Metropolitan for conscience vote in polls

PATHANAMTHITTA Nov. 1. In a democracy, it is of utmost importance to create a healthy atmosphere in which the people can cast their votes according to their conscience, Geevarghese Mar Osthathios, seniormost Metropolitan of the Malankara Orthodox Church, has said.

In a democracy, people were more important than the State. They were the king-makers. The duty of the State was to respect and protect the interests of the people and ensure their welfare and well-being, the Metropolitan said.

Mar Osthathios, who is also Metropolitan of the Niranam diocese of the church, was talking to The Hindu at the Parumala Seminary over the attempts allegedly being made by certain political parties to win the religious leaders to their side, in the backdrop of the Assembly by-election in Thiruvalla. According to him, politics mixed with religion will only bring doom to the State and society. It is high time our politicians and society rose above religion in the larger interests of society, he said.

In Thiruvalla, the candidates of both the major political fronts, Varghese George and Elizabeth Mammen, were equally good and it was up to the people to select one according to their conscience. "Ultimately, the will of God would prevail,'' he said.

Mar Osthathios said that the people were corrupt and that they were making the politicians and the executive corrupt. "Here, we practice corruption to purchase votes and to achieve various selfish targets'', he said.

``The Kerala experience shows that literacy may not necessarily improve a man. The sorry state of affairs is that the people are selfish to the core and are often ready to adopt any means to meet their selfish ends. Remember, selfishness is the original sin,'' Mar Osthathoes said.

`We have different parties for the working class as well as for the capitalists. But it is sad that we have simply forgotten the truth that our only religion is love. Selfless love is the only panacea to the aching modern world," the Metropolitan said.

According to him, the Church is for the Church and the State is for the State and the mixing of the two would never do good to society.

"The Church always stands for ethical principles where as the State may not be so," he added.

He expressed the hope said that the Church disputes would end soon and the unity of the Church would be a reality with the implementation of the various Supreme Court judgments.

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