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WORLDWIDE NEWS OF RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE FOR 2000-JUN

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Sponsored link.

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We also have a list of religious intolerance news items for this month. 
Sad to say, it is a much longer list.

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JUN-1: TX: Texas Pagans support Christian students' rights: According to AREN: 11
"The Texas Pagan Awareness League (TXPAL) supports the Christian students of Willis Texas and their right of religious expression in school." Willis is located about 50 miles North of Houston TX.

"The controversy began in mid-March when a teacher at Lynn Lucas Middle School in the Willis [TX] Independent School District allegedly took Angela and Amber's bibles from them and threw them in the trash. In a separate incident, Willis ISD officials reportedly required three other students to remove their book covers that displayed the Ten Commandments."

" 'Schools cannot support one religion over another,' said Jon Edens, director of TXPAL, 'neither can they restrict a student's right to religious expression. TXPAL supports any student's right to read religious texts or wear symbols of their belief no matter what their belief.' "

" 'If the allegations are true, the school district should reprimand the
teacher involved as religious intolerance should not be allowed in schools.' "
[Webmaster's note: This is a relatively rare example of followers of one faith group supporting the religious rights of another religion's followers. We feel that it is an encouraging sign.]

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JUN-1: Northern Ireland: Inter-faith quiet room: According to ACNS: 8 A new inter-faith quiet room has been opened at Belfast International Airport for the use of travelers of all faiths and none. The room has been provided in co-operation with the airport management by the Northern Ireland Inter-Faith Forum with the support of the Community Relations Council. The Forum is composed of representatives from Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh communities. Norman Richardson, Secretary of the Forum, said:  "Prayer mats and washing facilities are provided, although no formal worship will take place."

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JUN-6: Ghana: Muslims urged to tolerate other religions: According to Graphic Corporatoin:
The Ghanaian Upper East Deputy Regional Minister, Hajia Fati Seidu, addressed the opening session of the Muslim Student’s Convention in Bawku, Ghana. "She told Muslims that even though the constitution guarantees religious freedom, the freedom would be illusive if they do not tolerate the religions of others. She said Islam stands for the promotion of peace and understanding among men and that any Muslim who does anything contrary to this fundamental Islamic principle contravenes the tenets of Islam."

She referred to the religiously-based violence in Northern Nigeria between Muslims and Christians as a result of religious intolerance. 1

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JUN-8: Hungary: Reconciliation in Southeast Europe: According to EWTN, the Hungarian Justice and Peace Commission organized a conference titled "Religion and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe." It involved "the Orthodox and Reformed Churches, the Catholic Church, and the Islamic community...More than 50 religious leaders accepted the invitation, including delegates from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Hungary, Macedonia, Rumania, and Yugoslavia...One of the principal topics of the conference was the theological foundation of reconciliation; in addition, there were talks on the relation between national identity and religion, conditions for peaceful coexistence, the role of the Church in the promotion of peace and security, cooperation, and inter-religious dialogue."

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JUN-20: USA: Inter-faith cooperation: According to ReligionToday: 4
Members of different churches in Colorado Springs, CO, "are holding potluck dinners together to help find common ground..." This is part of Food for Thought, a four-year old community dialog program. The meeting format includes a dinner preceded by a moment of silence. The purpose is to help people understand others who differ politically or religiously. Groups meet ten times, and then decide whether to continue or disband. One group includes members from All Souls Unitarian Church, (an ultra-liberal religious group), and New Life Church, (a conservative Christian congregation). Another group will include members of New Life Church and Pikes Peak Metropolitan Community Church, (a predominately gay and lesbian congregation).

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JUN-12: USA: Equal justice plaques: According to Dallas News:
"Two plaques bearing symbols of the Confederacy have been removed from the lobby of the state Supreme Court building despite calls from Confederate heritage groups for a public hearing. The plaques were replaced during the weekend with new ones that say equal justice is available to all Texans 'regardless of race, creed or color.'...Confederate heritage groups complained about the removal during the 'dark of night.' They promised to press ahead with legal action and with protests if they aren't given a public hearing...The original plaques contained a quotation from Gen. Robert E. Lee and included symbols of the Confederate battle flag and seal of the Confederacy."

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JUN-27: USA: Humanism recognized as a religion: According to Freedom Forum: Ben Kalka attempted to form a humanism group as part of the Religious Services Department at a federal prison in Jesup. GA. He was refused when the Religious Issues Committee determined that Humanism was "more a philosophical and educational in nature." They decided that he could freely practice his humanism and could organize a group within the prison's Education Department. In 1998-SEP, a federal district court ruled that Humanism is a religion. But they decided that denying Kalka access to the prison chapel did not prevent him from practicing his humanist beliefs. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia agreed with the lower court. They decided that "A reasonable official would not have believed that excluding Kalka's humanism from the prison's Religious Services Program was unlawful. There was neither precedent declaring humanism in general to be a religion nor any prior ruling on the religious nature of Kalka's beliefs." Thus, the prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity, and are not liable for civil rights violations. 13

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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. ENI (Ecumenical News International) provides free bulletins and subscriptions to full text articles. Their home page is at: http://www.eni.ch Its postal address is: PO Box 2100, CH - 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
  3. Newsroom is a service of Worldwide Newsroom Inc. Their articles are written by "a network of journalists, scholars and other professional contacts in country." You can subscribe to their free service from their website at http://www.newsroom.org/ 
  4. 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
  5. Reuters is "the world's leading financial information and news group. Their web page is at: http://www.reuters.com/ 
  6. CitizenLink is a service of Focus on the Family. They send regular Emails containing news items interpreted from a Fundamentalist Christian perspective. Signup is at: http://www.family.org/cforum/clinksignup.cfm 
  7. Earth Religions Legal Assistance Network is a leading anti-defamation group which fights discrimination against Neopagans. See:  http://www.conjure.com/ERAL/eral.html 
  8. Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) maintains a free mailing list. Go to http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/ to subscribe.
  9. "Tutu says no religion has a lock on truth: Religious leaders asked to find new image of God," Associated Press, at: http://www.spokane.net:80/news-story-body.asp
  10. EWTN is a news service of the Roman Catholic Church. It posts news items from Newsline, Newslink, and The World Over on its Internet site at: http://www.ewtn.com/news/index.htm
  11. Alternative Religions Educational Network (AREN) is an information organization located in Philadelphia. It has monitored discrimination against Wiccans throughout North America for three decades. Their web page is at: http://aren.org
  12. Graphic Corporation is Ghana's leading newspaper. This article can be found online at: http://www.graphic.com.gh/dgraphic/news/bu2.html 
  13. David Hudson, "Federal appeals panel: Prison officials not liable for rejecting Humanism group," at: http://www.freedomforum.org/news/2000/06/2000-06-27-06.asp 

Copyright © 2000 & 2003 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2000-JUN-1
Latest update: 2003-JAN-23
Compiler: B.A. Robinson

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