In northern India there’s a bit of a contest underway between two “religions of peace” in Orissa state. On the one side there’s Christianity, of “turn the other cheek” fame (cf Mt 5:38-42 & Lk 6:27:31), and on the other hand we have Hinduism, which gave us Mahatma Gandhi, who famously used passive resistance to force the British Empire out of India. These two famously peaceful factions are engaged in a bloody struggle to determine which is the truly peaceful religion:

Authorities issued shoot-at-sight orders and police staged marches Wednesday in Orissa’s Kandhamal District, the region worst-hit by violence between Hindus and Christians.

Kandhamal is a primarily tribal area, where Christian missionaries have worked for decades. Almost 20 percent of the district’s people are Christians.

The clashes erupted after the killing of a Hindu leader, Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, and four others on Saturday by unidentified armed men. The Hindu leader had been leading a drive to reconvert local residents from Christianity to Hinduism.

Since then, angry Hindu mobs have attacked and damaged churches, Christian homes and an orphanage. Some of the victims were burned to death, when rioters set fire to their homes.

Police say rival groups from both communities have attacked each other with axes, sticks and guns, despite a curfew. New clashes occurred Wednesday.

What a marvelous way to celebrate the non-violence inherent in both these ancient religions.

Really, need I say any more?

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