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We also have a list of religious tolerance news items for this month.

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2001-JAN-4: Russia: Salvation Army evicted: According to ReligionToday: 3
Government officials in Moscow refused to register the local branch of the Salvation Army, because they regarded it as a foreign military organization. The Army was evicted on JAN-1 from their offices. Col. Kenneth Baillee, head of the organization in Russia, said: "We have entered a kind of legal 'Never-Never Land.' " He said that the ministry will continue to exist until the city asks the courts to have it liquidated. That could take months.


2001-JAN-9: Afghanistan: Religious conversion is a capital crime: According to ReligionToday: 3
Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban's supreme leader, announced on the Taliban's Radio Shariat that those who leave Islam or those who induce others to do so would be killed. He said: "The enemies of Muslims are trying to eliminate pure religion throughout the world."


2001-JAN-12: World: Large religious web sites in difficulty: There are an enormous number of religious web sites on the Internet. Google.com, a superb Internet search engine, has registered about 18.3 million listings containing "God," 6.5 million listings for "Jesus," 5.6 million listings for "Christ," 1.3 million for "Christianity," 0.9 million for "Goddess," and 0.7 million for "Pagan." Most religious web sites are relatively small, being sponsored by individuals, couples and churches. Some of the largest religious web sites have experienced difficulty:

IBelieve.com billed itself as "the leading Christian community on the Internet," and "a place where believers of all denominations could come." However, in spite of its inclusive name, it restricted its articles to only one wing (conservative) of one religion (Christian). Despite a "tremendous launch," and achieving "550,000 members, more than 2 million unique visitors, and 60 ministry partners," they were unable to raise additional funding. They closed their virtual doors on 2000-NOV-24 after nine months of operation. Some employees were believed to have been offered jobs with a sister company Family Christian Stores.


Crosswalk.com On JAN-11, Crosswalk announced that it was reducing its staff by 15, from 49 to 34, as part of a plan to consolidate operations. This follows a previous cut during the year 2000 of 30 employees, made when web traffic fell short of expectations. 14

bullet2001-JAN-17: Canada: Controversy over same-sex marriage: Kevin Bourassa was married in the Metropolitan Community Church in Toronto, ON, Canada on JAN-14, through the reading of the banns. This bypasses the need for a marriage license, which had been refused previous gay and lesbian couples. He sent an e-mail to Canada's Governor-General, Adrienne Clarkson, inviting her to attend his wedding.  One of her staff members replied, saying that Ms. Clarkson was unable to attend, but that she conveyed best wishes. Bishop Gerald Wiesner of Prince George, B.C., the president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, then wrote a strongly worded complaint to the Governor-General and the Prime Minister. He wrote, in part: 

"Canadians should be able to expect the Governor-General to respect and uphold their basic values and laws. However, this controversial action by the office of the Governor-General offends most faiths, almost all of which believe that marriage by definition is the sacred union of a man and a woman, and is also at odds with Canadian civil and legal tradition.

Douglas Elliott, lawyer for the Metropolitan Community Church, said it is unfortunate that the Catholic bishops are trying to draw Ms. Clarkson into controversy. More details.


2001-JAN-14: Florida: Santero priest arrested: According to the Palm Beach Post for JAN-17: Richard Rossie, 58, of Boynton Beach was arrested by police who say that he dumped three dead chicken carcasses into the Intracostal Waterway. From the point of view of the police, he was illegally disposing of an animal carcass. Rossie, a babalawo, or high priest of Santeria, said that the chickens were a religious offering: "I had to throw the box with the chickens in the water for the ocean god Yemoja." Jim Green, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney said that the police may have violated Rossie's First Amendment rights.

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  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. 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/ 
  3. 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
  4. Reuters is "the world's leading financial information and news group. Their web page is at: http://www.reuters.com/ 
  5. 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
  6. EWTN News carries Roman Catholic news from Catholic World News, Vatican Information Service, ZENIT, CWNews.com. See: http://www.ewtn.com/news/ 
  7. 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 
  8. 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/ 
  9. Anglican Communion News Service provides information from an Anglican perspective. See: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/index.html
  10. AANEWS is distributed by American Atheists. 
  11. China Crisis News Bulletin #60, 2000-SEP-25, Falun Dafa Information Center. They publish regular information on the Falun Gong via fax. Their Email is faluninfoctr@nycmail.com. Their web site is at http://www.faluninfo.net 
  12. Covenant News disseminates "Today's news for today's [Christian] church." See: http://www.CovenantNews.com/index.html 
  13. U.S. Newswire is "the leading national wire service for distribution of full text news." They have a web site at: http://www.usnewswire.com/ 
  14. "Christian web site cuts 15 jobs..." Wall Street Journal, 2001-JAN-11, at: http://www.wsj.com 

 Copyright © 2001 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2001-JAN-3
Latest update: 2001-JAN-21
Author: B.A. Robinson

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