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NEWS OF RELIGIOUS CONFLICT & INTOLERANCE,

2005-FEBRUARY

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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-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

bullet2005-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." 12
bullet2005-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
bullet2005-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
bullet2005-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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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. "Ark. votes against church-state proposal," EarthLink, 2005-FEB-18, at: http://start.earthlink.net/
  12. "Bill Maher: Christians have neurological disorder. Says parents 'drill' religion into kids' heads using biblical 'fairy tales'," WorldNetDaily, 2005-FEB-18, at: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/
  13. "McLaren Withdrawn From Evangelism Conference Lineup," Kentucky Baptist Convention, 2005-FEB-18, at: http://www.kybaptist.org/
  14. Mark Jurkowitz, "Islamic leader sues WFXT for defamation," The Boston Globe, 2005-JAN, at: http://www.boston.com/
  15. "The Anglican Communion Primates’ Meeting Communiqué, February 2005," Anglican Communion News Service, 2005-FEB-24, at: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/

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Copyright © 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2005-FEB-19
Latest update: 2005-FEB-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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