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bullet2001-JAN-1: World: This is the true first New Year's day of the new millennium. The UN declared the year 2001 to be the International Year for the Culture of Peace. The year included the worst terrorist attack in America's history.

JAN-4: Russia: Salvation Army evicted: Government officials in Moscow refused to register the local branch of the Salvation Army, because they regarded it as a foreign military organization. The Army was evicted on JAN-1 from their offices.


JAN-12: World: Large religious web sites in difficulty: Some of the largest religious web sites have experienced difficulty:

IBelieve.com closed their virtual doors on 2000-NOV-24 after nine months of operation. Some employees were believed to have been offered jobs with a sister company Family Christian Stores.


Crosswalk.com On JAN-11, Crosswalk announced that it was making a second reduction to its staff by as part of a plan to consolidate operations.


JAN-20: USA: President Bush mentions Muslims: For the first time in history, Muslims were referred to in a President's inaugural address. President George W. Bush said "Church and charity, synagogue and mosque, lend our communities their humanity, and they will have an honored place in our plans and in our laws." He did not include a reference to Hindu Temples, Buddhist Temples, or Sikh Gurdwaras.


FEB-4: World: World Council of Churches launches Decade to Overcome Violence: The World Council of Churches launched the Decade to Overcome Violence: Churches seeking reconciliation and peace (DOV) -- a ten year program to reduce the violence in the world. Dr Konrad Raiser, the WCC's general secretary said: "For us, the Decade journey must start with repentance for the violence that Christians and churches have tolerated or even justified. We are not yet the credible messengers of non-violence that the gospel calls us to be."

bulletFEB-9: UK: Prince Charles calls for religious tolerance: Speaking at a Muslim gathering, Prince Charles called for greater tolerance and understanding of non-Christian faiths. He said that cultural diversity was important to British unity.
bulletFEB-11: OH: Interfaith Council overcomes religious bigotry: Rev. Jerry Hall, the pastor at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church refused to allow the Akron Area Interfaith Council to have their dinner at Annunciation if a musical group from the Church of Spiral Oak (a Pagan group) was allowed to perform. The Council relocated their meeting.
bulletFEB-14: IN: Federal marshals seize church: For the first time in history, U.S. Marshalls seized a church because of  unpaid taxes. Five supporters were carried out on stretchers. The Indianapolis Baptist Temple of Indianapolis, IN refused to pay federal employment taxes worth 3.5 million dollars, from 1984 to the present time. The total debt, with penalties, amounts to six million.
bulletFEB-14: India: Fundamentalist Hindus attack Valentine's Day:
"Hard-line Hindus, bent on stopping love-struck couples from celebrating Valentine's Day, went on a rampage...in many parts of the country, invading gift shops, burning cards and disrupting festivities." (Toronto Star) They denounced the holiday as a desecration of the country's traditional culture.
bulletFEB-20: Virginia: Pat Robinson attacks charitable choice: On his 700 Club television program, Pat Robertson, head of the Christian Coalition, criticized the faith-based initiative of President Bush. He expressed concern that groups of which he does not approve (such as the Hare Krishnas, Church of Scientology, and  Unification Church) "could all become financial beneficiaries of the proposal to expand eligibility for government grants to religious charities..."
bulletFEB-24: USA: Presbyterian General Assembly Council rules on minister's freedom of speech: The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s statement of faith states that salvation is only possible through belief in Jesus Christ. i.e. most people on earth - the non-Christians -- will not be saved and will automatically go to Hell when they die. Rev. Dirk Ficca, director of the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago IL, had delivered a paper at the Presbyterian Peacemaking Conference in Orange, CA, during 2000-Summer. He suggested that "an omnipotent and merciful God might provide other avenues to salvation for Jews and Muslims and other non-believers in Christ." Twenty-one church sessions and one presbytery called for the church's General Assembly Council (GAC) to either discipline Ficca or disavowing the heretical views he expressed. The GAC issued a statement defending "the propriety of open dialogue at GAC-sponsored conferences to explore emerging perspectives."

MAR-1: Indonesia: Christians slaughter 118 Muslims: The Dyaks are a Christian group, although many still hold some Animist beliefs. During the latter third of February, inter-faith rioting between the Christian Dyaks and the Muslim Madurese resulted in the deaths of at least 428 people. Aid workers estimate that up to 1,000 may have been killed. The government was able to negotiate with the Dyaks to allow the Madurese to be evacuated to safety. But the Dyaks broke their promise and trucked 118 Madurese to a local soccer field. Six were beheaded. Others, including the elderly, women and babies, had their limbs chopped off and stomachs slashed open. None survived.


MAR-1: Afghanistan: Taliban order destruction of religious statues:
The Taliban, a extreme, radical, Fundamentalist Muslim group which controlled most of Afghanistan in early 2001, ordered priceless statutes throughout the country to be destroyed. The office of Afghanistan's supreme leader stated: "... it has been decided to break down all statues/idols present in different parts of the country. This is because these idols have been gods of the infidels, who worshipped them, and these are respected even now and perhaps maybe turned into gods again."  Most notable are two immense statues of the Buddha, carved out of a cliff, dating from the 4th and 5th century CE.

bulletMAR-24: World: Jerry Falwell attacks Pagans and Heathens: While discussing the movie Gladiator with Jonathan V. Last of Beliefnet, Jerry Falwell attacked Pagans and Heathens. He said: "...only pagans and heathens disregard the possibility of eternity and, as a result, make very little contribution to the world they live in."
bulletAPR-2: Egypt: Commission reports improvement in religious freedom: The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom issued a letter outlining some concerns over lack of religious freedom in Egypt. However, the did note some positive developments in the country.
bulletAPR-18: Egypt: Anti-semitic remark by columnist: Ahmad Ragab, in reference to the Jews and the Nazi Holocaust, wrote: "Thanks to Hitler, blessed memory, who on behalf of the Palestinians, revenged in advance, against the most vile criminals on the face of the earth. Although we do have a complaint against him for his revenge on them was not enough." This appeared in the newspaper Al-Akhabar, which is sponsored by the Egyptian government
bullet2001-APR: IL & CA: Two noncompliant Episcopal dioceses deny ordination to women: Bishops in Fort Worth-Quincy diocese (Illinois) and the San Joaquin diocese (California) still refuse to ordain women. They believe that the Bible restricts the priesthood to males.
bulletAPR-20: Israel: Christians repent for two millennia of anti-semitism: Over 1,100 Christians gathered at Kibbutz Ramat Rahel in Jerusalem to confess before the Jewish people for two millennia of anti-semitism in the name of Christianity.

MAY-1: World: Report on religious persecution: The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom issued its second annual report on religious persecution worldwide (with the exception of the United States). It featured China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Iran, Sudan, Vietnam and North Korea.


MAY-1: MN: Legislator calls Buddhism a "cult": Representative Arlon Linder (R) wrote to colleagues via email: "As a Christian, I am offended that we would have the Dalai Lama come and speak...These beliefs are incompatible with Christian principles, and those Christian principles are or have been the governing principles in American society...They don't believe that there is one God. They don't believe Christ is God. They believe in evolution and reincarnation. That is not Christian." He further stated that Buddhism is considered a "cult."


MAY-8: Canada: Anglican church going bankrupt: "The bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada have warned the prime minister that, unless he gets involved, the church will soon be bankrupt because of a rash of lawsuits brought by victims of abuse at church-run residential schools for indigenous youth."


MAY-17: USA: Secular groups excluded from funding: "New federal grants to prevent HIV and drug abuse are being offered only to religious groups."

bulletMAY-27: Poland: Bishops apologize for massacre of Jews: About 100 Roman Catholic bishops led by Cardinal Jozef Glemp, participated in an unprecedented ceremony in which they apologized for past Roman Catholic treatment of Jews. They apologized both for
bulletA massacre of as many as 1,600 Jews by Roman Catholics during 1941-JUL in Jedwabne, a town in north-eastern Poland.
bulletOther wrongs committed by Catholics on their Jewish fellow citizens.
bulletJUN-17: Republic of Georgia: Jehovah's Witnesses attacked: "A group of Jehovah's Witnesses holding a prayer session in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi were savagely beaten today by a group of unidentified intruders who burst into their hall, police said. A dozen men and women physically assaulted the group - whose number was not given - and vandalised the locale, breaking furniture and windows and setting fire to religious objects before fleeing. Two of the victims were seriously injured in the attack, police said, adding that an investigation had been launched."
bulletJUN-25: DC: Christian Coalition accused of racial discrimination: The Christian Coalition was founded by Pat Robertson in 1989 in order to encourage more conservative Christians to become active politically. It has suffered major economic setbacks in recent years. According to Christine Hall, Staff Writer of CNSNews, their fundraising has dropped from 15.8 million in 1997 to 2.9 million recently. They are now being sued by 13 current and former employees in federal court. The Coalition is accused treating black clerical workers in a racist manner.
bulletJUL-1: NY: New York Times article opposing tolerance: Towards Tradition is "a national educational movement of Jews and Christians dedicated to fighting secular institutions that foster anti-religious bigotry, harm families, and jeopardize the future of America." They recently posted a full page advertisement in the New York Times which attacks tolerance. It said, in part: "Toward Traditions calls on all Americans of good will to overturn the idol of 'tolerance' and rally to the defense of our nation's core values: Biblical morality, Constitutional liberty, patriotism, and prosperity." 14

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Related essays on this web site:

bulletA more detailed description of the year's religiously intolerant news items.
bulletA more detailed description of the year's religiously tolerant news items.

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Copyright © 2002 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2002-JAN-2
Latest update: 2002-JAN-4
Author: B.A. Robinson

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