ReligionNewsBlog.com, July 5-6, 2004
- ReligionNewsBlog.com, July 5-6, 2004
Tue, Jul. 06, 2004
[Faith Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith] Preacher going on trial in autistic boy's death
On a warm Friday night last August, an autistic 8-year-old went with his mother to a strip-mall church where a school janitor moonlighting as a preacher said he could cast out the demons twisting the boy's development. After an intense two-hour prayer session that brought the preacher chest-to-chest with little Terrance Cottrell Jr. while others held the boy's limbs, the preacher's shirt was soaked with sweat and the boy had, at some point, stopped moving. Nobody noticed when Terrance died, according to what those present told police. Tuesday morning, the preacher, Ray A. Hemphill, will go on trial for what happened that night in his Faith Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith
[Interfaith] Religious groups seek common ground
Leaders of Switzerland's Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities are meeting in Bern for the first time since the outbreak of war in Iraq. The heads of the country's largest religious groups are expected to discuss plans to establish a permanent platform for interfaith dialogue.
[Islam] France warns Muslim activists not to push hard on veil
French officials warned Muslim activists against testing the state's patience yesterday after a second large Muslim group urged schoolgirls to defy a ban on headscarves when schools reopen in September. The headscarves, which will be banned from state schools after the summer break, surged back into the news when the large Union of French Islamic Organisations (UOIF) pledged last week to give legal aid to any girl expelled for wearing one.
[Islam] Muslim undies shop attacked
Birmingham's first Muslim lingerie shop has been targeted in a hate attack - for looking too much like a "porn parlour". Sister's Secrets in Balsall Heath was petrol-bombed just days after opening last week. The arrival of the store on Taunton Street has angered Muslim traditionalists who are suspicious about its blacked-out windows, alarmed door and suggestive name. [...] Last night owner Umm Zakariah, 31, from Balsall Heath - a Muslim who wears the traditional veil and full-length gown in public - vowed the attack would not drive her out of business.
[Christian Exodus] Christian sets sights on S. Carolina
In a soft voice far from the thunderous tones of many Southern preachers, Burnell pledges to lead throngs of Christian conservatives -- 12,000 at a time -- to South Carolina to either change the government or secede from the Union. The plan, Burnell said, is to saturate the state with like-minded voters who would work to replace the U.S. Constitution with the Ten Commandments as the "foundation of law." And unless the U.S. government is overhauled and begins prohibiting abortion and same-sex marriage, Burnell vowed to hold a "convention of the people" by 2016 in hopes of causing South Carolina to secede.
[Aum Shinrikyo] 6 AUM Members Held Over Unlicensed Medicine Sales
Senior AUM Shinrikyo cult member Naruhito Noda and five other members were arrested Tuesday over the alleged involvement of AUM members in unlicensed sales of medicines. [...] Police officials said they intend to pursue the cult's organized involvement and to investigate the case also on suspicion of fraud, believing profits from the sales went to the cult.
[Polygamy] Utah's 'polygamy czar' stepping down from post
Nearly four years after becoming Utah's first "polygamy czar," Ron Barton is turning his investigative skills to new ground: school trust lands. [...] Barton played a role in two successful prosecutions -- Rodney Holm and Tom Green, both on child rape and bigamy charges. He considers the willingness of some polygamists to engage in public dialogue about the lifestyle a sign of progress. An even bigger success is the recognition in the community that help is available if they need it.
[Aum Shinrikyo] Top AUM exec busted over illegal 'medicinal' cream sales
Police on Tuesday arrested a high-ranking member of the AUM Shinrikyo cult, and raided about 50 cult-related facilities over the group's unauthorized sales of a cream it claimed could treat atopic dermatitis. [...] About half of the group's funds come out of the pockets of its adherents through offerings, but recently this amount has been dropping. In May it held a spring seminar at 11 locations nationwide, but only 370 people attended, compared with about 400 the previous year. Only about 25 people went through the expensive initiation, far fewer than the 300 for the same period the previous year.
[Jesus Christians] Cult leader admits kidney scam
The leader of an internet cult today said some members have lied to health authorities so that they could donate their kidneys to Australians in need of a transplant. [...] Jesus Christians leader Dave McKay said he was aware that some members had pretended they had a longer relationship than actually existed with organ recipients in order to receive approval for a donation. However, he said the cult did not encourage this. When asked what he thought of members who lied, Mr McKay said: "I feel that's their business."
[Aum Shinrikyo] Police Arrest Senior AUM Member Over Unlicensed Medicine Sale
The police arrested Noda, 37, on suspicion of violating the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law, and plan to arrest several other AUM members they began questioning on the same charge in addition to eight other people nabbed in June. Police officials said they intend to pursue the cult's organized involvement and to investigate the case also as one of fraud.
[Jesus Christians] Cult investigated over kidney donations
The Victorian government will investigate an internet cult which encourages its members to donate their kidneys to hospitals as "living sacrifices" to God. Members of the Jesus Christians cult will be investigated over reports they lied to Victorian health authorities so they could donate their kidneys to strangers needing transplants, a spokesman for Health Minister Bronwyn Pike said. In Australia, kidney donations are banned from anyone apart from a recipient's family members and friends and others with an emotional connection. The ban is designed to prevent organs being sold on the black market.
[Religious Pluralism] Spiritual fusion
To the casual observer, the 2,500-year-old religion of Gautama Buddha bears scant resemblance to Christianity. But as Buddhism becomes increasingly popular in the United States -- outpacing Episcopalianism with as many as four million members -- a growing number of Christians are exploring Buddhist practices while remaining within their own tradition. Christian-Buddhist meditation groups, retreat centers, books and websites attest to the growth of the trend. [...] But some Christians disapprove of mixing and matching Buddhist practices with Christian doctrine. Russell Moore, the dean of the school of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said the two faiths are completely at odds. ''Those who claim to be Christian Buddhists don't take Buddhism or Christianity very seriously,'' he said. ``Christianity believes in a personal God and the resurrection of the dead, and Buddhism totally rejects that.''
[Rainbow Family] Counterculture 'Rainbow Family' gathers in California forest to promote world peace
Lucky Sunshine Day says he arrived at this year's Rainbow Family Gathering "a moon cycle ago," measuring time as he has for much of the 20 years of his life. [...] On Sunday, the high point of the July 1-7 conclave, more than 16,000 self-described hippies from at least 40 states and eight nations were expected to hold hands in a circle, silently praying for world peace from dawn until noon. This year's Gathering is being held in an area of hills and meadows in the Modoc National Forest, 26 miles over rough gravel roads from the tiny town of Likely.
[Islam] Canadian province to introduce Shariah law
Even as the Muslim Personal Law Board in India is making moves to introduce reforms in the Shariah law, Ontario is set to take a step backwards in time by becoming the first province in Canada as well as the first Western jurisdiction to accept the 1,400-year-old religious law in its legal system. Under the 1991 Arbitration Act, shariah-based marriage, divorce and family tribunals run by the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice are expected to begin later this year in the province of Ontario. One of the reasons cited by Ontario in allowing shariah tribunals is that Hasidic Jews have been using the Act for years in domestic arbitrations based on Jewish law and therefore Muslims can not be denied access to it.
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Mon, Jul. 05, 2004
[Jesus Christians] Cult push for 'living sacrifices'
Members of a bizarre internet cult have breached strict Australian health laws by donating their kidneys to hospitals as "living sacrifices" for God. The Jesus Christians cult claims the members lied to health authorities in Victoria and NSW so they could donate their kidneys to strangers in need of a transplant. [...] The Jesus Christians cult, founded in Melbourne in 1982, hit world headlines in 2000 when British police accused cult members of kidnapping and brainwashing a 16-year-old boy. It uses the internet to preach bizarre teachings, such as asking members to join the Virgin Army and masturbate rather than marry. If they are married, it pressures them into not having children.
[Robert Schuller] From the Crystal Cathedral to Costco, he's a familiar face
For nearly 35 years, Dr. Schuller has come into America's living rooms through his Hour of Power, broadcast from the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif. [...] Next year will be his 50th as a minister, but he's not waiting until then to celebrate. The 77-year-old preacher was in a festive mood as he held up a copy of his latest book, Hours of Power: My Daily Book of Motivation and Inspiration [...]. "It took me 36 books to write this one," he said. "Don't bother about those other books. The best advice in them is condensed right in here."
[China] Woman dies over Bibles
A 34-year-old woman has allegedly been beaten to death in jail on the day she was arrested for handing out Bibles in southwest China's Guizhou province, state media said on Sunday. Police in Guizhou's Tongzi county arrested Jiang Zongxiu, a farmer, on June 18 on suspicion of "spreading rumours and inciting to disturb social order", the Legal Daily said. [...] The Chinese government, while allowing people to practice state-approved religions, such as Christianity, in government-sanctioned churches, forbids proselytising. Bibles are banned from book stores and are not easy to obtain.
[Hinduism] Nepalis bare all to call for rain
Women in Nepal are reportedly ploughing fields in the nude to please the rain god during a dry spell. [...] Mrs Tharu said tilling the land naked was a tradition which had been observed for generations.
[Church and State] Baptists protest Bush camp's effort to use church rosters
The Southern Baptist Convention, a conservative denomination closely aligned with President Bush, said it was offended by the Bush-Cheney campaign's effort to use church rosters for campaign purposes. ''I'm appalled that the Bush-Cheney campaign would intrude on a local congregation in this way,'' said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. ''The bottom line is, when a church does it, it's nonpartisan and appropriate. When a campaign does it, it's partisan and inappropriate,'' he said. ''I suspect that this will rub a lot of pastors' fur the wrong way.''
[Church and State] Bush campaign wants church lists
President Bush, seeking to mobilize religious conservatives for his reelection campaign, has asked church-going volunteers to turn over church membership directories, campaign officials said on Thursday. In a move sharply criticized both by religious leaders and civil libertarians, the Bush-Cheney campaign has issued a guide listing about two-dozen "duties" and a series of deadlines for organizing support among conservative church congregations.
Anton and Janet Hein-Hudson
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