Hindu community seeks apology

Hindu community, which is quite upset over an article in “The Threefold Advocate”, student newspaper of John Brown University (JBU), calling Hindu gods as “demonic” and Hinduism as “ugly religion”, is still waiting for an apology.

Universities are meant for education and research and should not be in the business of denigrating religions. JBU should not shy away from its responsibility for this denigrating article by just saying: “The Threefold Advocate” is a student publication and operates with nearly complete autonomy…

Adviser of “The Threefold Advocate” is the head of JBU Department of Communications, the person who wrote the article seemed to be a JBU employee, and because of absence of advertisements it is presumably funded by JBU.

Despite our urging, JBU President Dr. Charles Pollard has not apologized to the perturbed Hindu community and objectionable article has not been removed from “The Threefold Advocate” online edition. On this issue, Hindus might contact Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, which has accredited JBU; and Arkansas State Department of Education, which has approved JBU.

It was highly inappropriate for a publication of about 95 years old educational institution like JBU, which was listed as one of America’s Best Colleges by Forbes, to belittle Hinduism, which is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought. It was really shocking for the Hindu community, coming out of a respectable educational institution like JBU.

Hindu gods are highly revered to Hindus and they consider them divine and worship them and their religion is very sacred to them. JBU, which claimed to be an educational leader providing “academic, spiritual and professional foundation for world-impacting careers” to students from across the globe, should be more sensitive about the feelings of “others”.

The article in March 13 (Issue 18, Volume 79) edition titled “Rethink yoga” by Deborah Raiees-Dana, who was described as “the tutoring coordinator for Student Support Services,” includes lines “…yoga is the beautiful face that the very ugly religion of Hinduism uses…” and “…yoga has its roots in the worship of demonic Hindu gods.” It further says: “There is more I have left unsaid than I have said.”

What impression will articles like this make on JBU’s over 2,500 students, when they go back home after graduation to 42 US states and 44 countries, with the mission to “…honor God and serve others…”?

Existence of many religions is a sign of God’s munificence and benevolence positively intended by God. Various faiths are simply different human responses to divine Reality. We are all looking for the truth and headed in the same direction. Our actions should always be for the benefit of all.