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10/02/2009

Spouses and 'righteousness': Does Maggie have more in common with us than she might admit?

by Jeremy Hooper

Because they're just oh-so into "religious freedom," today's edition of the Baptist Press website features not one but two attacks on the Hindu faith:

Yaussy says many Hindus across southern Asia "are feeling the same emptiness that I felt in those days before my heart was awakened to the truth of the Gospel. I am sure you can remember that emptiness as well. Can you take some time today and during the next weeks to pray specifically for the many empty Hindu hearts that need to receive life from the Spirit of God?"
Hindu festivals: A time for intercession [BP News]

"There's a lot of disappointment that they would devote so much of themselves, so much of their time and money, to something that is just clay," Brendan Strizek said. "It's obvious it's not living, and there is no response back from this clay statue -- but they are still devoted to it."
Hindu idol worship stirs Christian witness [BP News]

And of course Baptist Press is a major source of news for those who wish to ban LGBT equality, and its values on most every issue tend to be lockstep with the "pro-family" movement. And it's also a site that, over the years, has run many, many quotes and even full first-person pieces from Maggie Gallagher and her National Organization For Marriage. So it's more than fair to see these intolerant Hindu-centric views as reaching farther than just this one site.

It's a reality that segues perfectly into the following piece penned by Bilerico writer Donna Pandori. In it, Ms. Pandori wonders if it's possible that Mags keeps her husband (and her surname) out of public eye because of her own peeps' intolerance for her loved one's faith. Go ponder:

Recently, there was flurry of blog chatter after Maggie showed up at a "Celebrate Marriage & Family Day" in Rhode Island solo. Maggie has been married for 17 years to Raman Srivastav. They rarely if ever appear together.
...
Is there a connection between Raman Srivastav's religion and his absence from Maggie's public appearances? Only Maggie knows.
FULL EXPLORATION: Maggie Gallagher's husband not welcome at NOM event? [Bilerico]

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Your thoughts

So, are we saying her husband might be Hindu? I think that may a bit soon, he may just not like the limelight. Let's leave her family out of this.

Posted by: Piper | Oct 2, 2009 6:06:36 PM

I meant in no way to imply that being Hindu was a source of shame, as I just realized that may have looked that way. what I meant was that simply assuming we know his religion because of his name may be to far to go. I'd like to keep my arguments to how damaging her work is.

Posted by: Piper | Oct 2, 2009 6:08:09 PM

"There's a lot of disappointment that they would devote so much of themselves, so much of their time and money, to something that is just clay, [...] It's obvious it's not living, and there is no response back from this clay statue -- but they are still devoted to it."

I like how the people who write those pieces think a wooden cross, two stones with bronze-age propaganda, and a bird actually answer their prayers.

Posted by: ---- | Oct 2, 2009 6:08:18 PM

Piper: Maggie is the one who said he is Hindu. Read the Bilerico link.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 2, 2009 6:37:17 PM

ah, I get it now, don't know why I didn't click the link myself earlier, thanks!

Posted by: Piper | Oct 2, 2009 6:46:07 PM

So now I know why she didn't take his last name.

Posted by: Tony P | Oct 2, 2009 8:15:46 PM

"I like how the people who write those pieces think a wooden cross, two stones with bronze-age propaganda, and a bird actually answer their prayers."

EXACTLY what I thought! How outrageous that these people who believe wine and bread are blood and flesh, beads answer prayers, and a wooden cross is the end all of representation are actually INSULTING other people's religious beliefs. Apparently there's only enough crazy in the world for ONE invisible man in the sky.

Could you imagine, IMAGINE, if a Hindu person turned around and said "There's a lot of disappointment that they would devote so much of themselves, so much of their time and money, to something that is just wood, [...] It's obvious it's not living, and there is no response back from this wooden cross -- but they are still devoted to it."

The world would END! Every conservative known to man kind would come out on the defense because their religious freedoms would be attacked, the constitutional right to worship as they please would be being mocked. I can't even fathom how people like this have so much hypocrisy inside of them. It's bad enough they have so much unbridled stupidity, as well. I can't imagine it all fitting into one body.

Posted by: Stef | Oct 2, 2009 8:31:38 PM

Stef: That's similar to things I have heard other Hindus say in India. It's always easy for a majority religion to make fun of a minority one and not face any real repercussions.

The main difference is that Hinduism isn't a proselytizing religion, so the motivation for the insults is usually very different.

Since we're in America where Hindus doesn't have a meaningful amount of political power, the super-conservatives Christians can insult Hinduism without any real fear of backlash from their base.

Posted by: Sameer | Oct 2, 2009 11:28:50 PM

As a freelance historian, and as a Witch with an obvious interest in world religions, as well as the beliefs and practices of our Indo-European forbears, I felt duty-bound to respond to the comments quoted within this article. While prosilization is, in my eyes, a culturally devastating crime that should be prohibited by law lest we loose many native cultures and beliefs, the second article quoted clearly has no innate understanding of what authentic idol-worship is. It is actually a highly fascinating and complex religious purview held by most culture-groups (ancient and modern) throughout the world. And, despite what the Baptist Press would have us believe, the Hindus (or other cultures) are not worshiping the innate materials as the gods or goddess, instead the image is just a vessel through which they might commune with their gods in a very tactile fashion; it represents a "vessel" to hold the deities when they come to grace their worshipers with their presence, similar to the way in which a human body houses the soul. In fact, when a recent image of the goddess Kali ma was being established and "awakened" (a ritual procedure to aliven the deity) one woman who went to embrace the image recounted that she could feel the goddess breathing through her nose.

Similar animate qualities are recorded all over the world: sacred Buddhist deity-images were believed to move or levitate; the Greek idols were believed to see, which is why the doors to their Temples were thrown open when burned offerings were given to Them just outside of their Temple...so that They could see it from the cella--the inner sanctum.

This same belief system (which I have studied) is found in the Middle East, Egypt, Japan, Greece, Rome, Germany, etc. In fact, before his cult "devolved" to a sort of extremist form of aniconism, the early Judaic cult (which became the Christians' chief-deity) actually had rudimentary images dedicated to him which he was also thought to inhabit, such as the infamous "golden calf". Heck, even Muslims have a form of idol-worship in the view of Allah as an obelisk, while his early consort Allat ["The Goddess"] was worshiped in the form of a granite pillar. But, Mid-Eastern cultures were not the only ones to have adopted aniconism as it may have spread to Greece and Anatolia (modern Turkey) where Aphrotite and Kybele (respectively) were worshiped through a large stone.

Idol-worship really is a beautiful system, and one that I wish more people would understand. That's why I will be writing an article on this very subject, soon! But, for the BP to denigrate this practice as they have shows a sore lack of Anthropological understanding, especially considering (last I knew, anyway) that one studying for seminary is expected to study world religions in order to acquire their divinities degree. (Correct me if I'm wrong, though.)

Posted by: Wade MacMorrighan | Oct 3, 2009 4:08:12 AM

Oh, and before I forget: Last I was aware, I had heard of a study that reported that polytheists actually far out-weigh the number of monotheists in the Judeo-Christian and Muslim branches.

Posted by: Wade MacMorrighan | Oct 3, 2009 4:10:25 AM

Les enfants de bâtard du Magger et le mari dans une affiliation religieuse inconvenante sont la cause de l'épaule froide du hatemongers.

Everything sounds better in French..

Posted by: Dick Mills | Oct 3, 2009 1:53:41 PM

Is there any reason not to begin consistently using Margaret Srivastav when discussing her in our posts?

Posted by: LdChino | Oct 3, 2009 2:26:10 PM

It's intersting to note that she does use srivastav on F'book.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 3, 2009 2:34:35 PM

And her son, Patrick, apparently goes by Gallagher, as we all know (by the way, I've been meaning to catch up with young Patrick, in a polite and non-annoying way, but haven't yet found him). Surely, it's not this Pat Gallagher? http://www.patgallagher.org ... but I digress.

As we enter the final month of the Maine contest (and NOM's relevance), I'd like to propose that we drop all references to "Maggie Gallagher" in our posts and adopt a consistent usage of the more Biblically correct Margaret Srivastav.

Just as we try to avoid adopting our opponents' framing, we should likewise reject their bogus naming.

Besides, Margaret would probably find it annoying, and that's always a good thing.

Posted by: LdChino | Oct 3, 2009 3:06:18 PM

Ah yes, the inanimate familiars of so many religions is still at an all time high of prominence. But apparently, the HUMAN SACRIFICE of gay people is still alive and well in our country's culture.
Whether politically, socially, literally or figuratively:
it's supposed to have been outlawed, right?

Posted by: Regan DuCasse | Oct 3, 2009 4:08:47 PM

Also, shouldn't BP condemn Maggie's religion as well for praying to Mary and all those saints; what about the Mormons, who believe humans can become Gods?

Posted by: ---- | Oct 3, 2009 8:37:49 PM

Maggie should be condemned to death by her own religion according to Deuteronomy 22:21 as she was not a virgin when she married and probably lied about it to the priest.

Posted by: Mykelb | Oct 5, 2009 10:54:25 AM

Wiki states that Mag's was an unwed mother and then married Raman Srivastav. Is this a contract marriage of sorts. I don't know R's original citizenship, but it's not going out on a limb to think it's not American. Did she marry Raman to get a 'beard' and he needed a green card?

Posted by: Maggie's Guardian Angel | Dec 3, 2009 1:32:49 PM

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