Friday, July 13, 2007

The Republican Idea of Religious Freedom...

means that Christian fundamentalists are free to attack and suppress other religions while claiming that they themselves are persecuted when they are held to account for their crimes.

Thanks to Desert Beacon (NV) for the heads up on this one....

Between the Iraq War debate in both chambers of Congress yesterday (and a Democratic happy hour at Papago Brewing last night :) ), I missed this one...

From the Washington Post -
Hindu Prayer in Senate Disrupted

WASHINGTON -- A Hindu clergyman made history Thursday by offering the Senate's morning prayer, but only after police officers removed three shouting protesters from the visitors' gallery.

Rajan Zed, director of interfaith relations at a Hindu temple in Reno, Nev., gave the brief prayer that opens each day's Senate session. As he stood at the chamber's podium in a bright orange and burgundy robe, two women and a man began shouting "this is an abomination" and other complaints from the gallery.

Police officers quickly arrested them and charged them disrupting Congress, a misdemeanor. The male protester told an AP reporter, "we are Christians and patriots" before police handcuffed them and led them away.

Let's be clear - we have the makings of the Taliban or the Saudi religious police or the like right here in the land of 'freedom of religion'; the only difference is that our fanatics claim to be respectful of the rights of adherent of other faiths.

Right up to the point where they put their boots to their victims.

In the interests of helping publicize that which the three village idiots would suppress, from a USA Today blog posting on the event (they got it from the Congressional Record, but deserve credit for helping get it out on the web), the prayer that Rajan Zed gave on the Senate floor -
Let us pray. We meditate on the transcendental Glory of the Deity Supreme, who is inside the heart of the Earth, inside the life of the sky, and inside the soul of the Heaven. May He stimulate and illuminate our minds.

Lead us from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, and from death to immortality. May we be protected together. May we be nourished together. May we work together with great vigor. May our study be enlightening. May no obstacle arise between us.

May the Senators strive constantly to serve the welfare of the world, performing their duties with the welfare of others always in mind, because by devotion to selfless work one attains the supreme goal of life. May they work carefully and wisely, guided by compassion and without thought for themselves.

United your resolve, united your hearts, may your spirits be as one, that you may long dwell in unity and concord.

Peace, peace, peace be unto all. Lord, we ask You to comfort the family of former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson. Amen.

Note: Anybody who knows me knows that I'm not particularly religious (the Red Sox are a different kind of faith, one that has actually been rewarded in this life, not the next :) ), so this is not advocacy of any religion, including Mr. Zed's. I do, however, advocate doing everything you can to tick off and ridicule bullies.

While I do not expect a positive response, I will be writing to both AZ senators asking them to condemn this sort of religious intolerance and to disavow any ties with the protestors' group, Operation Save America (formerly Operation Rescue.)

If I actually get a reply from either Senator's office, I'll post it here. Not going to hold my breath. :)

Coverage of the incident from The Hill is here.

YouTube video of the event is here.

Have a great weekend!

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