RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Survey: Gore Trails Both Bush and Nader Among U.S. Muslims (RNS) Vice President Al Gore is behind both Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Green Party candidate Ralph Nader among likely U.S. Muslim voters, according to a survey by a leading Muslim advocacy group. In the non-scientific poll released Tuesday (Oct. 17) by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Bush is supported by 40 percent of Muslim voters, with Nader receiving 25 percent and Gore receiving 24 percent. Those numbers are dramatically different from a similar June poll, when Gore led Bush by 32 percent to 28 percent.

NEWS FEATURE: Jazz Ministry Celebrates 30th Anniversary With All-Night Jam Session

c. 2000 Religion News Service NEW YORK _ It is a “Homecoming on Earth” _ a way for jazz musicians and fans alike to congregate and enjoy what one singer calls the closest thing to prayer known in music. “This is our little spiritual home for the jazz community,” said singer Nancie Banks during the recent celebration marking the 30th anniversary of the annual “All Nite Soul Jazzfest” at Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church on Manhattan’s East Side. The site of weekly “jazz vespers” since 1965 and renowned for its ministry to New York’s large jazz community, Saint Peter’s is something of a Manhattan institution _ but an entirely informal and inviting one. During the Oct.

NEWS FEATURE: Jazz Ministry Celebrates 30th Anniversary With All-Night Jam Session

c. 2000 Religion News Service NEW YORK _ It is a “Homecoming on Earth” _ a way for jazz musicians and fans alike to congregate and enjoy what one singer calls the closest thing to prayer known in music. “This is our little spiritual home for the jazz community,” said singer Nancie Banks during the recent celebration marking the 30th anniversary of the annual “All Nite Soul Jazzfest” at Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church on Manhattan’s East Side. The site of weekly “jazz vespers” since 1965 and renowned for its ministry to New York’s large jazz community, Saint Peter’s is something of a Manhattan institution _ but an entirely informal and inviting one. During the Oct.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Baptist Official Credits Boycott With Disney Store Closings (RNS) A Southern Baptist official has greeted reports of plans for the closure of more than 100 Walt Disney Co. stores as a sign that a boycott against the entertainment conglomerate has been successful. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Disney plans to redesign about 600 of its stores and close the remaining 140 stores over the next several years as their leases expire. “I read this news as a sign that the boycott Southern Baptists called in 1997 against the Disney Company is working,” said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Baptist Official Credits Boycott With Disney Store Closings (RNS) A Southern Baptist official has greeted reports of plans for the closure of more than 100 Walt Disney Co. stores as a sign that a boycott against the entertainment conglomerate has been successful. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Disney plans to redesign about 600 of its stores and close the remaining 140 stores over the next several years as their leases expire. “I read this news as a sign that the boycott Southern Baptists called in 1997 against the Disney Company is working,” said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

NEWS STORY: Middle East’s Holy Sites Take Center Stage in Uprisings

c. 2000 Religion News Service JERUSALEM _ Outside of Jerusalem’s Old City walls, a group of Palestinian youths denied entrance to the site sat in noontime prayers on the grass and concrete, listening to a sermon that stated, “The Jews are our enemies, and we will beat them.” Meanwhile, at the Western Wall on the eve of the Jewish pilgrimage holiday of Sukkot, when Jews from around Israel typically stream to the city’s Jewish sites, just one lone group of right-wing religious Jewish youths danced in a circle shouting “The Temple Mount is ours; it belongs to the Jews.” As the riots enter their third week, holy sites have become an integral part of the battlefield, in a region where religion is a force driving nationalist hatreds, rather than sentiments of tolerance or understanding. “Holy space here is exploited in terms of political interests,” says Rabbi David Rosen, an Orthodox leader of inter-religious dialogue. “Spiritual attachment becomes a means of staking your claim.” For both Jews and Arabs, that has certainly been the case at the Al Aksa mosque and Western Wall sites, ever since the first Arab disturbances were triggered by a visit to the mosque compound by Israeli hardliner Ariel Sharon. Since then, each successive Friday noontime Muslim prayer encounter has been watched, recorded and analyzed for indications of where the broader dispute is heading.

NEWS STORY: Middle East’s Holy Sites Take Center Stage in Uprisings

c. 2000 Religion News Service JERUSALEM _ Outside of Jerusalem’s Old City walls, a group of Palestinian youths denied entrance to the site sat in noontime prayers on the grass and concrete, listening to a sermon that stated, “The Jews are our enemies, and we will beat them.” Meanwhile, at the Western Wall on the eve of the Jewish pilgrimage holiday of Sukkot, when Jews from around Israel typically stream to the city’s Jewish sites, just one lone group of right-wing religious Jewish youths danced in a circle shouting “The Temple Mount is ours; it belongs to the Jews.” As the riots enter their third week, holy sites have become an integral part of the battlefield, in a region where religion is a force driving nationalist hatreds, rather than sentiments of tolerance or understanding. “Holy space here is exploited in terms of political interests,” says Rabbi David Rosen, an Orthodox leader of inter-religious dialogue. “Spiritual attachment becomes a means of staking your claim.” For both Jews and Arabs, that has certainly been the case at the Al Aksa mosque and Western Wall sites, ever since the first Arab disturbances were triggered by a visit to the mosque compound by Israeli hardliner Ariel Sharon. Since then, each successive Friday noontime Muslim prayer encounter has been watched, recorded and analyzed for indications of where the broader dispute is heading.

NEWS SIDEBAR: On the Fringe, One Rabbi’s Efforts For Mutual Understanding

c. 2000 Religion News Service JERUSALEM _ At a time when human life seems to have become cheaper and mobs on both sides have intensified their cries for enemy blood, Rabbi Arik Asherman is one figure still fighting for compassion, seeking to sensitize Jews and Arabs to the pain of the “other” side. Over the past week, as disturbances continued around Israel and the West Bank, Asherman, chairman of the tiny Rabbis for Human Rights, led a small group of Jews to northern Israel to visit both Arab and Jewish wounded, victims of riots in Haifa, Nazareth and elsewhere in Galilee. “Jewish tradition tells us that everyone is created in the image of God, and since we all are descended from one human being, to destroy life is like destroying the world,” observes Asherman, founder of a group that includes about a dozen left-leaning rabbis. “But unfortunately right now, we’re in a situation where nobody is very capable of opening their hearts to the other, or empathizing with their pain in a basic human way.

NEWS SIDEBAR: On the Fringe, One Rabbi’s Efforts For Mutual Understanding

c. 2000 Religion News Service JERUSALEM _ At a time when human life seems to have become cheaper and mobs on both sides have intensified their cries for enemy blood, Rabbi Arik Asherman is one figure still fighting for compassion, seeking to sensitize Jews and Arabs to the pain of the “other” side. Over the past week, as disturbances continued around Israel and the West Bank, Asherman, chairman of the tiny Rabbis for Human Rights, led a small group of Jews to northern Israel to visit both Arab and Jewish wounded, victims of riots in Haifa, Nazareth and elsewhere in Galilee. “Jewish tradition tells us that everyone is created in the image of God, and since we all are descended from one human being, to destroy life is like destroying the world,” observes Asherman, founder of a group that includes about a dozen left-leaning rabbis. “But unfortunately right now, we’re in a situation where nobody is very capable of opening their hearts to the other, or empathizing with their pain in a basic human way.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Seminary President Prepares for Possible Cuts by Texas Baptists (RNS) The president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in California is preparing for possible layoffs and other cutbacks in case Texas Baptists approve a proposal to drastically reduce funding of Southern Baptist seminaries. “If they were to somehow miraculously vote to leave their budget as is, it makes a lot of this immaterial,” said William Crews, president of the seminary in Mill Valley, Calif. “We can’t wait to find out what the impact of Texas is before we make our adjustments.” Crews said the amount the seminary receives from Texas Baptists would decrease from $514,000 last year to less than $19,000 next year, reported Associated Baptist Press, an independent news service. “We will of necessity need to reduce our administrative and support staff in the terms of probably $130,000 to $140,000,” Crews said.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Seminary President Prepares for Possible Cuts by Texas Baptists (RNS) The president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in California is preparing for possible layoffs and other cutbacks in case Texas Baptists approve a proposal to drastically reduce funding of Southern Baptist seminaries. “If they were to somehow miraculously vote to leave their budget as is, it makes a lot of this immaterial,” said William Crews, president of the seminary in Mill Valley, Calif. “We can’t wait to find out what the impact of Texas is before we make our adjustments.” Crews said the amount the seminary receives from Texas Baptists would decrease from $514,000 last year to less than $19,000 next year, reported Associated Baptist Press, an independent news service. “We will of necessity need to reduce our administrative and support staff in the terms of probably $130,000 to $140,000,” Crews said.

NEWS FEATURE: Exhibit Explores `Rich and Vital’ Aspects of Faith

c. 2000 Religion News Service NEW YORK _ Walking through the gallery of the American Bible Society (ABS), it is easy to feel as if you are in any other Manhattan contemporary art exhibit. Some of the forms are abstract, and some utilize mixed media. Many of the pieces are striking and fresh. But there is a traditional source at the heart of all of the 50 pieces displayed: Each is a meditation on what Ena Heller, the director of the ABS gallery, calls the “truths and mysteries of the Bible.” “The Word as Art: Contemporary Renderings,” casts light on what Heller describes as a “rich and vital” but often overlooked segment of contemporary art: work that affirms biblically inspired religious faith.

NEWS FEATURE: Exhibit Explores `Rich and Vital’ Aspects of Faith

c. 2000 Religion News Service NEW YORK _ Walking through the gallery of the American Bible Society (ABS), it is easy to feel as if you are in any other Manhattan contemporary art exhibit. Some of the forms are abstract, and some utilize mixed media. Many of the pieces are striking and fresh. But there is a traditional source at the heart of all of the 50 pieces displayed: Each is a meditation on what Ena Heller, the director of the ABS gallery, calls the “truths and mysteries of the Bible.” “The Word as Art: Contemporary Renderings,” casts light on what Heller describes as a “rich and vital” but often overlooked segment of contemporary art: work that affirms biblically inspired religious faith.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Muslims Garner High-Profile Support in Fight Against Secret Evidence (RNS) U.S. Muslims received some high profile support in their fight against the use of “secret evidence” in immigration hearings when Texas Gov. George W. Bush and a leading rabbi spoke out against the controversial government policy. The use of secret evidence was approved under the 1996 immigration reforms. Under the law, government officials can detain terrorist suspects indefinitely, and are not required to tell suspects or their lawyers what evidence has been compiled against them, or who their accusers are. Muslims say the practice is un-American and unfairly targets Muslims and other foreigners. A Florida professor, Mazen al-Najjar, has been held for three years on secret evidence charges and has not been able to see his lawyer or his family.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Muslims Garner High-Profile Support in Fight Against Secret Evidence (RNS) U.S. Muslims received some high profile support in their fight against the use of “secret evidence” in immigration hearings when Texas Gov. George W. Bush and a leading rabbi spoke out against the controversial government policy. The use of secret evidence was approved under the 1996 immigration reforms. Under the law, government officials can detain terrorist suspects indefinitely, and are not required to tell suspects or their lawyers what evidence has been compiled against them, or who their accusers are. Muslims say the practice is un-American and unfairly targets Muslims and other foreigners. A Florida professor, Mazen al-Najjar, has been held for three years on secret evidence charges and has not been able to see his lawyer or his family.