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NEWS OF RELIGIOUS CONFLICT & INTOLERANCE DURING 2003-MAY.

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We also have a list of religious tolerance news for this month. 
Sad to say, these are usually much shorter lists.

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2003-MAY-8: Evangelical Christians discuss attacks on Islam: The National Association of Evangelicals, which represents more than 43,000 conservative Protestant denominations, helped organize a meeting on MAY-7 to deal with attacks by leading Fundamentalist religious leaders on Islam. The Institute on Religion and Democracy, a conservative Christian group in Washington that often critiques mainline Protestantism, co-sponsored the meeting. Among the most hate-filled comments were those by Franklin Graham who called Islam "a very evil and wicked religion," by a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Rev. Jerry Vines, who called the Prophet Muhammad "a demon-possessed pedophile," and Jerry Falwell's comment that "Muhammad was a terrorist."  At the meeting, concern was express that the attacks on Islam by Jerry Falwell, Franklin Graham, Benny Hinn, Pat Robertson, Jimmy Swaggart and others fed the widespread perception  in the Middle East that the war on terrorism is really a Christian crusade against Islam. "The [40] evangelical leaders...issued what one of them called a 'loving rebuke' to their colleagues for remarks that they said tarnished American Christians and jeopardized the safety of missionaries and indigenous Christians in predominantly Muslim countries." 11
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The Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the NAE said: "We must temper our speech. There has to be a way to do good works without raising alarms." He suggested that a meeting be held with Falwell, Robertson and other high-profile Fundamentalist Christians to explain the damage their comments have caused.

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Paul Marshall, senior fellow at the human rights group Center for Religious Freedom said that attacks on Islam serve only to antagonize people. "Exactly what is to be achieved by that except boosting the ego of who said it?"

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Hodan Hassan, spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was encouraged by the meeting. She said: "We can understand theological differences but what's important is that the dialogue is one of respect, not demonization."

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Clive Calver, president of World Relief, the humanitarian aid arm of the NAE, said that the attacks have "placed lives and livelihoods at risk" overseas, where missionaries have become targets of Muslim extremists. He said that Mr. Graham's comments had been circulated widely throughout the Middle East. "It's used to indict all Americans and used to indict all Christians."

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Rich Cizik, a NAE vice-president said that for some conservative Christians, Islam has replaced communism as the "modern-day equivalent of the evil empire...We've got to have an attitude of how can we serve, how can we help. Saying Islam is evil isn't going to help any of us." 12 Referring to the clash of civilizations theory promoted by author Samuel P. Huntington, Cizik said: "If the hard right has its way, we will have a Huntington."

Beliefnet posted the Associated Press report and encouraged its visitors to offer comments about the meeting. A common response was that the meeting attendees were not primarily concerned about the accuracy of the attacks on Islam; they were worried about the danger that their missionaries face. 13

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2003-MAY-14: Guest pastor offends some Representatives: The Hill newspaper reported that Rev. George Dillard III of Peachtree City Christian Church near Atlanta GA gave the opening prayer at the MAY-14 session of the U.S. House of Representatives. He has been criticized for his apparent references to abortion access and equal rights for gays and lesbians. He allegedly asked God for "leaders who will seek your truth … who accept that a lie is a lie and not spin; that it is immorality and not an alternative lifestyle; that it is murder not a procedure; that it is stealing and not creative accounting; that rebellion is rebellion no matter what name we give it."

In the past, the Rev. Daniel Coughlin, the House chaplain has written guidelines which require chaplains' prayers to be "free from personal political views, from sectarian controversies, from any intimations pertaining to foreign policy." Coughlin said: "His remarks were rather judgmental, but some members think highly of him. Afterward I got feedback [from members] that it was judgmental."

Rep. Barney Frank, (D-MA), a gay male, told The Hill: "The statement is a condemnation of gay people. There are appropriate places where you can say those things."

Dillard told the paper his prayer referred to "the taking a human life for no other reason than convenience … whether it is abortion, euthanasia or genocide," and that his "alternative lifestyle" comment referred to adultery and pedophilia. He said: "The word of God is very clear. There can be no sex outside of marriage. I am sorry if I have hurt anybody." 14

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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. 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
  3. Reuters is "the world's leading financial information and news group. Their web page is at: http://www.reuters.com/ 
  4. 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
  5. EWTN News carries Roman Catholic news from Catholic World News, Vatican Information Service, ZENIT, CWNews.com. See: http://www.ewtn.com/news/ 
  6. 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 
  7. 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/ 
  8. Anglican Communion News Service provides information from an Anglican perspective. See: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/index.html A companion Episcopal News Service is at: http://www.ecusa.anglican.org/ens/ 
  9. AANEWS is distributed by American Atheists.
  10. CNSNews.com -- Cybercast News Service -- is a conservative news source. Their home page is at: http://www.cnsnews.com
  11. Laurie Goodstein, "Top Evangelicals Critical of Colleagues Over Islam," New York Times, 2003-MAY-8, at: http://www.nytimes.com/
  12. Rachel Zoll, "Evangelicals condemn anti-Islam remarks," 2003-MAY-8, at: http://www.beliefnet.com/
  13. "News & Society: Evangelicals condemn anti-Islam remarks," Beliefnet, at: http://www.beliefnet.com/
  14. "Guest chaplain's prayer offends: Pastor gives invocation in House, alludes to abortion, homosexuality," WorldNetDaily, 2003-MAY-29, at: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/

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How you got here: Home page > Intolerance news >  here

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Copyright © 2003 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2003-MAY-9
Latest update: 2003-MAY-29
Author: B.A. Robinson

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