Controversy Over New York Temple Elections Rocks American Hindu Communities

December 5, 2003

Source: The New York Times

On December 5, 2003 The New York Times reported on the growing New York controversy over Hindu Temple elections that has been rocking the Hindu faith across America. The Hindu Temple Society of North America had been a peaceful refuge for decades, welcoming thousands of worshippers at the sanctuary on Bowne Street in Flushing, Queens. But a dispute over whether or not temple leaders should be elected democratically has shattered the calm. According to the Times, " On one side are six members who say the temple is run too autocratically. They are demanding the right to vote for the board of trustees. In August, a state appeals court sided with the six members, ordering elections to be held for the first time. On the other side are the temple's trustees, who call the court's ruling an outrageous invasion. They say the lawsuit is just a power play by disaffected members who would like to run the temple themselves. The struggle has riveted Hindus from coast to coast, stirring angry debates about temple politics and the limits of church and state. Temple elections are unheard of in India, but they have become common in this country, and many say the struggle at Bowne Street — the first Hindu temple to be founded in this country — could prove influential."

See also: Hinduism, Civic