Pope lumps "secularism" with "religious fundamentalism"

Written by: Abdul Nisar
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Nevada (US), Dec 20 (ANI): Hindu statesman Rajan Zed has criticized Pope Benedict for herding secularism and religious fundamentalism together.

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, in his message for the celebration of the "44th World Day of Peace 2011", published on official Holy See website, wrote: "It should be clear that religious fundamentalism and secularism are alike..."

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that state should be neutral on the matters of belief but allow free practice of religions. Both religion and government needed to be protected from undue interference of each other.

As Pope talked of "building a world where all are free to profess their religion or faith", how it could be possible if the world had a state religion, Rajan Zed asked.

We needed world societies based on religious freedom, equality, pluralism, tolerance, peace, and not based on politicians describing their decisions as mandate from heaven and doing selective highlighting of sacred texts to push their selfish agenda, Zed pointed out.

Rajan Zed argued that on the other hand, Pope also wanted "Religious Freedom", which he called "the Path to Peace"; and Pope also said: Religious freedom is not the exclusive patrimony of believers, but of the whole family of the earth's peoples...There should be no obstacles should he or she eventually wish to belong to another religion or profess none at all...Zed, however, agreed with Pope when he said: The sincere search for God has led to greater respect for human dignity... A healthy dialogue between civil and religious institutions is fundamental for the integral development of the human person and social harmony... promote moral truth in the world of politics and diplomacy... (world) needs universal, shared ethical and spiritual values... Religious freedom is an authentic weapon of peace...January one is the World Day of Peace. (ANI)

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