Roman Catholics have come out in support of Hindus, who are disturbed over the portrayal of Lord Ganesh as a sex act on NBC’s Saturday Night Live (SNL) and want apologies from all those responsible for it, including actor Jim Carrey and NBC.
Father Charles T. Durante; Chair of the Life, Peace and Justice Commission of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Reno; in a statement in Nevada (USA), said: “Making fun of another’s religious beliefs leads to discontent and hurt feelings among peoples of different traditions. Is it really necessary to make fun of another’s religious beliefs?”
In a skit on NBC’s SNL (January eight) titled “The Wrath of Ganesh”, Jim Carrey (as erotic shaman Lee Licious) and Kenan Thomson (as Grady Wilson) demonstrated a sexual technique, mocking elephant-headed Lord Ganesh and his trunk in the process. Grady has traveled the world to find new sexual techniques to spice up the bedroom, the tagline of the episode (1587) “Grady Wilson’s Tantric N’Tasty” said.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, taking up this issue, has earlier said that Lord Ganesh was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be thrown around loosely in reimagined versions for dramatic effects in TV series for mercantile greed. Such absurd depiction of Lord Ganesh with no scriptural backing was hurtful to the devotees.
In a remarkable interfaith gesture, leaders of other faith traditions have expressed support to the upset Hindus. Reverend Dr. Tom Butler, highly respected United Methodist Pastor in Nevada (USA), in a statement, said: “…the reference to the Hindu deity, Lord Ganesh, goes beyond poor taste; it appears to be a direct insult and intentional offense to those whose religious beliefs and practices revere Lord Ganesh. An apology from the producer of the show to the Hindu people who were subjected to it is clearly due.”
Buddhist Minister ‘Jikai’ Phil Bryan said: “It is very sad that NBC, the admired showman Jim Carrey, and others responsible for the skit ‘The Wrath of Ganesh’ fail to ‘see’ how important Ganesh is to every Hindu family’s home… A heartfelt apology from all involved would show respect, love and understanding for all our Hindu friends”.
Jewish leader Rabbi ElizaBeth W. Beyer stated: “Portrayal of a religious group’s deity in a form that is condescending and low is a serious affront to the many Hindus who worship Ganesh…Hollywood star Jim Carrey, NBC and others responsible for lampooning Hindu Lord Ganesh should provide public apologies…We Jews fully support Hindu leader Rajan Zed’s protest initiative on this issue…”
Annabelle Younger, Director of International Society for Krishna Consciousness for Northern Nevada, in a statement addressed to “NBC, Saturday Night Live and Jim Carrey”, said: “It would be to your benefit and the honorable deed for you to publicly offer an apology to those millions of people who worship Ganesh”. She described “Tantric N’Tasty” skit on Ganesh as “extremely offensive and completely TASTELESS”.
Swami Pooja Saraswati, a well respected spiritual leader, called this SNL skit “disgusting”. “I condemn such outrageous degradation of consciousness…NBC network and sponsors of the show should be boycotted”, she added.
Such trivialization of Lord Ganesh was disturbing and offensive to the one billion Hindus world over, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said in a statement in Nevada and requested NBC to immediately remove it from all its websites and other links.
Rajan Zed also asked Golden Globe winner actor-comedian Jim Carrey (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) , actor-comedian Kenan Thomson, NBC Universal President and Chief Executive Officer, and SNL Executive Producer Lorne Michaels to tender a public apology for it and urged them not to inappropriately drag Hindu deities to advance the commercial or other agenda in the future.
Reverend Larry Edward Schneider, a Unity Church leader, in a statement, also sought public apologies from Carrey, Zucker, and Michaels for hurting the feelings of Hindu faithful.
Meanwhile, Forum for Hindu Awakening has called it a “grave denigration” and “vulgar mockery of Sri Ganesh”, appealing devout Hindus worldwide to protest against it.
Hindus welcomed Hollywood and other entertainment industries to immerse in Hinduism but taking it seriously and respectfully and not just for indecorous showing of Hindu symbols and concepts to advance their selfish agenda. Casual flirting sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols and hurting the devotees, Zed pointed out.
Rajan Zed argued that Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. No faith, larger or smaller, should be ridiculed at; Zed said and added if Hollywood or other entertainment executives needed any assistance about Hinduism, he or other Hindu scholars would be glad to help.
Emmy winning late-night comedy show SNL, which entertains millions each week, entered 36th season on September 25. Headquartered in New York (USA), founded in 1926, and available in about 112 million households; NBC Universal claims to be one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience.
Lord Ganesh, however, is favorite of many Hollywood celebrities. According to reports, actress-director Goldie Hawn reveres Lord Ganesh, actress Olivia Hussey possesses an extensive collection of his statues, actress Kelli Williams considers him as her favorite, while writer-director Tracey Jackson wears Lord Ganesh necklace. In Bollywood, Mumbai-based Indian film industry considered largest in the world, most of the productions start with invoking Lord Ganesh.
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesh is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.