It has been a normal practice for a long time to have temples or places of worship linked to charities and donations. This applies to almost all religions.
There is nothing wrong or unusual about this practice. Temples are supposed to be places where one goes for some solo time with God. It is a place where one does not, and should not, have pretensions of any sort. All are equal in places of worship. God does not differentiate between various categories of His devotees, not even between believers and non-believers. God is not parochial. Differences should vanish at temples.
However, this is not the case in most places of worship, and again I am not talking about any one religion in particular. Devotees who can donate significant sums of money get a specialized treatment. Devotees who are not so financially capable, join the ordinary queue, and are treated rather differently. Personally, I have seen and experienced this several times, so I refuse to believe when someone articulates a different picture that all are indeed equal in the eyes of the God.
Yes, surely, in the eyes of God, all men and women are equal.
But in the eyes of the chosen representatives of God, not all men and women are equal and will never be. When the treatment meted out is proportional to the amount of donation, that is not exactly equal treatment.
Devotees carry on and proceed. They don’t have a choice, do they ?
While it is critical to donate “official” money with proper receipts to charities (whether run by temples or not), to encourage a culture of “giving” and helping poorer souls to sustain their lives, donations cannot and should not be done in a random manner and called as “admission fee” to enter temples in a short-circuited, fast-track manner. VIPs (Very Important Persons) will always come and go, and they will surely have a fast-track anytime, no issue with that. Others cannot be differentiated.
It should be like the airports.
When we cannot withdraw money from ATMs beyond a specified daily amount, why should we be allowed to donate in cash and then get a jump on the queue – both are illegal.
This is sure to create some controversy, but let us see !
5th March 2011