This is a transcript of a conversation between Chris Butler, "S", Siddhaswarupananda (Siddhaswarupa Dasa since he abandoned/broke his sanyasa vows) and David Muncie, TKD, Tusta Krishna das on September 11, 1998 regarding SoI Poland's "Science of Identity Institute Chaitanya Mission" conflict with the Republican League and among others Dominican Information Center on Sects and New Religious Movements. This is a transcript publicly read in Poland.
Facts: It was "SoI" Poland activists who first gave meditation classes in the art studio apartment of Leon's 80-year-old devotee Narasimha dasa, which he rented from a church or religious order. There is no information about the Church's approval of this teaching. There were Catholic schools in the area. The lease agreement has been terminated (in polish "wypowiedziec" and "rozwiazac" have different meaning). A scandal broke out. Previously, the staircase was pasted with cards, e.g. "sects are insects" and skull&bones.
September 11, 1998
S: I don't think we should continue doing what we're doing in connection with this Republic League, or whoever these people are as far as having debates with them. There's no reason to do that. We're just giving them juice. If we do do this, if they do think that there's something we need to be doing, I think we should be considering taking a different angle on it. I probably talked to you guys about this before, that you're being defensive. It seems like you're still being defensive, that they're still doing the same angle, that they're accusing us of certain things and then we deny them, saying, "Where's your proof?" and then try to tell everybody, "We're okay, this is our history, this is our sampradaya." It sounds defensive to me still. Didn't you guys tell them not to do that?
TKD: Well, yes, I've talked to them.
S: It's kind of hard to not be in a situation of defensiveness if you go there and you know you're going to be with people who are attacking you. It seems automatic that you're going to be defensive. I want to be on the offense. So what we should do is consider taking another angle on it, and that is taking the offensive. If, for example, we go to these shows we should take the offensive. Say that it's quite ironic and unbelievable that the Catholic Church would be attacking ourselves concerning some of these things when they have such big problems of their own. We should look at what's at the base of these people's telling lies about us.
It's because they know that young people are turned off by the Catholic Church, that people in general no longer have any attraction due to the activities of their priests. Many people have lost faith in the Catholic Church, and they're afraid of losing followers. In fact, the Catholic Church has really become full of homosexuals in their seminaries. Their seminaries are known breeding grounds for homosexuals and pedophilic activities. And have a whole list of all the pedophilic activities and the priests who've come out because they've raped 30 boys or 100 boys or whatever. And so on. And also talk about how so many of the priests are in fact alcoholics.
It would be interesting to note that in fact no serious members of Chaitanya Mission have ever been in a mental institution, but we're sure that there are a very large number of Catholics in Polish mental institutions. If you went to Poland right now and asked people what their religion is, the vast majority would be Catholic. And we could go to these mental institutions and find thousands of people who were raised as Catholics and follow the Catholic system and they're in the mental institution.
In fact, what's really going on here is that these people are afraid of religious freedom. The reason they're afraid of religious freedom is because they know that our religion is superior to theirs. In other words, they know that they cannot compete on the level of ideas and spiritual experience. They know that they cannot compete with us on the level of philosophy, theology and actual religious experience of the practitioner. So they have to go the route of telling lies and so on. These people are afraid that they're going to lose followers to us.
Take the offensive, my point being this: If these people go around and they want to get in a wrestling match with us like this, then we hit them. Not with lies, but with truth - "What we're saying is all documented, and what you're saying is not documented at all. Yours is just outright lies, whereas everything we're saying is documented: the rampant homosexuality and pedophilia, the alcoholism and so forth. This is all documented and recorded. Whereas everything you're saying is not documented or recorded at all. It's all just lies." If they want to get into a wrestling match with us on that level, then we'll play on that level.
Just basically say, "Listen, if you guys want to have a discussion here on philosophy and debate and see where we have common ideas and try to have a relationship that's cordial, one that's cooperative and ecumenical, then this is what we have hoped for. But you people have essentially declared war on us. You're trying to destroy us. You're trying to destroy us, but not by having a superior philosophy or theology or religion. You do not want to have our competition be in the realm of ideas and so on. You want to smash us through Nazi-type fanatical tactics of lies and innuendo. First we tried to be nice. We have not focused on the negative side of the Catholic religion. We tried to see the positive, and we continue to do so. However, if you are going to debate with us and criticize us with lies and you don't have any documentation, then we have no choice but to respond in kind in the sense that we will be criticizing and pointing out in fact the downside of the Catholic Church."
Then go into what we're saying. Every time we go on the air with them, the public hears about pedophiles, alcoholics, faggots. Every time. Every single time they go on the air with us, we need to bring up the fact that the church is full of this. Then what will happen is that if we hit them strong enough they will leave us alone. Do it in a humble way. "Listen, we feel sorry about your religion. We're sad that you people do not have your act together. We're sad that you have lost the taste for spiritual life and spirituality. We are saddened by this. It's not that we gloat in it. We would like to see you succeed. We would like to see all Christians and everyone from every religion succeed in their attempts to get closer to God and to help people get closer to God. The fact is that you people, by and large, to a certain extent have failed and people are therefore looking for other paths. We are offering another path. And if you want to know why you have failed, here are some of the reasons why you have failed:
1. People don't actually have any spiritual experiences. They don't get any. Maybe they don't get something from your religion.
2. They're turned off by the fact that - so many reports have been documented for so long now that your seminaries are full of homosexuals. Essentially, your church cannot speak out strongly against homosexuality because you're so full of homosexuals. There are so many homosexual priests and so many of them are pedophiles that nothing ever happens to them. All over the world there are Catholic pedophile priests who have over the years molested tens of thousands of children. None of these people are in jail; none of these people get exposed by the church. The church just moves them around to some other parish after they get caught. How can people trust this kind of church?
Make a list of points. Just hit them hard. What will happen is that, if they have a brain in their head, they'll probably stop. But if they want to continue, then hell, let's continue. Stop being defensive. "People come to us because they know when they come and hear our philosophy they see logic in it, they see reason in it, they see truth in it, they experience truth in it. When they chant with us they experience a happiness within themselves that they don't get when they're with you people. But in any case, if you say a lot of people get happiness within your church, then that's fine. We're very happy for them. We don't go around and picket in front of your churches and try to shut your churches down. We respect the rights of individuals. So if you're going to sit here and start criticizing us because you say that we believe in perverted sexuality or this or that - you have no documentation, nothing to back it up - then we are going to in fact expose you for what you really are, and that is absolute hypocrites. You are the people who believe in perverse sexuality. You people are the ones with seminaries that are full of homosexuals, etc. You are the people who hide pedophiles and protect pedophiles and move pedophile priests from parish to parish. You've been doing this for decades. How many people out there became homosexuals because of what their parish priest did to them? And how many of those people that have become homosexuals around the world are now dying of AIDS or spread AIDS around the world? What is the Catholic Church's responsibility in the creation of the homosexual movement?" Etc., etc., etc. Just hit them with it.
But then of course come back to the humble side, too. "We really don't like to have to bring up the dirty underside of what you people's faults are. But you're forcing us to now. We'd rather debate and consider - we'd rather work together cooperatively as best we can with people. But you are the ones who are trying to destroy us. Let's get the truth out there. And the truth is this: you don't have any evidence whatsoever for any of the you're making. And there are tons of evidence about the things we are saying about you. Now, if you don't want to play on that level, then let's go to another level and discuss philosophy. Let us discuss the differences or the similarities in our teachings. Let us try to see the positive and try to work together in some way. If you don't want to do that, if you want to try to shut us down like fanatics and Nazis, then this is not acceptable. We're not going to sit here and accept you telling lies about us and everything else."
Just demand from them. Say, "No. You are saying this. We want to know why have you not protested in front of the Catholic Church. You say you're concerned about young people. If you're concerned about young people, what have you, as an individual or as an organization, ever done to protect the children of Poland from pedophilic priests. What have you ever done? What have you ever done to get the homosexuals and the pedophiles out of the Catholic Church? Why aren't you working on the problems that you have within your own church and that are really affecting the children, really affecting our society?" They focus on young people, right? "Oh, we care about young people, we want to protect young people." "If you want to protect young people, then what have you done about the pedophiles that are wearing priests' robes?"
I just think that we need to do it in a way that we preface it with a sincere statement of respect for Catholics and the Catholic faith and that we have no desire to be critical. However, when Catholic activists or priests criticize our faith, which is actually older than their own, we have no choice but to point out that if they really care about people, especially young people, they should not be attacking us but should be using their energy to clean up their own house. As Jesus said, "Take the log out of their own eye." Young people around the world, including in Poland, who have been molested by Catholic priests have been damaged emotionally and spiritually. If they really cared, this is what they would do. They would try to clean up their own house first.
We have no desire to be criticizing the Catholics. But our hope is that these people will direct their supposed interest and concern for the people of Poland, especially young people, to improving their own faith and clean up their own house and get rid of homosexuals from their seminaries and get rid of the pedophiles and child molesters and help put them in jail and help their priests who are alcoholics, etc. This will be more likely to achieve what they want to achieve - namely, to get young people and the people of Poland to respect them more - rather than simply criticizing us. Instead of criticizing us, they should simply try to improve themselves.
We do not spend our energy trying to criticize them. We try to spend our energy trying to improve our own spiritual condition. We try to improve our mission. If they have any sincere, bona fide, constructive criticism that they can tell us - if they see, for example, that we are hurting young people - if they can show us, "You are hurting young people by this certain way. These are the young people who have been harmed." If they have any evidence of this or if they have anything where we are harming people in any way, then we would want them to come forward and tell us. If one of our priests, for example, if one of our leaders, was a homosexual or a pedophile, we would want them to come and point that out to us so we could get rid of such a person.
Right now they don't bring us any evidence. They don't bring us anything that actually shows that there is any harm being done or how we could improve ourselves. All we can do is do our best and carry on with our mission as best we can and we would hope that they would try to do the same. That angle on it, that if anybody in the public or people like themselves have any actual criticism that's constructive and they truly feel we're hurting anybody or that there's something we can do to improve the way we do our work, we are always willing and open to accept such criticism. But we cannot accept simply fanatics who are lying and criticizing things that don't exist or saying things that are untrue and having this blanket fanatical "anti" attitude. These people cannot be taken seriously because they're obviously not sincere.
In other words, it's a humble, honest attitude. We're not fighting with them. We're simply pointing out, saying, "Listen. If you're sincere, you have this energy, you want to organize and improve things, then clean up your own house. There's all this damage being done to young people." Just keep repeating the same thing. Get your main things over and over. "Clean up your own house. Get the log out of your own eye. Get rid of the homosexuals and the pedophiles. Apologize to the young people who have been molested in Poland and elsewhere." Just keep repeating it.
And then say, "If there is ever any evidence that any of our teachers or anybody in our mission is engaging in the kind of activities of drug-taking and alcoholism that, some of your priests fall into, or if there's any evidence that our teachers are not following our principles of morality or that they are hurting young people in some way, we are always willing to receive such information so that we can try to keep our house in order. We call upon the public and people in general that if there ever are any problems like this, certainly we want to know about them. But this kind of blanket fanatical hatred that is being expressed here without any evidence or without any information is not at all acceptable."
TKD: I was just thinking, why don't we write this up also as a pamphlet or a big, long letter and send it to a few thousand churches in Poland, all the top officials.
S: Yes, I think it's a very good idea. Get something written up with a nice vibe. Wishing them well and wishing Pope John Paul well. That in India followers of Vaishnavism have never interfered with Catholics and so on. This is an unfortunate situation. Definitely I think this should be done. Get something written up nicely like this. That's probably a better way to take the offensive than be defensive.
TKD: Yeah, and let them know what the other alternative is. If they want to do that, then we can make all this information available, too.
S: Yeah, but we should be having this as something for the public. We should do this in "Haribol Polska."
TKD: I thought we could give it to all the media, too. Send it to all the church people and the media.
S: Yeah. Definitely. But it's the kind of thing you could put in your magazine. An open letter to these Catholic groups that are criticizing us. Unlike many officials in the Catholic faith, we encourage people to come forward if they have evidence of any problems - what I described. If they have any such evidence they should bring it forward to us and so on. We're always open. Maybe even to the point that - there are many issues that we could be working in common on in the spirit of religious tolerance and understanding.
The other thing I was going to bring up is we should give serious consideration to - or, actually, do, rather than just consider - doing something in India. Going to Puri and getting photographs, getting videotapes, having some Polish people go there and meet maybe with Hindu organizations and tell them the problems that we're having. Describe how in Poland we are having these difficulties and how we would like them to help us by approaching the Christian Catholics over there or whatever and maybe do a protest in front of their churches, if need be. "What's good for the goose is good for the gander" (or whatever they say). "If it's good for me, it should be good for you."
To be honest with you, I think one of the easiest ways you're going to get the Catholics up on top bummed would be if Catholics in India start protesting what the Catholics in Poland are doing. That's going to be more effective than just us protesting. We have to show that we can make their lives hard, too. But this would be easier, of course, if we just did this first. But it's not necessarily either/or. Anyway, that's a subject you should maybe think about and maybe start implementing or planning on implementing.
TKD: If we're going to go to India, there are a couple things we could do with video if we have video people there. We could do a thing like we talked before about a whole thing to raise money, showing the terrible condition of the holy lands.
S: Yeah. But we can also just do a nice thing on going to some of the sacred places and get footage. And we can do a nice voiceover later about some of the holy places ________ Lord Chaitanya's places. You can get a lot and then we don't need to use all of it. Video is cheap, video is easy. A cameraman is all you need.
Re: Conversation with Priest from Puri
S: Did you tape this conversation we had with this priest from Puri?
TKD: Yes, they did.
S: I don't see any reason why we need to have him edit anything. He's not going to help us anymore anyway. If he comes out and says, "I didn't say those things," as long as you have a tape of him saying that, then you can prove that he lied, and you then say that obviously he got pressured from above and so on.
So we can print it. But the point is that - to me it is valuable if he said that she is wrong and that if we tried to put a Hindu temple in a Polish holy place it would not be tolerated. And those things where he's talking about Puri and how nice it is, some of the things you guys told me. What you guys should do in that same issue is have an article on Puri, an article on Lord Jagannath, an article on Lord Chaitanya in Puri, chanting and immersed in love for Krishna and so on. Maybe take something from the Chaitanya Charitamrita or whatever. Have some pictures of Jagannath temple or something.
TKD: Yeah, they did have something similar to that.
S: That's what I would do. As long as we can say that the publishers said that we cannot accept censorship. It's a matter of principle. If a person says something, and it's on the record that they say it, then they can't come back and say, "I want to edit it," because they got pressure from somebody above or something. Otherwise it would set a dangerous precedent. As journalists we have to be honest about things. Make sure they didn't erase that tape or anything to reuse it. You have to do that first.
S: I don't know if this is a new group: The Center for Information about Destructive Cults.
TKD: Yeah, it seems like a new one.
S: Why are we threatening to sue them? Why don't we just sue them?
TKD: Yeah. I talked to Tapasya das briefly today. I told him I would talk to him later because I wasn't feeling good. I told him that if they do anything where they want us to talk with anyone else, we should prepare a piece of paper that we give to them every time that says that if they want to say anything, make sure it's true. If it isn't, then this is to put them on notice that we're going to drag them into the court.
S: Yeah, we just sue these guys. There's no value in going and being nice to these people. No value in it at all. You're not trying to be friends with them. You're trying to have them scared - there's a saying (was it Reagan?): "I don't want the rest of the people in the world to love us. We just want them to respect us." Actually, one of the guys said "to fear us." "We don't want them to love us; we want them to fear us." So that's what we want. We want them to fear us. Make that clear. I'm very tired of these people sort of grubbing around in the dirt like this. "Please. You don't have any evidence. You shouldn't say these things."
September 14, 1998
People in Poland also have a letter from Tapasya das to the leaders in which he calls for boldly posing "challenges" to the Polish government and the Catholic Church.
Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/18/2023 05:39AM by Culthusiast.