NEWS OF RELIGIOUS CONFLICT & INTOLERANCE,
2005-FEB-18: AR: Legislature rejects separation of church and state"
The House voted 44 to 39 to reject a bill that would uphold the separation of
church and state in Arkansas. The U.S. Supreme Court stated in many rulings that
the U.S. Constitution calls for such a separation. Thus, 44 members of the House
violated their oaths of office which require them to support the Constitution.
Representative Buddy Blair (D) initiated the bill because he was tired of his
conservative colleagues "making every issue into a religious issue."
After the vote, he said: "It's unbelievable to me. They have just voted
against the U.S. Constitution and the constitution of the state of Arkansas."
Representative Michael Lamoureux (R) said: "It's clear that our founding
fathers, that they wanted Christian beliefs. The separation of church and state
is not in our Constitution."
According to Associated Press: "Legislators
have offered bills this session to keep gay people from adopting or serving as
foster parents; define marriage in school textbooks as a one-man, one-woman
union; require minors to get a parent's permission before an abortion; and offer
'In God We Trust' license plates." 11
||2005-FEB-19: USA: Bill Maher initiates a
vicious attack against all religion: Bill Maher was formerly the host of
the "Politically Correct" TV program, and is currently host of HBO's
"Real Time with Bill Maher." He appeared as a guest on MSNBC's
"Scarborough Country" on 2005-FEB-15 where he attacked religion in
general and Christianity in particular. He said: "We are a nation that is
unenlightened because of religion. I do believe that. I think that religion
stops people from thinking. I think it justifies crazies. I think flying
planes into a building was a faith-based initiative. I think religion is a
neurological disorder. If you look at it logically, it's something that was
drilled into your head when you were a small child. It certainly was drilled
into mine at that age. And you really can't be responsible when you are a
kid for what adults put into your head....When you look at beliefs in such
things as, do you go to heaven, is there a devil, we have more in common
with Turkey and Iran and Syria than we do with European nations and Canada
and nations that, yes, I would consider more enlightened than us....I think
the vote in Missouri [banning same-sex marriage] and a lot of other states
is because people are religious They don't have to be evangelical, but
they're religious. They believe in religion, which as – I think it was Jesse
Ventura who had that quote about religion is a crutch for weak-minded people
who need strength in numbers....When people say to me, 'You hate America,' I
don't hate America. I love America. I am just embarrassed that it has been
taken over by people like evangelicals, by people who do not believe in
science and rationality. It is the 21st century. And I will tell you, my
friend. The future does not belong to the evangelicals. The future does not
belong to religion....When you were a kid and they were telling you whatever
you believe in religion, do you think if they had switched the fairy tales
that they read to you in bed with the Bible, you would know the difference?
Do you think if it was the fairy tale about a man who lived inside of a
whale and it was religion that Jack built a beanstalk today, you would know
the difference? Why do you believe in one fairy tale and not the other? Just
because adults told you it was true and they scared you into believing it,
at pain of death, at pain of burning in Hell."
||2005-FEB-18: KY: Speaker dropped from
Evangelism conference for heresy: The Kentucky Baptist
Convention announced that they have withdrawn their invitation to pastor
and author Brian McLaren to speak at its upcoming Kentucky Evangelism
Conference. He had been invited to speak more than a year ago. However,
a review of his most recent book "A Generous Orthodoxy" implies that
he believes that some non-Christians may not be eternally tortured in Hell
when they die. He wrote: "....I don't believe making disciples must equal
making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not
all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain
within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts." This is a theological
position that borders on inclusivism and is
apparently not acceptable to the conference organizers. 13
||2005-FEB-25: MA: Muslim leader sues WFTX-TV for defamation:
According to the Boston Globe newspaper, Dr. Yousef Abou-Allaban, 41, who is
psychiatrist, a U.S. citizen, and a Muslim, has filed a defamation suit
against WFTX-TV, a FOX affiliate. He claims that a TV program in 2004-NOV
identified him as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a violent
terrorist group with links to Al Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas.
Abou-Allaban Abou-Allaban said in an interview: "I felt I was victimized.
There have been many people in the Muslim community who have been demonized
and lost their businesses. I felt my reputation had been tarnished...I felt
I became a walking criminal associated with a criminal like Osama bin Laden."
Rabiah Ahmed, a spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations
(CAIR) said the portrayal of Muslims in the media "is definitely an issue
of rising concern for us," after the Sept. 11 attacks. 14
||2005-FEB-25: Leaders of worldwide Anglican Communion initiate schism: Thirty five primates met at the
Dromantine Retreat and Conference Centre in
Newry, Northern Ireland. Three primates -- those of Burundi, Hong Kong, and
North India -- were unable to attend the meeting. The primates initiated the
first major split of the Anglican Communion. They asked the Episcopal
Church, USA and the Anglican Church of Canada to withdraw from a
core structure of the Anglican Communion: the Anglican Consultative
Council. It is a key body which facilitates contact among the 38
provinces. The Council is one of the four "instruments of unity"
within the Communion. The other three are: The Archbishop of Canterbury, The
Lambeth Conference and the Primates' Meeting.
Having asked the two North American churches to withdraw from the
Anglican Consultative Council, the Primates then asked the Council to
organize a meeting in 2005-JUN to which the two provinces would be summoned
to explain their beliefs about homosexuality. 15
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news source. Their home page is at:
"Ark. votes against church-state proposal," EarthLink,
"Bill Maher: Christians have neurological disorder. Says parents 'drill'
religion into kids' heads using biblical 'fairy tales'," WorldNetDaily,
"McLaren Withdrawn From Evangelism Conference Lineup," Kentucky
Baptist Convention, 2005-FEB-18, at:
Mark Jurkowitz, "Islamic leader sues WFXT for defamation," The Boston
Globe, 2005-JAN, at:
"The Anglican Communion Primates’ Meeting Communiqué, February 2005,"
Anglican Communion News Service, 2005-FEB-24, at:
Copyright © 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2005-FEB-19
Latest update: 2005-FEB-25
Author: B.A. Robinson