ReligionNewsBlog.com, Sep. 22, 2003
Mon, Sep. 22, 2003
[Order of the Solar Temple] French sect deaths case delayed
A fresh legal bid to convict a Swiss orchestra conductor of involvement in the
ritualistic deaths of 16 cult members in 1995 has been adjourned by a French
court. [...] The Grenoble appeals court on Monday adjourned the case until next
June because two experts hired for the inquiry into sect have been put under
investigation for leaking information.
[Order of the Solar Temple] Solar Temple cult re-trial postponed
It was delayed Monday to June 14 at the request of two lawyers for some of the
dead members' families, as a criminal investigation has been launched against
the main psychiatric expert in the case for allegedly violating client-lawyer
and client-doctor privileges.
[Religious Retailing] Christian Capitalism : Megachurches, Megabusinesses
Welcome to the megabusiness of megachurches, where pastors often act as chief
executives and use business tactics to grow their congregations. This
entrepreneurial approach has contributed to the explosive growth of
megachurches--defined as non-Catholic churches with at least 2,000 members--in
the U.S. Indeed, Lakewood, New Birth, The Potter's House and World Changers,
four of the biggest, have all experienced membership gains of late. Of course,
growth for them has a higher purpose: to spread their faith to as many people as
they can. "In our society growth equals success," says Scott Thumma, faculty
associate at the Hartford Institute for Religion Research. "And religious growth
not only equals success but also God's blessing on the ministry." In 1970,
there were just ten such churches, according to John Vaughn, founder of Church
Growth Today, which tracks megachurches. In 1990, 250 fit that description.
Today, there are 740.
[Carole Caplin] How did she seduce the Blairs?
Writing in the Guardian, the author Kate Figes has offered perhaps the most
plausible insight into why Mrs Blair fell under the influence of Ms Caplin. She
wrote: "I can understand how this charismatic and self-assured woman managed to
seduce Cherie Booth with her charms. As a busy working mother never out of the
public eye, with a complete lack of interest in clothes, she was easy prey. What
I find harder to understand is how such an intelligent woman could have let
someone who earns a living feeding off the inadequacies of others anywhere near
[Carole Caplin] Carole Caplin loses No10 pass
Cherie Blair's "lifestyle guru" Carole Caplin has suffered a blow with the
withdrawal of a security pass giving her the freedom of 10 Downing Street. Ms
Caplin's reverse came at the hands of Whitehall officials who conducted a
high-level security review. They were reportedly "horrified" that fitness
instructor Ms Caplin was among a group of trusted aides and civil servants who
were given the passes.
[Anglican Church] Archbishop finds himself cast out by evangelicals
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, yesterday led prayers at the
opening of the biggest gathering of English evangelical members of the Church of
England for 16 years. But it was a visit that some of them did not want him to
make. Astonishingly, the organisers of the National Evangelical Anglican
Congress, which is meeting this weekend in Blackpool, had to vote on whether to
invite the leader of their church even to attend, such is the state of rancour
in the denomination. They eventually decided they would let him in, but only to
lead prayers. Welcome to the Church of England in 2003: on the brink, perhaps,
of a split that some among the 2,000 attendees to the congress - a gathering
entitled, apparently without irony, Fanning the Flame - have been anticipating,
maybe praying for, for more than 10 years.
[Islam] Outrage over jailed Muslims
Thousands of demonstrators in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim
nation, marched yesterday to protest against the alleged persecution of innocent
Muslims in the name of security. [...] They accused the authorities of arresting
at least 18 Muslims solely because of their faith and pressure from the US.
[Obituary] Garner Ted Armstrong
Garner Ted Armstrong, who died on Monday aged 73, was one of the most
successful, but also the most controversial, of American television evangelists.
[Douglas Sanchez] Pastor must repay flock
The state, in a cease-and-desist order, said Sanchez raised $895,025 from 14
investors since 1998 by selling them promissory notes and investment contracts.
At least five investors, including two who were handicapped, were members of
churches that Sanchez attended. One investor's husband had multiple sclerosis.
"He church-hopped and he preyed upon the vulnerable and women," said Rachel
Johnson, whose mother was an investor.
[Anglican Church] Infighting is wrecking Church's image, says archbishop
The Archbishop of York, Dr David Hope, read the riot act to the warring factions
in the Church of England last night, warning them that their squabbling was
destroying the Church's credibility. In a blunt message to the National
Evangelical Anglican Congress in Blackpool, which has been overshadowed by
divisions over homosexuality, Dr Hope called for silence amid the "cacophonous
clamour". "If people out there - the world beyond the Church - are only able to
perceive 'Church' in terms of politics, controversy, party spirit, then what
hope is there that the Gospel of reconciliation with which we have been
entrusted is likely even to be heard, let alone taken seriously?"
[Anglican Church] Evangelicals warm up in gay row
The 2,000 people gathered in a blustery, drizzly Blackpool represent the biggest
gathering of evangelical Anglicans for 15 years. And they could barely have
chosen a more important moment in the history of their church for their meeting.
The Church of England is poised on the brink of a decision about how to deal
with sexuality that could change it irrevocably.
[Anglican Church] Sex wars in church
The Jeffrey John affair has pushed the Church of England's domestic sex wars on
to the world stage in a new way. Homosexuality is, perhaps unconsciously, the
chosen vehicle for a conflict that is really about many other things - not least
how the Bible should be interpreted in a 21st-century world of global capitalism
which over-rewards a lucky few while impoverishing the many. The row touches on
issues of race, gender, culture and sexuality in a combination that could be
fatal for the Anglican communion.
[Christianity] Christians feel vulnerable in post-Saddam Iraq
The fall of Saddam Hussein has left Iraqs tiny Christian minority about three
percent of the 24 million population feeling scared and vulnerable. Their main
concern, as for all Iraqis, is the resultant insecurity. But Christians are
also worried about a potential Islamisation of Iraq. And with frustration at the
US occupation growing, they fear Muslims will associate them with the occupiers,
who are seen as coming from a Christian nation.
[Catholic Church] Suit charges Hispanic churches are 'false Catholics'
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta is suing a network of Hispanic
churches across North Georgia, alleging the group falsely claims to be Roman
Catholic. The lawsuit by the archdiocese and Archbishop John Francis Donoghue,
filed this week in Fulton County Superior Court, seeks an injunction prohibiting
the "Mision Catolica: Capilla de la Fe" (Catholic Mission: Chapel of Faith) from
representing itself as Roman Catholic. The suit charges that the administrative
head of the Hispanic churches, which it identifies as Bishop Julio Cesar
Freitas, "is not an ordained priest of the Roman Catholic Church and is not
authorized in any way to act on behalf of the Archdiocese."
Sun, Sep. 21, 2003
[Islam] Army Islamic chaplain detained in probe
U.S. authorities have detained a Muslim chaplain who counseled suspected
terrorists at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, saying he was carrying
classified documents when he arrived back in the United States.
[Programmes Ltd] Cult taught Cherie's guru to confront demons
An Observer investigation has revealed that London-based Programmes Ltd, for
whom Caplin worked during the 1980s, sought to dominate every aspect of its
employees' lives as it transformed them into powerfully persuasive communicators
who would be capable of selling anything to anyone. [...] Employees who stayed
with the firm for more than a year were put on the 'Exegesis course', a
quasi-psychotherapy programme designed to 're-birth' participants by encouraging
them to face up to their inner fears. Its fundamental message was that devotees
had to tell the truth at all times, no matter how painful this could be. Run by
Programmes' founder Robert Fuller, and Kim Coe, girlfriend of Tony Visconti (the
record producer behind the likes of Adam Ant, one of Caplin's former loves),
Exegesis attendees were ordered to say what they hated about each other.
Religion News Blog is a non-profit, reader-supported service. If this
service is of value to you, please consider supporting us with a donation to
help cover our expenses:
Research resources on religions, cults, sects, doctrines, and related issues:
(News and news archives)
(Other research resources)