. . . of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. It was wonderful to listen earlier today to Bishop Thomas Okano of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii explain why they had felt compelled to pass and publicize a resolution earlier this year supporting equal rights for LGBT families in Hawaii through the civil unions bill, HB444. At an event honoring the 2010 Distinguished Service Award Winners, Bishop Okano said simply that the resolution was consistent with their mission statement which urges followers to “share the living teaching of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism so that ALL beings may enjoy lives of harmony, peace and gratitude.” He alluded briefly to having spent time behind barbed wire in Texas at a time when the internment of Japanese Americans was considered an acceptable policy. The President of Honpa Hongwanji Mission, Alton Miyamoto echoed the Bishop’s position, drawing clear parallels between the violation of the civil rights of Japanese Americans then to the withholding of civil rights for LGBT families today. He said he was proud that whatever their personal feelings might have been, followers had set them aside to publicly affirm that they are committed as an expression of their faith, to justice for all.
The event at which both spoke was the 2010 Japanese American Citizens League, Honolulu Chapter. The League is a national organization whose ongoing mission is “to secure and maintain the civil rights of Japanese Americans and all others who are victimized by injustice and bigotry. ” http://www.jaclhawaii.org/
The other honoree at the event was Rep. Blake Oshiro, Majority Leader of the House of Representatives who led the call for a vote on HB444 in the State House as a last item of business just before it adjourned.
On the issue of equality for the LGBT community, the Catholic church would be blessed and the community would be better served if both leaders and laity shared the living teaching of the Gospels as faithfully as the Honpa Hongwanji Mission and its followers have put into practice publicly the precepts of their faith.