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Religion News Blog, Apr. 27 - 29, 2003

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  • Anton Hein
    April 29, 2003 [Panawave] Cultists fearing microwave attack whitewash roadside http://www.religionnewsblog.com/archives/00003155.html ... Some 40 members of a
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 29, 2003
      April 29, 2003

      [Panawave] Cultists fearing microwave attack whitewash roadside
      :===Begin Quote===
      Some 40 members of a bizarre cult have taken over a 200-meter stretch
      of road in Gifu Prefecture, covering up crash barriers and roadside
      trees with huge white cloths, it was learned Tuesday.

      Officials of Hachiman and Yamato, the two central Japan towns that
      manage the Omami road, have urged members of the Fukui-based cult, the
      "Panawave Laboratory," to move out but they have refused to comply.

      The group claims that electromagnetic waves are causing catastrophic
      environmental destruction, including a rise in temperature. The
      damages caused by the waves will ultimately result in the end of the
      earth, according to the cult.

      They also allege that scalar wave attacks are being carried out by
      communist terrorists who have dispersed around the world following the
      break up of the Soviet Union.

      Panawave members always wear white garments saying that they protect
      them from the ill-effects of electromagnetic waves. They have
      previously been in trouble with authorities for blocking traffic and
      covering road signs, signals and trees with white cloths.
      :===End Quote===

      [Twelve Tribes] Controversy Continues To Surround Alleged Cult
      :===Begin Quote===
      Twenty years ago the town of Island Pond made national headlines. The
      charge? An extremist cult was abusing its children.

      Those charges have been dropped and now the group is bigger than ever,
      with 3,000 members around the world.

      They live together in communities, giving up all of their possessions
      to await the second coming.

      The Twelve Tribes are everywhere.

      Members preach on Church Street in Burlington.

      They built Muddy Waters on Main Street.

      They make Common Sense products, sold in the City Market.

      There are 30 communities in dozens of states and countries.

      Plattsburgh State Professor Richard Robbins has studied the group and
      convinced students that it's no more cult than Christianity.

      "I'm not religious, but I find their way of life appealing," he said.
      "We know we're not a cult because each person has the free will to do
      what they choose," Whitten added. The sad part is that the truth
      hasn't gotten out."
      :===End Quote===
      NOTE: See the updated Apologetics Index entry on the Twelve Tribes,
      proving Prof. Robbins wrong in his baseless assertions:

      April 28, 2003

      [Islam] Muslim leaders rip biased Islamic school textbooks
      :===Begin Quote===
      Two prominent New York Muslim leaders have taken to the pulpit to
      condemn anti-Semitic and anti-Christian textbooks used at local
      Islamic schools.

      After hearing about a March 30 Daily News exposè on the textbooks,
      Imam Omar Namus of the Islamic Cultural Center on E. 96th St. publicly
      criticized the books before a gathering of almost 1,000 during Friday
      prayers at the Osman Bin Affan Mosque on E. 55th St.

      Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who presides over the Al-Farah Mosque in
      Tribeca, also criticized the textbooks during Friday prayers before
      about 300 worshipers.
      :===End Quote===

      [Taliban] Pakistan Vows Crackdown on Taliban Remnants
      :===Begin Quote===
      Pakistan on Monday vowed to act against Afghan Taliban leaders who
      might have been operating from its territory, but denied reports that
      the elusive chief of the Islamic militia was in the country.
      :===End Quote===

      Christianity] Bible scholars seek to polish Mary Magdalene's image
      :===Begin Quote===
      The name Mary Magdalene conjures up a Hollywood image of a voluptuous
      temptress, possibly a prostitute, who after hearing the message of
      Jesus of Nazareth sees the error of her ways and repents of her sinful

      But there's a problem with that popular image. It's not true.

      Look closely at the text, biblical scholars say. There are seven
      mentions of Mary Magdalene in the four Gospels and in none is there
      any indication that she engaged in prostitution, adultery or any other
      sexual misdeed.
      :===End Quote===

      [Ethics / Netherlands] Amsterdam trip
      :===Begin Quote===
      A policy of tolerance in the Netherlands has created an indifferent
      view of marijuana and one of the lowest pot-smoking rates in the
      industrialized world.
      :===End Quote===

      [Colonia Dignidad] Rich commune exists in shadow of dark roots
      :===Begin Quote===
      The rows of corn grow tall and straight at Colonia Dignidad, one of
      the world's richest communes. Its timber products, baked goods and
      sausage, renowned for their quality, are sold nationwide. Its 65-bed
      hospital provides the region's best health care. One of the commune's
      elderly German hausfraus seems friendly enough, offering a traveler
      some apple juice for the road.

      But the shadow of its founder and longtime leader, Paul Schaefer - a
      former Nazi and Baptist preacher who fled Germany in 1961 amid charges
      that he had sexually abused boys in an orphanage he ran there - hangs
      over the secretive 70-square-mile commune. So does the dark reputation
      it got during the military dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, when
      survivors say Colonia Dignidad provided hospitality to interrogators
      and torturers in his secret police.

      Chilean investigators say more than 70 criminal investigations are
      pending against the settlement, Schaefer or other residents, including
      tax evasion, fraud, kidnapping and sexual abuse of children.
      :===End Quote===

      [Catholic Church] Monk who gave cappuccino its name beatified
      :===Begin Quote===
      The Pope yesterday beatified a 17th-century friar credited with
      halting a Muslim invasion of Europe and in the process gave the world
      cappuccino coffee.

      As the Turks fled, legend has it, they left behind sacks of coffee
      which the Christians found too bitter, so they sweetened it with honey
      and milk.

      The drink was called cappuccino after the Capuchin order of monks, to
      which d'Aviano belonged.
      :===End Quote===

      [Religion Trends] 69% of Russians Say They Profess a Religion
      :===Begin Quote===
      In recent years the number of Russians who consider themselves
      religious believers and the number of Russians who consider themselves
      Orthodox has increased. According to a recent survey by the Public
      Opinion fund , this year 69% of respondents said that they profess a
      religion. Moreover, 59% of those questioned identified themselves as
      Orthodox, 8% Muslim and 2% other religions. 30% of those questioned
      did not consider themselves religious. In 1997 the same index had 62%
      professing a religion and 38% not professing a religion.
      :===End Quote===

      [Americanism] U.S. Forfeits Claim To Moral Authority
      :===Begin Quote===
      The Bush administration's doctrine of pre-emptive first strike
      represents a radical departure from previous U.S. national security
      doctrine and national values.

      As this country veers wildly off the course set by our founders, the
      United States and the world desperately need new leadership who, like
      Eisenhower, understand that the United States cannot assert moral
      leadership in the world if the rest of the world perceives that it has
      abandoned a foreign policy premised upon respect for the rule of law
      and established international norms.
      :===End Quote===

      [Islam] For Muslims, a Mixture of White House Signals
      :===Begin Quote===
      When President Bush travels to Dearborn, Mich., on Monday to speak to
      Iraqi exiles and other Arab-Americans, he will trail behind him
      considerable uncertainty about his administration's intentions toward

      Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, Mr. Bush has consistently said that
      Islam is a religion of peace and warned against anti-Muslim prejudice.
      Yet he also recently nominated to a government institute a scholar,
      Daniel Pipes, who has enraged many American Muslims by suggesting that
      mosques are breeding grounds for militants and that Muslims in
      government and military positions should be given special attention as
      security risks.

      Mr. Bush reached out to Muslims in the 2000 presidential campaign,
      viewing them as a potentially significant voting bloc that tends to be
      conservative on social issues. But he has also embraced evangelical
      Christian leaders who have cast Islam as evil and has adopted much of
      the foreign policy agenda of neoconservative thinkers who view Islamic
      fundamentalism as perhaps the gravest threat to national security.

      Some political analysts and scholars said the inconsistent signals
      coming from the White House reflected a tension between two factors.
      On one side, they said, is Mr. Bush's instinct that his party should
      stand for tolerance and inclusion, for both moral and electoral
      reasons. On the other, they said, is the political reality that he
      cannot afford to alienate — and may not want to alienate — Christian
      conservatives, who make up much of his base of support, or the
      neoconservative foreign policy hawks whose influence on his
      administration has been profound.
      :===End Quote===

      [Seventh–day Adventism] Anti-abortion protests end in Adventist church
      member's ouster
      :===Begin Quote===
      Steve Decker, a 54-year-old Renton man, says he has demonstrated
      against abortion outside several local Seventh-day Adventist churches
      weekly for most of the past year for the same reason he joined the
      church in the first place: his belief in the Bible.

      But now his demonstrating has led to his ouster from the church, and
      ire from a neighborhood.

      Decker said he was expelled April 19 from membership in the Redmond
      Seventh-day Adventist Church because, he believes, "our church is
      embarrassed and humiliated that I'm exposing the Seventh-day Adventist
      Church's position on abortion."

      Pastor Chad Carlton of the Redmond church said it is not Decker's
      anti-abortion stance that led the church to make its move. Rather,
      "we've communicated with Steve that we disagree with his methods."
      :===End Quote===

      [Christianity] LSU speaker offers 'rational' proof for Christianity
      :===Begin Quote===
      The main dilemma William Lane Craig faces when he speaks at different
      universities is, "There's not enough evidence," he said.

      But Craig is convinced the evidence for Christianity is not quite
      coercive but significantly rational.

      In other words, he said he thinks the evidence would not compel
      someone whose heart was closed to believe in Jesus, but the evidence
      is enough to rationalize Christianity.

      The Campus Crusade for Christ brought Craig to Louisiana State
      University to hold three different speaking engagements this week.
      :===End Quote===

      [Hare Krishna] Molestation case may involve 3 girls
      :===Begin Quote===
      Investigators will be speaking to a third girl in connection with a
      Gainesville man already accused of molesting two girls at the Hare
      Krishna Student Center in Gainesville earlier this month.

      On April 11, Gainesville Police received a report from the center's
      director about an investigation by the Hare Krishna Child Protection
      Team into the alleged April 4 incident, Gainesville Police Sgt. Keith
      Kameg said.

      Scott McGregor, the Krishna center's director, said Garcia sometimes
      attends services.

      "He did have a time in his life when he was more involved," McGregor

      Garcia also had previously lived at the center, McGregor said, but has
      not been a resident for the past several years.

      McGregor, whose spiritual name is Savyasaci das, credited the child
      protection team, saying they have offered counseling to the girls
      involved in case and initiated the investigation that led to the
      police case.
      :===End Quote===

      [Hare Krishna] Hare Krishna Behind Bars
      :===Begin Quote===
      A religious group in shock after one of their own ends up behind bars.
      Forty-four year old Pedro Garcia is in the Alachua County Jail, after
      Gainesville Police arrested him for lewd and lascivious molestation
      :===End Quote===

      [Evolution / Creationism] Texas Tech professor changes evolution
      :===Begin Quote===
      The Justice Department has ended its investigation of a complaint
      against a Texas Tech University biology professor after he stopped
      requiring that students believe in evolution to receive a letter of

      The department said this week that professor Michael Dini eliminated
      the evolution-belief requirement and replaced it with a requirement
      that students be able to explain the theory of evolution, The
      Associated Press reported.
      :===End Quote===

      April 27, 2003

      [Islam] Rumsfeld Rules Out Religious Iraqi Government
      :===Begin Quote===
      Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld is ruling out an Iran-style
      religious government in Iraq as well as any attempt by Syria and
      others in the region to influence Iraq's future.

      ``If you're suggesting, how would we feel about an Iranian-type
      government with a few clerics running everything in the country, the
      answer is: That isn't going to happen,'' Rumsfeld said.

      On the other hand, Secretary of State Colin Powell said religious
      Muslims should not be precluded from governing Iraq.
      :===End Quote===

      [Religious Persecution] Laos evicts three families for not renouncing
      :===Begin Quote===
      Authorities in southern Laos have evicted three Christian families
      from their homes for refusing to renounce their religious beliefs,
      according to Radio Free Asia (RFA), in a move condemned by the US
      :===End Quote===

      [Spiritism] Scottish academics find proof of mediums' ability to use
      extrasensory perception
      :===Begin Quote===
      Scottish academics claim to have found scientific proof of a 'sixth
      sense' after completing radical experiments which seek to establish
      how spiritual mediums obtain information supposedly transmitted from
      beyond the grave.

      The controversial research, led by a University of Glasgow professor,
      appears to discount the common assumption that mediums are merely
      picking up signals from body language, or relying on guesswork and
      prior knowledge.
      :===End Quote===

      [Mariology] Virgin Mary 'weeps' once more
      :===Begin Quote===
      The Rockingham statue of the Virgin Mary, which became the centre of
      world attention last year when it appeared to be "weeping"
      rose-scented tears, began crying again over the Easter weekend.
      :===End Quote===

      [Cult Apologists] Odd Gods: New Religions & the Cult Controversy (Book
      Review by Janja Lalich)
      :===Begin Quote===
      Odd Gods: New Religions & the Cult Controversy, JAMES R. LEWIS (ED.),
      Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2001, 435 pp., $33.00 (cloth).

      Lewis's purpose, stated clearly at the outset, is to counter the
      general public's negative perception of cults and new religious
      movements (NRMs), which he maintains is fueled by press exposes and
      periodic scandals.

      Most of the book is devoted to entries of varying lengths, many of
      which have been vetted by the groups themselves, although the reader
      does not know which ones.

      Certainly it is a challenge to pull together information on dozens of
      groups and try to represent them accurately. I commend Lewis for his
      perseverance in that regard. About two dozen entries are authored by
      other scholars with specialties in a particular area. Perhaps my
      biggest reservation about this book is that it contains practically no
      new information. In the Preface we learn that all 19 chapters are
      taken from two of Lewis's other works.
      :===End Quote===
      Note: See Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi's devastating evaluation of cult
      apologist James R. Lewis' so-called 'research':

      For more on Lewis, his pro-cult activities, his shoddy research, his
      false claims, etcetera, see:

      [Religious Persecution] Christian receives life sentence in Pakistan
      for blasphemy
      :===Begin Quote===
      A court in Pakistan has sentenced a Christian to life in prison for
      blasphemy, police officials said Sunday.

      International and Pakistani human rights groups say the nation's
      blasphemy laws are easily abused and unfair because the accused have
      the burden to prove their innocence.
      :===End Quote===

      ApologeticsIndex.org / ReligionNewsBlog.com
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