2003-JUL-10: North Carolina: Mosques, churches,
abortion clinics adopt defensive moves: Personnel from Charlotte area
police, mosques, churches and women's clinics
are coordinating their efforts to protect their facilities from an
expected 300 supporters of the Fundamentalist Christian group Operation
Save America -- formerly called Operation Rescue. The group
will appear on JUL-12 and are planning to hold eight days of prayer
services and rallies. On JUL-18, they will hold a demonstration which will
include nine caskets -- one for each of the Justices of the U.S. Supreme
Court who overturned the Texas' sodomy law.
In May, Operation's leader, Rev. Philip Benham attended Charlotte's
annual gay pride festival. He allegedly screamed throughout a mass
commitment ceremony that was being held for about a dozen gay
couples. Benham is quoted as saying: "We're going to tell the truth
that there's no way that Mohammed is going to save you. There's no way you
can practice homosexuality and claim Christianity. If you do that, you're
going to split Hell wide open and we don't want that for you."
Leaders of the Islamic Center of Charlotte plan to offer free
drinks to the demonstrators. 11
2003-JUL-15: USA: Anti-Muslim incidents up 15% in 2002: The
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a report
documenting acts of discrimination and violence against Muslims during
2002. They totaled 602 events, an increase over the previous year's total
of 525. The report is titled: "The Status of Muslim Civil Rights in the
United States - Guilt by Association." A sample is available online.
2003-JUL-22: Virginia: Wiccan sues Chesterfield County board:
The Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors refused to add Cynthia
Simpson, 47, to the list of clergy who are permitted to give invocations
at board meetings. She claims that she filed her lawsuit after country
officials did not return her phone calls and made public comments
ridiculing her religion of Wicca, the largest
earth-centered Neopagan religion in the U.S. The board restricts
invocations to those which represent "a monotheistic faith consistent
with Judeo-Christian tradition." In a court hearing, Simpson's
attorney Rebecca Glenberg of the American Civil Liberties Union,
argued that her client's exclusion from the list amounted to a
disparagement of her religion. She said: "The policy on its face
demonstrates a use of the prayer program that advances certain faiths and
disparages others The core fact is Ms. Simpson was denied the opportunity
to participate in this forum because of her religion." County lawyer
Steven L. Micas disagreed, arguing that a 1983 U.S. Supreme Court ruling
gives the government wide latitude in offering legislative invocations
that reflect the traditional values of a majority of its citizens. He
expressed concern that if the board did not control who could speak then
they would have to allow by the white supremacist
World Church of the Creator and other fringe groups. Simpson said. "This
is my own local government discriminating against me on the basis of my
religion. It's not a private club or neighborhood association. We're
strong as a nation because of our diversity. There are pagans fighting for
you at this moment in Iraq."
2003-JUL-24: Maryland: Cross burned at Islamic school:
According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR): "...a
cross was burned outside Al-Huda School at about 1:30 a.m. this morning.
CAIR's Maryland office has informed the FBI. Last week, two Pakistani
students were shot to in the same county. The FBI is looking into that
case to determine if bias was a motive. 'This incident clearly
demonstrates that the issue of growing anti-Muslim bigotry in the United
States must be addressed at the highest levels by religious and political
leaders,' said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad."
2003-JUL-24: World: Primates and bishops appear ready to split Anglican
Communion: Evangelical Anglicans from all over the world met
recently in Washington DC for a two day meeting. Seven primates and a
number of bishops who represent most of the 75 million members of the
Anglican communion subsequently issued a letter demanding that Canon Gene
Robinson's election as bishop of New Hampshire be rejected by the
Episcopal Church's general convention. This is because Robinson is a gay
male in a committed relationship. If his election is confirmed, then
this group is "prepared to respond." They threaten to convene an
"extraordinary meeting" involving the leaders of most of the
Communion's 38 provinces to deal with a "dramatic realignment."
2003-JUL-25: New Mexico: Family sues over funeral eulogy: The
family of Ben Martinez, who recently died at the age of 80, is suing Fr.
Scott Mansfield and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe, NM. The
lawsuit claims that Fr. Mansfield said that the former town councilor in
Chama, NM had been a lukewarm Catholic who had been living in sin and was
going to Hell. The claim lists psychological pain, physical afflictions,
anxiety, depression and humiliation allegedly suffered by Martinez's
family in the months after the funeral, which occurred over a year ago.
More than 150 relatives and townspeople attended. Fr. Mansfield has denied
the allegations. The complaint also accused the archdiocese of approving a
newsletter that threatened excommunication for anyone who protested the
funeral. The archdiocese has denied approving any newsletter. A lawyer for
the defendants has asked that the case be shifted from state to federal
court because it raises First Amendment questions about freedom of
religion and freedom of speech.
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