Vantage point

Thursday, May 17, 2007

God Be Damned

The Uttar Pradesh elections wrapped up while I was on vacation and Mayawati's BSP stormed to a majority. Having lived in UP under her as well as Mulayam's regime, I welcome the result. I hate the Mulayam and his party more than I hate even the CPM.

But this post is about something else. Mayawati is an atheist and has ranted against god and religion on many occasions. Yet she has been elected Chief Minister once again. It is interesting that even though religion does play a big role in Indian politics, the religiousness of political leaders is not an issue at all. No one knows about how often our leaders go to the temple/church/mosque and no one seems to care. Even though most Indians are deeply religious. I guess because in India it is not religion that is really the issue. It is religious (or caste) identity.

By contrast in America, you can not be a successful politician unless you wear your religiousness on your sleeve. And it is not just the christian right that I am talking about. Even the San Francisco liberal speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi, makes a big show of her devout Catholicism. In fact there is apparently only one Congressman who openly says he is an atheist (I forget his name).

The religiousness of politicians is not an issue in most European countries either. Yet it is a big deal in America. And it is a big deal in the Islamic world.

That's funny. The only places where your religiousness is necessary for your political success are the Muslim countries and the United States of America. Heh.