Good evening everyone, in relation to our current legal matters with West Penn Township, I would like to extend an invitation to all of you to stand united with us against religious discrimination. As a Zen Monk, and as a spokesman for the sangha, I would like to convey that all we wish to do is exercise our constitutional rights guaranteed by Americans, for Americans to gather peaceably and practice our religion without interference from governmental bodies, while at the same time not interfering with anyone else’s rights. We are good neighbors, and we bother no one. We seek to enrich the neighborhood, not damage or degrade it in anyway. We do not proselytize, nor do we place religious artifacts on the public roadway which may offend other religious traditions. This issue is not a “Zen Buddhist” issue, this is a constitutional rights issue. Our story always gets the same response, “How can they do that? You are in your own home.” , and all I can do is say “I know but, they are.” Slowly our right to practice the religion of our choice is being eroded away and we are being bullied. There are many other religious groups who have small religious gatherings, which meet in private homes, and will never encounter “cease and desist” orders or have to prove that they are not operating a house of worship, this is my zendo and my home. We are asking for the support of the community, both local and national, to attend the November 6th zoning hearing in West Penn Township to stand firm against such discrimination. It would be much easier for us to just give in and move, our nature as Zen Practitioners is to avoid creating suffering and conflict, however, the Blue Mountain Zendo Sangha perceives this as a necessary stand against those who seek to limit religious freedom. We are reaching out to not only the Zen community but, all of our brothers and sisters from other religious traditions and practices to speak with one voice against religious discrimination.
West Penn Township
27 Municipal Rd. New Ringgold, PA 17960
November 6th 2014 7:00pm