New York’s Western Supreme Buddha Temple Sues Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs Inc. for not Loving its Neighbors

Friday, June 07, 2013
(photo: Jerry Skrocki,

Love is in short supply between a shrine and a temple in upstate New York, where access to a dirt road has sparked a legal fight involving neighboring Catholics and Buddhists.


Yik Cheng, a religious worker at the Western Supreme Buddha Temple in Fultonville, sued the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs Inc., claiming the defendant closed off an unpaved road used by Cheng and others to reach their temple.


Logs were placed across the road on April 1, along with a “closed” sign, according to the civil complaint. Cheng says the road closure was “unauthorized” and goes against the doctrine of “love your neighbor.”


Catholic officials reportedly told the Schenectedy Daily Gazette that the closure was due to the road’s deteriorating condition, which necessitated limiting access to it.


The plaintiff wants the court to order the log barrier removed and for those in charge of the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs to apologize for their actions. Cheng accused Father George Belgarde, the Jesuit shrine’s director, of taking “an openly hostile stance toward our temple and our members, and refused to discuss or consider a compromise like his predecessors.” Belgarde became director of the Shrine in 2011.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Buddhist & Catholic Shrines Resort to Court (by Marlene Kennedy, Courthouse News Service) 

Fr. George Belgarde, S.J. Defending The Faith (by Joseph Fromm, Good Jesuit, Bad Jesuit)

Angry Jesuit Blocks Entrance to Buddhist Temple (by Gerald Joseph Skrocki, Grove Street Photographer)


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