Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Another case of playing to the Gallery – Bill banning clergy from elected office.

In another case of interfering with the independence of members to cast their votes as their conscience sees fit, we have the President advising his party Parliamentarians to vote against the Private Members Bill that he intends presenting in parliament to ban religious clergy from elected office.

The Private Members Bill is introduced as a non partisan one, appealing to the common sense of people to vote for the ban. Do our parliamentarians have no ability to form their own minds, rather than telling them how to vote? The whole purpose of the bill is lost if this kind of dictate is permitted, as what it is saying is if you do not vote the way I say, you will have to face the consequences.

This simple edict shows what spineless pawns the Members of Parliament of the ruling party are. Do they need their President to tell them which way they must vote? It is none of his business. He can certainly express his opinion on the matter, as can other senior people, but to use bully boy tactics to effectively make it a non event, is really out of line. There should be a formal debate with people permitted to express their opinions and then hold a vote to determine what the independent opinion of the MPs is on the matter.

While every citizen has a right to contest an election, in Sri Lanka this right has been grossly abused, and the religion’s independence is called into question. When the religion is under threat in this way, it is incumbent upon an individual to express his feelings on the manner and logically explain why this bill should be enacted.

When this freedom is taken away by force overtly or covertly, the country and its citizenry suffers. This is what is happening in Sri Lanka today. Saner minds must put a stop to it, and let reason prevail.

In conclusion, it is important that the unique part Buddhism plays in Sri Lankan life, MUST allow people to preserve the values and traditions. Those who have no truck with that are those who abuse the religion by making false insinuations. Let not the heretics use these instances as being another western conspiracy to shame the religion, and instead concentrate on the spirit of the bill and permit its passage.

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