"Paul Kurtz is a friend of Edamaruku, and defends his right to closely examine paranormal and religious claims."
PARANORMAL INVESTIGATOR THREATENED WITH ARREST IN INDIA
On March 10th, Sanal Edamaruku, President of the Rationalist International, headquartered in India, investigated a reported miracle of a religious nature in Mumbai. Droplets of water were found trickling from the feet of Jesus on a crucifix in front of the Church of Our Lady of Velankanni. Hundreds of people had come to the site to place some of the supposed holy water in bottles and other vessels.
According to Edamaruku, there was no miracle. He said that the water was drained from a source near a washing room, and that the water arrived at Jesus’ feet via a tube. Local church leaders that observed the investigation were angered by Edamaruku’s findings.
Edamaruku explained his findings on a live television program and said that Catholic Church officials were guilty of miracle mongering for claiming that a miracle had occurred. Some religious leaders demanded an apology from Edamaruku for his remarks. The rationalist declined, and some religious leaders brought a blasphemy case against him. The Mumbai police have threatened to arrest him for allegedly offending the religious sensibilities of a religious community.
The Institute for Science and Human Values (ISHV) joins rationalists, humanists, freethinkers and others worldwide in condemning calls for the arrest of Edamaruku. India has a long history of promoting rationalism, good science and secular values. No one should be dissuaded from investigating extraordinary truth claims, especially when such claims could be used to take unfair advantage of poor, desperate and defenseless citizens.
According to Norm Allen Jr., Director of International Outreach for ISHV, “The Institute for Science and Human Values staunchly defends freedom of expression and freedom of inquiry. How can democracy thrive or even survive if these values are trampled underfoot?”
Paul Kurtz,chairman of ISHV, has a positive view of the future. He believes that, despite religious superstition such as that found in India and throughout the globe, human beings will one day be “liberated from the constraints of ancient fears and cowardice….” Kurtz is a friend of Edamaruku, and defends his right to closely examine paranormal and religious claims.
Supporters of Edamaruku have written letters opposing police action against the rationalist to the Home Minister at the Maharastra government in Mumbai, India, and to the Central Minister in Delhi, India. “Together, we can take a stand for reason and true liberty,” Allen said. “We must not allow honest investigations to be hindered by fears of offending people’s religious sensibilities.”