Even atheists have come out saying that Kentucky gubernatorial candidate David Williams “should be ashamed of, and apologize for his recent comments” criticizing rival candidate Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear for his attendance at a Hindu blessing ceremony.
Jon Eric Johnson, an atheist thinker, in a statement on November four, said: Governor Beshear has shown himself to be a class act in the finest of American traditions of tolerance, respect and inclusion; whereas Mr. Williams’ pathetic and desperate attempt at divisiveness for political gain makes him a disgrace to his faith, his state, our country and humans in general. He should immediately retract, and apologize for, his remarks.
As an atheist I reject and do not share the belief in anyone’s god or gods; yet…I have very often stood and bowed my head during Christian ceremonies – not because I believe in God or Jesus but to show respect to and help provide comfort for fellow Americans that I value and care about, Johnson pointed out.
Annabelle Younger, a representative of International Society for Krishna Consciousness whose husband is a Church of Christ preacher, in a statement on November four, stressed that Supreme Being existed in the heart of every living entity. She urged Williams to broaden his knowledge of “Hinduism” and recant and refrain from blaspheming this third largest world faith.
Swami Poojananda Saraswati, a prominent Hindu nun and yoga exponent, commented on November four: “It is out of ignorance and arrogance that a person would criticize the religion of other people.”
Meanwhile Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada today, argued that it was sad that Williams was yet to come out with an apology despite calls from Hindus and non-Hindus nationwide.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed quoted from the Bible: “…Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another (Gospel According to John 13: 34).”
In a remarkable interfaith gesture, Jews and Buddhists have also joined Hindus in asking for an apology from Williams for reportedly inappropriate comments about sacred Hindu ceremony of “bhumi-pujan” (earth-worship).
According to reports, he termed it as an act of idolatry and referred as “polytheistic situations”, and called revered Hindu deities as “false gods”, and talking about Hindus he said “…I hope their eyes are opened and they receive Jesus Christ as their personal savior…”
Rabbi ElizaBeth W. Beyer, a well known Jewish leader in the western United States, said in a statement, “Mr. David Williams, Republican candidate for governor in Kentucky, should publicly apologize for his narrow-minded attack on Hinduism. He called a blessing ceremony ‘idolatry’ and poked fun at bindis (Hindu forehead decorations). Williams’ statements exhibit intolerance. We live in a culturally diverse world. Bigotry is hurtful…”.
“How can such a man hope to govern a diverse population when he finds a culturally appropriate Hindu blessing a new business repugnant?” asked Rabbi Beyer.
Reverend Phil Bryan, prominent Buddhist leader from Nevada, who grew-up in Hopkinsville and Bowling Green in Kentucky and whose ancestors were original settlers of Kentucky, in a statement stressed: “…it’s my very strong view that Williams owes the Hindu world and Governor Steve Beshear an apology…Beshear has shown traditional Kentucky courtesy and kindness to members of the third largest world religion and is also helping members of the fast growing Hindu business community to feel at home in Kentucky…Please apologize Mr. Williams. You owe it to all of us trying to make this a better and richer world.”
Swami Vedananda, a highly respected Hindu monk from California (USA), pointed out: Criticism of the Hindu ceremony as unchristian or even idolatrous, and that public officials erred by participating in it, is due to a basic misunderstanding and requires clarification and an apology from those who have made such allegations.
Those who criticize the incidental details of such ceremonies miss the main point, which is to offer worship and reverence to the same one God of all religions, the one reality, who is creator of us all and the inspirer of all enterprises.
Meanwhile, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, stated that upset Hindus were still waiting for a formal apology from Williams for unnecessarily dragging sacred Hindu ceremony in his campaign battle resulting in trivializing ancient Hindu traditions, beliefs and deities.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued that such trivialization of faith hurt the devotees and should not be taken lightly. Concepts and symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, especially by politicians many of whose constituents might belong to that tradition.
Hinduism is oldest and third largest religion of the world with about billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. In USA, there are an estimated three million Hindus.