Religion and the World Wide Web

December 26, 1998

Source: Star Tribune

On December 26, 1998, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, MN published an article on the growing use of the World Wide Web by religious communities to help spread their message. The article states that religions are turning to this medium in order to "remain relevant among an increasingly fickle audience." The Barna Research Group, based in Ventura, CA, conducted a recent survey on religion and the internet. The results show that one out of six teens rely on the Internet to attempt to meet their spiritual needs. Quentin Schultze,...

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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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Launching of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization

November 23, 1998

Source: The Boston Globe

On November 23, 1998, The Boston Globe reported on the launching of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO). About 4,000 people from many different congregations gathered to discuss working together. "By galvanizing such a broad array of religious congregations, leaders hope to make the GBIO a potent force to tackle vital issues, including the quality of public schools, affordable housing, and fair wages."

Interfaith Festival in Louisville

November 9, 1998

Source: The Courier-Journal

On November 9, 1998, The Courier-Journal of Louisville reported on the "Festival of Faiths," running from November 11th-15th at the Louisville Gardens. The event is sponsored by the Cathedral Heritage Foundation, a non-profit group that was created to "promote the idea of an ecumenical gathering place for people of all faiths in metropolitan Louisville." The theme for this year's festival, "Song and Celebration," will include performances from different musicians each day.

Conference on Western and Tibetan Medicine Held in Washington, D.C.

November 6, 1998

Source: The Baltimore Sun

On November 6, 1998, The Baltimore Sun reported that the First International Congress on Tibetan Medicine was held in Washington on the weekend of November 7th. Approximately 1200 Western medical professionals received an intensive introduction to Tibetan medicine. The Dalai Lama opened the event and it concluded with a ceremony around a sand mandala dedicated to the Medicine Buddha. After the mandala was ritually destroyed, it was put into the Potomac River as an "offering of healing powers to the waters." In consonance with the...

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Jewish Exploration of Tibetan Buddhism

October 23, 1998

Source: Sun-Sentinel

On October 23, 1998, the Sun-Sentinel issued an article about a series of events to take place at the Temple Beth El of Hollywood, Florida from October 30th - November 5th exploring the relationship between Judaism and Tibetan Buddhism. The events will be based around a set of screenings for a new film entitled, "The Jew in the Lotus," which is based on a 1995 book by poet Rodger Kamenetz. The book tells of a 1990 journey of eight Jewish leaders to meet with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India. On October 31st, Temple Beth El hosted...

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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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Profiling Religion in America

September 26, 1998

Source: The Hartford Courant

On September 26, 1998, The Hartford Courant reported that social scientists at Hartford Seminary are embarking on a project to profile America's religious congregations. The project, which is set to begin January 2000, will survey about 40 religious denominations, groups, and clusters of independent churches from different religions in the United States. Carl Dudley, co-director of Hartford Seminary's Center for Social and Religious Research, states that "congregations make a tremendous contribution to American life, the kind...

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Pros and Cons of Online Religion

September 14, 1998

Source: Newsweek

On September 14, 1998 Newsweek ran a column by Rabbi Niles Elliot Goldstein entitled "My Online Synagogue." Faith communities represented on the internet include Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Paganism and others. Goldstein writes, "The Internet has no boundaries...I didn't like all the ideas, but I loved the free, uncensored exchange of views, an exchange that would have been extremely difficult outside the Internet." He claims that while his cybersynagogue draws people together, and "allows democracy to flourish," it remains...

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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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Religious Freedom Act Awaiting Wilson's OK

August 29, 1998

Source: Los Angeles Times

On August 29, 1998, the Los Angeles Times reported that AB 1617, the Religious Freedom Protection Act, is a bill waiting to be approved by California Governor Pete Wilson. The Act would "prevent state and local governments from interfering with religious observances unless a compelling reason could be shown." The bill is in direct response to the United States Supreme Court decision in Boerne v. Flores (1997), which overturned the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed by Congress in 1993.

Phoenix's 'Voices of Faith'

August 20, 1998

Source: The Arizona Republic

On August 20, 1998, The Interfaith Action Coalition of Arizona sponsored a free musical event in downtown Phoenix entitled, "Voices of Faith: Enjoying Your Neighbor's Religious Sounds and Feelings." The event attracted approximately 2,000 people and brought together Baha'is, Buddhists, Catholics, Mormons, Protestants, Christian Scientists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, and Sikhs in order to share how they each experience God through music. The Interfaith Action Coalition sponsored the extravaganza to "promote tolerance and unity among...

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