Insulting the Faith of a Billion People


From The Editor's Desk

(Hinduwebsite Editorial - Exploring Truth Amidst Illusions and Distortions)

Summary: This editorial presents a review of the growing campus violence, and student unrest in many parts of the world and their causes.

Sherry Nuxoll, a Senator from Idaho, recently made irresponsible comments about Hinduism. It is not a public issue if she made those comments in her individual capacity as a citizen of America, but she made them as a State Senator of the United States, and in response to a Hindu prayer session organized on the floor of the Senate. Incidentally, the Senator is known to make such outrageous comments for reasons better known to her. In 2013 she compared the Obama Healthcare plan to the Holocaust and the private insurers under the plan to the Jews of Nazi Germany.

She said that Hinduism was "a false faith with false gods," and USA was a Christian nation founded on Christian values. She has no direct proof to support either of her two assertions except her irrationality, bigotry and lopsided logic. According to news reports when she was asked to apologize, she was reported to have responded in a brazen fashion, "“I said it was a religion with false gods. I’m not going to give an apology.”

It is very clear from her comments that she represents the old school values of the racist America that for nearly 200 years oppressed the African Americans and Native Americans refusing them their right to be humans. The Senator has not yet clarified whether the 1960's Civil Rights movement was a Constitutional aberration, because it was not part of the original constitution and it was not based upon the original intent of the founding fathers who formulated it.

However, in fairness we must add that Sherry Nuxoll does not represent the majority opinion of the elected members of the GOP in Washington DC or elsewhere. Many Hindus are active supporters and donors of the Republican Party, which historically stood with the minorities and supported their causes despite its large current base of right wing Christian evangelicals and conservative values.

The US Constitution does not recognize any particular religion, but the Senator chooses to interpret its wording to imply that the USA is a Christian nation. By saying it, she ignores the sentiments of nearly half of the US population who do not either believe in the exclusive status of Christianity or who practice some other faith.

She should have also remembered that the same constitution did not originally recognize women's suffrage or to vote or represent or to contest in any elections. There were no women in the Senate or Congress when USA was founded. The US Constitution was drafted by men only, and the Bill of Rights was the result of the work of men only. Until 1920, women were kept out of the democratic process in the USA.

According to the same logic, she may have to reconsider her decision to contest elections, because the Constitution originally and explicitly gave no voting rights to women or their right to be the representatives of people or hold a public office.

Indeed, the US seriously lags behind many nations with regard to gender equality or women's participation in national politics. Women are also paid less salaries compared to men for the same work, which is a disgrace despite that they spend more hours working. Even after 200 years of independence, no female candidate has ever managed to become the President or Vice President of the country. We have no evidence that Mrs. Nuxoll ever criticized her religion for its preference for men at the expense of women.

The Senator also did not furnish any evidence to establish the credentials of Christianity, or on what grounds it can be considered a true religion. She has no proof except her faith that Jesus was a true prophet or the God that she worships is a true God. Her beliefs regarding God and religion are as rational or irrational as anyone else's. She cannot also prove the sanctity of any scripture which she holds in esteem, just as she cannot disprove any that belongs to Hinduism or other religions.

Certainly, she has not met or seen her Maker in person. She cannot prove his existence or his authenticity. Further, she cannot prove how a virgin can give birth to a baby, or how a dead person can ascend to heaven in a dead body. She has no proof that the scriptures she reads today are the same ones which the early Christians followed two thousand years ago. Indeed, there are hundreds of versions of the Bible, which underwent numerous editions and modifications since the early Christian era.

It is not our intention to disparage her faith. The point is, her faith, like the faith of any other religious person, is based upon her beliefs, not facts. You cannot argue that your beliefs alone are true and the beliefs of others are not. The Vedas came long before the Bible, by 3000 years or so. For the Hindus, the Vedas are God's testimony. The Vedas do not validate Jesus, nor Christianity. They speak neither about Jesus nor about the Church. Hence, Hindus too can argue that Christianity is a false religion and Christ is a false Prophet. Such arguments not only breed hatred but also create a deep communal divide. In a pluralistic society it is essential that all people practice their faith and live in harmony.

Senator Nuxoll has a right not to attend Hindu prayers, but she has no right to question the faith of a billion people or insult their faith. Her comments will certainly alienate many Hindu Americans from the Republican Party, which is already struggling to find a foothold among the minorities. It will also give a reason to the Hindu groups in India to speak against Christianity and Christian missionaries, and groups like ISIS to continue their atrocities against minorities. Her comments may also hurt the Republican Party in the coming years, since they will be remembered and circulated in election times.

Finally, India is the only country in the world with a continuing cultural tradition of over 10,000 years. When a narrow-minded person like Sherry Nuxoll speak against the faith of Hindus, it is important for others to know that she is questioning the oldest faith in the world that survived intense missionary activity, climate change, foreign aggression, racism, British imperialism, cruelty, hatred, bias, bigotry, persecution and false propaganda. The Senator should apologize to all Hindus for her comments against Hindu gods, and make a visit to India to educate herself in Indian culture and religious practices to cultivate tolerance and act like a true American.

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