Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Religion and Politics

 

cb7b676628d6873de6af2c428e6ccaabYes, I know it’s an old argument–whether our religious organizations should be preaching politics from the pulpit — or in my case, speaking politics to the sangha. As a Zen Buddhist, I’ve become increasingly distressed at the dominance of the left in almost all Buddhist communities. For many years I belonged to a Zen community (sangha) that was guided by the belief that participants ought to decide, from their own research, values, and discussions (outside the community) what they believed in and supported. But in the last ten years, leading Buddhists and lesser ones have moved from subtle support of the left to blatantly stating their leftist views, leaving out the segment of conservatives (however small) of their communities. So much for “we are all one.” Choose any leftist cause — climate change, gay marriage — it’s supported in mainstream Buddhist publications. I finally left the larger Buddhist community (and lead my own meditation group), but still consider myself a Zen Buddhist. Of course, when I tell Buddhists about my decision, they assume I support “Japanese Zen” so they think I must believe, for example, in treating women as second class citizens. Even though their assumptions are wrong, I guess my holding to the Buddha’s original teachings makes me a “fundamentalist Buddhist.” So be it.

Has anyone else thrown up their hands and abandoned their religious communities because they just couldn’t take the propaganda of the left anymore? How’s that worked out for you? Do you still consider yourself a practitioner of your religion? I’d love to hear from you.

Susan the Buju

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  1. MLH Inactive
    MLH

    Not to answer your question and I don’t really want to hijack your thread but what about the monk in Burma?! Scroll down about half way.

    • #1
    • October 27, 2015, at 6:22 PM PDT
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  2. Vicryl Contessa Thatcher

    Nice to see a new face posting! Keep it up!

    One of my best friends (I say “best,” but we in no way share any values) always says “I’m not religious, but if I had to be anything, I’d be Buddhist.” I feel like that’s the progressive, hipster party line, because Buddhism is cool.

    • #2
    • October 27, 2015, at 6:27 PM PDT
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  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    I know of that monk. I think he’s a disgrace to Buddhism. So does the Dalai Lamar. Attacking a Muslim population indiscriminately is bigoted and dangerous.

    • #3
    • October 27, 2015, at 6:32 PM PDT
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  4. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I have not had too. It would stink, since work is so full of Liberals. I am sorry. The Left takes over anything that is not trying to stay conservative. Most mainline religions are being taken over.

    • #4
    • October 27, 2015, at 6:34 PM PDT
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  5. MLH Inactive
    MLH

    Susan the Buju:I know of that monk. I think he’s a disgrace to Buddhism. So does the Dalai Lamar. Attacking a Muslim population indiscriminately is bigoted and dangerous.

    Isn’t a tenet of Buddhism to do no harm to others? He’s pretty scary.

    • #5
    • October 27, 2015, at 6:37 PM PDT
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  6. Severely Ltd. Inactive

    Susan, you’re the first (self-identified) Buddhist that I seen here. Very nice.

    I can’t help you with your Leftist co-religionists, but I sympathize. I lived in a community with a high percentage of hipster Buddhists for a couple of decades and though some were good people as well as friends, their politics were of a piece, Leftist. Tiring.

    There was also a temple of traditional, mainly Japanese, Buddhists that were much more reasonable. They were also primarily Democrats but with pretty solid values. I’ve read that traditional Buddhism was anti-abortion. Do you know if that’s correct?

    • #6
    • October 27, 2015, at 7:02 PM PDT
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  7. MJBubba Inactive

    Susan, just curious: do you have Asians in your meditation group, or are you American natives?

    Were you raised Buddhist ?

    • #7
    • October 27, 2015, at 7:04 PM PDT
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  8. Kay of MT Member

    Susan the Buju: Attacking a Muslim population indiscriminately is bigoted and dangerous.

    Right, because if they get the chance they will take your head from your body and that monk you despise knows it. There is nothing stupid about him. He is not prepared to have his country over run by muslim refugees as is happening in Europe. And the killings going on in Israel and China by the muslims who are not refugees but enough of the population to inflict their means of control through fear and death. I do not know what Buddhism teaches but don’t think suicide is part of it.

    • #8
    • October 27, 2015, at 7:28 PM PDT
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  9. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Yes, years ago I “left” (HA!) Reform Judaism. I dislike going to my sister’s family’s synagogue, and it was a real hardship sitting through my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah and listening to all the twisted prayer-book passages bowdlerized to eliminate God as male. I’m not really a practicing Jew, but it’s really awful what the Reform people have done to the rituals.

    • #9
    • October 27, 2015, at 7:32 PM PDT
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  10. Profile Photo Member

    The leftist Christians usually have bad theology, too. So it hasn’t really come up for me. The churches that make a lot of noise in favor of conservative theology aren’t necessarily better theologically.
    We don’t really get politics from the pulpit, which I think would be true of most churches that hold to the old Protestant confessions. Moral lessons will have political implications, of course. It’s not taught that way directly, though.
    Recent events of politics pushing their way into the church have gotten some mention. It’s not a call to political action, but to faithfulness and trust in God.

    • #10
    • October 27, 2015, at 7:33 PM PDT
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  11. MLH Inactive
    MLH

    I agree with the angry monk, Kay, about Islam not stopping at Burma, the Middle East, etc. Just seemed very odd coming from a Buddhist. Burma is not allowing muslims to vote in the upcoming election.

    • #11
    • October 27, 2015, at 7:34 PM PDT
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  12. Kay of MT Member

    RushBabe49:Yes, years ago I “left” (HA!) Reform Judaism. I dislike going to my sister’s family’s synagogue, and it was a real hardship sitting through my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah and listening to all the twisted prayer-book passages bowdlerized to eliminate God as male. I’m not really a practicing Jew, but it’s really awful what the Reform people have done to the rituals.

    I left Reform Judaism as well, have been doing some studying with Chabad-Lubavitch. And of course iWe.

    http://www.chabad.org/

    • #12
    • October 27, 2015, at 7:41 PM PDT
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  13. MJBubba Inactive

    Leftists ruin everything.

    This applies to the theological left as well as to the political left.

    In the churches, they lobbied for generations with all sorts of whining and pleading “why can’t we all just get along?” “why do you have to be so negative?” “couldn’t you be a little more tolerant?” etc. &tc.

    They gravitated to policy-making boards and commissions. Once they achieved majority status there, they then proceeded to spike nominations of theological conservatives and to promote the nominations of the most aggressively Leftist candidates for judicial-level positions.

    After they had the votes, they were no longer interested in getting along or in tolerating the theological conservatives. Entire denominations have been wrecked.

    • #13
    • October 27, 2015, at 7:59 PM PDT
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  14. kylez Member
    kylez Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Well there’s something you don’t read everyday.

    I wouldn’t be surprised of leftist bias among Zen Buddhists. Especially among white people.

    • #14
    • October 27, 2015, at 8:00 PM PDT
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  15. Vicryl Contessa Thatcher

    kylez:Well there’s something you don’t read everyday.

    I wouldn’t be surprised of leftist bias among Zen Buddhists. Especially among white people.

    Racist.

    • #15
    • October 27, 2015, at 8:30 PM PDT
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  16. RightAngles Member

    kylez:Well there’s something you don’t read everyday.

    I wouldn’t be surprised of leftist bias among Zen Buddhists. Especially among white people.

    Agree. I’m not surprised at all if white Caucasian Buddhists tend to be liberals. They were almost all not raised Buddhist and turned to it in college as a way to be counter-establishment. I’ve known some in Chicago, and visited their temple. It seemed to me more like some kind of club or a phase they were going through.

    • #16
    • October 27, 2015, at 8:31 PM PDT
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  17. RightAngles Member

    MJBubba:Leftists ruin everything.

    … Entire denominations have been wrecked.

    The Methodist (United Methodist) Church is one. When we lived in Michigan in the 90s, a bunch of them came up and were running around the woods topless all weekend worshiping “Christa.” And our local United Methodist helped women get abortions.

    • #17
    • October 27, 2015, at 8:34 PM PDT
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  18. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    MLH:

    Susan the Buju:I know of that monk. I think he’s a disgrace to Buddhism. So does the Dalai Lamar. Attacking a Muslim population indiscriminately is bigoted and dangerous.

    Isn’t a tenet of Buddhism to do no harm to others? He’s pretty scary.

    It’s theoretical tenet, but if you look at a plurality of massacres and atrocities in the Twentieth Century, you’ll find Buddhists and Buddhist influenced regimes winning out. The differences between the Holocaust (where Hitler tried to maximize the killing while keeping German involvement as limited as possible, because killing civilians is bad for your mental health) and the Japanese massacres (where as many people as could be were involved in the massacres, rapes, and such) were influenced by Buddhism. It probably is, on some level, a useful test of your equanimity to gun down civilians en masse.

    The exemplary figures in Zen spend a whole bunch of time slapping and otherwise physically abusing their followers.

    That’s not to say that the Japanese weren’t poor followers of Zen, but there weren’t many other followers of Zen to contrast with them. I’d highly recommend City of Life and Death, perhaps the most pro-Christian film made by the Chinese government, about the Rape of Nanking.

    Zen now, of course, is much more peaceful, after the US successfully enacted radical transformations to Japanese character on just about every level.

    • #18
    • October 27, 2015, at 9:32 PM PDT
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  19. MLH Inactive
    MLH

    Isn’t Japan primarily Shinto?

    • #19
    • October 27, 2015, at 9:50 PM PDT
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  20. kylez Member
    kylez Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Vicryl Contessa:Nice to see a new face posting! Keep it up!

    One of my best friends (I say “best,” but we in no way share any values) always says “I’m not religious, but if I had to be anything, I’d be Buddhist.” I feel like that’s the progressive, hipster party line, because Buddhism is cool.

    I remember an art teacher saying the same thing my senior year.

    • #20
    • October 27, 2015, at 10:49 PM PDT
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  21. LC Member
    LC Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Kay of MT:

    Susan the Buju: Attacking a Muslim population indiscriminately is bigoted and dangerous.

    Right, because if they get the chance they will take your head from your body and that monk you despise knows it. There is nothing stupid about him. He is not prepared to have his country over run by muslim refugees as is happening in Europe. And the killings going on in Israel and China by the muslims who are not refugees but enough of the population to inflict their means of control through fear and death. I do not know what Buddhism teaches but don’t think suicide is part of it.

    The core principle of Buddhist teachings is a devotion to being harmless. The teachings also include the prohibition from encouraging people to cause pain, have an abortion, commit murder, or suicide. Since monks are responsible for schooling and guidance people, if that report is to believe, what that monk is doing is a no no. He should have been expelled from the monastic order. Monks are not to be involved in earthly affairs.

    Self-defense is allowed when personal danger is imminent. One interesting note on Buddhist teachings is that one should not risk his own well-being for the sake of others’.

    • #21
    • October 28, 2015, at 1:05 AM PDT
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  22. Randy Webster Member

    MLH:I agree with the angry monk, Kay, about Islam not stopping at Burma, the Middle East, etc. Just seemed very odd coming from a Buddhist. Burma is not allowing muslims to vote in the upcoming election.

    Burma? Burma? Do you mean Myanmar?

    • #22
    • October 28, 2015, at 3:24 AM PDT
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  23. Scott Wilmot Member

    Many Catholic beliefs such as the inviolability of life from conception to natural death and marriage as the union of one man and one woman are incompatible with the leftist view. Yet, many prominent liberal progressive “Catholics” such as Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Andrew Cuomo and many many others hold heretical beliefs and still call themselves Catholic.

    There has been a meeting of bishops in Rome this past week where many heretical (who most people call liberal) bishops pushed an agenda to try to change Church teaching on communion for the divorced and remarried.

    Christ will not abandon His Church, so there is no reason to leave the Church he founded. God will sort the sheep and the goats at the end of time. My job is to remain faithful.

    Thanks for this post. My first contact with Buddhism was in 1981 when I worked in Thailand. I was always fascinated by the monks and the religious ceremonies and festivals the Thai people celebrated.

    • #23
    • October 28, 2015, at 3:54 AM PDT
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  24. MLH Inactive
    MLH

    Randy Webster:

    MLH:I agree with the angry monk, Kay, about Islam not stopping at Burma, the Middle East, etc. Just seemed very odd coming from a Buddhist. Burma is not allowing muslims to vote in the upcoming election.

    Burma? Burma? Do you mean Myanmar?

    No. It’s Burma, again; thankfully: much easier to pronounce.

    • #24
    • October 28, 2015, at 4:56 AM PDT
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  25. Randy Webster Member

    Does this mean that Aung San Suu Kyi is persona grata now?

    • #25
    • October 28, 2015, at 5:25 AM PDT
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  26. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Sorry folks. I’m way behind here. And I don’t know how to respond to an individual post. So let me say a few things–I’m heading out for the day–

    Most people glamorize Buddhism. They embrace tenets that are “liberal” in current times, such as compassion. They disregard the wisdom part, such as using common sense. There are precepts that are similar to the ten commandments–no killing, no greed, no over-imbibing and so forth. So technically, it would be hard to justify abortion. Don’t want to make this a Buddhist lesson . . .

    I wasn’t born Buddhist–adopted it over 20 years ago. I was born Jewish, still consider myself a Jew. You don’t have to “convert” to Buddhism; you just adopt the precepts. My own meditation group doesn’t have Japanese Buddhists. In fact, most of the participants don’t consider themselves Buddhists. And you could say Buddhism “doesn’t care” what they call themselves. We’re in a 55+ gated community, and we have lots of diversity (the libs would love that)–a black man, people from Spain, Colombia, and other places, including these here United States.

    • #26
    • October 28, 2015, at 5:49 AM PDT
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  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Thanks for the comments, Scott. Thais practice Theravadan Buddhism. Many of them identify with Buddhism culturally, but don’t practice much. They focus on collecting merit, which isn’t such a bad thing. But they don’t meditate much, which is the focus of Zen. I love Thailand. I have discovered that culturally they are not so nice, especially business-wise. Corruption is pretty much accepted, especially the wealthy guy against the little guy. Geez, now I sound like a leftist!

    • #27
    • October 28, 2015, at 6:00 AM PDT
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  28. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    Hi Susan, welcome. I so understand the problem. I’ve given up on going to yoga classes, for the most part, and just practice at home: I can’t take the appalling leftist pablum that inevitably comes along with it. For no theological reason that I can see, either.

    Politics is poisoning everything.

    • #28
    • October 28, 2015, at 7:41 AM PDT
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  29. rico c Member
    rico c Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I have come to describe myself as a Catholic/Christian who has not been blessed with the Grace of faith – so really an atheist who is not going to get into a believers face about it and believe’s Christianity is a net positive for the world. But boy, if I hadn’t essentially left the Catholic Church already, just seeing them heading down the road of the climate change dogma, anti-capitalism/freedom, etc. I would probably be out the door by now anyway. Looks to me like it is just a matter of time before the church takes on all the rest of the left’s beliefs.

    • #29
    • October 28, 2015, at 7:49 AM PDT
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  30. Jennykins Inactive

    I belong to the Presbyterian Church (USA), which since the ’80s has had a left-ward drift that has taken a hard turn in the past decade or so. The PCUSA now permits same-sex marriages to be performed in our churches and by our clergy, permits (and perhaps even encourages) the ordination of gays, and has re-written our denominational hymnal to contain “inclusive language” that promotes an non-gender view of God. (I expect that they’ll try to remove all references to Christ’s corporeal male gender any day now). The congregation of which I’m a member is a mixed bag (politcally speaking), but tends to be more conservative in its politics, leadership, and theology overall, which is the only reason I’m able to remain a member. I do my best to focus on worship and service, and to ignore the shenanigans of the national denomination, but even that is becoming increasingly difficult. Compounding the problem is the fact that I work as the Christian Ed director at my church, doing my level best to promote Biblical literacy while minimizing cultural or political incursions into our Bible Study and fellowship at all age levels. It’s an ongoing battle, but one I will continue to fight.

    • #30
    • October 28, 2015, at 8:25 AM PDT
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