News Morung Express
Dimapur | November 19
While most people in Nagaland claim to be of the Christian faith, problems such as corruption and other societal and governmental malfeasance exist because religious faith does not translate into public life, according to responses to the weekly poll. by The Morung Express from November 12 to 19.
In response to the question “Do people in Nagaland separate the practice of the Christian faith from the political culture? Give reasons”, at least 58% of respondents were of the opinion that Naga Christians separate religious faith from political culture, while 39% voted “no” and 3% voted “other”.
Among those who voted “Yes”, one respondent believed that this separation is the reason why “people have no problem being corrupt in their professional and social life but very religious in their spiritual life”. When will people realize that our Christian faith cannot be tackled piecemeal, they posed in their response.
Similarly, another said, “We are a land of tribalism and cross-dressing. Even pastors stick to clandestine meetings and corruption in their church. There is a “great disconnect” between sacred beliefs and actual practice, they argued.
“Obviously yes. Proxy voting, tribalism, disguised appointments and many other vices that we commonly see in our society are not taught by our Christian faith,” said another respondent, who went on to state that ” we don’t care about our religious beliefs during the elections”.
Interestingly, while voting ‘Yes’, some respondents were of the view that separation can be both good and bad.
“Everything about religion is not good. If we always make decisions based on religion, we will become intolerant like ISIS and RSS. Politics gave us democracy and elections etc. Rational people take the best of both worlds and avoid harmful extremes,” said one respondent.
Along the same lines, another replied that some people believe in Christianity on a personal level, but “you don’t mind joining a political party that has an anti-Christian background or constitution.” However, they also felt that this separation can also be good, “because not all religious doctrines are good. If we strictly interpret religion verbatim we will have a very intolerant society like denial of women’s equality and so on.
Meanwhile, some who voted ‘No’ felt that ‘Our Christian morality is still with us.’
“It is not because we sometimes fail in our political life that we forget our Creator. Our Christian faith always guides us consciously or unconsciously,” one respondent commented.
Notably, another person felt that religion has been weaponized by politicians and “it’s like they’re trained to play with people’s minds”, and what they do is “s ‘sit back and relax and watch what’s going on in society’.
Another referred to the adage “Money is the root of all evil” and explained that politics is a “platform for making easy money” because of which most faithful believers are also involved in politics. However, “they do not practice what they have preached. A clean election is a dream for our beloved state,” they added.
“Many Christian organizations are involved in politics,” said another, while another felt that “the political structure has also crept into the socio-cultural aspect of the dominant Christian milieus in Nagaland.”
“Forget other political contexts in the secular world, the church itself is no longer free from the clutches of people with political agendas working behind the scenes, even as church leaders. We hardly find worthy people anymore based on the biblical ranking of the election of elders working in our churches,” the commentary read.
The majority of Nagas are Christians only by birth but not by faith and belief. It will not be correct to claim that the Nagas are majority Christians, added another respondent who voted ‘Other’.