21 September, 2020

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The Rule Of Tyranny And The Reign Of God: A Christmas Reflection

By Duleep de Chickera

 Bishop Duleep de Chickera

Bishop Duleep de Chickera

Partnerships in tyranny

Jesus was born under the rule of tyranny. Absolute power was held by the Roman Emperor who ruled conquered regions through local agents. Herod was one such agent. So long as he ensured that Roman supremacy and interests were not challenged in Judea and the Roman coffers were filled; no questions would be asked.

The combined oppression of the dominant and their pathetic agents imposed immense hardship on the people. They were harassed and relentlessly taxed to sustain the extravagant lifestyles of their rulers. They had no one to turn to. They were like sheep without shepherds. Herod was obsessed with pleasing Rome; and Rome obsessed with more dominance and wealth.

Wise visitors

The birth of Jesus disturbs Herod. He fears a rival, consults advisers and seeks information from the eastern dignitaries who had arrived in search of a new born king. A violent intention is concealed behind an honourable request; he too wished to worship the new born king. Religious pretence and hidden deceit; these things go together.

The visitors from the east are wise; they read the stars. Having encountered Jesus, they are inspired by a dream to avoid Herod. They depart another way. The wise do not cooperate with deceit. Wisdom and integrity; these things go together.

This measured resistance defeats the guile of a ruthless ruler. The helpless baby is saved. He grows into the Prince of Peace.

Wise behaviour of the moment facilitates the emerging reign of God. These things go together.

Prudent Parents

The story then takes a tragic turn. Herod reacts with anger. He orders the inhumane killing of all male babies under the age of two in and around Bethlehem. “Kill many to get one and so warn the rest” is the method of the insecure tyrant. It is a sign of desperation within the rule of tyranny. Desperate, violent rulers and helpless suffering masses; these things go together.

A dream inspires Jesus’ parents. They use their common sense to secure safety in neighbouring Egypt. Others may have done likewise. This is how Jesus became a refugee. Common sense and the protection of life; these things go together. They inevitably influence the emerging reign of God. This protected baby eventually replaces the death of tyranny with the way to truth and abundant life for all. The protected have potential to liberate; these things go together.

The nature of tyranny

The nature of tyranny is changeless. It is built on the tripod of greed, deception and violence; these things go together. They intoxicate and condition tyrants to disregard the common good. This makes them enemies of the people. They consequently lose the moral right to rule and the people then gain the moral right to defend their interests. Morality lost and gained; these things go together.

Limits to tyranny

But tyrants are not all powerful. They cannot tamper with the spirituality of wisdom and common sense. This combined spirituality cannot be easily bought over, intimidated or killed. It is as unique as universal human rights. It throbs within the human to clamour for human rights. Human spirituality and human rights; these things go together.

Transforming tyranny

Human spirituality is activated when the rule of tyranny spreads unabated. Human spirituality stirs the human conscience when the rule of tyranny steals human dignity. These trends go together.

Human spirituality formed and fed by wisdom and common sense becomes a form of resistance under the rule of tyranny. When sustained, this dynamic eventually makes the difference. It exposes greed, deception and violence and out-lives the tyrant to usher a better world. These things go together.

Christmas Hope

The Christmas hope is that the rule of tyranny is short lived. It will be replaced with the reign of God; “Peace on earth and goodwill to all.” The Christmas challenge is to make this happen, soon.  Christmas hope and Christmas challenge; these things go together. We cannot have the one without the other.

This is the Good News of Jesus Christ.

With Peace and Blessings to all

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Latest comments

  • 0
    1

    Why couldn’t Herod’s wife influence Him to change his Mind?

    • 4
      1

      HEROD might not had a wife, but many mistresses and visiting prostitutes like present day politicians.
      So, how many women he should listen to???????.

    • 2
      1

      Well – according to Christians everything is god’s will. So from Tsunamis to murders and little children dying in various wars – it is his wish and so must be the present regime. Parables are interesting but bear no meaning in reality.

      • 0
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        every bad thing is not he God’s wish. wrong interpretation???

      • 0
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        SO, ACCORDING TO BUDDHISTS ALL MURDERS, TSUNAMIES AND LITTLE CHILDREN DYING IS THEIR OWN FAULT; KARMA !!??

        POPULATION KEEPS INCREASING MANY FOLDS, WHERE ARE THESE INCARNATING FROM ??

        CAN PRESIDENT’S (CHRISTIAN) WIFE INFLUENCE HIM ?
        THEN WHO DOES ?!

  • 5
    0

    Are we witnessing the emergence of a Sri Lankan version of Bishop Desmond Tutu?

    Fearless, sincere & honest. Nobody can question his integrity.

    “Measured resistance defeats the guile of a ruthless ruler”. Just love it. Thank you Bishop Dullep de Chickera.

    Cheers!

    PS: Please expect relentless blackmailing of this honourable man in 2014 by BBS & their ilk.

  • 3
    0

    There are plenty of non-Buddhist “Desmond Tutus” what we need is one from the Buddhist clergy for the people to accept their message. But you are right Ben, if the Bishop speaks, he will be a target.

  • 1
    0

    “Kill many to get one and so warn the rest”

    This is what happened in Vanni under our tyrant Rajapakse’s and Italian Sonia’s orders to get Pirapakaran: Sri Lankan armed forces mercilessly butchered 147,000 innocent Tamil men, women and children and disposed of them without trace.

  • 3
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    Duleep de Chickera’s Christmas message will be interpreted by the despot as a call to revolt against the despot. Let’s pray for Duleep de Chickera’s safety.

  • 6
    0

    Thank you for keeping us in hope that tyranny does not last. But, the mills of God are grinding tool slowly for man. The tyrant will kill of too many before the mills finish their grind. Unfortunately, the tyrant has been able to manipulate spirituality to aid his cause. There are too many crooks among the prelates of the different faiths who have been bought over by the tyrant. These are difficult circumstances but as Gandhi, Mandela and others demonstrated, resistance can overcome tyrants and it is for a few good men like the Bishop to show the way. In the fight for justice and human rights we all belong to the same religion of humanity.

  • 4
    0

    Thank you Rev. Chickera for this timely piece. I wondered always why
    the SL intelligentsia is silent at the tyranny that takes place in the
    name of Governance, including the Friday Forum that is silent on all
    the other 6 days! Now I understand – “these things go together. We cannot have the one without the other.”

  • 0
    0

    A brilliant analogical message.

  • 0
    2

    After crucifixion Roman empire introduce new religion to its citizens base on the Jesus Christs teaching and it was named “Roman Catholic”. A political version of Christianity like Anglican, Islam and Sinhalese Buddhism. Take every possible action to convert whole world to roman Catholicism. Captured every land and kill every human who is against it. After protestant Christian variants are born in Britain. Roman Catholicism was almost driven out from Britain. It was rejected world wide. And new Pope bless Syrian rebels and expect peace for Syria from God. He should learn from our guy not to conduct church service in Christmas day until UN stop sponsoring rebels.

    Also love between Jesus and mary magdalene was so sweet. There are many Manuscripts regarding that

    http://www.answering-christianity.com/jesus_kissed_mary_magdalene.htm

    Amen Wadamu Rata Kamen Saha Namen

    • 0
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      JEsus had only a humanitarian movement to save poor people from corrupt ROmans. As the JEsus’s movement became a popular underground movement, it is the ROman kingdom that the Jesus’s movement a religion and it was called Catholicism Or pure religion (puritanism).

      Catholic church tried to influence every day thinking, governing the kingdom. As a Pootestant to that ANGLICAN CHRISTIANITY BEGAN.

      Read and learn instead of writing BULL$hit.

      • 0
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        yeah Jim softy, next time we will send everyone to you for guidance as you seem like the epitome of intelligence.

        • 0
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          Hi Tamil From North

          What do u think if I said Hinduism is another Harry Potter Story ?

      • 0
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        [Edited out]

        Please write instead of posting links – CT

    • 0
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      Therefore, quite recently `Gooo`ta `Booo`ta and his penguin

      kissed the Papa Khyber Pass .
      ______________

      Buddhism is no religion it is more of catholic conversion.(^o^)
      ______________________________

      “Three Pure Ones”.–Tào Té Chīng-6th Cent.BC. “Old Master” was the teacher of the Siddartha Gautama, better known as the Buddha, or was even the Buddha himself.[13][21]He is also revered as a deity in most religious forms of Taoist philosophy, which often refers to Laozi as Taishang Laojun, or “One of the Three Pure Ones”.

      1.”When goodness is lost, it is replaced by morality.”

      2.”The best people are like water, which benefits all things and does not compete with them. It stays in lowly places that others reject. This is why it is so similar to the Way.”—Laozi, Tao Te Ching
      __________________

      Siddhartha was brought up by his mother’s younger sister,

      So what happened to mom and dad???

      Sinhala Buddhist==Smelly Pincushion!

      • 0
        0

        I’ m sorry I couldn’t mention about Hinduism in my last comment.

        Sangam literature is a book like Harry Potter.

        • 0
          0

          Go try sell it for all it’s worth that is if you come out of your polmudda.
          JK wouldn’t bother to hear your comparison because Alexander the Great copied it by Homer I & O.
          scampy little rabis dog! Hooo.

    • 0
      0

      GOD

      We don’t need another god.

      We have been having lot of trouble through out the world since the human brain invented the idea of god.

      Go away.

      Mind your own business and leave the people alone particularly us in this forum.

      Please make yourself scarce.

      • 0
        0

        WHY GOD!
        Hello Veddah, people need Something/Someone other than themselves, to Blame/Thank for all the Bad/Good Things that happen to them due to Natural Causes. (I would have said ‘Kamma’ and ‘Niyama’ instead of ‘Natural Causes’, but Sinhala Buddhists tend to believe the Hindu concept of ‘Karma’ instead of the Buddhist, ‘Kamma’)

        • 0
          0

          Mr NV is a Muslim so what you tell cannot be understood by him.

  • 0
    0

    Here is a man of God speaking of tyranny. I hope the President got the message. Unfortunately he has a thick skull and nothing can penetrate.
    This is in total contrast with Cathoic Archbishop views.

  • 0
    0

    If Lord Jesus is around today, he would have had the backing of Cameron , Harper and Pillai….

    Seasons Greetings to all… Peace and a little more Dough to the Inhabitant population of Srilanka , the geat majority of whom are still the rural poor….

  • 0
    2

    Tyranny rests on GREED, VIOLENCE and DECEPTION.

    It is like advising Vatican.

    See the past and the present of the Vatican. GREED, DECEPTION and VIOLENCE is all there.

    the reason it wanted to make people believe that was GOD’s wish.

    Church is very good at preaching but not good at all following what they preach.

    • 3
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      Jimsofty the moron has spoken again. This is the bishop of the Anglican mission in Lanka. Why the hek are you talking about the Vatican? Vatican has nothing to do with the Anglican church of England.

      • 0
        0

        Tamil from the north

        “Jimsofty the moron has spoken again.”

        When did he stop speaking (typing)?

      • 0
        0

        ANGLICAN MISSION- IT is the first PROTESTANT GROUP that came against the Vatican which wanted to interfer in every thing that humans did. They involved in the man’s bedroom, they involved in governing the country. they said that every thing was GOD’s action.

        Because of that, the protestant group Anglican’s came.

        British Anglican Church is bankrupt. Archbishop left the job.

        It’s head is a woman from a dysfunctional family.

      • 0
        0

        How Come christian Church has 40,000 different denominations ?

        Anglican Church also was murderous at one point.

  • 0
    2

    “Human spirituality formed and fed by wisdom and common sense”

    How it is possible Wisdom to arise and Common sense to prevail when the Church says that Every thing is GOD’s wish.

    In order to common sense prevail and Wisdom to arise free thinking should be allowed. If ALmighty dominates every where how it is possible Spirituality to ARISE.

    TT BECOMES SIMPLY A BLIND FAITH.

  • 0
    1

    CHURCH always talks for their benefit.

    THIS is the SPIRITUALITY by VATICAN.

    Forget the most recent CIA agents and the NAZI-COllaborator.

    “Pope Pius XII’s (1876-1958) actions during the Holocaust remain controversial. For much of the war, he maintained a public front of indifference and remained silent while German atrocities were committed. He refused pleas for help on the grounds of neutrality, while making statements condemning injustices in general. Privately, he sheltered a small number of Jews and spoke to a few select officials, encouraging them to help the Jews. “

    Throughout the Holocaust, Pius XII was consistently besieged with pleas for help on behalf of the Jews.

    In the spring of 1940, the Chief Rabbi of Palestine, Isaac Herzog, asked the papal Secretary of State, Cardinal Luigi Maglione to intercede to keep Jews in Spain from being deported to Germany. He later made a similar request for Jews in Lithuania. The papacy did nothing.(5)

    Within the Pope’s own church, Cardinal Theodor Innitzer of Vienna told Pius XII about Jewish deportations in 1941. In 1942, the Slovakian charge d’affaires, a position under the supervision of the Pope, reported to Rome that Slovakian Jews were being systematically deported and sent to death camps.(6)

    In October 1941, the Assistant Chief of the U.S. delegation to the Vatican, Harold Tittman, asked the Pope to condemn the atrocities. The response came that the Holy See wanted to remain “neutral,” and that condemning the atrocities would have a negative influence on Catholics in German-held lands.(7)

    In late August 1942, after more than 200,000 Ukrainian Jews had been killed, Ukrainian Metropolitan Andrej Septyckyj wrote a long letter to the Pope, referring to the German government as a regime of terror and corruption, more diabolical than that of the Bolsheviks. The Pope replied by quoting verses from Psalms and advising Septyckyj to “bear adversity with serene patience.”(8)

    On September 18, 1942, Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini, the future Pope Paul VI, wrote, “The massacres of the Jews reach frightening proportions and forms.”(9) Yet, that same month when Myron Taylor, U.S. representative to the Vatican, warned the Pope that his silence was endangering his moral prestige, the Secretary of State responded on the Pope’s behalf that it was impossible to verify rumors about crimes committed against the Jews.(10)

    Wladislaw Raczkiewicz, president of the Polish government-in-exile, appealed to the Pope in January 1943 to publicly denounce Nazi violence. Bishop Preysing of Berlin did the same, at least twice. Pius XII refused.(11)

    Papal Reasons & Responses
    The Pope finally gave a reason for his consistent refusals to make a public statement in December 1942. The Allied governments issued a declaration, “German Policy of Extermination of the Jewish Race,” which stated that there would be retribution for the perpetrators of Jewish murders. When Tittman asked Secretary of State Maglione if the Pope could issue a similar proclamation, Maglione said the papacy was “unable to denounce publicly particular atrocities.”(12) One reason for this position was that the staunchly anti-communist Pope felt he could not denounce the Nazis without including the Communists; therefore, Pius XII would only condemn general atrocities.(13)

    The Pope did speak generally against the extermination campaign. On January 18, 1940, after the death toll of Polish civilians was estimated at 15,000, the Pope said in a broadcast, “The horror and inexcusable excesses committed on a helpless and a homeless people have been established by the unimpeachable testimony of eye-witnesses.”(14) During his Christmas Eve radio broadcast in 1942, he referred to the “hundreds of thousands who through no fault of their own, and solely because of their nation or race, have been condemned to death or progressive extinction.”(15) The Pope never mentioned the Jews by name.

    In a September 1940 broadcast, the Vatican called its policy “neutrality,” but stated in the same broadcast that where morality was involved, no neutrality was possible.(18) This could only imply that mass murder was not a moral issue.

    The Pope’s indifference to the mistreatment of Jews was often clear. In 1941, for example, after being asked by French Marshal Henri Philippe Petain if the Vatican would object to anti-Jewish laws, Pius XII answered that the church condemned racism, but did not repudiate every rule against the Jews.(16) When Petain’s French puppet government introduced “Jewish statutes,” the Vichy ambassador to the Holy See informed Petain that the Vatican did not consider the legislation in conflict with Catholic teachings, as long as they were carried out with “charity” and “justice.”(17)

    Robert Wistrich notes that “by the end of 1942, the Vatican was among the best-informed institutions in Europe concerning the Holocaust. Except for the Germans or perhaps British intelligence, few people were more aware of the local details as well as the larger picture.”(17a)

    On September 8, 1943, the Nazis invaded Italy and, suddenly, the Vatican was the local authority. The Nazis gave the Jews 36 hours to come up with 50 kilograms of gold or else the Nazis would take 300 hostages. The Vatican was willing to loan 15 kilos, an offer that eventually proved unnecessary when the Jews obtained an extension for the delivery.(19)

    Pius XII knew that Jewish deportations from Italy were impending. The Vatican even found out from SS First Lieutenant Kurt Gerstein the fate of those who were to be deported.(20) Publicly, the Pope stayed silent. Privately, Pius did instruct Catholic institutions to take in Jews. The Vatican itself hid 477 Jews and another 4,238 Jews were protected in Roman monasteries and convents.(21)

    On October 16, the Nazis arrested 1,007 Roman Jews, the majority of whom were women and children. They were taken to Auschwitz, where 811 were gassed immediately. Of those sent to the concentration camp, 16 survived.(22

    The Pope Protests
    The Pope did act behind the scenes on occasion. During the German occupation of Hungary in March 1944, he, along with the papal nuncio in Budapest, Angelo Rotta, advised the Hungarian government to be moderate in its plans concerning the treatment of the Jews. Pius XII protested against the deportation of Jews and, when his protests were not heeded, he cabled again and again.(23) The Pope’s demands, combined with similar protests from the King of Sweden, the International Red Cross, Britain and the United States contributed to the decision by the Hungarian regent, Admiral Miklos Horthy, to cease deportations on July 8, 1944.(24)

    In the later stages of the war, Pius XII appealed to several Latin American governments to accept “emergency passports” that several thousand Jews had succeeded in obtaining. Due to the efforts of the Pope and the U.S. State Department, 13 Latin American countries decided to honor these documents, despite threats from the Germans to deport the passport holders.(25)

    The Church also answered a request to save 6,000 Jewish children in Bulgaria by helping to transfer them to Palestine. At the same time, however, Cardinal Maglione wrote to the apostolic delegate in Washington, A.G. Cicognani, saying this did not mean the Pope supported Zionism.(26) The church did often help baptized Jews, but was less enthusiastic about assisting Jews who did not abandon their faith.

    Politics Behind the Policy
    Historians point out that any support the Pope did give the Jews came after 1942, once U.S. officials told him that the allies wanted total victory, and it became likely that they would get it. Furthering the notion that any intervention by Pius XII was based on practical advantage rather than moral inclination is the fact that in late 1942, Pius XII began to advise the German and Hungarian bishops that it would be to their ultimate political advantage to go on record as speaking out against the massacre of the Jews. (27)

    One of the only cases in which the Pope gave early support to the allies was in May 1940. He received information about a German plan, Operation Yellow, to lay mines to deter British naval support of Holland. Pius XII gave his permission to send coded radio messages warning papal nuncios in Brussels and The Hague of the plot. The German radio monitoring services decoded the broadcast and went ahead with the plan.(28) This papal intervention is surprising due to the pope’s persistent claim of neutrality, and his silence regarding almost all German atrocities.

    In Hitler’s Pope, John Cromwell argues that the pope’s behavior can be partly explained because Pacelli was an anti-Semite, however, Robert Wistrich argues he was anti-Jewish only in the traditional sense of believing that Jews killed Jesus. Meanwhile, defenders of the pope have pointed to statements by Israel’s consul in Italy in the 1960s, Pinhas Lapide, and by Golda Meir praising the pope as evidence of his efforts to save Jews during the war, but Wistrich says their remarks were not backed by verifiable evidence of papal action. What is clear is that the pope could have done more. In fact, Catholic Poles were the most outspoken critics of his silence. Pius did not speak out effectively after Germany overran Poland and the restrained remarks that did come from the Vatican about the oppression of the Catholic Poles ceased after Germany protested. (28a)

    • 0
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      Jesus Christ! We only needed a response Jimbo, not a bloody whole chapter of historical tosh.

  • 0
    0

    If only there was really a god that is responsible for creating humanity. Well I assure you that god really is Satan Incarnate himself.
    What a mess of a creation and the human created in his own image the most diabolical of them all.

    Hallelujah.

    • 2
      0

      BBS Rep, God did not create Man in His own Image. Man created God in His own Image! That is why we have all these versions of GOD, and All these Messengers of God, each declaring that He is the True Messenger/Prophet!

    • 0
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      AMEN.

  • 0
    1

    reign of tyranny replaced by the reign of God ? eh according to tho old testament this God was a tyrant .

    Any religion that says all the non believers of their religion will go to hell is a lie .

  • 0
    0

    Thank you Bishop Chickera.
    ‘Evil is departing and Holiness is advancing’.

    The Good News of Jesus –

    ” Go in to all the world and preach the Good News to all creation.”

    -Mark.16.15-

  • 0
    0

    What Jesus did was that he analyzed the concept of God and Virtue that prevailed in the region in different way and in that mission he had to confront with tyrants, religious tyrants and evil

  • 0
    0

    The good Bishop writes that “Human spirituality is activated when the rule of tyranny spreads unabated “. One could legitimately question this. Does this mean that when there is no tyranny, spirituality must stay dormant? I cannot accept that.

    It seems to me also that the good Bishop is making the same sort of error that people of Jesus’ time did. They expected the Messiah to deliver them from political tyranny, whereas the message of Jesus was a deliverance that was spiritual. It is right that the Christian, like any other right thinking person, must do all he can to resist and overcome tyranny. But I do not see that linking that with the Christmas message is relevant or proper.

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