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Religion News Blog, May 17 - 22

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  • Anton Hein
    Religion News Blog, May 17 - 22 May 22, 2003 [Word of Faith Fellowship] Protesters gather at WOFF site http://www.religionnewsblog.com/archives/00003396.html
    Message 1 of 1 , May 22 1:40 AM
      Religion News Blog, May 17 - 22

      May 22, 2003
      [Word of Faith Fellowship] Protesters gather at WOFF site
      :===Begin Quote===
      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
      :===End Quote===

      [Mungiki] 16 Alleged 'Mungiki' Members Arrested
      :===Begin Quote===
      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
      police said.

      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Hate Crimes] Sikh man shot because of his appearance, police say
      :===Begin Quote===
      "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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Islamism] Audio Message Urges Muslims to Attack
      :===Begin Quote===
      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
      :===End Quote===

      [Buddhism] Buddhists 'really are happier'
      :===Begin Quote===
      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Mormon Church] A lapsed Mormon novelist fears her book may bring
      church pressure
      :===Begin Quote===
      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [McDonald's] McDonald's settles vegetarian suit
      :===Begin Quote===
      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
      :===End Quote===

      May 21, 2003

      [Word of Faith Fellowship] DSS files petitions in WOFF case
      :===Begin Quote===
      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
      person's body.

      The DSS action is believed to be the first instance in which the
      agency has asserted that specific practices at WOFF are harmful to
      :===End Quote===

      [Human Rights Violations, USA] For wrongly convicted, $100 and a bus
      :===Begin Quote===
      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
      other states.

      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Reincarnation / False Memory Syndrome] In a former life she was a gay
      :===Begin Quote===
      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."
      :===End Quote===

      [House of Prayer] Allen, Parishioners Still Missing
      :===Begin Quote===
      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Islam vs. USA] 'Muslim' cola gets Dutch launch
      :===Begin Quote===
      “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.”
      :===End Quote===
      Note: There are two other 'Muslim' colas: Mecca and Zam Zam

      [Polygamy] Hildale woman holds Q&A session on polygamy
      :===Begin Quote===
      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."
      :===End Quote===

      [False Memory Syndrome] Tricks of the mind
      :===Begin Quote===
      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
      really happened.

      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?
      :===End Quote===

      May 20, 2003

      [Buffy, the Vampire Slayer] Fangs for the Memories, Buffy
      :===Begin Quote===
      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
      rich oeuvre.

      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."
      :===End Quote===

      [Hate Groups] Feds focusing on hate groups
      :===Begin Quote===
      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
      :===End Quote===

      [Islamism] Court releases 4 terror suspects
      :===Begin Quote===
      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Christianity] Countdown to the end times
      :===Begin Quote===
      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
      new audiences.

      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Human Rights Violations, USA] Let's hear it for Belgium
      :===Begin Quote===
      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Christianity] Christians 'greedy and bored' says Williams
      :===Begin Quote===
      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
      “something obvious”.

      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Evolution / Creationism] Chimps may belong in the human genus
      :===Begin Quote===
      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Homosexuality] Gay rights a hot topic in Lutheran churches
      :===Begin Quote===
      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
      discouraged them.
      :===End Quote===
      Includes sidebar:
      Gays and religion: Where some major denominatitions stand

      [Yoga] Yoga Gains Popularity Among Children
      :===Begin Quote===
      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?
      :===End Quote===

      [Human Rights Violations, USA] The Guantánamo scandal
      :===Begin Quote===
      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Lord's Resistance Army] Priests hacked to death
      :===Begin Quote===
      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
      :===End Quote===

      [Panawave] TV coverage forced police to confront cult, alleviate
      :===Begin Quote===
      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
      criminal offenses.

      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.
      :===End Quote===

      May 19, 2003

      [Witchcraft] Local Witches Fear Beliefs Confused With Satanic Act
      :===Begin Quote===
      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
      LaGrange Township.

      While Satanic acts were later ruled out, they feel their beliefs are
      often confused with Satan worship.
      :===End Quote===

      [Media / Americanism] How truth was edited in saving Private Lynch
      :===Begin Quote===
      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'
      media operation.

      "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."
      :===End Quote===

      [Aum Shinrikyo] Court upholds death for Japan subway terrorist
      :===Begin Quote===
      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Islam] Is U.S. Judeo-Christian-Islamic?
      :===Begin Quote===
      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
      its worst.

      "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."
      :===End Quote===

      [Islam] What Constitutes an Islamic State?: Balancing religion, law,
      modern reality
      :===Begin Quote===
      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
      :===End Quote===

      [Interfaith] Toning Down The Religious Rhetoric
      :===Begin Quote===
      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Islam] 'Third way' speaks to Europe's young Muslims
      :===Begin Quote===
      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Hare Krishna] Cow eviction drives American couple to India
      :===Begin Quote===
      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
      :===End Quote===

      [Aum Shinrikyo] High court upholds death for ex-Aum member
      :===Begin Quote===
      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.
      :===End Quote===

      May 18, 2003

      [Jehovah's Witnesses] Hostages escape Abu Sayyaf
      :===Begin Quote===
      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Jehovah's Witnesses] Trial jury clears elder
      :===Begin Quote===
      A former Jehovah's Witness elder was cleared Friday of charges of
      sexual molestation.

      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Panawave] The long road from a loner to a prophetess
      :===Begin Quote===
      "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
      :===End Quote===

      [Falun Gong] Falun Dafa practitioners stage Vancouver rally
      :===Begin Quote===
      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [South Koren Cult (Unidentified)] Arrest Warrants Filed for Five Cult
      :===Begin Quote===
      Prosecutors yesterday sought arrest warrants for five leaders of a
      religious cult who allegedly beat a man to death for lack of faith in
      their religion.

      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
      work duties.
      :===End Quote===

      [Sacerdotal Order of the David Company] Cult's trained 'assassin' may
      be in Canada: FBI
      :===Begin Quote===
      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.
      :===End Quote===

      May 17, 2003

      [International Churches of Christ] A Christian community falters
      :===Begin Quote===
      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Polygamy] Religious eviction case goes to judge
      :===Begin Quote===
      A couple’s 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
      Colorado City.
      :===End Quote===

      [Islam] Stop tip-toeing around Saudi reality
      :===Begin Quote===
      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Koreshans] Koreshan religious sect may come back to life in
      interpretive program
      :===Begin Quote===
      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Psychotic Depression] Moms who kill often suffer from psychotic
      :===Begin Quote===
      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Deanna LaJune Laney] Lawyer in case of slain children may use defense
      similar to Yates
      :===Begin Quote===
      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
      lawyer said.

      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Vampirism] Vampire congress sinks teeth into question: Who was
      Dracula's mother?
      :===Begin Quote===
      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.
      :===End Quote===

      [Black Hebrew Isrealites] Baby's starvation death under investigation
      :===Begin Quote===
      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.
      :===End Quote===

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