Government Removes Buddhist Display from National Park

A federal agency has removed a Buddhist display from the Petroglyph National Monument in New Mexico, citing establishment clause concerns at the display of religious icons on public land. A New Mexico public radio station reports:

The National Park Service said Monday that park service will remove the ten-foot structure containing Buddhist relics from the park this week after getting an opinion from the Department of Interior’s solicitor general. The solicitor general ruled last month that keeping the Buddhist stupa violates the Constitution on established religion.

But wait. The Supreme Court in 2010 said it was okay to have a giant Christian cross in the Mojave National Preserve, even one that was paid for and endorsed by Congress. And there’s still that cross at the Mt. Soledad site in California. And those memorial crosses in Utah. All of the religious right legal groups have argued strongly in favor of those sites being constitutional, so I’m sure they’ll be defending the Buddhist display too, right? Right? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

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  • Selective enforcement! It’s how you keep the little guy down.

  • Chiroptera

    Huh. I woulda thunk that a Buddhist stupa would qualify as “ceremonial deism” or something.

  • Only Christianity counts as not a religion, apparently.

  • brucecoppola

    Ed, your Buddhist privelege is showing again. /snark

  • Before they blew up the Bamiyan Statues, all the Taliban had to do was declare it was a national park and that the statues violated church and state!

    A true Buddhist shouldn’t care about removal of the statue, because Buddhism teaches non attachment to the things of this world.

  • cry4turtles

    Mr. Rodgers would ask, “Can you say hypocrisy?”

  • hexidecima

    these folks seem intent on wasting money on lawsuits.

  • oranje


    Pretty much nailed it there. The stupa is there, soon it won’t be. Someday the park won’t be there too. Meh.

  • Just to make it clear for any wingnut trolls who might stop by:

    1. Yes, the Buddhist display should have been removed from government/public property.

    2. So should Christian displays. And Islamic displays. And Flying Spaghetti Monster displays.

    3. It is inconsistent and hypocritical for the government to play favorites toward one religion over another when it is supposed to be prohibited from playing favorites. We’re supposed to be a civilized nation with rule of law, here. Inconsistency in application undermines that.

    4. If you don’t want the government imposing a religious belief on you, you shouldn’t support the use of the government to impose your religious belief on others.

  • tomh

    One of the most egregious examples is the “Big Mountain Jesus” in Montana on National Forest Land. Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-MT), currently running for the Senate, has declared that there is no religious aspect at all to the large statue of Jesus. “It’s about welcoming back soldiers of World War II of all faiths,” Rehberg said. What planet do these people live on?

  • And yet you don’t bring up the Taliban destroying those ancient Buddha statues in Afghanistan, Ed. WHY WON’T YOU JUST ADMIT THAT YOU LOVE MUSLIMS AND WANT TO WELCOME THEM INTO AMERICA TO KILL ALL THE CHRISTIANS?

  • Geds @ 11:

    Kidding, right?

  • Reginald Selkirk

    They just need to move it to the nearest river and declare it a symbol of the Aqua Buddha!

  • Geds is obviously kidding. The strident SHOUTY CAPITALS ARE SUCH A GIVE AWAY. Besides, surely nobody could actually be that stupid?!

  • kantalope

    @paulcoyne: hehe are you new here? there is no, no, no upperbound on teh stupid.

  • leonardschneider

    “Dude, where’s Reggie?”

    “Over pukin’ on the cross.”


    That’s what always leaps to mind when I hear Mt. Soledad brought up. Things have probably changed since, but in the mid-80s, Soledad was one of those spots for party gladiators to hang out on weekend nights, smoking weed, drinking beer, and feeling each other up while the Scorpions and Def Leppard serenades everyone in the background. Hey, if the city of San Diego wants to maintain a graffiti magnet it won’t affect the lives of those who spend the most time on Soledad: dudes and dude-ettes that make the movie River’s Edge look like a documentary.

    Personally they should pull the damn thing down and replace it with something more representative of San Diego: a giant dollar sign, or an oversized police baton. While an ancient Roman torture device could be seen as appropriate, it’s too much of a reach.

  • criticaldragon1177

    Ed Brayton,

    And there are people in the religious right that argue that the separation of Church and State only exists so that leftists can destroy our Christian heritage. Off course they won’t fight against this, because not only do Christian fundamentalists often openly oppose all other religions including Buddhism, but they’d know how would go against their claims that the left is out to destroy Christianity.

  • Red-Green in Blue


    A true Buddhist shouldn’t care about removal of the statue, because Buddhism teaches non attachment to the things of this world.

    A certain populous religious group in the USA could probably learn something from that…

  • anne mariehovgaard

    Red-Green in Blue:

    They might even learn something from Matthew 6 19-21:

    “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

  • matty1

    Geds is joking but it is a scarily accurate imitation of certain other posters here who seem to be serious.

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