Apologetics Index: Information about cults, sects, movements, doctrines, apologetics and counter-cult ministry.  Also: daily religion news, articles on Christian life and ministry, editorials, daily cartoon.
News about cults, sects, and alternative religions
An Apologetics Index research resource


Religion News Report

Religion News Report - January 22, 2000 (Vol. 4, Issue 158)

arrow Latest: Religion News Blog

=== Waco / Branch Davidians
1. Danforth wants samples of human remains of Branch Davidians
2. 2 say unit had minor Waco role
3. Missing Delta Force member arrived after fire at Waco, colleague testifies

=== Aum Shinrikyo
4. Japan Cult Guru's Son Kidnapped
5. Japan cult dissidents in bizarre attempt to kidnap leader's son
6. Japan's police raid "dangerous" cult
7. New AUM title riles namesakes
8. Japan cult causes stir with name change
9. Commission meets for Aum supervision hearing
10. Cult makes case against new surveillance law
11. AUM says anti-cult law violates rights
12. AUM hearing

=== Kaeda-juku
13. Sect waits for corpses to live again
14. 2 kids found mummified Children found dead
15. Cult shocker

15= China - Lamas
16. Exiles denounce choice of lama

=== China - Qigong
17. China To Scrutinize Spiritual Groups Similar To Falungong: Report
18. China Imprisons Leader of a Healing-by-Meditation Society
19. Qi gong lined up for authorities' sweep

=== Hate Groups / Hate Crimes
20. David Duke forms white civil rights group
21. Bill would name KKK's adopted highway for Rosa Parks
22. William Pierce: a history of hate
23. Hale gives date, time for Northwestern U. visit
24. Historian accused of right-wing extremism
25. Target of Internet threat relieved by filing of charges
26. Slo-Mo Justice Against Hate

=== Jehovah's Witnesses
27. Jehovah's Witness died after refusing transfusion
27a. Doctors in standoff with parents of girl who needs blood

=== Mormonism
28. LDS church moves to mediation with Tanners over copyright
29. Baptists Seek To 'Convert' Mormons
30. LDS Urged to Back Prop. 22

=== "Attleboro Cult"
31. Father tells judge he has no authority over missing child
32. Cult leader: Missing son part of 'sovereign nation'

=== Other News
33. Goddess works some magic in Taiwan-China ties
34. Peyote thrives in South Texas
35. A return to roots (Voodoo)
36. Atheists withdraw suit over Boise cross

=== Death Penalty
37. No Evidence Death Penalty Deters Crime, Reno Says
38. Half of state's death-penalty cases reversed
39. Robison executed for '82 Lake Worth slayings

=== Waco / Branch Davidians

1. Danforth wants samples of human remains of Branch Davidians
CNN/AP, Jan. 22. 2000
The special counsel re-investigating the government's conduct during the 1993
Branch Davidian siege asked a federal judge Friday to grant him temporary
custody of tissue and bone samples.

The human remains are needed "to verify the toxicological work previously
performed and stated in the autopsy reports," Special Counsel John Danforth's
office said in a filing in federal court in Waco, Texas.

The samples are in the custody of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner, which
earlier tested the remains for drugs, carbon monoxide, cyanide and benzene.
No traces of drugs were found in any of the bodies; while carbon monoxide,
generated by fire, and cyanide, a byproduct of the massive quantities of tear
gas pumped into the Davidians' compound, were found in some of the remains.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

2. 2 say unit had minor Waco role
Dallas Morning News, Jan. 21, 2000
Depositions of two U.S. Army Delta Force technicians offer the first detailed
public accounts of the secret unit's role in the 1993 Branch Davidian siege.

The special forces soldiers testified that their primary mission was helping
the FBI use sophisticated surveillance gear from their unit and that they had
no direct knowledge that any Delta Force personnel participated in the FBI
assault that ended the standoff.

Despite allegations from the Branch Davidians' lawyers that FBI agents shot
into the compound during their final assault, the soldier said he had no
direct knowledge of that.

The two soldiers who were deposed last month testified behind screens and
said their unit was so secretive that they could not divulge its name and or
its commanders. Even plaintiffs' lawyers have not been provided the
identities of the special operations soldiers involved in the siege.

The Branch Davidians' lawyers say the role of Delta Force personnel in the
final FBI operation remains unclear, in part because a Delta Force combat
arms specialist in Waco at the time wasn't seen by fellow special forces
soldiers until hours after the assault.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

3. Missing Delta Force member arrived after fire at Waco, colleague testifies
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jan. 21, 2000
The whereabouts of the Delta Force commando assigned to provide tactical
assistance to the FBI at Waco in 1993 has not been determined for the seven
hours leading up to the fire that destroyed the Branch Davidians' complex.

One of the three Delta Force members present that day testified in a
deposition that the tactical expert showed up after the fire had destroyed
the complex, explaining that he had gotten drunk the night before and slept
through the entire operation.

Michael Caddell, the attorney for the Branch Davidians, released the
testimony Thursday but said he found it hard to believe. "To think that a guy
as highly trained as that and considered one of our nation's best somehow
goes out and gets drunk and sleeps through the whole show, that is just not
credible. Remember that was Sunday night in Waco."

In the slang of the Delta Force, the tactics and weapons expert is known as
an "operator, shooter, door knocker, or FAG" - the latter short for "former
action guy."
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

=== Aum Shinrikyo

4. Japan Cult Guru's Son Kidnapped
Yahoo/AP, Jan. 21, 2000
[Aum Shinrikyo]
Several people broke into a facility of a doomsday cult today and abducted
the 7-year-old son of the cult's former guru, who is on trial for the 1995
gas attack on Tokyo subways.

It was unclear why his son was abducted. But Japanese media reports said it
may be a sign of infighting in the cult, as it faces increasing pressure to
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

5. Japan cult dissidents in bizarre attempt to kidnap leader's son
Hong Kong Standard/AFP, Jan. 22, 2000
Dissident members of the Japanese Aleph cult, formerly Aum Supreme Truth,
launched a bizarre attempt yesterday to kidnap the seven-year-old son of
former guru Shoko Asahara, police said.

The disciples tried to take the boy from a cult colony in Ibaraki, 100
kilometres north of Tokyo, a police spokesman said, but it was not clear if
he was actually removed.

The young boy was later confirmed to be safe in the custody of the Aleph
facility and one of the wayward members was arrested on charges of
trespassing and assault, said the spokesman for Ibaraki prefectural police.

Asahara has another son, who is five years old. Both sons have been
revered as spiritual leaders since Asahara nominally stepped down as the sect
guru in 1996.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

6. Japan's police raid "dangerous" cult
Yahoo/AFP, Jan. 21, 2000
More than 100 Japanese police Friday raided the Aleph cult, formerly Aum
Supreme Truth
, as the justice minister warned it was still a danger five
years after gassing Tokyo's subway.

Officers swooped on 12 sect properties in areas including Tokyo, on suspicion
of infractions involving applications for a parking lot permit and a
residency registration. The cult allegedly falsely claimed it had space for
two cars when applying for a parking permit from police in Koshigaya,
Saitama, last year, said a Saitama police officer, who declined to be named.

Other disciples were suspected of submitting a false document with the local
government in 1996 to register a male follower's fictitious change of

Police have launched a string of such raids on suspicion of relatively minor
crimes in past months as protests have mounted about the cult's growing
presence in local communities.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

7. New AUM title riles namesakes
Mainichi Daily News (Japan), Jan. 20, 2000
If your business happens to be called "Aleph," then have someone standing by
to man the phones. Since AUM Shinrikyo decided to change its name to "Aleph"
on Tuesday, many businesses with the same name across the nation have been
flooded with phone calls from inquiring customers and curious people.

"Since our establishment in 1968, we have been in the restaurant business and
have never engaged in any religious activities," said an angry official of
Aleph Inc., which runs Bikkuri Donkey and other restaurant chains in Hokkaido
and the Kanto region. "Many of our contractors and clients have made
inquiries about our supposed allegiance. It is really annoying."

Cosmetics giant Shiseido Co., which has a line of men's toilet articles
called Aleph, is flabbergasted.

The company has a copyright on the name, but since AUM-turned-Aleph is
involved in a totally different sphere, Shiseido has no way of preventing the
cult from using the name.

A Yokohama-based computer equipment company, Nippon Aleph, said that it is
consulting lawyers to deal with the unforeseen disaster, but said it had not
come up with any solution yet. The company is one of the top manufacturers
of sophisticated sensors in the country, and its Aleph name is well known

"If our clients think we may be somehow related to AUM, I'm sure our business
will be affected," a Nippon Aleph official said. "Still, we doubt whether
people will start to identify AUM as Aleph. The new name may just remind
people how desperate AUM is to avoid being monitored under the new (anti-AUM)
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

8. Japan cult causes stir with name change
Infoseek/Reuters, Jan. 19, 2000
(...) Aum Shinri Kyo said earlier this week it will change its name to the
first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, ''Aleph.''

A number of companies or institutions already use that name in Japan, and
they fear being mistaken for the cult, whose members have been convicted or
are on trial for a gas attack which killed 12 and injured thousands on the
Tokyo subway.

Japanese media estimate there are more than 70 firms registered under the
name ''Aleph.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

9. Commission meets for Aum supervision hearing
Daily Yomiuri (Japan), Jan. 21, 2000
The Public Security Examination Commission convened Thursday to hear a
request to place the Aum Supreme Truth cult under supervision in accordance
with a law to regulate organizations that have committed mass murder.

At the hearing, held in the Justice Ministry's former main building in
Kasumigaseki, Tokyo, the Public Security Investigation Agency demanded that
the cult be supervised for three years, the maximum period the law allows.

Members of the cult, now renamed Aleph, asked detailed questions about the
law's wording. In the afternoon session, the cult rebutted all the agency's
claims against it.

The Public Security Examination Commission likely will decide early next
month whether the cult should be placed under supervision.

The cult was represented by cult leader Tatsuko Muraoka, 49, three lawyers
and a criminal law scholar, while the Public Security Investigation Agency
sent five senior officials. At the beginning of the hearing, the agency, in
explaining why it had made the supervision request, which was submitted to
the commission on Dec. 27, pointed out that Matsumoto still influences the
activities of the cult and that the cult has not revised its dogma that
murder is sometimes justifiable.

The agency representatives also argued that the cult's recent name change and
announcement of reforms did not amount to a fundamental change in the cult's

"Although they have renamed the organization and refer now to Asahara as the
cult's founder, not their guru, it is just a ruse. They still seek to
disseminate Asahara's dogma," an agency official said. "The organization is
still dangerous, so it is necessary to make the group's activities known to
the public."

The agency also pointed out that the cult keeps in contact with, and gives
instruction to, its followers through its Internet home page, and asked the
commission to demand that the cult reveal the names of its Internet
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

10. Cult makes case against new surveillance law
Japan Times, Jan. 20, 2000
During a hearing before the Public Security Examination Commission, lawyers
for Aum Shinrikyo said the cult does not fit the criteria for application of
the so-called anti-Aum law, and argued that the new law violates the
Constitution, which ensures freedom of religion.

Lawyers for Aum argued that founder Shoko Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo
Matsumoto, was no longer Aum's leader. They also said that the cult has
"destroyed" its doctrine which justifies the act of murder, and that there is
no longer any dangerous element that might lead Aum members to commit heinous

Authorities must be able to determine that Aum meets at least one of those
three criteria to apply the law to the cult.

During the morning session, the agency requested that the commission put Aum
under the agency's surveillance for three years, claiming that the cult
maintains an internal organizational structure that could lead it to commit
another heinous crime.

But Aum's lawyers said the cult has already been raided by police on numerous
occasions for minor offenses and that the investigations have already given
authorities a good grasp of its operations.

The new law does not specifically name Aum but says the purpose of the
legislation is to impose controls on any group whose members have carried out
or attempted indiscriminate mass murder in the past 10 years.

The criteria are that the new law can be applied to a group whose leader
still exerts a strong influence over the followers and has the same members
as when the crimes were committed. It must also have a platform that approves
murder, and harbor the ability to perform acts that may lead to another
indiscriminate mass murder.

In the request presented to the commission, the agency said that the cult met
all the conditions and claimed that it needs to be placed under supervision
because the cult's activities are difficult to grasp.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

11. AUM says anti-cult law violates rights
Mainichi Daily News (Japan), Jan. 21, 2000
(...) Describing the cult as "secluded and deceptive," the agency argued that
despite the new name, the character of AUM has not changed since it went on a
crime spree under the direction of guru Shoko Asahara, whose real name is
Chizuo Matsumoto.

"AUM carried out sarin gas attacks in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, and in
Tokyo to establish an autocracy under the dictatorship of Matsumoto," a
Public Security officer said. "The religious order is founded on dogmas laid
down by Matsumoto, and he is still a revered figure (despite the admission by
the cult that he took part in the crimes)."

The agency said that the monitoring is necessary, because AUM's high-ranking
members at the time of the crimes, including Masato Yokoyama, a perpetrator
of the Tokyo sarin attack who is appealing his death sentence, remain in the
cult, some still as executive members.

However, AUM, represented by the new head Tatsuko Muraoka, three lawyers and
a legal expert, repeated Tuesday's announcement that Asahara is no longer the
focal point of their faith and the cult is not a dangerous organization

The cult said in a statement that the law "is a direct contradiction to basic
human rights," while denying that the sarin gas attacks were politically
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

12. AUM hearing
Mainichi Daily News (Japan), Jan. 21, 2000 (Editorial)
(...) One senior Justice Ministry official has cautioned that the new law
could infringe upon rights guaranteed under the Constitution, depending on
how they are applied. We must acknowledge that the new legislation is drastic
medicine and therefore must not be interpreted too broadly.

We believe that the new legislation will achieve some goals but should not be
the sum of the government's policy toward AUM. In the United States and
Europe, public institutions offer counseling for people who leave cults. The
nation also needs to establish programs to ensure that as many believers as
possible can be rehabilitated back into society.

At the end of last year, a government panel discussed policies for
rehabilitating former members of the cult and promised to establish a
committee to study methods to "deprogram" followers. The time has come for
the government to act on its promises.

The cult has been quite active recently. Last September, it declared that it
would become "dormant," and in December accepted some responsibility for the
sarin gassings and issued an apology. On Jan. 18, immediately prior to the
hearing, the cult announced that it would adopt fundamental reforms, change
its name to Aleph, abandon its dangerous doctrines and compensate its
victims. One could say that the new law is already having an effect even
before it has been applied.

However, the reforms taken by the cult have been piecemeal and are certainly
not spontaneous. Public-safety officials assert that the cult is trying to
avoid being subjected to the new law and some victims are not willing to
tolerate the mere existence of the cult. If AUM does not make a sincere
attempt to address these voices, it will never be accepted by society.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

=== Kaeda-juku

13. Sect waits for corpses to live again
Hong Kong Standard/AFP, Jan. 22, 2000
A Japanese sect kept the mummified bodies of two children at a luxury villa
in the expectation they would come back to life, police and press reports
said yesterday.

Two leaders of the ''Kaeda-juku'' group, based in the southern Japanese city
of Miyazaki, were turned over to public prosecutors yesterday, the day after
their arrest for improper disposal of corpses, police said.

Police arrested the group's 55-year-old leader Junichiro Higashi and his
49-year-old aide Akemi Togashi, after discovering the bodies of a
six-year-old boy and a new-born baby.

''I am the agent for the creator,'' Higashi reportedly told investigators. He
added that the boy might be ''dead in your world'' but ''there is the
possibility of his resurrection. We are good people.''

The case resembled a bizarre incident in which disciples of a yoga-style
meditation group ''Life Space'' kept the mummified corpse of another member
for ''treatment'' at an airport hotel for four months, insisting it was

Police raided Life Space's facilities last November on suspicion of improper
disposal of corpses, a crime punishable by up to three years on prison. But
no criminal charges have been filed against Life Space.

''The Kaeda-juku group has allegedly lived on the compound for about five
years with its membership peaking at 50,'' he said. The cult's name is a
combination of ''Kaeda,'' the district of Miyazaki where they were based, and
''juku,'' which means seminar.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

14. 2 kids found mummified Children found dead
Asahi News (Japan), Jan. 21, 2000
[Kaeda-juku] (...) Higashi told police he was an agent of the creator of Earth and was
sending his maker energy so the bodies could be revived, investigators said.
Higashi had placed equipment around the bodies that he said was sending
energy to the bodies.

The Tokyo company executive placed his son in the juku in December 1997 and
reported him missing the following year. His son suffered from a serious
kidney ailment.

The father said he visited the juku in January 1998 in an attempt to see his
son, but was prevented from doing so. Higashi repeatedly said that the boy's
soul was living in the netherworld and that he was undergoing treatment.

Higashi and the boy's father once worked for the same company. The father
placed his son in Higashi's care after learning from an acquaintance that
Higashi had cured his illness. The father told police he paid Higashi more
than 1 million yen at the time as a sort of religious donation.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

15. Cult shocker
Mainichi Daily News (Japan_, Jan. 22, 2000
Kaeda-juku Leaders of a commune here where the mummified bodies of two children were
found Thursday night repeatedly denied the father of one of the children
access to his boy, police said Friday.

Junichiro Higashi, head of the commune he refers to as the Kaeda Cram School,
apparently told the 35-year-old Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, man who fathered the
6-year-old boy that if he left the child alone, the boy would get better.
The Tokyo man had paid Higashi more than 1 million yen to take care of his
boy. The boy's mummified body was found at Higashi's commune Thursday night,
together with the corpse of an infant boy.

Higashi refers to the commune's members as cram school students. He is a
former member of the Unification Church, whose members are often referred to
as "Moonies" because the church was founded by South Korean Sun Myung Moon.

Members of Higashi's cult live a communal lifestyle, deriving a share of
their funds from the sale of rice they receive from farmers and sell at a
hefty price of about 10,000 yen per 10-kilogram bag.

The commune apparently also receives funds from the parents of entrusted
children and runs a ramen shop.

Many of the commune's practices, such as group weddings, are said to have
been derived from the Unification Church, much to the chagrin of that
church's local followers.

"[Higashi] was once registered as a member, but he's got nothing to do with
us now," a Unification Church spokesman told the Mainichi on Friday. "He has
nothing to do with the Miyazaki branch of the Unification Church and his
commune's teachings have nothing to do with ours. It's a right nuisance."

Higashi does not refer to the commune as a religious group and he has not
attempted to register it as a religious or medical corporation.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

=== China - Lamas

16. Exiles denounce choice of lama
The Straits Times (Singapore), Jan. 20, 2000
The Tibetan government in exile yesterday denounced China's ordination of a
two-year-old boy
as the reincarnation of a "living Buddha", saying it did not
have the Dalai Lama's approval.

Mr Tashi Wangdi, Religion and Culture Minister for the Tibetan government in
exile, based in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala, said that it was a
political appointment.

"The recognitions of reincarnation are done by the head of the respective
tradition to which the lama belongs or, in the case of a high lama, by His
Holiness the Dalai Lama," he said. "This one has not been recognised by the
Dalai Lama."
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

=== China - Qigong

17. China To Scrutinize Spiritual Groups Similar To Falungong: Report
Inside China Today/AFP, Jan. 20, 2000
China is to begin heavily scrutinizing hundreds of health and spiritual
groups that practice traditional Chinese meditation exercises, for fear they
will turn into Falungong-style movements, state media reported Thursday.

The China Youth Daily quoted an official from the ministry of civil affairs
as saying the ministry has drawn up measures to deal with the groups, but the
measures are awaiting approval from the central government.

Wu Zhongze, head of the ministry's civilian organizations management bureau,
said the government will soon prevent the groups from registering, which
gives them legal status, and will limit their activities. Groups already
established will be forced to disband.

Wu said many problems exist with the "qigong" groups in China, including
their practice of spreading feudalisim, superstition and pseudo-science, the
paper said.

The groups also publish illegal publications, fool people into giving them
money and set up illegal organizations, Wu said.

There are approximately 70 schools of qigong in China and about 2,000 qigong
groups that teach some form of qigong, Lu said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

18. China Imprisons Leader of a Healing-by-Meditation Society
New York Times, Jan. 20, 2000
A leader of one of China's largest meditative healing societies has been
sentenced to prison for illegally practicing medicine, the latest move in the
government's tortured effort to determine which such groups should be allowed
and which should be banned as superstitious cults.

Zhong Gong was founded in 1988, four years earlier than the similarly popular
Falun Gong movement, which was banned last July as an "evil cult" after more
than 10,000 members held an illegal demonstration in Beijing.

Like hundreds of others that have sprung up in the last 20 years in China,
the two groups claim to harness the body's qi, or vital forces, through
traditional meditation and physical exercises known as qigong to fight
disease and promote spiritual well-being.

Like Falun Gong, Zhong Gong was started by a charismatic individual with his
own embellished variant of traditional qi concepts, offering meditative
exercises to promote health and enlightenment. Its full name translates as
China Health Care and Wisdom Enhancement Gong.

The founder, Zhang Hongbao, now 45, and his movement became well known, by
some accounts drawing tens of millions of followers at its peak in the early
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

19. Qi gong lined up for authorities' sweep
South China Morning Post, Jan. 21, 2000
Tough measures are to be announced to "clean up" qi gong groups, a senior
official told the state media.

According to the proposals, groups teaching one specific discipline of qi
gong - which involves breathing and meditation exercises - would be banned,
the China Youth Daily said. The same went for groups at or below the county

Only groups that taught a mixture of exercises from different qi gong
disciplines could continue and they would be required to register as
independent "legal bodies", the paper said.

The regulations would forbid exercise groups from forming hierarchical
organisations involving layers of leadership. All groups would be put under
the control of sports and health authorities. Other government departments
would not be allowed to be involved in their operation.

A police official confirmed yesterday that about 50 Falun Gong followers had
been sent to a psychiatric hospital near Beijing for "re-education". "Most
of them are Falun Gong extremists who have been to Beijing to protest at
least 10 times," said the spokesman, who added that most were women.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

=== Hate Groups / Hate Crimes

20. David Duke forms white civil rights group
CNN/AP, Jan. 21, 2000
[Hate groups]
Former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke on Friday launched a civil rights group
for whites, saying they face "massive discrimination" from the nation's
growing population of minorities.

"European Americans must band together as a group the same way African
Americans do, the same way other minorities do," Duke told reporters at the
National Press Club.

He announced formation of the National Organization for European American
Rights. About 75 organizers of the new group, which will be based in
Mandeville, Louisiana, plan to meet Saturday in Philadelphia, and Duke said
there are already member representatives in 30 states.

Ken Jacobson, assistant national director for the Anti-Defamation League,
called Duke's announcement a transparent effort by "a leading racist and
hater" to recast himself as a civil rights leader.

This is not Duke's first time starting an organization geared towards whites.
After resigning in 1978 as national director of the Knights of Ku Klux Klan,
Duke formed the National Association for the Advancement of White People. He
left that organization in 1989 when he was elected to Louisiana's House of
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

21. Bill would name KKK's adopted highway for Rosa Parks
CNN/AP, Jan. 20, 2000
[Hate groups]
A state lawmaker embarrassed by the Ku Klux Klan's participation in
Missouri's Adopt-A-Highway program wants to rename the Klan-sponsored stretch
of highway for the civil rights hero Rosa Parks.

Parks' refusal to yield her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus in 1955 was a
turning point in the civil rights movement.

"To have the Klan clean up a section of highway named to honor the woman who
started the modern civil rights movement -- I love it," said state Sen. Bill
Clay Jr., the black Democrat from St. Louis who offered the legislation

Signs on both ends of a portion of Interstate 55 south of downtown St. Louis
now read, "Next mile adopted by Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Realm of

A spokesman for the Missouri Department of Transportation said the Klan's
participation still could be rescinded because, to the state's knowledge, no
Klan members have gone to the site to clean it up. The program's rules
require each group adopting a stretch of highway to collect litter at least
four times annually to remain in the program.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

22. William Pierce: a history of hate
Austin-American Statesman, Jan. 19, 2000
[Hate groups]
Though William Pierce calls Resistance's music "godawful," buying the label
was a natural move for a savvy marketer who has long taken a multimedia
approach to peddling hate.

Few in Hillsboro are aware their town has become the world capital of
hatecore music. The 215 residents barely interact with Pierce, aside from his
rare trips to the post office. When he moved in, authorities passed a law
limiting the right to train paramilitary troops in the area. But nary a shot
has been heard.

With "The Turner Diaries," published in 1978, Pierce wrote the white power
movement's primary text, a blueprint for revolution that has sold more than
350,000 copies, mostly through gun shows and mail-order sales. A photocopied
paragraph from the novel -- about white supremacists blowing up the FBI
building -- was found in the car of Timothy McVeigh, who was convicted of the
Oklahoma City bombing.

Inspiring more McVeighs to orchestrate their violent energy more effectively
is among Pierce's goals. His larger purpose, he said, is to bring about an
America free of minorities.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

23. Hale gives date, time for Northwestern U. visit
Excite/U-Wire, Jan. 18, 2000
[Hate groups]
On the evening of Northwestern's Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration of
tolerance and diversity, white supremacist Matt Hale announced that he plans
to be on campus at 2 p.m. Friday in front of the Technological Institute.

Hale also said he plans to meet earlier in the day with five NU students who
he says are "covert" members of his group, the World Church of the Creator,
encouraging them to sign a petition that would grant his organization
religious status on campus. He said another 15 people have contacted him,
"expressing interest in becoming members." Generally, a religious group needs
only 15 student signatures to gain university recognition.

Al Cubbage, vice president for university relations, said NU cannot ask Hale
to leave if he does not come on to the school's property, which excludes the
sidewalk in front of Tech.

Fifteen signatures are normally required for any group to be granted official
status as a religious organization, but university administrators have
repeatedly denounced Hale and his group as "crazies." They have also said
repeatedly that 15 signatures would not guarantee the World Church
recognition on campus.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

24. Historian accused of right-wing extremism
The Times (England), Jan. 21, 2000
[Hate groups]
David Irving, the historian, was accused yesterday of being a right-wing
extremist who made statements deliberately designed to feed virulent
anti-Semitism still prevalent in the world.

During highly charged exchanges in the High Court, Richard Rampton, QC,
accused Mr Irving of being a holocaust denier who based statements on the
flimsiest evidence.

Mr Irving is suing Deborah Lipstadt, an American academic, and Penguin Books
for claiming in her book Denying the Holocaust: the growing assault on truth
and memory that he is a "Hitler partisan" who has twisted history.

Wounded by Mr Rampton's allegation, Mr Irving, conducting his own case,
accused him of playing to the press by making slurs. Ignoring Mr Irving's
protest that the allegation was serious, Mr Rampton continued: "Our case
against you is that you consort with deeply anti-Semitic people."

Mr Irving, he said, had dignified himself as an historian who had lent his
considerable weight to making statements denying that the Holocaust had taken
place. "He has done so," he said, "because of his sympathies and attitudes.
He is a right-wing extremist." The hearing continues.
[...entire item...]

25. Target of Internet threat relieved by filing of charges
Oregon Live/AP, Jan. 19, 2000
[Hate groups]
A woman who fled across the country after receiving death threats for
fighting racism and housing discrimination, only to have the hate messages
follow, is breathing a bit easier now.

Bonnie Jouhari, about 42, who moved with her 16-year-old daughter from
eastern Pennsylvania to Western Washington about two years ago, said she got
the word Sunday from Andrew Cuomo, secretary of housing and urban

Cuomo announced Monday that Ryan Wilson and a group he runs, ALPHA HQ, were
charged in Philadelphia last week with violating the Fair Housing Act.

Still, she remains unhappy about the lack of criminal prosecution by the
Justice Department and FBI. "The FBI never had me into their office, not
even once, to take a statement about the Internet case," Jouhari said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

26. Slo-Mo Justice Against Hate
WIRED, Jan. 18, 2000
[Hate groups]
Making death threats on your Web site may get you in trouble with the US
Department of Housing and Urban Development, but the Justice Department has
been slow to act on one white supremacist's threat.

In a highly unusual move, HUD has filed discrimination charges against Ryan
Wilson of Pennsylvania for threatening the life of Bonnie Jouhari, a housing
rights activist named on the home page of Wilson's white supremacist group,
Alpha HQ.

It is thought to be the first federal civil rights case targeting a Web site.
The civil charge of discrimination, with a minimum penalty of US$22,000,
alleges the threats made by Wilson violated the Fair Housing Act by
preventing Jouhari from carrying out her duties.

The charges are a new twist in a saga that began in early 1998 when Wilson
posted Jouhari's picture along with an animated graphic showing her office
exploding into pieces. "Traitors like this should beware," read a caption
accompanying the photograph, "for in our day, they will be hung from the neck
from the nearest tree or lamp post."

Soon afterward, Jouhari and her daughter began to receive threatening phone
calls. "It was crazy. I'd find Klan fliers on my car or dead flowers strewn
every where. My tires were slashed," she said. By the end of 1998, the
harassment had reached a point where Jouhari felt compelled to move to

Jouhari notified various local, state, and federal authorities of the
harassment in February 1998. But HUD waited nearly two years to press

"We're required by law to first allow the Department of Justice to
investigate the criminal aspects of the case," Johannsen said. "Last August,
they told us we could move ahead with our investigation."

"It is against federal law to use a telecommunication device to annoy, abuse,
or threaten someone," said Brian Levin, law professor at California State
University at San Bernadino.

The DOJ has successfully prosecuted at least two prominent cases involving
online hate in the past year, but both cases involved emailed death threats.
It shouldn't matter that it was posted on the Net as long as it's a bona fide
threat, Levin said.

Goldman, of Hatewatch, said the material on Wilson's site was far more
aggressive and unusually explicit in its description of what he wanted to
happen to Jouhari.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

=== Jehovah's Witnesses

27. Jehovah's Witness died after refusing transfusion
The Guardian (England), Jan. 20, 2000
A Jehovah's Witness died after she refused to have a blood transfusion which
would have saved her life, because it was against her religious beliefs.

Beverley Matthews, 33, of Stockport, Greater Manchester, was suffering from
toxic shock syndrome when she was taken to Stepping Hill hospital with
chronic sickness and diarrhoea last November.

She failed to respond to antibiotics and her condition deteriorated rapidly.
Hospital consultants told her that she would have a 30% chance of survival if
she had a blood transfusion, but she and her family refused. Mrs Matthews
died several hours later.

Mrs Matthews was the mother of a four-year-old son, Jake, and lived with her
husband, Ian, in Bredbury, Stockport. Her family had been Jehovah's Witnesses
for 25 years, although her husband is not thought to share her beliefs.

Bloodless surgery is reported to increase the risk of death by between 35%
and 40%. But for Mrs Matthews there was no alternative to a blood
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

27a. Doctors in standoff with parents of girl who needs blood
CNN, Jan. 20, 2000
A 10-year-old Nicaraguan girl, Hazel Borge, could soon die because her
parents -- devout Jehovah's Witnesses -- are refusing to allow doctors to
give her a blood transfusion.

"The committee in charge of evaluating special cases held an urgent meeting
at the hospital to evaluate this special case," said Ramiro Lopez, a director
of The Velez Hospital in Managua. "The committee decided that a blood
transfusion is necessary, because otherwise the girl will die."

"We told this to the girl's parents, and they came here with legal
representation from the Jehovah's Witness Organization. They signed a
document in which the parents are absolutely opposed to the blood
transfusion," said Lopez.

The girl was in a car accident on January 10 in which both her legs were
fractured and she lost a lot of blood. But Jehovah's Witnesses have deep
religious convictions against accepting whole blood, red blood cells and
white blood cells.

In spite of the parents' wish not to give the child a blood transfusion,
doctors at the hospital went ahead with the procedure to save the girl's life
after she went into shock.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

=== Mormonism

28. LDS church moves to mediation with Tanners over copyright
NewsNet @BYU, Jan. 18, 2000
The on-going legal effort by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
to protect its copyright on church-owned materials moves into the mediation
phase Jan. 21. United States District Court Judge Tena Campbell referred
the case to mediation in an attempt to encourage settlement of the case. The
first mediation will take place on Jan. 21.

Berne S. Broadbent, attorney for IRI, compared the posting to pirated
software or music. "The handbook is copyrighted information essential to
the church.... The complaint seeks an injunction against further copyright
violations," he said.

While the Tanners contend that the church is attempting to suppress
information, the church argues it has no choice but to defend the copyright.
According to church spokesman Dale Bills the issue is not access, but
"protecting copyrighted text."

The lawsuit may continue, "for years," said Sandra Tanner. She does not
believe a settlement is possible. "The only way they will settle is if I
admit wrongdoing, which I will not do," she said.

Under copyright law, failure to vigorously defend a copyright can result in
loss of legal protection. The church and IRI, by failing to act, would risk
loss of control over the documents, leaving them in the public domain.
Failure to act on the church's part could allow the information to be revised
and reprinted without any legal restrictions.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

* How to have your name removed from Mormon Church records

29. Baptists Seek To 'Convert' Mormons
AOL/AP, Jan. 22, 2000
Two Southern Baptist congregations are preparing a crusade to teach their
members how to convert ''cult'' members, including Mormons and Jehovah's

The Cult Awareness Impact CrusadeOff-site Link is scheduled for Feb. 6-8 at Calvary
Baptist Church and Oaklawn Baptist Church.

Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses are not Christians, say the Rev. Mark Corts,
Calvary's senior pastor, and the Rev. Philip Henry, assistant pastor for
evangelism and new-member assimilation.

Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses members objected to the congregations' plans.

''I'm disappointed that they would go to that approach,'' said Gary Smith,
president of the Winston-Salem stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints.

Robert Shields, one of the overseers of the South Congregation of Kingdom
Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Winston Salem, said he wasn't bothered by the
cult designation.

''But a cult follows a human leader. We follow Jesus,'' he said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

* Theologically, Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses are cults of

A cult of Christianity is a group of people, which claiming to be
Christian, embraces a particular doctrinal system taught by an
individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which (system)
denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central
doctrines of the Christian faith as taught in the sixty-six books of
the Bible.

- Alan Gomes, "Unmasking The Cults"Off-site Link

see also: http://www.apologeticsindex.org/c09a01.html

30. LDS Urged to Back Prop. 22
Salt Lake Tribune, Jan. 21, 2000
Leaders of the LDS Church, one of the principal supporters of California's
Defense of Marriage Act, on Sunday urged members to redouble their efforts in
support of Proposition 22.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has around 740,000
members in California, last year asked members to donate money and time in
support of the so-called Knight Initiative. On Sunday, the three-member North
America West Area Presidency, which oversees Mormons in that region, noted
that the faith's governing First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
have "solemnly proclaimed that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained
of God."

In their message, read in church meetings Sunday, (...) "We would greatly
appreciate it if all would continue contacting friends and neighbors as
directed by the local coordinator about this issue, and distribute, as well
as put on your lawns, the provided lawn signs" available at local church
leaders' and members' homes.

Throughout the campaign, the LDS Church has made a point of instructing
members to do any work related to the effort on their own time and property,
not that of the church. The church has long maintained its right to become
involved in political issues that it considers to have moral implications.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

=== "Attleboro Cult"

31. Father tells judge he has no authority over missing child
Boston Herald/AP, Jan. 19, 2000
["Attleboro cult"]
A father continued to be jailed on a contempt charge today after telling a
judge he has no jurisdiction over his missing son because the boy was not an
American citizen.

Juvenile Court Judge Kenneth Nasif ordered Jacques Robidoux to remain behind
bars until April 12.

At Wednesday's hearing, Robidoux offered his first rationale for refusing to
answer questions. He told the judge that his son is not subject to the
court's jurisdiction because he is not an American citizen and does not have
a Social Security card.

If Robidoux had asserted his right against self-incrimination, he likely
would have been freed, but he has chosen not to. Robidoux's wife, Karen, has
been free since she asserted her Fifth Amendment right.

Robidoux is a member of a strict Christian sect that rejects doctors, schools
and outsiders.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

32. Cult leader: Missing son part of 'sovereign nation'
Boston Herald, Jan. 20, 2000
["Attleboro cult"]
An Attleboro cult leader believed to have buried his infant son claims the
government has no right to investigate the child's disappearance because the
boy is a member of a sovereign nation.

''Samuel Elijah Robidoux is a sovereign individual. He is not a citizen of
the United States. He has no Social Security number,'' the boy's father,
Jacques Robidoux, acting as his own attorney, argued in Attleboro Juvenile
Court yesterday.

Authorities believe Samuel Robidoux was buried after he stopped nursing and
starved to death. His mother, Karen Robidoux, 24, has invoked her Fifth
Amendment right against self-incrimination in the case.

Police have searched unsuccessfully in Seekonk, Attleboro, Pawtucket and
Maine for the boy's body, and that of his stillborn infant cousin, Jeremiah
Courneau, son of cult members David and Rebecca Courneau.

Bristol County investigators say a grand jury could be convened to charge
members of the Christian fundamentalist sect, possibly with murder, even if
the boys' bodies aren't found.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

=== Other News

33. Goddess works some magic in Taiwan-China ties
Australian Financial Review, Jan. 20, 2000
Matsu, the Taoist goddess of the sea, has been performing miracles for her
devout followers in the Chinese coastal province of Fujian and on the island
of Taiwan for more than a thousand years. Signs are emerging that Matsu, a
deity also known as Tin Hau in some parts of southern China, could be
responsible for a miracle of sorts over the next few months.

Although direct shipping links between mainland China and Taiwan have been
banned since the Communist victory in 1949, Taipei has decided to allow
Taiwanese pilgrims to travel to a famous temple on Fujian's Meizhou Island to
celebrate the goddess's birthday in March.

As many as 100,000 Taiwanese pilgrims pay homage to the sea deity at her
shrine in Fujian every year, but are forced to fly there via Hong Kong or
Macau. Others make the 150km trip across the Taiwan Strait illegally on
small fishing boats.

But the head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, Mr Su Chi, has confirmed
local media reports that Taipei will this year consider allowing a number of
quasi-direct voyages to Meizhou Island for religious purposes.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

34. Peyote thrives in South Texas; Native Americans use it during religious
Star-Telegram, Jan. 20, 2000
[URL removed because it currently refers to inappropriate content]/news/doc/1047/1:RELIGION52/1:RELIGION520120100.html
(...) He is one of five licensed peyote dealers in the nation, and has spent
most of his life searching for peyote in the wild brush country between
Laredo and Hebbronville.

Four South Texas counties -- Webb, Zapata, Jim Hogg and Starr -- comprise an
area known as the "peyote gardens" to Native Americans, and it descends into
the Sierra Madre of Mexico. To many Native Americans, South Texas is a holy
place, Johnson said.

Although Johnson, 53, is a Baptist, he also is active in the Native American
Church, which is based on the peyote religion that has been part of
indigenous life for 10,000 years. The church, with about 400,000 members
nationwide, combines elements of Christianity with the worship and
consumption of peyote.

In the Native American Church, peyote has the same place as the communion
sacrament in Christianity, said Lourdes Jiordani, a professor of anthropology
at Albright College in Pennsylvania, who studies the peyote religion. Only
those who are at least one-quarter Native American can legally purchase
peyote, although many non-Native Americans take peyote at church ceremonies.

The ceremony is led by a roadman, who is similar to a priest or minister. The
title of roadman comes from his role of leading people on a journey through
peyote visions. This leadership role is passed down through an apprentice
process from one generation to another.

Johnson said that the Native American Church has helped him. "It is just
like the Baptist or the Catholic Church," he said. "All religions are
basically the same. What peyote does is give me a clear mind to go to my
Creator. The way I look at it, I am Mexican-American, and my ancestors were
more Native American than anybody else."

The DEA classifies peyote as a drug with no medicinal value but not as an
addictive drug. "A lot depends on if you take it in a ritual context," said
Jiordani, the anthropologist. "If you take it by yourself, there is the
danger of a bad trip. But if you have someone to guide you through and do it
in a sacred context, it isn't dangerous."
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

35. A return to roots
Chicago Tribune, Jan. 21, 2000
(...) This is not the Voudou that most Americans may have constructed in
their imaginations around pop culture presentations of "voodoo." But it is
the same religion first brought to the Americas from West Africa by slaves.
At its root, it is the same religion that adapted over the centuries to
survive the intolerance of a slaveholding society, manifesting itself as
Haitian Voudou, Santeria, Cuban Lucumi, Brazilian Candomble and many other

Voudou or Vodun (the spellings vary in translation from African languages) is
not a conniving practice of casting spells and placing curses as pulp fiction
and movies may have portrayed it, Ifatunji said. It is, rather, a religion
based on the accumulated wisdom of thousands of generations of ancestors. It
is a complicated system of rituals and folk tales, which practitioners rely
on to find harmony with God, known as Oludumare to the Yoruban people.

There are about 10,000 people practicing some form of Orisa Vodun in Chicago,
Ifatunji said. Other forms, such as Haitian Voudou and Santeria, are
practiced in Chicago's Caribbean and Latin American immigrant communities.
However, it is difficult to assess how widespread the religion is, partly
because it is most commonly practiced in one's own home, experts say.

Although some practices of Orisa Vodun may be a radical departure from the
Christian faiths most American followers once professed, the faiths are not
completely incompatible, said Adekola Adedapa, an Orisa Vodun priest in

"I have subscribed to the principles of being a disciple, and exercised the
Golden Rule all my life," said Adedapa, who had a mixed Baptist and Catholic
upbringing. "I say we're all after the same thing. We just have different
ways of expressing it because of our culture."

In the Voudou religion, Oludumare is the supreme being, but there are other,
lesser divinities known as the Orisa. Some of them, including Eshu and Ifa,
have been deities since creation. Others are deified ancestors, Yoruban
people who were elevated after death. Some students of Voudou compare
Oludumare and the Orisa to Christianity's relationship between God and the
saints. It is a comparison that many Voudou practitioners resist.

"There are superficial elements within the Vodun religion that illustrate
some contacts, rather than connections, between Vodun and Christianity," said
Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, a professor of Africology at the University of
Wisconsin at Milwaukee. "However, there exists little similarity between the
two in terms of theology."

Bellegarde-Smith, who also is a practicing houngan, a priest of Haitian
Vodun, said Vodun has more in common with eastern religions, such as Hinduism
and Shinto, as well as with Native American theology.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

36. Atheists withdraw suit over Boise cross
Deseret News, Jan. 15, 2000
The American Atheists will postpone their lawsuit to remove a 60-foot-tall
cross that overlooks the city after a federal court ruling against the group
in a similar case in California.

Rob Sherman said his group will appeal a decision in San Francisco and wait
for the appellate court ruling before filing suit in Idaho.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

=== Death Penalty

37. No Evidence Death Penalty Deters Crime, Reno Says
Excite/Reuters, Jan. 20, 2000
U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, the country's top law enforcement official,
said on Thursday that she has yet to find any evidence that the death penalty
deters crime.

"I have inquired for most of my adult life about studies that might show that
the death penalty is a deterrent. And I have not seen any research that would
substantiate that point," Reno said at her weekly Justice Department news

Asked if she had any reservations about the Justice Department proceeding
with a federal execution, Reno replied, "Before I authorize anything such as
that, I make sure that the facts and the law justify it." Reno makes the
final decision on whether federal prosecutors anywhere in the country will
seek the death penalty under federal law.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

38. Half of state's death-penalty cases reversed
Chicago Tribune, Jan. 22, 2000
An Illinois Supreme Court ruling on Friday pushed the number of death-penalty
cases in Illinois that have been reversed for a new trial or sentencing
hearing to 130 -- exactly half the total of those capital cases that have
completed at least one round of appeals, according to a Tribune analysis.

The state's system of capital punishment has come under increasing criticism,
with both the Illinois Supreme Court and Illinois General Assembly creating
committees to study possible reforms. Since 1977, 13 Death Row inmates in
Illinois have been exonerated and 12 executed.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

39. Robison executed for '82 Lake Worth slayings
Dallas Morning News, Jan. 22, 2000
Convicted killer Larry Keith Robison was executed Friday for murdering five
Lake Worth residents in a 1982 stabbing and shooting rampage. Mr. Robison,
42, whose family accepted his guilt but argued against execution because they
said he was mentally ill, was pronounced dead at 6:16 p.m., seven minutes
after an executioner began the flow of lethal drugs.

Religious leaders, death penalty opponents and advocates for the mentally ill
had pleaded for mercy for Mr. Robison. They said that it was wrong for the
state to kill someone so obviously deranged that he couldn't be responsible
for his crime. And they maintained that Mr. Robison did not understand what
awaited him in the death chamber.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1986 that mentally ill capital offenders may
be executed as long as they understand the punishment and know why they are
being put to death. Mr. Robison said he comprehended both.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

Home | How To Use | About | Contact
Look, "feel" and original content are Copyright 1996-2024+ Apologetics Index
Copyright and Linking information