No Fancy Name
Friday, June 02, 2006
good to know my hometown is still filled with misinformed bigots!
I come from Podunk, Nowhere, and have not been back there in several years. I keep telling my parents it's not them—it's everyone else. That's actually true, because my parents are okay and the area is beautiful, but the people generally suck. Here's a prime example: The Most Rev. Thich Van Dam, president of the United Buddhist Church of America, wants to buy an empty building there and turn it into a Buddhist monastery. The reaction from what I believe to be a representative sample of the population:
However, some Yeagertown residents at the hearing said they did not know if the area was ready for monks garbed in robes.

“I don’t think the community is ready for anything like this,” said resident Neal Tate. “I know Yeagertown ... I went to that school ... I don’t think were ready for this type of monastery in this small town.”
Other residents said they had issues with the faith altogether.

“We are a country that was founded as ‘one nation’ and that nation is ‘one nation under God,’ not under Buddha,” said resident Lisa Stalnaker. “When you came to America, you left Buddha behind ... This isn’t the ‘perfect place’ for you ... you have no one here who is interested in Buddhism.”
What a fucking tool. Hello? Constitution? Freedom of religion? At least there was one halfway intelligent person there: "While others in the audience agreed with Stalnaker, one person, Don Howell, disagreed, saying that the constitution of the United States guaranteed people the freedom of religion and the freedom to worship as they wished."


Now, I am not a religious person, despite being raised Catholic for twelve years. The other side of the family is fundamentalist crazy Christian (as opposed to the perfectly normal Christian folks I count among my friends, the type to whom Lisa Stalkaner, et al, give a bad name). If I were religious, I'd probably be a Unitarian Universalist or *gasp* Buddhist. In fact, probably the only reason I'm not a Buddhist is because I'm really, really lazy and too apt to call someone a fucking tool.

But let's take a really quick look at the basics of Buddhism and the Noble Eightfold Path and see what has the collective panties of Lisa Stalnaker, et al, all in a wad:
- right view / realizing the four noble truths
- right intention / commitment to mental and ethical growth in moderation
- right speech / speaking in a non hurtful, not exaggerated, truthful way
- right action / wholesome action, avoiding action that would hurt others
- right work / one's job does not hurt oneself or others, directly or indirectly
- right effort / personal effort to improve
- right mindfulness / mental ability to see things for what they are with clear consciousness
- right concentration / state where one reaches enlightenment and the ego has disappeared

Ah ha! I see it now. The HORROR!! Ethical growth. Wholesome actions. Personal effort to improve. Clear consciousness. Enlightenment and the evaporated ego. CLEARLY the downfall of the county.
Van Dam said, the church would likely draw members of the Buddhism faith from all over Pennsylvania.

“Just like for education institutes ... most people go over there to study and meditate,” he said. “Anyone can go; anyone can stop by to learn. In Buddhism, we don’t convert other religious members. Buddhists never knock on your door.”

I might have to make a trip to see my parents just to support The Most Rev. Thich Van Dam just on principle.

Yes, I realize being anti-dumbass makes me bigoted against dumbasses, and dumbasses are as free to be dumbasses as Americans are to be Buddhists, but how is this country supposed to move forward—instead of this horrible backward slide—if we _start_ at the position of dumbassery, e.g. the lowest common denominator, when there are millions of Americans of all religions and races who do not share said dumbassery?



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