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NEWS OF RELIGIOUS CONFLICT & INTOLERANCE,

2004-JUNE

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Sponsored link:

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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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bullet2004-JUN: NY: Equal treatment for same-sex couples proposed: A proposed "equal benefits ordinance" is being considered by the municipal government of New York City. It would require any employer who does business with the city to provide domestic partner benefits to its homosexual employees involved in committed same-sex relationships. These would have to  equivalent to those given to married, presumably heterosexual couples. This could cause serious problems to the Salvation Army who have over $250 million in contracts with the city, who object on religious grounds to providing equal treatment to employees of all sexual orientations. No exemption is included in the bylaw for religious institutions who wish to continue to discriminate.
bullet2004-JUN-14: U.S. Supreme Court decides (sort of) the Pledge case: The U.S. Supreme Court handed down their long-awaited ruling in the Newdow case on 2004-JUN-14. Michael Newdow had attempted to test the constitutionality of the "under God" addition to the Pledge of Allegiance.  The court found a way to avoid making a ruling in the case. They decided that Michael Newdow did not have the legal authority to speak for his daughter, and thus did not have standing to bring a case before the courts. The constitutionality of the clause remains in doubt. More details.
bullet2004-JUN: Swedish Pentecostal pastor convicted of hate speech: Sweden passed a constitutional amendment in 2002 which included sexual orientation in a list of groups protected from "unfavorable speech." The law protects heterosexuals, bisexuals and homosexuals equally. Sometime in 2003, Pastor Åke Green delivered a sermon at his Pentecostal church in Borgholm, Sweden. He allegedly described homosexuality as "abnormal, a horrible cancerous tumor in the body of society." He described them as "perverts, whose sexual drive the Devil has used as his strongest weapon against God." He was charged with inciting hatred against a group of people on the basis of their sexual orientation. Green was found guilty and sentenced to one month in prison. Public prosecutor Kjell Yngvesson is reported as saying: "One may have whatever religion one wishes, but [the sermon] is an attack on all fronts against homosexuals. Collecting Bible [verses] on this topic as he does makes this hate speech." Christianity Today magazine reported: "In his defense, the pastor said he merely wanted to make clear the biblical view on homosexuality, not to express disrespect." Green's lawyer said that the law and conviction violated the pastor's religious freedom. Soren Andersson, president of a Swedish federation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights (RFSL), said that religious freedom never justifies offending people. He said: "Therefore, I cannot regard the sentence as an act of interference with freedom of religion."

A search on the Google.com search engine using the string "Ake Green" found 605 hits. Some relate to the "Ake Ake," a type of exotic shrub which comes in a green variety. But most seem to refer to the Swedish event. The conviction occurred a few months after Canada's similar hate propaganda bill -- C-250 -- became law. However, that law has a specific clause exempting hate propaganda speech if motivated by religion. Green could not have been prosecuted in Canada under C-250. 11

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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. Lars Grip, "No Free Speech in Preaching," Christianity Today, 2004-AUG-9, at:  http://www.christianitytoday.com/

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Copyright © 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2004-JUN-05
Latest update: 2004-JUN-05
Author: B.A. Robinson

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