YEAR 2001: MAJOR EVENTS WITH AN ETHICAL, or RELIGIOUS COMPONENT
2001-JANUARY TO JUNE INCLUSIVE
2001-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:
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.
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
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."
FEB-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.
FEB-11: OH: Interfaith Council overcomes
religious bigotry: Rev. Jerry Hall, the pastor at AnnunciationGreek 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.
FEB-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.
FEB-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.
FEB-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
Church) "could all become financial beneficiaries of the proposal
to expand eligibility for government grants to religious charities..."
FEB-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
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
MAR-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
APR-2: Egypt: Commission reports
improvement in religious freedom: TheU.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.
APR-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
2001-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
APR-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
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."
MAY-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
A massacre of as many as 1,600 Jews by Roman Catholics during 1941-JUL
in Jedwabne, a town in north-eastern Poland.
Other wrongs committed by Catholics on their Jewish fellow citizens.
JUN-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."
JUN-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.
JUL-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