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ReligionNewsBlog.com, Jan. 11-12, 2004

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  • Anton Hein
    ReligionNewsBlog.com, Jan. 11-12, 2004 Mon, Jan. 12, 2004 [False Memory Syndrome] Engaging in forgetful behaviour http://www.religionnewsblog.com/5620-.html
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 11, 2004
      ReligionNewsBlog.com, Jan. 11-12, 2004

      Mon, Jan. 12, 2004
      [False Memory Syndrome] Engaging in forgetful behaviour
      Some have argued that there is no such thing as a repressed memory. That's
      going too far, says Michael Anderson, a neuroscientist at the University of
      Oregon. This week, he reported on what happens in the brain when people try
      not the think about something, what he describes as the biological mechanism
      for repression. [...] Dr. Anderson expects his findings, published this week
      in the journal Science, will spark criticism and debate because they provide
      physical evidence that repressed memories may be real. "This is an intensely
      polarized debate and there are people who are going to be unhappy with any
      evidence that suggest repression exists," he says. [...] A leader in the
      false-memory field, Dr. Loftus says it is not clear if Dr. Anderson is
      studying the suppression of memory, or a different type of effort. Perhaps
      the volunteers were distracting themselves so they wouldn't think of the
      word, she says. Her studies have shown that memories can be distorted by
      suggestions, and that entirely false memories can be planted in people's
      mind. [...] Ira Hyman, a psychology professor at Western Washington
      University in Bellingham, has also done work on how false childhood memories
      are created. He says Dr. Anderson appears to be studying the process of
      inhibiting a thought, which may be different than repressing a troubling

      [USA] Guantanamo Bay: Two years too many
      In placing prisoners in the legal limbo of Guantanamo Bay's 'no-place' -
      neither American soil nor Cuban jurisdiction - the American administration
      appears to have made the rash wager that legal untouchability would equal
      moral inviolability. They have been proved staggeringly wrong. Criticism
      has poured in from such not especially shrill sources as the UN high
      commissioner for human rights, the Council of Europe, the Pope, a British
      law lord and countless people who have contacted Amnesty International. The
      Red Cross has taken the unusual step of going public about the deterioration
      in mental health it has witnessed among many of the Guantanamo detainees as
      a result of the indefinite and isolating incarceration regime. Aside from
      how it may play in the United States itself, this has been disastrous human
      rights public relations for a country that has regularly promoted itself as
      a "beacon" for democracy, justice and the rule of law.

      [Alternative Healing] 'I used to be very sceptical of healing'
      Dr Michael Sears has healing hands. Over the years he has helped cure or
      ease numerous patients of their ill-health. But the GP trained healer is
      modest about his skills and refers to himself as merely the conduit of the
      healing power. [...] He trained in hypnotherapy and slowly started to
      introduce the new methods into his practice. "One day when I was in a deep
      trance I felt what seemed like electricity surging down my arms and when I
      told the person who was training me he said that it was because I was a

      [Voodoo] Thousands flock to Benin on Voodoo Day
      Draped in animal skins with bones and fetish charms clattering, thousands of
      west Africans, Americans and Caribbean islanders are trooping into tiny
      Benin ahead of Saturday's annual voodoo festival in the southern town of
      Ouidah. Born at the end of the 16th century on the banks of the Mono river
      that flows between Benin and Togo , voodoo rituals have been practiced by
      some two-thirds of Benin 's 6.7 million people for generations, according to
      government figures. Be they Christian or Muslim, from the Fon or Yoruba
      ethnic groups, devotees of the cult of "vodouns," or "spirits" in the Fon
      language, continue to practice the spells, chants and mystic divinations of
      their faith.

      [Religious Freedom] Setting Sights Higher on Religious Freedom
      Washington is bureaucratizing the cause of human rights -- for both good and
      ill, as one can see in the U.S. State Department's latest annual report on
      worldwide religious freedom, released in the latter half of December.
      Bureaucracies can be superb at collecting information, and simply by
      publishing catalogues of specific abuses they deter abusers and encourage
      victims. But government reports, produced by compromises between
      bureaucratic factions, are less adept at creative analysis. They tend to
      fall back on standard formulas, repeating them every year rather than
      providing new insights into the changing dynamics of repression. They often
      flinch from telling hard truths.

      [Nuwaubians] Experts see manipulator in sect leader
      The social organization of the religious sect led by Dwight ''Malachi'' York
      appeared to have been structured as an elaborate grooming process for
      victims used to satisfy York's lust as an alleged pedophile, according to
      experts on child sexual abuse. Growing up in isolation on York's 440-acre
      Putnam County compound, children - along with their indoctrination into the
      sect's philosophies, which held York to be a deity - appeared to have been
      subjected to a form of brainwashing commonly used by pedophiles known as
      ''child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome,'' according to William Bernet,
      director of forensic psychiatry at Vanderbilt University.

      [Catholic Church] Theology on Tap caters to casual Catholic crowd
      A Catholic group that began in Chicago, called Theology on Tap, is making
      its way around the country. As the name suggests, the evenings mix theology
      with food and beverage. Theology on Tap has multiple aims, according to its
      leaders: • To educate non-Catholics about the faith and to clear up what
      they believe are misconceptions about Catholicism - one myth, they say, is
      that Catholics worship the Virgin Mary. • To bring back those Catholics who
      have strayed from the church. • To keep college-age Catholics, who
      statistically are most prone of all age groups to ditch their faith, active
      in the church.

      [Alternative Healing] Americans spend $48 bn on alternative medicine
      Americans spend $48 billion a year on alternative health therapies,
      including homeopathy, ayurveda, acupuncture, massage therapy and herbal
      medicines, reports here say. The government does not regulate most of it,
      and the medical establishment in the US scorns nearly all of it. Yet
      alternative medicine is gaining such popularity that some swear it works
      miracles, according to the reports.

      [Alternative Healing] Alternative care gaining legitimacy
      Hospitals have long been viewed as staid bastions of traditional Western
      medicine, a world apart from practices like yoga and acupuncture. Now, that
      image is changing as hospitals across Delaware and the nation add
      nontraditional methods known as alternative, complementary or integrative
      care to their offerings. In doing so, they are lending legitimacy to what
      some medical professionals have dismissed as fringe practices. Services in
      Delaware include yoga classes and qi gong at Christiana Care Health System
      and acupuncture and chiropractic at St. Francis Hospital's pain center in
      Wilmington. At Beebe Medical Center in Lewes, an entire department is
      devoted to integrative health.

      [Nuwaubians] Eatonton feels relief as nearby cult wanes
      The grandmother and community activist now smiles when thinking of the
      "wanted" poster once put out on her. Georgia Benjamin-Smith says the United
      Nuwaubian Nation of Moors once offered $500 for dirt on her and others who
      were seen as enemies of the outlandish religious group. Benjamin-Smith can
      now venture a grin because she senses an end to a conflict that has roiled
      Putnam County for much of the past decade. Malachi York, the religious
      leader who moved his flock from New York to property near here a decade ago
      to build his idea of Utopia -- complete with pyramids, obelisks and a Sphinx
      -- went on trial last week in federal court on charges of child molestation
      and racketeering.

      [Near-Death Experiences] Victim took trip to heaven and back
      Laurel Duran broke her neck in a car crash on Breakneck Hill Road during a
      torrential downpour in 1986. That irony is not lost on Duran. “You can’t
      tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor,” Duran said about the road in
      Southborough, Mass. Most people might miss the humor in finding themselves
      at the bottom of a seven-car pile-up. But most people don’t leave their
      bodies, spend time in heaven and return to talk about it. Duran, 51, wrote
      the book “The Blue Cord” (DuirSoul Books, $13.95) in 1995 about her
      near-death experience and self-healing from paralysis.

      [USA] U.S. Criticized on Guantanamo Prisoners
      Two years after the first prisoners began arriving at Guantanamo Bay in the
      wake of Sept. 11, families of detainees are asking how much longer they must
      wait for their loved ones to be tried or released. As the prison camp marks
      its second year anniversary Sunday, the United States also faced criticism
      from foreign governments and human rights groups, questioning why hundreds
      of terror suspects have been held for so long without charges or legal
      representation. [...] Many critics say the United States has abandoned its
      judicial principles in its zeal to prevent another terrorist attack on its
      soil. "You have people sitting there for two years with rights under
      international law being utterly ignored by the administration," said Jamie
      Fellner, U.S. director of Human Rights Watch.

      [USA] U.S. Detentions Undermine the Rule of Law
      Whoever the detainees are—including those implicated in international
      terrorism—the United States is obligated to respect their fundamental rights
      under law. [...] The administration has instead selectively invoked those
      rules of war that it finds helpful in detaining and interrogating
      individuals—such as the authority to hold combatants without charge until
      the end of hostilities—while ignoring other rules that safeguard
      combatants—such as those that require individual determinations of their
      legal status. The administration’s unwillingness to respect basic rights and
      to provide any legal process has undermined the rule of law and given a
      green light to other governments to justify rights violations in the name of
      counter-terrorism. The U.S. refusal to comply with the clear requirements
      of the 1949 Geneva Conventions cannot be justified.

      [USA] Discontent with the U.S. south of the border
      When President George W. Bush joins the Summit of the Americas in Mexico on
      Jan. 12, he should reflect upon why good will toward the United States has
      diminished so dramatically in the region during his presidency. A recent
      poll by Zogby International found that 87 percent of Latin American
      opinion-makers disapproved of Bush's policy in the region. Another, by
      Latinobarometro, found that nearly a third of Latin Americans had a negative
      image of the United States - a twofold increase since 2000. This growing
      disenchantment is fueled largely by opposition to the war in Iraq, which may
      be the one issue that unites people across the political spectrum in Latin
      America today. [...] Another source of discontent among Latin American
      officials has been U.S. opposition to the International Criminal Court - the
      one initiative for handling abusive tyrants like Saddam Hussein that does
      enjoy nearly universal approval in Latin America. The Bush administration
      has been aggressively pressing these governments to sign agreements that
      would prevent them from turning American suspects over to the court. It has
      cut off military aid and threatened to withhold humanitarian assistance to
      countries that refuse. Many Latin American officials believe, correctly,
      that these agreements violate their international treaty obligations, as
      well as their domestic laws. They find themselves, as a result, forced to
      choose between their commitment to the rule of law and their relationships
      with the United States. And they report that the Bush administration has
      subjected them to "unbearable pressure" to choose the latter. This is
      ironic given that the United States identifies the promotion of democracy
      and the rule of law as a top priority.

      [Reina y Señora de Todo lo Creado] Eden or evil?
      Drawn to this hilly compound by the belief that Juan Pablo Delgado is God's
      messenger, the pilgrims reject three bishops' warnings not to be tricked by
      the enigmatic 24-year-old, who shares with them daily messages from a Jesus
      Christ and Virgin Mary only he hears and sees. They follow what they feel
      in their hearts and sniff from Delgado's socks — which they smell in praise
      for the sweet scent that's said to come from wounds on his feet similar to
      those of the crucified Christ. [...] But leaders of the Catholic Church, who
      admit to having laymen spies, paint a far different picture of this Eden in
      Central America. Delgado's spiritual adviser is Father Alfredo Prado, 73,
      who recently was dismissed from his Oblate order and accused of sexually
      molesting two San Antonio teenagers more than 30 years ago, when he served
      at St. Timothy's Catholic Church. The legally blind Prado, who denies any
      wrongdoing and defies the church by continuing to celebrate Mass and hear
      confession, never has been charged with a crime and says he's being unfairly
      attacked. But his link to Delgado has deepened suspicion of the younger

      [Reina y Señora de Todo lo Creado] Troubled clergyman still with group in
      Central America
      Father Alfredo Prado has a new life here, a reinvigorated purpose and
      circumstances as unusual as his protégé, self-proclaimed visionary Juan
      Pablo Delgado. The 73-year-old Austin-born clergyman has proclaimed the
      Gospel for decades in Texas, Mississippi, Arizona and villages in Mexico,
      where he used a bullhorn to preach under the stars. Because of problems in
      his past — the exact nature of which neither he nor Catholic Church
      officials would describe — he doesn't have the church's permission to be in
      Costa Rica or to function as a priest. He says he needn't answer to church
      officials on that subject — just to the Virgin Mary. And so he prays,
      counsels, advises and even celebrates Mass with pilgrims who come here to
      listen to Delgado, who says he receives messages from Jesus Christ, the
      Virgin and St. Michael. Prado said he is Delgado's spiritual adviser and
      that he was called here by the Virgin.

      [Racism] Kilroy defends Arab states attack
      BBC presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk has argued that he has a right to say
      "there are Arab states that are evil, despotic and treat women abominably".
      In interviews with Sunday papers he also said he was "disappointed" the BBC
      suspended his TV show, after an article he wrote led to accusations of
      racism. He had already said he "regretted" the piece, calling Arabs "suicide
      bombers, limb amputators, women repressors". But the Muslim Council of
      Britain has demanded a full apology. [...]

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      expressed within the item. The material is provided solely as a research
      resource, and is intended for educational purposes only.

      Sun, Jan. 11, 2004
      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Own Church: The Fastest Way To Millionair's
      In the Netherlands, when are you permitted to call yourself a 'church'?
      [...] If a group of people with any kind of religious perception whatsoever
      wants to start a church, they are completely free to do so, says T. van der
      Ploeg, professor Church Law at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU). [...]
      Aside from this, churches are (with the exception of succession rights from
      an inheritance) exempted from any kind of taxation. "They do not have to pay
      taxes for their activities," says M. van Overbeeke, professor Fiscal Law at
      the VU," except if they develop commercial activities with which they are in
      competition with other commercial enterprises." That fiscal freedom makes
      the founding of churches very attractive, especially for the category of
      gurus that only want to fill their pockets. A classic example is the Church
      of Satan of 'Magister Templi' Marten Lamers [in Amsterdam's Red Light
      district]. In the late sixties, Lamers established his 'Satanskerk' (a sex
      theater complete with live shows and banana-acts) at the Oudezijds
      Voorburgwal. To the Tax Department, he maintained for many years that this
      was not a sex club, but a church that survived only on the 'donations' of
      'believers' and that he therefore was exempted from partnership- and sales
      tax. The Tax Department swallowed that story for about 2 decades, but
      finally woke up in the early eighties. It raided the sex club. The 'church'
      received a demand for 15 million Guilders, and Lamers was convicted for tax
      fraud. Scientology in Amsterdam is an almost identical case. The 'church'
      presents itself to the Tax Department and the public at large as a religious
      movement with no commercial interest whatsoever, but in reality functions as
      multinational aiming for maximum profits - modern business-jargon included.

      [Hate Groups : Scientology] 'Put the Tax Department onto Scientology.'
      The Ministry of Finance and the Tax Department have, with regard to the
      Scientology Church, wobbled on their policy for much too long. So says M.
      van Overbeeke professor in fiscal rights at the Vrije Universiteit
      Amsterdam. "It is high time that the ministry [of finance] is going to act
      more forcefully and says: this is not at all a church, but merely a
      commercial enterprise. [...] Every once in a while, churches that do not use
      such exorbitant rates as employed by Scientology, are taxed. "Monasteries
      that brew beer, for example. In that case the monastery is not taxed, but
      the brewery is. But Scientology is another story altogether. At the most, it
      is five percent church and for the rest a commercial institution that
      charges money for services - and not a little bit either."

      [Religion in the Workplace] Policy decisions, not religion, should shape
      your voting
      To get an idea of how the blurring of the lines between religion and
      politics can cause confusion for both sides of the equation, go back to an
      obscure television appearance by the Rev. Jerry Falwell just before the war
      with Iraq started last year. [...] At the end of the show, Thomas
      Gumbleton, a Catholic bishop from Detroit and one of the most consistent
      voices in the peace movement over the past three decades, suggested that the
      Bush administration may have been lying about parts of the rationale for
      this war. "Why, to suggest that my president is a liar is ... is ...
      blasphemy," Falwell sputtered. The dictionary defines "blasphemy" as
      "impious utterance or action concerning God or sacred things." Apparently to
      Falwell, George Bush had become God. Falwell sank in a pool of bad theology
      and Bush skillfully wrapped himself in a mantle of divine blessing as he
      launched the war against Iraq - even if he was a bit shaky on his facts.
      [...] All this comes to mind now because we are heading into an election
      season when the religious views of presidential candidates and the religious
      views of the voters are under a brighter spotlight than at any time in
      recent memory.

      [Racism] 'Simple mistake' led to Kilroy-Silk row
      BBC presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk claimed the furore over his article about
      Arabs resulted from a simple secretarial error. The former Labour MP, 61,
      said his column in last week's Sunday Express was reprinted by mistake after
      his secretary sent the wrong e-mail attachment. Writing for the column in
      this weekend's newspaper, Kilroy-Silk insisted his remarks were taken out of
      context and had not caused offence when they were first published in April
      last year.

      [Racism] Kilroy apology 'not good enough'
      Campaigners have rejected an apology by Robert Kilroy-Silk over anti-Arab
      comments he made in a newspaper. The TV presenter said he "regretted" the
      Sunday Express article in which he branded Arabs "suicide bombers, limb
      amputators, women repressors". But the Muslim Council of Britain's Iqbal
      Sacranie said: "He has basically regretted some of the statements... but he
      has not made a full apology." The BBC has suspended his Kilroy chat show
      while it investigates the matter. [...] The Daily Express has defended the
      article in its sister paper, accusing the BBC of "attempting to stifle open

      [Human Rights Violations] Guantanamo Bay: a global experiment in inhumanity
      Two years on, it is clear that the British government has betrayed the most
      fundamental responsibility that any government assumes - the duty to protect
      the rule of law. This abnegation of the essence of democratic government
      goes much further than a failure to protect the nine British citizens who
      are incarcerated in this legal black hole. It is nothing less than a
      collusion in an international experiment in inhumanity, which is being
      repeated and expanded around the world. The UK government has been
      intimately involved in the nightmare world that is Guantanamo Bay from its
      inception. Britain sent its own security agents to interrogate its citizens
      and residents in the presence of the US military without a lawyer present,
      and in the knowledge that techniques of sensory deprivation and coercion
      were being practised. For a full year and a half the British government
      refused to express any view on the legality of the detentions; not even of
      its own citizens and not even when challenged in the UK courts to do so.
      [...] Worldwide, the experiment is becoming the norm. It has been estimated
      that at least 15,000 people are being held without trial under the
      justification of the "war on terrorism". They include more than 3,000
      detained in Iraq after the war, of whom at least 1,000 are still in
      detention; an estimated further 1,000 to 3,000 detained at Bagram airbase in
      Afghanistan; and an unknown number being held on the British territory of
      Diego Garcia. Bagram is a CIA interrogation centre, practising "stress and
      duress" or "torture lite". An investigation has reportedly begun there after
      the deaths of two prisoners in suspicious circumstances. US personnel
      stationed at Bagram have described the regular practice of sensory
      deprivation and sleep starvation, as well as incidents of throwing prisoners
      against walls while hooded. Ironically, such revelations have surfaced not
      through any desire to expose human rights abuses, but in order to justify
      describing such treatment as "torture lite".

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