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357ReligionNewsBlog.com, July 1-3, 2004

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  • Anton Hein
    Jul 3, 2004
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      ReligionNewsBlog.com, July 1-3, 2004

      Sat, Jul. 03, 2004
      [Rosicrucians] A gathering for peace
      For Rosicrucians, the trip to the ``2004 World Peace Conference'' is something of a pilgrimage. The park is where the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis got its U.S. start -- and a jump-start worldwide. [...] While the order may dabble in knowledge that is arcane, its practices are no longer so mysterious. They have much in common with New Age explorers of the 1950s and '60s, who sought to link the energies of the mind, body and spirit. Famed Beat poet Alan Ginsberg recalled the Rosicrucians as the most interesting part of a two-month San Jose stay in the '50s, when ``all sorts of rapturous people, mystics and astrologers were roaming around.''

      [Unification Church] Rev. Moon cultivates black allies
      When a group of clergy members held a news conference this week to defend the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial founder of the Unification Church, some of the most supportive words came from an unlikely source: black preachers. [...] As a part of his drive for world unity, the wealthy businessman has developed ties with at least hundreds of black clergy members through the sponsorship of trips, seminars and workshops on issues of common interest, including sexual abstinence, social justice and world peace

      [Hate Groups] Aryan Circle member testifies against her former comrades
      Susan Creel said she is still a member of the Aryan Circle, the organization through which prosecutors say the drugs were distributed, but plans to drop her membership. Creel will be ousted from the group anyway, she said, because of her testimony identifying fellow members as having committed crimes, which is against Aryan Circle code.

      [Unification Church] Lawmaker Says He Didn't Know Moon Would Attend
      Rep. Roscoe Bartlett says there was nothing peculiar about his assisting the Rev. Sun Myung Moon during a coronation ceremony at which Moon declared himself the Messiah. Videos of the March 23 event in Washington show Bartlett holding Moon's robes, bowing to Moon and his wife, and participating in a four-way handshake with the couple and Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill. [...] He said he was unexpectedly asked to participate in the ceremony. "What was so strange?" Bartlett asked. "I'm not rude, and if I was there and asked to do something that was benign, handing a robe to an old person and honoring him for his contribution to world peace and fundamental morality, now why wouldn't I do that if I was asked to

      Fri, Jul. 02, 2004
      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Brockton Fair opens with derby, music, food - and Scientology
      In addition to the animal petting areas, rides, fried dough and cold beer stands, this year's edition of the Brockton Fair featured dozens of Church of Scientology ministry volunteers clad in yellow T-shirts. [...] The Rev. Robert W. Castagna, community outreach coordinator for the Church of Scientology in Boston, said the ministry in Brockton is an attempt to help the city deal with its street violence problems. "We offer solutions to the various problems that underlie the violence," he said.

      NOTE: While the Church of Scientology tries to present itself as a decent organization (referring to itself as "the most ethical group on the planet," those targetted by the cult should be aware of the cult's unethical teachings and practices. See the sidebar in the above article for research resources.

      [Aum Shinrikyo] Asahara's Defense Lawyers Criticize High Court Order on Appeal
      Defense lawyers for AUM Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara said Friday they cannot accept a Tokyo High Court order instructing them to submit a prospectus to appeal a lower court ruling's by Jan. 11 next year. The lawyers say the high court should not set the deadline for the submission of the prospectus.

      [Religious Freedom] Muslims win legal fight over prison regulations
      California prison officials have been barred by a Sacramento federal judge from imposing discipline or denying sentence reductions based on Muslim inmates' half-inch beards and attendance at religious services. [...] He found the two actions necessary to protect the rights of Muslim inmates under a 2000 federal statute "enacted to prevent correctional institutions from restricting religious liberty."

      [Catholic Church] Monumental church dedicated to controversial saint Padre Pio
      His bearded face can be seen everywhere in Italy - tucked into the frames of mirrors behind bars; taped on to taxi drivers' dashboards; in beggars' bowls. Since his canonisation in 2002, he has been St Pius. But for his devotees - it is estimated there are 15 million worldwide - he will always be Padre Pio, an ill-educated Capuchin monk with supernatural powers who bore the marks of Christ's crucifixion. Yesterday, his global cult acquired a shrine of appropriate size and splendour, when a huge basilica designed by the Genoese architect Renzo Piano was consecrated on the mountainous promontory where Padre Pio lived his simple, though intensely controversial, life

      [Islam] Al-Qaeda threatens Europe attacks after July 15 expiry of truce offer
      A purported Al-Qaeda statement has threatened attacks in Europe if there is no response to a truce offer by Osama bin Laden that expires on July 15. [...] The statement, whose authenticity could not be immediately verified, also told Muslims in the West to move to Muslim countries or avoid non-Muslim neighbourhoods in their host countries. "To those Muslims living in the West... If you can migrate to Muslim countries, do so. He who does not have the means to leave should take precautions by living in Muslim neighbourhoods", the statement said.

      [Sikhism] UN takes up turban issue with French govt
      In a significant development, the United Nations has taken up the issue of banning turban by the Government of France, imposed on schoolchildren by enacting the school scarf ban law. The issue was reported to the United Nation by the Sikh Nation Organisation (SNO), led by Dr Manjit Singh Randhawa.

      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Research group tapped to look at anti-drug teachings
      State schools chief Jack O'Connell has asked a research group known for its rigorous reviews of health curriculum to spend three months evaluating the Narconon anti-drug program, whose classroom instruction has been linked to the Church of Scientology. [...] The findings of the center will carry no, but unless the reviewers endorse Narconon, O'Connell said, he will issue a strongly worded admonition to districts against using the program. O'Connell said his call for a review resulted from recent articles in The Chronicle that raised questions about the science being taught by Narconon. The articles also found parallels between Narconon's instruction and language and concepts embraced by the Church of Scientology

      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Tom Cruise in Scientology controversy
      Hollywood actor Tom Cruise's efforts to raise money to open a detox center for 9/11 victims have come under fire, after it was reported that the Long Island clinic has links with scientology.

      [Falun Gong] Firm sues Chinese Embassy and daily over Falun Gong report
      A US-based satellite television company, New Tang Dynasty, today filed a defamation suit for RM100 million against an officer of the Chinese Embassy here and a publisher of a local Chinese daily over a report linking it to the Falun Gong movement. (Falun Gong, which originated in China, had been denounced by the Chinese authorities as an evil cult.)

      [Satanism] Satanic spells of murdered dad; Black magic 'link' to killing
      A murdered father of three was obsessed with Satanism and cast frightening black magic spells, friends disclosed yesterday. Now police are probing Peter Solheim's links with the occult to find clues to his killer. His body was found drifting in the sea with unexplained multiple injuries. Druid Mr Solheim, 56, alarmed fellow worshippers when he quit the pagan sect to dabble in the occult on his own.

      [Nuwaubians] Putnam's Sills sued by seven linked to Nuwaubian group
      Seven people affiliated with the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors religious sect have sued Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills in federal court, claiming he did not take "immediate and effective" action on reports that children were being molested at the group's rural headquarters.

      [Nuwaubians] Civil Lawsuit Targets Sheriff in Nuwaubian Sect Case
      But Sills said Thursday the complaints are baseless. "I wish it hadn't taken four years to complete the investigation," Sills said. "That would have been four years of hell my community, myself and my family wouldn't have had to go through."

      [General Assembly CotFB] Parents indicted in baby's death
      The parents of a baby girl who died of a treatable infection shortly after birth will face criminal charges for not seeking medical attention because of their religious beliefs. DeWayne and Maleta Schmidt of Franklin instead asked church elders in Morgantown to pray for their daughter, Rhiana Rose Schmidt, in the hours after her birth last summer. [...] The infant's death was the third such death involving untreated children whose parents are members of the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn.

      [Sri Chimnoy] They're Not Heavy; They're His People
      In 164th Street in Jamaica, Queens, there is a vegetarian restaurant called Annam Brahma with a series of photographs on its rear wall showing a bald man in his 70's doing one-arm dumbbell lifts, going incrementally, over 18 months, from 40 pounds up to what is claimed to be 7,063 pounds. It sounds like a bar bet, but it is Sri Chinmoy: powerlifter for world peace. Mr. Chinmoy is a spiritual guru and founder of a worldwide empire of meditation centers based in Jamaica.

      [Sri Chimnoy] Running 3,100 Miles, and Following Their Leader Every Step of the Way
      Followers of Sri Chinmoy honor him and seek spiritual transcendence in various ways. A dozen followers are doing it this month by running around a city block in Jamaica, Queens, for seven weeks straight, 18 hours a day, from 6 a.m. to midnight.

      [Mormon Church] Overzealous Mormons continue to baptize Jews
      Although the Church of Latter-day Saints signed an agreement with Jewish organizations in 1995 not to vicariously baptize those whose descendants have not given their consent - especially not Holocaust victims - the overzealous of the faith continue to do so. [...] However, Mormon officials say they remain in full compliance with the 1995 agreement. [...] But he said it was not the church's responsibility to monitor the archives to ensure that no new Jewish names appear.

      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Mental Health Display Sparks Warning
      A one-day anti-psychiatry display by the Church of Scientology set up in Palmerston North yesterday has been dismissed as propaganda with no scientific base by Massey University's top psychologist. Professor Ian Evans, head of the School of Psychology, warned people to be careful about information in the display. "It's actually quite destructive. It pretends to be representing a humanistic civil rights perspective (on the history of psychiatry), but it's thinly veiled propaganda for Scientology," he said.

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      Thu, Jul. 01, 2004
      [Nuwaubians] Nuwaubians sue sheriff, saying he was slow to act on child molestation
      Preview of this item: http://www.religionnewsblog.com/7737-.html

      [Islam] Abu Hamza remanded in custody
      Muslim cleric Abu Hamza, arrested on US terror charges, has been remanded in custody after appearing in a London court via a video link from prison. Mr Hamza, 46, faces nine charges, including hostage taking and supporting al-Qaeda, if the US successfully extradites him from Britain.

      [Islam] French Muslims prepare for headscarves showdown
      France's Muslim activists are considering court cases, school boycotts and advice hotlines as they prepare for a showdown when a controversial ban on Islamic headscarves comes into effect in state schools this September. Ignoring a European court ruling this week that backed a veil ban in Turkey, one large Muslim group pledges advice, legal aid and private tutoring to any girls turned away from school for wearing a headscarf despite the ban on overt signs of faith.

      [Jehovah's Witnesses] Parents' rights violated in child custody case: judge
      The rights of a Jehovah's Witness couple were violated when their newborn son was seized so that he could receive a blood transfusion, a judge ruled Wednesday.

      [Falun Gong] Chinese sect up in arms after attack
      Chinese spiritual movement Falun Gong said yesterday it would file charges of human rights violations under international law in SA against China's communist leaders. [...]

      [Nuwaubians] Nuwaubians keep land for now
      A federal judge ruled Wednesday that $1.7 million in land tied to the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors will remain in the hands of its members until the court decides whether the sect's leader, convicted child molester Malachi York, will get a new trial. U.S. District Judge C. Ashley Royal said there was no evidence shown during the hearing Wednesday that anyone other than York owned the two pieces of property, but he would delay a final ruling on whether federal officials could seize the property until York's motion for a new trial was decided. [...] The decision came after a group of York's supporters said the pieces of property - including the 476-acre compound in Putnam County - belonged to them and not York.

      [USA] Hand power back to Americans, too
      Upon the handing of power to his handpicked Iraqi government, President Bush said, "The Iraqi people have their country back." He said nothing about how long it will take for us to get our country back. There are 850 US soldiers we will never get back, who died in an unprovoked invasion and occupation that was based on Bush's fraudulent claim that Iraq was prepared to attack us with weapons of mass destruction. [...] With his silence on civilian slaughter, Bush behaved as if two wrongs could make a right. [...] Bush tried at every turn to keep Americans from contemplating the war's human cost.

      [Islam] In Utah, Two Faiths and One Prayer
      Given its overwhelmingly Mormon population, Utah might seem an unlikely place for Muslim immigrants from Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Indonesia, Sudan and Pakistan. But the Muslim population of Utah has grown rapidly, to about 25,000, most of whom arrived in the last decade in the wake of conflicts around the world that in some cases involved ethnic cleansing. [...] Though far outnumbered by Mormons, some Muslims here point out how well the two faiths coexist, and have marveled at the way Mormons came forward to offer comfort not only after the attacks of Sept. 11 - in which about 500 Muslims are believed to have died - but also in the last few days.

      [Unification Church] Religious leaders back Moon but Utah politicians back out
      Religious leaders aligned with Rev. Sun Myung Moon on Wednesday, defending Moon's Capitol Hill coronation ceremony as a recognition of three decades pursuing peace, not the bizarre ritual portrayed by a media "witch hunt."

      [Unification Church] Interfaith Leaders Address "Crown" Controversy
      Some 20 Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Native American religious leaders joined in a statement of support for Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon's global work for peace, speaking out in a June 30, 2004 Press Conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

      NOTE: This is a Press Release, published in RNB to document the antics of Sun Myung Moon and his associates.

      [Unification Church] 3 Utahns off Moon hook
      A top disciple of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon conceded Wednesday that the group did not have clear permission to list three prominent Utahns as helping host a dinner where Moon proclaimed himself the Messiah. The concession was an about-face from claims made earlier in the day that Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, state Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, and businessman Stephen Covey fibbed in denying they were not host committee members for the March 23 event, where Moon was dressed in a gold crown and royal robes as a king of peace.

      [Satanic and/or ritual abuse] Ritual sex 'victim' stands by claim
      A woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by a couple during "quasi-satanic rituals" has denied her allegations were complete "hocus pocus". The woman told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday that she had been interested in witchcraft. But she denied drawing on her own experiences of witchcraft and Satanism to add credence to her claims against David Stalford, 56, and his 55-year-old wife, Bette.

      [USA] Narrow victory for the US Constitution
      Thank God for the Supreme Court, or at least for the six members who ruled clearly that the president's claims of wartime powers do not trump the rule of law. The court has now exposed the authoritarian nonsense of the administration's claim that a detainee who has not been tried can be held captive as an indefinite menace, simply because the Pentagon asserts it. The entire basis of our system of law rests on the right of an accused person, no matter how heinous the alleged crime, to rebut those accusations before an impartial judge. Strip that away, and you have a dictatorship. It is shocking to have to say so, but it is also fortunate that an earlier generation of Americans had the foresight to commit the United States to international conventions on the treatment of prisoners. When the United States signs and ratifies a treaty, the provisions become a binding part of domestic law. When the United States signed the Third Geneva Convention, the understood purpose was to protect future American prisoners of war from brutal treatment by lawless foreign nations. How ironic that the convention on the treatment of prisoners has become a principal bulwark restraining the lawlessness of an American administration.

      [Ruben Ecleo] Prosecutors petition court to cancel cult leader's bail
      The prosecution has appealed a lower-court decision to grant bail to the cult leader Ruben Ecleo Jr., who is accused of strangling his wife on January 5, 2002, in their Cebu City home.

      [Church of God International] Once in cult, student now sees importance of knowing theology
      Is it important for a Christian to study biblical doctrine or should all Christians merely love Jesus and leave theology to trained theologians? Ask David Bell, who may be Exhibit A in the case for the doctrinal training of all Christians. Bell is a doctoral student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., but less than a decade ago he was a pastor in the Church of God International, which branched off from the Worldwide Church of God in 1978. [...] Bell said he was susceptible to unorthodox beliefs because the church in which he was raised did not teach much doctrine.

      Anton and Janet Hein-Hudson
      Apologetics Index
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