The understanding that exists between the many different ethnic and religious groups of Modesto is a statement of the principles of freedom we hold dear. When we celebrate all of these rich cultural backgrounds in our downtown park, Graceada, we celebrate America. But there are times when we show a definite prejudice of "not in my back yard" and grant privileges for the more powerful among us.
It is sad that one faith can close public streets for their celebrations while another faith can be so maligned by ignorance and mistrust that it cannot build a center of worship on its land. Statements made at the county Planning Commission meeting on Aug. 21 showed a lack of understanding of Buddhist rites and worship. They are hoping to build a place of quiet and solitude which cannot be achieved at their current location on Paradise Road.
I believe the permit request of the Buddhist community should be reconsidered and approved.