Johnson County, Laotian Buddhists and White Privilege

Johnson Co. Commissioners moved to Remand Application of Buddhist Temple back to the township zoning board ~ The dance continues!

Basically several members of the rural community where the temple is proposed to be built spoke up about their concerns last night. Unlike previous incarnations of this issue, no statements about animal sacrifices or baying at the moon were included. In fact, most anti-temple folk were well-rehearsed with the specific zoning laws that would keep the Buddhists out of their community. Most comments revolved around the “disharmony” that the temple would bring to their area as well as resulting plummet of real-estate value. Additional concerns about the depression it could cause local farm animals, road issues, social psychological elements of the Buddhist Association’s argument, pollution run-off and the potential crime that it could bring were also brought up.

Supporters of the temple were largely sappy and emotional with comments about the love of Buddhists towards nature and their neighbors. Hardly convincing if I were sitting on the Board of Commissioners.

A highlight of the night’s comments came from Rev Buddy Love from a local Baptist church. The good Reverend welcomed the new temple and commented about his experience with the community there when his family moved in 20+ years ago. They were refused the right to purchase the house over a white family. Then when he moved his predominately African American congregation there he had to apply twice as his church was thought to be “disharmonious” as well. Comments on the pro-temple side also came from a local man who lived near a Laotian temple while staying Texas and described it as a “Jewel of the Area.”….

Read the rest at the Elephant Journal.

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