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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Christians Protest Buddhist Display at City Hall meant to Promote Dalai Lama Visit

In Bloomington, Indiana in the United States of America the city hall has a display featuring Buddhist culture and art to promote an upcoming visit by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In response, some Christians from the area are protesting the display claiming that it promotes one religion over another. They protested by placing a display of the Christian ten commandments at the city hall.

"I read a brief statement on the importance of the Ten Commandments being the bedrock on which our city and nation's cultural and legal foundations stand," he wrote. (James: An issue that is debatable) We then proceeded to take two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments (each about 2 ft. tall and 1 ft. wide) and a table inside city hall and placed them right in front of the city's religious display of Buddhism."

The city responded by taking down the ten commandment display saying that the Christian group didn't follow city regulations and process for such an action. The city also said that the display was religious because it listed the main tenets of the Christian faith, whereas the Buddhist display merely depicts the art and culture of Tibet.

Either way, it is my opinion that neither display should be allowed. I feel that government buildings and agencies shouldn't flirt with religion in any way. The government is funded and run by the public and therefore should remain neutral in regards to anything connected to religion.

The Christian group released the following statement regarding the two displays:

"These commandments are our symbol of peace, and we want to include them with the city's display to promote religious enlightenment. We want to be clear that we do not agree with the ideology of the Dalai Lama or Buddhist beliefs – we are Christians and believe in one God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," he said.

This is the most disappointing part of the whole affair for me because in saying that they do not agree with Buddhist beliefs in general they are saying they don't agree with compassion, peace, loving kindness and the easing of suffering. Both religions work to promote those ideals and it seems that the Christians could have asserted their right to the separation between government and religion without trashing Buddhism. I can only hope that the Christian group is simply ignorant of those core beliefs that the two faiths have in common.

May we all continue to strive for increased religious tolerance, respect and understanding.

~Peace to all beings~

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17 comments:

Greenwoman said...

I think your final point is well taken James. Here, here!

On a whole other subject, I sure would adore the opportunity to sit in the Dalai Llama's presence. I am so sure that this would bring a great blessing that I could share with others afterwards...and I would love to enjoy his humor. He is such a compelling dear man.

As are you, now I think a second. *smiles*

Carla said...

Hi James, great post. Love the picture of Buddha and Jesus embracing, by the way! :) I, too, find this whole thing disappointing and saddening. Actually, it strikes me as childish as well. I agree with you that the best policy for government buildings is to be completely free of any religious references and symbols, full stop. But that's not likely to happen in America!

Robin said...

Sad...

All religion teaches good.. and those who opposed probably didn't know that.

Religious tolerance and peace.. need a lot of wisdom and compassion.

They call him James Ure said...

GW:

Thank-you.

Yes, I would love to be in his presence too. He radiates such a beautiful, innocent, simple yet powerful and calming energy.

Thank-you for your kind remarks about my energy. I just try to be myself and let my pure nature, my true nature which is just a reflection of the United Higher Self shine without restriction.

Carla:

I love that photo too. I really shows how different religions can get along. I think we have more in common then not.

I believe that Jesus and Buddha would have had great respect and admiration for each other.

Childish in a very good word to use here.

Robin:

Very sad, totally unnecessary and driven by fear and anger. You're right that all religions teach similar ideals, good ideals.

Wisdom is right. Which is quite different then knowledge.

No Blood for Hubris said...

Good catch. Thanks.

Daniel said...

Individuals seem to constantly say, "What do I do?" As if by doing something they are able to portray themselves to the world. This group of Christians is doing what they believe is best (i.e. defending their faith) but against whom are they defending?

Thank you for shedding some light on this subject, and I also whole-heartedly respect the statement on the similarity between Buddhist/Christian ideals...Thay would be pleased!

the psycho therapist said...

We want to be clear that we do not agree with the ideology of the Dalai Lama or Buddhist beliefs – we are Christians and believe in one God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," he said.


*cough*

/clearing throat

/stepping up to the mic

Well, now, ya see, this is the kind of business that inspires me to firebrand "Religion: kills folks dead" on my choice of the author's anatomy.

Fear.

Like openly talking about birth control with adolescents means condoning and/or encouraging teen sexual promiscuity instead of increasing awareness, responsible choice, consequences. In other words, reality testing.

Like agreeing with the necessity for legal abortions means increased sexual activity and ease of pregnancy termination decision-making instead of increasing awareness and women's health/safety.

Like considering revamping immigration standards means "Oh my god, the country will be run by foreigners soon, honey."

I could go on.

Idiots.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is an example of why the psycho therapist continues to reincarnate. She is real and very, terribly human. And honest...whoo boy, she'll model emotional truth-telling, not to worry. (lol)

Y'all just levitate, I'll be on the cushion for the next few thousand years. (heh heh heh)

Being in this moment, I am watching the cloud of the small "s" self's anger towards morons.

Don't mean to kill the buzz of your peaceful space, James. Just sharing this now.

/cue sound of that beautiful bell ringing in the empty sky

Ahhhh....

Tim said...

The message of Jesus, from Jesus, mirrored much of what the Dali Llama says regarding compassion and peace.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you,
and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad for great is your reward in heaven; for so
they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and
thirst after righteousness,
For they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
THIS should be the tablets of Christianity.

diana christine said...

My heart grieves at such drought of compassion and lack of open arms. I weep at such inability to love.

They call him James Ure said...

NBFH:

You bet.

Therapist:

I agree that it is all about fear. I understand what you mean about continuously being reborn because I feel the same way sometimes.

I have a very hard time with a lot of what some of these Christians have to say. It's hard not to get totally angry and down-right furious!! It's one of my biggest struggles.

Tim:

Well said. Great comment and great addition to the thread. So SO true.

Diana:

I do too. I do too. I'm certainly not perfect but there seems to be so much arrogance in a lot of Christianity today.

And sometimes I can't help but fight back and try to knock them down a few pegs. I know, not very compassionate but I think sometimes we have to speak up and not be a rug either.

Tim said...

James,
As a former practicing Christian, I can say with the knowledge of some experience that I have met some very enlightened people who still choose to wear the mantle of Christianity. I judge them not for it.
To quote your honorable teacher Thich Nhat Hanh,“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”
Christians such as those to whom you refer to in this post are at best, spiritual vampires, sucking the life out of anyone they meet. Do they represent the "God is Love" as stated in the new testament? Yet, I have seen them in my own backyard protesting Gay marriage in Massachusetts holding signs, "God hates Fags."
By their fruit you shall know them.....to quote another scripture

They call him James Ure said...

Tim:

You're right. I know several Christians too who are very enlightened, my parents to name a couple. Yeah, I guess there are charlatans in any group or religion.

I know that I don't always do as I should but my heart and intentions are in the right place. And I think there are more well intentioned Christians then not. It's just the loud ones that get all the attention.

Hopefully with increased dialogue more sincere followers of the peaceful and accepting path that Jesus taught will speak out more.

Thanks for the reminder. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid my response to the Christian group is entirely lacking in compassion and understanding, and very un-Buddhist. I will not repeat what I yelled at the computer.

They call him James Ure said...

Anon:

I understand. I've been there myself with some certain Christians. I still get quite angry now and then with them. By far, I would say that most Christians mean well and have their hearts in the right place but unfortunately it is the loud few who ruin it for everyone.

Dr Prabhat Tandon said...

I feel that government buildings and agencies shouldn't flirt with religion in any way. The government is funded and run by the public and therefore should remain neutral in regards to anything connected to religion.....
100% true ! In India I have seen lot of problems created by these govt. agencies in mixing religion with poiltics; if one group is favouring muslims then another group mainly the hindus get annoyed & vice versa.But overall , I feel that it's very difficult to understand the dirty politics of politicians in any country of this world .

They call him James Ure said...

Dr.

It seems like in so many other areas of life there is an easy compromise between religion and politics.

sarath said...

Just a bit of enlightenment on the issue of Buddism and Christianity..

I have a Christian father and a Buddhist mother and I have a good deal of knowledge of both religions. In fact, there is no similarity between Theravada Buddhism (the original Buddist philosophy taught by Lord Buddha, the Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Christianity. In Buddhism, we believe in rebirth and the Christianity is based on the existence of one God.

Now about Indiana and the friction about upcoming Buddhist temples.. Well, there are some Americans in Indiana who go to Sri Lanka and look for naiive Buddghist girls to get married saying that they believe in Buddhism and also offer money to find a bride or to win her. They also say, they know that they get a virgin from Sri Lanka because they believe in God. This is deplorable. Most of these guys atre formerly married to US women and then divorced and in their middle ages. I think rather than hating the Buddhists in Indiana, the Indiana Christins should put an end to this practice.

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