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Man Faces Death Threats and Jail for Pointing Out That Weeping Jesus "Miracle" Is Just Faulty Plumbing

World  (tags: 'CIVILLIBERTIES!', 'HUMANRIGHTS!', Catholic Church, crime, ethics, fanatics, freedoms, India, politics, religion, society, world )

- 2425 days ago -
Sanal Edamaruku arrived and established that this was not holy water so much as holey plumbing, the backlash was severe. The renowned rationalist was accused of blasphemy, charged with offences that carry a three-year prison sentence and eventually,-->


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Roseann d (178)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 10:09 am
Hilarious! Hole-y, hole-y, hole-y! Death threats, eh? I guess some people need a lesson in Christ's teachings since they haven't seem to have comprehended them yet or their memories have lapsed.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 10:11 am
(Photograph: Sherwin Crasto/Associated Press) (Shown: A statue of Christ in Mumbai. Local people declared a miracle when 'tears' trickled down the statue at the Church of Our Lady of Velan Kanni.)

When water started trickling down a statue of Jesus Christ at a Catholic church in Mumbai earlier this year, locals were quick to declare a miracle. Some began collecting the holy water and the Church of Our Lady of Velankanni began to promote it as a site of pilgrimage.

So when Sanal Edamaruku arrived and established that this was not holy water so much as holey plumbing, the backlash was severe. The renowned rationalist was accused of blasphemy, charged with offences that carry a three-year prison sentence and eventually, after receiving death threats, had to seek exile in Finland.

Now he is calling for European governments to press Delhi into dropping the case. And on the first leg of a tour around EU capitals on Friday, he warned that India was sacrificing freedom of expression for outdated, colonial-era rules about blasphemy.

"There is a huge contradiction in the content of the Indian constitution which guarantees freedom of speech and the blasphemy law from 1860 under then colonial rule," Edamaruku told the Guardian in an interview in Dublin.

"This blasphemy law can affect anyone in India – even a girl recently who wrote on Facebook against closing down a city because of the death of a famous local politician. She was prosecuted under the blasphemy law and another girl who 'liked' her comment on Facebook was also arrested and then charged with blasphemy."

Edamaruku, who has the support of rationalists and atheists such asRichard Dawkins, is well known in India for debunking religious myths, and was already unpopular among Indian Catholics for publicly criticising Mother Teresa's legacy in Kolkata.

When the state "miracle" was pronounced, he went to Mumbai and found that the dripping water was due to clogged drainage pipes behind the wall where it stood. His revelation provoked death threats from religious zealots and ultimately charges of blasphemy under the Indian penal code in the Mumbai high court.

"India cannot criticise Pakistan for arresting young girls for blaspheming against Islam while it arrests and locks up its own citizens for breaking our country's blasphemy laws," he said. "It is an absurd law but also extremely dangerous because it gives fanatics, whether they are Hindus, Catholics or Muslims, a licence to be offended. It also allows people who are in dispute with you to make up false accusations of blasphemy."

Edamaruku said his exposure of the weeping statue was also a contribution to public health in Mumbai as some believers were drinking the water hoping it could cure ailments. "This was sewage water seeping through a wall due to faulty plumbing," he said. "It posed a health risk to people who were fooled into believing it was a miracle."

He has been living in Finland since the summer. He was in Europe on a lecture tour in July when his partner rang to say the police had arrived at his flat. "I felt really upset because under the blasphemy law you cannot get bail until the court case begins. I would be in jail now if I had been at my apartment in Delhi," he said.

He has spurned an offer from a senior Indian Catholic bishop to apologise for the exposure of the "miracle".

"The Catholic archbishop of Bombay, Oswald, Cardinal Gracias, has said that if I apologise for the 'offence' I have caused he will see to it that the charges are dropped. This shows that he has influence in the situation but he will not use it unless I apologise, which I will not do as I have done nothing wrong," he said.

"In a way I am lucky because I have friends and supporters in Europe. I am well known in India and have the telephone numbers of at least five Indian cabinet ministers. And I have some means of fighting back. But what would happen to the common man or woman if they were accused of blasphemy? They would be sent straight to jail without any chance of bail," he said.

Edamaruku asked for "mounting international pressure", particularly from Ireland and other EU nations, on the Indian government. Delhi had the power to halt the prosecution before a court case, citing a lack of evidence to pursue it, he said.

Mick Nugent, from Atheist Ireland, the organisation hosting the Indian's visit to the republic and Northern Ireland next week, said Edamaruku's plight also underlined the need for Dublin's Fine Gael-Labour government to repeal Ireland's blasphemy law.

"Blasphemy laws are very strange because they can be both very silly and also very sinister. They are very silly because you are talking about crying statues and moving statues or Virgin Marys appearing in tree stumps in Co Limerick. But on the other hand these type of laws are used in Islamic countries to jail people or sentence them to death. Or in Sanal's case facing a jail sentence for his work exposing bogus miracles.

"The Irish government should pay attention to Sanal's case and realise they must get rid of this absurd and dangerous law. Because we shouldn't be so smug in Ireland. After all, we have had the hysteria about moving statues and a man bringing people to a shrine in Co Mayo so they can look at the sun and see the Virgin Mary."

The Guardian / By Henry McDonald | reprinted by alternet |

Kit B (276)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 10:16 am

Is it not a miracle enough that we are alive on this planet? Why do we need to have these concocted "miracles"? In turn,make life a living hell for a man that was able to detect the obvious and speak up? Something must be missing in the "belief" factor if this how religious people treat their fellow man.

Elle B (82)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 12:05 pm
Ty and Amen Kit.

"Propaganda is as powerful as heroin; it surreptitiously dissolves all capacity to think.” ―Gil Courtemanche

"When dogma enters the brain, all intellectual activity ceases." ― Robert Anton Wilson

"When ideology is involved, truth is the first casualty." ―Tim Callanan

"A trifling rumor may cause a great calamity." ―Publilus Syrus

“How 'bout a shot of truth in that denial cocktail.” ― Jennifer Salaiz

“Come on, gentleman; let us drink to our stupidity.” ―Santosh Kalwar

lee e (114)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 1:32 pm
Elle - you've got Quite a source of quotations! Always apropos!
I don't think he'd fare much better in our "confederate" states either - the bible belt would have a "witch hunt"!!

Kit B (276)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 1:55 pm

They might just do that Lee but things are changing slowly but changing nonetheless. There is a point at which hypocrisy becomes too over whelming to be ignored.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 4:03 pm

Theodore Shayne (56)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 4:09 pm
I seem to remember a statue that oozed blood from the hands and feet. It was proven that the priest controlled the pump that regulated the plumbing. Of course with everything being digital; nano and holographic you can bet they have probably got some tremendous show in mind when they think the time is right. The return of Jesus anyone? India has always been known for its "I want to believe" attitude so give me a miracle." It doesn't matter much which god - they get riled up over things when you point out that they are being duped.

Mandi A (201)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 4:16 pm
How very sad that people cannot state an opinion or a fact without being charged with blasphemy. What a nightmare!

Tamara Hayes (185)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 4:24 pm
I think they all have holey's in their brains. I love your quotes Elle! And I wholeheartedly agree with you Mandi. It is indeed sad that one cannot exercise the 1st amendment anymore without somehow being penalized. I realize they don't have our Constitutional Amendments but still...... just sayin.

Mike M (8)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 4:29 pm
Humans are obtuse to life. They believe to many lies and that makes them afraid to live because there are so many just like them and that is comforting

Brad Miller (120)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 4:44 pm
I fear we won't ... can't, evolve past this ignorance, stupidity and bloodlust to make it to the next stage before we destroy ourselves. *sigh* "Hey bartender..."

"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man.”
~ Mark Twain

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
~ Will Rogers


Thomas P (275)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 5:04 pm

Ann B (60)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 5:27 pm

JL A (281)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 5:32 pm
So many different faces of intolerance to be found in this world...sad

Kit B (276)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 5:46 pm

Without dogs and cats what would be the point of a heaven?

Yes, J L, intolerance, in this case a burning desire for stupid, followed by cruel and unjust.

Irine L (0)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 5:58 pm
Sick, let's get all the fundamentalists and religinuts out of sight and stop them from meddling in other peoples' lives once and for all!

Joanne D (37)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 9:39 pm
I think it was Josephine Tey in "The Daughter of Time" who had a character say something like,"Have you ever noticed that when you tell someone a story is false, they get angry, not with the person who told it to them, but with you?" Sure, it's a normal human reaction - one, however, which does NOT deserve to be codified into law - it's too much like "Kill the messenger."

Terrie Williams (798)
Tuesday November 27, 2012, 9:46 pm
Can we stop them from breeding too, Irene? I would love to see that! :)

I'm with you, Brad.....If I believed in a 'Heaven'...if there were no dogs or cats or any animals there at all, it is NOT the place for me. My dogs are as close as I will ever get to any kind of 'God' and that's fine with me...and them I think! :)

How sad for the people of India that they cannot even bring forth the TRUTH of a situation. How sad to me that so many fanatics are so desperate to believe in a LIE....when common sense would tell a resonable person that it is not what it seems and to look further. But, like here, and all over the world, there are religious fanatics and fundies everywhere. Sigh. I am sooooooooooo tired of them.

Gloria picchetti (304)
Wednesday November 28, 2012, 5:21 am
We used to burn witches in Salem. Of course we are going backwards so I am not surprised.

Daniel Partlow (179)
Wednesday November 28, 2012, 6:25 am
This kind of religious fanatisism is what led me to shed my formal Catholic faith and adopt a policy of doing what is morally and ethically right instead of what formal religion teaches.

Aletta Kraan (146)
Wednesday November 28, 2012, 12:41 pm
Noted , thanks !

Phil P (94)
Wednesday November 28, 2012, 12:53 pm
I'm waiting until all the extreme religious right start lining up for mass suicides and bible thumping charlatans are tarred and feathered after the great Galactics land to check on their 10,000 year old seeding experiment on evolution.

David Menard (43)
Wednesday November 28, 2012, 1:34 pm
Even with a Proof positive concrete explanation based on logic.their brainwashed fear addled minds run and hide.They fear to use common sense and intellect because of what? Their irrational fear of being dammed for eternity for using reason to debunk a demonstrably (false) miracle.What supposedly loving deity would be so vindictive ,deceitful, irrational and cruel. Answer one that's for the reasons I just stated demonstrably not worth worshiping.Blasphemy laws worldwide need to be abolished They are like handguns wielded by chimps.

Barbara Goheen (0)
Wednesday November 28, 2012, 3:43 pm

Lois Jordan (63)
Wednesday November 28, 2012, 5:38 pm
Gee, point out the facts and get threatened with your life. Didn't Salman Rushdie have to go into hiding for 12 yrs. because a religion issued a fatwa on him? Oh, religion....your end is drawing near; your divisiveness and idiocy knows no bounds. Thanks for posting, Kit.

Rose Becke (141)
Wednesday November 28, 2012, 5:46 pm

Past Member (0)
Wednesday November 28, 2012, 9:18 pm
They should have patted him on the shoulder Cheers Kit

Roni Jo Patterson (4)
Wednesday November 28, 2012, 10:20 pm
Everyone is forgetting that God clogged the drainage pipes. Problem solved.

Marie W (67)
Wednesday November 28, 2012, 10:38 pm
Straight out of the Middle Ages.

Louise D (44)
Thursday November 29, 2012, 1:19 am
You would of thought they would of been grateful, a leaking water pipe can cause a hell of a lot of damage especially to a wall.

Parvez Zuberi (7)
Thursday November 29, 2012, 1:40 am
noted fail to understand where we people are heading

Sheryl G (359)
Thursday November 29, 2012, 4:04 am
Somehow too many have lost the core teachings of Jesus. Is very sad. People need to get a grip. Just look at the sunset, is it not beautiful. The smile upon a newborn is that not miracle enough. That we exist at all, miraculous.

Marie Therese Hanulak (30)
Thursday November 29, 2012, 4:36 am
That's a lesson to all rational people. DO NOT TOUCH PEOPLE'S SUPERSTIONS!

Madeleine watt (243)
Thursday November 29, 2012, 4:56 am
Allowing people freedom to believe whatever they find works in their world is just. But, and this is an important but, allowing anyone to hurt or kill others for differing is not. No deity should be "okay" with that.

Gloria H (88)
Thursday November 29, 2012, 5:18 am
Joseph Smith, Mormon founder (not God???) originally started off talking into a top hat and coming up with astonishing answers for any inquirer. Sort of a dog and pony (phony?) show.So now Mormonism is one of the fastest growing religions. Interestingly enough..there are many people with advanced degrees who belong to the church. Go figure.
this info from the book "Under the Banner of Heaven". A good read.
Goes to prove you can fool some of the people all the time.

Jay S (116)
Thursday November 29, 2012, 7:56 am
My, my, my. If this had been an article about Islam/Muslims all the anti-Catholic/Christian comments here would be condemned by the same ones as 'hate speech', wouldn't they? We vehemently oppose all so-called 'Blasphemy Laws'. Religion is just an opinion, like any other, and can/should be questioned/criticized freely. Only lies need fear that. But this is an biased opinion piece without back-up proofs for its claims.

This article is from an radical leftist anti-Christian, anti-Israel hate site that would never print anything of a critical nature against Islam, though it is very deserving of such. It is a left wing extremely biased site and should be questioned because of that, which obviously few, if any, here have bothered to do.

Here's a more rational article that questions the unverified claims of this article and man. How journalism has declined when reporters just accept what they're told without doing any fact checking, research or questioning about any thing:

Read this:
This article, while being against so-called 'Blasphemy Laws', as we ardently are too, finds the claims of this article a bit suspicious.

First of all the statue of Jesus shown in the article this is taken from is not against a wall or ceiling, so where does this supposed pipe of sewage come from? How is it plumbed into the statue? That should be a miracle in itself! Where is there any scientific proof of Edamaruku's claims? (See the photo of the statue in this link) And it was a Hindu woman, not a Catholic that made the first claims of seeping 'tears' from the statue. Finally, the statue does belong to the Catholic church anyway and the bishop nor the Catholic church have filed any complaints against this man who loves the limelight.


It is well known that the Catholic Church is very slow to recognize any claimed miracles and does a lot of studying of them, with scientific advice, before accepting any, which was not pointed out in this highly biased story.

The claim by this miracle debunker, who loves the spotlight, are yet to be proven scientifically that we can find. The Catholic church didn't file any blasphemy charges against this rabblerouser in the first place. An apology was demanded from this Edamaruku by a private group because he had insulted the Catholic Church and the Pope. Bishop Gracias (who wasn't even around when the event in question supposedly took place), in trying to defuse the situation has asked Edamaruku to apologize for offending the lay people so they will withdraw their official complaint against him. This article makes it seem that it is the Bishop who has filed a complaint and the one who could/would withdraw it. He did not. The Church seems to pretty much have just ignored this man and his claims.

Such anti-Catholic hate here and with a very left wing biased article from an anti-Christian site. Really Kit, we would expect more from you. We can't find any reference of this supposedly big story in even the Times of India. All this Guardian article has to go on is the claims of this Edamaruku. Pretty slim.

(BTW we aren't Catholics, we don't believe in any religion and we have many problems with most religion which we happily try to expose ourselves by quoting from their own scriptures, leaders' statements and other doctrines, but this was just an unresearched and unproven article with an obvious bias.)


Gene J (289)
Thursday November 29, 2012, 8:55 am
"Edamaruku said his exposure of the weeping statue was also a contribution to public health in Mumbai as some believers were drinking the water hoping it could cure ailments. "This was sewage water seeping through a wall due to faulty plumbing," he said. "It posed a health risk to people who were fooled into believing it was a miracle."

No state anywhere in this time should have in existence "blasphemy" laws for there can be no such thing. If there could be, then let whichever deity someone is interceding on behalf of make clear how She feels about it. If no other worldly offense is taken, nor any evidence of such exists, and there cannot be, then the entire "crime" is nothing but a simple and straightforward infringement on freedom of speech. Men may NOT speak for their deity and exact punishment for imagined slights, the very idea is ridiculous in the 21st century. Any deity capable of being offended could certainly deal with the issue without human intercession. Until one SPEAKS the very idea behind such laws is moronic and dangerous to the people of the world as a whole. As anyone can be accused of such a crime and punished without the offended ever making an appearance, only those who claim to speak for this particular deity. And those are all men. As usual. He's right, he did a public service, drinking that water would be like drinking from the Ganges, very dangerous and not from having blasphemed but from the very real diseases lurking in that water. THAT is the blasphemy here, that some men would rather rant about offending a deity than protecting the people of their community. A pox on them all. Which may well come to be true if they too are drinking that water...

Kit B (276)
Thursday November 29, 2012, 10:42 am

Thanks Gene, drinking this water just might cause those so easily fooled to turn to the real miracle - modern science to cure what ails them from consuming filthy water.

Klaus Peters (14)
Friday December 14, 2012, 7:48 am
This situation is just absolutely rediculous, surely the plumbing can be checked and proven to be faulty or not. If it is faulty then people are at risk.
Blasphemy laws worldwide definitely need to be abolished, they are ancient laws which Islam and Catholics still use.
The Catholic church should check out the plumbing quickly and varify the truth instead of quietly hoping people might believe in a miracle to get more converts.
As for Sanal Edamaruku, maybe he is an attention seeker to further his career, he may be right or wrong. No way of telling from where I am sitting.
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