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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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2002-APR-8: CA: Newspaper reports anti-Wiccan demonstration: The Antelope Valley Press of Palmdale, CA, reported on what the called "Wiccagate:" a demonstration by Christians against a group of Wiccans who were rededicating the Witches Grove: a store in Lancaster CA which sells Neopagan material. The ritual also involved the celebration of the spring equinox, and honored the Pagan Goddess Brigid and the God Thor. "Store proprietors alleged that Christian protesters bumped participants in the Wiccan ritual, screamed Bible verses and blared Christian rock music in the store's back parking lot, where the rededication ceremony took place." 11 Cyndia Riker, a Wiccan high priestess and owner of the store, said that the Sheriff's Department took five hours to respond to a phone call for help. One of the Christians alleged to have taken part is Billy Pricer, a volunteer sheriff's chaplain and pastor of Life Changers Christian Center. He was reported as saying that the event was "totally blown out of proportion." He said that the protest was not organized. However, Riker said that representatives from three local Christian churches arrived in rental cars at about the same time and that some of the protestors communicated via walkie-talkies. Pricer is reported as saying that the protestors only went there to pray in public for the Wiccans.

The lesson? If you are a non-Christian and plan to hold a public ritual, we suggest that you request police protection in advance. As a minimum, have a member videotape the entire ritual.


2002-APR-16: MS: Religious conflict over breathing exercises and guided imagery: Students at South Park Elementary School in Vicksburg, MS, are learning breathing and posture exercises. Students at a nearby school are engaging in guided imagery and creative visualization as they pretend to leave their bodies and visualize themselves as a unicorn, prancing through a quite meadow. Some parents have linked the learning and posturing exercises with Yoga and thus with Eastern religion; others have linked the creative visualization with New Age religion. Both groups have asked that the classes be terminated; some parents have pulled their children out of school. Mike Corely, a reporter at WQBC radio, said that Vicksburg isn't shielded from New Age spirituality simply because it is in the Bible belt. He said: "If I wanted to go in and teach a similar class based on the Word of God, I (would be told) that I couldn't do that because it would be based on religion." 12 (Actually, as the U.S. Constitution has been interpreted by the courts:

Teaching Eastern religious belief by itself is unconstitutional.


Teaching Christian religious belief by itself is unconstitutional.


Teaching an exercise or visualization class that included little or no religious content, as in this case, is probably constitutional.


Teaching an exercise or visualization class that is partly based on the Bible, partly on Eastern religion and partly on a non-religious foundation probably would be constitutional.)


2002-APR; various dates: England: Murder may have ritual abuse component:  The roeao of a boy was found floating in the Thames River in London England. Claims surfaced that the child was a human sacrifice to Obeh -- a Nigerian sea god. Others claim that the child was killed during a Vodun ritual. Some claim that there were signs that a religious ritual involved. At this time there are more theories than facts available.


Week of 2002-APR-22: India: Mass Hindu-Muslim violence continues: According to the New York Times: "In the last week, more than 40 people have perished in the continuing violence, in the western state of Gujarat. The official death toll in the last two months has risen to 900. More than 100,000 people, mostly Muslims, are estimated to have fled to relief camps. On Tuesday, [APR-30] Parliament will debate whether the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party -- which has led a national coalition government for most of the last four years and controls the state of Gujarat, its last major state stronghold -- has been complicit in the carnage."

"Indian officials were particularly stung by the leak of a confidential assessment by British diplomats who estimated the death toll at 2,000, more than twice the official tally, and said the anti-Muslim violence had been planned and carried out with the state government's support.
" 13


2002-APR-28: Indonesia: Intermittent Christian - Muslim violence continues: According to the Associated Press: "Black-masked assailants armed with guns, grenades and daggers stormed a village in Indonesia's religiously divided Maluku province Sunday, killing 14 Christians in a brutal pre-dawn attack that threatened a fragile peace pact."

"Shouting 'kill them all,' a dozen men entered the mostly Christian village of Soya on the outskirts of Ambon, the provincial capital and the focus of three years of sectarian violence that killed 9,000 people, witnesses said." 14

bullet2002-APR-29: USA: Roman Catholics launch donation boycott:  The Chicago Tribune carried an article about a group of Chicago area businessmen who have organized the Committee for Prevention of Sex Abuse by Clergy. The committee has demanded that "the archdiocese adopt a zero tolerance policy on sex abuse by clergy, turn over all such cases to law enforcement, and release abuse victims from orders of silence contained in legal settlements. It also asked the archdiocese to turn over to an outside investigator four decades of files on sexual misconduct by priests." If the church's response is inadequate, they may suggest that individual Catholics boycott the collection basket until the Archdiocese of Chicago adopts the reforms. Previous boycotts have been organized in Boston and Florida. 15

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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. 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. Rich Breault, "Wiccagate: What do Witches Grove protesters have to hide?," Valley Press, 2002-APR-8.
  12. Bob Kellogg, "Yoga Promoted in Miss. Elementary School: Some Christian parents claim the class promotes Eastern mysticism," Focus on the Family, at: http://www.family.org/cforum/fnif/news/A0020362.html
  13. "Discord Over Killing of India Muslims Deepens," New York Times, 2002-APR-29 at: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/29/
  14. Michael Casey, "Fourteen Christians killed in Indonesia," 2002-APR-28, Associated Press, at: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news
  15. Aamer Madhani, and Rudolph Bush, & Matthew Walberg: "Catholics launch donation boycott: Archdiocese urged to adopt reforms," Chicago Tribune, 2002-APR-30, at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/

Copyright © 2002 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2002-APR-14
Latest update: 2002-MAY-6
Author: B.A. Robinson

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