|One of the many posters that appeared in my village asking people to support the Church Act|
In spite of its recent capitulation to the venal central government, the Supreme Court of India has upheld women’s right to enter places of worship like Sabarimala. But certain religious fundamentalists in Kerala are determined not to let women anywhere near the presiding deity on that hilltop. Ayyappan, the deity, is a bachelor whose chastity is so fragile that it will be shattered by the mere presence of worshipping women, according to these fundamentalists.
Umpteen questions can be raised against this and other infantile views of religious fundamentalists. None of the fundamentalist views stands to reason. Yet these views get popular support. One obvious reason is that most believers, not merely the fundamentalists, feel insecure about changing age-old beliefs and customs, however absurd and puerile they may be.
It was quite heartening to see the Christians of the state of Kerala coming out in tens of thousands yesterday [27 Nov 2019] to demand implementation of the Church Act that would put some reins on the omnipotent powers of priests. The priests of the various churches in Kerala have proved themselves to be above the law in extremely criminal ways in the last many decades. They not only misuse the wealth of the churches but also indulge in criminal activities like raping children, nuns and housewives.
The questioning of the temporal powers of the churches by the laity may have nothing to do with religious faith and its concomitant blindness. Yet the protest is a healthy sign insofar as it can lead to the beginning of the end of the savage powers exercised by the priests.
People need to liberate themselves from the savage powers of the gods, in fact. I look forward to that day when man (as well as woman, of course) won’t need the crutches of gods.