Greenbelt Interfaith News

    March 1999

    Articles Index

    Christian, Islamic, & Jewish – Modern
    Christian, Islamic, & Jewish – Historical and Prehistorical
    Indigenous – Modern
    Indigenous – Historical and Prehistorical
    Pagan – Modern
    Pagan – Historical and Prehistorical
    Other Faiths
    Magazine Matters

    News articles about European indigenous faiths appear in the Pagan section. Comments, suggestions, and reports of dead links are welcome; please write to


    Smoking and Religion

    Looking Back and Looking Ahead

      World: Religion Newswriters Name Top Stories of 1998. President Clinton and Pope John Paul II were the top religion newsmakers of 1998, according to a poll of the Religion Newswriters Association, a group of journalists who cover religion for the secular press. [Evangelical Press News Service]

      World: Religious Groups Plan Spiritual Millenium Events. By David Crumm. The dawn of the millennium is shaping up as an ultimate spiritual high for many religious groups. [Free Press]

    World: Church Leader Tells Religions to Seek Common Ethics for a Troubled World. By Stephen Brown. The Christian church must join forces with other religions to develop global ethics based on shared values, a senior official of the World Council of Churches told delegates at the WCC assembly, meeting in December. [Ecumenical News International]

    Russia: Major Faiths Link in Move to Foster Closer Ties. By Lev Krichevsky. At a meeting in Moscow last month, representatives of the Russian Orthodox, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist communities agreed to set up the Permanent Interfaith Council, which is believed to be the first such group in Russia. [Jewish Telegraphic Association]

    U.K.: Bishops Plan Multifaith Coronation for Charles. By Rachel Sylvester. The Prince of Wales will be crowned King in a multifaith inauguration ceremony rather than the 1,000-year-old Christian coronation service, under plans being drawn up by Church of England leaders. [The Independent]

    U.S.: Anti-Prejudice Group Adopts More Inclusive Name. By Jim Jones. One of the nation's best-known organizations for fighting religious prejudice – the National Conference of Christians and Jews – has changed its name. [Star-Telegram]

    U.S.: Scholar Retreats Somewhat from Claims About Jefferson Letter. By Christy Mumford Jerding. A group of scholars, lawyers, First Amendment advocates and church representatives took issue in January with the latest interpretation of Jefferson's 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists of Connecticut. This letter is part of a body of Jefferson's writings that have molded modern interpretations of his ideas about the separation of church and state. [free!]


    Polygamy and the World Council of Churches

      Africa: WCC Delays Decision on Church with Polygamous Clergy. By Stephen Brown. A Nigerian church which permits polygamy among its members, including clergy, will not be able to join the World Council of Churches for the time being. [Ecumenical News International]

      Africa: Accept Polygamy as an African Tradition, WCC Told. By Noel Bruyns. The general secretary of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, Densen Mafinyani, has urged the World Council of Churches to stop quibbling over whether an African church which tolerates polygamy should be accepted as a WCC member. [Ecumencial News International]

    World: New Church Forum Approved. At the same time as some Orthodox churches are threatening to desert the World Council of Churches, the eighth assembly of the council has endorsed creating a new forum that could extend its ecumenical reach far beyond its 330-plus member churches. [Ecumenical News International]

    World: Israeli Jews Venture into American Southwest for Shamanic Spirituality Tour. By Gail Rubin. After responding to an ad in an Israeli alternative spiritual publication called Different Life, the group of eight Israelis came together "On the Path of the Shaman" for two weeks last fall. [New Mexico Jewish Link]

    U.K.: Methodists to Worship "God the Mother". By Victoria Combe. The Methodist Church broke with centuries of Christian tradition in March and included the first prayer to "God the Mother" in its worship book for the Millennium. [The Electronic Telegraph]

    U.S.: In Some Churches, the Language of Jesus is Still Alive. By Greg Garrison. To many, it may seem as dead as Latin, but Aramaic – the language Jesus spoke – is alive every weekend in communities across the nation. [Religion News Service]

    U.S.: Ban on Hula at Hawaiian Masses Reversed. By Michael Tighe. After months of negotiating with the Vatican, Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo is allowing hula and other Native Hawaiian "sacred gestures" to be performed during Roman Catholic services. [The Assocated Press]

    Vatican: Casting Out the Devil Takes on a More Modern Tone. By Peggy Polk. Because the modern conception of the spirit of the devil is captured more accurately in a line of poetry from Baudelaire than the horned beast in an etching from the 16th-century hand of Brueghel, the Roman Catholic Church has revised its rite of exorcism. [Religion News Service]

    CHRISTIAN, ISLAMIC, & JEWISH – Historical and Prehistorical


      World: In Search of Moses. By David Van Biema. Behind the wonders of Scripture and popular culture are glimmers of a real man. What can archaeology and scholarship tell us about him? [Time]

      World: Scholars Debate Moses' Existence. By Wayne Lee Gay. The "name" of Moses resounds through Western civilization, echoing ancient themes of freedom, faith and the founding of a nation. But did he really exist? [Star-Telegram]

    World: Christian Interest Grows in Celtic Spirituality. By Todd Hegert. When Colorado Springs author Steve Rabey was traveling through Ireland, he was struck by the ancient beauty of the Celtic cross. [The Gazette]

    World: Time to Relocate Noah's Flood? Geologists Offer Theories. By Richard N. Ostling. What? New scientific proof demonstrating that the great biblical Flood really did occur thousands of years ago? [The Associated Press]

    Egypt: Has King David Been Found in Egypt? A leading Egyptologist has recently suggested that the name of the Biblical king David may appear in a tenth-century B.C.E. Egyptian inscription. [Biblical Archaeology Review]

    Israel: Rabbi Appointments to Archaeological Council Spark Controversy. By Haim Watzman. The appointment of five orthodox rabbis to Israel's Archaeological Council, a 37-member advisory group to the director general of the Israel Antiquities Authority, has sparked fears of religious control of archaeological excavations. [Archaeology]

    U.S.: Controversial Bible Think Tank Looks to Separate Fact from Fiction on Apostle. By Richard N. Ostling. The Jesus Seminar has lately moved on from its search for the "historical Jesus" to figuring out what it thinks we know for sure about the "historical Paul." [The Associated Press]

    INDIGENOUS – Modern

    Canada: Elders Decide on Use of Feathers. By Pamela Sexsmith Green. In a unique partnership, the government of Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management and the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre in Saskatoon, have joined hands to facilitate and manage a traditionally appropriate distribution of feathers and body parts for ceremonial use among First Nations peoples in the province. [Saskatchewan Sage News]

    INDIGENOUS – Historical and Prehistorical

    World: American Professor Bound for Egypt's Stonehenge. By C. Bryson Hull. The Southern Methodist University professor's Combined Prehistoric Expedition seems torn from the pages of a 1930s adventure serial. But its legacy since 1962 includes several important discoveries, among them a site predating England's Stonehenge that's believed to be the oldest monument to use astronomy in its design. [The Associated Press]

    Mexico: New Tomb Found at Pyramid of the Moon. By Angela M. H. Schuster. A burial chamber containing what may be the remains of a retainer of an early ruler of Teotihuacan, an ancient metropolis 30 miles northeast of Mexico City, has been found within the Pyramid of the Moon. [Archaeology]

    U.S.: Early Native American Art Tied to Solstices. By Dick Stanley. University of Texas astronomer Robert Robbins has found the first tentative evidence that at least some American Indians were aware of the seasonal solstices. [Cox News Service]

    U.S.: Buried Artifact Found at Miami Building Site. In the shadows of this modern city’s gleaming towers, under the remains of a blighted apartment block, archeologists digging through the rubble of centuries have uncovered a mysterious circle in stone. [ABC News]

    U.S.: Store Builds Over Possible Indian Burial Ground. By Albert Bender. The construction of a new Wal-Mart Supercenter in Nashville, Tennessee has raised the ire of several Oklahoma tribal nations. [Oklahoma Indian Times]

    U.S.: Archaeologists and Indians Disagree on Defining Sacred Land. By David Hawley. Another episode has taken place in a decades-old controversy over plans for a new Minnesota 55 parkway. Unlike previous confrontations, which have centered on housing displacement, disruption of habitat and alterations in park property, this one involved something new: a claim that the proposed road will disturb sacred land. [St. Paul Pioneer Press]

    U.S.: California County Wants Chumash Involved in Archaeological Sites. By Jerry Burin. Currently, there is not a law that requires Native American groups to be notified about a development until the planning process is well under way, regardless if the site is presumed to contain archaeological resources. County officials are trying to change that. [Telegram-Tribune]

    U.S.: Tribes Say They Must Protect Ancestors' Remains. Indian tribes must join forces to protect their ancestors' remains from scientific testing, said a Washington state tribe that claims the 9,200-year-old bones known as Kennewick Man. [The Associated Press]

    PAGAN – Modern

    School Disputes

      U.S. Middle School Bans Witchcraft Books. By Gail Smith. Three North Carolina girls say their rights were violated when school officials confiscated their books on magic spells and witchcraft. [The Charlotte Observer]

      U.S.: Witches Stew over Dress Code. By Sheryl Kennedy. A Michigan high school principal announced in December that student wearing pentagrams might be suspended. [The Detroit News]

      U.S.: Michigan ACLU Defends Honor Student Witch. The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan today sued the suburban Detroit school district of Lincoln Park for violating the religious rights of a student by not allowing her to wear a pentacle, a symbol of the Wicca religion. [ACLU]

    U.S.: 1998 – The Year in Review. By Wren Walker. The editor of Wren's Nest offers commentary on the Pagan news of 1998. [Wren's Nest]

    U.S.: Court Clears Solstice Celebrators. A judge who said his Celtic pre-Christian ancestors considered the winter solstice a sacred celebration dismissed charges against solstice revelers arrested for building a bonfire and dancing on a beach. [The Associated Press]

    U.S.: Lawmaker Says He'll Let Wiccan Take Part in Prison Discussion. By Mike Flaherty. A leading lawmaker said in February that he'll draw religious leaders of all types, including a witch, to help the state develop expanded "faith-based corrections" programs in Wisconsin. [Wisconsin State Journal]

    U.S.: Military Pagan Network Awarded Tax Exemption. As of February 1, the Internal Revenue Service has classified the Military Pagan Network Inc. as exempt from federal income tax. [Military Pagan Network]

    PAGAN – Historical and Prehistorical

    U.K.: Orkney Cairn "Let in the Morning Sun," Archaeologists Announce. An underground Neolithic chambered cairn on Orkney has been found to have a possible 'light box' cut into the roof to allow the rays of the rising sun to enter the tomb at certain times of the year. [British Archaeology]

    U.K.: Sands Reveal Wooden Stonehenge. Archaeologists in Britain say an ancient ring of tree trunks found on a beach in Norfolk could be as significant as Stonehenge for understanding the beliefs of pre-historic people. [BBC News]


    Hindu Temple in Hawaii

      U.S.: Hindu Temple Meant to Last a Thousand Years. With little fanfare, the first hand-carved, all-stone Hindu temple ever erected in the Western Hemisphere is slowly taking shape on a Hawaiian island in the mid-Pacific Ocean. [Hinduism Today]

      U.S.: Island Temple Greeted with Aloha Spirit. Hindus find a native place among the multicultural Kauaians. [Hinduism Today]

      World: New Temples Open Throughout the World. Hindus aren't alone in spiritual renaissance. Europe's and Russia's indigenous Pagan temples are returning, and the Hawaiians are clearing temple grounds that have languished for a hundred years. [Hinduism Today]

    India: Sikhs Begin Three Hundredth Anniversary of Faith. By Asit Jolly. A grand ceremony was held in the historic town of Anandpur Sahib where the tenth guru (religious leader) of the Sikhs, Gobind Singh, is said to have founded the faith. [BBC News]


    Letters to the Editor: Christian Pedophiles [Greenbelt Interfaith News]

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    © 1999 Heather Elizabeth Peterson
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