Rarely do Christian fundamentalists, Catholics, Jews, New Age leaders and liberal mainline Protestants join in a unison chorus of outrage.
The U.S. Supreme Court provoked one such rare display of unity in 1990 with a decision against ritual use of the drug peyote in the Native American Church. This decision could end up radically reshaping America's church-state landscape.But this First Amendment case drew relatively little media attention and placed sixth in the annual Religion Newswriters Association poll to determine the year's top 10 religion events.
At the top of the religion newswriters' list was the second wave of political and religious change in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, a trend that also topped the RNA list in 1989. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was named as 1990's top religious newsmaker, an honor he also received in 1989.
The stories voted most important by the country's religion reporters and editors are, in order:
Restrictions on religion eased in Eastern Europe following fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of some Communist regimes. Soviet parliament votes for religious freedom and many closed churches are reopened. Many American religious groups rush to establish new ministries in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
Sex scandals hit Catholic Archbishop Eugene Marino of Atlanta, the Rev. Bruce Ritter of New York City's Covenant House for runaway children and the Rev. Allan Boesak of South Africa, former leader of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.
Civil war in the Southern Baptist Convention begins to affect work at state and local levels. Some moderate Baptists begin to withhold funds from national budgets.
Two congregations in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are disciplined for ordaining active homosexuals as clergy. Controversy continues over ordination of gay male as priest in the Episcopal diocese in Newark, N.J.
Historic conference of black and white South African churches ends with sweeping denunciation of apartheid.
U.S. Supreme Court rules that there is no constitutional right to take the hallucinogenic drug peyote as a religious rite.
Many religious groups, including the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference, urge non-military solutions to Persian Gulf crisis.
Arab gunman assassinates Rabbi Meier Kahane, a militant, anti-Arab Israeli leader.
Vatican warns Catholic theologians not to publicly dissent from church teachings, and pope issues guidelines aimed at deepening Catholic identity of the church's colleges and universities.
U.S. Catholic bishops hire public relations and polling firms to help conduct national campaign against abortion on demand.