Religion News Blog, Fe. 26, 2003
- February 26, 2003
[Glenn Summerford] Former Snakehandling Preacher Escapes Prison
Summerford, 58, was convicted of attempted murder in 1992 after his
wife, Darlene, testified that he grabbed her by the hair and forced
her to put her hand in a cage of rattlesnakes after hitting it with a
pipe to make the snakes mad. She was bitten twice but survived.
Summerford at the time handled snakes as pastor of the Church of Jesus
With Signs Following near Scottsboro.
[Spiritism] Famed spiritualist testifies in estate trial
A Dorset woman who bills herself as The Voice of the Spirit World
was either a spiritualist helping an older woman with cancer or an
opportunistic pretender seeking the womans 580-acre property.
Those were the two pictures presented of Rosemary Altea a medium,
spiritualist and best-selling author Tuesday in Rutland Superior
Court. A jury will decide.
At stake is the estate of the late Llewella Day, valued at $720,000
with most of it consisting of an expansive hilltop tract in Ira. Altea
is appealing a decision that removed her as Days sole beneficiary.
[Islam] Spiritual warrior for Islam
"Let it be known, there's thousands of Osama bin Ladens here and if
they ever find Osama bin Laden, another thousand will pop up," says
Khalid, who is not alone as an Aboriginal convert to Islam who admires
the terrorist leader.
[Jehovah's Witnesses] Judge: Sisters may pursue church case
Two sisters can pursue their claims that elders from their Jehovahs
Witness congregation in Wilton ignored their mothers complaints of
sexual abuse, a judge has ruled.
The sisters say that church elders failed to report their fathers
abuse or do anything to stop it. They also claim that church policy
and practices shield abusers from prosecution.
[Christianity] Lord Have Mercy On the Church in Zimbabwe
If Zimbabwe suffers from pathetic political leadership under President
Mugabe, the religious establishment is not much better. At a time of
crisis, one would have hoped for bold moral leadership from the
The image of Jesus that we are sold by the religious establishment is
of a wimp best known for avoiding confrontation and turning the other
cheek, volunteering for more abuse. We like this conception of Jesus
because it gives us an excuse to wallow in our fear of the abusive
While Jesus may have been meek and mild when the occasion required it,
he did not hesitate to "raise hell" and kick butt when necessary, and
damn the consequences!
He didn't cozy up to the politicians and the powerful, nor seek
shallow popularity by only telling people what they wanted to hear. He
was not compromised by the promise of material comforts, he defended
the oppressed and marginalised. No wonder the real Jesus makes us so
[Offbeat News] Ky. Man Caught at Christian Bookstore
"Thou shalt not use a stolen credit card" isn't one of the Ten
Commandments. But it seems like wise advice, especially after a man
accused of stealing from several churches was tracked down through a
purchase at a Christian bookstore.
"He bought 10 copies of a Bible study called 'Making Peace With Your
Past' and a follow-up study called 'Moving Beyond Your Past,'"
bookstore manager Jonathan Gallegly said.
[Mariology] Mary's tears not an official miracle, church rules
A church investigation in Perth has ruled that a supposed "weeping
statue" of the Virgin Mary is not a proven miracle.
The Catholic Church called the inquiry after thousands of people
flocked to Rockingham Parish to view the statue.
It found the substance the statue produced was vegetable oil mixed
with another substance that might have accounted for its rose perfume.
[Human Rights Violations, USA] U.S. Justices Reopen Door a Bit for
State Inmates' Appeals
The Supreme Court ordered a new hearing for a Texas death row inmate
today in a surprisingly broad 8-to-1 decision that warned the federal
courts of appeals against shutting the door prematurely on state
inmates who seek to present constitutional challenges to their
convictions or sentences.
[Catholic Church] Grand Jurors Interrogate Cardinal Law
Cardinal Bernard F. Law, who resigned as archbishop of Boston last
December, was questioned today by a criminal grand jury that is trying
to decide whether to indict him or other Boston church officials for
their handling of clergy members accused of sexual abuse.
[Raelians] "Babytron" Artificial Womb Is the Next Raelian Project
"His Holiness Rael, founder and spiritual leader of the Raelian
Movement, has just asked Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, who is in charge of
the Clonaid project and who has announced the birth of the first five
cloned babies, to create a new company involved in the development of
'artificial wombs,'" reads a Raelian press release.
Rael has asked Boisselier to launch a project called Surrogaid
(Website coming soon) aimed at developing an artificial womb to allow
people to clone babies without using a surrogate mother.
[Unification Church] Commentary: War, Peace & Rev. Moon
All of my bosses spoke at the conference -- John O'Sullivan, editor in
chief of UPI; Larry Moffitt, UPI vice president of operations; and Dr.
Chung Hwan Kwak, president of UPI and chairman of News World
Communications, which publishes The Washington Times.
Despite working at UPI, I had never been entirely clear on exactly
what the Unification Church stands for or why it was so intent on
acquiring media organizations. But over this three-day period it
became fairly apparent that the church and its leaders believe that
eventually, by moral persuasion, they'll be able to transform the
media in a number of ways that will contribute to some sort of, well,
unification of the world.
Even more important, though, was a strange announcement that came --
according to the church -- from a dead man. OK, bear with me on this.
Dr. Sang Hun Lee, a South Korean critic of Marxism-Leninism during the
Cold War era and a member of the Unification Church, died in 1997. But
he has recently been speaking to a spiritual medium named Mrs. Young
Soon Kim. And Dr. Lee's report through her is this: On December 25,
2001, at high noon, a meeting was held in heaven between Jesus,
Confucius, Buddha, Mohammad and Shankara (founder of the Advaita
Vedanta in Hinduism). Sitting with them were 600 representatives of
the five leading religions -- 120 for each leader. And together they
adopted a resolution that says God is the "parent" of all humankind,
and the Reverend Moon is the "Savior, Messiah, Second Coming and True
Parent of all humanity."
OK. As you might imagine, there was a divergence of opinion as to how
to receive this information. To those journalists who belong to the
church, it was basically "Isn't this amazing stuff?" To those who
don't, it was, "Have these people lost their minds?"
So I'm in the middle here. As a journalist, I don't particularly like
reporting on something that ultimately can't be verified independently
(to say the least). As a UPI reporter, I find myself working at one
remove from an organization that says it wants this information not
only reported, but disseminated widely.
[Hoaxes : Bible Code] Bible code: Snake oil soothsaying
On Sept. 11, 2001, Drosnins computer found twin, towers,
airplane and it knocked down hidden in the Bible, and sin, crime
of bin Laden with city and tower.
But skeptics say Drosnins World Trade Center code words also occur in
the Hebrew translation of Tolstoys War and Peace and that his new
book has this encoded warning: The Bible Code is a silly, dumb, fake,
false, evil, nasty, dismal fraud and snake-oil hoax.
[Vampirism] Romanian church leaders say Dracula theme park hurts
The park was planned for the country's Transylvania region, but
Romanian officials announced in early February that the park would be
built at a lakeside resort north of Bucharest, near the burial site of
Vlad the Impaler, the real-life Romanian prince who inspired the
Interesting side note: Cult apologists J. Gordon Melton and Massimo
Introvigne operate, respectively, the American and Italian chapters of
The Transylvanian Society of Dracula:
ApologeticsIndex.org / ReligionNewsBlog.com