2001-JUL-6: Appeals Court rules against Catholic
Charities and for employee choice: California law requires employers
to include birth control pills in their employee health plan, if an
employee wishes to use them. Catholic Charities initiated a lawsuit
in the year 2000, stating that the legislation violated its religious
freedom. The Roman Catholic Church opposes artificial birth control.
However, birth control usage by its followers is extensive and differs
little from that of Protestants. A state appeals court upheld the law.
Last year, An attorney for Catholic Charities said, "People of faith
should be deeply disturbed."
2001-JUL-7: USA: Muslim cleric allegedly calls for
death sentence for author: The American Jewish Community (AJC)
commissioned Muslim writer Khalid Duran to write a book "Children of
Abraham," that is an introduction to Islam. Sheik Abdel Moneim Abu
Zant wrote an article condemning the book in the weekly Arab newspaper
Al_Shahed (The Observer). According to AANEWS:
cleric-Sheik,...claims that the work is guilty of 'distorting Islam'
because it reportedly dwells on issues such as circumcision, Ramadan
rituals, and the relationship in Islamic nations between men and women.
The Observer editorial charged that publication of Duran's book was
'evidence of an evil intention to besmear the image of Islam in the United
States,' and warned that as a consequence, 'blood will be shed.' David
Harris of the AJC told the New York Times, 'In a free society no one
should tolerate the threat to kill an author. All Americans, not
least Muslims, should immediately speak out against this outrage and
assault on democratic society.' "
A spokesperson for the Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said that the editorial appeared "in
a party newspaper nobody ever heard of," and that the Islamic cleric
was making a "recommendation" to religious authorities, not issuing
his own sentence of death.
2001-JUL-10: USA: Interfaith group urges cleanup of
children's Bibles: The American Interfaith
Institute (AII) has asked conservative Christian Bible publishers, including Zondervan, Eerdmans,
and Baker Book House, to clean up their children's Bibles. AII
founder, Irvin Borowsky said: "We're concentrating on children's Bibles
because most of them are not direct translations of the Bible. They're
stories rewritten for children from the Bible." They often carry
over anti-Judaic passages from the Bible which state that "the Jews" killed Jesus.
This is a belief abandoned by the
Roman Catholic and most mainline Protestant churches since a decade after
the Nazi Holocaust. According to ReligionToday,
Marvin Olasky, an evangelical Christian activist, called the Bible
revision effort a misguided attempt at political correctness.
2001-JUL-1: NY: New York Times article opposing tolerance:
Towards Tradition is "a national educational movement of Jews and
Christians dedicated to fighting secular institutions that foster
anti-religious bigotry, harm families, and jeopardize the future of America."
They recently posted a full page advertisement in the New York Times which
attacks tolerance. They find that the Pentateuch (the first five books of
the Hebrew Scriptures / Old Testament) "isn't particularly 'tolerant.'
" They are concerned that it is impossible to believe in absolute truth
anymore without being accused of being intolerant. "Toward Traditions
calls on all Americans of good will to overturn the idol of 'tolerance' and
rally to the defense of our nation's core values: Biblical morality,
Constitutional liberty, patriotism, and prosperity." 14
2001-JUL-9: CA: Westboro Baptists spread hatred against gays:
Members ofthe Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, KS
demonstrated against a memorial for gay veterans at the Desert Memorial Park
cemetery in Cathedral City, near Palm Springs, CA. The Westboro Baptists are
well known for their
www.GodHatesFags.com web site. Some local Christians "wiped away
tears of disbelief at signs declaring Godís hatred for homosexuals and
churches that tolerate them." Stan Layne, a parishioner of the Church of
St. Paul in the Desert said: "Itís so easy to believe there are not
people like this on the planet, but then you see them and hear them and it
all becomes real." Several members of St. Paul responded to the
demonstration by pledging money to civil-rights organizations for every
minute the protesters remained outside. 15
2001-JUL-9: France: US congressman condemns new law against sects:
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), chairman of the House sub-committee on
international operations and human rights, engaged in what he called
contentious, argumentative talks with the bill's co-author Catherine
Picard. He believes that its wording is so vague that it could in theory
be applied to almost any cult or religion, including the
Roman Catholic Church. He said:
"This (law) is sowing the
seeds for profound religious intolerance in France. If and when it is
exported, it will spread an anti-religious contagion. ... When
I read the plain body of the language, you can take virtually any
denomination and in a variety of situations you can dissolve it. You name
it, the Catholic Church, you can dissolve it.''
Justice Minister Marylise Lebranchu said that the lawmakers' intention was to protect the
weak and that the law would not limit freedom of conscience or worship. 18
2001-JUL-12: USA: Salvation Army wants discrimination
protected: The Salvation Army has long had a policy of excluding gays
and lesbian from employment. They have found state and local hiring
anti-discrimination laws to be a nuisance. They have lobbied the White House
for a federal law that would preserve their right to discriminate anywhere
in the U.S. on the basis of sexual orientation. According to an article in
the Washington Post: "A Salvation Army memo reported in the Post said the
charity believed it received assurances from the White House that the
administration would move forward with the regulation in turn for a public
show of support for the faith-based initiative, which would open federal
funds to charities run by religious organizations. White House officials
said the administration offered no such assurances." 16
2001-JUL-11: South Africa: Roman Catholic bishops debates
condoms: The Roman Catholic Church has long forbidden its members to use
condoms. Pope Paul VI reaffirmed this ban in his 1968 encyclical "Humanae
Vitae." Abstinence programs in South Africa designed to slow the spread of
AIDS have failed. Public health officials are recommending that people use
condoms. The topic will be discussed at the Southern African Catholic
Bishops' Conference which includes bishops from South Africa, Botswana
and Swaziland. Bishop Kevin Dowling said: "We're looking at condoms, not
in the sense of the original papal document - as a contraceptive. Now the
issue is the prevention of death on an enormous scale." 20% of adults in
South Africa and over 33% of adults in Botswana are currently infected.
During 2000-SEP, the Vatican reiterated its prohibition on condoms.
2001-JUL-12: Congo: More than 800 suspected Witches
murdered: A state-run Ugandan newspaper reported that people in
northeastern Congo have killed more than 800 suspected witches, during June
and July. Diseases are common in the area; some of the the public accused
"witches" of spreading disease. [The term "witch" in Africa normally
means a person accused of evil sorcery. The same word in North America
normally means a Wiccan or other
Neopagan. The two terms are unrelated.]
2001-JUL-13: USA: Bill introduced in House to allow
political preaching: Rep. Waler Jones (R-NC) has introduced a bill that
would allow priests, pastors, ministers and other religious leaders to
recommend political candidates and parties from the pulpit. IRS regulations
for the past 50 years have prohibited such speech if the congregation is to
retain its non-profit registration. Jones said: "Everyone in the pulpit
should be treated fairly and equally. And they should have the freedom to
help voice and educate their congregation, their parishioners as to some of
the social ills of this nation and what needs to be done."
2001-JUL-13: NH: Christian group bans Mormons: Dartmouth's Summer Christian Fellowship (SCF)
is being investigated for discrimination after it barred Meredith Brooks, a
Mormon from a leadership position in the club because of his religion.
Brooks allegedly wrote: "I have no doubt in
the wide world that I am indeed a Christian. It's rather bigoted of the SCF
to be exclusionary based on their fundamentally wrong and naive
categorization of my religion." The SCF is
sponsored by the school's Asian Christian Fellowship, Campus Crusade for
Christ, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Navigators, and Provision.
It is not funded by the college, but is officially recognized by
Dartmouth. The college's spiritual life department has started official
investigation. Kari Limmer, SCF spokesperson said "Believing that Jesus
is our savior who saved us by grace and believing in the Holy Trinity, by
prescribing to those beliefs and holding onto that is not intolerant because
that is truth." SCF leader Joel Wickre said:
"We're welcoming of all people to be part of our fellowship, but as an
organization, we want to be true to the things that we believe and
consistent in our theology." 21
Many Fundamentalists and other Evangelical Christians do not view
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the
Mormons) as a Christian denomination.
2001-JUL-14: Canada: Anglican diocese to declare
Religion & Ethics Newsweekly: "The Diocese of Caribou in British Columbia
announced this week that in October 2001 it will become the first diocese in
the Anglican Church of Canada to go bankrupt as a result of lawsuits filed
by indigenous peoples who say that they were abused in church-run
residential schools." 17 At the start of the
church's General Synod in Waterloo, Ontario, Bishop Jim Cruickshank said
"It is our intention that on Oct. 15 our diocese will cease to operate."
They are seeking legal advice on whether they will have to sell their
assets, including buildings and real estate holdings, if they are forced to
go bankrupt. Archbishop Michael Peers asked delegates to consider ways to
continue the church's ministries if the national organization also faced
bankruptcy by the end of the year.
2001-JUL-15: KS: Circumcision argument lands in court:
A couple has separated as a result of a dispute over whether to have their
newborn son circumcised. The wife, Sheila Grisham, is apparently either
Jewish or Muslim; circumcision is important to her religious beliefs. The
father, Rodney Grisham, views the procedure as a sexual assault, and has
filed a protection-from-abuse order in court.
2001-JUL-16: UK: Fatwa allegedly calls for death for homosexuals:
According to RainbowNetwork.com, the British Muslim group Al-Muhajiroun
issued a fatwa (religious decree) against a Muslim homosexual rights group
The alleged fatwa said:
"The very existence of Al-Fatiha is
illegitimate and the members of this organisation are apostates. Never
will such an organisation be tolerated in Islam and never will the
disease that it calls for be affiliated with a true Islamic society or
individual. The Islamic ruling for such acts is death. It is a duty of
the Muslims to prevent such evil conceptions being voiced in the
public or private arena."
A spokesperson for Al-Fatiha said:
has concluded that the statement from Al-Muhajiroun is only an alleged
fatwa. We believe that it was only sent to press in the United Kingdom
in reaction to the Al-Fatiha conference that was held in San Francisco,
and Al-Fatihaís participation in the San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade.
But whether it is an official fatwa or not, the rhetoric used in the
statement was extreme, and cause for concern."20
2001-JUL-16: USA: Networks refuse to handle religious commercials:The United Methodist Church has rented premium airtime on the CBS
television network for its four year national "Igniting Ministry"
ad campaign, staring SEP-4. They were surprised to learn that ABC, FOX and
NBC do not accept religious advertising for nationwide broadcast. The
campaign will stress that the denomination embraces diversity of race,
culture and theological beliefs. It it doubtful that the ads will mention
that their diversity does not extend to sexual
active gays and lesbians cannot be ordained, and UMC ministers are
prohibited from conducting "ceremonies that celebrate homosexual union"
within the denomination.
2001-JUL-19: India: Hindu group targets Christian leaders: The
HinduUnity.org Web site allegedly contains a banner of dripping blood,
hangman's noose, and a "hit list" of those "guilty of leading
efforts against our movement [who] will pay for their crimes!"
Included is the pope, Osama Bin Laden, Benny Hinn and Pat Robertson.
Robertson is allegedly accused of calling Hinduism "a Satanic religion."
The web site appears to be off line as of JUL-19. The site is
apparently having difficulty finding an ISP that will tolerate their
2001-JUL-21: India: Muslims assassinate Hindus: According to
the Toronto Star, Islamic militants used hand grenades to attack religious
pilgrims on an annual visit to the Amarnath shrine in the Himalayas. 14
2001-JUL-21: Australia: Anglican Primate concerned about division
and drop in church attendance: Archbishop Peter Carnley AO, the
Primate of Australia, delivered his Charge to the twelfth General Synod
of the Anglican Church of Australia. He expressed concern over female
ordination and equal rights for gays and lesbians:
"difficult and potentially divisive issues. These include the
admission of women to the episcopate; complex questions related to human
sexuality, and the idea allowing lay people to celebrate the Eucharist."
A news report stated:
"The Primate pointed out that to deny the importance of unity, to cause
division in the Church, or to turn one's back on the communion of the
Church, would not just be a sign of human failure. 'It is a form of
infidelity- a deliberate turning away from the communion of God,' he said."
"In the same address, the Primate also underlined the fact that Church attendance had declined in the last period for which statistics were available [1991-1996]. 'While there are some encouraging signs of success
dotted across the nation, the Church's performance is patchy...No diocese
is getting it all wrong, but no diocese is getting it all right. We have a
huge job still to do. We certainly have to work at bridging the gap
between the current interest in Australia in spirituality and the flagging
interest in so-called organised religion.'" 22
2001-JUL-25: Armed raid in Canadian prayer room angers Muslims:
News surfaced that in June, a police tactical squad raided an apartment in
Ottawa, ON, Canada. The space is used as an Islamic prayer room five times
a day. Worshipers were frisked; one of the raiders tossed a Qur'an on the
floor. They were apparently seeking a wanted refugee. The Council on
American-Islamic Relations has asked for an investigation, written
apologies, police sensitivity training, and a police liaison officer to
improve relations with the Muslim community. Citizenship and
Immigration Canada is conducting an internal investigation of the
2001-JUL-25: Holocaust scholars suspend investigation: The
Vatican established a panel of Jewish and Roman Catholic scholars in 1999
to investigate its own role in the Nazi Holocaust. During World War II,
six million Jews, 400,000 Roma (aka Gypsies) and other groups defined as
sub-human by the Nazi government were exterminated. Further research was
suspended on JUL-25 because the Vatican had refused to grant the
researchers access to additional materials. Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of
the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem said: "We're very disappointed
... but I can't say I'm surprised. There is no transparency in the Vatican
and as a result we don't know the answers to a lot of serious questions.
[What the Vatican knew and when they knew it is] one of the most
important outstanding questions that has not been clarified by
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League released a statement
saying: "By frustrating the scholars' work, the truth is put in
jeopardy. How can the truth be told if scholars
working under the aegis of the Vatican Commission are prevented access
to the very records that document the Church's actions and activities
during the Holocaust?"
In a preliminary
report issued in 2000-FALL, the committee wrote that Pope Pius XII had
to pursue useless diplomacy paths, even though he had been aware of
major atrocities. This conclusion is based on their analysis to date of 11
volumes of information. They are seeking the answers to 47 additional
questions that they believe will only be found if the Vatican grants
access to additional archived material. "They want access to the Holy
See's correspondence because many of the pope's responses to reports of
atrocities were missing from the sources they examined." Cardinal
Walter Kasper stated that post-1923 Vatican archives were not available
for "technical reasons." One panel coordinator said that boxes of
documents dated after that time have not been catalogued and compiled for
release. Some feel that the decision to keep the archives secret is
related to the Vatican's decision to recommended Pope Pius XII for
beatification. This is a step that generally leads to sainthood.
2001-JUL-27:USA: Fundamentalist Christian group asks for firing of
CDC director: Dr. James C. Dobson, founder and president of Focus
on the Family, called for the ouster of Jeffrey P. Koplan, the
director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The reason is that Dr. Koplan recommends condom use to reduce unwanted
pregnancy and reduce the STD transmission rate. Dr. Dobson has
joined physicians who earlier this
week called upon Dr. Koplan to resign. Congressman Dave Weldon (R-FL),
former Congressman Tom Coburn (R-OK), and John Diggs (all physicians) gave
a press conference. They referred to a study from the National
Institutes of Health which shows that condoms do not give perfect
protection from STDs.
2001-JUL-27: UK: Anglican priest banned from the pulpit: Derek
Stanesby, was expelled from the pulpit at Uppingham, Rutland, UK for being
too liberal. His "crime" was that he preached a sermon in which he said
that "People talk about the Bible as the word of God. That can be so
misleading. In fact, the elevation of the Bible to close on divine status
had done more damage to the Christian message than all the slings and
arrows of the skeptics. The Bible helps to point to the word of God, but
it is not the word of God." His sermon has been published in the
current bulletin of the Society of Ordained Scientists. Rev Stephen
Evans, the rector of Uppingham, an Anglo-Catholic, expelled Stanesby,
saying: "When sermons are preached which cause offence to large numbers
within a parish congregation and which explicitly deny that the Bible is
the word of God, then I am under obligation to withdraw the privilege of
preaching." Stanesby is still welcome to attend as a member of the
congregation. The Bishop of Peterborough, the Right Rev Ian Cundy said the
Recor had acted "entirely reasonably." Part of Church law, the
Declaration of Assent, is a legal undertaking given by clergy not to
teach anything against church doctrine.
2001-JUL-27: OR: Anti-Catholic billboard: Larry Weathers of
Talent, OR, is a member of the Rogue Valley Historical Seventh-day
Adventists, which is not part of the Seventh-day Adventist
denomination. Weathers has purchased space on a very visible billboard
owned by Outdoor Media Dimensions. It proclaims that "The Pope is the
Anti-Christ." Underneath is a suggestion that viewers visit the
web site. Needless to say, area Roman Catholics and the Archdiocese of
Portland, are furious. They have demanded that the billboard message be
removed. Rev. Liam Cary of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Medford
declared: "It's a deliberately and gratuitously offensive statement
that singles out Catholics for contempt. It's not in someone's back yard.
It's right there, in your face, on a public road."
2001-JUL-28: Stories of torture and execution in China: Many
accounts of detentions, arrests, beatings, torture, execution and other
numerous crimes against humanity continue to flow out of China. The Falun
Gong authorities say that torture of their followers is common. 250 have
been killed. The state is currently executing about 50 of its members at
per month. Because of the nature of the dictatorship, these accounts are
impossible to verify. However, one Falun Dafa follower, has made it to the
U.S. Tan Yongjie had started to practice Falun Dafa in mid-1998. He was
detained several times for 15 day intervals, but refused to renounce his
practices. Tan was arrested on APR-26 for distributing pamphlets calling
for government persecution to end. He was beaten and sent to a labor camp.
After many brutal tortures, he was tied to a post and a red-hot rod was
used to burn his legs, in a fruitless effort to force him to give up Falun
Dafa. He escaped from Hong Kong by stowing away on a cargo ship. On
JUL-13, he was admitted to a hospital in Houston TX. Jack Xiong, a member
of the local Falun Gong community, said: "He's had extensive skin graft
surgery on his legs." Doctors expect Tan to make a full recovery. 26
2001-JUL-31: DC: Injunction issued against Christian Coalition:
Federal district court judge Ricardo M. Urbina issued a preliminary
injunction which orders the Christian Coalition (CC) to stop
retaliating against four black employees who filed a racial discrimination
lawsuit against the organization in February. That lawsuit alleged that
the CC office was racially segregated: African-American employees were barred
from entering the office by the front door, and could not use the
whites-only employee lunch room. The judge ruled that the workers had made
a clear case that Roberta Combs, a CC leader, may have broken the law by
barring them from working past 12:30 PM each day. They had charged that
the CC had retaliated against them by transferring most of their former
workload to a private contractor or to other coalition employees who
worked overtime. Michael D. Rothberg, a CC attorney said that the CC "strongly
disagrees with the court's ruling" He intends to appeal the decision.
2001-JUL-31: CO: Scientist appeals for volunteer willing to undergo
crucifixion: John Jackson, a physicist from Colorado Springs, CO, has
appealed for a male volunteer who is willing to undergo a crucifixion. He
wants to prove the legitimacy of the Shroud of
Turin by showing how a human image could be transferred to a burial
shroud, and by disproving the 1988 radiocarbon dating tests. Jackson is
seeking a man whose weight and height match those of Jesus Christ. The
news report did not mention whether his height should be 6'1" tall (the
height of the image on the Shroud of Turin), or about 5'1" tall, the
typical height of a man in Palestine during the 1st century
CE. He promises to use ropes, not nails. 25
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
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/
ReligionTodayô 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
EWTN News carries Roman Catholic news from Catholic World News, Vatican Information Service, ZENIT, CWNews.com.
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: [email protected].
Their web site is at http://www.eni.ch
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/