News of religious/ethical change, conflict and/or intolerance
|2008-MAR-02: OR: Toddler dies because of lack of medical care: A
15-months-old girl, Ana Worthington, died bacterial bronchial pneumonia and
a blood infection. Both would have been easily treated by a doctor. However,
her parents are members of Followers of Christ in Oregon City -- a group
that promotes faith healing and rejects medical treatments.
|2008-MAR-10: Russia: Methodist congregation dissolved: Forum18
A regional court in Russia has dissolved a functioning Methodist
congregation because it did not file a report about its annual
activities on time, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. Deprived of legal
personality status, the church may now only gather for worship at
premises provided by its existing members and give them religious
instruction. Methodist Pastor Vladimir Pakhomov told Forum 18 News
Service that the Belgorod branch of the Federal Registration Service
"even told me there was no point in attending court, as the church would
be closed in any case." The court did not - contrary to a Constitutional
Court decision - attempt to find out whether the church operates or not.
"They could close us and others down in
exactly the same way - many registered communities don't submit this
information in time as they see it as a formality," a local Baptist
pastor commented. The Methodists did not submit their report on time due
to the near impossibility of Protestants finding a suitable legal
address in Belgorod Region. "We sent them letters, two official
warnings," a local official told Forum 18. "When we got no response we
had no choice but to take them to court."
|2008-MAR-22: IN: Second Muslim elected to Congress: Andre Carson,
grandson of the late Democrat Rep. Julia Carson, was elected to serve the
balance of her term in the U.S. House of Representatives in a special
election. He is the second Muslim representative in the history of the U.S.
Religion did not surface as an issue in the election. The first
Congressional Representative is Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota. Both are
|2008-MAR-11: World: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)
announces awards: The IGLHRC has announced two human rights awards:
|To Archbishop Tutu. Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC's Executive Director,
"There is really only one name in the world that immediately
conjures up moral leadership in pursuit of dignity for all
people on earth, and that is Desmond Tutu. Archbishop Tutu's
vision of a world in which human rights are respected has always
explicitly included LGBT people, despite the fierce opposition
he has faced from his peers and colleagues. He has challenged
political apartheid in South Africa and continues to challenge
spiritual apartheid within his religious community. ..."
"Archbishop Tutu has vocally challenged discrimination on the
basis of sexual orientation. In a 2004 article in The Times
(London), he condemned persecution on the basis of sexual
orientation, comparing it to apartheid. 'We struggled against
apartheid in South Africa, supported by people the world over,
because black people were being blamed and made to suffer for
something we could do nothing about-our very skins,' he wrote.
'It is the same with sexual orientation. It is a given. I could
not have fought against the discrimination of apartheid and not
also fight against the discrimination that homosexuals endure,
even in our churches and faith groups'."
|To Congressman Tom Lantos who died on 2008-FEB-11. Their news
"Congressman Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor to serve in
the United States Congress, was a life-long champion of human
rights and a steadfast voice against injustices committed
against LGBTI people not only in the United States, but abroad."
|2008-MAR-17: USA: Supreme court to review
naughty words: It seems that singers Bono and Cher "exuberantly uttered"
"undeleted expletives" over live TV earlier this decade.|
|In Cher's case, it happened during the
2002 Billboard Music Awards. Cher received an artist achievement award,
and stated: "I've also had critics for the past 40 years saying that I
was on my way out every year. Right. So f--k `em. I still have a job and
|In Bono's case, it happened during a
2003-JAN live broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards on NBC-TV. His Irish
rock group U2 won the Best Original Song award. In accepting the award,
he said: "This is f--ing brilliant. Really, really great."
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulators initially decided that the
"F word" was not indecent because both performers used the word
briefly while in conveying enthusiasm. However, the FCC administrators,
appointed by the Bush Administration, overruled the regulators, by
determining that the "core meaning" of the "F word" related to sexual
intercourse. That made it offensive even if only used briefly.
CBS, ABC/Disney, Fox, and NBC launched
a lawsuit against the FCC.
The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals found in favor of the First
Amendment. They concluded that the FCC censorship "arbitrary and capricious"
and that regulators lacked "any evidence that a fleeting expletive is
harmful (or) serious enough to warrant government regulation." The FCC
appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court who chose on MAR-17 to hear the
|Solicitor General Paul Clement argued in a legal brief: "A
particularly graphic utterance can serve as a first blow that can cause
immediate damage" to innocent ears. |
|FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin wrote that:
"The Commission, Congress and, most importantly, parents understand that
protecting our children is our greatest responsibility. We have an
obligation, then, to enforce laws restricting indecent language on
television and radio when children are in the audience."|
|NBC attorney Miguel Estrada
argued: "No viewer of the 2002 Billboard Awards could reasonably believe
that Cher was exhorting her audience to have sex with her critics, or that
she was otherwise depicting or describing sexual activity." 3,4|
|2008-MAR-23: DC: Demonstration against
pope's visit: Creciendo en Gracia, Inc. has announced "Megamanifestation"
-- a massive demonstration to be held in Washington, DC on April-14, just
before the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the USA . They anticipate that
"Thousands of men and women will take the streets waving posters of
disturbing statistics that expose the Vatican’s gruesome history of mass
crimes throughout time. The well-coordinated event is to take place
simultaneously in 26 countries, where those who can not travel to the United
States will gather at the U.S. Embassy or City Hall of their corresponding
|2008-MAR-23: WI: Eleven-year-old girl dies
needlessly: Madeline Neumann of Weston, WI died from diabetic
ketoacidosis, an easily treatable disorder. She appeared abnormally thin.
The medical examiner said that her body was wasting away. Her parents had
decided to pray for her instead of seeking medical attention. They attribute
her death to a lack of faith on their part. 6|
|2008-MAR-24: Russia: Methodist church
closed down: Forum 18 News Service reports:|
"Because a United Methodist congregation in
the western city of Smolensk has a Sunday school, which is attended by
four children, the Regional Court dissolved the Church on 24 March, the
church's pastor Aleksandr Vtorov told Forum 18 News Service. The court
agreed with the Regional Organized Crime Police that the Methodists were
breaking the law by conducting 'educational activity in a Sunday school
without a corresponding license.' Investigation into the congregation
began after a complaint from local Russian Orthodox bishop Ignati.
|2008-MAR-24: NE: Bill to end executions in Nebraska: Legislators
are scheduled to start debate on Bill 1063 which would replace the death
penalty with life imprisonment without parole. In 2007, a similar bill fell
one vote short of advancing. A subsequent bill fell two votes short. Also in
2007, the state Supreme Court banned the use of the electric chair in the
state. So Nebraska currently has no legal method of killing prisoners.|
Amy Miller, a American Civil Liberties Union-Nebraska attorney and
president of the board of Nebraskans Against the Death Penalty, said:
"We're fighting a proactive battle because we want to eliminate the death
penalty. But people who want to keep the death penalty have to come up with
a new recipe for death. We need to just say we're done and walk away from
it." Attorney General Jon Bruning said a bill to authorize lethal injection
will be introduced during or before 2009.
|2008-MAR-25: World: Web site suspended for
religious hate language: Network Solutions has suspended
the web site of Geert Wilders, a conservative Dutch politician. He allegedly
wanted to post an anti-Qur'an video that may have violated the host's hate
language policies. Network Solution does not allow content "...that
is obscene, defamatory, libelous, unlawful, harassing, abusive, threatening,
harmful, vulgar, constitutes an illegal threat, violates export control
laws, hate propaganda, fraudulent material or fraudulent activity, invasive
of privacy or publicity rights, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable
material of any kind or nature." Network Solutions
has stated that their requests to Wilders concerning the video have gone
|2008-MAR-26: NE: Bill defeated:
After 4 1/2 hours of often emotional debate, state senators voted 28-20
against Legislative Bill 1063.|
|2008-MAR-31: Australia: Prime Minister's inflammatory statement still
circulating via Email: John Howard has been widely reported as making an
inflammatory statement during 2007-JUL when he was Prime Minister. It
concerns non-Christians in his country, and has been quoted in almost 400
places on the Internet. All web sites posting it appear to be blogs; none
appear to be large news organizations. The legitimacy of the quotation is
thus questionable. He allegedly said, in part:|
“Most Australians believe in
God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact,
because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this
nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to
display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I
suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because
God is part of our culture”.
“We will accept your beliefs,
and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live
in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us”.
“This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you
every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining,
whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs,
or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other
great Australian freedom,
‘THE RIGHT TO LEAVE’.”
“If you aren’t happy here then LEAVE. We didn’t force you to come here.
You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted”.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Russia: Methodist church dissolved for minor bureaucratic slip," Forum18,
2008-MAR-10. Online at:
- IGLHRC press release, dated 2008-MAR-11, from
- Michael Doyle, "Supreme Court takes on fleeting obscenities' on TV,"
McClatchy Tribune Business News, 2008-MAR-17, at:
- by Jennifer Mesko, "Supreme Court Will Decide Broadcast Decency Case,"
Citizen Link, 2008-MAR-17, at:
- "Usurper™," at"
- "Untreated diabetes kills girl," Wausau Daily Herald, 2008-MAR-26, at:
- "Prayers and not much else: If Oregon chooses to prosecute," The Oregonian,
- Judith Cebula, "Second Muslim elected to Congress," Reuters, 2008-MAR-11,
- "Russia: Methodist church dissolved for having Sunday school," Forum 18 News
Service, 2008-MAR-24, at:
- Leslie Reed, "No urgency this time on executions," McClatchy Tribune
Business News, 2008-MAR-24, at:
- Linda Rosencrance, "Network Solutions suspends anti-Islamist film Web site.
The hosting company wants to determine whether the site violates its acceptable
use policy," ComputerWorld, 2008-MAR-25. at:
How you got here:
Copyright © 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2008-MAR-10
Latest update: 2008-APR-04
Author: B.A. Robinson