Soon after the Satanists announced their intention to put up a monument next to the Ten Commandments on the Oklahoma Capitol grounds, Hindus have come forward saying that they too want to have their religion acknowledged.
Rajan Zed, a board member for the Universal Society of Hinduism, issued a press release Tuesday (Dec. 10) announcing the group’s intention to apply. Zed said the design would follow.
Hanuman, the monkey king, is an important deity in Hinduism, the world’s third largest faith. He is most popular among devotees of the avatar Lord Ram and others following a devotional path. There are more temples and roadside shrines to Hanuman than to any other deity in all of North India. For Hindus, Hanuman is one of the finest exemplars of a life of love and service of God.
A statue of a monkey deity seems perfectly suitable for a Midwestern town. The legislators seem to be less contemptuous about the Hindu request than the Satanist one, which seems unfair to me.
Rep. Earl Sears, a Republican from Bartlesville, Okla., who called the Satanist monument offensive, was less inclined to speak directly about a Hindu monument.
Why Hanuman, you ask, out of all the avatars of god at their disposal? Zed explains that “we would love to have a statue of Lord Hanuman, who was greatly revered and worshipped and known for incredible strength and was perfect grammarian.” And who can be opposed to better grammar?
Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association says that there is no problem at all. He says that when the US constitution was written, the word religion meant only Christianity, so only Christian monuments are protected and hence all the other monument requests can be thrown out, no problem. Take that, you grammar zealots!
This is getting to be fun. So who’s next in line? We’re looking at you to put in your application, Buddhists. And don’t be slackers, Wiccans! And Zoroastrians should probably consider putting in a fire monument. And since the measure of your devotion and the power of your god is given by the size of the monument, don’t stint when it comes to size.
Via Ophelia Benson there is a great clip in which David Silverman of the American Atheists takes on Shmuley Boteach and Bill Donohue and the Fox News host and comes out just great. The other three were totally contemptuous of the Satanists. It will be interesting to see what they say when they learn about the Hindus. And I learned about the Festivus beer pole in Florida. Good times!