RELIGIOUS CHANGE, CONFLICT & INTOLERANCE,
|2005-OCT-03: World: Meeting of Roman Catholic bishops begins: 250
Catholic bishops from 118 countries have congregated in Rome. They will
debate a number of issues and make recommendations to Pope Benedict XVI.
Cardinal Angelo Scola, the key moderator of the Synod of Bishops reaffirmed
the rules that priests must remain celibate, and that divorced Catholic who
remarry without an annulment of their previous marriage cannot receive
communion. Monsignor Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines suggested that
the church should bend a little on the celibacy question in order to
confront the shortage of priests. Monsignor Pierre-Antoine Paulo of Haiti
suggested that the church might bend a bit on divorced couples and allow
them to take communion as some non-Catholics are now permitted to do.
2005-OCT-14: Venezuela to
expell New Tribes Mission: Following the call by the well known
fundamentalist teleminister, Pat Robertson, for the assassination of Hugo
Chavez, the president of Venezuela, Chavez announced plans to expel the
New Tribes Mission from the country. It is a "church-planting and
Bible-translating mission agency." According to Christianity Today:
"Vice President Jose
Vicente Rangel repeated the accusations: ...'We have intelligence
reports that some of them are CIA,' he told
reporters. 'The president's decision was based on reports that their
actions create situations that compromise the country's sovereignty'."
2005-OCT-11: Appeal to the U.S.
Supreme Court rejected: Cyndi Simpson is a
Wiccan priestess who is affiliated with the
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. She
lives in Chesterfield County, VA. The county board starts its meetings with
a Judeo-Christian invocation. She tried to have her name added to the list
of religious persons who gave invocations but was refused. She sued and her
case eventually was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Rebecca Glenberg of the American Civil
Liberties Union told the court that the county issues invitations to deliver
prayers to all Christian, Muslim, and Jewish religious leaders in the
county, but refuses to invite Native Americans, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs,
and Wiccans. Local Hindu, Buddhist, and Native
American groups filed a brief on her behalf. The Supreme Court refused to
hear Ms. Simpson's appeal. As is normal in these cases, the court did not
offer a reason. Simpson feels that the legal effort was worthwhile because
it informed the public in an area of the U.S. that is particularly
religiously intolerant about Wicca and Unitarian Universalism.
|2005-OCT-13: Allegations of corruption in the Republican party:
David Batstone wrote in SojoMail, a services of Sojourners: |
"Tom DeLay and Bill Frist, the two political operatives in Congress
with arguably the deepest support among Christian churches, both face
serious allegations of financial trickery. Karl Rove, the Bush
administration power broker who speaks almost daily with Christian
leaders to coordinate political action, is under investigation for
divulging classified information, then covering up his misdeed.....I
find it more than a bit disturbing that Christians who back Rove, DeLay,
and Frist in their political efforts express so little concern about the
possibility of corruption at the highest ranks of government. Worse
still, many Christians express blind allegiance to these men. Is this
what we have come to, when we sell our birthright for a pot of political
porridge?....To be frank, I do not expect Focus on the Family,
The 700 Club, or any other influential media network of religious
conservatives to raise a red flag about political corruption in the
Republican Party any time soon. The specter of political power seems too
enticing, too close within reach, to be held back by traditional values
such as honesty and integrity. Oh, woe to us, that we shall we gain the
whole world, yet lose our own soul." 2
|2005-OCT-13: OK: Veterans interfere with
anti-gay protesters: Rev. Frend Phelps and his supporters attempted to
organize a protest in Chelsea, OK. The occasion was the funeral of Staff
Sergeant John Doles who was killed in Iraq. However, a group of bikers --
veterans from American Legion Post 186 in Mulvane, KS intervened. The bikers
interposed themselves between the protestors and mourners, they unfurled
American flags to block visibility of the "God hates Fags" banners,
and they revved their engines to drown out the protestors' speech. 3|
|2005-OCT-18: GA: State of Georgia's attempt
to disenfranchise voters blocked: The Republicans in the Georgia
legislature launched a bill which eliminated the use of conventional methods
of voter identification -- including Social Security cards, birth
certificates, utility bills, etc. Under the new law, a person must provide
either a driver's license with a photo ID, or a state ID card in order to
vote. Most of the black legislators walked out of the Capitol when the bill
passed in 2005-MAR. It was signed into law by Governor Sonny Perdue (R), and
approved by the U.S. Justice Department in August. |
A group of voters and civil rights groups sued the state over the new law.
U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy issued a preliminary injunction. He ruled
that the new law is essentially an unconstitutional poll tax. He wrote that
the identification requirement "is most likely to prevent Georgia's
elderly, poor and African-American voters from voting. For those citizens,
the character and magnitude of their injury -- the loss of their right to
vote -- is undeniably demoralizing and extreme."
State Representative Tyrone Brooks (D) described the injunction as "a
strong signal from the federal judiciary that Georgia has gone too far in
impeding the right of citizens to vote." Brooks may be best known for
his successful fight to remove the Georgia Confederate flag from the Capitol
building. State Senator Don Balfour (R) said: "We'll appeal it until the
Supreme Court makes a decision. Hopefully by then the president will have a
good conservative court up there that understands the will of the people."
|2005-OCT-28: Canada: Jewish woman becomes a
Jewish scribe: Aviel Barclay is tackling a task that is unique in
history: she accepted a commission from Kadima, a progressive Jewish
congregation in Seattle WA to create a sefer Torah, a specially hand-written
Torah scroll. No other woman in Jewish history has undertaken such a task.
According to Vision TV, Canada's inter-faith TV network: |
"Donors from all over the world are helping
to support this undertaking.....The project is controversial to say the
least. Many Jewish authorities believe rabbinic law forbids women from
writing a Torah scroll for ritual use. But others interpret the law
differently. "The Torah is meant to be a living organism," says
Rabbi Fern Feldman. "Judaism was never meant to be rigid."
For Aviel, this project is not about feminist politics – it is an act of
faith. As her husband Joel Rothschild tells the filmmakers, "She is
not doing this for reasons of ego, or for reasons of spite … She
believes she has been given this work to do by God."
Says Aviel: "I just have always felt that I was meant to do this."
A documentary has been made about her effort: "Soferet:
A Special Scribe" was produced by Reel Time Images Inc. in association
with VisionTV. The movie will have its Canadian TV premiere on NOV-16 at 10
Links to religious news sources:
|Lists of general religious, conservative Christian, other Christian, and
non-Christian news sources is available elsewhere on
this web site.|
- Nichole Windield, "Divorce, celibacy debates surface,"
Associated Press, 2005-OCT-03.
- David Batstone, "Frist, Rove, DeLay: Who's looking the other way?"
Sojourners, 2005-OCT-13. Sojourners' web site is at
- Dana Hertneky, "Veterans interfere with radical protestors," KSN-TV,
- Dick Pettys, "Ga. Voting Law Blocked By Judge As Discriminatory,"
Associated Press, 2005-OCT-18, at:
- "Soferet: A Special Scribe," Vision TV, at:
- Dean Alford, "Venezuela to Expel New Tribes Mission. After additional
Robertson comments, President Chavez accuses 'imperialist' mission agency of
working for CIA," Christianity Today, 2005-OCT-10, at:
How you got here:
Copyright © 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2005-OCT-04
Latest update: 2005-OCT-29
Author: B.A. Robinson