Creeping religion, crouching secularism

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by Vyom, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. Vyom

    Vyom Seeker Elite Member

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    It’s an old beast which the secular establishment simply cannot put down — the question of a people’s religious identity. This week a British Muslim MP reopened the wounds caused by “militant secularism” by asking for a return to her country’s Christian past



    As Western Europe flounders on the soft sands of secularism, and in the face of threats and dares from aggressive Islamists who challenge the political class to take them on, we now hear in Europe what was taboo for nearly five decades: that Christianity is under threat and “Western values” are being weakened in a “multicultural” and secular society.

    So it is that Lady Warsi, a Muslim Tory of Pakistani heritage, proclaimed recently that “militant secularisation” had taken hold of British society, and that Britain should be proclaimed a Christian country. Lady Warsi, the first female Muslim to serve as a cabinet minister, said at the Vatican that “intolerant secularism” should be fought and religion should have a seat at the political table. She has said that the best way to encourage social harmony in Britain is to put Christianity at the centre of public life.

    Warsi, playing to the Vatican gallery, said that interfaith dialogue failed when “faiths are dumbed down in order to find common ground”, blaming a “well-intentioned liberal elite who are trying to create equality by marginalising faith in society”. Warsi is echoing in her own way Chancellor Angela Merkel’s assertion that multiculturalism has been a failure in Germany.

    Warsi, cleverly, made no mention of the aggressive Islamists trained in Pakistan and shipped to Britain to sow conflict, nor of the 56 countries which are members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, not one of whom provide equal rights to their non-Muslim citizens. In the US itself, the recent and aggressive comments by Republican politicians against the Sharia, and worries about a “war on religion” supposedly being waged by the Obama administration, show that the European malaise and worries have crossed the Atlantic.

    These worries, even in a very religious and very Christian-majority America, have emerged in reaction to the 9-11 events as well as the growth of radical Islam around the world, and somewhat weakly in reaction to generic multiculturalism and globalisation.

    Two of the big, recent sports sensations in the United States — one involving football quarterback for the Denver Broncos, and the other a Chinese-American basketball player for the New York Knicks — have not just secured victories in the face of defeat but have done it all in the name of Jesus.

    Tim Tebow, the Denver quarterback, has his name verbed “Tebowing” — the act of kneeling to pray oblivious to happenings around you — has become a rage among religiously inclined American schoolchildren and college athletes, even as it is parodied by some comedians and social commentators.

    Jeremy Lin, the Harvard graduate who plays basketball for the New York Knicks, is an evangelical Christian who would one day want to be a pastor. Though having heard racist jeers from supporters of the opposing teams during his college sports career, the fact that he is a fervent Christian has won him new and more fans in the US, which for many Americans, not just jingoist Republicans, is a “Christian country”

    Some historians have pointed out that America is a Christian nation not only because at the time of writing of the Constitution most of the state constitutions sought Christian qualifications for office-holders. They point out that while the Constitution prevents people from making the US a Christian nation, the foundational was evangelical Protestantism.

    When I ask my students in my intercultural communication class if America is a Christian nation, most keep silent knowing that it is a politically loaded question, and that engaging a Hindu-American professor on this matter may be tricky.

    I raise the question in the context of Samuel Huntington’s thesis of “The Clash of Civilizations”, and some of the claims made in their textbooks about science and democracy as Western cultural products because “equality” and “freedom” are both “Christian values” propounded by Jesus.

    It is not just politicians like the Republican candidate, Rick Santorum, who was castigated recently for claiming that it is only Christianity that promotes equality, but some academics too who believe in and propound the notion of America as a Christian country. And despite many millions who now do Yoga in the US, a 2007 survey showed that a majority of Americans believed the nation’s founders intended the United States to be a Christian nation.

    India, considered by Huntington as a “cleft nation” because it has large groups of people identifying with separate civilisations, is an “integrally pluralist country”, whereas others have argued that there is an uneasy coexistence between a Hindu nationalism, a secular nationalism, and separatist nationalisms — examples of which include Kashmir and Punjab and states in the North-east.

    Secular nationalists seek to preserve the geographical unity of India, though that proclaimed ideal is suspect in the eyes of Hindu nationalists who see the weakness of Nehru in negotiating the Kashmir transfer, the special autonomous status granted to Kashmir under Article 370, and the lack of a Uniform Civil Code as evidence for the potential vivisection of India.

    Indian secularism, as Ashis Nandy and TN Madan have argued, is intrinsically unsuited to India. For Nandy, Hindu fundamentalism is a contradiction in terms, and is secularist bogey against Hinduism. He believes that the spirit of democracy that liberal Hinduism has nurtured and cherished would be the first victim of Muslim conservatism and a Muslim majority. This is not hypothetical since a quick look across India’s borders into Pakistan, and another quick look at the 55 other OIC countries should rid any rational person of any visions of inclusiveness in Muslim majority countries.

    Nandy points out that liberal Muslims recognise this fact but can’t or won’t do much about it. What happened when Muslim groups and leaders threatened to beat up organisers and create mayhem if Salman Rushdie was invited to the Jaipur Literature Festival last month? What was the reaction of Indian secularists when Taslima Nasreen’s book could not be released at the recent Kolkata Book Fair?

    Indian secularists continue to write reams condemning what they call “Hindu fundamentalism”, but when it comes to the hijacking of the secular ethos by radical Muslims and proselytising Christians they do nothing. None of them has the courage of their convictions to say that countries which discriminate against minorities should not be allowed as members of the United Nations.

    None of them dare stand up and say that in India it is the Hindu majority that is discriminated against by the “radical secularists” whose description of India as a “composite” nation can only become true if Hinduism and the Hindu ethos is whittled down to the size and status of a “minority”.

    We live on the cusp of major changes across the world. Chinese clout, the Arab spring, the collapse of European economies, a struggling America, a messy India, and a plutocratic Russia are all ingredients in a new witches’ brew. Which God will prevail in which public square is therefore not easy to determine. One doubts if God can save us all!

    http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/item/51087-creeping-religion-crouching-secularism.html
     
    parijataka and Mad Indian like this.
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  3. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    Dont worry mate.... Every reaction has an equal and opposing reaction.....for instance it created ME.....!!!!!!!!!

    Anyway... there is growing realization about the duplicity of these Sickulars in our country.. so All hope is not lost just yet..... we might actually save TRUE SECULARISM.......
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
  4. KS

    KS Bye bye DFI Veteran Member

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    The bolded parts convey the crux of the article.

    The first and foremost casualty of the continued practise of Indian (political) version of secularism (pseudo-secularism) would be the erosion of the liberal values nurtured and cherished by Hinduism over the millenia. When people perceive that their religious identity is under threat from an organized witch hunt from the radical secularists and that the same critical standard is not applied to other religions , which in their view constitutes appeasement, then automatically they become more and more defensive and thus starts the creeping radicalization fo the masses.

    What the Hindu nationalist parties failed to do with their promises, the (pseudo) secularists have managed to achieve. Make me a right winger. And I'm sure there are lakhs like me out there and their numbers are growing everyday.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
  5. Vyom

    Vyom Seeker Elite Member

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    What is Hindu fundamentalism? Is it defense of the Hindu way of life or the destruction of other ways of life? A fair comparison can untie many knots.
     
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  6. KS

    KS Bye bye DFI Veteran Member

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    A very pertinent question !
     
  7. devgupt

    devgupt Regular Member

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    When Sikhism started , it was more of a bhakti cult. It was only after the persecution by the mughals that they began to organise themselves militarily and Khalsa emerged.
     

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