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ReligionNewsBlog.com, Jan. 1-3, 2004

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  • Anton Hein
    ReligionNewsBlog.com, Jan. 1-3, 2004 Sat, Jan. 03, 2004 [Hate Groups : Scientology] Scientology sabbotages Netwerk Broadcast
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2004
      ReligionNewsBlog.com, Jan. 1-3, 2004

      Sat, Jan. 03, 2004
      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Scientology sabbotages 'Netwerk' Broadcast
      At the end of last year, the Scientology Kerk Amsterdam [Scientology Church
      Amsterdam] managed to prevent the broadcast of the news- background and
      analysis program Netwerk. Former director Caspar de Rijk, who was going to
      contribute to the program, was put under so much pressure that he decided
      against participating. He is now considering taking legal action against the

      [Hate Groups] Prosecutors counter Hale defense
      White supremacist Matt Hale was not manipulated into soliciting a U.S.
      judge's murder and made statements supporting the use of violence against
      others, federal prosecutors argued this week. The 32-year-old East Peorian
      was arrested nearly a year ago on Jan. 8, 2003, for allegedly encouraging a
      bodyguard - actually a paid FBI informant - to kill U.S. District Judge Joan
      Lefkow after the Chicago-based judge ruled against Hale's World Church of
      the Creator in a trademark-infringement suit. Hale's trial is slated to
      begin April 5 in Chicago.

      [Hate Groups] Parole in Dog Mauling Death
      California officials said yesterday that the woman who cared for the dogs
      that mauled to death Manhasset native Diane Whipple outside her San
      Francisco apartment in January 2001 will be released in days. [...] Knoller
      was in the hallway when the massive Presa Canario dogs, Bane and Hera, -
      they had been owned by two jailed white supremacists - attacked and tore
      Whipple's body apart. [...] The mauling drew national media attention for
      its viciousness, the seemingly callous attitude that Knoller and Noel
      displayed in the aftermath of the killing and their connections with an
      avowed white supremacist who was serving time in prison.

      [Nuwaubians] Nuwaubian cult leader's molestation trial could create circus
      After months of common-law tactics and protests by followers dressed as
      Egyptian pharaohs, mummies and birds, Nuwaubian cult leader Malachi York's
      child molestation case finally heads to trial Monday. And officials are
      doing all they can to keep the courtroom from turning into a circus. "It's
      like living in bizarro world," said Frank Ford, an attorney who has argued
      with the Nuwaubians in court. "They cannot stand being told no, and they
      cannot stand being ignored."

      [Mary Magdalene] Harvard professor joins the buzz about Mary Magdalene
      Imagine that alongside Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, your New Testament
      includes a fifth Gospel where "seven Powers of Wrath" interrogate the human
      soul, accusing it of being a "human-killer" and "space-conqueror." [...]
      There actually was a Gospel that said these things. Although the words sound
      like musings from some 1960s New Age guru, they appeared in an ancient text
      known as the "Gospel of Mary." [...] The quotes appear in "The Gospel of
      Mary of Magdala: Jesus and the First Woman Apostle" by Karen L. King of
      Harvard Divinity School. The publisher is Polebridge Press, allied with the
      left-wing Jesus Seminar in which King participates. [...] Mary Magdalene is
      fashionable at the moment thanks to the odd pseudo-historical thriller "The
      Da Vinci Code." It promotes the ludicrous rumor -- developed many centuries
      after Jesus' lifetime -- that he married Magdalene and had children who
      migrated to France. [...] Gnosticism is also hot, due to "Beyond Belief," a
      book about the "Gospel of Thomas" by King's Princeton soulmate Elaine

      [Jehovah's Witnesses] Man arrested in mother's murder on suicide watch
      Prosecutors in the case are considering whether to charge Ferenz with
      homicide, but must factor in his mother's refusal to have blood
      transfusions, in keeping with her faith as a Jehovah's Witness, they said.

      [Jehovah's Witnesses] Stabbing victim declined blood transfusion,
      prosecutors say
      Authorities face a dilemma as they consider whether a man accused of
      stabbing his mother should face a homicide charge after she refused a blood
      transfusion on religious grounds, prosecutors said.

      Fri, Jan. 02, 2004
      [Religion Trends] Flocks growing at religious colleges
      As public higher education institutions in Florida and across the nation
      gird for another year of devilishly tight budgets and talk of limited
      student access, prospects for one group of schools are downright heavenly:
      evangelical Christian colleges and universities.

      [Word of Faith Fellowship] When church is a blast
      Known for its use of "blasting prayer" in which church members stand in a
      circle around an individual praying loudly in an effort to exercise demonic
      spirits from the subject, the Spindale-based Word of Faith Fellowship may be
      engaging in behavior bordering on abuse -- especially when individual
      subjects are juveniles. The church's further practice of "discipleship" --
      isolating children and church members from friends and family -- is also a
      practice sure to do more than raise a few eyebrows. Because this church
      chooses to practice unorthodox measures that could be harmful to its
      children, the county DSS has a right and responsibility to question its
      practices. This is not about religious freedom or tolerance, this is about
      the safety of our youths. And because the issue is the safety of children,
      if such behaviors are truly beneficial, Word of Faith should welcome such
      investigations, and use them as opportunities to explain their practices and
      educate non-members. Instead, church members are giving the appearance of
      something to hide by attempting to cloister their mission and filing
      lawsuits against the social service agency claiming harassment.

      [Lord's Resistance Army] Uganda claims it has defeated rebels
      President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda claimed victory Thursday against a rebel
      army of brainwashed children fighting a 17-year guerrilla war in the north
      of the country, a war with no discernable aims. In a New Year address,
      Museveni told his people that the Lord's Resistance Army had been "defeated
      decisively." He said his forces were on the verge of killing the rebel
      leader, Joseph Kony. But evidence to support Museveni's boast is scant.

      [Campus Cults] Villagers kill two, arrest 10 suspected cultists
      No fewer than ten secret cult members have been arrested in different
      locations over the killing of innocent persons, with several others
      critically hospitalised in the health centres of Bendege-Ekiem in Etung
      local government area of Cross River State.

      [Islam] Sheikh sanctions headscarf ban
      The head of one of the world's most prestigious centres of Islamic learning
      has upheld the right of France to ban headscarves in state schools. The
      Grand Sheikh of the al-Azhar mosque in Egypt, Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, was
      speaking after talks with French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. [...]
      Speaking in Cairo in the presence of Mr Sarkozy, Sheikh Tantawi said the
      veil was the divine obligation of Muslim women. But he added that that this
      obligation did not apply if the women lived in a non-Muslim country like
      France. He said Muslim women had to obey the rules of the host country in
      which they live, under what he described as dire necessity.

      [Mungiki] Americans got it all wrong on Mungiki
      Recently, the US State Department released the "2003 Annual report on
      International Religious Freedom" in which it accused the Kenya Government of
      "harassing" the Mungiki sect. Although the report says that the people of
      East African countries enjoy enormous religious freedom, it criticises Kenya
      for "frequently harassing and periodically arresting and detaining" members
      of Mungiki. While the State Department may have every right to criticise any
      government that has no respect for the religious freedom of its people, its
      criticism of Kenya for allegedly harassing members of the outlawed sect is
      obviously misplaced. That the report turns a blind eye to the many violent
      incidents members of the sect have been implicated in reeks of betrayal.
      Should the Government just watch as Mungiki kill and maim innocent Kenyans?

      [Islamism] Nigeria: Authorities Clamp Down On Islamic Militants
      Authorities in Plateau State, northern Nigeria, have banned a radical Muslim
      while in neighbouring Yobe State, security forces were deployed to quash
      recent anti-police violence caused by a little known Muslim sect, officials
      said on Thursday. On Wednesday, Plateau State governor ordered the ban of
      the Council of Ulamma, or the Muslim Council of Elders, on grounds that the
      group preaches religious hatred and intolerance. The Council is an
      authoritative religious body in the state and influences affairs concerning
      the Muslim community.

      [Islam] Friends or foes? Cultlike group stuck between three powers
      U.S. troops are guarding some 3,800 militants of the Mujahedeen Khalq (MEK)
      - the only armed opposition to the ruling clerics of Iran. Officially, both
      the U.S. and Iran label the MEK a terrorist group. The U.S.-appointed Iraq
      Governing Council concurs: Citing the "black history of this terrorist
      organization" and its years of working closely with Saddam, it has ordered
      the expulsion of the MEK. But the MEK's fate is unclear. While the Iraqis
      want it disbanded, the politically savvy group still has support among some
      U.S. officials, who see it as a potential tool against Iran, a country that
      President Bush has called part of an "axis of evil." [...] The voices of
      former MEK militants give a rare glimpse inside a group they say demands a
      cultlike control over members, practices Mao-style self-denunciations, and
      requires worship of husband-and-wife leaders Massoud and Maryam Rajavi.
      Recruited from the United States and Europe, or even drawn directly from
      Iranians held in Iraqi prisoner-of-war camps and jails, the former fighters
      describe a high level of fear, and speak of their own awakening - and
      freedom from the MEK's grip - as if it's an epiphany.

      [False Memory Syndrome] A smudge on indelible memories
      That schoolyard fight. That first date. That wild night in Las Vegas. Such
      memories seem immutable, like videotapes that can be taken down from a shelf
      in the mind and played over and over, always the same, until dementia or
      death erases them. But one of the hottest topics in brain science is a
      spate of experiments in animals that suggests that a seemingly permanent
      memory is not only vulnerable to change, but becomes vulnerable every time
      it is called to mind. In essence, "your memory is only as good as your last
      memory, rather than based on your initial memory," said Joseph LeDoux, a
      prominent New York University neuroscientist at the forefront of the recent

      [Archeology] Digging back to time of Jesus
      Many Christians were upset when Israeli antiquities experts recently
      declared a first-century inscription bearing Jesus' name a fake, seemingly
      depriving them of the earliest archaeological proof of Jesus' existence.
      Those who take such a view misunderstand the point of biblical archaeology,
      said Craig Evans, professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College in
      Nova Scotia and an expert on ossuaries, the small burial boxes like the one
      discovered last fall on which was carved in Aramaic: ''James, son of Joseph,
      brother of Jesus.'' ''Archaeology isn't so much about proving the Bible,''
      said Evans, an evangelical Christian who said he thinks the James
      inscription ultimately could be proved authentic. The importance of
      archaeology is that it ''clarifies and contextualizes the story of the

      [Transcendental Meditation] Vedic City organic farm gets federal grant money

      The United States Department of Agriculture has announced it will give a
      $144,700 grant to Maharishi World Peace Vedic Organics to fund the marketing
      and sale of organic salad greens and sunflower oil. Maharishi World Peace
      Vedic Organics is the arm of Maharishi Vedic City that runs the city's
      organic farm, which grew a crop of sunflowers during the last growing

      [Meditation] Meditation is coming to the medical mainstream
      Regular meditation practice is supposed to quiet the mind and allow the body
      to tap into its own innate healing mechanisms. Yogis and monks have preached
      the powers of meditation for thousands of years, and the counterculture
      generation of the '60s embraced transcendental meditation - a still-thriving
      form of internal mantra-chanting - as a method to alter consciousness. But
      many people today are taking up meditation for reasons that have little or
      nothing to do with spiritual enlightenment and a lot with improving their
      health. Scientists are using MRI and other advanced technologies to study
      the physiological changes that occur in meditating Buddhist monks. These
      researchers are starting to demonstrate, with the type of laboratory science
      that can influence even skeptical physicians, what those who engage in this
      ancient practice have believed for many centuries: Meditation works.

      [Witchcraft] Wicca 'not a religion but a way of life'
      Wicca is a specific group within the broader neo-pagan movement, said
      Heather Morcroft of Orlando, president of the Wicca Religious Cooperative of
      Florida. She estimated that there are several hundred Wiccans in the Central
      Florida area and 2,500 to 3,000 pagans, people whose beliefs and practices
      vary widely, from agnosticism to the worship of ancient Norse gods to the
      embrace of nature.

      Thu, Jan. 01, 2004
      [Religion Trends] 2003 in Religion: Combat and Conflict
      Opposition to war, gay rights and fight over Ten Commandments are among top

      [Islam] France has right to ban headscarf, says top Sunni figure
      The sheikh of Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's top spiritual authority, said
      yesterday that France had the right to ban Islamic headscarves in state
      'The veil is a divine obligation for a Muslim woman... No Muslim, whether
      ruler or ruled, can oppose it,' said Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, ahead of talks
      with visiting French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. But he said the
      obligation applied 'if the woman lives in a Muslim country. If she lives in
      a non-Muslim country, like France, whose officials want to adopt laws
      opposed to the veil, it is their right'. 'I repeat: It is their right and I
      cannot oppose it,' he said. French President Jacques Chirac this month
      called for a law banning Muslim headscarves and other 'conspicuous'
      religious insignia - including the Jewish kippa, or skullcap, and large
      crucifixes - from state schools.

      [Falun Gong] Falungong follower sentenced to death for 16 murders in China
      An alleged member of the Falungong sect has been sentenced to death for
      fatally poisoning 16 people, including a social worker and 15 beggars and

      [Hate Groups] Racist sect 'helps Jacko'
      Michael Jackson has fallen under the influence of the controversial Nation
      of Islam movement, it was claimed last night. The black separatist group -
      whose leader Louis Farrakhan views whites as 'devils' and Jewish people as
      'bloodsuckers' - is keeping the singer 'semi- captive', according to his
      close aides. They are also allegedly having a greater say in his legal and
      media affairs following his arrest five weeks ago on child abuse charges.

      > See also:
      Nation of Islam Denies Business Ties to Michael Jackson

      [Nuwaubians] Judge prohibits courthouse demonstrations during molestation
      Supporters of cult leader Malachi York wont be allowed to demonstrate
      outside the courthouse during his child molestation trial next week, a
      federal judge has ruled. [...] The ruling to keep the public out of the
      courtroom follows a Christmas parade in Brunswick where the Nuwaubians
      handed out flyers and asked spectators about the guilt or innocence of York.

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