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NEWS OF RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE AND CONFLICT

2000-NOV

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We also have a list of religious tolerance news items for this month.

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2000-NOV-2: Germany: government intolerant of Scientologist: According to Reuters News Agency: 4
The German government asked that Microsoft remove its disk-defragmenter program from Windows 2000, because the CEO of the company that wrote the program is a Scientologist. The government opposes Scientology. They regarding it as a dangerous cult and have refused to recognize it as a religion, as other countries have. An anonymous information-security expert in the German interior ministry said that some German officials and clergy are concerned that the software "could have a security problem." Craig Jensen, owner and CEO of the company that produced the defragmenter, Executive Software, said: "The stench of religious intolerance is high among government officials in Germany."  

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2000-NOV-9: USA: Presbyterian reform movement charges heresy: According to PCUSAnews:
Rev. Dirk Ficca of Chicago had delivered a speech to the Presbyterian Peacemaking Conference in Orange, CA, during 2000-Summer. He was discussing whether people who had never heard of Jesus, the Gospel, the Bible or Christianity could be saved. The basic position of the Church is that Christ is the only path to salvation. Thus salvation is not possible for people who have not heard of Jesus or who belong to a non-Christian faith. GAC Executive Director John Detterick said that Rev. Ficca had "articulated a concept that conflicts with a basic tenet" Detterick said that future speakers at such events will be more carefully vetted in advance. He is resisting calls by conservatives that Rev. Ficca be held accountable for his "out-of-bounds statements." He said "I am sure that the full General Assembly Council will take up this matter when it next convenes in February." John Buchanon, co-founder of the church's reform movement, Covenant Network, said the PC(USA) is "becoming a different church. We are hearing words like 'heresy' for the first time in centuries."

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2000-NOV-14: USA: Church burnings: According to ReligionToday:
Jay Scott Ballinger was sentenced to over 42 years in prison for burning 26 churches in Alabama, California, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, and Tennessee, during the 1990s. Still pending are five church arson charges in Georgia -- one of which resulted in the death of a fire fighter. "Ballinger, 38, traveled around the country practicing his religion, Luciferian, and signing gullible people he met to contracts with the devil, court documents said." Ballinger's girl friend, Angela Wood, admitted that she assisted Ballinger. She is scheduled to be sentenced on NOV-15. [Editor's note: He seems to be following an anti-Christian religion of his own creation. It involves worship of Lucifer, contracts with Satan signed in blood, and promises "to do all types of evil." Inspiration for his ideas appear to come from church propaganda about Satan-worshipers from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. It appears unrelated to modern-day religious Satanism.]

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2000-NOV-15: Russia: Religious organizations to be suppressed: According to ReligionToday:
A 1997 law in Russia requires all non-traditional religious groups which cannot prove their existence in the country for more than 15 years must register with the government by DEC-31 or be disbanded. Although 9,000 "new" religious groups have registered, about 8,000 have not. Some are finding it difficult to register because local government officials are allegedly making the process difficult and time confusing.

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2000-NOV-14: USA: Baptist church in trouble over unpaid taxes: According to the Indianapolis Star,  the Indianapolis Baptist Temple owes about 5 million dollars to the federal government in unpaid taxes and penalties. The church has refused to withhold employee income taxes and to pay the employer share of Social Security and Medicare taxes. Federal judge Sarah Evans Barker issued a foreclosure order, and gave the church until noon on NOV-14 to vacate the building. They ignored the order and held a prayer session that evening. They apparently view their employees as volunteers who receive "love offerings" in place of salary. 

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2000-NOV-14: Israel: Celebrations cancelled: According to Maranatha DayWatch: 
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem's Catholic diocese announced that Christmas-related ceremonies in Bethlehem which had been planned for two years will not be held, because of level of violence in that area.

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2000-NOV-21: Tennessee: Bigotry surfaces during debate over religion class: According to The Associated Press:
The Shelby County School Board in Memphis, TN, first "tried to add Bible history classes" to public high schools. The state stopped them because the courses were considered unconstitutional; they were seen as being "too specifically Protestant." Then the board debated whether to create a comparative religion course instead -- one that would cover a range of religions. Member Wyatt Bunker objected, saying it was "just altogether a bad idea to teach Hinduism, Buddhism and Voodoo and whatever else in our schools...If they don't want [to teach Judeo-Christian] God in our schools, then we're not going to have Gandhi in our schools." Judy Paalborg, who is Jewish, replied: "There is enough of a struggle among the children teaching them respect for diversity, and the last thing we need is adults - especially adults involved in education - spouting off this poison. I think he needs to resign after he apologizes to the entire community. He needs to take a comparative religion class himself." Bunker plans to remain on the board, "and assure the rest of the community that I am going to be there to protect our children from these types of [non Christian] teachings.

Cliff Heegel, a Buddhist minister from Germantown said: "It seems to me the school board is trying to impose religious values on the curriculum, especially since they rejected the broad-based world religion course that is taught in almost every university. There is a difference between education and indoctrination. They want to teach the students what to think ... instead of how to think."

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References:

  1. DayWatch is a daily service of Maranatha Christian Journal. It provides "a daily summary of news headlines with a Christian perspective..." The newsletter is free on request. Their web site is at: http://www.mcjonline.com 
  2. Newsroom is a service of Worldwide Newsroom Inc. Their articles are written by "a network of journalists, scholars and other professional contacts in country." You can subscribe to their free service from their website at http://www.newsroom.org/ 
  3. ReligionToday provides free newsletters to which you can subscribe at: http://www.ReligionToday.com. These summaries are part of GOSHEN.net, which also includes LiveIt.net, Devotionals.net, ChristianShareware.net, ChristianClassifieds.net, ChristianMessageBoards.net, BibleStudyTools.net, MediaManagement.net, WorldNewsToday.net, WebCastGuide.net, and ChristianCollegeGuide.net
  4. Reuters is "the world's leading financial information and news group. Their web page is at: http://www.reuters.com/ 
  5. Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR): E-mail: cair1@ix.netcom.com
    URL: http://www.cair-net.org To join CAIR-NET, CAIR's read-only mailing list: Send subscribe cair-net in the body of a message to majordomo@cair-net.org
  6. EWTN News carries Roman Catholic news from Catholic World News, Vatican Information Service, ZENIT, CWNews.com. See: http://www.ewtn.com/news/ 
  7. Ecumenical News International (ENI) in Geneva Switzerland distributes news free religious news highlights to subscribers. They can be contacted at PO Box 2100, CH - 1211, Geneva 2, Switzerland. Telephone: (41-22) 791 6087/6515. Fax: (41-22) 788 7244 Email: eni@eni.ch. Their web site is at http://www.eni.ch 
  8. ZENIT.org is "an International News Agency based in Rome. Our mission is to provide objective and professional coverage of events, documents and issues emanating from or concerning the Catholic Church for a worldwide audience, especially the media." Their web site is at: http://www.zenit.org/english/ 
  9. Anglican Communion News Service provides information from an Anglican perspective. See: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/index.html
  10. AANEWS is distributed by American Atheists. 
  11. China Crisis News Bulletin #60, 2000-SEP-25, Falun Dafa Information Center. They publish regular information on the Falun Gong via fax. Their Email is faluninfoctr@nycmail.com. Their web site is at http://www.faluninfo.net 
  12. Covenant News disseminates "Today's news for today's [Christian] church." See: http://www.CovenantNews.com/index.html 
  13. U.S. Newswire is "the leading national wire service for distribution of full text news." They have a web site at: http://www.usnewswire.com/ 

Copyright 2000 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2000-NOV-1
Latest update: 2000-NOV-29
Author: B.A. Robinson

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