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ReligionNewsBlog.com, Feb. 19, 2004

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  • Anton Hein
    ReligionNewsBlog.com, Feb. 19, 2004 [The Body] Robidoux recovering http://www.religionnewsblog.com/6126-.html Karen Robidoux, who was convicted Feb. 3 of
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 19, 2004
      ReligionNewsBlog.com, Feb. 19, 2004

      [The Body] Robidoux recovering
      Karen Robidoux, who was convicted Feb. 3 of assault and battery in the
      starvation death of her son, remains at Meadow Haven, where she is
      continuing exit counseling after severing herself from the insular sect
      known as "The Body.'' [...] Meadow Haven is nestled in Lakeville, where
      [Robert] Pardon also operates the New England Institute of Religious
      Research. Currently at the modified Cape-style home are former members of
      four different cults or "high control" groups, including the two
      internationally known as Twelve Tribes and The Unification Church. [...]
      Before they leave the rehabilitative facility, former cult members learn
      life skills and develop goals for their future and how to function in
      society, Robert Pardon said. Often described as a cult deprogrammer, Pardon
      says he does not like the term's negative connotations. No one ever sets out
      to join a cult.
      "We're more like a rehabilitation center. We help people put their lives
      back together again," Pardon said. "Part of what we do," Judith Pardon
      added, " is to help them realize that they're not damaged. That it could
      happen to anybody."

      [Aum Shinrikyo] Taro Maki: An intrepid media must chase down taboos
      Article 20 of the [Japanese] Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, a
      civil liberty that was denied before World War II. This article is as
      essential to the nation as the war-renouncing Article 9, and I believe both
      articles ought to be honored to the letter. Unfortunately, however, Article
      20 is open to abuse by anti-social organizations when they violate human
      rights and harm public welfare in the name of religious freedom.
      Still, the mass media and law enforcement authorities have made it taboo to
      go after such organizations, lest they themselves be accused of "religious
      persecution." In that sense, the weekly Sunday Mainichi magazine broke this
      prohibition when it began running a series of stories to expose the doomsday
      cult Aum Shinrikyo (which now calls itself Aleph). I was the magazine's
      editor in chief when I first learned of Aum and its obsession with money. I
      knew instinctively this was anything but an honest religious organization.
      In retrospect, our anti-Aum campaign was not entirely in vain. But I also
      have regrets. Foremost among my regrets concerns what befell attorney
      Tsutsumi Sakamoto and his family. It was Sakamoto's collaboration that made
      the Sunday Mainichi series possible in the first place. [...] It was during
      this period that Sakamoto was murdered together with his wife and their baby

      [Aum Shinrikyo] Day of Judgment: Aum's tricky guruegotistical and persuasive

      This is the ninth installment of a series on Chizuo Matsumoto, the founder
      of the Aum Supreme Truth cult.

      [Aum Shinrikyo] Day of Judgment: Aum's sarin attack fouled raid plan
      This is the eighth installment of a series on Chizuo Matsumoto, the founder
      of the Aum Supreme Truth cult.

      [Witchcraft] Tanzania gets 'voodoo newspaper'
      A newspaper about witchcraft, superstition and life after death has been
      launched in Tanzania. The publishers say "Jungu Kuu" (Big Pot) aims to
      educate people about witchcraft in a country where such beliefs are common.
      There have been numerous reports of old women being killed after being
      accused of witchcraft. Editor Munga Tehenan told the BBC that the paper
      would educate people to stop them being cheated by bogus healers.

      [Islam] Outcry over leader's 'call for jihad'
      Australia's most senior Muslim called for a jihad against Israel in a sermon
      while visiting Lebanon last week, an Arabic-language newspaper has reported.
      Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilali, Grand Mufti of Australia and imam of Sydney's
      Lakemba Mosque, also visited the leader of Hezbollah - banned in Australia
      as a terrorist group - and praised it as a model.

      [Unification Church] Universal Ballet Company dancing its way to success
      Many people still associate the company with its founder, Rev. Moon Sun
      Myung of Unification Church. For decades, the Rev. Moon has been the subject
      of controversy for his doctrine and for the control he exercises over his
      members, known as the Moonies, as well as for his shady business ventures
      and emprisonment in the U.S. for tax fraud. But over the years, UBC has
      substantially shed the image of its ties to the religious group through its
      quality performances and contribution to Korea's ballet development.

      [Islam] Denmark to restrict radical imams
      The Danish government has proposed amendments to its immigration laws aimed
      at restricting the entry of radical Muslim clergymen. The changes would
      require clerics to prove educational qualifications and financial
      self-sufficiency. A government spokesman said rules would apply to all, but
      they were intended to curb the activities of radical imams.

      [Hare Krishna] Ford scion plans 'spiritual Disneyland' in Bengal
      The project that Ford describes as a "spiritual Disneyland" will be a
      one-stop religious tourism centre that one can use as a retreat to
      rejuvenate spirit and body -- the Hare Krishna style. Ford, whose family
      became followers of ISKCON founder Srila Prabhupad many years ago, says
      people at his proposed spiritual Disneyland can pursue their religious
      quest, research Indian culture or simply relax in a spiritual environment.
      The project, also being described as a Vedic Planetarium, is to come up on
      400 acres of land. It will have hostels, hotels, cultural and religious
      centres and health centres.

      [Apostles and Prophets Church of Jesus] Kanungu Police Close Cult Church
      Police in Kanungu district have closed a church for allegedly carrying out
      cult activities. "We are trying to stop their activities wherever they are,"
      south-western Regional Police Commander Edward Ochom said on Monday. [...]
      Mr Ochom said that some members of the church claimed they had had a vision
      that a fellow worshipper, Mr Kahikiri of Kibimbiri church branch, would take
      them to heaven. He said some of the worshippers had sold off their
      property. "If you have people having visions, we fear another Kibwetere,"
      Ochom said. Joseph Kibwetere was the leader of the doomsday cult called the
      Restoration of the 10 Commandments of God that masterminded the mass deaths
      of about 500 followers in a church in Kanungu on March 17, 2000.

      [Fraud] Ex-pastor gets prison for scams
      Financial scam artist and former Napa pastor Sherman S. Smith was sentenced
      Friday to 37 months in prison. The 57-year-old Smith, who was a pastor at
      Napa Valley Baptist Church from 1986 to 1993 and a successful author of
      Christian-themed financial self-help books, pleaded guilty to one count of
      securities fraud in June. He was originally charged with 17 counts of mail
      fraud and six counts of money laundering. The sentence he received Friday is
      the maximum allowable for his crime under federal sentencing rules.

      NOTE: Smith is the author of "Exploding the Doomsday Money Myths: Why It's
      Not Time to Panic: How to Be Both Safe and Optimistic in the Economy of the
      90's," and "Lie-2K : Why the Alleged End-of-the-World Year-2000 Computer
      Crisis is Really Just a Hoax." He is the co-author of "Selling Fear:
      Conspiracy Theories and End-Times Paranoia."

      [Jehovah's Witnesses] Suit accuses church official of abuse
      Four former members of the Jehovah's Witnesses have filed a lawsuit in
      Superior Court, contending they were sexually abused by a church official in
      Sonoma County during the 1980s and the church covered up the crime. The
      lawsuit names two Sonoma County congregations of the Jehovah's Witnesses and
      Donald L. Glew, a former church member who was convicted in 1989 of four
      counts of child molestation. Glew, now 52, was sentenced to 14 years in

      [Stanford Prison Experiment] Madonna sold on cell block drama
      Madonna's Maverick Films is getting ready to produce a feature based on the
      shocking real-life university scandal known as the 1971 Stanford Prison
      Experiment, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

      [Hate Groups : Scientology] Courtney Love in Church of Scientology?
      The troubled rocker - who recently served a stint in rehab and has been
      battling for custody of her daughter, Francis Bean Cobain - thanks
      Scientology and Kirstie Alley in the liner notes for her new CD, "America's
      Sweetheart," reports MSNBC.com.

      [Polygamy] 'We fear another Waco'
      With the authorities in hot pursuit, a Mormon 'Prophet', Warren Jeffs, has
      gone to ground with his 70 wives - and enough ammo for Armageddon. Andrew
      Gumbel reports from a community in fear.

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