20 Sep 2018: US: Here's why Republican Party apologized to Hindus
The ruling Republican Party in the US has apologized to Hindus after a newspaper advertisement featuring Lord Ganesha to woo the minority community voters in Texas ended up "offending" them.
The advert, on the occasion of the 'Ganesh Chaturthi' festival, included the imagery of Lord Ganesha with the text, "Would you worship a donkey or an elephant? The choice is yours".
Party symbols: Elephant is party symbol of Republican, Democrats have donkey
Notably, the elephant is the party symbol of the Republicans while Democrats have a donkey as their party's symbol.
The Indian-American community described the political advertisement of Grand Old Party in an Indian-American newspaper as "offensive" for featuring Lord Ganesha.
The party's county unit, Fort Bend County Republican Party which published the ad, apologized and clarified that it "wasn't meant to disparage Hindu customs".
Explanation: Description of the advertisement
The ad, with arrows pointing to the body parts of Lord Ganesha, listed out qualities such as "A big head, to think out of the box," "Big eyes to look beyond what you see," "Large ears to listen to others attentively," among others.
An advocacy group, Hindu-American Foundation (HAF) of Houston, called on Fort Bend County Republican Party to apologize for the advert.
Offensive: Religious imagery to appeal for political-support should be avoided: HAF
"While we appreciate the Fort Bend County GOP's attempt to reach out to Hindus..., its ad, equating Hindus' veneration of the Lord Ganesha with choosing a political party based on its animal symbol, is offensive," said Rishi Bhutada, HAF Board Member.
Using religious imagery in order to explicitly appeal for political support should best be avoided by any political party, he said.
Apology: Meanwhile, Fort Bend County Republican Party apologized for the ad
Meanwhile, the Fort Bend County Republican Party said, "The ad wasn't meant to disparage Hindu customs... We offer our sincerest apologies to anyone that was offended by the ad."
Chairman Jacey Jetton, the first Korean-American to lead Fort Bend County Republican Party said, "The ad was meant to be part of the celebration to acknowledge the 'Ganesh Chaturthi' festival of September 13."