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NEWS OF RELIGIOUS CONFLICT & INTOLERANCE DURING 2002-NOV.

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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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2002-NOV-1: Importance of NOV-5 election: This mid-term election is of phenomenal importance, both to social conservatives and social liberals. If the Republican party retains control of the House and also re-captures control of the Senate, then they will be able to implement sweeping conservative reforms. If the Democratic party gains control of the House and Senate, then they will be able to pass liberal bills, but would probably see many vetoed by the President.

There are also state and local ballot propositions which will be decided by the electorate.  According to the Family Research Council, these include:
bullet

A defense of marriage act, which would prohibit marriages other than those involving one man and one woman, is on the ballot in Nevada. 

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Measures to alter drug laws (e.g. decriminalizing marijuana needed by patients for medical reasons) are on the ballots in Arizona, Nevada, Ohio, and South Dakota.

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Gambling issues will be decided in Arizona, Idaho, North Dakota, and Tennessee. 

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Measures granting equal rights and protection for gays and lesbians are on the ballots in Tacoma, WA, Westbrook, ME, and Ypsilanti, MI. 11

bullet2002-NOV-5: KY: Ministerial group to demonstrate against Gay support group: Some gay and straight students of Boyd County High School in Cannonsburg, KY, attempted twice to obtain permission from the school's teacher-parent council to organize a Gay-Straight Alliance support group. They were rejected both times. On the third trial, during the week of OCT-26, they had a letter of support from the American Civil Liberties Union which explained the requirements of the federal Equal Access Act. This time, the PTC approved their application. This triggered two demonstrations: The Boyd County Ministerial Association, is planning a community protest against the support group on NOV-10. Many students boycotted the school by staying home on Monday NOV-4; 420 out of the total student body of 990 stayed away.

Some reactions:
bulletJenny Reese, mother of a student who is a member of the Alliance said: "I just don't think it's a good idea for parents to let their children stay home from school. It doesn't set a good example for tolerance.''
bulletAndrea Opell, 17, a senior, said: ''Anything could happen. 'A lot of people say it will die down, and I hope it does. I hope it doesn't get violent. I hope it doesn't get out of hand.''
bulletRev. Tim York, pastor at Heritage Temple Free Will Baptist Church and the Rev. Bill Bentley, pastor at First United Methodist Church have appealed the council's decision.
bulletJames Esseks of the ACLU said at this was ''the first time I've heard of a reaction of this kind or this size'' to the creation of a gay-straight alliance at a school. He continued: "The level of reaction or resistance they're encountering illustrates the need for a safe place for these kids to meet. Can you imagine being a gay or lesbian student in a community where people feel so free in expressing their intolerance? That must be a difficult place to be.'' 12
bullet2002-NOV-7: Canada: Federal government considering same-sex relationship law: Justice Minister Martin Cauchon released a discussion paper that will be used by the justice and human rights committee of the House of Commons to guide the consultations. It suggests three options, that:
bulletMarriage would remain an opposite-sex institution. Civil union or domestic partnership legislation would be codified in law for same-sex couples; it would be equivalent to marriage, except in name.
bulletMarriage would be expanded to include same-sex couples.
bulletParliament would cancel its marriage laws, and create a single "registered partner" registry for same- and opposite-sex couples. Marriage would be left to religious groups only. It would be a religious ritual, like baptism in some churches, and would have no legal significance.

There are rumors that Cauchon favors the civil union option. 13,14 More details

bullet2002-NOV-7: PEI, Canada: Commune leader found guilty of abusing children: Lucille Poulin, the leader and prophet of a religious commune in Prince Edward Island and a former nun was given an eight month jail sentence and three years probation for abusing children under her care. She is not to care for or live with children under the age of 12 during her period of probation. Ms. Poulin believes that children needed to have the Devil beaten out of them in order to save them from eternal torture in Hell. Her Fundamentalist Christian group started in 1984 near Westlock, AB. They moved to Prince Edward Island in 1995 after social workers in Alberta obtained a supervision order to monitor the commune's children. Life for children in the commune was filled with violence. They would be beaten for such minor infractions as "laughing, sneaking a cookie, even falling asleep." Poulin was responsible for most of the beatings. However, she had one of the men whip the children if she felt that she was not strong enough to administer sufficiently powerful blows. After sentencing, she commented: "I want to say at this point that the blood of those children are not on my hands anymore. I thank God that I have been faithful to the mandate God gave me. I chose to abide in His word. And He said if you continue in my word, you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. He is my beloved, and I am in love with Him, and I want to obey God rather than man.... Everyone will answer for what they do and say. I go free with the joy of the Lord in my heart." The judge concluded that requiring her to go to counseling would be unproductive. 15
bullet2002-NOV-12: Nigeria: Opposition to Miss World contest: Some Muslim groups in the country have opposed the contest, for a variety of reasons. They consider the exposure of so much flesh by women to be immoral. The contest is scheduled to occur during the lunar month of Ramadan -- the holiest month of the Muslim year. "An official of one Muslim group in the city of Gusau said protesters were planning 'black prayers' and a 'spread of plagues of curses and bad luck on the Miss World organizers and participants'." Organizers have said participants would not attend any function in the Muslim north of the country. 16
bullet2002-NOV-19: BC, Canada: At the age of 2, Debbie Palmer had been moved to Bountiful BC, a colony of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- a faith group that split off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the main Mormon denomination. The Fundamentalist Church has been excommunicated by the main church. At the age of 15, she was assigned to be the sixth wife of a 57 year old man. After his death, she was assigned to two more husbands. She left the colony in 1991, after her 13 year old daughter was allegedly molested by her third husband. She claims that she has suffered sexual, physical, psychological and spiritual abuse as a child and as a wife. She has since devoted her life to supporting other women who have attempted to leave the colony. She is attempting to initiate a class-action lawsuit on behalf of 25 to 200 wives from polygamous Mormon communities in the U.S. and Canada. She hopes that the lawsuit will "bring into the public and legal arena questions that the government has been extremely reluctant to address." According to reporter Robert Matas, she said that the civil lawsuit will raise concerns about the lack of education for children in the religious community and the social, financial and personal difficulties confronting those who try to leave. Matas wrote: "The fundamentalist sect believes the highest degree of salvation is achieved through multiple 'celestial' marriages and having several children. Polygamy is illegal, but the government has adopted a hands-off approach to the community. B.C. Attorney-General Geoff Plant says a guarantee of freedom of religion protects church members from the law." Lawyer Vaughn Marshall said that the women are looking for justice. "They want a court to say, 'This was wrong,' " He said that laws on polygamy and bigamy are intended to prevent the exploitation of women and to protect their property rights. But women leave Bountiful with nothing. The lawsuit alleges systemic negligence and abuse, and "unjust enrichment." 17
bullet2002-NOV-23: Nigeria: Mass murder; Pageant cancelled: The "ThisDay" daily national newspaper published a controversial article written by a woman, Isioma Daniel. It suggested that if the Prophet Mohammed were alive today and had viewed the Miss World pageant, he would have probably chosen to marry one of the contestants. The newspaper later published a retraction and apology. However, the original article triggered three days of rioting.  "...protesters armed with sticks, daggers and knives set fire to vehicles and attacked anyone they suspected of being Christian." Christian mobs counter-attacked.  Over 200 people died; most were Christian. At least 500 were injured. Many Christian churches and a few Islamic mosques were burned to the ground. The newspaper building was razed. As of NOV-28, nobody had been arrested for the murders and assaults. The officials of the Miss World pageant decided to change the venue to London England. 18
bullet2002-NOV-26: Nigeria: Religious edict issued to assassinate writer: The New Nigerian newspaper reported that the Deputy Governor of Zamfara state, Mamuda Aliyu Dallatun Sininkafi, had issued a fatwa (religious edict). It allegedly calls for all devout Muslims to attempt to assassinate Isioma Daniel. She is the author of the article that suggested that the Prophet Mohammed might have married one of the women in the Miss World pageant. The information minister of Zamfara, Umar Dangaladima Magaji, said: "What we are saying is that the Holy Qur'an has clearly stated that whoever insults the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, should be killed...If she is Muslim, she has no option except to die. But if she is a non-Muslim, the only way out for her is to convert to Islam." Daniel's religion is unknown at this time. She tendered her resignation and has fled to the U.S.  A spokesperson for Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo said that the federal government would not permit any Islamic group or individual to carry out the death order. 19

In Islam, fatwas can only be issued by a select group of religious scholars. It is doubtful that this fatwa is binding on believers.
bullet2002-NOV-28: Nigeria: Religious edict reversed: The Jama'atu Nasril Islam, Nigeria's supreme Islamic body, circulated an order for Muslims to ignore the theological edict issued on NOV-26. They wrote that "The Zamfara state government has no authority to issue fatwa and the fatwa issued by it should be ignored." In Nigeria, the power to issue a fatwa is limited to the Jama'atu and the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs. 20

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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. Ken Connor, "State Ballot Props Target Family Issues" Family Research Council, Washington Update, 2002-OCT-31.
  12. Mark Pitsch, "Gay-rights decision protested at E. Kentucky school: Allowing group to meet sparks student boycott," The Courier-Journal, Louisville, KY., 2002-NOV-5, at: http://www.courier-journal.com/
  13. Andrew Chung, "Gay marriage to get hearing; Ottawa could consider legislation as early as this spring," Toronto Star, 2002-NOV-8.
  14. "Marriage and Legal Recognition of Same-sex Unions: A Discussion Paper,"
     http://canada.justice.gc.ca/en/dept/pub/mar/
  15. David Stonehouse, "Former Alberta sect leader jailed for beating children; Lucille Poulin, 78, says she carried out God's will in P.E.I.," Edmonton Journal, at: http://www.canada.com/edmonton/
  16. "Plea to stop Nigeria pageant protest," BBC News, 2002-NOV-12, at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/
  17. Robert Matas, "Woman to bring suit against Mormon church," The Globe and Mail, Toronto ON, 2002-NOV-19, Page A10.
  18. "Nigeria calls off Miss World show," BBC News, 2002-NOV-23, at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/
  19. "Nigerian state issues death order on writer: Riots followed Miss World report," Reuters/Canadian Press, The Toronto Star, 2002-NOV-27, Page A17
  20. Daniel Balint-Kurti, "Top Muslim body rejects death edict: Nigerian state ordered death; Supreme body accepts apology," Reuters, 2002-NOV-29, The Toronto Star, Page A27

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How you got here: Home page > Intolerance news >  here

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Copyright © 2002 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2002-NOV-1
Latest update: 2002-NOV-27
Author: B.A. Robinson

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