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

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2001-MAY-1: Commission releases report on religious persecution:
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom issued its second annual report on religious persecution worldwide (with the exception of the United States). It featured China, whose situation it described as growing worse. China has cracked down on unregistered religious groups and has severely persecuted followers of the Falun Dafa spiritual movement. The commission also accused India, Indonesia, Russia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Iran, Sudan, Vietnam and North Korea of:

directly violating the religious freedom of their citizens, or


allowing regional or local governments to restrict religious freedom, or


ignoring inter-religious violence in their country.


2001-MAY-1: Minnesota: Legislator calls Buddhism a "cult": According to Pioneer Planet: 12
The Dalai Lama is the exiled religious and political leader of the Tibetan government. He is probably the best known Buddhist in the world, and was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. He is scheduled to give an address before a joint session of the Minnesota legislature on May-9. Representative Arlon Linder (R) wrote to colleagues via email: "As a Christian, I am offended that we would have the Dalai Lama come and speak...These beliefs are incompatible with Christian principles, and those Christian principles are or have been the governing principles in American society...They don't believe that there is one God. They don't believe Christ is God. They believe in evolution and reincarnation. That is not Christian." He further stated that Buddhism is considered a "cult." Last year Linder commented on the "irreligious left views'' of a Jewish colleague. The ethics committee reviewed his statement, concluding that his comments were regrettable but did not merit discipline.


2001-MAY-1: England: Restrictions on religious broadcasting:
The UK Broadcasting Act of 1990 forbids the issuance of a national radio broadcasting license to any "body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a religious nature." Regional religious broadcasting licenses are permitted. A government paper justified this decision because: "religious content has a particular capacity to offend those with different views and opinions, or sometimes to exploit the susceptibilities of the vulnerable. Religious issues may also shade into matters of political controversy." A government-sponsored forum is scheduled for MAY-4 to discuss the future of religious broadcasting in that country. Vicky Sheriff, a government spokesperson, said that the forum would bring together interested parties, including representatives from all of the major faiths. Unfortunately, it appears that representatives of minor faiths and of secular philosophies ,who are most often the victims of religious attack programming, were not invited. Also, the United Christian Broadcasters, who currently are permitted to broadcast only by satellite, were not included.


2001-MAY-4: USA: Jews for Jesus' TV ad banned: According to Citizenlink, as service of Focus on the Family
Jews for Jesus is a syncretistic religious group which combines Evangelical Christian beliefs with Jewish practices and traditions. They approached a number of TV networks to place religious ads at Easter time. They offered a free video. They were refused, because the ads were a bit controversial and too hot to handle. The ads talked about the Holocaust and God; they asked "Why would a loving god allow this hell to exist?"


2001-MAY-8: USA: Conflict growing within the Presbyterian Church (USA): According to ReligionToday™: 3
The denomination suffered a decline of 35,000 members during the year 2000. This is the greatest reduction since 1994. Conservatives within the denomination have founded the "Confessing Church Movement" in an attempt to renew the church. They are concerned that the Presbyterian Church has not taken a strong stance against equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians. They are even more distressed by the decision to not discipline staff members who organized a religious conference last year. At the conference, a declaration was made that God may allow some non-Christians to achieve salvation.


2001-MAY-8: Canada: Anglican church going bankrupt: According to the Episcopal News Service: "The bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada have warned the prime minister that, unless he gets involved, the church will soon be bankrupt because of a rash of lawsuits brought by victims of abuse at church-run residential schools for indigenous youth." Archbishop Michael Peers, primate of the church, "said that 99 percent of the church's funds have been spent on litigation, only one percent on settlements. He said that the bishops were convinced that 'justice is not now being served--and we cannot see how continuing this pattern will ever serve the purposes of justice.'...More than 7,000 people have brought legal action against the federal government and churches, which operated the schools. So far the government has ignored suggestions from indigenous, legal and church groups seeking a way to settle the claims outside the courts." 9


2001-MAY-16: Colorado: Marilyn Monson to quote from the Bible: According to ReligionToday, 3 "Shock rocker Marilyn Manson, infamous for his dark stage presence and lyrics that glorify hate and violence," will quote from the Bible at his concert in Denver on JUN-21. When the concert was announced, there were local protests against Manson. According to his web site he decided to "balance" it with Bible readings - "so we can examine the virtues of wonderful 'Christian' stories of disease, murder, adultery, suicide and child sacrifice. Now that seems like entertainment to me." Crosswalk comments: "Teens in the area plan to rally against Manson on June 20, have constructed [the] www.nonmanson.com [web site], and have walked in protest at the state capitol to raise awareness among lawmakers." Their web site appears to be inoperative.


2001-MAY-17: USA: Secular groups excluded from funding: According to the Associated Press: "New federal grants to prevent HIV and drug abuse are being offered only to religious groups." Secular groups will be excluded from funding. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State said: "It's totally inconsistent with this administration's constant claim that everybody should be on equal footing." $4 million in grants are intended to support groups that work with young people, particularly in black and Hispanic
communities, to address both drug abuse and HIV prevention. The application form specifies that applicants must be "faith-based organizations" or be working with such a group. Mark Weber, a spokesman for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of Health and Human Services claims that religious groups are in the best position to reach at-risk teens. "Faith-based organizations have access to the young people we are trying to reach." This decision is an obvious violation of the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has written that government funding must be "available to both religious and secular beneficiaries on a nondiscriminatory basis."

James Skillen, president of the Center for Public Justice assumed that President Bush was unaware of the Administration's edict. Skillen said: "The principles we're arguing for is there ought to be no discrimination. [If the White House was on board with the religious set-aside], that would shock me off my feet."

Connie Marshner of the conservative Free Congress Foundation favored the set-aside: "For so long there's been so much discrimination against faith-based organizations, I'd say it's a leveling of the field." More information on charitable choice programs.


2001-MAY-27: USA: Roman Catholic Archbishop marries:  Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, 71, was married to Marie Sung, 43, a physician. Theirs was one of a group of ceremonies at a mass wedding in New York by the Unification Church. Rev. Sun Myung Moon selected the bride a few days before the ceremony. On the following day, the Vatican issued a statement saying that the Archbishop has put himself "outside the church" and can no longer be considered a bishop. Archbishop Milingo said that he had kept his vow of celibacy since 1958, but has decided that it is time for Catholicism to change.

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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 A companion Episcopal News Service is at: http://www.ecusa.anglican.org/ens/ 
  10. AANEWS is distributed by American Atheists.
  11. "Rebellion against liberal theology growing in Presbyterian Church (USA)," Religion Today, 2001-MAY-8, at: http://news.crosswalk.com/religion/item/0,,343084,00.htm 
  12. "Legislator calls Buddhism 'cult': Lindner decries appearance by Dalai Lama at Capitol,"  2001-MAY-1, Pioneer Planet, at: http://www.pioneerplanet.com/seven-days/tue/ 

Copyright © 2001 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2001-MAY-3
Latest update: 2001-JUN-03
Author: B.A. Robinson

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