April 04, 2008

Peace and Nonviolence

king.jpg40 years ago, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee.

This April 6th, join the "Be the Change" walk in New York City, which will conclude with a tribute to Gandhi in Union Square Park.

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The Original Black Buddha's picture

A Buddhist Perspective on Black America

As African American Buddhists gear up for what promises to be another pounding of "Black America as Christian Nation," I again ponder a historical issue I raised my book Black Buddha.

Both slaveholders and abolitionists argued their positions based on the bible. Whether a slave remained in bondage or was "freed" their only faith choice was Christianity. The dominant religion in the black community has no origin other than this.

From then until today a black person who choses any faith practice or lifestyle not sanctioned by the black Church is considered to have "strayed" not only from the church but the interests and survivability of the black community itself.

To be black and Buddhist is to be seen by some as one who shows contempt for the African American covenant with Christianity, the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement. In black America every Sunday from 10am to 2pm being Buddhist and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, or polyamorous is to be considered misguided at the very least and in extreme cases a navel-watching race traitor.

There are some exceptions such as when spending money in black businesses or being courted for the vote. But where does the child of a black Buddhist family fit into the Christian solution for Black America? How does the Buddhist parent explain the chant, "One nation under God," to their child in a so called secular non-denominational school?

How can the potential of a black Christian president provide so much hope for America yet a duly elected black Buddhist Congressman remain relatively unnoticed?

Can CNN handle the responsibility of inclusion and objectivity around issues important to the black Buddhist community?

I'll be blogging daily on each installment of this series (July 23 & 24):