Diverse religious leaders urge Mandalay Bay to remove statues of Hindu & Jain deities & apologize
In a remarkable interfaith gesture; Christian-Hindu-Buddhist-Jewish-Jain religious leaders have urged the Las Vegas casino Mandalay Bay to remove statues of various Hindu and Jain deities from its Foundation Room night club, calling it highly inappropriate.
Nevada’s Greek Orthodox Christian Priest Stephen R. Karcher, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, prominent Buddhist Priest Matthew T. Fisher, well-known Jewish Rabbi ElizaBeth Webb Beyer, and renowned Jain leader Sulekh C. Jain from Las Vegas; in a joint statement in Nevada today; said that placing highly revered Hindu and Jain deities to adorn a casino night-club was very disrespectful, out-of-line, and could be disturbing to the adherents of these faiths.
Karcher-Zed-Fisher-Beyer-Jain urged William Hornbuckle and Paul Salem, Acting CEO and Board Chairman respectively of MGM Resorts International, the parent company of Mandalay Bay Casino, to offer a formal apology to Hindu and Jain communities for this insensitivity.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that Hindu deities Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva, goddess Saraswati, etc.; were meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be thrown around loosely in a casino night club for dramatic effects or mercantile/other agenda. Such denigration of sacred deities was hurtful to the devotees.
Las Vegan Sulekh C. Jain stressed that pratima (statue) of Lord Mahavira belonged in a temple for veneration and not to be misused or mishandled by the patrons of a night club. He suggested that the Mandalay Bay Casino could donate it to a Jain temple and the Jain community would gladly pay for its transportation.
Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion followers and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken frivolously. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, Zed noted.
Karcher-Zed-Fisher-Beyer-Jain further said that they, the faith leaders, were for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at trivializing it hurt the followers.