Buddhist Monastics' Comments Spark Debate About Role of Religion in Politics

March 12, 2004

Source: The Straits Times


On March 12, 2004 The Straits Times reported, "Fierce politicking ahead of next week's hotly contested presidential vote is riling some of Taiwan's usually serene and neutral Buddhist leaders - and triggering a debate on religion in politics. One of the island's top Buddhist masters, Wei Chueh, this week endorsed the challenger, former vice-president Lien Chan of the Kuomintang (KMT)...Wei Chueh, who is in his 80s, has hundreds of thousands of supporters. His endorsement could give Mr Lien an important boost...His remarks have sparked a heated debate about whether religion should be mixed with politics. A popular Buddhist nun, Shih Chao Huei, lashed out yesterday at Wei Chueh during a televised news conference, accusing him of staying silent during Taiwan's martial law era which ended in 1987."