Christian Files Complaint Over Buddha Statutes at Kansas City Zoo

buddha3Christians are often confronted over their desire to have crosses and nativity scenes on public property, so David Engle of Overland Park, Kansas has filed a complaint over two Buddha statues in an Asian-themed area of the Kansas City Zoo. While peevish, it could make for an interesting constitutional case over entanglement questions.

Engle says that it is “phenomenal to me” two have the statues of Buddha when “we can’t have a cross or a nativity scene on public property.” He insists that the Buddhas are nothing more than idolatry and “infuriating to God” –the true God it appears.

The zoo is deciding what to do and clearly considering the removal of the statues. An argument could be made that such statues are common features in Asian areas and are not being used for their religious significance. However, the same could be argued about placing crosses or other religious symbols. For example, an Italian area might make the claim that churches and crosses are ubiquitous in that country. Yet, such statues are found in other public places with Asian themes, particularly gardens.

My guess is that Siddhartha Gautama may find himself in another locale.

For the full story, click here.

30 thoughts on “Christian Files Complaint Over Buddha Statutes at Kansas City Zoo”

  1. Wow! What a load of crap! Get the &%$# over it. Just some more self righteous Christians. This is exactly why the world hates you. And as for “Infuriating to God”? Who the hell does this think he is? Of course, he must be right, he’s Christian. You people and your God of fear piss me off.

  2. Remarkable that no one in this dialog noticed that (from the photo on the linked article) the statues in question are not of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. They are Budai (or Hotei, as he’s called in Japna) statues.

    Though he has some religious overtones, Budai is a primarily a folkloric figure — sort of like how Santa Claus might be “St. Nicholas” in some sense, but his cultural role is not religious.

  3. The path we were on was a circuitous one, twisting in and out between these pits of fire as far as I could see. The cries of the living dead, mixed with moans and hideous screams, came to my ears from all directions. There were no quiet times in hell. The smell of dead and decaying flesh hung thickly in the air.

    We came to the next pit. Inside this pit, which was the same size as the other one, was another skeleton form. A man’s voice cried from the pit, saying, “Lord, have mercy on me!” Only when they spoke could I tell whether the soul was a man or woman.

    Great wailing sobs came from this man. “I’m so sorry, Jesus. Forgive me. Take me out of here. I have been in this place of torment for years. I beg You, let me out!” Great sobs shook his skeletal frame as he begged, “Please, Jesus, let me out!” I looked at Jesus and saw that He too was crying.

    “Lord Jesus,” the man cried out from the burning pit, “haven’t I suffered enough for my sins? It has been forty years since my death.”

    Jesus said, “It is written, The just shall live by faith!’ All mockers and unbelievers shall have their part in the lake of fire. You would not believe the truth. Many times My people were sent to you to show you the way, but you would not listen to them. You laughed at them and refused the gospel. Even though I died on a cross for you, you mocked Me and would not repent of your sins. My Father gave you many opportunities to be saved. If only you had listened!” Jesus wept.

    “I know, Lord, I know!” the man cried. “But I repent now.”

    “It is too late,” said Jesus. “Judgment is set.”

    The man continued, “Lord, some of my people are coming here, for they also will not repent. Please, Lord, let me go tell them that they must repent of their sins while they are still on earth. I do not want them to come here.”

    Jesus said, “They have preachers, teachers, elders-all ministering the gospel. They will tell them. They also have the advantages of the modern communications systems and many other ways to learn of Me. I sent workers to them that they might believe and be saved. If they will not believe when they hear the gospel, neither will they be persuaded though one rises from the dead.”

    At this, the man became very angry and began to curse. Evil, blasphemous words came from him. I looked on in horror as the flames rose up and his dead, decaying flesh began to burn and fall off. Inside this dead shell of a man, I saw his soul. It looked like a dirty-gray mist, and it filled the inside of his skeleton.

    I turned to Jesus and cried, “Lord, how horrible!”

    Jesus said, “Hell is real; the judgment is real. I love them so, My child. This is only the beginning of the frightful things I have to show you. There is much more to come. Tell the world for Me that hell is real, that men and women must repent of their sins. Come, follow Me. We must go on.”

  4. As a christian I see the Buddha statues as a racial stereotype.Not all asians are Buddhas.
    This is another lesson of intolerance in the name of Christianity.

  5. Buddha,

    I’ll defer to your judgment on this one, I haven’t seen the way the statues are displayed. I just think we should all be very careful when we are talking about religious symbols and public land, so I tend to err on the side of caution. I also think that my initial reaction was influenced by some other opinions that follow.


    My personal belief is that the focus of the zoos should be the animals and their habitat. Mention of humans is fine, as long as it’s in relation to how they interact with the habitat. We humans spend enough time looking in, and not enough time looking out.

    It’s been my experience that these sort of displays tend to be Disney-fied versions of the cultures. They just sort of gloss over things, and I always feel more like a tourist than someone who’s actually learning.

    Those are just my feelings though, I have no solid objection to displaying the cultural stuff at a zoo. It just always leaves a faint bad aftertaste in my mouth.

  6. Did I mention Jesus would be appalled by your little venomous display, cat? See, much like Buddha, I respect the TEACHINGS of Christ, not the dogma of religious organizations created BY MEN TO CONTROL OTHER MEN. See, I can use a shift key too. Christ was a wise man who taught both love and tolerance, compassion and acceptance, lessons you never learned it seems. It’s sad that you missed the point, really, but you probably would have gotten more value out of eating your Bible than reading it.

  7. It was nice of catrina to prove my earlier point that “(n)ow that I think about it though, you can’t be any more subversive to a movement that demands blind faith and obedience than to promote individual responsibility and open mindedness. Especially when your core message is intolerance.”

  8. I will defer to that (in)famous dadaist and lapsed Roman Catholic, Frank Zappa, who said it best with his 1981 song “Dumb All Over” from “You Are What You Is”

    “Whoever we are, wherever we’re from
    We should’a noticed by now, our behavior is dumb
    And if our chances expect to improve
    It’s gonna take a lot more, than trying to remove the other race
    Or the other whatever, from the face
    Of the planet altogether

    They call it THE EARTH, which is a dumb kinda name
    But they named it right, ’cause we behave the same…
    We are dumb all over
    Dumb all over, yes we are
    Dumb all over, near an’ far
    Dumb all over, black an’ white
    People, we is not wrapped tight

    Nerds on the left, nerds on the right
    Religious fanatics on the air every night
    Saying the Bible tells the story
    Makes the details sound real gory
    About what to do if the geeks over there
    Don’t believe in the book we got over here

    You can’t run a race without no feet
    An’ pretty soon there won’t be no street
    For dummies to jog on or doggies to dog on
    Religious fanatics can make it be all gone
    It won’t blow up an’ disappear
    It’ll just look ugly for a thousand years…

    You can’t run a country by a book of religion
    Not by a heap or a lump or a smidgen
    Of foolish rules of ancient date
    Designed to make you all feel great
    While you fold, spindle and mutilate
    Those unbelievers from a neighboring state

    TO ARMS! TO ARMS! Hooray! That’s great
    Two legs ain’t bad unless there’s a crate
    They ship the parts to mama in
    For souvenirs: two ears – Get Down!
    Not his, not hers, but what the hey?
    The Good Book says: It’s gotta be that way!
    But their book says: REVENGE THE CRUSADES!!!!

    With whips an’ chains an’ hand grenades…
    TO ARMS? TWO ARMS? Have another and another
    My God says: There ain’t no other!
    Our God says: It’s all okay!
    My God says: This is the way!
    It says in the book: Burn and destroy!
    An’ repent, an’ redeem, an’ revenge, an’ deploy
    An’ rumble thee forth to the land of the unbelieving scum on the other side
    Cause they don’t go for what’s in the Book
    An that makes ’em BAD
    So verily we must choppeth them up
    And stompeth them down
    Or rent a nice French bomb
    To poof them out of existence
    While leaving their real estate just where we need it
    To use again for temples in which to praise OUR GOD
    ‘Cause He can really take care of business!

    And when His humble TV servant
    With white hair and a brown suit
    And maybe a blond wife who takes phone calls
    Tells us it’s okay to do this stuff, then we’re supposed do it
    ‘Cause if we don’t do it, we ain’t g’wann up to Hebbin!’
    Depending on which book you’re using at the time…
    Can’t use theirs… it’s all lies…… Gotta use mine… Ain’t that right?
    That’s what they say — Every night… Every day…
    Listen, we can’t really be dumb, if we’re just following God’s Orders
    After all, He wrote this book here an’ in the Book He says:
    He made us all to be just like Him,
    So… If we’re dumb… Then God is dumb…
    An’ maybe even a little bit ugly on the side”

  9. I heard a little of this today but I’m sure it would be worth hearing:

    Advertising Atheism

    Listen Now [29 min 51 sec] add to playlist

    Talk of the Nation, January 15, 2009 · Recently, placards went up in buses in Washington, D.C., and other cities asking variations on an age-old question: Why believe in God? They’re part of a public discussion on humanism and atheism that’s gaining momentum thanks in part to books by Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins.


    Fred Edwords, director of communications of the American Humanist Association. His organization sponsored the “Why believe in a god?” advertisements.

    Joellen Murphy, Washington, D.C., resident. She launched a web site,, to raise money to respond to AHA’s ads with “Because I created you and I love you” ads.

    Jacqueline Salmon, religion reporter for the Washington Post

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