Ecumenical support cited for Hindu statue at state Capitol | Arkansas Blog

Monday, August 24, 2015

Ecumenical support cited for Hindu statue at state Capitol

Posted By on Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 7:46 AM

Rajan Zed, a "Hindu statesman," who's been rejected by Secretary of State Mark Martin in a request to provide a privately financed Hanuman statue at the state Capitol, claims ecumenical support for the project.

In a news release, Zed said he had backing from Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Baha'i and other father leaders. The project arose because of the state legislature's play to place a Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds. Said Zed:

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits the government from favoring one religion over another. In the event that the current monuments in Arkansas represent religion, rather than being of a historical nature, then each religion with a substantial stake in Arkansas should have an opportunity to pursue the placement of a culturally appropriate monument. This includes the request by the Universal Society of Hinduism to construct a monument of their choosing to best represent their religion. 

Arkansas legislators have claimed, disingenously, that the commandments monument is not about religion.

Zed reports these supporters:

.... Greek Orthodox Christian priest Father Stephen R. Karcher, well known Buddhist priest Reverend Jikai' Phil Bryan, Reverend Stephen L. Child of American Clergy Leadership Conference, Bahá'í teacher Justin V. Deverse, American Indian spirituality scholar Brian E. Melendez, Dharmakaya Buddhist Center Director Trey Ligon, Children of Temple Earth priestess Ellyn Darrah and Church of Inner Light Founder Laura A. Peppard.

ElizaBeth W. Beyer, Jewish rabbi in California and Nevada, stated: The United States of America celebrates freedom of religion, religious pluralism and freedom of speech. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits the government from favoring one religion over another. In the event that the current monuments in Arkansas represent religion, rather than being of a historical nature, then each religion with a substantial stake in Arkansas should have an opportunity to pursue the placement of a culturally appropriate monument. This includes the request by the Universal Society of Hinduism to construct a monument of their choosing to best represent their religion.

Roman Catholic pastor Father Charles T. Durante said: I think that the government should remain neutral on matters of religion, as our Constitution so states.

Zed fails to recognize that few in the dominant political-religious culture in Arkansas recognize these other faiths as legitimate, though they will band politically with Catholics when opportunities demand.

Rajan Zed pointed out that Arkansas had now substantial number of Hindu residents and students who would love to see a statue of Lord Hanuman, who was greatly revered and worshipped and known for incredible strength and was perfect grammarian. If permitted, we planned to make it big and weather-proof, Zed added.


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