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Religion Items In The News

February 24 1999 (Vol. 3, Issue 72)


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Religion Items in the News - February 24, 1999 (Vol. 3, Issue 72)

=== Main
1. Dutch Cult Leaders Sentenced (Gemeente God's)
2. Senior Aum aide sentenced to 3 years, 8 months in jail
3. Japan Cult Leader Jailed for Attack (Aum)
4. Cult making comeback as leader's terrorism trial goes on (Aum)
5. Preparing for Invisible Killers
6. French Court Allows Extradition of Fugitive... (Einhorn)
7. Often, beliefs are at odds with medical community (Jeh. Witnesses)
8. Lenox minor deems ruling a major victory (Jeh. Witnesses)
9. Ruling clarifies minors' rights (Jeh. Witnesses)
10. Faith-healing parents get probation
11. Faith healing? It just hasn't got a prayer, researchers conclude
12. Church Health Expert Warns of "Mystical Medicine"
13. Ministers urge students to avoid religious group (ICC)
14. Little Soldiers in the Culture Wars (Bill Gothard)
15. Under attack in Russia, Pentecostalists look to U.S. for help
16.Arrests of 'Satanists' point to possible witch-hunt
17. Patriarch, at 70, hails Russian faith revival
18. Anti-Semitism on the rise in Russia
19. Welcome to Lesmahaglow (Hare Krishna)
20. No advertisements for Scientology
21. Only a miracle can help the brothers (Scientology/Human Rights)
22. Islamic K-8 school opens
23. Methodists praise God the Mother
24. Church gave family tree to Olympic investigator (LDS)
25. Televangelist Hinn will move to O.C.
26. Catholics Worldwide Number More Than Billion

=== Noted

27. Hinduism: The next generation
28. Bug creates schism in religious circles (Y2K)
29. Linking The Body And Spirit (Prayer Beads)

=== Books

30. Ordinary man's experiences with God have extraordinary effects
31. Joel Edwards urges evangelicals to appreciate diversity

=== People Unclear On The Concept

32. O.J. Simpson auction items burned in fiery protest (Bob Enyart)

=== Main

1. Dutch Cult Leaders Sentenced
Nederlands Dagblad, and TeleTekst, Feb. 12, 1999
A court in Arnhem, Holland, has sentenced ex-cult leader S. Vrieswijk
(70), and his girlfriend (47) to detention and treatment in a
psychiatric hospital for the sexual abuse and rape of two underage
girls. The abuse took place for many years.

Vrieswijk and his girlfriend were leaders of "De Gemeente Gods" (The
Church of Christ - no relation to the denomination, or the
International Church of Christ cult). In court, they also admitted to
sexual relations with other members of the cult, which from 1983-1993
was headquartered in a monastry in Velddriel (Holland).

In 1993, the cult leaders and several members moved to Cyprus and later
to Israel, where the sexual abuse continued. The abused women were
told they were the chosen brides of Christ.

The two leaders insist they are not guilty because, they claim, they
acted on the will of God.
[...entire item...]

2. Senior Aum aide sentenced to 3 years, 8 months in jail
Daily Yomiuri, Feb. 17, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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The Tokyo District Court on Tuesday sentenced a former senior member of
the Aum Supreme Truth cult to three years and eight months in prison
for her role in assisting Aum fugitives from justice, incinerating a
body and destroying evidence.

Serving as the group's "finance minister," Hisako Ishii, 38, virtually
led the group jointly with founder Chizuo Matsumoto, 43.

Handing down the sentence, presiding Judge Ritsuro Uemura said Ishii,
"with the deep trust of Matsumoto, played an important role in the
group. However, she failed to question his wishes and therefore is
responsible for the group's numerous illegal acts."

3. Japan Cult Leader Jailed for Attack
Northernligh/AP, Feb. 16, 1998

[Story no longer online? Read this]
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(...) Hisako Ishii, 38, former finance chief of the Aum Shinri Kyo
[Story no longer online? Read this]
cult, was convicted of three counts -- providing funds for fleeing
culprits, destroying a body and concealing evidence.

Cult guru Shoko Asahara, accused of masterminding the subway gas
attacks that killed 12 people and sickened thousands, is being tried
separately on 17 counts of murder and attempted murder, along with
other charges.

4. Cult making comeback as leader's terrorism trial goes on
Dallas Morning News, Feb. 18, 1999
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(...) For nearly three years, Aum's shocking secrets have been coming
to light here at the trial of Shoko Asahara, the group's founder and
spiritual guru: deadly attacks with nerve gas and biological agents;
lynchings; abductions and more routine acts of murder and mayhem - all
inspired by Mr. Asahara's twisted Buddhist beliefs and his scheme to
sow terror, topple the Japanese government and rule the world,
according to prosecutors, police and current and former Aum followers.

Japanese authorities say the trials of Mr. Asahara and other Aum
leaders should salve a national psyche scarred by the cult's crimes, if
not for one unsettling fact: Aum is making a comeback.

In part, the Aum faithful and the cult's new followers are being
spurred by Mr. Asahara's call for believers to prepare for Armageddon
[Story no longer online? Read this]
in September - an apocalypse that cult members believe only they will
survive, authorities say.

Concern over the cult isn't limited to Japan: The U.S. State Department
lists Aum on its roster of terrorist organizations.

An Aum spokesman insists that the cult "poses no danger" and called on
the Public Security Investigation Agency to "stop its illegal
interference, which hinders our religious activities."

5. Preparing for Invisible Killers
Smallpox and Anthrax Could Be Put to Work in Biological Warfare
Washington Post, Feb. 23, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
(...) If so, it's possible that smallpox might someday be deliberately
released by terrorists.

If that ever happens, the nation's doctors, nurses and lab
technicians--not its military weapons experts--will be the ones on the
front lines.

In the United States, the biggest such incident occurred in 1984, when
followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a commune leader, used salmonella
bacteria to contaminate salad bars in Oregon. More than 750 people got
food poisoning.

But some terrorist groups have tried to use biological weapons in
recent years, including the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo, whose members
attempted several times to release anthrax and botulism toxin (a poison

produced by bacteria) before launching their 1995 nerve gas attack on
the Tokyo subway system. That episode awakened health officials
throughout the world to the threat of chemical and biological

6. French Court Allows Extradition of Fugitive in U.S. Killing
Washington Post, Feb. 19, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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A French appeals court agreed today to extradite convicted murderer Ira
Einhorn to the United States on condition that he be tried again and
that the death penalty not be applied if he is convicted. The state of
Pennsylvania, to which he would be returned, already has promised to
meet both conditions.

The ruling -- which is subject to further appeals -- overturned earlier
court refusals to extradite Einhorn, whose case has become a cause
celebre on both sides of the Atlantic because of his fame as a 1970s
cult figure; the brutality of the murder for which he was convicted in
absentia in Philadelphia; and the international back-and-forth over his

7. A religious tug-of-war: Often, beliefs are at odds with medical
Boston Herald, Feb. 19, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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(...) Alexis Demos, now recuperating at home from her snowboarding
accident, never needed the transfusion. The state Appeals Court ruled
Tuesday that Judge Judd Carhart's order is moot.

But in the future, the appellate judges wrote, the wishes of mature
minors should be weighed along with the wishes of the parents and the
state's interests in protecting a minor.

The legal crisis posed by her case underscores the heartrending
conflict that periodically occurs between secular law and religious
conviction. It marked the court battle that the Twitchells, a
Christian Science family formerly of Hyde Park, fought to defend their
choice of spiritual healing methods rather than medical care when their
son, Robyn, suffered a fatal bowel obstruction in 1986.

Their manslaughter conviction was overturned in 1993 when the Supreme
Judicial Court ruled parents are obliged to seek medical care for their
children, but the Twitchells could have reasonably believed their
religious practices were protected under the law.

Donald Ridley, a Jehovah's Witness lawyer, said he welcomes the
appellate ruling that recognized a minor's right to speak for herself.

Christian Science does not ban members from accepting medical
treatment, though many members rely exclusively on spiritual healing.
Jehovah's Witnesses are allowed most treatments except tranfusions.

Dr. Lynn Peterson, a Harvard Medical School ethicist, said despite
efforts to accommodate Jehovah's Witnesses - adults are rarely
compelled to take blood - it is routine for hospitals to seek a court
order to be prepared when they admit a minor Witness. He and others
say in some cases, only a blood transfusion will do.

8. Lenox minor deems ruling a major victory
Boston Globe, Feb. 19, 1999
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(...) In a landmark ruling Tuesday, an appeals court sided with Demos,
giving ''mature'' minors a voice in deciding whether to refuse
life-saving medical treatment.

The ruling, which allowed courts to consider a child's maturity to
reason through an informed decision, cut to the core of legal battles
over religious freedom, the state's duty to protect, and murky
age-of-consent laws that allow 16-year-olds to drop out of school and
have sex but not to make their own medical decisions.

9. Ruling clarifies minors' rights
Boston Globe, Feb. 17, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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(...) Richard A. Simons, who represents the Lenox teenager, said the
ruling means minors who can convince a judge they are making a
rational, intelligent choice to refuse medical treatment may see their
wishes prevail over the objections of their parents and the state.

The court said that since a 1991 ruling by the Supreme Judicial Court,
a competent adult clearly can refuse live-saving treatment. ''The law
is well-settled ... that a competent adult may refuse medical treatment
even if the treatment is necessary to save her life,'' Appeals Court
Judge Elizabeth Porada wrote for the court.

The court said it has also been clear since 1991, in a separate SJC
ruling, that judges can order life-saving treatment for minors when a
parent refuses to give permission. In those situations, judges have to
weigh what is in the ''best interest of the child'' along with the
parents' wishes and the state's obligation to protect its residents.

The court decides what is in the child's best interest based on five
criteria: the minor's wishes, the minor's religious beliefs, the
probability of adverse side effects from treatment, prognosis without
treatment, and the competency of the minor to make that decision.

10. Faith-healing parents get probation
News & Observer, Feb. 19, 1999
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The faith-healing parents of a hemophiliac child who died in his
mother's arms from a cut toe were sentenced Thursday to 17 years'

11. Faith healing? It just hasn't got a prayer, researchers conclude
Sydney Morning Herald, Feb. 20, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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There is no medical evidence to support a belief in the healing power
of religious faith
, according to a new study by American researchers.

"Even in the best studies, the evidence of an association between
religion, spirituality and health is weak and inconsistent", say the
researchers in a report in the London-based medical journal The

The project was undertaken in response to evidence of a growing belief
in the US that spiritual faith can help people recover from illness and
disease - a belief given increasing credibility by the American medical

12. Church Health Expert Warns of "Mystical Medicine"
World Faith News/Adventist Press Service, Feb. 13, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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A health expert from the Seventh-day Adventist Church warned of the
dangers of "mystical medicine" during a Church-sponsored presentation
in San Diego on January 23.

"False promises and healing schemes bombard us endlessly from the mail,
Internet, print and word-of-mouth," says Stoy Procter, associate
director of the Adventist Church's health ministries

"Mystical medicine is based on and influenced by pantheism, vitalism,
and spiritualism," reports Procter. "Ideas such as God is in
everything, that you pass on vital force, that you can heal through
mediums and channels-these conflict with good science and with
the principles of Christian faith."

Procter cited examples from Ayurvedic medicine and the "Qi" energy
ideas of Chinese traditional treatments to show their basis in
religious concepts stemming from spiritualism, animism, taoism, and
other religions.

13. Ministers urge students to avoid religious group
Dallas Morning News, Feb. 22, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
A dozen Texas Tech University ministers are urging students to avoid a
new campus religious group, the International Churches of Christ,
calling it America's most dangerous cult.

"We, as established campus ministry organizations . . . cannot endorse
or support the activities of the ICOC on the Tech campus or in our
community," the ad reads. "People use caution and sound judgment if
approached by a member of the Lubbock Christian Church."

14. Little Soldiers in the Culture Wars -
Evangelical radical Bill Gothard's Character First! Curriculum
teaches students in Fort Lauderdale to obey his will.
New Times Broward Palm Beach, Feb. 18, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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(...) The Charter School of Excellence, which receives some $800,000 in
state tax dollars annually, has more ties to religion than its being
inside a church building. Character First! is published by Character
Training Institute (CTI) in Oklahoma City, which itself is an offshoot
of the Institute of Basic Life Principles (IBLP). The Chicago-based
IBLP is the brainchild of a 64-year-old evangelical Christian guru
named Bill Gothard, who boasts some 2.5 million "alumni" of his
Bible-based seminars, and he promises to give the world a "new approach
to life." The Character First! curriculum is directly based on
Gothard's teachings -- but with overt references to God and Christianity
edited out.

Gothard has been accused by fellow Christians of everything from
misinterpreting the Bible to ignoring spousal abuse to being a
borderline cult leader.

Gothard doesn't focus on the Ten Commandments -- he teaches his seven
"universal, nonoptional Principles of Life," and he extends those
principles to what food to eat and what clothes to wear. Breaking any
of Gothard's principles leads to the highway to Hell, quite literally.

Now Florida is slated to become Gothard country.

State Rep. Tracy Stafford and Sen. Howard Forman, both Democrats from
Broward County, have introduced bills that would force every public
elementary school in the state to teach Character First! -- which is
mentioned by name in the bills -- or, as the bill vaguely puts it, a
program "similar" to it.

When asked about Bill Gothard, both Stafford and Forman are stumped.
Neither did his homework on the curriculum -- they've never heard of
Gothard and weren't aware that the man behind Character First! is an
evangelical minister. When told about Gothard's emphasis on the "chain
of command," Stafford immediately recognizes the danger in such
teachings. "I can see how that could lead to a continuation of child
abuse," he says.

Howard Forman now says he doesn't believe Character First! should be
put in Florida's public schools. "I never heard of Gothard, and I think
his ideas sound kind of screwy," Forman says. "I don't support the kind
of character training where people sing songs about discipline. I don't
support religious extremists of any kind."

A number of ministers and theologians have found defects in Gothard's
teachings. Christian scholar and psychologist James Alsdurf wrote a
book in the late '80s about domestic violence among churchgoers and
came to a conclusion: Bill Gothard's teachings can lead to a
continuation of domestic violence.

Dr. Darrell Bock, a professor at the Dallas Theological Seminary, says
he's uncomfortable with Gothard stressing authority and hierarchy
without tempering it with "Christ-like" qualities.

Baptist pastor G. Richard Fisher wrote in a published article called
"The Cultic Leanings of Bill Gothard's Teachings" that Gothard has a
habit of "legislating, directing, and regulating just about every phase
of life."

*** [NOTE: for links to this and other articles on Gothard, see:
http://www.apologeticsindex.org/g00.html#gothard - AWH]

15. Under attack in Russia, Pentecostalists look to U.S. for help
SF Gate, Feb. 20, 1999

[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Local newspapers in Russia's Far East called them a totalitarian sect.
A prosecutor accused them of hypnotizing people. Tax police raids and
security service interrogations followed.

After a campaign of more than nine months to close down the Word of
Life Pentecostalist Church in Magadan, a remote port city on Russia's
east coast, 400 of the church's members applied this week for asylum in
the United States.

16. Arrests of 'Satanists' point to possible witch-hunt
Fairfax Journal, Feb. 20, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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There are two terrifying accounts of the nightmare haunting Severo
Zadonsk, a small industrial town a few hours drive south of Moscow. One
is that the authorities have smashed an eight-strong Satanist cult,
composed mainly of teenagers, which performed at least two ritual human
sacrifices in the most gruesome circumstances.

The other, no less horrific, that a Russian version of the hysterical
New England Salem trials is destroying the lives of many innocent

Last week the ``Satanists,'' accused by the local chief prosecutor
Galina Zhiliniskaya of slaughtering their victims and drinking their
blood, were sentenced to terms of up to nine and half years in prison.

But according to relatives of the accused, their lawyers and local
journalists, what began as a provincial farce has turned into the
hideous inquisitorial persecution of eight innocent people whose
confessions - extracted under torture - are the only evidence against

17. Patriarch, at 70, hails Russian faith revival
Infoseek/Reuters, Feb. 18, 1999

[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Russia's top clergyman, Patriarch Alexiy II of the Orthodox Church who
celebrated his 70th birthday on Thursday, issued a defence of a
controversial law on religion and warned of threats from ``spiritually
alien'' cults.

But Alexiy, known for his tough line on non-traditional faiths, made
clear Orthodoxy should enjoy precedence over other Christian
confessions. ``The church's renaissance is just beginning,'' he told
the agency.

``The Patriarch could not fail to note there is a certain danger from
pseudo-religions, from spiritually alien 'conquistadors' who are
ruining, willingly or unwillingly, the spiritual integrity of Russian
society,'' Tass said.

Alexiy said Russia's 1997 law ``On freedom of conscience and religious
organisations,'' condemned as discriminatory, by human rights groups,
the United States and the Vatican, had not fully eradicated the threat
of such ``alien'' religions.

18. Anti-Semitism on the rise in Russia
Star-Telegram, Feb. 22, 1999
[URL removed because it currently refers to inappropriate content]/news/doc/1047/1:RELIGION21/1:RELIGION21022299.html
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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(...) Anti-Semitism is nothing new in Russia, where czarist police
authored the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" and Communist
authorities enforced quotas limiting the number of Jews admitted to
universities and party posts. But the current wave, coming with an
economic crisis that has impoverished much of the population, is
especially ominous because of Russians' rising anger.

Despite a massive post-Soviet emigration to Israel and the United
States, about 500,000 Jews remain in Russia.

19. Welcome to Lesmahaglow
Daily Record (Glasgow), Feb. 21, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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BEMUSED residents of a sleepy Scots village woke yesterday to find that
a religious sect has been painting their houses turquoise. Lesmahagow
has witnessed the spectacle of Hare Krishna monks up ladders,
paintbrushes in hand, transforming several sandstone cottages.

Now locals fear a turquoise invasion as more devotees come to settle in
the village. When the sect lived near their temple on the outskirts of
Lesmahagow, the villagers were happy to tolerate their unusual
neighbours with their sandals and short hair.

But in recent weeks, the Krishnan community has been buying properties
in the village - and locals fear more cottages will be snapped up and
painted in garish colours.

20. No advertisement for Scientology
Stuttgarter Nachrichten (Germany), Feb. 19, 1999
Translation: German Scientology News
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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The "Deutsche Bahn AG" transportation company is selling the ad space
at its stops on Wolfram Street to somebody else. Hans Dieterle, press
spokesman for the DB system explained, "we will not advertise for

The advertisements for the sect have been a sore point for the
transportation company because of the complaints of its customers. "We
regret that this has happened," said Dieterle, who made a reference to
the standards for advertising in train stations. Posters praising the
psycho-sect are prohibited there, as they also are on construction

21. Only a miracle can help the brothers
Mannheimer Morgen (Germany), Feb. 20, 1999
Translation: German Scientology News
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Bonn attempts to save Germans convicted in the USA from execution

The dispute over the death sentence is not untimely for Bonn, since the
US State Department will be presenting another report in which
"Violators of Human Rights" will be scourged. Once again this brings up
the proceedings being taken by the German authorities against the
Scientologists. In response to that aspect, Chrobog stated, "Many
things about America have also occurred to me."

*** Note: Many in Europe consider America's use of the death penalty
to be a human rights violation. Increasingly, US pressure on
countries like Germany is seen as hypocritical in light of America's
own record: http://www.rightsforall-usa.org/intro/index.html - AWH

22. Islamic K-8 school opens
Contra Costa Times, Feb. 21, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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(...) The K-8 school, with 75 students and growing, is the first of its
kind in the East Bay. And in an arrangement that leaders of both
congregations say is unique, the mosque shares a parking lot and grassy
plaza with St. Paul United Methodist Church.

Both are signs of a growing Muslim population in the Bay Area, which is
home to about 200,000 Muslims, 60,000 of them in the East Bay,
according to Maha Elgenaidi, executive director of the Islamic Networks
Group in San Jose.

Sareshwala says he hopes it can become "a central fortress of Islam in
the Bay Area."

For now, there is the school, where a bulletin board in the hallway
proclaims, "There is one God. Muhammed is his messenger."

23. Methodists praise God the Mother
London Times, Feb. 18, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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THE Methodist Church yesterday became the first British church to
publish an official prayer book with God addressed as a woman. The
church, which has about a million regular worshippers, has included a
thanksgiving in one of its new Communion services that begins: "God our
Father and our Mother."

24. Church gave family tree to Olympic investigator
Infoseek/Reuters, Feb. 18, 1999

[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
The International Olympic Committee official whose probe accused IOC
members of pressuring Salt Lake Games organisers for gifts himself
received a free family tree from the Mormon Church, the church said on

The Mormon Church said on Thursday that the family tree was given to
Pound on a visit to the church's headquarters in Salt Lake City in

The Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday reported that Pound received the
genealogical report and quoted experts as saying it can cost up to

25. Televangelist Hinn will move to O.C.
Orange County Register, Feb. 20, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Televangelist Benny Hinn is moving to Orange County to be closer to his
Aliso Viejo TV production studio and set up a new home base.

Hinn, a pastor of the World Outreach Church, is considered one of the
fastest-rising televangelists in the nation.

Rev. Ralph Wilkerson, a long-time friend, said Hinn is moving west
because "it's a center for evangelism."

Brokaw said the move will not affect Hinn's central Florida ministry,
which employs 400 people. The church and its fund-raising arm will stay
in Florida.

26. Catholics Worldwide Number More Than Billion
EWTN, Feb. 23, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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Last Friday, February 19, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of
State, gave John Paul II the new Pontifical Yearbook, dated December
31, 1998. Among the news items this exhaustive report gives on data
regarding the universal Church is the fact that, for the first time in
history, Catholics number more than one billion -- one sixth of the
total human population.

The statistical data give an idea of relevant aspects of the Church's
role and pastoral activity throughout the world. At present, baptized
Catholics number more than one billion. At the end of December, 1997
they numbered 17.3% of the world population. Of the total, more than
half live in the American continent -- 62.9%. Europe represents 41.4%
of the Catholic population; Oceania 27.5%; Africa 14.9% and Asia 3%.

The Church has a network of 219,369 parishes worldwide, and 115,311
missions. The number of persons involved in pastoral work in the world
totals 3,386,000 subdivided as follows: 4,420 bishops; 404,208 priests
(of which 263,521 are diocesan), 24,407 permanent deacons; 58,210 male
religious; 819,278 professed nuns; 31,197 members of secular
institutes; 26,068 lay missionaries, and 2,019,021 catechists.

=== Noted

27. Hinduism: The next generation
Dallas Morning News, Feb. 20, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
(...) For more than a generation, most of the nation's approximately
1.5 million Hindus - the vast majority of them Indian immigrants - have
paid little attention to their ancient faith. Busy building careers and
families, they've tried to blend into America. But now the first
generation of American-born Indians is coming of age. They are forcing
their baby-boomer parents to reckon with a long-neglected faith.

Prayer rooms like the Nairs' are appearing in subdivisions everywhere.
Nationwide, a wave of Hindu temple construction is going on; perhaps
1,000 communities are in various stages of planning or construction,
according to observers. About 200 temples have already been built,
including one in Irving. In Texas, there are about eight temples and
about 15 Hindu communities. Devotees are starting Hindu versions of
Bible studies and Sunday schools, unheard of in India.

There is a Web site, www.hindunet.org, aimed at the young. And there is
a glossy monthly called Hinduism Today that bills itself as a leader in
the Hindu "renaissance." On campuses, Hindu awareness groups are
popping up. There is even a small organization called the American
Hindu Anti-Defamation Council.

28. Bug creates schism in religious circles
Gazette, Feb. 21, 1999
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(...) "Computers crash all the time. But the greatest threat is
overreaction," Steve Hewitt, editor in chief of Christian Computing
magazine, told a Blue Springs, Mo., audience recently. "Christians have
been misled, and the credentials of Christianity can really be hurt
here. The greatest danger is panic."

Hewitt, of Lee's Summit, Mo., is speaking across the country to calm
Y2K fears. But he has prominent competition.

In an August broadcast on his "Old Time Gospel Hour," Jerry Falwell
predicted God's wrath in the form of a computer bug on Jan. 1, 2000.

No wonder the Christian Broadcasting Network's Y2K Web site is
receiving 80,000 hits a month.

29. Linking The Body And Spirit
Washington Post, Feb. 20, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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Sarla Prakash takes a strand of wooden prayer beads with a frayed silk
tassel from the home altar in her Rockville family room.

"This is my mala," she says, putting it around her neck. Eyes closed,
she holds the tassel between her palms in silence, then opens her eyes
and smiles. "Just holding it helps me feel the higher spirit which
dwells within each of us."

Praying with beads is an ancient ritual that about two-thirds of the
world's religions share. No one knows exactly how old the tradition is,
but bead historians believe it began with Hindus about two thousand
years ago and was eventually adopted by Buddhists, Muslims and some

As the 21st century nears, prayer bead rituals are continuing to
evolve. "Lots of new age types come to our shop and make their own
prayer beads," says Larry Silverman, whose family owns S&A Beads in
Takoma Park.

The following are examples of various prayer bead traditions, according
to author Lois Sherr Dubin and others. Keep in mind that different
sects of the same faith may have different rituals.

=== Books

30. Ordinary man's experiences with God have extraordinary effects
Star-Telegram, Feb. 19, 1999
[URL removed because it currently refers to inappropriate content]/news/doc/1047/1:FAITH3/1:FAITH3021999.html
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
(...) But even before these bestselling books on God came out, the Rev.
Henry Blackaby was drawing attention with his own volume, `Experiencing
God,' published by Broadman & Holman in 1994.

Once an obscure Southern Baptist pastor from Canada -- believe it or
not, Southern Baptists exist that far north in our hemisphere --
Blackaby is almost a guru among evangelicals seeking a deeper
relationship with God.

He began conducting workshops on "Experiencing God," and the Canadian
church flourished. Blackaby put his God ideas into a book four years
ago, and it has sold 2.5 million copies.

Now he gets 4,000 to 5,000 requests to speak each year. People from
many different denominations say his book changed their lives. Karla
Faye Tucker, a born-again Christian who was executed in Texas last year
for her role in a pick-ax murder, taught `Experiencing God' to her
fellow prisoners on Death Row.

Walsch's popular `Conversations With God' is very nontraditional compared with
Blackaby's book. Walsch says God spoke to him in the middle of the night and that he began writing
down notes on a yellow legal pad.

Walsch concludes that there is no good and evil, no right or wrong and that even Hitler went to heaven. [...more...]

31. Joel Edwards urges evangelicals to appreciate diversity
World Faith News/Evangelical Alliance, Feb. 15, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Evangelical Alliance General Director Joel Edwards has issued a
major challenge to evangelicals throughout the UK. In his new book
Lord Make Us One - But Not All The Same! Joel says that the only
way Christians will be able to stand together will be by releasing
each other to be different. This will mean appreciating and
encouraging legitimate diversity, and reaching out across the
evangelical/non-evangelical divide whenever and wherever possible.

In the concluding chapter he points out: "In the face of our
contemporary challenges we need each other. The great tendency
of historic evangelicalism is to pull apart as we grow stronger." To
do this is, he says, to miss the point. "None of us, on our own, is
likely to bring serious or lasting change to our world… It should not
be beyond the ability of evangelicals to join forces with non-
evangelicals, those of other faiths and no faith to act in the
common interest of our society on social or political issues"

In the final chapters he examines the identity of evangelicals,
pointing out that the struggle for identity is not new. He challenges
Christians to reaffirm their commitment to the primary points of
scripture in order that they may grasp the capacity for positive
relationships with those beyond evangelical boundaries - including
Roman Catholic Christians. He also touches on the tensions
surrounding the growing phenomenon of evangelical Roman

=== People Unclear On The Concept

32. O.J. Simpson auction items burned in fiery protest
CNN, Feb. 17, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
In a fiery postscript to a court-ordered auction of O.J. Simpson's
prized possessions, a quasi-religious group Wednesday burned and
destroyed Simpson memorabilia it had bought for $16,000 less than 24
hours earlier.

The demonstration was staged by the Denver-based group Shadowgov.com,
led by Bob Enyart, who described himself as a web page planner and
local radio talk show host in Denver. Enyart said Shadowgov.com was a
religious body that was against many forms of government but stressed
that it was not a militia movement or "a bunch of bizarros."

As Enyart intoned a litany of demands for change in the criminal
justice system, the bizarre ceremony began under the watchful eyes of
12 Los Angeles police officers and a fire inspector.

*** Note - Read and weep:
100 Day Plan: http://www.shadowgov.com/reports.html
Bob Enyart: http://www.enyart.com/writings/dayone.html

Background behind such ideas:
[Story no longer online? Read this]

Compiled by Anton Hein
Apologetics Index & Apologetics Index

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