Indian Christians Express Joy and Gratitude Over “Miracle Election”

( [email protected] ) May 15, 2004 10:12 AM EDT

In what persecuted Christians in India are calling “a miracle election,” the opposition Congress party received a surprise victory over the Hindu nationalists that has held power since 1998.

"Praise God almighty for His mercy shown on us and prayer answered," said a persecuted Christian leader, who asked not to be identified during the interview with the Southern Baptist Convention’s newsletter. “Justice has shined over the peoples in India”

What’s more, the Congress Party elected a foreign-born Christian, Sonia Gandhi, as its new leader, thereby effectively securing her position as the next prime minister of the majority Hindu nation.

"There being no other proposal, I declare Sonia Gandhi unanimously elected as leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party," senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh announced. "Truly this is a historic moment. A long spell of cold winter of nearly nine years is over and now we are in bright sunshine."

"Christians, Muslims and the poor have suffered” under the (BJP) Hindu nationalists’ rule, the leader said, “and we lost lives, property, the right to worship and to proclaim the Gospel. Now is the time to praise our Savior and proclaim the Good News.”

"We should not be overwhelmed on this achievement," he said. "Remember God used Cyrus to deliver the [Israelites] into exile. God has used the [BJP] communal forces to remind us that we were running away from Him. [Some church] leaders did not care for biblical truth and tried to be servants in establishing His Kingdom and failed. We have tasted the truth and harsh realities for misleading people from God’s will to human will. It is a time of repentances and remembering God mercy. It is time to give thanks for deliverance.”

Reports on India’s 14th general elections – the world’s largest electoral process – had consistently shown a strong favor of the BJP-led coalition. However, on May 10th, when the process ended, votes were so strong against the BJP led coalition that its leader resigned on May 13.

Christians across India have express joy and gratitude for the victory. The National United Christian Forum, which is a joint organization of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, National Council of Churches in India and the Evangelical Fellowship of India, released a joint statement of “hope and satisfaction” at the “restoration of democracy” in India.

The following is a letter released by the National United Christian Forum on May 14th:

The National Untied Christian Forum today congratulated the secular democratic forces led by the Congress for securing sufficient seats in the 14th Lok Sabha general elections and being in a position to form the next government. The National United Christian Forum is a body comprising Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI); the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI); and the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI).

While the United Christian Forum thanks the outgoing NDA government for its achievement in many areas of its governance and notes with a little regret its deafening silence towards those fundamentalists who were spreading hatred against the minorities, it expresses its pleasure that a non-communal government will be in place at the Centre soon.

We congratulate the Congress leader Mrs. Sonia Gandhi for working so hard to bring the party back to the centre of political activities in the country after its rather poor earlier performance. We note that this mandate by the people of India is to strengthen the secular traditions for which India is known the world over, said Delhi Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao, the President of the Forum.

The Forum in its recent meeting also congratulated the Election Commission for its commendable job in holding these elections successfully. The Forum, however, reminds the new government that it can forget its promises made to the poor and to the minorities only at its own peril as the recent results to the Lok Sabha amply demonstrate. Archbishop Concessao has also reiterated the Churches commitment to the poor and the down trodden for whom it has always stood.

The Forum also asks all the political parties and the people of the nation to cooperate with the new government in a responsible manner and to ensure that they do not betray the trust the electorate has put in them and uphold the secular democratic values enshrined in the Constitutions.

Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao, President

Rev. Dr. Ipe Joseph, General Secretary - NCCI

Rev. Richard Howell, Secretary - EFI