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Jul 22 2012

The latest on Sanal Edamaruku

Sanal Edamaruku has fled India and the hounds of the Catholic church. He’s somewhere in Europe.

The church has said they will drop the complaint if Edamaruku apologizes — apologizes for exposing a weeping magic statue as the product of a mundane leaky pipe.

Edamaruku says, “NO.”

Edamaruku says, “NO.”

I marvel at that — the courage of just saying no, of refusing to bow before religious authorities. My admiration is unbounded.

Edamaruku says, “NO.”

What a beautiful word.

24 comments

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  1. 1
    Dick the Damned

    Good luck to Sanal. I guess he’ll need it, because even if he gets the Catholics off his back, there’ll be other religious nutjobs out to spoil his life, because of the position he’s in, (founder-president of Rationalist International, & also the president of the Indian Rationalist Association).

  2. 2
    anubisprime

    The world needs more folk to just say NO!…to religious imbeciles..!
    He has more then my admiration…the dude is an inspiration to humanity.

  3. 3
    Cuttlefish

    Some times a one-word “No” is the most eloquent response conceivable.

    Different context, but perhaps Greece’s proudest day is celebrated as Oxi Day (Oxi = No): http://www.helleniccomserve.com/oxidaystathacopoulos.html

  4. 4
    Zeno

    Good for Edamaruku! But apparently the Vatican doesn’t have the balls to call off their rabid dogs in India because it prefers to pander to the credulous miracle mongers there. Ironically, as I recall from a decade’s worth of catechism classes years ago, the Church is very, very opposed to superstition. Yes, that’s right: astrology, fortune-telling, palmistry, and stuff like that is all deprecated because it is of the devil. One must believe in only Church-sanctioned supernatural events (like Marian apparitions and the like), because they are of God. It’s hard to beat sound reasoning like that!

    I’ll actually be schmoozing with a lot of my former co-religionists later this morning. I should ask them about Edamaruku. And current hypocritical Church contraception politics. Perhaps someone will splash holy water on me and I’ll melt. But I don’t think it’ll work.

  5. 5
    frankb

    John Dyal who was referred to in the linked Humanist Blog opined that the local church was making itself look bad with this complaint. That is the way it always goes. The reaction draws more attention to the situation than would otherwise happen.

  6. 6
    Gregory Greenwood

    Zeno @ 4;

    I’ll actually be schmoozing with a lot of my former co-religionists later this morning. I should ask them about Edamaruku. And current hypocritical Church contraception politics. Perhaps someone will splash holy water on me and I’ll melt. But I don’t think it’ll work.

    Haven’t you heard? Pointing out the moral bankruptcy, attempts to silence dissent and legitimate critique, and general gross hypocrisy of the Catholic Church is totes hate speech and means that you are as bad as a terrorist or something.

    Pointing out that the church tries to use outmoded and irrational laws to take away people’s freedom of speech and conscience is… an oppression of the freedom of religion of Catholics, apparently. The only way not to oppress Catholics? Let them run society as their own little theocracy.

    Trufax – just ask Bill Donohue…

  7. 7
    Zeno

    Indeed, Gregory Greenwood, there is no more reliable exponent of the official Catholic point of view than the sainted Bill Donohue. (“Sainted”? I meant “tainted.”) The Vatican must consider him useful, despite his unrestrained nastiness and self-righteousness. There is nothing in the least Christ-like about his behavior (except perhaps when Jesus was in obstreperous fig-tree-smiting mode). I’m sure this is part of the Church’s political calculus: Donohue is a bastard, but he’s our bastard, and he’s a useful attack dog. Had they reached any other conclusion, the Church fathers would have had Donohue’s diocesan bishop put a muzzle on him.

    On the other hand, perhaps they’re just afraid of contracting rabies from his bite.

  8. 8
    grumpyoldfart

    The holy men of India couldn’t care less about an apology. The most famous Rationalist in the country has been forced to leave, so they’ll be thinking they’ve scored a huge victory.

  9. 9
    anuran

    Now we know what REALLY happened to the child who said the Emperor wasn’t wearing any clothes.

  10. 10
    TxSkeptic

    Cuttle @ 3

    Thanks for that history lesson, very interesting. I was in Athens last summer in the midst of their protests. Had I known about “Oxi”, I would have been on the lookout for it being mentioned on their signs.

    Given the nature of the current political state of the right wing in this country, Oxi may well be an appropriate rally cry against their efforts to oppress anyone who is not white, christian and rich.

    Wall Street – OXI!
    Tea Party – OXI!
    Neocons – OXI!
    Fundie christians – OXI
    etc.

  11. 11
    timgueguen

    Why is the Indian government pandering to the Catholics anyways? I could see if a Hindu or Muslim “holy relic” had been exposed, since those are religions with large populations in India. Only 2 percent of Indians are Catholic. What’s in it for the Indian government to pander to them?

  12. 12
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Has anybody asked Leah Libresco and her new friends about this? I mean, the church is infallible, so I’m sure there’s a good moral reason they’ve hounded this poor guy so badly over the leaky pipe that he had to flee his native country…

  13. 13
    Gregory Greenwood

    Zeno a 7;

    The Vatican must consider him useful, despite his unrestrained nastiness and self-righteousness. There is nothing in the least Christ-like about his behavior (except perhaps when Jesus was in obstreperous fig-tree-smiting mode). I’m sure this is part of the Church’s political calculus: Donohue is a bastard, but he’s our bastard, and he’s a useful attack dog. Had they reached any other conclusion, the Church fathers would have had Donohue’s diocesan bishop put a muzzle on him.

    Agreed – Donohue is a useful idiot, and so long as he remains useful, the Church will be happy for him to spew vitriol in their name, if only so that people spend more time arguing with him than they spend really digging into the church’s dirty laundry.

    If they thought for a second that he was actually damaging their toxic edifice of privlege, then he would suddenly change tac or simply retire from the airwaves entirely.

    On the other hand, perhaps they’re just afraid of contracting rabies from his bite.

    He certainly froths at the mouth enough…

    —————————————————————-

    timgueguen;

    Why is the Indian government pandering to the Catholics anyways? I could see if a Hindu or Muslim “holy relic” had been exposed, since those are religions with large populations in India. Only 2 percent of Indians are Catholic. What’s in it for the Indian government to pander to them?

    I think that there is something of a common threat calculus going on here – the Catholics are only a small group on the Indian religious scene, but they are still a religious group, and if their religious privilege can be attacked – not be another religion, but by a *gasp* godless heathen – then that threatens unearned religious privilege in general, whoever possesses it.

    The fear is that, if rationalists are allowed to point out the ridiculous character of Catholic beliefs today without harassment or fear of consequence, then maybe tomorrow it will be Hinduism or Islam that feels the sting of remorselessly applied reason. Better for the government in Delhi to stamp on that troubling freethought business now, before it takes a bite out of a religion that the powers-that-be in India are genuinely politically reliant upon/electorally vulnerable to.

    It is a preemptive strike of sorts.

  14. 14
    postman

    People forget that Greece had a fascist government when Italy invaded. History is always more complex than we want to remember. Or teach it for that matter.
    And that’s pretty much the way we do it. At least that’s what I got from my education.
    The celebrations are combined with military and student processions every year. A bit too nationalistic and militaristic for my taste.

  15. 15
    Sastra

    Gregory Greenwood #13 wrote:

    The fear is that, if rationalists are allowed to point out the ridiculous character of Catholic beliefs today without harassment or fear of consequence, then maybe tomorrow it will be Hinduism or Islam that feels the sting of remorselessly applied reason.

    No, skeptics in India have been trying to go around exposing gurus and ‘holy men’ for quite a while. I’ve read that they’ve had some success — particularly in the small towns where residents can personally see the magic tricks explained. There’s an historical thread of freethinking and freethinkers in India.

    In which case, it’s more likely that they’re trying to bring in some Big Guns to fight a growing problem.

  16. 16
    randy

    This is the astounding part:

    “It is time the church leadership really forgave Sanal. He has learnt his own lesson – not to mock at genuine faith of the people and not confuse a passing popular fancy for a “miracle”, however untenable, to say the community is being taken for a ride by the church. The police case against Sanal Edamaruku should be withdrawn as a sign that a mature Church in India needs no props for the depth of its faith in God.”

    Wait, the oppressors are in the position of forgiving? I don’t think so. If there is any room for forgiveness it is on Sanal’s part, not the church’s. Just another example of the insidious nature of religion and how it poisons everything.

  17. 17
    niftyatheist, perpetually threadrupt

    I think that there is something of a common threat calculus going on here – the Catholics are only a small group on the Indian religious scene, but they are still a religious group, and if their religious privilege can be attacked – not be another religion, but by a *gasp* godless heathen – then that threatens unearned religious privilege in general, whoever possesses it.

    The fear is that, if rationalists are allowed to point out the ridiculous character of Catholic beliefs today without harassment or fear of consequence, then maybe tomorrow it will be Hinduism or Islam that feels the sting of remorselessly applied reason. Better for the government in Delhi to stamp on that troubling freethought business now, before it takes a bite out of a religion that the powers-that-be in India are genuinely politically reliant upon/electorally vulnerable to.

    It is a preemptive strike of sorts.

    Quoted for truth. Exactly this. Bastards.

  18. 18
    Gregory Greenwood

    Sastra @ 15;

    No, skeptics in India have been trying to go around exposing gurus and ‘holy men’ for quite a while. I’ve read that they’ve had some success — particularly in the small towns where residents can personally see the magic tricks explained. There’s an historical thread of freethinking and freethinkers in India.

    Fair enough. I bow to your greater knowledge of what is going on over there.

    In which case, it’s more likely that they’re trying to bring in some Big Guns to fight a growing problem.

    I could see that – vested religious interests just using any excuse to shut down the most prominent skeptic and freethinker in India.

  19. 19
    lorn

    How much of this is anger over his applying skepticism to a potential religious happening, and how much of this is about him killing a potential economic opportunity? Religious icons and sites of ‘miracles’ are big draws for pilgrims and tourists. And then there is the political aspect of this being a potential rallying point for the Christian community and their voting block.

    Yes, there is something to hewing to reality and fact but so much of our economic and political world is based upon a willful avoidance of reality and fact. Joe the plumber wasn’t named Joe ,and he wasn’t a plumber. $200 sunglasses and Vitamin Water.

  20. 20
    zmidponk

    If I were him, I would be tempted to make a public apology, with as much publicity as I could get, but word it something like this:

    I had no idea the grief and offence I would cause to the religious sensibilities of some for accurately and correctly exposing a purported magical crying statue as simply being some bad plumbing. I had no idea that the Catholic Church in modern times would still be offended by the nature of reality, as it was during the times of Galileo, and would therefore seek legal recourse as it did with him. I therefore humbly and sincerely apologise for any embarrassment or discomfort caused to the Catholic Church and to anyone else affected by me exposing the truth of this situation as I have.

  21. 21
    Adam

    One word.

    RESPECK!

  22. 22
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @anuran:

    Yea, exactly. The story stops two paragraphs too early. It fails to show the scene where the townspeople descend upon the child and beat the ever-loving crap out of him, and then erect a government based on the Emperor’s Clothes, and if you ever question the lack of clothes, you’ll be branded a heretic and burned at the stake.

  23. 23
    ah58

    I just read an article where Indian Catholic bishops are now pushing another “miracle”, a virgin Mary statue that weeps blood.

    http://cbci.in/FullNews.aspx?Id=691&utm_source=buffer&buffer_share=650a0

    I’m sure they’re more than ready to press blasphemy charges against anyone with the temerity to question their “miracle”. I’m also willing to bet that they think they have the skeptics sufficiently cowed by their hounding of Sanal that you’ll see lots of these stunts popping up.

  24. 24
    crocswsocks

    NO

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