ReligionNewsBlog.com, Oct. 31, 2003
[Religious Merchandising] Publishers put their faith in churchified 'chick
Secular and religious publishers are adding a Christian twist to the genre
of young women's fiction called "chick lit." Publishers Weekly dubbed it
"Bridget Jones goes to church." While classic chick lit addresses single
women's supposedly crushing issues - thigh circumference, man-trapping and
how many glasses of wine one drank the night before - Christian chick lit
includes more church singles' groups. And no recreational drinking. [...]
Christian writing is a growth area in publishing. "Sales of Christian
fiction have doubled in the last 10 years," says Golan. According to the CBA
(Christian Booksellers Association), sales of Christian books are up 6.8%
[Mike Yaconelli] Car accident claims the life of Mike Yaconelli
Well-known Yreka resident Michael C. Yaconelli, 61, died this morning from
injuries received in a one-car vehicle accident at approximately 8 p.m.
Wednesday. [...] Besides his work in Yreka where he pastored the Grace
Community Church, Yaconelli was co-owner of Youth Specialties in San Diego.
"His passionate and refreshingly honest approach to Christianity and
ministry make him a favored speaker," states the cover from one of his
books. He was the author of numerous books including "Messy Spirituality:
God's Annoying Love for Imperfect People" and "Dangerous Wonder: The
Adventure of Childlike Faith."
[False Memory Syndrome] Psychology expert discusses false memory
Have you ever been abducted by aliens? New psychological research is giving
abduction survivors--and survivors of other traumatic events--reason to
question their memories. At a talk sponsored by the Duke Psychology Union
Thursday night, Dr. Henry Roediger described the phenomenon of false
memory--how people can mistakenly remember events that did not occur.
[False Memory Syndrome] Man convicted in repressed-memory murder case seeks
A man convicted of a 1975 murder after the victim's son said he remembered
his father's killing 15 years later has asked to be released from prison
pending a decision by a federal judge on whether to follow a magistrate's
recommendation that he get a new trial. The recommendation by U.S.
Magistrate Susan Baxter of Erie was not based on the defense's contention
that the victim's son, John Mudd Jr. _ who was 5 years old at the time his
father was killed _ shouldn't have been allowed to testify at Steven
Slutzker's trial. Baxter recommended a retrial on the grounds that the
trial might have ended differently had numerous undisclosed police reports
been provided the defense and had Slutzker's trial attorney interviewed two
[Aum Shinrikyo] Matsumoto ignores closing arguments
Defense lawyers for Chizuo Matsumoto, founder of the Aum Supreme Truth cult,
criticized the prosecution's case Thursday at the Tokyo District Court for
ignoring their client's status as religious leader. "The prosecution's
argument completely ignores the fact that the defendant is a religious
figure," said Osamu Watanabe, head of Matsumoto's defense counsel, at the
255th hearing of the 7 year-long trial. Watanabe started reading out the
defense team's 814-page closing arguments, while Matsumoto, also known as
Shoko Asahara, remained silent in front of them.
[Falun Gong] Released Falun Gong member shares details of China ordeal
Sporting a pin with a Falun symbol, Lin Hsiao-kai broke his promise to
Shanghai City's National Security Bureau and shared his experiences
yesterday on how Chinese authorities manipulated his trust in human beings.
"They threatened to make it impossible for me to survive in Taiwan if I
exposed them. They told me 'we will definitely find you in Taiwan,'" Lin
said at a press conference held in the Legislative Yuan yesterday. Lin
returned to Taiwan on Monday after being detained in China for 20 days.
[European Union] Politics, Religion Topics at EU Meeting
Their countries grappling with tension over immigration, the political heads
of Europe's police forces met Thursday with Christian, Jewish and Muslim
leaders, new allies in their battle against terrorism and other violence.
Religion and immigration issues have increasingly formed the backdrop for
social and political disputes in Europe, and the European Union meeting of
interior ministers and religious leaders, organized by Italy, reflected a
growing awareness of that problem. [...]
[Islam] Islamic preachers should speak English - Blunkett
David Blunkett made a provocative call last night for more Islamic preachers
to learn English to help combat the "clash of cultures" suffered by young
British Muslims. The Home Secretary argued it was crucial, in the interest
of race relations, for teachers and community leaders who shape youngsters'
attitudes to help them identify with the country. Mr Blunkett said that 60
per cent of Muslim preachers in France did not speak that country's language
and warned Britain should not "go down the same road". Last year he
provoked anger when he called for Asian parents to speak English at home to
prevent "schizophrenia" between the generations. The Home Secretary
returned to a similar theme in the annual Heslington lecture at York
University on religion's place in modern society. He said: "It is a
worrying trend that young, second-generation British Muslims are more likely
than their parents to feel they have to choose between feeling part of the
UK and feeling part of their faith - when in fact they should feel part of
wider, overlapping communities.
[Islam] Fury over Blunkett's warning to Muslims
David Blunkett provoked renewed indignation from the Muslim community last
night when he warned that extremist imams were increasing the terrorism
threat by preying upon impressionable youngsters. "We have to understand
what is happening in a world where young men and women can be enjoined by
their religious leaders to take their own lives and others as suicide
bombers," he said.
[Media] ABC wades into tricky religious territory with special on Jesus
ABC News correspondent Elizabeth Vargas concedes her network is stepping
into a theological minefield with its one-hour exploration of whether Jesus
Christ had a wife. "You can't talk about this subject without intriguing
people or offending people," Vargas said Thursday. "We're trying to do it as
respectfully as we can." ABC screened the special for some reporters and
religious leaders on Thursday. The program is based on the best-selling
novel, "The Da Vinci Code," which claims to be partly grounded on historical
[Harry Potter] Potter 'gives children headaches'
Children are getting migraine headaches by reading the latest Harry Potter
book, a Washington doctor has said. Dr Howard Bennett said three children
have complained of headaches caused by the physical stress of reading the
870-page Order of the Phoenix. It has nearly three times as many pages as
the first Harry Potter book. The George Washington University Medical
Centre doctor called them "Hogwarts headaches", after the wizard school that
the book's hero attends.
[Aum Shinrikyo] AUM founder remains silent as lengthy trial concludes
The trial of AUM Shinrikyo cult founder Shoko Asahara wrapped up Friday with
the guru again remaining silent despite his final chance to speak out, while
his defense team claimed he is innocent of masterminding a string of
gruesome crimes, including the 1995 gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.
In the final hearing of the seven-and-a-half-year trial at the Tokyo
District Court, Asahara, 48, dressed in dark blue sweat suit and slippers,
was given a last chance to speak, but refused to do so, maintaining the
silence he has kept throughout most of his trial on murder and other
charges. Presiding Judge Shoji Ogawa said a ruling will be handed down on
Feb. 27. Prosecutors in April demanded the death penalty for the doomsday
[Aum Shinrikyo] Sarin cult leader remains silent
Concluding a two-day summary of their defense, the lawyers argued that
Asahara had lost control over his disciples in the Aum Shinrikyo cult, and
that they had acted on their own in carrying out the 1995 gassing. Asahara,
48, was to be given a final chance to speak at the Tokyo District Court
later Friday, his lawyers have said. So far, however, he has not chosen to
do so, having kept mostly silent or occasionally burst into unintelligible
ramblings. The nearly blind defendant appeared in court Friday in a navy
blue sweat shirt and black pants. One of his lawyers, sitting behind him,
tried to speak with Asahara, who did not reply.
[Aum Shinrikyo] Asahara's lawyers blame murders on Aum disciples
Lawyers representing Aum Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara argued Thursday
that their client is innocent of masterminding a series of grisly crimes,
including two fatal sarin gas attacks. The lawyers instead blamed Asahara's
followers in the doomsday cult.
[Aum Shinrikyo] Defense: Guru just a figurehead
The defense criticized prosecutors for focusing on Matsumoto's alleged
conspiracies with his followers and failing to mention his ``positive''
religious activities. The defense said Matsumoto's determination to cure
people led to the formation of Aum Shinrikyo. Matsumoto was originally an
acupuncturist, they said, but he could not eliminate all the ailments in his
patients. When he could not find answers on why those diseases recurred, he
was so distraught he became mentally unstable, they said. He then resorted
to fortune-telling and other practices to heal people, but as a result of
his studies, he believed he had obtained ``superhuman abilities,'' they
said. Matsumoto then established Aum Shinrikyo in 1987.
... Religion News Blog is a non-profit, reader-supported service provided
by Apologetics Index (ApologeticsIndex.org). If this service is of value to
you, please consider supporting us with a donation to help cover our
Research resources on religions, cults, sects, doctrines, and related
(News and news archives)
(Other research resources)