Media Watch

Hindu Politicians Passion-ate About Christian Voters

ASIANEWS.IT, Oct. 7 — After years of criticizing Christians for allegedly coercing Hindu conversions, some Hindu fundamentalist politicians have made a 180-degree turn: They are using images from Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ to appeal to Christian voters in the Oct. 13 elections in the western state of Maharashtra.

According to the Catholic news service Asianews, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the allied Shiv Sena party “have been distributing a poster-calendar that has images of Christ from the film The Passion. Their candidate is quoted on the calendar for having said that he would not like to be like Pontius Pilate, who washed his hands of Jesus' crucifixion.”

Asianews suggested the unexpected warmth toward Christian voters is a consequence of the devastating defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party and its Hindu nationalist allies suffered in the spring national elections.

The news service said, “After their recent debacle in the recent General Elections held in April, the right-winged Shiv Sean and BJP are now wooing the minority Christians for the seat in Vasai, a town north of Mumbai, home to around 80,000 Christian voters: The use of images of Christ in their campaign will doubtlessly carry weight with them.”

Another Brick in the Wall of Muslim Intolerance

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Oct. 7 — Muslim fundamentalists have built a brick wall to deny access to a Catholic school near the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.

The 7-foot-high wall was erected across the main gate of the Sang Timur Catholic School Oct. 3 by about 100 Muslim activists who claim the school is seeking to convert Muslims, Father Derrikson Turnip, a local priest, told the Associated Press.

Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country, is about 80% Muslim. Catholics comprise about 3% of the country's 238 million inhabitants.

Father Turnip said school officials could not prevent the activists, some of whom were armed with sticks, from constructing the wall. “It was anarchy,” he said. “They looked as if they were ready for a fight.”

Local authorities revoked the school's permission to hold services earlier this year after lobbying by local Muslim groups, Father Turnip said, but it has continued holding them.

Ugandan Anglicans Assume Control of L.A. Parishes

THE MONITOR (KAMPALA, UGANDA), Oct. 5 — Anglican Bishop Evans Mukasa Kisekka of Luwero, Uganda, has accepted a request by three Los Angeles-area Episcopalian parishes to come under the jurisdiction of his diocese.

Bishop Kisekka said the three parishes — St. James, All Saints and St. David's — submitted their request about four months ago. The churches broke with the Los Angeles diocese over its support of last year's consecration of homosexual Gene Robinson as Episcopalian bishop of New Hampshire.

The bishop said he consulted with Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi, the primate of the Church of Uganda, who approved the move. Last November, the Anglican Province of Uganda formally severed communion with U.S. Episcopalians because of Robinson's consecration.

Said Bishop Kisekka, “They got us through the Internet, and they feel we are the most suitable diocese to take care of them.”