The result of any mixture between religion and politics is EVIL. Sri Lankans who are aware of world history already know this. Christianity corrupted by political power took a thousand-year bite out of our civilization: the period spanning approximately 5 – 15th century AD are lost to humanity, the Dark Ages. The Church tortured and burned women as witches; it had the power to dictate what people learned and what they didn’t; to ban and burn books; to jail/execute writers and scientists; to send troops to other countries in the name of God.
Christianity was restored to the form originally designed by Christ, only through a massive internal struggle between Christians themselves: the Reformation. Christians have never forgotten this lesson. This is why in America, religion is forbidden from entering the government and is forbidden at the highest possible level: the Constitution. Religion may not be taught at school; public prayer or religious symbols within state buildings are not allowed. Most non-Christians find Americans’ apparent hostility toward their own religion puzzling. There is nothing puzzling when you see that the hostility is not toward religion, but toward mixing religion and politics. Muslims have yet to learn this lesson.
Buddhists tend to argue that, since Buddhism is a non-violent and tolerant system of beliefs, it cannot happen to Buddhism. They were proven wrong: on the subject of the ethnic conflict, political monks continue to be the most outspoken advocates of violence and intolerance. Astonishingly, some of them went beyond advocacy to direct demonstrations of violence.
There is ZERO correlation between the teachings of a religion and the degree of evil committed once it is mixed with politics. If “he that is without sin, cast the first stone” and “turn the other cheek” lead to the Witch Trials, it is no surprise that sermons of the Buddha too, were distorted to serve political ends. Buddhism in Sri Lanka has already been heavily corrupted by the politicized clergy, yet there is no sign that Sri Lankans are becoming wise to what Europeans learned centuries ago: ANY MIX OF POLITICS AND RELIGION IS EVIL.
Sri Lanka is a Buddhist COUNTRY. But it cannot be a Buddhist STATE. The difference seems subtle but is critical. Americans are far more Christian than Europeans or even their own neighboring Canadians. It is said that America is at once the most secular state and the most religious nation.
Amend the constitution to prohibit the government from favoring any religion or the parliament passing any law mentioning a specific religion. Make it clear that no religion is exempt from the Law: in any contest between the Law of the Country and the Law of a religion, the Law of the Country must prevail. In the eyes of the Law, only the Law is Holy. Religion must remain a private matter. Abolish all religion-related government departments and funding programs, with the exception of archeology projects dealing with preserving ancient Sri Lankan ruins (most of which happen to be from a Buddhist civilization). Sri Lankan cannot become a Buddhist state or a Christian state or an Islamic state or a Hindu state. It MUST be a secular state.