A Senator's Insensitive Remarks Against Hinduism


by Jayaram V

Sherry Nuxoll, a Senator from Idaho, recently made irresponsible comments about Hinduism. It is not a public issue if she made those comments in her individual capacity as a citizen of America, but she made them as a Senator of the United States, and in response to a Hindu prayer session organized on the floor of the Senate.

She said that Hinduism was "a false faith with false gods," and USA was a Christian nation founded on Christian values. She has no direct proof to support either of her two assertions except her irrationality and lopsided logic. According to the news reports when she was asked to apologize, she was reported to have said, "“I said it was a religion with false gods. I’m not going to give an apology.”

It is very clear from her comments that she represents the old school values of the racist America that for nearly 200 years oppressed the African Americans and Native Americans refusing them their right to be humans. The Senator has not yet clarified whether the 1960's Civil Rights movement was a Constitutional aberration, because it was not part of the original constitution and it was not based upon the original intent of the founding fathers who formulated it. The founding fathers took pride in keeping and trading in slaves and even forced the women they owned into sexual relationships.

The US Constitution does not recognize any particular religion, but the Senator chooses to interpret its wording to imply that the USA is a Christian nation. By saying it, she ignores the sentiments of nearly half of the US population who do not either believe in the exclusive status of Christianity or who practice some other faith.

She should have also remembered that the same constitution did not originally recognize the rights of women to vote or represent any constituency. There were no women in the Senate or Congress when USA was founded. The US Constitution was drafted by men only, and the Bill of Rights was the result of the work of men only. Women were able to vote in national elections only since 1920.

Based on the same logic, perhaps she may have to reconsider her decision to contest the elections, because the Constitution originally and explicitly gave no voting rights to women or their right to be Senators and participate in the politics of the nation.

Even after 200 years, not even one woman has managed to become the President or Vice President of the USA. The USA is one of the few nations where women receive lesser wages than men for the same work. Perhaps for Mrs. Nuxoll it is one of those Christian virtues to be subservient to men and serve them well.

The Senator also rather unnecessarily and irresponsibly suggested that Hindus worship false gods. She has not furnished any evidence on what grounds Christianity can be considered a true religion or what evidence she has to prove that the God she worships alone is true. She has certainly not met or seen her Maker in person. She has also not proven how a virgin can give birth to a baby, or how a dead person can ascend to heaven in a dead body. She has no proof that the Bible she reads today was the same Bible used by the early Christians two thousand years ago.

The point is her faith, like the faith of any other religious person, is based upon her beliefs, not facts. You cannot argue that your beliefs alone are true and the beliefs of others are not. The Vedas came long before the Bible, by 3000 years or so. For the Hindus, the Vedas are God's testimony. They speak neither about Jesus nor about Christianity. Hence, Hindus too can argue that Christianity is a false religion and Christ is a false Prophet. Such arguments not only breed hatred but also create a deep communal divide. In a pluralistic society it is essential that all people practice their faith and live in harmony.

Senator Nuxoll has a right not to attend Hindu prayers, but she has no right to question the faith of a billion people in the world or insult their faith. Her comments will certainly alienate many Hindu Americans from the Republican Party, which is already struggling to find a foothold among the minorities. It will also give a reason to the Hindu groups in India to speak against Christianity and Christian missionaries, and groups like ISIS to continue their atrocities against minorities. Her comments may also hurt the Republican Party in the coming elections in 2016 as they may be used in advertisements to alienate many Hindus who are otherwise sympathetic to the party.

Finally, India is the only country in the world with a continuing cultural tradition of over 10,000 years. When a narrow-minded person like Sherry Nuxoll speak against the faith of Hindus, it is important for others to know that she is questioning the oldest faith in the world that survived intense missionary activity, climate change, foreign aggression, racism, British imperialism, cruelty, hatred, bias, bigotry, persecution and false propaganda. The Senator should apologize to all Hindus for her comments against Hindu gods, and make a visit to India to educate herself in Indian culture and religious practices to cultivate tolerance and act like a true American.

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