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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hindu Chaplain Shouted Down in U.S. Senate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Three protesters disrupted a prayer by a Hindu chaplain on Thursday at the opening of a U.S. Senate hearing, calling it an abomination and shouting slogans about Jesus Christ. It was the first time the daily prayer that opens Senate proceedings was said by a Hindu chaplain. They shouted "No Lord but Jesus Christ" and "There's only one true God," and used the term "abomination."

James: One man was heard saying, "Lord Jesus forgive us for allowing the prayer of the wicked."

Barry Lynn, executive director of religious watchdog group Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the protest showed the intolerance of the "religious right."

"I don't think the Senate should open with prayers, but if it's going to happen, the invocations ought to reflect the diversity of the American people," Lynn said in a statement.

James: I agree with Mr. Lynn. This is just sad. It is my prayer that someday those people who interrupted this man's prayer will awaken to the Oneness of all beings--and religions. It is my belief that the core of most religions reflect the same Universal Truths such as love, peace and compassion for the poor and homeless.

However, we should also have love and compassion for the rich and intolerant as well. They deserve our love too, as hard as that might be for us--and it is hard for me quite often. So tonight I am trying my best to let my ego subside and douse the flames of the intolerance from these protesters with love and compassion. Easier said then done but it is possible because that is the reality--we are all one.

P.S.~I just love Ganesh. He is my favorite Hindu deity. I collect all sorts of images of him. I have a really nice Ganesh statue as well.

~Peace to all beings~

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22 comments:

david said...

Interesting post,

I always wonder why some folks want to so ultimately diminish their cosmology by saying something like "Jesus is the One God".

It's a pretty big universe, Jesus was just one guy (in my view an enlightened guy) and it kind of limits the chances for the rest of us the universe doesn't it ?

The sad part is, if only these folks could make the simple twist by saying "Jesus is the realization of the One-ness of God", and then listen to the voice of Jesus in the Hindu prayer. I just don't understand why they want such a small Jesus.

I am also a big Ganesh fan, place one in your car, and you will get the best parking spots:)

one love.

Terri said...

Wow... I was shocked to read this. These are influential people in a position of leadership. At the very least I would have thought that they could have shown a little restraint out of respect for others.

PeterAtLarge said...

Another sad manifestation of the intolerance of the Christian right. But they succeed only in making themselves look ridiculous, no?

Lori Madison said...

I was unhappy to hear about this but I was not shocked. I agree with Barry lynn, I believe that the senate should not open with prayers because church and state should be seperate. That being said, I will try to look upon these protesters with compassion and see them as 3 people who firmly believe that they are doing the right thing, even if we do not see it that way. Thank you for sharing.

They call him James Ure said...

David:

Great comment. I couldn't agree more. I don't have a Ganesh statue in the car but I do have a Buddha decal. I'll have to be on the look out for a Ganesh one. Thanks for the tip. ;)

Terri:

It sure is sad that's for sure. The lack of respect reflects an over-all lack of respect for diversity that has been growing lately in America.

Peter:

They do indeed do that. I feel bad for the true Christians who don't agree with these zealots. It makes all Christians appear intolerant.

Lori:

I sadly wasn't too shocked either. I'm really trying to have compassion toward them as well.

It's something I'm working on because I have struggles with certain strains of Christians.

awouldbehipster said...

It is strange to me that the very people who stand up for the right to pray in public schools (using 'Free Speech' as the foundation of the argument) would consider the open prayer of a person in America, especially in this particular context, to be considered an abomination. I'm sure that others will join me in witnessing the irony of this situation.

Robin said...

People like to divide. This causes a lot of disharmony.

I am White you are Black;
I am Christian you are Hindu;
I am American you are Chinese;
I am man you are women.

Can we use the similarity instead?

Afterall, are we not HUMAN?

They call him James Ure said...

Hipster:

Great comment. Thanks for pointing that irony out. When people become fanatical they cease to be rational it seems and then become dangerous.

Robin:

That is why I relate so well to the teaching of Oneness. It is so healing, positive and reasonable.

Anonymous said...

Small-minded people are often small-minded because they are fearful. To be open-minded and embrace diversity one often has to embrace the unknown and this takes courage. So we have to embrace the small minded and skillfully encourage them to open and be more accepting of others and their ways. The harsh people who lash out at us without just cause are our great teachers as they give us an opportunity to practice the virtue of patience.

Heartfelt

They call him James Ure said...

Anon:

Yes, fear is one of the biggest obstacles for all of us. You are right that those who anger us our great teachers. Thanks for the comment.

Geoffrey said...

As a follower of Jesus, I am deeply embarrassed and grieved by the actions of the protesters.

Do we not live in a nation that believes in the freedom of religion? I sure believe in it and support it.

Your kind and gracious responses to this sad display of a lack of love and grace is appreciated.

I do apologize for this rude behavior.

Hopefully a new day is in progress ... many of us followers of Jesus want nothing to do with the religious right. It will take some years to turn around ... probably until some of the current leaders die ... but then hopefully the following generation of leaders will be known for displaying the love of Jesus and not the current displays.

They call him James Ure said...

Geoffrey:

Welcome!! All faiths are welcome here and I'm pleased that you left a comment. You represent the sensible Christianity that I read about in the Bible. You are a kind person who earnestly and sincerely follows the teachings of the Great Jesus. I commend you for that genuineness.

It is so nice to hear from Christians who are accepting and respectful of others. I do not take that lightly. I know you are out there and I am saddened that your voices often get shouted down themselves by these fanatics.

I firmly believe in the freedom of religion as well. Without such freedom our country would crumble and turn into a divisive and possibly violent theocratic dictatorship.

You are very kind in your words. I try my best to be tolerant and respectful of Christianity. I do not always succeed but usually my criticism is reserved for the fundamentalists.

No apology necessary but all the same I acknowledge it and the heartfelt energy behind it. I accept it totally and completely and embrace you as my brother.

I work and pray for that day of more enlightened Christian brothers and sisters as well. I think that reasonable people can come together and unite on what we agree on rather then exploit our differences.

Such behavior just leads to more division and anger--the last thing we need more of these days.

Again, know that you are always welcome here--and thank-you. You are a very good person. :)

dragonflyfilly said...

how sad that there are so many ignorant people in this beautiful world of ours!

nameste,
pj

dragonflyfilly said...

david,

i chuckled when i read your post.
i have had a miniature of Ganesa near the gear shift of my car for the past couple of years. i thought i was just lucky always getting the last spot at a crowed event!

They call him James Ure said...

PJ:

Yes indeed. I believe strongly in the power of education and communication to heal the world.

Rich Griffith said...

While I do not condon what the "religious right" did at this event, we need to clarify that it is not Christians who claim that Jesus "is the one true God." Jesus himself made that claim. After all, that is what got him crucified - blasphemy according the the Hebrew law. Secondly, these "religous right" were not necessarily people of influence in the senate. No where in the article does it say that. It says that there were protestors - not necessarily part of the US Senate. In my defense,I have not read the whole article. WHat I am interested in is that the "state of religous tolerance" claims tolerance for everything BUT Christianity. Be a TRUE observer of the culture and see if that is not true.

They call him James Ure said...

Rich:

Yes, Jesus said that he "is the one true god." However, Christians believe it and repeat it. So really, a Christian isn't a Christian unless they believe in that statement and testify to it.

So really we're talking about semantics.

Whether the protesters were members of the Senate or not isn't important to the larger point for me.

What they did was very disrespectful and disrupting to the Senate. I believe that if it were non-Christians shouting down a Christian that they should have been kicked out as well.

The larger point is that our government shouldn't allow one religion to have dominance within it. As the government belongs to all Americans, Christian or otherwise. I don't believe that there should be a prayer at all but at the very least we should agree to not allow protesters to disrupt the prayer of non-Christians. Whether they are Senators or not.

I am a keen observer of the world and America but I would not say that Christians aren't receiving tolerance. Some 3/4 of the American people are Christian and I don't think the number would be that high if they were being as persecuted as you seem to be implying.

Tolerance means respecting different opinions, beliefs and practices. So it is possible to criticize without being intolerant.

I respect the Christian faith but don't always agree with some of its followers. Thus I am sometimes critical but never intolerant. I believe that Christians should have every right to practice their faith within the limits of the law. As with any religion.

Of course there are some that are being intolerant of Christians and that is wrong. However, the vast majority of people out there I think are very tolerant of Christianty. Especially since the majority of Americans are Christian anyway.

Also, a good amount of the criticism against Christians I've heard comes as a response to being attacked first by an over-zealous Christian.

Again, the point of this post was to condemn the shouting down of the Hindu chaplains prayer as it occurred in a government body that should be neutral in spiritual matters.

Christians are more then welcome to protest outside the Senate but not in the house of our government.

Joe said...

YOu know that Indian Hindu girl said that in their religion country, yeah

you can't ask your mother, father, brother, sister for help, instead you should ask total strangers...

They call him James Ure said...

Joe: Very profound.

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