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ReligionNewsBlog.com, Nov. 20, 2003

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  • Anton Hein
    ReligionNewsBlog.com, Nov. 20, 2003 Thu, Nov. 20, 2003 [Fraud] Victims clarified in fraud case http://www.religionnewsblog.com/5126-.html The Securities and
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 20, 2003
      ReligionNewsBlog.com, Nov. 20, 2003

      Thu, Nov. 20, 2003
      [Fraud] Victims clarified in fraud case
      The Securities and Exchange Commission's Fort Worth office on Wednesday
      clarified information that it had previously released about a lawsuit filed
      against a California businessman and four associates who are accused of
      bilking several evangelical Christian ministries. Originally, the SEC said
      those who lost money by investing in IPIC International Inc., based in
      Ontario, Calif., included Benny Hinn Ministries in Irving and Covenant
      Church in Carrollton. However, the SEC's statement Wednesday said that while
      some members of these churches lost money, the ministries themselves weren't

      [Polygamy] Polygamy rehab plan is boycotted by group
      An antipolygamy group is protesting a decision by the Utah Attorney
      General's Office to include a plural wife in a project to aid women and
      children leaving the polygamous lifestyle, comparing the situation to
      inviting a rapist to join an anti-rape group. In a strongly worded news
      release, officials of Tapestry Against Polygamy (TAP) on Tuesday said they
      no longer will participate in a joint effort with Attorney General Mark
      Shurtleff to set up a nonprofit organization to help plural wives and their
      children get a new start in mainstream society.

      [Polygamy] Woman loses custody to 'sister wife'
      After eight months of having her children back with her, she lost the
      custody battle last week -- this time to her spiritual husband's first and
      legal wife, Amy Black, according to 5th District Justice Court documents
      obtained by The Spectrum from an anti-polygamy group, Help the Child Brides
      of St. George. Judge Hans Q. Chamberlain in Cedar City also ruled that
      Phelps must undergo counseling. The children -- ages 11, 13 and 15 -- are
      required to enroll in public schools, the documents said. But they are not
      allowed to be taught polygamy or have any contact with their father, Orson
      William Black, who was served warrants in March on charges of sexual conduct
      with the children.

      [USA] Case on Guantanamo Detainees Could Bring US Supreme Court Into
      Conflict With Executive Branch
      Last week, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal to
      lower-court rulings affirming the government's right to hold more than 650
      foreign terrorist suspects. Their indefinite detention at the U.S. Navy base
      at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has outraged civil liberties groups and the
      families of the men - mostly Muslim - who are being held virtually
      incommunicado. The case could bring two powerful branches of government into
      direct conflict. In court briefings, U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson,
      representing the executive branch, argued that the Supreme Court does not
      even have jurisdiction to hear the case, because the detainees are foreign
      nationals, whom the government calls "enemy combatants," in military custody
      outside the nation's borders. But legal analysts say the strong-minded high
      court may choose to flex the judicial branch's muscle and rule that it
      certainly does have authority over the case.

      [Fraud] Orlando man, 4 others took money from church ministries, feds say
      A member of the board of an Orlando-based Christian ministry was one of five
      people arrested in an alleged Ponzi scheme to take at least $160 million
      from evangelical Christians, using money promised for ministries to buy
      homes, a yacht and a helicopter, federal regulators charged. Torsten Thomas
      Henschke, 48, a minister and member of the board for Orlando-based Christ
      For All Nations, was arrested along with Gregory Earl Setser, 47, and three
      other associates of IPIC International Inc. and related companies, by agents
      from the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service. [...]

      [Fraud] Nigerian email conmen fall into their targets' net
      It has been described as the internet's first blood sport and is fast
      becoming one of the web's favourite pastimes. Fed up with having their
      inboxes clogged with emails from Nigerian fraudsters promising untold
      riches, the victims are finally hitting back. Scam-baiting - replying to the
      emails and stringing the con artists along with a view to humiliating them
      as much as possible - is becoming increasingly popular with more than 150
      websites chronicling the often hilarious results. Known as 419 fraud, after
      the section of the Nigerian penal code that it contravenes, the scam
      generates millions of pounds each year. According to the National Criminal
      Intelligence Service, the average loss in the UK stands at around £35,000.
      Mike, a 41-year-old computer engineer from Manchester, runs the scam-baiting
      site 419eater.com, which started two months ago. 'Almost always the scammer
      will think you are a real victim and try their best to extract money. It
      started because I used to get a few emails, and although I knew it was a
      scam I never knew how it worked. I did some research, found out about scam
      baiting and decided to have a go. It's now almost a full-time hobby for me.'

      [Peoples Temple] Jones disciple recovers from, recalls painful past
      A full-time member by 1972 and married to Bob Houston, another Temple
      follower, Shaw had risen to the organization's top tier of managers called
      the Planning Commission. [...] Early on Jan. 1, 1976, Shaw learned why she
      would have to leave. At this point the church had between 2,000 and 5,000
      members, although estimates vary. The planning commission's 120 members were
      into another late meeting. (Jones, it was later learned, liked to use
      relentless sleep deprivation to break people's wills.) Jones surprised the
      group with an unprecedented New Year's surprise: Everyone was handed glass
      of wine that he said came from grapes in the church's Mendocino County
      vineyard. He watched everyone drink. Then he offered this chaser: "He told
      us it was laced with cyanide and we would be dead in 45 minutes. Some people
      screamed and cried. I just wanted to lay down and sleep. I was so tired."
      This was the first of several rehearsals for the end. Jones called them
      White Nights, the point at which the church's world would end in a
      "revolutionary suicide." Within months, Shaw began planning her escape.
      Jones had warned the planning commission members that he would kill anyone
      who tried to leave. Shaw, when she would take out the children's laundry,
      began secretly moving her few possessions to a friend's house.

      [False Memory Syndrome] Don’t always believe what you see, suggests study on
      false memories
      People can easily be swayed into believing that they have seen something
      they never actually did see, say researchers at Ohio State University. [...]
      "People are susceptible to verbal false memories, whether it’s something
      that was actually said or an object they have a mental description of,"
      Beversdorf said. "We wanted to know if the ability to induce false memories
      extends beyond the language system – if it also affects the visual system,
      even when the images aren’t easily verbalized. It appears that the ability
      to create false memories does extend beyond language." He presented the
      findings on November 8 in New Orleans at the annual Society for Neuroscience
      conference. He conducted the research with Nicole Phillips, a recent
      graduate from Ohio State’s medical school, and Ashleigh Hillier, a
      postdoctoral research fellow with Ohio State’s department of neurology.

      [Science and Religion] Oxford Scientist Launches Sharp Critique of Religion
      Despite the massive costs religion has imposed on human society, it persists
      because children do not question their parents’ beliefs, renowned Oxford
      scientist Richard Dawkins argued in a fiery lecture last night at Lowell
      Lecture Hall. Before a packed house of 450 community members, faculty and
      students, Dawkins argued that the widespread presence of religion —despite
      its lack of obvious benefits—suggests that it was not an evolutionary
      adaptation. Rather, he argued, religion is a societal norm that stems from
      children’s psychological tendencies. "It is their unique obedience that
      makes them vulnerable to viruses and worms,” Dawkins said. Society provides
      a breeding ground for the “virus” of religion by labeling children with the
      religion of their parents. Children, in turn, absorb these beliefs because
      they are conditioned to do so. [...] Although most audience members
      responded with approval to the controversial remarks, some found fault with
      his assumptions. One questioner accused Dawkins of basing his theory on the
      unproven premise that religion is false. Lauren E. Tulp ’07 was also not
      entirely convinced by Dawkins’ theory. A practicing Roman Catholic, she
      said, “It was presumptuous to assume that everyone in the room was an
      atheist.” Dawkins did, however, concede that there is a sort of religious
      quality that characterizes scientific phenomena. “The sense of transcendence
      is something that is shared by those who don’t call themselves religious,”
      Dawkins said.

      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Televangelist Kelly Preston
      John Travolta’s wife appeared on “Live with Regis and Kelly” Tuesday, and
      discussed her recent efforts to help open schools. She praised Delphi, a
      chain of private schools that she’s backing, and told the audience that
      they’re “non-toxic” and “very artistic” — but what she failed to mention was
      their link to Scientology, the controversial religion that she and her hubby

      [Superior Universal Alignment] Satanic leader denies child torture
      The 75-year-old leader of a satanic cult in Brazil denied charges she
      tortured, castrated and murdered children in black magic rituals over a
      decade ago and declared, "I haven't the courage to kill a chicken."
      Valentina Andrade, the last of five defendants to stand trial in connection
      with the torture-killing of children from 1989-93 in Altamira in northern
      Brazil's Para State, has been in preventive custody since September 5,
      shortly after the first of the trials opened in late August. [...] The first
      four defendants were convicted and sentenced to prison terms ranging from 32
      to 77 years.

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