Greenbelt Interfaith News

    June 1998

    Articles Index

    Comments, suggestions, and reports of dead links are welcome; please write to


    World: Catholic-Jewish Dialogue

      World: Vatican Apologizes To Jews. By William Drozdiak. The Roman Catholic Church formally apologized in March for failing to take more decisive action in challenging the Nazi regime during World War II to stop the extermination of more than 6 million Jews. Israeli and American reactions were quick. [The Washington Post]

      World: European Rabbis Praise Vatican's Holocaust Paper. By Richard Allen Greene. European rabbis have cautiously praised the Vatican's document of repentance for the Catholic Church's actions during the Holocaust. [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

      U.K. British Jews Express Disappointment with Vatican Apology. By Richard Owen. The Vatican released in March its long-awaited "definitive statement" condemning anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism and repenting for Roman Catholic passivity during the Nazi Holocaust. [The Times]

      Vatican: In Annual Easter Sermon, Pope Slams Christian Teaching. By Ruth E. Gruber. Pope John Paul II's Easter message criticized the Christian teaching that Jews bear responsibility for the death of Jesus. [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

      Vatican: Catholic-Jewish Dialogue Advances Amid Dismay over Vatican Document. By Ruth E. Gruber. The Vatican's recent document on the Holocaust, and a series of meetings it hosted in March with Jewish leaders, show how far relations between the two faiths have come in recent years – but also how far they have to go. [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

    World: Hindu-Muslim Relations in Asia

      World: In South Asia, Nuclear Fuel is Added to a Long Rivalry. By Marc Kaufman. In India and Pakistan, violence most often centers on domestic political disputes that escalate into ethnic and religious conflicts. But now that easy resort to arms has led to a sudden showdown that threatens the region and even the world. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

      India: Commission Issues Report on Muslim Riots After Mosque Demolition. By Mahesh Vijapurkar. The Srikrishna Commission which probed the communal riots in Mumbai, during December 1992 and January 1993, has seen the Muslim rioting in the wake of the Ayodhya demolition on December 6, 1992, as a spontaneous reaction to the incident and the later Hindu response as engineered. [The Hindu]

      India: Muslims Will Allow Hindus to Replace Temple. The Babri Masjid Movement Coordination Committee (BMMCC) said in May that Muslims were ready to give their consent to the construction of a temple next to the site of the Babri Masjid, where a Hindu temple was earlier razed. [The Hindu]

    Russia: Russia Finalizes Legal Guidelines for Religion. By Lawrence A. Uzzell. On March 10, Russia's major religious leaders received what the Ministry of Justice said was the final, definitive version of the regulations for registration of religious bodies under the new law on church-state relations. [Keston News Service]

    U.K.: An Unusual Meeting of Bankers and Believers. An in-depth look at February's meeting between the president of the World Bank and representatives from nine world religions. [One Country]

    U.S.: Harvard's CD Maps America's Religious Topography. Harvard University's Pluralism Project has released a CD-ROM exploring fifteen American faiths. [Hinduism Today]

    U.S.: Religious Leaders Warn of Poverty Crisis. A diverse group representing several faiths gathered March 24-25 in Illinois to prepare a statement on the moral challenge of poverty facing the religious community. [United Methodist News Service]

    U.S.: Supreme Court Rejects Prayer Challenge. The U.S. Supreme Court refused March 23 to hear a Hindu professor's challenge to "generic" prayers and moments of silence at Tennessee State University functions. [Associated Baptist Press]


    See An Unusual Meeting of Bankers and Believers


    World: Three Movies Focus Global Attention on Tibetan Buddhism. The Western world watches as Tibetan Buddhism takes center stage in the entertainment industry. [Hinduism Today]

    Russia: Buddhist Medical Text Triggers Row. By Vladimir Radyuhin. A row over a 300-year-old medical text has triggered off the most serious conflict between a church and authorities in Russia in decades. [The Hindu]

    U.K.: Buddhist Nuns Gain Independence. Hartridge Buddhist Monastery in Honiton, Devon, has established the first Theravadan community for Western nuns. [Forest Sangha Newsletter]

    U.S.: Buddhist Monks Protest Prohibition of Shugden Services. By Richard N. Ostling and Tim Mcgirk. Devotees of a ferocious Buddhist deity are seeking to put a dent in the Dalai Lama's aura of sainthood. [Time]

    See also Pope Set to Take a Hammer to New Age Beliefs


    World: World's Christians Near Setting a Common Date for Easter. An ecumenical proposal to establish a common date for Easter throughout all Christendom has won strong support from some prominent church leaders. [Religion News Service]

    World: Churches to Sign Ecumenical Charter in 2001. Europe's churches – Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant and Anglican – are hoping to sign a "European ecumenical charter" on Easter Sunday in the year 2001 to outline the main tasks for the churches in the new millennium. [Ecumenical News International]

    World: Liberal and Conservative Anglican Bishops Offer Proposal on Homosexuality. By Heather Elizabeth Peterson. A liberal American bishop and a conservative South African bishop have urged the Anglican Communion not to rush to a decision over the issue of homosexuality. [Greenbelt Interfaith News]

    Canada: Anglican Bishop's Multifaith Book Prompts Protest Calls. By Leanne Larmondin and Nancy Devine. Bishop Michael Ingham's new book, Mansions of the Spirit: The Gospel in a Multi-Faith World, has prompted several letters and phone calls to the Anglican Church's hierarchy, many of them protesting both the book's perceived content and the bishop's right to write it. [Anglican Journal]

    South Africa: Clintons Receive Communion in a Catholic Church.The Vatican has commented unfavourably on the admission of President Clinton and his wife to Communion in a South African church. The President, who is a Southern Baptist, and Hillary Clinton, who is a Methodist, received the Eucharist at Regina Mundi church in Soweto during their 11-day African tour. [The Tablet]

    U.K.: Jesus Could Not Be Cloned, Says Evangelical Alliance. There is no gene for God, so cloning Jesus Christ exactly would be impossible, the Evangelical Alliance UK said in April in response to speculation about the likelihood of reproducing Christ from DNA samples. [Evangelical Alliance UK]

    U.S.: Methodist Trial of the Rev. Jimmy Creech

    U.S.: Presbyterian Amendment A is Defeated. By Alexa Smith. Unofficial tallies – published on the Internet by the Presbyterian Lay Committee and the Presbyterian Coalition, staunch backers of existing constitutional language prohibiting the ordination of gays and lesbians or sexually active but unmarried heterosexuals – reported that a majority of votes favoring retaining those restrictions was reached March 7. [Presbyterian News Service]

    U.S.: Presbyteries Ratify Full Communion with Lutherans and Reformed Churches. Eighty-eight presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have voted to ratify an agreement declaring "full communion" between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and three churches of the Reformed tradition.After 36 years of dialogues a festival worship service at Chicago's Rockefeller Chapel on October 4 will formally declare the churches in full communion. [ELCA News Service]

    U.S.: Ecumenism Underlines Differences Between Lutheran Denominations. Recent ecumenical decisions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have underlined differences between the 5.2-million member church and the 2.5-million member Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. [ELCA News Service]

    U.S.: Promise Keepers Recalls Paid Staff. Buoyed by a rise in donations, Promise Keepers announced April 9 that it was recalling its national paid staff April 16. The men's ministry had laid off its entire paid staff of 345 effective March 31. [Evangelical Press]

    U.S.: One Calendar or Another, Greek Orthodox Heal Rift. By David M. Halbfinger. Amid the airs of a brass band, the pealing of church bells, sonorous Byzantine incantations, and the jubilant cries of a thousand faithful, a 27-year-old rift that separated 30,000 Greek Orthodox from their 1.5 million brethren in the United States was healed over a couple of hours in a corner of Astoria, Queens. [The New York Times]

    U.S.: Christian Reformed Synod Asked to Delete Anti-Catholic Statement from Heidelberg Catechism. By Darrell Todd Maurina. Should the Christian Reformed Church delete a statement in its doctrinal standards declaring that the Roman Catholic Mass "is nothing but a denial of the one sacrifice and suffering of Jesus Christ and a condemnable idolatry"? The answer seemed obvious to Classis Lake Erie. [United Reformed News Service]

    Vatican: New Vatican Document Published on Training for Ecumenism. Five years after the publication of a directory for ecumenical work, the Vatican has produced a new document, giving pastors further guidance on how they should apply the essential principles of ecumenism to their own pastoral work. [Catholic World News]

    See also Greenbelt Anglican News, Protests Continue Over Islamic Blasphemy Law; Compromise Reached on Anti-Missionary Bill; Intergroup Dialogue Instills Passion in Jewish Winner of Templeton Award; Pope Set to Take a Hammer to New Age Beliefs


    U.S.: Armed Forces Reach Out for Hindu Clergy. The Department of Defense has stated its willingness to commission Hindu chaplains to minister to the nearly one thousand Hindus, mostly doctors, serving in American armed forces. [Hinduism Today]

    See also Harvard's CD Maps America's Religious Topography; Tolerance Isn't Enough, Says Pluralism Project Director


    U.S.: California High Court Rules Against Agnostic Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts of America is not covered by California civil rights laws and can exclude gays, agnostics and atheists, the state Supreme Court ruled in March. [free!]

    U.S.: Atheists Meet with White House Officials. Several atheists met in May with representatives of the White House to speak out on a number of issues, and ask for a "Seat at the Table" in the public discussion over state-church separation and civil rights for nonbelievers. [American Atheists Flashline]


    Canada: World Religions Have Become Disfunctional, Says Farrakhan. By Michael McAteer. Louis Farrakhan, the charismatic and controversial Nation of Islam leader, was in Toronto in April – the last stop on a 53-nation friendship tour before returning to the U.S. [Anglican Journal]

    India: Sound Level Fixed for Calcutta Mosques, Temples. By Mozaffar Islam. The Calcutta High Court in its recent order has made it mandatory for the places of worship to fix sound-checking devices with the amplifiers in order to keep the sound level to less than 70 decibels. [Islamic Voice]

    India: Uttar Pradesh Government Resolves Row Among Muslims. The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Government in Uttar Pradesh which had decided to intervene and resolve the long-pending dispute between Shias and Sunnis over mourning processions in Lucknow, has notched up an achievement of sorts by allowing a Shia Azadari procession after a gap of 21 years. [The Hindu]

    Pakistan: Protests Continue Over Islamic Blasphemy Law. By Munir Ahmed. The suicide of a Catholic bishop provided a focal point in May for protests against a Pakistani law affecting Christians and Ahmedi Muslims. [Associated Press]

    Turkey: President Refuses Ban on Headscarves. The Turkish government has backed down from a decision to strictly enforce a ban on headscarves in public high schools, fearing protests. [Islamic Voice]


    Israel: Compromise Reached on Anti-Missionary Bill. Representatives of 50 Christian churches and ministries in Israel have agreed not to engage in activities "which have as their intention to alienate [the Jewish people] from their tradition and community." [Evangelical Press]

    U.K.: Intergroup Dialogue Instills Passion in Jewish Winner of Templeton Award. By Rebecca Segall. He's the Hungarian-born British philanthropist who played a critical role in coaxing the Vatican to recognize the State of Israel. As Sternberg became the 1998 winner of the prestigious Templeton Prize, the world is learning about the quiet but central role that he has played in groundbreaking diplomatic accomplishments in interfaith dialogue. [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

    U.S.: Oxford Union Program Combats Teenage Drinking. By Faygie Levy. Hoping to discourage Jewish alcoholism, the Orthodox Union has created a workbook that deals with drinking from a biblical standpoint. [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

    U.S.: Reform Rabbis Table Vote on Blessing Gay Marriages. By Debra Nussbaum Cohen. Leaders of the Reform rabbinate have shelved a scheduled vote on the validity of Jewish same-sex marriages after more than two years of effort to come up with an official position on the matter. [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]

    U.S.: Rabbis Seek New Dialogue at Time of Tension and Divide. By Debra Nussbaum Cohen. The creation of a national organization whose mission is to bring together rabbis of every denomination for dialogue is being met with a degree of skepticism – and a lot of hope. [Jewish Telegraphic Agency]


    U.S.: Protecting "Sacred Ground": California Tribe, Environmentalists Oppose Plan for Gold Mine. By William Claiborne. On a 1,500-acre tract of arid scrub land, the conflicting forces of an 1872 mining law, 10,000-year-old Native American traditions and a Canadian mining conglomerate's ambitions to start a pit mine that would yield 100,000 ounces of gold a year are converging in a classic confrontation between religion and culture on one hand and, on the other, the imperatives of economic development. [The Washington Post]


    Vatican: Pope Set to Take a Hammer to New Age Beliefs. By John Hooper and Madeleine Bunting. The Pope is preparing an onslaught on New Age beliefs in time for the millennium. He is expected to set out his thinking in an encyclical – a letter sent to all Roman Catholic bishops, the most authoritative way in which he can make known his ideas. [Sydney Morning Herald]


    U.S.: Witch Denied License to Conduct Weddings. By Wendy Melillo. In a decision one of her followers called "a slap in the face to all Pagans," a witch has been denied a license to perform wedding ceremonies in Virginia. [The Washington Post]


    India: Akal Takht Restricts Printing of Holy Scriptures. The apex Sikh clergy, through a "Hukamnama'' (religious edict) from the supreme temporal seat, the Akal Takht, have imposed a complete ban on the printing of the holy scriptures, including the Guru Granth Sahib, by private publishing houses. [The Hindu]


    U.S.: To Zoroastrians, Feasting on New Year's Day is a Religious Duty. By Heather Elizabeth Peterson. It looked like an ordinary potluck – but for the Zoroastrians who had gathered to celebrate the arrival of spring, the feast had religious significance. [Greenbelt Interfaith News]


    Greenbelt: Churches Develop Policies for Art and for Sexual Conduct. News briefs. [Greenbelt Interfaith News]

    Previous Page

    March 1998

    HOME Archives

    © 1998 Heather Elizabeth Peterson
    Copyrights for individual articles are held by their respective authors.
    Readers wishing to publish or post copyrighted material from this magazine must contact Greenbelt Interfaith News for permission (