development projects and introducing rituals in foundation stone laying ceremony or inauguration of various projects etc. The citizens with secular thoughts have always been objecting such activities to protect the secular credentials of our Country and the Constitution of India.
It is a true fact that even though the Preamble to the Constitution asserted that India is a secular nation, neither India's constitution nor its laws defines the relationship between religion and state. The laws implicitly require the state and its institutions to recognise and accept all religions, enforce parliamentary laws instead of religious laws, and respect pluralism and no official state religion. The Article 25 (1) of the Indian Constitution guaranteed freedom of faith to every individual under the personal domain.
The decision of the MNF party to introduce Christian religious activities during the oath taking ceremony to constitute the establishment of the Government in Mizoram will exhilarate the religious appeasement policy of various Governments. The very fact of religious activity during oath taking will highlight the fundamental or appeasement nature of the MNF Government. The secular values of the country should be kept above everything. The MNF might argue that the state has majority of Christians but what about other states where other religions are in majority?
Protecting the secular values is one of the most important duties of every Indian not only by the non-minorities. The secular credentials of the Indian Constitution demands that religion be kept for the personal domain. It demands that all religious activities be kept away from all social and constitutional activities that involves people of all faiths. Religious activities must be done in religious functions not in Government functions. The MNF decision to introduce in oath taking ceremony of the Government has put a wrong notion into the minds of millions of Indians. If any Government feels to introduce invoking the blessings of the Lord then it should be all religion prayer. I have taken part in many such all religion prayers, it only strengthens the secular credential of the Country and personal bond between peoples. www.franand.com
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