Religion News Blog, Sep. 22, 2003
[Hate Groups : Scientology] Scientology abuses 'human rights' issues
Baroness Sarah Ludford, spokesperson for civil liberties for the Liberal
Democrats in the European Parliament, said EU institutions should not be used to
force the hand of individual member states on the recognition of religious
organisations. "While this move is a surprise tribute to the EU's growing human
rights policy, we should be wary of the EU being misused to evade anti-cult
bans," Ludford told Reuters.
[Deeper Life Christian Church] High-Living Bishop Jefferson And His
Self-proclaimed Bishop Melvin B. Jefferson of Deeper Life Christian Church says
his ministry is devoted to helping the poor, the addicted and those fresh from
jail who need structure and God in their lives if they are to change. But after
a three-month examinaton led by Tribune investigative reporters John W. Allman
and Michael Fechter and religion reporter Michelle Bearden, in partnership with
WFLA, News Channel 8, their series, ``The Price of Redemption,'' raises both
ethical and legal questions about the church's practices.
[Church and State] White House eases rules on federal funding for religious
Bush has had little success in pushing his faith-based agenda through Congress,
so he has used executive orders to implement much of it. Critics question
whether the programs amount to a government endorsement of religion, a notion
the administration has rejected.
[Buddhism] Russia refuses visa to Dalai Lama
Russia has refused to issue a visa to the Dalai Lama because a visit by Tibets
spiritual leader would violate agreements between Moscow and Beijing, the
Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
[Buddhism] Cuddly Dalai Lama is our fantasy creation
The Dalai Lama has become whoever we want him to be, a cuddly projection of our
hopes and dreams. [...] In reality, Tibetan Buddhism is not a values-free system
oriented around smiles and a warm heart. It is a religion with tough ethical
underpinnings that sometimes get lost in translation. For example, he condemns
homosexuality, and all oral and anal sex. His stand is close to that of Pope
John Paul II, something his Western followers prefer to ignore. His US publisher
even asked him to remove the injunctions against homosexuality from his book,
Ethics for the New Millennium, for fear they would offend US readers, and the
Dalai Lama acquiesced.
[Islam] Muslim headscarves upset secular Europe
The traditional Muslim woman's headscarf is causing such controversy in some
European countries that prime ministers and supreme courts are being asked to
decide when it can be worn.
[Lyndon LaRouche] Lyndon LaRouche's Long Campaign
Taking into account the magnitude of the position, it is surprisingly simple to
run for the presidency of the United States. [...] Yet, when it comes to
resiliency - down-in-the-dirt, you'll-never-rid-yourselves-of-me resiliency -
Carter and Hamburg have nothing on Lyndon H. LaRouche, a man who is to
presidential elections what fungus is to the damp side of a rock.
[Neil and Christy Edgar] Victim's siblings testify in Edgar trial
In live and videotaped testimony Monday, a Johnson County District Court jury
heard Brian's three siblings describe how they and Brian were tied up as
punishment for stealing food and water. On the night before Brian died, the
9-year-old was wrapped in duct tape like a mummy with only his nose uncovered,
his 16-year-old brother testified.
[Allen Harrod, et. al.] Couple deny child sex abuse
Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurel White told the magistrate judge that she expects
the grand jury indictment of the Labrecques to be replaced with one that also
charges the couple's alleged cult leader, Allen Harrod, and his wife, Irene, of
Folsom. The Harrods currently are charged in state and federal courts with
long-term, aggravated sexual abuse of their children in accord with Allen
Harrod's interpretation of religious doctrine.
[Deeper Life Christian Church] Roadway solicitors mislead, some say
Members of a Florida-based church that pleaded guilty to fraud in 1999 have been
seeking donations regularly at a Germantown intersection, raising concern for
some area residents. Deeper Life Christian Church, headquartered in Tampa,
Fla., has been sending representatives at least weekly to solicit money from
commuters at Route 118 and Middlebrook Road, according to community members.
[Deeper Life Christian Church] Preacher Accused Of Preying On Faithful
The founder of the Deeper Life Christian Church lives a life of luxury that
includes a walled estate and a Bentley while impoverished women and children are
sent on dangerous collection trips nationwide, a newspaper and television
station have found in a joint investigation of the church.
[Deeper Life Christian Church] Watchdogs Troubled By Member Controls
The last time Deeper Life Christian Church made the news, its rigid control of
its members' movements led some to call it a cult. [...] Some of those rules
have since been relaxed. Members still are closely controlled, but they can
choose to leave, notes Ole Anthony, president of the Dallas-based Trinity
Foundation, watchdog organization. That signifies that Deeper Life is not a
cult, Anthony says. Still, he is troubled by the manner in which Deeper Life
uses followers to raise money.
[Deeper Life Christian Church] The Price Of Their Redemption
[A] three-month investigation by The Tampa Tribune in a partnership with WFLA,
News Channel 8 has found that Deeper Life houses a deeper purpose - as an
elaborate money-making machine that generates revenue three ways. Jefferson and
his wife, Brenda, draw hundreds to services at the mother church, on Nebraska
Avenue in a neighborhood rife with crime, drugs and poverty. The congregation is
pressured to give heartily or risk eternal damnation. Members are discouraged
from challenging or resisting this message. At a recent Wednesday night prayer
service, for example, a visiting evangelist warned that the bishop and his wife
are sacred angels. Do not provoke or criticize them, he said.
[Islam] Voices of Islam
'You will sooner or later pay for your pack of lies," read one threatening
message last week. It went to the author of "The Trouble with Islam: A Wake-up
Call for Honesty and Change." In that book, just released in Canada, Irshad
Manji, 34, explores such usually taboo themes as anti-Semitism, slavery and the
inferior treatment of women with what she calls an "utmost honesty."
[USA] Did CIA bankroll moderate Islam?
The CIA paid Mullahs and created fake Islamic religious leaders to preach a
moderate message and counter anti-American sentiment in the Arab world after the
September 11 attacks, a new book says. In "The CIA at War", Ronald Kessler, an
investigative reporter and author of several books about the CIA and the FBI,
also detailed espionage activity in Iraq that supported the March invasion that
toppled President Saddam Hussein.
[Books] Harry Potter series tops national banned-book list
Public libraries throughout central Wisconsin and the rest of the nation are
observing Banned Books Week, the annual celebration of books that someone,
somewhere finds objectionable
[Jehovah's Witnesses] High court refuses appeal by Jehovah's Witness
The Supreme Court of Canada will not hear an appeal from a young Jehovah's
Witness who at age 16 had a court-ordered blood transfusion against her wishes.
[Faith Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith] Pastor Accused OF Killing Boy
Pleads Not Guilty
Ray Hemphill is accused of lying on top of 8-year-old Terrance Cottrell while
the boy's mother and others held down his hands. Terrance died inside the Faith
Temple of the Apostolic Faith Church last month. His mom told WISN-TV in
Milwaukee she now believes the pastor should go to jail.
[Islam] U.S. investigating Mosque Foundation
Federal authorities are investigating the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview and
its leaders for possible involvement in terror-related money laundering. The
house of worship, one of the largest Islamic centers in the Chicago area, has
been under FBI surveillance for years, the Daily Southtown has learned.
[Ahmadiya] Chemical scare for Muslim sect
Leaders of a Muslim sect fear they have been targeted by rival factions after a
chemical powder was blasted through the letterbox of their Warwickshire
headquarters. Specialists were called in yesterday after a thick layer of
yellow powder was discovered throughout the ground and first floors of the
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community centre.
[Cloning] Call for ban on human cloning
The Inter-Academy Panel, a network of scientific societies representing the
world's leading researchers, is expected to call for a specific ban on what they
term reproductive cloning. It is not opposed to the use of cloning techniques
to find treatments for incurable diseases.
[Books] Christian writer eyes borderlands of belief
While most best-selling Christian authors have offered answers, Yancey presents
questions. His books include titles such as "Where Is God When It Hurts?" and
"Church: Why Bother?" He profiles Christians who have been wounded - not
liberated - by church. Yancey takes on more provocative questions with his
latest book, "Rumors of Another World" (Zondervan, $22.99). He has written a
book for people who exist in the "borderlands of belief." The borderlands of
belief is Yancey's phrase for those who say they are spiritual but not
religious. They experience intimacy with God not through church but through
nature, music, the birth of a child.
[Christianity] What is the meaning of life?
Today, many faith seekers are discovering their own "40 Days of Purpose" through
a spiritual revival sweeping the country. Based on Rick Warren's best-seller
The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?, the intensive six-week
program of Bible study, worship and fellowship promises to help individuals find
their true purpose in life. In the year since Warren launched the program at his
Saddleback Church near Los Angeles, more than 3,000 churches around the world
have embarked on their own spiritual journeys.
[Laci Peterson] Caffeine found in Peterson's body
Laci Peterson had caffeine in her system when she died, a toxicology report
shows, while her unborn son, Conner, did not, a source familiar with the tests
said. [... ] The presence of caffeine in Peterson's body and not in her unborn
son's does not, however, indicate that Conner was outside his mother's womb when
she was killed, forensic analysts said.
[Bible] Biblical exhibit bringing rare religious texts to life
The result was the exhibit "From the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Forbidden Book," a
$15 million collection of manuscripts and Bibles that organizers expect to draw
more than 100,000 people to the Biblical Arts Center in Dallas through Nov. 16.
[Hate Groups] Far Right woos women with vows on feminism and family
Women have played a supporting role in fascism in the past - Oswald Mosley's
wife, Diana, championed Hitler's ideas in the Thirties - but an Observer
investigation has discovered that the far Right in Britain is now being
transformed by an influx of women keen to fight for a longed-for racist future.
[Religious Intolerance] Missionary's killer expected to appeal
The leader of a Hindu mob that burned alive an Australian missionary in India
four years ago is expected to appeal against the death sentence he received
[Religious Intolerance] Death sentence for man accused of killing Australian
A district court in India has delivered its sentence for 13 men convicted of
murdering Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons four years ago.
[Mungiki] MP Challenged On Mungiki By Constituents
Tigania East MP Peter Munya was at pains to explain to his constituents why he
was being associated with the outlawed Mungiki sect.
[Mungiki] DC rescues Nyanja from lynching
Kiambu District Commissioner James Waweru yesterday rescued former Limuru MP
George Nyanja from an irate crowd which was baying for his blood. Rhe incident
took place at Kamirithu, near Limuru, after Nyanja attempted to deny having
invited Mungiki sect members to a meeting there last Sunday.
[Meditation] Log on and bliss out: It's virtual meditation
Latham knows the concept of computer-aided meditation is bizarre. But he's
convinced that Meditainment is the ultimate nerve-soother for our punishing
lifestyles. And if all goes according to his plan, Meditainment will come to
theatres in North America next year.
[Yoga] C'mon Baby, Do the Yoga Motion
Western culture, with our anorexia-inducing fixation on appearance, is
corrupting yoga. But it's no surprise that a spiritual regimen involving
exercise would attract people for less evolved reasons than personal growth. And
it's not just in L.A.; a poll in Yoga Journal, the glossy, largest-circulation
yoga magazine, asked: "Does the Mainstreaming of Yoga Benefit the Tradition?"
[Yoga] The Yoga Games
Anderson's trophy, entitling her to a trip to the inaugural Ghosh Cup World Yoga
Championship starting Wednesday at the Los Angeles Convention Center, represents
the white-hot edge of the debate over the future of the ancient spiritual
discipline. The event marks the first official yoga competition in this country.
But yoga, critics say, is supposed to be about the unification of soul and body,
the liberation of the self, about acceptance and well-beingin other words,
anything but a contest.
[Mormon Church] New Mormon Aim: Reach Out to Blacks
Brigham Young may have been a prophet, but the 19th century Mormon leader who
proclaimed blacks unworthy of the priesthood could have never foreseen this:
hundreds of black and brown and white people worshipping together on a recent
Sunday in Los Angeles, all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints. [...] It's a tricky feat. In the not-too-distant past, the Mormon
faithful were routinely taught that blacks were an inferior race, the color of
their skin linked to curses from God recounted in Hebrew and Mormon scriptures.
Besides being barred from the priesthood, black males couldn't serve on missions
or be married in the temple though they could become church members and be
[Hate Groups : Scientology] Rehab center growth planned
Narconon Arrowhead in Canadian is already the largest drug rehabilitation and
education facility of any of the Narconon facilities, which now operate in 36
countries. Now, plans are under way for the Narconon Arrowhead program in
Pittsburg County to grow even larger.
[Hate Groups : Scientology] Priscilla Presley talks about drugs, Elvis and
Priscilla Presley believes drug treatment programs such as those at Narconon
Arrowhead could have made a difference in the life of her former husband, Elvis
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