Tuesday, January 18, 2005
For once....

There was this poll at the Indian Express site.

Do you think the Karnataka CM did the right thing by turning down appeals to ban American evangelist Benny Hinn's prayer programme?

For once, I was glad to see that the results reflected more than just a knee-jerk reaction. Here is the result, as it stands now: Yes-55.89 No-39.87 Can't Say-4.22

Banning a prayer programme like this, however much provocative it might be, would amount only to suppression... something we ought to be very, very careful about. To my great dismay, I have found, many times, that Indians demand a ban on this and that at the drop of a hat. We are getting better.

I disagree Ramki.

Did you watch the America Undercover documentary on Benny Hinn? Lots of hardworking people throw their money into his collection bowls in the blind hope that their near and dear will get cured. He is no more than a charlatan out to rob the public, especially the powerless low income group. There are people who gave money from their savings (damn near wiped them out) to feed their own beliefs that Hinn can help them. (I know, you will blame them for being superstitious, but many of them are cases that doctors had given up hope and it is human tendency to find other ways and means to protect their loved ones).

Now, given this background, I don't think Hinn is a person India must entertain. In fact, it is my feeling about all _foreign_ evangelists. We can ban them because it is our country and banning foreign evangelists does not constiture supression.

I can agree with you on the supression and religious freedom and all those fancy words if the government had banned a prayer meeting of this magnitude by say, Rev. Paul Dinakaran (*), who is a _local_ preacher.

Coming back to Hinn, people that probably came are ordinary people, not different from their American counterparts, willing to part with hard-earned money in exchange for spiritual favor of some kind. This is no different than spending money on lottery tickets except that in this case, one can not determine the probability of getting returns.

I saw the show on TV, these people *believe* in him, these people have lost all avenues and come to him and he for his part, robs them blind.

I think the government should have banned his entry. We are not obligated to entertain foreign evangelists.

And why is it that it should always be us (Hindus) accepting their brazen proselityzers with open arms when they (evangelists) refuse to respect Hindus are people following a great faith?


(*) Note about evangelists - I am not a big fan of evangelists, foreign or local. I just think the local brand is less vicious than the foreign kind.
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