mindyourmind wrote:My society has no real issue with say Muslims, or Jewish people, with a sort of tacit acceptance and a view akin to "well, they are just like that".
But let a Westerner practice Buddhism, Taoism or any so-called Eastern religion and the stupids descend - heavily.
That is an important and probably accurate observation. There is a fundamental difference between western religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) and eastern religions. All three western religions share the view that the basis of morality is obedience. Basically, it doesn't matter what you are ordered to do, as long as you say "yes, sir", you've "done good". That is the substance of the myth of Abraham, which all three of those religions share. (recall: Abraham was ordered to kill his son. He was in the act of obeying when God told him, "Ha-ha, just kidding! I just wanted to see if you would do it." Abraham is considered a good guy because of this.)
This world view is the identifying characteristic of the western religions, and is not shared by eastern religions, such as Buddhism.
The thing to remember is that societies founded by Christians have political and social structures that, regardless of any ostensible separation of church and state, embody this model. They can accept people from any of the western religions because of this shared mythology. But having a different basis for deciding what is moral is not even considered by most people as being a possibility. It upsets their entire world view because it denies the very thing that that world view was based on.
Although a lot of opposition to eastern religions comes from people who are not sufficiently informed to know anything about them - they've been told that Buddhists and others are evil and they respond "yes, sir" - we do not get much support from people who are more knowledgeable. If they know that we do not accept an authority figure, be it a god or the state, as the source of morality, then we must in their eyes be immoral because they cannot conceive of any other basis for morality.
This is why, as in the article that Kirtu linked, a person from a minority ethnic group is electable, but not a person from a minority religion.