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Religion News Blog, Apr. 24 - 26, 2003

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  • Anton Hein
    Religion News Blog, April 26, 2003 Excerpts: [Alternative Healing / Shamanism] Healer gets house arrest in Wiki woman’s death
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 26, 2003
      Religion News Blog, April 26, 2003


      [Alternative Healing / Shamanism] Healer gets house arrest in Wiki
      woman’s death
      :===Begin Quote===
      Saying he had to strike a balance between “the spiritual and the
      temporal,” an Ontario judge sentenced a Shuar traditional healer to 12
      months of house arrest for the death of a Wikwemikong elder in
      November 2001.

      Justice Gerald Michel also sentenced Juan Uyunkar’s son Edgar to one
      day in jail, time served, plus six months probation. Edgar Uyunkar was
      also ordered to leave Canada as soon as possible.

      On Thursday, the Uyunkars pled guilty to charges of administering a
      noxious substance and trafficking in a controlled substance.

      They were arrested Nov. 24, 2001, after a police investigation into
      the death of Wikwemikong elder Jean (Jane) Maiangowi.

      The 71-year-old diabetic died after ingesting a solution containing
      tobacco, water and South American vines.

      The elder Uyunkar and his son had been invited to the Wikwemikong
      First Nation to perform traditional healing ceremonies for band

      Justice Michel said the sentence was necessary “in order to bring home
      to all natural healers the message that they have to be careful with
      reference to unlawful substances and their consequences.

      “The sentence cannot and will not satisfy everyone because of the
      conflicting principles between the spiritual and the temporal, but I
      must mete out a penalty,” the judge said.
      :===End Quote===

      [Alternative Healing / Shamanism] Woman dies in healing ritual; shaman
      :===Begin Quote===
      The Uyunkars said the purging removed contaminants such as bile,
      phlegm, salt, fats and excess sugar from the blood and also expelled

      The ceremonies were so popular in Wikwemikong that the health
      authority paid to send Mr. Uyunkar back to Ecuador to obtain more
      pieces of the vine used in making the drink. Mr. Uyunkar did not know
      it is a banned substance in Canada, and without attempting to conceal
      it, was able to bring it back through customs to continue the healing
      ceremonies in Wikwemikong.

      Jane Maiangowi, 71, began the three-day healing ceremony that led to
      her death on Oct. 17, 2001, with her husband, Antoine, and grandson
      Michael. They were told, along with 50 other participants, to stop
      taking any other drugs and to fast as much as possible. Ms. Maiangowi,
      a diabetic, stopped taking her prescribed Diamicron. She fasted.
      :===End Quote===

      [World Ministries Church] J. Killeen to be buried here today, brother
      :===Begin Quote===
      A man whose body decomposed for at least three weeks in a Southwest
      Side home before his death was reported will be buried here today, his
      brother said.

      James Killeen was cremated Tuesday morning at Desert Rose Cremation
      and Burial, 2750 S. Fourth Ave., said his brother, Christopher
      Killeen, who lives in Rhode Island. The burial will be at South Lawn
      :===End Quote===

      [Transcendental Mediation] National "Yogic Flying" Competition Comes
      To Fairfield
      :===Begin Quote===
      Members of the audience at Maharishi University cheered as yogic
      flying players competed in four different events. Around 20 yogic
      flying competitors used Transcendental Meditation to raise their
      bodies feet into the air while sitting. "You feel like everything's
      gonna be taken care of for you. And whatever you want to do, you'll be
      able to do," said Michael Koren.
      :===End Quote===

      White Supremacist Group Fined $1,000 a Day
      :===Begin Quote===
      A federal judge ruled a group headed by a jailed white supremacist
      should be fined $1,000 a day until it stops calling itself the World
      Church of the Creator.

      U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow said Thursday the group
      failed to comply with an order to stop using the name and was in
      contempt of court.

      Attorneys expressed doubt that Matthew Hale's organization has much
      money to pay but said that individual members could be held

      Hale, 31, was sued by the Oregon-based group TE-TE-MA Truth
      Foundation, which claimed that it held a trademark on the name.
      :===End Quote===

      [Hate Groups] Hale's racist organization fined over trademark
      :===Begin Quote===
      Thursday, attorneys for the Oregon church said Hale's group was still
      using the name, in violation of the court order, on its Web site, on
      merchandise it was selling and in other instances.

      "There has been some compliance, but not full compliance," the judge
      said, agreeing to the penalties sought by the Oregon church's

      Todd Reardon, representing Hale's group, which now calls itself the
      Creativity Movement, said group members were trying to comply with the
      judge's order.
      :===End Quote===
      NOTE: In light of the name change, Apologetics Index has created a new
      entry on this hate group:

      [Human Rights Violations, USA] Amnesty finds race factor in US death
      :===Begin Quote===
      Statistical evidence from the United States suggests that black
      defendants convicted of killing whites have been sentenced to death 15
      times more often than white defendants convicted of killing blacks,
      according to a study published by Amnesty International yesterday.

      The survey, based largely on recent investigations carried out by
      individual states, suggests that race remains a powerful factor when
      American juries decide whether to send convicts to death row, but that
      the race of the victim is often more important than the race of the
      :===End Quote===

      [Polygamy] Sect leader objects to Santorum's polygamy comment
      :===Begin Quote===
      The leader of one of Utah's largest polygamist sects has objected to
      Sen. Rick Santorum's lumping plural marriage with other practices the
      Pennsylvania Republican considers to be antifamily.

      Santorum has been under fire for comparing homosexuality to bigamy,
      polygamy, incest and adultery.

      Owen Allred, 89, head of the United Apostolic Brethren, based in the
      Salt Lake City suburb of Bluffdale, agreed with Santorum in part.

      ''He is absolutely right. The people of the United States are doing
      whatever they can to do away with the sacred rights of marriage,''
      Allred said.

      But Allred, who was quoted by The Salt Lake Tribune in Thursday's
      edition, said Santorum's inclusion of polygamy in his list tarnishes a
      religious tradition whose roots are traced to biblical figures such as
      Abraham, Jacob and Moses - defiling them as ''immoral and dirty.''
      :===End Quote===

      [Aum Shinrikyo] Aum Shinrikyo developments
      :===Begin Quote===
      The following is a chronology of developments either involving or
      allegedly linked to AUM Shinrikyo cult founder Shoko Asahara.
      :===End Quote===

      [Aum Shinrikyo] Aum trial points to system flaws
      :===Begin Quote===
      The trial of Aum Supreme Truth cult founder Chizuo Matsumoto, 48, also
      known as Shoko Asahara, at the Tokyo District Court, which has taken
      seven years so far, showcases the difficulty of speeding up court

      Government reforms planned for the judicial systems call for all
      first-stage trials to be finished within two years and for the
      introduction of a mixed jury system, in which members of the public
      will participate in criminal trials with judges.

      After the reforms are implemented, a lengthy trial such as Matsumoto's
      would not be tolerated. In addition to its length, Matsumoto's trial
      highlighted other tasks reforms need to tackle.
      :===End Quote===

      [Aum Shinrikyo] A mere shell of a man
      :===Begin Quote===
      Prosecutors simply had no alternative but to seek the death penalty
      for him.

      Our outrage against the defendant is renewed. But we wonder how to
      deal with the gnawing sense of futility and emptiness that remains.

      Matsumoto never said anything coherent about the fundamental issues.
      He uttered not one word of apology to the victims and their families.

      Initially, Matsumoto was quite vocal, however incoherent, in court.
      After having been harshly rebuked by a former follower for his
      ``crimes as guru,'' however, he locked himself up within his shell of

      Who is this man-this accused who seems nothing more than a puny,
      cowardly wretch?
      :===End Quote===

      [Aum Shinrikyo] Evil spirit lives on in shabby man in court
      :===Begin Quote===
      Unashamed of his penchant for megalomania, the defendant once boasted
      in court: ``I have become a creature with the capacity to move the
      whole universe.'' But when he was given a chance to explain himself
      under the Subversive Activities Prevention Law, he said many of his
      instructions to members of his cult had not been followed and added
      that he took it as a sign that his authority had tumbled.

      This shows he is a person who can calculatingly humble himself,
      depending on circumstances.

      People are sometimes drawn to evil, but they cannot stand vulgarity, a
      British novelist once observed. As cult leader, Matsumoto may have
      bewitched his followers by exercising evil power. But only his vulgar
      side stands out in the courtroom.

      The gulf between the gravity of charges against him and the pettiness
      of his behavior often leaves me speechless.
      :===End Quote===

      April 25, 2003

      [Harry Potter] Judge orders schools to let Potter reappear
      :===Begin Quote===
      federal judge ordered Harry Potter books back onto an Arkansas school
      district's library shelves Tuesday, rejecting a school board's claim
      that tales of wizards and spells could harm school children.

      Ruling in favor of a fourth-grader's parents, U.S. District Judge Jimm
      Larry Hendren ordered the Cedarville School District to put the four
      books in J.K. Rowling's popular series back in general circulation.
      :===End Quote===

      [Religious Intolerance] Teacher's Aide Suspended for Wearing Cross
      :===Begin Quote===
      teacher's aide is challenging her one-year suspension without pay for
      wearing a cross necklace, which officials say violates a Pennsylvania
      Public School Code prohibition against teachers wearing religious

      "I got suspended April 8, 2003, for wearing a cross to work and not
      being willing to either remove it or tuck it in," said Brenda Nichol,
      43, of Indiana County.

      Officials at ARIN Intermediate Unit 28 wouldn't comment on Nichol's
      case specifically, but said their employee handbook is based on the
      school code and prohibits all employees from wearing religious garb.
      ARIN supplies teachers aides and other services to 11 school districts
      and two technical schools in Armstrong and Indiana counties.

      Nichol acknowledges she was told of the prohibition as far back as
      1997, and was warned twice since March that wearing the necklace was
      cause for suspension. Under the school code, she could be fired for a
      second offense.

      "I think the public needs to know that there is a code out there that
      is against our freedom," Nichol said. She has enlisted the help of the
      American Center for Law and Justice, a Virginia-based public-interest
      law firm founded in 1990 by Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson. The
      group plans, but has not yet filed, a federal court lawsuit.
      :===End Quote===

      April 24, 2003

      [AUM Shinrikyo] Aum facilities rocking social boat
      :===Begin Quote===
      The Aum Supreme Truth cult currently operates 28 facilities that carry
      out its practices and promotional activities and about 120 residential
      facilities that house its followers in 17 prefectures, The Yomiuri
      Shimbun has learned.

      Regarding the conflict between members of the cult and local
      residents, Yoshihide Sakurai, an associate professor of the Graduate
      School of Letters at Hokkaido University, said the cult had a
      "self-centered" attitude, although laws of religion are meant to allow
      freedom of activity.

      Sakurai added: "It's no wonder local residents fear the cult. Cult
      members should realize the responsibility to alleviate residents'
      fears rests with them."
      :===End Quote===

      [AUM Shinrikyo] Aum Shinrikyo plagued by guru's whims, journalist says
      :===Begin Quote===
      The crimes perpetrated by the disciples of Shoko Asahara and those
      allegedly committed by the Aum Shinrikyo guru himself were the product
      of one man's whimsical impulses and not a concerted quest for power,
      according to journalist Shoko Egawa.

      Egawa has covered the cult extensively since the days when few people
      were aware of its criminal activities.
      :===End Quote===

      [AUM Shinrikyo] Death demanded for Asahara
      :===Begin Quote===
      Exactly seven years after the trial began, prosecutors Thursday
      demanded the death penalty for Aum Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara,
      accused of masterminding two sarin attacks in the mid-1990s as well as
      other heinous crimes.

      The defense team is expected to present its final arguments in Oct. 30
      and Oct. 31; a ruling is expected to be handed down early next year.
      :===End Quote===

      [AUM Shinrikyo] Prosecutors demand death penalty for AUM's Asahara
      :===Begin Quote===
      The 48-year-old Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, was
      indicted on murder and other charges in 13 criminal cases, including
      the March 1995 subway gassing that killed 12 people and injured more
      than 5,000.

      The crimes also include a 1994 sarin gas attack in Matsumoto, Nagano
      Prefecture, the killing of AUM cultists, and the murder of a lawyer,
      who was helping people with complaints against AUM, and his family.

      ''The crimes are indiscriminate terrorism with not the slightest bit
      of religiousness and are the most atrocious and heinous villainy in
      criminal history,'' the prosecutors said in their 300-page closing

      ''The defendant preached a dangerous doctrine that affirms murder and
      it is clear that he ordered the events. The claims that deny he did so
      are false,'' they added.
      :===End Quote===

      [AUM Shinrikyo] Japan Doomsday Guru May Get Death Penalty
      :===Begin Quote===
      Asahara, who has denied the allegations but alternated between
      incoherent ranting and sullen silence throughout most of the trial, is
      also charged with ordering a series of other killings, assaults and

      Prosecutors say he was involved in 26 deaths altogether.

      He sat emotionless during most of his trial Thursday.

      Nine of Asahara's top lieutenants have already been sentenced to death
      for their roles in the subway attack and other cult-related crimes.
      :===End Quote===

      [Christianity] A new beginning; Former Wiccan joins the Episcopal
      :===Begin Quote===
      Diehl had attended other services at Christian churches, including
      Episcopal services, as a high school and college student. That
      exploration and discussion about Christianity were discouraged by
      Diehl's mother, a practicing Wiccan.

      "I got stuck with a lot negative stereotypes, that all Christians were
      sheep," says Diehl, who also practiced Wicca, of her upbringing.

      The death of her grandmother in November, the gentle nudging of her
      fiance and her abandonment of the ceremonial side of Wicca all
      contributed to Diehl's arriving at St. Paul's. After an initial trial
      period, Diehl formalized her intention of joining the Episcopal Church
      to the Rev. Warren Raasch, St. Paul's dean, in January.
      :===End Quote===

      [Hate Groups / Terrorism] FBI Keeps Heat on Domestic Terror Groups
      :===Begin Quote===
      Sept. 11, 2001, may have pushed April 19 [Branch Davidians tragedy]
      out of America's consciousness. But while the public has largely
      forgotten domestic-born terrorism, federal authorities haven't.

      "The federal government has had remarkable success in [the past year]
      getting rid of many of the most vocal leadership" of home-grown
      extremist groups, said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the
      Study of Hate and Extremism in San Bernardino, Calif. "Hate Takes a
      Hit," crows the Southern Poverty Law Center's most recent
      "Intelligence Report," which tracks extremist groups and militias.
      :===End Quote===

      [Faith Healing / Ariel Ben Sherman] Couple plead innocent in child
      abuse death case
      :===Begin Quote===
      Trial for Jacqueline P. Crank, 42, and Ariel Ben Sherman, 74, was set
      for Jan. 27 in Loudon County Criminal Court. They are free on bond.
      Crank's daughter Jessica Crank, 15, died of bone cancer at the home
      she shared with her mother and Sherman, who has been referred to in
      court as the girl's "spiritual father."
      :===End Quote===

      [Religious Insanity / Islamism] Kiss gets Iranian actress suspended
      sentence of 74 lashes
      :===Begin Quote===
      A prominent Iranian actress has been handed a suspended sentence of 74
      lashes for publicly kissing a male film director during an awards
      ceremony, a report said.
      :===End Quote===

      [Peyote] Mich. Judge Bars Peyote Use for Boy
      :===Begin Quote===
      A 4-year-old boy must wait until he is physically and emotionally
      ready before he can ingest sacramental peyote at American Indian
      ceremonies, a family court judge said.

      In his 31-page decision Tuesday, Judge Graydon W. Dimkoff described
      peyote as ``dangerous'' and prohibited the boy from ingesting the
      peyote as a minor until he is fully aware of the implications and has
      permission from both parents.
      :===End Quote===

      [Islam] Shi'ites show they can't be ignored
      :===Begin Quote===
      Yesterday's boisterous predawn scene sent a clear and, to some, an
      alarming message: In Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, Shi'ites
      cannot be ignored.

      The grass-roots response to the call to pilgrimage also raises a
      specter that terrifies the White House: a replay of Iran's Islamic
      Revolution of 1979.

      But rifts within the Shi'ite clergy were also on display yesterday in
      Karbala. How they play out could determine whether a new Iraqi
      government has to contend with a fiery brand of politicized Islam or
      whether the clerics will retreat to their center of learning, the
      Hawza in Najaf, and serve solely as religious authorities.
      :===End Quote===

      [AUM Shinrikyo] Prosecutors expected to demand death penalty for Aum
      :===Begin Quote===
      For most of the trial, which began April 24, 1996, Asahara has kept
      silent over his role in the alleged crimes. He pleaded not guilty to
      all the charges on April 24, 1997, except for a VX nerve gas attack on
      a man. He also has claimed that his followers committed the crimes
      against his will.

      He refused to respond to his lawyers and presiding Judge Shoji Ogawa
      during all three questioning sessions held March 13, 27 and April 10
      this year.

      He last spoke in court in November 1999 as a witness in the trial of a
      former senior Aum cultist. He then said he had not known that Aum
      possessed sarin.
      :===End Quote===

      [Religion Trends / Internet] Believers flock to online religion
      :===Begin Quote===
      More New Zealanders are defining their spiritual journey online with
      traffic to religion sites up on this time last year, according to
      Hitwise, New Zealand's leading Internet competitive intelligence

      So, why the increase in virtual religion?

      According to Tessa Court, SVP of Hitwise, "given the range of choice
      and information, there's little wonder that congregations are aging
      and attendances at church services are down, with young people using
      the Internet to define their spiritual journey and beliefs without
      having to set foot in a church."
      :===End Quote===

      [Raelians] Little behind Clonaid, files reveal : But publicity raises
      funds, membership
      :===Begin Quote===
      The fringe scientific group Clonaid, which earned international
      notoriety last year by claiming to have cloned a human baby, has no
      address, no board of directors, and only two employees, according to
      sealed court documents obtained by the Globe. Yet the group is pushing
      forward with plans to charge dozens of prospective cloning patients up
      to $200,000 apiece for its services.

      The picture that emerges from the documents, as well as from
      interviews with Clonaid's tiny staff, is of a disorganized, amateurish
      effort that nonetheless has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars
      and has plans to gross even more.

      Clonaid asserts it has continued work at full speed, allegedly cloning
      its fifth baby recently, though no proof has been offered.

      And the Raelian sect has seen its dues-paying membership swell by 10
      percent because of all the publicity, according to its founder.
      :===End Quote===

      [Hate Crimes] Calif. Muslim teen sues over alleged hate attack
      :===Begin Quote===
      A Muslim teenager who was severely beaten in what he called a skinhead
      attack sued four of his alleged attackers and their parents on
      Wednesday for civil rights violations in California state court.
      :===End Quote===

      [Lucille Poulin] Ex-nun who beat kids released from P.E.I. jail
      :===Begin Quote===
      A former nun convicted of assaulting children at a religious commune
      on Prince Edward Island was released from jail Thursday.

      Lucille Poulin was sentenced to eight months after being convicted
      last November of beating the children with a wooden paddle.

      Some people in P.E.I. say they're worried that she will violate her
      parole conditions.
      :===End Quote===

      [Polygamy] Family, Colorado City church feud over property
      :===Begin Quote===
      A Colorado City family claims they are being evicted from their home
      for refusing to allow their teenage daughter to enter a polygamist

      Milton and Lenore Holm live in a house built on land owned by the
      United Effort Plan, a trust controlled by the Fundamentalist Church of
      Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, an offshoot of the Mormon church
      that practices polygamy.
      :===End Quote===

      [Robin Marie Murphy] 'Cult murders' killer Murphy wants new trial
      :===Begin Quote===
      After serving 22 years of a life sentence, a former Fall River woman
      -- a co-conspirator in the so-called "cult murders" in 1979 and 1980
      -- will be in Superior Court tomorrow to request a new trial.

      Robin Marie Murphy, 18 when she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder
      in a plea bargain with prosecutors, will ask a Superior Court judge to
      grant her a new trial because of "serious mistakes and omissions" she
      alleges her trial attorney made.
      :===End Quote===

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