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NEWS OF RELIGIOUS CONFLICT & INTOLERANCE DURING 2002-FEB

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

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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."

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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.

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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:
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A joke: "Hinduism, Buddhism, rheumatism."

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A minister criticized mainline churches because they were following a politically correct agenda and accommodating to secular culture.

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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.

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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.

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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 in 2003. 12

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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

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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

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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 chilren each.]

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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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References:

  1. 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 
  2. 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
  3. Reuters is "the world's leading financial information and news group. Their web page is at: http://www.reuters.com/ 
  4. Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR): E-mail: cair1@ix.netcom.com
    URL: http://www.cair-net.org To join CAIR-NET, CAIR's read-only mailing list: Send subscribe cair-net in the body of a message to majordomo@cair-net.org
  5. EWTN News carries Roman Catholic news from Catholic World News, Vatican Information Service, ZENIT, CWNews.com. See: http://www.ewtn.com/news/ 
  6. Ecumenical News International (ENI) in Geneva Switzerland distributes news free religious news highlights to subscribers. They can be contacted at PO Box 2100, CH - 1211, Geneva 2, Switzerland. Telephone: (41-22) 791 6087/6515. Fax: (41-22) 788 7244 Email: eni@eni.ch. Their web site is at http://www.eni.ch 
  7. ZENIT.org is "an International News Agency based in Rome. Our mission is to provide objective and professional coverage of events, documents and issues emanating from or concerning the Catholic Church for a worldwide audience, especially the media." Their web site is at: http://www.zenit.org/english/ 
  8. Anglican Communion News Service provides information from an Anglican perspective. See: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/index.html A companion Episcopal News Service is at: http://www.ecusa.anglican.org/ens/ 
  9. AANEWS is distributed by American Atheists.
  10. CNSNews.com -- Cybercast News Service -- is a conservative news source. Their home page is at: http://www.cnsnews.com
  11. Tom Mashberg, Jules Crittenden and Laurel J. Sweet, "Disgraced: Church suspends 6 more alleged molester priests," Boston Herald, 2002-FEB-8, at:  http://www2.bostonherald.com/news/ 
  12. Colin R. Nicholl: "For Christ's sake," The Spectator, 2001-NOV-24, http://www.spectator.co.uk/article.php3?
  13. "Russian dioceses established," Toronto Star, Toronto, ON, 2002-FEB-11.
  14. "Mennonites challenge water rules," Toronto Star, Toronto, ON, 2002-FEB-12, Page A4.
  15. "Church sex abuse revelations spread to Philly: 'Startling Information' -- Dozens Of Clerics Accused, Six Dismissed," AANEWS, 2002-FEB-23.
  16. Lutheran Witness, 2002-FEB, at: http://www.lcms.org/witness/Feb02.pdf

Copyright © 2002 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2002-FEB-9
Latest update: 2002-MAR-29
Author: B.A. Robinson

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