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207Religion News Blog, Apr. 30, 2003

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  • Anton Hein
    Apr 30, 2003
      Religion News Blog, April 30, 2003

      [Gideons International] Gideons bibles barred in these hotel rooms
      :===Begin Quote===
      A casino spokesman says the decision was made because the casino
      expects to attract a diverse customer base.

      The Bible Scriptures secretary for the Gideons' Atlantic County
      chapter says he understands the casino's stance. But he also believes
      the casino will eventually reverse its policy.
      :===End Quote===

      [Robin Marie Murphy] Family not happy with fight for new trial
      :===Begin Quote===
      Marsden’s ritualistic murder was the third of three that shocked the
      community 23 years ago.

      Both Robin Marie Murphy and Carl Drew were each convicted of the 1980
      murder. Murphy, though, was able to strike a deal with prosecutors and
      pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the Marsden case.

      Last week, after serving 23 years in jail, Murphy requested a new
      trial, claiming her constitutional rights were violated when she was
      not given a full explanation of the charge against her
      :===End Quote===

      [Neil and Christy Edgar] Prosecutors oppose separate trials in Edgar
      :===Begin Quote===
      Johnson County prosecutors said today that they adamantly oppose
      separate murder trials for the parents and baby-sitter of Brian Edgar.

      A hearing is scheduled Wednesday in Johnson County District Court on
      the request for a separate trial filed last week by Christy Edgar.

      Christy Edgar, her husband, Neil Edgar Sr., and baby-sitter Chasity
      Boyd are charged in Johnson County District Court with first-degree
      felony murder in the child-abuse death of the 9-year-old boy in

      The lawyers for Neil Edgar and Boyd are not asking for separate
      :===End Quote===

      [Aum Shinrikyo] Aum's Asahara still wields influence 8 years after
      :===Begin Quote===
      Joyu admits that Asahara still wields influence over followers and
      stressed the need for Aleph to follow an independent path.

      "We have to face up to the hard fact that parents will die one day,"
      said Joyu. "We cannot gain the public's understanding unless we become
      independent." .

      He made the remarks at a press conference in January this year, when
      the Public Security Examination Commission decided to continue to keep
      the cult under surveillance by the Justice Ministry's Public Security
      Investigation Agency.

      Joyu, who was former Aum spokesman, officially assumed leadership of
      the group in January last year and has gradually strengthened his
      power within the cult since then.

      From around last summer, Joyu began conferring holy names on followers
      and holding the ritual of "Shakti Pat" or "divine touch" in which he
      touches a worshiper's forehead to produce "supernatural effects."

      A senior official of the Pubic Security Investigation Agency said,
      "Joyu has no other choice but to stress that Aleph is independent of
      Asahara." This is because the cult group "will remain under the
      surveillance by public security authorities as long as the influence
      of Asahara remains in the group," he said.
      :===End Quote===

      [Prem Rawat (Divine Light Mission)] Campus Speaker Criticized by
      :===Begin Quote===
      A controversial religious leader will speak at Zellerbach Hall
      tonight, despite objections from former followers who claim he leads a

      Former members allege Prem Rawat, head of Elan Vital, Inc., hides a
      checkered past and is using the event to recruit new members.

      Rawat—formerly known as Guru Maharaj Ji, "Lord of the Universe" and
      "Perfect Master"—began Divine Light Mission in the 1970s when he was
      13 years old.

      Since 1990, Rawat has reworked his image. Divine Light Mission has
      been replaced by the charitable organization Elan Vital, which
      professes to spread peace and knowledge.
      :===End Quote===

      [Panawave] Bizarre cult refuses order to leave roadside squat
      :===Begin Quote===
      Local officials on Wednesday told white-clad members of a bizarre cult
      that has mysteriously occupied a section of road to leave but had
      their request rejected.

      Members of the "Panawave Laboratory," explained to the officials that
      a senior member was seriously sick so they could not leave for the
      moment, adding that they were planning to leave on Saturday.
      :===End Quote===

      [Jehovah's Witnesses] Another Church Sex Scandal
      :===Begin Quote===
      Bill Bowen says by the end of the year he expects at least 100
      lawsuits to be filed against the faith.

      The problem is huge, he said. "It's of global proportions. You're
      talking about tens of thousands of children who've been molested in
      the last ten years. Tens of thousands, easily."

      The Jehovah's Witnesses Headquarters disputes these numbers but says
      they're aware of the problem -- and cites a letter it published last
      May. It says "we have long instructed elders to report allegations of
      child abuse to the authorities where required by law to do so, even
      where there is only one witness."
      :===End Quote===

      [Hate Groups] Midland BNP candidate's tribute to Nazi terrorist
      :===Begin Quote===
      A Midland British National Party election candidate changed his name
      as an homage to an American Nazi terrorist he idolised, the Sunday
      Mercury can reveal.

      Mark Payne, 35, changed his name by deed poll to Mark Matthews to
      celebrate his Nazi hero Robert J Matthews after the white supremacist
      was shot dead by the FBI in 1984.

      Mr Payne, who is set to contest Coventry's Woodlands ward, also runs
      an extreme right-wing book club from his small suburban home in the
      predominantly Asian area of Radford in the city.

      According to anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, The 14 Words UK
      produces racist literature urging people to fight for white rights.
      :===End Quote===

      [Panawave] Cult raises spectre of subway gas attack
      :===Begin Quote===
      Cult members are outfitted in white costumes, gumboots and medical
      masks and sport off-white baseball caps. Even spectacle frames are
      taped over in white.

      The cult reportedly believes that the colour white is an effective
      shield against microwaves. They have also covered trees and plants
      with white cloth or tape, creating a surrealistic scene.

      Reports have ascribed a doomsday character to the Chino Shoho group as
      it believes there is a 10th planet in the solar system and has warned
      that something cataclysmic will happen in mid-May when the planet
      approaches Earth.

      Experts say the cult could one day become a social threat if the
      authorities leave it alone.
      :===End Quote===

      [Twelve Tribes] Ex-Member Describes Twelve Tribes
      :===Begin Quote===
      Noah Jones was born in Island Pond in 1982 and left the Twelve Tribes
      in 1999.

      He says they look like a happy group, but are anything but.

      "They spanked me from my feet to my neck," Noah explained. "All the
      way. I was black and blue, basically, head to toe."

      Noah said he's been hit with a two-by-four on a job site, he's been
      beaten with reeds and locked in a basement.

      He calls it a destructive group, a prison.
      :===End Quote===

      [Panawave] White-clad group blocks Gifu road
      :===Begin Quote===
      A group of around 40 people clad from head to toe in white continued
      Tuesday to defy official requests to stop blocking a mountain road
      straddled by the towns of Hachiman and Yamato in Gifu Prefecture,
      local officials said.

      The group, which calls itself the Panawave Kenkyusho (research
      institute), drove into the area Friday from Fukui Prefecture in a
      convoy of about a dozen vehicles, mostly station wagons and camping
      trailers that are also draped in white cloth, officials said.

      A male member told town officials the group is "moving from place to
      place to avoid harmful electromagnetic waves."
      :===End Quote===

      [Panawave] Members of 'research group' erect checkpoint on Gifu road
      :===Begin Quote===
      According to sources, the group has blocked roads to carry out its
      research in many places around the country, including Aomori, Kagawa,
      Kanagawa and Okayama prefectures and Nagoya.
      :===End Quote===

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