Interfaith

House of Representatives Passes Bill on Religious Liberty

August 1, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On August 1, 1999, the Los Angeles Times reported that the House of Representatives passed The Religious Liberty Protection Act on July 15th, which states that local and state officials must bend their rules to accommodate religious claims unless there is a compelling need to do otherwise. Organizations such as the American Jewish Congress, People for the American Way, the Christian Coalition, and Focus on the Family are in support of the legislation, but the ACLU and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund are opposed to the bill because...

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Pluralism Project Affiliates Map Religious Diversity of Northern Ohio

July 31, 1999

Source: Akron Beacon Journal

On July 31, 1999 Akron Beacon Journal featured an article on the research of Northern Ohio's religious diversity by Pluralism Project affiliates. The "growth in religious diversity has been examined by two Kent State University researchers... Dr. David Odell-Scott, associate professor of philosophy... and Dr. Surinder M. Bhardwaj, a professor of geography... received a 1998 grant through the Pluralism Project at Harvard University to map the religious diversity of Northern Ohio... As a result of that work, the researchers have...

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The United Against Hate Gospel Concert

July 25, 1999

Source: Sacramento Bee

On July 25, 1999, the Sacramento Bee reported that the United Against Hate Gospel Concert took place on July 24th at the Samuel C. Pannell Community Center in the Sacramento area of California. More than 200 people attended the interfaith concert to show support for one another in the aftermath of the three synagogue arsons. Rev. Ronald E. Bell, a Progressive Church of God in Christ minister who planned the event, stated: "These events are vitally important because people need to know that any time a church is attacked, we're all...

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Los Angeles Muslims and Jews Try to Move Beyond Conflict

July 23, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On July 23, 1999, the Los Angeles Times published an article on the efforts of Los Angeles Muslims and Jews to renew efforts to create a code of ethics for civilizing Muslim-Jewish relations. In the wake of the national controversy over the appointment of Salam Al-Marayati to a national counter-terrorism commission, the two sides are trying to salvage public relations. Mather Hathout, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Southern California, stated: "We have got to learn how to disagree-with respect and civility and a touch of...

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Vandalism at the Greater Atlantic Vedic Center

July 18, 1999

Source: The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

On July 18, 1999, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution published an article on the persistent vandalism taking place at the Greater Atlanta Vedic Center in Lilburn, Georgia. "In one nine-month period, the Vedic Center was vandalized five times, including one incident in which a window was broken and an obscenity written in mud on the front wall." The Gwinnett Interfaith Alliance, which is currently undergoing expansion to include more of metro Atlanta, will lead a forum on hate crimes on July 19th at the Mercer...

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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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Appointment of Salam Al-Marayati to Counter-Terrorism Commission Withdrawn

July 10, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On July 10, 1999, the Los Angeles Times reported that many Jewish and Christian leaders have joined Muslims in defending Al-Marayati's record on terrorism. Rabbi Leonard I. Beerman, founding rabbi of Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles, stated: "This assault on Salam Al-Marayati by a consortium of Jewish organizations is for me, as a rabbi and as a Jew, an appalling display of ignorance, mindlessness and arrogance." Gene Lichtenstein, editor in chief of the Jewish Journal, has come to Al-Marayati's defense, along with Rep. David Bonior...

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Appointment of Salam Al-Marayati to Counter-Terrorism Commission Withdrawn

July 9, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On July 9, 1999, the Los Angeles Times reported that House Democratic leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-MO.) withdrew the nomination of Salam Al-Marayati to a congressional commission on counter-terrorism. Gephardt claimed that Al-Marayati would not be able to gain security clearance in time for him to join the commission. Gephardt has been under fire from Jewish organizations ever since he made the appointment. Morton A. Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, accused Al-Marayati of excusing terrorist attacks against...

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Accommodating Religious Pluralism in the Military

July 6, 1999

Source: Chicago Tribune

On July 6, 1999, the Chicago Tribune published an article on the difficulties experienced by the military in handling freedom of religious exercise for military personnel. Encountering problems with accommodating Muslims, Sikhs, and Wiccans, the military has to follow a newly issued directive on the accommodation of religious practices (the first since 1988), that widens the scope of acceptable exemptions. Under the new guidelines, the Pentagon will handle exemptions on an individual basis - a commanding officer can grant these...

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Appointment of Muslim to National Counter-Terrorism Commission Creates a Stir

July 5, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On July 5, 1999, the Los Angeles Times reported that the appointment of Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles, by House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt to a national counter-terrorism commission has come under attack by major Jewish organizations. Muslim Americans hail the appointment as a "sign that Washington is finally giving them a voice in policymaking." Al-Marayati looks forward to the position: "I hope to broaden the discussion on terrorism by looking at its root...

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Appointment of Muslim to National Counter-Terrorism Commission Creates a Stir

July 2, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On July 2, 1999, the Los Angeles Times published an article by Laila and Salam Al-Marayati on the attempts of Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) to disturb Jewish-Muslim relations and block appointments to federal commissions. The Al-Marayatis call for moderation and dialogue to help foster a "viable and mature Jewish-Muslim relationship." "Our major concern is not with promoting any particular foreign group but with enriching the democratic process of debate in America. Our approach is to educate American policymakers and...

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Freedom of Religion Issues in Government

June 27, 1999

Source: The Boston Globe

On June 27, 1999, The Boston Globe published an article on the stances being taken by presidential contenders on the issue of religion in politics. Both George W. Bush and Al Gore are in favor of giving federal moneys to faith-based organizations to administer government services, like drug treatment, combating homelessness, and youth-violence prevention programs. Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People...

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Religious Leaders in Denver Voice Complaints on Relationship with Medical Personnel

June 26, 1999

Source: The Denver Post

On June 26, 1999, The Denver Post published an article on the complaints levied against medical personnel by the Denver Area Interfaith Clergy Conference at the Colorado Collective for Medical Decisions for mistreating clergy when they visit parishioners in the hospital. Rev. Paul Kottke, pastor of University Park United Methodist Church, stated: "I see a lot of discomfort among hospital staff if I pray with a patient." He further stated that there seems to be "a suspicion I will get in the way or that I'll do something religiously...

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Interfaith Efforts

June 23, 1999

Source: The San Francisco Chronicle

On June 23, 1999, The San Francisco Chronicle reported on a conference taking place at Stanford University of 100 religious leaders from 30 nations who are part of the on-going United Religions Initiative, which attempts to resolve religious conflict and promote dialogue among people of different faiths. Episcopal Bishop William Swing of San Francisco, who conceived of the United Religions Initiative, stated that "We're starting a network so we won't have other Kosovos." He believes that the religious roots of the war...

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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.

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