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Arkansas: John Brown Professor Calls Hindu Gods ''Demonic'' & Hinduism ''Ugly''Political Perspective by Tim King
"...yoga is the beautiful face that the very ugly religion of Hinduism uses..." - Professor Deborah Raiees-Dana
(RENO) - I have a feeling the radical abolitionist John Brown, who brought hell down on the practice of slavery, would not have liked Professor Deborah Raiees-Dana of John Brown University at all. Brown took a violent, unwavering path toward freeing slaves and halting slavery expansion in the United States during the pre-Civil War years.
Raiees-Dana on the other hand, spends time writing articles for the university's student newspaper that drive fear, hatred and disdain for Hinduism. It seems so contrary to Brown's mission for God. OK, before we go any further, John Brown University is not named for the abolitionist John Brown. This school's namesake was a different man, but I know what people think of when they hear that name and I am no exception.
Hindus are upset over an article by Raiees-Dana in Arkansas’s John Brown University (JBU) student newspaper calling Hindu gods "demonic" and Hinduism an "ugly religion".
I write about Genocide and war crimes. Those are demonic. Christians, Buddhists and Muslims are guilty of this crime. The one religion I do not encounter in this regard is Hinduism, and that is a large point. I'm taking about modern history.
Due to years of intense research and writings on the 2009 Genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka, I have become increasingly familiar with Hindu people and history and culture and while nobody is perfect, Hindus are peaceful and admirable. Hindu people believe in killing no living thing. That is a beautiful approach to life.
I know it is Arkansas, and the answer may lie in that simple, regional reality, but I fail to understand what is gained from painting an ugly picture of a bright, colorful and peaceful religion.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada released Wednesday, said that such statements coming out of an educational institution were really shocking.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged JBU President Dr. Charles Pollard to apologize to the Hindu community, immediately withdraw March 13 (Issue 18, Volume 79) print edition of “The Threefold Advocate” from circulation and remove the objectionable article from its online edition.
At the time of this writing, it is still posted on the student paper's Website.
I thought student newspapers were for student writings, perhaps I missed something. If controversy must exist, is it proper for that to come from staff?
So who is Professor Deborah Raiees-Dana and what would possess her to spread demonic fear? Here is an excerpt from the story in question:
"My story is too long and complex to explain fully, but I was saved while in elementary school, experimented with witchcraft in junior high, started drugs in high school and was deeply involved with the New Age—including yoga—during my college years. About 30 years ago I turned back to Jesus. About 20 years ago I began the process of being delivered from numerous demonic spirits."
Wasn't Linda Blair's character in The Exorcist only infected with one spirit? Ms. Raiees-Dana had numerous demonic spirits? How into drugs was this lady?
Rajan Zed pointed out that it was, "highly inappropriate for a publication of an educational institution like JBU, which was listed as one of America’s Best Colleges by Forbes, to belittle Hinduism, which was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought."
The article titled "Rethink yoga" by Raiees-Dana, who is 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."
Rajan Zed said, "Our gods were highly revered to us and we considered them divine and worship them and our religion was very sacred to us. 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'."
There are about three million Hindus in the USA.
JBU opened in 1919. Its 200-acre main campus is located in Siloam Springs in Northwest Arkansas. The campus serves over 2,500 students from 42 US states and 44 countries. Its Mission includes "...education that prepares people to honor God and serve others by developing their intellectual, spiritual, and professional lives".
President Pollard states under "Greetings" on the website that JBU is dedicated to one thing, educating the whole person - "head, heart and hand." The school, "admits students of any faith". Michael R. Kairis is Chairman of its Board of Trustees and Sidney Van Wyk is the Editor-in-Chief of "The Threefold Advocate".
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