First, a “backgrounder” is in order. The Christian church loves to play the
persecuted. There are two reasons for this: one tactical, the other theological.
The tactical reason is evident: we live in an era where aggressors play victim
to silence the protests of the party they are unleashing their aggression on.
But an even more important consideration for the church is dogma: it believes
that persecution helps it expand; hence imagines that it is being persecuted.
Just google “persecution and church” to learn how important for the
Christian mission it is to be “persecuted”!
Today’s Indian Express is not the same as Ramnath Goenka’s nationalist
newspaper. Today’s IE is on a mission mode. The mission is to project “Hindu
India” under a “Hindu govt” as a persecutor of religious minorities, including,
of course, Christians. The outfit doesn’t play up the “Christian persecution”
angle too much; for that would be obvious (apart from the needed material
being scarce). Firing from the shoulders of Islamists is preferred. Day after
day, without let-up, the front page of Indian Express is all about how Hindus
of India are oppressing its Muslims. Especially under “Hindu govt” of Modi.
There’s this favourite quote of Left-wingers: You can fool some of the people
all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool
all of the people all of the time. Plain truth is that Indian Express is about as
un-bigoted as Catholic Secular Forum is secular. So what does it do when
the Catholic Secular Forum, a Church front, assaults freedom of speech?
Here is what it does, in five bullet points:
1. Reluctantly, brings the news to the front page.
The bottom of the page, not the screaming banner headline reserved for
venting venom on Hindus. Not to highlight the matter would be too obvious,
wouldn’t it, after screaming lungs off every second day on how freedom of
expression is under threat in India from Hindu extremists? Normally the
paper is shameless enough to censor the news that doesn’t fit its mission;
but let’s give the devil its due: for once it struck a major compromise.
2. It gives the arsonist a bigger piece of the platform than to the victim of
the arson, so to speak.
The Catholic church and its “secular” forum get HUNDRED AND SEVENTY
words explaining why they (are compelled to, no doubt) ask for a ban on
the play; while the play-maker gets EIGHTY!
3. Uses non-judgmental language to report the Catholic stand.
No tone of outrage or condescension that pervades similar stories involving
Hindus, no “claimed” or “alleged” tags for the arsonist’s statements, no
“buts” and “howevers” that right away purport to debunk the claims, no
description of the aggressors as “Christian extremists” or “Christian fundamentalists”;
no instantaneous rent-a-quote reactions from seculars and liberals, but
simple phrases like “the forum said”, “the bishop stated”, “the CSF objected”.
Yes, no questions asked.
4. Uses a Catholic journalist to report the story.
What’s the norm in the same outfit when reporting stories in which Hindus
are the bad guys? The bulk of the dirty work there seems to be done by sepoy
Hindu journalists of course; but note that Christian/Muslim journalists feel
no inhibitions in filing Hindu-bashing stories. It’s just part of a day’s secular
work. But when the story is of a nature that needs “delicate” handling, a
Christian or Muslim journo is deployed.
5. Pretends to merely state the Church stand; but actually advances it to
insinuate in the reader’s mind why the ban is not all as unjustified as she
The Church’s claim that ban is needed because the play-maker is also
involved with “Vagina Monologues” is respectfully reported. Circular
reasoning apart, note the cleverness: the Christian fundamentalist’s idea in
linking the artistes with the word ‘vagina’ is to suggest that they are dirty-minded,
and that their intent is to give deliberate offence. Indian Express reports the
claim in a manner that plants the idea, instead of contesting it, in reader’s mind.
* * *
Incidentally, Sanal Edamaruku has never been a banner-headline story in
this Hindu-baiting outfit. A rationalist, he discovered that behind the water
emerging from a Jesus statue in Bombay was no miracle, but a sewer. He
has been living in exile ever since, fearing a threat to his life from Christian
Christian extremists, did I say? Sorry, there are no Christian extremists in
India or Indian Express. But everyday on the front-page of the latter, you
can find Hindu extremists who are persecuting minorities.