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ReligionNewsBlog.com, Jan. 5, 2004

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  • Anton Hein
    ReligionNewsBlog.com, Jan. 5, 2004 [Hate Groups] Ministers decry hate gospel http://www.religionnewsblog.com/5508-.html Acadiana Baptist ministers this week
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 5 3:50 AM
      ReligionNewsBlog.com, Jan. 5, 2004

      [Hate Groups] Ministers decry 'hate' gospel
      Acadiana Baptist ministers this week were quick to disassociate themselves
      and their churches with an Independent Baptist minister from Topeka, Kan.,
      who they say preaches a "gospel of hate." The Rev. Fred Phelps, pastor of
      Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, plans to be in Baton Rouge on Jan. 11 to
      picket outside several churches and in Acadiana on Jan. 12 to picket outside
      First Baptist Church and a Youngsville elementary school. [...] "It's a
      little sect that chooses to preach hate. That's no different from the Klan,"
      Walker said. "They don't speak for God. Nothing they preach coincides with

      [Christianity] Church's 'third way' on women bishops
      The Church of England may have to split in two if women become bishops, one
      with female clergy and one without, an official report has concluded. An
      enclave for opponents of women priests could be created to avert a mass
      exodus when women are consecrated, possibly within five years. The faction,
      effectively a church within a church, could have its own archbishop,
      bishops, parish clergy and training colleges. But it would exclude women
      clerics. Proposals for a traditionalist "third province" have been floated
      before but this is the first time they have received official recognition.

      [Islam] France struggles to integrate its Muslim minority
      The head-scarf ban, recently endorsed by President Jacques Chirac, has drawn
      international criticism as an infringement on religious expression, and many
      French Muslims see it as the latest in a series of hostile acts directed at
      them since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. The reality, though,
      seems more complex. The scarf ban is France's latest attempt, however
      clumsy, to grapple with a problem unparalleled in the United States or any
      other country: How to integrate a large Muslim minority, some of whom are
      fundamentalist and anti-democratic, into the world's most aggressively
      secular liberal democracy.

      [Religion Trends] Protestant church membership increasing in Mexico
      Mexico, a nation once almost exclusively Catholic, has in recent years
      increasingly opened its arms and hearts to other religions. Nationwide,
      Mexicans aren't just testing the winds of change in politics, having elected
      the first opposition government in 71 years, but in the pews as well. In
      the last 10 years, the number of Mexicans who consider themselves Catholics
      has fallen from 89 percent to about 81 percent. The number who consider
      themselves Protestants rose from about 4 percent to about 9 percent,
      according to religion experts at the National Institute of Anthropology.
      The change is spreading fast. Protestants abound in Oaxaca and Chiapas.
      There are swelling pockets of Mormons in Durango and Chihuahua; and
      Pentecostals and Jehovah's Witnesses in Guanajuato, President Vicente Fox's
      home state, known for its staunch conservative Catholic beliefs.

      [Nuwaubians] Leader's supporters rally at court
      Whether street hustler, alien being or Indian chief, Dwight York will be
      judged in a federal trial due to begin today simply as a man accused of
      molesting children. In a prolonged and often bizarre case, the 58-year-old
      native of Brooklyn, N.Y., has been portrayed in various guises, from an
      extraterrestrial on an earthly mission to save a select few from a coming
      apocalypse, a Native American with an intensely devoted tribe, and a con man
      who created his own religious sect as a front for various illegal
      activities, including the molestation of children. [...] The United
      Nuwaubian Nation of Moors has at various times claimed to be Christian,
      Muslim, Freemasons and Native Americans. It would appear from recently filed
      court documents, as well as the Nuwaubian's Web site, that York will be
      appearing in court for the trial as Chief Black Thunderbird Eagle. On the
      Web site, the group now calls itself the Yamassee Native American Moors of
      the Creek Nation.

      [Islam] German president in row over hijabs, says religious symbols must be
      Germany's president on Sunday urged legislators to be "consistent" in
      drawing up any ban on Muslim headscarves for public school teachers, arguing
      that if the hijab is banished from the classroom as a religious symbol,
      those of other faiths also would have to go. Johannes Rau, whose largely
      ceremonial post is seen as the country's moral voice, attracted criticism
      from several prominent conservative politicians and church figures after
      entering the debate last week with a call for equal treatment of all
      religions. French President Jacques Chirac has asked his parliament to ban
      the wearing of hijabs and other conspicuous religious symbols, such as
      Jewish skullcaps and large crosses, in public schools to protect the
      country's secularism.

      [Nuwaubians] Cult leader goes on trial today
      After months of protests by followers dressed as Egyptian pharaohs, mummies
      and birds, the leader of a quasi-religious cult is headed to trial today on
      charges he molested young followers. Dwight "Malachi" York leads the United
      Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, a mostly black sect whose neo-Egyptian compound
      on a Georgia farm includes pyramidlike structures. Hundreds of supporters
      have turned out for his hearings, sometimes dressed in American Indian garb,
      beating drums or handing out anti-government literature. Officials are
      doing all they can to keep the courtroom from turning into a circus.

      [Science and Religion] Group Supports Idea Universe Is Designed by God
      Bradley and microbiologist Michael Behe of Lehigh University spoke at an
      October symposium sponsored by Science Speaks, an Orlando-area organization
      of lay people interested in Intelligent Design, a movement driven mostly by
      Christians eager to use the tools of science to discover what they say are
      the divinely established foundations of the universe. Disturbed by the
      claims of some scientists that the universe and life on Earth evolved
      blindly, proponents of Intelligent Design say that the complexity of
      physical and biological existence proves it is all part of an intricate

      [Science and Religion] Scientists Seek Place for God While Embracing Reason
      Was the physical universe -- all we see around us -shaped by the hand of
      God? Or are we just the product of pure chance, double sixes in a cosmic
      roll of the dice? Preachers would proclaim yes to the first question.
      Empirical scientists might scribble equations to demonstrate the accuracy of
      the second. Trying to reconcile the two would seem a fool's errand. But
      consider these efforts -- some of them controversial -- to broaden the
      intersection between science and religion[.]

      [Emmanuel Milingo] Milingo Leaves Base to Stay With Female Friend
      Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo is reported to have left his base in Zagarolo
      near Rome to stay with a female painter friend in Lecco, Lombardy within
      Italy. But the Vatican Embassy in Zambia says it knows nothing about
      Archbishop Milingo's reported departure from his Zagarolo base.

      [Islam] Lebanese ayatollah rebukes Egypt's top cleric for comments on head
      Lebanon's top Muslim Shiite cleric has rebuked a top Muslim Sunni authority
      for supporting France's proposed ban on head scarves in schools. Ayatollah
      Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah said the grand sheik of Al-Azhar in Cairo should
      apologize to Muslims for saying that French Muslim school girls should
      respect the proposed ban on head scarves. [...]

      [Trends] US girls embrace gay passion fashion
      Some see it as the latest cool trend among girls in America's high schools.
      Others claim it is just teenagers doing what they do best - being
      rebellious. Either way, a wave of 'bisexual chic' is sweeping the United
      States. Emboldened by such images as Madonna kissing Britney Spears and
      Christina Aguilera on a TV awards show, girls are proudly declaring their
      alternative sexualities at a younger age than ever before. [...] Oregon
      student Toby Hill-Meyer, who is researching how people define their
      sexuality, said that, because of the so-called bisexual chic, genuine
      bisexuals are turning away from the word. 'They don't want to be associated
      with that trendiness,' he told the Sun-Sentinel. Many US schools have set up
      support groups for gay or bisexual students, supporting the theory this is
      more than a fad.

      [Books] Libraries say books on occult stolen most
      According to Larra Clark, [American Library Association] press officer, the
      titles most likely to go AWOL (absent without librarian) are books about
      dreams, witchcraft, astrology and the occult. [...] Some people have
      theorized that self-appointed guardians of public morality are pilfering
      "objectionable" books so nobody will have a chance to check them out. But
      that theory sure doesn't fit a couple of other categories of the
      mysteriously missing. Local library administrators don't have districtwide
      statistics on categories of missing books, but anecdotal information
      indicates another type of material often is stolen: books about religion,
      particularly the Bible.

      [Voodoo] Cleaners are called in to clear court of 'voodoo dust'
      An American lawyer has been convicted of money laundering after a trial
      disrupted by allegations that voodoo magic was being used to influence the
      outcome. Judge Patricia Seitz was forced to order extraordinary security
      measures at a Florida court building during the trial of Juan Carlos Elso
      after the veteran prosecution lawyer, Richard Gregorie, complained that his
      clothes were being ruined by voodoo powder. The debonair Mr Gregorie
      complained to the judge that his dry-cleaning bills had become worryingly
      onerous as the trial progressed, apparently because someone was scattering a
      good luck charm on his chair and in his files of evidence. Famed for his
      eloquence, Mr Gregorie pleaded for judicial intercession. "It's the Santeria
      dust, Your Honour," he said, referring to the animist religion popular in
      Cuba. His prosecuting colleague showed Judge Seitz a large quantity of the
      grey dust collected from evidence boxes. Judge Seitz ordered that the court
      be vacuumed to clean up the powder and also locked during each recess.

      [Islam] Nigeria claims victory over Islamic sect
      Nigeria declared Saturday it had put down an armed uprising by an Islamic
      movement seeking to create a Muslim state in Africa's most populous nation,
      after running battles that killed at least eight people. [...] The
      uprising, by a largely university-based Nigerian student group preaching
      Islamic revolution, stood as one of the most concerted offensives in three
      years of Christian-Muslim violence since Yobe and 11 other northern states
      began instituting Islamic law, or Shariah.

      [Raelians] Human Clones: Where's Baby Eve?
      A year later, Boisselier, who directs a company set up by the Raelian
      religious sect, has offered no proof that the baby Eve exists, let alone
      that she is a clone. NPR's Joe Palca reports on what's happened in the field
      of cloning since Boisselier's 2002 announcement. [Audio]

      [Michael Jackson] Jackson case hit by race and lies
      Michael Jackson's multi-millions, his telegenic lawyer, the struggle for
      public sympathy and now the intervention of a militant black Muslim group
      have grossly distorted what is a legally straightforward case. [...] Race
      and religion were added to the mix with the resignation of his PR spokesman
      over the involvement of the Nation of Islam - the black-separatist group
      providing bodyguards for Jackson. In a carefully worded statement, the sect
      denies an 'official' connection to the singer, but its anti-Semitism -
      leader Louis Farrakhan has called Judaism a 'gutter religion' - has upset
      Jews in Jackson's entourage, including two financial advisers.

      [Michael Jackson] The cult 'taking control' of Jackson's life
      Jackson's involvement in the Nation of Islam is as shrouded in secrecy as
      the group itself. His brothers Jermaine, a Muslim convert but not a member
      of NOI, and Tito are said to have called in the group to act as "security"
      at the Neverland Ranch after fresh allegations of child sex abuse surfaced
      in mid-November. But media reports in the US claim that the black
      separatist group's leader, Louis Farrakhan, is after the pop star's assets,
      which remain considerable, at about $200m, despite rumours that Jackson is
      broke. The Nation of Islam, until recently more often called the Black
      Muslims, is an extremist American cult whose belief system comprises a
      kitschy mixture of bad science fiction and corrupted Islamic theology. It
      believes that a circular spaceship carrying 1,500 smaller ships filled with
      bombs will at some indeterminate point destroy both Britain and America. But
      despite this, the Nation of Islam has played a significant part in the
      history of America in the 20th century, in particular the history of African

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