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YEAR 2000: MAJOR EVENTS WITH AN ETHICAL, or RELIGIOUS COMPONENT

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bullet2000-JAN-01: World: The year 2000 started with minimal computer failures. The hysteria, raised largely by religious writers, turned out to be groundless.
bulletJAN-5: Chicago IL: The Southern Baptist Convention rejected a letter written to them by the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago. The council had asked that the Baptists not send thousands of missionaries to Chicago for fear they would create a climate conducive to hate crimes.
bulletJAN-7: Tibet: The 17th Karmapa, a teenage Tibetan Buddhist leader, escaped from Tibet to India.
bulletJAN-11: Israel: Ultra-Orthodox rabbis in Israel forbade their members from using the Internet.
bulletJAN-26: Canada: The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada has been named in more than 300 lawsuits by more than 1,000 Native claimants. The claims arise from alleged sexual and physical abuse of students at church-run residential schools. According to Archdeacon Jim Boyles, the church's general secretary, the claims total hundreds of millions of dollars and far exceed the church's assets. The Church may be driven into bankruptcy.
bulletFEB-4: Austria: A new federal government assumed power. The coalition included the far-right "Freedom Party" which holds extreme racial policies. The European Union, fearful of a Neo-Nazi revival, later applied economic sanctions.
bulletFEB-21: Nigeria: Muslim-Christian riots broke out in Kaduna state over the imposition of Sharia (Muslim law). By FEB-24, 50 deaths were reported; and many churches and mosques had been destroyed.
bulletMAR-2: Vatican: The Vatican released a report "Memory and Reconciliation," in which it sought forgiveness for the sins that some of its members have committed in the past. The pope did not accept any responsibility on behalf of the church itself.
bulletMAR-3: Chile: Former dictator Agusto Pinochet was released from custody in Britain and returned to Chile. He had been held on charges of mass torture. It is uncertain whether he will be tried for past massive human rights abuses which occurred under his rule.
bulletMAR-8: Quebec, Canada: On the International Day of the Woman, a group of feminist activists vandalized a Roman Catholic cathedral in Montreal.
bulletMAR-17: Uganda: Remains of a mass murder of members of a Christian group, the "Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God," were discovered in a burned-out church. Later investigation revealed that at least 924 members had been murdered in different locations.
bulletMAR-20: Israel: Pope John Paul II began a visit to Israel - the first such visit of any pope.
bulletAPR-22: Florida: Armed immigration officers seized Elian Gonzales, 6, and returned him to his father near Washington. They later returned to Cuba.
bulletAPR-27: Illinois: Wheaton College dropped its 'Crusaders' mascot, a symbol despised by many Muslims and Jews because of the mass crimes against humanity committed by Crusaders from the 11th to 13th century.
bulletMAY-1: Worldwide: The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom issued its first report. They warned of religious freedom concerns in China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Russia, Sudan,  Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.
bulletMAY-6: Iran: A reform government was elected in the country. Hopes were raised that increased religious and social freedom will follow.
bulletMAY-11: USA: The Southern Baptist Convention, by far the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., decided that no women are to be ordained to its ministry in the future.
bulletMAY-17: Alabama: Former members of the KKK were charged with a church bombing. It had caused the deaths of four young black girls, and triggered massive popular support for the civil rights movements in the 1960's.
bulletJUN-4: Israel: A bill was introduced to prohibit women from praying out loud or wearing a shawl at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. The penalty would be a jail sentence of up to seven years.
bulletJUL-3: Indonesia: A ferry carrying Christian refugees fleeing Muslim violence sank in a storm. Over 400 drowned.
bulletJUL-17: Maldives: The president of the Maldives has declared that the island nation has no room for any religion other than Islam. Citizens are prohibited from practicing any other religion.
bulletAUG-7: USA: Senator Joseph Lieberman (R-CT) was selected as the vice-presidential Democratic candidate. He is the first Jew in the history of the U.S. to run as a VP candidate for a major party.
bulletAUG-13: Illinois: 450 Muslim families in Palos Heights, IL decided to convert an unused church into a mosque. Some Christians complained. One suggested that the Muslims either convert to Christianity or return to their country of origin. City Council voted to bribe the group with $200,000 if they would cancel their plans. The mayor vetoed the offer.
bulletSEP-5: Vatican: The declaration "Dominus Iesus" was published. It says, in part, "Churches such as the Church of England...and churches without bishops, are not considered 'proper' churches." They suffer from "defects." Religions other than Christianity are considered to be "gravely deficient." Their rituals constitute "an obstacle to salvation" for their followers.
bulletSEP-25: USA: A Hindu priest, Venkatachalapathi Samuldrala, opened the session of the House of Representatives with a prayer. He was the first Hindu in history to do so. The Family Research Council placed a statement on their web site which said, in part: "Our founders expected that Christianity -- and no other religion -- would receive support from the government. They would have found utterly incredible the idea that all religions, including paganism, be treated with equal deference." The statement was later removed. The FRC then issued a clarification, but not an apology. 
bulletSEP-28: Israel: Ariel Sharon, conservative opposition leader, toured the temple mount in Jerusalem. This triggered a massive outbreak of violence which was still active at year-end.
bulletSEP-29: USA: A statement signed by over 150 rabbis and Jewish scholars was published. It asked Jews to recognize the dramatic improvement in Jewish-Christian relations during the last few decades. It states that today's Christians who reject the old "teaching of contempt" for the Jewish people should not be blamed for the sins of their ancestors, including the Nazi Holocaust.
bulletOCT-4: Texas: In spite of major opposition from Christian demonstrators and a Christian radio station, Bryan Lankford, a Wiccan Priest was allowed to deliver a prayer which opened a government meeting prior to a Dallas City Council meeting.
bulletOCT-28: Oklahoma: Charlie Bushyhead, a vice-principal at Uniin Intermediate High School in Broken Arrow, OK, became convinced that Brandi Blackbear,15, had placed a magic spell on a teacher, causing him to become sick and to be hospitalized. Bushyhead suspended Blackbear for 15 days. 
bulletNOV-1: Abortion violence: The National Abortion Federation recorded 57 violent incidents at U.S. abortion clinics to date in 2000. This is a massive reduction from the 437 incidences logged in the peak year of 1993. The level of violence is well behind 1999, when there were 113 such incidents recorded by NOV-1. 1
bulletNOV-10: Medical ethics: Physicians in England operated to separate conjoined twins Jodie and Mary, in opposition to the wishes of the twins' parents. As expected, Mary who lacked a functioning heart and lungs, immediately died. Jodie survived and was breathing on her own, feeding from a bottle and smiling at people by the year-end.
bulletNOV-14: Finland: Finland's Evangelical Lutheran Church formally apologized for its decades of silence concerning the Nazi Holocaust.
bulletDEC-19: Netherlands: The federal government passed a law legalizing physician assisted suicide. Assisted suicide was technically a criminal act in the past, but was frequently practiced.
bulletDEC-8: Russia: The Salvation Army's application for registration was rejected in Moscow, the Russian capital. They were judged to be an unwelcome foreign military organization.
bulletDEC-19: Netherlands: The federal government passed legislation that will expand the marriage laws to include gays and lesbians. They will become first country in recent history to allow homosexuals to marry. Also passed was a law enabling gays and lesbians to adopt children.

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Related essays on this web site:

bulletA more detailed description of the year's religiously intolerant news items.
bulletA more detailed description of the year's religiously tolerant news items.

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References

  1. "Call to action," Life Advocacy Alliance bulletin of 2000-DEC-31. 

Copyright 2001 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2000-DEC-31
Latest update: 2001-JUN-3
Author: B.A. Robinson

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