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Religion News Blog, Apr. 10 - 11, 2003

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  • Anton Hein
    ReligionNewsBlog.com, April 11, 2003 [Religious Freedom] Amnesty International says Vietnam cracking down on religious dissidents
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 11, 2003
      ReligionNewsBlog.com, April 11, 2003

      [Religious Freedom] Amnesty International says Vietnam cracking down
      on religious dissidents
      :===Begin Quote===
      Vietnam is harshly cracking down on religious dissidents and their
      family members by using vague laws to charge them with spying, which
      carries a possible death penalty, Amnesty International said Friday.

      In a report, the London-based human rights group focused on charges
      brought against the niece and nephews of Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly,
      a Catholic priest sentenced to 15 years in jail in October 2001 for
      advocating religious freedom.
      :===End Quote===

      [Word of Faith Fellowship] WOFF claims religious protection
      :===Begin Quote===
      The Word of Faith Fellowship has responded to a lawsuit filed by one
      of the organization's former members alleging she was the victim of
      false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

      In answers filed Monday with the Rutherford County Clerk of Superior
      Court, attorneys for the WOFF, senior pastor Jane Whaley and church
      member Kim Waites deny the allegations made by Holly Hamrick and ask a
      judge to dismiss the suit on the grounds of religious freedom.
      :===End Quote===

      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Group blames medication
      :===Begin Quote===
      As friends, family, and investigators searched for a possible motive
      in Tuesday's slaying of a Massachusetts General Hospital cardiologist,
      an antipsychiatry ''watchdog group'' said that Colleen Mitchell's
      psychiatric medication had spurred her to shoot Dr. Brian McGovern and
      then turn the gun on herself.

      Members of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, which is
      affiliated with the Church of Scientology, planned a protest at the
      hospital today against the use of antidepressants such as Zoloft,
      which Mitchell had apparently been taking.
      :===End Quote===
      NOTE: The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is a particularly rabid
      front group of the Scientology cult. Both organizations act like hate

      [AUM Shinrikyo] Cult still a danger in Japan
      :===Begin Quote===
      The Aum Supreme Truth doomsday cult, responsible for a deadly
      nerve-gas attack in Tokyo in 1995, could still massacre people and
      required continued Government surveillance, Japan said today.

      "To this day, there is still danger that they might commit random
      massacres," said Justice Minister Mayumi Moriyama, after presenting a
      report to the Cabinet Office on the cult by the Public Security
      Investigation Agency.

      "There is no change in the group's closed structure and deceptive
      nature. Therefore we must continue monitoring its activities," she
      :===End Quote===

      [AUM Shinrikyo] Japan warning on doomsday cult
      :===Begin Quote===
      The latest report on the group, compiled by the Justice Ministry's
      Public Security Investigation Agency, said that Aum had about 650
      live-in followers and some 1,000 outside believers, as of the end of
      last December.
      :===End Quote===

      [Warmongering / International Law] The moral decline of a superpower
      http://www.religionnewsblog.com/archives/00002992.html (Opinion)
      :===Begin Quote===
      No, it is not anti-Americanism that is damaging the image of the
      United States; nor do the dictator Saddam Hussein and his extensively
      disarmed country endanger the most powerful country in the world. It
      is President Bush and his government that are diminishing democratic
      values, bringing sure disaster to their own country, ignoring the
      United Nations, and that are now terrifying the world with a war in
      violation of international law.
      :===End Quote===
      NOTE: The author, Gunter Grass, was awarded the 1999 Nobel Prize for

      [Catholic Church] Aide Says Scope of Church Abuse Unknown
      :===Begin Quote===
      The extent of sex abuse cases among Roman Catholic clergy in America
      is still unknown, a top aide to the U.S. bishops said Thursday.

      "We still don't know how prevalent the cases are, or how prevalent
      they are in other sectors of society," said Kathleen McChesney,
      executive director of the U.S. bishops' Office of Child and Youth

      McChesney, whose office was created last year in response to the
      nationwide clerical sex abuse crisis, spoke at a conference of roughly
      100 civil attorneys, prosecutors and molestation victims at the
      Cardozo School of Law.

      The meeting was believed to be the first large-scale gathering of the
      groups to share information about the abuse crisis, which engulfed the
      church last year. In 2002, at least 325 of the roughly 46,000 priests
      in the United States either resigned or were removed from their duties
      because of abuse allegations, many dating back decades.
      :===End Quote===

      [Science and Religion] Life: The battle for American science
      :===Begin Quote===
      Creationists, pro-lifers and conservatives now pose a serious threat
      to research and science teaching in the US, report Oliver Burkeman and
      Alok Jha
      :===End Quote===

      [AUM Shinrikyo] Aum's Asahara silent during final questioning
      :===Begin Quote===
      Aum Shinrikyo cult founder Shoko Asahara on Thursday forfeited his
      final chance to respond to questions by his lawyers on his role in Aum
      crimes including the 1995 gassing of the Tokyo subway, maintaining his
      silence as his seven-year trial at the Tokyo District Court drew
      closer to a conclusion.

      The court set April 24 as the date when prosecutors will demand a
      sentence. The prosecutors, who concluded they have done their best to
      prove that Asahara was the mastermind behind the sarin gas attack and
      other Aum crimes, are widely expected to demand the death penalty.

      The court will hand down a ruling after the defense counsel gives the
      final arguments Oct 30 and 31.
      :===End Quote===

      [AUM Shinrikyo] A Strategy?: Ex-Aum leader silent to the end
      :===Begin Quote===
      At the next hearing April 24, prosecutors are expected to seek the
      death penalty for Matsumoto, who adopted the name Shoko Asahara when
      he ran Aum, sources said.

      At Thursday's hearing, family members of those killed when Aum members
      released sarin gas in two locations demanded the former guru and
      alleged mastermind be given the ultimate sanction.

      During his seven-year trial which began in April 1996, Matsumoto has
      been indicted on 27 murder counts covering 13 separate cases.

      The charges include two cases of indiscriminate mass murder using
      sarin nerve gas.
      :===End Quote===

      [AUM Shinrikyo] Matsumoto silent as questioning ends
      :===Begin Quote===
      During Thursday's hearing at the Tokyo District Court, the 253rd in
      the long trial, victims of the cult's crimes were allowed to present

      Matsumoto was also questioned for the third time, but remained silent,
      refusing to answer any of the questions posed by his defense lawyers,
      as he has done in previous hearings. Presiding Judge Shoji Ogawa
      decided to terminate the questioning session.

      Prosecutors did not question him at all.
      :===End Quote===

      [AUM Shinrikyo] Aum cult man flies to Moscow
      :===Begin Quote===
      The new figurehead of the Aum Supreme Truth doomsday cult left Japan
      for Russia on Thursday in an apparent bid to shore up the loyalty of
      followers there.

      The trip came amid expectations that prosecutors would demand death
      for Aum founder Shoko Asahara, 48, at his seven-year-old trial in two
      weeks' time.

      Fumihiro Joyu, the 40-year-old former telegenic spokesman for the cult
      responsible for the 1995 deadly gas attacks on Tokyo subways, left on
      a Aeroflot plane from Narita airport, a public safety source in Tokyo

      The Russia visit, expected to last for about a week, is his first
      overseas trip since Joyu was released from Japanese jail in December
      1999 after serving a three-year jail sentence for perjury.
      :===End Quote===

      [Islam] Can Islam, democracy coexist?
      :===Begin Quote===
      The American model of democracy and the separation of church and state
      isn't an easy fit in a Muslim country, experts and local Muslims say.
      The ideal government, according to the Quran, is a theocracy, where
      society is governed by the values of Islam.

      Badat said Iraq's culture and way of life are completely different
      than the United States'. Her husband, Ismail, is president of the
      Islamic Center of Southern New Jersey, a Palmyra mosque.

      "They (the United States) say they are going to impose democracy,"
      said Badat, a native of India. "But Islam itself is an ideology. It is
      very complex and doesn't differentiate between spiritual and mundane

      "Democracy is the antithesis of Islam," said Badat, a native of India.
      "Islam is neither democracy, communism or any of that. It emphasizes
      both communal and individual rights, not at the cost of each other.
      How will western democracy align with that?"
      :===End Quote===

      [Cloning] Human cloning 'flawed'
      :===Begin Quote===
      Human cloning may never be possible because of a quirk of biology.

      Scientists in the United States say hundreds of attempts to clone
      monkeys have ended in failure.

      They think the biological make-up of the eggs of primates, including
      humans, makes cloning almost impossible.
      :===End Quote===

      April 10, 2003

      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Neighbors Worry As Scientology Moves In
      :===Begin Quote===
      Along with purchasing the building, the church acquired an adjacent
      parking lot. It is considering purchasing more property in West Tampa
      to make room for their community outreach programs, Tirabassi said,
      including drug awareness programs, cleanup projects and literacy

      Earl Haugabook, president of the West Tampa Chamber of Commerce, said
      he is concerned if the church plans to grow in West Tampa.

      ``They could easily buy a whole bunch of property,'' Haugabook said.
      ``We want a diversified community with businesses who are going to
      come in and offer jobs and keep the West Tampa mystique. We don't want
      West Tampa known as the Scientology capital.''
      :===End Quote===
      NOTE: The Scientology organization is one of the most unethical cults
      around. Promoting and condoning unethical behavior is part and parcel
      of the organization's 'scriptures.'

      [AUM Shinrikyo] Gas attack victims demand death for Asahara
      :===Begin Quote===
      Angry families of people who died in the 1995 Tokyo subway gassings
      carried out by AUM-Shinrikyo cult members heaped abuse at cult guru
      Shoko Asahara and demanded the death sentence for him Thursday at the
      253rd hearing of his trial.

      Testifying at the Tokyo District Court under the revised code of
      criminal procedure, families accused Asahara, whose real name is
      Chizuo Matsumoto, of directing subordinates in the AUM-Shinrikyo cult
      to carry out the sarin gas attacks on Tokyo's subways that killed 12
      and injured thousands.
      :===End Quote===

      [Cloning] Cloned human embryo reported
      :===Begin Quote===
      A Kentucky fertility specialist says he has created a cloned human
      embryo that he plans to implant in a woman in the next month if
      genetic tests show that the embryo is healthy. Scientists say it could
      be the most credible human cloning experiment to date.

      Unlike other supposed cloning efforts that have been cloaked in
      secrecy, Dr. Panayiotis Zavos is about to report his results in a
      scientific journal published by one of the world's most respected
      scientists, in-vitro fertilization pioneer Dr. Robert Edwards.
      :===End Quote===

      [War] Church Leaders' Anti-War Message Fails in the Pews
      :===Begin Quote===
      It has been called organized religion's most unified anti-war stance
      since the latter days of the Vietnam conflict.

      But public opinion polls show the spiritual movement opposing war in
      Iraq has had little impact on churchgoers, much less on the American
      public, both of which overwhelmingly support both the U.S.-led
      invasion and President Bush.

      "The mainline churches have suffered a blow to their relevancy in
      America that will take them more than a generation to recover from,"
      said Rabbi Daniel Lapin, a conservative radio talk-show host from
      Mercer Island, Wash., who speaks frequently at Christian Coalition

      But the Rev. Robert Edgar, general secretary of the National Council
      of Churches, could hardly disagree more. In his view, the council,
      representing 36 denominations, is playing a prophetic role -- much as
      it did in the 1960s when it took a stand for civil rights.

      "None of the Old Testament prophets had a majority," said Edgar, a
      former Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania. "My position is that
      prophetic voices are always way out ahead of the congregation. Those
      willing to speak out should not expect automatic enthusiasm. They
      should understand pretty clearly that the rank and file take a little
      longer to focus and to follow."
      :===End Quote===

      [Catholic Church] Church to Pay $323,000 and Apologize in Irish Sex
      Abuse Case
      :===Begin Quote===
      One of Ireland's prominent campaigners for the rights of victims of
      clerical sexual abuse settled a five-year-old case against the Roman
      Catholic diocese where he was abused more than 20 years ago for
      300,000 euros ($323,000), in a deal that included a public apology and
      sets a precedent for how the Catholic Church here relates to abuse
      :===End Quote===

      [Elizabeth Loftus] UCI Professor Faces Pending Lawsuit
      :===Begin Quote===
      UCI’s Distinguished Professor in Social Ecology Elizabeth Loftus,
      widely known for her studies in false memory research, is currently
      facing an impending lawsuit filed against her by Nicole Taus in Solano
      County, Calif.

      No stranger to controversy, Loftus has come to the defense of some of
      the nation’s most high-profile individuals, among them Ted Bundy, the
      Menendez Brothers and Michael Jackson.

      Although Taus could not be reached for comment, a plaintiff report
      filed at the superior court of California in Solano County accused
      Loftus and several other parties of invasion of privacy, defamation,
      libel per se, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional
      distress and damages.
      :===End Quote===

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