Don’t mess with the miracle-mongers, for they shall smite thee mightily with the law

RATIONALISTS in India have a long and admirable history of exposing religious frauds, hucksters and other charlatans. Foremost among these miracle-busters is Sanal Edamaruku, President of the Rationalist International organisation, whose latest exposé may see him arrested at any moment on a “blasphemy” charge.

A water drop is shown forming on toe of the drippy Jesus (click on image for video)

In this case, all Edamaruku did was to demonstrate that there was nothing miraculous about the water dripping from the feet of Jesus, on a cross at the Church of Our Lady of Velankanni.

The cross, according to this report, had become the centre of attraction for an ever-growing crowd of believers. Hundreds came every day to pray and collect some of the “holy water” in bottles and vessels.

Sanal Edamaruku travelled to the church with a TV crew, identified the source of the water (drainage near a washing room) and he demonstrated the simple mechanism – capillary action – by which it reached Jesus’ feet.

Some hours later, in a live programme on TV-9, Sanal explained his findings and accused Catholic Church officials of miracle mongering. They had been clearly milking the drippy Jesus to the max with an aggressive PR push.

Click on image for the debate

A heated debate ensued, in which five church personnel and representatives of the Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC) demanded that Sanal apologise. He refused and argued against them.

They then threatened to file a blasphemy charge against him – and they did.

On April 10 he received a phone call from a Police official at Juhu Police Station in Mumbai ordering him to the station to face the charges. Edamaruku also revealed that FIRs (First Information Reports prepared by the police when they receive information about the commission of an offence) have also been filed in Andheri and other police stations under Section 295 of the Indian Penal Code. These are apparently based on allegations that his exposé  had hurt Catholics’ “religious sentiments”.

N D Pancholi, Convenor of the  Sanal Edamaruku Defence Committee, said in a statement:

It is distressing that the Mumbai police has chosen to harass and victimise him for doing his fundamental duty. The Sanal Edamaruku Defence Committee appeals to all progressive individuals and organisations to protest and oppose the reprehensible steps of the Maharashtra police in filing FIRs against Sanal and stand behind him in solidarity for the cause of scientific thinking and freedom of expression.

 Hat tip: Zé Fontainhas

9 responses to “Don’t mess with the miracle-mongers, for they shall smite thee mightily with the law”

  1. Jim says:

    Another back-water law. Wallow in thier ignorance.

  2. northern light says:

    How odd…The US is full of findies yet this is the ruling that the US supreme court set down on anti religious actions.

    “U.S. Supreme Court ruled that New York could not enforce a censorship law against filmmakers whose films contained “sacrilegious” content. The opinion of the Court, by Justice Clark, stated that:

    -from the standpoint of freedom of speech and the press, it is enough to point out that the state has no legitimate interest in protecting any or all religions from views distasteful to them which is sufficient to justify prior restraints upon the expression of those views. It is not the business of government in our nation to suppress real or imagined attacks upon a particular religious doctrine, whether they appear in publications, speeches, or motion pictures.

    Go figure ….the most religious country in the west could care less if you are blasphemer…

  3. Matt Westwood says:

    I remember similar where some halfwit lunatic wrote some insane fantasy about having been kidnapped by aliens and prodded inappropriately for a considerable period, and then took to court all his critics who suggested that it might have been made up, and won? A few years ago now, it was, and I misremember the details. So I think what’s happened is that India has just caught up with the West.

  4. barriejohn says:

    Agnelo Gracias: Censorial, ga ga

  5. Brian Jordan says:

    Hmm, a Pissing Christ. Whatever next? A nappy? Oh no, that’s been done in Gerry Springer – The Opera, hasn’t it?

  6. Prathapan KP says:

    There are many incidents like this (flow of water, blood, tears, honey etc..from the statues )in different parts of India. These so called “miracles “will disappear within a short span of the period, as any one brings the scientific reason behind it. But we can see that, during the short span of time, large amount of people are gathering there without applying the scientific reasoning on this. If some one coming forward to analyze this, lot of people from the group will come forward to keep such people off. And in later stage, when some one locating the scientific aspects, most of the people from group usually keep themselves mum.
    We had a discussion about this, while my recent visit to Rationalist Center Delhi. He was explaining to us how the church authorities behaved during his visit in the compound and in the studio of the channel. They suggested in a friendly manner him that, he can break the statue, for more clarity about source of water. But he never had done it. He used another scientific methods with the help of his collegue ,who is a civil engineer (expert for water &plumbing systems).After this he explained to crowd which are all the possible scientific reasons behind this incident (so called miracle).I think, the church authorities were pre-modeled this idea so that they can file a case (or may be many!!!) under IPC 295A.During the debate, while revealing the interests of church in such cases, he pointed out that pope is an exorcist (The link which is giving is a perfect example ).This made them more furious on him. And there were hundreds of people waiting for him, while he was attending the debate in Mumbai at the studio of the channel. He is very confident and he is attending various debates organized by media on such superstitious incidents in India which are promoted by various priests and “god men, even in today also. I am sure all who are pursuing secularism and scientific temper will be along with him from each corner of the world

  7. Fred the Ded says:

    What struck me was the face on the left.
    Is that fellow the perfect image of Mo, from “Jesus & Mo” or what?
    If there is ever a movie made of Jesus & Mo based on the comic, they should ask this guy to play Mo. He’s perfect.

  8. Tim Brierley says:

    Reminds me of an episode of the comedy Only Fools and Horses. I seem to remember a ‘crying Mary’ being used to raise money for a leaky church roof….the leaky roof was causing water to seep in and down the face of the statue of Mary, giving the impression of tears. I seem to remember Del Boy was responsible for the leaky roof too, having stolen the lead off it!

    Anyone for an indulgence? Only £10 a shot!

  9. sheldon says:

    As there is no real evidence of the existence of gods, believers will grab at any straw to reinforce their ridiculous beliefs and woe betide anyone who points out their fallacies.