THEIST_WATCH Msg : 88 Written : 08/25/94 07:06pm From : ROBIN MURRAY-O'HAIR Status : To :

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THEIST_WATCH Msg : 88 Written : 08/25/94 07:06pm From : ROBIN MURRAY-O'HAIR Status : To : ALL Subj : U.N. & Religion I The Religious Response to the Population Crises The United Nations Conference on the Population and Development isn't meeting until September 5-12 in Cairo, but religious groups are already lining up in opposition to it. The U.N. Cairo conference is supposed to create a plan to stabilize the world's population at 7.8 billion by the year 2050. Draft documents of the plan have already been released -- and have met fierce criticism from conservative forces throughout the world. Meeting on Tuesday, August 23, the Ad Hoc Coalition for Cairo -- a coalition of Catholic, Muslim, Southern Baptists, "free enterprise," and women's groups -- claimed that there was no overpopulation on earth and denounced the draft of the U.N.'s population document. Claiming that a U.N. Population Fund report that the world population is growing by 94 million a year is "misinformation," members of the coalition said that the draft document is a hoax. Represented in the coalition, among other organizations, were the Family of the Americas; Vernon Walters, a U.S. ambassador to the U.N. during the Reagon administration; the National Institute of Womanhood; the Southern Baptist Convention's Christian Life Commission; and the Rockford Institute. A focus of their wrath was the document's plans for increased access to artificial contraception and abortion and increased education for girls. One member of the coalition stated, "If [girls] are barraged with the idea that their natural reproductive gift is one that they need to suppress, that would be the greatest oppression of women that would have occurred." Meanwhile, on Tuesday, August 23, Iranian media slammed the U.N. draft document for "authorizing" abortion, homosexuality, and premarital sex. Tehran's Kayhan International newspaper urged cooperation with the Vatican in opposing the document, saying that "it is high time that scholars of all godly religions united to confront the forces of immorality in the present day under various names such as secularism, human rights, freedom of speech." During early August, Pope John Paul II sent special envoys to Iran and Libya to seek support among Muslim nations for its opposition to the U.N. Population conference. After one such meeting, on Monday, August 1, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed Hashemi Rafsanjani told the Iranian newspaper _Abrar_ that "The future war is between the religious and the materialists. Collaboration between religious governments in support of outlawing abortion is a fine beginning for the conception of collaboration in other fields." _Jana_, the official news agency of Libya, also welcomed the "collaboration." But it went further, claiming that the Vatican had agreed to aid Libya with its problems with Western nations concerning the 1988 bombing of Pam Am Flight 103, if Libra agreed to condemn the U.N. draft document. THEIST_WATCH Msg : 89 Written : 08/25/94 07:08pm From : ROBIN MURRAY-O'HAIR Status : To : ALL Subj : U.N. & Religion II [continued from prior message] Earlier, in June, three Vatican officials and three Muslim leaders met at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in Vatican City and issued a statement that the U.N. document was "unacceptable to believing Muslims and Christians." The Muslim representatives at the meeting were from the World Muslim League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the World Muslim Congress. On August 11, Al Azhar University in Cairo (usually called the world's most prestigious center of Islamic studies) called for a revision of the parts of the U.N. document which do not agree with Islamic principles. It claimed that "The ambiguous expressions, abstract terms, and innovative jargon which abound [in the document] suggest that it aims to adopt the opposite of the basic precepts which Islam has laid down." U.S. Muslim leaders have been quoted as saying that they believe the Al Azhar's statements to be the definitive Muslim position. Ibrahim Hooper, the spokesman for the COuncil on American-Islamic Relations, said that the U.N. document was a Western-inspired plot for "limiting the number of brown babies." And American Atheists must pause to highlight one of the U.N. document items that is in contradiction to Islam. The document calls for women to be granted equal social, political, and economic rights, specifically saying that boys and girls should receive equal shares in inheritance. Under Islamic law, however, women are entitled to one half of the inheritance males receive. On May 28, American Catholic cardinals and archbishops wrote President Clinton urging him to oppose the document. They claimed that it "advocates the worldwide distribution of artificial contraceptives and the increased practice of sterilization which will have the effect of promoting a self-centered and casual view of human sexuality, an approach so destructive of family life and the moral fiber of society." Catholic leaders particularly object to statements in the document that women have a right to "methods of fertility regulation of their choice." Meanwhile, the Clinton administration, which backs the U.N. plan, is seeking to avoid a clash with the Vatican over the conference. The undersecretary of state who is leading the U.S. participation in the Cairo conference has held special meetings with American Catholic officials to try to ease their criticisms of the draft conference document. Being diplomatic, a state department official said that "We suspect that [the pope's opposition] has to do with the fact that the conference is really calling for a new role for women, calling for girls' education and improving the status of women." At the same time, on Monday, August 15, a coalition of religious groups, including the American Muslim Council, and Christian, and Jewish organizations, place a full-page ad in the _New York Times_ urging President Clinton to change the U.N. draft document. The executive director of the American Muslim Council noted that his group's involvement in the ad was the result of "having been contacted by Catholic groups in Boston." And to top it all off, Islamist lawyers have sued the government of Egypt to prevent the conference from being held in Cairo at all. The grounds? The document offends Sharia (Islamic law) on which Egyptian law is based -- and, besides, homosexuals might be allowed to attend the conference. THEIST_WATCH Msg : 92 Written : 09/04/94 07:12pm From : ROBIN MURRAY-O'HAIR Status : To : ALL Subj : More on Cairo MORE ON THE CAIRO POPULATION CONFERENCE The International Conference on Population and Development opens on Monday, September 5 in Cairo, Egypt. Delegates from over 155 countries will meet at the U.N.-sponsored conference to make plans to decrease population growth. The conference will consider whether to adopt a draft document giving guidelines develope for that goal. THe document focuses on improving health care for women and children, improving women's legal status, and integrating population and development planning. The document and the conference have come under increasing attack from the Vatican and Islamic leaders. The Vatican claims that the document endorses abortion. Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Lebanon have withdrawn from the conference. Undersecretary of State Tim Wirth, however, counters that "This is not a conference about abortion. This is a conference about the urgency of population stabilization and economic development." The Clinton administration was deeply involved with the creation of the draft document. The U.S. will send a 45- member delegation to the conference, led by Vice President Al Gore. Meanwhile, on September 1, Mother Teresa was trotted out to say that "The greatest destroyer of peace today in the world is abortion. If a mother can kill her own child, what is there to stop you and me from killing each other? . . . Abortion is evil. A child is created by God. If there is a child that you do not want or cannot feed or educate, give that child to me. I will not refuse any child. I will give a home, or find loving parents for him or her." Mother Teresa was invited to speak to the Cairo conference but unable to attend. American Atheists has to question why she was invited -- what business does a celibate 84 year old have lecturing childbearing women on how to handle their own reproduction? The climate of hate whipped up against the population conference by that Vatican and by Islamic leaders is so bad that Misr Insurance Company, an Egyptian insurer, has issued 20,000 policies for delegates and staff, as well as the conference hall itself. *********************************************************************** * * * American Atheists website: http://www.atheists.org * * PO Box 140195 FTP: ftp://ftp.atheists.org * * Austin, TX 78714-0195 * * Voice: (512) 458-1244 Dial-THE-ATHEIST: * * FAX: (512) 467-9525 (512) 458-5731 * * * * Atheist Viewpoint TV: avtv@atheists.org * * Info on American Atheists: info@atheists.org, * * & American Atheist Press include your name and mailing address * * AANEWS -Free subscription: aanews-request@listserv.atheists.org * * and put "info aanews" in message body * * * * This text may be freely downloaded, reprinted, and/other * * otherwise redistributed, provided appropriate point of * * origin credit is given to American Atheists. * * * ***********************************************************************

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