The Two Major Foundations of Ethics: Hamaduruism and Deontology
In ethics there are two major branches. This article argues that Sri Lanka is overwhelmed by just one of these, Hamaduru Ethics – with apologies to the few upright Hamadurus who do not fit this generalization. Most of us practise this. It is formally known as Utilitarian Ethics. It is the norm for people in authority such as Hamadurus, village headmen, and other religious leaders (especially in free churches where the pastor is god). Their authority carries their decisions, and its basis is utility – which often in Sri Lanka is the majority group’s utility. It is used to suppress dissent of any kind, and aggrandize privileges for themselves, going so far as murdering minorities.
In Hamaduru Ethics we examine how many people are benefitted by an ethics decision and how many adversely. On these considerations, we decide on what is good for the majority and that becomes the right thing for us to do. The Sinhala-only Act, the non-implementation of the 13th Amendment, the impunity as well as the pardoning of those who murdered Tamils, the multi-billion thefts in government, and the self-rewarding by politicians like giving themselves cars, huge salaries and their wives jobs as their Personal Assistants, are all signs of the dominant hold that Hamaduru Ethics has on Sri Lanka – there is no formal ethics in these Hamaduru-like decisions bereft of morality. Hamadurus plant temples in Tamil areas and supervise the beating up of minorities in the name of religion. It allows us to go by the will of the majority. Hamaduru ethics therefore tends to be arbitrary and unfair and ignores all human rights considerations. Even our Supreme Court of political appointees protects the system. Good Sinhalese rooted in the law are sidelined. An example is the late Elmore Perera. Others (the good cowards) are cowed into silence.
Negation of Hamaduruism
A real incident from the Chino Police Station in California is used as an argument against Utilitarianism or Hamaduruism (Taken from Hoole, Hoole and Hoole, Ethics for Professionals: An Internationalist, Human Rights Perspective, Cognella Press, San Diego, 2018). A woman who had been assaulted complained to the Chino police who insisted she should undress and allow photos to be taken in various postures of her injuries. These photographs were then reproduced and circulated among other policemen who derived much pleasure from them. The complainant went to the US Court of Appeals and prevailed over the police. However, the utilitarian absurdly argues that the complainant’s violation of rights was far outweighed by the pleasure derived by the many policemen who had viewed her nude photographs. Reductio ad absurdum; quod erat demonstrandum. [The thesis of Hamaduruism has been reduced to the absurd; its error demonstrated]. But that was in America with a strong judiciary, and this is Sri Lanka without dispassionate thinking among the people. Indeed, a Supreme Court Justice defended in open court the murder of a 12-year old in the Bindunuwewa Massacre. Who in Sri Lanka protested?
In contrast to Hamaduruism stands deontology – the ethics basis where we look at an authoritative book to decide what is right – the Bible, the Koran, law books, the constitution, ethics codes (yes there are such things), etc. It is the way of the modernist, repeatable decisions stripped of personal prejudice. This is why deontologists are called “The People of the Book.”
The diminution and destruction of Sri Lanka are owed to Hamaduruism – violation of the judicial process by the massacres and necrophilia on the beaches of Mullivaikal by Sri Lanka’s “heroic soldiers” who were subsequently promoted to the highest offices of our land, promotions of politically pliant judges, the sacking of Supreme Court Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, finding, the late irrepressible lawyer Elmore Perera in contempt of court based on the vague and flimsy “rude body language,” the pardoning of convicted murderers, the looting of the treasury through the bond scam and bribery, etc.
These outrages including the numerous anti-Tamil riots accompanied by murders and looting had the support of the 6.9 million people who voted for Gotabaya Rajapaksa. These events reeking of barbarism and savagery made the primitive majority of Sri Lankans (6.9 million in numbers!) happy. They were therefore sound ethical decisions by the yardstick of Hamaduruism.
Deontology protects us and the truth. For example, after I wrote about how the Church had approved Rs. 10 million each in cars for church officials, Bishop Dhilo Canagasabey ruled under Hamaduruism at the Standing Committee on which I was a member, that information from the committee must never go out. I asked him “By what rule?” The matter ended there in a triumph for deontology. Unfortunately, the new Bishop, Dushantha Rodrigo, also is going by the same secrecy rule imposed through fear. If a committee is honest in its work, it must not fear public scrutiny. Good sense tells us what is not to be talked about. It should never be a cover for misgovernance. Suppression of information is usually to hide unethical practices, even by Bishops.
Hamaduru Appointment of Incompetent Archdeacon
Right now, a Marxist who prefaces everything he says with “God’s Kingdom Greetings” has been appointed Archdeacon of Jaffna in the Anglican Church. He is big on talk but lacks common sense and Christian knowledge. He says in his assorted messages that
a) “Until the advent of colonialism there was peace between religions in our land,”
b) “the church is a cult” (A cult by Merriam-Webster Dictionary is a ‘religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious.’) His diocesan council resolution declaring the Anglican Church a cult received Bishop Rodrigo’s assent and thereby became official policy,
c) “We must replace Jesus with God,” – that is, move from a Christocentric Faith to a Theocentric Faith,
d) “You are saying ‘Jesus is coming, Jesus is coming,’ but he has come and gone,”
e) “Your going to heaven depends on whether you did more good than bad,” and
f) Jesus was born into the ordinary family of Mary and Joseph and did not come from the skies.”
He has denied saying some of these things but my wife has or I have heard him.
We can argue. For no one has a faith thrust upon him. However, a church is a community of believers of shared faith voluntarily coming together and is governed by a constitution. These 6 statements are all a violation of deontology, against the Constitution of the Church. Anglican Deontology rests on it. Therefore, the Archdeacon is totally unfit as an Anglican leader and was dumped on Jaffna because of personal friendship with the Bishop. It was a Hamaduru decision to make an unfit person our Archdeacon – a person who probably is amply qualified to be a Hindu priest if Hindus want him. The Bishop’s decision follows the pattern of the Rajapaksas using Tamils to reward Douglas Devananda by making him a Tamil Minister.
The worst example of Hamaduru management was 19th June, 2022. As President of the Jaffna Christian Union, this Archdeacon invited Prof. K.T. Ganeshalingam who was elected Dean of Arts in Jaffna. That same faculty had successfully campaigned to defeat The Rev. Fr. Dr. G. Pilendran asking how a Christian can head a Jaffna University faculty. The same people have now elected as Dean this man Ganeshalingam. Something surely is wrong with Jaffna because of who Ganeshalingam is. Who is he?
Ganeshalingam’s wife (about 20 years ago) went on a pilgrimage to India arranging for a minor girl from the hill country to see to “his needs.” She became pregnant. He took her for an abortion but the period for a legal abortion was passed. The police took him into custody. He was a big shot in the Tigers’ Pongu Thamil extravaganzas. The Tigers had no sense of deontology. When their own man in Valvettithurai made his daughter’s friend pregnant, they put him in a bunker for three months and then chased him off to India.
But when some three workmen unrelated to the Tigers going to a Tiger camp made some girls there pregnant, the workmen were asked to lie on the street and shot in the back a la the army’s Mullivaikal style massacres. The women were Kadal Purakkal (the Tigers’ female naval force of Sea Pigeons). They lived in their Valvettithurai camp that was a former army camp the Tigers had taken over. The matter incensed the Tigers who were pretending to sexual purity. The women were also presumably killed. However, I am unable to verify this.
Now the Tigers had their man behind bars for the statutory rape of minor. His conviction would have deflated Pongu Thamil. They successfully persuaded the legal system in which they had a hand to release Ganeshalingam. Women’s groups tried hard to make Ganeshalingam pay. They failed. They regret to this day that they could not stand up against the Tigers.
Ganeshalingam is a big man in Jaffna now, invited everywhere for everything. He was invited to St. James’ Church Nallur today (19 June) to speak on “The Role of Religious Bodies in the Present Politico-Economic Circumstances – A viewpoint.” What a guy to preach to Religious Bodies – especially a Christian Church. Fortunately, the event attracted only about 10 persons as many in Church had come to know of the man and his exploits.
Thus it was that Ganeshalingam stood before the St. James’ Church altar and held forth about the Tiger days when we managed despite the embargo, how we bicycled when there was no fuel, and talked a lot about himself and became a hero to the few young Christians present who knew nothing of his jailbird days, or of the time of the Tigers’ rule, all subject to manipulated heritage histories. He said it is time for a revolution. Our Archdeacon seems to realize his vision for “Liberation Theology” through a return to the days of Tiger misrule and oppression using Ganeshalingam as his cat’s paw.
In fact, the church is truly ruled by Hamaduruism because our Church Constitution’s Chapter 25, Canons 1 and 2, separate church property “from the common uses of mankind” (like a public seminar by a Hindu child-abuser in front of the altar). It also separates by Canon 9 the use of church buildings and furniture which are granted for “the celebration of services.”
At the Cathedral, the Bishop’s seat in Colombo, food is served, and concerts held in Hamaduru style violating the awe and reverence for God that private worshippers in church come for. The Sri Lankan nation is intrinsically lawless, going just by the unprosecuted murders of Tamils. So the Sinhalese Church goes Hamaduru style, lawlessly ignoring our constitution with parties and Ganeshalingams inside church. Being yoked to the Sinhalese hurts the Tamil people’s sense of good governance and commitment to deontology. What our Hamaduru Bishops started has now spread to Jaffna churches after this Archdeacon was appointed. The Sinhalese style is not welcome here by Christians used to reverence in Church, and have a tradition of deontology – we read the Constitution for decisions. Our churches are not canteens or dining halls as the Bishop’s Cathedral is.
The Sacking of the Jaffna Archdeacon and Resignation of Bishop Rodrigo
Deontologically this Archdeacon of Jaffna needs to be disciplined. He is the Bishop’s representative in Jaffna. As such he ensures that other priests are going by deontological administration. Yet he cannot do simple things under him right. He had a parish AGM that lacked the constitutionally required notice. The Accounts were sneaked in at the last minute; with what mistakes and camouflaged frauds I do not know. He had an anonymous resolution for a new diocese and Anglican Province that the Church Secretary in Colombo, Arun Gamalatge, wanted. He had no proposer or seconder.
How can Bishop Rodrigo whose best appointee cannot correctly administer a small parish, administer a Province? I believe the Bishop stopped the AGM after I protested but few know that. He really had no choice, given the deontologically justified illegalities. Now the Bishop has true choice in sacking the man and rectifying his error in making that terrible appointment.
For all these lapses Bishop Rodrigo should also resign, including for not revising the Tamil prayerbook. He has ignored a diocesan resolution from some 4 years ago for immediate revision. That prayerbook forces us Tamils to address God as “him without purity.” Would the Sinhalese have tolerated such an uncorrected mistake in their prayerbook? He could have, but failed to order the parishes to cross-out that blasphemous line by hand.
I state that Bishop Rodrigo is insensitive to Tamils and our needs, and has acted illegally in not “immediately” revising the prayerbook. These make a strong case for a separate Anglican Church for Tamils. Retired Bishop Kenneth Fernando, like the Sinhalese communalists who tell Tamils “Go to India if you do not like it here,” suggested that Tamils should join the Church of South India. That CSI is unable to pay pensions to its retired clergy. Is it a case of getting rid of us from the Church so as to keep all of the Rs. 20 billion wealth of the Church in investments alone for the Sinhalese?
Contempt: Are our Courts Administered by Hamadurus or Deontologists:
Sri Lankan institutions suffer from Hamaduruism. No one dares to question a chairman. Committees instead of advising and correcting a chairman, affirm all decisions by the chair, thereby giving democratic cover to illegal operations. Even auditors and the Supreme Court fulfil the same function. An ongoing example is the experience of Naganada Kodituwakku. Rightly or wrongly he has accused 10 justices including the Chief Justice of Bribery. In a separate case he asked that one of the other judges handle the case since her sitting in judgement would violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which we have acceded to. It guarantees a free and fair access to justice. The CJ has been refused so far, but Kodituwakku being Kodituwakku keeps hammering the justices on this. Our Supreme Court according to the Constitution in the highest court. Its decisions on contempt matters are final. However, questioning the Supreme Court is not a misapplication of deontology. For, ICCPR runs counter to the Constitution of Sri Lanka which guarantees us a fair trial. To argue “I am the Chief Justice. I can decide if you are in contempt” is Hamaduruism. Nothing is lost by the Chief Justice’s recusal. A lot is lost in the appearance of fairness and by our democracy when recusal is refused. Good sense must prevail.
The right to appeal to a higher body is badly abused using Hamaduruism. So much so it is common knowledge that a judge in Trincomalee harshly keeps insulting in open court a litigant and his lawyer who successfully appealed to the High Court. The two judges who heard the appeal impugned the judge’s decision as “rubbish” and ordered the judge to conduct an inquiry before taking a decision again. According to an affidavit filed before the Bar Council by young lawyer Prashandini Uthayakumar, this judge gave a decision in her favour in open court, and then rewrote it in his chambers because he is partial to a lawyer on the other side. Two other lawyers, R. Thirukumaranathan and Mohan Nagarajah, have also given separate affidavits on this judge’s partiality.
Will the Bar Council go with Deontology or Hamaduruism? If it goes for Hamaduruism and does nothing to the judge such as debarment, will the judge now begin ruling against the three lawyers in all their cases? That is the fear that lawyers have in crossing this judge. Judicial bullying from the bench attacking those who appeal against a decision is really what brings contempt upon the judiciary and all its judgements.
Unfortunately, the Christian church, the source of deontology has sunk into Hamaduruism. The Bishops and church elders had better straighten out this mess we have instead of creating and administering a province through their home-grown incompetent leadership we have. They must stop refusing to appoint anyone good to church office who points out the leadership’s faulty decisions.
The Sri Lankan nation should begin educating at the school level our children so that they are passionately for deontology and the rule of law, and totally against Hamaduruism. This means children must be avid readers to implement deontology. Or we will have political suck-ups and sycophants as our justices, attorneys-general who will file selective charges rather than by the book, administrators who do what they like for their friends and suck-ups rather than what is best for institution they administer, ministers who steal, and churches and universities full of sexual predators.
Till then we will have leaders wearing shallow insignias of western sophistication. They will know only the bailas in Los Angeles, own mansions in the West (from our stolen money of course), swig whiskey, toast with wine, chant in Latin and throw about Latin phrases in court, and speak English. But they will be glorified Hamadurus in fact.