Sat07222017

Last updateFri, 23 Jun 2017 9am

Response to WSJ Op-Ed Calling For Bible Education In Public Schools

Response to WSJ Op-Ed Calling For Bible Education In Public Schools

The Wall Street Journal's editorial has the bold title: "Public Schools Should Teach the Bible: Westerners cannot be considered literate without a basic knowledge of this foundational text".While I certainly support the idea that students should be better informed about world religions, I vehemently oppose giving special preference to the Bible over other faiths.

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Dharma and the new Pope

Dharma and the new Pope

Given the power of the Vatican, the choice of a new pope will impact people of all faiths, not just Catholics. Whenever there is a change of national leadership in the USA, China, Russia or other large country, it gets discussed and debated by people of all countries because it impacts everyone. Unfortunately, the discussions surrounding the change of the pope have been largely limited to the internal issues within the Catholic Church. I'd like to argue that this transition into a new papacy presents a historic opportunity to change the world in a significant way for the better. All of us, including non-Christians, are stakeholders in this conversation.

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What Indian Americans Can Learn During Black History Month

What Indian Americans Can Learn During Black History Month

February is celebrated as America's Black History Month, making it an opportune time to examine some important relationships between the Indian and black communities in this country. For one, there are longstanding ties between the two peoples that ought to be unearthed and rekindled. Mahatma Gandhi started his civil disobedience movement in South Africa where he spent 21 years honing his political philosophy and leadership skills. The event that became the turning point in his life was when he was thrown off a train, because as a person of color he was not allowed to sit in first-class even though he had a first-class ticket. The indignity of this event, similar to that experienced by all people of color in South Africa at that time, launched him into a life of social and political activism. His movement culminated in the eventual overthrow of the British Empire and colonialism in general.

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The Whitewashing of Bobby Jindal

The Whitewashing of Bobby Jindal

As a "rebuttal" to President Obama's inaugural address, Bobby Jindal, the Indian-American governor of Louisiana, delivered last week before the Republican National Committee what I consider a misleading and somewhat controversial address.

A likely presidential contender in 2016, Jindal played his card as a person of color. Referring to the string of offensive remarks and gaffes made by Republicans against women, minorities and the middle class, Jindal declared: "We've got to stop being the stupid party". Neglecting people of color was a big reason for losing elections, he claimed, implicitly positioning himself as the solution. But does Jindal truly speak for any community of color, or is this just another round of creative political opportunism? Most Indian-Americans have been dismayed to see that he has done nothing for our community, while soliciting us for campaign funds. He had morphed at an early age into exactly the kind of candidate that the people of his southern, conservative state would elect.

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Difference With Mutual Respect: A New Kind of Hindu-Christian Dialogue

Difference With Mutual Respect  A New Kind of Hindu-Christian Dialogue

Earlier, I introduced the concept of mutual respect and why it is superior to the patronizing notion of "tolerance" that is typically celebrated at interfaith events. My book, "Being Different" (Harpercollins, 2011), is entirely about appreciating how traditions differ from one another rather than seeing them as the same. In parallel with these works, I have been in conversations and debates with numerous thinkers of traditions other than my own.

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The Importance of Debating Religious Differences


The Importance of Debating Religious Differences

I want all the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any. --Gandhi

In most liberal circles, discrimination on account of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and race is rightly denounced. Human diversity is not only widely accepted in these domains but also celebrated. Of course, the journey is by no means complete, and it has been long and tough for those who pioneered it. In my own work, I'm inspired by feminists who courageously challenged masculine paradigms on gender, African-Americans who heralded their unique culture and identity rather than becoming subsumed as subordinates or an exotic addition to a "universal" culture, and leaders of the gay rights movement who undermined the prevailing hegemony on sexual orientation.

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Dharma's Good News: You Are Not a Sinner!

Dharmas Good News You Are Not a Sinner

Occasionally, a small group of evangelists -- well-dressed and well-groomed young men and women from a local church -- walks around my neighborhood ringing doorbells to spread Christianity. I always like to invite them in, offer them chai and engage in a relaxed conversation. Even though I went to a Catholic school and know the proselytizing game well, I pretend I'm the naive immigrant eager to ask basic questions. After a few minutes of small talk, one of them usually breaks open the topic by asking, "Have you been saved?"

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