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Sikh Leader Objects To Hate Pamphlet

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Sikh Leader objects to Hate Pamphlet and calls for Inter-Faith Peace
By SSNews, contracostatimes
Aug 27, 2006, 18:56


A Contra Costa Sikh leader is denouncing a pamphlet from an El Sobrante church that tells Sikhs their Guru Maharaj is wrong and warns them they face eternal hell unless they receive Jesus as their savior.

"Please Consider These Words of Love My SIKH Friend," by Pastor Kent Brandenburg of Bethel Baptist Church, combines faith-based arguments claiming its prophecies "come true 100 percent," so the Bible can be nothing else but the absolute truth.

According to the offensive pamphlet; the 10 gurus who are the pillars of Sikhism "died and stayed dead," whereas Jesus Christ defeated death, Brandenburg wrote. "His resurrection, witnessed by over 500 people, sealed the fact that Jesus Christ is God."

"Without believing in Jesus Christ, you, my Sikh friend, will die in your sins, and in so doing, will be condemned to Hell forever," reads the pamphlet, which church members distributed last month at a Sikh Spiritual Peace March through El Sobrante in memory of the fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Maharaj Ji, who was martyred 400 years ago.

The pamphlet calls on Sikhs to repudiate their religion. "First, admit you are a sinner. Second, admit you deserve Hell for your sin. Third, call on the Lord Jesus Christ to save you from your sin while giving your life to him."

J.P. Singh, president of El Sobrante Gurdwara Sahib, the Sikh Center of the San Francisco Bay Area, (pictured) said the pamphlet is objectionable because "it belittles another religion."

"To coexist in this country in love and peace, I think there has to be an acceptance of other people's religions," Singh said.

The temple has responded to Brandenburg's missive with passages from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, on the sickness of ego as an impediment to achieving oneness with God, and on the worship of a common God as reflected in the holy scripture of other religions.

"The world is like a flower and God is the gardener. He cares for all and ignores none. Each flower has the fragrance that the gardener has put in it," the Sikh response says.

Brandenburg said he has distributed the pamphlet off and on for eight or 10 years and that the message it conveys is hardly new. He said he was surprised to receive an e-mail from a local non-Sikh merchant characterizing it as "hate speech."

"That message has been around for 2,000 years -- now it's hate speech?" Brandenburg said.

He said the pamphlet is a message of love -- one of "tough love," akin to a stern warning to a loved one to desist from destructive behavior. Disseminating it fulfills the "Parable of the Sower" in Matthew 13 and Mark 4 in the New Testament, in which Jesus tells his followers to spread the Gospel, Brandenburg said.

The timing -- July 23, a Sunday -- was spontaneous, he said.

"There was a parade," Brandenburg said. "I didn't know about it until it was happening. Toward the end of our service, there was loud chanting in a non-English language, probably Punjabi, over a microphone going down Appian Way.

"I have no problem with that," Brandenburg said, "but we also have the right to go down the street and give out our literature. We said nice things to the people as we handed it to them."

Bethel Baptist Church is off Appian Way, along the July 23 peace march route.

Singh said the peace march was not the right time to seek converts -- if ever there is one.

"I feel it would be offensive, if the Christians were having an event, to pass out Sikh literature," Singh said.

"We don't believe in converting people," Singh continued. "Sikhism ... believes that all religions are equal at God's door. You can achieve salvation being truthful to whatever religion you choose to practice.

"The Sikh Golden Rule from Guru Granth Sahib is 'No one is enemy. No one is stranger. I get along with All,'" he said.

The Sikh religion originated in the Punjab region of India in 1469 with the birth of Guru Nanak Dev. The 10th guru, Gobind Singh, died in 1708.

Sikhism, like Judaism, Christianity and Islam, is monotheistic.

Adam Kruggel, executive director of Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization, which is made up of more than two dozen Christian congregations, said he has met with Sikh leaders in Pittsburg and found that "our faith traditions have so much in common."

"We are much more interested in working together and acting on our common values than worrying about differences that may divide us," Kruggel said. "We find that understanding and relating to other traditions has deepened people's appreciation of their faith. Our approach is not to put aside our faiths but to put them in context."

The original pamphlet can be read at:


The reply of the Sikh Leader reads:

"A happy person sees everyone as happy. A sick (wicked) person sees every one as sick (wicked). The Master (God) has the power to do anything and to get His creatures to do as He wishes. He holds spiritual joy and sorrow in His hands. O my mind, to one who has overcome his doubt and has seen God in all His creation, no one is lost. One whose mind is at peace after meeting the Guru sees peace in the entire world. However, one whose mind is pervaded by the sickness of ego is miserable and is dying while alive." [Ang 610]

"Through meeting the Guru, I have given up dependence on others. I have dug a deep pit and in it buried pride, love of Maya, and desires of my mind. The Guru gave me (God's) Name which liberates me from bondage (to Maya). I have come to the Guru and all worries have been forgotten from my mind. I have no enemies left (I do not see anyone as an enemy) and I am not anyone's enemy. I have understood that all the creation is God Himself, that He pervades all. I got this understanding from the True Guru. I have befriended everyone and I am friend to all. When the feeling of separation (from God) went away from my mind, my King united me with Himself. My stubbornness is destroyed, I find Guru's Word to be sweet. It gives eternal life and has come to abide in me. O Nanak, on land, on sea, and in the air, I have seen the All-pervading God." [Ang 671]

"I am a servant of all God has created. My God resides everywhere. There is no enemy or opponent. I walk hand in hand with all. We are all brothers." [Ang 887]

Interfaith Understanding and Harmony

"The Vedas and the Books (Torah, Bible, Qura'an) all stand and worship You. Countless people are at Your door. Numerous Brahmas and Indras with their thrones, Shivas and incarnations of Vishnu sing God's glory and so do many Pirs, Prophets, Sheikhs, and holy men. You pervade all completely and are fulfilling Yourself in all. Falsehood destroys and people can reach You only if they follow the correct way but we all do what You Yourself get us to do." [Ang 518]

"Some people call you Ram, others call You Khudaa. Some serve Gosain, some Allah. O Merciful Creator and Doer, have mercy upon me. Some bathe at holy places and others go for hujj. Some do pooja others bow their heads. Some read the Vedas, others the Books (Torah, Bible, Qura'an etc.). Some wear blue, others white. Some call themselves Muslims, others Hindus. Some seek bahisht (persian for heaven), some suarg (sanskrit for heaven). O Nanak, say; whosoever has understood the Hukam (Divine order), has learnt the secret of God, the Master." [Ang 885]

"This world is like a flower-garden and God is the gardener. He cares for all and ignores none. Each flower has the fragrance that the gardener has put in it. It is known by the fragrance the gardener has put in it." [Ang 1187]

J.P. Singh, President
Sikh Center
3550 Hillcrest Road
El Sobrante, CA 94803



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