As Humble Talent says up front, his Comment Of The Day has nothing to do with the post it is attached to, so I won’t even link to it. He wins the distinction by having the industry and curiosity to actually read a bill, which, so far at least, none of reporters of major news outlets I’ve monitored today have bothered to do. The result is, in addition to a Comment of the Day and service to readers, a KABOOM!:
Complete Tangent, sorry.
If there was ever a piece of legislation that perfectly encapsulates legislative retardation, a lack of self-awareness, and Olympic levels of pork barrel, it’s got to be this stimulus bill. They have, I wish I were kidding about this, but I’m not, they have legislated the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. It’s on page 5098 of this PDF:
SEC. 342. STATEMENT OF POLICY REGARDING THE SUC2 CESSION OR REINCARNATION OF THE DALAI LAMA.
(a)FINDINGS.—Congress finds the following:
(1)Tibetan Buddhism is practiced in many countries including Bhutan, India, Mongolia, Nepal, the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation, and the United States, yet the Government of the People’s Republic of China has repeatedly insisted on its role in managing the selection of Tibet’s next spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, through actions such as those described in the ‘‘Measures on the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas’’ in 2007.
(2) On March 19, 2019, Chinese Ministry of Affairs spokesperson reiterated that the ‘‘reincarnation of living Buddhas including the Dalai Lama must comply with Chinese laws and regulations and follow religious rituals and historical conventions’’.
(3) The Government of the People’s Republic of China has interfered in the process of recognizing a successor or reincarnation of Tibetan Buddhist leaders, including in 1995 by arbitrarily detaining Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, a 6-year old boy who was identified as the 11th Panchen Lama, and purporting to install its own candidate as the Panchen Lama.
(4) The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, issued a statement on September 24, 2011, explaining the traditions and spiritual precepts of the selection of Dalai Lamas, setting forth his views on the considerations and process for selecting his successor, and providing a response to the Chinese government’s claims that only the Chinese government has the ultimate authority in the selection process of the Dalai Lama.
(5) The 14th Dalai Lama said in his statement that the person who reincarnates has sole legitimate authority over where and how he or she takes rebirth and how that reincarnation is to be recognized and if there is a need for a 15th Dalai Lama to be recognized, then the responsibility shall primarily rest with the officers of the Dalai Lama’s Gaden Phodrang Trust, who will be informed by the written instructions of the 14th Dalai Lama.
(6) Since 2011, the 14th Dalai Lama has reiterated publicly on numerous occasions that decisions on the successions, emanations, or reincarnations of the Dalai Lama belongs to the Tibetan Buddhist faith community alone.
(7) On June 8, 2015, the United States House of Representatives unanimously approved House
3 Resolution 337 which calls on the United States Government to ‘‘underscore that government interference in the Tibetan reincarnation process is a violation of the internationally recognized right to religious freedom . . . and to highlight the fact that other countries besides China have long Tibetan Buddhist traditions, and that matters related to reincarnations in Tibetan Buddhism are of keen interest to Tibetan Buddhist populations worldwide’’.
(8) On April 25, 2018, the United States Senate unanimously approved Senate Resolution 429
14 which ‘‘expresses its sense that the identification and installation of Tibetan Buddhist religious leaders, including a future 15th Dalai Lama, is a matter that should be determined solely within the Tibetan Buddhist faith community, in accordance with the inalienable right to religious freedom’’.
(9) The Department of State’s Report on Inter21 national Religious Freedom for 2018 reported on policies and efforts of the Government of the People’s Republic of China to exert control over the selection of Tibetan Buddhist religious leaders, including reincarnate lamas, and stated that ‘‘[United States] officials underscored that decisions on the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama should be made solely by faith leaders.’’.
(b) STATEMENT OF POLICY.—It is the policy of the United States that—
(1) decisions regarding the selection, education, and veneration of Tibetan Buddhist religious leaders are exclusively spiritual matters that should be made by the appropriate religious authorities within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and in the context of the will of practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism;
(2) the wishes of the 14th Dalai Lama, including any written instructions, should play a key role in the selection, education, and veneration of a future 15th Dalai Lama; and
(3) interference by the Government of the People’s Republic of China or any other government in the process of recognizing a successor or reincarnation of the 14th Dalai Lama and any future Dalai Lamas would represent a clear abuse of the right to religious freedom of Tibetan Buddhists and the Tibetan people.
(c) HOLDING CHINESE OFFICIALS RESPONSIBLE FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ABUSES TARGETING TIBETAN BUDDHISTS.—It is the policy of the United States to take all appropriate measures to hold accountable senior officials of the Government of the People’s Republic of China or the Chinese Communist Party who directly interfere with the identification and installation of the future 15th Dalai Lama of Tibetan Buddhism, successor to the 14th Dalai Lama, including by—
(1) imposing sanctions pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (22 U.S.C. 2656 note); and
(2) prohibiting admission to the United States under section 212(a)(2)(G) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(2)(G)).
(d) DEPARTMENT OF STATE PROGRAMMING TO PRO14 MOTE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM FOR TIBETAN BUDDHISTS.— Consistent with section 401 of the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act (Public Law 114–281; 130 Stat. 1436), the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom should support efforts to protect and promote international religious freedom in China and for programs to protect Tibetan Buddhism in China and elsewhere.