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Religion News Blog, May 15 - 16, 2003

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  • Anton Hein
    ReligionNewsBlog.com, May 15 - 16, 2003 Excerpts: May 16, 2003 [Media] Newspapers Fall Short on Religious Accuracy and Context, Study Alleges
    Message 1 of 1 , May 16, 2003
      ReligionNewsBlog.com, May 15 - 16, 2003


      May 16, 2003

      [Media] Newspapers Fall Short on Religious Accuracy and Context, Study
      :===Begin Quote===
      Daily newspapers have "significant gaps in providing readers with an
      understanding of religious beliefs and practices," a University of
      Rochester (N.Y.) study reveals.

      "On the one hand, religion pervades America's newspapers," Curt Smith,
      former presidential speechwriter and senior lecturer of English at the
      University of Rochester said in a release. "On the other, stories
      about religion rarely discuss its beliefs, values and practices."
      :===End Quote===
      NOTE: See also:
      Religion in the news -- expanding and improving
      Scripps Howard, Jan. 15, 2003

      Surprises in religious magazines
      The Associated Press, Jan. 25, 2003

      [Panawave] Probing Pana Wave's nature
      :===Begin Quote===
      At the moment, the cult is not suspected of any serious offense.
      Nevertheless, it has created suspicion and even alarm, in large part
      because very little is known about this quasi-religious organization,
      particularly its activities and finances. Police should speed up their
      investigation to find out what it is up to. One lesson from Aum
      Shinrikyo is that its heinous crimes, including the sarin gas attack
      on a Tokyo subway in March 1995, could have been prevented if police
      had begun investigating the group sooner.

      As for Pana Wave, police first must do everything they can to clear up
      public apprehensions about it. An analysis of seized documents, for
      example, may provide clues to its real aims. One can only hope that it
      is just a bizarre cult with no destructive intent. Given the
      constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion, investigators need to
      exercise utmost caution.
      :===End Quote===

      [Laci Peterson] Scott Peterson's lawyers suggest Laci died in satanic
      ritual, not by husband's hand
      :===Begin Quote===
      NBC News has learned that for almost a week Scott Peterson's defense
      team has been considering a gruesome possibility: that Laci Peterson
      was not just killed, but actually carved up, and the son with whom she
      was eight months pregnant was cut from her body, not separated after
      death, as prosecutors will likely argue.

      In April part of Laci's body was recovered about a mile away from
      where her baby had been found the day before. One of the theories of
      the defense is a satanic ritual, possibly at the hands of one of the
      known Modesto cults.
      :===End Quote===

      [Psychology] The Psychology of a Murderer
      :===Begin Quote===
      In 2000, nearly 1.5 million violent crimes were committed. Add to that
      the thousands killed on September 11 and you will see why many
      scientists devote themselves to studying the criminal mind. In this
      special report here’s a look into the psychological world of

      Steve Hassan, a cult counselor in Somerville, Mass., says it wasn’t
      his own desire for control but someone else’s that nearly drove him to

      "In my case I was fortunate enough not to be given a gun and told to
      shoot someone because I probably would have," says Hassan.

      Hassan says he spent three years under the mind control of a cult.
      It’s this type of control he believes is behind the September 11

      "When I look at Taliban and Al Qaeda members and listen to their
      outrageous beliefs, I say, ’I know that level of insanity,’" he says.

      As Hassan now works to help others escape dangerous mind control,
      scientists work to better understand the mind.
      :===End Quote===

      [South Korean Cult (Unidentified)] Four bodies found at South Korean
      religious sect
      :===Begin Quote===

      South Korean police said on Friday they had found four dead bodies at
      a compound run by a religious sect north of the capital Seoul,
      possibly murdered as part of a reincarnation ritual.

      The religious affiliation of the sect and details of its membership
      were not immediately known, police said.
      :===End Quote===

      [Panawave] White cult awaits 'postponed' doomsday at Fukui HQ
      :===Begin Quote===
      The Panawave Laboratory cult predicted that that a major disaster
      would devastate the Earth on Thursday. However, as doomsday
      approached, a senior member of the cult hinted that it would be
      "delayed" until around May 22.
      :===End Quote===

      [South Korean Cult (Unidentified)] 4 Bodies Found at Cult Headquarters
      :===Begin Quote===
      The Uijeongbu branch office of the District Public Prosecutors Office
      said that a member of the cult, which was unidentified, had been
      killed and kept inside the container to be resurrected. The three
      other bodies were brought from outside and also kept inside in the
      belief they would be brought back to life, prosecutors said.

      The authorities had received a report from an outsider that people in
      a religious cult had beaten another member to death in February for
      his indolence and lack of faith. Leaders of the cult were arrested on
      the spot.
      :===End Quote===

      [Panawave] Men in white sheets postpone end of the world to next
      :===Begin Quote===
      The cult's nearby headquarters was established a decade ago when its
      leader, Yuko Chino, decided to seek a secluded spot free of the
      electro-magnetic waves she says are destroying the world and her
      health. The cult believes white deflects the waves.

      The convoy arrived in Godaishi after being chased from one spot to
      another across Japan by hostile local authorities. The cult has
      disturbed the country with its claims that the approach of a 10th
      planet would trigger the destruction of the earth on May 15. A
      spokesman now says the apocalypse has been postponed until next
      :===End Quote===

      [Polygamy] Meeting sheds light on Colorado City polygamist sect
      :===Begin Quote===
      The sign unfurled over the table asked, “Where is Ruby Jessop?”

      Ruby Jessop was 14 when she disappeared in April 2001 after being
      married to her stepbrother in the polygamist town of Hildale, Utah.

      Bob Curran and Jim Ashurst talked about the controversial polygamist
      sect along the Arizona-Utah border during a meeting Wednesday night at
      the Powerhouse Visitor Center.

      Curran who lives in St George, Utah, helped found “Help the Child
      Brides,” a small group of volunteers and activists whose goal is
      helping young girls like Jessop escape from the sect, which is called
      "The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints."
      :===End Quote===

      [Islam] Russian Muslims hail headscarf ruling
      :===Begin Quote===
      Muslim women in Russia will be permitted to wear headscarves in
      passport photos, the country's Supreme Court has ruled in what has
      been hailed a victory for civil rights.
      :===End Quote===

      [Ritual Slaughter] Report: Britain to debate ban on Jewish slaughter
      :===Begin Quote===
      The British government will next month discuss a total ban on Jewish
      and Muslim ritual slaughter in a move set to anger thousands, the
      Times of London reported Thursday.

      Under European Union animal welfare regulations, all farm animals must
      be stunned before slaughter, unless they are killed by religious
      methods, the paper said. According to Jewish and Muslim religious law,
      the animal's neck is slit and left to bleed to death.

      Though some Muslim slaughterhouses allow the use of electric stunners,
      Jewish law is less flexible and shocking the animal first is not

      The Times reported Thursday that a four-year study by the Farm Animal
      Welfare Council, which is appointed and funded by the British
      government, has concluded that Jewish and Muslim slaughter methods are
      :===End Quote===

      [Islam / Islamism] 'Terrorists have no religion'
      :===Begin Quote===
      Fawaz Damra, imam of the Grand Mosque of Cleveland, had a message for
      several dozen people who gathered at the first Congregational Church
      on Wednesday night to hear him speak.

      "Terrorists have no religion, only politics. Osama bin Laden is
      nothing but a religious cult. What he said about war against America
      is nonsense," he said. "True Muslims know they cannot use the Koran
      against the people of the book (Jews, Christians and Muslims).

      The imam was the guest of Citizens for Peace and Justice, a local
      group that promotes peace between the United States and Middle Eastern

      Damra said the idea that Christianity and Islam are in competition,
      and that one of the goals of Islam is to eradicate non-Muslim
      infidels, is a gross misconception.
      :===End Quote===

      [Panawave] End of the world? Cult gets date wrong
      :===Begin Quote===
      If you are reading this story, then clearly the world did not end as
      predicted by a bizarre Japanese cult which claimed that the Earth was
      to have been devastated by a major catastrophe yesterday.

      The cult, which recently achieved notoriety throughout Japan for the
      all-white costumes of its members and their apocalyptic ravings, had
      predicted that the North and South poles would switch polarities,
      triggering a gigantic earthquake.

      The pale and disheveled 69-year-old female leader of the cult, Ms Yuko
      Chino, told a television interviewer recently: 'There will be an
      earthquake of magnitude 15. That's why I want to die.'
      :===End Quote===

      [Tvind] Sinister cult is back luring victims
      :===Begin Quote===
      A charity linked to a sinister cult has started recruiting again in
      Norwich — more than three years after the Evening News first exposed
      its operation.

      The Tvind organisation places adverts in local newspapers and takes to
      the streets in a bid to lure volunteers by claiming to offer charity
      work for Aids victims in Malawi and Mozambique.

      The Danish-based cult gets people to pay for their own flights out to
      Scandinavia for a "six month training programme" before packing them
      off to the needy countries.

      But many volunteers claim the organisation attempts to brainwash them
      into working for free — including begging on the streets of Europe —
      while cashing in on their labour.
      :===End Quote===

      May 15, 2003

      [Neil and Christy Edgar] Edgar trial pushed back to September
      :===Begin Quote===
      The delay was sought by attorneys for the boy's father, Neil Edgar
      Sr., who earlier had pushed for trial on June 23.

      Neil Edgar, his wife, Christy Edgar, and the family's baby sitter
      Chasity Boyd are charged with first-degree felony murder in the death
      in December of 9-year-old Brian.

      He died at the family's Overland Park house after being bound with
      duct tape overnight as a punishment for stealing food, according to
      preliminary hearing testimony.

      The three defendants also are charged with abusing two of the couple's
      other children.
      :===End Quote===

      [Lord's Resistance Army] Army pursuing LRA rebels
      :===Begin Quote===
      The Ugandan army on Tuesday said it was still pursuing members of the
      rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) who abducted 44 young people from a
      Catholic seminary in northern Uganda at the weekend.
      :===End Quote===

      [Hate Groups] Aryans Will Not March In Coeur d'Alene This Year
      :===Begin Quote===
      The white supremacist group had hoped to have a parade that coincided
      with the Aryan Nations World Congress June 20th in Farragut State
      Park. But the group applied for a date that was already taken.
      :===End Quote===

      [Elizabeth Loftus] UCI psychologist earns fellowship
      :===Begin Quote===
      University of California, Irvine, psychologist Elizabeth Loftus has
      been elected a fellow of the American Academy for the Arts and
      :===End Quote===

      [Panawave Laboratory] Investigators target Pana Wave over minor
      vehicle offenses
      :===Begin Quote===
      Police on Wednesday searched facilities and vehicles used by the Pana
      Wave Laboratory over minor allegations that the sect had falsely
      registered vehicles.

      The police searched 12 facilities in Tokyo, Fukui, Yamanashi, Okayama
      and Fukuoka prefectures, as well as 17 white vehicles that recently
      drew great media attention as they moved in a slow-moving caravan
      through mountainous areas of rural Japan.
      :===End Quote===

      [Japan / Cults] Rise of Japanese cults
      :===Begin Quote===
      Several explanations are offered to explain the growth in cults in
      Japan, but many trace them back to the loss of spiritual certainties
      taught before the war, and to the more recent economic decline that
      has eroded the confidence of a society that has measured its worth by

      Some say the malaise has reached deep into society, with parents and
      teachers losing authority, and traditional moral values being

      In such an atmosphere people - especially the young - are seeking
      alternative forms of security and spiritual fulfilment.

      The Japanese Government - which recently estimated that there could be
      more than 200,000 cults at large - says many have profit as their main
      :===End Quote===

      [Panawave] Group Mentality: Police search white cult's facilities
      :===Begin Quote===
      Investigators say they want to get to the bottom of Pana Wave's
      bizarre antics.

      Police on Wednesday searched facilities of Pana Wave Laboratory, the
      group of oddball, white-clad doomsayers obsessed with electromagnetic
      waves and the celebrity seal Tama-chan.

      The searches at 12 facilities in Tokyo and Fukui, Yamanashi, Okayama
      and Fukuoka prefectures appeared to be more about fear of the unknown
      than any serious crime. The police action was based on allegations the
      cult used falsely registered vehicles.

      ``We want to snuff out any social anxiety at an early stage,'' a
      senior officer said.
      :===End Quote===

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