Religion News Blog, May 15 - 16, 2003
- ReligionNewsBlog.com, May 15 - 16, 2003
May 16, 2003
[Media] Newspapers Fall Short on Religious Accuracy and Context, Study
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."
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
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.
[Laci Peterson] Scott Peterson's lawyers suggest Laci died in satanic
ritual, not by husband's hand
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.
[Psychology] The Psychology of a Murderer
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 heres a look into the psychological world of
Steve Hassan, a cult counselor in Somerville, Mass., says it wasnt
his own desire for control but someone elses 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.
Its 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.
[South Korean Cult (Unidentified)] Four bodies found at South Korean
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.
[Panawave] White cult awaits 'postponed' doomsday at Fukui HQ
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.
[South Korean Cult (Unidentified)] 4 Bodies Found at Cult Headquarters
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
[Panawave] Men in white sheets postpone end of the world to next
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
[Polygamy] Meeting sheds light on Colorado City polygamist sect
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."
[Islam] Russian Muslims hail headscarf ruling
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.
[Ritual Slaughter] Report: Britain to debate ban on Jewish slaughter
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
[Islam / Islamism] 'Terrorists have no religion'
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.
[Panawave] End of the world? Cult gets date wrong
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.'
[Tvind] Sinister cult is back luring victims
A charity linked to a sinister cult has started recruiting again in
Norwich more than three years after the Evening News first exposed
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.
May 15, 2003
[Neil and Christy Edgar] Edgar trial pushed back to September
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
[Lord's Resistance Army] Army pursuing LRA rebels
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.
[Hate Groups] Aryans Will Not March In Coeur d'Alene This Year
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.
[Elizabeth Loftus] UCI psychologist earns fellowship
University of California, Irvine, psychologist Elizabeth Loftus has
been elected a fellow of the American Academy for the Arts and
[Panawave Laboratory] Investigators target Pana Wave over minor
Police on Wednesday searched facilities and vehicles used by the Pana
Wave Laboratory over minor allegations that the sect had falsely
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.
[Japan / Cults] Rise of Japanese cults
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
[Panawave] Group Mentality: Police search white cult's facilities
Investigators say they want to get to the bottom of Pana Wave's
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.
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