Conformity is the biggest global rule master in all forms of governance, be it national governments, organisations, religious groups and society. Thinking out of the basket is therefore seen as abnormal and absurd. When one does that, he/she is categorised as a difficult person and one who wants to rock the boat. Therefore education, training, advice is all given to make one conform to the constructed majority opinion and way of things. This being the case one cannot question, differ, and disagree. The church goes through the same framework of constructing those who conform.
One of the stand-out symbols of closeness and fellowship that a Christian priest performs is the drawing of the cross towards the congregation and praying for another, placing the hand on the forehead. This is invariably done with the right hand. But why the right hand one may ask? Why not the left? Some priests I know are left handed and yet they have to train themselves to be right handed. Children who are normally left handed are made to change themselves and use their right hand by their parents. The parents are worried about how their daughter/son would survive in a world of right handed people! This clear discrimination is conformed to by the church as well.
The recent assembly polls in Kerala leaves one asking whether it was a victory for the Congress led UDF (United Democratic Front) or the Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI (M)) led LDF (Left Democratic Front). A wafer thin margin managed by the UDF is already giving the Congress a severe headache courtesy their strong allies. This time the various church leaders in Kerala except a few did not openly canvas for a particular front. But churches have largely been on the defensive over the open vibes put forth by influential members of the Left. Even recently a youth wing leader asked the church leaders to keep to the spiritual upkeep of their flock rather than interfering in things which should be left to the government of the state. Today the CPI (M) party secretary talked of the loss of votes due to the interference of religious and caste based groups in Kerala.
What should people look for when they vote? Should it be good governance, policies for the betterment of the poor and security for all or should it be based on the basis of left, right and centre? Can’t a religious person vote for the left because it is the left just like not drawing the cross with the left hand or can one take a decision based on one’s own right not to conform? This does not mean that the left is on the other hand devoid of all that is bad. If that was the case Bengal would not have voted against the left after 34 long years!
There are two things to remember. One, religious groups should refrain from pressuring its people to vote for one particular party and two, religious groups should not allow any political party to influence people based on lies and withholding of facts. This calls for the true freedom of the people to exercise their right to decide. Right or left, let it be left to the people to choose and live with.