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250ReligionNewsBlog.com, Sep. 8, 2003

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  • Anton Hein
    Sep 8, 2003
      ReligionNewsBlog.com, Sep. 8, 2003

      [Buddhism] Dalai Lama urges finding a spiritual path
      The Dalai Lama dedicated an interfaith temple Sunday and urged his audience of
      several thousand people to be religious and choose a faith.

      [Buddhism] Tibetan Leader Speaks at University of San Francisco
      The Tibetan leader's morning prayer service drew about 2,000 people to St.
      Ignatius Church on campus. At the service he was presented with an honorary
      university doctorate. Later, he packed the USF Memorial Gymnasium with nearly
      5,000 people for his afternoon teaching.

      [Superior Universal Alignment] Seer for trial in voodoo murders
      Valentina Andrade was a trusted clairvoyant in the backwater Amazonian town of
      Altamira. Many in the rural riverside community trusted her fortune-telling.
      But in a horrifying twist, Andrade, 75, has been revealed as the leader of a
      satanic sect that killed boys to use their sexual organs in voodoo rituals. She
      will be the last of five sect members to stand trial accused of luring poor boys
      into the jungle, where they were smothered with chloroform and dragged away to
      have their genitals removed.

      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Scientology loss keeps hyperlinks legal
      The Church of Scientology has lost a courtroom battle to compel a Dutch writer
      and her Internet service provider to remove postings from a Web site, in a
      ruling that keeps hyperlinks to copyrighted material legal.

      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Scientologists loses copyright case
      The Court of Appeal in The Hague last week rejected all of the Church of
      Scientology's claims its action against the Dutch ISP Xs4all, writer Karin
      Spaink and ten other internet providers for publishing copyrighted material on
      the web. As a result, Spaink's website which Scientologists had sought to
      remove, is entirely legal.

      [Unification Church] High-Level Endorsements
      In exclusive interviews carried by the Washington Times, George Washington says
      he is "deeply moved" to learn "the identity of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon" and that
      he is "the Messiah." Thomas Jefferson urges Americans to "follow the teachings
      of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon." Abraham Lincoln calls Moon "the True Parent of
      humanity," while John F. Kennedy says, "All of humankind and the U.N. . . . have
      to accept his leadership and guidance."

      [Falun Gong] China Renews Fight Against Falun Gong
      The very "prosperity and stability" of modern China is at stake in the battle
      against the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, the communist government in
      Beijing is warning as it promises to renew the fight. In a lengthy commentary
      carried late Sunday night on the official Xinhua News Agency, authorities called
      for a "fight until the end" against Falun Gong, which has repeatedly angered the
      government in recent months by hacking into Chinese television satellite signals
      and broadcasting its own messages.

      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Scientology cases verdict: victory for freedom of
      The Court of Appeal in The Hague today rejected all of Scientology's claims in
      appeal in Scientology's action against XS4ALL, Karin Spaink and ten other
      internet providers. The court concluded that Spaink's publications which quoted
      from works of Scientology were completely legal. In this case, the court said,
      freedom of opinion does not take second place to enforcement of copyright. 'The
      (...) texts show that, in their doctrine and their organization, Scientology et
      al. do not hesitate to reject democratic values. From the texts it also follows
      that one of the objects of the non-disclosure of the contents of OT II and OT
      III ... is to thwart discussion of the doctrine and practices of the Scientology
      organization', according to the Court of Appeal.

      [New Age] Casting A Wider Spell
      After years on the fringes, New Age—which includes some alternative health,
      addiction and recovery, psychology and spiritual titles, as well as books on
      Eastern traditions—may finally be approaching the middle of the road. [...] "New
      Age is no longer becoming mainstream; it is mainstream," says Katie McMillan,
      publicity manager at Inner Ocean Publishing Company. "Let's face it, between the
      war, terrorism and the economy, people are dealing with issues that they may not
      have ever had to deal with before, and they are looking for the tools that will
      help them." Adds Deborah Balmuth, editorial director at Storey Publishing, "This
      is leading more people to focus on the present moment (through mindfulness
      practice) and on fostering peace within themselves as a vehicle for world peace.
      The greatest challenge publishers face is how to respond to the growing
      mainstream interest in yoga, Buddhism and other Eastern spiritual practices in
      fresh ways with new voices, formats and viewpoints."

      [Seventh-day Adventism] Victims of sexual abuse may have included girls
      Police investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct at Toivonlinna, a
      boarding school run by the Finnish Adventist Church, have led to suspicions that
      both girls and boys may have been victims of sexual molestation by members of
      the staff.

      [Seventh-day Adventism] Adventist Church lawyer advised silence
      Adventist Church lawyer advised silence in 2002 about suspicions of abuse
      Cases date from 1980s; some have lapsed under statute of limitations. According
      to National Bureau of Investigation investigator Harri Rahikka, police are still
      receiving numerous calls about alleged sexual abuse incidents involving children
      within the Finnish Adventist Church.

      [Seventh-day Adventism] Police investigate suspected child sexual abuse
      The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has launched an investigation into
      allegations of extensive sexual abuse of children at a school run by the Seventh
      Day Adventist Church.

      [Mormon Church] Mission Implausible
      The mission of Mormon missionaries is clear: Spread the Word and sprinkle it
      with testimony. But while the 60,000-plus elders and sisters worldwide may
      stick to the straight and narrow on doctrine, they sometimes veer off course and
      relay faith-promoting stories that sound true -- but rarely are. [...] It's
      called folklore, says retired Brigham Young University humanities professor
      William Wilson. Missionaries are the "folk," and their tales are the "lore."

      [Sikhism] Area Sikhs share their traditions
      The second annual Punjabi Heritage Festival, which was dedicated to the "victims
      and heroes of Sept. 11," drew several hundred to the Fairfield Center for
      Creative Arts. After dining on Punjabi delights, guests settled in for musical
      performances and lectures about Sikh culture. The event, added to the
      association's educational efforts in local schools and businesses, is helping to
      reverse misunderstanding and fear of Sikhs, said association spokesperson
      Gurpreet Dhugga. He said the climate for Sikhs has improved dramatically since
      the months following the terrorist attacks.

      [Transcendental Meditation] 'Peace Palace' planned for tourist strip
      A portion of 458 acres owned here is planned for one of 3,000 "Peace Palaces" to
      be built in major cities around the world. [...] With Central Florida's millions
      of visitors, the facility also will serve as a welcome center for the curious.

      [Religion Trends] Network, cable shows take on death, faith and the hereafter
      Some of these current and upcoming shows are deadly serious; others are light,
      sardonic, even a tad kooky. But brush aside differences in style and tone, and
      you can recognize the same primal themes. To quote the death-obsessed Bob Fosse
      musical "All That Jazz': "Death is in, man! Death is in!" So are God, faith,
      destiny and other unanswerables. [...] But there might be more going on here
      than inspiration and imitation. Like the movie business, the TV industry doesn't
      generate programs overnight; almost all of the above-mentioned series were in
      the works, or in their creators' heads, for years or even decades. That so many
      of these cosmically inclined programs greenlit around the same time suggests
      that TV producers, network executives, advertisers and even regular viewers are
      thinking about these things more pointedly and more often.

      [Amina Lawal] Nigerian woman may escape stoning
      It was under Islamic law that Amina Lawal was sentenced to death by stoning, but
      it is Islamic law that could ultimately save the young Nigerian mother's life if
      all goes well, a Quebec lawyer working on her behalf said yesterday. [...]
      Local litigators, backed by a team of international lawyers and aid groups,
      argued not only have Lawal's human rights been violated by her initial trial and
      prescribed punishment, she ought to be acquitted on a technicality because her
      so-called crime occurred before religious laws were applied in the state.

      [Islam] Egypt TV 'bans veiled presenters'
      The issue of Islamic dress code has long been controversial in Egypt and now the
      conflict is taking place against a quietly changing social landscape in Egypt
      with more and more professional women deciding to wear the veil.

      [Islam] What path to follow?
      The American Society of Muslims faces an uncertain future after the resignation
      of its longtime leader. In 1975, when W. Deen Mohammed, the son of Elijah
      Muhammad, began teaching orthodox Islam to members of his father's racial
      separatist organization, the Nation of Islam, many wondered whether the
      controversial religious sect could make the transition. Apparently not as fast
      as Mohammed had hoped. Mohammed resigned Sunday, saying he was frustrated that
      some of his ministers have not fully embraced the religious teachings of
      mainstream Islam.

      [Zimbabwe] Bishop says Africa ignoring Mugabe-backed violence
      Pius Ncube, the Catholic archbishop of Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo, said
      Mugabe's government had brainwashed young Zimbabweans in training camps run by
      his ruling ZANU-PF party, teaching as many as 50,000 youths to practise
      violence. Ncube, long an outspoken critic of Mugabe's government, said African
      leaders had refused to speak out in the misguided belief they must unite against
      'neo-colonial' pressure from former ruler Britain and other Western nations.

      [Zimbabwe] On the rampage
      Church leaders in southern Africa have accused the Zimbabwean government of
      sacrificing an entire generation of young people to maintain its grip on power.
      In a chilling report, the Solidarity Peace Trust documents how children as young
      as 10 are being drafted for military training. A Radio Netherlands' reporter has
      just returned from Zimbabwe. He travelled there undercover – due to the severe
      restrictions the authorities place on foreign journalists – and spoke to former
      youth militia members and their victims.

      [Ritual Killing] Help sought in voodoo slay
      "There may be people, Africans spread throughout the world, who may have
      knowledge of the crime or may help in putting cultural meaning to our
      discovery," Detective Inspector Will O'Reilly of New Scotland Yard told the
      Daily News.

      [Hate Groups] Aryan member pleads guilty in Trejo slaying
      A high-ranking member of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang pleaded guilty
      Thursday to federal charges involving the 1995 slaying of a Sonoma County
      sheriff's deputy. Federal prosecutors said Paul "Cornfed" Schneider admitted
      that Deputy Frank Trejo was shot and killed at the beginning of a crime spree by
      two gang associates under orders from Schneider to raise money by committing

      [Hate Groups] Hale argues FBI agent prodded him to kill judge
      White supremacist Matt Hale, charged with asking a follower to kill a federal
      judge, is expected to defend himself at trial by arguing that the judge was at
      least the third person that a government undercover agent had tried to push Hale
      into signing off on killing.

      [Word of Faith Fellowship] Mother tells about church life
      Judge Pool inquired about the church practice of what the church calls
      deliverance circles, or strong prayer session in which a person is placed in the
      center of a group of 15-25 people who yell and scream at the person until the
      person's demons are released through a breakthrough. [...] Muse said people
      yelling get right next to the person and scream or shout short statements or
      groan deep, loud sounds. [...] The sessions last anywhere from a half hour to
      over three hours. Muse said her children were subjected to sessions ranging from
      30 minutes to 90 minutes.

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