8.27.2006

Restorative Justice at the Hindu Temple

In times when religious vengeance dominates the news and the term "restorative justice" usually provokes a head-scratching "Huh?," this story is particularly refreshing: members of a Twin Cities Hindu society embraced and forgave vandals who caused around $200,000 in damage to their soon-to-open worship space:
They smashed what they later described to friends as "weird statutes," causing about $200,000 in damage just a few months before the ornate 42,000-square-foot temple was scheduled to open.

On Saturday they stood before their families and about 50 members of the temple and asked for forgiveness. And to their surprise, they were embraced and praised.

"Karma is the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny," Sane, chairman of the temple's board of trustees, told the young men.

But he said neither he nor his religious community hold any grudges against them. "We divide between evil and evildoers," Sane said. "Your actions were inappropriate, and you're responsible for those actions. That, I cannot stop.

"But as human beings, you are nothing but divine. You can make the right choices and achieve the potential that God has bestowed upon you."
Not a bad primer in Hindu for Christians who think their faith is the only "right" one.

Image: a banner shown on the temple's website.

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