NEWS OF RELIGIOUS CONFLICT & INTOLERANCE DURING 2002-FEB
FEB: IA: Lutheran minister equates Hinduism,
Buddhism & Islam with Satanism: Rev. Matthew Anderson of Ottumwa,
IA, wrote a letter to the Lutheran Witness periodical which was
published in their 2002-FEB edition. The magazine is published by the
Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod -- a conservative denomination within
Lutheranism. He condemned the inter-faith "Prayer for America"
which was held in Yankee Stadium following the 2001-SEP-11 attack on
the World Trade Center. Referring to Hinduism, Buddhism and
Islam, he states that "the majority of leaders who participated in
'A Prayer for America' are emissaries of Satan and proclaim teachings
that lead to eternal damnation. 1 Corinthians 8 and 10 are quite
clear: we cannot be participants with demons."
FEB-8: MA: Roman Catholic Church suspends priests:
Eight active priests were suspended by the Archdiocese of Boston "amid
allegations of sexual misconduct with minors." The names of at
least 60 current and former priests who have been accused of sexual
activity with children have been forwarded to law enforcement since
JAN-30. There are 930 priests in the archdiocese.
Mitchell Garabedian, lawyer for 84 plaintiffs
in the John J. Geoghan molestation scandal, said: "There is a
subculture of sex abuse within the Archdiocese of Boston that has to
be rooted out. I'm not at all surprised more individuals are being
named.'' 11 The Geoghan case was the one that
triggered investigations of molestation. Since that case surfaced, "numerous
victims have been emboldened to come forward with allegations against
former and current priests. The archdiocese has been forced to
acknowledge that it quietly settled dozens of lawsuits against
pedophiles in the clergy." 11
Bernard Cardinal Law had said
on JAN-25: "As I have indicated, there is no priest, or former
priest, working in this archdiocese in any assignment whom we know to
have been responsible for sexual abuse. I hope you get that straight.''
Tom Fox, editor of the National Catholic Reporter, commented on the
Boston situation: "It's just going to go on and on. Because Boston
is a major see (archdiocese), and the numbers are so large, coming out
piecemeal, it sounds awful. It sounds dispiriting. This is going to
linger. It's not going to go away.''
It is important to realize that none of these accusations have
been proven in a court of law. It is also important to recall that
false memories of abuse by priests have surfaced in the past.
Ongoing: UK: Christian radio station may lose
license: Premier Radio is a conservative Christian radio
station in London, England. In accepting their
license to broadcast, they agreed to avoid all "abusive treatment
of the religious views and beliefs of those belonging to a particular
religion or religious denomination." The Radio Authority
has given the station a "Yellow Card;" this means that it might
lose its license if it does not reduce its hate content and denigration
of other religions. Volunteers of the
Mysticism and Occultism Federation have been monitoring the
station and issuing complaints when they detect attacks on other
groups -- typically targeting non-Christian religions and homosexuals.
According to the Spectator, a UK newspaper, "The Radio Authority’s
bulletin shows that of all the stations receiving complaints, Premier
Radio had 14 programming complaints and one advertising complaint
lodged against it, which is far in excess of any other station listed."
Most of the complaints that were upheld by the Authority were
based on Premier Radio broadcasts. Some examples of complaints
were based on the following statements by conservative Christian tele-ministers:
A joke: "Hinduism, Buddhism,
A minister criticized mainline
churches because they were following a politically correct agenda and
accommodating to secular culture.
The same minister said it was "crazy"
to believe that a person can be a "practicing homosexual... [and a] good
Christian" at the same time.
An American tele-minister
recommended that Christians destroy any occult materials in their
possession. The Authority noted that divination was part of some
religious belief systems, and that this instruction essentially
denigrated other people's beliefs.
Another preacher admitted that
he had never studied the sacred texts of other religions, but said that
"They are full of superstition and absurdities."
The station's license will expire
FEB-11: Russia: Potential turf war - Roman Catholicism
and Eastern Orthodoxy: The Vatican announced on FEB-11 that they had
created four new dioceses in Russia. This was prompted by "the need to
improve the pastoral assistance to the Catholics present in that vast
region, as they have insistently requested." The Russian Orthodox
Church responded immediately. They have threatened to sever all contacts
with the Roman Catholic Church. They see the creation of the four dioceses
as part of the Vatican's efforts to expand its influence in Russia and
seek converts from the Orthodox Church. 13
FEB-11: Canada: Conflict over water purity in Mennonite
and Amish schools: A public hearing in Walkerton, ON held the
Government of Ontario largely responsibility for water contamination in
that city that caused the illnesses of over 1,000 people and the deaths of
about nine during 2000-MAY. Partly in reaction to this tragedy, the
government introduced strict new water purification regulations for
one-room schools. Schools which use well water must now install
chlorinators and monitors to purify and check the quality of their water.
An optional method would be to add disinfectant tablets to the drinking
water. But the parochial school board that runs about 100 Mennonite and
Amish schools in the Grey, Wellington, Perth and Waterloo counties of
South-eastern Ontario objects. Electric power would be required both for
the chlorinators and the monitors. However, Old Order Mennonite and
Amish communities which operate about 40 of the
schools do not allow the use of electricity. They are reluctant to add
chemicals to their drinking water. Levi Frey, spokesperson for the school
board said: "We are farm people used to drinking water as it comes out
of the ground." 14
2002-FEB-23: PA: More allegations of abuse by Roman Catholic priests
revealed: According to AANEWS: "Just days after a Boston priest was
sentenced in connection with [sexually] abusing a young boy, the
Philadelphia, Pa. Roman Catholic archdiocese is now admitting that it has
removed several clerics known to have sexually assaulted children."
"According to spokeswoman Catherine Rossi, officials were aware of 35
pedophile priests who had abused approximately fifty children over the
last five decades. She declined to divulge names or numbers of those who
have been dismissed, but an unidentified source told the Philadelphia
Inquirer newspaper that at least six clerics may have been removed from
their posts. Rossi said that the archdiocese thought retaining the
abusive priests 'wasn't worth the risk,' adding 'We can't supervise them
24 hours a day.' " 15 [Note: The average abusive
pedophile has molested many dozens of children by the time that they are
detected. We suspect that if any of these priests actually molested
children, that their abuse would probably have involved many dozens of
2002-FEB-27: Pakistan: Attack on Shiite mosque:
Unidentified gunmen attacked believers in a Shiite mosque in Rawalpindi,
near Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. Ten people were killed; at least
15 were wounded. It was the second attack on a group of Shiite Muslims
over the previous week in the area. Shiite and Sunni Muslims are engaged
in a low-key civil war in the country.
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- AANEWS is distributed by American Atheists.
- CNSNews.com -- Cybercast News Service -- is a conservative
news source. Their home page is at:
- Tom Mashberg, Jules Crittenden and Laurel J. Sweet, "Disgraced:
Church suspends 6 more alleged molester priests," Boston Herald,
- Colin R. Nicholl: "For Christ's sake," The Spectator,
- "Russian dioceses established," Toronto Star, Toronto, ON,
- "Mennonites challenge water rules," Toronto Star, Toronto,
ON, 2002-FEB-12, Page A4.
- "Church sex abuse revelations spread to Philly: 'Startling
Information' -- Dozens Of Clerics Accused, Six Dismissed," AANEWS,
- Lutheran Witness, 2002-FEB, at:
Copyright © 2002 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2002-FEB-9
Latest update: 2002-MAR-29
Author: B.A. Robinson