Other countries can mention God – but Sri Lanka can’t mention Buddha
Every time Sri Lanka mentions the words Sinhalese, Buddhists or Buddhism the whole world appears to get agitated & they take pains to showcase why there should be no reference to Sinhala Buddhists or the Buddhist ethos that governs this island nation. In short, there is a well-funded & well-campaigned effort to remove the Sinhala Buddhist heritage except to place it as a coffee table book or adorn a mantlepiece. These demands are conveyed through various international organizations, foreign governments, local NGOs funded from overseas & by hired local mouthpieces. These demands are even included as conditions for loans, for trade etc. Are Sinhala Buddhists & Buddhism this much of a threat to their agenda that they are using every trick in the book to erase or dilute its prominence & presence in Sri Lanka?
US & the Church
God is mentioned in the US Declaration of Independence, Pledge of Allegiance & on US Currency.
The state constitutions of Colorado, Iowa, Hawaii & Washington. Supreme Being / Supreme Ruler of the Universe is mentioned. In fact there is mention of God 116 times in all of the State constitutions. These state constitutions also mention “creator” “providence” “divine” “Lord” “almighty” while the US Constitution refers to “the year of our Lord” & 7 mentions of the word “Christian”.
The US Congress is majority Christian and identify themselves as Christian (2019 Pew Research)
All the US Presidents have been Christian & have used the Bible for swearing in ceremony “so help me God”.
The 13 colonies under the British Empire held the Church as supreme & the 13 colonies became outposts of a Christian nation.
It is only in word that the first amendment says the US has no official religion, as Christianity continues to hold a prominent role. A 2014 Pew Research survey declared 53% Americans would be ‘less likely to support a presidential candidate who does not believe in God”. Religion is being politicized in politics too.
US has a history of just 245 years
UK & the Church
In the House of Commons an MP has to officially speak on behalf of the Church of England. The Speaker of Parliament appoints a Church of England chaplain who has to do a prayer every day in the House of Commons. Laws passed by the General Synod have to be approved by House of Commons & House of Lords to come into effect.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland has 2 established (formal relationship between Church & the State) churches – the Anglican Church of English & the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. The Queen is “Supreme Governor” of the Church of England & she is member of the Church of Scotland. The PM advises the Queen on church appointments. Church of England has statutory representation in the House of Lords.
MP and former cabinet minister, David Davis stood up in the House of Commons recently and told Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign.
“You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. In the name of God, go”
UK’s national anthem says “God Save the Queen”.
The Sovereign holds the title ‘Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England’. The Queen’s relationship with the Church of England was symbolised at the Coronation in 1953 when Her Majesty was anointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and took an oath to “maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England”.
. – so what is wrong with Article 9 giving Buddhism foremost place in the constitution?
The United Kingdom is just 315 years -The Acts of Union from 1st May 1707
Canada & the Church
Supremacy of God is in the preamble of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.”
The origins of the supremacy of God traces back to 1960 Canadian Bill of Rights. The inclusion of the supremacy of God in the preamble of the Charter came about at the time of the patriation of the Canadian Constitution by the Liberal government of Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau in 1982
Canada’s heritage as a nation under God is plainly carved on the walls of our Parliamentary buildings including Memorial chamber inside Parliament. There are various biblical passages found inscribed on the Peace Tower and other Parliamentary buildings in Ottawa to remind the Christian heritage of our nation.
Canada’s legal system was not meant to replace the judgment of God, it was meant to uphold the law of God, and whatever judgment is given by the courts, Christ will still administer the final judgment.
Why was reference to God included in a legal document of a supposed to be secular and supposed to be multicultural state?
Islam originated in the 7th century and is followed by 1.5billion Muslims. Over 50 majority Muslim countries ensure their constitutions contain clauses with Islamic features. The constitutions of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran & Iraq specifically state that any legislation against Islam is forbidden.
Some Muslims also insist that the head of state or government must be a Muslim. Invariably in all Muslim majority countries the head of state is a Muslim. No one seems to have a problem with this.
Tunisia who had the first constitution in the Muslim world became the first Muslim country that incorporated a form of Western constitution in 1861 by referring to God. Primarily because of pressures from British & French envoys.
Muslims view secularism as unacceptable – so why do countries who themselves give pride of place to Christianity, demand other countries become secular?
Why is there no objections to the unwillingness of over 50 Muslim states to remove strict versions of Shariah which directly violates the UN human rights and freedom charters.
Sri Lanka’s Buddhist history
Sri Lanka’s documented history dates to over 3000 years with human inhabitants as far back as 125,000 years ago. Buddhism became the state religion since 3rd century BC. All kings that ruled Sri Lanka followed the tenets of Buddhism incorporated in the Dasa Raja Dhamma. Not a single division or ethnic issue was recorded inspite of Buddhism being the state religion.
The 3 western invaders that arrived saw Buddhism as a threat to their key objective of converting the islanders to their faith & since 1505 to present their agenda of subjugating Buddhism continues with every effort and funding going towards distancing Buddhists from Buddhism, smearing Buddhism. Luring Buddhists to commit anti-Buddhist follies to use these to tarnish image of Buddhism. The current scenario of anti-Buddhist placards and social media outbursts prove the hateful vengeance that is at play.
Buddhism has been a core pillar in the civilizational existence of Sri Lanka inherent and identified in both its faith & culture. Countries like Canada, US, Australia, New Zealand are all created Christian countries with less than 350 years of history. If they can proudly declare their Christian heritage and give prominence to that, why shouldn’t Sri Lanka with over 3000 years history & heritage?
Why should Sri Lanka’s Buddhist history not be enshrined in its constitution just like all the other countries who claim to be ‘secular’ in word only. Why should Sri Lanka’s Buddhist heritage be removed from the country’s constitution which is a foreign-imposed piece of legislature whereas the Dasa Raja Dhamma is far older & more unique & inclusive as well. The premise that by removing the foremost place to Buddhism given in Sri Lanka’s constitution places on in equal and solves problems necessitates to ask what countries in the world are without conflict simply because their constitutions are secular?
Billions is given by Christian countries to promote different denominations of Christianity at government & NGO levels. Billions are given by Muslim majority countries to propagate Islam. In such a scenario, Sri Lanka has just the State to protect the foremost place of Buddhism that cannot be allowed to be erased & given cosmetic value.
Shenali D Waduge