Equality, Shmequality

Rick Santorum had this to say a few days ago:

“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.”

This resulted in the mouthpiece of the Hindu American Foundation calling Santorum’s comments bigotry.

Now I am no fan of Santorum (link NSFW), but is equality really such an important concept in Hinduism? Do Dalits and Brahmins drink wine from the same cup? Do the Hindu religious texts and figures teach Brahmins and Shudras to marry each other?

Jains, Sikhs, Muslims and Buddhists were also outraged according to the article.

Does religion really teach equality of all? Seems to me that all these religious spokesmen doth protest too much. Their religions preach equality. Except when they don’t (which is often).

Author: Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer

3 thoughts on “Equality, Shmequality”

  1. Dear zack, as a brahmin i can say every system has an expiry date, the caste system was not a result of of any invasion but a balance due to the population boom and spread of different groups at different times throughout the subcontinent, when the caste system was formed it was a scientific system to keep the heritage of every group preserved and to move the chariot of the society but it did not mean if you are a sudra and have the ability of a brahmin then you can’t be a brahmin! Yes arya dharma have instances when non brahmins like visvamitra, vasishtha,vyaasa became great sages!
    Similarly if anyone did any down graded act then it was either to exclude or to put to a lower rank like sudra no matter your blood is of a brahmin,king or vaishya.
    Even alien populations like jews and Greeks were included as brahmins and huns as kshatriyas for their ability but their genetic impact is minimum.
    Precisely from vedic times caste system was flexible but lost its flexibility time by time.
    The impression of Arya dharma we have is still the picture when our culture was in its dark ages 18-19th century but you should not be judging a culture by that even if its legacy is still alive which is only to disappear.
    Now about oneness well Brahma tatva is can be called the origin, even in Rig-veda there is impression of the thought, in Gita it is said” Which way you want me i please you that way”.
    We have to understand that the Indian society is numeros in groups, ancient history and background same goes to the various religious books of dharma where all types of thoughts like extremist, philosophic,agnostic and skeptic have its place. For us every thought is true by its view but there is a supreme one …the Brahma and a name also… Vishnu,we can have many gods but we know that they all are the transformation of the same one like different paths leading towards the same destination. But it doesnt mean every bloke will understand that! For some it will be the Shiva as supreme for some it will be Kali but at the end they all have origins to the same supreme that is what the oneness is about.
    But there will be corrupters who will torture in the name of religion and try to get more personal benifit like our ancestors did and set the society in dark by doing so but truth is corrupters neither have any religion or race, they are all over the human society more or less.
    It is like Good can not exist without bad, so when bad by lions share gets to a society the society and its culture gets faded and a new path from there or outside appears for healing or ridding or correcting the wrong, this chakra will go and on with every religion.
    You can ask me any tough to toughest question you want, this brahmin with sincere mind and heart will be ready.
    Have a good time.
    P.s. A quote from chanakya’s neeti shastra: “Dharmaheena pasu sama”
    meaning: one who has no religion is same as an animal.
    N.

  2. What about Buddhism, which is also a South Asian religion?

    But specially what has of “equality” the religion of Moses and Abraham, which is full of Judeo-centric xenophobia. Islam is much more egalitarian in fact.

    Christianity is not particularly egalitarian either, not more than Islam or Buddhism. Slavery was sanctioned by all Christian sects until very recently, as was the European caste system, largely based on Agustin of Hippo’s writings: ‘The City of God’, in which some worked, some fought and some prayed – sounds to Hindu caste system to me and was in effect until the French Revolution (or later in many places).

    Islam or Buddhism do not have such a caste system. Maybe de facto but not religiously sanctioned. However Islam supports (it’s in the Quran) slavery.

    So only Buddhism of the major religions survived the crib although it’s likely to fail the final test: sexism.

    What about Vodoo or Bwiti? These are important religions in Africa and the Caribbean but I’m unfamiliar with their historical stand on slavery, castes, sexism and equality.

    I think that, in European culture at least, the concept of equality, as well as that of freedom, comes from remnants of pre-Roman cultures in West Europe. More pre-Celtic than Celtic, I’d say.

    For example European feminism is surely rooted in the rection to the barbaric macho militarism of the Dark Ages which was rooted in Occitania (South France) and which, through troubadourism, re-instated the importance of women. However that we have to look at such weakened roots indicates up to what point the barbaric macho militarist cultural phenomenon had advanced by then.

    In fact only with Late Modernity (which is built not on any religion but against all religions) we can speak of equality. Equality is therefore born on Humanism and Secularism and, more clearly, on the struggles of the oppressed peoples (both in France and Haiti).

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