Interfaith

Disney Millennium Exhibit Causes Controversy

September 16, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On September 16, 1999, the Los Angeles Times published an article on the growing controversy over a Disney exhibit for Epcot's Millennium Village, scheduled to open on October 1st, which features Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Both Israelis and Palestinians lay claim to the city, which figures prominently in current peace negotiations between the two sides. A spokesman for Disney stated: "We are not taking sides on this issue...We are in the business of entertainment, trying to provide a good experience for our guests." Bill...

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Jewish High Holy Days

September 13, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On September 13, 1999, the Los Angeles Times reported that 400 people, Jews from the University Synagogue and Christians from the Irvine United Church of Christ, gathered at the Irvine church for a joint Rosh Hashanah worship service on Sunday, September 12th.

U.S. Ethnic Diversity

September 12, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On September 12, 1999, the Los Angeles Times published an article on the entrepreneurial impact of some immigrant groups in the 1990s, particularly immigrants from the Middle East. In a 1996 study published in the Journal of Human Resources, Americans of Middle Eastern descent, including Christians, Muslims, and Jews, were twice as likely as the national average to be self-employed. In the five-county greater Los Angeles area, an analysis done by California State Northridge demographers James P. Allen and Eugene Turner found that...

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Interfaith Group Publishes Guide to Workers' Rights

September 11, 1999

Source: The Plain Dealer

On September 11, 1999, The Plain Dealer published an article on the efforts of the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice and its affiliates to educate American workers on their rights in the workplace. One affiliate, the Chicago Interfaith Committee on Worker Issues, has issued what the Labor Department has acknowledged as a comprehensive guide to workplace rights. The 56-page manual deals with minimum wage and overtime compensation, health and safety standards, freedom from discrimination in the workplace, and the right...

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The Religious Landscape in New Mexico

September 10, 1999

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune

On September 10, 1999, The San Diego Union-Tribune published an article on the changing religious makeup of the United States, using New Mexico as an example. E. Allen Richardson, professor at Cedar Crest College and author of Strangers in This Land: Pluralism and the Response to Diversity in the United States, stated: "It's not just in the major metropolitan areas. It's every place." In New Mexico, the major faith is Roman Catholic, but the presence of Muslim, Buddhist, and Sikh communities is also felt. The...

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Housing as a "Sacred Right"

September 10, 1999

Source: The New York Times

On September 10, 1999, The New York Times reported that more than 300 religious leaders in the United States - Roman Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Buddhists, and Muslims - have signed a letter to President Clinton declaring housing a "sacred right" and asking the government to take measures to help the poor obtain access to permanent shelter. The letter faults the government for reducing the number of vouchers for subsidized housing from 230,000 in the 1980's to about 90,000 last year. The letter asks the government to provide at...

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Jews Offended at Southern Baptist Convention's Prayer for Jewish Conversion

September 10, 1999

Source: The Tampa Tribune

On September 10, 1999, The Tampa Tribune reported that Jews are offended at the Southern Baptist Convention's plan to pray for Jews to convert to Christianity during the High Holy Days. David Freidman, the congregation president at Temple Emanuel in Winston-Salem, NC, stated: "To do this at this time of year is a little bit startling...I find it rather sad that they place their emphasis on converting Jews, rather than looking for common ground and discourse among all faiths." The Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission...

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Lawsuit Over Native American Courses at the Naropa Institute

September 10, 1999

Source: The Denver Post

On September 10, 1999, The Denver Post reported that Lydia White Calf, a former student at the Naropa Institute in Colorado, has filed a lawsuit against the school for allowing an unqualified teacher to inappropriately practice sacred Lakota rituals and ceremonies as part of a Naropa course. The teacher in question, Weston Aguila 'Eagle' Cruz, claimed to be a member of the Yaqui tribe, but tribal officials said that nobody under that name is a registered member. White Calf's lawsuit claims that she raised her suspicions about Cruz...

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Controversy Over School Closings for Jewish Holy Days in Ohio

September 9, 1999

Source: The New York Times

On September 9, 1999, The New York Times reported that the ACLU has sued the Sycamore Community School District in Ohio for closing on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur on the basis that the school district is favoring one religion over another. Officials at the school district, located in a suburban district 15 miles northeast of Cincinnati, said that they decided to close for those two days only because so many students had been absent in previous years that it disrupted instruction. Bruce Armstrong, the district's superintendent,...

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Different Calendars Offer Different Perspective on Upcoming Millennium

September 5, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On September 5, 1999, the Los Angeles Times reported that not everybody will be celebrating a new millennium. Baha'is will celebrate the year 156, Muslims will be in the year 1420, and Jews will be in the year 5760 along with a total of 40 other calendars in use around the world which locate people in a time other than 1999. Even disputes about the Gregorian calendar in both the past and present offer a different moment for the millennium. Shimel Erfanian, a Baha'i, stated: "To us, the new millennium has no real significance...But...

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Unity Month in Chicago

September 2, 1999

Source: Chicago Sun-Times

On September 2, 1999, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that an interfaith service was held on Tuesday, August 31st, at O'Hare Airport to kick off the Chicago Commission on Human Relations' Unity Month. Clarence Wood, chairman of the commission and president of the Human Relations Foundation, stated: "We're trying to send a message that Chicago is working to be a bias-free city...This is the third annual Unity Day at O'Hare." However, Wood also noted that 1999 has been a troubling year, with 138 hate crimes reported in Chicago thus...

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Interfaith Group in St. Louis Denounces "Christian Identity"

August 29, 1999

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

On August 29, 1999, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the 24 leaders of faith groups that make up the Interfaith Partnership of Metropolitan St. Louis issued an educational statement denouncing Christian Identity: "We find the Christian Identity movement not only an affront and embarrassment to all persons who identify themselves with the name Christian, but a cruel mockery of the very values, principles and narratives which shape the entire Christian tradition. This racism, bigotry and hatred is deplorable." The...

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Prayers and Aid for Earthquake Victims in Turkey

August 26, 1999

Source: The Washington Post

On August 26, 1999, The Washington Post reported that mosques and churches from the Maryland Counties of Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary's have gathered donations and offered prayers for the earthquake victims in northwestern Turkey, where 12,000 people died and 33,000 people were injured on August 17th. Relief officials said that the Washington area has a main source of aid. Relief contributions are being accepted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations at (202) 659-CAIR and the Turkish Relief Association at 1-877-TURKEY9...

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World Festival of Sacred Music

August 25, 1999

Source: Los Angeles Times

On August 25, 1999, the Los Angeles Times reported that a nine-day World Festival of Sacred Music will take place in religious sites throughout the city of Los Angeles beginning October 9th, 1999. With the Dalai Lama as a primary sponsor of the event, more than 80 concerts have been scheduled, most of which will take place in churches, synagogues, and temples. The music of Asia and the South Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, South America, and eastern Europe will be featured. Tickets are priced from $5, and some of the events are...

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The Dalai Lama Visits Indiana

August 24, 1999

Source: The Indianapolis Star

On August 24, 1999, The Indianapolis Star reported that 800 people representing a multitude of faiths attended the Interfaith Vigil for World Peace at the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Bloomington, Indiana. The vigil was part of the Dalai Lama's 12-day visit to Bloomington, where he was leading the Kalachakra for World Peace. In the 70-minute vigil, there were 20 minutes of silent prayer and meditation before a globe placed in the center of the church. Sister Mary Margaret Funk of Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech...

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