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Bishop Roy Sano addresses baccalaureate service

STANFORD -- Religious resources can provide clues for dealing with "the intensifying diversity" inundating people worldwide, the Rev. Roy I. Sano, bishop of the United Methodist Church, Los Angeles, told graduates and their families at Stanford's baccalaureate service Saturday, June 12, in Frost Amphitheater.

"There is no way to avoid the proliferating variety in this nation or abroad," Sano said. "Powerful domestic and international forces make multiculturalism in its various modes an inevitability. The question is not whether multiculturalism, but what kind and how."

The Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., serves as an example of the meeting of cultures, Sano said. The memorial's designer, Miya Yin Ling, is the daughter of immigrants from China, Sano said, adding that he believes Taoist elements in her heritage helped shape the design.

"A form of multiculturalism is now indelibly enshrined in what we might call the holy of holies in our civil religion," Sano said. "I do not say this to offend, but to remind ourselves that Taoism has not desecrated that sacred space."

"The hitherto alien cultural and religious force of Taoism," Sano said, "is bringing our heritage to life with new ingredients which broaden our vision of future possibilities."

At one time, Sano said, "Christians asked us Asians, how can you be Christians when you are still Buddhist?" Christians of Asian heritage are now reversing the question, he said, and asking, "How do you expect us to be Christian without being Buddhist? This may not mean we join a Buddhist sect. It means we now draw more openly from our heritage which has been shaped by Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism."

Such multiculturalism, Sano said, "is the responsible way for us to move ahead in the global interactions of our day."

The baccalaureate ceremony itself featured elements from a variety of religious traditions and cultures, with readings from Jewish, Christian and Islamic scriptures, as well as a Buddhist meditation and an excerpt from an essay by Elie Wiesel. Stanford President Gerhard Casper and members of the class of 1992 gave the readings.

Stanford Taiko drummers performed the invocation, in which, the program notes explained, "drummers call three times upon the Dragon God, asking that good fortune, peace and long life may be enjoyed by the human community."

Music also was provided by the Vintage Brass and the Baccalaureate Chorus, conducted by Stephen Sano. Stephen Sano, who received his doctor of musical arts degree June 13, is the nephew of Bishop Sano.



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