ReligionNewsBlog.com, Aug. 3- 4
August 4, 2003
[Hate Groups : Scientology] Marin lawyers honored at gala
[Regarding the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice awards gala]
In Ford Greene's case, the Church of Scientology agreed to pay his client, a
former church member, more than $8.6 million to resolve a lawsuit filed in 1980.
In the suit, Lawrence Wollersheim accused the church of causing him to develop
bipolar disorder and to contemplate suicide, according to the Associated Press.
The TLPJ, in honoring Greene and two co-counsels in Southern California, called
the case a "a landmark victory for former members of Scientology."
[Campus Cults] Cult Killings: 10 Varsity Students on Murder Charge
Ten students of the Ebonyi State University have been charged with the murder of
six of their colleagues killed in a recent violent clash between feuding cult
Note: Generally, Nigeria's 'cult groups' are not religious in nature. Rather,
they are gangs operating at college campuses.
[Christian Science] Publisher John Lewis Selover, 72, Dies
John Lewis Selover, the publisher of The Christian Science Monitor and a
Christian Science Church leader who helped shepherd the church's expansion, has
died. He was 72.
[Meditation] Cinema-goers could soon be experiencing meditainment
Meditainment will debut in Brighton next month as Britains first cinema-based
Using meditation by democracy, audiences pick up a coloured glow-stick on
their way into the auditorium. Projections and a voice-over then invite them to
vote for different journey options a mountain top, an ocean, or a meadow,
for example, with other options for background music and types of breathing and
[Witchcraft] Wiccan practitioner accuses pastor of harassment
A self-proclaimed witch in the eastern Hill Country is accusing a Christian
pastor of leading a harassment campaign aimed at ruining her business and
driving her out of the region.
Margie Allen, who practices the pagan religion Wicca, also charges that the
Llano County sheriff's office with refusing to respond to her complaints and
that Rev. Joann Jackson had organized an aggressive effort to force her out of
The charges have attracted the attention of the FBI, which says it will
investigate the claims by Allen, a consignment shop owner, as a possible civil
[Cults] Bob Pardon to the rescue
In a country teeming with alcohol- and drug-abuse clinics, halfway houses for
habitual criminals, rehabilitation centers for chronic gamblers and spouse
abusers, Bob and Judy Pardons enterprise is unique. Though there is a
short-term "emergency room" in Ohio, the Pardons run the only long-term
residential cult-member-rehabilitation center of its kind in the country.
"The whole issue of mind-control cults is vastly misunderstood," says Steve
Hassan. "People have a perception that there arent that many cults any more. I
think there is just widespread ignorance about this."
[Polygamy] Utah cracks down on multiple marriages to protect underage brides
The Mormon state of Utah has launched a crackdown on polygamists who for
generations have used their religious beliefs to justify marriage to underage
Although multiple marriages are illegal, state attorney Mark Shurtleff insists
it is not a witch-hunt against Utah's estimated 20,000 to 50,000 polygamists,
who live mostly in large family groups or cults.
[Mel Gibson] Gibson's film of Christ's last days alarms Jewish groups
Yet the film, co-directed by Gibson, who has spent $25m (£15.6m) of his own
money on the project, has already attracted lavish praise from evangelicals and
stern criticism from Jewish and Catholic scholars, with one academic warning
that it could provoke within the US "one of the great crisis in Christian-Jewish
The star has claimed the "Holy Ghost was working through me on this film, and I
was just directing traffic. I hope the film has the power to evangelise". But a
panel of three Jewish and six Catholic scholars, who have studied a draft
script, say the film is anti-semitic and theologically inaccurate, portraying
Jews as bloodthirsty and vengeful and reviving the worst traditions of the
passion plays which contributed to deadly attacks against Jews over the
[Church / State] And on the seventh day Tony Blair created...
It may prove an uphill struggle in this secular day and age, but the Prime
Minister is aiming to put religion right at the centre of government.
[Ritual Killing] Suspect responsible for death of 11 kids, wife tells police
A Nigerian man questioned in connection with the suspected ritual murder of a
boy whose torso was found in the River Thames nearly two years ago is
responsible for the deaths of 11 children, his wife told British police, The
Sunday Times reported yesterday.
[Ritual Killing / Human trafficking] Child-trafficking trade: Ritual killing and
slavery in Britain
Detective Inspector Will O'Reilly, who led the arrests of the Africans - many of
them from Benin City - said: 'We believe that these men are part of a criminal
network involved in smuggling children into Britain.
'We have evidence that hundreds of children are being trafficked every year and
the figure could easily be in thousands.
'They are being used as unpaid domestic slaves, unwilling prostitutes, sex
slaves for private individuals and as a means of obtaining housing and social
security payments from the government.
'We fear that some are brought into Britain for ritual slaughter. Adam was one
of them - and we wonder how many other bodies are buried, never to be
[Ritual Killing] The groundbreaking hunt for Adam's killers
[T]he story pieced together of what police consider London's first known ritual
killing is macabre enough to have challenged even Shakespeare's imagination. And
the investigative work that has brought police close to cracking the case is
It combined unprecedented forensic research with old-fashioned legwork that took
investigators to Germany, the Netherlands, the U.S., South Africa, Nigeria,
Scotland and Ireland.
The latest break in the investigation came Tuesday, when Metropolitan Police
raided several homes in London and arrested 21 suspected members of a child
[Ritual Killing] Focus: Muti - The Story of Adam
The arrest of 21 people in connection with the discovery of a child's mutilated
body in the Thames points to a network of people traffickers and an underworld
of abuse and domestic slavery. Paul Vallely, who has followed the case in the
two years since the torso of the young African boy was found, says the evidence
leads to the bloody ritual of muti, where the body parts of children are
sacrificed in pursuit of spiritual power
[Raelians] Raelian Cult Leader Threatens to Sue Korea Over Denied Entry
An international cult leader was denied entry to the country on Saturday for his
beliefs in human cloning, immigration officials said.
During an interview with Yonhap News Agency, the cult leader accused the
government of treating him "like a North Korean," and said he will sue the South
Korean government and the ministry for violating his human rights.
[Waldorf Schools] Waldorf-style school stirs controversy
Parents in the Ross Valley are asking the school district to establish a
Waldorf-inspired charter to educate the "whole child" but they could run into
opposition from others who think such a school should not be publicly funded.
The parents who developed the 88-page Waldorf proposal say the program would
take a Waldorf-based approach but will not include religious aspects associated
with the private schools.
Critics, however, say the Waldorf method has no place in publicly funded schools
because it is based on religion and violates the Constitutional division between
church and state.
[Christianity] Gay bishop on way to win
The Episcopal Church moved one step closer to making history Sunday when an
openly gay man won the first of two votes he needs to become a bishop.
After an hour of sharp debate, the church's House of Deputies voted 128-63 in
favor of Bishop-elect V. Gene Robinson's confirmation, with 25 deputies
undecided. Robinson will face his final hurdle today when the church's other
governing body, the House of Bishops, votes on his confirmation.
The New Hampshire clergyman would become the first openly gay bishop in a
Those who opposed Robinson's confirmation argued it would split the Anglican
Communion, a global alliance of 70 million people in churches that trace their
heritage to the Church of England.
They said the Episcopal Church would lose its moral authority by capitulating to
the prevailing view of modern society.
"I do not know what I will tell my people at home," said Deputy John Flowers,
from Louisiana. "How will I tell them that the church I love is now an apostate
August 3, 2003
[Spiritual Abuse] Army sergeant buried in care of 'cult' in Germany
After changing her number four times, Rines said she thought her family was rid
of the cult, until Towle received a call from a church member in June.
The church member said that the 15-year lease on Carroll Rines' grave was up and
that unless the family renewed the lease, his body would be removed and
[Transcendental Meditation] Good vibes
Now the Netherlands-based Indian monk has a new spin on an old goal: world
peace. All it would take, according to his mathematical calculations, is a group
of people meditating for 20 minutes twice a day inside a "peace palace" in each
of the world's 3,000 largest cities. The positive energy generated would prevent
natural disasters, car accidents, violent crime, chronic illness, even
terminally bad moods.
Fortunately for Los Angeles, we're next in line for a palace.
[Hate Groups : Scientology] Scientology Church Pays Delinquent Taxes
The Church of Scientology on July 18 paid more than $94,000 in delinquent
property taxes on four of its Hollywood properties, including tens of thousands
to the local business improvement district.
[God's Creation Outreach Ministry] Five women from church ordered to stand trial
on child-abuse charges
A Wyandotte County judge on Tuesday ordered five women from God's Creation
Outreach Ministry in Kansas City, Kan., to stand trial on child-abuse charges.
During a preliminary hearing, Judge Jan Way found there was sufficient evidence
for the case to go forward against Idella A. Horton, 23; Renita D.
Allen-Jackson, 41; Patricia A. Walker, 45; Barbara Clark, 45; and Julia
Way's ruling came after testimony from police detectives that the women
disciplined the children by hogtying one and placing her in the bathtub face
down overnight; by taping another with his arms outstretched "crucifixion-style"
to the rails of a bunk bed; and by binding a third with twine and wrapping him
in a sheet "like a mummy."
[USA] White House: Better PR can reverse anti-American sentiment
The Bush administration spent more than $70 million after the attacks to expand
broadcasts of U.S.-sponsored international news services, but such expenditures
have returned to previous levels and critics say they are not enough to counter
the growing tide of anti-American sentiment.
Harold Pachios, a member of the congressional Advisory Commission on Public
Diplomacy since the Clinton administration, said new strategies like a
U.S.-based Middle East television network are in the works, however, and more
funding for diplomacy is expected to come when such programs are finalized.
Pachios blamed U.S. public relations problems for the soured international
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