29 September, 2020

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Would The Real “Moral Majority” In Sri Lanka Please Stand Up?

By Emil van der Poorten –

Emil van der Poorten

It really took a gritting of teeth and a tensing of muscle before I could type out the apostrophized words appearing in the title of this piece!  Why? Because it was terminology used extensively by the most hypocritical elements of United States society in an effort to propagate a dogma of irrational behaviour and discrimination against a variety of groups.  However, standing alone and sans the baggage, it is probably as good a term as any to describe a large slice of Sri Lanka’s population.

I don’t know whether it can be attributed purely to good fortune, but the Serendipitous Isle that we inhabit, has had the benefit of both Asian and European streams of culture that have, in a larger sense been complementary of each other for several centuries despite the fact that the former had been around for more than a millennium before the latter arrived, carried by those who sought to subjugate the indigenous populations and impose their cultural norms and religion on the “locals.”  However, despite the “imperialist impulse,” this country ended up with a broad spectrum of religious beliefs that existed in harmony, seemingly enhancing each other rather than competing in some destructive manner.  Whether it was deliberate co-operation or just an exceptional level of tolerance, the four major religions that shared this small land mass, dwelt in amity for many centuries, developing a moral and ethical mix that seemed to serve the country very well indeed in its many endeavours: political, economic and cultural.

It was out of this coming together that a broad coalition emerged of what I have chosen to describe as the moral majority in this piece.  They were, generally, from the more conservative elements of each faith group but that conservatism did not preclude them from making common cause across religious boundaries.  There was, above all, a demonstrated adherence to a set of principles and ethics and a morality that they all appeared to share in.

What has happened to that unique amalgam and what have we done with the opportunity to build a truly unique country in this region?  We seem to have chosen, rather than sup graciously at that table of riches, to look for flaws and opportunities for conflict in either the theory or practice of each and every religion or faith group.

I would submit that, while historical circumstances – particularly a vicious and protracted armed conflict – might have created a climate ripe for the jettisoning of any code of morality, principle or ethics, what has overtaken the country over the last few years has been a process deliberately created to serve the ends of a small and select group of people at the expense of the rest of the population.   This elite has a vested interest in the continuance of strife that they can control with repressive measures in order for their grand plan for self-aggrandizement to proceed without let or hindrance.

One needs to remember that all those “airy-fairy” concepts – morality, ethics, principles -that separate us from the lesser inhabitants of this earth also provide the irreplaceable foundation for the very existence of a country like Sri Lanka and for the material well-being of its people.  That material well-being however cannot include a tiny elite becoming enormously wealthy and powerful at the expense of the rest of the population!

Why is the moral majority that I believe still exists in this country collectively acting like the three famous monkeys who could not see, speak nor hear evil?

Some have been seduced – the more comfortably-off sections, particularly – by material comforts (to an ever-decreasing number!)  Yet others live in abject fear of upsetting “the-powers-that-be,” and with good reason given the fate of many who’ve had the gall to stand up to our 21st century Royalty!   Yet others because of the vulnerability that common criminals perennially display, hang on to their patrons and are prepared to do virtually anything to ensure a continuation of the status quo because the alternative – a return to the rule of law – is too terrible to consider and they are going to be, not to put a fine point on it …….d (choose the verb of your choice!)

At the same time as the strife has arisen around religions and their practices – deliberately generated by politicians in or out of robes of one description or another – there has been an accelerating current of unease and nervousness beneath the surface of all the major religions in Sri Lanka.  At minimum, there is a growing intolerance typically voiced in terms of one’s faith being superior to one’s neighbour’s, a symptom typical of those suffering from a inferiority complex of serious proportions.

That it only takes a little spark for mobs to launch attacks on places of worship or of religious significance has been only too evident with the Dambulla and other mosque destructions and the attacks on places of worship of some of the Christian denominations.  The latter have often been provoked by deliberately-generated hysteria over “unethical conversions,” whatever they are, allegedly conducted by charismatic or fundamentalist Christian groups.  However, even the mainline Christian denomination headquartered in the Vatican has not been spared the malicious attentions of those looking for someone “different” to attack on one pretext or another.

That some of the minor Christian or crypto-Christian groups often target people in distress in many countries – be it because of health, financial or other distressing episodes in their lives.  In fact it has been true through the ages that even some atheists or agnostics “discover religion” when faced with some calamity to which there does not appear to be a human, earth-generated solution and are thus most vulnerable to the attentions of those looking to grow their flocks!    Interestingly, I do recall friends of my generation who “discovered” Buddhism when they had to deal with a crisis and sought to take what they claimed was the intellectual rather than the emotional path to relief.  There are also those whose suddenly all-consuming devotion to Buddhism is provoked by the need to obtain a favour of one description or another and resort to vows at particular places of worship.  While this emotional rather than intellectual belief in the power of Buddhism to perform miracles of one description or another seems to run counter to the very essence of what is considered by many to be the most “intellectual” of belief systems, it is, nevertheless a reality in this country, much as worship of the Hindu deities plays a very important role in the practice of Buddhism by the larger mass of Buddhists.

But I digress.

In any event, prejudice is primarily triggered by a discomfort with people who are “different” particularly if they practice a faith that the aggressors do not or choose not to understand.  The matter of “conversions,” ethical or otherwise is not of any real significance in this or any other country and is more a red herring than anything else in the current Sri Lankan context.

All the circumstantial and anecdotal evidence points in the direction of Sri Lanka’s moral majority having chosen to divest itself of its traditional responsibility as the arbiter of ethical conduct, principle and morality in this country.   One can only hope that this is a temporary phenomenon and that they will return to the fray with all those who continue to stand up to those who have no respect for any of those things that add up to civility and decency, honour and honesty in governance.

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    Mr. Emil Vander Pooten:

    When you say “Moral Majority” you have enacted as the Jesus and had addressed the sinners.

    You say that the buddhism is a “BELIEF SYSTEM” – the most basic Buddhism is DON’T KILL, DON’T LIE, DON’T DRINK ALCOHOL, DON’T GO WITH WOMEN OTHER THAN YOUR WIFE, – WHAT IS THE BELIEF SYSTEM THERE ? Buddhism is called a WAY OF LIFE. Even Christians can do that.

    Religions are called belief systems. Even though westerners identified Buddhism as a RELIGION buddhists knew that it was not a nreligion. That is why they identify it as DHARMAYA while calling the christianity AAGAMA. We generally call it Buddha Dhmma or buddha’s doctrine.

    You say minor and crypto-christians (what do you mean by Crypto-christians) are converting. Even the Present POPE is a JESUIT PRIEST. What did and what Jesuit priests are doing and what is their major responsibility ? there are over 38000 (THIRTY EIGHT THOUSAND) different denominations of CHRISTIANITY.

    Then one of your another statements: Read the following again ” even the mainline Christian denomination headquartered in the Vatican has not been spared the malicious attentions of those looking for someone “different” to attack on one pretext or another. “

    Read and see how Pope Emeritus was silent on CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE cases against CATHOLIC priests from all over the world and those things had happened through out the last century. IF you google you can find how Italian govt investigated the VATICAN bank for money laundering. There are so many reports about catholic -priests sexual abuse cases all over the world. Besides, Pope emeritus came to NEW YORK to open a CATHOLIC – BUSINESS PLACE. what is the spirituality there ?

    Your article is not flowing and coherent. If it was a good article, I would have responded in detail.

    It looks even you don’t know what you are talking about. Only thing you do it just vomiting your hatred and venom.

    Besides many CHRISTIAN – CRUSADE wars else where, even in Sri Lanka, Portuguese did not use peaceful methods to convert to Catholicism. They killed thousands of people. Then after that, even those catholics were killed by Dutch (that is your fore fathers) in order to raise the Christian population.

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      JimSofty:
      I have neither the time nor the inclination to wade through the irrelevant nonsense you have put down. Perhaps, it would help somewhat if it was, at least, couched in comprehensible English.
      What little I could understand of it suggested a “Koheda yannay? Mallay pol” approach to what you’ve read.

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    Correction:

    Pope emeritus when he was the pope came to NEW YORK to open a business place.

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    Moral Majority?

    They say it is Sinhala Buddhists.

    Why is the Pole and Christian West Silent?

    [Edited out]

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    The moral majority has become a measly minority mainly because of the need and the greed to prosper and do well in life. Of course there is nothing wrong in harbouring such an ambition. The problem arises when morality and humanity is thrown to the winds to achieve this. We tend to define morality in terms of race and religion. This is where humanity is important as it transcends race, religion and all such classifications.

    No one can be more human than the other, whereas as the racist and religionist may say they are superior to the other. If you go to the nitty gritty of it, it is all about accumulating wealth and power. Religion says the pious will be rewarded in the afterlife or that they will achieve nirvana. But the talk is about land, wealth and power. Greed dominates and annihilates both morality and humanity.

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    Dumballa incident happened last year when some violent monks attacked equally violent group of people.

    We have moved on since.

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      Muliyawaikkal:
      the facts do not support your contention of “(our)having moved on.” Recent reports in the media support just the opposite.

      Also, I do not recall a SINGLE allegation that the violent horde led by the monks at Dambulla confronted another violent group. EVERY SINGLE report on the Dambulla incident at the time and subsequently stated very plainly that there was only ONE violent group and that it was led by Buddhist monks. In addition, they did not confine their activities to the mosque by threatened a Hindu place of worship in the vicinity as well.

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        At least there was one Occasion that JEsus was violent inside Jerusalem.

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          Jesus will come again. Appear not born. He will unite the moral world. And don’t expect him to give the other cheek always…

          By the way the majority of people who believe Jesus’s second coming are the Muslims…

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    Whoever intends the Truth, he should seek it from its correct source and the Truth does not come about through venerating individuals, nor through flashy words, nor by having a majority opinion. Most Religions/Philosophies have a common thread of Moral and ethical values. Correct understanding is a light that Allah casts into the slave’s heart to distinguish between that which is correctness and corruption, truth and falsehood, guidance and misguidance, error and right approach. It is supplied by good intent, being adamant for the truth, having piety inwardly and outwardly. Its supply is severed by following desires, preferring the world, desiring the praise of creation and abandoning piety.

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    Emil Vanderpooten is descending from Dutch Christianslt that killed Portugeuse Catholics in order to spread their version of the faith. Christianity, as a whole, through out the history used wars and dirty tactics to convert the world.

    In this article he has become the person with high morality.

    What BS.

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      JimSofty:
      Your most recent response simply draws attention to the kind of individual you are, not to mention the calibre of your mentors.
      Apart from anything else, your stupidity is manifest in that you COMPLETELY WRONG in the matter of my heritage and of my religion and that of those who preceded me! But then you wouldn’t want to ruin a stupid diatribe with a few facts, would you?
      For the umpteenth time let me remind you that it is “Better to keep one’s mouth shut and let people think one’s an idiot than to open it and confirm the fact.”

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        What is the meaning of Van Der and pooten ? not Dutch ?

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          JimSofty:
          For a blatant racist like you, going around racially stereotyping people, it probably is. However, it would be too much to expect such as you to even check out what you say before you say it, discovering that you are barking up the wrong tree.

          However, even if my “heritage” is Ethiopean, the bottom line is that it’s FACTS that matter and not the concoctions and attempted drive-by smears of village idiots that does.

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            Just Talk to the point. You are just escaping and avoid the point.

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              Jim Nutty:
              What “point?”

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            WELL SAID EMIL !!! COULD HAVE COME FROM ONLY ONE WHO HAD HIS
            EDUCATION “AT THE BEST SCHOOL OF ALL” IN THE FORTIES.
            I HOPE I AM CORRECT

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        Lets call him “JimNutty” !!

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      If it were not Bandaranayake’s policies more Van Der Pootins could have continue to dominate and suppress this holy buddhist land.

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        Dilan:
        So glad to hear that you think the greatest thing that happened to this country was that its people were confined to knowledge of a language spoken by about 20 million people in the whole world (far less at the time, in fact) and prevented from knowledge of a world language while the children of your hero had their entire post-secondary education in English.
        The likes of you were, even then, the PROBLEM. SWRDB was only a SYMPTOM.
        As for suppressing “this holy Buddhist land,” don’t you think those whose rule has featured butchery on a historically unprecedented scale over several decades since SWRDB rule, beginning in 1958, have done quite well in that realm?

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          Van Der Pooten is showing his brain capacity.

          Mr. Vander Pooten: why did not you move back to your mother land or to england ?

          Why you are still haunting here ?

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            JimNutty:
            1.You wouldn’t be able to reciprocate for obvious reasons
            2. Sorry,can’t go to another “mother land” because this happens to be it!
            3. Why am I “still haunting here?” Apart from the difficulty in understanding whatever language you are writing in, it is because village idiots deserve a chance at being educated (at least when they get their heads out of the posteriors of those who pay them!)

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    Emil”s heritage has nothing to do with the discussion it is getting personal and nasty.It is a shame that we have lost the concepts of human rights, culture, freedom of expression and justice being muzzled in Sri Lanka. Talking of past sins of omission and commission does not solve the grave issues the country is facing right now.The ruling elite(Sinhala buddhist trash}has no solutions and are fermenting divisions amongst the different groups for survival

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    The moral majority is itself a western concept. We have not become civilized enough for that. Maybe in a few centuries….if the country is still around.

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    THERE ARE NO MORALS AMONG THE MAJORITY!!!!!!!!THATS IT.

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    “It really took a gritting of teeth and a tensing of muscle before I could type out the apostrophized words appearing in the title of this piece! “

    You scoff at Jim Softly’s English but what does your opening sentence mean? According to Chambers Dictionary, to “apostrophize” means to suddenly turn away from the ordinary course of a speech to address some person or object present or absent. I don’t see how that fits the context here.

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