Amb. Zara Juan

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

STUDY: SACRED SEX IN CHRISTIANITY: Zoologists puzzle over the oddities of human sexuality, unable to find any evolutionary advantage in sex that does not directly lead to reproduction. Some conclude that for humans sex represents a huge waste of time—certainly true if the point of sex was fertilization rather than relationship. In every feature, human sexuality encourages relationship. Humans negotiate a contract between consenting parties—a contract as simple as a marriage vow, a tourist paying for an hour of a prostitute's time, or as complicated as a Shakespearean love triangle. Unlike domestic bulls or rams, which service every receptive female within sniffing distance, mating humans demand some sort of mutual consent. When none exists, we call that rape and punish it. Some people try to treat sex as an animal act. In a scene from the movie A Beautiful Mind, the brilliant but socially inept mathematician John Nash approaches an attractive woman in a bar: "Listen, I don't have the words to say whatever it is that's necessary to get you into bed, so can we just pretend I said those things and skip to the part where we exchange bodily fluids?" He learns quickly, from the imprint of her palm on his face, that reductionism does not work well as a pickup line. Schizophrenic is the best way to describe modern society's view of sexuality. On the one hand, scientists insist that we are organisms like any other animal, and that sex is a natural expression of that animal nature. The pornography industry (which in the U.S. grosses more money than all professional sports combined) happily complies, supplying sexual images of the famous and the anonymous to anyone willing to pay. But when people truly act out their animal natures, society frowns in disapproval. John Nash gets slapped for telling the truth. A few states in the U.S. allow legalized prostitution, but no parents encourage their daughters to pursue such a career. Hollywood may glamorize adultery onscreen, but in real life it provokes pain and a rage sometimes strong enough to drive the wounded party to murder the rival or jump off a bridge. The root cause of this schizophrenia is the attempt to reduce sex between humans to a purely physical act. For humans, unlike sheep or chimpanzees, sex involves more than bodies. In A Natural History of Rape, Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer report that only 22 percent of rapes involve "gratuitous" violence beyond what is necessary to subdue the victim, yet any rape counselor knows that the real violence occurs on the inside and may lead to years of depression, nightmares, memory loss, and sexual dysfunction. Victims of abusive relatives and pedophiliac priests testify that something far more than a body gets hurt when a trusted adult abuses a child sexually. Decades later, suffering persists. In 2002 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress cannot outlaw "virtual child porn," consisting of computer-generated images on the Internet, since no one gets harmed in its manufacture. Their decision neglects the harm done to the people feeding on such images, for the real damage in sexuality occurs inside. Sex may engage our bodies, but unlike such bodily functions as excretion, sneezing, and burping, it also touches our souls—as tenderly, and as precariously, as they can be touched. Holy Sex | Christianity Today

Source: Holy Sex | Christianity Today:In the succeeding centuries church authorities issued edicts forbidding sex on Thursdays, the day of Christ's arrest; on Fridays, the day of his death; on Saturdays, in honor of the Blessed Virgin; and on Sundays in honor of the departed saints. Wednesdays sometimes made the list too, as did the 40-day fast periods before Easter, Christmas, and Pentecost, and also feast days and days of the Apostles, as well as the days of female impurity. The list escalated until, as John Boswell has estimated, only 44 days a year remained available for marital sex.

The Protestant Reformation brought about a shift in attitudes toward sex. Luther scorned the church's proscription against marital sex for the sake of pleasure, and transferred to the home much of the respect that had been accorded the nunnery. When secular revolutions swept across Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, the church's position as guardian of sexuality faded. Yet in England and America, Victorians brought back an ethic of repression, even to the extent of covering the legs of furniture lest they arouse impure thoughts.
I dwell on the church's severe attitude toward sex because I believe we Christians bear heavy responsibility for the counter reaction so evident in modern society. Jesus treated those who had fallen into sexual sins with compassion and forgiveness, and reserved his harshest words for the hidden sins of hypocrisy, pride, greed, and legalism. How is it that we who follow him use the word "immoral" to signify sexual sins almost exclusively, and reserve church discipline for those who fail sexually?
Perhaps worse, though, the church in its prudery has silenced a powerful rumor of transcendence that could point to the Creator and originator of human sexuality, who invested in it far more meaning than most modern people can imagine. We have de-sacralized it, in effect, by suppression and denial, and along the way our clumsy attempts at repression helped to empower a false infinite. Sexual power lives on, but few see in that power a pointer to the One who designed it.
UPTIGHT CHRISTIANS forget the fundamental fact that God created sex. Having studied some anatomy, I marvel at God laboring over the physiology of sex: the soft parts, the moist parts, the millions of nerve cells sensitive to pressure and pain yet also capable of producing pleasure, the intricacies of erectile tissue, the economical and ironic combination of organs for excretion and reproduction, the blending of visual appeal and mechanical design. As the zoologists remind us, in comparison with every other species, the human is bountifully endowed.
A connected view of life assumes this is God's world, and that despite its fractured state, clues of its original design remain. When I experience desire, I need not flinch in guilt, as if something unnatural has happened. Rather, I should follow the desire to its source, to learn God's original intent.
"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." In this, the Bible's strongest statement about sexual desire, Jesus cuts to the heart of the matter. He affirms that sexual desire affects the inside of a person ("in his heart") whether or not anything takes place externally. He also connects sexual desire with relationship, startlingly, by linking lust and adultery. The voyeur wants to keep his desires both discreet and discrete, disconnected from any actual personal contact; Jesus exposes the deception. CLICK LINK TO READ MORE

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STUDY: SACRED SEX IN BUDDHISM: Dalai Lama: Teachings about Sex Here are some interesting quotes from the 14th Dalai Lama regarding sex as taught and understood in the context of Tantric Buddhism. “Being able to have sexual contact without releasing semen is something needed when you practice the advanced stages of the complete stage." - The 14th Dalai Lama (Berzin Archives) ••• "For Buddhists, sexual intercourse can be used in the spiritual path because it causes a strong focusing on consciousness if the practitioner has firm compassion and wisdom. Its purpose is to manifest and prolong deeper levels of mind (described earlier with respect to the process of dying), in order to put their power to use in strengthening the realization of the emptiness. Otherwise, mere intercourse has nothing to do with spiritual cultivation. When a person has achieved a high level of practice in motivation and wisdom, then even the joining of the two sex organs or so-called intercourse, does not detract from the maintenance of that person’s pure behavior..." "Through special techniques of concentration during sex, competent practitioners can prolong very deep, subtle, and powerful states and put them to use to realize emptiness. However, if you engage in sexual intercourse within an ordinary mental context, there is no benefit." - How to Practice, Way to a Meaningful Life , His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Translated by Jeffrey Hopkins ••• "Actually, [..] the sexual organ is utilized, but the energy movement which is taking place is, in the end, fully controlled. The energy should never be let out. This energy must be controlled and eventually returned to other parts of the body. And here we can see there is a kind of special connection with celibacy." - Quoted from "The Good Heart ," H.H. the Dalai Lama ••• "There's a great difference between the movement of the regenerative fluids for two individuals engaged in ordinary sexual intercourse as opposed to a highly realized male yogi and female yogini who are engaged in sexual intercourse... "In principle, the general difference between the two types of sexual act is the control of the flow of regenerative fluids. Tantric practitioners must have control over the flow of the fluids, and those who are highly experienced can even reverse the direction of the flow, even when it has reached the tip of the genitals. Less experienced practitioners have to reverse the direction of the flow from a higher point. If the fluids descend too far down, they are more difficult to control." - Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying , by The Dalai Lama (1997, Wisdom Publications) ••• "Although I am using this ordinary term, sexual climax, it does not imply the ordinary sexual act. The reference here is to the experience of entering into union with a consort of the opposite sex, by means of which the elements at the crown are melted, and through the power of Meditation the process is also reversed. A prerequisite of such a practice is that you should be able to protect yourself from the fault of seminal emission. According to the explanation of the Kalachakra Tantra in particular, such emission is said to be very damaging to your practice. Therefore, because you should not experience emission even in dreams, the tantras describe different techniques for overcoming this fault." - The 14th Dalai Lama ••• "One night a number of dakinis (female deities) were gathered in Birwapa's room at the monastery. Other monks heard female voices through the walls and the next day, at a gathering in the big hall, the head disciplinarian expelled Birwapa from the monastery. Birwapa left wilingly, recognizing that the time had come for him to practice "union" and to develop the Great Bliss which penetrates emptiness through reliance on an external consort..." - The Dalai Lama's Secret Temple , by Ian Baker, pg. 167 (Thames & Hudson, 2000) - Dalai Lama: Teachings about Sex

Source: Dalai Lama: Teachings about Sex:

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STUDY: SACRED SEX IN ISLAM: Chastity, on the other hand is mandatory in Islam. It is also so in Christianity and Judaism. ..but it is regrettable to say that the word has almost been deleted from the code of personal behaviour in the great majority of western societies. Sex outside legitimacy is prohibited, for both men and women whether married or unmarried. The most famous personal example of chastity in the Quran is Virgin Mary (Miriam) mother of Jesus: "And remember her, who guarded her chastity, We breathed into her of Our spirit and We made her and her son a sign for all peoples." (21 :91) "She screened herself away from them (her people) then We sent to her Our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects. She said: I seek refuge from you to God, Most Gracious (come not near) if you do fear God. He said I am only a messenger from your Lord (to announce) to you the gift of a holy son-She said: How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me and I am not unchaste?" (19:17-20) Extramarital sex is forbidden and the Quran says: "Nor come near to adultery. ..for it is a shameful deed and an evil road (to other evils)." (17:32) "Those who invoke not with God any other god, nor slay such life as God has made sacred except for just cause, nor commit fornication: and any that does this (not only) meets punishment, but the penalty on the Day of Judgement will be doubled to.him, and he will dwell therein in ignominy. Unless he repents, believes and works righteous deeds, for God will change the evil of such persons into good, and God is Oft-Forgiving Most-Merciful." (25:68-70) The injunctions and forbiddings in Islam apply equally to men and women. The legal punishment for adultery is equal for men and women. Social hypocricy in many societies over history had lead to a double standard when considering sin committed by men versus sin committed by women. Society tended to be more lenient and permissive towards men forgiving men for sins not forgiveable when women do them. At the root of the contemporary wave of free sex for both sexes was appa-rently to establish equality and remove discrimination between man and woman. Instead of calling for equal cleanliness the call was for equal dirt. Not so in Islam. and in a list of commendable deeds the Quran says: "For muslim men and women, for believing men and women. for men and women who are patient and constant. for men and women who give in charity , for men and women who observe fasting, FOR MEN AND WOMEN WHO GUARD THEIR CHASTITY and for men and women who engage much in God's praise. for them has God prepared forgiveness and great reward". (33:35) Because the sex desire is usually attained before a man is financially capable of marriage, the love to God and mindfulness of Him should be sufficient motive for chastity: "Let those who find not the wherewithal for marriage keep themselves chaste, until God gives them means out of His grace." (24:33) The prophet's prescription to the youth was: Those of you who own the means should marry for this should keep their eyes uncraving and their chastity secure. Those who don't, may practise fasting for it curbs desire. " (Ibn Massoud) Chastity is an attitude and a way of life. In Islam it is both a personal and a social value. A muslim society should not condone relations entailing or conducive to sexual license. Social patterns and practices bent on flaring up the sexual desire are frowned upon by Islam be the means permissive ideologies, pruritic art or neglect of moral upbringing. Personal freedoms should never be taught as the freedom to challenge God's injunctions or trespass over the limits He drew.- Chastity

Source: Chastity:

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STUDY: SACRED SEX IN HINDUISM: Maithuna. The Sanskrit word मिथुन is used in Hindu Tantras (esoteric scriptures) to refer to the sacrament (sacred ritual) of sexual union between husband and wife. Maithuna or Mithuna has various appearances in scripture: Mithuna: paired, forming a pair; copulation; the zodiacal sign of Gemini in Vedic Astrology, which is depicted as a man and woman in a sexual embrace Mithunaya: to unite sexually Mithuni: to become paired, couple or united sexually By means of the original Tantric Maithuna, after being prepared psychologically and spiritually and initiated by a genuine teacher (guru), the couple learns how to utilize their love and spiritual aspiration in order to transform their natural sexual forces to purify the mind, eliminate psychological defects, and awaken the latent powers of the consciousness. The man represents Shiva, the masculine aspect of the creative divine, and the woman represents Shakti, the feminine aspect and the source of the power of creation. This method was kept in strictest secrecy for thousands of years in order to preserve it in its pure form, and to prevent crude-minded people from deviating the teaching, other people, or harming themselves. Nonetheless, some degenerated traditions (popularly called "left-hand" traditions, or black magic) interpret Maithuna or sacramental sexuality according to their state of degeneration, and use these sacred teachings to justify their lust, desire, orgies, and other types of deviations from pure, genuine Tantra. Krishna: “And I am the strength of the strong, devoid of lust and attachment. O best of the Bharatas, I am sex not contrary to dharma.” (Bhagavad Gita 7.11) Quotes about Maithuna The Tantric student must be endowed with purity, faith, devotion, dedication to Guru, dispassion, humility, courage, cosmic love, truthfulness, non-covetousness, and contentment. Absence of these qualities in the practitioner means a gross abuse of Shaktism. Sexual intercourse by a man with a woman who is not lawful to him is a sin. The Vaidika Dharma is very strict on this point. It forbids not merely actual Maithuna but Ashtanga or eightfold Maithuna namely Smaranam (thinking upon it), Kirtanam (talking of it), Keli (play with women), Prekshanam (making eyes at women), Guhya-bhashanam (talking in private with women), Sankalpa (wish or resolve for sexual union), Adhyavasaya (determination towards it), Kriyanishpatti (actual accomplishment of the sexual act). A Tantric can have copulation with his wife. He calls his wife his Shakti. Wife is a house-goddess Griha-lakshmi or Griha-devata united to her husband by the sacramental Samskara of marriage. She should not be regarded as an object of enjoyment. She is his partner in life (Ardhangini). The union of a man and his wife is a veritable sacred scriptural rite. - Maithuna (Mithuna) - Sexuality in Hindu Tantra

Source: Maithuna (Mithuna) - Sexuality in Hindu Tantra:

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Monday, March 3, 2014

UPDATE: CHRISTIANITY: Pope Francis said couples whose marriages fail should be “accompanied” and not “condemned,” wading into a debate on divorce that is testing his promise to put the Church in touch with modern life. “When love fails, and it fails many times, we have to feel the pain of that failure, accompany the people who have felt the failure of their love,” the pope said during the daily mass he holds in the Vatican. “Don't condemn them! Walk with them!” he said, adding: “We have to be so close to the brothers and sisters who have suffered the failure of love in their lives.” The main issue is whether divorcees who re-marry should be allowed to take part in the most sacred point of Catholic mass, Holy Communion, which is forbidden under current rules that in practice are often not observed. Changing that doctrine could in turn alter Church rules on marriage annulments and raise broader questions about the institution of marriage, prompting lively exchanges between traditionalists and reformers. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon in France, told Vatican radio that a meeting of cardinals from around the world in the Vatican this month devoted "80 to 90 percent" of the time to discussing the issue. German Cardinal Ludwig Mueller, head of the Church's doctrinal watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has said the current rules are “impossible to change” and that people should stop thinking of marriage as “a party in a church.” Honduran Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, a member of the council of eight cardinals established by the pope to advise him, has taken a more lenient line and has asked Mueller to be “more flexible.” A survey by the Spanish-language network Univision in 12 mainly Catholic countries found that 75 percent of Europeans, 67 percent of Latin Americans and 59 percent of Americans were at odds with the Church on the issue, while in Africa 19 percent of respondents disagreed. The issue is one of very personal anguish for many Catholic couples, who say they are being treated as second-class believers, and has led to acts of defiance. The German diocese of Freiburg im Breisgau last year said it was authorizing re-married divorcees to receive Holy Communion on a case by case basis – prompting a quick rebuke from the Vatican. The issue would affect millions of Catholics around the world, with around a quarter of Catholic marriages ending in divorce in the United States alone. Some theologians and clergymen have called for changes to facilitate the annulment of marriages in cases in which it could be argued that the wedding took place under social pressure or was not fully understood. Re-marrying would then be allowed under Church rules and the couple would be allowed to take Holy Communion. Another possibility could be the Orthodox model, which allows some divorcees to re-marry in church and take Holy Communion but gives only a blessing for the second marriage and does not consider it a sacrament. Francis mentioned the Orthodox solution as a "parenthesis" on the plane during his return from a visit to Brazil and it was raised again by some cardinals in their consistory this month in which they said it could happen following "a period of penitence". The issue is likely to dominate a synod of world bishops planned for later this year and another one in 2015, which Francis has said should focus on families. Yahoo News Philippines

Pope: ‘Accompany’ couples whose marriages fail - Yahoo News Philippines: "The divorce debate was raised in an unprecedented questionnaire sent out to dioceses worldwide to find out the approach taken by parishes on many issues, including same-sex couples and pre-marital cohabitation.
Vatican expert Henri Tincq, writing on the website, said the divorce issue is particularly complex on a theological level since "a sacrament is given by God and can never be taken back"."

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UPDATE: ISLAM: Muslims who are confident of their faith in Islam need not feel confused if others use the word “Allah”, Turkish writer and journalist Mustafa Akyol has said, joining the chorus of dissent from other celebrated Islamic scholars worldwide against Malaysia’s ban on the Arabic word. The prolific writer, well-known for his liberal views on Islam, told a talk that such a ban on non-Muslims in Malaysia is unacceptable as no Muslim should feel threatened by those of other faiths. Mustafa questioned why those of other faiths who have used the word “Allah” have not felt confused by it while Malaysian Muslims appear fearful of their religious freedom being usurped when their non-Muslim friends utter the word. He said the exclusive practice of an individual’s faith should not be confused with bigotry and narrow-mindedness. “We should be confident with our own faith,” said the author of critically acclaimed book - “Islam without extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty”. He added that it is only by conversing with people of other faiths that Muslims are able to develop a more sophisticated culture. “We should not shy away from learning different cultures and other philosophies but it is our very own defensiveness that makes us so close-minded to everything else,” he said. “There are Muslims that create this closed society, they will ban outside influences and block the internet but it is a lost cause because the world is different now, you can’t stop the younger generation from being exposed to non-Islamic things,” Mustafa added. If young Muslims are taught good values and how to be strong in their faiths, it should not be deemed a problem if they are exposed to the world. Driving home his point that “liberty” is indeed an Islamic value, Mustafa reminded that the Muslim holy Quran itself states that there is no compulsion in Islam. “The only compulsion comes from the society to make people more pious, to make people stay in a religion,” he said. The New York Times columnist added that there are many cultures or local customs that have been made “Islamic” in the minds of certain Muslims, even though they are not expressly mentioned in the Quran verses. Citing female genital mutilation as an example, he said many have mistaken it as an Islamic practise when this was never mentioned in the Quran. “It was a local custom in North East Africa that became Islamic in the minds of the people,” he said. He said there are also other Islamic “laws” that came from a fusion of Islam and culture. Another example is on the topic of apostasy in Islam, which is said to be a crime and punishable by death. “Again, there is nothing in the verses of the Quran which bans apostasy but there are actually verses that vindicate religious freedom,” he said. He noted that the Quran did not state that anyone should be punished for apostasy but it only stated that apostates will only be punished in the afterlife by God. “So, yes, I would say liberty is very much an Islamic value but it is the society and the government that are imposing their values and their interpretation of the Quran on us,” he said. He claimed that more people are oppressed in the name of “upholding a religion”, the more they tend to move away from it. “I should be given the freedom to practise my religion and if I don’t get to choose, how am I to practice my faith and follow my conscience in whatever I do? “ he said. - Malay Mail - DON'T BE BRAINWASHED BY UMNO! Be confident in Islam - worldwide calls not to ban ALLAH grow

DON'T BE BRAINWASHED BY UMNO! Be confident in Islam - worldwide calls not to ban ALLAH grow: "“If we are confident about our faith, why do we think that we can be confused if someone else uttered the word ‘Allah’?” he said at the talk titled,”Is Liberty An Islamic Value”.

Mustafa was speaking about the row over the use of “Allah”, a continuing dispute that has gone on since 2007 when the government ordered Catholic weekly Herald to stop using the word in its Malay section and the publication challenged the ban court.

The court had at first ruled in the Herald’s favour but the decision was overturned last October with the court ruling clearly stating that “Allah” is exclusive to Muslims."

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UPDATE: BUDDHISM: Buddhist faction protests Dalai Lama as he visits U.S | Reuters - The crowd of brightly-dressed monks, nuns and other Shugden Buddhism practitioners, a subset of Buddhists who worship the 300-year-old deity Dorje Shugden, held protest signs and chanted, "Religious freedom. Dalai Lama Give!" Demonstrators met across the street from a building where the Dalai Lama was scheduled to launch the first of a series of speaking events in a tour of U.S. cities. Dalai Lamas are the head monks of the Gelugpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. The current Dalai Lama is the 14th in this lineage, and in 1989 won the Nobel Peace Prize. Critics claim that the Dalai Lama has excommunicated thousands of Shugden Buddhists from Tibetan exile communities in India, and continues to push practitioners out of communities around the world by encouraging his followers to deny them jobs, schooling and health care. Norden Kelsang, a 38-year-old Shugden Buddhist nun at Saturday's rally, who practices in New York, said the demonstrators want religious freedom. "We don't need the Dalai Lama to practice our religion or for us to practice his," she said.

Buddhist faction protests Dalai Lama as he visits U.S | Reuters: "Sarah Baker, a spokeswoman for the American Himalayan Foundation, which organized the Dalai Lama's San Francisco event, declined to comment. Calls to the Dalai Lama's offices in India were not immediately returned.

The Dalai Lama, who fled from Tibet in 1959 following an uprising against Chinese power, believes Shugden was born out of hostility towards a previous Dalai Lama, and divides and harms he and his followers, according to a statement on the religious leader's website."

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UPDATE: HINDUISM: India's Fundamentalists Triumph In Case Over Wendy Doniger's 'The Hindus' | Stephen Prothero - This month, Penguin Books India agreed to withdraw Doniger's "The Hindus: An Alternative History" from Indian bookstores and pulp any remaining copies. The settlement came in response to a complaint filed by Dinanath Batra, head of Shiksha Bachao Andolan, a Hindu fundamentalist group that opposes sex education in Indian schools and textbooks that deviate from its Hinduvta ("Hinduness") interpretation of Indian history. If you see a culture war here, you are not far wrong. Like the American culture wars, this contest features a "moral majority" that claims to speak for all true believers, even as it laments its victimhood at the hands of a secular state. In his complaint, Batra played the Jerry Falwell figure, blasting Doniger as a Jezebel -- "a woman hungry of sex" -- peddling "perverse" interpretations of Hindu scriptures. "The Hindus" is "riddled with heresies and factual inaccuracies," he said, but his core complaint is that the book "hurt the religious feelings of millions of Hindus." As Doniger books go, this one has very little sex in it. But it is offensive. As Doniger told BBC World Service, she knew "that people like Mr. Batra would hate it." According to Hindu nationalists, there is one unchanging and eternal Hinduism, which just so happens to be their own. Doniger's alternative history, which heeds the voices of women and Dalits ("untouchables") and observes changes in the tradition over time, shows that there are nearly as many Hinduisms as there are Hindus. To her, Hinduism is a polyphonic symphony. To Batra, it is one note, played over and over again. Books have been challenged in the USA, but First Amendment rights typically triumph. In India, free speech is increasingly muzzled. India banned Salman Rushdie's novel "The Satanic Verses" a quarter-century ago. Two decades ago, Hindu nationalists went after "Kali's Child," a psychoanalytic study of the Indian holy man Ramakrishna by American Indologist Jeffrey Kripal, and discovered in the process how to spin hatred of foreign authors into political gold. In recent years, they have targeted films and art exhibitions as well as books on Gandhi, cows and the Hindu deity Ganesha. Indian intellectuals responded to the Doniger imbroglio by lamenting "the pulping of liberal India" and the "Talibanization" of the world's largest democracy. "The argumentative Indian is being replaced by the offended Indian," wrote political scientist Pratap Bhanu Mehta, "the tolerant Indian by the intolerant mob." Many fingered Penguin for bowing to a bully. "Even though there is no fatwa, no ban, not even a court order, you have not only caved in, you have humiliated yourself abjectly before a fly-by-night outfit," wrote novelist Arundhati Roy in an open letter to her publisher. Other authors demanded that their Penguin contracts be pulped. Penguin responded by invoking its "moral responsibility to protect our employees against threats and harassment," and the need to "respect the laws of the land in which it operates, however intolerant and restrictive those laws may be." Other Indian intellectuals -- including thousands of signers of a petition published last week in The Hindu -- called for legal reform, focusing on the Indian Penal Code's Section 295A, which, by criminalizing "malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings," has invited an epidemic of the piously aggrieved.

India's Fundamentalists Triumph In Case Over Wendy Doniger's 'The Hindus' | Stephen Prothero: "Banishment of "The Hindus" from India is emboldening the culture warriors who claim to speak on behalf of all Hindus (and are now vowing to go after other Doniger books). But this is not a victory for "Hinduism" over its American despisers. It is a victory of one group of Hindus over another.

In "The Hindus," which exudes love of scholarship and love of the Hindu tradition, I hear a voice, reminiscent of that famous question of the African-American abolitionist Sojourner Truth: "Ain't I a woman?" "Ain't I a Hindu?" it says, in the voices of the millions of believers whom Hindu fundamentalists are determined to silence."

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Be the Peace Leader

Be the Peace Leader
Pray for Peace by Amb Zara Jane Juan

Come & Join Inter-Faith Prayers & Inter-Cultural Dialogue for Peace

Come! Share your Peace! - Ambassador Zara Jane Juan, Sailing for Peace

2012 Video International Day of Peace Vigil by Sailing for Peace

Sailing for Peace Worldwide Peace Vigil

Sailing for Peace Worldwide Peace Vigil
Prayer Vigil for Vatican as Pope expresses sorrow over terrorist attacks and prayed that God will sustain all men of goodwill who courageously roll up their sleeves to deal with the plague of terrorism and this bloodstain which is gripping the world in a shadow of fear and bewilderment

Amb. Zara Jane Juan, Peace Ambassador

Amb. Zara Jane Juan, Peace Ambassador
I choose to be a Missionary of the Interfaith, Interracial, Intercultural Sailing for Peace Program inspired and guided by the discipline and life of the Virgin Mary of the Catholic Church. I am a Catholic, a Lady Datin of the Muslims, a Buddhist in my Healthy Lifestyle and a Hindu in Purifying my Soul. With Free Thinking and Scientific Approach to my Peace Work, my life on the over-all is a whirlwind of Faith and Fate. I refuse donations to my peace work to prevent corruption but rather I decided to live a very simple so that I can fund it personally through my own personal income as Professional Resource Speaker, Author, Visual Artist, Playwright and Director

JESUS CHRIST - 7 LAST WORDS - Lenten Recollection for Christians