Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Buddhists in Congress

Good Morning Stephanie,
Here an interesting piece on the religious beliefs or lack thereof of some new members of Congress. I'm all for religious diversity in Congress and across America. I think it's a great thing that there are two Buddhists in Congress. I think that you said one time that ex-Catholics probably make up the majority of new Buddhists in this country. I don't know whether that is true, but I like the fact that there are those in public life who look beyond Judeo-Christian religion for guidance in their lives.
Cheers - your radical militant librarian,
Faye in Tulsa, OK

Monday, January 01, 2007
Keith Ellison: Tip of the Iceberg

While everyone goes ooh and ah over new Rep. Keith Ellison's choice of magic book to place his hand upon when he says the magic words that will make the man in the sky ensure that he keeps his promise, folks seem to have missed something. Ellison's status as the first Muslim in the House was just the tip of the iceberg with this new Congress. There's an even bigger milestone that I haven't seen much mention of (with one exception).

In Susan Jacoby's essential "Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism," she quotes a North Carolina minister's objection to the proposed U.S. Constitution's ban on religious tests for officeholders. He called it, "an invitation for Jews and pagans of every kind to come among us."

Meet Hank Johnson and Mazie K. Hirono. They're two other members of the 110th Congress who are doing something no one in Congress has done before. Not even Ellison. They don't believe in God. Not the Judeo-Christian God. Not the Muslim God. They're Buddhists. The first ever in Congress. For the first time, as far as I can tell, bouncing around, the U.S. Congress as of Thursday will now include as members representatives who openly do not subscribe to any version of monotheism.

Johnson is from Georgia (4th district), for Christ's sake. And check out Hirono. She's from Hawaii. What does Hawaii's House Caucus look like in the 110th Congress?
Mazie K. Hirono -- Buddhist.
Neil Abercrombie -- "Non-Affiliated."...

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