Addressing Hugh Hewitt’s slander of Hare Krishna

The slander and the slanderer—

From: Hugh Hewitt Radio Show, 12/6/21

Date: 12/6/21

Hugh Hewitt: Long ago when I was an undergraduate, Michael, our, at Harvard in 1974-75, the Harvard Law student who lived in the dorm with us warned us on the first night, the Hare Krishna are in Harvard Square, and they will love bomb you if you get near them. And you know, it was just…

Michael Shellenberger: Oh, my gosh. Wow.

Hugh Hewitt: Yeah. It was a warning. Do not go near those. They look nice, they will take you out to a nice place on the Cape, and we’ll never see you again, because that’s what they, they love bomb people, and it takes a long time to get out of a cult.

Swami B.K. Giri’s email to Hugh Hewitt

Re: Your Slander of Hare Krishna

12/6/21

Dear Mr. Hewitt,

Hare Krishna.

I listen to your show almost every morning to track the news and newsmakers you interview.

All was well this morning as I agreed with most points made by you and your guest, Michael Shellenberger, the author of Sanfransicko.

Then you took a dangerous turn when, while discussing the Jim Jones technique you described as “Love Bombing”, you warned your audience that the Hare Krishna’s applied the same methods in Boston Square; as if they posed a danger to the public equal to that of the Jim Jones group and Jonestown.

The only evidence you offered when naming this danger was that some young — and by inference, ignorant — college students warned you away from us. The implication was that the Hare Krishna’s posed the same danger to you and the larger society as Jim Jones.

As a practitioner of Krishna Consciousness for almost fifty years I challenge you to offer sound evidence that supports your claim.

In the absence of such evidence I ask you to either present it, with the opportunity for rebuttal, or reconsider your ill conceived slander, retract it and apologize for making this thoughtless comparison.

You may think you know the Hare Krishnas. But I suspect you know less about us than I know about the Salvation Army cult* which, as I gather from your frequent promotions for it, also employ the “Love Bombing” technique, or something substantially similar, to spread the word that there is a loving God who, by serving, will embrace us and invite us to live forever with Him in joy and peace.

I pray this finds you well in health and spirits.

Sincerely,

Swami B.K. Giri

PS: I am posting this email to our website: Sri Gaura Vinoda Saraswat Sanga (gvssanga.com). If you like I will post (in a manner offering similar prominence) any reply you care to make.

*cult | kəlt |
noun
a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object

Further context for visitors to our website:

Michael Shellenberger, Author of “San Fran-sicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities”

Michael Shellenberger, Author of “San Fran-sicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities”

Hugh Hewitt: . . . That it happened is in San Fran-sicko, but you don’t explain to us how people so smart could fall for such an evil man, and I use evil advisedly.

Michael Shellenberger: Well, I do explain it. That’s the passage of the book where I say it’s a new religion. That’s the only way to explain it. That’s the only way to explain…

Hugh Hewitt: It’s a cult.

Michael Shellenberger: …how intelligent people turn off their rational faculties. Yeah, so they’re, Willie Brown is brilliant. He’s probably the smartest, one of the smartest politicians in American history.

Hugh Hewitt: Yes.

Michael Shellenberger: And so for him to say something so idiotic, and to really, they call it, you know, I use Jonathan Haidt, the psychologist, who describes religion, he says religion binds and blinds. And so the blinders, they basically just saw, here was this sociopathic minister, Reverend Jim Jones, who was clearly sociopathic. He was on heavy drugs, he was involved in sexual predation of young men and young women. He was a terrible person. I mean, it’s just not a lot you can say about him.

Hugh Hewitt: Evil. Evil.

Michael Shellenberger: He ended up killing a thousand people. Evil.

Hugh Hewitt: Yeah.

Michael Shellenberger: And they just, and the entire progressive, liberal Democratic establishment, all the way up to Carter, really was always trying to curry favors with him. And it wasn’t just that, you know, there was something transactional about it. They wanted his money and also his congregants, but they also just loved him. They really believed in him. And you know, you look at the filMichael Shellenberger: of that period, and it’s hard not to be moved by these scenes of racially-diverse congregations singing, clapping, smiling, laughing. It looked authentic. It didn’t, I point out in the book, because I think it’s easy to go back and say well, what he was doing was never really charitable or anything. Unfortunately, they did good works. I mean, you know, they actually did do things that you kind of go this wasn’t faking it. They were actually doing good things. They also did sinister things, like he stole money from a number of black families in San Francisco, middle-class and working-class families who gave him his house, basically, sorry, gave him their house. So yeah, but they had blinders to him, because he basically would hypnotize people. I think that’s the right word, actually.

Hugh Hewitt: Yes.

Michael Shellenberger: There’s a way in which they would be hypnotized by his charisma and by his magnetism, and it was allow about him loving and caring. And the cults call it love bombing. I thought this was a brilliant way to describe it where they literally shower people with affection and love. And it’s so hypnotizing, and people that are vulnerable and lonely in particular are really susceptible to that seduction. And so it was really a seduction, I think you that you describe it as evil and almost, you know, that is sort of the story of the snake, right, is that there’s a kind of seduction that goes on. And I think that’s, I think that describes what Jim Jones was.

Hugh Hewitt: Long ago when I was an undergraduate, Michael, our, at Harvard in 1974-75, the Harvard Law student who lived in the dorm with us warned us on the first night, the Hare Krishna are in Harvard Square, and they will love bomb you if you get near them. And you know, it was just…

Michael Shellenberger: Oh, my gosh. Wow.

Hugh Hewitt: Yeah. It was a warning. Do not go near those. They look nice, they will take you out to a nice place on the Cape, and we’ll never see you again, because that’s what they, they love bomb people, and it takes a long time to get out of a cult. But I digress. I want to go back to Jim Jones, because I didn’t realize until I read San Fran-sicko, and I’m recommending it to everyone. I can’t tell, especially conservatives and especially liberals who are mainstream have got to read this, because we are not our movements. My movement has a right-wing fringe, and Michael’s movement has a left-wing fringe, and those fringes will devour the center unless we actually work together. But I didn’t realize until I read San Fran-sicko that Jim Jones’ mass suicide, his murder of those thousand people, only days later, Dan White shoots George Moscone and Harvey Milk. It’s no surprise that San Francisco experiences an almost communal PTS, right? I had no idea the timing was that close.