Naga Church Leader To Christians: Get Involved In Politics To Preclude Non-Christian Government

by Swarajya Staff - Apr 4, 2022 04:42 PM +05:30 IST
Naga Church Leader To Christians: Get Involved In Politics To Preclude Non-Christian GovernmentVillo Naleo of the Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC)
Snapshot
  • The Church leader also said that while the Church should not get too closely involved with the government or any political party, it should act as a ‘moral guide’ to the government of the day.

A senior Church leader of Nagaland has urged Christians to actively participate in politics in order to prevent a ‘non-Christian government’ from coming to power in the state.

Villo Naleo, a senior leader of the powerful Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC), told a gathering of pastors under the banner of Kohima Baptist Pastors Fellowship that it was the social responsibility of Christians to take active part in politics.

Naleo, academic dean of the Shalom Bible Seminary and core committee convenor of NBCC’s Clean Election Movement (CEM), told the gathering last week: “In a context where the majority (in Nagaland) are Christians, if Christians do not involve themselves in politics, there is one hundred perent chance that we are giving opportunity to a non-Christian government in a Christian-dominated state”.

Christians form nearly 90 percent of the population of Nagaland and an overwhelming majority of the Christians are Baptists. In fact, Nagaland is known as the only predominantly Baptist state in the world; American Baptist missionaries started luring the animist and nature-worshipping tribes of Nagaland to Christianity from the mid-19th century.

The CEM was formed to cleanse Nagaland’s notoriously corrupt and sleazy political system. Naleo lamented that rampant corruption and unfair electoral practices in Nagaland “is sacrilegious to Christian ethos and principles”. He added that Christians have “failed miserably” in “upholding Christian values” in the political arena.

This, said Naleo, has resulted in untainted, educated, qualified and idealistic men and women keeping away from politics. But that, he warned, would result in non-Christians becoming powerful in the Christian-majority state. Hence, it is the duty of every Christian to take active part in politics and uphold Christian values and principles so that Nagaland remains a model Christian state, he said.

The Church leader also said that while the Church should not get too closely involved with the government or any political party, it should act as a ‘moral guide’ to the government of the day.

Naleo’s exhortations, and his unapologetic description of Nagaland as a ‘Christian state’, is nothing new. In fact, Nagaland is often described by the state’s politicians and the common people as well as academics, civil society leaders and others as a ‘Christian state’.

Last month, Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) chief Kewekhape Therie triggered criticism when he deplored the election of BJP state Mahila Morcha chief, S Phangnon Konyak, to the Rajya Sabha (read this).

Therie said the election of Konyak had “shamed” Christian voters of Nagaland and “destroyed the image of Nagaland as a Christian state” (because Konyak was a member of the BJP). Konyak was elected to the Rajya Sabha unopposed, thus angering Therie who said that the 60 MLAs (of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly) who had supported Konyak had “converted Nagaland into a Hindutva state”.

NBCC leader Naleo feels that active participation by pious Christians who practice Christian values would lead to their election as MLAs and when these people occupy positions of power, they will ensure that Nagaland continues to remain a “true Christian state’. Participation of pious Christians in active politics would keep non-Christians away from power and would preclude the formation of a non-Christian government, he explained.

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