By W. Vishnu Gupta –
It is not a secret that Buddhism is the dominant religion in Sri Lanka, and it has been the major strength of the nation since her inception. Though it is not palatable to certain extremist groups guided by people like Jerome and Abdul Razik, the Buddhist values and thoughts are intertwined with every aspect of governance and the identity of the country. The Hindus have always, except for some intermittent periods of Indian invasions co-existed peacefully with the Buddhists since time immemorial. Also, none should forget that the insurrections of JVP and LTTE were instigated and lead by two embittered Christians, Wijeweera and Prabhakaran. The conduct of Jerome Fernando an embittered heretic Christian preacher is no different from that of the Portuguese heretic Christians alluded by Father Fernao De Queyroz, in the book “The Temporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon” which was compiled by 1687. Father Fernao wanted heretic preachers of Christianity to realize how cruel and tyrannical they had been towards the people of Ceylon, and how their behaviour had discredited the faith. Heretic preacher Jerome Fernando apparently has not read or learnt from the experience of erudite noble Christian fathers like father Fernao De Queyroz.
Wijeweera, Prabhakaran and Jerome fit very well into the definition of heretic Christians who believe creating conflict among peace loving people is acceptable to achieve political goals, they tend to use the demographic differences among people specifically religion, language, ethnicity, income, and age to create mayhem and disorder in the society. The only differences are firstly, Wijeweera and Prabhakaran believed in guns and Jerome believed in the use of incendiary words. Secondly, Wijeweera and Prabhakaran recruited young, unsuspecting embittered marginalized youth to achieve their political ambitions while Jerome has recruited privileged hedonists of the society to achieve his political goals. Jerome with the gift of the gab, has been very successful in mixing truth with error, some pure water with some poison and presents it as truth and wholly drinkable. However, poison is destructive and deadly, – not pure, and it is not kosher. Who are these hedonist followers of Jerome, it is not that difficult to identify these Sri Lankans who value pleasure over other goals and those who pursue excess pleasure and encourage others especially youth to include these traits in their moral profiles. It is reported that Jerome’s congregation is filled with powerful politicians, cricketers, high priced lawyers, businessmen, and political hacks. These are maladaptive hedonists, a lot of them are alleged to be in the parliament of Sri Lanka and the judiciary system and hence it is safer to assume that Jerome is well protected even if he commits any heinous crime in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, it seems that these maladaptive hedonists have become the pawns of nefarious external forces keen on gaining the control of power corridors in Sri Lanka already. They will hardly make any sacrifices in social relationships, a bunch of heretics mostly consists of pretentious Buddhists, Hindus, and Christians. Consequently, the culture of corrupt and maladaptive political leadership of the country is blessed by their heretical leader Jerome, hence they will assign less moral relevance to protecting others’ well-being, self control, and general following of societal rules. This lay conception of hedonism implies that maladaptive pleasure seekers such as politicians, legal luminaries, cricketers, businessmen and many other people in high places have a different moral compass. The personality traits of this hideous lot in any society will certainly blur what is right and wrong. One can assume, prevalence of drug related crimes, failure of judiciary, robberies, sexual crimes, lapses in security services and family violence in Sri Lanka are unmistakeably linked to maladaptive hedonists who promotes heresy.
It is customary for Sri Lankan politicians to use Buddhism and Buddhists as the punching bag to gain power. Two prominent Christian families (Bandaranaike, Jayewardene) founding fathers of the traditions of abusing Buddhism and hoodwinking the Buddhist voters have championed sustenance of hedonism. An incisive analytical inquiry into their family roots and accumulation of enormous wealth under colonial masters will conform they were the foundation of the prevailing maladaptive hedonist society in Sri Lanka. SWRDB and JRJ effectively used Buddhism and Buddhists as the punching bags to achieve their political aims while assigning less moral relevance and protecting others’ well-being since 1940’s. All other political leaders (Students of SWRDB and JRJ school of thoughts) since then have followed the art of swindling Buddhists and systematically strengthened the hedonist society under various pretexts and by setting Buddhists against Christian or Hindu or Muslim minorities in the country. It seems, Jerome has been carrying out his nefarious activities and the strategy of hedonists without making any unwanted waves until last week when he has made some inflammatory and derogatory remarks about Lord Buddha, Buddhists, Hinduism, and Islam. A Heretic working hand in glove with the hedonists will never understand the meaning of harmonious co-existence different beliefs systems as he is consumed by eternal pleasure.
The response from the political elites were somewhat laughable and lukewarm, it is not surprising because the corrupt politicians are alleged to be the leading pillars of maladaptive hedonistic community. Apparently, none were serious about the poisonous words of Jerome, nonchalant and foot-dragging and willy-nelly response of President Wickramasinghe, was shocking. He just demanded a report from security heads another familiar ruse. According to Daily mirror of May 15th, 2023, Wickremesinghe has:
“Advised the senior security heads to probe into Jerome’s controversial statements against the religions as well as his past preachings. The National Security Head immediately handed over the investigation to the CID Head and asked for a team to commence an extensive probe against Pastor Jerome Fernando.”
Likewise, opposition leader Sajith waited few days to respond to Jerome’s incendiary words, and most likely he was responding to the former MP Harrison who left SJB to join Wickremesinghe. Supposedly, Sajith is very saddened and failed to demand swift legal actions.
“I am extremely saddened by the statement made by this pastor, as a person who believes in Buddhism and is dedicated to safeguarding the religion. We are living in an era where religious and ethnic harmony is needed more than ever before. Therefore, the irresponsible statement made by Pastor Jerome will unleash religious violence, hatred and it will release anger. Buddhism is a global religion. It promotes love to all beings, good behavior. The truth in Buddhism teaches to respect other religions. No one has the right to insult Buddhism,” Mr. Premadasa said.”
Mahinda Rajapaksa too responded to the accusations leveled against him and his family for having alleged links to Jerome and another similar controversial person known as Uebert Angel. Referring to an official meeting, Mahinda is reported to have said:
“It was a cordial meeting during which both the Pastors conducted a small prayer meeting with me and my wife. Since it was an official meeting, the pictures were released to the media. I have met Pastor Jerome and Uebert Angel only during that instance and have held no other meetings with them nor do I have any personal connections with either,”
What a coincidence Shiranthi Rajapaksa and Namal’s wife also have attended this cordial meeting which included a small prayer meeting alleged to have held in a private residence. Namal’s response was equally repugnant and hilarious. A family picture with Jerome and Uebert circulating in the media deepens the mystery and Rajapaksas must know that “ A picture is worth a thousand words.” Also, perhaps the “smoking gun” has come to surface due to the inflammatory utterance of Jerome and his link to Uebert Angel, who was implicated in an alleged money laundering and gold smuggling scam by International News Channel, Al Jazeera.
Interestingly, Wickremesinghe was informed by the intelligent service about 1500 lunch packet (bread and coconut sambal plus dhal) order received by Colombo University Canteen promptly, but it is strange that he was not informed of Jerome’s activities and his whereabouts.
It is questionable, why our prominent politicians have failed to say that Jerome should be arrested first and brought before the court of law as he has clearly violated the laws that prevent damages to harmonious co-existence of all religions in Sri Lanka. The zeal of politicians and the rigour of law applied to arrest Sepal Amerasinghe is missing in this instance. The rule of law must prevail, those who are driven by political aspirations should not be allowed to hide their affiliations with nefarious heretic institutions protected by maladaptive hedonistic community. None should be permitted to sow seeds of discord among Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, and Muslims in Sri Lanka. Applicable laws in the “Chapter XV” of penal code on offences relating to religion must be adhered to. At the beginning of the chapter, Article 290 states:
“Whoever destroys, damages, or defiles any place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons, with the intention of thereby insulting the religion of any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage, or defilement as an insult to their religion, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine, or with both.”
Furthermore, Article 291B of the same penal code has stated emphatically that:
“Whoever with the deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of persons, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations, insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both,’
Despite the absence of a legal definition of “hate speech” in the country, Sri Lankans especially the double-faced politicians, double-faced media outlets and the fake social activists should be aware of, that Sri Lanka is a signatory to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act of 2007. Apparently, the above unscrupulous lot have failed to pay attention to what the country has promised to the international community. Article 3(1) says:
“No person shall propagate war or advocate national, racial, or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence. Article 3(3) further states “A person found guilty of committing an offence under subsection (1) …. .. shall on conviction by the High court, be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.”
Whatever the excuse given by those who commit sacrilege, the application of law should not be treated trivial. It behoves us to study and analyze future court judgements because under comparable situations, where others including politicians, clerics and civilians alleged to have committed similar crimes falling within the domain of penal code of Sri Lanka and ICCPR Act of 2007, have been rarely apprehended. In Sepal Amerasinghe’s situation the authorities were swift to act. The same standard must be observed and applied in the case of Jerome without waiting for the report of security heads as requested by President Ranil Wickremesinghe or without waiting for the character certificates from the hedonist leaders. The learned lawmakers, the attorney genera department and the law enforcement institutions should not fail to ensure equality before the law as it means the law should apply to all people equally regardless of their status in society; rich or poor, young, or old, irrespective of their gender, race, culture, religion, or any other attribute.
Jerome’s whereabouts must be known to the hedonistic elites in the country, and these heretics have been wearing Buddhist, Hindu, and Christin labels publicly to swindle the voters. Jerome has made a major and untimely mistake with his tirade against Buddhism, Buddhists, Hinduism, and Islam. His purported visit to Malaysia and delayed return to the island would have been planned and orchestrated by the hedonist elites in high places. His confession
“I preached the gospel truth. I was preaching what was in the Bible. It is still there in the Bible. I have done nothing wrong. I want to yet apologize to my Buddhist brothers, Hindu brothers, Muslim brothers and sisters, if my words by any means have hurt you emotionally. I humbly apologize to the Buddhist clergy in Sri Lanka.”,
reported in the news papers on 21st May 2023 confirms he is a heretic and most likely the apology is a stunt and may have been concocted by the hedonist elites to conceal the link between Jerome, and maladaptive hedonists in the country.