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ReligionNewsBlog.com, Sep. 21-22, 2004

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  • Anton Hein
    ReligionNewsBlog.com, Sep. 21-22, 2004 News about religious cults, sects, (alternative) religions and related issues Wed, Sep. 22, 2004 [Polygamy] Lost Boys
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 22, 2004
      ReligionNewsBlog.com, Sep. 21-22, 2004
      News about religious cults, sects, (alternative) religions and related

      Wed, Sep. 22, 2004
      [Polygamy] Lost Boys Found
      Anti-polygamy activists acknowledge the phenomenon of young men leaving
      the FLDS communities isn’t new, but claim the problem has multiplied
      exponentially. For a cause they point to recent years’ teachings that the
      end of the world was past due. Fundamentalist theology teaches multiple
      wives are necessary for salvation. As the days got shorter, some
      higher-ups apparently figured 20 wives were better than 10, and began
      snatching up other men’s wives and sending young men packing.

      [Rastafarianism] 'Weedman' sues, says he was fired for his beliefs
      A Burlington County man has filed a lawsuit against a former employer he
      claims fired him after learning of his political views and religious
      beliefs. Ed Forchion, of the Browns Mills section of Pemberton Township,
      who professes Rastafarianism, claims CD & L shipping of Hackensack fired
      him Sept. 7 after a supervisor saw him on television at a demonstration
      against Gov. James E. McGreevey on Aug. 26.

      [Islam] New bank adheres to Islamic law
      Western Europe's first retail bank built around Islamic law, or Sharia,
      has opened for business in London. The Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB),
      which does not permit the paying or charging of interest fees, began
      operation Wednesday with the goal of attracting Muslims and non-Muslim
      alike. The IBB says three-quarters British Muslims practice their faith,
      giving the new bank more than one million ready-made customers.

      [USA] Cat Stevens case 'slap in the face'
      The refusal to allow Singer Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens,
      into the United States on national security grounds was a "slap in the
      face of sanity," a Muslim group has said. Islam was stopped from flying
      into Washington on Tuesday from London after his name appeared on a
      security watch list. His plane was diverted 600 miles to a Maine airport,
      where Islam was questioned and detained before being sent back to Britain
      Wednesday. Islam has become a prominent member of Britain's Muslim
      community since abandoning his pop career and changing his name in the
      1970s to devote himself to charity work and peace campaigning.

      [Tony Campolo] Evangelist Tony Campolo likes tackling tough issues
      War, homosexuality, terrorism, the Middle East conflict - just ask the
      Rev. Tony Campolo about an issue and the Philadelphia-based evangelist,
      educator, and social activist doesn't flinch an inch. [...] He definitely
      makes good on the audacious title of his latest book, Speaking My Mind:
      The Radical Evangelical Prophet Tackles the Tough Issues Christians Are
      Afraid to Face [...]. Mr. Campolo, an ordained Baptist minister with a PhD
      in sociology who is professor emeritus at Eastern University in
      Pennsylvania, argues that evangelical Christianity has been "hijacked" by
      the Religious Right. "I don't think that John Kerry is the Messiah or that
      the Democratic Party is the answer, but I don't like the evangelical
      community blessing the Republican Party as some kind of God-ordained
      instrument for solving the world's problems," Mr. Campolo said in a phone
      interview from Washington.

      [Tony Campolo] Campolo's Campus Appearance Called Into Question
      A Christian group is asking an Assemblies of God Bible college in
      Pennsylvania to drop a frequent guest chapel speaker because of his
      heretical beliefs. But the school's president is defending his decision to
      invite a man who holds to universalist theology and an unbiblical view of
      homosexuality. Dr. Don Meyer says he is not backing down from his decision
      to once again welcome Dr. Tony Campolo to preach in chapel today (Tuesday)
      at Valley Forge Christian College, a small four-year college located
      northwest of Philadelphia. Campolo, a well-known media commentator on
      religious, social and political matters, often preaches with his wife in
      homosexual-affirming churches, where he has stated that the homosexual
      "did not choose homosexuality," but is rather "a victim either of
      biological accident or someone else's folly." Campolo is also founder of
      the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, an inner-city
      ministry that combines evangelism and social justice in public schools,
      universities, orphanages, literacy centers, and tutoring programs. But
      Michael Marcavage, director of the Philadelphia-based group Repent
      America, says Valley Forge Christian College is ignoring the scriptural
      command to mark and avoid false teachers.

      [Raelians] Heated debate on new TV show enthralls Quebec viewers
      People in Quebec are indeed talking about the new late-night TV show Tout
      le monde en parle, after the leader of the Raelian movement stormed off
      the set Sunday. The new talk show, whose title translates as Everyone's
      talking about it, is based on a French model and is similar in style to
      the now-defunct Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. Like those shows,
      Tout le monde assembles a bizarre combination of people from different
      backgrounds each week for a lively debate on a variety of topics. On the
      show's second episode Sunday, editorial cartoonist Serge Chapleau began
      poking fun at Rael, whose Raelian movement believes humans were created by
      aliens and promotes cloning and sexual freedom.

      [Da Vinci Code] 'Da Vinci' author in court battle
      The best-selling author of the "The Da Vinci Code" has gone to court to
      swat a rival writer who accused him of plagiarism. In a stinging 15-page
      complaint, Dan Brown and publisher Random House say author Lewis Perdue
      was a nobody until he started making accusations that Brown copied
      material from Perdue's two books, "The Da Vinci Legacy" and "Daughter of
      God." Brown said he never read Perdue's novels and noted that "Legacy"
      was published in 1983 and then "went out of print" because it was a
      commercial bust.

      [USA] After Abu Ghraib
      Like thousands of other Iraqis detained by the Americans since last year's
      invasion, Alazawi was about to experience the reality of the Bush
      administration's "war on terror". [...] "The US officer told us: 'If you
      don't confess we will torture you. So you have to confess.' My hands were
      handcuffed. They took off my boots and stood me in the mud with my face
      against the wall. I could hear women and men shouting and weeping. I
      recognised one of the cries as my brother Mu'taz. I wanted to see what was
      going on so I tried to move the cloth from my eyes. When I did, I
      fainted." [...] Alazawi's surviving brothers, Ali - prisoner number 156215
      - and Mu'taz - 156216 - are still inside Abu Ghraib. The US military
      continues to detain them and 2,400 other prisoners without charge or legal
      access, in contravention of the Geneva Convention.

      [Islam] Rising call by clerics for jihad
      If Sunni clerics are a window into the soul of the violent resistance to
      U.S. aims in Iraq, the picture they reveal could not be bleaker. For
      Sheikh Mohammad Ali Mohammad al-Ghereri, a Sunni Muslim cleric, the
      question is no longer whether his followers should fight the Americans --
      that is a given -- but how to wage the war properly. "The holy warriors
      should have a clerical leader with them to advise them on all points, such
      as how to properly treat the Americans they capture," he said just days
      before militants beheaded two American hostages. For Sunni cleric Abdul
      Sattar Abdul Jabbar, the question is no longer whether his followers
      should kidnap foreigners, but which ones.

      [Seventh-day Adventism] EEOC sues Perdue on church group's behalf
      A federal agency sued Perdue Farms Inc. on Monday, claiming the company
      discriminated against its Seventh-day Adventist employees by refusing to
      excuse them from Saturday shifts unless the workers produced written proof
      that they had been to church.

      [Gloria Trevi] 'Mexico's Madonna' freed on kidnap, rape charges
      Fallen Mexican pop diva Gloria Trevi was freed from prison on Tuesday
      after being found not guilty of helping to kidnap and rape teenage girls
      lured into her cult-like musical clan by dreams of stardom.

      [USA] Judge Says Government Must Justify Custody at Guantanamo
      A federal judge yesterday ordered the government to justify why it has
      been holding detainees in a U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,
      for nearly three years without charges and explain why they should not be
      released. In a move designed to break stalled negotiations over when the
      detainees will have their day in federal court, U.S. District Court Judge
      Joyce Hens Green said the Defense Department must provide the charge or
      factual basis for detaining each of the 60 detainees who have sued the
      government, starting immediately and finishing by Oct. 18. The judge also
      gave the administration an Oct. 4 deadline for filing written arguments on
      why each of those detainees should not be released.

      [Islam] Germany bans Islamic conference
      Berlin's authorities have banned an Islamic conference which they say
      planned to lend support to violent attacks on Israelis and Americans. The
      interior minister for the capital said the event overstepped the line of
      what was permissible in Germany. The conference, set for next month, was
      to rally support for what it called the struggle against US-Zionist
      occupation of Palestinian territories and Iraq.

      [Jimmy Swaggart] Swaggart contrite after antigay remark
      In the face of public backlash and concerns that have reached Canadian
      broadcasters, Baton Rouge televangelist Jimmy Swaggart said Tuesday he
      regrets telling his congregation at a recent televised worship service
      that if a gay man ever looks at him romantically, "I'm going to kill him
      and tell God he died." "It was a tongue-in-cheek statement best left
      unsaid. I won't make it anymore," Swaggart said in an interview Tuesday.

      [Trinity Broadcasting Network] Ex-Worker Accusing TBN Pastor Says He Had
      Sex to Keep His Job
      A former Trinity Broadcasting Network employee who was paid $425,000 to
      keep quiet about his claims of a homosexual tryst with televangelist Paul
      Crouch has disclosed details of his complaint, saying that he had felt
      forced to engage in the alleged sexual acts to keep his job. Enoch Lonnie
      Ford, 41, said he was going public with his story because he believes TBN
      officials breached a confidentiality agreement that was part of a 1998
      settlement that provided the payment to him. Network officials broke the
      agreement, he contends, by issuing a statement last week responding to a
      news account of the ministry's legal effort to silence him. TBN's
      statement described the circumstances of the settlement and highlighted
      Ford's criminal background.

      [Buddhism] Mexico receives Dalai Lama as religious, not political figure
      Mexico's government will greet the Dalai Lama as a religious leader -- not
      as a politician -- a top official said Tuesday. Interior Secretary
      Santiago Creel, who oversees domestic political issues, told a news
      conference that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate would be welcomed as a
      religious leader, not as a political leader of Tibet, which China says is
      an integral part of its territory. "The argument is that he is a religious
      leader, nothing more, nothing less," Creel said. "He is the head of the
      beliefs that he represents and we are going to receive him in that

      [Islam] From Pop to Prayer - How Cat Stevens Caught his Peace Train
      Musician-turned Muslim convert Cat Stevens was born in London to a Greek
      Cypriot father and Swedish mother. The singer’s real name is Stephen
      Demetre Georgiou which he changed as his music career took off with a
      string of hits in the 1960s and 70s. He abandoned his music career in the
      late 1970s and changed his name to Yusuf Islam after being persuaded by
      orthodox Muslim teachers that his lifestyle was forbidden by Islamic law.

      [USA] Ex-Pop Singer Held After D.C. Flight Diverted
      U.S. security officials yesterday diverted a Washington-bound United
      Airlines flight and detained Yusuf Islam, formerly known as the pop singer
      Cat Stevens, after discovering that he had been allowed to board the plane
      in London even though he was on the government's no-fly list. Islam was
      questioned in Bangor, Maine, by Customs and Border Protection agents.
      Dennis Murphy, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security,
      said Islam is scheduled to be deported today on a flight to Europe. "He is
      being detained on national security grounds," Murphy said. He declined to

      Tue, Sep. 21, 2004
      [Gene Scott] Preacher Agrees to Cancer Surgery
      Gene Scott, a flamboyant televangelist who previously relied on faith
      healing to cure his prostate cancer, announced he would undergo surgery
      Monday at UCLA Medical Center, saying his disease had run "out of control."

      [Kabbalah] Madonna in mystical mode dismays Orthodox Jews
      The cross and the diamond-studded bodice have gone, and she now announces
      herself to the world under the Hebrew name Ha-Malkah Esther - Queen
      Esther. But that did Madonna little good with the Orthodox at Jerusalem's
      Wailing Wall in the early hours of yesterday. As her convoy stopped near
      Judaism's holiest site, Orthodox men chanted shabbos - sabbath in Yiddish
      - while others shouted at her to go home and accused her of desecrating
      their religion. The pop diva is visiting the Holy Land for a gathering of
      about 2,000 followers of Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism, and to
      celebrate the Jewish New Year.

      [Islam] Rights abused under Nigeria's Sharia law -report
      The rapid implementation of strict Islamic laws in northern Nigeria as a
      means of gaining political advantage has intensified human rights abuses,
      Human Rights Watch said in a report made public on Tuesday. Nigeria,
      Africa's leading oil-producer, has 36 states of which 12 predominantly
      Muslim states have declared Sharia law since 2000. The effect has been to
      polarise Nigeria's population of 130 million, roughly divided by
      Christians and Muslims, as tribal and religious communities compete for
      wealth and political power, said the New York-based group.

      [Gilbert Deya Ministries] Miracle babies: Court rejects bond request
      Nairobi Chief Magistrate Aggrey Muchelule has declined to vary bond terms
      for four people charged with stealing babies. [...] Archbishop Deya was
      charged in absentia and a warrant of arrest issued for him to appear in
      court. His wife is out after managing to raise bond of Sh1 million with a
      surety of same amount.

      [Hate Groups] Extremist parties exploit German anxiety
      Germany's most overtly neo-Nazi party secured a footing in a regional
      parliament yesterday for the first time in more than a generation. The
      results for the state parliament elections in the eastern states of Saxony
      and Brandenburg dealt a further blow to the chancellor, Gerhard Schröder,
      and his national coalition of Social Democrats and Greens. The far right
      and the hard left made gains at the expense of the centrist parties.

      [Hate Groups] Supremacist's death ends dark era
      With his white hair and lined face, Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler
      looked like a kindly grandfather. But when he spoke, it was to issue vile
      diatribes against Jews and minorities, and to call for a whites-only
      enclave in the Northwest. Butler, who died in his sleep on Sept. 8 at the
      age of 86, surrounded himself with thugs and skinheads, and decorated his
      home with swastikas and pictures of Adolf Hitler. For three decades his
      neo-Nazi group became the dominant public image of northern Idaho. He is
      mourned by few. "I would say his death closes a particularly ugly chapter
      in the history of race and religious hatred in this country," said Daniel
      Alter, the Anti-Defamation League’s national director for civil rights.

      [Gilbert Deya Ministries] Church gave us miracle baby
      A Midland woman claims to have been made pregnant by God, thanks to a
      self-styled archbishop who is being quizzed by police investigating
      child-trafficking. Alfred and Reheman Ngamakala from Coventry say they
      have had a miracle baby through the Gilbert Deya Ministries, which claims
      to help infertile women to have children. But the church's founder is
      facing extradition to Kenya after being accused of stealing a child - and
      Kenyan police want to question the West Midland couple about the birth.

      [Witchcraft] New Hats Abound at White Witch Wedding
      The first legal white witch wedding to take place in Scotland was held
      today in the atmospheric heart of the country’s capital. Canadians Paul
      Cameron Rickards, 37, and Laurie Schedler, 42, tied the knot in a temple
      deep in the underground vaults of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town. The event
      represents a significant step forward for followers of the belief system
      of Wicca and has been hailed as the most important event to affect their
      way of life since the repeal of the Witchcraft Act in 1951. The happy
      couple themselves are not actually involved in the practice, but chose to
      have a Wicca wedding because it appealed to their sensibilities and
      general beliefs.

      [Mormon Church] Arizona governor schedules visit to Utah to learn about
      Mormon religion
      Gov. Janet Napolitano is making what a top aide calls a "courtesy visit"
      to the top leaders of the Mormon church. Friday's visit to Salt Lake City
      will include time with Gordon Hinckley, president and prophet of the
      Church of Latter Day Saints. Napolitano actually is meeting with the
      "First Presidency," which actually consists of Hinckley and two top
      counselors. Gubernatorial press aide Jeanine L'Ecuyer said Napolitano
      realized this summer that she only knew a limited amount about the
      religion. "A large number of Arizonans who make up the governor's
      constituency are LDS," she said of Napolitano, who is a Methodist. "This
      is an opportunity for her to learn more about LDS faith, customs and

      [Buddhism] 3,600 hear Dalai Lama talk at UM about world peace
      The rare chance to explore how to live a meaningful life during a time of
      tribal warfare drew Jeffrey Davis back to Miami. Davis, 51, who formerly
      taught linguistics at Miami-Dade College and now lives in Knoxville,
      Tenn., was among more than 3,600 people who flocked to the University of
      Miami on Monday to hear the Dalai Lama speak. "We have an incredible
      opportunity to be on Earth," Davis said. "It's an auspicious time to hear
      a message of compassion because we are at war." The University of Miami,
      Florida International University and Osel Dorje Nyingpo, a Buddhist
      organization based in San Rafael, Calif., organized the two-day public
      talk titled World Peace Through Inner Peace.

      [Transcendental Meditation] David Lynch's peace mission
      Film director David Lynch is among the leaders in science, art, and
      politics who will gather this weekend to help give peace a chance.
      "Creating Peace Day" will take place Sunday at the Maharishi University of
      Management in Fairfield. Lynch, as well as Robert Muller, the former
      assistant secretary general of the United Nations; and Uganda native
      Samite, the director of Musicians for World Harmony, are among those who
      will speak, perform and lead a candlelight ceremony.

      [Polygamy] Lawsuits increase pressure on polygamist sect
      Law enforcement agencies in three states and Canada attempting to solve a
      myriad of problems in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter
      Day Saints and the empire controlled by its prophet, Warren Jeffs, are
      getting help from an unlikely pair of allies. Dr. Dan Fischer, a former
      polygamist who turned a dental practice into a multimillion dollar company
      that develops and sells advanced dental equipment and materials worldwide,
      and Joanne Suder, a crusading attorney from Baltimore, are working
      together on lawsuits against Jeffs and the church alleging child sexual
      abuse, abandonment and financial fraud. Suder, well known for taking on
      decades-old, multimillion-dollar sexual abuse lawsuits as well as medical
      malpractice and financial fraud cases, has hinted more legal action is to
      come that would focus on the financial trust that controls the FLDS
      church's estimated $100 million in assets.

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