Local Newspaper discover video evidence of Buddha doing cocaine……

…..after watching two recent episodes of South Park. The Sunday Leader has, according to their words, “uncovered a shocking new example of the West’s contempt for Buddhist culture and values…” after “uncovering” a cartoon Buddha snorting cartoon cocaine, with a cartoon Jesus next to him watching cartoon porn. I’m trying hard not to state the bleeding obvious, but its South Park! [insert appropriate expletive(s) here]! The newspaper has then themselves contacted the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Moral Uplift Secretary H. M. Herath about this shocking revelation, and have got the response they needed.

We will take it to the Sangha and to the Buddhist Congress. This is defamation to every religion. It is a crime and hurts others’ beliefs, which shouldn’t be done by any person. We should respect other people’s beliefs.

To The Sunday Leader and the author of the news article, Mr Hardy, if you think your helping Buddhism or the Sri Lankan people by any means, with some world class BS like this, you are much help as hiring chimps to run a banana factory and to clean the toilets. Please, stop this tomfoolery and join everyone else in the 21st century. Or look up the word ‘context.

The article: http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2010/04/25/american-television-depicts-buddha-snorting-cocaine/

Pope to be arrested?

Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, have asked human rights layers to produce a case for charging Pope Benedict XVI with crimes against humanity, specifically over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church. They are planning the legal ambush when the Pope’s Holy Jet [PHJ] touches down in Heathrow, Britain in September, and are planning on using a legal principle that has been used in Britain in 1998, to arrest Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

The duo’s lawyers, [barrister Geoffrey Robertson and solicitor Mark Stephens] believe the Pope would be unable to claim diplomatic immunity from arrest because, although his tour is categorised as a state visit, he is not the head of a state recognised by the United Nations. The lawyers will ask the Crown Prosecution Service to initiate criminal proceedings against the Pope, launch their own civil action against him or refer his case to the International Criminal Court.

The Vatican recently was attacked with fresh controversy regarding a letter signed by the Pope that emerged recently, arguing that the “good of the universal church” should be considered against the defrocking of an American priest who committed sex offences against two boys. It was dated 1985, when he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases.

This is quite a bold yet impressive move by Hawkins and Hitchens, and they seem to present a valid legal case. Yet even if there is a good possibility of this happening, the Vatican’s legal team would simply tell the Pope to unpack his bags and cancel his flight.

Times columnist Libby Purves said the following in light of recent events;

So let me speak as a Deist and cradle Catholic — albeit long alienated — and say that I rather welcome their campaign. This thing needs airing properly, if the good bits of world Catholicism are to survive. Sometimes, with real sorrow, I fear that they won’t. It is not just because of what bad priests did and bad bishops hid: it is also what they made others do.

If it does go Hawkins and Hitchen’s way, it will be immense. Religurd will be watching closely.

Source:

Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1265151/Richard-Dawkins-plans-arrest-Pope-crimes-humanity.html?ITO=1708&referrer=yahoo#ixzz0kqm0gatn

Times: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article7094310.ece

Libby Purves Times Column: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/libby_purves/article7094757.ece

Put the Pope on the dock, Geoffrey Robertson [Guardian UK]: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/apr/02/pope-legal-immunity-international-law

Edit:

I seem to have jumped the gun too quickly, here’s what Richard Hawkins had said on his website;

Needless to say, I did NOT say “I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI” or anything so personally grandiloquent. You have to remember that The Sunday Times is a Murdoch newspaper, and that all newspapers follow the odd custom of entrusting headlines to a sub-editor, not the author of the article itself.

What I DID say to Marc Horne when he telephoned me out of the blue, and I repeat it here, is that I am whole-heartedly behind the initiative by Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens to mount a legal challenge to the Pope’s proposed visit to Britain. Beyond that, I declined to comment to Marc Horne, other than to refer him to my ‘Ratzinger is the Perfect Pope’ article here: http://richarddawkins.net/articles/5341

Here is what really happened. Christopher Hitchens first proposed the legal challenge idea to me on March 14th. I responded enthusiastically, and suggested the name of a high profile human rights lawyer whom I know. I had lost her address, however, and set about tracking her down. Meanwhile, Christopher made the brilliant suggestion of Geoffrey Robertson. He approached him, and Mr Robertson’s subsequent ‘Put the Pope in the Dock’ article in The Guardian shows him to be ideal:
http://richarddawkins.net/articles/5366
The case is obviously in good hands, with him and Mark Stephens. I am especially intrigued by the proposed challenge to the legality of the Vatican as a sovereign state whose head can claim diplomatic immunity.

Even if the Pope doesn’t end up in the dock, and even if the Vatican doesn’t cancel the visit, I am optimistic that we shall raise public consciousness to the point where the British government will find it very awkward indeed to go ahead with the Pope’s visit, let alone pay for it.

Richard

Possible ban of ethnic and religious politics?

The BBC news item reports that President Mahinda Rajapakshe revealed a plan to ban ethnic tags in party names.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8598150.stm

He also said, more controversially, that “racial politics” would not have a place in future – a possible indication that he will seek to revive a recently tabled plan to ban parties with words such as “Tamil” or “Muslim” in their name.

Not sure we can rely on the accuracy of this news item, or even if the news item is accurate, the validity of an election rally statement by MR in Jaffna. I am wondering why MR never mentioned this proposed plan anywhere outside of that venue as yet. Anyway, if there is such real plan, then may be keeping it away from general vote block is south, until the elections are over, could actually be a wise move for MR. This idea can easily be distorted as a move to curtail the rights of the minorities. The bbc news only mentions “Tamil” and “Muslim”. Although “Sinhala” is conspicuously not mentioned, I believe that there is no way only “Tamil” and “Muslim” could be banned. So I would not care too much about BBC wording of it.

As someone who supports separation of ethnicity and religion from governance, I would always support such a move. If this can be followed by a law that bans religious tags on party names as well, that would be a huge step in the correct direction.

I believe religion is not present as a “tag” in any of the mainstream party names. There could be minor parties with religious names, but I do not remember hearing any. The influence of Buddhism is deep rooted and tags are no longer necessary. However, it is nice to have a ban on religious tags as well.

Though I personally would support such bans, I do understand that in a way it is a ban on freedom of expression. I however still would support race and religion ban on party politics as an overriding measure by the state to limit some of the “freedoms” in the interest of reconciliation between races and religions. I would argue that it is similar to a “drink and drive” law. Alcohol is not banned per se, but drink and drive is totally outlawed. People are still free to express their ethnicity and religion outside of party politics; just like they are free to consume alcohol in private.

Once the majority of the voters are matured beyond certain point, such bans would not be necessary. However, currently the vote-base is dangerously polluted with racial and religious fanatics. We can contrast this with ‘caste’. We do not need a special law for banning “caste” in politics. I have heard that a well known but minor political party leader openly states the supremacy of a certain caste. However such people are regarded as “nut jobs” by the majority voters.

There are people in the opinion that while we are at it, we should ban monks from party politics? I guess that is an extreme demand, and something which definitely curtails the freedom of expression. Monks after all, are full citizens of Sri Lanka, and they should have the freedom to do whatever a lay person could. If ones religious sensibilities put monks in a different category, they can criticize and refrain from supporting the political monks. However, demanding a legal barrier that prevents monks from doing politics does not make a lot of sense. Monks are not “government servants”. What if one demands a ban on lawyers to do politics?

It could be non-intuitive; but I believe monks and other religious clergy doing party politics and contesting elections is a step towards separation of religion and the governance. Why do I believe that having clergy in active politics is a positive step in the eyes of those who believe in separation of religion and the governance? The opposition from us with respect to religion in governance is something like this. It mostly refers to the situation of religious meddling coming from the exulted position, using their arbitrary/traditional authority. This can be compared to the relationship between Church and State in the pre-enlightenment era of Europe. The Church was behind every ruler, deciding the shape of the governance. Monks having to get off from that exulted position and having to contest elections to get their religious agendas in, indicates that they have come down to accept the authority of the law (obtained via parliament) rather than the traditional authority that they used to have. In that sense, a contesting monk becomes “just another politician with an opinion” which works well for those who challenge the traditional authority of the monks.

It is difficult argument to challenge the traditional authority religious establishments used to enjoy for millennia. However, it is easier to argue that a law maker getting elected using a religious base is not going make laws that is helpful outside of that religious interest. It is relatively easy to argue that monks leading a totally different way of life, and having totally different interests/worldviews than laypeople, are not going make a lot of sense in their judgment in matters of governance.

While monks in active politics is a positive sign (somewhat in the sense that “it gets worse before it gets better”), the Buddhist establishment in Sri Lanka still has a huge say in terms of shape of the governance. Such power comes from the unquestioned allegiance Buddhist voters has for the “Sasana” (Church). This power will be there as long as the “slavery of the mind” continues. However, as more and more slaves are getting freed and start thinking on their own, such arbitrary/traditional power will begin to fade. It is a matter of time that people get disillusioned with structures that does not help them. However, such disillusions can make things worse rather than better. If the law and order is not something people can “believe in”, the collapse of religious structures will lead to anarchy.

This is why the religious and secular leaders who are genuinely concerned about country’s future should focus on getting the act of “good secular governance” in place, and making sure law and order prevails, The the general populace should be able to trust the law to do the justice. Secular governance is the only structure that can bind a community together when people start falling out of love with their respective religious establishments.

Article by Prasad Mapatuna, Contributing Author to Religurd. [Article Link]

Here we go again – The SLC Good Friday Bru-Ha

In the wake of the “Buddhists” Vs Akon incident, another storm is brewing around the SLC World Cup Mascot and Ticket launch event to be held at the Colombo Hilton on Good Friday (02/04/2010). The event is tagged a ‘Tamasha’, which I had to look up, and apparently is a Urdu word for ‘show’ or ‘spectacle’. Well you learn something new everyday, I guess. Here are some very creative excerpts from the letters written to The Daily Mirror;

“We therefore request the President to intervene as he is the only one who can and has the power, capability, leadership and understanding to cancel this event as he did in the Akon show. After all does not the UPFA depend a lot on the Catholic and Christian votes?

I would like to request all those decent men and women who have been invited to this tamasha on Good Friday to show their protest by boycotting the event which is not about promoting the world cup but about boosting the egos of some individuals who are basking in political patronage. I appeal to our Buddhist friends who have also been invited to boycott the event.

Sadly today cricket is no more the gentleman’s game and is no longer run by the white man. Cricket is today run by the black new rich Asians and the game has fallen to appalling levels. Just look at the Indian IPL and the number of times the four letter word beginning with F is used when bowlers take a wicket.

Now Sri Lanka is being dictated to by these new rich black Asians and some people running Sri Lanka Cricket have become slaves to them.

The Island reports that the event will be going ahead as planned.

There’s nothing else to say but as watch these good people get their knickers in a twist. It has become a well enjoyed past time of Sri Lankans now, might as well enjoy the show.

[Thanks to Raj for bringing this to our attention and for posting the news article]

Religurd: Year 1

On the 14th of March this year, Religurd reached a year in existence [I know, this post is overdue, sorry about that]. For some this may not sound much, no worries there, but a few of us, and I believe I speak for the Religurd contributors and some of our readers as well, Religurd has taken a step [however tiny it may be] forward in the quest for a more humane society in Sri Lanka. I thank the  readers for their participation and support, without your input Religurd would not exist. Also my thanks to the most vital cogs in the Religurd machine, our contributors, and all credit for the progress goes to them. The new appearance will focus more on social networking options and sharing of our content on other sites.

Here’s to another year

Ed.

Religion and Governance in Sri Lanka – Prasad Mapatuna [Article Updated]

The work-in-progress article of Prasad Mapatuna, Religion and Governance in Sri Lanka, has has been updated

See full article

I said no!

A woman in Paris holds condoms with a picture of Pope Benedict XVI. This condoms were released to mock the pope after he rejected condoms as a weapon against AIDS during his African trip.

Source (The Telegraph)