ReligionNewsBlog.com, 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.
... Religion New Blog is a free service provided by Apologetics Index. But
we do have bills to pay. If RNB is of service to you, one way you can help
is by signing up for a voluntary 'donation subscription' at $5/month:
For other donation options, see: http://www.apologeticsindex.org/donate
Research resources on religions, cults, sects, doctrines, and related
http://www.religionnewsblog.com (News and news archives)
http://www.apologeticsindex.org (Other research resources)
Note: Religion News Blog is a non-profit service provided by Apologetics
Index. Unless specifically noted, the inclusion of a news item does not
Constitute endorsement of the news source, the publication in which the item
was found, the author or organization responsible for the item, or the ideas
expressed within the item. The material is provided solely as a research
resource, and is intended for educational purposes only.