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media1Since coming to Kansas City, the RVC has drawn extensive media coverage. The first of which was a front page color feature article in the Friday edition of the Kansas City Star entitled "SIMPLE LIVING, HIGH THINKING." The article said, "It's a branch of what is considered the world's oldest religion…with more than 700 million followers." Professor of religious studies and history at University of Missouri-Kansas City said that this practice is called bhakti meaning "selfless devotion." The article also told of the vegetarian feasts held at the Rupanuga Vedic College and how the neighbors appreciate its presence. A photo of RVC students chanting at the Plaza also won a prize in the Star's year-end photo section.

KMBC TV-9 showed Kansas City's first Vedic initiation ceremony on several news broadcasts.

The most recent news coverage however, came when RVC President, Danavir Goswami addressed the Kansas Board of Education. Here is the report:

There were an estimated forty to fifty news media persons present including five or six TV stations each with reporter and video man, newspapers with reporters and photographers from AP, Kansas City Star, Topeka Sun, several universities, high school papers, etc.

Before we made it into the auditorium we (myself and four RVC student- brahmacaris and one gentleman from the Indian community) needed to pose several times for media photos. We handed out about fifty press releases to media.

We also gave the complimentary copies of the "Hidden History of the Human Race," promotional literature, letters, videos, etc. for each board member.

The board meeting began and 9 speakers were scheduled to address the board, each allowed about 3 ½ minutes to make their presentation. The first five were all representing the scientific community and were outraged that the board had ruled evolution out of their educational curriculum. Each speaker was hardly able to stop when they were asked to desist by the chairperson. There was applause after each speaker showing some support from the audience of 150. These speakers were mostly professors of science from local universities and it seemed that some of the board members were hurt by the ridicule. One of the speakers said, "The Hare Krishnas are here to give you their support so what more do I need to say?" One speaker presented the board with a mock Nobel prize. Several said they were ashamed to live and teach in Kansas. One professor showed photos of his granddaughter on her first day beginning school. He accused the board of murdering her chances for a proper education. It went on.

We were sixth to speak. I told them that I represented the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, its scientific branch the Bhaktivedanta Institute, the Rupanuga Vedic College in Kansas City and Hindu parents in Kansas.

I told them that the co-author of a best-selling book "The Hidden History of the Human Race," Michael Cremo, had written a letter to them which I would read. I read the letter and finished just on time. Then another scientist spoke, then a mother spoke, (assumedly a Christian) who expressed her appreciation to the board for their action and finally another critic ended the session.

Then we went into the lobby and were deluged with reporters for over a hour and a half. We happily explained that Darwin's Theory of Evolution is not scientific in the least and that the Kansas Board of Education called Darwin's bluff. We were the most sought-after persons to interview and photograph. Sometimes the envious science speakers who were not as popular, couldn't restrain themselves from throwing in their comments on our remarks.

The media representatives present were favorable to our stance and to Hare Krishna. It was delightful to have so much support from them. Then the big science professor (big physically as well) who showed the photos, entered into a debate with one of our brahmacaris down the hall a ways while I was engaged by another reporter. Their discussion became a bit heated as this man was the most outspoken of them all. I glanced over and saw three TV stations videoing that disagreement so I thought it best to go over and join in. They were speaking about some archeological find in Texas. The scientist turned his attention on me and accused me and the Hare Krishnas of not being scientific. I said, "Well, what about all the archeological findings which were filtered out by evolutionists because they didn't fit into the theory's scenario." He became irate and challenged that we doctored up the footprints and artifacts. He said the Hare Krishnas were ruining science. I asked him if he read the Hidden History book. He scoffed and then he brought out the photos of his granddaughter again and tried to evoke our emotions. "Shouldn't she be allowed to learn real knowledge?" he pleaded. I said that Darwin's evolutionary theory is not knowledge or science, it is pure unsupported speculation. I told him that Darwin himself condemned his own theory by saying that to think that the human eye could have been formed by natural selection was absurd in the highest degree.

The media people seemed to be delighted that the establishment was being taken to task. I said the Kansas Board of Education called the evolutionists' bluff and we commend them highly.

Then Dr. Abrams, a board member, took the pose as a reporter and began firing questions at the big scientist. He said, "Is it true that you threatened the board members' lives? He further asked, "Do you know that 75% of the residents of Kansas are opposed to evolution. Do think that only the academicians' opinion should be heard?" The big scientist was quieted.

One of the younger scientist speakers became humble and inquired from us about the Vedic views on creation, etc. Then two of the board members, Mr. Hill and Dr. Abrams, came up to me and shook my hand firmly and thanked us for coming. Then a while later the Christian lady speaker thanked us for coming also.

A brahmacari began distributing prasadam sweets to the media and the board chairperson, Ms. Holloway took one as well. As we were leaving, the AP reporter asked many nice questions.

—Danavir Goswami

The local newspapers ran articles as did Associated Press and CNN (seen around the world). All the local TV stations carried the story featuring Danavir Goswami's interviews and CBS Evening News showed it nationwide.

Kansas City Star:

"Four of the six condemned the board for voting 6-4 to downplay the teaching of evolution. The two others — a Hare Krishna leader and Celtie Johnson of Prairie Village, a member of an area creationist group, told the board that it was on the right track in deciding that local school districts should determine whether evolution should be taught.

"The board has taken a bold and brilliant step in rejecting Darwin's evolutionary theory as a scientific principle," said Hare Krishna leader Danavir Swami, who was accompanied by several other Hare Krishnas, all dressed in pale orange robes.

Darwin provides "no experiments and no intermediate forms between species to back up his guesses" that various species evolved one from another without the need for an intelligent designer, Swami said. "Darwin bluffed the world with his speculation and double-talk, but the Kansas Board of Education has called his bluff." Swami, who is director of the Hare Krishna college in Kansas City, said later that he does not support any teaching of evolution in the classroom.

Topeka Capital Journal

DeSoto—Harvard University doesn't think much of the Kansas State Board of Education's decision to de-emphasize evolution in Kansas public schools, but the Hare Krishnas do.

Danavir Swami, president of the Rupanuga Vedic College in Kansas City, Mo., used his allotted three minutes to read a letter from a Hindu creationist praising the board's decision. After the meeting, Swami, a member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, or Hare Krishnas, said evolution can't be proved.

The University Kansan Daily
Education Board Hears Citizens
Professor, Gorilla, Hare Krishnas Attend Meeting

media3It was not your ordinary board meeting…
The leader of a delegation of six orange-robed members of a Hare Krishna community in Kansas City, Mo., praised the board's decision and presented a copy of a book that argues against evolutionary theory and for the creation account in Vedic scriptures.

After the forum, Swami said there was absolutely no evidence for evolution. His conclusion was based on evidence from Vedic scripture rather than empirical evidence, which is faulty, he said.

The Lawrence Journal World
State Board Meeting Evolves into a Circus
Tuesday, October 12, 1999

DeSoto — An iguana and a gorilla showed up at the Kansas State Board of Education meeting Monday. So did Hare Krishnas bearing gift cookies and rare praise for the board members who for several weeks have been the target of national ridicule.

Though Holloway wouldn't accept the Ig Nobel from Ruden, an award shaped like a tropical American iguana, she did take from Hare Krishnas a mushy, round cookie that the Hares said was guaranteed to "expand your consciousness." Hare Krishna Danavir Swami, president of Rupanuga Vedic College in Kansas City, Mo., said most board members acted courageously to rewrite science standards so that local school districts could cease evolution instruction should they choose. "People of many faiths support what the board has done," Swami said. He presented each member a copy of "The Hidden History of the Human Race."Swami said the book offered compelling scientific arguments against evolution.

"It is certainly true ... that man was created by God and did not evolve from an ape," he said.

Kansas Ridiculed For Evolution Ban

media2DeSoto, Kan. (AP) — The state Board of Education got an earful Monday about its decision to de-emphasize evolution in Kansas public schools, including ridicule from student groups from Harvard and support from the Hare Krishnas.

The board got support from a Hindu creationist, whose letter of praise was read by Danavir Swami, president of the Rupanuga Vedic College in Kansas City, Mo. "This is not science," said Swami, a member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, or Hare Krishnas. "How they can teach that in science classrooms is beyond me."

Rupanuga Vedic College
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Kansas City, MO, 64110
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Page Updated August 8, 2005
© 2005 Rupanuga Vedic College

International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Founder-Acarya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada