ReligionNewsBlog.com, Nov. 10-11, 2003
- ReligionNewsBlog.com, Nov. 10-11, 2003
Tue, Nov. 11, 2003
[Islam] France sees headscarves as a veiled threat
The expulsion of two French schoolgirls for wearing Muslim headscarves is
just one incident to have sparked debate about religion and education across
[USA] High Court Will Hear Appeals From Guantanamo Prisoners
The Supreme Court intervened for the first time in the war on terrorism,
announcing today that it will review the legal status of the 660 suspected
terrorists currently being held in near-total secrecy in a U.S. naval base
at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The court's announcement sets the stage for a
potentially historic ruling on the wartime powers of the President. [...]
The Bush administration says that U.S courts have no jurisdiction over the
prisoners, because they were captured in a foreign military conflict and
because Guantanamo is not American but Cuban territory. Therefore, the
administration argues, the prisoners can be held and interrogated for as
long as President Bush considers it necessary to help win the war against
the al Qaeda network and its allies. There is no role for the courts, the
administration argues. But international human rights groups and other
critics say that there is no basis in either U.S. or international law for
holding people indefinitely without giving them a hearing.
[Voodoo] Growing menace of Voodoo
In a West London council flat, an African witch doctor gives a
blood-curdling account of the ritual slaughter of a child and reveals the
growing menace in Britain of Voodoo.
[Transcendental Meditation] 'Peace on Earth is my priority'
David Lynch, known for his nightmarish movies, wants to solve the world's
problems through the gentle art of meditation. [...] His remedy for our
troubles is Transcendental Meditation. At a press conference in New York
last month, the eccentric 57-year-old film director unveiled an ambitious
project to build hundreds of "peace palaces" around the world. Eight
thousand like-minded followers of Transcendental Meditation will live, eat
and sleep inside the first of these temples permanently, all meditating like
crazy. Between them, they will harness the power of a great, global wave of
positive consciousness that will usher in a new era of love and harmony.
Bingo. That's all there is to it.
[Hate Groups] Cheyenne considers moving monument
The resolution, to be considered by the City Council on Monday, proposes
moving the monument to a historic plaza, much like the city of Casper
proposed doing. Unlike Casper, Cheyenne's plaza already exists and displays
the Bill of Rights and preamble to the Constitution on land between the City
Building and the Cox Parking Garage. Casper has proposed creating a similar
plaza next year. Both cities are responding to letters from the Rev. Fred
Phelps, of the Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church., asking to erect
his own monument in the parks saying Shepard is in hell because he was gay.
[Prophet's House] Police foil doomsday cult's final countdown
Dozens of policemen broke into a church in West Java yesterday and led away
285 singing and praying members of a doomsday cult waiting for the end of
the world and the reappearance of Jesus Christ. Fearing the believers had
deadly back-up plans if Judgment Day never came, police forced the door of
the Bandung church just after 3pm, the hour cult leader Mangapin Sibuea, 59,
had told the faithful they would be 'saved'.
Mon, Nov. 10, 2003
[Campus Cults] Soldiers may be deployed to varsities over cult activities
Director of Army Public Relations, Colonel Emeka Onwuamagbu has stated that
men of the Nigerian Army might be brought in to enforce law and order if the
Nigeria Police fail to control the problem of cultism in universities and
other institutions of higher learning in the country.
[Prophet's House] Doomsday cult members detained
Indonesia police detained more than 200 members of a Christian doomsday cult
today because of fears they might commit mass suicide after their
end-of-the-world prophecy failed to come true, police said.
[Polygamy] Polygamist pleads guilty to incest
Utah's latest prosecution of a polygamist ended almost before it began.
Jeremy Ortell Kingston pleaded guilty as charged on Thursday to third-degree
felony incest. The victim, LuAnn Kingston, who was 15 when she became her
first-cousin's fourth "wife" in 1995, said Kingston probably had sacrificed
himself for the good of the clan.
[Prophet's House] Doomsday is not today, cops tell cult members
Indonesian police on Monday evacuated 300 people crammed inside a house in
West Java who said they were waiting for the end of the world, police and
local media reports said. The 300 people - from a Christian sect known as
Sibuea - insisted the day of reckoning would come at 3pm on Monday, a police
[Anglican Church] Welcome outcasts, gay bishop urges
The Rev. V. Gene Robinson began his ministry as the Episcopal Church's first
openly gay bishop Sunday by saying he wants to bring the message of God's
love to "those on the margins." At the same time, he said the church should
speak out on issues of social justice, including the lack of access to
health care for many Americans. "How dare we in this country spend $87
billion on war when 44 million people have no health insurance?" he said in
his sermon. "It's up to the church to lead on some of these moral issues."
[Homosexuality] Police question bishop over gay row
A bishop who suggested gay people should seek medical help to reorientate
their sexuality is to be questioned by police. The Rt Rev Dr Peter Forster,
Bishop of Chester, is to be interviewed over statements made in a newspaper
on Friday. He is reported to have said that some people who are "primarily
homosexual" can "reorientate themselves" with the help of psychiatrists.
[Religious Persecution] East Chinese country shuts churches
A county government in eastern China has displayed unusual vigour in a
campaign to suppress religious groups, closing hundreds of churches and
temples, a Hong Kong-based rights centre reported on Saturday. A total of
10 churches and 392 temples have been shut down, and in some caes
demolished, over the past two months in Deqing county, Zhejiang province,
the Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said in a statement.
[USA] Debating execution of youth
As Lee Boyd Malvo's capital murder trial approaches, the debate is being
renewed between opponents of executing criminals who were younger than 18
when they killed and advocates for allowing the death penalty for juvenile
killers. [...] Legal specialists doubt Malvo's case will have an effect on
the future of the death penalty for juvenile offenders, although they expect
advocates and opponents to add it to their arsenals of arguments. Victor L.
Streib, a law professor at Ohio Northern University who studies the death
penalty, said the execution of juvenile killers is heading for oblivion
despite the sniper case -- either state by state or by the Supreme Court
halting the practice. [...] Four months after barring states from executing
mentally retarded killers, the Supreme Court, in a majority vote, declined
to decide whether juvenile killers should be executed.
NOTE: Since 1990 Amnesty International has documented executions of juvenile
offenders in six countries: Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the
United States of America (USA) and Yemen. The country which has carried out
the greatest number of known executions is the
[Abraham Kennard] John Rubio sentenced to death
A man who confessed to suffocating, stabbing and beheading his common-law
wife's three young children was sentenced to death Friday after telling a
judge he wanted to be executed. Jurors sentenced John Allen Rubio to death
by injection a day after convicting him of three counts of capital murder,
one for each of the children he admitted killing on March 11. Rubio, 23,
and his common-law wife, Angela Camacho, told police they killed 3-year-old
Julissa Quezada, 1-year-old John Esthefan Rubio and 2-month-old Mary Jane
Rubio because they thought the children were possessed and they didn't want
them to grow up evil.
[Labyrinths] Lunch with "Left Behind" author
More than 55 million copies of the ''Left Behind'' series have been sold so
far, but Jenkins' name recognition doesn't come anywhere close to John
Grisham's or Stephen King's. That's due in part to the credit he shares with
LaHaye, who was already well-known in Christian circles as an evangelist and
co-founder of the Moral Majority. But it also, unquestionably, has something
to do with the fact that the books' content just really creeps out a lot of
[Shadowmancer] Author vicar gives up job after heart scare
A country vicar who became an overnight literary celebrity after his first
novel was hailed as a rival to Harry Potter is giving up his parish after a
heart scare. The Rev Graham Taylor denied yesterday he was leaving his 70
hours-a-week post as a clergyman for a more lucrative lifestyle as an
author. He gained recognition when his Gothic tale Shadowmancer was
published by Fabers on the same day as JK Rowling's Harry Potter and the
Order of the Phoenix. It has since sold 250,000 copies, features in the
national top 10 children's books in Britain and will be launched on the
American market in the spring as part of a $500,000 publishing deal.
[Harry Potter] A Wave of Harry's Wand Stirs Backlash
The Harry Potter series may be an unprecedented publishing phenomenon, but
its magic doesn't work for everyone. Ever since the saga first hit the
stores with Bloomsbury's publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's
Stone in 1997, J.K. Rowling's readership has grown and grown. But along with
it, the anti-Potter movement has grown with it.
[Religion Trends] Fiery Pentecostal spirit spreads into mainstream
Just a few decades ago, many mainstream Christians would have called it
hysterics. They had a name for Pentecostals: "holy rollers." They were
considered poor, uneducated. Backwoods folks. Many people still have doubts
about them. [...] Yet Pentecostalism has bulled its way into the mainstream
that once rejected it, asserted itself in Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran,
Episcopal and Methodist churches from Los Angeles to Tampa, and into Latin
America, Canada, Africa, Europe and Asia. More than 500-million Christians
practice Pentecostalism worldwide. It is thought to be the world's
fastest-growing Christian movement. Not quite a century old, Pentecostals
outnumber Buddhists and Jews.
[Lee Malvo] Young U.S. Sniper Suspect Set for Trial on Monday
Much of the evidence at Muhammad's trial has suggested that Malvo was part
of a two-person sniper team, but Steven Hassan, a former member of the
Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon and now an expert on mind control, said
Muhammad may have been able to control Malvo and make him commit crimes.
"Mind control is a dissociative disorder where a person's real identity is
suppressed under a cult identity," Hassan said by telephone. While noting
that he had no specific details on Malvo's case, Hassan said, "If there's no
contact with outside sources of influence and if the person's cult identity
is made to be completely obedient, like a soldier in a war is to his
officer, I would say Malvo had no access to his real identity and therefore
no personal will that could contradict his orders."
[Mormon Church] ACLU asks for injunction against plaza restrictions
The American Civil Liberties Union has asked a judge for a temporary
injunction preventing the LDS church from regulating behavior on a downtown
block until a lawsuit is decided. The restrictions followed a deal with the
city that gave The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints control of
the landscaped plaza in exchange for two acres of church-ownedland and
$388,000 in church funds. The ACLU contends in its lawsuit that the deal
unconstitutionally restricted free speech rights and effectively endorsed
the church, a violation of the First Amendment.
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