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“It seems that the GBC wnats to thrust our heads 'back up into the clouds' on this matter by confusing what the ICOP ruling was on Dhanurdhara witht he process of 'scapegoating.'”

KRSNACANDRA DASA


GBC Reaction to Child Abuse Ruling
By Krsnacandra dasa

Dear CHAKRA

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I am at the end of this week off, after having being invited as a member of ISKCON, to a one-day statewide seminar on Child Abuse. I intended to represent in some way ISKCON when I do so by saying what a wonderful job we are doing with our Child Protection responsibilities.

That was until I read on VNN how the GBC has allowed the rulings on Dhanurdhara Swami to be more or less over turned or at the very least watered down.

If what I read is true and the explanation from our GBC executive Chairman Ravindra Swarup prabhu is the logic for the turn about, then I do not think that I can stand up and say anything with any sense of integrity what so ever.

It seems that the GBC wants to thrust our heads 'back up into the clouds' on this matter by confusing what the ICOCP ruling was on Dhanurdhara with the process of 'scapegoating'. Dhanurdhara situation stands on its own as a child protection issue so to try and make us believe that his case was a case of scapegoating is a grossly misleading statement.

The world will be watching how we handle our child protection situation. The position of the GBC on this extremely important issue will display just how sincere we are at dealing with our problems.

I wonder what sort of precedent has been created? Is it now that any ISKCON leader who is found guilty of a criminal offence will be deemed a scapegoat and so get off lightly?

I am not sure that we can also cloud this issue over by making it seem like there is some sort of schism at play. Ravindra Swarupa talks of two parties at loggerheads with each other, each sure of it own moral certitude. He says " It is characterized by extreme polarization between two morally certain groups, and it is this moral certitude on both sides that gives the polarization its particularly stark and unyielding character."

Who are the two sides that he talks of? In any situation there are always at least two sides. In this case it is the side of the victim against the side of the perpetrator. Are these the two sides that he speaks of?

Or is one side the side that does not want to see a leader having to be made accountable (or at the very most suffer only mild repercussions) for either their actions or in-actions on the premise that they are leaders. The other side being a side that sees that when someone is guilty of a crime (irrelevant of their position) that they be made to suffer (atone) in accord with the nature and seriousness of their crimes?

Further, if what I read in VNN is true I would like to try and understand how our chairman believes that from doing penance we will be able to atone?  Is it as simple as that? All we have to do when we sin is to do some penance and all will be OK? Surely this is rather simplistic and naïve? Surely this is a Christian understanding?

Although I commend him on his desire to do a Kartika vrata, if only for his own purification.

The main vrata that our leaders must make is one to have courage to face adversity with integrity, wisdom and honesty.

I believe that the ICOCP is acting very fairly in its work with sorting out our child protection quagmire. I think that if Dhira Govinda prabhu read this statement by me he would be amazed, as he would only know of me as a thorn in his side.

How does our GBC expect us to respect them when we see them treat the decision of our ICOCP in such a disrespectful manner?

Respect is accorded to an individual for many reasons. They range from respect in a persons position or status to respect for a persons integrity, courage and honesty.

It seems that the GBC would like us to emphasize respect for a persons position and status at the expense of respect in a persons integrity, courage and honesty.

All that the GBC is saying to us is that the lower level devotees who commit crimes against other devotees are penalized accordingly, however, once you have made it up into the upper echelon you can become more or less untouchable.

I would like to ask the GBC how I should actually represent ISKCON at this Child Abuse seminar that I will attend in a few days time? Should I speak with openness and honesty? Or should I say how we too are facing problems with our leadership not wanting to deal properly with the matter of child abuse?

Or maybe I should not say anything, as I am not seeing this matter the way that they would desire me to see this matter?

Or should I weave a web of sweet words praising our leaders for their honesty and integrity and decisiveness!

Yours in the service or Srila Prabhupada Krsnacandra dasa

© CHAKRA 22-May-2000

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