ReligionNewsBlog.com, Mar. 16, 2004
[Lord's Resistance Army] Uganda death toll exceed 300
Investigations by leaders in northern Uganda's Lira District have found that the death toll in the February 21 rebel attack on the Barlonyo camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) exceeded 300 people, relief workers said.
[The Passion of The Christ] Pirated DVDs of 'The Passion of Christ' Flood Jeddah
Pirated DVDs of controversial Hollywood blockbuster "The Passion of Christ" have hit the streets and are selling like hot cakes, according to street vendors. The film is being sold outside of supermarkets, and out of the trunk of cars for the price of SR30 or less. A copy obtained by Arab News was of high quality.
[Marcus Wesson] Suspect was well known in Santa Cruz
The couple said Wesson was a Seventh-day Adventist and would go to church meetings every night. "He shunned money because he said there was a better way -- give your heart to God and he'll provide," Ron Wohnoutka said. He described Wesson as a severe disciplinarian who would "leave the kids and (Wesson's wife) Elizabeth sitting in the car in the hot sun without any water while he went inside to chitchat with neighbors and have something to eat."
[The Passion of The Christ] A blockbuster, 'Passion' incites only heated discussion
Personally, I thought the movie powerful, not fundamentally anti-Semitic yet a disappointment because it was so violence-obsessed that it failed to explain who Jesus was, why he was killed and why he'd probably be killed again if he were alive today. [...] Gibson shows his own hands driving the nails into Jesus' hands - a statement that he holds all mankind responsible. But he omits any exploration of Jesus' message to the world that of love, mercy, redemption and righteousness. The movie has not incited anti- Semitic outbreaks in the United States. It has incited heated discussion. The more, the better. And, conceivably, more dialogue could heal rather than exacerbate our political culture wars.
[Hate Groups] Rightwing extremists tried for murder
Three rightwing extremists have gone on trial charged with brutally killing a fellow gang member near the resort of Interlaken. Marcel von Allmen was murdered and dumped in a nearby lake in February 2001 for allegedly betraying their secret racist fraternity, the "Order of Aryan Knights".
[Hate Groups] National Alliance fliers upset some residents
One of the fliers on Riley's door accused "Jewish pressure groups" of trying to censor "The Passion of the Christ." Merkle and Joseph Edelheit, director of St. Cloud State University's Jewish studies program, offered educational forums about the movie. "Clearly, this film has material, which touches the deepest, the most profound religious experience people can imagine, and at the same time it touches the deepest, most painful gaps in our community," Edelheit said. The National Alliance, he said, is taking advantage of people in what he called "their most vulnerable moments."
[The Passion of The Christ] 'Passion' still No. 1
''The Passion of the Christ" continues to rule the box office, earning $31.7 million during its third weekend of release and pushing its overall total beyond a quarter of a billion dollars. Mel Gibson's dramatization of Christ's final hours climbed to $264 million in the United States and Canada after 19 days in theaters, according to studio estimates. With solid receipts expected through Easter on April 11, "The Passion" is on track to gross between $350 million and $400 million, said Rob Schwartz, head of distribution for Newmarket Films, which handled the release.
[The Passion of The Christ] Pope Meets With 'Passion' Star Caviezel
Caviezel, who plays Jesus in the film, had a brief conversation with the pontiff, who then blessed the devoutly Roman Catholic actor, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Ciro Benedettini said.
[The Passion of The Christ] Commons chair slates 'anti-semitic' Passion
Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ has been labelled "seriously, damagingly, anti-Semitic" by the chairman of the House of Commons culture, media and sport committee, Gerald Kaufman.
[Marcus Wesson] Church Involvement
Marcus Wesson's family has maintained that he is not part of a cult. That in fact, he is a 7th Day Adventist. Action Mews [sic] has learned that three of the women in Wesson's life were one time members of this 7th Day Adventist Church on Olive Avenue. They had not been to church in years.
[Suma Ching Hai] Sect leader's island is awash in mystery
A mysterious -- and illegally built -- island in South Dade is believed to have been constructed by the 'Supreme Master' of a religious sect. [...] Federal and county sources who have done background checks on her say De Lamour is better known internationally as Ching Hai, or ''Supreme Master'' of a sect with a string of meditation centers and vegetarian restaurants that sell everything from spiritual tapes to jewelry and ''celestial clothing'' the guru is said to design herself. The Suma Ching Hai International Association, based in Taiwan, reportedly claims as many as two million members in 50 countries and boasts numerous websites, such as www.godsdirectcontact.org.
[Raelians] South Korea suffers alien vengeance
North Korea has put the blame squarely on Washington for the impeachment of South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, but the Raelian movement has linked the roots of the political crisis to a much higher power. The Swiss-based group, which believes extraterrestrials created humankind, said Roh's predicament was a direct consequence of alien ire over his government's refusal to allow a leader of the group to visit South Korea last year.
[Freemasonry] Masons disavow initiation rite after man's killing
They still greet each other with secret handshakes and use rituals that date to the Middle Ages. But members of the Free and Accepted Masons insist that none of their sanctioned rites has any connection to the death of a man who was shot in an initiation. "It has nothing to do with what we're about," said Richard Fletcher, executive secretary of the Masonic Information Center, based in Silver Springs, Md.
[Marcus Wesson] Puzzles Persist in Mass Slaying
Dyer said Wesson had been cooperating with police, describing him as "calm and articulate." The chief said his investigators were looking into the possibility that Wesson, who renovated and sold houses, was a member of a religious sect. "In terms of any type of ritual (in the slayings), that is being explored by our investigators," Dyer said. But several of Wesson's surviving children, including four adult sons, said that they were raised as Seventh-day Adventists and that their father wasn't a cultist.
[Islam] Muslim girl seeks $80,000 in lawsuit
A lawsuit on behalf of a Muslim girl suspended from school for wearing a head scarf was amended Monday to include a demand for $80,000 in damages. Attorneys for 11-year-old Nashala Hearn also added a claim in the lawsuit that Muskogee Public Schools violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution. The suit, which previously sought only $1 in compensatory damages, claims the school's dress code discriminates unjustly against religious clothing.
[Islam] Desire to integrate on the wane as Muslims resent 'war on Islam'
Britain's 1.6 million Muslims seem to be feeling an increasing sense of isolation, with nearly half the adults now wanting their children to go to separate Muslim schools, according to a Guardian/ICM opinion poll. Its interviews with 500 Muslims show that the desire to integrate into Britain's multicultural society has weakened in the past 18 months, and a growing minority feels they have given up too much already. Although the majority still has a desire for integration, the balance of opinion in the community in the past 18 months has begun to swing against measures such as the home secretary's citizenship ceremonies and oaths of allegiance. The ICM poll shows that many Muslims see the "war against terrorism" as a war against Islam and believe that British anti-terrorist laws are being used unfairly against the Muslim community.
[Alternative Healing] Too many accept irrational ideas
A failure to resort to human reason cost a young woman her life. This past week, we read of Kimberly L. Strohecker, who took medication for seizures but was told by a chiropractor that she didn't need her medicine. This chiropractor allegedly told Strohecker that she could be cured through the adjustment of mysterious energy fields in the human body that can be manipulated through a method called "reiki." Strohecker stopped taking her medicine, suffered severe seizures, and died at the age of 31 in 1999. These energy fields do not exist. They are based on false science. They are not real.
[Labyrinths] Labyrinths offer spiritual journeys, meditative walks
While labyrinths are in many of the great medieval cathedrals of Europe -- such as the one in Chartres, France -- labyrinths aren't an exclusively Christian tradition. Examples of labyrinths can be found in ancient Celtic drawings, in Native American medicine wheels, and in the mystical Jewish tradition of the Kabbalah. In Berkeley, the East Bay Labyrinth Project, which completed the Willard Peace Labyrinth last fall, is intentionally nonreligious. "It's a community-building peace activity," says Nina Ham, one of the group's founders.
[Marcus Wesson] Seven of Nine Fresno Victims Were Shot
Wesson's sons, Dorian, 29, who lives in Santa Cruz, and Serafino, 19, who lived at the Fresno house, could not say whether he was married or how many children he has fathered, the Fresno Bee reported. They said the family belonged to the Seventh-day Adventist church.
[Marcus Wesson] Slaying suspect led nomadic life
Wesson met his wife, Elizabeth, when his family lived near hers in East San Jose during the 1960s, according to Elizabeth's sister, Rosemary Solorio. In a brief interview, she described her sister's husband as religious, loving and a good provider for his family. Relatives say Wesson is a Seventh-day Adventist. In a press release issued Sunday, the Adventist church said it had no record of Wesson being a member.
[Abortion] Planned Parenthood Hires Chaplain to Combat Anti-Christian Criticism
In an attempt to counter criticism that it's unyielding support of abortion runs counter to the Christian religious views of most Americans, Planned Parenthood has announced it has hired a national chaplain to advocate the "spiritual side" of abortion. The national abortion business appointed Rev. Ignacio Castuera, senior pastor of St. John's United Methodist Church in the Watts community of Los Angeles, as its chaplain.
[Aum Shinrikyo] Tokyo univ. rejects enrollment of AUM founder's daughter
private university in Tokyo said Monday it has rejected the enrollment of a 20-year-old prospective student whom it had previously accepted after it found out that she is the daughter of AUM Shinrikyo cult founder Shoko Asahara.
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