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RELIGIOUS CHANGE, CONFLICT & INTOLERANCE,

2005-APRIL

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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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bullet2005-APR-02: Vatican: The Pope has died: Pope John Paul II died on 2005-APR-02 at 9:37 PM (2:37 PM EST) in his private apartment in Rome. His last words were spoken on the evening of APR-01, when he referred to young Roman Catholics. He is believed to have said: "I have looked for you. Now you have come to me. And I thank you." Another source said that his final word was "Amen." The funeral will be on Friday, 2005-APR-8, which coincidentally with be the time of the New Moon.
bullet2005-APR-05: MA: Bishop Robinson attacked for views on Jesus: Bishop Gene Robinson is the first openly-gay bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA. In a forum on FEB-13 at Christ Church in Hamilton MA, he commented that the nuclear family is a relatively new idea and that Jesus led a nontraditional life in Palestine. He is reported to have said: "Interestingly enough, in this day of traditional family values and so on, this man that we follow ... was single as far as we know; who traveled with a bunch of men, although there were lots of women around; who had a disciple who was known as 'the one whom Jesus loved'; who said 'my family is not my mother and father, my family are those who do the will of God' -- none of us like those harsh words. That's who Jesus is, that's who he was, at least in his earthly life." He says that he has recently been "flooded with angry messages" from people who appear to have misinterpreted his statement; they apparently believe that Robinson was implying that Jesus was gay and/or that he was sexually active. Robinson said: "I can assure you with absolute certainty that was not my implication, and certainly not anything I ever said." 12
bullet2005-APR-06: UT: Warren Jeffs, the prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), has predicted the end of the world at least three times in recent years. He has gathered his followers to be lifted up into heaven with him. Each time, the apocalypse did not materialize. Jeffs has explained in the past that the delay was caused by the unfaithfulness of the membership. There is speculation that he is planning something dramatic on 2005-APR-06. This will be the 175th anniversary of the founding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Joseph Smith. Wild speculations include:
bulletAn event like the 1993 happening in Waco TX with the Branch Davidians; 76 people died in a massive conflagration.
bulletA mass murder-suicide event like happened in Guyana in 1978 with the followers of Jim Jones when 914 people died.
bulletJeffs will lead his most devoted followers to the new FLDS location in Texas which he calls the YFZ Ranch after a song he wrote titled "Yearn for Zion."

However, Washington County Sheriff Kirk Smith said: "We have our own intelligence inside the FLDS community, and we believe there's a high probability that absolutely nothing will happen" His jurisdiction includes Hildale, UT which is adjacent to Colorado City AZ. The FLDS membership is concentrated in both towns. Colorado City AZ Police Chief Sam Roundy, said: "This rumor will go by just like all the other ones we keep hearing about. None of these predictions or dates that are given about the end of the world is coming from the FLDS church authorities. It's a bunch of nonsense. The scriptures say that no man knows the time or day of the Lord's coming. These rumors are not coming from here." Roundy should know. He is a member of the FLDS. 13 APR-06 has come and gone, and no startling news has come out of the FLDS.

bullet2005-APR-08: USA: InterVarsity Press stops distribution of book: InterVarsity Press (IVP) learned on APR-07 that Judy L. Brown had been sentenced to 30 years in jail after found guilty of breaking into the home of Rev. Ted Smart during 2003-AUG, and trying to kill him. Brown had allegedly been engaged in a lesbian affair with Ted Smart's wife Toby. Brown had contributed a section to IVP's recent book "Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity without Hierarchy." IVP has stopped distributing the book and intends to publish a new edition in a few months without Dr. Brown's article deleted.
bullet2005-APR-13: North America: New NBC mini-series "Revelations" starts: NBC's new apocalyptic mini-series called "Revelations" debuts on Wednesday, APR-13. It contains some interesting concepts. The series has Jesus returning to earth as a baby and requiring protection from humans. Although it is apparently based on the last book of the New Testament, they got the name wrong. The final book is called "Revelation" not "Revelations." Chris Monroe of ChristianAnswers.net says: "Don't expect this series to be very biblically accurate, but as a piece of mainstream media, the reported goals for this drama are perhaps a little more positive than one might initially expect." 14 Jerry Jenkins, co-author of the "Left Behind" series which has sold over 60 million copies, feels that the mini-series is "...a mishmash of myth, silliness, and misrepresentations of Scripture." 15
bullet2005-APR-15: PA: Host of conservative Christian radio station fired: Marty Minto, 39, is a senior pastor at a church in New Castle, PA and was a host on an Evangelical Christian talk show on WORD-FM, of Pittsburgh PA. A caller phoned in, asking whether Pope John Paul II is in heaven after his death. Many Evangelical Christian believe that a person must be born again before they can avoid spending eternity being tortured in Hell, and attain Heaven. Minto told the caller that whether a person was born again was "between an individual and the Creator." Minto was told that he was alienating listeners. He was fired by the station. 17
bullet2005-APR-19: A new pope elected: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected as the next pope by 117 Cardinals in a conclave at the Vatican. Only four ballots were needed to obtain a two-thirds majority. 
bullet2005-APR-25: USA: Donations to churches in decline: The Barna Group conducted a recent poll of randomly selected American adults on the topic of charitable giving during 2004. They found:
bullet83% of adults say they donated money to one or more non-profit groups.
bullet65% of adults donated money to a religious organization.
bulletEvangelical adults averaged $3,250 in donations to churches;
bulletProtestants averaged $1,304;
bulletRoman Catholics averaged $547.
bulletOnly 6% of adults say that they tithe -- give 10% of their income -- to churches and/or parachurch ministries.
bulletFewer than 2% of adults under the age of 40, Catholics and Asians say that they tithed.

Previous polls by other survey groups have indicated that adults frequently exaggerate their levels of giving and attendance at church.

bullet2005-APR-25: UT: Utah Lighthouse Ministry sues pro-Mormon foundation: The Utah Lighthouse Ministry (UTLM) was founded by an ex-Mormon husband and wife team: Jerald and Sandra Tanner. Their organization is one of the best known anti-Mormon ministries in the world. They have a web site is at http://www.utlm.org. UTLM has launched a lawsuit against The Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research (FAIR), an educational pro-Mormon organization which describes themselves as a group "dedicated to providing well-documented answers to criticisms of LDS [Mormon] doctrine, belief and practice." UTLM claims that FAIR has been infringing on its trademarks by registering 13 Internet domain names in order to create confusion among Internet surfers. The lawsuit alleges that the Foundation's web sites re-routes surfers looking for the UTLM web site to essays posted on FAIR's web site http://fairlds.org. The lawsuit also alleges that the the essays "bear a remarkable resemblance of 'look and feel' to the UTLM Web site."  Some of the disputed URLs are: http://utahlighthouseministry.com, http://utahlighthouseministry.org, http://sandratanner.com, and http://geraldtanner.com.

Discovery Computing Inc
. of Mesa, AZ is FAIR's ISP. One of Discover's officers,  Allen L. Wyatt is also named as a defendant. He is reported as saying that a surfer could easily differentiate between the FAIR and UTLM websites. He said: "There's no confusion as to whether it's her [Sandra Tanner's] organization or not. I just grabbed the names because they were available." 18
bullet2005-APR-30: Unfounded rumor circulating about Pope Benedict XVI's web site: There has been a rumor circulating on the Internet that someone has reserved a web site URL containing Pope Benedict XVI's name for use as a pornography site. Actually, Rogers Cadenhed from Florida registered http://www.BenedictXVI.com on 2005-APR-01, long before Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope and chose the name. He was concerned that someone else would register the URL and use it to publish a web site containing pornography, or access to casino gambling. He plans to transfer ownership of the URL to the Vatican. A check of various extensions (biz, ca, cc, com, info, net, org, tv, us, and ws) found that they were all reserved.

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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. World Faith News "is a data base of full text official news releases and other documents, including policy statements, from the news offices of national and world faith groups." See: http://www.wfn.org/
  12. Michael Ireland, "Openly gay U.S. bishop denies saying Jesus was gay," ASSIST News Service, 2005-APR-05, at: http://www.assistnews.net/
  13. Nancy Perkins, "FLDS - doomsday rumors infest Web," Deseret Morning News.
  14. Chris Monroe, "Revelations," at: http://www.christiananswers.net/
  15. Michael Ireland, " 'Left Behind' authors share little in common with NBC's 'Revelations'," Assist News Service, 2005-APR-05, at: http://www.assistnews.net/
  16. Justin Taylor, "InterVarsity Press," 2005-APR-08, Between Two Worlds blog, at: http://theologica.blogspot.com/
  17. "Radio talk show host fired over papal query," The Toronto Star, 2005-APR-15, Page A12.
  18. Pamela Manson, "Ministry files suit over Web sites. Lighthouse: The group says a pro-LDS foundation is infringing on its trademarks," The Salt Lake Tribune, 2005-APR-??

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Copyright © 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2005-APR-02
Latest update: 2005-MAY-01
Author: B.A. Robinson

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