Making A Difference
A recent Christian-led protest in Traverse City, Michigan caused city officials to rethink a decision to display the "gay pride" logo on city vehicles. Last December the city approved a new official logo, which coincided precisely with the official "gay pride" flag (a six-color rainbow). As the city logo, this image would be placed on all city vehicles.
Concerned citizens, however, promptly registered complaints about the decision. One of these concerned citizens was police officer Dave Leach, a thirty-year veteran of the Traverse City Police Department. Risking his job and city pension, Leach appeared on a local Christian radio station to voice his opposition to the logo. He stated that driving a police car with a homosexual symbol violated his religious convictions and that he decided to speak out for all the other city employees who share his view.
In response to citizens' objections, the city commission held an open meeting where it announced the removal of the logos from all city vehicles. City Attorney W. Peter Doren stated that while placement of the logos did not itself "violate any rights," affixing them to city property effectively made that property a "public forum" representing only one group of people. According to Doren, that would make it difficult to deny other groups permission to place their logos on city property in the future.
Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, commended Traverse City residents for responding "in outrage" sufficient enough to cause the commission to re-evaluate their decision after it was announced.
Agape Press, January 3, 2001
The Taliban, Afghanistan's fundamentalist Muslim regime, has declared that any citizen who converts from Islam to another religion will be punished by death. The Taliban, which rules about 95 percent of Afghanistan, enforces strict religious laws, including forbidding women to work or to attend school past the age of eight, forcing men to wear beards and to attend daily prayers, and outlawing most entertainment including television and music. The Associated Press reports that the Taliban's supreme leader Mullah Mohammed Omar pronounced in a radio address that anyone in Afghanistan who leaves Islam or induces others to do so will be killed.
Omar sharply attacks Christians and Jews for attempting to win Afghanis to their faiths by criticizing the Taliban's strict interpretation of the Islamic law. Omar charges, "The enemies of Muslims are trying to eliminate pure religion throughout the world."
The Associated Press additionally reported that adherents to other faiths are still allowed to practice their religions as long as they make no attempts to lead others away from Islam. Little is currently known about the state of Christianity in Afghanistan because the only churches are small, secretive house churches.
ReligionToday News, January 9, 2001
A study by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation finds U.S. television shows have significantly increased their level of sexual content over the last three years. Two-thirds of all shows in the 1999-2000 season featured sexual content, with the greatest increase among sitcoms, where the share rose from 56 percent in 1997-98, to 84 percent of all episodes.
Reuters, February 6, 2001