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CHANGE, CONFLICT AND/OR INTOLERANCE

News items during 2006-October

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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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Events:

bullet2006-OCT: USA: Reaction to new detainee legislation: An editorial in the Portland News Herald criticized the detainee legislation passed on SEP-30. It allows American citizens to be held as enemy combatants if someone suspects that they have provided material support for terrorists. An individual who makes a donation to a Middle Eastern charity that openly or secretly fund terror groups could be detained. They will not be able to expect a trial by their peers or any other of the protections of the Bill of Rights. The concept of habeas corpus is dead.

Three past miscarriages of justice, involving Yaser Hamdi, Jose Padilla, and Maher Arar, are likely to be replicated in the futurte. U.S. officials sent Arar, a Canadian citizen, to Syria, where he was tortured for 10 months before being declared innocent of any wrongdoing. Hamdi has been released. Padilla won the right to a full court trial.

A challenge before the U.S. Supreme Court appears inevitable. 4
bullet2006-OCT-03: FL: Representative Mark Foley creates stir over sexually suggestive Emails: Mark Foley (R-FL) is well known for his interest in the sexual victimization of children. On 2006-MAR-23,  Focus on the Family quoted him as saying that if Congress continues to ignore the need for child protection from adult sexual predators, children will continue to be victimized. He is quoted as saying:

"We are still not funding it enough. This is one of the most pervasive, dangerous elements in our society, We need more money in the FBI's Innocent Images program. We also want to beef up our Customs Enforcement division, which has been doing heroic work." 1

On 2006-SEP-30, a range of news services reported that Foley's interest in sexual victimization had taken an unusual turn: For years, he was allegedly using the Internet to send sexually suggestive messages to underage male Congressional pages. There are allegations that the Republican Leadership engaged in a cover-up since 2005 perhaps in order to guarantee Foley's re-election in November.  2 The FBI allegedly has been aware of the Emails since 2006-JUL. 2

Four days after the news was widely disseminated, the Huffington Post quoted Bob Geiger's complaint that conservative Protestant organizations have maintained a news blackout on the topic. He wrote:

"... here we sit, four days after it was revealed that Republican Congressman Mark Foley was using the Internet to go after teenaged boys ..."

"Odd, isn't it? The same people who can move their followers to boycott any company that believes gay people even have the right to exist, can't muster much outrage over one of their own preying on young boys and, more importantly, the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives ignoring it to save their political hides. ..."

"But there's just not much there about protecting teens from Republicans on Capitol Hill who admire their 'cute butt(s)' and are willing to '...drive a few miles for a hot stud' like one of the young Congressional pages. ..."

"So there you have it -- the true face of the Religious Right measured in deeds and not words."

"They'll go out of their way to rally their followers to keep gay people from getting married, boycott corporations acknowledging that right, demonize legislators and judges who dare keep Church away from State and even attack children's-television characters."

"But nary a word about a Republican Congressman, who is co-chairman of the Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus, trolling for teen sex partners among Congressional pages, and being protected via a cover-up by the House Republican leadership." 3

In his OCT-03 report, Bob Geiger specifically mentioned the Family Research Council (FRC) as one of many conservative para-church organizations that was silent on the Foley incident. However, on OCT-04, we noticed a FRC news release dated OCT-02 on their web site. They blamed Foley's alleged activities not on Foley himself but on "a society that rejects sexual restraints in the name of diversity." They asked "when is tolerance just an excuse for permissiveness." Their point seems to be that if the culture accepts that there are three normal and natural sexual orientations (heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual) that the logical result is that society will accept sexual abuse of children by heterosexuals, homosexuals and bisexuals.

At first, we assumed that Geiger had been extremely careless in his searching, and had missed the news release. Then, another possible explanation emerged: the time stamp on the HTML file on the FRC web site was the evening of OCT-04. The news release may have been posted at that time, and backdated to OCT-02.

Foley resigned on SEP-30 and immediately checked into a Florida alcohol-treatment center. On OCT-01, he issued a news release, saying: "I deeply regret and accept full responsibility for the harm I have caused." 2

bullet2006-OCT-15: Christianity Today magazine: This magazine is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Volume 1, Number 1 was published on 1956-OCT-15. It was founded by Billy Graham to bring "intellectual respectability and spiritual impact to evangelical Christianity."
bullet 2006-OCT-15: USA: Justice Antonin Scalia states that abortion right not in constitution: Justice Scalia debated with Nadine Strossen, president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on a one-hour television program. Justice Scalia said that unelected judges have no place deciding politically charged questions in areas where the U.S. Constitution is silent. He said that liberal judges in the past had established new political rights, such as abortion access. He warned:

"Someday, you're going to get a very conservative Supreme Court and regret that approach. ... On controversial issues on stuff like homosexual rights, abortion, we debate with each other and persuade each other and vote on it either through [our elected] representatives or a constitutional amendment."

He generally disagrees with the stands taken by the ACLU. However, he noted cases where he has agreed. These include rulings upholding the right of a citizen to burn the flag, and a 2004 decision that that a U.S. citizen seized in Afghanistan during wartime could challenge his detention as an enemy combatant in U.S. courts. 7

bullet2006-OCT-16: North Korea: Infant genocide: LifeSiteNews.com reports:

"A North Korean refugee has told the Times that 'racially mixed' babies born in the isolated communist state are regularly killed by doctors. A North Korean doctor, Ri Kwang-chol, told the UK paper that babies conceived by Chinese fathers are targeted in the North Korean government’s racial purity program.

" 'There are no people with physical defects in North Korea,' Ri said. Such babies were put to death by medical staff and buried quickly, he said at a forum on human rights in Seoul."

"The Times speculated that a 'mystical' doctrine of Korean racial superiority is the guiding force of the North Korean dictatorship, rather than Marxist theories." 6 More details

bullet2000-OCT-19: NY: Court requires religious groups to cover birth control costs: The New York Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the state's '2003 Women's Health and Wellness Act is constitutional. It requires human services providers, including those run by religious groups, to include birth control coverage in their employee's health insurance plans, even if the group considers contraception to be a sin. Catholic Charities of Albany and nine other organizations had asked for special exemption from the law.

Richard E. Barnes, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference, commented:

"Any religious organization must have the right in American society to uphold its own teachings, even if those teachings are unpopular or counter cultural."

Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, (D-NYC) said:

"The religious tenets of one's employer should not restrict an employee's health care decisions."

bullet2006-OCT-20: World: Pop star Madonna's program to be censored: Madonna's recent European concerts included a scene where she was suspended on a cross, like the image of a crucifix. The shows in Rome and Moscow drew complaints from the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox church leaders who accused her of blasphemy. She issued a statement saying that her intent was to focus on extreme poverty in Africa. She said that the scene was

"....neither anti-Christian, sacrilegious or blasphemous. Rather it is a plea to the audience to encourage mankind to help one another and to see the world as a unified whole. ... I believe if Jesus were alive today, he would be doing the same thing," she said, adding that her specific intent was to bring attention to the extreme poverty in Africa.

Under pressure from conservative Christian groups, NBC said that it had removed the scene where Madonna was suspended on a cross from her two hour special scheduled for NOV-22. 8

bullet2006-OCT-24: Canada: Quebec government orders school to teach evolution, sex:

The National Post reported that:

"The Quebec Ministry of Education has told unlicensed Christian evangelical schools that they must teach Darwin's theory of evolution and sex education or close their doors... "

Pierre Daoust, director-general of the Commission Scolaire au Coeur-des-Vallees in Thurso, QC said:

"Quebec children are legally required to follow the provincial curriculum ... but these evangelical schools teach their own courses on creationism and sexuality that don't follow the Quebec curriculum."

Alan Buchanan of the Eglise Evangelique near Saint-Andre-Avellin, QC said:

"We offer a curriculum based on a Christian world view rather than humanistic world view. ... We want the children to understand what they're going to meet in the outside world, and also what's wrong with the theory [of evolution]. ... We also teach that a better theory -- that God created the universe and so on. ... You have the Christian world view that says sex should only be in the marriage and a public school system that teaches kids about sexuality. ... We believe students should be taught abstinence." 10

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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. "More Funding Needed to Combat Child Porn," CitizenLink.com, 2006-MAR-23, at: http://www.family.org/
  2.  Charles Babington and Jonathan Weisman, "FBI Knew in July About Foley E-Mails to Teen. Meanwhile, Private Handling of Matter by a Few House Republicans Receives Bipartisan Criticism," Washington Post, 2006-OCT-03, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
  3. Bob Geiger, "Religious right strangely silent about Foley," The Huffington Post, 2006-OCT-03, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
  4. "Detainee bill not Congress' finest hour ; The President's second detainee scheme is likely headed back to the Supreme Court," Portland Press Herald, 2006-OCT-02, at: http://www.romingerlegal.com
  5. "FRC Statement on Mark Foley," Family Research Council, 2006-OCT-02/-4, at: http://www.frc.org/
  6. Hilary White, "Infant Euthanasia Practiced in North Korea on Disabled Children," LifeSiteNews, 2006-OCT-16, at: http://www.lifesite.net/
  7. Hope Yen, "Scalia says Constitution doesn't back abortion," The Associated Press, 2006-OCT-16, at: http://www.romingerlegal.com/
  8. "NBC crosses out Madonna crucifixion," Reuters, 2006-OCT-20, at: http://www.cnn.com/
  9. Michele Bolton, "High court affirms contraception law; Religious groups now may fight insurance mandate at U.S. Supreme Court" Times Union, Albany NY, 2006-OCT-20.
  10. David Rogers, "Evangelical schools ordered to teach Darwin. Quebec crackdown," National Post, 2006-OCT-24, at: http://www.canada.com/

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Copyright © 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2006-OCT-04
Latest update: 2006-OCT-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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