the mercy of criminals
With the government
considering the re-introduction of the death penalty as a deterrent
to the rising homicide rate, I feel it is timely to quote from the
book, Right from the Beginning by Patrick Buchan. It
is relevant especially for those who oppose the death penalty.
The book states,
"A modern society that outlaws the death penalty does not send
a message of reverence for life, but a message of moral confusion.
When we outlaw the death penalty, we tell the murderer that, no
matter what he may do to innocent people in our custody and care,
women, children, old people, his most treasured possession, his
life is secure.
it in advance. Just as a nation that declares that nothing will
make it go to war finds itself at the mercy of warlike regimes,
so society that will not put the worst of its criminals to death
will find itself at the mercy of criminals who have no qualms about
putting innocent people to death."
like Pettah bus rides
This is my personal
experience regarding the much publicised Bangalore flight of SriLankan
I was one of
a group of six women who bought tickets on this flight to Bangalore
since it was an hour's flight from Colombo.
We bought our
tickets well ahead of the scheduled day of February 24.
the airport around 5.30 a.m and produced our tickets at the counter.
The officer there had a strange tale to tell! "Sorry, you ladies
are late and the plane is already full." It was a case of first
come, first served.
offered us instead, a flight to Trivandrum and thence to Bangalore
on Indian Airlines.
in Bangalore around 4.30 p.m. instead of 9 a.m. as we had originally
planned. When we reached our final destination it was 7.30 p.m.
We were six
old women whose ages ranged from 70 - 76. We bought our tickets
on the Colombo - Bangalore - Colombo flight because it was a one-hour
It is the general
belief that when you buy a plane ticket there is a seat reserved
for you, for sure.
But now, it
is first come, first served just like at the main Pettah bus stand
for long distance travel. Jolly journey isn't it?
Beware of NHDA
In 1985, we
bought a house at the National Housing Development Authority scheme
at Hantana. We had to abide by a set of rules and regulations drawn
up by the NHDA's District Manager.
The deeds given
on these houses state that the vendee shall obtain prior written
permission of the vendor (NHDA) for any alterations to the existing
buildings or any additional constructions in the premises.
It is a sad
state of affairs that not only alterations to existing buildings
are being done but also many storeyed buildings have come up in
the premises. This is causing health hazards and also obstructing
the scenic beauty enjoyed by those living in such condominium units.
heat from the vast expanse of roofs below, cause many illnesses.
When we bought
the house from a state-owned housing scheme, we believed that our
rights would be safeguarded. In future, those who wish to purchase
a house from an NHDA scheme should think twice.
Over to you,
Ministry of Housing and Construction and Ministry of Environment.
a truly National New Year
A strong bond
of friendship and goodwill between the Sinhalese and the Tamils
is bound to follow, if the government accedes to a simple request.
For the past
decade, I have been calling for the renaming of April 13 as the
National New Year.
It is from
the time of the British that we called this day Sinhala and Tamil
But now that we are free, both communities should shed their differences
and have one New Year as a unified nation.
herald the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, hearths are lit, milk is
boiled, business transactions commence and the first bath is taken
at the auspicious time common to all.
I hope and
pray that April 13, this year dawns as the first National New Year,
where both Sinhalese and Tamils partake of kiribath in a peaceful
biblical tolerance, love and understanding?
I have read
with interest, the letters condemning Anglican Bishop Rev. Dulip
de Chickera, lesbians and homosexuals following the article 'Lesbian
suicide, lesbian woes' in The Sunday Times of February 9.
Let me applaud
The Sunday Times for printing such an article which, I believe,
is an eye-opener for all those uninitiated people who know nothing
of the situation, yet condemn without knowledge, all that is different.
Secondly, let me say that the most 'Christian' view came from the
Bishop of the Anglican Church, who stated that homosexuals should
be allowed to define their own sexuality and should be treated with
the same respect as heterosexuals.
ovation for this man who dared to be 'Christian', who dared to show
what tolerance and understanding is, who dared to show what non-discrimination
is. Can we all take a lesson from his book?
written by the 'learned' Professor and the 'Christians' who quoted
biblical phrases and were quick to condemn the Bishop, only shows
how intolerant and unchristian these people are.
I do believe
the good book was written as a guideline for mankind to follow,
not literally of course, because in this day and age we cannot try
and emulate the deeds of those who went before us thousands of years
ago - it is impossible.
I don't recall
anyone in recent times having to part the Red Sea. Nor have there
been any recent sightings of burning bushes. As such, we must adapt
the Bible to suit modern times. The key messages of the Bible, however,
are constantly overlooked.
People are so
busy pounding the Bible to suit their own agendas that they forget
that first and foremost the Bible spreads the message of love for
all mankind. It does not discriminate against Christians and non-Christians,
homosexuals and heterosexuals.
certainly did not preach, "Love thy neighbour but with a few
exceptions". The Bible also preaches tolerance towards everyone.
If we were
to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, Buddha or the Holy Prophet
Mohammed, this world would be a whole lot better, because they knew
what tolerance, love and understanding really meant. We can only
give lip service to those words because we cannot practise what
be allowed to define their own sexuality
The Bishop of
Colombo, on the subject of homosexuality, has said that people should
be allowed to define their sexuality (The Sunday Times, February
9). This is tantamount to saying that there are no absolute standards
of morality; that anyone is right and that you can make up your
be allowed to define their sexuality, morality or legality. These
are given standards. We cannot ignore them, let alone break them.
It is most surprising that the Bishop should say such a thing. In
the first place, he should not allow his flock to define their own
standards of conduct even in lesser things, and God is greater than
a Bishop. Furthermore, the Christian faith clearly states that God
has set moral standards and they are not negotiable. We either accept
them or defy them. If we defy them we are in rebellion and come
under His judgment.
The Bible is
quite clear that sex is only right within a heterosexual marriage.
clearly declared that even adulterous thoughts are a sin. The Bible
emphatically states that homosexuality is an abomination to God
(Lev.16:22 Gal. 5:20-21). He also destroyed the twin cities Sodom
and Gomorrah for the sin of homosexuality (Gen 19:12&24). Homosexual
acts are also called degrading passions, unnatural functions and
indecent acts. Those who do such practices do not see fit to acknowledge
God (Rom. 1:26,27&28). The Bible condemns these sins outright
saying that those who do them will not inherit the Kingdom of God
(1 Cor.6:9-10. 2 Cor. 12:21 Col. 3; 5-6 )
We must submit
to God and say that these things are sins and that they are abominable
to God. God does love the sinner but He hates the sins.
We do not strike
off or reject homosexuals. We do want to help and deliver them from
their sinful practices and addictions through the power of God just
as much as we do with drug addicts, murderers, prostitutes, cheats,
thieves, exploiters and gamblers.
is abnormal though done by normal people. It is their behaviour
that is not right. It is unnatural and against the order of creation.
No way can you say that homosexuality is normal to some people,
any more than you can say that murder is normal to some people.
came up at the 1998 Lambeth conference of Anglican Bishops. The
homosexual lobby of some 50 or so Bishops wanted the conference
of over 615 to listen to some homosexuals state their case. The
Evangelical Bishops' counter argument was that they must also bring
in some ex-homosexuals to state how they were delivered from their
deviation, but the homosexual lobby would not agree to that.
Finally, with a majority of 550 votes, the Bishops decided that
homosexuality was unacceptable according to the Bible. Those who
cannot accept this orthodox position should not remain in leadership
in the church, whether they are Bishops, preachers or teachers.
Canon Lakshman Peiris
Holy Trinity Church,
to the Editor' should be brief and to the point.
Address them to:
'Letters to the Editor,
The Sunday Times,
P.O.Box 1136, Colombo.
Or e-mail to
Please note that letters cannot be acknowledged or returned.