CHANGE, CONFLICT AND/OR INTOLERANCE
News items during 2007-February
|2007-FEB-01: ON: School board pulls novel from library shelves:
The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board received a complaint
from a parent that David Gutterson's award winning novel "Snow Falling on
Cedars" was unsuitable for students because it contains two descriptions
of sexual activity. Without reviewing the book, they pulled it from their
library shelves. The action triggered negative reaction. Some typical
|Shirley Turchet of Unionville wrote: "I thought that Canadians,
living in a 21st century democracy so precious in today's retrograde
world, would be beyond book banning."|
|Ginetter Marino of Toronto wrote: "One parent's sensitivity will
prevent other high school students from enjoying an award winning novel.
... The school board has an obligation to the development of its
students, not to a lone objector who wishes to parent the entire student
body by proxy."|
|Bill Petterson of Brampton wrote: "There are many, many sexual
references in the Bible, including incest. Perhaps the board would pull
that book." 1|
|2007-FEB-01: Iran: Young woman on death row released on bail:
Nazanin Fatehi, 19, was released from prison after having been sentenced to
death and incarcerated for two years. She had been convicted of murder after
she stabbed, in self-defense, one of three men who attempted to rape her and
her 15-year old niece in a park in a suburb of Tehran during 2005-MAR.
During a second trial, the court determined that there were inconsistencies
in the testimonies of the male witnesses. They unanimously overturned the
charge of premeditated murder. However, the court ruled that she had used
excessive force to fend off her rapists. They asked her to pay "diyeh"
(blood money) to the family of the deceased as compensation.|
Her $50,000 bail was mainly raised by
HelpNazanin.com, a website created by Afshin-Jam, an Iranian born pop
singer and human rights advocate. She raised a petition signed by 345,000
people. She noted that 23 other juveniles are currently remain on death row
|2007-FEB-01: BC: Two of the sextuplets died; one is holding its own;
two get tranfusions. British Columbia social workers were granted
control of the three remaining infants, born in January to Jehovah's
Witnesses parents. They were in declining healthand their parents refused to
allow them to be given blood transfusions on religious grounds. This was
done by a provincial court without giving the parents a hearing. An earlier
ruling by the Supreme Court grants parents the a right to a fair hearing.
Doctors were able to give the three blood transfusions before their Jehovah'
Witnesses parents could challenge the move in court. According to the
family's lawyer, the parents are upset.|
Children and Family Minister, Tom Christensen, said:
"We don't take any such action without a great deal of forethought,
recognizing that it' a significant step for the state to interfere in a
family. ... Our obligation to protect children is paramount."
Control was handed back to the parents on 2007-JAN-31 after the blood
transfusions were performed, when the parents challenged the seizure in
|2007-FEB-02: U.S.: Results of a survey of Conservative Jews on
homosexuality released: A survey was E-mailed mailed to 18,676
Conservative rabbis, cantors, seminary students, and lay and professional
leadership. 4,861 responded. An additional 722 responded via a web site.|
The survey showed that about two-thirds of Conservative rabbis and cantors
believe that the Jewish Theological Seminary should admit gay and
lesbian students for rabbinical study. Results were slightly higher among
lay and professional leadership, and slightly lower among student rabbis and
cantors. Similar results were obtained on the question of rabbis officiating
at same-sex commitment ceremonies. 4
The Conservative tradition within American Judaism is the second largest,
following Reform Judaism who already treat persons and couples of all sexual
orientations equally. More details
|2007-FEB-19: Bana Research rates religious leaders: On FEB-19,
Barna Research released a report on eleven religious leaders. Pat
Robinson and Billy Graham are the only religious leaders out of a list of
eleven who were recognized by most American adults.
Charles Colson is unknown to 85% of Americans. Corresponding values for Rick
Warren, Bill Hybels, and Andy Stanley are 83%, 96% and 95%.|
Among American adults, 33% had a positive impression
of Pat Robertson; 25% a negative imprint. The negative rating was the
highest among the 11 religious leaders tested.
|2007-FEB-19: USA: Pentecostal chaplain
converts to Wicca and is fired: Don Larsen had a religious conversion
while on duty as a Pentecostal chaplain at Camp Anaconda, the largest U.S.
support base in Iraq. He converted to Wicca, an
Earth-base, environmentally conscious, non-sexist, non-homophobic, tolerant
religion. On 2006-JUL-06, he applied to become the first
Wiccan chaplain in the U.S. Armed Forces. By the end of the year, in spite
of an unblemished service record, his request was denied, he was withdrawn
from Iraq, and he was removed from the chaplain service.
|2007-FEB-23: MA: Teaching about same-sex marriage to continue:
Two families sued the Lexington school district in an attempt to stop them
discussing same-sex marriage in class. Lexington is about 12 miles (20 km)
west of Boston, MA. Massachusetts is one of only two states -- the other
being Rhode Island -- that recognize same-sex
marriage. The parents asserted that the school violated their religious
rights by reading a gay-themed book in class and allowing students to borrow
books that discussed homosexuality. The accused the school as having:|
"... begun a process of intentionally indoctrinating very young
children to affirm the notion that homosexuality is right and normal
in direct denigration of the plaintiffs' deeply held faith."
The book that triggered the suit is "King & King." It
describes a crown prince who rejects a series of princesses until
finally falling in love with another prince. They marry, kiss, and live
happily ever after.
Federal Judge Mark Wolf rejected their case, and ruled that public
"entitled to teach anything that is reasonably related to the
goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive
citizens in our democracy. ... Diversity is a hallmark of our
nation. It is increasingly evident that our diversity includes
differences in sexual orientation."
The judge had no choice in the case, because of previous rulings in
similar cases. Also, if he had ruled for the plaintiffs, chaos would result.
Religious liberals would probably sue the school board, complaining that by
suppressing information about the existence of same-sex marriage, the school
board would be violating their liberal beliefs.
A lawyer for the two families said that they will appeal.
|2007-FEB-27: USA: Gallup poll on the Iraqi war: Data collected
from the beginning of 2005 to 2007-FEB in 13 surveys indicates a significant
correlation between religious belief and support for the war:|
||Consider war a mistake
||Consider war not a mistake
| Black Protestants
| Non-black Protestants
|No religious affiliation
Black Protestants oppose the war by more than 4 to 1. Jews oppose the
Iraqi war by almost 4 to 1. Those with no religious affiliation oppose it 2
to 1. Mormons favor the war by almost 3 to 1. N = 12,061
|2007-FEB-28: Focus on the Family meeting discusses dangers of
tolerance: Tom Minnery, senior vice president of government and public
policy for Focus on the Family Action, addressed a meeting of social
and religious conservatives during the last week in February. His topic was
the need to fight tolerance toward minorities in the U.S. To make his
point visually, held up his favorite rugby shirt which had been stained with
spaghetti. He had cleaned the stain with a bleach. But the bleach had
weakened the fabric to the point where three large holes appeared later in
Wendy Cloyt wrote on the Focus on the Family web site:|
"He said, in a corresponding fashion, there's a lesson to be
learned from nations that have seen a moral decline rooted in the
country's drift toward multiculturalism and tolerance. Social
battles of the '70s, '80s and early '90s were lost, because they
were fought feebly." 9
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.
- Letters to the Editor, the Toronto Star, 2007-FEB-02.
- "Canadian-led campaign wins Iran teen's freedom," Toronto Star,
2007-FEB-01, Page A3.
- "BC seized three ailing sextuplets," Toronto Star, 2007-FEB-01, Page A1
- Ben Harris, "Most survey respondents vote in favor of gay Conservative
rabbis," Jewish News Weekly of Northern California, 2007-FEB-2, at:
- "Billy Graham Tops Religious Leaders," Barna Research, 2007-FEB-9, at:
- Alan Cooperman, "For Gods and Country: The Army Chaplain Who Wanted to
Switch to Wicca? Transfer Denied," Washington Post, 2007-FEB-19, at:
- "U.S. court upholds same-sex teaching to children," Reuters,
- "Mistake for the U.S. to send troops to Iraw," We Hold These Truths,
- Wendy Cloyd, "Principles protect the fabric of society." CitizenLink.com,
How you got here:
Copyright � 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2007-FEB-02
Latest update: 2007-MAR-01
Author: B.A. Robinson