Buddhists annoyed with Pope's criticism

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka Pope John Paul II ended his 11-day tour on a note of controversy Saturday when Buddhist leaders boycotted a meeting with him to protest his views of their religion.

Six Hindu and six Muslim representatives greeted the pope, but none of the invited Buddhist prelates showed up to meet with the leader of the world's 950 million Catholics.

The pope has been critical of the Buddhist doctrine of salvation, cautioning that the objective of Buddhist meditation is to reach ''indifference'' to the world, not to draw nearer to God.

He gave no answer to Buddhist monks who had demanded an apology, but went out of his way to sound a conciliatory note at the meeting. Departing from his prepared text, he added: ''It is important that we are together. Not being together is dangerous.''

It was not the first time that representatives of other religions have distanced themselves from the pope. Muslim leaders stayed away during his visit to Nigeria in 1982.

MENDON, Mich. A high school student wore the Star of David because it made him feel different. School officials told him it made him look like a gang member.

''The principal said, 'Since you're not Jewish, you're not allowed to wear it,''' said Ron Vaughn, a 15-year-old freshman at Mendon High School. ''But he told me I could wear a cross if I wanted to.''

Administrators told him the Star of David is being used as a symbol by some gangs, Vaughn said. He was suspended for two days for refusing to take off the six-pointed star.

Vaughn said the star ''made me feel different from the crowd, more like a leader than a follower.''

Officials of the 730-student school district near Kalamazoo would not comment.

The American Civil Liberties Union asked the school to remove last month's suspension from Vaughn's record or be sued.

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