Earlier, the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) had issued a response to content of speech made by the RSS Chief, Shri Mohan Bhagwat on the Rashtriya Seva Sangh’s Foundation Day held at its Headquarters in Nagpur, M. S., on Tuesday, 08 October, 2019. Similarly but a few days later, the All India Catholic Union (AICU), also issued a response and the latest having been from the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), i.e. on Sunday, 13 October, 2019 evening.
Therefore in solidarity with my esteemed friends, Rev. Asir Ebenezer, Dr. John Dayal and Rev. Vijayesh Lal and above all, together in this ecumenical journey, allow me to reflectively respond to the RSS Chief’s contention that mob lynching did not originate in India but came from outside India and that it originated with Jesus Christ in that according to news report (www.indiatoday.in) the RSS Chief is purported to have stated that “the word lynching comes from an incident in the Bible where Jesus Christ told people to hit a woman with stones only if they had never committed any sin in their pasts.”
The word “lynching” or “lynch” was never used by Jesus though its meaning is to “put to death, hang, kill, murder, slay” (The Concise Oxford Thesaurus, OUP, eighteenth impression, 2002)), and more precise, “to kill by mob action without legal sanction.” (The New International Webster Student Dictionary, 1996 edition) And Jesus’ answer to the people who had brought the woman allegedly found having committed adultery, was not to endorse their almost unanimous decision to stone her but in effect, it was to put a stop to the supposedly emotional crowd by saying, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 08: 07) Most probably, this had struck them right to the inner chords of their being for they, viz. the scribes and Pharisees of the day had come to “test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him.” (John 08: 06) and after Jesus had thus said, “… they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest and Jesus was left with the woman standing before him.” (John 08: 09) Actually, Jesus’ reply was an anti-thesis, an rhetoric to the common understanding of the day.
In the Gospel records according to Saint Luke, Jesus had asked, “Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye ?” and went to say, “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye ? You hypocrite, first take out the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” (Luke 06: 41 – 42)
Saint Paul, in his letter to the Church in Rome, had written, “None is righteous, no not one; … since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 03 : 10 – 12, 22 – 23)
And the Lord Jesus had taught, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 06: 27)
Let us imbibe the good, no matter from where it comes and let us reject totally that is bad, inhuman, violent and destructive, even if it is inherited through ages and ingrained in us. Let us rise up to rebuild the broken walls that segregate us, divide us under some guises and pretensions and stand united against poverty, corruption, acts of injustice, discrimination, suspicion, hatred, conflicts, all that divides our countrymen, all of humanity. Let us be resolute to build communities of peace for all and let us commence forthwith.
Let us begin by which, all religions of different persuasions come together and as one, go all out against poverty by rooting out its source(s), discrimination and combating climate change.
Dr. P. B. M. Basaiawmoit
Former Vice President,
National Council of Churches in India