Greenbelt Interfaith News

    September 1999

    Articles Index

    Historical and Prehistorical (Africa, Asia, British Isles, Central and South America, Europe, Middle East, North America, Oceania)

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    Religious Freedom in the Military

    Religious Freedom in Prison

    World: Minority Faiths Comes Under the Microscope Across Europe. By Ira Rifkin. Religious-rights advocates have expanded their efforts to protect minority faiths in what many thought an unlikely arena – some of Western Europe's leading democracies. [Religion News Service]

    World: The Apocryphal Y1K Problem. By Peter Steinfels. The turn of the last millennium was a time of apocalyptic panic, fevered preaching, penitential excesses and, for the Christian faithful, ominous signs and wonders. All very exotic, very dramatic and, as it turns out, very likely untrue. [The New York Times]

    Canada: Japanese Shinto Priests Deliver Environmental Message to Inuit Elders.The Shinto priests signed a memorandum of understanding with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., highlighting concerns shared by their ancient religious order and Inuit. [Nunatsiaq News]

    Peru: Deity Installation at Hindu Temple. By B.A.Tridandi Swami. Participants of Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, the USA, and Europe inaugurated the second annual South American Mela with a march "For Those Who Cannot Talk for Themselves" through the city of Lima to demonstrate solidarity against animal-slaughter, abuse, and abortion. [Vaishnava Internet News Agency]

    South Africa: Blessing That Created Waves at Surf Contest. Accusations of "pagan and heathen" had been flying around Jeffreys Bay, in the Eastern Cape, ever since organisers invited 10 Xhosa traditional healers to "bless the ocean" at the opening of the R1-million Billabong prosurfing contest. [Sunday Times]

    U.K.: Royal Tribute to First Sikh Settler. The Prince of Wales has unveiled a statue of the United Kingdom's first Sikh settler, Maharajah Duleep Singh, the last ruler of the Sikh kingdom of Punjab. [BBC]

    U.K.: Anglicans Offer Atheists "Baby Blessing". Baby blessing ceremonies are to be offered to atheist and agnostic parents by the Church of England. [BBC]

    U.S.: Unitarians Meet, and Mormons Get Quite an Eyeful. By Karen Brandon. The contrast between these two fast-growing faiths is the difference between the conservative and the liberal, between the strict and permissive, between Mormon leader Brigham Young and famed Unitarian Henry David Thoreau, and between the sensibilities of Salt Lake City and Boston, the Unitarians' headquarters. [The Chicago Tribune]

    U.S.: Latter-day Saints Foundation Gives $25,000 for Krishna Temple Construction. The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, popularly known as the Mormons, recently gave a $25,000 donation to Utah's Krishna temple construction fund. [Vaishnava Internet News Agency]

    U.S.: Hindu Temple Accommodates a Diverse Community of Worshippers. By Tara Dooley. The temple differs from others in India and in the United States because it is not devoted to one deity, organizers said. In addition, instead of focusing on one set of traditions, it offers communities from different Indian states and South America a place to practice their individual rituals. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

    U.S.: A Buddha Field. By Joe DiStefano."Change Your Mind Day," the third annual day of meditation and teaching held by Tricycle: The Buddhist Review on June 8, featured introductions to various Buddhist spiritual traditions as well as music and poetry by Allen Ginsberg. [Resident Online]

    U.S.: Falun Dafa, a New Faith From China, Comes to New York. By Mark Boal. There are Falun Dafa groups in every major American city, and a convention in Chicago in June drew about 2000. Not bad at all for a faith from China, where Falun Dafa was invented just seven years ago. [The Village Voice]

    U.S.: Indian Tribe Deplores Commercial Exploitation of Its Sacred Symbol. By Julie Cart. The people of tiny Zia Pueblo in north-central New Mexico, all 850 of them, are deeply offended. To them, the red circle with lines radiating in four directions is a religious symbol not to be used frivolously, certainly not something that should appear on the side of portable toilets. [The Los Angeles Times]

    U.S.: Park Service Won't Let Hopis Gather Golden Eagles. By Mark Shaffer. When the two Hopi priests went to Wupatki National Monument in late May looking for eaglets to slay during a religious ceremony, it didn't take Superintendent Sam Henderson long to say no. But the incident has drawn the attention of the upper levels of the U.S. Interior Department in what Park Service officials say is the first case of Native American religious rights pitted against the rights of the U.S. Park Service to protect its wildlife. [The Arizona Republic]

    Historical and Prehistorical


    Nigeria: "Queen of Sheba" Wall is No Fake. Scientists in Nigeria have authenticated an ancient wall near Lagos, but are playing down the possibility that it marked the boundary of the kingdom of the legendary Queen of Sheba. [BBC]


    China: Farmer Sentenced to Death for Stealing Buddha Statue. A Chinese farmer has been sentenced to death for stealing the oldest statue of the Buddha in China. [Buddhayana Quarterly]

    India: Chola Period Idols, Terracotta Vessels Found. A mutilated idol of Lord Muruga, red bricks and spouted terracotta vessels belonging to the Chola period have been found in the premises of the Theneaswarar Temple in Vellalore, near Coimbatore. [The Hindu]


    A Sad Solstice at Ancient Stones

      U.K.: Ancient Stones Daubed with Paint. Two of the ancient standing stones at the Avebury World Heritage site in Wiltshire have been damaged by vandals in what may have been a protest against genetically-modified crops. [BBC]

      U.K.: Police Drop Stonehenge Exclusion Zone. For the first time in a decade, it was planned that the police would not enforce a four-mile exclusion zone around the ancient monument on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England. [BBC]

      U.K.: Stonehenge Visits Cancelled. English Heritage has withdrawn permission from hundreds of Druids to spend the summer solstice at Stonehenge following clashes between police and New Age travellers. [BBC]

      U.K.: Stonehenge Sealed for Solstice. A police operation to seal off Stonehenge has ensured a peaceful end to the summer solstice celebrations. [BBC]

    Seahenge Protest

      U.K.: Protesters Halt "Seahenge" Removal. Protesters have forced archaeologists to put off plans to remove the main part of a Bronze Age circle of wooden posts which emerged from the sea off the north Norfolk coast. [BBC]

      U.K.: Seahenge Removal On Again. Attempts to move a Bronze Age monument were due to resume in July following a deal between archaeologists and protesters. [BBC]

      U.K.: Seahenge Gives Up Its Secrets. A circle of waterlogged wooden posts found on a remote beach in Norfolk, England, is transforming our knowledge of Bronze Age culture 4,000 years ago. [BBC]

    U.K.: Pagans Set Good Example for Eclipse Revellers. Druids and white witches have been recruited to act as unofficial guardians of Cornwall's prehistoric monuments during August's total eclipse. [The Times]

    U.K.: Science Supports a Holy Relic in Great Britain. The purported remains of St. Chad, an English missionary bishop of the seventh century, are getting a scientific boost. [Discovering Archaeology]


    World: In Mayan Basketball, the Losing Team Died. Far more than a mere sport, the contest was a ritual of great religious significance. [U.S. News]


    Greece: Historic Acropolis to Undergo Controversial Facelift. By Helena Smith. Conservationists are about to embark on arguably the most difficult task yet in the long and inglorious history of restoration on the Acropolis: the dismantling and reassembly of its monumental marble columns. [Guardian News Service]

    Greece: American Archaeologist Leads Temple Project at Old Olympic Site. By Brian Murphy. The games of Nemea – one of four sites of the Panhellenic games, now called the Olympics – were revived in 1996 by an American professor who has spent his career uncovering the intricacies of ancient athletic contests and rites. Now, he is again trying to bring history alive: rebuilding part of the Temple of Nemean Zeus that lies mostly in ruin in southern Greece. [The Associated Press]

    Greece: Archaeological Parks Proposed. By Lisa Orkin. Archaeologists are lobbying the government for funds to finish preserving tombs and transform the ancient cities of Mieza and Pella into archaeological parks. [The Associated Press]

    Italy: Lush Gardens Brightened the Temples of Pompeii. The first hints that elegant gardens once surrounded the temples of Pompeii are emerging from beneath the volcanic ash that engulfed the Roman city in A.D. 79. [Discovering Archaeology]

    Italy: Roman Tombs Revise History. Archaeologists in Rome have unearthed four tombs dating from the 9th Century BC, suggesting that the heart of the Roman Empire could be more than a century older than previously thought. [BBC]

    Italy: Botanists Offer New Evidence on Shroud of Turin. An analysis of pollen grains and plant images places the origin of the "Shroud of Turin," thought by many to be the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth, in Jerusalem before the 8th Century. [ScienceDaily Magazine]


    Egypt: Government to Move Pharaonic Temple to New Site. By Salah Nasrawi. Egypt will move a 2,600-year-old Pharaonic temple to a new location to protect it from the ravages of rising ground water, its culture minister said in July. [The Associated Press]

    Egypt: Giza Pyramid Ready for Millennium. The largest of the three Great Pyramids of Giza, near the Egyptian capital Cairo, has been re-opened after more than a year of restoration work. [BBC]

    Egypt: Golden Mummies Discovered. Archaeologists in Egypt have announced the discovery of at least 200 mummies, some of them with golden masks, in a huge cemetery in the Western Desert. [BBC]

    Egypt: Ancient Egyptian Statue Rebuilt. A 3,300-year-old Pharaonic sculpture of a god and goddess painstakingly reconstructed from 250 fragments was unveiled by the Egyptian Museum in July. [Discovery]

    Israel: Archaeologists Discover a Plaintive Cry from a Doomed City. From the debris of a ravaged city, archaeologists picked up a stone small enough to fit in your hand. On one side was etched the image of a mausoleum; on the other, a symbol for the Jewish month of Tamuz. The city died on the first day of Tamuz – and so, most likely, did the carver of the stone. [Discovering Archaeology]

    Israel: Crusade-Era Coin Collection Found. A trove of rare, thousand-year-old coins bearing the likeness of Jesus has been discovered in an area of Israel that was predominantly Muslim at the time. [Discovery]

    Turkey: Geologists Dredge Up Noah's Flood. Intrigued by tales of a great flood in the Babylonian epic poem Gilgamesh, as well as the Biblical flood story of Noah, geologists Walter Pitman and Bill Ryan set off for the Black Sea to investigate the possibility of a large-scale prehistoric flood originating in the Strait of Bosporus, a narrow channel of water that connects the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. [Discovering Archaeology]


    Royal Mayan Tombs

      Mexico: Ancient Mayan Tomb Unearthed. The discovery of the tomb of a Mayan ruler along with inscriptions will supply new insights into the ancient Indian society in southeastern Mexico, archaeologists announced in July. [Discovery]

      Mexico: Painted Murals Found in Palenque Tomb. Recent excavations on the jungle-cloaked South Acropolis at the Late Classic (ca. A.D. 379-799) Maya city of Palenque in Chiapas, Mexico, have yielded a tomb decorated with the first painted murals ever found at the site, a 12-foot-tall sculptured support pier bearing the portrait of a king, and a limestone throne inscribed with more than 200 glyphs. [Archaeology]

    Scientists and Native Americans Discuss Burial Issues

      U.S.: Native Americans, Archaeologists Find Common Ground. An anthropology professor – with the guidance and backing of a national board made up of representatives from seven Native American tribes – led a six-week class this summer that combined archaeological field methods with lessons on American Indian concerns about artifacts and remains. [UniSci]

      U.S.: Archaeologist Works to Preserve Indian Remains Properly. By Deb Evans. The Catawba Indian Nation will see to it that privacy and respect are observed during the traditional Native American burial. So will archaeologist Jackie Rice. [The Herald]

    U.S.: Courts are Deciding Fate of Miami Stone Circle. Nestled at the mouth of the Miami River, the stone circle believed to be the centuries-old foundation of a Tequesta Indian structure waits patiently for Florida courts to decide its fate. [Discovering Archaeology]


    Australia: Saving Stories from Dreamtime. By David Whitehouse. Time is running out to record the tales and myths of the sky passed down from generation to generation of Australian Aborigines since the dreamtime – the time in the past when the world was young. [BBC]

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    © 1999 Heather Elizabeth Peterson
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