Call For Media and Government Investigation

of Sathya Sai Baba And his worldwide cult, the Sathya Sai Organization

Posts Tagged ‘Realpolitik’

Sexual Abuse Priests. What?! The Pope Never Knew?

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 28, 2010

Some international commentators opine that there is a net of terrible revelation closing in on Pope Benedict XVI. One revelation after another indicates that he has for many years known about the endemic sexual abuses, both of children and adults, happening within the Roman Catholic Church. And that he has, all along, failed with any probity (unless it accorded with antiquated, incredibly out-of-touch notions of an ancien régime) to act. To the contrary, he has called, all along, for secrecy. A key issue is whether any ecclesiastical authority has the right to deal with crimes within its own entity. Countless sexual abuses have not been reported to the police, and strong sections within the Catholic hierarchy have triumphed in a division between Church and State that appalls most who live in a western democracy.

See companion article to this post:  

Roman Catholics’ Deep Concern At Pope’s Apology. But He Is Way Ahead Of Indian ‘Pope’ Sathya Sai Baba

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 23, 2010

The same high-handed rebuff to legal sovereignty of the secular state was, in effect, asserted by the longtime, now retired world coordinator of the Sathya Sai Organizer, Indulal Shah. See:  Indian Newspaper Reports of Killings In Sai Baba’s Bedroom . One of the most responsible papers in India stated:

“When press persons met Mr. Indulal Shah, chief functionary of the Sri Satya Sai World Trust, after the murders of six young Sai followers in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom in 1993, Indulal Shah is reported as having said: ‘the matter is purely internal and we do not wish to have any law enforcement agency investigating into it.” (from The Hindu, 10-6-1993).

(For further evidence of how powerful institutions which have a respectable facade nonetheless master the dark arts of cover up, I shall in an upcoming post turn to the mounting allegations of massive cover up of sexual abuse by the Boy Scouts of America, which faces watershed legal action)

If any should think that the Vatican has not been for centuries, and is not to this day, a heavy hitter in the murky world of realpolitik, they have not paused to read even the standard historical accounts. 

  

The BBC has called Sathya Sai Baba ‘the secret swami’. See:  The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision . Whether they are from the top handful of universities in the world or from major international media, investigators immediately confirm the entire aptness of this appellation. Both the Vatican and the international Sathya Sai Organization deal, at their very hub, in secrecy. The unsavoury topics guarded by this clandestineness are those from which the rank-and-file members, not to mention investigators, are kept in the utmost ignorance at every opportunity possible.

In the world of power politics, ecclesiastical or secular, Machiavelli, author of ‘The Prince’ is no mere ghost. Or even Italian any more. He mentored: “A wise ruler ought never to keep faith when by doing so it would be against his interests”. Larger than life, he is everywhere kicking in heads, hearts, minds and souls of those who rise up to question elites entrenched in their power. Indeed Italy, the locus of the Vatican, gave birth to this master of statecraft-by-cunning-means. But he belongs to the murky world in every geopolitical cranny. It is said that he was President John F. Kennedy’s bedside reading.

For the cleverest and well-born boys I taught in India at the Sathya Sai college outside Bangalore, South India, and for their familial forebears, the everlasting Indian equivalent is Chanakya (known also as Kautilya), the presumed author of the treatise the ‘Arthashastra’. He predates Machiavelli by eighteen centuries, but cedes nothing to him. He counseled:  “Do not be very upright in your dealings for you would see by going to the forest that straight trees are cut down while crooked ones are left standing”. He too lives vibrantly – another ‘invisible man’. Another ‘secret swami’. Chanakya was whispered into their ears away from the rest of the family, and put into their hands for committing to memory, and otherwise communicated by networks of nods and winks. My erstwhile and much-loved students are now out in the world of power and influence doing their darndest. Some of the choicest and most history-steeped of them would, I am sure, to this day be able to look Mr Pittard in the eye with the greatest of directness, warmth and charm (just as when they last rushed up to me at Puttaparthi in 1997 after my long absence), with the terribly invisible Chanakya sitting godfatherly and approvingly on their shoulder.

Be in Puttaparthi and accompanied by any acutely well-informed Indian observer, you will have discreetly pointed out to you a not always charming gallery of those who protect Sathya Sai Baba to the nth degree.  You will be privy to a long roll-call of players in the inmost circles of power – governmental, political, armed forces, police, judicial, diplomatic, financial, industrial, and so on. Sathya Sai Baba brings vast foreign and other revenues to India, and, irrespective of what party or coalition of parties ascends in India, he is profoundly protected.

One’s ultimate discussion with oneself is whether one rolls over and cedes to the bully boys (and most in these rigid, autocratic hierarchies are indeed male) – or not.

For my observations on the current sex scandal erupting in India concerning Swami Nithynanda, see:

Why Nithyananda Sex Scandal Investigations and Not A Sathya Sai Baba Probe? In this article, I have proffered some reasons why the Nithyananda scandal has not been hushed up, in marked contrast with Sathya Sai Baba. The Pope and Sathya Sai Baba are immensely ‘big fry’. Nityananda, although reputed to have large numbers of devotees worldwide, is a minnow by comparison.

Robert Priddy

Swami ‘Paramahamsa’ Nityananda scandal – latest

Posted by robertpriddy on March 28, 2010

Investigations of sex cover-ups not ’smear campaigns’

Sai Baba school closed because of reported sex abuses

Nityananda sex scandal compounded by his lies and deceits

Nityananda video, lies and ’sex allegations’

Pope Benedict’s Standing In Grave Question

The Netherlands: More than 200 Catholics have until now reported sex assaults.
Germany: Over 250 sex assault cases are under investigation.Austria: A series of accusations of sex abuse have surfaced recently.
Ireland: Two reports in 2009 document sexual and physical abuse on a huge scale in Catholic institutions.
USA: An independent commission in 2004 received 10,667 accusations of abuses by Catholic priests from 1950 to 2002.
UK: A monk who ran a Catholic school was given 8 years prison for decades of child sexual abuse. Two other monks were convicted for sex assaults in 2007.
Australia: In 2008, there were 107 convictions in sex abuse cases connected to the Catholic Church.
New Zealand: There has been a series of accusations of sex abuses in Catholic schools.
Canada: In 1989 a newspaper exposed sex abuse in a Catholic children home in Newfoundland, after which 300 previous children homes have reported sex abuses!
Argentina: Brasil: Peru: the Philippines and Senegal have all reported similar cases.
(Source: Norsk Telegram Byrå and DPA)
See A timeline

US lawyers have released a letter with a potential to be highly damaging to Pope Benedict.

Associated Press Report

Pope under fire for transfer, letter on sex abuse

By NICOLE WINFIELD (AP) – Mar 12, 2010

VATICAN CITY — Germany’s sex abuse scandal has now reached Pope Benedict XVI: His former archdiocese disclosed that while he was archbishop a suspected pedophile priest was transferred to a job where he later abused children.

 The pontiff is also under increasing fire for a 2001 Vatican document he later penned instructing bishops to keep such cases secret.

 The revelations have put the spotlight on Benedict’s handling of abuse claims both when he was archbishop of Munich from 1977-1982 and then the prefect of the Vatican office that deals with such crimes — a position he held until his 2005 election as pope.

 And they may lead to further questions about what the pontiff knew about the scope of abuse in his native Germany, when he knew it and what he did about it during his tenure in Munich and quarter-century term at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

………  

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, issued a statement late Friday noting that the Munich vicar-general who approved the priest’s transfer had taken “full responsibility” for the decision, seeking to remove any question about the pontiff’s potential responsibility as archbishop at the time.

Victims’ advocates weren’t persuaded.

“We find it extraordinarily hard to believe that Ratzinger didn’t reassign the predator, or know about the reassignment,” said Barbara Blaine, president and founder of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

 See remainder of report HERE

See Also

Sinead O’Connor’s statements!

Roman Catholics’ Deep Concern At Pope’s Apology. But He Is Way Ahead Of Indian ‘Pope’ Sathya Sai Baba

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 23, 2010

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Click here to view list of brief video clips available from the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ documentary

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Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

There is a Spanish version available:

PETICIÓN PÚBLICA PARA ”INVESTIGACIONES OFICIALES DE SATHYA SAI BABA Y SU ORGANIZACIÓN A NIVEL MUNDIAL

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Posted in Morality, New Age, Opinion, Rationalism, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Buckingham Palace Revisited. Are Wily Sathya Sai Baba Emissaries Again Seeking British Royal Approval?

Posted by Barry Pittard on October 16, 2009

What may the British Royal Prince Edward’s visit to India portend for Sathya Sai Baba interests? Will Sathya Sai Baba’s top associates – again – attempt to exploit the British Royal Family for propaganda purposes?

The Earl of Wessex Prince Edward is the third son and fourth child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip.

Prince Edward in India, Oct. 2009

Prince Edward in India, Oct. 2009

Summary Background

1. In late 2006, officials of The Duke of Edinburgh Awards and Buckingham Palace were upset by the manner of publicity by those such as Dr G. Venkataraman and Shitu Chudasama about Award connections. (Dr. G. Venkataraman is deputy world head of the Sathya Sai Organization. He also directs Sai Baba’s international 7 days 24 hours propaganda satellite radio service via the WorldSpace International corporation. See HERE. Shitu Chudasama is the UK Sai Baba national youth coordinator. This and other matters were exposed by Paul Lewis’s Saturday 4 November 2006 article in The Guardian (UK):

The Indian living god, the paedophilia claims and the Duke of Edinburgh awards

2. After efforts via, once might almost say, ‘friends at court’, Superiors to Peter Westgarth, the Director of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, were of the view that he lacked, in this issue, both judgement and experience, and had missed the significance and risk of his dealings with the Sathya Sai Baba officials. One may note in passing that Westgarth, currently faces further unpleasant controversy in another matter about his Award’s job performance. See The Herald Scotland Charity chief says UK boss forced her out. By Paul Thornton

3. When matters were finally taken in hand, both Awards and Palace dropped connection with the Sathya Sai Organization

4.  The Royal authorities, via Peter Westgarth, CEO of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards,

Peter Westgarth. CEO, Duke of Edinburgh Awards. Buckingham Palace over-ruled him in Sathya Sai Baba affair

Peter Westgarth. CEO, Duke of Edinburgh Awards. Buckingham Palace over-ruled him in Sathya Sai Baba affair

who had already blundered (See story in The Guardian) asked that the embarrassing and untrue material (it was stated that the award had been given to ‘Sathya Sai Baba’) be taken down. Venkataraman and his associates promptly complied

This official Puttaparthi website withdrawal did not stop the Australian Sathya Sai Organization from nonetheless trumpeting the UK youth wing’s award:

Australian Sathya Sai Organization on Duke of Edinburgh Award

5. The FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office), had a view to both avoiding any blowbacks in Anglo-Indian relations and further embarrassment to the Royal Family

6. As revealed by The Guardian newspaper, the Duke’s representatives sought legal advice

7. Our efforts made to seek out a well-reputed news agency with clout resulted in IANS (Indo Asian News Service) running with a part of the story independently of The Guardian. See:

Indian Media’s Reticence on Top Guru, Sathya Sai Baba, Weakens

This was a major breakthrough, and signalled sections of the Indian media, where there were previously years of strong censorship of materials inimical to Sathya Sai Baba, carrying the IANS feed. Paul Lewis’s The Guardian article was also referred to.

Will Realpolitik-bent British FCO and Indian Government Interests Exploit Prince Edwards Visit To India?

One of the most persistent ploys of Sathya Sai Baba’s propagandists has been to make it appear that India’s interests are identical with Sathya Sai Baba predispositions. For a glaring example of what, often, is confined to the hushed corridors of power, see: The Case of UNESCO’s Missing Media Advisory. The BBC exposed machinations by Venkataraman and the then Indian Foreign Affairs Minister and others, but this successful revelation was, alas, effected too late to be included in the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’.


Prince Edward Currently Duke of Edinburgh Awards Emissary

Prince Edward is the Duke’s Awards proxy in a current visit to India. He may not have much of his grandfather Phillip’s stuffing or even lasting effects of his tough (late) uncle Earl Mountbatten’s mentorship. Still further, Edward is of a very different generation, and not likely to have his father Charles’s flirtations with Sathya Sai Baba, – that hapless Prince Charles whom we know to have been warned off Sathya Sai Baba by insistent government authorities. Nevertheless, it is not beyond doubt that Sathya Sai Baba interests will try to curry favour with him, and dally with Edward’s political masters.

The Sathya Sai avidity to bask in British Royal sheen (or what is left of it) has already been amply demonstrated, and any further attempt by Sathya Sai Baba interests that would attempt to borrow lustre from British Royalty will likely be exposed here and elsewhere, as was previously the case, and indeed by the same forces which ensured former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s last minute cancellation of a meeting at Brindavan, Whitefield with Sathya Sai Baba. See:


Tony Blair Was to Visit Sai Baba. Plan Thwarted

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 17, 2007

An acquaintance who has worked close to the hub of power in the UK has  written to me vis a vis some current moves by the British government that may have relevance to power plays by Sathya Sai Baba’s high-level emissaries.

As my reader can see from the links to my earlier articles and those of Robert Priddy, representation on our behalf to the Duke of Edinburgh’s advisors was successful. It obtained the removal of propagandist and untrue information that was put out by Sathya Sai Baba’s officials such as Dr G. Venkataraman. An observer  has recently written to me:

“The UK Govt made the mistake long ago of allowing the Indians to get away with the badly flawed argument that to criticise Sathya Sai Baba was to insult India. This was weak and unprincipled, and senior diplomats admit this privately and regret it. The FCO is all out to try to get the Indians alongside the UK in matters of security, foreign policy, the war on terror, and inward Indian investment in our bankrupt UK economy.

Prince Edward’s appearance in Indian affairs is a pallid affair. He and his advisors are at the whim of the FCO. The UK Government needs India. In pursuit of its own narrow cynical policies, the FCO has a long record of ignoring the plight of British nationals in favour of trade perspectives and other political expediences. The Labour and Conservative India players are alike in this “….

The Guardian (UK) article: ‘The Indian living god, The paedophilia claims and the Duke of Edinburgh awards’

In the article: UK Guardian On Sathya Sai Baba and Duke’s Awards , I wrote:

”His Royal Highness’s officials had to act on top of a ‘politically’ not very experienced or competent UK Duke of Edinburgh Awards CEO, Peter Westgarth – see HERE. They were slow off the mark. However, after very high level representations from our side, the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme trustees and Prince Philip’s Private Secretary, Brigadier Sir Miles Hunt-Davis KCVO, CBE,

sir-miles-hunt-davis.jpg

realized that a serious matter was at hand. Questions were also raised by some powerful citizens, including a former Home Minister, Tom Sackville. The Duke of Edinburgh Awards required of Dr G. Venkataraman, head of Sathya Sai Baba’s international propaganda apparatus and deputy world chairman of the Sathya Sai Organization, that an official Sai Baba website take down the triumphant – but absurdly mistaken – information that the Duke of Edinburgh Award had been awarded to Sai Baba himself. Venkataraman complied”.

Further Reading


At ‘Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba’

Posted by Barry Pittard on October 21, 2008

A Duke Stops An Emperor. Edinburgh Routs Sai Baba

“Officials of The Duke of Edinburgh Awards and Buckingham Palace were upset by the boasting of those such as Dr G. Venkataraman and about the Award connections. (Dr. G. Venkataraman is Sai Baba’s deputy world head, who also directs Sai Baba’s international 7 days 24 hours propaganda satellite radio service via the WorldSpace International corporation. See Shitu Chudasama HERE. Shitu Chudasama is the UK Sai Baba national youth coordinator”.

Robert Priddy writes on the issue

Posted by robertpriddy on October 15, 2009

Posted by robertpriddy on October 14, 2009

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Sathya Sai Organisation – Further Subterfuge and Misinformation

Four-part article by Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard

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General

Excerpt From Public Petition

(Note: You may prefer to proceed straight to the Petition):

Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

There is a Spanish version available:

PETICIÓN PÚBLICA PARA  ”>INVESTIGACIONES OFICIALES DE SATHYA SAI BABA Y SU ORGANIZACIÓN A NIVEL MUNDIAL)

Posted in Morality, Opinion, Protest, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Dalai Lama: Forgiveness does not mean forgetfulness

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 15, 2007

dalai-lama-in-australia-june-2007.jpgAt the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Australia, July 14, 2007, the 14th Dalai Lama spoke to a capacity, 15000 audience. Several large screens throughout the auditorium meant that people were able to see him close up. I had the privilege to be there.

Someone remarked that the Dalai Lama was “radically informal”. It was true – he had a great naturalness, straightforwardness and simplicity. There were also  large crowds outside watching on a large television screen outside the Brisbane Entertainment Center.

Forgiveness does not entail forgetfulness

First, I shall single out one of the points he made, because it can throw light on the motivations of many former devotees of Sathya Sai Baba around the world. Most are not motivated by hatred against Sai Baba or leaders of his Sathya Sai Organization but believe it important to state their case as best they can, if in very difficult circumstances.

This point of the Dalai Lama’s – about forgiveness – is made, like all of his points, in many wisdom traditions, yet it seems to forever need to be raised and clarified, simple a point although it is.

Anyone who knows those individuals around the world who have dissented from Sai Baba – many of them having been deeply committed to his work for decades until they resigned or simply walked out – knows that most of those individuals speak out decidedly not because of hatred and revenge. It is a simplistic notion that speaking out about crimes and other wrong-doings has to to equate to hatred and revenge. Even if, since none of us is perfect, we err, it is important for us all to look for some better resolution of the issues. Some of the insights gained in the ‘Truth Commission’ processes may afford a guide for groups who are ready to reform themselves and seek compassionate solutions. See e.g., http://www.truthcommission.org

A society in which serious allegations are not brought out will remain a terribly crippled one. It will be one of secrecy, and lack compassion. It will not address the difficulties that so sorely need to be raised. China is far from alone in this, and we each need to address our own country’s failures to be a genuinely just society. However, China, as many cults do, has a long record of severe suppression, secrecy and violation of human rights. It has strongly protested to the Australian government, attempting to get it to stop the Dalai Lama’s visit. It would like us to forget him, and forget its atrocities, including enforced colonization and genocide. It can no more say sorry for these and make amends – to name but one of many Chinese government human outrages, for its violent mass killings in Tienanmen Square in 1989 (see Wikipedia reference HERE) than my own country’s government of John Howard can say sorry to our own wonderful, but tragically decimated indigenous people. Howard and the federal Opposition Leader, a former diplomat, Kevin Rudd, who speaks fluent mandarin Chinese, have both vacilated severely about whether they would meet the Dalai Lama. Most suddenly and curiously, neither appeared to know what their diary was doing but in fact, according to various media reports, they were both locked in consulting their realpolitik options – namely the trade issue, since China is Australia’s biggest trading partner. (I have dealt with this issue, from the perspective of our own interfaces with a number of governments in relation to Sai Baba HERE.  Many so-called ‘democratic’ governments prefer narrow pragmatism over humanitarian conscience). 

What the Dalai Lama has succeeded in doing, and what a few others like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Mary Robinson and so on have so powerfully sought to do is to rise above hatred and vengeful, violent retaliation. (It may be good if we all start making a list and add still many more role model names, such as the Myhero project has sought to do at this page HERE). They have struggled on the great scale just as the rest of us have to struggle on the smaller scale. Not one of these leaders failed to speak out against the evils that had been perpetrated – such as those of war, empire, colonialism – and the disgraceful and terrible means used to realize them. Remembering evils can be graceful, especially when we have community support, and personal methods of self-discipline and induction of genuine calmness – such that we do not visit them on others as doctrine.

Forgiveness: Not losing compassion for the other person

Answering a question from the audience, the Dalai Lama distinguished between forgiveness and forgetfulness. He said that forgiveness is logically not possible with the absence of forgetting. To forgive, you need to remember what it is that you are forgiving. Forgiveness means not losing compassion for the other person. Sooner or later that individual, if they have have committed an offence, has to face the consequencies. Forgiveness does not mean taking no action. The important thing is that you do not let hatred overtake you.

‘Secular Ethics’

The Dalai Lama said he had nothing to offer but common sense. His own religion was his own private matter. His thoughts expressed publically may be termed ‘secular ethics’. He had not much to offer, except commonsense.

He was now nearly 72 and since 16 years of age has had lots of difficulties, like the loss of his country. As he tours the world there is always sad news. But it is important to find a way, although recognizing the sadness for what it is, not to detain oneself with it but instead to establish a calm mind. To some, this attitude seems like being careless. But it is not, because a conflicted mind will bring still more troubles. Take problems seriously by all means, of course, but on the objective intellectual level rather than on the emotionally conflictful level. One needs to  look at things objectively, and handle things more realistically, being neither over joyful nor over sad.

Happiness is the very purpose of life

Feelings of compassion and kindness need to be implemented through action. People need to feel a part of society, and self-confident.  We are social ‘animals’. Survival depends on a sense of community. Positive emotions are very good for us, and negative emotions very bad and destructive. The more compassion the better is society’s functioning. This recognition does not belong peculiarly to any religion.

Religious answers often divide

Compassion is very commonly shared by people everywhere since we received it from our time in the mother’s womb and from her as we developed as we developed from our earliest stages as human beings. If morality and ethics were based on adhering to this or that religion, serious questions arise. For example – what religion? Many answers to this are very divisive of humankind. What? Six hundred million human beings should all follow a just one religion and no other. It is not possible. The secular teaching of values is the commonsense solution.

Force has been the typical answer

Compassion cannot be a weapon. If you try to eliminate people’s viewpoints by force the hatred will pass down the generations. Today, one Bin Laden, in ten years 10 Bin Ladens. The Dalai Lama told this in a letter of condolence to President George W. Bush on the day after 9/11. He got a strong laugh from the audience when he said that he has met George Bush and is scheduled to meet him again soon, and finds him individually a very nice man but that “his philosophy and mine are – different”.

Destroying another person is destroying yourself

External disarmament is important but the real need is for internal disarmanant. We need to make these notions familiar to children in school, so that they can confidently say to their parents – this trouble needs to be solved through dialog, not through conflict. Consider the other person as a part of yourself. Destroying another person is destroying yourself.

A questioner asked the Dalai Lama what have been the his greatest joy and and greatest sadness. He replied that there have been so many such moments that it is hard to pick but that two of those that stand out that taken together were very important revelations to him came close together. When he was sixteen he was overjoyed to have obtained his Ph.D. Even as this happened, the Chinese occupation of Tibet was proving very difficult for his people. There was terrible fear of the Chinese soldiers. Over half a million people died, many of starvation, many killed. In March 1958, many Tibetans, including himself, escaped. The experience felt very “Up. Down” but it enforced a sense of reality.

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The Public Petition   

Information on the Public Petition for Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

About the Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

(Note: You may prefer to proceed straight to the Petition): Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization   

Posted in Morality, New Age, Opinion, Protest, Rationalism, Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »