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NEWS OF RELIGIOUS CONFLICT & INTOLERANCE DURING 2003-JUN.

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Sponsored link:


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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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2003-JUN-10: Canada: Court authorizes same-sex marriage in Ontario: The Court ruled that the federal and provincial marriage acts violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms -- Canada's constitution. The door is open for gays and lesbians to marry in Ontario. However a court or government may slam the door shut at any time, as happened in Hawaii. Gays lesbians, civil libertarians and religious liberals are overjoyed because any loving committed adult couple can now marry in the province. Religious conservatives are distressed, viewing the development as an attack on opposite-sex marriage and family structures. More details.

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2003-JUN-11: Egypt: "Matrix Reloaded" movie banned: The science fiction/fantasy movie Matrix Reloaded is now been banned in Egypt because the chief censor believes that it might offend traditional religious views on the creation of humanity. Madkur Thabet of the Culture Ministry, said that "despite its excellent technical level, the film was banned because it deals with subjects like human existence and creation. And these are questions linked to the three monotheistic religions that we respect and which we believe in. These questions have in the past provoked crises and tension." He said the decision was taken by a "committee of university professors and cinema experts." He added that "the film has too many scenes of violence at a time when we are trying to fight this phenomenon."  A statement from the country's censorship board said the film's storyline may cause "crises," and might "harm social peace"....[The movie] tackles the issue of the creator and his creations, searching the origin of creation and the issue of compulsion and free will. Such religious issues, raised in previous times, caused crises."

According to Exhibitor Relations, the movie grossed 91.7 million in the U.S. and Canada during the weekend that it was first shown -- the second best weekend opening ever. 11,12

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2003-JUN-17: Canada: Government to authorize same-sex marriage across Canada: The Federal Government has decided to not appeal the JUN-10 decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal. They will be drafting legislation to be submitted to the Canadian Parliament which will legalize same-sex marriage across the country. This will make Canada the third country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, the first two being the Netherlands and Belgium. More details.

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2003-JUN-17: Arizona: Roman Catholic Bishop arrested: Bishop Thomas O'Brien, 67, was arrested on a felony charge of leaving the scene of a fatal accident. He was released later that day on a $45,000 bond. More charges may be pending. A pedestrian, Jim Reed, was killed in the accident. According to court documents, O'Brien said that he thought that he had hit a dog or a cat or that someone had thrown a rock at his vehicle. He was charged by Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley, who had earlier struck a deal with Bishop O'Brien that allowed him to avoid indictment for sheltering child molesting priests in his diocese. His ability to continue as the spiritual leader of the 430,000 Roman Catholics in Arizona was challenged. 13 Pope John Paul II relieved Bishop O'Brien of his duties a few days after the accident.

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2003-JUN-27: USA: President asks Congress to allow churches to discriminate: President Bush asked Congress to allow churches to accept federal support funding and be free to actively discriminate against employees on grounds of religion, sexual orientation, etc. So, for example, a Protestant church could get federal funding to run a drug addiction program, advertise for a janitor, and say "no Catholics, gays, or women deed apply." A White House position paper says that such groups should be free to hire employees who are best able to further their goals and mission. The Reverend Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said that it's government-sponsored bigotry. Lynn says it's appalling to "deny government jobs to qualified Americans because they believe in the wrong religion." 14

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2003-JUN-25: South Africa: White supremacist, conservative Christianity spreading rapidly: A decade after the collapse of white minority rule and apartheid, scores of right-wing white supremacist Christian faith groups are being founded. They believe that black majority rule is a punishment sent by God because of the disobedience by the Afrikaner people. They view themselves as descendents of the ten lost tribes of Israel -- white people whose destiny is to rule over all races who are forbidden to mix with outher races.

Reverend Willie Smith, who was formerly a Baptist minister for 26 years, founded Lewende Hoop (Living Hope) in Kroonstad in the Free State in the late 1990s. He said: "I looked around and saw the need of my people, the Afrikaners. They do not know who they are. The other churches are not preaching the truth. But I tell them, you are the people of the Bible. The Bible was written for you....We strayed from the teachings of the Bible. Our leaders sold us out. They want us to mix with the other races. But it is not working. The other churches are preaching that you must love all. But we don’t want that. We don't want to overthrow the Government. We have to wait for deliverance from the Lord....We are suffering under this ANC-communist regime. We want blacks, coloreds and the other races to return to their traditions. If we rule, it will be a blessing for all of Africa." Smith's group allegedly consists of thirty congregations with a total of 6,000 believers. 15

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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. "Egypt bans US blockbuster movie Matrix Reloaded," Yahoo! News, 2003-JUN-11, at: http://story.news.yahoo.com/
  12. "Egypt bans 'too religious' Matrix: Global blockbuster The Matrix Reloaded has been banned in Egypt because of its 'violent' content and because it tackles 'religious themes'," BBC news, 2003-JUN-11, at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/2980432.stm
  13. "Bishop charged in hit and run," Associated Press, published in The Toronto Star, 2003-JUN-18.
  14. "Bush Asks Congress to Make It Easier for Religious Groups to Hire According to Beliefs and Sexual Orientation," This Week in Religion News, 20-03-JUN-27, at: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/This is a temporary listing. After 2003-JUN, consult: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/
  15. "Apartheid cults on the rise in South Africa," ReligionNewsBlog.com, 2003-JUN-26, at:  http://www.gospelcom.net/

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Copyright © 2003 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2003-JUN-12
Latest update: 2003-JUN-29
Author: B.A. Robinson

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