Religious change, conflict and/or intolerance
News items during 2007-September
2007-SEP-10: CA: Senate approves bill legalizing same-sex marriage: The
California Senate approved bill AB-43 by a vote of 22 to 15 to substitute
the term "two persons" for "man and wife" in the state's marriage law. This
would allow all loving committed couples to marry, whether they are of the
opposite-sex or same-sex. All 12 Republicans and three Democrats voted
against the bill. The bill will now go to Governor Schwarzenegger for either
his signature or his veto.
VoteYesMarriage.com is proposing a marriage amendment to the state
constitution that would prohibit same-sex marriage and retain marriage as a
special privilege of opposite-sex couples only. 1
2007-SEP-11: 9/11: This is the sixth anniversary of the attack on the
World Trade Center and Pentagon by fanatical Muslim fundamentalists.
2007-SEP-11: Netherlands: Group of young Muslims promote religious
freedom: The Committee for Ex-Muslims launched a campaign
to make it easier for Muslims to change their religion. The committee's
founder, Ehsan Jami, rejected Islam after the attack on the World Trade
Center in 2001-SEP-11. He is currently in hiding, having received a series
of death threats. There have been two assassinations in recent years of
individuals who have taken a stance against traditional Islam: politician
Pim Fortuyn in 2002 and film-maker Theo Van Gogh in 2004. 2
2007-SEP-12: Canada: Focus
on the Family Canada accepts validity of same-sex marriage: In what
may be a first for any fundamentalist or other evangelical group in North
America, Focus on the Family Canada appears to have accepted the
validity of same-sex marriage (SSM). Focus and other conservative
religious groups have always been careful to denigrate same-sex marriage by
placing the word marriage or married in quotation marks when it refers to
SSM, as in same-sex "marriage." This reinforces
their assertion that SSM is not really marriage; they consider it a phony
form of quasi-marriage.
However, in their SEP-12 issue of Today's Family News, they mentioned
Statistics Canada new report on family structures in Canada. They conclude
with the statement: "And for the first time, the number of
same-sex married couples will be included."
Note the absence of quotation marks! This is believed to be a first for
Canada among religious conservative para-church groups; perhaps it is the
first in North America. It only took them about 26 months for them to accept
SSM as real marriage. We congratulate Focus. 3
Update: 2007-OCT-27: We
found out from Focus that the lack of quotation marks was a
typographical error by them. Their policy is to continue to denigrate same-sex
marriages by enclosing the word "marriage" in quotation marks.
2007-SEP-13: World: Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples: The United Nations General Assembly approved the
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It was approved by an
overwhelming vote after 22 years of intensive debate and negotiation. Only
four countries voted against the Declaration: Australia, Canada, New Zealand
and the United States. At least three of them -- Australia, Canada and the
U.S. have histories of regular and cultural genocide against their own
aboriginal people in past centuries. The case of Canada is interesting. The
previous Liberal federal government played an active role in negotiating
this Declaration. But then it was thrown out of office due to gross
financial corruption, and replaced by a Conservative government that
reversed Canada's position on the declaration. Meanwhile, 143 nations voted
in favor of the declaration and eleven abstained.
Bushman Jumanda Gakelebone of First People of the Kalahari said:
"We would like to say that we are really very happy and thrilled to hear
about the adoption of the declaration. It recognizes that governments can no
longer treat us as second-class citizens, and it gives protection to tribal
peoples so that they will not be thrown off their lands like we were."
Kiplangat Cheruiyot of Kenya’s
said today, "With the adoption of the declaration, the lives of indigenous
peoples will be improved on an equal footing with the rest of world
2007-SEP-14: NS: Two high school students start a
movement: David Shepherd and Travis Price are two senior (Grade 12)
students at Central Kings Rural High School in Nova Scotia on Canada's east
coast. Reacting to an earlier event at the school when six to ten homophobic
bullies harassed and threatened to beat up an anonymous student who wore a
pink shirt to school, they organized a "sea of pink" day. About half of the
students at the high school wore pink to indicate their opposition to
bullying and homophobia. More info.
2007-SEP-18: TX: Lawsuit
against Baptist Seminary to proceed: Dr. Sheri Klouda is suing her
former employer, the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort
Worth, TX. She alleges breach of contract, fraud and defamation. She had
taught biblical Hebrew at Southwestern and believes that she was on track
for tenure. She was allegedly dismissed by the seminary because a new
administration believes that women should not be allowed to teach male
pastors-in-training on theological matters. A federal judge denied the
Seminary's request that the lawsuit be dismissed. 4
2007-SEP-20 & 21: Possible
"denial of service" events: Over a two day interval, two fundamentalist
Christian web sites reported denial of service (DoS) attacks on their
web site. The Apologetic Index and related sites reported three
attacks over a three week period ending in SEP-20. Way of Life
at http://www.wayoflife.org reported
problems on SEP-21. One common denial of service attack involves many
infected computers worldwide. Those computers initiate an enormous number of
requests to access a specific home page or file on the victimized website.
The owners of the computers are generally unaware that their computers are
being used in this way. The victimized server gets overloaded and either
slows down or fails completely. 5
Attacks on these two websites may have been a coincidence, or may reflect a
larger attack on religiously conservative websites.
2007-SEP-20: USA: Muslim civil rights groups criticizes
representative's remarks on Islam: The Council on American-Islamic
Relations (CAIR ) criticized Representative Peter King (R-NY) for saying
in a recent interview:
"Unfortunately, we have too many mosques in this
country. There are too many people who are sympathetic to radical
Islam. We should be looking at them more carefully. We should be finding
out how we can infiltrate. . .I think there's been a lack of full
cooperation from too many people in the Muslim community. And it's a
real threat here in this country."
The Democratic National Committee (DNC)
has already condemned Rep. King's statements, calling them "deplorable."
2007-SEP-21: NY: State rejects
abstinence funding: New York state officials decided to join at least
ten other states and by not reapplying for its annual $3.5 million grant to
teach abstinence funding. The funding requires that the state schools keep
their students ignorant about safer-sex practices that greatly reduce the
chances of pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease (STD) transmission. They claimed that abstinence-only teaching is a "failed"
Bush policy based on "ideology rather than on sound scientific-based
evidence." Galen Sherwin, director of the Reproductive Rights
Project for the New York Civil Liberties Union agreed, saying:
"We think it is a good thing that they are making
efforts to close programs that were misinforming adolescents."
Linda Klepacki, sexual health analyst for the fundamentalist
Christian group Focus on the Family Action, disagreed with the
state's decision, saying:
"It's truly a tragedy to deny teens the safest and healthiest sexual
messages in a state with one of the highest numbers of abortions. We
must ask ourselves which is safer: teen abortions or teen abstinence?
... Schools exchanging needles or giving information on the safest drug
dealer may be next." 6
"Asked about widely documented government abuse of women and
homosexuals in his country, Ahmadinejad said, 'We don't have
homosexuals' in Iran. 'I don't know who told you we had it,' he
"He also repeatedly said that women have freedoms in Iran and
refused to comment on reports that their freedom is severely
We just thought that you would like to know this. 8
||2007-SEP-25: NS: Premier creates"Stand Up Against Bullying
Day:" Expanding on a movement against
homophobia and bullying in a Nova Scotia high school, the premier of
Nova Scotia, Rodney MacDonald declared the second Thursday after the
start of each school year as "Stand Up Against Bullying Day." He wore a
||2007-SEP-27: USA: The Matthew Shepard act passes the Senate:
S. 1105 was passed. A virtually identical House bill was passed on
MAY-03 by a bipartisan vote of 237 to 180. It has been attached to the
Department of Defense authorization bill that is currently before the
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.
Hilary White, "California Senate Votes to Impose Same-Sex 'Marriage' on
State," Life Site News, 2007-SEP-11.
David Charter, "Young Muslims Begin Dangerous Fight for the Right to
Abandon Faith," Times Online (London, UK), 2007-SEP-11. at:
- "Canadians still value marriage," Today's Family News, 2007-SEP-12.
Sam Hodges, "Judge denies FW seminary's request to dismiss suit," Knight
Ridder Tribune, 2007-SEP-18, at:
Denial-of-service attack, Wikipedia, at:
"New York Rejects Abstinence Funding," CitizenLink, 2007-SEP-21, at:
"Governance Matters 2007: Worldwide Governance Indicators, 1996-2006," World
http://info.worldbank.org/ To extract information, select "voice and
accountability" as the indicator and select "World" as the region. Then select
up to 20 countries, and click on "Submit Choices." This delivers a histogram.
Click on "Table" for an itemized table of results.
"Iranian leader 'petty, cruel dictator,' school president says," CNN.com,
- "Senate passes the Matthew Shepard Act! One step closer to erasing hate,"
Matthew Shepard Foundation news release, 2007-SEP-27.
"Jubilation as UN approves indigenous peoples declaration," Survival
International, 2007-SEP-13, at:
Text of the "United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples"
is available at:
http://www.survival-international.org/ This is a PDF file. You may require software to read it. Software can be obtained free from:
"NY congressman says 'too many mosques in U.S.' CAIR asks GOP to
repudiate remarks, urges Giuliani to drop Rep. King, Daniel Pipes as advisors,"
News release, CAIR, 2007-SEP-20.
How you got here:
Copyright © 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2007-SEP-11
Latest update: 2007-SEP-28
Author: B.A. Robinson
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