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Religious Tolerance logo

FOR 2000-FEB

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Sponsored link.

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We also have a list of religious intolerance news items for this month. 
Sad to say, it is a much longer list.

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FEB-14: USA: According to the Associated Press for FEB-13:
Desmond Tutu, former archbishop of South Africa, attended the "God at 2000" conference at Oregon State University. At a news conference, he said: "No religion can claim to have the whole truth about the mystery of faith The logic of faith will get through to even the dumbest of us." Marcus Borg, a professor at Oregon State helped organize the conference. At the opening talk, he challenged Christians to be receptive to other religions and to reject "supernatural theism," the concept that God has an individual personality who micromanages the universe. Attendee Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun and author, called for a more feminine concept of God. God should be beyond "color or gender." Karen Armstrong, a British TV commentator said that compassion and the "Golden Rule" are perhaps more important than seeking God in a church or through religion.


FEB-15: USA: Church arson: According to ReligionToday news summary: 5
Church arsons declined for the third year in a row, the National Church Arson Task Force said. More than 100 churches were the targets of arsonists in 1999, down from 300 in 1996...The task force has seen "tremendous success," Acting Assistant Attorney General Bill Lann Lee said. It has resulted in the arrests of 364 people and obtained 267 convictions, Lee said. 


FEB-14: USA: Same-sex unions: According to ReligionToday news summary: 5
The Episcopal Church's Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music issued a report dealing with same-sex unions. Ironically, it was released on St. Valentine's Day. It includes essays on Scripture, decision-making, church tradition, and blessings. The report says, in part, "We are not ready, theologically or scientifically, to say a defining word about the life of homosexuals in the church...In the context of reverence - and humility - it seems best not to take absolutist positions on a national level." It recommends a form of local option in which area dioceses would "find their own way in the matter."


FEB-16: Europe: Religious cooperation: According to ENI: 2
Two of Europe's main church bodies, which between them represent the overwhelming majority of the continent's Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, are to strengthen their co-operation. The Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the Council of European (Roman Catholic) Bishops' Conferences (CCEE), have reached agreement on guidelines for co-operation to "serve the process of reconciliation among the churches to visible unity, to join together in a witness or proclamation of the Gospel in Europe, and to seek ways of co-operation in social and cultural life".


FEB-16: Israel: Germany apologizes for the Holocaust: According to ReligionToday: 5
Germany's president delivered an emotional address to Israel's parliament Feb. 16, asking for forgiveness for the Holocaust. Johannes Rau, an evangelical Christian, spoke to the Knesset in German, a historic first, saying he bowed his head before the 6 million victims, news reports said. Legislators applauded respectfully, but some stayed away in protest, saying
they did not want to hear German spoken in parliament. A legislator who had watched Nazi troops round up Jews in the Warsaw ghetto called German "the language of Satan." ...Rau, a longtime friend of Israel, also toured the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. He wrote in the guest book, quoting German clergyman and Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonnhoeffer, "Perhaps Judgment Day will be tomorrow. In that case, we would happily
stop [working] for a better future, but not before.


FEB-16: Romania : Oppressive religious bill withdrawn. According to ReligionToday: 5 "Romania has abandoned an effort to harshly restrict religious freedom. The legislature, without comment, voted unanimously to withdraw a bill that would have virtually eliminated non-Eastern Orthodox churches. ...The bill would have established stringent requirements for churches to be approved by the government, Newsroom said. It mandated that churches have memberships of at least .5% of the national population, or 115,000 people, and at least 5% of the local population, thus excluding most evangelical Protestant groups. It also banned 'aggressive proselytism' and required congregations to give the government names and addresses of all members."


FEB-24: USA: Religious cooperation: According to ENI: 2
"A coalition of US religious groups covering a wide political and theological spectrum has launched a campaign to put the issue of poverty on the national agenda. Announcing a decade-long plan of action - which includes a possible ten-per cent 'poverty tithe' by churches - 50 leaders of churches and related agencies said it was not morally acceptable that poverty persisted in the US at a time of unparalleled economic prosperity and expansion."


FEB-25: Brazil: Apology for church past abuses: According to EWTN: 11
Bishop Jayme Chemello, president of Brazil's National Bishops Council
(CNBB) states that Brazilian Catholics will seek forgiveness for maltreatment of blacks and native Indians over the past 500 years. He said: "It cannot just be a spoken forgiveness, it has to be a real reconciliation and that requires concrete actions." In Brazil, the land of numerous native farmers has been stolen and given to non-native farmers.


FEB-26: Egypt: Pope urges dialogue: According to Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times: 12
Pope John Paul II visited the Coptic pope, Shenouda III and Muhammad Sayed Tantawi, the sheik of Al Azhar, the highest authority of the Sunni Muslim faith in Egypt. AT his Cairo airport speech he stressed the need for religious tolerance. He said: "To do harm, to promote violence and conflict in the name of religion is a terrible contradiction and offense against God. We must all work to strengthen the growing commitment to interreligious dialogue, a great sign for hope for the peoples of the world." The pope is scheduled to celebrate a Mass on FEB-25 in a Cairo sports arena, then meet with Orthodox and other non-Roman Catholic leaders. On FEB-26, he will travel to the Sinai Desert to pray at the ancient Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. Catherine at the foot of Mount Sinai. He had hoped to persuade representatives of Islam, Judaism and various divisions of Christianity to join him there, but was unsuccessful. [Actually, the location of the Mt. Sinai mentioned in Exodus is unknown.]  "The Coptic Church broke with Western Christianity over a theological dispute in the fifth century, but has remained the major Christian faith in Egypt and Ethiopia. The Greek Orthodox broke with Rome in 1054."

See also our list of religious intolerance news items for a description of an negative aspect to the Pope's visit.

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  1. Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has a web page at http://www.cair-net.org They have an mailing list called ISLAM-INFONET. To subscribe, send an Email with  subscribe cair-net  in the body of the message to majordomo@cair-net.org  
  2. 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 
  3. ENI (Ecumenical News International) provides free bulletins and subscriptions to full text articles. Their home page is at: http://www.eni.ch Its postal address is: PO Box 2100, CH - 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
  4. 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/ 
  5. 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
  6. Reuters is "the world's leading financial information and news group. Their web page is at: http://www.reuters.com/ 
  7. CitizenLink is a service of Focus on the Family. They send regular Emails containing news items interpreted from a Fundamentalist Christian perspective. Signup is at: http://www.family.org/cforum/clinksignup.cfm 
  8. Earth Religions Legal Assistance Network is a leading anti-defamation group which fights discrimination against Neopagans. See:  http://www.conjure.com/ERAL/eral.html 
  9. Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) maintains a free mailing list. Go to http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/ to subscribe.
  10. "Tutu says no religion has a lock on truth: Religious leaders asked to find new image of God," Associated Press, at: http://www.spokane.net:80/news-story-body.asp
  11. EWTN is a news service of the Roman Catholic Church. It posts news items from Newsline, Newslink, and The World Over on its Internet site at: http://www.ewtn.com/news/index.htm  
  12. "Pope Is in Egypt, Tracing Moses' Path and Urging Dialogue," at: http://www10.nytimes.com:80/library/world/global/ 

Copyright © 2000
Originally written: 2000-JAN-4
Latest update: 2000-FEB-26
Author: B.A. Robinson

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