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Religion News Blog, Mar. 27-29, 2003

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  • Anton Hein
    March 29, 2003 [Apologetics] Christ Orthodox Presbyterian Church Sponsors Debates http://www.religionnewsblog.com/archives/00002878.html ... On Friday, the
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 29, 2003
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      March 29, 2003
      [Apologetics] Christ Orthodox Presbyterian Church Sponsors Debates
      :===Begin Quote===
      On Friday, the church is sponsoring a debate between Protestant
      apologist James White, who is the director of Alpha & Omega Ministries
      in Phoenix and the author of Letters to a Mormon Elder, and LDS
      defender Dennis Potter, who teaches philosophy at Utah Valley State
      College in Orem and is managing editor of Element: An E-journal of
      Mormon Theology and Philosophy.

      The two will debate the question: Does Christ's atonement perfect
      those to whom it is applied?

      On April 5, White, who also has written The Roman Catholic
      Controversy, will debate Robert Sungenis, executive director of
      Catholic Apologetics International and author of Not By Faith Alone:
      The Biblical Evidence of the Catholic Doctrine of Justification.

      The topic for that debate will be: Is the Mass a propitiatory
      sacrifice? [Translation: Was Christ's sacrifice complete or do we have
      to add something?]
      :===End Quote===

      [Mormon Church] Philosophers, Historians Explore LDS Scholarship at
      Yale Conference
      :===Begin Quote===
      The two-day conference, "God, Humanity and Revelation: Perspectives
      from Mormon Philosophy and History," has brought together historians
      and philosophers from several Utah campuses, including LDS
      Church-owned Brigham Young University, the University of Utah, Utah
      State University and Utah Valley State College, as well as from
      Vanderbilt, Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of
      Richmond, the University of North Carolina -- Chapel Hill, Wellesley,
      University of St. Andrews in Scotland and the Claremont School of
      Theology in northern California.

      Nearly 300 people have registered for the conference held on Yale's
      New Haven, Conn., campus and between 30 percent and 40 percent are not
      members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

      "This is the most significant event in Mormon scholarship for a very,
      very long time," West said as the conference was getting under way
      Friday. "I don't think we've ever assembled this quality of scholars
      or number of attendees before."
      :===End Quote===

      [Zen] Zen Buddhist abbot: War comes from internal struggle
      :===Begin Quote===
      Shih, the abbot of a Zen Buddhist monastery in Cleveland, has a wry
      sense of humor and an acceptance of however people want to use
      Buddhism. “You can practice it as a religion, you can practice it as a
      philosophy, you can be a casual observer,” he said. “It makes no
      demands, but all of those options are available.”

      Indeed, one regular attendee at the Buddhist sessions is the Rev. Zev
      Rosenberg, pastor of St. Paul’s. “Buddhism is more a set of practices
      than a set of beliefs,” Rosenberg said. “It does not presuppose that
      you have any religious belief. ... You can, as a devout Christian,
      engage in Zen meditation as a spiritual practice.”
      :===End Quote===

      [World Ministries Church] No charges planned in death of man here
      :===Begin Quote===
      The Pima County Attorney's Office will not seek charges in the death
      of a man whose body decomposed in his home for three weeks as family
      and friends reportedly prayed over it for resurrection, a prosecutor
      said yesterday.

      The decision was made after an autopsy on the body of James W.
      Killeen, 50, a Union Pacific Railroad worker, was inconclusive, said
      Rick Unklesbay, chief criminal deputy county attorney.

      Officer Corey Doggett wrote in another report that Killeen's brother
      Christopher "said that James became involved in a 'cult.' "

      Doggett added, "Chris also said that James told him that he was going
      to be resurrected by the 'cult' leader, Stan Adair Bennett."

      The wife "kept the victim in the bedroom and she and others prayed so
      they could revive him," Detective Raul Olivas wrote in a report.
      :===End Quote===

      [Church of God Restoration] Parents to appeal ruling in corporal
      punishment case
      :===Begin Quote===
      A judge's ruling in a case involving the corporal punishment of
      children by their fundamentalist Christian parents will be appealed
      because it gives social workers too much power, lawyers said

      The appeal was announced at a news conference after Madam Justice
      Eleanor Schnall approved an agreement between the St. Thomas and Elgin
      children's aid society and the parents, who were under investigation
      for allegedly beating their children.

      The agreement followed the seizure of seven children from their Aylmer
      home in June, 2001.
      :===End Quote===

      [World Ministries Church] Killeen autopsy unhelpful
      :===Begin Quote===
      Killeen's dead and decomposing body was discovered in the Tucson home
      he shared with his wife, Eleanor, on Jan. 23 after his siblings and
      mother became concerned about his welfare. The case drew attention
      because police reports said his wife and other members of a religious
      group had been praying over Killeen's body for about three weeks,
      believing that he would be resurrected.

      Killeen's siblings, convinced their brother was under the influence of
      a dangerous religious group, say he had been on a 40-day fast under
      the directive of the group, which is known as World Ministries.
      Killeen, a robust railroad worker, suffered from diabetes - a
      condition that made it impossible for him to survive a fast, his
      family said.
      :===End Quote===

      [Human Rights Violations, USA] So much squandered in so little time
      :===Begin Quote===
      Recently, The New York Times ran a story announcing Iraqi officials
      targeted by the United States to face war crimes trials. The irony, of
      course, is that any judgment would have to be rendered by a special
      tribunal set up by the United States, because we do not recognize the
      International Criminal Court that opened this week to handle cases of
      human rights, genocide and war crimes.

      We have the power to wage war on our own and to engage in other
      actions that characterize an empire.

      We have not figured out, however, that to act with real authority in a
      dangerous and changing world requires that those of like mind join us
      in shaping a different future. Right now, it seems, many simply resist
      us out of fear of what we are becoming.
      :===End Quote===
      Note: an expanded sidebar to this article explains why the publishes
      of Apologetics Index, which includes Religion News Blog, address human
      rights issues in general with a particular emphasis on U.S. human
      rights violations.

      [Witchcraft] Bewitched by Wicca
      :===Begin Quote===
      The two helped found the Tucson Area Wiccan-Pagan Network, also known
      as TAWN. It holds monthly meetings, cranks out brochures - many of
      them written by O'Gaea - and maintains a Web site at www.tawn.org.

      Both were raised in Oregon, he as a Presbyterian, she as a Unitarian.
      After marrying and coming to Tucson in 1974, they joined the Unitarian

      In 1984, they discovered Wicca, and in 1991 founded Campsight Coven,
      raising their son, Ryan, the Wicca way.

      Since then, she's published two books on raising children in the
      Wiccan way. A third book, "In the Service of Life: A Wiccan
      Perspective on Death," is due out next month
      :===End Quote===

      [Human Rights] Compromising justice
      :===Begin Quote===
      Belgium is poised to water down a controversial war crimes law that
      has caused the country no end of diplomatic embarrassment, writes
      Andrew Osborn

      The truth is of course that critics of the country's war crimes law
      have long struggled to understand why Belgium should be the world's
      judge and jury. And the fact that the world's first permanent
      international criminal court (ICC) has now opened for business in the
      Hague makes Belgium's position all the more untenable.
      :===End Quote===

      [Hate Crimes] Arabs, Muslims, Sikhs Report Hate Crimes
      :===Begin Quote===
      Muslim, Arab and Sikh groups say reports of backlash crimes are
      trickling in, and they fear an increase if the war in Iraq drags on.

      Advocates who track such incidents say they've heard about a dozen
      potential hate crimes - most involving verbal harassment or property
      damage to Arabs, Muslims and Sikhs - since the war began last week.
      :===End Quote===

      [Religion Trends] Arizonans aren't big on church
      :===Begin Quote===
      Fewer than half of Arizona adults routinely take part in religious
      services, according to a new survey by WestGroup Research of Phoenix.

      The survey was part of WestGroup's monitoring of current events in
      January. The survey of 866 adults had a margin of error of 3 percent.

      Highest regular church attendance can be found among members of the
      Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with 88 percent, the
      Catholic Church, with 62 percent, and non-denominational Christian
      churches, 60 percent.
      :===End Quote===

      [Church / State] Lawmakers shrink Bush faith initiative
      :===Begin Quote===
      Unable to pass even a watered-down version of the president's
      faith-based initiative, congressional sponsors said yesterday they
      would remove all efforts to open government programs to churches and
      other religious groups from the bill.

      Their legislation instead will just provide tax breaks for donations
      to charities, including religious groups.
      :===End Quote===

      [Islam] Sunnis and Shiites: Islam's feuding arms
      :===Begin Quote===
      Sects of the same religion often behave like warring relatives. Their
      feuds are violent, long lasting and, almost always, silly and

      That's historically true of Catholics and Protestants. It remains true
      of the Sunnis and Shiites of Islam that play such a crucial role in
      the pain and confusion of modern Iraq.

      They disagree on the way power was taken following Mohammed's death
      and make nuanced distinctions in their interpretation of faith.
      :===End Quote===

      [Islam] Iraq's Shiite Majority Remains Calm
      :===Begin Quote===
      Life seemed normal in this down at the heels neighborhood of Baghdad,
      home to 1.5 million Shiite Muslims. For now, at least, there's no sign
      of a Shiite revolt against Saddam Hussein.

      "A believer is never stung from the same pit twice," says Shiite taxi
      driver Abu Haider, citing a popular proverb to explain the lack of
      :===End Quote===

      [Jehovah's Witnesses] Longo admits affair, trail of bad debts
      :===Begin Quote===
      In his second day of testimony, Christian Longo admitted to cheating
      on his wife and leaving a trail of bad debts, but he shed no light on
      his claim that someone else killed two of his children.

      Longo, 29, who returns to the stand on Monday, has already pleaded
      guilty to killing his wife, MaryJane, 34, and his youngest daughter,
      Madison, 2.

      Longo also described an affair he had with his business partner's wife
      in the spring of 2000. The two discussed divorcing their spouses and
      getting married until Longo's wife, MaryJane, found out about the
      affair after discovering e-mails on his computer, he said.

      She confronted Longo and said she was going to tell elders at the
      Jehovah's Witness church, as well as Longo's father, about the affair,
      Longo testified.
      :===End Quote===

      March 28, 2003
      [Secularism] In Canada, secularism grows more pervasive
      :===Begin Quote===
      The French-Canadian writer Yann Martel has acknowledged that he
      rearranged chapters in the Canadian edition of his new novel, "Life of
      Pi," because he feared Canadians would be offended by its religious

      "America is a very religious, almost puritanical country," he told
      Publishers Weekly last year. "In Canada, secularism is triumphant, and
      to talk noncynically, nonironically about religion is strange."

      Martel's comments have been much quoted recently as a sign that in at
      least one vital respect, Canadian and American societies are moving in
      opposite directions despite their common language and geographic

      In a recent survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the
      Press in Washington, only 30 percent of Canadians said religion was
      very important to them, compared with 59 percent of Americans.
      :===End Quote===

      [Christianity / Iraq] 2 Christian Groups' Aid Effort Questioned
      :===Begin Quote===
      Two major evangelical Christian groups said yesterday that they have
      amassed supplies in Jordan and are preparing to send relief workers
      into Iraq as soon as the military situation permits.

      The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant
      denomination, and Samaritan's Purse, run by the Rev. Franklin Graham,
      said they are ready to provide emergency shelter, food aid and medical
      care to Iraq's mostly Muslim population. The announcements raised
      concerns among U.S. Muslim leaders that the groups intend to
      proselytize in Iraq.
      :===End Quote===

      [Zen] The art of building a bridge
      :===Begin Quote===
      Fukushima's eyes are closed as he describes monastic life in Kyoto,
      Japan, where he is head abbot of the Tofukuji sect of Renzai Zen
      Buddhism and the 303rd master of the 750-year-old Tofukuji Monastery,
      one of the historic five mountains of Zen Buddhism.

      Every spring for several years, Fukushima has taken 2 1/2 months to
      travel America and visit college campuses. When he started, his
      itinerary included just three colleges; now there are 32. He's able to
      visit 25 on each trip, and Pomona College is always on the list.
      :===End Quote===

      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Scientology expands Tampa presence
      :===Begin Quote===
      Saturday will mark the grand opening of the church's new home in an
      old West Tampa cigar factory

      But Earl Haugabook, president of the West Tampa Chamber of Commerce,
      is wary of the church, given its controversial history in Clearwater.
      "An organization like Scientology, which has basically taken over
      downtown Clearwater, is not the type of organization we want in the
      West Tampa area," Haugabook said.
      :===End Quote===

      [Satanism] Brothers admit to belonging to devil worshipping cult
      :===Begin Quote===
      Mount Lebanon Investigating Magistrate Ali Ibrahim interrogated
      Wednesday two of four suspects arrested over the weekend for allegedly
      belonging to a devil worshipping cult.
      :===End Quote===

      [AUM Shinrikyo] Asahara again refuses to respond to questions by his
      own attorneys
      :===Begin Quote===
      Aum Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara refused again Thursday to answer
      questions from his own lawyers, while victims of the cult's crimes
      called for him to receive the death penalty.

      During the day's session at the Tokyo District Court, two victims of
      the cult's sarin gas attacks and the relative of another addressed the
      court. Five others submitted written statements.
      :===End Quote===

      [AUM Shinrikyo] Aum cult survivors and kin testify
      :===Begin Quote===
      Asahara has denied masterminding the attack and blamed his disciples,
      despite testimony from most followers that the offences were committed
      under his direction. He has made virtually no statement at his trial
      since January 1998 apart from murmuring incoherently, and has often
      appeared to doze off during proceedings.

      He has refused even to answer his own lawyers' questions.

      If he remains silent at a session on April 10, prosecutors are
      expected to make their closing argument against him on April 24.
      :===End Quote===

      [AUM Shinrikyo] Cult victims' relatives call for death of leader
      :===Begin Quote===
      Relatives of the Aum Supreme Truth cult's victims confronted its
      leader in court yesterday and demanded his execution.

      Shoko Asahara, 48, is charged with ordering followers to murder
      enemies of the cult and members of the public over a period of six

      He was arrested after cult members released the deadly nerve gas sarin
      on to underground trains in Tokyo in 1995, killing 12 people and
      injuring thousands.
      :===End Quote===

      March 27, 2003
      [Islam] Fortuyn killer was 'protecting Dutch Muslims'
      :===Begin Quote===
      The man who confessed to killing Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn has told
      a court he did it to protect the country's Muslim minority from
      Fortuyn's anti-immigration policies.
      :===End Quote===

      [Transcendental Meditation] Think peace
      :===Begin Quote===
      By meditating collectively, they said, they can generate and
      distribute psychic energy capable of reducing crime, preventing
      terrorism and reducing general societal stress.

      For some outsiders, those claims may amount to wild overstatement. For
      practitioners at the Maharishi Vedic Center of Portland, however,
      nothing could be more true.

      They are so certain of the benefits of their meditation that they are
      pushing ahead with a plan to build a $1.2 million, 12,000-square-foot
      Peace Palace somewhere near the Portland's southwest suburbs.

      Practitioners are responding to a call from their spiritual leader,
      Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, to build 3,000 such "palaces" around the world.
      About 200 are scheduled to be constructed in the United States.
      :===End Quote===

      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Cult church censured on drug ads
      :===Begin Quote===
      A Church of Scientology advert claiming that its programmes had
      "salvaged" 250,000 people from drug abuse has been censured by the
      Advertising Standards Authority as unproved, following a complaint by
      the Church of England.

      A Church of England spokesman said: "The truth is Scientology makes
      claims for their dangerous cult which they can neither prove nor
      substantiate. Drug users trying to kick the habit are vulnerable. This
      makes them perfect prey for cults."
      :===End Quote===

      [Jehovah's Witnesses] Longo says that pride kept him from asking for
      financial help
      :===Begin Quote===
      Longo admitted his misdeeds were in direct contradiction with his
      Jehovah's Witness faith that called for a strict adherence to biblical
      tenets. He said his theft from the camera store ran him afoul of his
      congregation's judicial committee, which refused to let him be married
      in his church.

      He also testified that death brings sleep until the "righteous and
      unrighteous" are awakened. That reawakening brings a second chance at
      salvation, he said.

      When Krasik asked if death means Jehovah's Witnesses are in a better
      place, Longo said no.

      "They're essentially asleep until God decides otherwise," Longo said.
      :===End Quote===

      [Jehovah's Witnesses] Defense still not showing hand on Longo strategy
      :===Begin Quote===
      Christian Longo, accused of killing his wife and three young children,
      took the stand Wednesday in his own aggravated murder trial and
      described his strict upbringing as a Jehovah's Witness, his subsequent
      "shunning" by the church and the beginnings of his marriage.
      :===End Quote===

      [Trinity Broadcasting Network] TV Ministry Told to Be More Considerate
      of Neighbors
      :===Begin Quote===
      In an ongoing spat between a handful of Costa Mesa residents and the
      world's largest Christian television ministry -- which operates in
      their backyard -- the city's planning commission Monday ordered the
      Trinity Broadcasting Network to be better neighbors.

      While the city considers the network's request to conduct outdoor
      tapings on its property, the commission gave TBN a list of two dozen
      good-faith restrictions intended to appease neighbors.
      :===End Quote===

      [Deepak Chopra] New-Age rage: Deepak Chopra finds a lot wrong in the
      :===Begin Quote===
      Deepak Chopra, the guy who cornered the market on that whole
      mind-body-spirit thing, is sipping mineral water poolside at the Shore
      Club and seething about the evil-doers.

      ''If we talk about weapons of mass destruction, we have to talk about
      the fact that 90 percent of those weapons are sold by, manufactured by
      and traded by the five permanent members of the Security Council. An
      alcoholic parent doesn't have a right to tell his children they can't
      have a sip of beer.''

      In Deepak's mind, warmongering is warmongering. And that means George
      and Saddam, as far as he's concerned, are cut from the same universal
      :===End Quote===

      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Scientologist drug claim on poster is
      :===Begin Quote===
      The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint against the
      Church of Scientology, which stated in a poster that it had rescued
      250,000 people from drug addiction.

      The council said that the worldwide religious movement had not proved
      its claim that as many as a quarter of a million addicts had stopped
      using drugs as a direct result of Scientology's intervention.
      :===End Quote===

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