Senseless attacks on community assets


PEOPLE driven either by drugs and alcohol or some kind of religious fanaticism are attacking Christians of denominations different from theirs and burning down their church buildings.
And that is becoming a sickening new trend in parts of the country.
In July, two churches were razed in the Kandrian-Gloucester of West New Britain during a fight between youths from the Catholic church and other churches.
A local leader said then that it was a chronic problem in the district where churches were targeted during confrontations between villages or church groups.
The situation had become so common that people began to accept it as normal and don’t even bother to reports incidents to police anymore.
Conflict and tension arise when new denominations or sects enter areas where bigger and older churches have been there for decades.
In such situations, people’s narrow views and claims of practising ‘the one true faith’ are taken to extremes resulting in fighting and damage to property, starkly contrary to the message of love and peace they purport to stand for and promote.
In a most recent incident the Togoba Catholic church in Western Highlands was allegedly razed to the ground by suspected arsonists attacking in the early hours of last Friday morning.
Christians there are reportedly aghast and mourning their loss.
Fellow believers from other parts of the province are joining them in grieving the loss of an iconic structure on the side of the Highlands highway, a short distance from the Togoba junction where the Highlands Highway forks to Southern Highlands and Enga respectively.
In the aftermath of the incident Mt Hagen Catholic Archbishop Douglas Young has vowed that “we will rise from the ashes” while a local church elder has labelled the suspected arson as the work of satan.
If proven to be arson, it must be condemned for the wicked and heartless act it is.
Despite what people say and think of the Catholic church and faith now, it one of the first church denominations that had opened up Western Highlands and other parts of the Highlands beyond there.
Western Highlanders are mindful of the work of American pioneer missionary Fr William Ross and his band of coastal lay workers who ventured into the highlands and set up at Rabiamul, the present headquarters of the Mt Hagen Archdiocese.
From there and over the years, the faith spread to other parts of Western Highlands and what is now Enga.
Whatever the reason for attacks on the church and its property, such cowardly acts should never be tolerated at all.
These are the works of the devil, period.
Anything that stirs up strife and hatred cannot be condoned by a loving God and father.
Whether or not a divine power truly does exist might be a matter of opinion, but the effects of religious belief are scientific facts that can be accurately measured, according to research.
Whether one is an atheist, an agnostic, or a devout believer, all are equally likely to agree that religion does have a profound effect on humans.
Most of that is for the better.
It has been proven scientifically proven that religious belief can increase lifespans and help people better cope with disease and other stressful situations.
If the enlightened of the world think that religion and matters of faith belong to the weak-minded, so be it.
However, those who do not believe in a god or think God should be worshipped according to their ideas, have absolutely no right to impose their beliefs on others and desecrate or destroy items and buildings regarded as sacred.
Let God alone be judge in matters of faith.