Monday, April 09, 2012
Falun Gong Public Worship on Holy Saturday
A monthly public ritual has begun over the last year in Civic Center Plaza, with adherents of the new religion, Falun Gong, performing meditative exercises together.
The Falun Gong cult/religion began in the early 1990s, and was subsequently repressed by the Communist Party in China. Its founder and spiritual leader, Li Hongzhi, is currently headquartered in New York City, and the revolution is on to make it a worldwide movement, which has essentially already happened. There's a mostly complimentary Wikipedia account here, the anticult crusader Rick A. Ross' encyclopedia of information here, and the Falun Gong website here.
Being a born and raised coastal Californian, I have lived among every 20th century religious cult imaginable, from the Theosophists to the Hare Krishnas to Born-Again Jesus Freaks to Moonies, among many others.
What most interests me and distinguishes this movement from every other religious craze to wash up on California's shores is that the majority of people I see in San Francisco involved with this group are elderly Chinese women. That is genuinely new.