Archbishop Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith yesterday, 16th of May questioned as to why the authorities have failed to probe those who contaminate the minds of people with false religious beliefs.
Father Cyril Gamini Fernando the Chief Editor of the Catholic Newspaper came up with these remarks of the Archbishop of Colombo at a press conference in reference to Pastor Jerome Fernando who is in the center of controversy after the hard remarks he had made on Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam.
Pastor Jerome Fernando who heads a religious congregation is neither a Catholic priest nor connected to the Catholic Church of Sri Lanka, Father Cyril Gamini Fernando clarified.
Pastor Jerome Fernando’s comments during a recent sermon have received a lot of attention in social media.
A video clip related to a sermon delivered by Pastor named Jerome Fernando in front of his congregation, which had been widely circulated on social media in recent days, had stirred much controversy within the country, due to allegations that it included derogatory statements related to Lord Buddha.
Many parties have accused that he has made hateful expressions in his speech to insult Lord Buddha, Jesus, and other religions.
Accordingly, several monks and civil organizations have also submitted complaints to the Criminal Investigation Department asking for an investigation.
“Details on foreign men whom Pastor Jerome associated with and who sponsored him had come up in social media lately. It is shocking to note that no probe had been conducted with regard to those matters,” Father Fernando told at the media briefing.
“One cannot rule out inter-religious conflicts as a result of fundamental statements like the ones which Pastor Jerome had made. We cannot forget the fact that there was an exercise to create disruption in the nation by creating conflicts as a result of remarks made by various extremists and political leaders. We would like to request from the people to be aware of persons who rouse ethnic and religious hatred,” he said.
“Everyone in this country has the right to follow any faith, but no one has the right to insult a religion followed by another. Such persons must be dealt with by common law,” Father Fernando added.
Asked as to what should be done about the famous personalities who follow Pastor Jerome, Father Fernando said everyone has a right to believe in the faith of their choice.
“Jesus has spoken about false followers of Christianity, but one cannot utter about those without carrying out a proper biblical study,” Father Fernando concluded.
Meanwhile, the New Buddhist Front (‘Nawa Bikshu Peramuna’) has lodged a complaint with the CID in Colombo Fort against Pastor Jerome, seeking his immediate arrest and for legal action to be initiated against him.
In addition, the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) had also made a complaint before the CID today, seeking to strict legal action against the pastor in question.
When inquired the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs, Minister Vidura Wickramanayake told that the Ministry has submitted a complaint to the Inspector General of Police. It is not good to leave what needs to be broken with a nail to be cut with an axe,” said Minister Vidura Wickramanayake.
Accordingly, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Sri Lanka has obtained a travel ban against Pastor Jerome Fernando from the Fort Magistrate’s Court yesterday, but Pastor Jerome had already left the island on the 14th of May, and he will come back on Sunday, he had said posting a message on his Instagram page.
Posting a message on his instagram page “Hello Family, As you are all aware , I’m presently traveling on pre scheduled official matters pertaining to the ministry and will be back home on Sunday”.
“Looking forward to Sri Lanka. Love you all. Be at the dome on Sunday 10am 1ST for MEGA CHURCH DAY with the entire TGC family” he added.