Harmony needed for religious freedom – Minister

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By 2017-08-19

By Natasha Siribaddana

Both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe believe that there should be harmony among different groups if religious freedom is to be upheld, Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga said.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Reverend Dr. Kirby de Lanerolle for the important service in the religious sector that he has rendered to Sri Lanka. While appreciating that, as the Minister of Christian Religious Affairs my concern is to ensure there is freedom of religion in the country. Our Constitution very clearly spells out that we will ensure freedom of religion. That does not mean different religions should exploit or practiced unethically in order to antagonize or bring conflict within the religion. All the Catholic churches should work towards one goal," Minister Amaratunga said.

Addressing an event organized by the Ministry of Reconciliation and the Apostolic Diocese of Ceylon (ADC) on Thursday (17) held at the BMICH, Reverend Dr. Kirby de Lanerolle stated:

"The ADC now is involved with over 500 churches and it belongs to the largest charismatic denomination in the country. We are also the largest non mainline denomination in the North and the East. With the help from the Lord Chancellor we have opened a new online degree programme. This program gives scholarships to all ADC pastors who register with us".

He went on to note that everyone should embrace their brothers in other religions, despite any cultural differences adding that they should be open to the views of others in this one body.

"ADC is committed to both reconciliation with other religions, cultures and races but also the reconciliation within the body of Christ" the Reverend said. Lord Chancellor of the ADC Institute Professor Lakshman Madurasinghe said at the event:

"I believe the leaders will be able to open their hearts to have a dialogue with other people, to have peace, tolerance and appreciate and to be able to live in peace and harmony. Towards that end Christian leaders who are studying with us will have two campuses in Norton Bridge, up in the hill country which has been there for 25 years. So I urge you to study and become confident in your work. Knowledge can be acquired, but wisdom lingers."




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