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NEWS OF RELIGIOUS CONFLICT & INTOLERANCE DURING 2002-OCT.

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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-OCT-4: VA: Wiccan rejected: Cyndi Simpson is a Wiccan priestess, who lives in  Chesterfield County, VA. In her area of the country, Wicca and other Neopagan religions are highly misunderstood. She asked Chesterfield County to add her name to the list of ministers and priests who give invocations at county meetings. Her hope was that if she gave an invocation, she would help rid the community of misconceptions of Witches and Wiccans. She got several responses:
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Steven L. Micas, the county's attorney, wrote back that: "Based upon our review of Wicca, it is neo-pagan and invokes polytheistic, pre-Christian deities...Accordingly, we cannot honor your request."
Simpson said: "I believe that this shows bias not only against my faith but against Islam, Hindu, Buddhism, Native Americans and any faith outside the Judeo-Christian religion. In a public area, government sponsored, we should all be welcome....I am a proud citizen of Chesterfield County. I think these kinds of public practices should reflect the true religious diversity of Chesterfield County, and I am part of that. I would welcome a phone call from any of the county officials."

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Supervisor Renny B. Humphrey, from the rural, heavily Baptist Matoaca District, said "I hope she's a good witch like Glinda." Glinda is the Good Witch of the North in the movie "The Wizard of Oz."

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Board Chairman Kelly E. Miller said: "It [Wicca] is a mockery. It is not any religion I would subscribe to. There are certain places we ought not to go, and this is one of them."

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On a positive note, Supervisor Edward B. Barber said: "How do you justify drawing a line to say this religious practice is acceptable to begin a board meeting but this one is not?"

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Kent Willis, spokesperson for the Virginia branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, said "They are dead wrong. Wicca is a highly recognized religion. The military manual for chaplains includes instructions for people who are Wiccans...Their reasoning is highly suspect." 11 More details

bullet2002-OCT-4: STOPP International criticizes contraceptives funding: Stop Planned Parenthood (STOPP) is a conservative Christian agency -- a division of American Life League -- located in Stafford, VA. STOPP issued a news release critical of the U.S. federal administration's decision to approve a Medicaid waiver for the state of New York. It allows the state to expand its coverage of condoms and other contraceptives to low-income persons. It makes free contraceptives available via Medicaid to individuals whose income us up to twice the federal poverty level. STOPP's national director, Ed Szymkowiak, wrote: "Once again the Bush administration has betrayed its professed pro-life credentials. Bowing to pressure from Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion New Yorkers such as Gov. George Pataki and Sens. Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer, the Bush administration approved a waiver which allows New York to expand its coverage of condoms and sometimes-abortifacient contraceptive drugs and devices....This is a major defeat for the pro-life movement. Other states will likely follow suit. President Bush should be ashamed of himself....Taxpayers will now be forced to subsidize even more intrinsically-evil contraception than we were before." 16
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2002-OCT-6: Jerry Falwell accused of hate speech: The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) issued a statement on OCT-14 asking that President Bush distance himself from statements by three Fundamentalist Christian leaders: "Jerry Fallwell, Pat Robertson, and Franklin Graham BY NAME." The statement reads in part: "Jerry Fallwell called the founder and revered prophet of Islam, Muhammed, a 'terrorist' on CBS's '60 Minutes' on Sunday, October 6.  In so doing, Fallwell set off a firestorm in the American Muslim community to which MPAC responded.  Fallwell's comments came on the heals of a slew of other viscous attacks lodged by the radical sector of the Evangelical Christian denomination...The Reverend Franklin Graham called Islam a 'very evil and wicked religion' and said the Qur'an, Islam's revealed text, 'preaches violence.' Pat Robertson said Islam is a 'monumental scam' and claimed the prophet Muhammad was 'an absolute wild-eyed fanatic...a robber and brigand...a killer.' Robertson's 700-Club regularly features highly inflammatory programming that promotes bigotry against Muslims." MPAC repeatedly challenged Rev. Falwell to a public debate but, as of OCT-14, had not received any response. MPAC urges that Americans write the President at president@whitehouse.gov 12

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2002-OCT-12: USA: Book on massacre causes controversy: A book: "Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows " is generating considerable controversy. It concerns a 1857 massacre of men, women and children among a group of pioneers passing from Arkansas, through Utah, on their way to California. The perpetrators were Mormons with the assistance of Natives. Debate about the book does not center on the actual terrorists who did the killing. Although the Church initially tried a cover-up, the details are now known. The controversy over the book is whether the massacre was ordered by the church's prophet and president, Brigham Young, or whether it was perpetrated by an isolated community of Mormons acting independently. 13,14

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2002-OCT-17: North America: Josh McDowell attacks religious tolerance: Josh McDowell will be the featured speaker on the Focus on the Family radio program for OCT-17 and 18. He will describe how religious tolerance is undermining the spread of the Christian gospel message.

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2002-OCT-18 (approx): ON: Anti-gay material removed from Muslim display: Musa Raza coordinated an Exhibition of Islamic Art and Science -- at the Scarborough Civic Center in Scarborough, ON Canada. One of the panels contained a collage of various images of gays and lesbians, along with quotations from the Qur'an and the Bible which suggested that homosexual behavior is sinful and that gays and lesbians would be punished after death for their activities. Rita Davies, managing director of the city's cultural division said that her staff asked that Raza provide photographs of the exhibits in advance, but he had failed to do so. Raza says that he does not hate gays and lesbians, but objected to the city obeying the "gay and lesbian command" to remove the panel. He said: "I don't know why this (gay and lesbian) lobby is going too strong and nobody is paying attention about our religion, about our society, about the values of the family." It apparently took a full week after the first complaint was received before the city staff was able to conclude that the display violated the city's human rights policy. Councilor Kyle Rae said: "I'm very disappointed that city staff have allowed...offensive attacks upon gay men and lesbians to be displayed at one of our civic centers." 15

This essay continues below

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2002-OCT-28: US: Discovery Channel introduces new program: "Critical Eye" is a new series on the Discovery Channel which is produced in cooperation with Skeptical Inquirer magazine. The smoking man from the X-files, William B. Davis, will be the host. The program will examine critically the science (and lack of science) behind the paranormal, new age philosophies, and the unexplained. Unfortunately, the series will not initially be shown on the Canadian Discovery Channel. Pity.

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2002-OCT-29: North America: Focus on the Family defends spanking of children: The Focus on the Family radio program will feature Dr. Bill Maier and Dr. James Dobson who will talk about corporal punishment of children, refuting the claim that spanking causes delinquent and anti-social behavior.

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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. "Chesterfield Gives Witch the Broom," Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2002-OCT-7, at:  http://timesdispatch.com/news/
  12. "Keep Contacting President Bush Regarding Fallwell's Bigotry," Muslim Public Affairs Council, Action Alert issued 2002-OCT-14.
  13. C.G. Wallace, "New history book prompts Mormon debate: Controversy centers on Brigham Young's role in 1857 massacre," Associated Press, 2002-OCT-12, at: http://www.dallasnews.com/religion/arts/
  14. Will Bagley, "Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows," University of Oklahoma Press, (2002). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
  15. Bruce Demara, "Exhibit's anti-gay material removed," Toronto Star, Toronto ON, 2002-OCT-25.
  16. "Bush OK's NY Medicaid plan for contraceptives," STOPP International, 2002-OCT-4, at: http://www.all.org/stopp/st021004.htm

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

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Copyright © 2002 to 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2002-OCT-7
Latest update: 2006-MAY-04
Author: B.A. Robinson

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