Karma & Arizona’s Republitards

By: Khenpo Gurudas Śunyatananda

One has to wonder when the people of the United States will wake up to what’s happening in this country today. And perhaps nowhere in the country is as good a “wake-up call” as the state I once called my home — Arizona.

The first time I set foot in Arizona, in 1992, I experienced something I’d never experienced before. I somehow knew my way around, knew where certain old buildings were, and even knew their history (although these were certainly not “historic” buildings by any means). Friends who lived there were pretty amazed that I felt like I had lived there all my life. I felt like I was “home”.

And so it broke my heart to read that the State of Arizona, quickly becoming as intolerant, sectarian, and prejudiced as Sarah Palin or Tenzin Gyatso, recently overstepped the separation of Church and State in a most aggregious manner.

Arizona House Bill 2582, co-sponsored by Republicans (what a surprise!) – Senator Russell Pearce and Representative Judy Burges – would ban several spiritual traditions’ “religious laws”, including Catholic and Anglican Canon Law, Muslim Sharia Law, Jewish Halacha, and… wait for it… the “law” of Karma!

(We’ll get to that in a moment!)

The proposed HB 2582 prohibits a court from using, implementing, referring to or incorporating into any decision, finding or opinion a tenet of any body of religious sectarian law or any case law or statute from another county or a foreign body or jurisdiction that is outside of the United State.

So far, it sounds reasonable, and would even appear to be moving toward a separation of Church and State, right? And within its provisions, the bill defines religious sectarian law as “any statute, tenet or body of law evolving within and binding a specific religious sect or tribe, including Sharia law, Canon Law, Halacha and Karma…”

But then comes the catch…

The bill excludes “(a)ny law of the United States or the individual states or the individual states based on Anglo-American legal tradition and principles on which the United States was founded.”

This allows those lawmakers to rely on the popular misconception that this country was founded upon “Christian principles” and the superstitious belief in a personal god. So really, it only outlaws everything except Protestant ideology, and even then, still discriminates against the Episcopal Church, which is governed by Canon Law.

And of course, it also exempts from what would have been a fair and reasonable attempt to keep the theocrats from continuing to marginalise and disparage those whose beliefs were inconsistent with their own. It protects religious persecution and marginalisation of LGBTI persons, for example, exempting from its prescriptions: “The recognition of a traditional marriage between a man and a woman as officiated by the clergy or a secular official of the couple’s choice.”

So no worries, Fundie McNuggets®… your whole homophobic agenda remains intact in its effort to prevent equal access to marriage.

Now, aside from this horrific example of political doublespeak, and an attempt, in my humble opinion, for the theocrats to further cement their stranglehold on Arizona, let’s look at the absurdity of their ignorant inclusion of karma as a “religious law”!

Karma is not a written set of “laws”, like Canon Law or Sharia Law, etc. It is simply the ancient Sanskrit term for the Law of Cause & Effect. It very likely originated in the Indic Shramana, or wandering-ascetic monastic tradition, from which Buddhism and Jainism proceeded.

More accurately, karma is the “seed” or cause (any action that will result in a particular outcome/effect (which is called vipaka in Sanskrit). However, in the modern vernacular, karma refers to the overall concept of the Law of Cause & Effect.

Therefore, it is not even remotely relative to the man-made prescriptions of Canon Law, Halacha, Sharia and such. And that only serves to further illustrate how pathetically ignorant the people are, who have been elected and entrusted with the laws of the State of Arizona.

One has to wonder if the final version of the law will also include Newton’s Law, the New Age “Law of Attraction” and the Law of Equivalent Exchange as well!

And they wonder why I refer to Republicans and Republitards!


khenpo gurudas sunyatananda


Drawing on the essential teachings of the great spiritual teachers, philosophers and freethinkers throughout time, Khenpo Gurudas Śunyatananda (retired Archbishop Francis-Maria Salvato, O.C.) has been regarded as a provocative, revolutionary “voice of reason” within the field of religion and spirituality, since 1983. Having the distinction of being one of the few openly non-theistic, openly-gay and post-denominational thinkers ever to serve as Bishop-Exarch and spiritual leader of the autocephalic Eastern Catholic Franciscans in North America, Gurudas is the author of more than 600 articles, eight books and currently serves as the spiritual advisor for a non-theistic, intentional spiritual community, The Spiritus Project. He can be reached at: http://dharmadudeunplugged.com/

Copyright ©2010, Khenpo Gurudas Sunyatananda (The Most Reverend Dr. F. Francis-Maria G. Salvato, M.Sc., O.C.). All rights reserved. This material may be reproduced, blogged, quoted or distributed, provided the entire copyright including contact information remain intact. It may NOT be altered in any way, without express written permission.”