Earlier this week I went out for fish and chips with my friend Andrew, his husband Alex, and our buddy Margaret. We’d heard good things about Dundas Fish & Chips located at 2077 Dundas St. in East Vancouver and decided to try it out.
“I just gotta warn you that the owners are Falun Gong people,” said Andrew. I figured he’d learned that from some wonderfully in-depth discussion with the owner. He is, after all, quite the social butterfly.
”Oh well. I don’t think it’ll be a problem,” I told him. “If they don’t to preach to us I probably won’t even say anything!”
When we arrived at the restaurant I quickly realized the owners didn’t need to tell Andrew a damn thing. The restaurant was plastered with Falun Gong posters and signs. They also had a table near the entrance with Falun Gong literature and video as well as a petition for customers to sign.
“I don’t do religion in the morning or on an empty stomach,” said Margaret who thought it was all kind of creepy.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a religious organisation founded in China in 1992. Some of their followers describe it as a cultivation of the central tenets of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance. The practice of Falun Dafa also includes meditation, qi-gong exercise as well as the moral teachings of their founder Li Hongzhi.
Falun Gong presents itself as an organization concerned about human rights, particularly their own. They regularly stage protests, and campaigns to raise awareness about the human rights of Falun Gong followers in the Peoples Republic of China.
But they don’t really believe in human rights for all – especially not the gays who they say are not worthy of being human.
Referring to a discussion about human rights protections for gay people in many western democracies Li said “I told them [the students in the West], ‘To be perfectly frank, your government may approve of it, but your Lord does not!’”
He has also said that “repulsive homosexual behaviour” bespeaks of a filthy, deviant state of mind that lacks rationality.
Li and his followers predictably use insane superstition to justify their claims. The writings of this “cultivation of practice” make unsupported claims about the existence of deities who have a real hate-on for gay people.
“Let me tell you, if I weren’t teaching this Fa today, gods’ first target of annihilation would be homosexuals,” Li said at the Fa Conference in Geneva, Switzerland in 1998. “It’s not me who would destroy them, but gods.”
He went on to claim that humans were created by “the gods” who also set out standards of behaviour and that gay people, not terrorists or murderers, are their number one target for divine incineration.
“When human beings overstep those boundaries, they are no longer called human beings, though they still assume the outer appearance of a human,” he said. “So gods can’t tolerate their existence and will destroy them.”
I have no intention or desire of convincing Falun Gong practitioners that they espouse a very homophobic philosophy but I think those gay-positive people who would support them should know the truth.
They’ve managed to get support from politically progressive people, including politicians, who are probably unaware of the group’s anti-gay stance. Many of these politicians support gay rights and some of them, including Bill Siksay and Libby Davies, are openly gay or lesbian themselves.
Siksay, who was my MP, chaired an all-party group called “Parliamentary Friends of Falun Gong” which set out to “foster a better understanding of the practice of Falun Gong among Parliamentarians.”
In late 2011 Davies introduced a petition in Parliament regarding the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
“It concerns the Falun Gong, which is an organization and a practice we are all familiar with, which is the peaceful and beneficial spiritual practice centred on the principles of truth, compassion and forbearance,” she said.
I fail to see how Li’s teachings about homosexuality are remotely consistent with truth, tolerance, and compassion. Li exhibits a profoundly bigoted, wildly ignorant, and shockingly hostile attitude towards LGBT people normally attributed to religious figures such as Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church.
Oh yeah, they also had food at the restaurant. It made three of us sick. Perhaps it’s part of their god’s plan for annihilating gay people!