The Sikh religion is comparatively modern religion. It came into existence about 500 years ago in the region of India known as Punjab. There are millions of Sikhs worldwide. Sikh religion believes in one and only one God and respects every other religion. Every human being in this universe is created by one God is one of the fundamental principles of Sikhism.
Sikhs came to this country just before the 1900s. The first temple in the United States was constructed in 1906 in nearby Stockton and recently was designated as a historic landmark.
Sikhism is one of the major religions next to Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. Outside these Sikh temples is a flag that represents Sikh religion, not India or any other country. This flag is a symbol of Sikh faith and has very deep religious values, just as a cross outside of Christian churches.
The flag is not in any way to disrespect America or the American flag, or to offend any one person or religion.
The Sikh community has been contributing to this country more than 100 years. We also honorably serve in the armed forces to protect American and our freedom.
As the Sikh community has grown in this town, so has the need for a religious temple to practice our faith. This symbol of religion and faith that flies outside the temple has unfairly become the topic of controversies recently.
In an effort to satisfy some critics and those who cannot appreciate the world's different religions, there is talk of erecting a new flag pole with an American flag. An American flag at any religious place is not a bad idea. If the Sikh temple decides to fly the American flag, then I hope that all other places of worship in Lodi will also display their support for our country and wave the American flag outside churches and other religious places.
It's a shame that after contributing and serving this country more than 100 years, my community is being asked to demonstrate its loyalty to our country in the 21st century by some in Lodi.
Jyoti S. Singh