« Eating crow, literally | Main | Too many chains at P&L District »

January 15, 2009

Zoo’s ‘Buddha’ statues

David Engle of Overland Park complains about the “Buddha” statues in the Kansas City Zoo — an amenity he does not support with any tax dollars, by the way (1/14, Local).

As a fellow Johnson County resident, I have a deal for him. If, on Election Day, they move all of the Christian religious symbols out of all the churches that are polling places in Johnson County, I will personally lift and carry both “Buddha” statues out of the zoo myself.

I won’t hold my breath.

John Martellaro

David Engle’s negative reaction to two “Buddha” statues at the Kansas City Zoo is due to lack of knowledge about Buddhism.http://www.kansascity.com/115/story/979947.html

Buddhists do not worship Buddha. He is not a god. Buddhists do not believe in a Creator God. Siddhartha Gautama, aka the Buddha, didn’t rise to heaven. He died like the mortal man he was. His teachings, or philosophy, remain in various forms.

He said. “Accept my words only when you have examined them for yourselves, not simply because of the reverence you have for me.” This is as far from Christianity, Islam and Judaism as you could get.

The statues at the zoo are cultural in nature and are not venerated like a nativity scene, the Torah, the rock at Mecca or a crucifix.

Richard Adams
Kansas City

Editor’s note: Rime Buddhist Center director Lama Chuck Stanford says the zoo’s statues are of Ho Tai, a patron saint of children.



I wanna know why there is not an Obama nd Malcom X statue at the zoo. I am offended.


Ah yes..."Blessed are the cheesemakers..."


I have often wondered why we have the Ten Commandments posted in public buildings and not the Beautitudes, which seem much more appropriate as a guide for governments and citizens. I wonder if that 'Blessed be the poor' part is what causes so many to ignore the Beautitudes? After all, we can't bless or help poor people, as that would be socialism.


I notice certain posts have been deleted today. Hopefully that means the end of "yomama' posts and a standard set.


Miracles do happen. :)


I think I just agreed with EL.

It only matters what you believe.


The issue isn't whether there is historical record of Jesus, but does God exist and Is Jesus the son of God.
Jerusalem was the boondocks of the Roman Empire and there were hundreds of prophets. It would be unlikely any, including Jesus, would be mentioned officially.
And local records would not be preserved.


""If, on Election Day, they move all of the Christian religious symbols out of all the churches that are polling places in Johnson County, I will personally lift and carry both “Buddha” statues out of the zoo myself.

John Martellaro""

Dumb. That would cost Johnson many thousands each election to rent polling places.


Religious intolerance has no place in society, as it boils down to being bigotry. There were actually numerous people that were hoped(considered) to be the Messiah, Jesus didn't fit the bill as far as what the Jews of the day were looking for.

Christianity is what it is today because it became the state religion of a powerful empire. The stories of Constantine and his conversion are just that. stories. Although his mother was a Christian, he himself was not baptized until on his deathbed. The story about him drawing the outline of constantinoples city limits with a spear, walking until the Lord told him to stop are more of the same kind of gunk.

I believe Jesus existed, but people who ignore that many of his deeds were also part of the things attributed to Zoraster 1400 years prior should study and at least ask questions. Thats just one example. The entire idea of faith rules out those questions, and therein lies the problem.

Dan, the cross is a symbol of all Christians, after that the different sects fight it out tooth and nail. People were crucified naked. Why on the crucifix does Jesus have a loincloth? Is it modesty or is it to hide that he was a Jew? (Many religious scholars would say the latter) Any statues in your church of Jesus, Mary or Joseph? Any pictures of holy scenes in stained glass of holy acts? How about the Stations of the cross? Christians killed Christians over these things for years you know. Religion, (not just Christianity) has always been a political tool. Read about about Cromwell why don't you.

Not picking on you Dan, but the one true God stuff just doesn't hold up. There is possibly a God, but to think that a bunch of folks figured it out 2,000 years ago just doesn't, considering history before and after.

I would hope anyone who believes in any faith realizes that their faith is not based on fact. It is based on their belief, which no man is smart enough to define as fact. Faith should be a personal thing, and if you believe it that is all you should require to be happy, not ramming it down the throat of anyone else.

I also think the atheist suing to have God taken out of the inaugural address is just as wrong as someone who'd demand it be left in.

Pub 17

Fine, but try and find the cites. There ain't none. It IS a matter of belief, just not historical record.


Jesus Christ is a mythical person? Historians of the day noted his existence.

I'm with Dan on this one. Whether he was the son of God depends on your beliefs.

Pub 17

No, actually, they didn't, Dan. There's no contemporary record of Jesus, period. The first mention of him and his followers came about 75 years after his death.

Dan Beyer

Jesus Christ is a mythical person? Historians of the day noted his existence.


Alright! I was waiting for this to hit the Letters to the Editor! It's my observation that the so called "War on Christianity" is just that. Isolated incidents being blowed out of proportion by conservative media. I was reading the blog directly related to the article a couple of days ago and there were all kinds of fabrications there. My favorite was how a 6 year old was suspended for saying grace at an elementary school cafeteria. News Flash: Anyone can pray to their respective God in a public school, it just can't be mandated by the school itself.

In the Law Center at UMKC, there is a copy of the 10 Commandments next to the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence yet nobody has made a beef about that. Similarly, every year in my home down, a Nativity scene is on display in the town square. Why, because a Menorah is also displayed in another section of the square. You see? It can all be solved through inclusion, not domination.

mike d

As a person that is tolerant of other's beliefs, I say go ahead and put up a statue of JC, Alice in Wonderland and any other mythical people you want. This argument and the countless others regarding religion is about the biggest waste of time I can think of. No, wait, going to church and worshiping said mythical people trumps it. But go ahead and knock yourself out.

Dan Beyer

But if it was the other way around and it was Christian symbols, you wouldn't hear the end of the screams and howls of protest!


Boy, I'm sure not going to get embroiled in any debates about religion. But since these statues aren't even of Buddha, this whole kafuffle is really moot.

Several years ago, I read a book by the Dalai Lama, "An Open Heart". As I read, I kept thinking 'this sounds an awful lot like the teachings of Jesus...' The Dalai Lama also says that it is entirely possible for Christians to embrace many aspects of Buddhism, and I've found that to be true.


John, conversely I would like to see a statue of St. Francis, or perhaps St. John Bosco at the zoo,. you know, equal access and all that.

As for the polling places, we could always just do our voting in one big public facility, that way no church symbols will be present.

Richard, what particular form of Buddhism are you referring to? I believe there are several forms ranging from a philosophical pratice to out right religion in the classic sense. Perhaps you should clarify which type is being represented at the zoo.

Just for the record, I find the use of religious symbols as a decoration insulting, no matter the faith.


David "Taliban" Engle should be ashamed of himself. His intolerance should be an embarrassment to all thinking individuals.

Fanatics come in all shapes, colors and religions.

About KansasCity.com | About the Real Cities Network | Terms of Use & Privacy Statement | About Knight Ridder | Copyright