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ReligionNewsBlog.com, Oct. 20, 2003

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  • Anton Hein
    ReligionNewsBlog.com, Oct. 20, 2003 Mon, Oct. 20, 2003 [Freemasonry] Masons must choose lodge or church: synod http://www.religionnewsblog.com/4777-.html The
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 20, 2003
      ReligionNewsBlog.com, Oct. 20, 2003

      Mon, Oct. 20, 2003
      [Freemasonry] Masons must choose lodge or church: synod
      The Sydney Anglican Synod has called on all Christian members of Masonic
      lodges to withdraw their membership and for church facilities not to be used
      for activities linked with Freemasonry. The motion, passed yesterday, also
      "requests that councils of all Anglican schools consider any association
      that their school may have with any Masonic lodge, and to withdraw from any
      such association". [...] Mr Winthrop said yesterday that though the synod
      had passed a motion in 1988 condemning Freemasonry as leading people away
      from God, it was not cast in strong enough terms and it was now up to the
      synod to pass an unequivocal motion stating its position.

      [Gideons International] Gideons, begone! Calgary hospitals may banish the
      Bibles in bedside tables may become a thing of the past inside patient rooms
      at Calgary hospitals. If the policy is approved, Gideon Bible, a bedside
      staple provided by Gideons International, will be removed from all hospital
      rooms in the city and the Calgary Health Region will ban all distribution
      and display of any printed religious materials in hospitals. The policy,
      which is still under review, has drawn both acceptance and criticism from
      religious leaders. An official for the health region says the policy is the
      best way to avoid religious discrimination or even the appearance that the
      organization favours any one group. "There's no interest in restricting
      access. It's just that we want it to be non-discriminatory," said Toni
      MacDonald, the health region's director of spiritual care.

      [Underground Church] China Christian Church Activist Detained
      Activist for China's unofficial Christian church has been detained after
      investigating the destruction of churches by authorities in eastern China,
      human rights groups say. Liu Fenggang, 43, was detained on Oct. 13 in the
      city of Hangzhou while visiting with leaders of the destroyed churches who
      had just been released from almost two months in detention. Police who
      searched Liu's home in Beijing later that week confiscated two computers, an
      address book, cameras, documents and other items, said Bob Fu, of the China
      Aid Association, based in Pennsylvania. Police told Liu's wife, Bi Yuxia,
      that Liu would be charged with revealing state secrets, but did not present
      her with the official notification of arrest needed to hire a lawyer, Fu
      said. ``This is outrageous and absurd,'' Fu said. Liu was simply trying to
      help hire attorneys for the Christian activists and pass on assistance from
      other unofficial churches, he said.

      [Anglican Church] Backward Christian soldiers
      A meeting of Anglican primates at Lambeth last week sought to avoid a schism
      over the appointment of a gay bishop in America. Yet despite the
      conciliatory tone, the threadbare fabric of unity is unravelling, reports
      Elizabeth Day.

      [Anglican Church] Gay bishop reaffirms role
      The gay Anglican bishop-elect of the US state of New Hampshire, Gene
      Robinson, has reaffirmed his belief his consecration scheduled for 2
      November should go ahead. This is despite a warning from church leaders of
      the worldwide Anglican community that his status as a homosexual bishop
      could split the Church.

      [Anglican Church] Turmoil over N.H. bishop threatening Maine church
      As leaders of the global Anglican Communion struggle to avoid a schism over
      homosexuality, members of the Episcopal Church in Maine are facing a similar
      divide. The decision in August by the General Convention of the U.S. church
      to allow a gay man to be the next bishop of New Hampshire was a "tragic
      mistake," according to a resolution issued by the leaders of the Christ
      Episcopal Church in Gardiner, the original see - center of authority - of
      the church in Maine. The leaders have submitted to the Diocese of Maine a
      resolution that would prevent it from forcing clergy to act outside their
      consciences regarding the issue of sexuality and the blessing of same-sex
      unions. The resolution will be voted on next week by more than 300 church
      members at a convention in Bangor.

      [Anglican Church] Anglicans 'regret' gay bishop election
      Anglican leaders have condemned the appointment of a gay bishop in the US
      and warned his consecration would split the church. In a statement the 37
      clerics expressed their "deep regret" over the appointment of Reverend Gene
      Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire in the United States. It came at the
      close of the two-day summit at Lambeth Palace of Anglican leaders called in
      response to anger at the election. But Anglican church authorities in the
      United States have defended the openly gay bishop saying he chosen because
      of his nearly 30 years of ministry, and his sexuality was incidental to his
      calling as a bishop. Defying calls for his appointment to be rescinded, they
      said they looked forward to his consecration. The statement from church
      leaders in London warned the canon's consecration in November would lead to
      further division and could lead to a split in the entire Church.

      [Alternative Healing] Acupuncture offers pain relief without traditional
      Western medicine
      Many think of acupuncture as a last resort for chronic pain, but it is cited
      by the World Health Organization to treat more than 40 conditions, including
      asthma, allergies, depression, insomnia, anxiety, hypertension and
      headaches. [...] Michael Gaeta, president of the Acupuncture Society of New
      York, says the field is the fastest growing sect of health care. He concedes
      that Western medicine is superior for trauma care and advanced,
      technology-based treatment, but says a combination of the two are necessary
      to achieve good overall health.

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      [Jews for Jesus] 'Offensive' ads are kosher, says watchdog
      Advertising watchdogs have rejected complaints about an "offensive and
      racist" campaign by a controversial Christian organisation urging Jewish
      people to "think for yourself". Dozens of people, including the Board of
      Deputies of British Jews, complained about the campaign by Jews for Jesus, a
      registered charity whose main goal is to convert Jewish people to the
      Christian faith. [...] The ASA ruled that, although they had offended some
      Jews by apparently mocking orthodox Jews as mindlessly following their
      faith, the advertisements were likely to be regarded by other Jews and by
      non-Jews as a "light-hearted caricature with a thought-provoking message".
      "The advertisements did not imply that Jews, and in particular orthodox
      Jews, could not think for themselves," it continued, concluding the
      advertisements were "neither racist nor offensive to Jewish people".

      [Catholic Church] 300,000 gather for Mother Teresa's beatification
      More than a quarter-million people - rich and poor, royal and regular -
      flooded St. Peter's Square today for the beatification of Mother Teresa,
      honouring the nun who built shelters, orphanages and clinics around the
      world to care for those no one else would. Pope John Paul presided over the
      open-air mass, but for the first time in a major Vatican ceremony, was
      unable to utter a word of his homily, leaving other prelates to do so. In
      the few prayers he did say, his words were so slurred and shaky they could
      barely be understood. But John Paul did declare Mother Teresa "blessed,"
      moving the woman many called a living saint for her work in the slums of
      Calcutta one step closer to official sainthood - and bestowing the honour
      during his 25th anniversary celebrations.

      [Catholic Church] Saint or celebrity? Cult of Mother Teresa faces tough
      On Friday, a few score members of India's pro-Marxist Science and
      Rationalists' Association held a demonstration to protest against the
      beatification. They brandished banners praising Mother Teresa, but
      denouncing the miracle that set her on the path to sainthood. Their point
      was simple. India's mass of uneducated poor are fatally superstitious and
      will resort to harmful bogus cures - going to witch doctors for snake bites,
      for instance. How do you stop this, they ask, if credence is given to
      miracles by the Vatican? They say they have investigated in detail the
      miracle that set Mother Teresa on the path to sainthood - a village woman
      who was allegedly cured of a tumour by holding a medal of Mother Teresa on
      her stomach. "It turned out to be nonsense," said Sumitra Padmanabhan, who
      edits The Rationalist magazine. "She was cured by the medicines given to her
      by doctors."

      [Polygamy] Three wives will guarantee you a place in paradise
      The godfearing polygamists of Hildale and neighbouring Colorado City,
      members of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) have good
      reason to be jumpy. Last week, for the first time in 40 years, the state of
      Utah jailed a local resident for bigamy. Rodney Holm, a powerful local
      police officer, will serve a year in prison. He was also found guilty of two
      charges of sexual misconduct with a minor. The communities' church leaders,
      who have brazenly flouted US law for decades, were astonished by the
      verdict. These isolated, insular mini-theocracies, 60 miles south of the
      Grand Canyon, have resisted change for 50 years. Now there is revolution in
      the air. Perhaps emboldened by the authorities' decision to prosecute Holm,
      some of the wives who have suffered as a result of polygamous marriages are
      suddenly speaking out. Elderly women are revealing that resistance networks
      of safe houses in Las Vegas and Phoenix have been used to smuggle girls to
      freedom. Meanwhile, the large home of the community's leader, Warren Jeffs -
      known throughout the area as "The Prophet" and also under legal
      investigation - is guarded by young men who are often armed and interrogate
      strangers as to why they are there. Dissident churchgoers claim that girls
      are granted to men by Mr Jeffs as a reward, and taken away as a punishment.
      Illegal weddings involving girls of 14 and 15, conducted by Mr Jeffs, are
      claimed to have been commonplace.

      [Hate Groups] Man taught dog to give Nazi salute
      man who trained his German shepherd to raise a paw in imitation of the Nazi
      salute won't be prosecuted for the unusual trick, although he faces other
      charges, including allegedly shouting "Heil Hitler!" just before the dog's
      feat, judicial authorities said Wednesday.

      [NXIVM] Business born when former nurse met motivator
      "The multi-level industry, if you study it, is not an ethical industry,"
      Salzman said. She said Raniere was attracted to its networking aspects and
      the chance to create such marketing in a new way. After achieving
      considerable success, she said Raniere wrote a paper critical of the
      industry that created considerable ill will and made him numerous enemies,
      which led to charges that his business, Consumers' Buyline, was a pyramid
      scheme. At one point, attorneys general of 23 states including New York
      were considering action against him. Rather than pay exorbitant court fees,
      he agreed to a settlement in New York for $40,000, Salzman said. "Keith
      settled with no admission of wrongdoing," she said. Executive Success is
      the outgrowth of her human analysis skills and his business acumen. She owns
      and is president of the company. She said Raniere derives no income from it
      at all.

      [NXIVM] Self-improvement program draws mixed reviews
      One of the company's chief critics is Rick Ross of New Jersey, who
      specializes in cults. Salzman dismisses Ross,saying he was hired by a
      student whose family blamed his messy personal life on Executive Success and
      that Ross has made a career of targeting Raniere and Salzman's company.
      He's not the only one. In 1993, former New York Attorney General Robert
      Abrams filed a civil suit against Raniere's former business, Consumers'
      Buyline, alleging that it was a chain distribution or pyramid scheme. In
      1997, a $40,000 settlement was reached. Six years later, Raniere still owes
      $31,000, said Paul Larrabee, a spokesman for Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Mongolia adopts new method of learning
      A study technology, developed by L. Ron Hubbard, will be introduced in
      Mongolian schools through Applied Scholastics (AS), an organisation that
      makes available Hubbard's educational methods to the world. At the
      invitation of Tumor Ochi, the Speaker of the Mongolian Parliament,
      representatives of Applied Scholastics went to Mongolia, including S.
      Krishnan, the executive director of Applied Scholastics Malaysia.

      NOTE: Applied Scholastics is a front group for one of the most unethical
      organizations in existence: Scientology.

      [Islam] Muslim head scarves force France to grapple with its identity
      A century ago, France pulled down the crucifixes hanging in its classrooms
      in a triumphant climax to its fight to separate the state from the powerful
      Roman Catholic Church. Today, battle lines are being drawn over another
      religious emblem, the Islamic head scarf, which some French see as a threat
      to their nation's core values and unity. A bitter debate over whether the
      head-covering can be worn in public schools, or by civil servants, has
      festered for nearly 15 years and deepened as France's Muslim sons and
      daughters come of age. Some see it as a flag of Islamic militancy, or a
      sign of submission to men. Others see it as the start of a spiral into
      unknown territory that could transform France's definition of itself.

      [Seventh-day Adventism] Suit against pastor thrown out
      For four years, Jerry Rose has struggled through the loss of his beloved
      stepdaughter and the knowledge that his wife tried to have him murdered.
      On Friday, Rose was further shaken when a judge threw out his lawsuit
      against the former Issaquah pastor he holds responsible for the destruction
      of his family. ``I'm just really devastated,'' Jerry Rose, 58, said of the
      ruling that dismissed his suit against Terry Campbell, a former pastor at
      the now-defunct Issaquah Seventh-day Adventist Church. ``I just don't
      understand this,'' Rose said, choking back tears at home in Arizona, where
      he moved after the string of horrifying events that ended with the murder of
      his 15-year-old stepdaughter, Sarah Starling, in March 1999. ``This guy is
      still out there doing this to people.'' Rose's suit claimed the church
      turned a blind eye to Campbell and his controversial spiritual counseling
      sessions for more than a dozen women at the Issaquah church whom Campbell
      had diagnosed with multiple personality disorder. In response to the suit,
      Campbell admitted he had no formal psychology training other than spiritual
      counseling and loss bereavement. Church officials defended the pastor's
      practices as constitutionally protected religious belief.

      [Mormon Church] Plaza preacher drops LDS Church from suit
      Baptist minister Kurt Van Gorden has dropped the LDS Church from a
      civil-rights lawsuit he filed in April stemming from 2002 arrests for
      handing out religious tracts on a downtown plaza. [...] Thursday's order of
      dismissal releases the LDS Church from the case entirely, as well as one of
      the named police officers. The dismissals are with prejudice, meaning Van
      Gorden can never again file suit against the defendants for the same claims.

      Church attorneys previously had filed a motion for dismissal, claiming the
      civil-rights statute Van Gorden relied on in his lawsuit is not relevant to
      his case. Van Gorden's attorneys later stipulated to the church's dismissal
      from the suit. The case against the Salt Lake City defendants is ongoing.

      [False Memory Syndrome] Court: Memories may be flawed
      The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has recognized, for the first time, that
      children who accuse adults of molesting them can have false memories of
      attacks, formed during repeated questioning by social workers and police,
      and might be incompetent to testify in a trial. In an opinion filed
      Thursday, the court ruled that defendants in sex-abuse cases are entitled to
      a pretrial hearing at which they can attempt to show that a child's
      recollection of abuse was tainted by suggestive interviewing techniques.

      [False Memory Syndrome] 'Tooky' Amirault could go free in spring
      Gerald "Tooky" Amirault, convicted of raping eight children in one of the
      nation's most lurid -- and bitterly disputed -- child abuse cases, has been
      granted parole and could go free next spring after nearly two decades in
      prison. Amirault, 49, who was convicted in 1986 of molesting and raping the
      children at the family-run Fells Acres day care center in Malden, will not
      be released until at least April 2004, said Sgt. Edward Principe, a
      spokesman for the state Public Safety Department.

      [False Memory Syndrome] Board grants parole to Amirault
      The decision announced yesterday could signal the end of the notorious
      sexual abuse case that spanned nearly two decades and dogged several
      governors. The children told lurid tales of sexual abuse, involving robots
      and the torture of animals, and the case helped spawn the national debate
      about the reliability of testimony from children. It was one of a host of
      mass child abuse cases at the time, including the Virginia McMartin
      Preschool in California. "This is not a triumphant day for Gerald and his
      family," said James L. Sultan, Amirault's lawyer. "He is still in prison,
      and his wrongful conviction remains on the books. But it is a good day, a
      day on which his family's long and courageous struggle for justice has
      achieved an important goal."

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