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RELIGIOUS CHANGE, CONFLICT AND/OR INTOLERANCE

During 2006-June

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Sponsored link:

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

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bullet2006-JUN-08: NY: Bill introduced to eliminate school conflict: John Sabini introduced a state bill to prevent state-mandated exams from conflicting with Muslim holy days. Reporter Warren Woodberry, Jr. wrote about the Razi School in Woodside:

"Third-graders at the school were disrupted in January when a state-mandated test was given during Eid-al-Adha, a time when observant Muslims do not attend class and when Muslim schools are closed, school officials said. "The students should not be forced to chose to test or celebrate their holiday," said Sabini, a member of the state Senate's education committee. "It is an extraordinarily bad public policy that we intend to change." The holiest days on the Islamic calendar, Eid-al-Adha and Eid-al-Fitr are multiday observances equivalent in significance to the holiest days of the Jewish or Christian religious year. 1

bullet2006-JUN-09: KY: Conservative Christians push use of AD and BC: Forward Magazine reports that:

"Activists, along with the governor and other state politicians, have accused the State Board of Education of attempting to drive Christianity from the classroom through the use of secular notations, like BCE for 'Before the Common Era,' in place of religious ones, like B.C. for 'Before Christ'."...

"We need to start speaking up when we see the erosion of the foundation of this nation, which is our family values, our Christian values," said Finn Laursen, executive director of the Christian Educators Association International, in an interview with the Forward. "This was just one more chip in trying to change the initials of our dating system," he said.....

Lisa Gross, a spokeswoman for the board of education, accused Christian conservatives of misrepresenting and sensationalizing the issue. She said the guidelines do not recommend that teachers use either Christian or secular abbreviations; rather, the guidelines themselves make use of both. 2

bullet2006-JUN-14: New president of Southern Baptists talks about the Bible: Frank Page has been elected as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He told reporters about his concept of the Bible. He said: "I believe in the Word of God. I am just not mad about it. Too long Baptists have been known for what we are against. It's time to say, 'Please let us tell you what we are for.' ... I would urge people to major on the majors and make sure, as we've heard several speakers state, there are some areas about which we can disagree." 3

The Way of Life Literature's Fundamental Baptist Information Service responded that to: "...'believe the Word of God' and not be mad about error is a very strange type of faith. If you truly love the Word of God you are mad about those who corrupt the Word of God and who destroy people's faith with false teaching. The Psalmist testified: 'Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way' (Psalms 119:128). The New
Evangelical says that he esteems God's precepts to be right, but he is far too busy being contemporary and popular to hate every false way." 4
bullet2006-JUN-24: US terrorist cell suspects non-Muslim? The Voice of America states:

"An Islamic civil rights group says the seven terror suspects indicted Friday in the United States should not be referred to as 'Muslims.' The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says the men accused of plotting attacks on Chicago's Sears tower and several federal buildings are not Muslims because they study a mix of Islamic, Christian and Jewish teachings. The statement calls the Seas of David sect a 'bizarre group' that has nothing to do with Islam. It notes their meeting place is called a 'temple' and that they study the Bible -- the Christian holy book. It also cautioned against using Arabic terms to describe their actions. The federal indictment against the men refers to their attack plans as 'a violent jihad.'

"The group also called on police departments nationwide to protect mosques and other Islamic institutions from possible backlash violence prompted by the idea that the terror suspects are Muslim." 5

bullet2006-JUN-29: US: Presbyterian church cracks open door for gay ordination: The Presbyterian Church, USA held its General Assembly in Birmingham, AL. They discussed a report issued last year by their Theological Task Force (TTF). The Assembly approved resolutions stressing unity in the denomination, and giving -- for the first time -- limited permission for local ordination authorities to ordain sexually active homosexuals. More details.
bullet2006-JUN-29: World: UN body declaration on native rights: By a vote of 30 to 2, the new UN Human Rights Council adopted a declaration that said that native people should be free from discrimination and that they should have a right "to consider themselves different and to be respected as such." Native groups had hoped that the declaration would be adopted by consensus. But the Canadian delegation asked for a formal vote. Paul Meyer, head of the Canadian government's delegation, said that the federal government was concerned about provisions of the declaration relating to land and resources that they considered ambiguous. Canada and Russia were the only two countries who voted against the declaration. 6
bullet2006-JUN-27: World: Archbishop of Canterbury recommends two tiers: Apparently in response to the Episcopal Church, USA's General Convention mentioned above, the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, issued a six-page "reflection" proposing what he regards as the "best way forward" for the Anglican Communion. He suggests creation of a loyalty oath which apparently would be both sexist and homophobic. It would include rejection of homosexuals as priests, bishops and primates. It might even include rejection of women as bishops and primates. Those provinces who agreed with the loyalty oath would remain "constituent churches." Those who did not agree would become "churches in association." That division arguably makes a lot of sense, because it does recognize the current division within the Communion. However, he proposes that the churches in association would be denied voting and decision making power in the Communion. More details.
bullet2006-JUN-28: Senator Obama urges Democrats to reach out to Evangelicals: Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) recommends that Democrats reach out to Evangelical Christians and other Americans of faith. He said:

"If we don't reach out to evangelical Christians and other religious Americans and tell them what we stand for, the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons will continue to hold sway."

He said that Democrats should be willing to explain themselves in moral terms while respecting the principle of separation of church and state. He continued:

"I think we make a mistake when we fail to acknowledge the power of faith in the lives of the American people. After all, the problems of poverty and racism, the uninsured and the unemployed, are not simply technical problems in search of the perfect ten point plan. They are rooted in both societal indifference and individual callousness -- in the imperfections of man....Nothing is more transparent than inauthentic expressions of faith -- the politician who shows up at a black church around election time and claps -- off rhythm -- to the gospel choir.....Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation. Context matters. It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase 'under God;' I certainly didn't." 7

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Links to religious news sources:

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

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Warren Woodberry, Jr, "End exam conflicts: pol," Daily News Boroughs, 2006-JU-08, at: http://www.nydailynews.com/

  2. Jennifer Siegel, "Religious Groups Push Kentucky Schools To Use 'Before Christ'," Forward, 2006-JUN-09 at: http://www.forward.com/

  3. "SBC's New President Fields Reporters Questions," Baptist Press, 2006-JUN-14.

  4. "Friday church news notes," Way of Life Literature's Fundamental Baptist Information Service, 2005-JUN-23, Volume 7, Issue 25.

  5. "Muslim Group: US Terror Suspects Not Muslim," VOA News, 2006-JUN-24, at: http://www.voanews.com/

  6. "UN body rebuffs Canada, protects human rights," Canadian Press, 2006-JUN-29. Published by the Toronto Star, 2006-JUN-30, Page A12.

  7. "Democrat Obama urges response to religious right," Reuters, 2006-JUN-28, at: http://today.reuters.com/

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Copyright © 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2006-JUN-08
Latest update: 2006-JUL-07
Author: B.A. Robinson

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