Thursday, 27 June 2013

Buddhist Leaders against Gay Marriage

Interfaith homophobia promotes religious harmony

In order to decrease inter-religious tensions, could all faiths find a common ground, and unite in a shared purpose, by joining together to bash queers?

From Gay Star News

'Christian, Jewish and Buddhist leaders band together against UK gay marriage.

UK religious leaders have formed an 'unprecedented' alliance to urge Prime Minister David Cameron to halt the marriage equality bill.'

'53 religious leaders from different faiths including Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism have written to PM David Cameron opposing gay marriage.

British newspaper The Telegraph reports that Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist leaders have joined in submitting an open letter to the British Prime Minister denouncing his plans for same-sex marriage to be debated in the House of Lords next week.

GSN reported yesterday (Friday) that the future of gay marriage in England and Wales is on a knife-edge with campaigners warning it could all come down to the vote of as few as 10 Lords.

In this new letter to Cameron, religious leaders wrote: ‘We are disappointed that the Government has failed to engage in meaningful debate with the many different faith communities in Britain. It has wrongly assumed that opposition to the redefinition of marriage is confined to a small number of Christians.

‘Marriage between a man and a woman is the fundamental building block of human society. These proposals would radically undermine the nature and place of the family in our society.

‘We cannot believe that this is what you intend and therefore ask you to pause before taking such a damaging step.’

This new letter echoes the sentiments of a separate plea previously submitted by leaders of the UK Muslim community. Last week, over 500 Muslim leaders throughout Britain signed a petition to Cameron saying gay marriage will ‘rob’ parents of the right to raise their children as they see appropriate.

While the same-sex marriage bill for England and Wales may have got some religious organizations furious, others have issued statements praising the UK government.'

No surprises here about 500 leaders from the RoP wishing to control the sexual inclinations of their offspring (to preserve family honor?), but who are these homophobic Buddhist Leaders?    Interfaith dialog is certainly a good thing, but can it best be brought about by targetting 'The Other', who all religions can agree to gang up on to persecute?  

Buddhists may try to impress leaders of the old failing Abrahamic faiths by joining them in their 'God hates fags' campaigns, but such tactics will not impress the growing numbers of 'nones' and 'spiritual but not religious' young people, who are a far more likely source of recruitment for the future growth of Buddhism in the West.   It is precisely this kind of bigotted homophobia that has contributed to the mass exodus of young people from traditional religions.

Then I checked out the original article in the Telegraph...

'Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist leaders have signed a letter to the Prime Minister, pleading with him to abandon the legislation, which will be debated in the House of Lords next week.

Allowing couples of the same sex to marry will cause “injustice and unfairness”, the signatories said, accusing Mr Cameron of rushing the legislation through Parliament to prevent proper scrutiny.

The letter was signed by leaders of several Christian denominations, including Bishop Michael Hill, the Anglican Bishop of Bristol and Archbishop Bernard Longley, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham.

Other Christian signatories include Bishop Angaelos of Britain’s Coptic Orthodox Church

Among the leading Muslims signing the letter is Sir Iqbal Sacranie, a former head of the Muslim Council of Britain.

Other signatories include: Rabbi Natan Levy, an adviser to the Board of Deputies of British Jews; Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh, a Sikh community leader; and John Beard, a prominent Buddhist.


1. Bishop Doye Agama, (Presiding Bishop, Apostolic Pastoral Congress)

2. Bishop Angaelos (General Bishop, Coptic Orthodox Church, UK)

3. Dr Hamid Aldubayan (Chair of Regents Park Mosque)

4. Shaykh Dr. Haitham al-Haddad, Founder and Executive Director, MRDF

5. Mr John Beard (Buddhist)

6. Mr James Bogle (Barrister, Vice-Chairman of the Catholic Union)

7. Khurshid Drabu CBE, Dr Ahmed Al Dubyan, Islamic Culture Centre

9. Rev Canon Ben Enwuchola (Anglican Chaplain to the Nigerian Community)

10. Mrs Sarah Finch (Member of General Synod)

11. Sheikh Suliman Gani (Imam, Tooting Islamic Centre)

12. Dr Lee Gatiss (Director, Church Society)

13. Rev John Glass, (General Superintendant, Elim Pentecostal Churches)

14. Bishop Creswell Green, (Chair Joint Council of Anglo-Caribbean Churches, General Overseer of the Latter-Rain Outpouring Revival Ministries)

15. Rev George Hargreaves (Founder of the Christian Party)

16. Bishop Paul Hendricks (Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark & Co-Chairman of the Christian Muslim Forum)

17. Bishop Michael Hill (Anglican Bishop of Bristol)

18. Rev James Hunt (Rector, Bishops Waltham)

19. Mrs Rebecca Hunt (Barrister)

20. Shaykh Dr Musharraf Hussain, Karimia Institute

21. Dr Hussein Jina (President. Council of European Jamaats)

22. Pastor Jean Bosco Kanyemesha, (Congolese Pastorship UK)

23. Dr A.Majid Katme (Spokesman, Islamic Medical Association)

24. The Venerable Michael Lawson (Former Archdeacon of Hampstead)

25. Mrs Susie Leafe (Member of General Synod)

26. Rabbi Natan Levy

27. Archbishop Bernard Longley (Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham)

28. Bishop Patrick Lynch (Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark)

29. Apostle Caleb Mackintosh, (General Overseer, Bibleway Churches (UK))

30. Maulana Sarfraz Madni, Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB)

31. Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Imam, Leicester

32. Shaykh Shams Adduha Muhammad, Ebrahim College

33. Farooq Murad, Muslim Council of Britain

34. Dr Mohammed Naseem (Chairman, Birmingham Central Mosque)

35. Bishop Michael Nazir Ali (Former Bishop of Rochester)

36. Mr Ade Omooba (Christian Concern)

37. Archbishop F.N.Onyuku-Opokiri, (Born Again Christ Healing Church International)

38. Pastor Pete Pennant, (Lighthouse Church, Birmingham)

39. Rev Paul Perkin (Chairman, Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans,UK and Ireland)

40. Shaykh Abdul Qayum, Senior, East London Mosque

41. Mr Munawar Rattansey (President of World Federation of Shia Ithnari)

40. Maulana Shahid Raza, Muslim College

43. Mr Giles Rowe (Catholic Forum)

44. Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Al-Risalah Trust

45. Bishop Keith Sinclair (Anglican Bishop of Birkenhead)

46. Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh, (Chairman, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha’)

47. Archbishop Peter Smith (Roman Catholic Archbishop of Southwark)

48. Archbishop George Stack (Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff)

49. Rev John Stevens (Director of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches)

50. Canon Dr Chris Sugden (Executive Secretary, Anglican Mainstream)

51. Prebendary Rod Thomas (Chairman of Reform)

52. Rev Dr Simon Vibert (Wycliffe Hall, Oxford)

53. Bishop Alfred Williams General Overseer Christ faith Tabernacle International Churches

So among the usual suspects is only one Buddhist - John Beard

Now Mr Beard is entitled to his opinions, as free speech hasn't yet been outlawed in Britain (though they're working on it), but is he really a 'Buddhist Leader'?

I must confess I had never heard of him before reading the Telegraph article.

Googling, I found that he is a trustee of the Birmingham Buddhist Vihara, which is a local establishment that doesn't appear to be part of a larger organisation.

Mr Beard may be putting forward his own views, or maybe those of his congregation (though the fact that he doesn't state his affiliation in the list would suggest otherwise), but he is certainly not a widely recognised  'Buddhist Leader' representing the views of any organised body of Buddhists in Britain.  

The more general Buddhist opinion on gay marriage appears to be rather more liberal.

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Buddhism won't be harmed by ex-drag queen ordaining as a monk

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