It also seems like a good day to bring you my friend Mark, a student in Missouri, a double major in Religion and Philosophy, who has just restarted his blog Marko Polo after a summer break. Here's a young man who takes his religion seriously enough to keep asking the probing questions, and who stands up for what he believes in. In his entry yesterday he "confessed" to being VP of his university's Students for Barack Obama, and took the risk of exposing some of his fears and judgments. He wrote, eloquently:
I'm really plagued with anxiety about it all. Today I had about three students try to rip off the Obama sticker I sported proudly on my shirt all day. One of them said, "Obama is GAY!!!!" To which I responded somewhat snarkily, "Oh man! Don't tell his wife and kids!" Another straight up said to me, "I'm gonna impress my political views on you whether you like it or not!" Again, I replied curtly, "And that's why you're a Republican." Fifty bucks says none of the people who tried to rip the sticker off of my shirt have done any research into why they're going to vote for McCain or why they hate Obama.
The other day I saw a bumper sticker on the back of a car that said, "NObama," which I'm fine with (outside of really detesting most negative campaigning). Freedom of speech is a good thing. Upon further inspection, I wanted to punch the window out of the car that had the bumper sticker attached to it. Instead of the field of red and white with a sun rising over it that represents Obama's campaign, there was instead a blue Muslim star and crescent. How ignorant can you be?!?! Not only is that straight up wrong, but it's hateful to a perfectly beautiful religion.
It's a source of pleasure and not a little pride to have readers like Mark tuning in to The Buddha Diaries on a regular basis. Where he lives, it's not so easy to be a supporter of Barack Obama as it is here in (mostly) liberal California and (seriously) liberal Hollywood. Thanks for reminding me, Mark, that it sometimes takes courage to put out your political beliefs in a public way. I'm not a Christian, but when I meet Christians like you I take heart in the reminder that your religion, the one I myself was brought up with, is about the compassionate teachings of a wise and courageous leader--a true "maverick", who put his life on the line to challenge the tired old truths and usher in some new ones!