Roman Catholics have come out in support of Hindus who are upset at the inappropriate usage of Kali and other Hindu deities by the Georgia (USA) online games developer Hi-Rez Studios in the upcoming online action video game SMITE.
Father Charles T. Durante, well known Roman Catholic leader in Nevada (USA), in a statement, said: “Respect for religious practice and beliefs is a basic tenet of our land. When using religious images in commercial media basic respect calls for understanding the teachings behind those images. This need is only heightened when using a religion's supreme images. I would hope that understanding and respect will bring a mutual agreement honoring these Hindu concerns.”
Jews and Buddhists have already supported the cause of protesting Hindus with statements issued by prominent Jewish leader in Western USA Rabbi ElizaBeth W. Beyer and distinguished Buddhist leader from Nevada Reverend Jikai’ Phil Bryan recently. While Rabbi Beyer asked the video game company “to avoid trivializing the deeply held beliefs of Hindus by changing the product accordingly”, Reverend Bryan commented: “Shame on the game-makers for denigrating these Supreme Beings”.
Meanwhile, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed who spearheaded this protest, in a statement few days back, urged Alpharetta headquartered developer Hi-Rez Studios to immediately remove Kali and other Hindu gods from the game as it trivialized the highly revered deities of Hinduism.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that in a video game set-up, the player would control the movements of goddess Kali and other Hindu deities, while in reality the devotees put the destinies of themselves in the hands of their deities.
Moreover, portrayal of goddess Kali, who was highly revered by Hindus, appeared like a porno star in the SMITE version shown on the company website, which was quite distressing for the devotees, Rajan Zed pointed out.
Zed argued that reimagining Hindu scriptures and deities for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Controlling and manipulating goddess Kali and other Hindu deities with a joystick/ button/keyboard/mouse was denigration. Goddess Kali and other Hindu deities were meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines and not meant to be reduced to just a “character” in a video game to be used in combat in the virtual battleground.
Rajan Zed stated that video game makers should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects and no faith, larger or smaller, should be plundered. As these games left lasting impact on the minds of highly impressionable children, teens and other young people; such games would create more misunderstandings about Hinduism, which was already a highly misunderstood religion in the West, Zed added.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.