NEWS OF RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE AND CONFLICT
We also have a list of religious tolerance news
items for this month.
2001-JUN-11: USA: Execution of Timothy McVeigh:
He was executed for the terrorist bombing which killed 168 people at the
Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, OK on 1995-APR-19. Some thoughts on the
President George W. Bush announced: "This morning,
the United States of America carried out the severest sentence for the
gravest of crimes. The victims of the Oklahoma City bombing have been
given not vengeance but justice. And one young man met the fate he chose
for himself six years ago...Today, every living person who was hurt by the
evil done in Oklahoma City can rest in the knowledge that there has been a
Amnesty International said that the U.S.
government has allowed vengeance to triumph over justice and distanced
itself yet further from the aspirations of the international community.
"President George W. Bush's record on the death penalty
is well-known across the world...By refusing to step in and impose a
moratorium on federal executions, he has further damaged his and his
country's reputation." During his five-years as Governor of Texas, he
152 state executions. Many were in violation of international standards.
At least one involved a foreigner who was not allowed to contact their
embassy after being arrested. Some executions were of criminals who were
children at the time of their offense. Others were of severely mentally
Some voices of individuals:
"Timothy McVeigh was a cold-blooded murderer. He
will be missed. But the way he died was sad, pathetic and wrong."
"A rite of national purification."
"Before Tim McVeigh was executed, there were 168
deaths associated with the bombing. Now, there are 169 deaths, and the
creation of one martyr. Further, his siblings and parents must morn the
state murder of a member of their family. Snuffing out one life is too
great a price to pay so that some victims and families of victims may feel
a sense of vengeance or closure. If we want to prevent future terrorist
acts, we won't have Timothy around to analyze."
"He didn't suffer at all. The man just went to
sleep, or as I said, the monster did. I think they should have done the
same thing to him as he did in Oklahoma."
"McVeigh is a coward and a low-down bastard.
Somebody tried to take my life, they deserve to burn in hell."
"We feel at peace now."
"I won't have closure. My pain won't go away."
2001-JUN-12: France: Anti-cult bill awaits
president's signature: Although the anti-cult movement has been
largely discredited in North America, it is quite powerful in France.
According to the Globe and Mail: "France is moving forward with
Europe's severest legislation against minority religious groups, igniting
fears among civil-liberties organizations that it could invite similar
measures by other governments. Ignoring criticism from mainstream church
leaders and foreign governments, especially Washington, France's National
Assembly has passed a law 'to reinforce the prevention and repression of
groups of a sect-like character.' " Joseph Grieboski, president of the
Washington-based Institute on Religion and Public Policy, said: "This
law makes the practice of one's religion into a criminal offence." The
daily French newspaper, Le Figaro, mentioned that the lifestyle of a
Carmelite nun could fall afoul of the legislation.
The bill will create a new type crime covering the abuse of a person "in
a state of psychological or physical dependence caused by the exertion of
heavy or repeated pressure or techniques liable to alter his judgment."
The bill also empowers courts to dissolve religious groups if two leading
members are convicted of crimes such as fraud and child abuse.
Depending on how this clause is interpreted, it could criminalize
catechism classes run by established religions. It could also threaten the
existence of faith groups -- large and small.
2001-JUN-16: USA: Southern Baptists concerned about
discrimination against military chaplains: At their annual convention,
the Southern Baptists passed a resolution noting a series of lawsuits
alleging discrimination against military chaplains in the Navy. These
cases claim that the Navy discriminates against evangelicals while giving
advantage to liturgical denominations. The resolution renounced "any
unconstitutional treatment of Southern Baptist chaplains" and called
for policies to "insure free religious practice for all military
2001-JUN-11 (approx) Sudan Peace Act passes House:
According to ReligionToday: The U.S. House of Representatives approved
H.R. 2052, the Sudan Peace Act, by a vote of 422-2. The bill condemns
human rights abuses in Sudan, and the use of food as a weapon while
support for viable civil authorities and institutions in
non-government-controlled areas. Additionally, the measure condemns
slavery and the use of enslaving parties as a means of ethnic cleansing.
2001-JUN-17: Country of Georgia: Jehovah's
Witnesses attacked: According to the Irish Times: "A group of
Jehovah's Witnesses holding a prayer session in the Georgian capital of
Tbilisi were savagely beaten today by a group of unidentified intruders
who burst into their hall, police said. A dozen men and women physically
assaulted the group - whose number was not given - and vandalised the
locale, breaking furniture and windows and setting fire to religious
objects before fleeing. Two of the victims were seriously injured in the
attack, police said, adding that an investigation had been launched."
The Jehovah's Witnesses were banned in the country by the Georgian Supreme
Court in 2001-FEB.
2001-JUN-25: Archdiocese Pulls Funds over gay
group: According to Religion Today: "The Colorado Council of
Churches will lose more than $13,000 annually from the Denver Catholic
Archdiocese because the council admitted a predominantly gay denomination
into the organization. According to spokesman Greg Kail, Denver Archbishop
Charles Chaput said that continued financial support from the archdiocese
would 'have a misleading effect on the church's teachings about marriage
and family life.' ... The Catholic Church teaches that practicing
homosexuality is a sin."
2001-JUN-25: Christian Coalition accused of
racial discrimination: The Christian Coalition was founded by
Pat Robertson in 1989 in order to encourage more conservative Christians
to become active politically. It has suffered major economic setbacks in
recent years. According to Christine Hall, Staff
Writer of CNSNews, their fundraising has dropped from 15.8 million in 1997
to 2.9 million recently. They are now being sued by 13 current and former
employees in federal court. The Coalition is accused treating black
clerical workers in a racist manner:
Requiring them to enter the office through a back
Having them eat in a racially segregated lunch area.
Excluding them from inaugural celebration.
Excluding them from the group Christmas party.
A white employee alleges that he
was fired when he refused a management request to spy on the black
workers. Jon S. Nicholas, of the Washington law firm Dilworth Paxson,
represents the plaintiffs. He tried to engage Coalition officials
in mediation talks. "I met them and initially thought we should be able
to go in there and talk to them and get everything resolved. It just
hasn't worked out that way. We contacted their attorneys privately. Very
shortly afterwards, our clients were told to stay home from work."
2001-JUN-27: Ireland: Serious
Protestant-Catholic rioting: According to ReligionToday: " More than
100 people threw stones and bottles at each other Monday night in a
confrontation in northern Belfast where Protestant and Catholic
neighborhoods meet. An earlier stoning incident involving up to 50 people
was reported along a West Belfast division between Catholic and Protestant
enclaves. No injuries were reported."
"Last week, Belfast suffered its worst riots in three years, when
hundreds of men and teenagers threw stones and bottles at each other and
at police in the Ardoyne district, a Catholic enclave surrounded by
similarly hardline Protestant neighborhoods. The attackers were from both
sides of the divide. Police returned fire with plastic bullets.
Thirty-nine police were injured."
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- "Rebellion against liberal theology growing in Presbyterian
Church (USA)," Religion Today, 2001-MAY-8, at: http://news.crosswalk.com/religion/item/0,,343084,00.htm
- "Legislator calls Buddhism 'cult': Lindner decries
appearance by Dalai Lama at Capitol," 2001-MAY-1,
Pioneer Planet, at: http://www.pioneerplanet.com/seven-days/tue/
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Copyright © 2001 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2001-JUN-3
Latest update: 2001-JUN-27
Author: B.A. Robinson