I think it speaks well of our country that someone representing a faith of about a billion people comes here and can speak in communication with our Heavenly Father regarding peace. I am grateful he is here. I am thankful he was able to offer this prayer of peace in the Capitol. I say to everyone concerned, think of Gandhi. If you have a problem in the world, think what this great man has done to bring peace and nonviolence to a troubled world.But maybe he shouldn't have bothered. Hindus don't have chaplains who give sermons; it's much more of a ritualistic faith. So, the whole idea of a religious guy leading an extemporaneous prayer simply doesn't really carry over.
Organized religion is so jingoistic that inviting a non-Christian leader to lead prayers was simply asking for trouble. I don't think this jingoism is limited to Christian zealots, as some would have it. Christian prayers in a Muslim country would bring out protests that are even more loud.
The two backstories (Reid's and Zed's) though do bring up a few inconvenient thoughts:
- So Reid gave rides to Indian graduate students when he was in college.
I lived off campus. I was married. I would drive up that hill to the campus, and walking every day were students. They were Indians, coming from India to the United States to study. Utah State specialized in engineering and agriculture. These young men came from India to study at Utah State University. I would give them rides. I did that for 2 years, put as many in the car as would fit.A Mormon guy with a bunch of heathens in his car? Did Reid take up the opportunity to proselytize?
- The students gave him an ivory elephant that he still has.
I don't remember all they gave me, but I do remember one item. It is in my office in the Capitol. That was many years ago. We have had five children since then and lots of grandchildren. But it was a little statue of Gandhi, hand carved. It is ivory.Was ivory trading legal at the time? How old is Reid anyway?
- Zed was asked to deliver his prayer in English exclusively. So, they are more afraid of the English-only crowd than of the Christian-only crowd? Really?