Suspects in Synagogue Arsons and Murders Connected to "Christian Identity"

July 19, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On July 19, 1999, the Los Angeles Times published an article on the anti-Semitic faith of the two suspects under investigation for the three synagogue fires in Sacramento and the murder of a gay couple in Redding, California. The two suspects, brothers Benjamin Matthew Williams and James Tyler Williams, are said to belong to a sect called Christian Identity, which considers Jews and people of color subhuman, and views abortion and homosexuality as unpardonable sins. Christian Identity, which experts believe has as many as 50,000...

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Bollard vs. California Province of the Society of Jesus

July 18, 1999

Source: St. Petersburg Times

On July 18, 1999, the St. Petersburg Times published an article on a court case, Bollard vs. California Province of the Society of Jesus, that presents a difficult church-state problem. John Bollard, who was training for the Jesuit priesthood and teaching at St. Ignatius College Preparatory School in San Francisco and then at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley from 1989 to 1996, claims that two priests "who could control his fate within the church would send him pornographic cards of sexually aroused men." Bollard, who...

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Religious Diversity in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania

July 15, 1999

Source: The Morning Call

On July 15, 1999 the Morning Call published an article entitled, "Cultural Diversity to be Tracked: Researchers Will Study Religious Diversity in Schuylkill." The article reported that researchers, E. Allen Richardson and Catherine Cameron, from Cedar Crest College in Pennsylvania are working in conjunction with Harvard University to track what changes a Hindu temple has brought to the mostly Christian community of Summit Station, Pennsylvania. "The researchers will first look at how the Pottsville-area Christian community has...

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Freedom of Religion Issues in Government

June 22, 1999

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

On June 22, 1999, The Christian Science Monitor published an article on the current decisions made by the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court on issues dealing with the separation of church and state. The House of Representatives voted by a margin of 248 to 180 to approve a bill that would allow states to display the Ten Commandments in public schools. The Supreme Court decided a case that allows parents in Milwaukee to use publicly funded education vouchers to send their children to parochial schools.

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 soliders 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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