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News of religious/ethical change, conflict and/or intolerance

2009-March

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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.

Events:

bullet2009-MAR-02: Tahiti: Armageddon approached, then withdrew: The Earth experienced a near-miss when asteroid 2009 DD45 passed about 48,800 miles from the Earth above the Pacific Ocean near Tahiti. That is about twice the height of some geocentric telecommunications satellites and about one fifth of the distance to the moon. It is about 110 feet in diameter, similar in size to the asteroid that devastated 800 square miles of forest in Siberia in 1908. One sobering thought is that it was only discovered two days before the closest approach. 1
 
bullet2009-MAR-04:: ICC prosecutor issued an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan. Under his dictatorship over the previous two decades, hundreds of thousands of Sudanese have been killed or maimed; 2.5 million have been displaced. A warrant was issued that charges him with masterminding attacks of the Darfur region, "... murdering, exterminating, raping, torturing and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians and pillaging their property." In total, he received five counts of crimes against humanity and two of war crimes, but was not charged with genocide. This is the first time in history that an active head of state has been charged with such crimes. Bashir's government responded by expelling at least ten humanitarian groups from Darfur, thus exacerbating the situation and increasing suffering of the people. 2
bullet2009-MAR-05: CA: California Supreme Court hears Proposition 8 oral arguments: Two items were argued. The first was whether Prop. 8 is constitutional. That proposition terminated the right of same-sex couples to marry in the state. The questions and comments of the justices seem to indicate that a substantial majority favor the constitutionality of Prop 8. The second item was whether the almost 40,000 homosexuals and bisexuals who married during 2008 would be forcibly divorced. Most -- perhaps all --  of the justices seemed to be leaning towards allowing the same-sex couples to remain married. The ruling is expected within 90 days. If Prop. 8 is upheld, we can expect a new proposition to be voted upon on election day in 2010-NOV to repeal Prop. 8. More details
 
bullet2009-MAR-05: WA: Initiative 100 goes into effect. This is the Washington state law approved by the voters on election day in 2008-NOV. It makes physician assisted suicide available to certain terminally ill residents of Washington state, More details.
 
bullet2009-MAR-16: Canada: Lawsuit accusing government of cultural genocide: A class-action lawsuit has been filed with the Ontario Superior Court against the Attorney General of Canada. It concerns the treatment of thousands of aboriginal children from 1965 to 1985. In Canada, the federal government has constitutional responsibility for the country's First Nations, mainly through the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. The lawsuit charges that the government committed "cultural genocide" by delegating child welfare to the province of Ontario. Thousands of aboriginal children were seized, removed from their homes, and taken to foster and adoptive homes, where they frequently lost their cultural heritage. 4
bullet2009-MAR-27: Canada: Calgary teachers pull AIDS funding: At the start of Pope Benedict XVI's first visit to Africa, he stated that sexual abstinence: "The traditional teaching of the Church has proven to be the only failsafe way to prevent the spread of HIV/Aids. ... AIDS/HIV cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which can even increase the problem." His rationale is that the use of condoms encourages promiscuity which in turn may contribute to the spread of AIDS. This triggered a flood of criticism from scientists, AIDS workers and the general public.

For the past four years, the Calgary Catholic Teachers' Association had raised money during Lent in support of the Stephen Lewis Foundation -- an agency that helps fight AIDS transmission in Africa and gives support to persons with AIDS. One of the weapons that they use to combat AIDS transmission is the use of condoms. A parishioner challenge the morality of the Association's fundraising in a conversation with Bishop Henry of Calgary. The Bishop then sent a letter to the Association suggesting that they divert their donations to other charities -- ones that promote the church's Culture of Life. 5

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Phew! Asteroid's Passing Was A Cosmic Near-Miss," Associated Press, 2009-MAR-04, at: http://cbs2.com/
  2. Olivia Ward, "Sudan's president wanted for war crimes, The Toronto Star, Page B1, 2009-MAR-05.
  3. "California Supreme Court signals mixed response to Proposition 8," Los Angeles Times, 2009-MAR-05, at: http://www.latimes.com/
  4. Linda Diebel, "Nation of lost souls," The Toronto Star, 2009-MAR-16, at: http://www.thestar.com/
  5. "Calgary teachers' pull support for AIDS fundraiser," CTV Globe Media, 2009-MAR-27, at: http://www.ctv.ca/

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Copyright © 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2009-MAR-04
Latest update: 2009-MAR-28
Author: B.A. Robinson

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