Rev. Danny Fisher posted a thought-provoking article, “No Buddhists in Washington,” on yesterday’s Religion Dispatches website. The premise of the article:
Buddhism, which has a larger US population than either Islam or Hinduism, has had a sizable and growing impact on American culture. So why no representative on the Obama administration’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships?
There actually are, to my knowledge, at least two Buddhists serving in the U.S. Congress — Hank Johnson (Democrat from Georgia’s 4th Congressional District) and Mazie Hirono (Democrat from Hawaii).
But aside from those two names, there really aren’t many self-identified Buddhists in positions of political influence and, as Danny points out, there is no Buddhist representative on President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. He makes a good case on what Buddhists might contribute to that effort and suggests names of some excellent potential candidates, including Jack Kornfield, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Jan Willis, and Roshi Joan Halifax.