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Are American congregations staying negative to offer Asylum to Illegal Immigrants?

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There has been a surge of illegal immigrants on American soil ever since the Central American crisis, which emerged in the late 1970’s and threatened the safety of many civilian families. The inflow of trespassers from those times never stopped, and till this date, the immigration breach still persists, especially from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras, whose volatile political atmosphere fails to provide long term peace.

January 2016 saw the occurrence of many minor raids by Homeland security forces in a bid to deport those immigrants that had already appealed to the courts for asylum status, but failed to achieve it. The Democrats, however, condemned these moves and appealed to Barrack Obama to provide temporary amnesty to those innocent immigrants, which would allow them to obtain legal work permits and start a life.

In the midst of these ongoing rallies among high-ranking politicians, many religious sanctuaries have taken the issue upon themselves to try and mitigate the immigrants’ distress. Priests and reverends of these churches feel a moral obligation to provide asylum to these helpless individuals, and sometimes, even offer legal help to stand up against Border Authorities.

Southside Presbyterian Church is one stellar example of these congregations. It has been supporting the sanctuary movement ever since the 1980’s, and with the gradual growth in the number of illegal immigrants in the recent past, it has been revitalizing its efforts to help them again. Situated in Tucson, Arizona, the church is juxtaposed with the Mexican border, making it one of the first stops for immigrants from Mexico.

Immigrants
Rosa Robles Loreto was offered sanctuary for more than a year

According to VOA News, Southside Presbyterian Church’s reverend, Alison Harrington, says that more and more congregations feel “outraged and heartbroken” over current US deportation policies. Harrington said the Church’s flagship case was Rosa’s deportation proceedings. For a milestone 461 days, Rosa was provided sanctuary in the Church, and was finally able to roam as a free woman and meet her family in November 2015.

Even churches and synagogues as far north as New York City and San Francisco participate in this movement. The main concerns revolve around temporary housing, financial stability and protection from frequent raids in these cities. The reverends here often train immigrants to face the ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and know their rights in these matters, because, more often than not, ICE authorities take advantage of their lack of knowledge to execute swift deportation.

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Keeping the aspects of humanity aside, diaspora of many nationalities are disheartened by the fact that despite all the legal documents, they have to wait seven years, or even longer, to obtain a Green Card and legal American Citizenship, while these immigrants are offered the same rights to live on American soil through amnesties by Democratic Presidents or the sanctuary movement that seems to have gripped most congregations nationwide.

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A commentator writes, “These are not immigrants, they are illegal aliens and criminals under our law. The first amendment to the US constitution “prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion.” To my way of reading it, that means an establishment of religion cannot be used as a sanctuary to prevent the apprehension of criminals. This means law enforcement agents must exercise their duty to enter these buildings and apprehend the illegal aliens with the goal of deporting them. If they have committed other crimes like felonies they may have to be tried, convicted, and imprisoned first.

It is interesting that the only justification I’ve heard from illegals and their supporters is that they do a lot of America’s work. Therefore a guest worker program with tight scrutiny over who enters, where they are, who pays for their cost, and no promise of citizenship or renewal of their contracts with the right to terminate them at any time and deport them should they become undesirables makes a lot of sense to me”, and even though his opinions sound harsh and inhuman on first glimpse, this argument against the American immigration system somewhat makes sense.

-by Saurabh Bodas

Saurabh is pursuing Engineering and an intern at NewsGram.

 

 

 

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Hinduism is Not an Official or Preferred Religion in Any Country of The World, Says a New Report

Though Hinduism is the third largest religion of the world, it is not the official state religion of any country according to a Pew Research Center Report

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Hinduism is not an official religion of any country in the world. Instagram.
  • No country has declared Hinduism as its official state religion – despite India being an influential Hindu political party
  • Hinduism is not an official or preferred religion in any country of the world, according to a Pew Research Center report.
  • 53% of 199 nations considered in the study don’t have an official religion
  • 80 countries are assigned either an “official religion” or “preferred religion”

Nevada, USA, October 16: Hinduism is the primeval and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion followers of moksh (liberation) being its utmost desire of life. India is among the category of nations where the government do not have an official or preferred religion.

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank headquartered in Washington DC that aims to inform the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world.

The report states that a country’s official religion is regarded as a legacy of its past and present privileges granted by the state. And a few other countries fall on the other side of the gamut, and propagate their religion as the ‘official religion’, making it a compulsion for all citizens.

It adds up on the context of allocation that more than eight-in-ten countries (86%) provide financial support or resources for religious education programs and religious schools that tend to benefit the official religion.

Hinduism
Islam is the most practiced official religion of the world. Instagram.

Commenting on Hinduism, the report states:

In 2015, Nepal came close to enshrining Hinduism, but got rejected of a constitutional amendment due to a conflict between pro-Hindu protesters and state police.

Although India has no official or preferred religion as mentioned in the Constitution,it was found by PEW that in India the intensity of government constraints and social antagonism involving religion was at a peak. “Nigeria, India, Russia, Pakistan and Egypt had the highest levels of social hostilities involving religion among the 25 most populous countries in 2015. All fell into the “very high” hostilities category,” the report added.

As per the 2011 census, it was found that 79.8% of the Indian population idealizes Hinduism and 14.2% practices to Islam, while the rest 6% pursuit other religions.

While Hinduism stands up with the majority, Article 25 of the Constitution of India contributes secularism allowing for religious freedom and allows every Indian to practice his/her religion, without any intervention by the community or the government.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, applauded the Hindu community for their benefaction to the society and advised Hindus to concentrate on inner purity, attract spirituality towards youth and children, stay far from the greed, and always keep God in the life.

According to Pew, these are “places where government officials seek to control worship practices, public expressions of religion and political activity by religious groups”.

-by Bhavana Rathi of NewsGram.  She can be reached @tweet_bhavana

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Hinduism: The Nine Basic Beliefs that you need to know

Hinduism- the oldest religion in the world is based on certain established beliefs. Read more to find out what these beliefs are.

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justice and Injustice factor of Hinduism
Hinduism of Hindus when compared between justice and injustice

Hinduism being the world’s oldest religion does not have any proper beginning story like the other monotheistic religions like Christianity and Islam do. It has no human founder. Therefore it leads us to the question that if there was no human who started Hinduism then how did its teaching come to being. Well, there is no definitive way to answer this question. What we can answer though are the nine beliefs of Hinduism. Hinduism is a religion which believes that if a person realizes the Truth within himself then only he can reach a point where the consciousness of man and god are one.

Our beliefs determine our thought process and attitude toward life which lead us to our actions. It is said that we create our destiny from our actions. Beliefs regarding matters such as God, soul, and cosmos often shape our perceptions towards life. Hindus believe in a variety of concepts but there are few critical ones which shape the basic belief of Hinduism. The following are the nine beliefs which not exactly very comprehensive but they form the base of the spirituality of Hinduism.

Are you familiar with the various gods and goddesses of Hinduism? Pixabay

All Pervasive Divine Power

  • Hindus believe in a one, all-pervasive Supreme Being who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality.

Rig Veda – Wikipedia Commons

Divinity of the Sacred Scriptures

  • Hindus believe in the divinity of the four Vedas, the world’s most ancient scripture, and venerate the Agamas as equally revealed. These primordial hymns are God’s word and the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion.

Hinduism – Pixabay

Creation Cycle

  • Hindus believe that the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation, and dissolution.

Hindu Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi, Wikimedia

Belief in Karma

  • Hindus believe in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words, and deeds.

Reincarnation and Liberation

  • Hindus believe that the soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved, and moksha, liberation from the cycle of rebirth, is attained. Not a single soul will be deprived of this destiny.

penance
Belur, Chennakeshava Temple, Gajasurasamhara, Shiva slaying the demon Gajasura. Wikimedia

Worship in Temples

  • Hindus believe that divine beings exist in unseen worlds and that temple worship, rituals, sacraments and personal devotionals create a communion with these devas and Gods.

Hindu dharma
Hindu Sadhguru –  Pixabay

Belief in a Enlightened Satguru

  • Hindus believe that an enlightened master, or satguru, is essential to know the Transcendent Absolute, as are personal discipline, good conduct, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry, meditation, and surrender in God.

Hinduism, Hindu temple, Krishna idol
Krishna idol. Pixabay

Propagation of Non-Violence and Compassion towards living things

  • Hindus believe that all life is sacred, to be loved and revered and therefore practice ahimsa, non-injury, in thought, word and deed.

The symbol has been adopted by various religions and cultures across the world.
The swastika is a Hindu symbol of spiritual principles and values. Wikimedia Commons.

Respect and Tolerance for other faiths

  • Hindus believe that no religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all genuine paths are facets of God’s Light, deserving tolerance, and understanding.

Prepared by Saloni Hindocha (@siatipton)

One response to “Hinduism: The Nine Basic Beliefs that you need to know”

  1. Please use proper words for our culture. There are no ‘beliefs’ in Hinduism. There are only ‘hypotheses’ of Hinduism. Belief is something a person is required to adhere to, even in the face of disproving evidence. It demands a suspension of rational thought which goes against the basic nature of Hinduism. Please do not explain Hinduism using the same terminology used by Abrahamic religions. Or more appropriately, call Hinduism and other non-Abrahamic religions as ‘dharma’ to distinguish their inherent nature. Even religious Shinto-Buddhist Japanese say they have no religion when asked. Also, I do not know how you came up with these nine basic so-called ‘beliefs’. I am a Hindu and have never heard of some of them. Please call them ‘some’ of the hypotheses of Hinduism that ‘some’ Hindus agree with. Disagree with ‘tolerance for other faiths’, respect for other dharma – yes, tolerance – not applicable. This word ‘tolerance’ is required by Abrahamic religions which are intrinsically supremacist. Hence they need tolerance to be able to live in a diverse civil society without the tendency to occasionally commit violence for their religion. A dharma like Hinduism has nothing to ‘tolerate’. A Hindu/Jain/Buddhist/Shinto/Taoist/etc. does not care about the religious ‘labels’ and will easily exchange gods/practices/hypotheses with each other if they make sense or are harmless but satisfy some need. Of course, things that are bad deserve criticism and no tolerance (except for basic human respect). How can anyone attempt to define a culture that has always been and will always be in flux as human knowledge increases? It’s time we restored our so-called ‘religion’ to what it always has been i.e. ancient science.

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Buddhism Speaks: Evils and Morals

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Buddhism is attributed to the teachings of the Buddha. Pixabay
  • Desire(meaning greed, lust, clinging), Anger and hatred, Ignorance & Fear and anxiety are the things which lead to evil in Buddhism.
  • killing, or harming any living thing, stealing – taking what is not yours to take, sexual irresponsibility, lying or any hurtful speech, alcohol and drugs which diminish clarity of consciousness are the morals in Buddhism.

Teachings of Buddhism: Practices & Ethics

Buddhism is a religion that follows a certain set of beliefs and values attributed by the teachings of The Buddha. Like every religion, Buddhism has also its own notions of what is evil and good. When we say the word evil, we derive many meanings from it. If someone or something is evil to one person, it might not be for another. According to Buddhism, people aren’t good/bad or morally correct/incorrect, they simply create certain traits in themselves which only they can undo. Buddha preached a concept known as “Dependent Origination” implying that everything and everyone is interconnected. If everything is interconnected, how can someone be above the other and how can one person be wrong and the other right? Such teachings of Buddha opened up many minds and raised the right kind of questions.

Their teachings were eye-openers. Pixabay

5 Morals Of Buddhism:

  • Avoid killing, or harming any living thing.
  •  Avoid stealing – taking what is not yours to take.
  •  Avoid sexual irresponsibility, which for monks and nuns means celibacy.
  • Avoid lying, or any hurtful speech.
  •  Avoid alcohol and drugs which diminish clarity of consciousness.

3 Evils of Buddhism:

  •  Greed

According to Buddhism, the greatest sin is Greed as it is encompassing sin which includes all sins that are related to desiring anything in excess is money, yearning, lust, food and inability to let go of things easily. Buddha suggests all sins that relate to wanting more like the capital sins of Christianity namely greed, gluttony and lust come under one single sin i.e. Greed.

Buddhism relates sins to the characteristics one adopts. Pixabay

  • Hatred

    Hatred is a powerful emotion which is said to be more powerful than love as it drives one to destructive acts of anger, fury and destruction, both physical and mental. Hatred is also self- destructive as if you give in to hatred you are practically bending the knee to your own enemy.  Among the capital sins of Christianity, hatred is linked to the sins of wrath and envy.

  • Ignorance

    Ignorance is a sin which can drive one to delude their surroundings and take them to states of pride, sloth and envy ( the Christian sins) . It is also one of the primary evils as it includes delusion.

    Ignorance is the ultimate sin. Pixabay

3 Ways to Remove Evils in Buddhism:

  • Practicing Self-Control

    Buddha suggests practicing self -control as it helps free yourself from the clutches of your vulnerability to the state of loss by your own choice. A person must practice self –control to attain a level of satisfaction which would prevent Greed.

  • Love, Acceptance & Forgiveness

    Practicing the act of love, acceptance and forgiveness are important in order to move past the sin of hatred. One cannot achieve inner peace until when is comfortable with their own emotions.

    Love and kindness are major virtues of Buddhism. Pixabay
  • Dependent Origination

    As mentioned earlier, the concept of dependent origination is a way to attain salvation where one must not jump to conclusions and judge others when everyone is the same and interconnected. One should analyze the cause and effect of every situation to rid themselves of any preconceived notions.

Prepared by Tanya Kathuria of Newsgram; Twitter: @TanyaKathuria97