Religion News Blog, March 5, 2003
[Human Rights Violations, Islam] Man tells of flogging - 250 lashes
down, 50 to go
Two hundred and fifty lashes down, 50 to go, was how Melbourne man
Robert Thomas last night described his ordeal of imprisonment and
flogging in a Saudi Arabian jail for a crime he says he did not
Before they took Mr Thomas to be beaten, she says prison staff and
fellow inmates gave him a chance to lessen the pain by converting to
Islam. He refused the offer.
He said he had no a lawyer at trial. The punishment is in accordance
with sharia, the Islamic legal code derived from the Koran.
[Palo Mayombe] Woman accused of heading cult, stealing bodies
Some of the remains were taken to a religious store in Newark, where
they were used in religious ceremonies, police said.
Mirabel was a priestess in the Palo Mayombe cult, which originated
among West African slaves.
[Sikhism] Sikh sues NYPD for religious discrimination
A Sikh-American has sued the New York Police Department for alleged
religious discrimination, saying it fired him for refusing to remove
his turban and trim his beard.
Amric Singh Rathour, along with the Sikh Coalition, have filed a
federal lawsuit charging the NYPD with religious discrimination and
challenging its "no turban policy".
[Anthony Fernwalt] FBI Agents Search Home Of Carroll County Religious
About 11 years ago, Fernwalt gained attention after he claimed to have
received messages from the Virgin Mary and started selling holy water
from his home.
[Christianity] Movement prospering under government control
The prospects of some freedoms and more people seeking faith after
hard times brought on by the collapse of the former Soviet Bloc sowed
the beginnings of la Iglesia de las Casas or the Church of the Homes.
"We don't have the possibility to build new churches," Otero said.
"It's the only way churches can grow in Cuba."
While there is tolerance from Castro's regime, the church movement is
part underground and part regulated. Government rules prohibit a limit
of 25 people from worshipping at a home has helped the movement
spread, said Hedgepeth, who visited the island in October.
[Islam] Remarks on Muslims arouse ire
When state lawmaker Lois McMahan chose to not participate in a Muslim
prayer at the House of Representatives in Olympia, it was, the
Republican says, for private reasons.
Now her personal protest has become a public spectacle.
[Vampirism] 'Vampire cult' killer asks for new trial
If his lawyers had sketched out a plan to tell the jury about his
mental defects and the hallucinogenic drugs he had taken, maybe
"vampire cult" leader Roderick Ferrell wouldn't be in prison for life
for the deaths of Richard and Ruth Wendorf.
That's what Ferrell is arguing in a motion that claims his lawyers
didn't prepare an adequate defense for him. He also says they coerced
him to plead guilty to a murder charge by providing him with
[Hate Groups] World church leader complains about printer
According to Kroenke, a woman at the print shop quoted him a price
after examining the original, but after she found out who Kroenke was,
she told Heckart about the customer. He said Heckart refused to take
Kroenke said he told Heckart that refusing to provide service on the
basis of religious discrimination could violate the Civil Rights Act
and be grounds for legal action.
Tim Thorson, executive director of the Riverton Chamber of Commerce,
said he is proud of Heckart's stance toward Kroenke.
''Discriminating on the basis of religious faith is wrong, but telling
a member of a terrorist organization to leave your business makes all
the sense in the world,'' he said.
[Religion Trends] Poll finds growing acceptance of multiple religious
beliefs among Christians
A new Harris poll indicates that while the majority of Americans say
they believe the basic concepts of the Bible, there's also a growing
acceptance of other religious beliefs -- even among those who call
[Hate Groups : Scientology] The art of Scientology
Is Scientology something to be wary of? The Internet bristles with
disenchanted accounts of it. "They have a history of difficulties with
people who leave," says Professor Morris. "There are lots of reports
and a number of former members who write books. They see it as
brainwashing and pressure. There are reports of dependency on
Mr Ferris says: "If we're ethical we'll survive. Despite the
brickbats, we have survived."
Note: The Scientologist's argument is a logical fallacy. After all,
the Maffia, despite being unethical, survives. Saddam Hussein,
despite being unethical, survives. Al Quaeda, despite being
unethical, survives. Unethical behavior is encouraged and condoned in
Scientology's own scriptures.
[Warmongering] The Scottish preacher whose wartime writings inspire
The devotional lectures of Chambers, who died of a ruptured appendix
in 1917, make up My Utmost For His Highest, the bestselling daily
devotional in the world.
The work has sold two million copies in the United States since 1991,
and after Newsweek magazine reported the importance it holds for
President Bush it looks likely to sell even more. Chamberss message,
much of which was written in wartime, is a simply written direction to
devote oneself to the Almighty. In turn, God will lead us through life
with a sense of victory.
[Religion Trends] Born-again Christians surge in influence
Claims that the American news media form a vast liberal conspiracy
strike me as utterly unconvincing, but there is one area where
accusations of institutional bias have merit: Nearly all of us in the
news business are completely out of touch with a group that includes
46 percent of Americans.
That is the proportion who described themselves in a Gallup poll in
December as evangelical or born-again Christians. Evangelicals have
moved from the fringe into the mainstream, and that is particularly
evident in the current administration.
Robert Fogel of the University of Chicago argues that America is now
experiencing a fourth Great Awakening, like the religious revivals
that have periodically swept America in the last 300 years. Yet
offhand, I cannot think of a single evangelical working for a major
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