Volume 48 Summer 2006 Number 3
- EDITORIAL: Islam and the "Clash of Civilizations"
WALLACE L. DANIEL
- The Persecution of Thomas Emlyn, 1703-1705
- Is Reconciliation Possible After Genocide?: The Case of Rwanda
MARK R. AMSTUTZ
- Thinking Historically about Diversity: Religion, the Enlightenment, and the
Construction of Civic Culture in Early America
CHRISTOPHER S. GRENDA
- "We Are Alienating the Splendid Irish Race": British Catholic Response to the
Irish Conscription Controversy of 1918
- Shades of "Pragmatism" in Halakhah: A Model for Legal Reform
- Fresh Wineskins for New Wine: A New Perspective on North Korean Christianity
DAE YOUNG RYU
- Burleigh, Michael. Earthly Powers: The Clash of Religion and Politics in Europe: From the French Revolution to the Great War
JOHN B. RONEY
- Richardson, James T., ed. Regulating Religion: Case Studies from Around the Globe
- Brackney, William H. Human Rights and the World's Major Religions
- Buckser, Andrew and Steven Glazier. The Anthropology of Religious Conversion
- Burr, J. Millard and Robert O. Collins. Alms for Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World
- Cook, David. Contemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature
RICHARD T. ANTOUN
- Fetzer, Joel S. and J. Christopher Soper. Muslims and the State in Britain, France, and Germany
- Clark, Victoria. Holy Fire: The Battle for Christ's Tomb
- Brog, David. Standing with Israel: Why Christians Support the Jewish State
NIKOLAS K. GVOSDEV
- Ben-Rafael, Eliezer and Yochanan Peres. Is Israel One? Religion, Nationalism, and Multiculturalism Confounded
MYRON J. ARONOFF
- Mazie, Steven V. Israel's Higher Law: Religion and Liberal Democracy in the Jewish State
- Kagan, Richard L. and Abigail Dyer, ed. and trans. Inquisitorial Inquiries: Brief Lives of Secret Jews & Other Heretics
- Gillis, Chester, ed. The Political Papacy: John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Their Influence
JACLYN O'BRIEN MCEACHERN
- Hemming, Laurence Paul. Benedict XVI Fellow Worker for the Truth: An Introduction to His Life and Thought
BILL S. MIKHAIL
- Gardell, Mattias. Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism
RICHARD V. PIERARD
- Finke, Roger and Rodney Stark. The Churching of America, 1776-2005: Winners
and Losers in Our Religious Economy
CHRISTOPHER H. OWEN
- Hemeyer, Julia Corbett. Religion in America (Fifth Edition)
ALAN L. CHAN
- Wills, David W. Christianity in the United States: A Historical Survey and Interpretation
MERRILL M. HAWKINS, JR.
- Novak, Michael and Jana Novak. Washington's God: Religion, Liberty and the Father of Our Country
DANIEL L. DREISBACH
- Williams, Michael E., Sr. Isaac Taylor Tichenor: The Creation of the Baptist New South
MARSHALL R. JOHNSTON
- Tipton, Steven M. and John Witte, Jr. Family Transformed: Religion, Values, and Society in American Life
BARRY W. BUSSEY
- Bakke, Raymond, William Hendricks, and Brad Smith. Joy at Work: Bible Study Companion
SCOTT B. RAE
- Pickus, Noah. True Faith and Allegiance
ROBERT F. DRINAN, S.J.
- Wallis, Jim. God's Politics: Why the Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It
RHYS H. WILLIAMS
- Schippe, Cullen and Chuck Stetson, eds. The Bible and Its Influence
- Collins, Kenneth J. The Evangelical Moment: The Promise of an American Religion
- Notes on Church-State Affairs
David W. Hendon and Charles McDaniel
- Recent Doctoral Dissertations in Church and State
- Calendar of Events in Church and State
- Books Received
Notes on Church-State Affairs
David W. Hendon and Charles McDaniel
Armenian Minister of Justice David Harutyunyan rejected criticism from the Council of Europe that Armenia has failed to live up to commitments to end imprisonment of conscientious objectors. The government, however, is preparing a fourth version of a law on alternative service to send to the parliament.
An administrative commission fined Pentecostal Pastor Ilya Radkevich for conducting a religious service without his group being registered with the government. The fine was based on a 2002 law.
An exhibit put on by the General Archives celebrating the 175th anniversary of an independent Belgium contains a display about "dangerous sects." Since 1996 the government has monitored small religious groups that it thinks can harm people. The display specifically mentioned the Church of Scientology, the Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Mandarom movement. Mandarom is the name of the city in France where that movement started. Its leader Gilbert Bourdin, now dead, called himself the "Cosmic Christ" and had large statues of himself erected. He called the movement "Aumism."
In response to a nationalist deputy in the National Assembly inquiring about the Jehovah's Witnesses, Minister of the Interior Roumen Petkov accused the group of violating an agreement with the government worked out before the European Court. He threatened to prosecute them.
A group of pastors founded GTA Faith Alliance to combat violence after a year in which handgun violence in Toronto increased significantly.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement rejecting criticism from the U.S. Congress of its religious policies. Spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the congressmen should pay more attention to their own problems. China often arrests members of unregistered house churches and leaders of the underground Catholic Church. Uighurs and Tibetans have difficulties both for their religion and their desire for more local autonomy.
The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association installed Liu Xinhong and Ma Yinglin as bishops without the approval of the Vatican. The Vatican responded by excommunicating the two.
The Cuban government closed three house churches under restrictive legislation adopted in 2005.
Eritrea jailed leaders of Medhane Alem, a renewal movement in the Orthodox Church. The Holy Synod also excommunicated sixty-five Sunday School leaders for not condemning Medhane Alem as heretical.
Indian officials held up release of the film "The Da Vinci Code." The film had earlier passed review by the censor, but Catholic groups then began protesting the production.
There were further incidents of Hindu-Christian conflict. Authorities in Kota district in the state of Rajasthan charged Archbishop M.A. Thomas and his son Reverend Samuel Thomas with "exciting . . . disaffection towards the government of India." M. A. Thomas is the founder of Emmanuel Mission International. Hindu militants charge that Thomas had distributed a controversial book called Haqueeqat (The Truth or Reality), but the ministry said they only had a few copies in the main office. In Madhya Pradesh, Pastor Jagdish Bharti was charged with outraging Hindu religious beliefs. There were several reports of private individuals attacking Christian leaders. Christians, however, were pleased that the legislature of Tamil Nadu repealed an anticonversion law passed in 2002. A court in Madhya Pradesh acquitted sixteen Christians of killing a Hindu militant during violence that followed the discovery of the body of a Catholic girl at a Catholic school in Jhabua in 2004. The Supreme Court asked two state governments to explain the distribution of compact discs that suggest that Christians should be attacked.
Threats from radical Muslims led to interruption of services at three churches in North Jakarta and the provinces of West Java and Tangerang.
The Iranian government called in the ambassador of Canada to protest comments by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, based upon an incorrect newspaper story. The National Post, a conservative paper, had reported that Iran was planning to require religious minorities to wear color-coded badges. Mr. Harper said that would remind people of Nazi Germany. The National Post later apologized for its error, but by that time the story had also been picked up by other newspapers including The New York Post.
The prospect that controversial Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a rabid soccer fan, might attend a crucial match for the Iranian team led to protests from the Simon Wiesenthal Center and a number of German and European Union politicians. Ahmadinejad has questioned the reality of the Holocaust, and the game was held in Nuremberg, site of Nazi rallies in the 1930s. Despite the protests, German Chancellor Angela Merkl said she could not ban his attending. In any event, he did not attend the match, which the Iranians lost to Mexico by a score of 3-1. Iranian Vice President Mohammed Aliabadi did attend. About one thousand Jews and Iranian dissidents staged a protest. The Bavarian Minister of the Interior told the protesters that Ahmadinejad was not welcome in Germany and that only his diplomatic passport would have prevented his arrest had he come.
The body of a kidnapped American, Tom Fox, who had been in Iraq with a Christian Peacemakers team, was discovered in a garbage dump in the western part of Baghdad. He had been shot in the head. The Christian Peacemakers oppose the war.
A judge in Kazakhstan fined Baptist Pastor Yaroslav Senyuskevitch for leading an unregistered congregation. Baptists in Kazakhstan say that registration requires providing information on things that are inappropriate to ask, such as political commitments.
Reacting to large popular demonstrations, the parliament passed a series of laws asserting its powers against those of an unpopular king. Among other things, it declared that Nepal is a secular democracy. The Christian minority welcomed this change.
The Palestinian Bible Society temporarily closed a bookshop in Gaza City in reaction to bomb threats. On the West Bank, militants broke the windows of a Bible Society center.
In an editorial in Peru 21, Augusto Alvarez Roderick warned that mixing religion and politics can be dangerous. Former president of the Jewish Association of Peru Issac Mekler ran for Congress in April on the list of the Peruvian Nationalist Party. Peruvian evangelicals have links to the Democratic Reconstruction Party.
The Catholic Church has begun new investigations to find people in the church who spied for the former Communist government. A church commission started by Archbishop Stanislae Dziwisz conducts such investigations.
The Russian government is preparing a law to restore church buildings and property to the churches. They have been state property, and the churches have paid fees to use them. Historic sites such as the Kremlin cathedrals and St. Basil's will not be included.
Police arrested two Ethiopian and two Eritrean Christians at a private worship meeting and planned to deport them.
Serbian President Boris Tadic said the country's new law on religion violates the European Convention on Human Rights. He called for revisions, but the Religion Ministry did nothing.
Turkmen officials refused a request by Asma Jahangir, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief, to visit the country. Turkmenistan has a record of limiting the operations of religious minorities such as Baptists and Jehovah's Witnesses.
Some Ukrainian Greek Catholics have accused the Ukrainian Orthodox Citizens Union, which has links to the pro-Russian political group "People's Opposition" of intolerance. The Union's leader in turn has called for a mobilization of the Orthodox in Ukraine.
UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND
The House of Commons rejected a bill presented by the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair to combat racial and religious hatred. It did approve an amended version of the bill that outlawed "threatening behavior." The original bill banned "abusive and insulting" actions.
Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Evangelical, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, and Buddhist schools adopted a statement committing them to support the National Framework for Religious Education adopted in 2004. This means that they will introduce their students to other faiths and to developing sensitivity toward those faiths.
Abortion: Amicus briefs were filed by attorneys for the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) and Christian Legal Society (CLS) with the U.S. Supreme Court in the attempt to persuade justices of the constitutionality of the federal ban on so-called partial-birth abortion. The Court ruled in Stenberg v. Carhart (2000) that Nebraska's law banning late-term abortion was too vague to be enforceable. Largely in response to this ruling, the U.S. Congress passed the Partial-Birth Abortion Act of 2003 that included more specific language designed to overcome the Court's objection to the Nebraska law in the Stenberg case. Two years later, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the Partial-Birth Abortion Act was unconstitutional because it failed to make exceptions for cases in which the health of the mother is at risk. The U.S. Supreme Court has now agreed to review two cases in which appellate courts determined that the Partial-Birth Abortion Act is unconstitutional, leading to the "friend-of-the-court" briefs filed by ADF and CLS attorneys.
AIDS Funding: Controversy has arisen in the American Evangelical community over policies of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria because of the organization's support of programs that distribute condoms and "clean needles" to drug addicts. The U.S. Senate passed a non-binding budget amendment that increased the United States' contribution to the Fund to $866 million in 2007, which brought condemnation from prominent conservative Evangelicals like James Dobson. The Evangelical block headed by Dobson is opposed by a group that supports the Global Fund, led by Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, and the traditionally conservative Pat Robertson. Dobson, Gary Bauer, and the leaders of twenty-nine conservative Evangelical organizations crafted a letter sharply criticizing the Global Fund not only for its reproductive services and drug programs but also for mismanagement and fiscal irresponsibility. The letter was delivered to U.S. congressmen as part of a campaign to reduce or eliminate altogether the U.S. government's financial support of the Global Fund.
Baptists and Religious Liberty: The Alliance of Baptists, a non-profit group organized to foster relationships among Baptists and other people of faith, has been notified by the federal government that it will be fined $34,000 for engaging in "tourist" activities while on a trip to Cuba. The Bush Administration granted permission to the group to travel to Cuba for religious purposes, but the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control has now determined (based on travel itineraries supplied by the group) that Alliance members did not participate in "a program of full-time religious activities." The ruling is controversial because the Alliance of Baptists has been critical of the Bush Administration's Cuba policy in the past.
Faith-based Initiatives: The White House announced the appointment of Jay Hein to serve as director of the Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives. Hein, former president of the Indianapolis-based Sagamore Instititute for Policy Research, will succeed Jim Towey, who resigned to become the president of Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Hein has also served as vice-president and CEO of the Foundation for American Renewal, as executive director of Civil Society Programs for the Hudson Institute, and as a policy assistant for welfare reform under former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson.
Military Chaplaincy: Lieutenant Gordon James Klingenschmitt, a chaplain in the U.S. Navy, is facing court-martial for protesting in uniform near the White House against the Navy's prayer policies that forbid prayer said "in Jesus' name." Klingenschmitt rejected the option of non-judicial punishment in favor of court-martial in order to defend his innocence in court. The chaplain previously participated in a 19-day hunger-strike in front of the White House in the attempt to gain the right to offer prayers with specifically Christian phrases like "in Jesus' name" at military and other official events and ceremonies.
In a related story, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a provision of the $513 billion Department of Defense authorization bill that allows chaplains to pray "in Jesus name." The provision was attached by the House Armed Services Committee before the entire bill was sent to the full House for approval. The Senate is also required to approve the language: "Each chaplain shall have the prerogative to pray according to the dictates of the chaplain's own conscience, except as must be limited by military necessity, with any such limitation being imposed in the least restrictive manner feasible."
Prison Ministries: A federal judge has determined that Prison Fellowship's InnerChange Freedom Initiative in Iowa (one of the programs in Charles Colson's Prison Fellowship Ministries) violates the Establishment Clause. Americans United for the Separation of Church and State initiated the lawsuit in which Federal Judge Robert Pratt ruled that the program, in effect, establishes an Evangelical Christian congregation within a state correctional institution. Prison Fellowship Ministries has retained the services of the Beckett Fund, a non-profit law firm known for its involvement in First Amendment cases, in order to appeal the decision. Judge Pratt's ruling included a requirement for Prison Fellowship to repay the $1.5 million that it has received from the State of Iowa in support of the InnerChange Program over the past six years.
Public Prayer: The Rutherford Institute has joined in the appeal of a First Amendment case involving prayer at City Council meetings in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Councilman Hashmel Turner challenged the organization's policy that forbids the expression of "sectarian" prayers to open its sessions. The Fredericksburg City Council has a long-established tradition of allowing council members to open meetings with prayer. Council members participate in the opening prayer on a rotational basis. The Virginia ACLU has challenged the constitutionality of this practice in recent years. Both advocates and proponents of such policies are hopeful that the case will provide some clarity on this issue. A 2004 ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (Wynne v. Town of Great Falls, South Carolina) determined that the Great Falls City Council violated the Establishment Clause when it allowed the articulation of prayers that referenced a specific deity, but a subsequent case (Simpson v. Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors) rejected a legal challenge to an almost identical practice by the Chesterfield County Board. Rutherford Institute attorneys contend that the Fredericksburg City Council's policy is a violation of Turner's free speech rights.
Religion in Public Schools: A Christian group has filed a lawsuit against the Montgomery County Public School System in Maryland because the school district would not allow the distribution of flyers advertising the group's Good News Bible Clubs. Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) produced the flyers with the intent that they be given to students to take home from school. In 2004, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the school district's policy that prohibited this method of distribution was a violation of Good News Bible Clubs' free speech rights. In response, the Montgomery County school district revised its literature distribution policy to overcome the Court's objections. The constitutionality of this revised policy is now being challenged by CEF with the aid of the Christian Legal Society. The suit contends that other religious groups and programs, such as the Baha'i community and a local Methodist Church tutoring program, have been granted permission to distribute information through flyers sent home with students.
The high school senior valedictorian of her class at Foothill High School in Henderson, Nevada had her microphone unplugged by school officials when she talked about her Christian beliefs during her graduation address. Brittany McComb submitted her speech to Clark County School District officials prior to the ceremony, who proceeded to edit the speech by deleting references to the Bible, "the Lord," and "Christ."
The Clark County School Board's free speech policy purports to enable graduation speakers who are selected on a "neutral" basis to include religious content since the speakers "retain primary control over the content of their expression . . . [thus] that content is not attributable to the school." However, school officials determined the religious content inappropriate and decided to turn off the microphone when the student began to deliver previously edited material.
The ACLU has threatened to sue a West Virginia School Board that determined it would not remove a picture of Jesus Christ from a local high school. The picture has hung on a wall near the principal's office at Bridgeport High School and, despite previous threats of legal action, the Harrison County School Board determined that it would not be removed.
Religious Displays on Public Property: Sandra Snowden, a Florida resident, filed a lawsuit alleging a violation of her civil rights because Town of Bay Harbor Islands' officials denied her request to allow her to erect a nativity scene on Causeway Island during the holiday season. Causeway Island is a prominent, city-owned property that was the subject of a ruling by the city in April 2005 in which it was to be designated as a forum for various kinds of expression during the holidays. Subsequent to this resolution, however, Town of Bay Harbor Islands' officials determined that displays must be limited to 15 by 12 feet in size, and the council placed additional restrictions on the positioning of such displays. Snowden has challenged these restrictions and, although denied by a U.S. District Court, the case now has reached the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Rutherford Institute attorneys have joined in the lawsuit to assist Snowden in her appeal.
Lawyers for organizations headed by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson are lobbying members of the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution to eliminate reimbursements for legal fees and out-of-pocket expenses that go to plaintiffs who are victorious in cases involving the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Such legislation, according to representatives of conservative religious groups, will restrict the number of legal challenges to religious displays on public property. However, Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, believes that such action would discourage the initiation of many diverse First Amendment cases involving issues of church and state that are critical to the preservation of religious liberty.
The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2004 district court ruling that a Bible display outside the Harris County, Texas Courthouse violates the Establishment Clause. The Bible monument is adjacent to the courthouse's main entrance and is highly visible to all persons who enter the building. Kay Staley, an attorney who frequently participated in cases heard in the courthouse, brought the original suit challenging the display's constitutionality. The display was built in 1956 to honor a Houston businessman, William S. Mosher, and it includes a glass case with an open Bible.
President Bush signed a bill sponsored by San Diego-area congressmen to transfer control of San Diego's Mount Soledad Cross from the State of California to the federal government. The intent of the bill is to avoid the court-ordered removal of the cross that has stood as a veteran's memorial since 1954.
The Uzbek government, like that of Turkmenistan, refused a visit by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief.
Pope Benedict XVI traveled to the United Kingdom, and in a meeting called for continuing dialogue with the forces of moderate Islam. On the same day, the Vatican issued a statement that the issue of nuclear weapons in Iran should be handled by diplomacy.
The last two workers for the New Tribes Mission left indigenous lands in compliance with an edict issued by President Hugo Chavez.
WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES
The World Council of Churches issued a statement calling on Iran to give up its program of uranium enrichment and to recognize the state of Israel.
Calendar of Events
World's Religions after September 11: A Global Congress
11-15 September 2006
The aim of this conference is to bring together the various religions of the world in an ecumenical spirit to address the many issues facing the world today, in the hope that this will help us to become better human beings. Please view the website: www.worldsreligionsafter911.com for further information and registration.
International Conference on Fundamentalism and the Media
10-12 October 2006
Organized by the Center for Media, Religion, and Culture, this conference hopes to contribute to a global conversation about how best to address religious misunderstandings and conflict in the media sphere. The organizers hope that this conference will open a dialogue between academics, practitioners, and members of the religious community on how to move forward. Please view the website: www.colorado.edu/journalism/mcm-/mrc/fundmed.htm or telephone (303) 492-1357 for further information.
7-10 January 2007
Cape Town, South Africa
Organized by the Isaac and Jesse Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies/Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations, this conference will focus on the interdisciplinary perspectives on the significance of migratory journeys to places of crucial importance in the emergence of new Jewish communities, or the transformation of previously existing communities. Contact Dr. Sarah Pierce at www.parkes.soton.ac.uk/ for more information.
Politics, Culture and Lebanese Diaspora
18-20 January 2007
Organized by the Lebanese American University, this conference aims to examine politics and culture of Lebanese migrants and their descendants in difference parts of the world. Scholars and researchers are invited to examine communal, national, and transnational elements. For information, see the website at: htttp://intranet.lau.edu/lb/newsevents/conferences/politics_leba-nese_abroad/. Contact name: Dr. Paul Tabar.
Jewish Leaders Throughout the Ages
11-12 February 2007
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Organized by the Australian Association of Jewish Studies, this conference concentrates on Jewish leadership from ancient times to the present day. This is an interdisciplinary conference relating to history, literature, and the arts. For information, see the website at: www.judaica.library.usyd.edu.au/notices.
International Conference on Religious Festivals in Southeast Asia
16-18 February 2007
Organized by the University of California, Riverside, this conference will explore festivals as embodied narratives in which connections between religion and nationalism, globality and locality, and tourism and politics are drawn- urgent issues that invite careful unfoldings in SEA studies today. Festivals from (Buddhist) Thailand to (Muslim) Indonesia and (Catholic) Philippines demonstrate the powerful ability and impulse of communities to localize outside influences, a process of assimilation that has distinguished the region as a whole from elsewhere. For information, contact Dr. Patrick Alcedo or visit the website at: www.complitforlang.ucr.edu/people/faculty/maier.
Themes in Wesleyan and Catholic Thought
1 March 2007
Olivet Nazarene University
The Wesleyan Philosophical Society in conjunction with the Society of the Study of Psychology and Wesleyan Thought will meet to discuss topics which include, but are not limited to, philosophy of God, moral theology, responses to papal encyclicals, nature and grace, spirituality, or just war theory versus pacifism. For information, contact Brint Montgomery at Brint@snu.edu.
Keeping Faith: Religious Belief and Political Economy
19-21 April 2007
Durham, North Carolina
This conference will focus on efforts by European and North American economists from roughly 1800-1950 to include their religious beliefs in the economic analysis. It is part of Duke's History of Political Economy (HOPE) series. Contact: Bradley Bateman, Department of Economics, Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA 50112-1690; tel.: (641) 269-3145 for information.
The Amish in America: New Identities and Diversities: An International Conference
7-9 June 2007
The Young Center of Elizabethtown College
This conference will address the changing nature of Amish identity and the growing cultural diversity of Amish life in North America. Scholars from varied academic disciplines as well as practitioners who provide services to the Amish will participate. Presentations will cover historical as well as contemporary themes. Supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, it is part of a three-year collaborative research project on Amish identity and diversity being conducted by the Young Center. Registration will begin in January 2007. The conference is open to the public.