Narendra Modi as Servant of God: Christian Response or Clever Opportunism?
Sunday Shalom, a widely circulated weekly Christian news paper recently surprised many with their editorial titled “Narendra Modi as Servant of God.” The national media and the Modi supporters were quick to cash in on this opportunity to herald this as an ultimate approval which could wash away the sins of Godhra riots and instill a glowing hallow around the newly elected PM. Many Christians too were caught off guard reading the ‘Servant of God’ claim and wondered whether it was clever opportunism at work to get into the good books of Narendra Modi. To uphold a Christian vision is a challenge in a highly secularized world and to make people understand the real sense is a herculean task especially when vested interests are working hard to turn anything and everything in their favour.
A Christian Response! Not a Political Response!
The Sunday Shalom editorial should be seen as a Christian response and not a political response. A true Christian doesn’t hit the street armed with latest ammunitions even if things go against his wishes politically or socially. Christian vision doesn’t encourage blind criticism and rough opposition against ones opponent. This is because, for a Christian, no event happens in this world by chance or by luck, but everything happens with the full knowledge of God and according to His plan.
Mr. Benny Punnathara, the chief editor of Sunday Shalom voices the true Christian response through his editorial. He rightly states, “Almost all Christians must have prayed for a good government. As Narendra Modi took over as the prime minister some might have thought that God had not answered their prayers.” The Chief Editor rightly echoes the concerns of minorities especially Christians with thoughts of extreme right wing background of Narendra Modi lingering in their minds as a nightmare. The Christians do pray to God but their prayers may or may not answered. Here most of their prayers for a secular government have gone unanswered. But what next? Should a Christian resort to violence?
Here Sunday Shalom sets the record straight by bringing up the Biblical understanding about power. “The Bible teaches us that all power comes from God and we should accept God-given powers. Nothing happens in the universe without God’s knowledge and permission. Therefore, Narendra Modi’s victory happened with God’s knowledge and permission.” This is indeed a logical assertion with Biblical vision which can clear the confusion in the minds of people on how to respond to the landslide victory of Narendra Modi. He cites the Biblical example of King Cyrus, who was not a Jew yet God chose him to fulfill his plans. Thus the editorial calls the Christians to break free from the closed doors of logical understanding which instills fear and to open their hearts with the power of faith and trust in God.
The editorial does bring up the policy paralysis of the Congress led UPA government. “Power corrupts. If one party rules continuously for some time it is quite natural that middlemen and bureaucracy become strong and governance decays.” Having the eye popping scams like 2G in his mind, the editor does bring up the issue of national parties bowing to regional parties which made them sow the seeds of corruption and rob the country of her riches. Thus the editorial sees a ray of hope in the BJP led NDA government which enjoys an absolute majority and asks the faithful to pray for the new government.
Mr. Benny Punnathara concludes by powerfully asserting that “God does not go wrong. He does everything for good. It is God who decided what is good and how that good is to be transmitted.”
A Clean Chit to Modi?
The editorial neither gives a clean chit to Modi nor is an opportunistic act to grab the attention. It is merely a reminder to the Christian faithful to revisit the essence of Christian faith. Faith is indeed a leap into darkness. A darkness where the Christian believes that he/she would be guided by the divine light of God.
The call of the editorial is to respect the mandate of the people of India to elect Narendra Modi as the prime minister. It is no way a call to silence the faithful about the gruesome incidents in Gujarat. The blood of innocents in Gujarat still cries for justice. But as the editorial rightly states, “God can act through anyone. Even those who we perceive as our enemies can bless us.”