Religion News Blog, March 12, 2003
[Shadowmancer] Move over, Harry Potter
Millions of children are waiting anxiously to get their hands on the
latest Harry Potter novel but a book written by a North Yorkshire
vicar could knock the teenage wizard off the top of the best seller
He's already had letters castigating him for promoting witchcraft in
the book but he dismisses the criticism as "nonsense". Shadowmancer is
informed by his Christianity and ultimately, good triumphs over evil.
[Islam / Islamism] Saudi form of Islam wars with moderates
Some Muslims say Wahhabism, the fundamentalist version of Islam
practiced in Saudi Arabia, is intent on stamping out all other sects.
[Atheism] Why I sued over the intrusion of 'under God' into the Pledge
of Allegiance. (By Michael Newdow)
More than anything, I've learned to truly appreciate the genius of the
constitutional democracy left to us by the founders. It's still
amazing to me that one individual can force the entire nation to at
least ponder the ideals upon which our laws rest.
[Christianity] Bible scholars rejoice at signs
Ever since Jesus said only God knows the hour or day of the Second
Coming, preachers and self-appointed prophets have been trying to
predict when it will happen and watching the sun rise on another
Such talk bothers Craig Hill, professor of New Testament at Wesley
Theological Seminary in Washington and one of many biblical scholars
who say end-time interpreters distort Scripture to fit their own point
of view. Most claim to read the Bible literally yet take bits and
pieces from books written centuries apart under different
circumstances, he said.
[Falun Gong] Menlo Park man faces charges of sabotaging broadcasts in
A Chinese court said today it would put an American citizen on trial
later this month on charges of disrupting government television and
radio broadcasts -- accusations apparently related to his ties to the
banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.
[Hate Groups] Supremacist held on gun charges
A former leader of a white supremacist group is being held on weapons
charges after dozens of federal agents descended on his isolated
Dahlonega home to arrest him over the weekend.
Chester James Doles, once a local organizer of the National Alliance
and a longtime Ku Klux Klan activist, will remain in federal custody
at least until Wednesday, when prosecutors will ask that he be
detained until trial. Doles was charged with being a felon who
illegally possessed a number of rifles and handguns.
[Falun Gong] China officials vow to intensify cult crackdowns
China's top law enforcement officials promised redoubled efforts
yesterday to crush terrorists, ethnic separatists, Falun Gong
activists and others who they said threaten national security -- and,
just as importantly, economic progress.
[Falun Gong] Pitt researcher Xu fights to free wife
In November 2001, Jia was taken into custody because she distributed
information about Falun Gong and was put into the Beijing female labor
camp. Xu said he and their son had not seen her since October 2001,
when she left home to avoid being arrested.
[Satanism] Devil worshipping rumors rife among children
They are convinced that devil worshippers are around the corner and
are waiting to kidnap them, she said. No matter what I tell them
they dont believe me, because they hear their friends saying that
they saw a real devil worshipper on television, discussing what they
do in their meetings.
Tele-Lumiere, a private Christian television station, aired a report
on devil worship last Sunday, and included a live testimony from an
alleged former devil worshipper, who described in detail the orgies
and bloody rituals she and her devil worshipping mates would partake
[Antisemitism] W.House Condemns Lawmaker's Remarks on Jews, Iraq
The White House, lawmakers of both parties and local Jewish groups on
Tuesday criticized a Democratic representative's remarks suggesting
that American Jews were responsible for the push for war with Iraq.
Rep. James Moran of Virginia told a church forum March 3 that if "it
were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war
with Iraq, we would not be doing this." He then suggested Jewish
leaders could prevent the war if they chose to. The remarks were later
reported by local papers.
[Jehovah's Witnesses] Longo prosecutors offer motive
Christian Longo murdered his wife and three children in December 2001
because he was tired of them and they were preventing him from living
a wilder lifestyle, a prosecutor argued at Longo's trial yesterday.
[Church / State] Church and state connected in most European countries
Religion and politics are far from being so strictly separated in the
European states as the political debate might lead one to believe,
writes Danish paper Kristeligt Dagblad on presenting the findings of
an extended research into the constitutions of 25 European countries.
The research shows that the state is entwined with the religious life
in the vast majority of the 25 EU countries the fifteen EU member
states plus the ten acceding countries.
[House of Prayer] Pastor's Attorney Advises to Surrender
The court might revoke his probation based on the fact he didn't
appear and violated his probation by failing to appear. But i would
advise him to come back and face the charges and face the issues, he
If convicted of probation violations, Allen could face up to 10 years
in prison. David Duncan could face eight years and Sharon Duncan could
face up to five.
March 11, 2003 (Continued..._
[Human Rights] Milestone in international justice
The swearing in of 18 judges at the International Criminal Court in
The Hague marks the court's official inauguration on Tuesday. Many of
the 139 signatory states sent delegates to the ceremony, attended by
Queen Beatrix and UN Chief Kofi Annan. Noticeably absent was the
United States, which has boycotted the tribunal and left the bill for
its running with European and other Western nations.
NOTE: Listen to the comments of Benjamin Ferencz, one of the original
Nuremberg prosecutors, who - correctly - states that the current
administration has "deceived" the American public with regard to the
[House of Prayer] Atlanta Pastor Declared a Fugitive
State officials said the pastor of the controversial church violated
his parole and then failed to show up in court to explain why. The
three convicts could now face up to 10 years in prison.
Last year, Allen was convicted on several charges, including spanking
children in a way that Division of Family and Children Services
(DFACS) considered abuse.
Allen, along with David and Sharon Duncan, spent weeks in jail before
returning to the controversial church.
[Chrysalis] Program lets inmates find God in different ways
Dubbed "Chrysalis" - the last stage in a butterfly's development - the
program was created by Etter for her thesis project at Hartford
Seminary as an alternative to traditional residential programs taught
from a Christian perspective.
"What happened in most faith-based programs was basically Christian,"
said the Rev. Anthony Bruno, director of Religious Services for the
state Department of Correction. "To have something that expands to the
true minority religions, and have them participate, that's the
[Santeria] Santeria, intrigue surround alleged hit man murder case
Even after the divorce, he kept sending her flowers. Constantly, he'd
call her and pass by her house at night.
Then he started leaving brujeria, black magic, at her door. On one day
it was coconuts, on another an egg, the next a headless chicken with a
burned note in a paper bag.
The last thing he sent her, police say, was a hit man with bullets in
[Human Rights Violations, USA] War tribunal starts without U.S.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress has enacted legislation giving the
president power to use "all means necessary" to free any Americans the
court takes into custody. The new law is jokingly referred to as the
"Invasion of The Hague Act."
Tuesday's ceremony won't be without an unofficial American presence,
The man who signed the treaty on behalf of the United States, former
war crimes ambassador David Scheffer, is attending.
Scheffer told The Associated Press he was "very disappointed"
Washington wasn't participating and was forfeiting its chance to take
a leadership role in world justice.
Likewise, Benjamin Ferencz, a war crimes prosecutor for the United
States at Nuremberg, is attending. Ferencz, 82, also has raised his
voice against Washington's stance.
"The current leadership in the United States seems to have forgotten
the lessons we tried to teach the rest of the world," Ferencz wrote on
his Web site.
Richard Dicker, international justice expert at Human Rights Watch,
said the inauguration of the first 18 judges would help to thwart U.S.
efforts to undermine the court.
"The judges' inauguration makes this court more unstoppable than
ever," Dicker told the AP.
[Islam] Saudi defense minister says churches will never be allowed in
Sultan said that foreigners have been allowed to worship freely in
their homes since they began arriving in Saudi Arabia in 1951 but
permitting a church in the country "would affect Islam and all
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