ReligionNewsBlog.com, Jan. 10, 2005
ReligionNewsBlog.com, Jan. 10, 2005
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[Jerusalem Syndrome] A biblical experience
A bizarre mental syndrome that has seen scores of visitors to Jerusalem become convinced they are characters from the Bible is the subject of a major new exhibition in Scotland.
Artist Nathan Coley has turned his attention to Jerusalem syndrome, a travel psychosis affecting people hypnotised by the Holy City who start to preach and behave as biblical characters, from King David to John the Baptist, the Virgin Mary and Jesus himself.
[Religion Trends] Humanists, Atheists Look to Higher Global Profile
Humanist and atheist groups around the world are looking to boost their profile in 2005 to counter religious fundamentalism and efforts by some Western leaders to relaunch faith as a keystone of national life.
Under pressure from the rise of militant Islam, Vatican activism in the European Union and the re-election of a "born-again" Christian to the White House, they feel they must resist to ensure the ideas of secularism survive and spread.
[USA] Wives of Terror Suspects Live Like Widows
Three years after the first prisoners in America's war on terror were dispatched to Guantanamo Bay, wives left behind in Pakistan live like widows. The only word from their loved ones is an occasional letter on military-issue writing paper, chunks blacked out by a censor's pen.
[Media] Christians to sue BBC over Springer show 'blasphemy'
Security has been stepped up at the London theatre staging Jerry Springer: the Opera as the controversy over the BBC's decision to broadcast the production intensified yesterday.
The move came as Christian Voice, a lobby group that spearheaded a wave of protests against the corporation, announced plans to launch a blasphemy action against the BBC and the West End's Cambridge Theatre.
[Kabbalah] Kabbalah leader's Holocaust 'slur'
A senior figure in the controversial Kabbalah Centre - the sect championed by stars including Madonna and Demi Moore - seems likely to spark a storm of protest by saying Jews killed in the Holocaust brought their downfall upon themselves.
Eliyahu Yardeni, of the London Kabbalah Centre, made the astonishing claim to an undercover reporter investigating high-pressure sales techniques employed by the group, which promotes its own brand of beliefs, part ancient Jewish mysticism and part pseudo-science.
[Kabbalah] The great Kabbalah con exposed
Using a secret camera, cancer patient Tony Donnelly went inside the Kabbalah Centre in London to reveal an organisation that charges ?860 for dinner, 'healing' water and some books in Aramaic.
[Islam] God signed name in tsunami, claim clerics
God signed his name in the December 26 tsunami and sent it as punishment because humans have been ignoring His laws, Sri Lankan Muslims say.
Proof, according to Mohamed Faizeen, manager of the Centre for Islamic Studies in Colombo, is a satellite picture taken seconds after the tsunami smashed into Sri Lanka's west coast near the town of Kalutara and as it was receding.
"This clearly spells out the name 'Allah' in Arabic," Faizeen said, pointing to the shape of the waves -- a gigantic "E" complete with whorls and sidewaves that do indeed appear to combine to resemble the Arabic script for the name "Allah".
[Yoga] Health fears over 'cult-like' hot yoga
A leading health expert has branded the popular Bikram yoga "cult-like" and has warned it carries serious health risks.
"I think there is a significant danger of exercising in such heat," said Dr Anita Green, the director of the peak health body Sports Medicine Australia.
Bikram is the latest, and trendiest, yoga to hit Sydney and involves 90-minute classes being conducted in a room heated to 37 degrees.
[Benny Hinn] TV evangelist Benny Hinn inspires thousands at Miami Arena
Pastor Benny Hinn ministered to 16,500 believers Thursday night. They filled the Miami Arena. Hundreds more waited outside because the arena was full. In about a month, when this service airs on TV, 30 million more will watch.
[Cults] Ford Greene: Attorney at odds
San Anselmo resident Ford Greene sounds like a typical Marin County lawyer, what with his outspoken liberalism, scruffy hair and a white Porsche in the garage. But this self-described "cult buster" is anything but that.
[Gentle Wind Project] Gentle Wind Project Sues Couple Over Internet Postings
The Gentle Wind Project collected millions of dollars in donations by distributing plastic healing instruments that believers say alleviate suffering through the regeneration of human energy fields damaged by trauma.
But when two of the group's former associates went on the Internet and compared the Kittery-based nonprofit to a "mind- control cult," Gentle Wind called a lawyer.
[Euthanasia / Assisted Suicide] Dutch euthanasia law should apply to patients "suffering through living," report says
Doctors can help patients who ask for help to die even though they may not be ill but "suffering through living," concludes a three year inquiry commissioned by the Royal Dutch Medical Association. The report argues that no reason can be given to exclude situations of such suffering from a doctor’s area of competence.
[Jehovah's Witnesses] Child abuse cases allege Jehovah's Witness cover-up
A bundle of child abuse cases may finally get off the ground at a key pre-trial hearing in Napa Superior Court this morning.
As many as 11 lawsuits filed in six counties contend that Jehovah's Witnesses covered up acts of child molestation by church officials. Today's hearing is set to determine how the court should go forward with handling the cases and even whether an attorney's potential life-threatening illness could hold up progress.
[Aum Shinrikyo] High Court Pushes Back Deadline for Documents in Asahara Appeal
The Tokyo High Court told the defense counsel of AUM Shinrikyo cult founder Shoko Asahara on Friday that it will extend the deadline from Tuesday to late August for submission of documents needed to begin Asahara's appeal trial, the lawyers said.
[USA] US doctors accused over Guantanamo abuse
Doctors at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib used their medical knowledge to help devise coercive interrogation methods for detainees including sleep deprivation, stress positions and other abuse, it was reported yesterday.
An article in the New England Journal of Medicine provides the most authoritative account so far that doctors were active participants in the abuse of prisoners in America's "war on terror".
[Islam] Radical Islam group aids relief, raises anti-U.S. fears
An extremist Islamic group with alleged links to al-Qaida has set up a relief camp in the tsunami-stricken Aceh province on Sumatra island, raising concerns its fiercely anti-American members could stir up sentiment against U.S. and Australian troops helping to distribute aid.
[Death Penalty] Catholics mobilized to fight execution
As the execution of serial killer Michael Ross looms, Bishop William E. Lori this weekend invites the 400,000 Roman Catholics of the Diocese of Bridgeport to sign a petition calling for an end to the death penalty.
[Ruben Ecleo] Ecleo judge says bribe attempts can’t force her to inhibit self
The regional trial court (RTC) judge handling the parricide case against cult leader Ruben Ecleo Jr. said the attempts by Ecleo’s followers to bribe her will not force her to inhibit herself from the case.
[USA] Geneva Convention Overhaul Considered
White House officials considered trying to rewrite the international treaties signed more than half a century ago protecting certain wartime prisoners from mistreatment, senators were told Thursday.
That revelation came during testimony by Alberto R. Gonzales, President Bush's choice as attorney general, whose conclusion as White House counsel that the Geneva Convention did not apply to suspected terrorists has prompted Democrats and human rights advocates to question his suitability as head of the Justice Department.
[Polygamy] Mattingly Foster: A judge restricts interactions to four children at once
Supervised visits between plural wife Heidi Mattingly Foster and eight of her 11 children by John Daniel Kingston have so deteriorated that a social worker must act as a "baby sitter for both the children and the adults," 3rd District Juvenile Court Judge Andrew Valdez said Thursday.
[Polygamy] Kingston Polygamist Wife Attends Court Hearing
It's now apparent there will be a criminal investigation into John Daniel Kingston's relationship with 10 of his more than 100 children. What started, as another routine visitation hearing with one of Kingston's wives quickly revealed more.
[Polygamy] Polygamy guide aims to provide info to outsiders
\The Utah Attorney General's Office produced the manual with help from the Arizona Attorney General's Office, government agencies, nonprofit groups, fundamentalists who support plural marriage and people who have left the polygamous lifestyle.
"The Primer" - which was put online Thursday at http://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/polygamy.html - includes a history of polygamy, a glossary of terms, descriptions of fundamentalist groups and their practices, training exercises and a list of resources.
[The Family : Lord Byron] Defying values
Rather than being steeped in dry academia, Hollenbach's history has been forged from interactive, real-world experiences. The most unusual of these is her time with a hippie community called The Family in Taos, N.M. The group served as the focus of Hollenbach's recent book Lost and Found: My Life in a Group Marriage Commune.
[Witchcraft] Women's commission wants legislation against witchcraft
Rajasthan state Commission for Women has proposed a legislation against the practice of witchcraft, which would provide for imprisonment of up to ten years for branding a woman as a witch.
[Elizabeth Smart] Hearing in Smart case delayed again
The drifter and self-proclaimed prophet accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart showed up to his competency hearing 90 minutes late Thursday and was kicked out after he started singing a Bible verse.
Anton and Janet Hein-Hudson
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