The Norman Transcript


January 4, 2013

Temple doesn’t always inspire peaceful reactions

LOS ANGELES — The sound of chanting echoed through the makeshift temple, to the slow steady pulse of a drum.

Forty-nine days had passed since Jonathan Van’s uncle had died in Vietnam, and he and his family gathered at Tinh Xa Giac Ly in Westminster, chanting so that his spirit might find its path. The puffs of incense dancing in the air would serve as the vehicle to carry his spirit to the next life, according to Buddhist tradition.

The relatives knelt on the floor of the two-car garage, high heels and sandals scattered outside on the driveway, as other loved ones spilled out to the patio, reciting from yellow songbooks.

The sound, for Van, calmed his own spirit.

“For me the chanting is very soothing,” Van said. “Relieves stress.”

Less so for some of the neighbors, however.

The temple sits among the suburban tract homes at Titus Street and Hazard Avenue, just steps from Little Saigon, converted about 26 years ago from a typical family home to a house of worship.

The sound of the chanting and the unfamiliar smells and rituals are an unwelcome intrusion to some in the neighborhood in the heart of Orange County, the traffic an inconvenience.

Officials said misunderstandings between the start-up temples and residents who find their neighborhoods transformed are an ongoing issue in the Asian communities that sprawl across Westminster, Garden Grove and Santa Ana.

Rita Leon and her brother Rudy Lastra live across the street from Tinh Xa Giac Ly and say their conflicts with the temple’s worshippers have almost turned physical.

And traffic generated by visitors, they said, has turned their residential street into a bustling thoroughfare.

“It’s like the 405 Freeway on a Monday at rush hour,” Lastra said.

Temple organizers also clashed with the city, which after receiving numerous complaints from residents cited them for code violations involving outdoor cooking equipment as well as gas, electrical and plumbing lines, said Art Bashmakian, Westminster’s planning manager.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Hnsen Luger Kate Hansen still riding the Olympic cloud

    Not many people can say they actually accomplished their lifetime dreams. Even less can say they did it before turning 22....

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tests of a living faith

    We recently started a study on Wednesday nights of the letter James wrote to the church. This Bible book is a practical guide to Christian living, but more than that, it really forces one to think honestly about their faith. Is your faith ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Which Bible bit is most misinterpreted?

    The Rev. Scott Gordon, Claycomo Baptist Church: Many passages vie for consideration, but the first “bit” that came to mind we find in Matthew 7:1-6 and Romans 2:1-5....

    July 24, 2014

  • CAIR-OK plans day of service

    The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) will join Mercy Youth Club and IST Youth at the fourth annual Ramadan Day of Service Saturday....

    July 18, 2014

  • Guest preacher and author to speak

    The Reverend Dr. James White will preach, as well as discuss, his new book, “Brief Christian Histories: Getting a Sense of Our Long Story,” this Sunday at First Christian Church, 220 S. Webster. White will preach at both 8:40 and 10:45 ...

    July 18, 2014

  • Life on earth is a vapor

    The last of the baby boomers turn 50 this year. This generation of Americans, born from 1946-1964, is named after the post-World War II “baby boom.” I am a baby boomer and as one of the “late boomers,” one of the last to turn 50 — ...

    July 17, 2014

  • What does a bird ‘alone on a housetop’ mean

    Reassurance of God’s mercy The Rev. Betty Hanna-Witherspoon, Ebenezer A.M.E. Church: This verse, Psalm 102:7, has a notation in the New Living Translation, “A prayer of one overwhelmed with trouble, pouring out problems before the ...

    July 17, 2014

  • Hillsboro resident’s first CD will benefit Haiti missions

    When Angie Sawyer's son passed away at age 5 she tried several ways to deal with her grief. But none of them worked, she said, until she turned to God. So to tell her story, she recently recorded her first CD, “On The Right Track.” All ...

    July 10, 2014

  • Anti-bias order creates rift

    In the intensifying debate over religious liberty, President Barack Obama faces pressure from opposite flanks as he prepares to issue an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against gay and transgender people in ...

    July 10, 2014

  • Is anything really free?

    We have just celebrated the nation’s 238th birthday. We are extremely proud of and attached to freedom. The Founding Fathers wrote into the founding documents practical truths that make those freedoms attainable. I love the fact that they ...

    July 10, 2014