For the coming Lok Sabha(Lower House) Election this year, the United Christian Forum makes an appeal to the electorates.
This appeal emerges from the ‘United Christian Forum’ which represents all Christian Communities under CBCI, NCCI and EFI – which covers the entire Christian Community in India.
The Forum reaffirms the continuation of meaningful engagement of the Church in the transformation of society and nation building. True spirituality involves a balance of prayer and action which enhances the life and integrity of all God's people and God's creation. Given the seriousness and crucial nature of the forthcoming elections for the future of the country, the Forum requests all citizens to take serious note of the following :
1). Our nation is a secular, socialist, democratic republic which provides to all its citizens the fundamental rights stipulated in the Constitution. All citizens have equal rights. It is our responsibility to keep the democratic and secular fabric of our nation intact.
2). Our country has witnessed and experienced a 'hate' campaign against minorities which has resulted in the ever escalating violence against minorities. By branding them 'foreigners' and 'anti-nationals' the hate-mongers violate their rights as citizens and malign them. This politicization of religion has resulted in communal violence.
3). Successive governments could not do much about the negative effects of globalization which widen the gap between the rich and the poor. Poverty and unemployment are still on the increase. There has been much media publicity about 'India shining' and the 'feel good' factor. We wish this was real! However, the reported economic growth has only helped a small percentage of rich people and further marginalized a large section of the poor.
4). While we have made far reaching technological advances and a middle class have gained significantly, a vast majority of our people still live with grim realities of poverty and unemployment. The promise of liberalization with a human face remains a distant dream.
5). Our recent political developments have reduced democracy to mere number games. Unfortunately, progressive political ideologies and democratic values do not have significant role in governance.
6). Incidents like the Gujarat carnage stand as clear evidence of the mind and strategy of the fundamentalists. The Anti-Conversion Bill which has been passed in several states is certainly an infringement of the religious freedom of the citizens of our nation.
The representatives we elect must be able to redirect the path of our nation to strengthen democracy. They must be men and women of impeccable character, free of corruption and with high moral values. They must respect all religions, all cultures, and all diversities, and must have a vision for India that every Indian shares. We have a role to play in the future of our nation. So, exercise your right to vote seriously.
We ask you:
1). To exercise your franchise (VOTE) without fail.
2). To vote for candidates whose electoral promises include poverty alleviation and an egalitarian society.
3). To vote for candidates who are committed to communal harmony.
4). To vote for candidates who can govern with integrity, transparency and honesty.
5)To vote for candidates who are pro-dalit and pro-adivasi.
We request all bishops and Church leaders to reach the message to all Churches, dioceses, conferences, conventions, synods and territories. Let us use the network of our local congregations spread throughout the country to disseminate this message. Pastors and elders are requested to take this message to all communities and to every home. We love our country and we rededicate ourselves to the service of our nation at this crucial hour.
Please vote and vote conscientiously and make a difference in the life of our nation!
CBCI : Catholic Bishop Conference of India,
NCCI : National Council of Churches in India
EFI : Evangelical Fellowship of India.