His Holiness Pope Francis
The pure evil behind world's tallest Christmas Tree of Sri Lanka
While the media sees a Christmas tree that is to be the tallest in the world, the story behind it is very disturbing. The Christmas tree which is to be considered the tallest in the world was started by a group of people with private donations as they claim. However its construction was started by the Ministry of Ports and pictures of the Minister of Ports Mr. Arajuna Ranathuna was seen breaking ground.
Government of Sri Lanka has burdened the lower and middle class people of this country with heavy taxes. Taxes on telephone services were increased by 22% and taxes on internet services were increased by nearly 40%. Further even though the government medical services are free in Sri Lanka, it is the issue that these services are overwhelmed and most of the time there are not even enough beds for the patients, in such a horrible situation the government which claims good governance imposed a 15% tax on private health care services burdening the desperate and poor people who mortgage their houses to get decent medical care privately. The government claims that these taxes were placed because the Sri Lankan economy is crashing and there isn’t enough money to settle the government loans but the ministers are importing new cars and getting their salaries and allowances increased.
As soon as the building of the tallest Christmas tree in the world was announced, heavy objections were raised by the people who questioned the point of such a big tree in such a crashing economy. Several Catholics questioned as to why the Bishop’s of Sri Lanka remained silent and wrote to papers complaining. In this set of events Archbishop of Colombo in a press conference voiced his opinion on the matter saying that the money spent on it could be used to help the poor and suffering. As soon as he made the statement, the construction of the tree was stopped completely by the Ministry of Ports. The next moment the political Facebook pages that represent the good governance government attacked the Archbishop of Colombo and insulted him. Some such pages even took as far as to make Facebook posts about the Bishop’s statement in a manner it would cause religious disharmony between the Buddhists and the Catholics. As a result the issue was bought in to a political perspective which also divided the Catholic community on the matter.
At this point, we found that the attack was led by a Coordinating Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka (Claimed by him). Our organization organized a press conference and exposed the situation; however it was not aired on the media because of the government policy to suppress such issues. However our social media movement was able to overpower the Sri Lanka’s most powerful Facebook page and video of the press conference was viewed and shared across the country. Our intention was to stop the attacks on the Archbishop and it was successful, soon after the video, the Facebook page started to attack us calling us religious extremists and forgot about the Bishop. Days later, the Presidents Media Unit issued a press release saying that the person we claimed as a Secretary was an imposter but the funny part of it is that no legal action was taken in this regard by the government. The said imposter was indeed a key figure who played a key role in social media to help overturn the government in 2014. He has later vacated his post sighting an internal dispute in the Presidential Secretariat, but even today remains silent on sufferings of the low and middle class people have to go through and support the President.
With the issue being escalated on social media by the said Facebook pages, the Prime-Minister of Sri Lanka and the Finance Minister had met the Archbishop of Colombo. The Finance Minister who is a Catholic had become the spokesmen of the Catholic Church and has told that the Archbishop gave his blessing to continue the Christmas tree. While the truth was that the Archbishop of Colombo never changed his position on the matter. The Prime-Minister has informed the Minister of Ports to restart the construction of the Christmas tree. These set of incidents proves the interference the government is trying throw at the Church. However, on several press conferences it is said that the government is not involved with the construction of the tree, even when it’s clear that Ministry of Ports, Minister of Ports, Prime-Minister and the Finance Minister are directly involved in the matter. Who are they trying to fool? It is sad to know that some Catholic people of Sri Lanka would take the side of the political matter even if it means it is against the opinion of the Bishop.
In the perspective of religious freedom in Sri Lanka, it seems that the government is not allowing the Catholic TV channel of Sri Lanka to broadcast itself on the airwaves of the country. Liquor shops are being opened illegally near Catholic Churches in an attempt to destroy the future generation of the Church in Sri Lanka, despite the Excise law that prevents liquor shops from being opened within 100 meters (boundary distance) of religious places and schools. Alcohol addiction is the main reasons for Catholic family despites, poverty and divorces in the Sri Lanka. In one such incident, at the Queen of Angels’ Church – Rawathawatta a group of individuals had offered the Church Rs. 2 million saying that the church should not object to the liquor shop that is being opened by the John Keells group just next to the church. However the Parish Council and Parish Priest have refused it and the then government had refused it. However with the turn of power, the said good governance government had allowed the liquor shop to be opened without even informing the church. Several civil societies I’m involved in and fellow Buddhists objected, the Archbishop of Colombo also sent a letter of protest to the government. However the shop remains opened, and the excise commission argues that distance measurement of center-to center is valid for boundary to boundary measurement requirement of the law. The Finance Minister was noted recently saying that government income has improved because of the good performance of several departments including the Excise department. So by opening such liquor shops, the government is increasing their income.
The upcoming new constitution seems to be bringing forward rights for homosexuals. International media’s such as the BBC have been making a big issue highlighting the need for such rights in Sri Lanka, they are wanting to build another Europe in Sri Lanka which is going to destroy the culture of Sri Lanka and the future generations of our nation, and in term it is Businesses such as gay clubs coming down from Europe that will benefit from such rights. Several Ministers in the Good Governance has been noted to support gay rights. Young Catholic people are now being given hope that they can get married and adopt children. It is in this background that the government attempted to propose that Sri Lanka be made a non-religious country, because a religious country is a thorn in the path to homosexual rights. Even though the President and Prime-Minister promised that they will not remove the place given to Buddhism, their position on homosexual rights is not clear.
In such a background of persecution of the Christian people and the values of Catholicism, building the world’s largest Christmas tree has no reflection to the Christian’s of this country. China which is also a country that has been persecuting the authority of the Catholic Church also has made a world largest Christmas tree. The international media refuses to report these matters because to them all that matters is homosexual rights.
We plead to your Holiness to request all Catholics in the world not to support such wastage of money in economies or political policies that do not reflect the rights and the economic situation of the people in such countries. The intention of the Christmas tree is to unite us around it. But this tree of Sri Lanka mixed with political agendas is purely evil in all ways. The shape of it is also being attacked by the Christians and Buddhists on social media who say that it looks like a Buddhist temple while others say it looks like a rocket. It is not clear as to why the tree took such an odd shape. Whatever it may be it is a grave disrespect to the Buddhists as well as Christians.
May God Bless You,
President – The Catholic Expression
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