The idea for writing Victorious America came out of a desire to make reforms in a religious organization we so loved. We spoke out because the leaders were exempt from accountability to the members directly and were able to continue to cover up their behavior with impunity. Through our harsh experience and the loss of fundamental rights we endured, we were able to pinpoint universal principles that extend far beyond the scale of the SGI organization alone. In fact they are applicable and essential components to be maintained in secular and religious institutions to protect the dignity and fundamental rights of people everywhere.
As active members in the SGI, we pointed out that when our religious leaders are found to commit abuses, if they were taken to task directly by the membership, the public at large would respect and praise this organization as legitimate and exemplary. The leaders would be answering directly to the people they are supposed to serve. Abuses did occur. When we talked up, our claims were dismissed and swept under the rug. We were eventually ridiculed and branded as devilish functions by the leaders. As we continued to protest their actions, not only did the inequities continue unabated but to our astonishment, elaborate cover ups were devised so their conduct and status in the organization would proceed
unquestioned and unchecked, as they are to this day. Because we posed such a threat to the status quo, the very core of our dignity was attacked and slandered by the leaders and the membership alike and we had no valid recourse or means to redress these injustices. Any assertions on our part had become ethically null and void under the uncontested control of the leadership.
We then started to focus on what features must be in place in any organization to protect the dignity of the individual, especially with regard to asserting one's fundamental rights. The answer that came was unbelievably simple and we were astonished because we had been searching for answers in our prayers and everywhere
else, except in the one place where the truth lies: the rights of the people. Since we were in a religious institution we were looking for answers only in terms of praying for a change. However, through our prayers we were released from a self imposed stigma that we accepted blindly and our reasoning was restored. We now had the tools for our release and the answer to our prayers. Then the solution came immediately: an empowered membership to oversee the actions of the leaders, or direct accountability of the leaders to the people. Upon further investigation we found that this was the essential ingredient to be instituted for protecting people's fundamental rights. Furthermore, without this basic element, not only would religious institutions fall into disarray but the entire foundation of democracy, the credibility of its ideals along with the dignity of the individual would disintegrate.
As we looked at the bigger picture, we found that any religious institution, government or regime that omitted this basic principle of accountability from their statutes or constitutions are nothing other than tyrannies, authoritarian dictatorships or autocratic monarchies where people's basic freedoms are denied. A true democracy could never exist without this basic principle written into its constitution. That is why our founding fathers insisted on the rights of the people to judge, select and dismiss their leaders as an expression of the sovereign power of the people to keep the leaders accountable to them.
Then we turned our attention to major religious organizations, because that's the venue where we were deprived of our fundamental rights in the first place. What we found astounded us. We found that the majority of these institutions had no procedures in place for the lay members to hold their leaders or priests directly accountable. It was simply omitted from the by-laws of these religious institutions. In fact the priests or leaders held absolute power as representatives of God or the official dogma with the power to hold the members accountable to the principles of the faith. Those who deviated were branded as heretics. However, these religious leaders did not have to answer to the people for their actions. They are only accountable to God.
Recently when one of the top church leaders refused to give the names of priests who molested children, he said that the church was never intended to be a democracy. This is absurd, of course, but it brings out the essential point that we have been championing in Victorious America: a total reform in religious institutions. Freedom of the press was
never the real threat to the Church. The actual threat to the Church is to silence the members in the name of faith to avoid the truth. The same is true of the SGI-USA.
Thus this message goes beyond the mere boundaries that would just envelope this one organization's dirty laundry and internal politics. It is important for newcomers to this site to familiarize themselves with the original essay, Victorious America, and other articles to appreciate our original response to an organization that would omit such basic principles of fundamental human rights. "Victorious America" and the articles of the "Remonstration" section are such fascinating reading because they were born out of our actual remonstration with an accredited religious organization where we had to march onto the forbidden grounds of the sacred to find what was truly divine. Here we identified through our own experience the very place where evil could hide itself and be totally safe from detection. Furthermore, we realized
that if we could uncover the manner in which it could find its way into this realm of the sacred then all could know the full scope of its power.