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Religion News Blog, Mar. 25 - 26, 2003

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  • Anton Hein
    Religion News Blog, Mar. 20 - 26 (Yep, catching up... Highlights for Mar. 25 and 26; headlines only for the other days.) March 26, 2003 [Brian Mitchell]
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 26, 2003
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      Religion News Blog, Mar. 20 - 26 (Yep, catching up... Highlights for
      Mar. 25 and 26; headlines only for the other days.)

      March 26, 2003

      [Brian Mitchell] Faculty cult expert helps explain Smart case
      :===Begin Quote===
      Elizabeth Smart is home safe. But as Professor Janja Lalich knows from
      her own experience, the hard part isn't over.

      Lalich said people don't understand why Smart didn't just run away,
      but the reason is essentially mind control.
      :===End Quote===

      [Walden House] Troubling end to life of S.F. addiction expert
      :===Begin Quote===
      Relying on street smarts, charisma and strong convictions, Alfonso P.
      Acampora spent the last 30 years turning a small San Francisco group
      home called Walden House into a multimillion-dollar drug treatment
      organization with more than a dozen sites throughout California.

      Acampora, 61, of Oakland died Saturday at the Claremont Resort in
      Berkeley of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

      The state attorney general's office had been investigating allegations
      that he had misused Walden House funds. Walden House spokesman Rick
      Rice said that Acampora was confident the accusations would be
      disproved, but that he nonetheless was exhibiting "a fair amount of
      :===End Quote===

      [Walden House] Walden House accused of fiscal mismanagement
      :===Begin Quote===
      The apparent suicide of Walden House CEO Alfonso Acampora came as his
      leadership at the nationally renowned drug and alcohol rehabilitation
      program was under threat from a state attorney general's investigation
      into alleged financial irregularities.

      The criminal probe, which has been under way for six months, was
      prompted by a whistleblower complaint from a former Walden House board
      member who has alleged widespread fiscal mismanagement at the
      nonprofit. The complaint included allegations that Acampora padded the
      payroll with family members, doled out business to members of the
      Walden House board and billed the agency for his own questionable and
      sometimes lavish perks.
      :===End Quote===

      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Advertising Authority upholds complain
      over "untruthful" scientology claims
      :===Begin Quote===
      The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has today upheld a complaint
      by the Church of England over claims made by the Scientology movement
      that it had "saved 250,000 people from drug abuse".

      Welcoming the ASA's ruling, Mr. Arun Arora, Director of Communications
      for the Diocese of Birmingham said:

      "This is a landmark ruling by the ASA.

      Despite the thousands of pounds spent by Scientology in legal fees
      trying to delay, bury and frustrate this complaint, the truth has come
      out - and the truth is Scientology makes claims for their dangerous
      cult which they can neither prove nor substantiate.
      :===End Quote===

      [Islam] Muslim clerics divided on jihad
      :===Begin Quote===
      The calls for jihad against Americans have mushroomed since the start
      of the US-led war on Iraq but Muslim religious scholars are divided on
      whether and how to wage a holy war against the infidel invaders.
      :===End Quote===

      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Victims of Scam Target Church
      :===Begin Quote===
      Investors defrauded of $255 million by EarthLink Inc. co-founder Reed
      Slatkin are hoping to recover funds from the Church of Scientology
      International and six affiliated organizations that allegedly wound up
      with tens of millions of dollars from the investment scam, their
      attorneys said Tuesday.

      The investors won an initial battle when a bankruptcy judge in Santa
      Barbara recently refused to block subpoenas ordering the Scientology
      groups to hand over records of money transferred to them by certain
      Slatkin investors who came out ahead financially. The subpoenas also
      seek records of communications the groups had about Slatkin, a
      longtime but now excommunicated Scientologist who was known for his
      celebrity clientele.
      :===End Quote===

      [Bible Code] Torah without science
      :===Begin Quote===
      Undaunted, and with a flair for doomsday prophecies that made his
      first book popular among supermarket-tabloid readers, Drosnin now
      presents us with Bible Code II. If you took his first book seriously,
      be aware that his predictions regularly fail to come true (Netanyahu
      being assassinated while serving as prime minister, an atomic
      holocaust in 1996, and others). If, like me, you found his first book
      to be entertainingly silly, this one will be a real treat.

      Do we therefore conclude that this whole code business is a scientific

      Absolutely not. On the contrary, codes researchers have gone to great
      lengths to distance themselves from Drosnin. The research they have
      conducted involves a recognized scientific standard an a-priori list
      of words, standardized spellings, and a protocol that has led in many
      cases to stunning results.

      Even skeptics have been impressed. For example, Harold Gans, a senior
      mathematician and cryptologist who worked for the Pentagon, was
      skeptical of Witztum and Rips' s findings. After doing his own
      independent testing he found very strong evidence of codings, and has
      since joined the research team.

      Despite a barrage of attacks, the scientific findings of codes have
      stood the test of time. The best that critics have been able to do so
      far is to raise suspicions that Witztum and Rips cheated in order to
      attain their results.
      :===End Quote===

      [Harry Potter] Court Hears Case About Potter-Like Books
      :===Begin Quote===
      Cast away images of sorcerers soaring on broomsticks at the Hogwarts
      School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Picture instead lawyers bickering
      about copyright infringement in a drab, gray-carpeted courtroom.

      That's what remained of Harry Potter's magic during a raw legal battle
      at an Amsterdam municipal court Tuesday in a case filed by British
      author J.K Rowling against a Russian writer alleged to have stolen her

      Lawyers representing Rowling, her Dutch publisher Harmonie and the
      U.S. company Time Warner Entertainment are seeking to prevent the
      release in the Netherlands of a literary series about Tanya Grotter,
      the heroine of the Russian books who flies a magical double bass
      instead of a broomstick.
      :===End Quote===

      [Patriot/Militia Groups] California militias revive their rhetoric
      :===Begin Quote===
      Extremist paramilitary or militia groups have re-emerged in California
      and other western states, calling themselves a last line of defense
      but acting like camouflage-wearing vigilantes.

      While experts who track such groups said they see little solid
      evidence of a surge, they agreed that the timing for a resurgence
      seems ripe.
      :===End Quote===

      [Hate Groups] Bond Again Denied White Supremacist
      :===Begin Quote===
      A federal judge will not hold a new detention hearing and said white
      supremacist and World Church of the Creator leader the Rev. Matthew
      Hale will remain held pending trial on charges of threatening another
      jurist, according to documents obtained Tuesday.

      U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Rodovich in Hammond, Ind., earlier this
      year denied bond for Hale, 31, of East Peoria, who pleaded innocent to
      a two-count indictment accusing him of soliciting the murder of U.S.
      District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow and obstructing justice.
      :===End Quote===

      [Transcendental Meditation] M.U.M.'s Hagelin plans "second government"
      :===Begin Quote===
      Hagelin, a professor at Maharishi University of Management, has
      decided to form a "U.S. Peace Government."

      He says he isn't talking about seceding from the United States or
      overthrowing its leaders, however.

      Instead, he sees his position as similar to that of the "shadow
      government" or "loyal opposition" in British politics: the people who
      are out of power but still try to influence public policy.

      Part of the group's approach would involve "the strategic application
      of meditation." While the proposal was endorsed last week by
      Transcendental Meditation guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Hagelin said it
      wouldnt just be a meditator group.
      :===End Quote===

      [Bioterrorism] U.S. not ready for toxin attack, experts say
      :===Begin Quote===
      Botulinum toxin has never been used successfully as a weapon, though
      the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo tried and failed to disperse it in
      aerosols at least three times in the early 1990s.

      Still, experts fear both small- and large-scale attacks.

      They cite, as an example of a small attack, cult followers spreading
      salmonella on salad bars at 10 Oregon restaurants in 1984, sickening
      about 750 people.
      :===End Quote===

      [Samaritan Foundation] Woman pleads innocent to accessory in murder of
      Chicago filmmaker
      :===Begin Quote===
      A woman has pleaded innocent to charges of being an accessory after
      the fact to the murder of Chicago filmmaker Allen Ross.

      Before his body was found in 2000, Ross had been missing since
      November 1995, seven months after he moved to Cheyenne with Williams
      and his common-law wife, Linda Greene, from Guthrie, Okla. The three
      and others belonged to a religious sect called the Samaritan

      Detectives theorize that Ross was killed because he was trying to gain
      rights to some of the materials the cult was printing.
      :===End Quote===

      March 25, 2003
      [Religious Insanity] Parents Wanted To Feed Drugs To Children, Police
      :===Begin Quote===
      A Corona couple who believed the world was coming to an end are in
      custody after they allegedly made family funeral plans and told police
      they had drugged their two younger children.
      :===End Quote===

      [Jehovah's Witnesses] Patient refusing life giving blood transfusion
      :===Begin Quote===
      Acting Chief Extension Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture [in
      Antigua] Sereno Benjamin is in critical condition at Holberton
      Hospital. He needs a blood transfusion necessary to save his life, but
      his faith does not allow him to be transfused.
      :===End Quote===

      [Santeria] Miami man guilty in bizarre Santeria killing
      :===Begin Quote===
      At 30, Henry Cuesta has already spent a sixth of his life in jail
      awaiting trial for murder. On Friday, a Miami-Dade County jury
      convicted him in the contract killing of Dulce Diaz, a Santeria
      practitioner, eliminating his chances of ever being a free man.
      :===End Quote===

      [Raelians] Raelians claim to have cloned again
      :===Begin Quote===
      The Raelian religious sect sought to astound the world Monday with yet
      another claim that they have successfully cloned a human being.

      Brigitte Boisselier, president of Clonaid and a member of the
      Raelians, which founded the company, provided media in Sao Paulo with
      photos of a Japanese baby she alleged was a clone, although without
      any scientific proof to back the claim.
      :===End Quote===

      [Islam] Muslim rage takes on stronger religious tone as U.S. strikes
      :===Begin Quote===
      From mosques to the Internet, Muslims around the world are
      increasingly expressing anger at the U.S. attack on Iraq in radical
      religious terms.

      "The war between right and wrong has begun. This is a jihad," a holy
      war, Syed Ahmed Bukhari, one of India's most influential Islamic
      clerics, said in a sermon in New Delhi that drew cries of "God is
      great!" from worshippers.

      A London-based Arabic Web site known for extremist commentary posted a
      fatwa, or religious ruling, declaring any Muslim ruler or official who
      helps the "aggressor forces" in the war on Iraq to be an apostate —
      dangerous words when some fundamentalists say apostasy — the
      renouncing of Islam — should be punished by death.

      The banned Muslim Brotherhood, which wants to transform Egypt into an
      Islamic state, is gaining exposure at anti-U.S. protests on a scale
      rarely seen in Cairo.

      Dia'a Rashwan, an expert on radical Islamic groups at Egypt's Al-Ahram
      Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said he has noticed a
      trend as he navigated Web sites and chat rooms in recent days.

      "Now we have many calls to jihad, and those calls aren't only coming
      from what we usually call radicals or extremists," he said. More
      moderate clerics are using similar language, as are Islamic thinkers
      who usually confine themselves to political analysis, not calls to
      arms, he said.
      :===End Quote===

      [Human Rights Violations, USA] One rule for them
      :===Begin Quote===
      Suddenly, the government of the United States has discovered the
      virtues of international law. It may be waging an illegal war against
      a sovereign state; it may be seeking to destroy every treaty which
      impedes its attempts to run the world, but when five of its captured
      soldiers were paraded in front of the Iraqi television cameras on
      Sunday, Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, immediately
      complained that "it is against the Geneva convention to show
      photographs of prisoners of war in a manner that is humiliating for

      This being so, Rumsfeld had better watch his back. For this
      enthusiastic convert to the cause of legal warfare is, as head of the
      defence department, responsible for a series of crimes sufficient,
      were he ever to be tried, to put him away for the rest of his natural

      It is not hard, therefore, to see why the US government fought first
      to prevent the establishment of the international criminal court, and
      then to ensure that its own citizens are not subject to its
      :===End Quote===

      [Human Rights Violations, USA] Hicks's lawyer says US must abide by
      Geneva Convention
      :===Begin Quote===
      The lawyer representing the alleged Australian Taliban fighter, David
      Hicks, is calling on the International Red Cross to now put pressure
      on the United States to abide by the Geneva Convention at their
      Guanatanamo Bay facility in Cuba.

      Mr Hicks and another Australian Mamdouh Habib have been held in
      military custody without charge for more than a year.
      :===End Quote===

      [Human Rights Violations] Images of POWs violates Geneva Convention,
      experts say
      :===Begin Quote===
      The International Committee of the Red Cross joined U.S. Defense
      Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in denouncing the broadcasts on Iraqi
      television, which were later picked up by Qatar's Al-Jazeera satellite
      network. ``It's very clear that prisoners of war shouldn't be subject
      to public exposure,'' Red Cross spokeswoman Nadia Doumani told Agence

      But the United States has also been criticized for photo images of
      prisoners it has captured. Indeed, it was the last nation publicly
      scolded by the Red Cross for the release of footage showing al-Qaida
      and Taliban captives, bound and sullen, as they were transported to
      the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba and placed in cages there.
      :===End Quote===

      [Human Rights Violations, USA] Hypocrites of America crying foul
      :===Begin Quote===
      Nothing more clearly illustrates the cruel hypocrisy of America's war
      against Iraq than Washington's reaction to the news that GIs have been

      Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld screamed "Geneva Convention! Geneva
      Convention!" at the Iraqis for showing footage of US soldiers taken on
      the battlefield.

      He thundered that the film was "video propaganda" which violated their
      rights as prisoners of war under international law.

      How two-faced can you get?

      Rumsfeld is the warmonger who ignored international legalities when
      the UN refused to back the invasion of Iraq.

      And he ruled that PoWs captured by the Americans in Afghanistan more
      than a year ago have NO rights, and can be caged like animals at Camp
      X-Ray in Guantanamo, Cuba.
      :===End Quote===

      [Raelians] Clonaid wants to breed clones in Brazil
      :===Begin Quote===
      The controversial firm Clonaid wants to open a human cloning clinic in
      Brazil, its director Brigitte Boisselier said Sunday.

      "We want to open a clinic on each continent. For North and South
      America, we could open a clinic in the Caribbean, but we would prefer
      Brazil," Boisselier said.

      She added that Clonaid had already applied for permission to set up
      the facility.
      :===End Quote===

      [Raelians] Company shows 'cloned baby'
      :===Begin Quote===
      A company claiming to have created the world's first cloned babies has
      distributed a photograph of one of the "clones" for the first time.

      Clonaid said a picture of an infant in an incubator published on its
      website shows the third of five babies supposedly cloned since
      :===End Quote===

      [Transcendental Meditation] M.U.M. dorm plan discussion continues
      :===Begin Quote===
      M.U.M. plans to build six dormitories to house 1,600 Vedic pandits,
      which are students ages 18 years and older who have been trained in
      M.U.M.- affiliate schools in India. The pandits would obtain temporary
      student visas in order to complete a one- to two-year study program.
      :===End Quote===

      [Satanism] 4 young men charged with belonging to devil worshipping
      :===Begin Quote===
      Over the past few weeks, more than 50 young men and women were
      arrested on suspicions of devil worshipping, but only seven were
      actually charged with cult-related crimes, like desecrating corpses
      and carrying out orgies in cemeteries, according to State Prosecutor
      Adnan Addoum.

      In Lebanon, no devil worship-related murders have been committed to

      Devil worship rituals in Lebanon are restricted to offering animal
      sacrifices, particularly chickens and cats. Cult members are said to
      drink the animals’ blood and make blood pacts with the devil, as well
      as desecrate cemeteries and have sexual orgies, sometimes with the

      Once a year, a ceremony involving human sacrifice is held. It is
      believed that female members of the cult offer their unborn babies
      often the result of ritual orgies ­ as a sacrifice.

      “No one was caught red-handed, but we were able to obtain confessions
      from those we arrested,” Addoum told The Daily Star. All those
      arrested until now are under 25.
      :===End Quote===

      [Hate Groups] Riverton chamber declares 'hate-free zone'
      :===Begin Quote===
      The Riverton Chamber of Commerce has declared the city a ''hate-free
      zone'' in response to a white supremacist organization that moved its
      world headquarters there three months ago.

      Thorson said the community has suffered from negative publicity since
      the World Church of the Creator transferred its headquarters in early
      December from Illinois to the Riverton home of Thomas Kroenke.
      :===End Quote===

      March 24, 2003
      [Religious Revelation] Revelation: Is It Divine Inspiration or

      [Religious Revelation] Religions Have Rules on Divine Communications

      [War] How faiths view the war

      [War] Statements on war by religious institutions and leaders

      [Human Rights Violations : Female Genital Mutilation] Ban planned for
      'vile practice'

      [War] Churches divided on meaning of Gulf War

      [Mormon Church] Kidnapping Case Puts Mormons on Defensive

      [Religious Intolerance] Hindu campaigners combat Christian conversions

      [Branch Davidians] The Branch Davidian siege's influence on popular

      March 23, 2003
      [Human Rights Violations, USA] Bishop says US use of uranium is a war

      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Iorio meets Scientologists at fundraiser

      March 22, 2003
      [Human Rights Violations, USA] US told to ratify child rights

      [Human Rights Violations, USA] Concern over US targeting other Muslim

      [Falun Gong] China sentences, expels Falun Gong member

      [Church / State] Europe debates role of God in constitution

      March 21, 2003
      [Human Rights Violations, USA] People turn to faith in troubled times

      [Atheism] DNA leaders call religion to account

      [Peyote] Judge weighs issues about father's religious freedom, child's

      [Religion Trends] Geopolitical tensions boost US bible sales

      [Polygamy] Mom Sentenced to Jail for Encouraging Sex Abuse of

      [Psychics] Astral travelers touch down in Beirut

      [Human Rights Violations, USA] This war is brought to you by ...

      [Falun Gong] US member of banned sect jailed in China

      [AUM Shinrikyo] Tragedy of sarin attack hard to erase

      [Brainwashing] Brainwashing: Not just in wartime

      March 20, 2003
      [Human Rights Violations] House condemns stoning as punishment

      [Human Rights Violations, USA] Iraq and Beyond

      [Religion Trends] Poll: Sermons don't affect opinions on Iraqi War

      [John Rubio and Angela Camacho] Lurid details of killings disclosed in
      court testimony

      [Human Rights Violations, USA] US to round up all Muslim and Arab

      [Kingsway International Christian Centre] 'Prosperity is the promise
      of God'

      [John Templeton] Colorado pioneer in environmental ethics wins
      religion prize worth more than $1 million

      [John Templeton] John Templeton: Spiritually rich, and passing it on

      [AUM Shinrikyo] Subway workers offer prayers on sarin attack

      [Fraud] Con man told to repay $4.7 million to Jehovah's Witness fraud

      ApologeticsIndex.org / ReligionNewsBlog.com
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