YEAR 2000: MAJOR EVENTS WITH AN ETHICAL, or RELIGIOUS COMPONENT
2000-JAN-01: World: The year 2000 started with minimal computer
failures. The hysteria, raised largely by
religious writers, turned out to be groundless.
JAN-5: Chicago IL: The Southern Baptist Convention
rejected a letter written to them by the Council of Religious
Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago. The council had asked that the
Baptists not send thousands of missionaries to Chicago for fear they
would create a climate conducive to hate crimes.
JAN-7: Tibet: The 17th Karmapa, a teenage Tibetan Buddhist
leader, escaped from Tibet to India.
JAN-11: Israel: Ultra-Orthodox rabbis in Israel forbade their
members from using the Internet.
JAN-26: Canada: The General Synod of the Anglican Church
of Canada has been named in more than 300 lawsuits by more than
1,000 Native claimants. The claims arise from alleged sexual and
physical abuse of students at church-run residential
schools. According to Archdeacon Jim Boyles, the church's general
secretary, the claims total hundreds of millions of dollars and far
exceed the church's assets. The
Church may be driven into bankruptcy.
FEB-4: Austria: A new federal government assumed power. The
coalition included the far-right "Freedom Party"
which holds extreme racial policies. The European Union,
fearful of a Neo-Nazi revival, later applied economic sanctions.
FEB-21: Nigeria: Muslim-Christian riots broke out in Kaduna
state over the imposition of Sharia (Muslim law). By FEB-24, 50
deaths were reported; and many churches and mosques had been
MAR-2: Vatican: The Vatican released a report "Memory
and Reconciliation," in which it sought forgiveness for the
sins that some of its members have committed in the past. The pope did
not accept any responsibility on behalf of the church itself.
MAR-3: Chile: Former dictator Agusto Pinochet was released
from custody in Britain and returned to Chile. He had been held on
charges of mass torture. It is uncertain whether he will be tried for
past massive human rights abuses which occurred under his rule.
MAR-8: Quebec, Canada: On the International Day of the
Woman, a group of feminist activists vandalized a Roman Catholic
cathedral in Montreal.
MAR-20: Israel: Pope John Paul II began a visit to Israel -
the first such visit of any pope.
APR-22: Florida: Armed immigration officers seized Elian
Gonzales, 6, and returned him to his father near Washington. They
later returned to Cuba.
APR-27: Illinois:Wheaton College dropped its 'Crusaders'
mascot, a symbol despised by many Muslims and Jews because of the mass
crimes against humanity committed by Crusaders from the 11th
to 13th century.
MAY-1: Worldwide:The United States Commission on
International Religious Freedom issued its first report. They
warned of religious freedom concerns in China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran,
Russia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.
MAY-6: Iran: A reform government was elected in the country.
Hopes were raised that increased religious and social freedom will
MAY-11: USA: The Southern Baptist Convention, by far
the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., decided that no women
are to be ordained to its ministry in the future.
MAY-17: Alabama: Former members of the KKK were charged with
a church bombing. It had caused the deaths of four young black girls,
and triggered massive popular support for the civil rights movements
in the 1960's.
JUN-4: Israel: A bill was introduced to prohibit women from
praying out loud or wearing a shawl at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.
The penalty would be a jail sentence of up to seven years.
JUL-3: Indonesia: A ferry carrying Christian refugees fleeing
Muslim violence sank in a storm. Over 400 drowned.
JUL-17: Maldives: The president of the Maldives has declared
that the island nation has no room for any religion other than Islam.
Citizens are prohibited from practicing any other religion.
AUG-7: USA: Senator Joseph Lieberman (R-CT) was selected as
the vice-presidential Democratic candidate. He is the first Jew in the
history of the U.S. to run as a VP candidate for a major party.
AUG-13: Illinois: 450 Muslim families in Palos Heights, IL
decided to convert an unused church into a mosque. Some Christians
complained. One suggested that the Muslims either convert to
Christianity or return to their country of origin. City Council voted
to bribe the group with $200,000 if they would cancel their plans. The
mayor vetoed the offer.
SEP-5: Vatican: The
declaration "Dominus Iesus" was published.It
says, in part, "Churches such as the Church of England...and
churches without bishops, are not considered 'proper' churches."
They suffer from "defects." Religions other than
Christianity are considered to be "gravely deficient."
Their rituals constitute "an obstacle to salvation"
for their followers.
SEP-25: USA: A Hindu priest, Venkatachalapathi Samuldrala,
opened the session of the House of Representatives with a
prayer. He was the first Hindu in history to do so. The Family
Research Council placed a statement on their web site which said,
in part: "Our founders expected that Christianity -- and no
other religion -- would receive support from the government. They
would have found utterly incredible the idea that all religions,
including paganism, be treated with equal deference." The
statement was later removed. The FRC then issued a clarification, but
not an apology.
SEP-28: Israel: Ariel Sharon, conservative opposition leader,
toured the temple mount in Jerusalem. This triggered a massive
outbreak of violence which was still active at year-end.
SEP-29: USA: A statement signed by over 150 rabbis and Jewish
scholars was published. It asked Jews to recognize the dramatic
improvement in Jewish-Christian relations during the last few
decades. It states that today's Christians who reject the old "teaching
of contempt" for the Jewish people should not be blamed for
the sins of
their ancestors, including the Nazi Holocaust.
OCT-4: Texas: In spite of major opposition from Christian
demonstrators and a Christian radio station, Bryan Lankford, a Wiccan
Priest was allowed to deliver a prayer which opened a government
meeting prior to a Dallas City Council meeting.
OCT-28: Oklahoma: Charlie Bushyhead, a vice-principal at Uniin
Intermediate High School in Broken Arrow, OK, became convinced
that Brandi Blackbear,15, had placed a magic spell on a teacher,
causing him to become sick and to be hospitalized. Bushyhead suspended Blackbear for 15
NOV-1:Abortion violence: The National Abortion Federation recorded
violent incidents at U.S. abortion clinics to date in
2000. This is a massive reduction from the 437 incidences logged in
the peak year of 1993. The level of violence is well behind 1999, when there were 113 such
incidents recorded by NOV-1. 1
NOV-10:Medical ethics: Physicians in England operated
to separate conjoined twins Jodie and Mary, in opposition to the
wishes of the twins' parents. As expected, Mary who lacked a
functioning heart and lungs, immediately died. Jodie survived and was
breathing on her own, feeding from a bottle and smiling at people by
NOV-14: Finland: Finland's Evangelical Lutheran Church
formally apologized for its decades of silence concerning the Nazi
DEC-19: Netherlands: The federal government passed a law
legalizing physician assisted suicide. Assisted suicide was
technically a criminal act in the past, but was frequently practiced.
DEC-8: Russia: The Salvation Army's application for
registration was rejected in Moscow, the Russian capital. They were
judged to be an unwelcome foreign military organization.
DEC-19: Netherlands: The federal government passed
legislation that will expand the marriage laws to include gays and
lesbians. They will become first country in recent history to allow homosexuals
to marry. Also passed was a law enabling gays and lesbians to