Interfaith

Central Ohio Muslims, Christians and Jews Gather for the First Time

November 10, 2000

Source: The Columbus Dispatch

On November 10, 2000, The Columbus Dispatch reported that "Mazhar Jalil, Norman Hosansky and Monsignor Stephan Moloney...are members of a committee that has organized the 'Building Religious Tolerance' conference Nov. 19 at the Fawcett Center at Ohio State University." This is the first time that Central Ohio Muslims, Christians, and Jews have met all together. The representatives say that the initiative is due partly to the increasing number of Muslism in the area. In response to growing diversity, the community wants to...

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School District Considers Changing Holiday Names on Calendar

November 10, 2000

Source: The Baltimore Sun

On November 10, 2000, The Baltimore Sun reported that "Recognizing the school system's growing diversity, the Howard County Board of Education will consider renaming religious holidays on the yearly school calendar to eliminate all nonsecular references. At last night's board meeting, school district spokeswoman Patti Caplan recommended the board move to a 'purely secular calendar' by calling holiday periods - such as Christmas, Easter, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur - 'board-approved' holidays...But Sandra H. French, the board...

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New City Ordinance Regulates Religious Displays in Omaha

November 9, 2000

Source: Omaha World-Herald

On November 9, 2000, the Omaha World-Herald reported that "the Papillion City Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to approve an ordinance that would regulate the holiday displays in the [city] park...The new ordinance requires residents to apply for a permit between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30. All requests must designate a Papillion resident as caretaker for the decoration, which can be displayed from Nov. 15 through Jan. 3 and fit inside a 20-foot-by-20-foot space...One of the factors prompting the council action was a letter from...

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Los Angeles Islamic Center Vandalized Yet Again

November 9, 2000

Source: Los Angeles Times

On November 9, 2000, the Los Angeles Times reported that "For the third time in two weeks, the Islamic Center of Southern California has been vandalized; police are investigating the incidents as hate crimes. Salam Al-Marayati, national director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, said that, in the past, similar acts have been triggered by tensions between Palestinians and Israelis in the Mideast. But he could not recall three other incidents in such a short time span. In response, officials have heightened security at the...

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Seattle School District Restricts Holiday Decorations

November 7, 2000

Source: The Seattle Times

On November 7, 2000, The Seattle Times reported that "The Kent School District recently modified its holiday-observance guidelines to become more sensitive to the growing diversity of religious and cultural beliefs in its schools. But some parents and community members are accusing the state's fourth-largest school district of turning into the Grinch who stole Christmas. The district was flooded with dozens of phone calls and e-mails last week about its new restrictions on winter holiday decorations and activities. Critics said the...

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Gore Urges Voters: "Take Your Souls to the Polls"

November 5, 2000

Source: Los Angeles Times

On November 5, 2000, The Los Angeles Times reported that Vice President Al Gore swept through Tennessee, West Virginia and Pennsylvania on Saturday, urging voters to "take your souls to the polls." Beginning with a prayer breakfast in Memphis, Gore talked about supporting the people who "are struggling to get by." During his remarks to the ministers, he couched his comments in biblical context. He also evoked the memory of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., with the help of King's son, who went to Memphis to introduce Gore to the mostly...

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Conflicting Views Of Halloween

November 5, 2000

Source: Los Angeles Times

On November 5, 2000, the Los Angeles Times printed follow up commentary on its October 28th article, which suggested that Pagan voices should be included in a discussion of the holiday, and that much inaccuracy abounds in the portrayed perceptions of the holiday. "Halloween," says Lady Cerridwynn, 60, of South Euclid, "should be more accurately presented as a harvest festival, the ending of the growing year, a time to do one's accounting for the year, a time to look into the unknown and plan for what is to come throughout the...

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New York's Unitarian Church to be Site of Buddhist Fire Ritual

November 4, 2000

Source: The New York Times

On November 4, 2000, The New York Times reported that the Unitarian Church of All Souls is the site for the first Agon Shu Buddhist goma, or fire ritual conducted in the United States. The Rev. Seiyu Kiriyama, who founded this Japanese Buddhist association in 1978, said the ceremony is intended to "elevate the mind and the heart of the people in the audience." The Agon Shu Buddhist Association is linked to the agama sutras, four major texts which stress the acquisition of wisdom. Mr. Kiriyama said that the ritual "is a method of...

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Jewish Activist Files Suit Against City of Burbank for First Amendment Violation

November 2, 2000

Source: Los Angeles Times

On November 2, 2000, the Los Angeles Times reported that Judge Alexander Williams III of the Los Angeles Supreme Court will preside over a case that debates 1st amendment rights. Jewish activist Irv Rubin filed suit against the city of Burbank to stop the references to Jesus Christ at Burbank's City Council meetings. Officials say "Rubin's demand is unlawful because it would force the city to censor speakers, adding that the council has no role in selecting the clerics who give the invocations." It is the Burbank Ministerial Assn....

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Witchcraft and Religious Rights

October 31, 2000

Source: ABCNEWS.com

On October 31, 2000, ABCNEWS.com published an article entitled "Right to Practice Witchcraft: Louisiana Town Trying to Silence Witches", in which they reported that "Houma residents fear Wiccans are bringing dangerous, anti-Christian spirits into the community and are resurrecting an old parish ban on fortunetelling. The witches believe that through rituals, their gods and goddesses will help direct their futures." The ACLU has become involved to...

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Halloween Celebration Questioned in America's Schools

October 31, 2000

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

On October 31, 2000, The Christian Science Monitor reported that "for many American parents, the celebration of Halloween is a long-standing tradition of American childhood, as integral a part of autumn as a cup of hot cider or a football bonfire. But for a growing number of today's school administrators, Halloween has become pretty spooky. Fears of school violence, protests from parents about the holiday's pagan roots, and discomfort over losing class hours in an age rigidly focused on test scores have put a damper on...

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Jews Respond to Interfaith Marriage Question

October 31, 2000

Source: The New York Times

On October 31, 2000, The New York Times reported that "most American Jews accept marriages between Jews and non-Jews, a national survey by a major Jewish organization has found. The results of the survey by the American Jewish Committee contrast with the positions held by most rabbis, Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike, who oppose interfaith marriage as being against Jewish tradition and a threat to the future of a distinct Jewish community. The issue has become increasingly important and controversial within many Jewish...

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School Silence in Line with First Amendment

October 31, 2000

Source: The Washington Post

On October 31, 2000, The Washington Post reported that "a federal judge in Alexandria ruled yesterday that Virginia's controversial law requiring public school students to observe a daily minute of silence does not violate the First Amendment separation of church and state. The American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the suit on behalf of several students, vowed immediately to appeal, setting up a battle that could head to the U.S. Supreme Court. The ACLU had argued that the law was a veiled attempt to force students into...

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