September 21, 2012

Fatwa from Mizoram church bans soccer on Sundays

From: The Times of India
TNN | Sep 21, 2012, 03.47AM IST

AIZAWL: Youth of Christian-dominated Mizoram are at a crossroads between passion and religion. The dilemma follows a recent appeal on a ban on playing football on Sundays by the Synod, the highest decision-making body of the powerful Mizoram Presbyterian Church.

A statement signed by Synod moderator Rev Thangzauva and Synod secretary "Upa" (elder) DP Biakkhuma says, "The Presbyterian Church Synod appeals to all people of Mizoram to refrain from any sporting activities on Sundays as Mizoram is a Christian state and Sunday is a sacred and important day for Christians." It, however, expressed happiness over the success of Mizo youth in sports. The statement added, "The church appeals to all people to respect our sacred day."

Jonathan L Hnamte, a member of the Seventh Day Adventists Church, criticized the statement of the Presbyterian Church saying it clearly exposes the apathetic attitude of Mizoram's biggest church towards other Christian denominations. "Members of the Seventh Day Adventists and also some other denominations, observe Saturday as the Sabbath just like the Catholics, the Presbyterians and the Baptists observe Sunday as the holy day," said Hnamte.

He added that they had tolerated people playing football or other games near their places of worship on Sabbath, while having church service, for years. He said the Presbyterian Church was powerful enough to dictate terms to the state government. Accusing its leaders of acting like religious bigots, he added that issuing restrictions to the people of Mizoram revealed their arrogant attitude.

He said liquor was prohibited since the past 15 years as successive governments could not defy the church's "appeal" despite the state losing revenue.