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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Library of Congress Exhibit on Religion and the Foundation of America

August 3, 1998

Source: The Weekly Standard

On August 3, 1998, The Weekly Standard issued an article in response to an exhibit at the Library of Congress, entitled "Religion and the Founding of the American Republic." The exhibit, which ran through August 22nd, presented materials from early immigrant writings and political documents of the founders. According to the reviewer, the documents seem to indicate that "religion and government were understood by the nation's founders to be quite close." The separationist view of a "wall of separation between church and state," as...

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U.S. Culture Tests Faith of Worshippers

July 20, 1998

Source: Los Angeles Times

On July 20, 1998, the Los Angeles Times published a story concerning how "America's individualist culture is reshaping both the ways people worship and the institutions in which they do so." Maher Hathout, a physician and spokesman for the Islamic Center of California, stated "Here [U.S.], it is an open market of ideas and it makes people think again and again about themselves, what they believe in and what they stand for." This has resulted in a change of mission for many temples, churches, mosques, and synagogues to meet the...

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World Tibet Day Celebrated

July 6, 1998

Source: Press Journal

World Tibet Day, founded by Ma Jaya Bhagavati, the spiritual leader of Kashi Ashram, was celebrated in religious services across the world, and at Central Park in New York City. The effort is part of an Interfaith Call for Freedom of Worship in Tibet and Universal Religious Freedom. The intention is to raise awareness of human rights abuses and religious freedom abuses in Tibet, and to eventually convince the Chinese to respect the Tibetan people, the Tibetan religion, and the Dalai Lama.

Los Angeles World's Leading City in Religious Diversity

June 27, 1998

Source: The Washington Post

On June 27, 1998, the Washington Post ran an Associated Press article that states "When it comes to religious diversity, Los Angeles beats every city in the world, according to a report by J. Gordon Melton of the Institute for the Study of American Religion. The Santa Barbara organization found 600 distinct religious groups in Los Angeles and the rest of Southern California. The London and New York areas have about 500 religions each."