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England

‘Misguided souls’

It was a great shame that the first opening of a Senate session with a Hindu prayer was disrupted by three misguided souls (“Prayer protesters,” Inside Politics, Nation, Friday). Their actions were patently un-Christian in that they opposed fundamental Christian values of love, charity and kindness.

It is ironic that Hindu philosophy, which has helped to mold the modern American culture via the transcendental philosophy of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, was heckled as unacceptable and foreign. The fact is that Emerson drew his inspiration from sacred Hindu texts — Bhagwat Gita, Vedas and the Laws of Manu. His postulation that God is present in all humans and the universe is basic Hinduism — Tat Tam Asi (“That Thou Art” in Sanskrit). This was very controversial in the United States in the mid-19th century as it opposed the church’s doctrines of separateness of man and God. However, it was not far from the words of Jesus Christ, who said “He who drinks from my mouth shall be as I am and I will be he” in the Gospel of Matthew.

Narrow-mindedness, closed-mindedness, intolerance, cruelty, ill will and aggressiveness are the hallmarks of the forces of darkness, which are on a rampage in the world today. Conversely, the characteristics of decency, kindness, peacefulness, charity and caring are also evident everywhere in the world, except they don’t generally make headlines.

A wise man once said you can change the world by first and foremost changing yourself.

SHIRISH KOKATAY

Philadelphia

True grit

President Bush is succeeding mightily in continuing the war in Iraq despite increasing opposition from members of Congress (“GOP leaders press Bush for Iraq plan,” Page 1, Saturday), who appear to have no staying power in a venture that is extremely important to the United States and the Western world.

Soon, it appears it will be Mr. Bush alone who has the grit and determination to see the necessity of taking arms and opposing the onslaught of radical Islamofacists who are determined to destroy Western civilization.

Mr. Bush is reminiscent of a postwar Japanese prime minister, Shigeru Yoshida, who was mockingly called “one man” by legislators because he stubbornly refused to wait for a consensus in joining with the advanced Western countries to counter the Soviet Union in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Apparently the United States has become a devotee of consensus politics, where Congress demands a role in executing power reserved by the Constitution to the executive branch, and Mr. Bush has the temerity — in the eyes of many legislators — to be “one man” in doing the job he’s supposed to do: defending the nation from foreign aggression.

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