Civic

Federal Judge Prohibits Student-Led Prayer at Suburban High School Graduation

May 18, 2001

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune

On May 18, 2001, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that "a federal judge has barred student-led prayer at a suburban high school graduation, marking the first time in Washington Community High School's 80-year history that a prayer will not be offered during the ceremony." The judge ruled that prayer at the ceremony would be unconstitutional because the ceremony is "held on school grounds with school resources."

Buddhist Monk Preaches Peace and Teaches Meditation to Thousands of Americans

May 18, 2001

Source: The Boston Globe

On May 18, 2001, The Boston Globe reported on a talk called "Peace Is the Way" given by Thich Nhat Hanh, a 74-year-old exiled Vietnamese monk and former anti-Vietnam War activist. The talk was given at the Hynes Auditorium in Boston and was expected to attract a crowd estimated at 3,000. "A vast array of Americans...have adopted Nhat Hanh's teachings of 'engaged Buddhism,' simple meditation practices that he says can help ordinary people experience the beauty of life."

Interreligious Dialogue in New York City Illustrates Depth of Middle East Conflict

May 18, 2001

Source: Newsday

On May 18, 2001, Newsday reported that "after an unusual effort to hold an interreligious dialogue about conflict in the Middle East, [New York City] clergy said that they hoped to meet again in hopes of finding ways to help ease tensions. But the Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders who met at Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan said their intense, private discussion gave a sense of how deep the conflict runs."

Zoning Disputes Between Religious Groups and Local Governments Require Constitutional Standards

May 18, 2001

Source: The Seattle Times

http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis/web/vortex/display?s

On May 18, 2001, The Seattle Times published an opinion piece on the clash between the rights of religious groups to build houses of worship and the efforts of local governments to limit growth. "The Free Exercise Clause protects religious practice from governmental interference but is limited by laws that are passed for compelling government...

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ACLU Sues City in Nebraska for Display of Ten Commandments in Public Park

May 18, 2001

Source: Omaha World-Herald

On May 18, 2001, the Omaha World-Herald reported that "Nebraska's American Civil Liberties Union chapter sued to force the City of Plattsmouth to remove a Ten Commandments marker that has stood in a city park for 36 years...The lawsuit alleges that a marker in Plattsmouth's Memorial Park, which lists the Ten Commandments and includes Jewish, Christian and American symbols, violates the First Amendment's prohibition of an 'establishment of religion.'" The lawyer representing the city said that "there is absolutely no constitutional...

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SJC's Ruling on Mormon Temple's Steeple Protects Religious Groups' Freedom From Interference by Civil Authorities

May 17, 2001

Source: The Boston Globe

On May 17, 2001, The Boston Globe reported that "the Supreme Judicial Court ruled unanimously yesterday that Mormons have a legal right to erect a giant steeple, topped by a golden angel, atop their new temple in Belmont [Massachusetts]. The decision...broadly affirms the right of religious groups to decide the scale and features of houses of worship...In the Belmont case, a handful of residents of Belmont Hill filed two suits to block the temple."

Task Force Asks Town For Permanent Commission to Address Problems of Intolerance and Bigotry

May 16, 2001

Source: The Arizona Republic

On May 16, 2001, The Arizona Republic published an article defending a task force that "told the Gilbert [Arizona] Town Council that problems of racism, homophobia and religion-based unease...can't be dealt with on an ad hoc basis. There needs to be a permanent body in place - a town Human Relations Commission - to help focus on the problems and deal with them." The task force's request is a response to the recent activities of terrorist groups like the Devil Dogs, a group of young men with an ugly history of violence, in an...

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Muslim Chaplain Needed for New York City Fire Department

May 16, 2001

Source: Newsday

On May 16, 2001, Newsday published an opinion piece by Kevin James, a fire marshal at the New York City Fire Department, president of the Islamic Society of Fire Department Personnel and a spokesperson for the Council on American Islamic Relations-New York, condemning the New York City Fire Department's "continuing refusal to hire a Muslim chaplain...The Islamic Society of Fire Department Personnel has presented Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen with more than 60 signatures of employees requesting a Muslim chaplain...A Muslim chaplain would...

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Orthodox Jews Face Prejudice In New Jersey Town

May 15, 2001

Source: The Record

On May 15, 2001, The Record reported that "lawyers for the Orthodox [Jews in Tenafly, New Jersey] introduced into evidence a pile of photographs...of signs that churches had posted on the right of way in the borough...The leader of Tenafly's Orthodox community demonstrated to the court that the borough allows some groups to use the right of way, but not the Orthodox, who need the utility poles to mark the boundaries of the eruv." One councilman said he voted to take down the eruv because "he sensed 'a lot of fear and hatred' coming...

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Director of Faith-Based Initiative Meets with Muslim Leaders

May 15, 2001

Source: American Muslim Council

On May 15, 2001, the American Muslim Council issued a press release in which they reported that "the Director of the White Faith-Based Initiative, Dr. John Dilulio, met at his office in the White House with Dr. Yahya Basha, President of American Muslim Council (AMC) and Imam Hassan Qazwini, leader of the Islamic Center of America and member of the Board of Directors of (AMC). The discussion centered on relations with the American Muslim Community and the concerns raised by Rev. Jerry Falwell's comments calling on the White House to...

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Orthodox Jews Face Prejudice In New Jersey Town

May 9, 2001

Source: The Record

On May 9, 2001, The Record reported that Judge William G. Bassler at the federal courthouse in Newark decided that the Tenafly Council voted against allowing Orthodox Jews to maintain an eruv both as "an act of discrimination that stripped Tenafly's Orthodox Jews of their right to religious freedom" and to "uphold its municipal ordinance...Bassler instructed both sides to consider case law that classified utility poles as a 'non-public forum.'...Bassler also asked the attorneys to consider relevant case law that applies when a...

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Interfaith Group Renovates House with Habitat for Humanity

May 5, 2001

Source: Newsday

On May 5, 2001, Newsday reported that, "led by the Rev. Noel Vanek, pastor of The Church- in-the-Gardens, a Congregational church in Forest Hills [New York], and chairman of Interfaith Dialogue, the renovation of the three-bedroom single family house on Lucas Street in Springfield Gardens [by Habitat for Humanity]...is all but completed...Vanek has been active, mostly raising funds, for as long as Habitat for Humanity has been around, but this house was a first for Interfaith Dialogue, "a group of eight Forest Hills religious organizations...

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Pope Plans Unprecedented Visit to Syrian Mosque

May 5, 2001

Source: The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

On May 5, 2001, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution reported that "Pope John Paul II plans to become the first pontiff to step through the doors of a mosque...He and his Syrian hosts hope for a moment of unity between the world's two largest faiths...'The whole visit itself is a very important symbol that in a way is a reversal of the Crusades,' said John Voll, associate director of the Georgetown University Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. 'He's not going to the mosque to convert or conquer people; he...

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National Day of Prayer Celebrated with Christian Focus

May 4, 2001

Source: Los Angeles Times

On May 4, 2001, the Los Angeles Times reported that "legions of the county's faithful [in Ventura County, California] spent Thursday toting Bibles, singing Christian hymns and raising their arms to the sky in celebration of the annual National Day of Prayer...The references to Jesus Christ at several of the events had one Jewish rabbi hoping next year's event is more multidenominational."

Character Education of Government Employees in Maryland Causes Controversy

May 4, 2001

Source: The Baltimore Sun

On May 4, 2001, The Baltimore Sun reported that "the Carroll County commissioners voted yesterday to embrace a character development program lauded by a fundamentalist Judeo-Christian group, becoming the first locality in Maryland to promote traits in county [government] workers it deems critical to good citizenship...Critics say such government-sponsored programs are cause for concern because they promote religious values and might violate the First Amendment."

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