ReligionNewsBlog.com, Sep. 15, 2003
Mon, Sep. 15, 2003
[Mungiki] MPs support Mungiki and urge police restraint
"Mungiki members are Kenyans and should not be harassed unnecessarily by the
police. Instead, they should be absorbed into the force and the military," Mr
Wamwere said to the wildly cheering, snuff-taking group which had earlier
entertained the meeting with poetry, song and dance. Mr Munya regretted that
the sect had been associated with the recent violence that hit some city slums
and other parts of the country.
[Unification Church] First commercial flight takes S. Koreans to North
The travel agency is affiliated to a car company owned by Reverend Moon
Sun-myung's Unification Church, whose followers are commonly known as "Moonies"
after their founder.
[Alternative Healing] Some Popular Techniques to Combat Stress
While there are a number of different ways to alleviate stress, most boil down
to two approaches, says Dr. Bruce Rabin, medical director of the Healthy
Lifestyles Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
One approach is to increase an individual's ability to cope with stress by
raising his or her physical tolerance to it. [...] The other option, which has
been steadily gaining popularity in recent years, is to decrease a person's
perception of stress by training the mind to think about the stressful event in
a different way. This can be done through techniques such as guided
visualization or meditation, and is recommended by organizations such as the
Mind/Body Medical Institute, a Chestnut Hill, Mass.-based nonprofit organization
dedicated to the study of mind/body interactions.
[Allen Harrod] Officials say Iowa couple aided ritual child abuse
uthorities allege the couple participated in ritualistic sexual abuse of
children as part of a religious rite of passage. The couple - Michael and
Juliette La Brecque, ages 44 and 45, respectively - followed the teachings of
Allen Harrod, a California man who claimed to have established his own
fundamentalist religion, according to an FBI agent. Three times, authorities
allege, the La Brecques flew teenage girls to California, knowing Harrod
intended to abuse them.
[Religious Intolerance] Missionary killers convicted
The main accused in the murder of an Australian missionary, Graham Staines, and
his two young sons has been found guilty in an Indian court. Dara Singh and 12
others were convicted at a special court in the eastern state of Orissa. Another
person was let off for lack of evidence.
[Laci Peterson] Is cult linked to Peterson killings?
Before Scott and Laci Peterson, Stanislaus County had the Salida massacre. Both
cases have been colored with questions of ritualistic murder by Satan
worshippers. Some are debating if the current high-profile proceeding could have
a connection to the 1990 slaughter of four people in Salida. Scott Peterson's
legal team six weeks ago laid out a strategy relying on the theory that his
wife, Laci Peterson, may have been kidnapped in Modesto and slain by Satan
[Meditation] Tense teens, adults flock to meditation
Teens, like the rest of America, are embracing meditation as a way to strip off
stress. [...] The Bay Area is a magnet for first-timers and devout
practitioners of meditation. The area is home to a number of retreat centers,
including the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, the San Francisco Zen
Center, Green Gulch Farm near Sausalito and the San Damiano Retreat Center in
Danville. Most offer programs for teens. On Friday, the East Bay contingent of
the Transcendental Meditation program, which became popular in the United States
in the 1960s, announced it is joining that group's national effort to bring
meditation into schools.
[Hate Groups : Scientology] International organization to move headquarters
In a move that city business development officials see as another way to drum up
activity in a struggling business hub, The Way to Happiness Foundation
International is relocating its headquarters into a vacant building at 201 E.
Broadway. The building is owned by ABLE International, which stands for the
Assn. of Better Living and Education. The foundation is an affiliate of ABLE.
The foundation is a nonprofit organization that is based on one book, "The Way
to Happiness," written by L. Ron Hubbard, whose tenets ushered in the Church of
[ Editorial note: WISE and ABLE are front groups for Scientology, an
organization known for condoning, promoting and using unethical practices - as
taught by its founder, L. Ron Hubbard.]
[Psychics] Psychics and fortune-tellers entering the mainstream
"My theory is that given all the scandals and controversies in the traditional
churches, not as many people have time to criticize us," Lanza said. Once
shunned as part of the black magic world of the occult, fortune telling,
astrology and card readings are becoming downright mainstream. [...] A recent
Harris Poll of 2,200 adults illustrates the trend: 84 percent of those surveyed
said they believe in miracles. 51 percent believe in ghosts. 31 percent believe
in astrology. 27 percent believe in reincarnation. Regina Russell, whose Quincy
tea room has been in business since 1973, said she has seen the shift in
[Buddhism] Joke's not funny? Blame it on Buddha
"Before I became a Buddhist, I worried about my life," Nisker said, "Now I worry
about my next life." Nisker, 60, bills himself as the world's first Buddhist
stand-up comedian. But he acknowledges that his material is not fall-down funny,
for which he blames Buddha himself. "His First Noble Truth that life is
suffering isn't exactly an upper," Nisker said. [...] After more than 20
years of meditation practice, he has emerged as a respected, if slightly
irreverent, Buddhist teacher, speaking at new age and spiritual centers
throughout the country. He is also the founding editor of Inquiring Mind, an
international Buddhist magazine, and the author of three books on Buddhism.
[Mormon Church] ACLU Defends Motives for Lawsuit
The American Civil Liberties Union is defending itself from claims that its
lawsuit over the Main Street plaza was written to impress the media, not the
courts. The ACLU sued the city after it surrendered a Main Street public access
easement, and the free speech right that go with it, to The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints. In its response to that lawsuit, the city derided
the ACLU's motives, saying their lawsuit was written for the media.
[Islam] Sorting out Iraq's Shiites
The well-known human mosaic of Arabs, ethnic Kurds, Turkomans, Assyrians and
others; the religious configuration of Muslims and Christians; and the sectarian
divide between Sunni and Shiite Muslims is almost simplistic. For each of these
groups is then subdivided by its own internal forces. In none of them are the
divisions more complicated than the Shiites, 60 percent of the population of
Iraq. The United States cannot successfully pacify Iraq without first sorting
out the Shiites.
[Homosexuality] Court rules Christian group may sue Florida transit agency
A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit by a conservative Christian group
against a public transit agency that refused an advertisement at bus shelters
for an anti-homosexuality conference. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in
Miami, in a ruling made public Friday, decided a federal judge in Tampa erred
when he threw out Focus on the Family 's 2001 lawsuit against the Pinellas
Suncoast Transit Authority.
[Islam] Christian Pastors taken to court to silence criticism of Islam
Two Christian pastors have been taken to court by the Islamic Council of
Victoria and three Australian Muslims after making critical statements about the
Islamic faith on a website and at a seminar for Christians held in March last
year. A complaint of religious vilification was made against the two Christian
pastors, Danny Nalliah and Daniel Scot. The complaint deals with many issues,
such as the nature of jihad, aspirations of Muslims in the west, and the
connection between the laws of jihad and the treatment of non-Muslims under
[MOVE] Breaking silence over a son's slaying
Fran and Jack Gilbride are done keeping quiet. A decade ago, they raised no
ruckus when they lost their son John for the first time, to MOVE, the radical
West Philadelphia cult known for its violent tangles with the government -
notably the 1985 armed standoff that ended with police bombing MOVE's
headquarters, the destruction of a city block, and the deaths of 11 people. A
year ago, the Gilbrides were too shell-shocked to speak when they lost John for
good after the man who dared to divorce MOVE's matriarch was murdered near the
end of a vicious custody battle. The South Jersey murder remains unsolved, and
now, the Gilbrides finally want to talk.
[Word of Faith Fellowship] Testimony ends in custody hearing
The oral testimony phase of a custody dispute between Shana Muse and Brooke and
Kent Covington, ministers in the Word of Faith Fellowship, finished today with
three witnesses taking the stand. [...] Attorneys will be allowed to file
written affidavits up until Friday, Sept. 19. Judge Pool will then examine the
accumulated evidence and make a ruling.
[God's House] Jail home to God's House pair
The two inhabitants of "God's House" in Moosup remained in jail following their
arraignment Friday because they would not sign a written promise to appear back
in Danielson Superior Court. On Thursday, Plainfield police arrested Lee Ecker,
72, also known as "J.C. Foster," and Theresa Bellavance, 41, also known as
"Sister Rachel," at 88 Church St., also known as "God's House." They were
charged with first-degree trespassing and failure to submit to fingerprints
[God's House] Nobody home at 'God's House'
For nearly two decades, the white structure with apocalyptic Biblical writing
adorning its exterior has been home to inhabitants claiming they were
preordained to live there, though they didn't own it or pay rent. The removal
of Ecker and Bellavance Thursday was the final act in a summerlong saga
regarding the controversial religious group's eviction from the property,
according to Willimantic lawyer John McGrath, who represents Richard Asal of
[God's House] Police evict people who claim God was landlord
"God's House" is empty after the eviction of two religious devotees who claimed
they were instructed to remain in the house by God. The home is covered with
posters bearing scripture verses, and a sign that asks residents to inquire
Plainfield officials about why God's wrath is coming to town.
[God's House] God's house arrest
For months the people in one Plainfield home said their place was legally owned
by god and they weren't budging. But today they were taken away in handcuffs.
JC Foster and Sister Rachel are now out of the house and the neighbors are
celebrating. The pair had said they would not leave on their own and would let
God's will determine their fate. This morning that apparently came in the form
of an eviction.
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ReligionNewsBlog.com, Sep. 13, 2003:
[Panawave] Pana Wave member dies after being found in creek
[Vampirism] Fears of 'vampire killer' being freed
[Vampirism] 'Lesbian vampire killer' in low risk jail
[Religion Trends] Survey of American Jews finds drop in population
[Success Coaches] Life coaches: Helping transition to more fulfilling lives
[Success Coaches] A coach for the game of life
[Islam] A Religion Under Investigation?
[Michael W. Ryan] Judge lifts Ryan's stay of execution
[Christianity] Redefined evangelism favors gentler approach of nonbelievers
Mr. Wyman, pastor of The Gathering, a Foursquare Gospel church in Salem is a
former anti-cult crusader. He believes the only way to heaven is through Jesus.
Pagans, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and all other nonbelievers in Jesus' saving
message are bound for hell, as far as he's concerned. He would like to save each
and every one of them. Mr. Wyman, however, is one of a growing group of
evangelicals who say that in many cases, the old methods of proselytizing aren't
working. These ministers are shaping a new model for evangelism, one that
emphasizes dialogue over debate, intention over manipulation, and connection as
the best way to conversion. They say their kinder, gentler approach holds
useful lessons for even the most conservative, Bible-thumping, hell-preaching
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