The Americanization of immigrant Religions
People living in urban environments are often impressed with all the new Asian and Eastern religions they encounter. And with the common and very aggressively taught view that all religions are essentially equal, they accept them like a new toy at Christmas, at face value. They feel enlightened and sophisticated as they observe or study the practices of these new religious immigrants to this country. But beware; what you see may not be what you get.
Even Catholicism goes through a metamorphous in America compared to how it is practiced in Latin America or much of southern Europe. In Mexico at least 90% or more of the churches I went into had wall to wall statues of wood or clay made in the images of the various saints. In front of each saint was a place to pray and a money box to place money in as you worshipped and sought aid from each of the saints. Search American Catholic churches and you would be hard pressed to find such a supermarket of various idols or mediators of any sort, even in neighborhoods populated by Mexican or Latino immigrants. You will find an occasional saint or statue of the Virgin Mary or the Virgin of Guadalupe, but not the pantheon which is normally found in the old country.
Religions tend to put on a different face when they arrive in new numbers into this nation and may appear far more innocuous then they really are. The Hindu people are a friendly people and very popular with many non-Christians or nominal Christians seeking new paths to spiritual enlightenment.
Most people introducing Hinduism to interested bystanders won’t mention all of the practices of this cult or its history in India. They won’t tell you that it was an English Queen, Victoria, who outlawed the practice called “suttee”, the burning of the wives during the funeral services of the husbands. Surviving widows were routinely burned alive on their husband’s funeral pyre during burial services. And while Victoria outlawed the practice, it still continues in India, though covertly and in smaller numbers, as does the practice of infant sacrifice.
They usually won’t discuss the connection between Adolph Hitler’s Aryan practices and those of Hinduism either. The caste system in Indian Hinduism starts at the top with the Brahman and descends to the bottom, the untouchables, based largely on skin color; the darkest at the bottom. Dwelling on this major aspect of Hinduism would not be conducive to converting the bored and brain washed American seekers who are temporarily blinded by the mysticism and interesting hats and clothing of the Hindu people.
The Swastika is an Ancient Hindu symbol; but not one you will see displayed prominently on most Hindu temples in America. Hitler’s religious values were founded solidly on Darwinian evolution and Hinduism; there is not much conflict between the two.
Sometimes enlightenment is not what it appears to be and while embracing a broad outlook towards different religions can give the appearance of sophistication as well as a sense of moral superiority; it’s often nothing more than the adoption of a socially acceptable mindset based on indifference to, or ignorance of, reality. I think they call that education in this country.