ReligionNewsBlog.com, Mar. 24, 2004
[Hate Groups : Scientology] Judge denies award to Scientology group
A bid by the Church of Scientology to win an immediate $10 million judgment against a renegade ex-official was rejected in Marin Superior Court yesterday, setting the stage for a jury trial next month. Gerry Armstrong, a former researcher and archivist for Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, split from the church in 1981 and has criticized it vigorously ever since. Armstrong, a onetime San Anselmo resident who has exiled himself to Canada, says the church is bent on world domination, crushes internal dissent and violates its members' civil rights. In 1986, the church paid $800,000 to settle a civil suit filed by Armstrong, who claimed he was being harassed by church leaders. The settlement required Armstrong to stop divulging information he gained as a highly placed church insider. But Armstrong, 57, continued to speak out in media interviews and Internet postings, even after Marin Judge Gary Thomas issued a 1995 injunction ordering him to stop. In 2002, the church sued Armstrong for $10,050,000, or $50,000 for each of 201 instances where he allegedly breached his settlement agreement by publicly discussing the church.
NOTE: Scientology is a hate group whose own scriptures encourage and condone abuse of the legal system as part of the cult's hate- and harassment activites. Unethical behavior is part and parcel of Scientology, as codified in the hate group's scriptures, penned by founder L. Ron Hubbard - a science-fiction writer who lied so much that he could not tell the difference between fact and fiction.
[Interfaith] Christian group to work with Muslims
Christian leaders in Craigavon [Ireland] have set up an inter-faith church group to work with Muslim leaders and those facing physical threat. The ad-hoc group meets every six weeks and is attempting to resolve tensions which have sparked attacks on the homes of Muslim people and the circulation of material which could be seen as inflammatory. Methodist, Presbyterian, Church of Ireland and Catholic clergymen involved in the initiative are all concerned by the recent rise in racist incidents in the area.
[Antisemitism] French Jewish head says anti-Semitism up
Anti-Semitic violence has risen in French schools in 2003 despite a drop in the overall number of attacks, with children as young as 10 being bullied because they are Jewish, a French Jewish leader has said. Roger Cukierman, head of the Crif umbrella group of French Jewish organisations, said European countries were not tackling Islamist fundamentalism aggressively enough and were vulnerable to further terror attacks.
[Antisemitism] Anti-Semitic threats continue to plague Jewish community north of Toronto
A rash of anti-Semitic incidents continued to plague a community north of Toronto on Tuesday, when police announced that a synagogue had been pelted with eggs, two more schools were vandalized and two teens had been arrested for making harassing phone calls. The near-daily reports of hate crimes - in recent days including toppled headstones and spray-painted swastikas - surprised community leaders who expressed anger and sadness.
[Robin Marie Murphy] Cult killer says she made up the story
During her latest State Parole Board reconsideration hearing Tuesday, convicted "cult murderer" Robin Marie Murphy portrayed herself as an innocent woman who lied on the stand and eventually gave up her freedoms in the interest of justice by helping to convict Carl Drew of Karen Marsden's 1980 murder. Murphy, 41, of Fall River, has been serving a life sentence since accepting a plea bargain for the second-degree murder of Marsden, a former Fall River prostitute who was among two others to be brutally murdered over a two-year time span from 1979 to 1980.
[Hare Krishna] Row over Krishna temple in Moscow
Plans to construct a Hare Krishna temple in Moscow have sparked off a controversy in Russia where the Orthodox Church dominates and many regard Krishna followers as dangerous sectarians.
[Marcus Wesson] Wesson Suicide Pact?
[Entire item:] Action News obtained a jail report that shows officers must keep Wesson under "around the clock" observation. He is to have no contact with his family, for fear they may have a suicide pact. Action News spoke with someone close to the family who says Wesson's family is so brainwashed, they're waiting for word or a sign from Wesson to kill themselves, "He doesn't want to leave behind any evidence of the incest and polygamy."
[Marcus Wesson] Wesson children shot in the face
Seven children of accused killer Marcus Wesson were shot in the face March 12, and death occurred within minutes, death certificates made public Monday showed. The certificates, which ruled each death a homicide, are key evidence against Wesson, who is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on charges of murdering nine of his children. He has yet to secure an attorney.
[Hate Groups] Court Case Poses Challenge to Scientology Tax Break
A trial is to begin here on Wednesday morning to determine whether a Jewish couple can deduct the cost of religious education for their five children, a tax benefit they say the federal government has granted to members of just one religion, the Church of Scientology. The potential ramifications are huge, for a ruling in favor of the couple could affect the millions of Americans who send their children to religious schools of all types. At stake is whether people of all religions can deduct the cost of religious education as a charitable gift, as Scientologists are allowed to do under an officially secret 1993 agreement with the Internal Revenue Service. [...] The judges in the original Sklar case said "it appears to be true" that Scientology - founded by L. Ron Hubbard, the science fiction writer, in the 1950's - received preferential tax treatment in violation of the First Amendment. "Why is Scientology training different from all other religious training?" Judge Barry D. Silverman wrote in his opinion, adding that the question would not be answered just then because the court was not faced with the question of whether "members of the Church of Scientology have become the I.R.S.'s chosen people." Judge Silverman then recommended litigation to address whether the government is improperly favoring one religion. "If the I.R.S. does in fact give preferential treatment to members of the Church of Scientology - allowing them a special right to claim deductions that are contrary to law and disallowed to everybody else - then the proper course of action is a lawsuit to put a stop to that policy," Judge Silverman wrote.
[USA] US business group slams Bush 'deception' over Iraq war
A US business group that monitors federal spending took out a full-page advert in The New York Times, likening President George W. Bush to a corrupt chief executive officer who has forfeited public trust. Timed to coincide with the weekend anniversary of the US-led war against Iraq, the advertisement -- paid for by Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities -- said Bush's case for invasion "was built entirely out of falsehoods."
[WV Grant] Faith healer's past draws crowds, skeptics in Knoxville
For months, a Texas minister who claims he heals people with God's help, has been packing them in at a Knoxville church. But what people may not know about is his past tax conviction. Rev. W.V. Grant has been convicted of misuse of church funds. He's been holding revivals five nights a week at Faith Home Missionary Church in north Knoxville. People flock to his services because they've heard he has the power to heal. In fact, Grant has crossed the country performing similar feats. He's also collected lots of money and drawn the attention of lots of sceptics.
[Kabbalah] Roseanne Talks Of Weight Loss
Roseanne is looking slim and fit - despite the fact that she's the voice of a fat burping cow (with a heart of gold) in the new Disney animated film, Home on The Range. [...] She also tells me her new glow is due to a spiritual way of life thanks to the Kaballah movement (a religious movement based on Judaism) which she's involved with. Other devotees are Madonna, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. She wears the organisation's thin red ribbon tied around her wrist to remind her "to be a nice person".
[Jehovah's Witnesses] Sexual Molestation Alleged Within Jehovah's Witness Church
A town hall meeting was held in Monterey Monday night for victims and others who wanted to step forward about possible sexual molestation allegations against the Jehovah's Witness church. A lawsuit was filed last December against the Jehovah's Witness church in Monterey County. The suit involves a woman who claims a member of the church sexually abused children within the religious organization and that she herself was subjected to sexual touching, kissing and fondling when she was 13. Lawyers told Action News they are working on five more cases in Monterey County against the church for alleged sexual misconduct.
[Islam] Italian school bans Muslim woman
A Moroccan trainee teacher has been denied a job in Italy because school authorities feared her headscarf might scare children, local media reported. "(Children) might have been scared and it was better not to run that risk," official Christina Ferrari said. [...] The incident comes in the wake of heated arguments on the issue in other European countries.
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