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News of religious/ethical change, tolerance,
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bullet2009-NOV-02: North America: Larry David, urine, and a picture of Jesus: In the 2009-OCT-26 episode of HBO's "Curb your Enthusiasm" featured the lead star, Larry David, having a urination problem. Unlike the problem that many men face of a low stream velocity and volume, he has the opposite problem: high stream velocity and volume. In one scene, he is urinating into a toilet with such force that water from the toilet, mixed with urine, is splashing in all directions. One part landed up on a painting of Jesus Christ in a way that seemed to indicate that the image was crying. The rest of the episode was built around this apparently miraculous event. It was widely implied by various conservative Christian groups that David had urinated directly on the painting.

America Needs Fatima is mounting a campaign to demand an apology by HBO. 1
bullet2009-NOV-08: USA: House passes health insurance bill: The House made the first move to bring the U.S.' system of health care into alignment with all other developed countries. According to the Huffington Post:

"The House floor erupted in one of the loudest cheers the chamber has heard in years when Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), an hour before midnight, cast the 218th and deciding vote on landmark health care reform." 2

"The final vote was 220 to 215. 218 votes were required to pass the bill. 219 Democrats and 1 Republican voted for the bill."

"The bill contains a Stupak-Pitts Amendment that would prohibit payment for elective abortions. The amendment passed 240 to 194."

"Passage of the bill is, to us, a surprising development because so many of the representatives have received large sums of money from the health insurance industry. Our opinion is that many of the representatives should have declared a conflict of interest and abstained from voting because of this."

bullet2009-NOV-13: Tony Alamo sentenced to 175 years in jail: Tony Alamo, 74, is a Pentecostal pastor who heads up the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. He was convicted on 2009-JUL-24 in Federal District Court for Arkansas on ten counts of interstate transportation of minors for illegal sexual purposes, rape, sexual assault and contributing to the delinquency of minors. According to a report by CNN on 2008-OCT-22, some of his former followers had testified that Alamo had practiced polygyny and had married a girl who was nine years old at the time. Shortly after his conviction , he described himself as "...just another one of the prophets that went to jail for the Gospel." On NOV-13, he was given 175 year sentence. 3
bullet2009-NOV-16: World: Tim LaHaye signs contract for new series of apocalyptic book series: LaHaye and lawyer/author Craig Parshall have signed a contract with Zondervan to write a new series of end-of-the-world books titled "Edge of Apocalypse." LaHaye's earlier series -- the Left Behind series -- sold over 64 million copies since the first title was published in 1995. 4
bullet2009-NOV-19: USA: Religious book sales continue decline: The Association of American Publishers (AAP) reports that sales of religious books have dropped during 2009 by 10.6% while overall book sales increased by 3.6% in spite of the economic recession. 5
bullet2009-NOV-23: India: Leaked report on Hindu riot creates uproar: The site of the 16th century Babri Jasjid (Muslim mosque) was the site of long-term Hindu-Muslim hostility for decades. Some Hindus claimed that a Hindu temple had once been on the site to mark the birthplace of their God Ram. On 1992-DEC-6, a Hindu mob tore down the mosque. This triggered Hindu-Muslim riots across India that resulted in the death of over 2,000 people.

Former high court judge M. S. Liberhan conducted an inquiry that took 17 years to complete. It is believed to blame leaders of the main Indian opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). A spokesperson for the BJP, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, said the report had been leaked to "... divert attention from core issues" like rising costs and corruption.
bullet2009-NOV-29: Switzerland: Voters approve ban on minarets: By a 58 to 42% margin, Swiss voters approved a constitutional amendment that bans future constructions of minarets -- the tall towers that form part of most Islamic mosques. Muslims total about 6% of the population but only about 13% of Muslims actually practice their religion. Only a minority of the less than 1% of the population who actively practice the Muslim faith are militant. However, some right wing and ultra-conservative groups, including the nationalist Swiss People's Party, successfully promoted the belief that the minarets are symbols of increasing Muslim religious and political power. The country's four existing minarets will be allowed to exist. The government, most political parties, Christian denominations and the business community strongly opposed the ban. 6

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Battle against blasphemy heats up in America," Email, America Needs Fatima, 2009-NOV-02.
  2. "Health Care Passes: The Scene In The House When It Happened," Email alert, Huffington Post, 2009-NOV-08
  3. "Tony Alamo," Wikipedia, as of 2009-NOV-15, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
  4. "LaHaye to write new apocalyptic series," Christian Retailing, 2009-NOV-16, at: http://christianretailing.com/
  5. "Religious book sales decline again," Christian Retailing, 2009-NOV-19, at: http://christianretailing.com/
  6. "Projection: Swiss vote to ban new minarets," Religion News Blog, 2009-NOV-29, at: http://www.religionnewsblog.com/

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Copyright © 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2009-NOV-02
Latest update: 2009-NOV-30
Author: B.A. Robinson

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