Concerns Raised Over Governor's Support of Dalai Lama's Visit

September 12, 2005

Source: Casper Star Tribune

Wire Service: AP

On September 12, 2005 the Associated Press reported, "Some parents say they're concerned that Gov. Dirk Kempthorne is arranging for their children to communicate with the Dalai Lama. Kempthorne has encouraged Idaho students to write essays about the Tibetan Buddhist leader, and arranged to send busloads of children to hear him speak Monday in Sun Valley. 'I guess from a civic standpoint it seems peculiar, at the least, that the governor, who is a state employee, would be promoting a religious leader to be heard by the state's children,' Stacey Boone, a Christian from Caldwell, told the Idaho Press-Tribune. 'Everybody screams when a Christian leader is promoted. Everybody is silent on this, and yet this is a religious leader.' The Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel Prize in 1989, is known as an envoy for peace and tolerance... [Pam Smart] who is Jewish, said she believed Kempthorne's plans to meet the Dalai Lama were in conflict with the constitutionally required separation of church and state... Michael Journee, Kempthorne's spokesman, said the governor would show the same interest in any well-known religious leader, such as the pope or the Rev. Billy Graham, if they visited Idaho."