Public Statement in Solidarity with Persons of Asian and Pacific Island Descent
Executive Committee of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies
As leaders of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies, we express our solidarity with and concern for persons of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the United States and beyond, and we deplore and condemn the violence, bias, and prejudice directed at them both past and present.
Since the middle of the nineteenth century, the practice of Christianity in the United States has tragically intertwined with false claims of White supremacy and racial bias against immigrants from Asia and the Pacific Islands and their descendants. Buddhists, Christians, as well as the followers of other Asian religions in the United States have often suffered the effects of this prejudice. We reject these attitudes and actions as a fundamental violation of the values of both Jesus Christ and Shakyamuni Buddha. We denounce the repeated use of inflammatory rhetoric against persons of Asian and Pacific Islander ancestry, and we lament the ways in which this has poisoned the atmosphere of public and social discourse in the United States. We express our solidarity and compassion for all those affected by bias and violence, especially those impacted by the shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 16, 2021, and in particular those who lost family members who were murdered in acts of sexualized, gendered violence.
The Christian and Buddhist traditions agree in firmly condemning racial and ethnic bias and the harmful actions that flow from these attitudes. The Christian and Buddhist traditions further agree in calling for loving-kindness and compassion for all those who suffer and for doing everything possible to relieve suffering and to shape healthy communities of mutual concern where religious and ethnic differences can be honored and celebrated.
We are heartened by the many positive relationships that unite Buddhists and Christians both in the United States and around the world. We look forward to continued collaboration to implement the ideals of both traditions.
The Executive Committee of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies:
Leo Lefebure, president
Mark Unno, vice president
Kristin Johnston Largen, past president
Sandra Costen Kunz, secretary