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Religion News Report

Religion News Report - Feb. 19, 2000 (Vol. 4, Issue 169)

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=== Waco / Branch Davidians
1. Findings of Waco re-enactment will be subject to interpretation
2. FBI eventually forced to drop claims about Waco test, expert says
3. UK helicopter to help re-create Waco's last days

=== Aum Shinrikyo
4. Aum leader's daughters arrested
5. ''Guinea pigs''

=== Scientology
6. Church lawyers want photos suppressed
7. ''Internet vote stormed''
8. Scientologist sells cancer therapy

=== Mormonism
9. Reorganized LDS Church considers a shorter name
10. Many LDS Fraternities, Sororities Will Drop Their Greek Names

=== Jehovah's Witnesses
11. Witnesses cost me my family

=== Unification Church
12. Moon's Northward Push

=== Hate Groups
13. Nation of Islam speech hints at shift in views
14. Senior Iran cleric hopes Rushdie will be killed
15. Duke's white-rights group accused of trademark infringement
16. Internet Racism Spurs Concern at UN
17. Anti-racism group calls for Internet boycott of Yahoo!

=== A Course In Miracles
18. 'A Course in Miracles' --Original vs. Copyright
19. Who Owns the Words of Jesus?: Copyright holders protecting draft of
book, but followers claim unedited version is voice of Christ

=== Other News
20. Judge Finds for Patient Who Was Sued by Therapists (FMS/SRA)
21. Woman sacrificed for 'treasure' in far-east India
22. Court Ponders Case of Pot-Smoking Lawyer (Rastafarian)
23. 'Grow your own' plea (Rastafarian)
24. Romania withdraws restrictive religion bill
25. Dalai Lama, Karmapa Make Appearance
26. Islamic Group Tries Blocking Book

=== UFOs
27. Roswell Items Sent to NASA

=== Waco / Branch Davidians

1. Findings of Waco re-enactment will be subject to interpretation
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Feb. 18, 2000
Everyone agrees now how to re-enact the conditions of the 1993 Waco siege,
but the test next month may not conclusively determine if the FBI fired at
the Branch Davidians.

''It will still be subject to expert interpretation,'' said J. Michael
Bradford, the U.S. attorney from Beaumont, Texas.

And the lawyers' spin.

That was evident during a news conference Wednesday outside the St. Louis
offices of special counsel John C. Danforth. Lawyers for the Branch Davidians
and the Justice Department announced that they had agreed on a plan for the
test. They also agreed that it might provide useful information.

The harmony ended there. Both sides starting spinning the findings of a test
yet to be conducted.

After five months of mostly secret work, the field-test agreement is the
biggest public development so far in Danforth's investigation. Without the
involvement of his office, it's doubtful that a joint test involving the
Branch Davidians and the government would be conducted.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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2. FBI eventually forced to drop claims about Waco test, expert says
Dallas Morning News, Feb. 18, 2000
The release of full plans for a potentially pivotal infrared field test in
the Branch Davidian case came after FBI officials were forced to abandon
their claim that even basic information about the camera used in Waco was
classified, an infrared expert said Thursday.

Justice Department and FBI officials had contended for months, to both a
federal court and to congressional investigators, that revealing even the
manufacturer of the camera or basic data about how high it operated in Waco
would jeopardize law enforcement secrets and classified national security

They offered that argument to U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. of Waco
in November when they tried to convince him to reject the recommendation of
the Waco special counsel's office for a field test.

Not only would such a test be confusing and scientifically invalid, they
wrote in the November pleading, it also could compromise government secrets.
''Disclosure of even the most fundamental information would permit
identification of the aircraft and provide notice to those who seek to avoid
detection by federal law enforcement,'' the pleading said. The judge ordered
the test late last year.

A British Defense Ministry spokesman said Thursday that the loan was
contingent on U.S. agreement that there would be no public access to
sensitive operational information about the aircraft and its camera.

But in Wednesday's meeting to finalize the March tests, the court's
British-based scientific experts and British defense ministry representative
said none of the information that the FBI and the Justice Department had
tried to withhold was considered secret or sensitive in their country, said
Edward Allard, a retired infrared expert who attended the briefing on behalf
of the sect's lawyers.

Those discussions took place in a classified meeting that was adjourned after
all sides agreed that most of the FLIR information that the FBI had
previously sought to withhold was operationally insignificant or available
from public sources, Dr. Allard said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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3. UK helicopter to help re-create Waco's last days
The Guardian (England), Feb. 19, 2000
A Royal Navy Lynx surveillance helicopter is to play a key role in next
month's re-enactment of the end of the Branch Davidian siege at Waco, Texas,
in 1993 where 74 people died.

The re-enactment is being organised by Peterborough-based Vector Data
Systems, a British arm of an American hi-tech defence contractor.

The field test using the Lynx will be crucial in two investigations into the
end of the siege and could make or break dozens of US justice department and
FBI careers.

The test will also determine whether relatives of the Waco victims receive
millions of dollars in compensation from the US government.

Vector Data Systems is owned by the US-based Antion corporation and
specialises in the military application of hi-tech imaging systems.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Aum Shinrikyo

4. Aum leader's daughters arrested
India Times/AP, Feb. 20, 2000
Two teen-age daughters of the former guru of the Japanese doomsday cult
behind the 1995 Tokyo subway gassing surrendered to the police Saturday.

The police had been looking for them on suspicion they helped kidnap their
seven-year-old brother last month.

The 18-year-old and 16-year-old daughters of Shoko Asahara -- former leader
of the Aum Shinri Kyo cult -- surrendered to police in Hokota, Ibaraki
Prefecture (state), about 100 km northeast of Tokyo, said police official
Seiji Soeda.

A cult member, Nobuki Ami, 35, turned himself in with them, Soeda said. They
were all charged with trespassing. Ami was also charged with assault.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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5. ''Guinea pigs''
Northern Light/Itar-Tass, Feb. 17, 2000
AUM Shinrikyo followers in Russia could well become ''guinea pigs'' in the
sect's experiments designed to establish the degree of impact of small
concentrations of nerve gases on human psyche. According to some sources,
such experiments were conducted by chieftain of the Russian chapter of the
sect Fumihiro Zioyu who is now in Japan, according to the Syukan Post weekly.
The weekly is investigating the activity of the sect in the Commonwealth of
Independent States. According to the Japanese reporters, Russian
investigators have ''a diary of observations of toxic gases'' filled by Aum
Shinrikyo followers in Moscow. The activity of the sect was prohibited in
Russia in April 1995.
[...entire item...]

=== Scientology

6. Church lawyers want photos suppressed
St. Petersburg Times, Feb. 18, 2000
Photographs taken during the 1995 autopsy on Scientologist Lisa McPherson
should not be made public, the Church of Scientology argued in a motion filed

The photos would ''aggravate the hostile publicity which the church has
already received'' from being charged in McPherson's death, Scientology
lawyers argued. The photos, they contend, almost certainly would be published
in newspapers, broadcast on television news shows and spread across the
Internet by anti-Scientology groups.

The church's headquarters in Clearwater is charged in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit
Court with abuse of a disabled adult and illegally practicing medicine on
McPherson, a longtime Scientologist. She died in the care of Scientology
staff members who were trying to nurse her through a severe mental breakdown.

The photos are at issue because the church has made a routine demand to see
all the evidence prosecutors will use to try to prove the charges. When the
church gets the material, the public may see it as well. For that reason,
the church said it wanted everything except the photos.

When prosecutors said they felt the photos were public records, the church
filed its motion.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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7. ''Internet vote stormed''
Jyllandsposten (Denmark), Feb. 16, 2000
From: Jens Tingleff <jens_tingleff@yahoo.com>
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Message-ID: <88j7eq$gu2@edrn.newsguy.com>

(...) The message was sent as ''urgent'' addressed to an inner circle of
scientologists all over the world, and the message could not be

''It's time to dust off your cyberweapons and start defending
what you believe in''

This is written in a confidential email which has been obtained by

The call for battle was circulated to ''entrusted scientologists'' Saturday
morning - shirtly after the Jyllandsposten Internet-newspaper launched a vote
on the question ''should scientology be recognised as a religion?''

The foreign scientologists were quickly informed about the case.

''In Denmark, official recognition of Scientology in in the pipeline, so of
course certain parties are attempting to prevent the inevitable positive
result. Their latest attempt is a series of articles in a Danish newspaper.
This paper also has a web site with a vote going.'' Then, the scientologists
were how to access the Jyllandsposten web site and click on ''the right
answer'' - that is, ''ja'' [Danish for yes].

Scientology denies any knowledge of the controversial e-mail.

The e-mail was sent to a network known as ''Online OTs Network.'' ''OT'' means
''Operating Thetan'' in scientology-jargon og designates some of the highest
ranks in the internal hierachy of the organisation.

Spekesperson Anette Refstrup says that she has never heard of tghe OT
network, but the internet campaign seems to have had a certain effect. During
Saturday, more than 4000 votes were cast, versus less than 2000 on a normal
Saturday, and far more were from abroad than usual, according to the IT
company Lavasoft which runs the technical side of the internet votes at
Jyllandsposten. Americans, in particular, showed a remarkable interest in the
Danish vote.

When the vote started Saturday morning, there was a clear majority against
recognition of scientology, but during the day yes-votes flooded in.
Therefore, the vote ended with a relatively balanced result, 56.6% said no,
and 41.5% said yes.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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8. Scientologist sells cancer therapy
Tages-Anzeiger (Germany), Feb. 19, 2000
Translation: CISAR
American healer Hulda Clark has caused an uproar on the alternative healing
scene. She claims that cancer, AIDS and other serious illnesses are produced
by a pathogen, the so-called [intestinal] fluke. Clark also provided the
''true'' therapy: with the help of an electrical device which is reminiscent,
in a fateful way, of a Scientology e-meter, a sort of lie detector, the
pathogens are supposed to be killed off in a few minutes. In the marketing of
the expensive and dubious Clark method in Switzerland, Scientologist David P.
Amrein is playing the central role. Even doctors have let themselves be
blinded and are trying out the controversial cure.

In her book ''The Cure For all Diseases,'' Hulda Clark wrote, ''It is now
possible, with the help of an electrical current, to kill off bacteria,
viruses and parasites within minutes.'' Clark goes on to ask, ''Does this mean
you can cancel your date for surgery, radiation or chemotherapy? YES! After
curing your cancer with this recipe it cannot come back. This is not a
treatment for cancer: It is a cure!''

Chemist Hulda Clark is facing tough times in the USA. In 1993 she was
investigated in Indiana for practicing medicine without a license. The healer
moved to San Diego, where she was arrested in September 1999 and temporarily
placed in detention. Now the proceedings against her are to continue.

Clark is presently operating out of Mexico. A two-week cure from her costs
almost $5,000 (about 8,000 franks), not including room and board. Rumors
state Hulda Clark and her son are Scientologists. David P. Amrein, however,
denies that.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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Pictures of Clark and Amrein on their Swiss web pageOff-site Link

Background informationOff-site Link

=== Mormonism

9. Reorganized LDS Church considers a shorter name
Deseret News/AP, Feb. 15, 2000
The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will consider
adopting a shorter name to distinguish it more clearly from the Salt Lake
City-based Mormon Church.

Sheehy said the name Community of Christ is appropriate because it shows
the church has a strong community element and demonstrates the sense that it
''is not the individual person but salvation as a group.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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10. Many LDS Fraternities, Sororities Will Drop Their Greek Names
Salt Lake Tribune, Feb. 19, 2000
Beginning fall semester 2000, many of the LDS church's fraternity and sorority
programs will change their names from Lambda Delta Sigma and Sigma Gamma Chi
to ''Institute Women's Association'' and ''Institute Men's Association.''

The changes are ''intended to use the positive elements of these organizations
to meet the needs of young single adult members of the Church, including new
converts, and reach out to those who may be less involved in Church
activities,'' said LDS spokesman Dale Bills in a prepared statement. ''The
changes will also increase the opportunities for spiritual fellowship and
provide for greater participation in leadership, service, and social
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Jehovah's Witnesses

11. Witnesses cost me my family
Halifax Herald Limited (Canada), Feb. 13, 2000
(...) ''People just don't believe that these things take place, and they do,''
says Fox, 67.

The retired Fall River man says the Jehovah's Witnesses had a role in the
1975 disappearance of his wife and two youngest children.

Grief-stricken, Fox paid a private investigation company to pursue the family
across Canada. But he has never seen them again.

It's a startling tale, which Randy Duplak, his lawyer at the time, remembers
to this day. ''It was an unbelievable scenario that people just wouldn't
co-operate, denied knowledge, denied knowing where his wife and children
were,'' says Duplak, now a provincial government lawyer.

Duplak says he had no reason to doubt Fox's theory, because Fox appeared
credible and had been ''an insider'' - a Witness - until being evicted from the
group, or disfellowshipped, two months before his family vanished.

Fox says smoking was the reason he was given for being kicked out of the
Witness congregation in Dartmouth's Woodlawn area. Smoking is still grounds
for being disfellowshipped.

Sadly, his wife suffered from mental illness and attempted suicide twice, he
says. In 1965, she took their young son Terry and left Arnold, aided in
hiding by Witnesses in Toronto, he says. He found her and, ''after having to
talk to about 16 bloody Witnesses,'' brought her home.

Afterwards, they lived what Fox calls ''a roller-coaster ride.'' According to
1974-75 medical records contained in Fox's legal file, and which he has
allowed Duplak to show to The Sunday Herald, the Foxes shared an ''unhappy''
and even ''unhealthy'' relationship.

Duplak says the medical records were obtained to satisfy lawyers that
Catherine wasn't running because Fox was abusive.

The Sunday Herald tracked down Terry Fox at his home in Lethbridge, Alta. He
is still a Jehovah's Witness.

He is hesitant to discuss his father's allegations. But he does not deny
Arnold Fox's version of events. He will only say his father is being unfair
about the role of Jehovah's Witnesses in the affair.

Dennis Charland, public affairs director for the Witnesses' governing
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in Canada, says there would be nothing
wrong with fellow Witnesses helping a woman who wants to leave her husband.

Charland cannot comment on Fox's story, but says, ''to suggest that (his
family disappeared) because of the church, well, that's heresy.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Unification Church

12. Moon's Northward Push
International Herald Tribune, Feb. 16, 2000
The business arm of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, hoping
to compensate for problems at its operations at home in South Korea, is
expanding its investments in North Korea with a joint-venture auto plant that
will assemble Fiat cars.

The project culminates years of effort on the part of Mr. Moon, his church
and Tongil to enter the largely untapped North Korean market. Mr. Moon,
despite a previous record of anti-communism, met North Korea's former leader,
Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang in 1991.

But Mr. Moon appears to have gained a special niche in the North through
frequent expression of a desire for reunification of the peninsula through
peaceful means.

''We must find a love that will benefit both sides,'' he said in Seoul last
week, adding that it was ''heaven's desire that North Korea and South Korea
can be united.'' His Unification Church ''is an organization you can deal
with,'' said Aidan Foster-Carter, a specialist on Korea at Leeds University
in England, explaining why North Korean leaders were willing to deal with Mr.
Moon's organization.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Hate Groups

13. Nation of Islam speech hints at shift in views
St. Petersburg Times, Feb. 19, 2000
Rasul Muhammad, a top aide of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and
scion of one of the organization's most revered families, preached the value
of unity, moral responsibility, education and self-sufficiency during a
recent visit to honor five men.

And as Farrakhan did during a December speech, Muhammad hinted at softer
feelings toward whites and Jewish people, groups long pilloried by the
controversial black organization.

The late Elijah Muhammad, who developed the Nation of Islam, is said to have
referred to whites as ''blue-eyed devils.''

Muhammad, one of his 21 children, made no apology for the group's past
rhetoric. His comments during a followup interview make unclear the extent to
which Farrakhan's group has moderated its views.

Such equivocation does not surprise John L. Esposito, director for the Center
of Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University.

''In recent years, Mr. Farrakhan has, on the one hand, talked about and moved
toward at times a more mainstream position, whether it is in his
interpretation of Islam or his politics or ideology.

''Yet, at the same time, there seems to be in statements that are made by him
and at times by some of his representatives, a falling back into the language
of racial separatism, a falling back into language which is seen by American
Jews and others as bordering on being anti-Semitic,'' Esposito said.

''The transition that seems to be taking place in Farrakhan and his movement
now is more difficult to read because it seems to vacillate between an older
position and a newer position,'' Esposito added.

Membership figures also were not released for the region. Rasul Muhammad used
Malcolm X's answer, when he was asked a similar question. ''His response
was,'' Muhammad said, ''that those that know don't say and those that say don't

The organization actually is ''relatively small'' in comparison to the rival,
mainstream Muslim group headed by Muhammad's half-brother, Warith Deen
Mohammed, said Esposito, author of Islam in the World and in America, a
chapter in the new edition of World Religions in America. The book is edited
by Jacob Neusner, distinguished research professor of religious studies at
USF. It is difficult to estimate the size of the movement, Esposito added.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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14. Senior Iran cleric hopes Rushdie will be killed
Yahoo/Reuters, Feb. 18, 2000
A top conservative Iranian cleric has expressed hope that English novelist
Salman Rushdie will be killed, as decreed by Iran's late revolutionary leader
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

''This decree is divine and unalterable and no religious scholar ... can
revoke it. God willing, it will be carried out,'' Iran's official news agency
IRNA quoted Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi as saying.

Several hardline Islamic bodies in Iran, including the elite Revolutionary
Guards, have issued statements reaffirming that Rushdie must be killed.

An Iranian foundation pledged to add interest to its 1.75 million pound
bounty on the head of Rushdie and compensate any damage suffered by anyone
who kills the Indian-born writer.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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15. Duke's white-rights group accused of trademark infringement
Dallas Morning News, Feb. 19, 2000
No Fear Inc., the maker of apparel for mountain bikers and other extreme
sports enthusiasts, has filed suit alleging former Ku Klux Klan leader David
Duke infringed on the company's trademark by calling his new white-rights
group NOFEAR.

Last month, Mr. Duke launched the National Organization for European American
Rights, or NOFEAR. Mr. Duke has said the group's mission is to fight what he
says is widespread discrimination against white people of European descent.

Mr. Duke denied that the group's name violated trademark rights.

''The name of the organization is the National Organization for European
American Rights,'' Mr. Duke said. ''And if somebody uses the letters, that's
not what we're about. That's just the initials of our organization.''

Mr. Duke said he was unaware that the No Fear apparel company existed.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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16. Internet Racism Spurs Concern at UN
Excite/AP, Feb. 16, 2000
The United States could do more to curb the use of the Internet for racist
material while upholding freedom of speech, experts said at a U.N. meeting

Speakers noted the legal challenges of controlling Internet content in, and
originating from, the United States, where the First Amendment of the
constitution guarantees freedom of speech.

There are an estimated 250 to 400 self-proclaimed hate groups in the United
States with their own Web sites. The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal
Center, whose monitors follow links from hate groups' Web sites, said last
year about 2,000 sites had surfaced as ''problematic,'' for example, offering
instructions for bomb-making or extolling the Ku Klux Klan.

''The United States has developed into a safe haven for racists spreading
their word worldwide by using the Internet,'' Swiss-based information
technology law expert David Rosenthal said in a paper submitted to the
conference, which started Wednesday.

European countries, most of which outlaw racist speech, say most racist and
hate sites are made available in or through the United States, he said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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17. Anti-racism group calls for Internet boycott of Yahoo!
Yahoo/AFP, Feb. 19, 2000
An international group fighting racism has called for a boycott of Yahoo!
Internet sites because they allow sale of Nazi ''cult objects'' in cyberspace.

The International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICRA) issued the
call Friday in a statement here, while also calling on ''leaders of several
countries'' and ''on the conscience of democrats everywhere'' to end the ''vile''

Citing Britain, Canada, Sweden, and the United States, LICRA deplored that
''negationist, xenophobic, racist and anti-Semitic (Internet) sites blossom
there with complete freedom.''

Speaking Thursday in Geneva at a UN-sponsored seminar on fighting
Internet-based racism, law professor David Rosenthal called for extensive
international cooperation using all technical and legal means to suppress
such sites.

Racist speech in the United States can be banned only if it provokes violence
or is part of a crime, he said.

Most of Europe prohibits racist speech by law, and people outside the United
States are using US providers as relays for racist speech, while enjoying
partial protection from identification, he added. ''In this sense the US has
taken a similar role as traditional 'offshore' countries do in regard to
incomes taxes or legal gambling, for example,'' Rosenthal said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== A Course In Miracles

18. 'A Course in Miracles' --Original vs. Copyright
Salt Lake Tribune, Feb. 19, 2000
An original manuscript of A Course in Miracles was recently discovered in a
Virginia library and has been circulating on the Internet. Here is a sampling
of the differences between the original version and the 1976 published
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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19. Who Owns the Words of Jesus?: Copyright holders protecting draft of book,
but followers claim unedited version is voice of Christ
Salt Lake Tribune, Feb. 19, 2000
For nearly two decades, the Rev. Brian Eenigenburg has been a devotee of A
Course in Miracles, the three-volume work believed to be the words of Jesus
dictated from heaven to New York psychologist Helen Schucman in the 1960s and

Imagine Eenigenburg's delight in mid-January when he and hundreds of others
received an e-mail of an earlier, ''unedited'' version of the work, which
included statements and ideas omitted from the official version.

A battle is now being waged between those who have copyrights to A Course in
Miracles and those who believe that ''the words of Jesus are not copyrightable
under the law.''

Kenneth and Gloria Wapnick, executive directors of the Foundation For A
Course in Miracles [FACIM] of Roscoe, N.Y., which holds the book's copyright,
say the early manuscript is nothing but a rough draft. They believe they are
protecting Schucman's interests by keeping the draft out of the public.

Lawyers for the foundation and Penguin Books, which publishes A Course in
Miracles, have sent threatening letters to those they suspect might be
e-mailing the unedited version. They say they have already closed down a
couple of websites promoting the material.

But such efforts ''don't seem to be able to stem the rushing tide,''
Eenigenburg says.

While writing Course, Schucman and Thetford shared the original manuscript,
now the subject of the controversy, with Hugh Lynn Cayce, son of well-known
psychic, Edward Cayce.

That manuscript was passed down to Hugh Cayce's son, Charles Thomas Cayce,
current president of the Association for Research and Englightenment [ARE] in
Virginia Beach, Va. A patron -- no one knows who -- recently discovered and
copied the manuscript in ARE's library. It was then distributed
electronically. But back in 1972, after Schucman showed it to Cayce,
Wapnick was enlisted to help edit the work, particularly the early chapters,
he said.

''A lot of changes had to be made because Helen's hearing was not all that
good,'' he said. ''The early material was not polished or well-written and had
a number of inconsistencies.''

The foundation's copyright controls are being challenged in three ongoing
lawsuits. Wapnick's efforts have stifled discussion and interpretation of
the Course, said Doug Thompson of the newly established Tyndale Society in
Canada. The early copies were distributed freely, without restriction and
without any copyright notice, Thompson said.

''Divinely authored material cannot be copyrighted,'' Thompson said. ''Law will
not stop the giving away of A Course in Miracles any more than it stopped the
translation and publication of the Bible 400 years ago.''

For devoted followers eager for any materials they believe were dictated
by Jesus, the unedited manuscript may provide clarity on key ideas.
''Suppose you discover that the scripture you have been following had
undergone major editing, including major deletions, and these edits and
deletions either obsure or change entirely the meaning that was apparently
intended originally,'' Eenigenburg said.

He is not convinced by Wapnick's arguments about editing.
''Jesus doesn't use working drafts. And he doesn't need editing.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Other News

20. Judge Finds for Patient Who Was Sued by Therapists
The Legal Intelligencer, Feb. 16, 2000
A woman sued by her former therapists after she publicly criticized their
controversial treatment methods is calling last week's ruling in her favor a
victory for freedom of speech.

The settlement agreement ended a lawsuit filed by Diament against Genesis
for medical malpractice. Among the allegations was that Diament was
pressured by the therapists to have false memories of participating in
satanic rituals and suffering abuse at the hands of her family.

The trio said that Diament violated the confidentiality agreement when she
gave a television interview and held a discussion at a symposium on therapy,
in which she described them as running a ''cult'' that ''tears families apart,''
according to the complaint they filed in 1998. She did not, however, mention
Genesis by name.

In an order signed Feb. 7, however, Philadelphia Judge Matthew D.
Carrafiello, found against the Genesis therapists, ruling that there was no
restriction in the settlement agreement that would even at a stretch have
kept Diament from talking about her experiences, as long as she did not
touch on the issue of her litigation against her therapists.

''For several years Genesis has been harassing their detractors or people who
are outspoken against them through the legal system,'' said Diament, who now
lives in Philadelphia, in an interview after Carrafiello's decision was
released. ''Many people have been sued by them, but the suits have all either
been dismissed in court as baseless or Genesis has lost. I'm happy with the
judge's decision.''

Diament said she was also encouraged and pressured by the therapists to have
false memories of participating in satanic rituals and suffering abuse at
the hands of her family. Her suit, like others that have been filed against
Genesis, Mansmann and Neuhausel, also said they told her she would either go
insane or die if she left their care.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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21. Woman sacrificed for 'treasure' in far-east India
Yahoo/AFP, Feb. 18, 2000
Police in the far-eastern Indian state of Tripura said Friday they had
arrested two men who had confessed to beheading a a young woman in a bizarre
sacrifice ritual.

''One of the killers said he was directed by God in a dream to sacrifice three
women and in return would be given the key to a hidden treasure,'' a police
spokesman told AFP by phone from the state capital Agartala.

Tripura, bordering Bangladesh, is a remote region, where superstition and
folklore still make up a fundamental part of the social fabric.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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22. Court Ponders Case of Pot-Smoking Lawyer
Fox News, Feb. 18, 2000
A South African court is weighing the case of a Rastafarian whose bid to
become a lawyer has been thwarted because his religion compels him to smoke
cannabis, the South African Press Association said Friday.

Rastafarians are a sect of Jamaican origin who believe they are the chosen
people, that late Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie was a divine incarnation,
and that by smoking cannabis they can attain a state that takes them closer
to God.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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23. 'Grow your own' plea
The Press/NZPA (New Zealand), Feb. 17, 2000
Green Party MP Nandor Tanczos appealed in Parliament for people over 18 to be
allowed to grow and possess cannabis for their own use.

''We have the highest recorded arrest rate for cannabis in the world, police
spend tens of millions of dollars arresting people for it, and, despite what
they say, 85 per cent of these are for simple personal possession.''

Mr Tanczos, a Rastafarian who has previously said he smokes cannabis for
religious reasons, told the House people did not get involved in cannabis law
reform because they wanted to smoke it. ''Everyone in this country who wants
to smoke cannabis already does so,'' he said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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24. Romania withdraws restrictive religion bill
Newsrooms, Feb. 17, 2000
A bill that would have restricted minority religious groups in Romania has
been withdrawn by the government, the Keston News Service reports. On
Wednesday a parliamentary commission received formal notification of the
withdrawal of the bill on the General Status of Religious Cults following a
unanimous vote on February 10.

The bill would have required all religious groups to seek the approval of the
State Secretariat for Religious Cults and to apply for legal recognition.
Critics of the law point out that its high legal hurdles would have excluded
many religious groups that are new or recently formed in Romania.

Andreescu said that the withdrawal signals that ''the fight for a new draft
law has been launched.'' The process will begin anew with negotiations between
the churches and the State Secretariat for Religious Cults, according to
Monica Lotreanu, a counselor to the State Secretariat for Religious Cults
Minister Nicolae Branzea.

Lotreanu has said that Romania intends to model itself after European Union
standards, which sees religious freedom in the context of human rights.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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25. Dalai Lama, Karmapa Make Appearance
AOL/AP, Feb. 18, 2000
Buddhists danced and drummed Friday at a celebration for the Dalai Lama,
where for the first time the spiritual leader appeared with a 14-year-old
monk who heads one of the most important sects of Tibetan Buddhism.

There was little interaction at the event between the Dalai Lama and the
Karmapa, who fled Tibet last month in order to seek religious instruction
denied him by Chinese authorities.

But close aides said the two have formed a strong bond in recent weeks.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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26. Islamic Group Tries Blocking Book
Yahoo/AP, Feb. 16, 2000
Abdul Wahab Alkebsi was taken aback when his 12-year-old daughter brought
home a novel titled ''The Terrorist.''

When he read the book written for middle schoolers that describes an American
student's attempt to avenge her young brother's murder at the hands of a
Muslim girl,he became angry. Now an Islamic advocacy group has demanded
Scholastic Inc. , stop distributing the book, maintaining that it contains
inaccurate, offensive and stereotypical references to Muslims.

In the book, Laura, an American student at a private school in London, seeks
to avenge her 11-year-old brother's murder by 15-year-old Jehran, a Muslim
girl who is trying to escape from a forced marriage to a 54-year-old man with
three other wives. She had sought the American boy's U.S. passport as a means
of escape.

Her father sent a copy of the book to the Council on American-Islamic
Relations, which argues that the novel gives children an unfair picture of
Muslim culture, particularly marriage customs. And the group said it contains
inaccurate, offensive and stereotypical references to Muslims.

Judy Corman, senior vice president of the New York-based publishing company,
defended the novel as an award-winning ''work of fiction'' and said the
publisher would not stop distribution to schools around the country.

She said the book by Caroline B. Cooney, who has written more than 60 novels
for Scholastic, does not stereotype Muslims and that they knew of only one
complaint - the one from the Washington group.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== UFOs

27. Roswell Items Sent to NASA
Albuquerque Journal/AP, Feb. 16, 2000
(...) The UFO Festival, an event held each summer in this town whose name is
synonymous with space aliens, is sending models and art to NASA's Johnson
Space Center in Houston for a two-month exhibit, said Stacy Wolkwitz, UFO
committee chairwoman.

The exhibit opens at the Space Center in March and ends in mid-May.
Among the items being sent to Houston on Tuesday were a model UFO, a car that
looks like a spaceship, some UFO works from artists and ''wearable art.''

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