Christianity

Judge's Ruling Forbids School-Sponsored Baccalaureate Services

May 23, 2001

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

On May 23, 2001, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that "in a ruling yesterday afternoon from his courtroom in Johnstown [Pennsylvania], U.S. District Chief Judge D. Brooks Smith told the 1,000-student school district that it couldn't hold the May 31 baccalaureate service in the school auditorium, sponsor the service or conduct rehearsals for it. Doing otherwise would be a First Amendment violation, Smith ruled...Berlin Brothersvalley was [thus] ushered out of the dwindling minority of school districts still conducting...

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Rabbi Gives Walton Baccalaureate Speech at Civic Center

May 22, 2001

Source: The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

On May 22, 2001, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution reported that "Walton High School's long-awaited and contentious baccalaureate ceremony will be at 7 tonight at the Cobb County Civic Center...The baccalaureate originally was slated to be held at Mount Bethel United Methodist Church in east Cobb. But...the Rev. Randy Mickler, pastor of Mount Bethel, vetoed [Rabbi Steven] Lebow making his speech from Mount Bethel's pulpit."

Minister Bars Rabbi from Giving Baccalaureate Services

May 22, 2001

Source: The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

On May 22, 2001, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution reported that "Walton High School's long-awaited and contentious baccalaureate ceremony will be at 7 tonight at the Cobb County Civic Center...The baccalaureate originally was slated to be held at Mount Bethel United Methodist Church in east Cobb. But...the Rev. Randy Mickler, pastor of Mount Bethel, vetoed [Rabbi Steven] Lebow making his speech from Mount Bethel's pulpit."

Utah Man Convicted of Polygamy

May 20, 2001

Source: The New York Times

On May 20, 2001, The New York Times reported that "a Utah man has been convicted on four counts of bigamy and one count of failing to pay child support...The man, Tom Green, 52,...has five wives and has fathered 30 children...Mr. Green...says his lifestyle is a God-given choice...Polygamy arrived in Utah in the 1840's, when members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints settled in the state...The church disavowed polygamy in 1890."

Monks Lead Movement to Revive Christin Meditation Practices

May 19, 2001

Source: The Houston Chronicle

On May 19, 2001, The Houston Chronicle reported that "Christian meditation is crossing denominational lines and attracting thousands of spiritual seekers, especially baby boomers." The article reported on two monks who "lead international movements that promote meditation not as new spiritual practice but as a return to a contemplative form of prayer developed in early Christianity...They were in Houston last week giving joint presentations on meditation."

Study Investigates the Characteristics of "Successful" Churches

May 19, 2001

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

On May 19, 2001, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on three university scholars who spent two years researching churches that produced "life-changing results." They found that "excellent churches look at congregational needs with a fresh eye and try to solve needs creatively...These congregations are not afraid to try new projects, programs and liturgy." The study's findings are reported in two just-published books: "Excellent Catholic Parishes" (Paulist Press) and "Excellent Protestant Parishes" (Westminster John Knox)....

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Survey Finds Growing Number of Foreign-Born Catholic Priests

May 19, 2001

Source: Chicago Sun-Times

On May 19, 2001, the Chicago Sun-Times reported on "a growing number of foreign-born men filling out the ranks of the Roman Catholic priesthood in the United States. Nearly a third of the men ordained in the United States this year were born elsewhere, according to a survey by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops."

Seminar at UCLA Explores How to Bring Peace to Middle East

May 19, 2001

Source: Los Angeles Times

On May 19, 2001, the Los Angeles Times reported that "a daylong seminar on ways to bring peace to the Holy Land...held...at UCLA by a coalition of liberal Jewish peace activists, Muslim organizations and Christians." The seminar is called "The Israeli-Palestinian Crisis: New Conversations for a Pluralist Future."

Interfaith Dialogue with Dalai Lama Finds Ways for Diverse Religions to Coexist Peacefully

May 19, 2001

Source: Star Tribune

On May 19, 2001, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on an interfaith dialogue with seven local clergy and the Dalai Lama. The topic of the panel was "'How Can Diverse Religions Communities Create Peace in the World?' In their response, the Dalai Lama and this distinguished panel promoted the idea that religions can be diverse without being a lot different. 'All religions carry same teaching, same goal, same potential,' the Dalai Lama said."

New Orleans Clergy Cautious about Bush's Faith-Based Initiative

May 19, 2001

Source: The Times-Picayune

On May 19, 2001, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported on a panel of pastors and social workers that convened in New Orleans to hear about Bush's plans for his faith-based initiative. "They were notably cautious...Clergy panelists stressed the traps implicit in accepting federal money to do the social work of their ministries...They worried about limits on what they could preach, and to whom; the potential loss...of independence...; and a reluctance to become sophisticated accounting agencies."

Interreligious Dialogue in New York City Illustrates Depth of Middle East Conflict

May 18, 2001

Source: Newsday

On May 18, 2001, Newsday reported that "after an unusual effort to hold an interreligious dialogue about conflict in the Middle East, [New York City] clergy said that they hoped to meet again in hopes of finding ways to help ease tensions. But the Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders who met at Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan said their intense, private discussion gave a sense of how deep the conflict runs."

Buddhist Monk Preaches Peace and Teaches Meditation to Thousands of Americans

May 18, 2001

Source: The Boston Globe

On May 18, 2001, The Boston Globe reported on a talk called "Peace Is the Way" given by Thich Nhat Hanh, a 74-year-old exiled Vietnamese monk and former anti-Vietnam War activist. The talk was given at the Hynes Auditorium in Boston and was expected to attract a crowd estimated at 3,000. "A vast array of Americans...have adopted Nhat Hanh's teachings of 'engaged Buddhism,' simple meditation practices that he says can help ordinary people experience the beauty of life."

ACLU Sues City in Nebraska for Display of Ten Commandments in Public Park

May 18, 2001

Source: Omaha World-Herald

On May 18, 2001, the Omaha World-Herald reported that "Nebraska's American Civil Liberties Union chapter sued to force the City of Plattsmouth to remove a Ten Commandments marker that has stood in a city park for 36 years...The lawsuit alleges that a marker in Plattsmouth's Memorial Park, which lists the Ten Commandments and includes Jewish, Christian and American symbols, violates the First Amendment's prohibition of an 'establishment of religion.'" The lawyer representing the city said that "there is absolutely no constitutional...

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SJC's Ruling on Mormon Temple's Steeple Protects Religious Groups' Freedom From Interference by Civil Authorities

May 17, 2001

Source: The Boston Globe

On May 17, 2001, The Boston Globe reported that "the Supreme Judicial Court ruled unanimously yesterday that Mormons have a legal right to erect a giant steeple, topped by a golden angel, atop their new temple in Belmont [Massachusetts]. The decision...broadly affirms the right of religious groups to decide the scale and features of houses of worship...In the Belmont case, a handful of residents of Belmont Hill filed two suits to block the temple."

Task Force Asks Town For Permanent Commission to Address Problems of Intolerance and Bigotry

May 16, 2001

Source: The Arizona Republic

On May 16, 2001, The Arizona Republic published an article defending a task force that "told the Gilbert [Arizona] Town Council that problems of racism, homophobia and religion-based unease...can't be dealt with on an ad hoc basis. There needs to be a permanent body in place - a town Human Relations Commission - to help focus on the problems and deal with them." The task force's request is a response to the recent activities of terrorist groups like the Devil Dogs, a group of young men with an ugly history of violence, in an...

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