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RELIGIOUS CHANGE, CONFLICT & INTOLERANCE,

2005-October

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We also have a list of religious tolerance news for this month. 
Sad to say, these are usually much shorter lists.

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bullet2005-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. 1
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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'." 6

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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. More details.

bullet2005-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

bullet2005-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
bullet2005-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." 4
bullet2005-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 PM ET.

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Links to religious news sources:

bulletLists of general religious, conservative Christian, other Christian, and non-Christian news sources is available elsewhere on this web site.

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Reference used:

  1. Nichole Windield, "Divorce, celibacy debates surface," Associated Press, 2005-OCT-03.
  2. David Batstone, "Frist, Rove, DeLay: Who's looking the other way?" Sojourners, 2005-OCT-13. Sojourners' web site is at http://www.sojo.net
  3. Dana Hertneky, "Veterans interfere with radical protestors," KSN-TV, 2005-OCT-13.
  4. Dick Pettys, "Ga. Voting Law Blocked By Judge As Discriminatory," Associated Press, 2005-OCT-18, at: http://www.tampatrib.com/
  5. "Soferet: A Special Scribe," Vision TV, at: http://www.visiontv.ca/
  6. 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: http://www.christianitytoday.com/

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Home page > Intolerance/conflict news >  here

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Copyright 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2005-OCT-04
Latest update: 2005-OCT-29
Author: B.A. Robinson

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