ReligionNewsBlog.com, May 12, 2004
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» [Judaism] 'Mr. Spock' Shoots Photos Exploring God
The women appear aglow; black and white images bathed in light. Some are nude, others are loosely covered with translucent robes or Jewish prayer shawls. They are Leonard Nimoy's embodiment of Shekhina - the feminine presence of God. [...] In 2002, he published "Shekhina," a book of about 40 photographs that explore his interest in the feminine aspects of Jewish divinity. Many of the images are on display this month at the R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton. [...] "Shekhina" was banned from a Jewish book fair in Detroit last year, and Nimoy's appearance at a fund-raising dinner for the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle was canceled shortly after the book was published. But his photos have been well received at many Reform synagogues and at art galleries and museums around the country.
» [The Passion of The Christ] Passion of the Christ raises questions among Buddhist audiences
The Passion of the Christ has left viewers stunned and questioning the religious meaning of Christs violent death since the blockbuster film directed by Mel Gibson was released April 29th in the overwhelmingly Buddhist country. More than 90 percent of Thailands population are Buddhist. Very few have read the Bible. The long episodes of violence and beatings in the Passion caused not a few in the audience to scratch their heads. [...] Film critic Kong Rithdee offered an insight into the audiences reaction. Buddhists, as most citizens in this country are, carry a different baggage walking into the theater. People adhering to the religion founded on peace and meditation may wonder, judging from this film, why a more popular faith like Christianity had such a bloody, painful origin, he wrote in Bangkok Post an English-language daily newspaper. Some Christian Churches and the Bible Society in Thailand worked to offer an explanation to the film as moviegoers entered the cinema. A Thai-language booklet introducing the meaning of the story behind the film was offered, containing email addresses and websites of Christian organizations. Apichit, a student, gave the film a thumbs up when he left, admitting that the brutality scared him, but he had understood what the Passion meant from the booklet he received.
» [USA] Rumsfeld: U.S. interrogation techniques don't violate Geneva Conventions
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended military interrogation techniques in Iraq on Wednesday, rejecting complaints that they violate international rules and may endanger Americans taken prisoner. [...] But Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill. said some of the approved techniques "go far beyond the Geneva Convention," a reference to international rules governing the treatment of prisoners of war.
NOTE: Mr. Rumsfeld's double-minded attitude to international laws and conventions has been discussed before in an opinion piece titled, "One Rule For Them...": http://www.religionnewsblog.com/2829-.html
[Religious Freedom] ACLU restores biblical verse to high school yearbook
The American Civil Liberties Union, perhaps better known for helping keep religion out of the classroom, came to the defense of a high school graduate whose yearbook entry was censored because it contained a biblical verse.
[Catholic Church] Lawsuit alleges widespread abuse by nuns at church-run school for deaf
Nine former students of the Boston School for the Deaf filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging they were raped and beaten by nuns at the now-defunct school. The plaintiffs accused at least 13 nuns in the lawsuit, along with a priest and a male athletic instructor at the school and a former top official in the Boston Roman Catholic Archdiocese, according to their attorney, Mitchell Garabedian. The alleged victims, three women and six men, were between the ages of 7 and 16 when, they claim, they were sexually and physically abused between 1944 and 1977.
[Symbionese Liberation Army] Symbionese Liberation Army members, then and now
[Roundup that accompanied the following story]
[Symbionese Liberation Army] Sentence ends Symbionese Liberation Army's long, violent saga
The long, violent saga of the Symbionese Liberation Army finally came to an end. SLA member James Kilgore was sentenced to six years in state prison Monday for the killing of a suburban Sacramento housewife during an April 1975 bank robbery that netted the would-be revolutionaries $15,000.
[Hate Groups] Trial begins for man accused of being 'Unknown Terrorist'
The SLA was a band of 1970s California revolutionaries who achieved notoriety amid the anti-Vietnam war movement for murdering Oakland school superintendent Marcus Foster, kidnapping newspaper heiress Patty Hearst, setting off bombs and robbing a string of California banks.
[Internet] First web-pastor appointed
Alyson Leslie, a lay pastor, will run i-Church, a community of worshippers from all over the world who will congregate at the website for prayers in chatrooms, webcast services and e-mail socialising. It is the first time a web community will be a fully recognised Anglican church. Although parishioners from many countries are taking part, the church will nominally be part of the Diocese of Oxford, which is funding the £15,000-a-year venture - a fraction of the cost of maintaining many physical churches.
[Islam] France arrests radical Iraqi imam
An Iraqi Muslim cleric who preached at a mosque outside Paris has been detained for violating a house arrest order, French judicial sources say. [...] Mr Ali was placed under house arrest in March pending deportation, but police say he never respected the ruling.
[Lord's Resistance Army] British Charity Urges Uganda to Protect Civilians Living in the North
A British charity is urging the Ugandan government to protect people living in northern Uganda from attacks by a rebel group operating there. The agency also calls for the government to use dialogue, rather than military force, to end the conflict. A spokeswoman in Uganda for the group Christian Aid, Judith Melby, says the Ugandan government has provided inadequate protection from attacks by rebels belonging to the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).
[Catholic Church] Church leaders accused of impeding reform
The head of the review board set up to monitor Roman Catholic bishops' response to the clergy sex abuse crisis has accused the church leaders of returning to "business as usual" to impede reform efforts. Some bishops are trying to block the National Review Board from conducting an audit this year to determine whether all 195 U.S. dioceses are following reforms aimed at ridding the priesthood of abusers, Illinois Appellate Court Judge Anne Burke wrote in a letter published Tuesday.
[Mariology] Virgin on Mexican wall is no miracle, church rules
Mexico's Catholic Church Monday ruled out any divine origin for an image on a hospital wall that thousands of pilgrims are flocking to venerate in the belief that it shows the country's patron saint. The shadowy figure, which the faithful say depicts the Virgin of Guadalupe, appears every night when a light is switched on in the patio of a clinic in the Pacific resort of Ensenada.
[Chen Jianmin] Doctor faces new challenge after fast
Just two days after walking out of a clear box in which he spent 49 days fasting, Chen Jianmin reacted only with dismissive anger at hearing Sima Nan's name. By all accounts, Chen has just broken a fasting world record of 44 days set by an American magician last year. [...] But Sima, who is known across the China for his fight against superstition, stepped up efforts to debunk Chen and his record.
[Polygamy] Teen who escaped polygamists settles into normal life
After nearly three months on the run, Fawn Broadbent is more than ready to get back to typical teen life: school, hanging out, thinking about boys. On Monday, Fawn, 17, became the legal ward of Carl John and Joni Holm of Sandy, who petitioned for her custody after she left the polygamous enclave of Colorado City, Ariz.
[USA] Group: Bush's Foreign Policy 'Dangerous'
A national religious group representing 36 Protestant and Orthodox denominations said Tuesday that U.S. foreign policy is "dangerous" and urged President Bush to turn over authority in Iraq to the United Nations. The National Council of Churches, which has been highly critical of the war, acknowledged that Christians disagree on the issue, but said that giving control to the U.N. was the only way to create "lasting peace."
[Islam] Killers: Beheading Avenges Prison Abuse
A video posted Tuesday on an al-Qaida-linked Web site showed the beheading of an American civilian in Iraq and said the execution was carried out to avenge abuses of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison. [...] The video bore the title "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi shown slaughtering an American." It was unclear whether al-Zarqawi - an associate of Osama bin Laden believed behind the wave of suicide bombings in Iraq - was shown in the video or simply ordered the execution. Al-Zarqawi also is sought in the assassination of a U.S. diplomat in Jordan in 2002.
[Jehovah's Witnesses] Duval court orders couple to allow baby's blood transfusions
A Duval County circuit judge ordered the parents of a premature baby to allow doctors to give him blood transfusions, though the couple's religious beliefs prohibit such treatments. [...] Deliah Floyd and Doward Carter are Jehovah's Witnesses. One tenet of their faith prevents them from receiving certain treatments, including blood transfusions. But when a parent's decision to refuse treatment could endanger a child, the hospital notifies the State Attorney's Office, said Cindy Hamilton, a spokeswoman for Baptist Health. Doctors then provide the court-authorized treatment, even if it goes against the parent's wishes, she said.
[Hate Groups : Scientology] Calera mayor may rescind Dianetics Month proclamation
There won't be a downtown parade or special ceremony, but May is officially Dianetics Month in Calera. When Mayor George Roy signed a proclamation to that effect last month, he didn't know he was endorsing a controversial religious movement. "We did it in good faith," he said. [...] The proclamation on "Dianetics" praised its author and urged "all citizens to follow Mr. Hubbard's example and strive to improve the lives of each other by working together and assisting each other to attain a brighter future." The text arrived prepared with blank lines for the city's name. [...] The mayor said he will rescind the proclamation at next week's council meeting.
NOTE: L. Ron Hubbard was a pathalogical liar whose fantasies resulted in the 'church' of Scientology. Its 'scriptures' - penned by Hubbard - actively promote the hate and harassment activities as well as other unethical behavior that the cult is known for.
[Internet] 3D church opened to woo Internet faithful
Christians in Britain have opened a zany 3D Internet church, billed as a first chance for believers to log on and worship interactively. Bishop of London Richard Chartres gave the inaugural sermon - via a speech-bubble from his cartoon persona - at the first service on the "Church of Fools".
[UFOs] Mexican air force confirms UFOs were filmed over country in March
Mexican air force pilots filmed 11 unidentified flying objects in the skies over southern Campeche state, a Defence Department spokesman confirmed Tuesday. A videotape made widely available to the news media Tuesday shows the bright objects, some sharp points of light and others like large headlights, moving rapidly in what appears to be a late-evening sky.
[Terry Nichols] Nichols defense presents John Doe No. 2 evidence
Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and a shorter, stocky man with bushy dark hair walked into a Kansas hair salon together one day before the 1995 bombing, two hair stylists testified at bombing conspirator Terry Nichols' murder trial Monday. [...] The women, who worked at a salon in Junction City, Kan., are among a growing list of defense witnesses who have recalled encounters with Mr. McVeigh and John Doe No. 2 in the days and weeks before the April 19, 1995, bombing that killed 168 people. Their testimony is part of a defense strategy to suggest that the plot to bomb the Oklahoma City federal building was wider than alleged by prosecutors and that Mr. McVeigh received substantial help from other co-conspirators.
[Jehovah's Witnesses] Religious mother turned down life-saving treatment
A mother died after refusing medical treatment involving blood products because of her religious beliefs, an inquest heard. Jehovah's Witness Angela Jean Shipperley, 36, died on August 20 last year, 12 days after giving birth by caesarean section to a premature baby boy at Northwick Park Hospital. Dangerous complications of pre-eclampsia, which had caused the early birth, set in after the delivery, which caused Mrs Shipperley to suffer fatally low levels of haemoglobin in her blood.
[Mormon Church] Mormon missionaries face days of austerity, rejection
Hooters and Starbucks would fold like the Soviet Union if every 19- to 26-year-old man became a Mormon missionary. These clean-cut young men don't drink, smoke, dance, listen to hip-hop, sip coffee or tea, or even hang at the beach. All are considered distractions from the singular mission of finding new members. Male missionaries -- called Elders -- work six days a week, 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., struggling to bring converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. [...] But the toughest job of all is working all day facing rejection from people they try to introduce to the church. [...] Even for those who request Mormon literature after answering ads on TV -- the biggest stumbling block remains accepting The Book of Mormon, the foundation of the church.
[Toronto Blessing] New Religions: Toronto Blessing
[Audio] NPR's series on new religious movements continues today with the fastest growing Christian church. The Toronto Blessing is a Pentecostal church, in which the worshippers display a personal, physical connection with God through manifestations such as speaking in tongues and barking like dogs.
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