POSTED: Saturday, August 01, 2009

Family festival to honor global Forgiveness Day

A free family festival is commemorating the seventh annual Hawaii International Forgiveness Day from noon to 3 p.m. today on the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus.

Doors open at 11 a.m. at the Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies. Exercises on the practice of forgiveness will be offered by Hawaiian leader Kawohiokalani (Aunty Betty Jenkins of Waimea), the Rev. Sky St. John of Unity Church and Gregory Pai, a Buddhist meditation teacher. Kauila Clark will lead a rarely seen Hawaiian “;Mana Ai”; ceremony, a release said. Other events include a dance by IONA, slack-key music by Owana Salazar, Heroes of Forgiveness awards, arts awards and free refreshments. For information, visit www.hawaiiforgivenessproject.org or call 521-9222.


Fired coach alleges religious persecution

DETROIT » A wrestling coach has filed a federal lawsuit accusing a Detroit suburban school district and its principal of firing him because of his Christian beliefs.

Gerald Marszalek, 64, said his troubles began in 2005 when a Protestant minister lost his job as a volunteer assistant coach after he introduced Muslim students to Christianity. The discussions took place during a private off-campus wrestling camp for the Fordson High School's team.

Marszalek said he was ordered by principal Imad Fadlallah to keep the Rev. Trey Hancock away from the Dearborn school. The lawsuit said that was impossible: The minister's son was a star wrestler at the school.

Marszalek, who also is Christian, said his contract was not renewed in 2008 because of his religious beliefs and his association with Hancock.

Dearborn has a large Muslim population, and Fadlallah is described in the lawsuit as a devout Muslim.

Marszalek's attorney, Brandon Bolling, said his client coached at the school for 35 years and wants his job back. Marszalek declined comment Monday.

Dearborn Public Schools also declined to comment. John Artis, who was superintendent until last summer, said Marszalek was an at-will employee and that discrimination on the basis of religion had no role in the dismissal.


Idaho ponders oversight on Bible in classrooms

BOISE, Idaho » The Idaho Public Charter School Commission is reviewing whether the Bible and other religious texts used in the classroom for historical purposes should be first approved by the state.

The review comes after the founders of a new public charter school in southwestern Idaho, Nampa Classical Academy, spoke publicly about plans to include the Bible as a primary source of teaching material.

The Bible, which will be introduced in the ninth grade when students delve into the history of Western civilization, will be taught for its literary and historic qualities and as part of a secular education program.

Nampa Classical Academy founder Isaac Moffett said the Bible is one of many historical religious texts from which students will read.

“;One of the aspects of a charter school is to be autonomous and make the decisions at the local level, such as the curriculum they use,”; Moffett said. “;If a charter school cannot have its own curriculum, why have a charter school?”;