You will be fascinated to learn
that Hinduism is breaking out in a neo-orthodoxy called Hindutva, with Hindu
supremacists burning missionaries alive and engaging
other non-inclusive, intolerant practices.
Last year in the village of Manoharpur, India, a mob of Hindu supremacists burned to death Australian missionary Graham Stewart Staines and his two young sons. The mainstream U.S. media, which typically casts its jaded gaze on that part of the world only to report death tolls after typhoons, bus, or train disasters, responded predictably. But while the American public generally responds to news from this part of the world with a bewildered shrug, the response to this story was one of collective, visceral, revulsion. For many Americans, still reeling from another horrific event that recently occurred on their own soil – the Texas dragging death of James Byrd Jr. – the story put India squarely on the map, bringing a grotesque culmination to preceding weeks of church-burnings and rumors of anti-Christian hatred.
The U.S. government is noticing
this, to the dismay
of Hindu immigrants.
I learn this from the atheists
who really do despise all religions equally.
They close on a hopeful note,
During the last century a diaspora of Indian émigrés spread their culture to communities as far afield as Johannesburg and Jackson Heights; at the beginning of this century Indian cuisine, music, literature, and film enjoy an unprecedented popularity abroad. That Indian culture not only competes with but also penetrates the commercial monolith of Western culture testifies to its modern robustness and vitality. For its part, the religion called "Hinduism" - the amorphous family of traditions and philosophies that comprise historical reality, and not the neo-orthodoxy of the Hindutva movement - will continue to endure by virtue of its inherent inclusiveness, tolerance, and its unique recognition that no creed has a monopoly over truth.
Now, I believe them, though
thousands wouldn`t. Specifically, the thousands
slaughtered during India`s Partition,
wouldn`t, if we could bring them back to life and ask
But some evidence of this tolerance would be welcome, as the news from the
Middle East, Ulster, and Africa seems to point to the
contrary position, that fanatical
religion drives out tolerant religion, (usually
with fire and the sword).
Of course, this would be bad
enough if it were confined to India.
But it`s not.
May 16, 2001