Which Candidate Will Step Up?

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Remember the controversy last week over a small group of Christian protesters interrupting the first Hindu to give the opening prayer in the US Senate? Well it seems that American Hindu groups aren’t satisfied with Harry Reid’s defense of the religion, and are asking all the presidential hopefuls to denounce the Christians involved in calling chaplain Rajan Zed an “abomination”.

“U.S. Hindu organizations are urging presidential candidates to denounce the protesters who disrupted the Senate as the first-ever Hindu opening prayer was being delivered this month … Although the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington issued a statement July 17 saying its members were “deeply saddened” by the interruption, no senators present spoke out against it publicly, according to the Hindu American Foundation and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Both organizations said they are disappointed with the legislators, and they sent letters this week to presidential candidates and senators, asking them to condemn the incident.”

So if you were wondering which candidate (from either party) is going to be the most receptive to the rights of minority faiths, here is the moment of truth. With the three Democratic front-runners embracing their Christian allegiance as hard as they can, will any of them dare to defend conceptions of the divine that go beyond the Abrahamic norms? Will Republican candidates stay utterly silent for fear of further offending the already dissatisfied conservative Christian voting bloc that are especially influential during the primaries? I’ll be watching the news to see where those of who check “other”* on religious surveys can place our trust (at least regarding this issue).

* There are over eight million “others” in American now, including a million modern Pagans, approximately two million Hindus, close to four million Buddhists, hundreds of thousands of Native American practitioners, 60,000 Taoists, and close to a million Santerians.