Controversy over Religious Rights of Pagans in the Military

June 11, 1999

Source: The Houston Chronicle

On June 11, 1999, The Freedom Forum Online offered an Associated Press article reporting that Religious groups urge Christians to boycott Army over Wiccans. The Houston Chronicle published a similar article stating that "conservative Christian organizations this week called for a nationwide boycott of the Army, demanding it reverse its policy of accommodating soldiers with alternative religious beliefs."

Passover Coverage

April 2, 1999

Source: The New York Times

On April 2, 1999, The New York Times published an article on the Passover celebrated in Brooklyn by the United Spiritual Church of God, a Guyanese Christian evangelical denomination that practices the tenets of Judaism. The United Spiritual Church, one of about 50 in the United States, conducted the Passover celebration with a non-Jewish seder meal and dances to Caribbean and African rhythms. Though the Passover is celebrated as the Jewish Exodus from Egypt, the meaning of matzoh is transformed into a holy communion. Neil Felix, a...

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"God Speaks"

March 20, 1999

Source: The Buffalo News

On March 20, 1999, The Buffalo News reported on the new national advertising campaign called "God Speaks," which features billboards with black backgrounds and white lettering that are all signed by God. "The non-denominational ads - meant to pique the interest of people who don't attend church - began in Florida and have appeared in northern Texas and recently in North Carolina." Signs like "Keep using my name in vain and I'll make rush hour longer," "Loved the wedding, invite me to the marriage," and "Have you read my 1 best...

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Papal Visit to St. Louis

January 28, 1999

Source: The Baltimore Sun

On January 28, 1999, The Baltimore Sun published an article on the Papal declarations made during the Pope's visit to St. Louis. Pope John Paul II called for a "new evangelism" in the new millennium, which valorizes the rights and dignity of the human person. With reference to the United States, the Pope urged an end to racism, the death penalty, and advocated for the nation's Roman Catholics to be "unconditionally pro-life."

Papal Visit to St. Louis

January 27, 1999

Source: The New York Times

On January 27, 1999, The New York Times reported on the Pope's specific attention to Catholic-Jewish relations. With a rabbi reading scripture at the Roman Catholic Cathedral in St. Louis and a Polish-born Jew as an official guest, Catholic-Jewish relations have advanced a great deal over the course of John Paul's papacy. Rabbi A. James Rudin, the inter-religious affairs director of the American Jewish Committee, stated that, "it's a tangible sign, in the heart of America, that this Pope reaches out, especially to Jews, wherever...

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Ecumenical Martin Luther King Celebration

January 18, 1999

Source: Newsday

On January 18, 1999, Newsday reported on the 14th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ecumenical Celebration, which was held this year at the Sons of Israel Synagogue in Woodmere, NY. Approximately 500 Jews, Christians, and Muslims attended the celebration with speakers representing all three religions.

Catholic-Jewish Relations

January 2, 1999

Source: The Buffalo News

On January 2, 1999, the Buffalo News published an article on the Catholic-Jewish Educational Enrichment Program, which is an effort to educate students in Catholic and Jewish schools about each other's faith. This program is in place in Philadelphia and similar programs exist in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. It involves a teacher-exchange situation, where a Rabbi visits to a Catholic school and a Priest visits to a Jewish school. The Catholic-Jewish Educational Enrichment Program is funded by the Righteous...

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Creche Controversies

December 9, 1998

Source: No source given.

In Somerset, MA, a 60-year tradition of a creche on the front lawn of the Somerset Town Hall was ruled unconstitutional because it violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment. On December 1st, 1998, the Boston Globe reported on the federal ruling by US District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns in Boston (December 1, 1998, Boston Globe, Metro/Region, Pg. B1). Stearns ruled this particular creche presentation unconstitutional because it offered "no superabundance of secular symbols to dilute the religious message...

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Creche Controversies

December 7, 1998

Source: Newsday

On December 7, 1998, Newsday reported that a fire destroyed the Nativity scene of the Village of Massapequa Park on December 4th. Steven Zimmerman, assistant chief of the Massapequa Fire Department, stated that "we don't know exactly what caused the fire, but it does seem suspicious."

New Coptic Orthodox Church Dedicated in California

November 7, 1998

Source: Los Angeles Times

On November 7, 1998, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Coptic Orthodox Church has dedicated a new church in Northridge, the first to be built in the San Fernando Valley. Due to the influx of immigrant Egyptian Christians, the Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria created the Diocese of Southern California and Hawaii in 1995 to accommodate the burgeoning population. The diocese now includes 21 churches, with the new parish at Northridge being the fourth church built in the new diocese.

West Virginia Bible Class Controversy

October 6, 1998

Source: The Boston Globe

On October 6, 1998, The Boston Globe published an article dealing with a proposed Bible-as-literature course at James Monroe High School in Monroe County, West Virginia. The proposal, which now rests with the school board to devise a Constitutionally- allowable curriculum, has met strong local opposition from four clergy members from three mainstream denominations. Their major concern is that "teaching the Bible purely as a literary gem - severed, as constitutional practice demands, from its spiritual and religious context -...

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Catholics and Buddhists Meet to Compare, Contrast Faiths

October 3, 1998

Source: Los Angeles Times

On October 3, 1998, The Los Angeles Times reported that a national-level Buddhist-Catholic dialogue was taking place at the Serra Retreat in Malibu on the weekend of October 3rd and 4th. James Fredericks, a professor of comparative theology at Loyola Marymount University, stated that the meeting was "historically important" for the understanding of Buddhism and Catholicism in this country. The event, sponsored by the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Buddhist Sangha Council of Southern California, will hopefully spark...

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Boy Scouts, Unitarians Hope to Explore Common Ground in Rift Over Gays, Beliefs

October 3, 1998

Source: The Buffalo News

On October 3, 1998, The Buffalo News reported that representatives from both the Boy Scouts and the Unitarian Universalist Church will meet in Boston later in the month "in an attempt to patch up a relationship severed by disagreements over gay rights and religious freedom." Earlier this year, the Boy Scouts told the Unitarians that they could no longer give out the Religion in Life awards, which are bestowed to boys for their religious activities. The Boy Scouts, who encourage thousands of churches, mosques, and synagogues to...

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Imam, Rabbi, and Cardinal in Dialogue

September 6, 1998

Source: National Catholic Register

On September 6, 1998, the National Catholic Register reported that the Catholic Focolare movement and the Baltimore archdiocese sponsored an event entitled "Dialogue as a Lifestyle" at St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore on August 23rd, 1998. The dialogue featured representatives of three faiths: William Cardinal Keeler of Baltimore, U.S. Episcopal moderator of Catholic-Jewish relations; Rabbi Jack Bemporad, director of the Center for Interreligious Understanding at Ramapo College; and Imam Abdulmalik Mohammed...

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