ReligionNewsBlog.com, May 7, 2004
- ReligionNewsBlog.com, May 7, 2004
[John Rubio and Angela Camacho] Camacho competent to stand trial, defense says
More than a year after being charged with the decapitation deaths of her three children, Angela Camacho is competent to stand trial, defense attorneys said Thursday. "Angela is getting better," said Ernesto Gamez, one of Camacho's attorneys. "Our psychiatrist Dr. David Moron has had her on medication for a year now, and she is now, in his opinion, competent to stand trial." [...] Camacho and common-law-husband John Allen Rubio, 23, are accused of killing and beheading their three children Julissa Angela Quezada, 3, John Esthefan Rubio, 1, and 2-month-old Mary Jane Rubio in March 2003 in their filth-ridden downtown apartment. Rubio was convicted in November and sentenced to death for the killings. His lawyers have appealed the sentence.
[USA] George W. Bush: a muddy morality
[Book Review: The President of Good and Evil: The Morality of George W. Bush, By Peter Singer: http://tinyurl.com/25udr%5d
In logic, there are no surprises. It will not come as news that the ethical beliefs of the current President of the United States are confused, contradictory, fuzzy and often bizarre. But sometimes the value of logic is all in the showing. Peter Singer, an Australian-born professor of philosophy at Princeton University, has done what few would attempt without misgiving, not least for the presumed threat to their peace of mind. He has taken seriously George Bush's claim to be a consistent and clear moral thinker. Well-known for his defence of animal rights and harsh stand on some forms of human disability -- not many academic philosophers become the target of death threats, or get profiled in The New Yorker -- Singer is first and foremost a careful philosopher. Which is to say that his weapons are evidence and argument; he speaks in the soft, insistent terms of the rational inquisitor. This valuable book offers quiet, inexorable advance on a Bush who can neither run nor hide.
[Catholic Church] Priest at center of sex scandal is defrocked
Paul Shanley, a central figure in the child-molestation scandal that engulfed the Boston Archdiocese, has been defrocked, along with another priest imprisoned for raping a 12-year-old boy, the church said yesterday. In a letter dated May 3 and obtained by The Associated Press, Archbishop Sean O'Malley informed Shanley that Pope John Paul II decided Feb. 19 to remove him from the priesthood.
[USA] Church leaders object to casting God on U.S. side
The abuse of Iraqi prisoners by some U.S. soldiers points to the danger of President Bush describing the occupation of Iraq and the war on terror as battles between forces of good and the "evildoers" of the world, religious leaders say. Even before compromising photos of nude and hooded prisoners surfaced in the news media, some mainline Protestant and American Muslim leaders had criticized the president for a series of speeches that appeared to say that God was on the side of America.
[John Rubio and Angela Camacho] After Children Beheaded, Mom Competent To Stand Trial
Angela Camacho is, 24, accused of helping her common-law husband suffocate, stab and behead her three young children. [...] The common-law husband has been sentenced to death in last year's killings.
[Music] Alice Cooper gets honorary degree
The rock star, whose hits include School's Out, is being awarded an honorary doctorate by a Christian liberal arts university. The 56-year-old will receive the honour at a Grand Canyon University ceremony on Saturday. [...] "Alice Cooper is a guy who made it big in a very tough business and has made his faith a priority," said Michael Clifford, vice chairman for the university.
[Catholic Church] Priest who formed splinter church excommunicated
A Roman Catholic priest who spoke out against the church hierarchy was excommunicated for holding his own Mass at an unsanctioned, splinter church, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh announced Thursday. The Rev. William Hausen "has incurred an automatic excommunication from the Catholic Church," according to a statement issued by the Rev. Ronald Lengwin, diocesan spokesman. [...] Hausen, 66, presided at a Mass of his Christ Hope Ecumenical Catholic Church, which met Sunday in a hotel ballroom. He has criticized what he says is the Roman Catholic church's hypocrisy, telling parishioners in an Easter 2002 homily that they should be angry about the clergy sex scandal and that married men and women should be able to become priests.
[Palo Mayombe] Palo Mayombe Priest Gets Jail For Possessing Stolen Human Remains
priest in the Palo Mayombe religious cult who was convicted of possessing human remains stolen from cemeteries was sentenced this week to five years in state prison. Oscar Cruz, 50, was charged in August 2002 after Newark police raided a city botanica he owned and operated and found him in the basement with caldrons that contained bones from five people.
[USA] Graphic Photos May Be More Evidence of Abuse
The graphic images, passed around among military police who served at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, are a new batch of photographs similar to those broadcast a week ago on CBS's "60 Minutes II" and published by the New Yorker magazine. They appear to provide further visual evidence of the chaos and unprofessionalism at the prison detailed in a report by Army Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba. His report, which relied in part on the photographs, found "numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses" that were inflicted on detainees.
NOTE: This matter can be seen as the fruit of America's long-standing policy of double standards when it comes to human rights issues. While the USA chides other countries, it fails to acknowledge - let alone address - America's own record of human rights abuses. Not suprisingly, the US has tried to block a global anti-torture pact, just like it fights against being held accountable by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Apologetics Index and Religion News Blog have addressed these issues for years, in the belief that Christians and non-Christians alike should be concerned about human rights. See also: http://tinyurl.com/27f6f
[Islam] CAIR's War On Conservative Radio
The Council on American-Islamic Relations won't condemn Muslim fanatics, but it has declared war on outspoken Americans who will. CAIR, which calls itself "America's largest Islamic civil liberties group," has lately focused its wrath on conservative radio talk show hosts. A new report by the group released this week attempts to tie talk radio to a dubious "sharp jump" in (self-reported) "Islamophobic hate crimes" in the United States. CAIR fights dirty -- fabricating quotes, taking comments out of context, indulging in the cult of victimology and exploiting a gullibly sympathetic press. By manufacturing an anti-Muslim hate epidemic that doesn't exist, CAIR obfuscates its own suspicious role in fomenting anti-American extremism.
[Interfaith] With LDS excluded, faiths snub prayer day
For the past three years, Seventh-day Adventist Chaplain Linda Walton has helped organize services for the National Day of Prayer. But this year, Walton and other religious leaders in Utah are opting out of today's commemoration. The problem, she says, is that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not allowed to conduct the services at an event put together by the National Day of Prayer Task Force -- a nonprofit group which organizes events across the country. "That sort of exclusion is the thing I hate the very worst," Walton said. "Bigotry. That's what I call it."
Note: Seventh-day Adventism's doctrines span the range from orthodox through aberrant, heterodox, sub-orthodox and heretical - evidence of a severe lack of discernment in what many people consider to be, theologically, a cult of Christianity. It comes as no surprise that a Seventh-day Adventists bemoans the exclusion of a religious movement that, while claiming to be Christian, denies key doctrines of the Christian faith (thereby excluding itself from Christianity).
[Kabbalah] Sex Offender Becomes 'Kabbalah Coach'
A convicted sex offender in Los Angeles has used an assumed name to market himself as a rabbi and Kabbalah instructor. Michael Ozair, who pleaded no contest to oral copulation of a 14-year-old girl in 2002, had until earlier this week been advertising himself as Rabbi Michael Ezra, the "Kabbalah Coach."
[Ritual Killing] 'Mutilation is one crime, organ trafficking another'
Mozambican police may seek foreign help in their investigation into a recent wave of killings and mutilations allegedly linked to the trafficking in human organs, President Joaquim Chissano said on Tuesday during a visit to Portugal. Body parts, including sexual organs, are commonly used in may parts of Mozambique in traditional rituals believed to bring good fortune and wealth. Last month police in Nampula police detained 14 people after body parts and organs were found in a house, apparently for use in witchcraft.
[USA] Red Cross says it sought better conditions at Iraqi prisons
The international Red Cross said today it had repeatedly asked U.S. authorities to take action over alleged prisoner abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison before recent revelations about the way detainees were treated. "We were aware of what was going on, and based on our findings we have repeatedly requested the U.S. authorities to take corrective action," said Nada Doumani, spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, speaking from Amman, Jordan.
[USA] Texas Court Rejects Retarded Man's Appeal
A state appeals court Wednesday rejected a death row inmate's claim of mental retardation and refused to spare his life, despite an IQ of less than 70 and a jailhouse nickname of "Half-Deck" because of his slow thinking.
QUOTE: "Executing adults with the minds of children is nothing short of barbaric." - Jamie Fellner, Associate Counsel, Human Rights Watch
[USA] Abuse Common in U.S. Prisons, Activists Say
Horrific abuses, some similar to those revealed in Iraq, regularly occur in U.S. prisons with little national attention or public outrage, human rights activists said on Thursday. "We certainly see many of the same kinds of things here in the United States, including sexual assaults and the abuse of prisoners, against both men and women," said Kara Gotsch, public policy coordinator for the national prison project of the American Civil Liberties Union. "This office has been involved in cases in which prisoners have been raped by guards and humiliated but we don't talk about it much in America and we certainly don't hear the president expressing outrage," she said. President Bush has said he was disgusted by the abuse of Iraqi prisoners. Yet, there were many cases of abuse in Texas when he served as governor from 1995 to 2000.
[Mormon Church] Man Plotted to Bomb a Mormon Church
A Servier County man plotted to kill the county attorney and the head of the county narcotics strike force and to bomb a Mormon church, authorities allege. [...] Busch was angry with the two county officials because of an arrest and conviction in 2001 for a marijuana-growing operation, Sevier County Sheriff Phil Barney said. The marijuana operation was big for the area, generating an estimated $13,000 per harvest, he said. Busch's wife, Tammie Busch, told the Deseret Morning News that her husband's resentment toward The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints started when he was a child. He was raised a Jehovah's Witness and said he often was picked on or excluded from activities because his religion was different, she said.
[Islam] Oregon Attorney Arrested Over Possible Tie to Spain Bombings
A Portland lawyer was detained Thursday by the FBI after federal officials linked his fingerprints to bomb-related evidence associated with the Madrid railway attacks that killed 191 people in March, a federal law enforcement official said. The arrest of Brandon Mayfield, 37, raises the possibility of a U.S. connection to the March 11 bombings, which Spanish authorities have blamed on Islamic extremists. The former Army officer, a Muslim convert, was held on a material-witness warrant after the FBI searched his home in the Portland suburb of Aloha. Mayfield's arrest was first reported Thursday on Newsweek magazine's website.
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