News: Indian skeptic faces 3 year prison sentence for explaining dripping crucifix

Sanal Edamaruku faces 3 years in prison for telling the truth.

Catholics in Mumbai are outraged at a skeptic who pointed out that their latest miracle was full of it . . . literally.

The local Catholics spotted water dripping from a crucifix in Mumbai’s western suburbs. They eagerly lapped up the “miracle water”, thinking it had magical powers.

Sanal Edamaruku, president of the Indian Rationalist Association and Rationalist International, inspected the site and pinpointed the source of the water. A leaking toilet drain.

For explaining that the only “magic power” the water has is to transfer gastrointestinal infections and other disease, Edamaruku now faces up to three years in prison for “blasphemy”.

“It’s a case of miracle-mongering,” Edamaruku told AFP from his home in New Delhi. “Any kind of miracle-mongering is ultimately to get money and power.”

Accusing him of spreading “anti-Catholic venom” during televised debates on the crucifix, outraged religious groups in Mumbai have filed police complaints that could see Edamaruku jailed for up to three years under India’s blasphemy law.

Joseph Dias, general secretary of the Catholic-Christian Secular Forum, lodged one of the complaints, claiming it was the result of Edamaruku’s “”very obvious and stridently anti-Christian bias”.

Edamaruku, who has spent the last 30 years debunking India’s mystics and gurus who attract massive followings (and fortunes), welcomes the charges as an opportunity to challenge India’s blasphemy law.

While India is formally a secular nation, has a law which bans “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs”. Edamaruku points out that this holdover from the colonial period runs counter to free expression. It also appears to prohibit scientific explanation of so-called “miracles”!

Laws against blasphemy have no place in a modern, diverse nation. Not only do they suppress scientific investigation of claims of the supernatural, but they also can be used to prevent a minority religion from stating that the majority religion is simply “wrong”.