ReligionNewsBlog.com, Mar. 21-22, 2004
- ReligionNewsBlog.com, Mar. 21-22, 2004
Mon, Mar. 22, 2004
[Mungiki] Mungiki Members Face Murder Charge
An earlier charge preferred against 32 suspected members of the outlawed Mungiki sect will be changed to murder. The national chairman of the outlawed sect, Mr John Maina Njenga and 31 others will now be charged with the murder of one Francis Njoroge Maina. The group was initially charged with being members of a proscribed sect and participating in unlawful oathing, binding them not to reveal their activities.
[Polygamy] Confidant says FLDS runaways are happy
Fawn Broadbent, 17, and Fawn Holm, 16, remain in hiding. But Megan Holm, who disappeared with the teens from a Phoenix area hotel five weeks ago, returned Thursday to her parents' home in Sandy with a message from the two Fawns: "They want people to know they are not being held against their will," Holm said. "They've got everything they need. They are happier than they've ever been." And the teens will stay in hiding, Holm said, until they get assurances they won't be placed in foster care or returned to their parents in Colorado City, Ariz.
[USA] Carter savages Blair and Bush: 'Their war was based on lies'
He said: "There was no reason for us to become involved in Iraq recently. That was a war based on lies and misinterpretations from London and from Washington, claiming falsely that Saddam Hussein was responsible for [the] 9/11 attacks, claiming falsely that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. And I think that President Bush and Prime Minister Blair probably knew that many of the allegations were based on uncertain intelligence ... a decision was made to go to war [then people said] 'Let's find a reason to do so'."
[Islam] Palestinians: Hamas founder killed in airstrike
Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was killed in an apparent airstrike by Israeli forces Monday morning as he was being driven to mosque, Palestinian sources told CNN.
[Hate Groups] Neo-Nazi gas oven killer tried to incinerate the body of his victim
Macabre details of a neo-Nazi who attempted to incinerate the remains of one of his murder victims in a portable gas oven have emerged in the closing stages of a trial which has shocked Germany. Till-Hauke Heldt, 32, whose father was a member of the Hitler Youth, has been nicknamed "the Intelligent Beast" by the German press for his alleged role in the murders of an Indian asylum seeker and a German businessman, and his murder of a prostitute. In the 1990s, Heldt led a neo-Nazi skinhead gang that attacked foreigners in the German town of Guetersloh.
[Transcendental Meditation] Charter school funding draws criticism
A local county commissioner has asked the state for a review of the application for the county's first charter school. Bob Carruth asked the N.C. Department of Public Instruction to review Carolina International School on the grounds that it has a religious affiliation and therefore should not be supported by public money. [...] The school's educational program includes the International Baccalaureate Organization's Primary Years Program and optional instruction in the Transcendental Mediation [sic] program for interested teachers and students in grades five through seven, with parent permission.
[Catholic Church] Brazil's pop star priest leading change in Catholic Church
He's had a No. 1 record, won a Latin Grammy and now has a hit movie - all aimed at revitalizing the Roman Catholic Church in Brazil. He is the Rev. Marcelo Rossi, Brazil's pop star priest, a leader of the Brazilian church's efforts to bolster its waning appeal in the world's largest Catholic country. "The majority of Catholics are estranged from the church. So - this was the promise I made to the pope - I promised to use all means of communication available to bring them back to the Church," Rossi said.
[Homosexuality / Lesbianism] Lesbian Pastor's Case Gets Mixed Reaction
The acquittal of a lesbian Methodist pastor charged with violating church doctrine drew praise and scorn Sunday across a denomination that may see its divisions over homosexuality laid bare at a major conference next month. Saturday's acquittal of the Rev. Karen Dammann was celebrated Sunday at the church where she used to preach in Ellensburg, a small town in central Washington. [...] But there was concern about the fallout for the United Methodist Church, the nation's third-largest denomination with 8.5 million U.S. members. The United Methodist Church has repeatedly voted against loosening policies on homosexuality. ``I believe the vast majority of United Methodists are in grief and shock today. I'm personally heartbroken,'' said Patricia Miller, executive director of the Confessing Movement, a conservative movement within the church that claims more than 600,000 members.
[Atheism] Supreme Court to hear arguments on pledge of allegiance
The U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday will hear a divorced father from California argue that neither his daughter nor anyone else should have to utter the words "under God" when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. By any measure, he has his work cut out for him. The father, Michael Newdow, is a medical doctor, a lawyer and an atheist. He'll be arguing the case for himself by himself. His daughter and her mother say they want no part of his crusade. Even some sympathetic libertarian groups say they fear it distracts from more essential questions of personal liberty the court will hear later this year regarding the war on terrorism and the Patriot Act.
[Islam] Underwear ad angers London Muslims
An advertisement for women's underwear on a billboard near a mosque in Bradford has enraged Muslims in the city. The ad for Sloggi G-strings, which features four women's bottoms, is at the centre of a campaign that threatens to spread across the UK.
[Alternative Healing] Homeopathic Remedies Thrive in Mainstream
Despite a lack of supportive studies, the drugs are gaining popularity. A 101-year-old L.A. firm benefits from the trend. Jay Borneman braced for the worst when ABC's "20/20" aired a segment in January claiming to expose homeopathic medicines as little more than a scam. The negative publicity, he figured, would result in a flurry of angry phone calls, harsh letters and a drop in business at his 101-year-old Los Angeles firm, Standard Homeopathic Co. But the outrage never materialized; Standard proved immune. In fact, in the days and weeks since the show aired, sales have continued to climb at the company, which markets its products under the Hyland's and Standard brand names.
[Religious Intolerance] Supporters of defrocked priest holding rally in Tbilisi
Supporters of Vasil Mkalavishvili, a defrocked priest of the Georgian Orthodox Church who has been detained by the police, are holding a rally in front of Ortachala prison in Tbilisi, where Mkalavishvili's closed trial has begun. The protesters describe Mkalavishvili as a political prisoner and demand his immediate release. [...] For the past three years, Mkalavishvili and his nearly 1,000 supporters have been persecuting religious sects, primarily the Jehovah's Witnesses. About 100 beatings of the sect's members, book-burnings and other incidents have been reported to the police.
[Feroze Golwalla] 'Monstrous' fanatic lures ordinary folks
``Nobody joins a cult. You join an interesting organization and over time it changes,'' Wolfe, 24, explains. Wolfe said he joined Feroze Golwalla's Parsee Ministry Team - also known as Baruch Ha Shem - because he felt Golwalla was a ``very earnest, zealous man of prayer.'' ``I know now that it was all a show,'' he says. Andreson said she was initially attracted to Golwalla ``in a spiritual, intellectual way'' but quickly became brainwashed.
[Traditionalist Catholicism] The extreme religious sect which fuelled the passion of Mel Gibson
Gibson does not belong to any of the larger Traditionalist groupings, but to an independent congregation, with some 70 members, called the Holy Family. Originally, most of the congregation attended Mass at another chapel which was then taken over by the Society of St Pius X. Gibson and others left in protest though the reasons for the split are obscure. Gibson then came up with $2.8 million to build and maintain a new Mission-style church complex in a little valley in the mountains north-west of Los Angeles, near Malibu Beach. According to public financial records, Gibson is its chief executive officer and its sole benefactor.
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Sun, Mar. 21, 2004
[Homosexuality / Lesbianism] Lesbian pastor acquitted, may continue in ministry
The Rev. Karen Dammann, a United Methodist pastor charged with violating the denomination's laws by living as a lesbian, was found not guilty Saturday. In the rare church trial that highlighted the chasm between religion and homosexuality, jurors said in a prepared statement that the church had not presented "clear and convincing evidence" against Dammann. [...] The United Methodist Church's Book of Discipline, which outlines the church's law, doctrine and procedures, forbids "self-avowed practicing homosexuals" from serving in ministry. [...] But the jury, 13 clergy from within the district, many of whom knew Dammann, said they searched the Book of Discipline and could not find "a declaration" that said homosexuality was out of line with Christian teaching.
[Feroze Golwalla] Tracking terror
In May, Wolfe's 24-year-old son Andrew was extracted from a small Christian group - some would call it a cult - headed by a self-proclaimed envoy of God named Feroze Golwalla (see "Bob Pardon to the Rescue)," News and Features, June 27). Things got even better for the Wolfe family in June, when Andrew's twin brother, Benjamin, was removed from the same group. [...] Spearheaded by local anti-cult activist Bob Pardon, the extraction of Andrew and Benjamin from Golwalla's group liberated them from a situation that was, as they tell it, the stuff of nightmares - beatings, psychological torture, and depravations the family would rather not reveal in public. Today, the brothers are recovering at Meadow Haven, Pardon's Massachusetts-based rehabilitation facility. [...] Wolfe's relief has been further mitigated by the knowledge that Golwalla is on the loose in Texas, possibly luring more youngsters into his fold.
[Feroze Golwalla] Students' tale of cult 'evil'
The fuming families of three Bay State students are considering legal action against an Illinois Christian college, claiming the school failed to protect their children from an ``evil'' cult leader who they say lured them into an isolated vortex of ritualistic torture. [...] The cult's leader, Feroze Golwalla, was notorious for recruiting students on the suburban Illinois campus of Wheaton College - a school that counts holy roller Billy Graham among its alumni. Golwalla's controversial tactics had been reported several times to school administrators by parents of students who fled the high-control group, according to ex-members. Yet, not only did the school take no action, it let Golwalla continue as a graduate student and supported his Parsee Missionary Team, a program Golwalla supposedly ran to help the Parsee people of Iran.
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