Here’s one for the Islamophobes who are perpetually pointing out there are no Christian churches in Mecca — According to the Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem is rocked with controversy over an apparent rumor that a statue of Buddha might be erected in a traffic circle.
Agon Shu, a Japanese Buddhist organization that promotes world peace, was invited by the city of Jerusalem to beautify a traffic circle. But the religious establishment in Israel went ballistic over the possibility that a statue of Buddha or other Buddhist symbolism might be publicly displayed in their country.
Ahead of the Sculpting Committee meeting â€“ scheduled originally for last Sunday but postponed for reasons unrelated to the volatile agenda â€“ councilman and committee member Yossi Deitsch of United Torah Judaism spoke out strongly against allowing â€œactual idolatryâ€ in the cityâ€™s limits. This sentiment received wide resonance in the religious and haredi media.
â€œThere is a Japanese group that wants to place some sort of Buddha statue in the city. This is actual idolatry. We should not have such things,â€ Deitsch reiterated to The Jerusalem Post late last week regarding the Agon Shu proposal. …
… In a later conversation with the Post, Deitsch explained that he was basing his stance on what the municipalityâ€™s art adviser David Suzana had written in a letter about the Agon Shu traffic circle. According to Suzana, the proposed design contained religious and ritualistic Buddhist elements, and the art adviser objected to it on those grounds.
â€œI cannot agree to have Buddhists arrive to conduct religious ceremonies at the site,â€ asserted Deitsch, who will be seeing the plans for the first time when the committee convenes.
The architect designing the traffic circle says there is no plan to erect a Buddha. They are planning an “abstract design,” he says.
Apparently it’s OK to display religious symbols, such as a Christian cross, in Jerusalem, but a Buddha statue is too much like a graven image. In fact, generally a Buddha statue is regarded within Buddhism to symbolize enlightenment or some other principle, such as wisdom or compassion, and it not considered to be a god.
Nearly 6-in-10 Americans affirm American exceptionalism, that God has granted America a special role in human history. Those affirming this view are more likely to support military interventions and to say torture is sometimes justified.
Some people might want to remember that the meek, not the “exceptional,” will inherit the earth.