Here’s a point of view that doesn’t get much press.
The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) sought clarification and an apology from Kentucky Senator David Williams (R-KY) in a telephone conversation yesterday, after his latest remarks about Governor Beshear’s “participation” in a Hindu ground-breaking ceremony. Williams, the GOP Nominee for Governor, initially made waves on Tuesday for criticizing Beshear and expressing his hope that Hindus accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. His comments were met with disappointment and shock from the Hindu American community and were strongly condemned by HAF.
It’s not just atheists who see major problems with fundamentalists in government. And the problem isn’t just people being religious. It’s people in power using their religion to marginalize and exclude minorities.
Suhaq Shukla, Managing Director and Legal Counsel for the Hindu American Foundation, sums up the problem.
“We certainly acknowledge the Senator’s beliefs, but we hold completely irreconcilable worldviews — that of religious pluralism and religious exclusivism,” continued Shukla. “Hindus hold the view that there exist multiple, valid paths to relate to God, whereas the Senator believes that the only true path lies in his. While I may disagree, so long as such beliefs are not imposed upon or used to harass, intimidate, or curtail the rights and freedoms of others through mechanisms of the state, provocation, hate speech, fraud, duress, or coercion, he is free to hold them in our great democracy.”
This is exactly the right stand to take, and Williams offers lip service, at least, to the general notion. Sorta.
Shukla stated that she also conveyed to Williams that his comments were deeply offensive to Hindus and that they had received emails and phone calls of solidarity from many other Christians who disagree with the Senator’s comments. Although Williams reiterated that as a Christian it was his hope that Hindus receive Christ as their savior, he added that he did not intend to offend Hindus and would never, in his official capacity, discriminate against anyone on the basis of their beliefs.
Unless, of course, Jesus told him to. Or if there were more votes to be had by pushing Christian supremacy. Or if the Hindus just stopped paying so much attention to him when he put them down.