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All Politics is Loco: Hating Hindus is Hip

By |2018-01-15T23:23:35-05:00July 19th, 2007|Opinions|

by Sean Kosofsky

I can’t take it any longer. Just when you think the American Family Association can’t do anything more vile, more un-American, more hypocritical, or more morally bankrupt, they DO.
On July 12, history was made on the floor of the U.S. Senate when Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) invited a Hindu cleric to offer the first-ever Hindu invocation to open the Senate session. However, during this display of open-mindedness, tolerance and freedom of religious expression, there were actually protesters in the balcony heckling the cleric. Who sent those protesters? None other than the AFA. The very group that gripes about restrictions on religious liberty and freedom and which advocates for public displays of prayer actually tried shutting down someone else’s religious expression.
Every time the AFA reacts this way, they justify taking the wall between church and state and adding insulation, siding, decorative brick work and even a couple of coats of scum-resistant paint.
Disrupting the U.S. Senate is an incredibly bold, offensive and obstructionist act that should only be undertaken in extraordinary circumstances. For example, if the chamber was voting for an unjustified war, or if they were to call an emergency session of to force a tube down the throat of a long brain-dead woman. Those situations could justify the use of obstructionist tactics. That would be patriotic, and downright responsible. But protesting a cleric from giving an opening invocation? Only monsters could arrange something like that.
The other ironic part of this sad and ridiculous display in Bible-thumping is that the message of the Hindu cleric was one that modeled good behavior. Here is a bit of what Rajan Zed had to say:
“Let us pray… Lead us from the unreal to 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 at one, that you may long dwell in unity and concord. Peace, peace, peace be unto all.”
That exact same prayer could have been given by any Christian pastor. Despite the fear stirred up by the AFA that this Hindu cleric worshipped “many” Gods and that there is great persecution in India and Nepal, there was nothing in this prayer that called America to cast aside monotheism or to start executing minorities or the godless. On the contrary, the AFA is the one pushing persecution.
When will elected leaders and AFA members see this group for what they really are?
The AFA recently also put out an action alert opposing Rosie O’Donnell as a potential host of “The Price is Right.” Why does the AFA care if a lesbian is hosting a game show? They claim they don’t support discrimination but there it was in plain writing. They were trying to deny a lesbian a job simply because she is gay. It is not as if this was a lesbian hosting Sesame Street or some Saturday morning kids’ program. The AFA wanted to stop a lesbian from being able to play Plinko and giving away vacations and cars. Why?
The AFA is a threat to democracy and a threat to mainstream Christianity. I hope Dr. Dobson’s followers wake up soon.
Sean Kosofsky is the Director of Policy for Triangle Foundation, Michigan’s leading civil rights organization for GLBT people.

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.