Multi-Faith Statement of Solidarity with Ranganathan Kurrukal
Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus invites you to endorse the following statement.
பெண்ணாகி ஆணாய் அலியாய் பிறங்கொளிசேர்
“He is male, female and ali [third gender] and also different from all these.”
- Manikkavasagar in praise of Lord Siva (Thiruvempavai, verse 18)
As religious leaders, representatives of faith-based organizations, and concerned community members, we are appalled by the harassment and violent threats that have been directed at Sri Ranganathan Kurrukal, a Hindu priest based in Toronto, Canada, for recently conducting a same-sex marriage ceremony.
Kurrukal agreed to bless this wedding after the couple had been rejected by numerous Hindu temples and priests in the area. This has led to a severe backlash from his family and conservative members of the community. Kurrukal has received multiple death threats by text, phone, and social media. Toronto Hindu organizations have pushed him out and he is facing exclusion from a local association of Hindu priests.
We condemn this backlash against a religious leader who sought to honor and celebrate the love between two LGBTQ+ community members. We stand in solidarity with Sri Ranganathan Kurrukal.
Hindu communities have long welcomed gender and sexual diversity. Although homophobia and transphobia were never absent, LGBTQ+ Hindus are affirmed through sacred narratives, iconography, and theology.
Hindu traditions teach us that the divine exists equally in all beings irrespective of gender identity and sexual orientation. The Shvetashvatara Upanishad (5.11) tells us that our soul (atman), which is identical to the supreme divine reality (brahman), is beyond distinctions of “woman, man, and third-sex person.”
Sadhana spiritual council member Dr. Anantanand Rambachan reminds us that “Homophobia, characterized as it is by fear, hate, and denigration of third sex persons, finds no justification in Hinduism and betrays its most fundamental vision and values.”
Indeed, homophobia and transphobia betray the values of compassion and social justice that lie at the heart of all our faith traditions. We must resist homophobia and transphobia wherever they manifest and commit to uplifting inclusive religious leadership in all of our communities.
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