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Religion News Blog, May 1 - 2, 2003

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  • Anton Hein
    Religion News Blog, May 1 - 2, 2003 May 2, 2003 [Santeria] Criminal spirits in Venezuela s Santeria pantheon help the faithful
    Message 1 of 1 , May 2, 2003
      Religion News Blog, May 1 - 2, 2003

      May 2, 2003

      [Santeria] Criminal spirits in Venezuela's Santeria pantheon help the
      :===Begin Quote===
      Venezuelans have long practiced novel versions of the
      Afro-Caribbean-based Santeria faith, whose local pantheon includes
      19th century South American liberator Simon Bolivar.

      But there's nothing like the newest icons at Santeria shops: criminals
      who are legends in Caracas slums. These foot-(30-centimeter-)high
      statuettes, sporting guns and knives in jeans pickets, represent
      spirits trying to repent for their sins by warning youngsters to avoid
      crime, help people get out of jail, and cure drug addiction.

      Their spirits are part of the 200-year-old cult of Maria Lionza -- the
      basis for Venezuelan variations of Santeria, a faith that emerged in
      Cuba when African slaves began blending Yoruba spiritual beliefs with
      Roman Catholic traditions.
      :===End Quote===

      [Panawave] Doomsday sect asked to move on
      :===Begin Quote===
      The Gifu Prefectural Government gave a group dressed in white gowns a
      7 p.m. Friday deadline to remove tents and other equipment they have
      set up beside a highway, in accordance with traffic laws, government
      officials said.

      The group had been blocking a mountain road in Gifu Prefecture for
      about a week before being evicted by police. On Friday, they moved
      their vehicles about 20 km northeast of that location.

      Known as Pana Wave Laboratory, the group was apparently planning to
      comply with the government order. Members have erected tents and again
      wrapped their caravan of white vehicles, guardrails and trees around
      the site in white materials.
      :===End Quote===

      [Ritual Killing] Priest to die for child sacrifice
      :===Begin Quote===
      A court has sentenced a priest to death for sacrificing a
      nine-year-old child to appease a deity in the eastern Indian state of
      :===End Quote===

      [Terrorism / Islam] 11 Islamic Groups Added to Terror List
      :===Begin Quote===
      The State Department added 11 militant Islamic groups to its official
      list of terrorist organizations Wednesday but said that international
      efforts had reduced worldwide terrorist attacks and doubled the number
      of Al Qaeda members in custody to more than 3,000.
      :===End Quote===

      [Twelve Tribes] Cult Moves Into Ithaca
      :===Begin Quote===
      Cornell students won't be the only ones shepherded into acting
      uniformly on the Slope today. The Twelve Tribes religious organization
      recently purchased a building across from the Ithaca Commons,
      expanding their holdings in Ithaca significantly since their arrival
      several months ago.
      :===End Quote===

      [Panawave] White cult on the move as doomsday approaches
      :===Begin Quote===
      The expected arrival of the Panawave Laboratory doomsday cult in the
      normally tranquil Yamanashi Prefecture village of Oizumi has unsettled
      residents, as the motorcade of cultists continued to snake around
      central Japan on Friday.

      The white-clad cult members, who were forced by police Thursday to
      leave Hachiman, Gifu Prefecture, where they had occupied a section of
      road for a week since April 25, made a short journey in their fleet of
      white vehicles and arrived at a neighboring village of Kiyomi in the
      predawn hours of Friday.

      The dozens of cultists immediately covered crash barriers and trees
      alongside the road where they have parked their vehicles with white
      cloths, which they believe will protect them and their ailing guru
      from "harmful electromagnetic waves."
      :===End Quote===

      [Offbeat News] Bad timing paints modern artist as bizarre cultist
      :===Begin Quote===
      An open-air display of modern art has drawn the unexpected attraction
      of local police because of its uncanny resemblance to the works of the
      controversial all-white cult, the Panawave Laboratory.

      Kazuya Nakaue, who runs the gallery in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi
      Prefecture, that organized the exhibit featuring white cloths covering
      trees, had to explain to police officers on Thursday that it has
      nothing to do with the cult.
      :===End Quote===

      [Panawave] White-robed cultists hit the road
      :===Begin Quote===
      Threatened with being slapped with a traffic violation, a mysterious
      group of white-robed cultists packed up Thursday and vacated the
      forest road they've occupied for the past week. It was not clear where
      the group was headed.

      The strange behavior of the cult, known as Pana Wave Laboratory, has
      raised eyebrows, and in some cases alarm, around the country.

      ``The group is strange and similar to Aum Shinrikyo in its early
      stages,'' said Hidehiko Sato, director-general of the National Police
      Agency. ``We're going to crack down on any possible illegal activities
      of the group.''
      :===End Quote===
      Note: Thus far, the cult apologists who attempted to whitewashe the
      Aum Shinrikyo cult have not issued any statement regarding this group.

      [Cults] Analysis: Japan's lethal doomsday cults
      :===Begin Quote===
      It's not clear if the Pana Wave Laboratory group, which set up camp on
      a mountain road 170 miles west of Tokyo, is linked to the Aum Shinri
      Kyo sect, whose leaders allegedly tried to trigger World War III when
      poisoning commuters on underground trains with sarin gas.

      The similarities cannot be overlooked, however. Like Aum Shinri Kyo
      followers, the 40 Pana Wave members involved in a standoff with police
      are clad entirely in white.

      Both groups have apocalyptical visions: Pana Wave apparently believes
      that the world will be destroyed by disasters on May 15; Aum's founder
      Shoko Asahara, currently on trial for his life, urged his followers to
      arm themselves for doomsday.
      :===End Quote===

      [Transcendental Meditation] Montreal to get 'peace palace'
      :===Begin Quote===
      The peace palace will be one of hundreds around the world, said John
      Cerigo, head of the Maharishi Vedic College of Montreal. He didn't
      announce the expected cost of the 12,000 sq. foot building, but he
      expressed a serene confidence that money will not be a problem.
      :===End Quote===

      [Ethics / Iraq] Matters of Emphasis
      :===Begin Quote===
      "We were not lying," a Bush administration official told ABC News.
      "But it was just a matter of emphasis." The official was referring to
      the way the administration hyped the threat that Saddam Hussein posed
      to the United States. According to the ABC report, the real reason for
      the war was that the administration "wanted to make a statement." And
      why Iraq? "Officials acknowledge that Saddam had all the requirements
      to make him, from their standpoint, the perfect target."

      A British newspaper, The Independent, reports that "intelligence
      agencies on both sides of the Atlantic were furious that briefings
      they gave political leaders were distorted in the rush to war." One
      "high-level source" told the paper that "they ignored intelligence
      assessments which said Iraq was not a threat."

      Sure enough, we have yet to find any weapons of mass destruction.

      Meanwhile, aren't the leaders of a democratic nation supposed to tell
      their citizens the truth?

      One wonders whether most of the public will ever learn that the
      original case for war has turned out to be false. In fact, my guess is
      that most Americans believe that we have found W.M.D.'s. Each
      potential find gets blaring coverage on TV; how many people catch the
      later announcement — if it is ever announced — that it was a false
      alarm? It's a pattern of misinformation that recapitulates the way the
      war was sold in the first place. Each administration charge against
      Iraq received prominent coverage; the subsequent debunking did not.
      :===End Quote===

      [Human Rights Violations, USA] One more reason to end the death
      :===Begin Quote===
      "Amrine has met his burden of providing clear and convincing evidence
      of actual innocence that undermines confidence in the correctness of
      the judgment. This case presents the rare circumstance in which no
      credible evidence remains from the first trial to support the
      conviction". Missouri Supreme Court, Amrine v Roper, 29 April 2003.

      On 29 April 2003, the Missouri Supreme Court overturned the conviction
      and death sentence of Joseph Amrine. He had been on death row for 17
      years for the murder of fellow inmate Gary Barber, a crime which
      Joseph Amrine has always said he did not commit. The state must now
      retry or release him.

      Even as the prosecution's case against Joseph Amrine fell apart over
      the years, the state continued to seek his execution. Indeed, at a
      hearing on 4 February 2003 before the Missouri Supreme Court, a
      prosecutor from the state Attorney General's Office argued that the
      Court should block Joseph Amrine from having his case reopened. One of
      the Justices asked whether in the absence of the Court finding a
      constitutional violation, the state was suggesting that "even if we
      find Mr Amrine is actually innocent, he should be executed?" The
      assistant attorney general replied, "That's correct, your honour".
      :===End Quote===

      May 1, 2003

      [Panawave] White-garment cult group moves out of Gifu forest road
      :===Begin Quote===
      After more than three hours of confrontation with the police, a group
      of about 40 white-garment cult members cleared out of a forest road in
      Gifu Prefecture on Thursday, moving slowly on a caravan of white wagon

      According to the NPA [National Police Agency], Pana Wave was
      established around 1977 and has some 1,200 members nationwide. The
      leader of the group is a 69-year-old woman.
      :===End Quote===

      [Panawave] Cult leaves after police search
      :===Begin Quote===
      A Panawave spokesman said the caravan was protecting Yuko Chino, 69, a
      self-proclaimed prophet who preaches a blend of Christianity, Buddhism
      and New Age doctrines.

      According to the group's literature, Chino believes that an
      undiscovered planet is moving closer to the earth and will cause
      "cataclysmic" changes this summer.
      :===End Quote===

      [Panawave] Another bizarre cult raises concern
      :===Begin Quote===
      Japanese police said yesterday they were ready to crack down on a
      bizarre "white-costume" cult which has stirred unease among local
      people by occupying a public road and shrouding the surrounding area
      with mysterious white screens.

      Police started questioning white-clad members of the Pana Wave
      Laboratory cult who, since last Friday have been occupying a 200-metre
      stretch of a mountain road with a caravan of 15 white-shrouded cars
      and vans in Gifu, about 300 kilometres west of Tokyo.

      The local authority on Wednesday issued an expulsion order to the
      cult, which claims the earth is in danger because of electromagnetic
      waves used with evil intent by communists, according to its website.
      :===End Quote===

      [Prem Rawat (Divine Light Mission)] Guru Offers Message to Attentive
      :===Begin Quote===
      A spiritual guru, who has been accused of being a cult leader, spoke
      to an eager audience at UC Berkeley last night, stressing the need to
      find personal fulfillment in life.

      Prem Rawat, greeted with a standing ovation and loud cheers at
      Zellerbach Hall, was accused of banning former followers from the

      During the speech, he avoided talk of religion and instead encouraged
      audience members to appreciate the simple things in life.

      More than 30 years ago, a group sprouted up to spread Rawat's message.
      They called him Guru Maharaj Ji, "Lord of the Universe" and "Perfect

      Throughout the event, Rawat told audience members his message was not
      a religion but a supplement to daily living.
      :===End Quote===

      [Robin Mary Murphy] Cult murders haunt retired city detective
      :===Begin Quote===
      Paul Carey, the former detective sergeant who led the investigation
      into the "cult murder" of Karen Marsden 23 years ago, has spent the
      past four years working to exonerate her convicted murderer, Carl

      Drew was sentenced to life in prison without parole. His co-defendant,
      Robin Marie Murphy, accepted a plea bargain for second-degree murder.

      After serving 22 years in prison, Murphy recently requested a new
      trial because she believes she was not given an ample explanation of
      the charge she was pleading guilty to and thought she would be out of
      jail in 15 years.

      But Carey says Murphy was the cult leader and was responsible for all
      three cult murders in 1979 and 1980.
      :===End Quote===

      [Panawave] 300 Gifu police start investigation into white-robed
      :===Begin Quote===
      Some 300 Gifu prefectural police on Thursday began searching the
      vehicles of a cult group that has blocked a mountain road for days,
      draped white sheets from the trees and accused leftists of trying to
      harm its members with electromagnetic waves.

      Members of the group, which calls itself Panawave Laboratory, started
      to leave the area around 6:50 p.m. after moving luggage from their
      tents to about 15 cars and vans. At around 3:30 p.m. the police
      ordered the group to move 10 of the vehicles, which were violating
      parking regulations and obstructing traffic.

      A Panawave spokesman said the caravan was protecting Yuko Chino, 69, a
      self-proclaimed prophet who preaches a blend of Christianity, Buddhism
      and New Age doctrines.

      According to the group's literature, Chino believes that a 10th planet
      is moving closer to the earth and will cause "cataclysmic" changes
      this summer.
      :===End Quote===

      [Panawave] Cops crack down on cult for 'traffic violations'
      :===Begin Quote===
      In Oizumi, Yamanashi Prefecture, Panawave Laboratory members are
      constructing two dome-shaped structures and plan to move there,
      causing local officials and residents in Yamanashi to feel uneasy.

      Since construction of the domes began sometime around February this
      year, the site has been often visited by apparent members of the cult,
      local sources said.
      :===End Quote===

      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Reed Slatkin associate to plead to
      :===Begin Quote===
      A second associate of former EarthLink Inc. financier Reed Slatkin has
      agreed to plead guilty to charges of obstructing justice in the probe
      into Slatkin's $600 million investment scheme, federal prosecutors
      said Friday.

      The U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles said Richard McMullin, 38,
      has agreed to plead guilty at a May arraignment to charges of
      obstructing the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's probe into
      Slatkin and making false statements under oath to federal agents and a
      bankruptcy trustee.

      Slatkin, who provided start-up funds for Internet service provider
      EarthLink, pleaded guilty last April to bilking nearly 800 clients out
      of almost $600 million in a so-called ''Ponzi scheme,'' where he used
      investments from new clients to pay returns to old clients.
      :===End Quote===
      Note: Slatkin was an ordained Scientology 'minister.' Earthlink has
      Scientology connections.

      [Falun Gong] Swede to be expelled over Falungong link
      :===Begin Quote===
      [Bankok] Immigration police are preparing to deport a Swedish follower
      of the Falungong religious sect on suspicion she planned to stage a
      protest during the visit of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.

      Special Branch police arrested Pirjo Svensson, 50, on Tuesday after
      finding Falungong materials and documents critical of the Chinese
      government among her belongings.
      :===End Quote===

      [Panawave] Japan Investigates Suspected New Age Cult
      :===Begin Quote===
      Japanese police on Thursday began searching the vehicles of a New Age
      group that has blocked a mountain road for days, draped white sheets
      from the trees and accused leftists of trying to harm its members with
      electromagnetic waves.

      The group, which calls itself Panawave, took over the road in western
      Gifu state last week, saying it was fleeing persecution.
      :===End Quote===

      [Panawave] Police Stand-Off with Cult Raises Concern in Japan
      :===Begin Quote===
      The group, which calls itself "Pana Wave Laboratory" and believes the
      world will be devastated by natural disasters on May 15, set up camp
      on a mountain road in central Japan last week and is refusing to budge
      until Saturday.

      The cult members, clad entirely in white in what they say is
      protection from electromagnetic waves that made their founder gravely
      ill, have blocked off the narrow road in Gifu prefecture, some 171
      miles west of Tokyo.

      Japanese newspapers have reported that the cult involved in the
      stand-off -- apparently an offshoot of a religious group that emerged
      some 30 years ago -- believes there will be a reversal of the magnetic
      pole on May 15, causing tidal waves and earthquakes.

      An official with the group also told reporters earlier this week that
      a communist group was seeking to take the life of their leader by
      trying to kill her with a weapon using electromagnetic waves.
      :===End Quote===

      [Panawave] Group, police not on same wavelength
      :===Begin Quote===
      All the followers are dressed in white, as are the 15 or so vehicles
      in their caravan. Group members have also draped surrounding hedgerows
      in white.

      A lawyer who has worked for victims of the Aum Shinrikyo cult said
      Pana Wave Laboratory was an offshoot of a religious organization that
      emerged in the late 1970s.

      Taro Takimoto said the group released a publication in the spring of
      2002 that hinted at Armageddon.

      The group said mankind would be destroyed if its founder, who is said
      to be ill, should die.
      :===End Quote===

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