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News of religious/ethical change, conflict and/or intolerance

2008-July


Sponsored link:



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


Events:

  • 2008-JUL-08: UK: Church of England general synod confirms principle of female bishops: Women have only been ordained into the Church of England since 1994. Significant effort has been expended to allow female priests to be consecrated as bishops. Traditionalists in the denomination have asked for special arrangements so that they would not have to be under the guidance of a female bishop.

    The General Synod passed a motion approving female bishops in principle. However separate two-thirds majority votes among bishops, priests and the laity will be required at the next synod in 2009-FEB to authorize legislation to consecrate women. In this General Synod, the laity passed the motion but were short of the two-thirds majority. More details.
  • 2008-JUL-09: USA: Allegations of a cover-up by Bush administration: Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) accused the Bush administration of a "cover-up" aimed at stopping the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from tackling greenhouse emissions. She said: "This cover-up is being directed from the White House and the office of the vice president." Jason Burnett, the EPA's former associate deputy administrator who appeared at a news conference with Senator Boxer said that the EPA made a preliminary finding in 2007-DEC that "greenhouse gases may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public welfare."

    Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, when asked about the administration's actions, said, "I don't know if that is criminal. I doubt it. OK. But I know it is immoral. ...The health of my grandchildren, my children and me are affected by this head-in-the-sand that global warming doesn't exist." 1

  • 2008-JUL-10: Italy: European Parliament rebukes Italy for fingerprinting Roma: The Italian government is entering Roma ghettos and fingerprinting adults and children. The data is filed according to religion, Their stated goal is to cut crime, control the use of children used for begging and to help identify illegal immigrants. The Roma, known popularly as Gypsies, are probably the most discriminated against minority in Europe. By a vote of 336 to 220, the European Parliament passed a resolution criticizing Italy for its actions. It asked Italy "to refrain from collecting the fingerprints from Roma, including minors, as this would clearly constitute an act of discrimination based on race and ethnic origin." Italy's foreign minister, Franco Frattini, said the move was "politically motivated and based on prejudices" against his country. The fingerprinting has also been criticized by Unicef. 5 More details on European prejudice against the Roma
  • 2008-JUL-11: UT: Mormon faced excommunication because of calendar: Chad Hardy has been summoned to a meeting on JUL-13 with a council of his elders to discuss his "conduct unbecoming a member of the church." He created a "2009 Men on a Mission" calendar that features twelve male Mormon missionaries who are shown topless. They also appear in missionary clothing and discuss their beliefs.

    The Associated Press states:

    Blog entries on the social networking sites MySpace and Facebook show a range of reactions to Hardy's work. Some find it offensive and say it degrades the church by displaying missionaries as sex symbols, and that it contradicts church teachings about modest dress for all members."

    "Others praise the effort for rattling perceptions that Mormons are 'stuffy.' Some who identified themselves as younger Mormons said the calendar might make it easier for their non-Mormon friends to consider exploring the faith." 2

  • Update: Hardy was excommunicated by the church.

    You can buy his 2008 calendar at http://www.mormonsexposed.com for US $14.99 plus shipping. His 2009 calendar is scheduled to go on sale in September.

  • 2008-JUL-12: TX: No good deed goes unpunished: local Muslims' gift rejected: Anonymous donors left plastic bags on the doorknobs of some homes in a predominately Christian area of Houston. They contained an English interpretation of the Qur'an -- the Muslim holy book -- and a flyer that read, "Please accept this gift from your Muslim neighbors." They did not ring the doorbell, apparently out of a desire to not interrupt their neighbors activities.

    At least one resident was outraged at the gift for three reasons:
    • By not knocking on the door, the donors prevented her from proselytizing.
    • She holds Texas Muslims responsible for government actions in some foreign, predominately Muslim, countries. OneNewsNow reported that she found "... it ironic that Muslims are taking advantage of religious freedom in America. 'If I were to go to their country and leave my Bible, I would be persecuted,' she notes."
    • She noted that some of her neighbors were a bit scared, thinking that the donors might be somehow linked to extremist fundamentalist violent Muslim terrorists. 3
  • Critically important news item

    2006-JUL-13: Major threat to Internet looming:

    There are rumors that Bell Canada and Telus -- Canada's two largest Internet Service Providers -- are planning to change the nature of the Internet in Canada. This would probably change the Internet worldwide in a few years.

    The Internet has long been hated by non-democratic and partially democratic governments because it allows free interchange of information and is basically uncontrollable. Anyone can set up a web site and write anything on it. Now, there are rumors that these two companies are planning to convert Canadian access to the Internet into a clone of cable TV: Their basic package would only give subscribers access to 200 of the largest websites -- typically TV, games, and news outlets. Alternative news outlets, religious websites like this one, etc. would incur a fee for every visit. Most would quickly die. I Power spokesperson Reese Leysen said:

    "It's beyond censorship, it is killing the biggest ecosystem of free expression and freedom of speech that has ever existed. ... We had inside sources from bigger companies who gave us the information on how exclusivity deals are being made at this moment between ISPs and big content providers (like TV production studios and major video game publishers) to decide which web sites will be in the 'standard package' offered to their customers, leaving all the rest of the Internet unreachable unless you pay extra subscription fees per every 'non-standard' site you visit.

    We knew the source to be 100% reliable, but we also knew the story would be highly controversial if we released the information. We did it because we knew that we'd get more official confirmations once we'd come forward with it. And indeed that is what happened. Dylan Pattyn, who is writing the soon-to-be published article for Time Magazine, received confirmation from sources within Bell Canada and TELUS after we released the information. ...

    The Internet will become a playground for billion-dollar content providers just like television is.  It won't be possible for a few teenagers in their parents' basement to start a small site like E-bay that then grows out to be the next big thing anymore. Right now the Internet belongs to those with the greatest ideas. In the future, it'll belong to those with the biggest budgets."

    By 2012 ISPs all over the globe will reduce Internet access to a TV-like subscription model, only offering access to a small standard amount of commercial sites and require extra fees for every other site you visit. These 'other' sites would then lose all their exposure and eventually shut down, resulting in what could be seen as the end of the Internet."
    Since:
    • ISPs are driven by money rather than service to their customers, and
    • Governments would like nothing better than to throttle public access to controversial information sources,

    this concept would certainly spread like a wildfire to the U.S. and around the world. 4


  • 2008-JUL-14: MN: Jesse Ventura conditionally announced no run for senate: Jesse Ventura appeared on Larry King Live, saying that he was close to running for the U.S. Senate. But he mentioned that his 57th birthday will occur on JUL-15, and that so far God has never talked to him and advised him to do anything. He said that this was unlike George W. Bush who was instructed by God to invade Iraq. He was reluctant to run because his relatives would then be subjected to excessive media scrutiny. But he said that if God spoke to him before the 5 PM deadline on JUL-15, and advised him to run, he would change his mind. He asked Larry King to not criticize him if he did change his mind under these circumstances.
  • 2008-JUL-16: UK: Lambeth Conference starts: This once-a-decade meeting of Anglican bishops from around the world started today. The Anglican Communion is seriously split over the question of the authority of the Bible. The split has surfaced over the question of equal treatment of persons in loving, committed same-sex relationships. In order to prevent Gene Robinson, the bishop of New Hampshire and the only openly gay Anglican bishop from becoming the focus of the conference, he has been forbidden to attend. This strategy appears to have backfired, as he has become an even greater focus of attention at the conference. More info.
  • 2008-JUL-27: TN: Man shoots nine people at Unitarian Universalist church: A lone gunman entered the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, TN, pulled a 12-gauge shotgun out of a guitar case, and fired three times among the 200 attendees. Nine members of the congregation were shot at about 10:15 AM ET.  Two died.

    Police found a note that indicated he targeted the Unitarian Universalist congregation out of hatred for its liberal policies, including its acceptance of homosexuals. 6,7 More info.
  • 2008-JUL-29: The Massachusetts house voted 118 to 35 to repeal a 1913 racist law that was originally created in order to prevent interracial marriage. It has since been used to prevent out of state same-sex couples from marrying in Massachusetts. Governor Deval Patrick has indicated that he will sign the bill.

References used:

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

  1. Richard Cowan, "White House in climate change 'cover up'," Reuters, 2008-JUL-089, at: http://www.reuters.com/
  2. "Shirtless Mormons calendar gets man in trouble," CNN.com, 2008-JUL-11, at: http://www.cnn.com/
  3. Charlie Butts, "Houston-area residents get unwelcomed gift," OneNewsNow, 2008-JUL-12, at: http://www.onenewsnow.com/
  4. "Canadian ISPs Plan Net Censorship," Email from 'X' Zone Nation at: from xzone@xzoneradio.com
  5. "Italy rebuke on Roma fingerprints," BBC News, 2008-JUL-10, at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/
  6. "1 killed, 8 others wounded in Tennessee church shooting," CNN.com, 2008-JU-27, at: http://www.cnn.com/
  7. "Church's liberal views led to shooting, note says," The Globe and Mail, Toronto, 2008-JUL-29, Page A9.
  8. "Gunman targeted Tennessee church for liberal policies: police Burly church usher gave his life to protect others, witnesses say," CBC News, 2008-JUL-28, at: http://www.cbc.ca/
  9. Bob Fowler, et al., "Church shooting: 2nd victim dies; authorities search accused man's house," KNOX News, 2008-JUL-27, at: http://www.knoxnews.com/
  10. TVUUC Supporter, "Support TVUUC by supporting its causes," at: http://supporttvuuc.blogspot.com/

How you got here:

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Copyright © 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2008-JUL-10
Latest update: 2008-JUL-29
Author: B.A. Robinson

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