Buddhist statue is too big

Tulsa Beacon, March 19, 2009

Tulsa, OK (USA) -- Tulsa City Councilor Dennis Troyer is hoping concerned Tulsans will attend a March 24 Board of Adjustment hearing and protest construction of a five-story high granite statue of a Buddhist goddess.

“This is too big,” said Troyer. “My complaint is that it doesn’t fit the Comprehensive Plan.”

For some years, a Buddhist temple has been located at 16933 E. 21st Street in East Tulsa. Temple officials want a 49-foot statue with an 8-foot base to attract attention to their temple and to help recruit converts.

Troyer is a Christian who objects to an oversized statue of a pagan deity. He doesn’t object to religious artwork but only on a reasonable level.

The Buddhists are asking for a exception for placement of the statue from the Board of Adjustment. The property is zoned agricultural and no rezoning would be required. The board can restrict the height of the project. Troyer said the 57-foot high statue of Quan Am, a Vietnamese deity who represents “love and kindness,” might interfere with air traffic at Harvey Young Airport, less than two miles west of the temple.

The Buddhists say this would be similar to Catholics erecting a five-story statue of the Virgin Mary. The statue is a prelude to expansion of their temple in the next five years.

Troyer said that though the Buddhists are generally quiet, he had fielded complaints that they were cooking food outdoors during a fire ban last year.

He hopes people in his district will turn out to protest the giant statue and the Buddhists will have to change their plans.