Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has said the Gujarat riots of 2002 are not comparable with the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi in 1984, rejecting Infosys chief N R Narayanamurthy’s view that the post-Godhra violence should not stand in the way of Narendra Modi becoming Prime Minister. While describing as “absolute shame” the fact that those responsible for the 1984 riots had not been brought to judgement, he sought to differentiate between the 1984 riots and those that occurred in Gujarat under the watch of Chief Minister Modi.
Source: Business Standard
Hinduism and homosexuality are not strange bedfellows
Hindu texts have not shied away from addressing homosexuality and gender variance, and some scholars would even point out that same-sex love and sexuality are celebrated. Add to this, a portion of the Kama Sutra is dedicated to the fulfillment of sexual desires and encompasses the full range of human sexuality. When India’s Supreme Court recriminalized homosexual acts by upholding Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, many expressed disappointment in a law they saw as out of step with Hindu culture.
Christmas in America: Belief in the Virgin birth and visits from Santa
Nearly one in three Americans, including many with no little children at home and those with no religious identity, say they pretend Santa will visit their house on Christmas Eve. Overall, 31 percent of U.S. adults play up the Santa role in their holiday season, according to a survey released Wednesday (Dec. 18) by the Pew Research Center.
Source: The Washington Post
Islamic Council flays Sonia, Rahul
State president of Indian Islamic Council Hamid Ali condemned the statements of UPA president Sonia Gandhi and AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi in support of homosexuality. He has welcomed the decision of Supreme Court on Section 377 against the unnatural sex in which the court had termed it an offence and made provision for maximum imprisonment.
Source: The Times of India
Christianity beginning ‘to disappear’ in its birthplace, warns Prince of Wales
Christianity is beginning “to disappear” in its own birthplace after 2,000 years because of a wave of “organised persecution” across the Middle East, the Prince of Wales has warned. In an impassioned intervention, he said that the world is in danger of losing something “irreplaceably precious” with communities tracing their history back to the time of Jesus now under threat from fundamentalist Islamist militants.
Source: The Telegraph
Maharashtra Law Criminalizes Religious Frauds In India
Witch doctors and religious charlatans beware: New legislation passed in a central Indian state aims to prosecute those who use beliefs and superstition to defraud or physically harm followers. Maharashtra became the first state to pass such legislation in multicultural and secular India, where witch doctors and Hindu holy men enjoy huge popularity and can amass millions in contributions or fees for promised miracles and health cures.
Source: Huffington Post
Picking fights over religion
“We have just enough religion to make us hate,” wrote Jonathan Swift, “but not enough to make us love one another.” A lifelong religious controversialist, the 18th-century Irish satirist definitely knew whereof he wrote. After all, it’s fewer than 20 years since Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland quit dynamiting each other’s gathering places.
Source: The Daily Times
Turkey’s Conservatives Spark a War of Religion
This is a peculiarly Turkish showdown between Gulen’s nationalist religious movement, which preaches tolerance and making peace with modernity, and Erdogan, a former Islamist. The two are competing to redefine the sometimes aggressively secularist Turkey that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk built, to be more like the Ottoman state Ataturk rejected. Neither, unfortunately, appears to have much respect for the rule of law.
Virtues lost: How it happened and why we can’t live without them
The case can be made that a flourishing human life must show seven principal virtues. The case in favour of four of them — the “pagan” or “aristocratic” or “political” virtues of courage, justice, temperance and prudence — was made by Plato, Aristotle and Cicero. In the early thirteenth century, St. Albert the Great summarized Cicero’s claim that every virtuous act has all four: “For the knowledge required argues for prudence; the strength to act resolutely argues for courage; moderation argues for temperance; and correctness argues for justice.” In sophisticated ruminations on the virtues until the eighteenth century, these four persisted — as, for example, in Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments.