HAF Responds to USA Today's "And I'd Like to Thank God Almighty"

Minneapolis, MN (October 12, 2009) - The Hindu American Foundation submitted the following Letter to the Editor to the USA Today.  The letter was not published.

Dear Editor,

Thank you for Tom Krattenmacker's insightful article, "And I'd like to thank God Almighty," in the October 12, 2009 issue.  As an avid Gator fan, Florida alumnus and devout Hindu, I have long been conflicted about Tim Tebow.  He is a spectacularly talented player bringing national acclaim to my team and inculcating timeless values of perseverance, determination and sportsmanship to my sons.  But his activism for a right-wing Christian perspective that promotes a religious exclusivity of only one path to salvation, both here and in the Philippines, propounds an ideology that devastates ancient and indigenous cultures and belief systems in the name of "soul saving" harvests --India, the homeland of my faith, included.
The religious peer pressure Krattenmacker alluded to is further magnified at the high school level.  Through my work advocating for a progressive voice for Hindu Americans, we unfortunately hear too often of instances in which student athletes feel pressured or coerced into religious participation because they fear that the coach will not play them or the team will see them as the "other."  Unfortunately for those kids who are courageous enough to take a stand, ostracization and ridicule from fellow teammates quickly follows.  
I hope this article generates awareness, introspection and mindful discussion on the need for mutual respect, tolerance and pluralism in this country.  
Suhag Shukla, Esq.
Legal Counsel and Managing Director 
Hindu American Foundation