Call to Recognize Sarna Religion, Hindu Religious Figures Raise Protest, Shinto Priests Bless Head of 60-Foot tall robot, Junipero Serra Supporters Push Back, Religious Tolerance Found Within Religions Themselves? More Churches Challenge COVID Restrictions

Call in India to Recognize Sarna Religion
Hindus Burning Mango Trees to Fight PollutionFollowers of the Sarna tribal religion are demanding representation in India’s national census next year, and plan to boycott the census if nothing is done. The Indian census lists Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Jain and Buddhist religions only. In 2011 the “other” category was removed and other religions are attempting to claim Sarna followers as their own according to reports. Sarna means “grove” and refers to sacred groves of trees, with a mother goddess who protects villages.

Hindu Religious Figures Used Commercially, Cause Protest

Ganesh by Srivatsan (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Ganesh by Srivatsan (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Hindu religious figures including the elephant God Ganesh have become popular icons, but when Ganesh is used to advertise beer, bikinis and T-shirts, Hindus object. Anheuser-Busch’s Brahma beer has also incurred the displeasure of Hindus as it uses the name of Lord Brahma the Hindu God of Creation. A Virginia-based company Enlighten Clothing Company issued a formal apology Monday and said they would remove miniskirts carrying a Ganesh image from the store.

Shinto Priests Bless Head of 60-Foot Tall Robot
A video of engineers testing the massive Gundam Robot in Yokohama, Japan, reveals it had no head. But Shinto priests were shown blessing the huge head before it was lifted to its proper place on the shoulders of the anime monster which stepped out of a comic book and into real life.

Junipero Serra Supporters Push Back

Junipero Serra Statue by ruben lopez-pulido  via Wikimedia Commons

Junipero Serra Statue by ruben lopez-pulido
via Wikimedia Commons

In July, during the George Floyd protests, individuals in Sacramento tore down a statue of Saint Junipero Serra, founder of California’s Catholic missions. Then last month, the city of Ventura, Calif., Announced it would remove two statues of Serra from City Hall. Thomas More Society lawyers warned Ventura city and county officials that removal of the St. Serra statue and the Saint’s image from law enforcement badges and the city’s seal was evidence of unconstitutional hostility to the Catholic religion.

Can Religious Tolerance be Found Within Various Religions Themselves?
Hindu Swami Vivekanand, speaking at the World’s Parliament of Religion in Chicago, said: “Religious tolerance could be placed on a firmer basis if grounds for it could also be found within the various religions themselves … I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration but we accept all religions as true.”

More Churches Challenge COVID-19 Restrictions
More legal challenges are forming as churches from California, Minnesota and Florida object to government restrictions on freedom of religion, that include wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, meeting inside a house of worship, singing, and so on. One Supreme Court case – South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom – has already affirmed Calif. Gov. Newsom’s restrictions on church attendance which is more severe than those imposed on secular businesses.