ReligionNewsBlog.com, Oct. 26-27, 2004
Wed, Oct. 27, 2004
[Witchcraft] School keeps Halloween ban despite outcry
The school board in this Pierce County city stood firm despite pleas from
an angry crowd: No Halloween in the schools. [...] Puyallup School
District officials announced last week that Halloween festivities would be
canceled in order to stop losing instructional time and to avoid offending
believers in the Wiccan religion, sometimes known as witches.
[Iglesia ni Cristo] Muslim scholars gather in U.A.E. to defend Islam
Dozens of Islamic scholars have gathered in the United Arab Emirates to
defend their religion against accusations of fostering terrorism and to
denounce groups of co-religionist fanatics distorting the image of Islam.
[USA] Texas Lifts Reprieve, Executes Inmate
A man convicted in a 1992 murder case in which the troubled Houston
police crime lab allegedly mishandled evidence was executed Tuesday
evening despite last-minute legal battles and pleas from relatives of the
murder victim that his life be spared.
[USA] U.S. Acts Against General Who Saw a 'Christian' War
The U.S. Army has taken action against Lt. Gen. William Boykin, who
embarrassed the Bush administration by giving speeches in which he
described the war on terrorism as a Christian battle against Satan.
[Anglican / Episcopal Church] African clergy to train 'at home'
African bishops meeting in Nigeria to discuss their future ties with the
Anglican Church have decided to stop training African priests abroad.
[...] Earlier, the head of the 300 bishops at the meeting condemned the
ordination of gay priests.
[Worldwide Church of God] Worldwide Church of God leaving Pasadena
The Worldwide Church of God will soon leave the former Ambassador College
campus, its home base for more than 50 years, for the smaller, less
expensive trappings of an industrial building in
[Media] Third Annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index
Reporters Without Borders announces its third annual worldwide index of
press freedom. Such freedom is threatened most in East Asia (with North
Korea at the bottom of the entire list at 167th place, followed by Burma
165th, China 162nd, Vietnam 161st and Laos 153rd) and the Middle East
(Saudi Arabia 159th, Iran 158th, Syria 155th, Iraq 148th). [...] The
greatest press freedom is found in northern Europe (Denmark, Finland,
Ireland, Iceland, the Netherlands and Norway), which is a haven of peace
for journalists. Of the top 20 countries, only three (New Zealand 9th,
Trinidad and Tobago 11th and Canada 18th) are outside Europe.
[Science and Religion] Gene tests prove that we are all the same under the
The popular notion that skin colour can indicate physical or mental
differences between groups of people has been demolished by a new analysis
of the human genome, which declares race to be a biologically meaningless
concept. [...] The findings destroy the central argument of white
supremacists and other racist groups, and refute controversial theories
that attempt to link intelligence or criminality to ethnic origin.
[Hate Groups] Hate crimes confound authorities
For reasons authorities and social scientists cannot seem to explain, a
series of unrelated crimes with racial overtones has occurred in Snohomish
County [Washington] this year.
[Netherlands] Anne Frank's nationality
Should Anne Frank be granted Dutch citizenship 60 years after her death?
That question recently dominated the Dutch news media – and what had
seemed at first a simple and sympathetic gesture towards Holland's most
famous Jewish girl turned out to be a very complicated and thorny issue
[Hate Groups] Two more Aryan Circle members sentenced
Both protesting their innocence, two more Aryan Circle members were
sentenced Tuesday to life in federal prison. Both Malachi David Wren, 35,
and Victor Wesley “Pokey” Tucker, 41, were given life sentences on a
charge of “continuing criminal enterprise.”
[Hate Groups] Distribution of hate music puts schools, ADL on alert
Houston-area teachers and administrators are being warned to watch for
music CDs that encourage hate and violence. The Anti-Defamation League is
particularly concerned about the ongoing distribution of more than 100,000
compact discs by a Minnesota-based record company with apparent roots in
[USA] Religion playing key role in determining next U.S. president,
Americans are electing a president, not a pastor, a priest or a rabbi.
Yet faith has become a key factor in the U.S. election campaign, with some
analysts predicting religion will strongly influence the outcome of
Tuesday's vote. Republicans have made no secret of their direct appeal to
the religious right - white evangelical Christians who comprise up to a
quarter of American voters by the broadest measures.
[Hate Groups : Scientology] Groups criticize remark about 'bad gene pools'
Black leaders from Harris County on Tuesday joined with a group founded by
the Church of Scientology to denounce a psychiatrist's comment that many
foster children come from "bad gene pools."
[Trinity Broadcasting Network] Troubled SoCal religious network cancels
The world's largest Christian broadcasting network, whose founder
reportedly sought to cover up a homosexual affair with a former employee,
has dropped plans for its live telethon next week and instead will show 40
hours of telethon reruns. [...] Network officials said the decision was
made earlier this month due to concerns about the health of network
co-founder Paul Crouch, 70, and his wife Jan, 66, who are its most popular
on-air personalities. But they also acknowledge the decision would take
the pressure off of guest pastors concerned about the controversy.
[Da Vinci Code] 'Da Vinci Code' Fans Besiege French Village in Quest
There's profit in things that go bump in the night, though for the mayor
of the devil-infested French hamlet of Rennes-le-Chateau, it's the
dynamite going boom that has him tallying the mysteries evoked in Dan
Brown's bestseller ``The Da Vinci Code.'' [...] Just who or what the
devotees of the novel are trying to dig up in Rennes-le-Chateau remains a
lucrative bone of contention.
[Lord's Resistance Army] Forgiveness for Uganda's former rebels
For the past 18 years a rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has
abducted more than 20,000 children. One and half million civilians have
been displaced and an estimated 100,000 people killed. But while the
Ugandan government says it can defeat the rebels using the gun, others
hope for a more peaceful resolution.
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Tue, Oct. 26, 2004
[Jehovah's Witnesses] 'You've got to believe'
Torn between their religion and love for their child, a Jehovah’s Witness
couple from Sweden put faith in a Columbus doctor to save their little
[Catholic Church] Vatican Releases Guide to Teachings
The Vatican on Monday issued an exhaustive guide to the teachings of the
Roman Catholic Church on social issues, reiterating positions against
abortion, same-sex marriage and preventive war waged without compelling
proof of a threat. Church officials said its release a week before the
U.S. election was not intended to influence the vote.
[Religious Freedom] Religious rights group sues L.A. over Messianic Jews'
A Virginia-based religious rights group has filed a federal lawsuit
against the city for its refusal to permit the display of a banner with
the phrase "Jews who believe in Jesus."
[Superstition] Very superstitious
An edited extract from A Pocket Guide to Superstitions of the British
Isles, by Steve Roud, published by Penguin.
[Witchcraft] Halloween Ban Brings Boos In Puyallup
And at least one self proclaimed Wiccan agreed with the majority of
parents who attended the meeting. Wiccans are the religious group cited in
school district guidelines as in need of protection from negative
stereotyping. "I want to assure you that Wiccans, Pagans and witches and
other members of our faith community on the whole are not offended," said
[USA] U.S. Action Bars Right of Some Captured in Iraq
A new legal opinion by the Bush administration has concluded for the first
time that some non-Iraqi prisoners captured by American forces in Iraq are
not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions, administration
officials said Monday.
[Kabbalah] Kabbalah attracted Madonna more than fame and money
Pop diva Madonna, who has almost turned the mystical Jewish religion
Kabbalah into a brand name, has admitted that she took to the faith after
getting disillusioned with her fame and money.
[Christianity] Magician With A Mission Levitates In Front Of 400 People
Kole noted that after painstakingly reading accounts in the Bible, and
other historical documents describing eyewitness accounts of the miracles
performed by Jesus, he came to the conclusion that the miracles were truly
supernatural feats. [...] Not content to tell the audience that Jesus
performed authentic miracles, Kole spoke of the Million Dollar Challenge
sponsored by the James Randi Educational Foundation. "This organization
offers a one million dollar reward to anyone who can demonstrate a true
paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event under proper viewing
conditions," he explained. "So far nobody has been able to claim the prize
money; in fact no one has even passed the relatively simple preliminary
test of their supernatural powers."
[USA] President's fake religion questioned
No president in modern times has had more faith in himself and wrought
more injustice than George W. Bush. With his military madness and the
violence in Iraq, reckless fiscal policies, tax structures that most
benefit the rich and shift more of the obligations of government to the
middle class and harm the poor, and positions on the environment that
desecrate the earth and damage human health, this president acts as if
injustice were a virtue.
[Mormon Church] Belarus expels two Mormons for ''illegal missionary
Authorities expelled two U.S. citizens for what they said was ''illegal
missionary activity,'' the Belarusian security agency said Monday. The two
were identified as Mormons who came to work with an international
humanitarian organization called ''Sofia'' in the eastern Belarusian town
of Mogiliyev, said the security service, known by its acronym, KGB. Their
names were not given.
Anton and Janet Hein-Hudson
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