Sikh sect sick over lame Leno lark

Sikh sect sick over lame Leno lark January 23, 2012

India is up in arms over a joke made by Jay Leno. Judge the heinousness of it yourself:


Right. In the midst of a very mild joke about Romney’s summer home, Leno flashed a brief image of the Temple of Amritsar, the “Golden Temple,” in the state of Punjab in northern India. 

The literally gold-plated temple is the holiest shrine in Sikh culture, and gets more visitors than the Taj Mahal — more than 100,000 a day.

A petition is being circulated. The embassy of India is expected to lodge a protest with the U.S. State Department. And Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi called the joke “quite unfortunate and quite objectionable.”

Said Ravi:

Freedom does not mean hurting the sentiments of others.

Actually, Mr. Ravi, it probably does. If we all had to walk around cringing in fear of offending any of the countless True Believers out there in the world, we’d have very little freedom left to say anything at all. Much less crack a joke — even a lame one.

To clarify, Mr. Ravi:

If I bump into you on purpose, I’m in the wrong.
If I bump into you accidentally, no one is in the wrong.
If you leap in front of me so that I can’t help but bump into you, you’re in the wrong.

But if you scream that I have bumped into you, that you are mortally wounded, when I obviously haven’t even touched you, it seems to me that makes you a whiny, grandstanding sympathy whore.

And you are definitely in the wrong.


Here’s another voice from India on the subject:

Sikhs are not very happy with using their religious place as a plug for mockery in the US Presidential race. And one can understand why. This is not the only time people aren’t sensitive to their culture and way of life. […]

It is known that in the US Presidential race almost everything is considered “Fair Game”. But such acts should stop where someone’s reverence starts.


Also on the subject, and well worth reading:

Joan Smith: Strong religious belief is no excuse for intimidation

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