Religion News Blog, June 24, 2003
- ReligionNewsBlog.com, June 24, 2003
June 24, 2003
[Hate Groups] German rock band tried on tough neo-Nazi charges
Three members of a German skinhead rock band went on trial Tuesday charged with
spreading hate through songs that attack Jews and foreigners, prosecuted by
federal attorneys to show that the government is serious about cracking down on
[Religious Insanity] Husband Of Breast-Feeding Driver Wants To Be Tried
A woman accused of endangering her baby by breast-feeding while driving on the
Ohio Turnpike should not be the defendant, her husband said. He wants to be
prosecuted instead, citing a religious belief.
"I'm responsible for what she does, and no one can punish her except me," he
said. "If they refuse to allow me the free exercise of my religion, then we're
going to appeal this all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States and
they're not going to be able to try her before then."
Barnhill said his faith is rooted in The First Christian Fellowship for Eternal
Sovereignty, an organization founded in the late 1990s. Barnhill said he is a
minister in the fellowship with 650 followers.
[Witchcraft] Witchcraft: judge mulls implications
A Pietermaritzburg High Court judge has proposed that a belief in witchcraft
could serve as a mitigating factor in the case of two sisters on Monday
convicted of murder and attempted murder.
Nokuphiwa and Sizakele Mncube hired hitmen to kill their stepmother Thopitha
Makhatini in Impendle on February 27, 2000. They believed that Makhatini had
bewitched their mother, causing her to fall ill and eventually die.
Makhatini survived the attempted assassination, but two innocent people,
Crescentia Mcunu (69) and Thandeka Beatrice Hlongwane (14), were killed by the
[Islam] France may outlaw Muslim veils in schools
France may pass a new law to ban Muslim veils and other religious symbols in
public schools and buildings if people do not respect the republic's secular
policies, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin says.
Stepping into a growing debate about the veils, Raffarin said on Tuesday he
hoped that France's secular tradition -- which demands a strict separation
between the state and all religions -- was strong enough to win respect by all
"But if there is not a consensus, especially on symbols and behaviour linked to
religion in public facilities, I will not hesitate to enforce respect for
secularism by law," he told a meeting of French and foreign Freemasons.
[Hate Groups] Aryan Nations plots a comeback at Idaho campout
Amid a stand of pines in the Idaho panhandle, Richard Butler sits slightly
hunched in a camp chair, a large swastika affixed to the wall of the campground
bathrooms behind him. He is surrounded by a loyal coterie of men, some in full
Nazi uniform, others in skinhead garb. At 85, the founder of the Idaho-based
Aryan Nations is frail, but still influential in racist circles, and extremely
tenacious. What youre seeing today is the prelude to the awakening of the
white race, he says. But others say its more like the death rattle for the
umbrella organization of white-supremacy groups.
Butler and his followers admit this is not the heyday of his annual Aryan
Nations World Congress, which was long held in the organizations own compound
near here and drew hundreds of white supremacists from around the country.
And yet, the fight is not over for Idaho.
After the lawsuit, the Aryan Nations took a hit a big one, says Ray
Redfeairn, whom Butler formally designated as his successor on Saturday. Even
in the movement, a lot of our comrades thought we were down and out, we were
gone. But we werent. We knew we werent going anywhere. ... This may come as a
shock to Morris Dees, he adds.
Indeed, this years congress, which pulled together a full menu of racist
leaders from around the country, suggests the Aryan Nations has crept back from
[Hate Groups] Creativity movement draws little interest, few converts
"All this has done has caused me to lose my beer-drinking time.''
That was the sentiment of many Wilmington residents Saturday in response to a
demonstration by Creativity Movement, formerly known as The World Church of the
The church is known more by its jailed leader Matt Hale, an outspoken white
supremacist. Hale calls for his followers to fight for "the survival, expansion
and advancement of our white race exclusively.''
Hale is currently in federal prison awaiting trial for solicitation of murder of
a federal judge.
About a dozen Creativity Movement members held signs and banners in a half-block
area of Wall Street at Illinois Route 53 roped off for them by state, county and
[Nokulunga Fiphaza] Cult believed to be behind Umtata graves
A mysterious religious cult is said to be behind the discovery of eight shallow
graves at Mandela Park informal settlement here last week.
In the Umtata magistrate's court yesterday, 12 men facing charges of concealment
of deaths were granted R300 bail each.
No formal charges have yet been laid against them.
The grave site falls within the compound of a religious sect which forbids its
members to work or attend school.
Cult members reportedly spend all their time worshipping, claiming that they are
awaiting the return of Jesus Christ.
It is thought the worshippers, including young children, might have fasted for a
number of days as part of the ritual.
NOTE: "The leader of the sect, Nokulunga Fiphaza, said her church had no name as
the church belonged to God." (Indepent Online/Sapa (South Africa), Apr. 23,
[Nokulunga Fiphaza] Eight bodies exhumed in Eastern Cape
Police have exhumed eight bodies from the graves of suspected cult members whose
bodies are believed to have been buried secretly in eight shallow graves outside
Umtata in the Eastern Cape. A district surgeon has been supervising the
exhumation. Post-mortems will be conducted.
[Aum Shinrikyo] AUM boss fleeces feeble-minded follower
Doomsday cult AUM Shinrikyo's Osaka branch leader has been arrested for duping a
mentally unstable man into handing over his collection of books and computer
software by telling him his belongings were possessed by demons, police said.
Akira Hori, the branch boss, and two other unnamed AUM followers, were arrested
for fraud after they allegedly tricked the man out of possessions worth some
[Hate Groups] Experts say World Church struggling
[Bad link from yesterday's edition replaced]
When a white supremacist group moved to this central Wyoming town surrounded by
the Wind River Indian Reservation last winter, residents fretted for their
Six months later, however, it is the World Church of the Creator whose future is
Experts say the group has begun to buckle under financial and legal troubles and
Riverton residents are starting to breathe a little easier.
No new headquarters have been built, nor any hate marches or rallies staged. And
fears about violence, recruiting and the group's effect on the local economy
have not materialized.
In fact, the group's local leader, Thomas Kroenke, feels he's been a victim of
discrimination; he's lost his job, and local banks and a print shop have refused
[Gwen Shamblin] Church Protest in Franklin
Sunday morning, a small group of protestors picketed outside the "Weigh Down
Workshop" in Franklin.
Workshop founder Gwen Shamblin has been featured on ABC's 20/20 for her unique
approach at teaching members to turn to God, rather than food.
But one woman, whose daughter goes there, claims the church has become more like
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