CHANGE, CONFLICT AND/OR INTOLERANCE
News items during 2006-November
This is the time of the year when the "Christmas wars"
heat up. As Chris Ortiz posted to the Chalcedon Blog: "I used to know
Christmas was around the corner when stores put up their holiday decorations.
Now I know it's Christmas when everyone starts fighting about it."
22 See our "
'Tis the season to be' in conflict" section.
|2006-NOV-01: Turkey: Author acquitted of insulting Islam: Muazzez
Ilmiye Cig, 92, an archaeologist specializing in the ancient Sumerian
civilization, 1 wrote in her
book "My reactions as a citizen" that head scarves similar to the hijabs
currently worn by some Muslim women, were first worn circa 3000
BCE by priestesses who initiated male youths into sex.
They wore the scarves in order to distinguish themselves from regular
priestesses in the temple. |
She and her publisher were charged under
|Article 125 of the TCK covers offences committed by "insulting values
that are regarded as sacred by an individual's religion" and|
|Article 216, covers the offence of "incitement to hatred and enmity as
well as denigration". 2
They faced up to three year jail sentences if found guilty. She had said in
court: "I am a woman of science. I never insulted anyone." After a one
hour hearing, a panel of three judges ruled that Cig's statements did not
constitute the crime of inciting hared or insulting people based on their
religion. Twenty five lawyers were present in the small court room to defend
Similar cases were recently brought against writers, academics, and others
including this year's Nobel prize-winner Orhan Pamuk and novelist Elif Shafak.
They were charged under Article 301 which criminalizes insults to the Turkish
Republic, its officials or "Turkishness." Parmak's charges were dismissed on a
technicality; Shafak was acquitted.
BiaNet reports that:
"The Monitoring Desk of the 'Establishing a Countrywide Network for
Monitoring and Covering for Media Freedom and Independent
Journalism-BİA' project has disclosed that according to its data from
news reports covered, a total of 68 people have been charged in Turkey
under articles 301 and 159 of the Turkish Penal Code in 18 months."
"While article 301 went into force on June 1, 2005, in instances where
it has been favorable for the defendants, article 159 has been imposed."
"Those who have been charged under both articles are journalists,
writers, publishers, activists, unionists and, in some instance,
ordinary citizens." 4
|2006-NOV-01: USA: Male prostitute claims
business relationship with Ted Haggard: Evangelical Right, who
bill themselves as "the Internet home for sinners destined to be left
"A gay man and admitted male escort claims
he has had an ongoing sexual relationship with a well-known Evangelical
pastor from Colorado Springs. Mike Jones told 9 Wants to Know
Investigative Reporter Paula Woodward he has had a 'sexual business'
relationship with Pastor Ted Haggard for the past three years. Haggard
is married with five children and an outspoken critic of gay marriage."
"People may look at me and think what I've
done is immoral, but I think I had to do the moral thing in my mind and
that is expose someone who is preaching one thing and doing the opposite
behind everybody's back," said Jones.
Ted Haggard is president of the National
Association of Evangelicals (NEA). He also heads the 14,000 member New
Life Church in Colorado City, CO, and was named by Time Magazine as
one of the 25 most influential Evangelicals in the U.S. 5,6
On the evening of NOV-01, Haggard denied the
claims, and said that he is prepared for his own church to undertake an
investigation. He allegedly said:
"I did not have a homosexual relationship
with a man in Denver. I am steady with my wife. I'm faithful to my wife.
I don't know if this is election year politics or if this has to do with
the marriage amendment or what it is, but I'm not even the guy who will
investigate it or question it. I don't know what the dynamics are, but
this independent group will come in and do that."
It may be important to realize that this
disclosure happened less than a week before the mid-term elections.
|2006-NOV-02: USA: Ted Haggard denies
allegations of same-sex behavior:
CNN reported this evening that Ted Haggard as stepped down as president
of the NEA and as head of the New Life Church. 6
Associated Press reported that:|
"In a written statement, Haggard
said: 'I am voluntarily stepping aside from leadership so that the
overseer process can be allowed to proceed with integrity. I hope to be
able to discuss this matter in more detail at a later date. In the
interim, I will seek both spiritual advice and guidance.' ..."
"Jones said he has voice mail messages from Haggard, as well as an
envelope he said Haggard used to mail him cash, though he declined to
make any of it available to the AP. 'There's some stuff on there (the
voice mails) that's pretty damning,' he said."
"Richard Cizik, vice president for government affairs for the
evangelicals association, expressed shock. 'Is this something I can
imagine of Ted Haggard? No,' he said."
Haggard went public on the evening of NOV-02
denying allegations of a same-sex affair. 8
|2006-NOV-02: USA: Ted Haggard admits some
allegations of same-sex behavior are true:
"After Pastor Ted Haggard went public Wednesday night denying
allegations of a homosexual affair, senior church officials told KKTV
11News Thursday evening, Pastor Ted Haggard has admitted to some of the
claims made by a former male escort. The church's Acting Senior Pastor,
Ross Parsley, tells KKTV 11 News that Pastor Haggard has admitted to
some of the indiscretions claimed by Mike Jones, but not all of them."
Thursday morning, Jones went on a Denver radio talk show and said Pastor
Haggard paid him for sex over the past 3 years. Jones also claims
Haggard used drugs with him. Right now, the situation is under
investigation by an independent panel of leaders from four outside
churches. The leaders are from Colorado Springs, Larkspur, Westminster
and Louisiana. The panel's role is to decide if Haggard will be
exonerated, released from his duties, or restored to his pastorship.
|2006-NOV-04: USA: Ted Haggard dismissed:
The Overseer Board of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO
reported that their|
|"... investigation and Pastor Haggard's
public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed
sexually immoral conduct. ... [After discussing the matter with]...
leading evangelicals and experts familiar with the type of behavior
Pastor Haggard has demonstrated [they] ... decided that the most
positive and productive direction for our church is his dismissal and
Their investigation would continue in order to
determine the extent of Haggard's misconduct. 9
|2006-NOV: World: Jack Chick issues
anti-Masonic gospel tract: The latest in a series of Fundamentalist
gospel tract deals with the Masonic order. The tract states or implies many
beliefs that Masons would probably strongly disagree with:|
|Membership in the Masons will destroy one's marriage.|
|The Masons are an occultic group.|
|The "god of Masonry" enters a person's body when they become a member.|
|The indwelling spirit can be removed through exorcism.|
|"Masonry is a dark, spiritual force,
blending all ungodly religions."|
|When a Christian joins this form of Baal
worship, he brings spiritual death to his church and family.|
|When Muslims pray to Allah, the God of the
Universe, they are praying to a devil.|
|Masonry is a form of witchcraft.|
|All Masons will spend eternity in
|2006-NOV-10: Israel: Riots in Jerusalem in
protest against a gay pride parade: Jerusalem's first gay pride parade
was scheduled for a weekend earlier in the year. However, it was delayed
because of the warfare in Lebanon. It is scheduled for the weekend of
NOV-11. In an almost unprecedented show of unity, conservative leaders of
the three main religions in the area, Judaism, Christianity and Islam,
jointly condemned the parade. Almost two weeks of rioting have disturbed
Jerusalem's Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods. Police and motorists have been
showered with stones; trash cans have been set on fire. Dozens of police
have been injured. At least 60 Orthodox protestors have been arrested.
According to the Jewish daily Forward:|
"Violent protests were also reported
in Hadera, Bet Shemesh and the Tel Aviv suburb of B’nei Brak, where
protesters burned tires and blocked a main highway. ... Israel’s
chief rabbinate issued a statement Monday calling Israel’s homosexuals
the 'lowest of people,' and urging the public to assemble for a
countrywide prayer rally as gay rights marchers gathered in Jerusalem."
" 'We were horrified to hear of the threatening plot that an
abominated minority of our brothers is planning, convening to carry out
abominations that make them the lowest of people,' the country’s two
chief rabbis wrote in a statement. 'Everyone from toddlers to the
elderly will join in the streets and bitterly protest this awful
abomination that is desecrating Israel’s name throughout the nations. Of
course they will do this in the appropriate way, without violence or
harm to property'." 11
|2006-NOV: MN: University of Minnesota plans
play critical of Roman Catholicism: The Department of Theatre,
Arts and Dance at the University of Minnesota plans to open a
production of a play -- The Pope and the Witch -- on 2007-MAR-01.
The play involves a witch, in a nuns habit, assisting a physician who is
treating the pope for a paralytic affliction. The play allegedly discusses
world overpopulation as a cause of poverty and hunger, and the contribution
of the Church's policies on contraception and abortion to overpopulation.
Catholic bishops of Minnesota have asked the university’s president to close
down the production. 12|
|2006-NOV-14: DC: New think tank formed to
promote rationalism: The Center for Inquiry-Transnational, a
nonprofit organization, has opened an office to promote rationalism as the
basis of public policy. It will lobby on behalf of science-based decision
making and against the federal government making religiously-based policy in
areas such as stem-cell research, abstinence-only education, etc. The Center
released a "Declaration in Defense of Science and Secularism."
It says in part:|
"This disdain for science is aggravated by the excessive influence of
religious doctrine on our public policies. We cannot hope to convince
those in other countries of the dangers of religious fundamentalism when
religious fundamentalists influence our policies at home. ...
Unfortunately, not only do too many well-meaning people base their
conceptions of the universe on ancient books -- such as the Bible and
the Koran -- rather than scientific inquiry, but politicians of all
parties encourage and abet this scientific ignorance."
At the opening of the office, Nobel Prize in chemistry laureate Paul
Boyer, Ph.D., said that the establishment of the Center for Inquiry
and its Office of Public Policy was one step toward a better, and
better-informed, future for all Americans. He said:
"That goal is an enlightenment that would lead our citizens to base
their actions and beliefs on the results of rational inquiry. Such
enlightenment would mean the acceptance of the truth of evolution and
would promote changes for better separation of church and state."
2006-NOV-16: VA, CA: Episcopal congregations and a diocese moving towards
schism: Two historic congregations in the diocese of Virginia are
tending towards separating from the Episcopal Church, USA. The vestries of
Truro Church in Fairfax, VA, and in the Falls Church in Falls Church, VA,
have voted to recommend the split. The membership will vote between DEC-10
and DEC-16 whether to approve the break.|
As noted above, San Joaquin
diocese in Fresno, CA, is also moving towards a break. The membership will
vote on DEC-01/02 whether to fully remove links to the denomination. If they
approve the measure, they will be the first diocese to do so. San Joaquin is
one of the very few diocese who refuses to ordain women.
Between 2003 and 2005, the Episcopal Church, USA has lost about 5% of its
membership. Speculation is that a main reason is disagreement with equality
for women and homosexuals. They now have about 2.21 million members.
|2006-NOV-22: Norwegian state church votes
for separation of church and state: After 469 years of Lutheranism being
the official religion of Norway, the general synod of the Church of Norway
has voted in favor of separation of church and state. The vote was 63 to 19.
The government will now have to alter the constitution and pass legislation
to transfer powers to the Lutheran church, including the authority to
appoint clergy. The changes will take at least until 2013. Jens
Petter Johnsen, director of the Church of Norway national council, said:|
"The synod's decision is historic. What matters is the relation
between church and people, not between church and state."
Among the other Scandanavian countries, Sweden
separated their church-state arrangement on 2000-JAN-01. Denmark still has a
Lutheran state church. 18
|2006-NOV-23: USA: President elect of
Christian Coalition resigns: The Rev. Joel Hunter, president
elect of the Christian Coalition -- founded by Jerry Falwell -- resigned his
post over a dispute concerning priorities. He wanted to promote concern over
poverty and environmental matters. The Christian Coalition board wanted to
confine their activities to opposing abortion access and opposing equal
marriage for persons of all sexual orientations. The Orlando Sentinel
Hunter's move signals more tumult for a group that has fallen on hard
times. Members have complained the coalition's agenda has become too
liberal and diffuse. State chapters in Georgia, Alabama and elsewhere
left the organization this year, and its budget has shrunk from $26
million to less than $5 million. ... Hunter hoped to revive the group by
expanding its agenda to include what he called 'compassion issues.' He
also planned to teach evangelicals how to 'vote with their life,' or
integrate and apply their Christian values to public life. ... The
coalition's rejection of Hunter's approach means it is unwilling to part
with its partisan, Republican roots, Hunter said. "To tell you the
truth, I feel like there are literally millions of evangelical
Christians that don't have a home right now," Hunter said.
Rev. Hunter is reported as saying:
"My position is, unless we are caring as much for the vulnerable outside
the womb as inside the womb, we're not carrying out the full message of
Jesus. ... They began to think this might threaten their base or evaporate
some of their support, and they said they just couldn't go there."
|2006-NOV-24: Egypt: Muslim conference ends with condemnation of
female circumcision: TARGET, a German human rights group, sponsored a conference on
female genital mutilation (FGM) in Cairo,
Egypt. Muslim scholars from many nations attended. At the conclusion of the
conference they issued a statement declared FGM to be
contrary to Islam, an attack on women, and a practice that should be
"The conference appeals to all Muslims to stop practicing this habit,
according to Islam's teachings which prohibit inflicting harm on any
human being. ... The conference reminds all teaching and media
institutions of their role to explain to the people the harmful effects
of this habit in order to eliminate it. ... The conference calls on
judicial institutions to issue laws that prohibit and criminalize this
habit ... which appeared in several societies and was adopted by some
Muslims although it is not sanctioned by the Qur'an or the Sunna."
According to The Age online news source:
"Egypt's two top Islamic clerics, Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, the Grand
Sheik of Al-Azhar, the foremost theological institute in the Sunni
Muslim world, and Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, attended the conference, which
drew scholars from as far afield as Russia. Tantawi's and Gomaa's edicts
are considered binding. 18
|2006-NOV: CA: Controversy over Barak Obama
invitation to AIDS conference: The Saddleback Valley
Community Church in Lake Forest, CA, is sponsoring the second annual
Global Summit on AIDS and the Church conference during the weekend starting
2006-NOV-02. The senior pastor of Saddleback is well known author Rick
Warren, author of "A Purpose-driven Life." Almost 60 people will deliver papers, including
U.S. Senators who are two potential candidates for the presidency in 2008: Barak Obama
(D-IL) and Sam Brownback of (R-KS). |
Some conservative Protestants object to Obama's presence at the summit. A
statement issued by the Church states:
"Our goal has been to put people together who normally won't even
speak to each other. We do not expect all participants in the summit
discussion to agree with all of our evangelical beliefs. However, the
HIV/AIDS pandemic cannot be fought by evangelicals alone. It will take
the cooperation of all — government, business, NGOs (nongovernmental
organizations) and the church. ... To be truly pro-life means far more
than opposing abortion. It also means doing everything in our power to
keep people alive, so they might respond to the grace of Jesus Christ.
Sometimes that means working with people you disagree with. With AIDS
killing 8,000 people a day, saving lives is more important to us than
Obama issued a statement saying that he respects differences of beliefs
on abortion and other controversial topics, but hopes for unity:
"... to honor the entirety of Christ's teachings by working to
eradicate the scourge of AIDS, poverty and other challenges we all can
agree must be met."
"It is that spirit which has allowed me to work together — and pray
together — with some of my conservative colleagues in the Senate to make
progress on a range of key issues facing America".
Brownback, who has close ties to conservative Christians, responded to
the dispute with a statement also calling for unity. He wrote:
"To win the fight against AIDS we must each set aside our differences
and join together as human beings from all political, religious, and
nonreligious walks of life, fighting for the lives of people who are
suffering and dying."
Obama's presence at the AIDS conference met a wall of opposition from
leading fundamentalist and other evangelical Christian leaders. Their
objection had nothing to do with the topic of the conference: AIDS, or with
Senator Obama's beliefs about the disease. It was
because Obama believes that abortions should be "safe and legal."
|Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council, a
conservative evangelical group, wrote: "Senator Obama's policies
represent the antithesis of [the conservative Protestant interpretation of] biblical ethics and morality, not to mention
supreme American values."|
|Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum, Judie Brown of the
American Life League and Tim Wildmon of the American Family
Association and 15 additional pro-life leaders signed a joint
statement which said, in part:"|
"In the strongest possible terms, we oppose Rick Warren's decision
to ignore Senator Obama's clear pro-death stance and invite him to
Saddleback Church anyway. If Senator Obama cannot defend the most
helpless citizens in our country, he has nothing to say to the AIDS
crisis. You cannot fight one evil while justifying another. The
evangelical church can provide no genuine help for those who suffer from
AIDS if those involved do not first have their ethic of life firmly
rooted in the Word of God." 23
|2006-NOV-25: MI, WI, OH, etc: Father and daughter picket Wal-Mart:
Cal Zastrow and his 13-year-old daughter Corrie, protested at the
Midland MI Wal-Mart because of the company's membership in the National
Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and their decision to sell Plan B,
often called the "morning-after pill." Zastrow also alleges that
Wal-Mart supports Planned Parenthood. OurMidland.com explained that:|
"Area Wal-Mart stores were targeted by protesters Friday, part of a
nationwide effort of Operation Save Wal-Mart to return the giant
retailer to its 'godly roots' and stop its alleged support of abortion
and homosexuality. 'Our motivation is to encourage Wal-Mart to stop
funding abortion and homosexuality,' Zastrow said. 'And we are to lift
up the Lord Jesus Christ'. 'Our motivation is to encourage Wal-Mart to
stop funding abortion and homosexuality,' Zastrow said. 'And we are to
lift up the Lord Jesus Christ.' "
Corrie held a sign that stated: "Wal-Mart funds murder and perversion."
Cal held signs that showed two aborted fetuses with torn body parts. He
shouted at passing motorists:
"This is what choice looks like. Dead babies. ... I’m out here
to first proclaim Christ, and to reprove the deeds of darkness."
Mark Gabriel of Appleton, WI, posted a comment to the news article. He
said that he held similar signs outside his local Wal-Mart on NOV-22.
Another posting said that "... Spice of Life Ministries was involved with
four Walmart [sic] locations in Ohio."
|2006-NOV-26: USA: Seeds of Tolerance Contest: Joe
Wilson, a former high school student from rural Pennsylvania, has produced a
video called We Belong. It is a "short documentary video about two
small town gay teens who had the courage to stand up to bigotry and
discrimination in their schools, and the determination to tell their stories
to the world." It is well worth watching. See the Seeds of Tolerance contest at:
http://www.current.tv/ Wilson won a $10,000 cash prize as one of two
finalists. The grand prize winner was Lucas Krost who produced "One Nation
Under Guard." It deals with the prison culture of the U.S.|
Links to religious news sources:
|Links to general religious, conservative Christian, other Christian, and non-Christian news sources is available
elsewhere on this web site.|
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "ÇIĞ, Muazzez İlmiye," Ministry of Culture and Tourism, at:
- "92 Year Old Women Researcher On Trial," BiaNet, at: 2006-OCT-01,
- Suzan Fraser, "Author acquitted of insulting Islam," Associated Press,
- "Three More Journalists Charged Under 301," BIA News Center, 2006-OCT-27,
- "BREAKING ALLEGATIONS: Head of National Association of
Evangelicals, Ted Haggard, Is Gay!," Evangelical Right, 2006-NOV-02, at:
- Wolf Blitzer, Situation Room program, CNN, 2006-NOV-02.
- Catherine Tsai, "Key Evangelical quite amid gay sex claim," Associated
Press, 2006-NOV-02, at:
- "Church leader says Haggard admits to some indiscretions," KKTV,
2006-NOV-03, at: http://www.kktv.com/
- Press release, New Life Church, 2006-NOV-04 at:
- "The unwelcome guest," Chick Publications, at:
- "Riots Rock Jerusalem Before Gay Pride Parade," Forward, 2006-NOV-10, at:
- "University of Minnesota Set to Bash Catholicism," American TFP, at:
- "Office of Public Policy Opens with Declaration in Defense of Science and
Secularism," News release, Center for Inquiry-Transnational, 2006-NOV-17.
- Marc Kaufman, "Think Tank Will Promote Thinking. Advocates Want Science, Not
Faith, at Core of Public Policy," Washington Post, 2006-NOV-15, Page A19. Online
- "Conservative Episcopal parishes, diocese moving
toward break with church," Townhall, 2006-NOV-16, at:
- "Longwood pastor quits as coalition president. The Rev. Joel Hunter was set
to take the reins of the national Christian Coalition," Orlando, FL, Sentinel,
- "SojoMail" Quote of the Week,"
weekly email-zine from Sojourners, 2006-NOV-29.
- "Muslim scholars rule female circumcision
un-Islamic," The Age, 2006-NOV-24, at:
- The text of the statement has been posted at:
"Statement by Saddleback Valley Community Church regarding Senator Barack Obama
as one of nearly 60 featured speakers at the second annual Global Summit on AIDS
and the Church," Illinois Review, 2006-NOV-29, at:
- Alan Cooperman, "Church is urged to disinvite
Obama," Washington Post, 2006-NOV-30, at:
- Nedra Pickler, "Famed pastor defends
invitation to Obama," Associated Press, 2006-NOV-29, at:
- Chris Ortiz, "Grow Up, America!," Chalcedon Blog,
- The text of the statement has been posted at:
"Rick Warren/Parack Obama AIDS partnership must end, say pro-life groups,"
Illinois Review, 2006-NOV-28, at:
- Angela Lackey, "Group targets Midland Wal-Mart," OurMidland.com,
How you got here:
Copyright © 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2006-NOV-02
Latest update: 2006-DEC-18
Author: B.A. Robinson