The new Sikh Temple in south Lodi has a 60-foot-high canary-yellow banner with the faith's emblem, but some Lodi residents wonder why there isn't an American flag to go with it.
"It's almost a slap in the face as an American and as veterans," said Lodi resident Robin Sarisky. "You're an American first; then everything else falls under that."
Sikh temple leaders say that they don't mean to offend anyone. In fact, the banner isn't really a flag, according to two Lodi Sikh board members, Nirmal Samra and John Takhar.
It's a symbol of their religion, not India, the country where a majority of Sikhs were born.
"That's what American people should understand. It's not a flag," Samra said. "It's like a cross in the Christian church."
Sikh members are confused if some people are offended by their banner. They maintain the banner at the temple doesn't show preference to their native country. It's symbolizes their religion....
Bill Pfeiffle, ex-commander of Lockeford Veterans of Foreign Wars, said he doesn't see a problem with flying a church banner without an American flag.
An assistant professor of history and religious study at University of California, Davis, said he sees no problem with hanging a religious banner without an American flag.
"It's not like they're hanging the Indian flag there," said professor Baki Tezcan. "The Sikhs cannot represent a nation. It is an unfortunate controversy, as far as I can tell." [Link]
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