Nichiren Shoshu justifies its Internet behavior by arguing that the SGI has a concerted campaign to destroy Nichiren Shoshu. It accuses the SGI of violating its own charter regarding tolerance, and of ingringing on Nichiren Shoshu's freedoms of speech and religion. Here we will see how, in order to make these arguments, Nichiren Shoshu has to do some creative managing of the definitions of "tolerance" and "freedom".
If you were to call me a name, and I denied that I am what you called me — would you charge me with violating your freedom of speech?
Of course not. Yet, when their semantic tricks are reduced to their core, that is exactly what Nichiren Shoshu tries to do, twisting the nature of their own behavior.
They do this, first, by defining the context of the "evidence" they gather. For instance, when a leader in Chicago wrote that SGI members should "use any means within reason" to persuade temple members to leave the temple before a particular ceremony, every SGI member understood that he meant the means of prayer and dialogue. The temple, however, regularly posts this as "the Chicago Directive", usually under a headline with the word "harassment" or "violence" — thus deliberately giving the uninitiated the clear impression that SGI members have been directed to use extra-legal or unethical means to disrupt temple ceremonies.
Ignoring counter-arguments, the temple consistently and repeatedly construes any objection to their charges or methods as "obstructing their freedom of religion". They frequently quote the SGI Charter which says: "SGI shall, based on the Buddhist spirit of tolerance, respect other religions" To the temple, "tolerance" means that SGI members should remain silent while the priesthood distorts the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin, and while NST lay members make the most outlandish and knowingly false charges against the SGI.
Of course "tolerance" means nothing of the sort — the SGI practices the mandate of the charter by engaging other religions in dialogue, and cooperating with them in social and educational projects. The SGI no longer demands, as a prerequisite for membership, the complete abandonment of a previous religion and the destruction of its artifacts as it did when it was following the directions of the priesthood. But tolerance does not mean to allow one's enemies to define what one is, nor does it mean to allow lies to pass unchallenged.
Nor is any of that contained in any sane definition of "freedom of religion". True religious freedom means the right to refute the tenets of another religion, in the spirit of healthy dialogue; but it is true, free dialogue only if the other religion truly holds the tenets being refuted. There have, in fact, been such dialogues between SGI and temple members; but for the most part, the temple refutes what it says the SGI teaches — for instance, that SGI members "worship themselves". In order for one to have true religious freedom, one must have access to the truth so that the choice made is truly free. By distorting the teachings and practice of the SGI, and misrepresenting the character of its leader and members, the temple actually robs people of the ability to make a free and honest evaluation.
The temple is very good
at using the phrases "tolerance of others" and "freedom of religion" as
weapons against the SGI. Know that their definitions of those phrases are
mutations of their real meaning.