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378ReligionNewsBlog.com, Sep. 20, 2004

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  • Anton Hein
    Sep 20, 2004
      ReligionNewsBlog.com, Sep. 19-20, 2004

      [Gilbert Deya Ministries] Tracking down Kenya's 'miracle babies'
      The story of Gilbert Deya, and his "miracle" babies, was first aired on
      the BBC Radio 4's Face the Facts. Women were travelling from the UK to
      Nairobi, supposedly to give birth in slum clinics. However, when the
      British authorities did DNA tests on one of the "miracle" babies, the
      child was found to have no link to the alleged mother. In Kenya, the
      front-page picture of the children seized from the homes of the Oderas and
      Deyas, offered a ray of hope to more than 50 couples. Children they had
      given up for dead may actually be alive.

      [Gilbert Deya Ministries] Deya Lawyers 'Ready to Do Battle'
      Archbishop Gilbert Deya's defence team has vowed to fight any attempt to
      extradite the embattled pastor to Kenya. And the legal team, with one of
      Scotland's leading Queen's Counsel (QC) Donald Findlay, has dared the
      Government to make an extradition move. At the same time, the team has
      attacked the Kenya police and judiciary, terming them corrupt and
      incompetent. But Kenya High Commissioner Joseph Muchemi has exonerated the
      Government, saying that the evangelist had never sought his direction.

      [Gilbert Deya Ministries] Accounts Frozen in 'Miracle Babies' Preacher
      A millionaire preacher being hunted in connection with the “miracle
      babies” child trafficking scandal today had his charity’s bank accounts
      frozen as a formal investigation was launched into his ministry. Gilbert
      Deya, 52, who faces extradition to Kenya to assist a police inquiry, had
      dismissed allegations that he has been involved in the scandal, in which
      it is believed children have been stolen from a Nairobi maternity clinic
      and offered to infertile couples. The Charity Commission confirmed a full
      inquiry had begun into the Gilbert Deya Ministries, which has churches in
      London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Nottingham. Simon Gillespie,
      the Charity Commission’s director of operations, said: “We have examined
      and considered all the material we have obtained, and feel that we have no
      choice but to move to an inquiry.

      [Kabbalah] Madonna sees sacred wall at night
      Pop star Madonna has visited Judaism's sacred Western Wall in the dead of
      night, to avoid being mobbed by waiting photographers. But the singer, who
      is on a spiritual quest to the Holy Land, only glimpsed the wall from her
      car and did not go down to the site during Sunday's visit. Earlier, she
      made a midnight pilgrimage to a Jerusalem cemetery and held a ceremony at
      the grave of a Jewish sage. The Kabbalah devotee began her five-day visit
      to Israel on Wednesday.

      [Islam] Netherlands Islamic community to hit 1 million in 2006
      There were 945,000 Muslims living in the Netherlands on 1 January this
      year, double the amount in 1990, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS)
      said on Monday. The number is expected to reach 1 million in 2006. [...]
      The Islamic community made up 5.8 percent of the Dutch population on 1
      January 2004 and its numbers will swell in coming years. The CBS expects
      there will be more than a million Muslims living in the Netherlands in
      2006. [...] Most Muslims live in the Amsterdam region, with 13 percent of
      the population Islamic.

      [Kabbalah] Mystic Madonna Calls for World Peace
      After midnight prayers at the grave of a rabbinical sage, songstress
      Madonna on yesterday called for world peace at a conference on Jewish
      mysticism, a highlight of her five-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Israel
      hopes the star – the biggest pop celebrity to visit in years – will revive
      tourism battered by four years of Mideast violence, and government
      officials were on hand at a Tel Aviv hotel to share the spotlight, the
      glory and the photographs.

      [Religion Trends] The young put their faith in mysticism
      Young people have more faith in mysticism than in the Church and the
      Bible, according to research which suggests a revival of the "Age of
      Aquarius". Nearly two thirds of 18- to 24-year-olds believe in the power
      of horoscopes, compared to just over a third who swear by the Bible, a
      survey of 3,000 people has found. While over-45s remain loyal to the
      Bible, with 71 per cent saying they believed in it, half of those under 45
      years old prefer giving credence to astrology.

      [Lord's Resistance Army] '20,000 children' captive
      The United Nations has broken undertakings to help end the kidnapping of
      children by the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda, according to a report by
      a children's charity. The number made homeless by the insurgency is twice
      that in Darfur, says the report by World Vision, which runs a children's
      rehabilitation centre in Gulu, Uganda.

      [Islam] Israeli Missile Kills Senior Hamas Leader
      Hamas threatened revenge after an Israeli helicopter blew up a car on a
      busy Gaza City street, killing a Hamas militant who was involved in making
      and firing rockets at Israeli towns.

      [Phillip Kronzer] The Los Gatos Cultbuster
      The Kronzers, devout Catholics, were mesmerized by the fantastical news
      coming out of Medjugorje. Together, they went there in 1987, meeting some
      of the visionaries themselves, and came back to the states inspired to
      teach others about the miracles they saw. But Phillip Kronzer began to
      grow suspicious of the Medjugorje miracles and sensed that groups were
      getting rich hyping them. His wife, on the other hand, was convinced the
      visions were real, and they began to drift apart. In the years after the
      breakup of their marriage, Kronzer's grief fermented into rage, and he
      began to discredit anyone promoting the Medjugorje apparitions or those
      who claimed to see them. Kronzer has used his substantial personal assets,
      estimated at $12 million, to finance his own foundation, a documentary,
      magazine ads, a website—www.kronzer.org—and a conservative talk-radio
      program in Denver lashing out at the Medjugorje movement. Mostly, though,
      he just sues. [...] After a decade of rancor and heartache, and a vast
      mission to seek out and destroy religious frauds around the world, it is
      unclear how effective Kronzer has been in his quest. He has sponsored
      several former Caritas members to undergo treatment at the Wellspring
      Retreat & Resource Center in Albany, Ohio, the nation's only clinic
      specializing in the treatment of people influenced by abusive religious
      groups. He has also won one lawsuit, by default, but only against a former
      research associate he worked with, not a "cult." Most of the groups he
      has targeted, including Caritas, are still eagerly promoting the
      Medjugorje apparitions. Each year, thousands of tourists continue to flock
      to the village in Bosnia-Herzegovina, hoping to get closer to God.

      [Hare Krishna] Youthful converts to international Krishna movement
      Sahasranetra Das, who has a wife and two children, says initiates like him
      are "not attached to their activities, or the results of their activities
      as householders. Our duties are done for Krishna". Radha Damodar Das, the
      chairman of Iskcon's Delhi branch, says there are three reasons behind
      young people wanting to join the movement. "The first reason is when they
      are unhappy due to whatever reason and they want to find peace. Chanting
      the holy name and the philosophy attracts them." The second reason, he
      says, is: "Those who could not finish their service to god in their
      previous birth are reborn to serve Krishna again." Some also join for
      "material" gains, he says. Devotees who have been in the movement for up
      to 15 years or more are allowed to go to their overseas branches in
      Dallas, Texas, London and elsewhere.

      [Trinity Broadcasting Network] TBN's Promise: Send Money and See Riches
      Pastor Paul Crouch calls it "God's economy of giving," and here is how it
      works: People who donate to Crouch's Trinity Broadcasting Network will
      reap financial blessings from a grateful God. The more they give TBN, the
      more he will give them. Being broke or in debt is no excuse not to write a
      check. In fact, it's an ideal opportunity. For God is especially generous
      to those who give when they can least afford it. "He'll give you
      thousands, hundreds of thousands," Crouch told his viewers during a
      telethon last November. "He'll give millions and billions of dollars."
      Preachers who pass the hat while praising the Lord have long been the
      stuff of ridicule in film and fiction. But for Crouch and his Orange
      County-based television ministry, God's economy of giving is no laughing
      matter. It brings a rich bounty, year after year. Crouch has used a
      doctrine called the "prosperity gospel" to underwrite a worldwide
      broadcasting network and a life of luxury for himself and his family.

      Sun, Sep. 19, 2004
      [Trinity Broadcasting Network] Pastor's Empire Built on Acts of Faith, and
      Over the last 31 years, Crouch and his wife, Jan, have parlayed their
      viewers' small expressions of faith into a worldwide broadcasting empire —
      and a life of luxury. The network, little known outside fundamentalist
      Christian circles, was buffeted by unwanted publicity last week, when The
      Times reported that Crouch had paid a former employee $425,000 to keep
      silent about an alleged homosexual tryst. But millions of people needed no
      introduction to TBN. Its 24-hour-a-day menu of sermons, faith healing,
      inspirational movies and Christian talk shows reaches viewers around the
      globe via satellite, cable and broadcast stations. Its programs are dubbed
      in 11 different languages.

      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Church now claims more than 8 million members
      The Church of Scientology is 50 years old this year, having survived its
      skeptics and detractors, an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service
      and John Travolta's box-office flop, "Battlefield Earth," based on a
      science fiction novel by the church's founder L. Ron Hubbard. The church's
      50th anniversary makes it a young religion as far as religions go but also
      attests to its staying power.

      BUYER BEWARE: This article on the Scientology hate group includes quotes
      from notorious cult defender J. Gordon Melton, some of whose work has
      rightly been referred to as "a travesty of research."

      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Cruise opens Scientology centre
      Hollywood star Tom Cruise inaugurated a new centre for the controversial
      Church of Scientology, of which he is a member, in the Spanish capital

      [Jehovah's Witnesses] Woman sues church
      An Attleboro woman and two relatives are suing the Jehovah's Witnesses,
      alleging church officials in Attleboro ignored their claims of sexual
      abuse 30 years ago and the lack of `` appropriate'' action allowed that
      abuse to continue.

      [Gentle Wind Project] Holding this will heal you, say trauma card believers
      The trauma card, a little bigger than a postcard, has certain herbs,
      minerals and cell salts in homeopathic amounts embedded between the layers
      of the laminated card, which has symbols, colours and shapes on both
      exterior sides. The designs look something like a diagram of an electronic
      circuit board. Miller says the contents of the card and its colours and
      patterns all have their own energies, and work together to give it its
      impact. The instructions that come with the card say it is essential to
      use it in the presence of light. It's all highly unconventional, if not
      downright odd. It's impossible to prove the claims made for the card. But
      the people who believe in the card's effectiveness are very enthusiastic
      about it.

      NOTE: This is a puff piece that does not examine the problems surrounding
      the claims made by Gentle Winds Project.

      [Elizabeth Smart] Kidnapped Utah teen's dad backs Frost
      The father of kidnapped Utah teenager Elizabeth Smart endorsed Rep. Martin
      Frost on Friday, saying he supports the Democrat's efforts involving child
      welfare. Ed Smart said Frost, of Dallas, should be re-elected for
      advocating a federal Amber Alert system, which broadcasts emergency
      messages in the event of a suspected child abduction.

      Anton and Janet Hein-Hudson
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