12/31/2019, 09.52
SRI LANKA
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Viral video of quarrel between Buddhist monk and Christian minister. Methodist Bishop: We must support religious harmony

by Melani Manel Perera

The altercation video "is creating embarrassment" between Buddhists and Christians.  For the president of the Methodist bishops, both people involved are wrong: "We must understand that the attitude with which we carry out our religious work is of supreme importance".

 

Colombo (AsiaNews) - Harmony between religions "is worth more than anything else".  This was stated by Asiri Perera, president of the Methodist bishops of Sri Lanka.  He calls for peace between Christians and Buddhists after a video that portrays the quarrel between a Buddhist monk and an alleged Christian pastor went viral.  In his opinion, both protagonists of the story are wrong.  "The last thing we would like to see - he underlines - is religious tension and discord".

The offending video highlights Rev. Perera, "is causing embarrassment between Buddhists and Christians, two religious communities that coexist in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, since the sixth century after Christ".  The video shows Venerable  Ampitiye Sumanarathana Thero, from the Sri Mangalaramaya temple in Batticaloa, in offensive behavoir towards a man in a white cassock, accusing him of proselytizing and converting to Christianity in a Buddhist majority area.

The alleged pasir has been identified as Nalak Fonseka.  Years ago, explains the bishop, “he served the Methodist Church, but he was turned away because he did not respect the discipline of our Church.  At that time, he was never ordained a minister."  In the same way Fr.  Jude Samantha, spokesman for the Catholic Church, says that Nalak Fonseka is not a Catholic priest;  he adds that Catholics "don't try to convert anyone."  Fonseka, without any ordination, wears the cassock and carries out "independent" religious activities.

Rev.  Perera argues that although "the monk's attitude does not reflect the teachings of the Buddha, it will be the duty of the Maha Sangha's advice to do what is necessary to restore order within oneself."  He equally condemns both "the behavior of the monk and the man in cassock.  Her body language and facial expressions do not reflect a spirit of humility.  He should have gotten off the motorcycle while talking to the monk.  He also didn't wear a helmet, so he didn't respect the law.  Christians are called to be law-abiding citizens.  The principle that Jesus followed was 'Give unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God' ".

According to the Methodist bishop, "we must all understand that the attitude with which we carry out our religious work is of supreme importance, regardless of the religion we follow."  The Christian leader reiterates: "The religious freedom enshrined in the Constitution must be guaranteed by the state to its citizens in the same way".

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