ReligionNewsBlog.com, July 19-21, 2004
- ReligionNewsBlog.com, July 19-21, 2004
Wed, Jul. 21, 2004
[Underground Church] Christian Leaders Said Arrested in China's Xinjiang
Police arrested more than 100 church leaders in northwest China during a retreat to train Christian workers in the region, a US-based religious group said Wednesday [21st July]. [...] Police took all but 30 people back to their hometowns, where they are being held, the association said. Some are being pressured to give up Christianity, it said, and those who do not give up face charges.
[Bill McCartney] Promise Keepers Founder Wants To Unite Evangelicals, Jews
Former University of Colorado football coach and Promise Keepers founder Bill McCartney has reportedly been organizing a new group aimed at improving relations between evangelical Christians and Messianic Jews.
[Andrea Yates] Child-Drown Mom Refusing Food
Andrea Yates, who is serving a life sentence for drowning her children in a bathtub three years ago, has been hospitalized in Galveston because she is refusing to eat, her attorney said Tuesday night.
[False Memory Syndrome] Feeling Is Believing?
Researchers at Harvard University called on aliens from outer space to help them solve a problem that surfaces frequently in everything from therapeutic sessions to criminal trials, or even just chatting with a friend. How do you know if someone is telling the truth when he or she recalls memories of childhood abuse, or being raped by satanic cults, or some other traumatic insult? One clue that many of us rely on is the emotional reaction of the person telling the story. If the victim breaks out in sweat and becomes extremely emotional while recalling those memories, it's more difficult to dismiss them as false. But all that really means is the person truly believes his or her memories are true, not that they really are, according to the researchers.
[Unification Church] Unification Church Official Arrested on Fraud Charges
Investigators have arrested Park Bo-hui, a subordinate of Rev. Moon Sun-myung of the Unification Church, on fraud charges, the prosecution said Wednesday.
[Unification Church] Warner Linked to the Rev. Moon
Sen. John W. Warner's office acknowledged yesterday that the Virginia Republican arranged for religious activists to use a Senate office building last March for a ceremony in which the Rev. Sun Myung Moon declared himself the Messiah and said his teachings have helped Hitler and Stalin be "reborn as new persons." The senator did not attend the coronation-like ceremony or realize it would involve Moon, a controversial figure who spent 18 months in prison in the 1980s for tax fraud, said Warner spokesman John Ullyot. "Our office felt misled" after news accounts described a long ceremony in which Moon and his wife were crowned as leaders of international peace, he said.
[Catholic Church] Vatican names special inspector to investigate child porn scandal at Austrian seminary
Moving to contain a scandal that has deeply embarrassed the Roman Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II appointed a special inspector Tuesday to investigate a seminary where authorities uncovered 40,000 pornographic photos, including child porn.
[Religion Trends] More Americans seek God on their terms, and in their homes
In some cases, the groups are nascent churches, perhaps fledgling global movements. In others, they're more akin to a book club where informality is the glue that holds a group together for discussions of divine grace. But the bottom line is that for many Americans, worship is no longer centered exclusively under a steeple. In an era of long commutes, overloaded schedules, and made-to-order spirituality, religious experience increasingly means venturing into someone's home for refreshments and a taste of God on far more personal terms.
[Polygamy] Can Islam Polygamy Curb Aids?
No scientist has thought yet that polygamy can be a tool against Aids. In fact, an argument of this sort would go on and on. But in a world that so desperately needs a solution to the Aids scourge, anything can be possible. In the eyes of a Muslim woman who knows it better, it is possible to reduce the spread of HIV infection when polygamy is practiced following the guidelines spelt out in the Qur'an.
[Jehovah's Witnesses] Jehovah's Witnesses - pacifists and model prisoners
His crime? A refusal on religious grounds to carry out military service, which is mandatory for all able-bodied Korean men. Mr. Jeong is a member of Jehovah's Witnesses, a Christian sect that forbids its adherents to serve in the military.
[Kabbalah] Madonna performs at private party in Yiddish
Kabbalah devotee Madonna stunned guests at a private party for the sect's guru Phillip Berg in New York by singing two songs in Yiddish.
[Lyndon LaRouche] The cult and the candidate
Lyndon LaRouche is a convicted fraudster and virulent anti-Semite. Now he's campaigning for the American presidency. Terry Kirby investigates his sinister global network - and his conspiracy theories about Tony Blair
[Religion Trends] Survey finds Protestant majority disappearing in U.S.
The United States will no longer be a majority Protestant nation in years to come, due to a precipitous decline in affiliation with many Protestant churches, a new survey has found. Between 1993 and 2002, the share of Americans who said they were Protestant dropped from 63 percent to 52 percent, after years of remaining generally stable, according to a study released Tuesday by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. At the same time, the number of people who said they had no religion rose from 9 percent to nearly 14 percent, and many are former Protestants, the survey's authors said.
[Amway] Court again rejects P&G's damage suit against Amway
An appeals court in New Orleans on Monday rejected Procter & Gamble Co.'s second attempt to sue Amway over rumors linking the company with the Church of Satan and devil worship.
[Amway] Court Dismisses P&G Lawsuit Against Amway
Procter & Gamble does not get a second "bite at the apple" in its lawsuit against Amway Corp. over false rumors that P&G was linked to Satanism, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Monday in rejecting the case.
Tue, Jul. 20, 2004
[Unification Church] Cult leader detained on fraud charges
Park Bo-hi, 74, allegedly the second-ranking official of the Unification Church, has been arrested and detained by prosecutors in Seoul on charges of fraud. The church was founded by Rev. Moon Sun Myung, a controversial religious figure who has called himself the "son of God."
[Aum Shinrikyo] Prime Suspect Denies Shooting NPA Chief
A former AUM Shinrikyo cult member denied Tuesday allegations that he shot then National Police Agency chief Takaji Kunimatsu in March 1995, investigative sources said.
[Hate Groups] Ten found guilty in Aryan meth case
Four men face mandatory life in prison and six face a minimum of 10 years after being found guilty in the case of methamphetamine distribution through the Aryan Circle.
[Sikhism] In US, turban, beard still hair-raisers
Sikhs in the US have been doing a lot of brandbuilding and hard-selling these last couple of years but not in the business domain. The sticker "I'm a non-Englishspeaking Sikh. Sikhs do not have anything to do with the Arabs. Sikhs mean well for America. God bless America!" on Maryland trucker Jagtar Singh's vehicle, is a desperate plea to be spared the fate of a Balbir Singh Sodhi or a Rajinder Singh Khalsa.
[Mungiki] Government Challenged On Mungiki
Emuhaya MP Kenneth Marende yesterday questioned the Government's commitment to fighting the outlawed Mungiki sect. Marende also challenged Internal security minister Chris Murungaru to resign for allegedly misleading Kenyans that the sect had been crushed.
[Media] Miracle Broadcast: Court Disagrees With Nigeria's NBC
A Federal High Court in Abuja at the weekend dismissed the preliminary objection filed by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), challenging the suit filed by some members of Christ Embassy opposing NBC's stoppage of miracle
[Judaism] Scouting adapts to religion
The Phillipses are Orthodox Jews, and according to the laws of their faith, many activities are forbidden from sundown on Fridays until sundown on Saturdays. When younger daughter, Elisheva, reached scouting age, her mother decided to do something about it. Two years ago, she started an Orthodox Daisy Troop, the youngest branch of Girl Scouts for kindergarteners through first-graders. Brownies are first through third grades, and Juniors are fourth through sixth grades. All girls are welcome to join, but right now all the members of Troop 597 are Orthodox Jews. They meet after school at Torah Academy in Boca Raton.
[Catholic Church] New charges in church sex scandal
A 27-year-old Polish seminary student has been charged with possession and distribution of child pornography, a prosecutor said Monday as an investigation widened into Austria's worst church sex scandal in nearly a decade.
[Islam] In Kuwait, more young Arabs embrace return to conservative Islam
It may be possible to understand how extremism brews in a squalid Palestinian refugee camp, but what accounts for the scions of middle-class Kuwaiti families who are choosing violence and martyrdom over a future in a nation with free education, abundant oil wealth and a four-hour workday? "They are the five-star terrorists," said Sami al-Faraj, an independent Kuwaiti defense analyst. "What makes someone who lives in a country of luxury choose to do that?" That question gets to the heart of a broader issue that builds as the Arab world confronts a surging demographic wave of young people: With two-thirds of the population of the Middle East under age 25, many young Arabs from Casablanca to Cairo to Kuwait City see their future not in Western-style democracy and its values, but in a return to a conservative version of Islam.
[Hate Groups] Neo-Nazis launch new attacks
Ethnic communities were reeling yesterday from an unprecedented spate of racist attacks linked to the neo-Nazi group that firebombed Perth restaurants in the 1980s. Businesses across three southern Perth suburbs were early yesterday morning plastered with swastikas and racist slogans and posters produced by the racist Australian Nationalists Movement.
[Buddhism] Judge upholds ouster of 2 monks
A Kane County judge ordered two Buddhist monks Monday to leave a suburban temple, disappointing the Laotian immigrants who protested outside the courthouse but ending a legal battle that has divided the faction-ridden temple. [...] Kataviravong and Keoviseth were brought to the U.S. two and five years ago respectively by a Laotian Buddhist temple in Hampshire. The temple's board voted in February to evict them, saying they had been disrespectful to temple authorities. But the monks refused to go.
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Mon, Jul. 19, 2004
[Islam] Europe fears threat from its converts to Islam
The Courtaillers are part of a growing group of people who found a home in Islam and then veered into extremism, raising concerns among antiterrorism officials on both sides of the Atlantic that the new recruits could provide foreign-born Islamic militants with invisibility and cover, by escaping the scrutiny often reserved for young men of Arab descent. [...] Islam is Europe's fastest-growing religion, and while there are no reliable statistics, many experts say they believe that the number of converts has grown since Sept. 11, 2001, in many ways because of the campaign against terrorism.
[IPIC International] Pastor to Talk in Fraud Case
Orange County pastor Ralph A. Wilkerson has agreed to answer questions about a former associate accused of raising more than $160 million from evangelical Christians in an elaborate international investment fraud, Wilkerson's attorney said. Wilkerson, 77, was criticized last month by a court-appointed receiver who said the pastor had failed to help recover assets that would benefit people left destitute by the alleged scam run by Gregory E. Setser, an Inland Empire-based entrepreneur.
[Mata Amritanandamayi Devi] Thousands wait hours for a hug
More than 2000 people lined up to see the 50-year-old known for her hugs. They came by the thousands, from the city and from all over the country, just looking for a hug. But Mata Amritanandamayi - known to her devotees as Amma - is no ordinary hugger. The 50-year-old woman from India, who wears a white sari and diamond-studded nose ring, is nicknamed the Hugging Saint for the embraces that have earned her a worldwide following.
[Transcendental Meditation] Sem found incompetent to stand trial
Shuvender Sem, the former Maharishi University of Management student charged in the March 1 stabbing death of fellow student Levi Butler, is mentally ill and not competent to stand trial, attorneys on both sides of the case agreed.
[USA] Elton attacks 'censorship' in US
Elton John has said stars are scared to speak out against war in Iraq because of "bullying tactics" used by the US government to hinder free speech. "There's an atmosphere of fear in America right now that is deadly. Everyone is too career-conscious," he told New York magazine, Interview. Sir Elton said performers could be "frightened by the current administration's bullying tactics".
[Sri Chimnoy] Gury stocks U.N.: Ex-cultists
As many as 60 U.N. clerical workers and mid-level managers are devotees of Sri Chinmoy, 73, a spiritual leader espousing a philosophy of vegetarianism, celibacy, meditation and extreme athletics, ex-members said.
[Hinduism] London footwear firm apologises for offending Hindu sentiments
A leading footwear company of London, which displayed the sacred 'Om' symbol on its sandals, has apologized to Hindus and withdrawn the sale of the product after the community members protested against the "insensitive" depiction.
[Orthodox Church] Kremlin sued for return of churches
More than 80 years after its churches were seized by "godless Bolsheviks" and turned into anything from grain stores to shoe factories the Russian Orthodox Church is launching an unprecedented legal battle to win back its property.
[Hate Groups : Scientology] Four key Scientologists
[Ben Shaw, Bennetta Slaughter, Mary Story, Elias Jafif]
[Satanism] Mystery of Milan's 'devil worshippers'
Police in Varese, west of Milan, last week added one more name to the list of young people they believe were murdered by a group of heavy metal enthusiasts who took the ultra-violent lyrics of their musical heroes too literally. Andrea Ballarin, 22, from the small town of Busto Arsizio, whose death in 1999 was recorded as suicide after he was found hanged in his old school, became the fourth person police believe fell victim to the brutal antics of a group of local losers, routinely described in the Italian media as devil worshippers.
[Antisemitism] Israel says Sharon was 'misunderstood' over call to French Jews
The Israeli government said Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had been misunderstood in his call to French Jews to leave immediately and move to Israel, a spokesman told French radio. "Sharon was misunderstood," spokesman Avi Pazner told Europe 1 radio station. "He concluded that French Jews, but also those of the entire world, belong in Israel." The prime minister Sunday made a public call to the 600,000 French Jews to "immediately" move to Israel in the face of growing anti-Semitism, an appeal dismissed as unacceptable by the French foreign ministry and strongly criticized by Jewish organizations.
[Antisemitism] French Jews 'must move to Israel'
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has urged all French Jews to move to Israel immediately to escape anti-Semitism. He told a meeting of the American Jewish Association in Jerusalem that Jews around the world should relocate to Israel as early as possible. But for those living in France, he added, moving was a "must" because of rising violence against Jews there. France's foreign ministry said it had asked Israel for an explanation of the "unacceptable comments".
[Hate Groups : Scientology] My search for the 'secret' Scientology vault
Subsequent queries confirmed that the vault sits on a huge ranch owned by the Church of Spiritual Technology. Because of security concerns voiced by church spokeswoman Jane McNairn, I won't disclose exactly where the property is located. Valued at more than $8 million, the vault was built to store the writings of Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, author of books such as "Dianetics." Hubbard, also a science fiction writer, once reportedly said, "If you want to get rich, invent a religion."
[Hate Groups : Scientology] Striving for mainstream, building new connections
For the Church of Scientology, it was yet another step in its long march toward acceptance in Clearwater. It also was another successful negotiation by the deft Armstrong, a noted real estate lawyer who, along with former political consultant Mary Repper, opened many doors for the church. Hired as consultants, the pair worked independently and often behind the scenes, using their connections and influence to help Scientologists forge relationships with political and business leaders. Increasingly, members of the long embattled and mistrusted Scientology community are finding a place at the table. Some of the credit goes to a little-known Scientology public relations strategy called "safe pointing."
[Kabbalah] A red string has stars buzzing
Kabbalah has always been a mind-bender, staggeringly complex and arcane, accessible to scholars who devoted a lifetime to Torah study - so esoteric it should come with a warning. And yet, pop stars and celebrities have embraced a retooled version of the teachings of Jewish mystics, as a lifeline, an energy booster, an ego-dimmer, a self-improvement tool and a key to unlocking the secrets of the universe.
[Ravi Shankar] Ravi Shankar on peace mission to Pakistan
According to a statement by the [Art of Living] Foundation here, Ravi Shankar, the first spiritual master from India to visit Pakistan on such a mission, would hold informal meetings with political and business leaders, religious heads and social activists in Karachi and Islamabad.
[Hate Groups : Scientology] Scientology's town
As Scientologists launch unprecedented expansion, downtown Clearwater's identity is at stake.
[Hate Groups : Scientology] The history: A timeline
[A very brief Scientology timeline.]
[Hate Groups : Scientology] About Scientology
[Sidebar to the story titled, "Scientology's Town."]
Anton and Janet Hein-Hudson
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