News of religious/ethical change, tolerance,
information, conflict and/or intolerance
||2010-FEB-02: USA: College access to LGBT information prevented: "Teaching Tolerance" a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, tells of
an amusing problem where an employee of a college had problems sending and
receiving Emails. An IT administrator found out why: the employee's first
name was "Gay" and the school's Internet filters blocked any references to
sexual orientation or gender identity. The same problem has surfaced with
Internet access in some schools. Hartford County Public Schools in Maryland.
When students at Havre de Grace High School researched matters relating to
LGBT topics, they hit what Teaching Tolerance calls "The Great Wall of
Nitwittedness." Students received a message "LGBT Content. Access Denied."
Their censorship was relatively sophisticated. The school allowed access to
anti-LGBT sites, but not to civil rights or LGBT-positive sites. In
2009-JUN, Nashville and Knox County schools in Tennessee had the same "Great
Wall" in place. All were removed after the American Civil Liberties Union
got involved. ACLU staff attorney Catherine Crump said: "We’re pleased that
these schools are finally living up to the legal obligation to allow the
free and open exchange of ideas and information." 1
2010-FEB-05: Netherlands: Preacher with unorthodox view of God
allowed to stay: The Protestant Church of the Netherlands was formed in 2004 by the merger of the Reformed Churches, the
Dutch-Reformed Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church. A regional church
assembly in Zierikzee in southwestern Netherlands discussed the future of
one of its preachers -- Klass Hendrikse -- after he published a book titled
"Believing in a God who does not exist." In the book, he explained
that he no longer believes in a personal God. The assembly determined by a 3
to 1 majority that Hendrikse's view of God did not differ fundamentally from
those of other liberal theologians in their church. Later in 2010, the
national administration of the Protestant Church will debate the topic of
how to discuss God in Church. 2
2010-FEB-03: Sudan: Appeals judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) have ordered the court to reconsider its earlier decision to not charge Sudah's president, Omar al-Bashir, with genocide. The ICC chief prosecutor has implicated al-Bashir in the deaths of 35,000 persons. He said that a genocide charge would make certain that "... the world knows what happened [in Sudan]. I believe it is important for the victims. That is why I am pursuing these charges." 3
- 2010-FEB-06: Middle East: MPAC condemns Muslim on Muslim violence: The Muslim Public Affairs Council condemns recent terrorist violence by Muslims victimizing Shi'ite Muslims. They issued the following condemnation:
"And it is not conceivable that a believer kill another believer..." Quran 4:92
Sectarian violence has once again reached unprecedented levels in various Muslim majority countries during this past week. Bloodletting continues without reproach in places like Karbala, Iraq and Karachi, Pakistan, where Shia pilgrims were commemorating the 40th day after the martyrdom of Imam Husayn, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad. As the referenced Quranic verse is tossed aside, we are sinking into an abyss of sectarian venom, with brother killing brother.
Let's face the realities of this gruesome set of massacres. Those who recruited these suicide bombers are too cowardly to show their faces to the Muslim world, as over 100 Muslims were killed by fellow Muslim suicide bombers. For the culprits of these atrocities to play the role of God in determining who is, and who is not a believer, their fate will rest with the Almighty. The enemies of Islam are reprieved from working any more, since Muslims are doing their dirty work.
We call on the Iraqi and Pakistani governments to secure their own peoples. As their national security budgets grow, they continue to spend much of the country's wealth on weapons and defense. We call on Sunni scholars to speak in one voice condemning this cancerous practice of suicide attacks against Shia Muslims. Scholars and Muslim activists, especially in the Gulf, where anti-Shia rhetoric is endemic to the region, must stand up and make clear that the killing of other Muslims guarantees nothing but misery in this life and the hereafter.
Muslim leaders from around the world signed The Amman Initiative to oppose terrorism and sectarian violence. It is now time to move beyond the rhetoric and demand action.
Muslims in America are blessed by the fact that sectarian division and violence has not raised its ugly head in our communities and we must prevent that from ever happening in the future. That must take place by declaring our stand now--our prayers for the deceased and their families, our demand for justice, and our declaration to maintain the unity of Muslims. 4
- 2010-FEB-09: North America: Traditional Family Property (TFP) raises alarm about Toys R Us: TFP are alarmed that Toys R Us are stocking and selling Ouija boards. They claim that:
"...playing with an Ouija board opens the door to the devil. ... Fr. Gary Thomas and Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, both exorcists, state that the person must open the door for demonic possession to take place. Such doors into the soul include the use of Ouija boards and other occult practices."
"Father Thomas says: 'People think that Ouija boards are harmless. They are not, because what people do is they begin tapping into a realm that's beyond science, that's beyond the physical nature of human existence'."
"Our children already suffer too much influence from the occult in our society, and they don't need to be seeing Ouija boards on the shelf at Toys R Us."
The TFP is circulating a petition to the Chairperson and CEO of Toys R Us. Unfortunately, the link to their website is broken and so we were unable to determine what the petition says. 5
- 2010-FEB-12: MD: Murder trial opens shortly for members of a religious group: "Queen Antionette," 41, aka Toni Sloan. is the leader of One Mind Ministries. During 2007, she allegedly ordered her followers to starve Javon Thompson, a 16 month-old-boy. His crime was that he refused to say "Amen" at breakfast. He starved to death. Prayers to resurrect his body failed. The child's mother, Ria Ramkissoon, aka Princess Marie has been allowed to plead guilty to child abuse. Prosecutors have promised her that they would cancel the charge if Javon is ressurected in the future. 6
- 2010-FEB-17: Freedom from Religion Foundation launches lawsuit: The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) notes that religious institutions can save money by compensating their priests, pastors, ministers, and other leaders with tax-free housing owned by the institution. Clerlgy who own their own home can write off all their housing costs. These advantages are not available to other non-profit organizations, such as the FFRF. 7
- 2010-FEB-18 (approx): SD: South Dakota House passes resolution re global warming: Legislators passed resolution #1009 that urges public schools in the state to teach that "... global warming is a scientific theory rather than a proven fact." It also states that there are a variety of ... astrological ... dynamics that can effect [sic] world weather phenomena..." The vote was 36 to 30 in favor. 9,10
Non-theists invited to the White House: For the first time in history, White House officials met with a group of non-theists -- specifically members of the Secular Coalition for American -- non-theist community composed of individuals who define themselves as secularists, Humanists, Atheists, Agnostics, etc. The Coalition's Executive Director, Sean Faircloth, said:
"We are very pleased that the Obama administration is affording us this opportunity to present our positions on issues of high importance, issues of freedom and fairness that affect every American, regardless of belief. Our Founders knew that there was no place in American government for the privileging of religion, or of one belief over another, and that will be a central theme in our interaction with the White House." 11
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "LGBT: Content. Access Denied," Teaching Tolerance, 2010-FEB-02, at: http://www.tolerance.org/
- "Dutch church retains 'atheist' preacher, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 2010-FEB-05, at: http://www.rnw.nl/
- "Bashir genocide charge under review," Aljazeera, 2010-FEB-03, at: http://english.aljazeera.net/
- Edina Lekovic, contact, "Muslim communities worldwideneed to condemn Shia massacres," Muslim Public Affairs Council, 2010-FEB-06, at: https://app.e2ma.net/
- John Horvat, "Ask Toys R Us to STOP selling Ouija boards," Tradition Family Property mailing, 2010-FEB-09.
- Dan Morse, "Alleged Baltimore cult members prepare for trial in boy's death," Washington Post, 2010-FEB-12, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
- "Freedom from Religion Foundation files suit to end tax break for ministers," Religion News Blog, 2010-FEB-17, at: http://www.religionnewsblog.com/
- Text of the FFRF lawsuit is at: http://www.tennessean.com This is a PDF file.
- "House Concurrent Resolution No. 1009," State of South Dakota, at: http://legis.state.sd.us/
- "South Dakota legislators tell schools to teach 'astrological' explanation for global warming," Climate Progress, 2010-FEB-25, at: http://climateprogress.org/
- "Finally, A Place At The Table For Non-Theists," Secular Coalition for America, 2010-FEB-25, reposted at: http://www.anatheist.net/
How you got here:
Copyright © 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2009-FEB-05
Latest update: 2010-MAR-05
Author: B.A. Robinson