Rime Buddhist Center
Monastery & Tibetan Institute of Studies
"Achieving Peace Through Compassion"
700 West Pennway
Kansas City, Missouri 64108
Lama Chuck Stanford
The following is Lama Chuck's monthly
column that appeared in the Kansas City Star
newspaper in April 2004.
QUESTION: "Should religion play a
part in our democratic system of government?"
ANSWER: We can see today, as well as historically,
problems created when a government is based upon the
religion of those in power.
is known as a theocracy and almost always results in
violence, and war motivated by religious hatred.
The founders of our country recognized this and wanted
to avoid the wars
violence that had plagued Europe for centuries. Wanting
to avoid this
conflict, they decided a separation of church and state
would be the best
guarantee. In 1789 the first of ten amendments was written
known as the
Bill of Rights. The first of these are:
"Congress shall make no law
respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof;...."
As a result, today we are a pluralistic
nation practicing a wide variety
religions. The strength of our country is it's diversity.
seal's motto is, "E Pluribus Unum" which means "Out
of many, one."
Buddhism does not consider itself to hold the only
true answer, but
recognizes that all religions have the potential to help
compassion, wisdom and to be of service to others. No
matter how worthy
leaders may be, they serve their communities best not
as government leaders but
by helping their own members to grow spiritually. In
this way they offer
guidance and wisdom to help cultivate citizens to become
will lead our nation with kindness, compassion and wisdom
instead of only
with their own self-interest.
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