By: Olivia Wile
University of Findlay students can spot it everywhere: from the Church of God at the front of campus, to Winebrenner Theology Seminary and advertisements for Revive, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Gateway Church. Religion is not a censored topic on campus.
Despite being welcomed and celebrated at UF, however, a war on religion and equality rages on in other parts of the world, specifically India.
Earlier this month, two Indian women, Kanaka Durga, 39, and Bindu Ammini, 40, made headlines after entering the Sabarimala shrine in India’s Kerala state.
The controversy behind their actions stems from a customary ban on menstruating women ages 10-50 from entering the temple. The ban stems from the belief that menstruating women are viewed as “unclean” and should be prohibited from practicing religious rituals.
Murphy Vance, a UF junior, has had a close relationship with religion her entire life as she was raised Catholic and attended a Catholic High School.
“I went to mass all the time and it was even built into my curriculum, I took several classes about it,” said Vance. “I was also raised Catholic, so it’s been a part of my life since as long as I can remember.”
Vance says she has never been restricted in any way and wouldn’t understand being restricted due to her gender like the women in India.
“I personally have never felt restricted in any way. I have always had positive experiences with my religion and being able to express it freely,” said Vance. “I wouldn’t find it fair. I wouldn’t understand as to why these restrictions were being put on me.”
In September, the Indian Supreme Court ruled the ban as unconstitutional. However, violent mobs and protesters continue to speak out.
In an Interview with the Guardian, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra explains the courts ruling.
“Restrictions put by Sabarimala temple can’t be held as essential religious practice,” stated Misra.
Since her actions earlier this month, another report this week by BBC notes that Ammini was in the hospital until Jan. 15. Reports state she was allegedly beaten by her mother-in-law after returning from the Temple in early January. The mother- of-two is also being shunned by her family, as her husband is not permitting her to return home because of her actions.
Despite still being threatened by angry mobs and homeless, Ammini, a law teacher, still believes her actions were important to protect “constitutional principles” and “constitutional morality.”
“Gender justice is a big issue facing our society, and the implementation of this judgment helps to implement gender justice,” she said in the article.
Ammini has since gone back to teaching at her law college after coming out of hiding.