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Dalai Lama's Visit Stirs Controversy
By Marisa Helms
Minnesota Public Radio
May 1, 2001

State Rep. Arlon Lindner says he'll boycott the Dalai Lama's address to the Legislature when the Buddhist leader visits the Twin Cities next week. Lindner, R-Corcoran, says Buddhism is "a cult that doesn't reflect the Judeo-Christian-based moral and spiritual foundation of the United States.

The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddists, visits the Twin Cities next week. He is scheduled to address a joint session of the state Legislature on Wednesday.
(Photo/Bob Rashid)
LINDNER SAYS BECAUSE THE U.S. CONSTITUTION is based on Judeo-Christian principles, he doesn't think the Dalai Lama deserves the honor of addressing the Legislature. "There's a lot of things we don't allow that's in other religions. Aztec religions used to sacrifice young virgins and children on the altar. Well, we wouldn't permit nothing like that in this country because of our Christian principles," says Lindner.

DFL Rep. Geri Evans is on the planning committee for the Dalai Lama's visit. She says Buddhism is a respected religion worldwide and calls Lindner's comments offensive.

"I think most people, I would hope, are very interested in speaking with someone of a different culture and different religion. He is certainly an eminent world figure, and these comments are appalling," says Evans.

Lindner says though he will not be in his seat, he will not try to prevent the Dalai Lama from visiting the Capitol.