Secret Service Bar Sikh Leaders From Meeting with the Pope over Ceremonial Knife or Kirpaan

Representatives of the Sikh faith have been barred by the Secret Service from participating in a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI next month because they wear the Kirpaan, or ceremonial knife. Given the fact that these would be leaders of the Sikh faith, the Secret Service appear like perfect morons in barring the Sikhs.

Ironically, the kirpaan for Sikh is a symbol of resisting oppression and injustice and is never used as an offensive weapon. The main problem, however, is the obvious fact that there is no real threat to the Pope who will not only be visited by Sikh leaders but surrounded by guards. It would be like worrying about a possible attack from Billy Graham in a meeting with the Pope or president. It also means that Sihks would never be able to meet the president or Pope under the “no exception no matter how absurd” approach of the Secret Service.

Ed Donovan, a Secret Service spokesman, said: “We understand the kirpaan is a sanctified religious object. But by definition, it’s still a weapon. We apply our security policy consistently and fairly.” It appears that the secret service will “consistently” apply a policy even when it is facially absurd in a given circumstance. Why is that a virtue?

What is particularly odd is that the Pope has not intervened and ask the secret service to waive the rule.

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6 thoughts on “Secret Service Bar Sikh Leaders From Meeting with the Pope over Ceremonial Knife or Kirpaan”

  1. msnbc bser,

    may i ask, have you ever seen a kirpan? do you know what it is or how dull the blade is? do you know that it is permissible to carry it even in nyc, as long as it is openly visible? wait, don’t even answer that. ofcourse you don’t, otherwise you would not even make such an ignorant argument without any relevant knowledge of the facts. but i will you give you a change to show how little you know about this topic, yet are so confidently making your own ignorance obvious.

  2. Johnny, it doesn’t surprise me you are at a loss to understand the danger. Time and again you demonstrate you are clueless….

  3. J:

    I am at a loss to understand the danger. No one in the secret service has suggested that an elderly Sikh leader would try to cut his way through Secret Service agents, Vatican security, and anyone else protecting the Pope.

  4. I think the Secret Service is right here. Sometimes they do appear overzealous, but all it takes is one mistake.

    And I’m sure they rather make themselves look foolish over this than take any chance.

  5. My religion necessitates I carry a side arm. It is a ceremonial sidearm, not really intended for use.

    I feel offended that I would not even be able to walk into my own church wearing it much less meet the pope…….

    Jonny it is a KNIFE. What don’t you get about that?

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