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Religious change, conflict and/or intolerance

News items during 2007-July

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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:

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2007-JUL-07: World: Pope revives old Latin mass: Pope Benedict XVI has loosened the restrictions on the Tridentine rite -- celebrating the mass in the Latin language. In the past, special permission had to be obtained from the local bishop. Now, parish priests are free to celebrate the Latin mass if a "stable group of faithful" requests it.

Saying the mass in the local language was one of the significant reforms of the Second Vatican Council during the 1960s. The pope's decision is seen as a victory for conservatives within the Catholic Church, and a defeat for its liberals. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have reversed many of the reforms of Vatican II. Some liberals in the church believe that in authorizing freer use of the Tridentine mass, the pope was sending a strong message that Vatican II was not the "break from the past" that many view it as representing.

The decision has also angered some Jewish groups because when this version of the mass is celebrated on Good Friday, it contains a prayer for the conversion of Jews to Christianity. The Jewish Anti-Defamation League described the change as a "...body blow to Catholic-Jewish relations." The Simon Weisenthal Center urged the pope to emphasize that such prayers "...are now entirely contrary to the teaching of the church."

We Are Church, a liberal laity group expressed concerne about a "new split within many parishes, diocese and finally the entire Roman Catholic Church. ... It is to be feared that while it appears to only be about the old Mass, in reality it is an attempt to set the Catholic Church on a new old course."

Michael Dunnigan, chairperson of Una Voce America, which has promoted the use of the Tridentine mass said: "The traditional Mass is a true a gem of the church's heritage, and the Holy Father has taken the most important step toward making it available to many more of the faithful." 1

bullet2007-JUL-11: FL: School Board rejects mom's request to censor books: Laura Lopez, a parent with three children in Palm Beach County public schools asked the local school board to remove books dealing with atheism, abortion and homosexuality from the school libraries. She had found more than 80 books containing what she regarded as: "inappropriate content..." [such as] "boys having sex with boys, girls having sex with girls, graphic photos of abortion, suicide, STDs, and corrupt cops." The school board unanimously rejected her request. More details.
bullet2007-JUL-12: DC: Hindu interrupted when delivering morning prayer to Senate: In one of the most outrageous displays of religious intolerance in years, three agitators disrupted a morning prayer to be delivered to the Senate by a Hindu clergyperson. Two women and a man rose in the gallery and began shouting "This is an abomination" They described themselves as "Christians and patriots" More information.
bullet2007-JUL-14: CA: Catholic Diocese of Los Angeles close to settling 500 sex abuse cases: After agreeing to pay $60 million to settle 45 lawsuits, the diocese still faced more than 500 unresolved lawsuits involving allegations against 200 priests. 11 Negotiations had made little progress for years. A recent decision by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge to allow consideration of punitive damages may have speeded the process. A settlement may be close. It allegedly involves the payment of about $625 million to about 500 plaintiffs -- an average of $1.25 million each. Insurance companies, the archdiocese and several religious orders will share in the payments.

Mary Grant, regional director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said:

"No matter what happens, no resolution, guilty verdict or settlement magically takes away the pain of having been raped or molested by Catholic priests in this archdiocese." 2

bullet2007-JUL-22: WA: Domestic Partnerships become available: Same-sex couples can register as domestic partners and receive five rights out of the 400 or so previously granted only to married couples. Unmarried opposite-sex couples where one is 62 years of age or older can also register. More details.
bullet2007-JUL-23: USA: Richard Gephardt reverses stance on Armenian genocide: A nasty battle is anticipated in Congress over a resolution concerning the massacre of up to 1.5 ethnic Armenians in the dying years of the Ottoman Empire circa 1894 to 1915 . The resolution would define the mass murders as a genocide. A majority of House members have co-sponsored the resolution. But the Turkish government, who succeeded the Ottoman Empire, are fighting the bill with fierce determination.

Richard Gephardt has historically supported the resolution. He spoke at a Armenian National Committee of America event in 1998. He co-signed a letter to the House Speaker in 2000 asking that the resolution be voted upon in the near future. But Gephardt's lobbying firm, DLA Piper, now receives $100,000 a month from the Republic of Turkey to combat the resolution. The firm is circulating a paperback called
"An Appeal to Reason," It denies the existence of the Armenian genocide of 1915 that is recognized almost everywhere in the world, except for Turkey. In that country, it is a criminal offense to write that the genocide happened. 4
bullet2007-JUL-29: USA: Request to sign petition: We received a request from DeaconDon M to sign his "Elimination of Homosexual Education" petition. It would call for the:

"Elimination of Education of the Homosexual and Lesbian lifestyle in all public schools, Kindergarten through twelfth grade of these United States of America. In light of the constitutions 1st amendment and the declaration of Independances' [sic] 14th amendment, This nation as a whole and before GOD In whom we trust, charge you this day to uphold the moral Integrity of the laws of this great nation. We the under signed ask you for your support."

His goal is 1 million signatures. From MAY-11 to JUN-14, he received 34 signatures. During July, he received one more. He has quite a way to go. 5

bullet2007-JUL-30: AZ: Adult dies during exorcism: Police officers intruded on an attempted exorcism of a three-year-old girl in Phoenix. Her mother and grandfather apparently believed that she was possessed by demons. The officers found a bloody, naked, 19 year old woman, the girl's mother. She was chanting "something that was religious in nature" according to police. They also found the grandfather choking the girl, who was also bloody. They subdued him with stun guns. Later the man, Ronald Marquez, stopped breathing, could not be revived, and was pronounced dead at a hospital. 6

This form of ritual abuse of children is believed to be found throughout North America; its incidence is unknown. However, in rare instances exorcisms go terribly bad when excessive force is used to drive out indwelling demons. About one death occurs annually. Usually the victim is the person who is believed to be possessed. 6

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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. Nichole Winfield, "Pope Revives Old Latin Mass, to Protests," Associated Press, 2007-JUL-07, at: http://www.forbes.com/
  2. "Senate Prayer Led by Hindu Elicits Protest," Associated Press, 2007-JUL-13, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
  3. "Diocese to settle sex-abuse claims for $660 million," Associated Press, 2007-JUL-24, at: http://www.cnn.com/
  4. Michael Crowley, "K Street Cashes in on the 1915 Armenian Genocide. Final Resolution." The New Republic, 2007-JUL-23. Online at: http://www.tnr.com/
  5. DeaconDon M, "Elimination of Homosexual Education," at: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/
  6. Bill Davenport, "Fatal ending to Ariz. exorcism response," Associated Press, 2007-JUL-29, at: http://news.yahoo.com/
  7. Nicol Jenkins, "Palm Beach County School Board rejects mom's request to eliminate atheism, abortion, and homosexuality books," Boca Raton News, 2007-JUL-13, at: http://www.bocaratonnews.com/

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Copyright 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2007-JUL-08
Latest update: 2007-AUG-01
Author: B.A. Robinson

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