Religion News Blog, May 17 - 22
- Religion News Blog, May 17 - 22
May 22, 2003
[Word of Faith Fellowship] Protesters gather at WOFF site
A dozen, rain-soaked, sign-carrying protesters greeted members of The
Word of Faith Fellowship as they arrived for Wednesday evening
The signs, carried by area residents and former members of the
organization, included slogans such as "Free the Children", "Freedom",
"Enough is Enough", "God Have Mercy on Word of Faith" and "Blasting is
Many of the demonstrators said they came in support of Shana Muse, a
Florida woman who has been involved in a five-month custody battle
over her four children. Her two boys and two girls now reside with a
WOFF minister and his wife, Kent and Brooke Covington. A court hearing
is set for Friday when a judge is expected to hear from the Department
of Social Services which alleges the children are being abused and
[Mungiki] 16 Alleged 'Mungiki' Members Arrested
Inside "Pentagon", the police recovered the sect's paraphernalia which
included snuff, bottles of honey, swords, axes, machettes, hand gloves
and other alleged oathing materials including cow horns painted black
green and white.
The machettes and some black gloves were stained with dried blood, the
Also recovered were neatly printed documents on the sect's ideals and
The document, printed with colours identified with the sect - green,
black, white and red - was entitled Reformation and talked of violence
as a way of achieving desired changes in the society.
[Hate Crimes] Sikh man shot because of his appearance, police say
"I hear that voice: 'Go back to where you belong to.' And at the same
time I heard the shot," Singh said.
The men wounded Singh in the lower abdomen and upper thigh. He was not
robbed and nothing was taken from the truck, said Phoenix police
Detective Tony Morales.
[Islamism] Audio Message Urges Muslims to Attack
In an audiotape broadcast today, a man identified as the deputy head
of the al Qaeda network called on Muslims to attack Western facilities
across the world, kill Western civilians and Jews, and "turn the
ground beneath their feet into an inferno."
Broadcast by al-Jazeera television as the United States and Saudi
Arabia braced for possible new attacks, the statement was attributed
to Ayman Zawahiri, a physician who founded Egyptian Islamic Jihad,
which merged with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda. There was no immediate
confirmation that the voice was that of Zawahiri, who is presumed to
have been in hiding since U.S. attacks in Afghanistan began in October
[Buddhism] Buddhists 'really are happier'
Scientists say they have evidence to show that Buddhists really are
happier and calmer than other people.
Tests carried out in the United States reveal that areas of their
brain associated with good mood and positive feelings are more active.
The findings come as another study suggests that Buddhist meditation
can help to calm people.
[Mormon Church] A lapsed Mormon novelist fears her book may bring
Nineteenth-century polygamy and an 1857 massacre are hypersensitive
subjects in Mormon history. Judith Freeman tackled both in her 2002
novel, ''Red Water.''
Now the writer who divides her time between Los Angeles and Idaho
fears she may to pay a price that other Mormon writers and artists
have faced: pressure from the church.
In July, six months after the novel's publication, the president of
the Los Angeles temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints wrote Freeman a letter inviting her to meet with him ''to
discuss your feelings about the church and what, if anything, should
be done about them.''
A lapsed Mormon who hasn't been to church for 30 years but never
requested to be removed from its membership rolls, Freeman said she
found the letter by Michael Fairclough ominous.
''This letter was intended to silence or punish or intimidate me as a
writer,'' she said.
[McDonald's] McDonald's settles vegetarian suit
A Cook County judge Tuesday resolved months of dispute by naming 24
groups to divide a $10 million settlement from McDonald's for using
animal fat in its French fries.
Of the $10 million, the fast-food company agreed to donate $6 million
to vegetarian groups, $2 million to Hindu groups, and the remaining
money to various Jewish groups to promote the understanding of Kosher
May 21, 2003
[Word of Faith Fellowship] DSS files petitions in WOFF case
The Rutherford County Department of Social Services has filed
petitions asking a court to determine if four children now residing
with a family inside The Word of Faith Fellowship should be under "the
care, custody, or supervision of the state."
The documents, served Tuesday, allege the children are being abused
and neglected. The DSS petitions focus on several aspects of the
church's practices: Severe corporal punishment, isolating children for
up to months at a time and a form of prayer called "blasting" which
former church members say is meant to drive devils and demons from a
The DSS action is believed to be the first instance in which the
agency has asserted that specific practices at WOFF are harmful to
[Human Rights Violations, USA] For wrongly convicted, $100 and a bus
Inmates who are exonerated by DNA testing, cleared by prosecutors,
released by judges, even pardoned by the governor are not
automatically entitled to compensation under Florida law for their
years of wrongful imprisonment -- as they are in more than a dozen
That reality is dawning on a handful of Broward County men who have
seen old murder convictions overturned in the past three years through
DNA testing or newly uncovered evidence of innocence.
[Reincarnation / False Memory Syndrome] In a former life she was a gay
Pollard's experience is the most dramatic of the nine people who
gather in a small, candlelit office in north Edmonton for a group
past-life regression after reading a newspaper ad placed by
hypnotherapist Kari Clarke.
But if 42 per cent of people believe in things like past-life
regression, the other 58 per cent have no opinion or dismiss it as
bunk and dangerous bunk to boot. Robert T. Carroll, a professor of
philosophy at Sacramento City College, falls into this category.
Memory is so malleable, it's really easy to plant suggestions that are
as real to people as if they actually happened, he says. People who
have never been abused, suffer as if they had been abused by the
planting of these false memories. They can have a tremendous effect on
a person's life."
[House of Prayer] Allen, Parishioners Still Missing
Reverend Arthur Allen, the pastor of the House of Prayer, made
headlines after being accused of cruelty to children for punishing
children in church. He and two other church members were convicted,
but failed to show up for a probation hearing in March.
They have now been missing for two months.
[Islam vs. USA] 'Muslim' cola gets Dutch launch
Qibla offers a real alternative for people concerned by the practices
of some major western multinationals who support unjust causes and
oppression. By choosing to boycott major brands, consumers are sending
a powerful signal - that the exploitation of people cannot continue
unchecked. Qibla Cola represents the conscious choice for consumers
who reject injustice and exploitation.
Note: There are two other 'Muslim' colas: Mecca and Zam Zam
[Polygamy] Hildale woman holds Q&A session on polygamy
Pam Black, who has broken ranks with the Fundamentalist Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, talked about her 46-year struggle
with polygamy Wednesday evening at the Powerhouse, located along Route
66 in Kingman's historic district.
"I think I'm a living miracle," Black told half a dozen people who
attended the hastily called meeting sponsored by Help the Child
Brides, an anti-polygamy advocacy group. "I have no fear. It's worse
than death already."
[False Memory Syndrome] Tricks of the mind
If you daydream for long enough you may well be able to convince
yourself that you did have that holiday. And as imaginary holidays are
much cheaper than real ones, this could be quite a bonus for your bank
This may sound ludicrous, but recent experiments have shown that we
are capable of creating false memories simply by imagining them. This
is fine if you think you have been on a relaxing holiday, but not if
you dredge up memories of traumatic and terrifying events that never
For some people, this nightmare becomes reality when they believe they
have recovered a previously forgotten memory of being sexually abused
as a child. Many of these "recovered" memories emerge during therapy
or while reading a self-help book. But is it really possible to
repress a traumatic memory, banishing it from awareness, only to see
it resurface many years later?
May 20, 2003
[Buffy, the Vampire Slayer] Fangs for the Memories, Buffy
Theologians, psychoanalysts and academics from all disciplines are
drawn to the show like vampires to blood banks.
Academics find the show's use of myth, alchemy and allegory
irresistible, says Angela Ndalianis, head of cinema studies at
Melbourne University. Ndalianis, now organizing Australia's first
symposium on "BtVS," sent out a call to scholars for papers and was
stunned by the response. In one day, she received 250 essays
extrapolating, deconstructing and scrutinizing creator Joss Whedon's
Ndalianis has already signed up 15 speakers, including David Lavery
and Rhonda Wilcox, co-editors of "Slayage: The On-line International
Journal of Buffy Studies." The Web site appeals to the slayer's more
erudite followers, who tackle such topics as Buffy and "the
transgressive woman warrior" or Buffy and "the pedagogy of fear."
[Hate Groups] Feds focusing on hate groups
Even as dismantling al-Qaida remains the clear priority of the FBI's
66 joint terrorism task forces and more than 90 anti-terrorism task
forces, agents have been ordered to be vigilant about domestic groups.
"The focus on international terrorism is obvious, but September 11th
has made us examine all security issues," a law enforcement official
said. "You can't make the number one goal preventing attacks against
the U.S. and not look at a danger that could be posed here at home."
The terrorism task forces are homing in on all groups, including
militia movements and even environmental and animal rights
[Islamism] Court releases 4 terror suspects
A Rotterdam court has ordered the release of four terrorist suspects
as the prosecutor demanded sentences ranging from six months to three
years against all 12 men on trial.
The court released the four men on Monday because the sentences they
faced were shorter or just as long as the time they had served in
pre-trial detention, an NOS news report said. All 12 suspects were
arrested in April and August last year.
[Christianity] Countdown to the end times
Altogether, "Left Behind" books and related products --- including
children's books --- have sold more than 55 million copies.
They've also helped sell other books. A minor industry has grown up in
literature to support or counter the end-times theology of "Left
Behind." Several Christian denominations have published papers
explaining their own doctrine of eschatology, or "last things." And
studies of the mysterious, apocalyptic book of Revelation have gained
With more than 55 million sales in "Left Behind" products under its
belt, Tyndale House Publishers is trying to repeat its results.
The company has two new lines --- military and political --- scheduled
to debut this year.
[Human Rights Violations, USA] Let's hear it for Belgium
On Wednesday, a human rights lawyer filed a case with the federal
prosecutors whose purpose is to arraign Thomas Franks, the commander
of the American troops in Iraq, for crimes against humanity. This may
be the only judicial means, anywhere on earth, of holding the US
government to account for its actions.
Franks appears to have a case to answer. The charges fall into four
categories: the use of cluster bombs; the killing of civilians by
other means; attacks on the infrastructure essential for public
health; and the failure to prevent the looting of hospitals. There is
plenty of supporting evidence.
Of course, the sensible means of resolving legal disputes between
nations is the use of impartial, multinational tribunals, such as the
international criminal court in the Hague. But impartial legislation
is precisely what the US government will not contemplate.
[Christianity] Christians 'greedy and bored' says Williams
Members of the Western Church exhibit boredom, greed and indifference,
according to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Dr Rowan William says that too many people are hereditary Christians
who have inherited their belief from their forebears as if it were
Western Christians must recapture a sense of joy and wonder in the
nature of God and to learn from countries where faith is newer and
more vibrant to recapture the expectant joy of Christ, he says.
[Evolution / Creationism] Chimps may belong in the human genus
New genetic evidence suggests chimpanzees belong in the genus Homo, of
which the most prominent member is Homo sapiens -- humans --
scientists reported Monday.
By redrawing the human genetic family tree, researchers hope to
unearth more about what makes us human and how human diseases develop.
[Homosexuality] Gay rights a hot topic in Lutheran churches
Minnesota Lutherans are not known as a racy bunch. But the hot topic
now in many congregations is sex.
Specifically, gay sex. And whether sexually active gay individuals
should be ordained as pastors, receive blessings for commitment
ceremonies, or just be welcome in church.
Many faiths are wrestling with such issues, but the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) -- Minnesota's second-largest
denomination, behind Catholicism -- is in the thick of things as never
This month, three metro-area ELCA churches have taken on three big
Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer in southwest Minneapolis will
install a partnered lesbian pastor today, defying the ELCA's
requirement that unmarried clergy, gay or straight, be celibate.
Also today, Pilgrim Lutheran of St. Paul will vote on a "statement
of welcome" to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) people.
On May 4, another St. Paul congregation, Gloria Dei, voted by a wide
margin to allow its pastors to bless same-sex unions. The ELCA has no
official policy prohibiting such blessings, but church leaders have
Gays and religion: Where some major denominatitions stand
[Yoga] Yoga Gains Popularity Among Children
Yoga, the ancient Hindu practice of mind and body coordination, is
having a resurgence in popularity in the United States. Once relegated
to a few fringe followers in the 1960s, in recent years yoga has
expanded into an all-American fad, whose followers include everyone
from Hollywood stars, to corporate workers to children. Some private
yoga schools offer classes for children as young as four years old.
But why do children need to relax?
[Human Rights Violations, USA] The Guantánamo scandal
For a year and a half, the United States has held hundreds of people
captured during the war in Afghanistan as prisoners in Guantánamo Bay,
Cuba, without access to family, lawyers or any semblance of due
process. Another small group was shipped home recently, and there are
reports that military trials for some prisoners may start soon. But
that does not alter the fact that the detentions insult some of
America's most cherished ideals and harm the national interest.
[Lord's Resistance Army] Priests hacked to death
It's been confirmed that at least four of 44 trainee priests abducted
from a Ugandan seminary have been slaughtered by rebels of the Lord's
Resistance Army (LRA).
The LRA, led by a shadowy religous leader called Kony, who claims to
be a spirit medium with supernatural powers, was formed 16 years ago
and aims to overthrow the Ugandan government and rule the country
according to the Bible's Ten Commandments.
Kony's political ideology is vague but is based on a religious cult
that believes bullets fired by Ugandan soldiers are harmless as long
as cult members sprinkle themselves with water blessed by Kony
[Panawave] TV coverage forced police to confront cult, alleviate
Now that the media frenzy has died down, a cynic could not be blamed
for wondering about the coverage. Did the networks serve the public
interest, or did they fan anxiety in the name of good ratings?
As we all know, the world didn't end, and the cult committed no
What is clear, though, is the sudden increase in air time devoted to
the group from late April-even though the cult had already been in
quiet existence for about a decade.
May 19, 2003
[Witchcraft] Local Witches Fear Beliefs Confused With Satanic Act
The Sommerers are witches, and they have an altar. "Our caldron
represents the female and the antlers represent the male," Elizabeth
said. "This is holy water. I bless things with it."
They contacted NewsChannel5 after seeing news reports of so-called
Satan worship linked to the discovery of two animal carcasses in
While Satanic acts were later ruled out, they feel their beliefs are
often confused with Satan worship.
[Media / Americanism] How truth was edited in saving Private Lynch
Her rescue, however, will go down as one of the most stunning pieces
of news management conceived. It provides a remarkable insight into
the real influence of Hollywood producers on the Pentagon's media
managers, and has produced a template from which America hopes to
present its future wars.
But the American media tactics, culminating in the Lynch episode,
infuriated the British, who were supposed to be working alongside them
in Doha, Qatar. Tonight in Britain, the BBC's Correspondent program
reveals the inside story of the rescue that may not have been as
heroic as portrayed, and of divisions at the heart of the allies'
"In reality we had two different styles of news media management,"
says Group Captain Al Lockwood, the British army spokesman at central
command. "I feel fortunate to have been part of the UK one."
[Aum Shinrikyo] Court upholds death for Japan subway terrorist
A top AUM Shinrikyo member who played a leading role in the cult's
1995 poison gas attack on the Tokyo subway system that killed 12
people had his appeal against the death sentence rejected Monday.
[Islam] Is U.S. Judeo-Christian-Islamic?
Leading Muslim organizations say it's time for Americans to stop using
the phrase "Judeo-Christian" when describing the values and character
that define the United States.
Better choices, they say, are "Judeo-Christian-Islamic" or
"Abrahamic," referring to Abraham, the patriarch held in common by the
monotheistic big three religions.
The budding movement is largely unformed, and religion watchers
question whether it will succeed. Still, the call for new terms shows
that words carry huge symbolic importance for Muslims trying to find
their role in America after Sept. 11 and the Iraq war.
Others take offense, arguing that to alter the phrase
"Judeo-Christian" is political correctness and revisionist history at
"A lot of the ideas that underpin civil liberties come from
Judeo-Christian theology," said the Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the
National Association of Evangelicals. "What the Islamic community
needs to make are positive contributions to culture and society so we
can include them."
Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Washington-based Ethics and
Public Policy Center, said a "Judeo-Christian understanding of things
like freedom of conscience and liberty" are embodied in the
Constitution. "No offense intended," he said, "but Muslims weren't a
part of that, even though they're part of the discussion now."
[Islam] What Constitutes an Islamic State?: Balancing religion, law,
For some, Islamic law conjures up images of harsh rule and oppression.
But Wael Hallaq, a professor and eminent scholar on Islamic law at
McGill University in Montreal, says that is a mistake. Here is an
edited conversation with Hallaq about the concepts of an Islamic
[Interfaith] Toning Down The Religious Rhetoric
The National Association of Evangelicals NAE convened a meeting in
Washington last week to urge their mostly conservative Christian
leaders to tone down "dangerous" and "unhelpful" remarks about Islam.
Concerns were raised over comments by the Revs. Franklin Graham, Pat
Robertson and others that Islam is inherently "wicked" and violent.
NAE leaders worry that such statements endanger Christian missionaries
around the world. They proposed new guidelines for churches to follow
in relating to Muslims.
Doesn't the NAE have it backward? The most incendiary language is not
coming from Christian leaders in this country, but from Muslim clergy
overseas and occasionally from Muslim pulpits and schools in the
United States. There is no Christian or Jewish doctrine that mandates
followers of those faiths to kill people who disagree with them and to
make the state in which they reside subject to their interpretation of
holy writ. If one converts to Islam from any religion (or no religion)
in the United States, his life is not put in danger.
[Islam] 'Third way' speaks to Europe's young Muslims
For a rising generation in search of an identity that straddles Muslim
roots and a European present, the paramount question is "how to be at
the same time fully Muslim and fully Western," says Ramadan, who has
been speaking on this issue for about a decade. He urges young Muslims
neither to assimilate - and thus lose their culture - nor to separate
themselves and reject Europe. "The essence of my work," he says in an
interview, is to break down the "us versus them," or "ghetto
Ramadan's credibility among his young listeners is powerfully enhanced
by his lineage: His grandfather, Hassan al-Banna, founded the radical
Muslim Brotherhood to fight the British occupation of Egypt.
[Hare Krishna] Cow eviction drives American couple to India
A US court has ordered the eviction of two "sacred cows" and other
farm animals from the homes of an American couple who are part of the
Hare Krishna movement, prompting them to seek asylum in India.
Steven and Linda Voith, who stay in the village of Angelica in New
York state, said they were targeted because they considered cows
[Aum Shinrikyo] High court upholds death for ex-Aum member
According to the Tokyo District Court ruling in September 1999,
Yokoyama, 39, conspired with Aum Shinrikyo cult founder Shoko Asahara,
whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, and released sarin gas in a Tokyo
subway train March 20, 1995.
May 18, 2003
[Jehovah's Witnesses] Hostages escape Abu Sayyaf
They were among six members of the Jehovah's Witnesses, who were
abducted on Jolo in August last year.
The kidnappers beheaded two male hostages. Two other women hostages
escaped earlier this year.
[Jehovah's Witnesses] Trial jury clears elder
A former Jehovah's Witness elder was cleared Friday of charges of
Louis Angiuano, 38, stood trial for three days on charges of
continuous sexual abuse of a Visalia 12-year-old girl who was a member
of the Jehovah's Witnesses congregation where he was a leader.
After a day of deliberations the jury declared Angiuano innocent and
the case was dismissed.
[Panawave] The long road from a loner to a prophetess
"You see," explained the white-robed young man, one of 50-odd
white-clad men and women in a convoy of 16 white vans traveling the
mountain backroads of central Japan, "our leader is being attacked by
sukara waves, and we are protecting her. White cloth deflects radio
waves. Most Japanese don't know about sukara waves . . . "
The young man was soft-spoken and polite, says Shukan Jitsuwa (May
22), but his attempt to reassure the locals misfired. In post-Aum
Shinrikyo Japan, strangers in messianic garb professing esoteric
knowledge of apocalyptic electromagnetic waves are natural objects of
[Falun Gong] Falun Dafa practitioners stage Vancouver rally
Well over 1,000 supporters of Falun Gong, a practice banned in China
for being a , took to the streets in Vancouver's historic Chinatown on
Demonstrators protested the Chinese ban and celebrated the city's
third annual festival in support of cultthe outlawed practice.
[South Koren Cult (Unidentified)] Arrest Warrants Filed for Five Cult
Prosecutors yesterday sought arrest warrants for five leaders of a
religious cult who allegedly beat a man to death for lack of faith in
The five include 49-year-old female cult leader identified only as
Song and a 31-year-old named Choi who first reported the crime to
authorities. They were charged with fatally beating the 31-year-old
victim identified as Lee accusing him of neglecting his construction
[Sacerdotal Order of the David Company] Cult's trained 'assassin' may
be in Canada: FBI
An American white supremacist wanted for the 1994 sniper shooting of a
Missouri state trooper, a "revenge mission" for the arrest of his cult
leader, may now be hiding in Canada, FBI intelligence reports say.
His alleged revenge killing was hatched the day his cult leader,
Robert Joos, was arrested in the summer of 1994. The self-proclaimed
founder of Sacerdotal Order of the David Company was arrested by Cpl.
Bobbie Harper, a married father of three children.
May 17, 2003
[International Churches of Christ] A Christian community falters
It was one of the fastest-growing and most controversial churches in
America, banned as a cult from dozens of college campuses while
boasting 135,000 members worldwide. Its followers were known for
spending their free time recruiting new members and waiting on
doorsteps at 4 in the morning, hoping to persuade those who had
''fallen away'' to come back to the fold. But now the central
organization of the International Churches of Christ, a strict
religious body founded in Boston, is collapsing.
Thomas ''Kip'' McKean, its charismatic founder, has stepped down. Its
world governing body has dissolved and dozens of local church leaders
have resigned or been fired, in part because churches can no longer
afford to pay their salaries.
Behind the story of a teetering church empire is the tale of the
autocratic visionary who built it and his independent-minded daughter,
now a Harvard senior, whose decision to leave the church sparked
turmoil in the already troubled group.
[Polygamy] Religious eviction case goes to judge
A couples refusal to allow an arranged marriage of their daughter to
a polygamist church member became the focal point of an eviction suit
argued Thursday in Mohave County Superior Court.
The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is
suing to evict Milton and Lenore Holm from their six-bedroom house in
[Islam] Stop tip-toeing around Saudi reality
The bombings this week in Riyadh are only the latest evidence that the
Saudi government cannot and will not suppress extremism. The wake-up
calls keep coming, but the United States refuses to recognize the
kingdom's involvement with terrorism.
The state religious dispensation, the Wahhabi sect of Islam, preaches
violence against non-Wahhabi Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, and
Saudi Arabia is one of the most repressive police states on the globe.
[Koreshans] Koreshan religious sect may come back to life in
It may not come to be for several years, but two Estero groups and the
state park service are taking the first step in developing an
interpretive program to further the message of the long extinct
Koreshan religious sect.
"I call it the beginning of the beginning," said Charles Dauray,
president of College of Life Foundation, the corporate arm of the
original Koreshan group.
That first step is an $8,500 study that will identify the program's
goals and figure out how best to convey its message. At its heart, the
interpretive effort will center around a yet-to-be-constructed
visitor's center at Koreshan State Historic Site to showcase artifacts
and explain the Koreshan story. The study will be conducted by St.
Augustine-based Hughes-Bowman Design Group Inc.
[Psychotic Depression] Moms who kill often suffer from psychotic
Women who kill their children usually are suffering from psychotic
depression that robs them of all sense of reality, mental health
experts said Monday.
The disturbing topic has once again become part of the public
consciousness as an East Texas mother of three boys admitted to
fatally pummeling two of her sons with large rocks and critically
injuring a third son early Saturday.
Deanna LaJune Laney, 38, told Smith County sheriff's deputies that she
acted on God's orders to kill her children.
[Deanna LaJune Laney] Lawyer in case of slain children may use defense
similar to Yates
The case of a woman accused of bludgeoning to death two of her sons
and seriously injuring a third bears striking similarities to the case
of Andrea Yates and could produce a similar defense, the woman's
Yates, of Houston, claimed insanity after drowning her five children
in their family's bathtub in June 2001. Yates called 911 after the
drownings and later told police the devil had told her to kill her
children. Jurors rejected her plea, convicting her of murder, and she
is serving life in prison.
[Vampirism] Vampire congress sinks teeth into question: Who was
Who was Count Dracula's ``mother?'' Are vampires sexy? Was the world's
first vampire film in Hungarian?
Academics and amateur vampirologists are sinking their teeth into such
burning questions during the third World Dracula Congress taking place
in the heart of Transylvania this week.
[Black Hebrew Isrealites] Baby's starvation death under investigation
The siblings of a 5-month-old girl who police say may have starved to
death also appear to be malnourished, a medical doctor trained in
child abuse and neglect told a juvenile dependency court judge Friday.
As detectives investigate whether Lamoy and Joseph Andressohn were
responsible for their infant's death, the couple's four other children
remain in the custody of the state Department of Children & Families.
The Andressohns, who followed a strict diet of uncooked organic foods
devoid of animal byproducts for religious reasons, could be charged
with the death of their daughter, Woyah, if autopsy reports confirm
that the infant died of malnutrition, police say.
The Andressohns are members of the Hebrew Israelites, a group of
African-Americans who consider themselves the true descendants of the
biblical tribe of Judah. Members are referred to as saints, and many
take the last name "Ben Israel," meaning son of Israel.
Some of their customs include wearing only natural fabrics and
maintaining a vegan diet void of all animal byproducts. They forbid
smoking, drinking, drugs and even caffeine.
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