Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims blast Rick Santorum on ‘equality’ comment

By Omar Sacirbey
Religion News Service

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has broad appeal among some evangelical voters because his conservative Catholic views dovetail with their social concerns. RNS photo courtesy Gage Skidmore.

Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus are accusing Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum of bigotry and ignorance after he said that “equality” is solely a Judeo-Christian concept.

“Where do you think the concept of equality comes from?” Santorum said on the campaign trail last Friday (Jan. 20). “It doesn’t come from Islam. It doesn’t come from the East and Eastern religions. It comes from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

Not everyone agreed.

“Sen. Santorum’s presidential campaign is now playing to the lowest common denominator of religious bigotry and prejudice by attacking Eastern religions and Islam,” said Aseem Shukla of the Hindu American Foundation. Santorum’s comments, Shukla added, “show a profound ignorance of the teachings of Dharma spiritual traditions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism.”

Santorum’s campaign did not answer repeated requests for comment.

Critics said Santorum — a devout Catholic — not only has his politics wrong, but also his history.

For example, in the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu scripture, the god Krishna writes, “I look upon all creatures equally; none are less dear to me and none more dear.”

“Indian religions predate Abraham, Jacob and all that Rick Santorum was talking about,” said Sulekh Jain of Sugar Land, Texas, chairman of the International School for Jain Studies. “All souls are equal in every way. All feel pain and all feel pleasure. This concept is deeply embedded in the whole philosophy of Jainism.”

Sikhs, who also trace their religion to India, were equally upset.

“In Sikhism, all human beings have equal status in the eyes of God. No differentiation in status or ceremonies or rights is made between men and women, rich and poor, foreigner and countryman, high caste or low caste,” said Manbeena Kaur, education director for the New York-based Sikh Coalition.

“Sikhs have had this belief in and practice of equality as a spiritual mandate long before the political revolutions that brought freedom to America and much of the Western world.”

Buddhism expert Toshie Kurihara argues equality was a foundational teaching of the Buddha.

“The Buddha preached against the caste system and advocated equality of all people. From the beginning, Buddhism espoused the concept of equality of all people,” she wrote last year in the Journal of Oriental Studies.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations said it would send Santorum a copy of the Quran, Islam’s holy text.

“The Quran is the best refutation of Mr. Santorum’s inaccurate and offensive remarks,” said Ibrahim Hooper, a CAIR spokesman.

The group cited Quran verses and sayings of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad that supported equality. For example, Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said, “All people are equal as the teeth of a comb.”

Advertisements

3 responses to “Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims blast Rick Santorum on ‘equality’ comment

  1. Judy Merrill-Smith

    In my not-so-humble opinion, Santorum is an embarrassment to the country.

  2. That’s like the idea that the United States is founded on Christian principles. Many throughout history participated in the developing the principles on which the United States was built, including Muslim scholars in the Middle Ages and even atheists.

  3. Hanane Neff-Loutf

    This guy has no idea what is he talking about… it is when you start saying things like “the God of Abraham” and “the God of Jacob” and… that you create an elite of yourself which means that you’re no longer “equal to others”… it’s like your God is different (better) than ours… what a racist God!
    God is One, He who created Adam and then all humans, we may know Him differently but he is the same.

    This guy needs to attend any mosque on Friday he will then learn about equality, he also needs to search pelgimage in Islam, that should give him a lesson.

    Here is some verses from the Quran in case he passes by:

    “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted. Quran (49,13)

    “And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge.” Quran (30:22)

    “Never will I allow to be lost the work of [any] worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another..” Quran (3,195)

    “And whoever does righteous deeds, whether male or female, while being a believer – those will enter Paradise and will not be wronged, [even as much as] the speck on a date seed” Quran (4,124)

    “Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do.” Quran (16,95)

    “Whoever does an evil deed will not be recompensed except by the like thereof; but whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – those will enter Paradise, being given provision therein without account.” Quran (40,40)

    “Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so – for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.” Quran(33,35)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s