ReligionNewsBlog.com, Nov. 17-18, 2004
Thu, Nov. 18, 2004
[Gilbert Deya Ministries] Coroner Dismisses 'Miracle Baby' Claim
The DNA of a “miracle baby” which an evangelist claims was conceived
through the power of prayer does not match those of her alleged parents, a
coroner has ruled.
Dr William Dolman, of Hornsey Coroner’s Court, yesterday said Sarah, who
died three weeks after she was born, was not related in any way to the
couple claiming to be her parents, BBC Radio 4 programme You and Yours
The child was one of many babies who Gilbert Deya, head of controversial
religious sect Gilbert Deya Ministries, claims were conceived through the
power of prayer.
[Raymond Russell George] Alleged cult leader silent at plea hearing
Trial was set for April 25 for a Reno man who prosecutors say led a
religious cult in which he molested and raped two teenage girls in his
“fantasy room” and mentally and physically abused their young brother.
[Books] Is It the End of the World as This Author Knows It?
Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins have sold 42 million books by fictionalizing
the Biblical End Times in the Left Behind series. But this fall their
Christian publisher, Tyndale House, launched a rival series directly
challenging the premise that born-again Christians will be "raptured" into
heaven while those "left behind" face the anti-Christ during the
LaHaye was not amused when Tyndale asked him to debate his new
competition, Christian-radio host Hank Hanegraaff, as a promotion.
[Catholic Church] US bishops shelve statement urging greater use of Bible
Despite pleas from Bible Belt bishops, the Catholic bishops of the United
States yesterday voted to shelve plans to develop a statement urging
greater use of the Bible, a move aimed at restraining spending and cutting
down on a crush of publications they fear have little impact.
[China] Chinese Internal Document Puts New Squeeze on Religion
An internal Chinese government document obtained recently by Christians
overseas says the state organs should beef up Marxist education to push
out superstition, teachings of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement
and "Western hostile forces."
[Arlan and Linda Kaufman] Bond set for couple in slavery case
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that a couple charged with enslaving
mentally ill residents at a group home in Newton can be released on bond
while awaiting trial.
During Wednesday's hearing, federal prosecutor Lisa Krigsten argued that
the Kaufmans, if released, would take advantage of the "cult-like" control
they had over the former residents of the Kaufman House.
[Interfaith] Anderson holds forums aimed at bridging Utah's religious
If Wednesday night's packed meeting is any indication, there is a
groundswell of people who want to heal Salt Lake City's religious divide.
Mayor Rocky Anderson's first community meeting on the topic crammed the
Main Library auditorium and more listened to the discussion live on KCPW.
The 1 1/2 -hour open-mic conversation was punctuated not by verbal bashing
between Mormons and others, as was feared, but with applause for comments
like this from Susan Deal: "There are many opportunities for me to love
much more every day.
[Polygamy] Investigators find missing FLDS girl
Investigators Tuesday identified and questioned a 17-year-old girl who was
reportedly missing and rumored to be married to Warren Jeffs, prophet of
the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
[Nuwaubians] Convicted Nuwaubian leader files appeal, claims trial full of
The federal trial of religious sect leader Dwight "Malachi" York that
resulted in his conviction on child molestation and racketeering charges
and a 135-year prison sentence was fraught with errors by nearly all
parties involved, according to an appeals brief filed with the 11th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals.
Wed, Nov. 17, 2004
[Islam] Anger over call for Muslim public holiday
German opposition and government members reacted with anger Wednesday to
calls by the Greens party - which serve in Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's
coalition - for establishing a Muslim holiday in the country.
Bavarian state Premier Edmund Stoiber, a member of the Christian Social
Union, slammed the idea as "sending out a totally wrong signal."
[Islam] Nothing Islamic About Human Sacrifice
These are the actions of a resurrected blood cult that has nothing to do
with the message of the Prophet Mohammed and everything to do with the
bloodthirsty winged devils and gory altars that haunted the ancient Middle
The terrorists may believe that they're good Muslims -- self-awareness is
not a widespread human trait -- but their deeds are those of the pagans
[Dane Hoover] Teen accused of trying to kill father
"They have a statement from the son that he'd been reading The Book of
Mormon, and somewhere along the line he said he had an epiphany that his
father was evil and that he needed to kill him -- and that's what he
attempted to do," said LaPorte County police Major Gary Broling.
[Goth] Black-clad youths say others assume worst
Goth is a term applied to young people who dress entirely or mostly in
black, listen to certain types of heavy metal and alternative music, and
often express a fascination for vampires or similar dark, gothic themes.
Mainstream people seem to have a natural inclination to fear what they
don’t understand, said Nancy Kilpatrick, a Canadian author who has written
14 novels of gothic literature.
She attempts to assuage some of those fears with her newest work of
non-fiction -- "The Goth Bible" -- a compendium of all things Goth.
[Polygamy] Authorities: Colorado City girl is not missing
An Arizona investigator said a 17-year-old Colorado City girl reported
missing by her sister and feared forced to marry a polygamist leader says
she is fine and not married.
[Colonia Dignidad] Chile Judge Sentences Fugitive German Sect Leader
The German enclave Villa Baviera, also known as Colonia Dignidad, has been
the center of dozens of legal battles in Chile for decades, including sex
abuse charges, tax evasion cases and a human rights investigation related
to collaboration with Chile's former military government.
The only person found guilty of acts of sex abuse was the former sect
leader, Paul Schaefer, who has been missing since 1997. He is believed to
be 81 years old.
[Netherlands] Tension high, Dutch ponder old blasphemy law
Political leaders angrily responded to Donner's proposal. D66, the
smallest party in the governing coalition, submitted a motion to remove
the blasphemy clause from the criminal code.
"Since van Gogh's murder there are great doubts about what can and cannot
be said," said Lousewies van der Laan, parliamentary leader of D66.
Instead of addressing those concerns, he said, the minister proposes "to
dust off a barely used law on blasphemy."
[Da Vinci Code] World's best-selling novel got its key facts wrong
The Da Vinci Code is one of the biggest-selling novels of all time. It has
sold an estimated 17 million copies, been translated into 42 languages and
reportedly made author Dan Brown ?140million.
Now it's set to be turned into a Hollywood blockbuster starring Tom Hanks
as a Harvard professor seeking the Holy Grail. But the news has dismayed
scholars who dismiss the book as "absurd rubbish".
[Atheism] Atheist to speak tomorrow despite denied honorarium
Barker is a former preacher and an atheist who works for the Freedom from
Religion Foundation, an educational group working for the separation of
church and state, said Andrew Stangl, Wichita sophomore and president of
the Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics (SOMA).
[Christianity] Billy Graham Is Frail, but Mission Is Strong
55 years after his first crusade in Los Angeles launched him into
international prominence, evangelist Billy Graham opens his four-day
Greater Los Angeles Crusade at the Rose Bowl on Thursday night with a
Christian Gospel message of salvation that has remained unchanged.
[Kabbalah] Kabbalah:(In)famous faith
One of the latest trends in Hollywood isn't Gucci handbags or Prada pumps
- it's Kabbalah.
Kabbalah has reached nearly 3 million people worldwide including the likes
of Madonna, Britney Spears, Jeri Hall, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher.
[Offbeat News] Man claims religion prohibits him from carrying license
A southwest Missouri man who claims he answers to God and not the
government remained jailed Tuesday after his third arrest on a charge of
driving his pickup truck without a license.
[Church and State] Pentagon To Cut Boy Scouts From Bases
The Pentagon has agreed to warn military bases worldwide not to directly
sponsor Boy Scout troops, partially resolving claims that the government
has engaged in religious discrimination by supporting a group that
requires members to believe in God.
[Catholic Church] Faithful flock to place of physical and spiritual
A tiny catholic mission deep in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in New
Mexico is known as "the Lourdes of the West" where physical and spiritual
healings take place.
The faithful say the curative powers literally swell-up, out of the earth
attracting pilgrims as close as San Antonio and as far as Russia
[Buddhism] More Westerners Go East to Learn About Buddhism
Professor Thak Chaloemtiarana, Director of the Southeast Asia Program at
Cornell University, says Thailand is a natural magnet for seekers of
Buddhism because the country has well-developed tourism infrastructure and
an unusual history.
[Science and Religion] Study reveals spirituality’s effects on emotions,
Students who are actively religious are less likely to suffer from
depression and engage in risky behavior like drinking alcohol, according
to a study recently released at UCLA.
The study by the Higher Education Research Institute surveyed students at
46 colleges and universities and found that students who did not regularly
attend religious services were more than twice as likely to report
suffering from depression or poor emotional well-being.
[Taize] Spirituality of Taize takes root
The movement's ecumenical community now consists of 90 brothers from 20
nations, some of Catholic background and others of Protestant. They have
taken a vow of common life and celibacy.
Though it remains concentrated in France, the movement has attracted
followers around the world. "Some are living in small groups in poor
neighborhoods in Asia, Africa, North and South America," according to the
[Offbeat News] 10-year-old sandwich depicting the Virgin Mary draws
White bread from Publix and Land 'O Lakes American cheese, slapped
together and fried up for a Dania Beach woman's breakfast 10 years ago,
produced what she believes is an image of the Virgin Mary.
"I think she protects me," Diana Duyser said Tuesday. "I guess I'm lucky
because of her -- I've had a lot of wins at the casino."
Duyser, 52, isn't the only one who trusts in the crust. Since she offered
the aging, triangular sandwich for sale last week on the Internet auction
site eBay, she's had bids of up to $22,000.
[Hare Krishna] A new kind of adherent dons the saffron robe
These are Portland’s present-day Hare Krishnas. Unlike the 1970s, you
won’t find them at the airport, tossing flowers at tourists and tired
businessmen. You won’t find them dancing with throngs of hippies in the
These days, they’re more likely to leave you with a vegetarian cookbook or
just a smile and an enthusiastic “Hare Krishna!”
[Islam] Animated Islam comes to US screens
After the turbulence that followed the attacks of 11 September, 2001,
Muslims in America are making efforts to reach out to the rest of the
An animated film of the life of the Prophet Mohammed is the latest attempt
to improve the interaction of Muslims in US society.
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