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RELIGIOUS CHANGE, CONFLICT AND/OR INTOLERANCE

During 2006-April

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Sponsored link:

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We also have a list of religious tolerance & information news for this month. 
Sad to say, these are usually much shorter lists.

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bullet2006-APR-04: USA: "We hold these truths" web site allegedly threatened:" This web site at http://www.whtt.org may be shut down on APR-04 because of complaints received by their web hosting service. Spokesperson Charles E. Calrson wrote:

" 'We Hold These Truths' website may disappear tomorrow for the second time in three years.  We have been told by our primary service provider they will do this. 'We Hold These Truths' has decided not to cut and run.....Our accuser is a sheltered offshore corporation and does not even answer our letters. " 1

Complaints appear to be centered on Carlson's article "Why doesn't God end our Serial Wars?" written on MAR-18. The writes that a group -- which he describes as "evangelical" or "Christian Zionist" or "The Christian Right" -- is teaching "...that Christ permits (if not demands) war against Islam." 2 As of 10 AM ET on APR-04, their web site was still online. But by 08:30 ET on APR-09, it was offline.

bullet2006-APR-04: France: Seventh-day Adventists Church admitted to Protestant body: Jean-Paul Barquon, secretary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in France, said:

"After two years of probation, after 13 years of negotiations, after 35 years of collaboration between Adventist youth and CPCV [the French national protestant organization for education and preparation of youth leaders], and after more than 50 years of working together with the French Biblical Alliance, our church was accepted as a full member of the French Protestant Federation.....Now we can enjoy the same rights as traditional Protestant churches and we are considered theologically equal with other religious movements in our country." 3

In North America, the Seventh-day Adventists are considered by many as a Protestant denomination. However, some counter-cult groups consider the group to be a cult.

bullet2006-APR-12: Belarus: Hassidic Jewish community unable to celebrate Passover freely: The Hassidic Jewish community in Minsk were refused permission by the city administration  to hold their Passover celebration at the state-owned :Palace for Children and Youth. Forum 18 reported that permission was refused:

"...on the grounds that a religious event could not be permitted at a venue frequented by children....A spokeswoman for Minsk's Central District administration told Forum 18 she could not recall the precise details of the 31 March refusal, but surmised that it was probably because "it wouldn't be very good to have a religious event at a children's institution - I'm sure you understand." The Hassidic community then planned to join the celebration at a Jewish veterans' club, but that too was banned. A scaled-down celebration went ahead at a synagogue cafeteria. The community was similarly unable to obtain official permission for its Purim celebrations in March. Belarus' highly restrictive 2002 religion law requires all religious events taking place outside designated places of worship to obtain official permission as stipulated by the 2003 demonstrations law, with fines or imprisonment for those defying the restrictions. 11

bullet2006-APR-12: USA: Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Jr. died: He was described by the General Secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA as:

"a friend, teacher, mentor, and pastor to generations of people of faith -- [he] was the icon on which many of us modeled our social and religious activism. He was a tireless and faithful advocate for peace and justice and his resonant voice will be missed. Bill was a gregarious man who loved people and made time for everyone who approached him. There are literally thousands of people who called him friend and none will forget his courage, his eloquence and his humor. 4

bullet2006-APR-14: Philippines: Seven or more Filipinos were nailed to crosses: At least seven Catholic devotees were crucified by having their palms and feet attached to crosses with ten centimeter (4") nails. The nails were soaked in alcohol to prevent infection. A crowd observing the event was estimated at 15,000. Monsignor Pedro Quitorio, spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines traced the source of traditions of flagellation and crucifixion at Easter time to pre-Christian Animism. They are not approved by the church. He said: "They think that when they do that they will receive blessings for the coming year. That is not a Christian idea. If you have Christ in you, that's enough blessing. You don't need to duplicate what he did on the cross." 5
bullet2006-APR (exact date unknown) MN: No Easter eggs in St. Paul: In response to a complaint by a member of the public, Tyrone Terrill, the Human Rights Director of St. Paul, MN, asked that a cloth Easter bunny, pastel-colored eggs, and other  Easter-related decorations be removed from city hall because they "could be offensive to non-Christians." City Council President Kathy Lantry said: "As government, we have a different responsibility about advancing the cause of religion, which we are not going to do." A city councilman complained: "We can't celebrate spring with bunnies and fake grass?" Lantry said. "It's not about being politically correct or anything else. Someone complained." To that comment, the This is True webmaster wrote: "But isn't offending everyone based on a complaint by one person the definition of political correctness?" There is another angle to this event that apparently was not covered in the Minneapolis Star Tribune: Bunnies and Easter eggs are Pagan symbols of fertility; a significant percentage of Christians in the city might well have been offended by their presence. >6
bullet2006-APR-18: Germany: Holocaust archived to be opened to historians: The government of Germany has decided to allow historians and researchers to have access to one of the largest archives on the Nazi Holocaust in the world. It contains up to 50 million documents on more than 17 million people who were executed, or mistreated during the Holocaust. 7
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2006-APR-20: DC: Event at President Bush's press conference: Wenyi Wang, a member of the Falon Gong, attended a press conference involving President Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao. She asked that Bush help end persecution of the group by the Chinese government. Bush allegedly apologized to Hu Jintao after the event. Fr. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition said: "The focus of the episode at [the] news conference should not have been an apology by President Bush. Rather, it should have been an honest and open dialogue by the White House on human rights and religious freedom." The coalition is also calling on the U.S. government to drop criminal charges against Wenyi Wang. Mahoney said: "It was also troubling to see the repeated characterization of Wenyi Wang by the national press as a heckler. This woman was simply attempting to draw public attention to the religious persecution of the Falun Gong by the Chinese government." 8

bullet2006-APR-25: USA: Sexual and fascist messages on Catholic hymnals?: There are allegations of hidden images on the covers of Catholic hymnals over the past few years. These are reported as being used in two out of every three dioceses in the U.S. For example, "Today's Missal . Music Issue™" for the year 2006 may be interpreted as displaying a distorted swastika and and the word "Sex." See: http://ww1.prweb.com/ Whether this is accidental, unintended, a forgery, or an attempt to project a sexual and fascist message is anyone's guess. The Los Angeles diocese has allegedly covered up the cover artwork with an adhesive sticker. 10
bullet2006-APR-21: Serbia: Government passes discriminatory religious bill: By a vote of 120 to 4, the National Assembly of Serbia has passed a  bill -- The Law on Churches and Religious Communities -- which adversely affects religion and religious freedom in the country. The government wrote the bill without consulting religoius communities, non-government organizations, or international organizations. >The Serbian Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church, Slovak Lutheran Church, Reformed Church, Evangelical Christian Church, and the Islamic and Jewish communities are given preferred treatment. Other religious groups who would like to join the list will be faced with burdensome documentation requirements. The government will assess the group's beliefs and financial sources before deciding whether to allow it to join the preferred list. Joseph K. Grieboski, President of the Institute on Religion and Public Policy in Serbia said:

"There is no need for such a law to have been rushed through the National Assembly without consultation with the Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion and Belief of the Orgnization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)and certainly without consultation with religious communities in Serbia." 9

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Links to religious news sources:

bulletLinks to general religious, conservative Christian, other Christian, and non-Christian news sources is available elsewhere on this web site.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Charles E. Carlson, "The Continued Tightening Noose of Internet Censorship on the Internet Threatens We Hold These Truths, " Pharisee Watch newsletter, 2006-APR-04.
  2. Charles E. Carlson, "Why doesn’t God end our Serial Wars?," We Hold These Truths, 2006-MAR-18, at: http://www.whtt.org/
  3. "France: Joining Protestant Group Puts Adventists on Equal Theological Footing, Church Leaders Say." Adventist News Network™, 2006-APR-04, at: http://news.adventist.org/
  4. Robert Edgar, "Send a tribute to Bill Coffin," NCC General Secretary, Email, 2006-APR-14.
  5. "Crucifixion re-enactments begin," Associated Press, 2006-APR-14 (Good Friday), at: http://www.cnn.com/
  6. "Hoppy Easter," This is True weekly newsletter, 2006-APR-14. They E-mail a free newspaper column every week. See: http://www.thisistrue.com/
  7. David Stout, "Germany Agrees to Open Holocaust Archive," The New York Times, 2006-APR-19, at: http://www.nytimes.com/
  8. "Christian coalition disappointed by Bush's apology to Chinese president," Catholic News Agency, 2006-APR-24, at: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com
  9. "Serbian National Assembly Rushes through Controversial Religion Law," Institute on Religion and Public Policy News Service, (IRPP), News Update, 2006-APR-22.
  10. "Catholic Churches Cover Sexual and Demonic Artwork with Adhesive to Hide Imagery. Nation’s largest Catholic Archdioceses cover-up artwork scandal," PRWeb, 2006-APR-20, at: http://www.prweb.com/
  11. "Belarus: Passover celebration banned for fear children might watch," Forum 18 News Service bulletin, 2006-APR-27. Their web site is at http://www.forum18.org/

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Copyright © 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2006-APR-03
Latest update: 2006-APR-28
Author: B.A. Robinson

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