Newsletter : 4fax1223.txt
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>PD Dec. 23, 1994, V2, #231
Top Saudi Arabian Cleric Says Peace with Israel Permissible
In a surprise move, a senior Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia
issued a decree stating that a peace agreement with Israel is
permissible if agreed upon by political leaders. Mufti Abed el-Azib
Bin Abdallah Bin Baz reportedly based his statements on passages
from the Koran. The mufti is a senior Muslim cleric who has long
been associated with conservative religious groups.
Two Palestinians Killed in Separate Incidents
By Susan Sappir (Jerusalem)
A 27-year-old member of the Muslim Hamas group has been killed in
the West Bank Palestinian self-rule area of Jericho. But it is not
clear who ran over Ibrahmir Yaghi with a car and then shot him.
Hamas quickly declared him a martyr and called a three-day strike
to mourn his death.
A neighbor said the Palestinian police in charge of the Jericho
area had to decide whether to investigate the killing or hand the
case over to the Israeli army.
In the West Bank town of Hebron, a 19-year-old palestinian died
in an explosion. The Israeli army said he was preparing a home
Off the coast of Gaza an Israeli naval patrol fired at a
Palestinian boat that had strayed into Israeli waters. Two
fishermen were wounded, one of them seriously.
Beirut Car bomb Kills Senior Hizbullah Figure
Four people were killed and at least 15 others were severely
injured when a car bomb exploded Wednesday in Beirut. Fuad
Moughniyeh, a senior member of Hizbullah, was among those
killed. The Hizbullah blamed Israel for the blast. The report added
that the IDF has issued no official response to the incident.
The IDF and the South Lebanese Army are on high alert in southern
Lebanon. There are also reports that Syrian and Lebanese forces are
increasing their activity in the Ba'albek area of eastern Lebanon,
a region with a large Hizbullah presence.
Survey Examines Religious Affiliation
By Paul Francuch (Chicago)
What are the religious affiliations of America's elite, and how has
the character of this affiliation changed over time? That is the
question a group of social scientists examine in a newly-released
study which compares data between the years 1930 and 1992. The
researchers found that mainline Protestants -- while a small
minority of the US population -- still constitute a
disproportionate share of the elite.
The research led by sociologist James Davidson of Indiana's Purdue
University relied on religious citations among those listed in the
authoritative annual publication "Who's Who in America." Davidson
says mainline Protestants who now make up less than 5 percent of
the US population constitute more than one-third of the elite, as
defined by "Who's Who."
"There has been considerable persistence, so that people who belong
to the old-line establishment groups -- the Episcopalians,
Presbyterians and the United Church of Christ -- remain
over-represented among the elite, though there has been some
decline, especially among members of the United Church of Christ.
At the same time, groups such as the Jews and the Catholics and, to
a lesser extent, the Lutherans have made considerable progress over
the last 60 years."
Davidson says the percentage of Jews listed today in "Who's Who" is
considerably greater than their percentage of the overall
population (Editor: 2 percent of population and 12 percent of
"Who's Who" listings). Catholics -- who constitute about
one-quarter of the US population -- now have about one-quarter
of the elite listings. In 1930, Catholics held only about 4
percent of the listings. So far, there are few named in "Who's
Who" who identify themselves as Muslims. And some conservative
Protestant denominations, notably Baptists, have lost some of
their elite standing, as measured by listings in "Who's Who."
So what is the message in all of this? Davidson offers this
observation: people's denominational affiliations affect the way
they think about not only religion but the society that they live
in. They also provide people with social networks that are
important, in terms of gaining access to power and privilege in our
society. They are the basis on which a number of policies have
been institutionalized in society that favor people who are
members of the old establishment group."
The Making of a 'Green' Synagogue
By Terri Keefe (Washington D.C.)
It is Friday evening at Temple Emanuel in Kensington, Md. and the
weekly Sabbath service has begun. But tonight's worship is
different -- dedicated to a special theme.
For the next hour of the service, about 100 men, women and children
explore the Judaic roots of environmentalism. They watch as
candles are lit, and as the Torah is removed from the Ark, read
from, and returned to its sacred place. They listen as the cantor
sings from the biblical text of Ecclesiastes.
Temple members are teaching ecological values to their children,
exploring solar heating, and recycling glass, cardboard, and paper.
Temple Emanuel plans to revamp its sanctuary, making it an
environmental model. The new building will be as energy efficient,
using a solar-powered light to illuminate the Ark.
Concern for the ecology is a relatively new cause for American
Jews. Although Reform Jewish congregations like Temple Emanuel
have a rich tradition of social action, Jews historically have
ministered to the poor and the oppressed, not to the earth.
Nevertheless, the environmental ethic is steeped in ancient Judaic
teachings and embedded in the Hebrew language. For example, Adam,
the Hebrew word for human is formed from Adamah, which means
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