NORTHERN PROVINCIAL COUNCIL: THE DEVOLUTION DEBATE

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I approach this subject as a political scientist, a former diplomat and briefly a Minister in the Cabinet of the North East Provincial Council. At the overlap of these experiences and roles is what is classifiable as a Realist perspective.

As a Realist, I reject outright three myths about devolution which have been around for a long time but have been resuscitated in the post-war period. Firstly, that devolution in our context is primarily to do with empowerment of the people and ‘the people’ considered without any ethnic connotation. Secondly, that it was to do with the Tigers and now that the Tigers are no more, there is no case for devolution. Thirdly, that it has to do originally and primarily with India.

If I were to put it simply, this is primarily to do with the Tamils and the Sinhalese, or the Sinhalese and the Tamils. In Sri Lanka, there are relatively compact ethnic groups approximately corresponding to certain regions (a point not vitiated by the fact that you have many Tamils outside of the Northern Province); there is an ethno-regional distribution, there is a domestic geopolitics in this country and it’s been recognized throughout at least the 20th century.

Whatever the history, the formation, this is where we are. This is why S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, in 1926, writing a set of six articles in the Ceylon Morning Leader, made the point that he knows of no countries which is non-homogenous, which is heterogeneous, that can succeed with a centralized form of administration. That is the basis of the case for devolution. If I may fall back briefly on my old Marxist lexicon, there is a contradiction between the demographic base or substructure, and the political superstructure.

So this is the first reason: It’s about the Sinhalese and the Tamils and how we can peacefully coexist on this island. It is about coexistence and co-habitation. It is an existential question. What are the terms of the political equation that will enable us to coexist politically on this island? So it is not primarily about administration, or anything other than the ethno-national or nationalities question.

The second erroneous argument is that this had to do with the Tigers. Again this is not true because if it were, you would not have had the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact of ’57 or the Dudley-Chelvanayakam Pact in ’66. Furthermore, JR Jayewardene would not have seen fit to include in his massively popular election manifesto of 1977, a substantive section about the Tamil people, recognizing that the Tamil people have been driven to the point of “even asking for a separate State”, which was of course a reference to the Vattukottai resolution of 1976. The election manifesto was in 1977 and the Tigers were a tiny outfit at that time. Thus the issue was not primarily about the Tigers and by logical consequence the military defeat of the Tigers does not take away the need for a political settlement.

Thirdly, the argument is that devolution had primarily to do with India. Well, if that is the case, the last time I looked India is still there and political climate is getting even more fraught with the elections coming up in 2014. But if you set that point aside for a moment, the province was publicly agreed upon as the main unit of devolution in the documents of the Political Parties Conference of June 1986, held in Colombo. That conference was under the chairpersonship of President Jayewardene and summoned at the written request of Vijaya Kumaratunga. There were no Indians present. If the detailed blueprint arrived at on this occasion had been implemented at the time, with a five-sixths parliamentary majority in hand, there would not have been an opening for the coercive interventionist diplomacy by India one year later!

So these three myths have to be set aside. Then what is provincial devolution really about? It is very simple. If you want the family, the extended family, to stay under one roof, often you have to build an annex. Otherwise, it just would not work. Now, even when it comes to a nuclear family with children, when you have teenagers, the smart thing is to give them a room of their own and not mess with their mail, their music and stuff like this. Because if there is no recognition of the irreducible minimum space that is required for the individuality of that member of the family, or of that branch of the extended family to grow, then there cannot be a shared overarching space. In short, they cannot live under one roof. This is still more so, when one branch of the extended family has a large number of close relatives just next door, across the wall or the lane. That is the basic, existential case for devolution.

As a realist, I really do not wish to spend time on the old debate of the primary unit of devolution. I think there is a case for subsidiarity but that must necessarily pertain to what is known as sub-unit devolution. However, the primary unit has to remain the province for a very simple reason. As President Jayewardene once said in an interview with my father, Mervyn de Silva, editor of the Lanka Guardian, “The Sinhalese say district councils and no more, the Tamils say a regional council and no less; I say provincial councils.” He said that a little bit late in the day, but that is the point of intersection; the saddle point.

Dismantling the provincial unit can in fact be done in this parliament, but there will be no Tamil takers; not one, not even Cabinet Minister Mr. Devananda. There is not a single Tamil political entity that will agree to the abolition of the province as the main unit of devolution. So it will be unadulterated unilateralism on the part of this or whichever administration that does it. We have had such unilateralism before, with the promulgation of the new Constitution in 1972 and this country and its citizens have suffered the harsh consequences. Whoever attempts it now –and there are loud voices calling for this– have to know that there would be a chain of consequences of such a unilateralism. Therefore, as a realist, I commend that the province remain the primary unit of devolution.

Speaking not only as a political scientist but even more so as a former diplomat, I would say the 13th Amendment is the only cross-cutting point we have. The Tamil political parties were rather unhappy with the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord. They have yet to grasp and live with the reality that the 13th Amendment was the best that could be obtained even at a time more favorable for devolution, when India had forcefully intervened, J.R. Jayewardene had a 5/6th majority in the Parliament (albeit a parliament delegitimized by the coercive and rather fraudulent Referendum of Dec ’82), and there was a strong pro-devolution Left, a Left which made the supreme sacrifice in defense of provincial devolution as a solution to the Tamil question. 170 cadres of Vijaya Kumaratunga’s Sri Lanka Mahajana Party (SLMP), the party of which I was an Asst Secretary and the only party of which I’ve been a member, were killed by the JVP in the civil war in the South.

So, that’s the best deal that the devolution project could and would get, but from ’87 or more accurately from the excruciatingly difficult passage of the 13th amendment through the courts and the legislature in 1988, the Tamil nationalists, including the non-Tiger or anti-Tiger ones, were not satisfied. The TNA still says that it never accepted the 13th Amendment in 1987 and the EPRLF even before it took office had already denounced the 13th Amendment as being insufficient in terms of power. Now, how could they know that until they sat there? How could they know it a priori?  This attitude is why I resigned after four months as a Minister in the cabinet of the Northeast provincial Council, writing an Open Letter to the Chief Minister, which was published in the Sunday Times (Colombo), the Sunday Divaina, etc.

It is of course true that the UNP under Ranil Wickremesinghe set fire to the August 2000 Constitution. But whether it was Mangala Moonesinghe’s Parliamentary Select committee report and the deal of Indian model quasi-federalism in exchange for de-merger that was on the table, or Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga’s political packages of 1995, 1997, or August 2000, the TNA or those who comprised the TNA today (at the time the TULF) was just not interested or engaged as a peace partner. Even those political offers and opportunities that went, perhaps over-generously and imprudently, beyond the 13th amendment were just was not enough for mainstream Tamil nationalism. Well, those chances having been forfeited, now the challenge is to defend what is left of the 13th Amendment. That is what happens when you ‘price yourself out of the market’, which is what has happened to the TNA.

While most of the Tamils would like to go beyond the 13th amendment, most of the Sinhalese would like the 13th Amendment to go away. As a realist, my point is that we cannot go beyond the 13th Amendment at this stage of history even if it were desirable (which it isn’t) because the only way to go qualitatively beyond it is to do something that would require a referendum. If you go for a referendum, that amendment will come down in flames, probably taking provincial devolution down with it.

There are very strident Southern voices arguing that we should abolish the 13th Amendment and we should not have the elections that have been promised in September 2013. Of course that can be done. If, however, I could put words into the mouths and minds of the Tamil separatists in the Diaspora it would be “go ahead, make our day” because the only thing that turned India away from -pivoted it from- support of the separatist Tamil movement was the Indo-Lanka Accord and its inevitable corollary the 13th Amendment. That is what turned around Indian policy from its posture of 1983-1987 and put the IPKF against the LTTE. That is what kept India on our side during the concluding stage of the war in 2009, despite the agitation and imminence of elections in Tamil Nadu. The 13th amendment –both presence and promise– made the difference between the interruption of Operation Liberation in 1987 and the successful termination of the war by Sri Lanka in 2009. Unplug it and the process may go into reverse.

For those who say that they “are not going to give the TNA what they refused to give the Tigers”, well they seem to forget or deliberately obfuscate the fact that the LTTE fought against the 13th Amendment, it fought the EPRLF, it fought against the Northern provincial council and above all it fought the IPKF because it knew that the 13th Amendment is not a stepping stone to – still less tantamount to — separatism. Prabhakaran knew that there is no equation between the 13th Amendment and Tamil separatism; that these are two different things; that the 13th amendment is devolution within a unitary framework.

The TNA is not happy about devolution within a unitary state, but that’s what we have. That’s the only deal in town and it’ll be a ‘small miracle’ if it can be made to stick. For the Tamils, the challenge is this: either you make this work or you take a walk on the wild side, hope for external assistance to set up something much bigger. That is a dangerous gamble.

As far as the Sinhalese hawks go, I would say OK you can do away with the 13th amendment, the Northern provincial council, and the election –but are you ready to face the consequences of the morning after? Those consequences involve the remote possibility of Mrs. Jayalalitha as a Prime Minister next year or the far less remote possibility of an administration that is more susceptible to Tamil Nadu influence; the push factor of a Tamil Nadu that is hostile to Sri Lanka than it has been in 1987 when Mr. M.G. Ramachandran was Chief Minister. Is that a risk that Sri Lanka wants to take? Because I repeat, it was only the 13th Amendment that broke the nexus between the Tamil militant movement based in Tamil Nadu, the use of that as a rear base and patronage from New Delhi. If we remove that, are we willing to risk the reversal of everything that the 13th Amendment obtained for us in strategic terms? Do we want Tamil Nadu turned once again into the rear base of separatism? Do we want a convergence between the separatist elements of the Tamil Diaspora, the hardcore separatists of Tamil Nadu and a vacillatory administration at the Centre, together with the chill winds we now experience from the most powerful quarters of the West? Is that what we want to do? I mean, can you think of something that is strategically more moronic, more dangerous to our national security, than that?

While I am not a nationalist and would like to consider myself as, among other things, an enlightened patriot with a sense of Sri Lanka’s national interest, I recognize the reality of nationalism, of nationalisms, and I think they have to be accommodated partially if they have to be contained, pre-empting inevitable or renewed collision. The 13th Amendment is the only framework I see which can do that because if you undo it the whole deal is going to break down. The gap is too wide between the Sinhalese and the Tamils, and the North and the South. So the only deal that I think can be done is what I call the 13th Amendment with swaps i.e. with mutually agreed upon tradeoffs.

I am aghast about the whole discussion of taking out from the 13th amendment the powers relating to land. That’s probably the crux of the issue and has been fairly carefully worked out. The one man who has the most intimate knowledge of the Indo-Lanka Accord and specifically the working out of the segment of land, the man who knows most about Indo-Sri Lanka relations and the loop it goes through the Tamil question and devolution, is a member of the Government and amazingly, shockingly, he has not been brought in to this equation at all. I refer to Dr. Sarath Amunugama in whose ministry and with whose active input –when he was Secretary to Mr. Gamini Dissanayake– the section on land powers was very carefully deliberated upon. I urge the administration to bring Dr. Amunugama front and center into helping manage our relations with India and handle the issues of 13th Amendment and land, because if you take away the powers of land through unilateral legislation, I do not think again there will be any Tamil takers and the whole deal may fall through, with the Tamils falling back on their old tradition of non-violent civic protest and the huge population of Tamil Nadu backing it up.

As President Obama said about peace between Israel and Palestine, everyone knows what the solution is: the solution is the 1967 borders with swaps. He also warned Israel that with the Arab Spring and the uncorking of popular nationalism, demography is moving against it. Similarly, everybody should know that whatever each actor’s notion of the best solution, the only feasible solution to Sri Lanka’s Tamil question is here: it is the 13th Amendment with mutually agreed upon tradeoffs i.e. the redistribution of the concurrent list. What you need is mutuality, where the concurrent list can be redistributed and some powers can be handed over to the province in exchange for the retention or taking back of certain others.

If we do not electorally reactivate the 13th amendment in September as promised, Sri Lanka will find that time and space are moving against us; that demography is moving against us and the political dynamics of our large and sole neighbor are moving in a direction that is adversarial towards us. I hope that nobody tries to unplug the 13th Amendment and not hold the elections this September. We are running out of time.

 (Presentation at discussion series on Constitutional Reform organized by The Liberal Party) 

  • warforpeacehypocrite

    you can have all the debate you want about devolution and northern provincial council but most of us know the uselessness of it. Just one look at the eastern provincial council is enough to realize who ultimately yields power… tsk tsk i hear it is the military governor.

    • justitia

      warforpeacehypocrite,
      You are correct. In the Nothern PC, the council decisions are completely bypassed by the Military Governer,who enforces what he wishes.
      He appoints even sanitary labourers.
      This is completely ignored by political pundits like Jayatilleke.
      This happens in the Eastern PC too, but in other provincial councils,the Governers do not interfere.
      All criminal activities – the most recent being stoning of the residence of C.V.K.Sivagnanam of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi are completely ignored by the army and police.
      So was the attack on Uthayan office.

      • warforpeacehypocrite

        Dayan’s preoccupation with the 13th amendment is well known and we know why. Needless to say, the Sinhalese have never been genuine about power sharing – just look at demerger of north-east. The provincial elections will be another time buying exercise.

    • Off the Cuff

      “you can have all the debate you want about devolution and northern provincial council but most of us know the uselessness of it”

      Does that include the prospective candidates? Just one look at all the preparations and the infighting within the TNA and the jostling for positions in order to contest, proves the fallacy of your contention.

      Instead of making negative remarks why don’t you put your own proposals for discussion? If what you propose is justifiable I and many other Sinhalese would support you.

      Can you make your own proposals that will ensure complete equality of all Sri Lankans?

  • Jayalath

    Dear , Dr. Dayan .

    Kindly could you know me whether you have anything else in your pocket apart from the 13 amendment to resolve the ethnic conflict in the future . ? How do you recommend that provincial councisl system can resolve of tamil people’s problem and bring eternal peace and prosperity to the country ?

  • Off the Cuff

    Dear Dr. Dayan Jayatillake,

    A very astute analysis.
    I believe that devolution is necessary and support it. But I have serious concerns regarding exclusive control of any Public resource within a province being given to its provincial government if the per capita of a given public resource within any province exceeds the national per capita of that resource. Land is one such resource.

    Hence any province that is too large for the population within it, should be delimited to ensure that the per capita of that publicly owned resource, within the province, does not exceed the national publicly owned per capita (private owned resources being excluded). If that can be ensured the complete control of land within such province should be given to the Provincial govt.

    Presently the 13A excludes those who reside outside a province from benefiting from nationally funded development projects. This cannot be justified when citizens living outside the province is called upon to bear the burden of investment.

    River basin development can happen only where such river basins are located. Hence excluding equal stake holders living outside the province from reaping the benefits of development that they have invested in, cannot be justified on any grounds (ethnic, religious, language, geographic or cast considerations).

    The Accelerated Mahaveli Development Project, commissioned in 1978, with the intention of utilising the 7 billion acre feet of water that flowed in the Mahaveli river to irrigate the dry zone, cost Rs 55 billion (up to 1989), more than twice the annual export earnings from tea.

    How do you propose to solve this?

    • Burning_Issue

      Without beating around the bush what OTC means is that the demography of the N&E should be altered to reflect the national average! Of course he supports power devolution to N&E including police and land powers but on one condition that is; the Sinhala should be the majority! Implied in his ostensible persona there lays rather profoundly insidious and totally undemocratic individual. I am pretty sure Dr DJ will not be fooled by this stunt!

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Burning Issue,

        You say “Without beating around the bush what OTC means is that the demography of the N&E should be altered to reflect the national average!”

        When I point my finger at the Moon and you look at the finger instead, that’s what you would see. Please pray explain how you arrived at that conclusion?

        BTW I am glad that you decided to contest me, even though it is with an ad hominem argument. Only those who cannot deal in facts do so.

        You say “Of course he supports power devolution to N&E including police and land powers but on one condition that is; the Sinhala should be the majority! “

        If you put on your glasses to correct your Myopia you will see that the Sinhalese is the Majority. In fact 75% of the Sri Lankan Polity is Sinhalese.

        You say “Implied in his ostensible persona there lays rather profoundly insidious and totally undemocratic individual. I am pretty sure Dr DJ will not be fooled by this stunt!”

        Unfortunately Burning Issue, you have been the one who has been propagating insidious lies on GV since 2009. Please disprove me if you can. Here is a sample written on 12/04/2009 • 8:25 pm. About 4.5 years ago.

        “The Constitution of Sri Lanka accords foremost place for Buddhism and commits the Government to protecting it while allowing other religions to exist freely. It means that, if there is ever to be a conflict, the interest of Buddhism will prevail. Since the Sinhala language and Buddhism in Sri Lanka are inextricably linked or hijacked by the Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinists; hence, a foremost place for the Sinhala Buddhist is implied.
        This scenario was severely tested when a Buddha Statue was erected overnight in the Trincomalee town; this event would not have taken place without the support of the armed forces. Though the local council and magistrate courts deemed this act was illegal, it was held by the high court, the act was constitutional”

        http://groundviews.org/2009/11/30/why-should-tamil-speaking-communities-give-critical-support-to-sarath-fonseka/#comment-11573

        To date you have not proved your statement with facts and yet you continue to propagate this insidious canard in the hope of building up Religious Hatred. I have consistently challenged you on this claim for 4.5 years and you have just run away.

        You stated on 05/05/2013 • 12:35 pm that “However as to all the other claims including the Trinco Buddha statue I vehemently standby what I said”

        Hmm that was a very emphatic stand. Now please “Vehemently Prove” what you say by producing Court Reportage.

        I do hope that you would not make a cowardly retreat as before. After all, this time you have put your honour on the line, with your Braggadocio. I sure hope that you will defend that honour (or whatever is left of it).

        GG Ponnambalam caused the first Sinhala Tamil Riots of the 20th Century by his hate speeches in 1930s. You seem to be an avid follower of GGP.

        Please note that the the SOLE authority of interpreting the Constitution, in Sri Lanka, is the Supreme Court and not the High Court.

        At least prove that you are not cunningly instigating Religious Hatred by provoking the Sri Lankan Polity (Hindu, Buddhist & Christian). Prove that your statement made in 2009 is true by producing factual evidence (such as Court Reportage in newspapers). Prove that the Trinco Buddha Statue was protected by the Primacy clause of Buddhism in the Constitution. Can you do so even after 4.5 years please?

        The Trinco Buddha Statue was the latest of Seventeen Illegal religious constructions in Trinco. 7 were Hindu, 6 were Christian and 4 were Buddhist. The priest who went to the Supreme Court claimed the Fundamental Right of EQUALITY guaranteed by the Constitution and not the Primacy status of Buddhism. Even a 10 year old has a sense of equality and will complain if a bigger share of the cake is given to another sibling unjustly. If you do study the Constitution, you will see that the primacy status is CONDITIONAL. But then, you are adamant at looking at the finger, when it’s actually pointing to the Moon!

        Here is the relevant Clause of the Constitution.

        “The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14(1)(e)”

        Unless you wear blinkers, you should have noted the emphasised text. The Primacy clause cannot be used to deprive any other religion of their rights.

        Can you prove that you are not cunningly and insidiously fanning religious hatred? Can you prove that you have been writing the Truth?

        You see Burning Issue, your knowledge of the 13th Amendment rivals your knowledge of the Constitutional Status of Buddhism. A Sufi Wisdom from the Islamic World states, that A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey.

        Here is another such Sufi Wisdom from the Islamic World that you should keep in mind before you jump to conclusions. If a man points at the moon, an idiot will look at the finger.

        Hope you will re read my post and look at the moon that I am pointing to, instead of my finger.

        Hope that you could prove your claims with Facts. Can you do that Please?

      • Off the Cuff

        Dear Burning Issue,

        Prove me wrong then I will accept what you prove.
        I have done it before and I will do it again.

        But proof requires undisputed evidence not your opinion or innuendo or subterfuge.

        Buddhism’s constitutional status of primacy cannot be undone without giving fuel to the extremists to set Lanka afire again. That is the reality. Any intelligent person will understand that. We have to work around it, if peace is what we want.

        Democracy brings with it the rule of the majority but that should be toned with Justice. Justice means equality and you cannot pervert either of them to suit ulterior motives.

        Hope you can meet my arguments with counter arguments based on fact.

        • Gamarala

          Dear Off-the-cuff,

          Since you insist that the Tamils unleashed all evils in Sri Lanka, and that the Sinhalese are helplessly “reacting”, please answer the following questions.

          1. Why did the 1915 anti-Muslim riots occur?
          2. Let us grant momentarily that Ramanathan was a racist. How do you go onto extrapolate from one individual being racist, to the whole of the Tamil community being racist?
          3. If the Tamil community in general tended to be racist, explain why the majority of them voted for the UNP and SLFP up till the Sinhala Only act, regardless of what Ramanathan had to say?
          4. If Ramanathan is sufficient to paint the whole Tamil community as racist, why are the riots of ’58 and ’83 etc. insufficient to show that an even greater portion of the Sinhala community is racist? Why do you froth at the mouth at the latter suggestion, but actively perpetuate the former?
          5. Why is it that, since independence, the Sinhala Nationalist polity kept attempting to push legislation to cement Sinhala-Buddhist supremacy? (Buddhism in constitution, Sinhala-Only act, ethnic-quota systems etc. etc.) culminating today in the blatant symbolism of state-endorsed Buddhist supremacy? Ever stopped to wonder whether this was independent of Tamil nationalism?
          6. Do you or do you not accept, that the Sinhalese, as a majority, have greater responsibility to avoid majoritarianism and ensure democracy? Have we succeeded?

          • Off the Cuff

            Dear Gamarala,

            You say “Since you insist that the Tamils unleashed all evils in Sri Lanka,”

            How did you arrive at the above conclusion?
            Please explain with references from my posts.

          • Gamarala

            Off-the-cuff,

            So the Tamils did not unleash the racist genie? Hasn’t that been your thesis all along? Or do you wish to indulge in word-games instead?

          • Burning_Issue

            Dear Gamarala,

            OTC has worked everything out! Not the entire Tamil population but the Tamil Elite Vallala cast people who masterminded and colluded with the British undermining the unfortunate Sinhalese. The Sinhalese had no choice but to fight back; they have been provoked into acting! Ramanathans belonged to the elite in Jaffna. Sir P Ramanathan visiting UK and helping to free the incarcerated Sinhala leaders during the Sinhala and Muslim riots also part of the plot to undermine the Sinhala!

            By the way:

            “Do you or do you not accept, that the Sinhalese, as a majority, have greater responsibility to avoid majoritarianism and ensure democracy? Have we succeeded?”

            Well said Gamarala. Even, for argument sake, if the Tamils collectively were racists and undermined the Sinhala as OTC claims, it was incumbent on the Majority Community to be responsible and set in motion a balanced democracy strengthening on the platform of the 1948 Constitution.

          • Off the Cuff

            Dear Gamarala & Burning Issue,

            This thread deals with the 13A and matters raised by Dr DJ. My posts here are aimed at responding to those matters.

            Burning Issue made an ad hominem argument and it was responded to.

            If you want to discuss the 20th century Tamil politics you should have contested what I wrote in that thread as all my arguments are set out there. Hence please re-post your comment at the relevant thread, you will definitely get an appropriate answer.

            If you are planning to filibuster the discussion that Dr DJ opened on this thread you will not succeed. I see that the Tamils are keeping away from discussing devolution and the 13A and that includes Burning Issue.

            If on the other hand you want to contest anything I have written on this thread then you are welcome to do so here. But you and I discussed the 13A some time back and all you could do there was to indulge in childish antics of playing with my pseudonym. I doubt you have the ability to discuss the matters raised by Dr DJ on this thread.

            Apparently Burning Issue too has been unable to make good on his ad hominem arguments and seems to be floundering. From the response that Burning Issue has made to you, it appears that he is looking for a crutch to lean on, in this thread too. Please help him.

            Burning Issue and you have one thing in common. That is the inability to understand the written language. Before you rush in where angles fear to tread, please read and try to understand what is written. Have you heard of the proverb When a man points to the Moon the idiot looks at the finger? Please try to look at the Moon that I am pointing to, instead of my finger.

          • Off the Cuff

            Dear Burning Issue,

            Your post of 05/13/2013 • 1:10 pm refers.

            Though you were full of Braggadocio in your post of 05/11/2013 • 1:27 pm above, you have been unable to respond with a SINGLE fact to counter what I have written in my response.

            It is you who have been blaming ALL the Sinhalese who are Buddhists (excluding the Sinhalese who are Christian and of course the Tamils) for the ills of Lanka. Unlike you, I am no fool to blame ALL the Tamils.

            It is You who have been trying to fan Religious Hatred for the last 4.5 Years on GV without an IOTA of proof to back you. Your insidious writings emulate the speeches of GG Ponnambalam (though you throw such accusations at me again without proof).

            You have been claiming that the Primacy Clause of Buddhism in the Constitution is used to carry out illegal acts and yet you cannot produce a SINGLE bit of evidence to prove that insidious contention.

            Please note that I have backed what I have written with evidence, most of which has been from TAMIL SOURCES.

            Make good on your BRAGGADOCIO without looking for crutches to lean on (you may find that crutch too weak and riddled with worm holes).

            Don’t you have FACTS to prove your case?

            BTW Don’t you have ANY views about Devolution and the 13A?
            Are you afraid to air them in a public discussion?
            Are you afraid that your perfidy would be exposed?

          • Burning_Issue

            I have nothing to “Braggadocio” about! I belong to the unfortunate Tamil race that has nothing to brag about let alone being arrogant!

            “You have been claiming that the Primacy Clause of Buddhism in the Constitution is used to carry out illegal acts and yet you cannot produce a SINGLE bit of evidence to prove that insidious contention.”

            Buddhism in Sri Lanka has primacy in the Sri Lankan constitution; the government is entrusted to protect it. It is so ambiguous and open to abuse. Whatever the Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinists do in this regard; cannot be deemed illegal; the Trinco statue as a testimony to this. Since the constitution is supreme, no statute can overwrite it. Sri Lanka cannot achieve egalitarian status while this clause is active. It is as simple as that. I abhor any sort of religious interference in politics as it is utterly divisive and I hate it.

            “It is you who have been blaming ALL the Sinhalese who are Buddhists (excluding the Sinhalese who are Christian and of course the Tamils) for the ills of Lanka. Unlike you, I am no fool to blame ALL the Tamils.”

            Smearing, sneering and labeling me, as a racist, is your way to escape your shortcomings. I will not fall for this cheap trick.

          • Off the Cuff

            Dear Burning Issue,

            You say “Buddhism in Sri Lanka has primacy in the Sri Lankan constitution; the government is entrusted to protect it”

            Of course the govt is entrusted to protect it but why did you leave out the rest of it? Does not fit your preconceived ideas and your objective of spreading Religious Hatred?

            Please let me refresh your flagging memory

            This is what you left out

            while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14(1)(e).

            10. Every person is entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.

            14. (1) Every citizen is entitled to -

            (e) the freedom, either by himself or in association with others, and either in public or in private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice or teaching;

            The status of Buddhism within the Sri Lankan Constitution should be the least of your worries as it cannot be used to harm ANY religion. But you try to fan hatred by using subterfuge and lies against it.

            You say “It is so ambiguous and open to abuse. Whatever the Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinists do in this regard; cannot be deemed illegal; the Trinco statue as a testimony to this. Since the constitution is supreme, no statute can overwrite it”

            Why don’t you prove what you say with Court Reportage instead of throwing wild accusations?

            You have failed to prove it for 4.5 years. I have challenged you to do so even in this thread on 05/11/2013 • 11:11 pm. Today is the 14 th and yet you have studiously avoided placing ANY PROOF re the Trinco Statue. WHY?

            It is obvious that you don’t have an IOTA of FACTUAL evidence to prove your INSIDIOUS claim.

            You say “I have nothing to “Braggadocio” about! I belong to the unfortunate Tamil race that has nothing to brag about let alone being arrogant!”

            The psychoanalysis that you indulged in, on 05/11/2013 • 1:27 pm, without countering my arguments, was Arrogant to say the least. You came out with an ad hominem attack on a post that you were not even named. You thought you could filibuster the discussion on Devolution and the 13A. You thought you could Hijack my comments by making personal attacks, in lieu of a factual argument supporting or dessenting with Devolution and the 13A. But you thought wrong.

            Can you tell the GV readership why the Tamils shy away from discussing Devolution and the 13A? Is it because they do not have a logical argument to support their claims or are afraid to discuss it openly, because discussion will expose their perfidy to the outside world?

            The strange thing is when it comes to interpreting SECULARISM you have different interpretations. One for the West and another for Lanka.

            UK (where you live) – The govt is intertwined with the State. The State FORCES the Christian religion on British Citizens by having laws that forces Non Christians to perform Collective Christian Worship in govt schools.

            The House of Lords have seats allocated to Church of England. The Synod can originate laws that cannot be discussed and amended by Parliament.

            Registration of marriages which should be a govt function is delegated to the Church.

            The Monarch is the Head of the Church of England.

            How many state ceremonies exclude the Church?

            But the Catholics of course are specifically excluded and no Catholic can aspire to the Crown of Britain.

            But of course not withstanding any of this, Britain is Secular in your eyes! What Hypocrisy!

            To the Brown Sahibs the White man can do no wrong.

            You say “Smearing, sneering and labeling me, as a racist, is your way to escape your shortcomings. I will not fall for this cheap trick”

            Oh my poor Burning Issue Isn’t that what you tried to do on 05/11/2013 • 1:27 pm in this thread? Now you are crying because I turned the tables on you by using FACTS instead of innuendo?

            Burning Issue, I have no problem in apologising to you, UNCONDITIONALLY and withdrawing what I have stated about you regarding promoting Religious Hatred if you can prove that the Trinco Buddha Statue was protected by the Supremacy status of Buddhism in the Constitution instead of the Equality clause of the Constitution (using Court Reportage in the Press).

            Can You Do that without any further beating around the bush Please?

            I provide proof and you provide innuendo, subterfuge and deceit.

            It was clause 12 (1) of the Constitution that was used to protect the statue as it was the latest of 17 religious edifices that were illegally constructed. Under 12 (1) it could not be removed without removing the 7 Hindu and 6 Christian religious edifices that existed long before the Buddha Statue. The Buddhist edifices numbered 4 and that included the Buddha statue in question.

            Anyone with Intelligence can see that the above is true but to you, it was the primacy clause (even though you don’t have an iota of proof to establish that claim).

            This is what the Equality clause of the Constitution state.

            12. (1) All persons are equal before the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the law.

            (2) No citizen shall be discriminated against on the grounds of race, religion, language, caste, sex, political opinion, place of birth or any such grounds:

            Provided that it shall be lawful to require a person to acquire within a reasonable time sufficient knowledge of any language as a qualification for any employment or office in the Public, Judicial or Local Government Service or in the service of any public corporation, where such knowledge is reasonably necessary for the discharge of the duties of such employment or office:

            Provided further that it shall be lawful to require a person to have sufficient knowledge of any language as a qualification for any such employment of office where no function of that employment or office can be discharged otherwise than with a knowledge of that language.

            (3) No person shall, on the grounds of race, religion, language, caste, sex or any one such grounds, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to access to shops, public restaurants, hotels, places of public entertainment and places of public worship of his own religion.

            (4) Nothing in this Article shall prevent special provision being made, by law, subordinate legislation or executive action, for the advancement of women, children or disabled persons.

          • Burning_Issue

            I will have a go again to explain as to why I resolutely state that Britain is Secular.

            The British Human Rights Act 1998 has fully incorporated the European Union Human Rights Act as a result of Britain being a full member of the union. This automatically confirms that the European Human Rights Court is the highest authority; any European citizen can take his case to that Authority should his religious freedom is violated and no redress in the member country in which he lives. This squarely applies to Britain. This shows that the Monarch has no legal or executive powers whatsoever. Please study the relevant current materials to support your bigoted believes!

            You said:

            “The House of Lords have seats allocated to Church of England. The Synod can originate laws that cannot be discussed and amended by Parliament.”

            Which century’s document have you been reading? You must have been searching frantically and so desperate and coming up with such nonsense as above! Please grow up; grow up fast and help creating a nation where everyone is equal; where religious and language freedoms are strictly protected by both statute and constitution.

            “British Human Rights Act 1998, Article 9:

            Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
            1
            Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
            2
            Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

            Compare this with the Sri Lankan version:

            Sri Lankan Constitution states on Religious Freedom:

            “The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14(1)(e).”

            This is what the Secular Sri Lanka forum states about the above:

            http://www.secularsrilanka.com/constitutional-reforms-needed-for-a-secular-sri-lanka—proposal

            “Such classification of a ‘foremost place’ for one religion over others provide a second class citizenship for the minorities of Sri Lanka, and it is the responsibility of our majority that the necessary amendment is made in a way such that no minorities feel or treated as second class citizens. Constitution of a nation shall be an article that all citizens can feel proud of regardless their religion or ethnicity.”

            My own feeling is that, when one religion is given “foremost place”, it is mutually excusive to guarantee equality to other religions; it is as simple as that. Sri Lanka needs to correct this grave injustice in order to progress. This is doubly imperative when Buddhism and the Sinhala language are inextricably interconnected.

            Why do I harp on about this relentlessly? It is because, I believe incontrovertibly that this unjust clause empowers the Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinists and there are no legal or constitutional safeguards for the minorities, which includes the Sinhala Christians. We will, no doubt, witness many events in the near future manifest in various dimensions resulting in grave religious disharmony in Sri Lanka. It is a matter of time when the MR regime will become unpopular and insecure and will unscrupulously embolden the Chauvinists to whip up the Sinhala Buddhist nationalism; it is just mater of time!

          • Off the Cuff

            Dear Burning Issue,

            You asked Which century’s document have you been reading? You must have been searching frantically and so desperate and coming up with such nonsense as above! Please grow up; grow up fast and help creating a nation where everyone is equal; where religious and language freedoms are strictly protected by both statute and constitution

            It really makes me sad to observe you making a fool of yourself again and again. You are blinded by hate and has lost your bearings. Your ignorance does not make what I write obsolete.

            Read and be informed.

            Let me quote verbatim from a VERY authoritative web site.
            Hopeful you wont contest it.

            The Sovereign holds the title ‘Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England’. There are many examples of the relationship between the established Church and the State.

            Archbishops and bishops are appointed by The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister, who considers the names selected by a Church Commission. They take an oath of allegiance to The Queen on appointment and may not resign without Royal authority.

            The connection between Church and State is also symbolised by the fact that the ‘Lords Spiritual’ (consisting of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and 24 diocesan bishops) sit in the House of Lords. Parish priests also take an oath of allegiance to The Queen.

            The General Synod (including the bishops, elected representatives from the clergy and the laity) is the supreme authority of the Church of England. The Queen opens the Synod after the elections in the dioceses every five years.

            Since 1919, the Synod (formerly called the Church Assembly) has had the power to pass Measures on any matter concerning the Church of England. Following acceptance of the Measures by both Houses of Parliament (which cannot amend them), they are submitted for Royal Assent and become law.

            In addition to legislating for the Church by Measure, the General Synod has the power to legislate by Canon in its own domestic affairs such as worship and doctrine, but The Queen’s assent is required for the promulgation of such Canons. Such assent is given on the Home Secretary’s advice.

            In his or her coronation oath, the Sovereign promises to maintain the Church.

            The Sovereign must be in communion with the Church of England, that is, a full, confirmed member.

            The Preface to the 39 Articles of the Church of England describes the monarch as ‘being by God’s Ordinance, according to Our just Title, Defender of the Faith and … Supreme Governor of the Church of England

            Source is the Royal Website. http://www.royal.gov.uk/MonarchUK/QueenandChurch/QueenandtheChurchofEngland.aspx

            Please Note – The Monarch in UK has certain powers that are exercised in her name and can and has been used, to bypass the UK Parliament. Hence she/he is not just a puppet or a figure head.

            This Burning Issue is the LATEST info (21st century) provided by the Royal Web site maintained by the UK govt. which I have provided to you earlier. It states amongst other things that

            1. The Synod (Church of England) has the power to legislate. There is no such power with any Buddhist organisation in Lanka.

            2. Parliament has no power to amend any law that the Synod originates.

            3. There is a CONNECTION between the Church and the State which a Secular State cannot have.

            4. The Sovereign has no Religious Freedom and cannot even be a Christian of a different Christian sect (can only be Anglican not Catholic or any other). In Lanka religion is no bar to become the Head of State. Try taking that to the European Human Rights Court.
            Does the British Human Rights Act of 1998 ensure the Religious freedom (a Human Right) of the Monarch?

            5. The Monarch and the Prime Minister are BOTH involved in appointing the Arch Bishop and the Bishops. Not heard of in Lanka.

            6. Twenty Six seats in the House of Lords are reserved for the Arch Bishops and Bishops of the Anglican Church. Sri Lanka does not have a upper house but even when it existed no Buddhist priest was an ex officio member of that.

            State Funding for Faith schools (as at 20 July 2010)

            Christian – 99.2%
            Hindu —– 0.01%
            Muslim —- 0.05%
            Sikh —— 0.02%

            According to the Guardian UK At the end of March (2012), the Church of England published the Chadwick report. This ambitious report set out an aim to establish 200 more Anglican schools over the next five years. The report threatens church schools that will be more evangelical than in the past, and outlined as a “key premise that applies equally to children of the faith, of other faiths and of no faith” that schools would “work towards every child and young person having a life-enhancing encounter with the Christian faith and the person of Jesus Christ”. Michael Gove subsequently welcomed the report, saying that he would “extend the role of the church in the provision of schools”

            According to the Telegraph UK (2012)

            The Education Secretary backed an increased role after a review by the Bishop of Oxford which looked at the potential for new academies. Mr Gove said: “We praise and cherish the role of the Church of England in making sure children have an outstanding and inclusive education. “I welcome the report and look forward to working with Bishop John Pritchard to extend the role of the Church in the provision of schools.” He also praised the Church for “driving in the first instance” the provision of education. The Church of England is still the biggest single provider of education in Britain, teaching one million pupils in 4,800 schools. It is involved in 154 academies in England.

            The extent of State Funding for Christian Schools should be clear by now with 99.2% of State funds going to them.

            The Law and Collective Worship
            The Education Reform Act 1988
            There must be a daily act of collective worship for every pupil
            The majority of acts of collective worship must be wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character and should reflect the broad traditions of Christian belief.
            It must be educational.
            It must be non-denominational in community schools.
            It can be at anytime of the day in any normal school grouping.
            It must be in addition to any secular assemblies.
            It is the responsibility of the Headteacher and the Governing Body in any Church schools.
            In Church schools, worship should reflect the tradition found in the trust deed.

            Circular 194 – 1994

            The majority of acts of worship over a term must be wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian nature, but providing that the act of worship reflects the traditions of Christian belief it need not contain Christian material

            The extent to which the broad traditions of Christian belief are to be reflected in acts of collective worship should be appropriate to the family backgrounds of the pupils and their ages and aptitudes. It is up to the head teacher to determine this in consultation with the governing body.

            Collective worship must contain some elements that relate specifically to the traditions of Christian belief and which accord special status to Jesus Christ, his teaching and his actions, and the significance of his death and resurrection for Christians.

            New Ofsted Framework 2012 : from outcome to provision

            ii. Take account of the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils.

            36 Taking into account also how well the school provides for the pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. In the present inspection framework, spiritual, moral, social and Cultural development is regarded as an outcome for pupils,

            There is no escape from the FACT that Jesus Christ, His Teachings (meaning Christianity), his actions, and the significance of his death and resurrection for Christians has been accorded a Special Status by UK Law (it has no written constitution).

            In comparison, the special status accorded to Buddhism pales in significance.

            My argument is not about the primacy status but about the calamity that will occur by attempting to reverse it. Is it worth another war and a war there will be, when you give Fuel to the BBS types.

            You cannot achieve anything other than ignite religious hatred.

            Now lets discuss the Trinco Buddha Statue case that you have avoided.

            Where is the Evidence that proves that the Trinco Buddha Statue was protected by the Primacy Status of Buddhism in the Constitution?

            Can you provide the EVIDENCE that you claimed existed
            Were you not Lying by making that insidious claim?

            What is your position re Devolution and the 13A?
            Are you afraid to air your views on the above?

        • Gamarala

          Off the cuff,

          I expected you to prevaricate and never really answer the questions. Cognitive dissonance is a bitch eh? Well, soldier on for the cause, my man! You can remain secure in the one piece of knowledge you do seem to have – self-righteousness + joblessness usually bulldozes over sanity and reason ;-)

          • Off the Cuff

            Dear Gamarala,

            Prevaricate?
            Do you really know it’s meaning?
            I doubt it.

            I did ask you to post your unrelated comment in the correct thread and assured you of a reply (my post to you on 05/13/2013 • 11:20 pm)

            extract
            If you want to discuss the 20th century Tamil politics you should have contested what I wrote in that thread as all my arguments are set out there. Hence please re-post your comment at the relevant thread, you will definitely get an appropriate answer.
            end extract

            Are you unable to understand even simple English?

            Are you afraid to try me by posting in the correct thread? Is that why you continue with your silly and irrelevant comments in this thread?

            You say “Cognitive dissonance is a bitch eh?”

            I will defer to your superior knowledge of her as you seem to be honeymooning with that bitch. ha ha haa.

            You say “You can remain secure in the one piece of knowledge you do seem to have – self-righteousness + joblessness usually bulldozes over sanity and reason”

            Oh dear Gamarala have you forgotten the time you tried labelling the MAJORITY of Sinhala polity as Racist? The Time you tried your hand at debating the 13A without an iota of knowledge about the constitution? The time you tried your hand at changing my pseudonym with every post of yours? Do I need to go on? I think your statement describes yourself to a T. If you do not posses the intellectual capacity to make a positive contribution to a debate and you still have he urge to be employed like that proverbial Yakka, who was about to devour the proverbial Gamarala, for not giving him work, you could take a hint from the proverbial Gamamahage and get yourself a certain curly, to keep you occupied in straitening it out …ha ha haa.

            At least one thing good came out of that debate on the 13A. I successfully weaned you out of that childish antic of playing with my pseudonym.

            After all that are you now trying to pose as an intelligent and rational adult?

            Hmm Cognitive dissonance!

      • Burning_Issue

        Dear OTC,

        I am going to give you a chance to gracefully withdraw from this debate before I expose your ignorance. I know that you would prevaricate but am sure the followers of the forum would decide as to your complete ignorance of the British Judiciary!

        Please read this article:

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10007641/Christians-launch-landmark-human-rights-case.html

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/8556650/Christians-take-prejudice-row-to-Strasbourg.html

        By the way Strasburg is where the European court is based.

        Also outline the law/s that the General Synod has passed that are still in force.

        • Off the Cuff

          Dear Burning Issue,

          You posted 4 comments on this thread, after I challenged you to produce the EVIDENCE, you posses, to prove your statements re the Trinco Buddha Statue. You have completely Avoided doing so. Proving that you do not have any evidence to support your insidious claim. This hide and seek has been going on for over 4.5 Years.

          On 05/05/2013 • 12:35 pm. you said “However as to all the other claims including the Trinco Buddha statue I vehemently standby what I said

          That Burning Issue is a Prime Example of Prevarication that has gone on and on and on since 2009 with no end in sight.

          What you are doing, by playing on the emotions of traumatised Tamils and INSIDIOUSLY attempting to Fan Religious Hatred is downright deplorable.

          You say “I am going to give you a chance to gracefully withdraw from this debate before I expose your ignorance.”

          Thank you for your kindness but I am not going to take that chance.

          Strong words Burning Issue, very strong words from a man who thought that what I wrote about the Synod, the close ties between the Church and State in UK, collective prayer of a mainly Christian nature in schools, the 26 reserved seats in the house of Lords to the Church Anglican Church while excluding the other Christian churches, the violation of Religious Freedom of the Monarch and the exclusion of non Anglicans (Roman Catholics, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventists, Hindus, Muhammadans, Sikhs etc) from the Monarchy, was obsolete. Remember your words Which century’s document have you been reading? You must have been searching frantically and so desperate and coming up with such nonsense as above! Please grow up; grow up fast and help creating a nation where everyone is equal; where religious and language freedoms are strictly protected by both statute and constitution” ?

          You further say, “Also outline the law/s that the General Synod has passed that are still in force”

          Ah, you have finally accepted that the Synod can make Laws in the UK. Please don’t try to draw a Red Herring. The point here is that the Anglican Church is recognised by the unwritten Constitution and the written Law of UK, as a body that has the Power, to make Laws within the UK. You are now groping at straws, as you cannot draw ANY parallel, within Sri Lanka’s Constitution or written Laws.

          You see Burning Issue Everyone is definitely NOT equal, in the eyes of UK’s unwritten Constitution and the written Laws.

          You have provided two links to articles from the Telegraph. What do you hope to achieve?

          That the Roman Catholics (who are the majority amongst Christians), the Hindus, the Sikhs etc are not discriminated from wearing the Crown? Or that a country which disburses 99.2% of its Educational Grant Budget to CHRISTIAN institutions is Secular? Don’t be daft Burning Issue the UK has no separation between State and Church. It has provided a SPECIAL PLACE to Jesus
          Christ , Christianity and to his resurrection and ALL other religions are subordinated, period.

          There are many other Human Rights issues that have been upheld by even the Supreme Court in the UK and subsequently subverted by executive action by the use of the Royal Prerogative that has now gone to the European court. Though I would love to discuss that issue I would not want to give you another avenue to derail the present topic away from a comparison of UK’s Laws with that of Sri Lanka’s and the Trinco Buddha statue issue.

          Burning Issue, please go ahead and expose my ignorance. I am not here to satisfy my ego but to get at the truth and stop others from disseminating untruths and half truths. Like your insidious Canard about the Trinco Buddha Statue.

          Since I have declared my readiness to UNCONDITIONALLY apologise to anyone, who can counter what I write, with FACTS, I have nothing to lose from anyone exposing my ignorance but everything to gain as it will definitely add to my education. So please go ahead, you have my complete blessings.

          • Burning_Issue

            Your must be either unintelligent or downright obstinate in terms of not being able to get the message of the links that I posted!

            The links were about Christian grievances that they failed to get satisfactory redress in Britain and seeking redress at the European Courts. What does that tell you? Please deposit your moronic attitude somewhere at home and look at what I said logically. I have advised many people on these forums to avoid debating with you; I should adhere to my own wise.

            I am pretty sure that the audience of these forums know what your about: I will let them to judge. However, mark my word; the Sinhala Buddhists Chauvinists would destroy Sri Lanka unless the Good Sinhala wake up and put a stop to it!

          • Off the Cuff

            Dear Burning Issue,

            You were challenged to produce the EVIDENCE, you posses, to prove your statements re the Trinco Buddha Statue.

            The 5 comments you posted Subsequently, is completely SILENT ABOUT THE STATUE!

            Do you or don’t you have evidence to establish that the Trinco Buddha Statue was protected under the Primacy Clause of the Constitution?

            Were you not attempting to instigate Religious strife by spreading Lies?

            You say “The links were about Christian grievances that they failed to get satisfactory redress in Britain and seeking redress at the European Courts. What does that tell you?”

            It Tells Me That You Are Struggling To Prove That The UK Is Secular.
            It Tells Me That You Were Lying About The Trinco Buddha Statue.
            It Tells Me That You Have Been Check Mated Despite Your Braggadocio.

            Those links are irrelevant to the question, Is the UK Secular?
            It certainly is not secular, as there is no separation between Church and State, unless you have your own definition of a Secular State.

            In fact the UK provides a Special Place to Jesus Christ, Christianity and His resurrection and subordinates others to the Church of England by placing Disabilities on them. As I have shown in my previous post, it FUNDS the Dissemination of Christianity among the Children by providing 99.2% of the National Budgetary allocation to Christian Schools.

            Instead of making empty threats and irrelevant ad hominem arguments, please make good on that threat of yours. Please expose my ignorance and establish your wisdom.