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ReligionNewsBlog.com, Jan. 27, 2004

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  • Anton Hein
    ReligionNewsBlog.com, Jan. 27, 2004 [Success Coaches] Would you buy a way of life from a guru? http://www.religionnewsblog.com/5853-.html Deepak Chopra earns
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      ReligionNewsBlog.com, Jan. 27, 2004

      [Success Coaches] Would you buy a way of life from a guru?
      Deepak Chopra earns $20m a year selling spiritual guidance to the likes of
      Demi Moore, Hillary Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev - and he's not the only
      self-help guru making a fortune. In the first of two extracts from his new
      book, Francis Wheen traces the rise and rise of mystic mumbo-jumbo.

      [New Age] Quack addicts
      Cherie and Tony bonding in a muddy Mayan ritual - it's the ultimate example
      of how mumbo-jumbo has inundated Britain, writes Francis Wheen in this final
      extract from his fascinating new book

      [The Body] Doctor: Mother let baby starve
      Despite being under the influence of a controlling religious sect, Karen
      Robidoux could have done something to prevent the child's death, a child
      nutrition expert testifies.

      [The Body] Defense may take the stand
      Krowski said it may not be necessary to hear from Robidoux in light of
      testimony given yesterday by Dr. Eli Newburger. [...] Krowski's two-hour
      cross-examination of Newburger, the prosecution's expert medical witness,
      was easily the four-day trial's most heated. Newburger, who admitted to
      Krowski he was being paid $450 an hour by the state to assist in the case,
      was adamant that Karen Robidoux was aware she was killing her son. Krowski
      has based his case around the contention that Robidoux, who broke down in
      court for the third straight day yesterday, was brainwashed by the sect and
      wasn't in her right mind. [...] In addition to Newburger, medical examiner
      Margaret Greenwald and former sect member Daniel Horton testified yesterday.
      Despite being called by the prosecution, Horton's testimony appeared helpful
      to Robidoux. "I'm ashamed and disgusted," Horton said. "I regret every day
      that I didn't step in to help Karen and Samuel. "I was so beaten down. I
      couldn't make a decision for myself or my wife and four children. I had to
      check with the group, with Roland and Jacques. My life was taken away; it
      was like I didn't have a choice. "We lived in this fear atmosphere," Horton
      said. "I didn't feel able to walk away. It just wasn't possible to me. I
      thought I was doing right by God. It's foolish and stupid now to look back
      and wonder how you got to that point."

      [The Body] Witnesses describe baby's suffering
      Newberger, who said he reviewed numerous police and mental health reports in
      the case, said that Karen Robidoux knew her son was facing "disaster" and
      could have saved him if she reached outside the sect, whose members had
      isolated themselves from society. But under relentless and sometimes
      sarcastic questioning by Karen Robdioux's defense attorney, Joseph Krowski,
      Newberger generally agreed with the defense argument that Karen Robidoux was
      an emotionally battered woman who could not overcome years of indoctrination
      in the male-dominated sect and act against the orders of her husband and
      other sect members. "There's no question that people can be controlled in
      that setting," Newberger told Krowski, who chided the doctor for charging
      prosecutors $450 an hour for his testimony.

      [The Body] Prosecution Won't Call Sect Member In Murder Trial
      A member of an Attleboro sect will apparently not be called to testify
      against a former member of the group accused of killing her infant son.
      Karen Robidoux is being tried in Taunton Superior Court for the
      second-degree murder of her son, Samuel. [...] Corneau said last week that
      for religious reasons, he would not answer questions, even though he has an
      immunity deal and he was willing to go to jail. The prosecutor will instead
      enter previous comments from Corneau into the record. Another former sect
      member, Daniel Horton, took the stand Monday. He told the jury how hard it
      was to break away from the sect.

      [Ayurveda] Balm from the East
      The effectiveness of the ancient Indian healing art of ayurveda is getting a
      closer look in the U.S. [...] Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a proponent of
      transcendental meditation, brought ayurveda to the United States three
      decades ago, and Dr. Deepak Chopra exposed it to the masses in his
      bestseller "Perfect Health" (Harmony Books, 1991). Now, the California Assn.
      of Ayurvedic Medicine, a professional group based in Foster City, Calif., is
      sponsoring its first Ayurveda Awareness Day on Feb. 13. [...] Ayurveda
      treatments are becoming popular in spas, medical clinics and wellness
      centers. And like Mejia, many people are finding their way to ayurvedic
      medicine through the practice of yoga. Ayurveda is considered yoga's sister
      science, and workshops are frequently taught in yoga studios throughout
      Southern California. "Yoga is the doorway," says Mas Vidal, owner of
      Dancing Shiva, a Los Angeles Veda yoga studio that added an ayurveda healing
      center last year. "Ayurveda is what all the great yogis practiced. Ayurveda
      was taught as a way of life."

      [Human Rights] New criminal court deters tribal warfare
      Congo's human rights minister said Thursday the new International Criminal
      Court has had "a pronounced deterrent effect" on armed groups in Congo's
      strife-torn northeast since prosecutors said last year that the militias
      could be the court's first target for a war crimes investigation. [...]
      Prosecutors at the court, established in July 2001 despite strong opposition
      from the U.S. government, have said the deaths of at least 5,000 civilians
      in tribal violence in the Ituri province may constitute war crimes under
      their jurisdiction. [...] The International Criminal Court is empowered to
      intervene as a "court of last resort" if one of the 92 member countries is
      found to be "unable or unwilling" to prosecute individuals responsible for
      crimes against humanity, war crimes or genocide. Since Congo did not endorse
      the Rome Statute creating the court, the government in Kinshasa would have
      to relinquish jurisdiction to the court, based in the Dutch city of The

      Note: The United States of America, which prefers illegal warfare over the
      rule of law, is involved in a vicious fight against the International
      Criminal Court. Considering America's manifold violations of international
      law, including its growing record of human rights violations at home and
      abroad, that does not come as a surprise. After all, U.S. government
      officials would be prime canditates for prosecution. See: "One Rule For
      Them..." http://www.religionnewsblog.com/2829-.html

      [USA] Justices Will Revisit Teen Executions
      The Supreme Court said Monday it will decide whether the Constitution
      forbids the execution of killers who were under 18 when they committed their
      crimes, the latest step in the court's reexamination of capital punishment
      in America. The high court could ban the practice, as four justices have
      urged, or it could reaffirm earlier rulings that allowed states to decide
      for themselves whether to make 16- and 17-year-olds eligible for execution.
      The court's answer, expected in the term that begins next fall, follows
      landmark decisions two years ago that banned the execution of the mentally
      retarded and required that juries, not judges, be the final arbiters of who
      is sent to death row.

      Note: See also this item on Amnesty International's campaign against child
      executions: http://www.religionnewsblog.com/5799-.html
      "In a report issued today, Amnesty International documents executions of
      such offenders in eight countries since 1990: China, the Democratic Republic
      of the Congo, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the United States of
      America, and Yemen. Most of these countries have now changed their laws to
      ban the use of death penalty against children, leaving the USA as the only
      country which openly acknowledges executing child offenders and which claims
      for itself the right to do so."

      [Satanic and/or ritual abuse] Saskatchewan gov't won't drag out victims'
      The Saskatchewan government is willing to discuss the possibility of interim
      payments for Richard Klassen, Diane Kvello and their family members who won
      a malicious prosecution lawsuit, Justice Minister Frank Quennell said

      [Satanic and/or ritual abuse] Klassen asks for interim payments
      Richard Klassen intends to apply for interim payments on an award for
      damages once the amount is set by the courts, he said Tuesday. He hopes that
      today, a Queen's Bench judge will go ahead and set a date for a trial to
      determine the award in the malicious prosecution lawsuit he and 11 others
      won in December.

      [Polygamy] Supreme Court denies Holm request for release
      The Utah Supreme Court has denied a motion by convicted bigamist Rodney Holm
      requesting a release from jail until an appeal to his conviction could be
      heard. [...] Holm, a former police officer in Colorado City, Ariz. and
      Hildale, was decertified following his conviction. He is a member of the
      Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which preaches
      polygamy as a central tenet. [...] The conviction stems from Holm's union
      with a third wife, Ruth Stubbs, who was 16 at the time the pair were married
      in a church ceremony by FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs.

      [Islam] Islam's new voices see faith with critical eye
      Long before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Safi and
      other Muslim spokesmen realized there was a growing, worldwide network of
      Muslim terrorists killing in the name of Allah. They also knew that the
      rights of women and non-Muslims were being routinely denied by Islamic
      regimes such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [...] Safi is among a small but
      growing movement of Islamic scholars and activists calling themselves
      "progressive Muslims." They include gay Muslims, peace and justice
      advocates, feminists advocating gender equality and Muslims working to
      improve Islamic relations with Jews and people of other faiths.

      [Polygamy] Tales of fear, retribution at secretive desert church
      Earlier this month, Warren Jeffs, the leader or "prophet" of the
      Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, excommunicated
      nearly two dozen men from the priesthood, ordering them to leave their
      church-owned homes and their families. [...] Utah Attorney General Mark
      Shurtleff says both states and federal and local agencies have a task force
      probing the activities of the church and Jeffs, 47, its reclusive leader.
      Shurtleff calls the FLDS a cult and Jeffs a racist "evil dictator."

      [Polygamy] Utah polygamy ban challenged; Supreme Court sodomy ruling cited
      When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Texas' law against sodomy last year,
      at least one justice foresaw the likes of Brian Barnard. Justice Antonin
      Scalia warned that the ruling would unleash a wave of challenges to state
      laws against "bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution,
      masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity." Sure
      enough, Barnard, a civil rights attorney, has brought a lawsuit challenging
      Utah's ban on polygamy. And some legal experts say the case could have a
      fighting chance because of the Supreme Court's gay-sex ruling.

      [Polygamy] Utah polygamist pleads guilty to incest
      member of Utah's polygamous Kingston clan was sentenced Monday to a year
      behind bars for taking as his wife a 15-year-old cousin, who was also his
      aunt. Jeremy Ortell Kingston pleaded guilty to incest in an arrangement with
      prosecutors. The felony charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor if Kingston
      successfully completes three years' probation.

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