ReligionNewsBlog.com, Oct. 29, 2004
Fri, Oct. 29, 2004
[Michael W. Ryan] Court Rejects Appeal Of Former Cult Leader
An appeal by one-time cult leader Michael Ryan in a 1985 torture-slaying
on a farm near Rulo was rejected Friday by a federal appeals court.
[Church and State] MSU faith-based project violates Constitution, judge
Magistrate Judge Richard Anderson ordered David Young, director of MSU's
Office of Rural Health, to stop giving federal funds to parish nursing
programs and particularly to the Carroll College Parish Nurse Center.
The judge also ordered Young and MSU to stop housing the offices of the
nonprofit Montana Faith-Health Cooperative and subsidizing it with a Web
site, clerical and leadership services.
[USA] Revealed: War has cost 100,000 Iraqi lives
The first scientific study of the human cost of the Iraq war suggests that
at least 100,000 Iraqis have lost their lives since their country was
invaded in March 2003.
More than half of those who died were women and children killed in air
strikes, researchers say. Previous estimates have put the Iraqi death toll
at around 10,000 - ten times the 1,000 members of the British, American
and multi-national forces who have died so far. But the study, published
in The Lancet, suggested that Iraqi casualties could be as much as 100
times the coalition losses. It was also savagely critical of the failure
by coalition forces to count Iraqi casualties.
The researchers are savagely critical of the US General Tommy Franks for
his widely quoted remark that "we don't do body counts". They say that the
Geneva Convention requires occupying forces to protect the civilian
population, and add the fact that more than half of the deaths caused by
them were women and children is "cause for concern".
The Lancet said it had received the study at the beginning of October and
it had been "extensively peer-reviewed, revised and edited". It had been
fast-tracked to publication "because of its importance to the evolving
security situation in Iraq".
[Nuwaubians] Sect members claim conspiracy against leader
Pyramids, obelisks and a lonely sphinx stand deserted on the
Egyptian-themed compound where as many as 500 members of a quasi-religious
sect lived only five years ago.
The United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors has gone quiet since its leader,
Malachi York, was sentenced to 135 years in federal prison in April for
molesting 14 boys and girls whose parents were members of his group.
[Helge Fossmo] Curtain falls on Knutby appeals
Pastor Helge Fossmo wants the sentence of life imprisonment for the murder
of his second wife, Alexandra, overturned. But the prosecutor, Elin Blank,
wants him found guilty of murdering his first wife too. She also wants
Sara Svensson, the nanny who has admitted killing Alexandra Fossmo and
attempting to kill a neighbour, sentenced to prison rather than
But the lack of conclusive evidence or indeed any form of agreement on the
main points in the case has left the pundits utterly baffled as to the
likely outcome - and has raised audience expectations of a session in the
Supreme Court next year to complete the trilogy.
[Witchcraft] Author Starhawk is a spiritual leader for Bay Area witches
A practitioner of "the Craft" for three decades, Starhawk has become one
of the leading voices in the Earth-based spirituality movement. Her
classic text on witchcraft, "The Spiral Dance," has sold more than 285,000
copies and has been translated into German and Danish. Some of her books
are used in college curricula.
Something else that sets Starhawk apart from ordinary witches is her
passion for protest. She's participated in countless demonstrations,
ranging from the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant and the Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory to the G8 summit in Genoa, Italy, in 2001
and the World Trade Organization talks in Cancun, Mexico, in 2003. She's
held vigils at Vandenberg Air Force Base and protested against Israeli
troops in the West Bank. She's been arrested more than two dozen times.
[Witchcraft] Britain’s witches stir it up for holiday
Over the weekend, millions worldwide will don a witch’s hat, cape and
broom or some other outlandish garb, but how do real witches celebrate
Halloween? And where did the holiday originate?
[Lord's Resistance Army] LRA Child Soldiers' Tales
Onen is no ordinary teenager. He is a battle hardened youth who for two
years carried out ambushes and burnt villages with the Joseph Kony's
Lord's Resistance army.
He shivers as he narrates the atrocities he committed and all of a sudden
The youth did not join the LRA rebels willingly and he is one of the
thousands that have been abducted by the rebels during the 18 years of the
northern Uganda insurgency. He is only lucky to have been rescued.
[Anglican / Episcopal Church] Gay Priesthood Unbiblical, Obasanjo Tells
President Olusegun Obasanjo commenting for the first time on the gay
bishop issue that has threatened the soul of the Anglican Communion ,
yesterday, saluted the wisdom, courage and resilience of the African
Bishops for standing so firmly against attempts to undermine the Christian
faith and falsify the gospel and the Word of God.
[Hate Groups : Scientology] Cruise's Nobel gig causes controversy
Religious leaders in Scandinavia are outraged by the decision to chose
scientologist star Tom Cruise to co-host the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize
concert in Norway.
Karl-Erik Nylund, a priest from Stockholm, Sweden, says: "They're a
manipulative sect that takes over people's lives and finances. Cruise
isn't going to be there as a missionary. But it's difficult to separate
the artist Tom Cruise from Scientology Tom Cruise.
[Islam] Upper Sharia Court to Rule in Hajara's Appeal November 10
Hajara Ibrahim, the teenager condemned to death by stoning by the Lere
Sharia Court in Bauchi State for being pregnant outside wedlock is to know
her fate, November 10 when the upper Sharia court, Dass entertaining the
appeal filed against the lower Sharia court judgment will give its verdict.
[Yoga] Yoga promises students physical, spiritual gains
Since coming to Duke, senior Franklin Winokur has regularly participated
in what he describes as one of the most demanding workouts he has ever
undertaken. Senior Deirdre Hess, on the other hand, has found an exercise
routine that allows her to concentrate on de-stressing. These two
students are describing the same activity: yoga.
[Islam] Dispute splits Bulgaria's Muslims
A young man stands on a balcony, his hand cupped to one ear as he sings
out, calling his fellow students to prayer in a small Islamic studies
center high in Bulgaria's Rodopi Mountains.
The center, which trains men to be imams, is one several Islamic studies
institutes that have been branded as "terrorist nests" by parts of the
Bulgarian media and Muslim community leaders, who have suggested that the
institutes are trying to foist fundamentalist ideas on a traditionally
moderate Islamic community.
The suggestions have brought alarm among members of Bulgaria's Christian
Orthodox majority and have led to calls for tighter regulation of
religious groups. While these concerns may be genuine, some commentators
in Bulgaria say the allegations are a ruse in a dispute that has less to
do with religion than with power and money.
[Ruben Ecleo] Bacolod siblings oppose transfer of Ecleo case trial
The surviving siblings of the murdered wife of Ruben Ecleo Jr. have
brought to court their opposition to a move to transfer the trial of the
parricide case against the cult leader.
Angelito, Ricky and Josebel Bacolod filed an opposition with the Office of
the Court Administrator, asking that the trial on the parricide case
against Ecleo remains in Cebu.
[Alternative Healing] Does Reiki have a place in Judaism?
The ancient Japanese tradition of Reiki is emerging in Israel, and its
fresh presence is posing a simple question in the heart of the Jewish
world: Is there a place for Reiki in Judaism?
Reiki, "universal life energy" in Japanese, is more popular in Israel now
than it was five years ago, says Eli Navon, Reiki teacher at the Israel
Holyland Reiki Center and the School for Alternative Medicine in Kfar Saba.
"More people come to study- all kinds of people, including doctors," said
As Japanese culture and healing are exported in the global village, Jewish
practitioners face the challenge of integrating the foreign belief system
into the Jewish domain.
[Gilbert Deya Ministries] Woman Jailed Over 'Miracle Babies'
A woman was yesterday sentenced to six months' imprisonment for helping
register the births of the so-called "miracle babies". [...] Two of the
children are alleged to have been born to embattled UK-based preacher
Gilbert Deya and his wife, Mary, following miracle prayers by the couple.
[Aum Shinrikyo] Court Rejects AUM Cult's Request to Stop Surveillance
The Tokyo District Court turned down Friday a request by the AUM Shinrikyo
cult to stop government surveillance of it, saying its founder Shoko
Asahara continues to wield power over members.
In handing down the decision, Presiding Judge Yosuke Ichimura dismissed
the AUM members' argument that the law was unconstitutional.
Ichimura said Asahara, 49, "even now has influence over the cult's
activities mainly because senior cult members are still preaching absolute
submission" to him.
The cult, now headed by Fumihiro Joyu who was previously a close aide of
Asahara, has tried to make efforts to shed its criminal image.
But Ichimura said he sees no progress in the cult's efforts to reform.
[Bible] Dutch Bible translation slammed as 'too modern'
A new Dutch translation of the Bible to be published on Wednesday has
attracted sharp criticism for being too modern and differing too much from
the original Hebrew and Greek texts.
The New Bible Translation (De Nieuwe Bijbelvertaling) was to be unveiled
in Rotterdam on Wednesday and launched in Antwerp for the Belgian market
on Friday. Ten years in the making, the publication is intended to offer a
standard translation for the entire Dutch-language region.
Well-known Dutch priests Huub Oosterhuis and Nico ter Linden claim the
attempt to translate the bible into Dutch language has come at the expense
of what the original authors meant.
[Hate Groups : Scientology] Subway-tology!
A poster being sold to mark the 100th anniversary of the subway has an
underground message - and it has nothing to do with trains.
The poster, which depicts a crowded Times Square subway station, contains
what seems like an endless number of plugs for the controversial Church of
[Artist Kathy] Jakobsen also unabashedly includes plugs for one of her
children's books, "My New York," the book's publisher, Megan Tingley, and
her agent, art gallery owner Frank Miele.
Miele, reached at his gallery yesterday, confirmed that he is a
Scientologist and that Jakobsen is a "committed Scientologist."
Tom Kelly, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority,
defended the $10 poster as depicting "the actuality of Times Square and
what is going on here."
[Islam] Discovery of Quran leads man to new spiritual path
When Amon Graves picked up the Quran, the holy book of Islam, there was
something instantly familiar about it.
Just a few years later the gangly kid who once played the tax collector in
the annual church Christmas play had changed his name to Amon Muhammad and
embraced the Muslim faith. Nowadays, he is Brother Amon, the spiritual
leader of his hometown mosque, the person those who are in trouble go to
His road from Christianity to Islam, however, is more of a bridge than a
path in a single direction.
"I never let Jesus go. Muslims believe in Jesus as the messiah," said
There are distinctions. Muslims believe Jesus is a messenger of God, but
that the Prophet Muhammad was the last messenger of God. They do not
believe that Jesus is the son of God or that God is comprised of the
Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Christians generally do not believe
that Muhammad was a prophet sent by God.
[Science and Religion] Psychiatrist: spiritual belief helps mental illness
People suffering with mental health disorders who have a faith in a higher
power' have a better chance of managing their illnesses and improving
They even live longer, Dr Andrew Powell, a member of the Royal College of
Psychiatrists, told a multi-faith meeting of mental health professionals,
carers and patients in Avenue House, East End Road, Finchley, on Thursday
[Nepal] Nepal courts Indian gurus to improve image abroad
After renowned mountaineers Sir Edmund Hillary, Reinhold Messner and Peter
Habeler, Nepal is now courting Indian spiritual gurus to portray the
Himalayan kingdom as a safe destination.
Nepal is hoping that the arrival of Indian spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi
Shankar, whose Art of Living Foundation teaches how to deal with negative
emotions through breathing control techniques, will reinforce the image of
Nepal as a safe destination for tourists, especially from India.
[Obituary] Bryan Wilson
Bryan Wilson was one of the most brilliant and influential sociologists of
religion of the past century. It is impossible for any serious student of
the subject to write about the state of religion in contemporary society
without referring to his secularisation thesis or his work on sects and
new religious movements.
Bryan Wilson, sociologist of religion, was born on June 25, 1926. He died
on October 9, 2004, aged 78.
Anton and Janet Hein-Hudson
ApologeticsIndex.org: Research resources on religions, cults, sects, and
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