ReligionNewsBlog.com, Jan. 7-8, 2004
- ReligionNewsBlog.com, Jan. 7-8, 2004
Thu, Jan. 08, 2004
[Satanic and/or ritual abuse] Police apologize to family accused of sex
The city's police chief publicly apologized today to 12 people wrongfully
accused of ritualistically abusing three young foster children more than a
decade ago. [...] Last week, a judge ruled that investigators had been
malicious in their pursuit of a case against 12 members of the Klassen
[Hate Groups] Terror Plot In Texas?
William Krar, 62, with ties to white supremacist groups, pleaded guilty to
possessing a chemical weapon and faces life in prison, while 54-year-old
Judith Bruey could get five years. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to
possess illegal weapons. [...] Photographs obtained by Dallas CBS station
KTVT show illegal machine guns, boxes filled with 500,000 rounds of
ammunition, homemade bombs, bomb-making instructions, antidotes for nerve
agents and a Ku Klux Klan calling card. All of it discovered after fake
documents Krar mailed to an alleged New Jersey militia member were actually
delivered to a New York address.
[Antisemitism] EU anti-Semitism seminar back on track after Prodi meets
The World Jewish Congress alleged the European Union censored a study
highlighting involvement of Europe's Arab minorities in anti-Semitic
attacks. It also complained about an opinion poll in which Israel was named
a threat to world peace more than any other country. Stung by the group's
charges of anti-Semitism, European Commission President Romano Prodi
abruptly called off an EU seminar on the issue. On Thursday, he met with an
official from the group and said the event was back on.
[UFOs] Officers say they spotted a UFO
Three Indiana police officers are now talking about their
day-after-Christmas UFO sighting. Huntington officer Chip Olinger was
warming up his car the afternoon of December 26th, when he reported seeing a
circular object in the sky. He radioed officers Greg Hedrick and Randy
Hoover, who saw it too.
[Ahmadiyya] Bangladesh bans books by Muslim sect
The Bangladesh government today banned the sale, publication and
distribution of all books and booklets on Islam published by the Ahmadiya
Muslim Jamaat. [...] The ban came in the wake of agitation by some Islamic
groups, who have also planned demonstrations in the capital tomorrow, for
declaring the Kadianis as "non-Muslims".
[USA] It's nothing personal
It seems that if Huckabee gets to know you at the Governor's Mansion, he'll
help you. But if he doesn't know you, he'll maintain indifference even if
the state medicates you so that you will be sufficiently sane to meet a
legal standard of knowing what's happening when you get put to death.
Singleton was too mentally ill to be a trusty. He was too nuts to profess
credibly to being born-again. So we killed him. [...] The real point is the
essential impracticality and unfairness of the death penalty as we apply it.
Three guys commit similarly brutal killings. Two get convicted of
first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Another, possessed
perhaps of less able legal representation or unlucky enough to have a tough
jury, gets the death penalty. All three men experience life's evolution. Two
get good work for the governor. One of those professes to embrace the Lord.
The third goes certifiably insane. The first two go free. The crazy man dies
at our hands.
[Islamism] New 'Taleban' clashes in Nigeria
Fighting has continued in northern Nigeria, involving a radical Islamic
movement that calls itself the Taleban. The authorities had said they had
crushed the uprising in Yobe State over the weekend but some Taleban youths
fled to next-door Borno State. Local people confronted the Islamists,
leading to clashes on Monday, in which seven Taleban and one local man died.
Last week, the group stormed police stations, saying they wanted to set up
an Islamic state in Nigeria.
[Religious Intolerance] Muslims in Europe face widespread abuse
The State Department's fifth Annual Report on International Religious
Freedom, released on Dec. 18, shows a frightening increase in anti-Muslim
attitudes in several European countries, including some of America's
strongest allies. The report cites the growth of Europe's Muslim immigrant
population as the most common reason for anti-Muslim tensions in that
[Islam] German Catholics: Muslim Scarf Political
The Muslim headscarf should be considered a political symbol and legislation
banning public school teachers from wearing it should not extend to
religious symbols that are part of the country's "Christian tradition," a
German Catholic organization said Wednesday. The statement was the latest
development in a nationwide debate that began in September after Germany's
highest court ruled veils are allowed unless existing legislation outlaws
them. The Federal Constitutional Court further said any new laws must treat
all religions equally.
[Abraham Kennard] Madonna supports local Kabbala initiative
The ancient Jewish mysticism of Kabbala is known for attracting celebrity
devotees and on Thursday many of them will be out in force at the Tel Aviv
Kabbalah Center's 'Spirituality for kids' ceremony. The event will feature
a live broadcast from superstar Madonna via satellite from Europe, among a
line-up of local political leaders, actors and artists. 'Spirituality for
Kids,' is a ten-year-old intiative that aims to show children how to make
the most of life.
[Kabbalah] Kabbala may have led Britney to marry
Britney Spears's study of the Kabbala, a Jewish mystical practice, may
explain her surprise wedding to Jason Alexander in Las Vegas Saturday, claim
sources close to the star. The study of Kabbala is currently in vogue with
various Hollywood celebrities, including Paul Newman and Madonna, who is
believed to have introduced her young friend Spears to the ancient
teachings. [...] The Kabbala's view on marriage, according to Hananya
Goodman, who has written on the subject, is traditional, based on the
teachings of the Jewish religion but "in a highly mystical and sometimes
sexualized version." However, Goodman explained to The Jerusalem Post that
the form of Kabbala practiced by celebrities such as Madonna and Britney is
not the traditional teaching but a New Age version. He said, "Kabbalistic
texts are a commentary on the Torah. The study of it assumes a knowledge
which these actors and actresses do not possess."
[Polygamy] Officials decry Colorado City abuse
Arizona Sen. Linda Binder and Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson
briefed the London Bridge Rotary Club Wednesday about their efforts to
combat polygamy and resulting abuse in Colorado City and Hilldale, Utah.
The elected officials talked about recent allegations regarding sexual and
physical abuse surrounding the polygamist group - a fundamentalist splinter
group of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "As far as I'm
concerned we have the Taliban sitting in our backyard," Binder said of the
community. "It's Arizona's dirty little secret."
[Nuwaubians] York accuser admits inconsistencies in statements
A woman who said cult leader Malachi York molested her for several years
admitted under cross-examination Wednesday that some details of her
testimony were inconsistent with previous statements. The 18-year-old
woman, however, stuck by her story that York engaged in repeated sex acts
with her from the time she was 8.
[Mormon Church] Utah County to get 'Mormon academy'
"The glue that holds knowledge to students is their religious belief,"
explained Glenn Kimber, the founder of Kimber Academy - a collection of
private schools that focus on reuniting church and state with a heavy
emphasis on LDS scriptures. In February, Kimber's "Mormon method" will be
coming to Utah County with a new academy, which will be located in either
Provo or Orem depending on final student enrollment.
[Mormon Church] Ogden architect slain on Book of Mormon tour
Ogden architect Brett Richards was killed as robbers held up a bus carrying
13 tourists on a Book of Mormon tour in Guatemala. [...] Book of Mormon
Tours is operated out of Orem by Joseph L. Allen and his wife, Rhoda Allen.
[...] Many Mormons believe archaeological ruins in Central America were
built by people described in the Book of Mormon, which church founder Joseph
Smith claimed to have translated from a set of golden plates. Travel
agencies arrange tours to visit these sites, focusing on how they might fit
in with the scripture.
[Satanic and/or ritual abuse] Satanic sex cult allegations invented: judges
German state prosecutors said yesterday that they had dropped a probe into
lurid claims of ritual killings and cannibalism by an alleged Satanic sect
because they appeared to have been made up. The claims were made by a woman
who said she had been a victim for 18 years of sexual abuse by members of a
Satanic and cannibalistic cult, including relatives. [...] However, state
prosecutor Horst Roos said investigations had found nothing to substantiate
her allegations, and many of them had been proved to be untrue.
[USA] USA: holding human rights hostage
Two years after the first inmates arrived in the US military base in
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Camp X-Ray and its successor, Camp Delta, have become
synonymous with a government's pursuit of unfettered executive power and
disregard for the rule of law. As detainees enter their third year held in
tiny cells for up to 24 hours a day without any legal process, it seems that
the current US administration views human dignity as far from non-negotiable
when it comes to "national security".
[USA] Amnesty International USA Statement on Today's Executions
"While more than half the world has abolished the death penalty in law or in
practice, the United States has allowed Charles Singleton to be executed-a
man who suffers from irrefutable mental illness. Global standards of decency
prohibit the execution of 'persons who have become insane.' Singleton was
said to be 'seriously deranged without treatment' and 'arguably incompetent
with treatment.' It was only during an episode of 'drug-induced sanity' that
the state of Arkansas scheduled his execution. "The execution of the
mentally ill is another example of the arbitrary and unfair manner in which
the death penalty system is administered. It clearly illustrates that the
system is irrevocably broken and is one of the numerous reasons that support
for the death penalty in the US is at its lowest level in 25 years."
[USA] Mentally ill man executed in US
The state of Arkansas has executed a man with a severe mental illness.
Charles Singleton, 44, was forcibly given anti-psychotic drugs which made
him lucid enough under court guidelines to be put to death. [...] The
European Union and Amnesty International had urged the governor to commute
the death sentence, saying it was morally reprehensible to execute a person
with a severe mental illness.
[Science and Religion] Religious displays spur debate in nation's parks
With its eye-catching photographs of the Grand Canyon and the blue waters of
the Colorado River, the hardback "Grand Canyon: A Different View" is a
medium seller at the national park's bookstore. But the book's claim that
the Grand Canyon was formed as a result of the great flood of Genesis and is
therefore only a few thousand years old has thrust the park into the debate
over whether it is fitting to display religious materials at public sites.
The book by former Colorado River guide Tom Vail includes a collection of
essays by fellow creationists, who favor a Bible-based view of the Earth's
formation. Vail and his wife are the founders of Canyon Ministries, which
organizes Christian whitewater rafting trips through the Canyon.
[Books] When They Say Jesus, Which Jesus Do They Mean?
Stephen Prothero, chairman of the department of religion at Boston
University, has written a cultural history of Jesus as American image and
icon that presents such options, and many more, in vivid, engrossing detail.
In the service of the all-American thesis that his sojourn in these parts
has "liberated" "Jesus the person" from "Christ the theological sign," Mr.
Prothero charts stages in the cultural revolution that freed the Lord of
Hosts to become "a hero to those who could not embrace the beliefs and
practices of traditional Christianity." [...] Within his narrative,
ostensibly a popular and often entertaining account of the rendering of
Jesus in song, story and spirituality, he has embedded a fairly detailed
history of American religion itself - one of the subtle achievements of
[Islam] Vatican weighs into German row over religious symbols
The Catholic Church strongly attacked the President of Germany yesterday for
suggesting that schools should prohibit Christian symbols if they went ahead
with plans to ban the wearing of Muslim headscarves in the classroom.
Cardinal Karl Lehmann, the head of the German Bishops' Conference, said
Johannes Rau was wrong to equate the "political" headscarf with Christian
symbols, which were an established part of German culture.
[Nuwaubians] Former cult members says girls were groomed for sex
A former cult member told a jury Wednesday how the group transformed from a
Muslim commune in New York to an extremist sect that groomed girls for sex
with its leader, Malachi York. York, originally a Muslim cleric in
Brooklyn, is on trial for molesting up to 13 girls and boys and bringing
them to the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors compound in rural Georgia for
[Nuwaubians] Alleged victim: York stole childhood
An alleged victim in the child molestation trial of Malachi York described
Tuesday how she and other children suffered years of sexual abuse at the
hands of the cult leader. [...] In his opening statement, defense attorney
Adrian Patrick said the evidence would show that the allegations were coming
from members of four families that had fallen out of favor with York and
were out to get him. [...] Last January, York pleaded guilty to federal
charges and to 77 state charges of molestation. The plea agreement would
have sent York to prison for 15 years, but a federal judge rejected the
sentence as too lenient. York has not withdrawn his guilty plea to the
state charges, though he has not been sentenced and could withdraw his plea
before he is sentenced.
[Nuwaubians] Alleged molestation victims to testify in cult leaders trial
York, 58, is the head of the mostly black United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors
whose compound on a Georgia farm includes pyramid-like structures. He faces
13 federal counts of child molestation and racketeering. Those who fell out
of favor with York were forced to live in squalid conditions _ overcrowded
houses filled with mice, cockroaches and backed-up toilets, she said
[Summum] Request For Alternative Ten Commandments Monument
A religious group has asked a federal judge to require the city of Duchesne
to remove a Ten Commandments memorial from a city park or allow it to build
their equivalent nearby. The Salt Lake City-based Summum religious sect,
which practices mummification, winemaking and sexual ecstasy, is seeking
permission to build a monument of similar size displaying their Seven
Aphorisms. Summum worshippers argue that the city is violating their First
Amendment rights by allowing the Ten Commandments plaque and denying their
request to build a similar one. The group has filed similar lawsuits in
Salt Lake City, Ogden and Pleasant Grove. Judges threw out the suits
involving Salt Lake and Ogden, though the dismissals were reversed on appeal
by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In both cases, the cities chose
to remove the monuments instead of allowing construction of the Seven
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ReligionNewsBlog.com, Jan. 7, 2004
[Islam] Chirac says headscarf ban will protect religious freedom
French President Jacques Chirac told the country's top religious leaders
that a planned law to ban Islamic headscarves and other insignia from
schools would protect religious freedom and not "modify the bounds of
secularism". "This is simply about France remaining faithful to the balance
which has been established over decades and to reaffirm, respectfully but
firmly, a principle and practices long present in our country," Chirac said.
[Sikhism] Sikh leader ex-communicated, misbehaviour in Canada cited
The controversial leader of a wealthy Sikh sect, who defeated an attempt in
court to oust him, has been ex-communicated for allegedly drinking liquor
and participating in objectionable activities in Canada. The
ex-communication of Harnek Singh Grewal means control of the Nanaksar
movement and its assets of $20 million is up for grabs.
[Catholic Church] Report backs US Catholic bishops
America's Roman Catholic bishops are keeping promises to try to stamp out
child sex abuse, a report has found. Bishops pledged 18 months ago to
better protect children and punish offenders, following a wave of abuse
scandals. The review found that 90% of the nearly 200 Catholic dioceses in
the US were in compliance with the pledge, adopted during a meeting in
Dallas, Texas. But victim support groups rejected the report as biased, and
accused senior clergy of still covering up the truth.
[Allen Harrod, et. al.] Ritual-molestation claims are false, defense says
Dismissing as "fabrications" the testimony of children who described being
ritually molested by a self-proclaimed religious prophet, attorneys for
Allen Harrod and Irene Hunt launched their defense Monday, six weeks after
the testimony began. Key to their arguments will be the testimony of
several medical experts who are expected to say that an examination of a
15-year-old Harrod daughter shows she could not have been raped by her
father dozens of times, as she testified in court.
[Osho] Celluloid Osho, quite a hit
The celluloid image of this century's most celebrated and controversial
guru, Osho induces instant laughter and cheerful spirits in the swank
pyramid shaped Osho auditorium. The occasion: Osho Film Festival 2004.
Hundreds of maroon-robed Osho disciples laughed and cried in a joyous frenzy
while watching the inaugural film Moments with Osho during the much-awaited
festival organised by the Osho Commune International from January 3-18. In
a span of 15 days, the ongoing festival will screen approximately 14 films
on Osho, ranging from 25 minutes to an hour giving an honest glimpse into
the public and private life of the 'Master'.
[Osho] Nepalese to spread Osho's gospel in India
Fourteen years after godman Rajneesh aka Osho's death, a Nepalese disciple
who spread the movement in this Himalayan kingdom plans to focus on India,
the goal being an Osho centre in each village. Osho Tapoban in this city is
a popular destination for disciples of Osho, who hit world headlines with
tales of his lavish lifestyle and free sex in communes. Swamy Anand Arun, a
59-year-old civil engineer from the Terai plains who became the first
follower of Osho in Nepal and then his "ambassador" entrusted with
establishing the movement in the Himalayan kingdom, says it was no easy
[Osho] Glimpses into the life of the controversial 'guru'
From black slippers, an ordinary watch and an unstitched white cloth to
Rolls Royces, diamond-studded Swiss watches, rich flowing gowns and Gucci
goggles. This is the story of Osho, who first came into the limelight as
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. For the first time ever, the Osho Commune
International here has organised a public screening of rare film and video
footage providing extraordinary glimpses into the public and private life of
the late controversial mystic (1931-1990).
[Nuwaubians] Molestation Trial of Cult Leader Opens
The leader of a quasi-religious cult accused of molesting young followers
was a vicious manipulator who coerced children into having sex with him and
rewarded them with jewelry and candy, a prosecutor said Tuesday. But the
defense said the government was oppressing a peaceful group.
[Nuwaubians] Prosecutors say York had system for child abuse
Federal prosecutors told jurors Tuesday that Nuwaubian cult leader Malachi
York maintained a carefully orchestrated system over the years to sexually
abuse children. In opening statements in York's molestation and racketeering
trial, prosecutors said York, 58, used older children he was abusing to
introduce younger children -- sometimes their own siblings -- to him in
order to gain their confidence, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie
[Nuwaubians] Cult leaders trial begins with witness saying she was sexual
Prosecutors began building a case Tuesday that York abused his power to feed
his sexual appetite for boys and girls at his neo-Egyptian compound in rural
central Georgia. The leader of the mostly black United Nuwaubian Nation of
Moors faces 13 federal counts of child molestation and racketeering.
[Hate Groups : Scientology] Dissatisfaction with policies Scientology Church
A report about the Scientology Church in the Netherlands. In recent months,
members of this church have left en-masse. One of them is the founder and
late director of Scientology in the Netherlands, Caspar de Rijk. He
disagrees with the way in which Scientology treats the philosophy of
American founder, Ron Hubbard. [Preview of an item in a Dutch TV news
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