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Religion News Report

Religion News Report - May 6, 2000 (Vol. 4, Issue 199)

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Rainbow

=== Aum Shinrikyo
1. Osaka Aum building target of arson
2. Man nabbed for attack on AUM facility

=== Waco / Branch Davidians
3. Jury ruling leaves control of Mount Carmel in limbo

=== Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God
4. Bodies Still In Kanungu House

=== Zhong Gong
5. China Bans Books by Meditation Sect

=== Falun Gong
6. China Defends Falun Gong Crackdown
7. China arrests Ballwin pair, daughter after protest

=== Ho-no-ha-na Sanpogyo
8. MPD to charge cult members with swindling

=== Scientology
9. U.S. Challenges Germany on Scientology
10. Misunderstandings, but no crisis
11. Scientology sect may perform marriages in Sweden
12. Scientology says Sweden allows it to marry people

=== Mormonism
13. Are the Latter-day Saints -- who face growing rejection -- Christians?
14. Druid ceremony celebrates powers of nature
15. Wiccan wedding story unearths strong emotions

=== Hate Groups / Hate Crimes
16. Racist' historian faces 150,000 bill
17. Irving attacks costs ruling
18. Lawyer: Former Klansman refused deal for 1963 church bombing
19. Challenge to genuineness of Anne Frank's Diary forbidden

=== Polygamy
20. U. Grad Says Education Helped Her Family Shed Shackles of Polygamy

=== Other News
21. Satanic Rites Rumors Linked to Guatemala Attack
22. Tarrant County jail ritual reported as security breach
23. Messianic Jews' Menorah Challenged
24. 'Tele-Vangelists' Take Kenyans By Storm
25. Vatican puts bishops on alert over heretical Quebec sect
26. Trouble Aloft
27. Pritt shows New Age side on Web site

=== Religious Pluralism
28. Prayers, but no 'tolerance'

=== Noted
29. Can We Tune in to Those Who Have Passed on?
30. Breathe


=== Aum Shinrikyo

1. Osaka Aum building target of arson
Daily Yomiuri (Japan), May 5, 2000
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/newse/0505cr09.htmOff-site Link
OSAKA -- Police arrested a 28-year-old man Thursday for allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail into the entrance of the Osaka branch of the Aum Supreme Truth cult in Suita, Osaka Prefecture.

The man claimed to be a former member of a right-wing organization and was identified as Ken Konda of Higashi Osaka.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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2. Man nabbed for attack on AUM facility
Mainichi Daily News (Japan), May 5, 2000
http://www.mainichi.co.jp/english/news/news07.htmlOff-site Link
(...) Ken Konda, from Higashi-Osaka, said he was formerly a member of a right-wing group. ''I have long been angry about AUM Shinrikyo,'' he was quoted by police as saying.

According to police, Konda allegedly ignited a Molotov cocktail and threw it at the door of a building where the AUM Osaka office is located. No AUM members inside the building were injured in the attack, but a part of the door and a curtain were burned, police said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Waco / Branch Davidians

3. Jury ruling leaves control of Mount Carmel in limbo
Waco Tribune-Herald, May 5, 2000
http://www.accesswaco.com/auto/feed/news/local/
2000/05/05/957569237.04410.6019.0035.html
Off-site Link
A McLennan County jury returned a verdict Friday that on its face settled little in the dispute over who should control the 77 acres east of Waco known as Mount Carmel.

After about 21/2 hours of deliberations, the 74th State District Court jury decided that neither the surviving followers of David Koresh nor the widow of another former Branch Davidian leader are legitimate trustees of the Branch Davidian church.

The plaintiffs, represented by Clive Doyle, brought the lawsuit with hope of winning control of the land on which Koresh and 75 of his followers died seven years ago. Amo Bishop Roden, the widow of former Davidian leader George Roden, also sought to manage the property.

When the trial began Monday, there were two other parties to the case. One was Thomas Drake, George Roden's former bodyguard. Drake was dropped from the suit Thursday when the attorney for Doyle's group filed a motion of non-suit against him.

The other party was Douglas Mitchell, who lived on the land in the early 1980s before Koresh became head of the church. Mitchell did not file a claim that he was a legal trustee of the church, so jury members could not consider him as one of their choices.

Mitchell, however, did file pleadings that allowed him to testify that neither Doyle's group nor Amo Roden are true trustees of the church.

Drake, Amo Roden and Mitchell each represented themselves, while Houston attorney Percy Isgitt represented Doyle's group.

None of the parties disputed the fact that the Branch Davidian church actually owns the land. The sides were trying to persuade jurors that their connections with the church should allow them to control the land.

After the verdict was announced, all parties vowed to continue pressing forward.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God

4. Bodies Still In Kanungu House
New Vision/Africa News Online (Uganda), May 4, 2000
http://www.africanews.org/east/uganda/
stories/20000504/20000504_feat1.html
Off-site Link
Kampala - More bodies of Joseph Kibwetere's victims remain buried beneath the floor of the leaders' house at the Kanungu headquarters in Rukungiri, six weeks after the tragedy.
(...)

On a return visit to the site last week, The New Vision found a door leading to the ''Prayer Room'' of the leaders' house ajar. Bodies of murdered cult- members lay in an uncovered pit beneath that building.

Ignoring the ''health hazard'' sign taped to the door, children walked freely through the unguarded building to inspect the pits below.

The deputy Police spokesman, Eric Naigambi, said, ''Police aren't protecting the site. That should be the work of the local authorities. Our responsibility stops at gathering evidence.''

Sarah Kiyingi, the Minister of State for Internal Affairs, suspended the exhuming of bodies from the Kanungu site on March 30. She cited the need to obtain protective gear for prisoners who were doing the work.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Zhong Gong

5. China Bans Books by Meditation Sect
AOL/AP, May 5, 2000
http://my.aol.com/news/story.tmpl?
table=n&cat=01&id=0005051107611587
Off-site Link
BEIJING (AP) - China has banned books by a popular exercise and meditation sect, expanding a crackdown against quasi-religious groups, a human rights group said Friday.

Bookstores were ordered to destroy copies of nine books published by Zhong Gong, said the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights.

Zhong Gong is one of a series of meditation and religious groups attacked in a crackdown whose best-known target is the Falun Gong sect.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Falun Gong

6. China Defends Falun Gong Crackdown
AOL/AP, May 5, 2000
http://my.aol.com/news/story.tmpl?
table=n&cat=01&id=0005050304700892
Off-site Link
GENEVA (AP) - China defended its rights record Friday, telling a U.N. human rights panel it banned the Falun Gong spiritual movement ''according to law'' and rejecting allegations that Chinese prisoners are tortured.

Responding to questions from the U.N. Committee Against Torture, Chinese officials also defended ''re-education through labor,'' saying the practice ''has redeemed many people and prevented them from sliding further down the road to crimes.''

The U.N. panel is reviewing China's periodic report on its compliance with a 1984 convention against torture. The panel is to issue its conclusions Tuesday.
(...)

The government has allowed the media to report some torture cases, though officials withhold information about cases involving political prisoners and people linked to the Falun Gong movement.
(...)

''As a responsible government, the Chinese government cannot and should not sit idly and tolerate the cult Falun Gong endangering society and bringing harm to our people,'' Chinese Ambassador Qiao Zonghuai said.

China ''banned it according to law,'' Qiao said. ''As for the handful of Falun Gong plotters, organizers and core members who engaged in illegal activities ... the judicial organs in China have cracked down on them according to law.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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7. China arrests Ballwin pair, daughter after protest
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 5, 2000
http://www.stlnet.com/postnet/stories.nsf/ByDocId
/F1B02135B9168986862568D60035FF87
Off-site Link
WASHINGTON - When St. Louisans Ming and Amy Cheng traveled to Beijing last week to protest China's crackdown on adherents of the exercise-and-meditation practice called Falun Gong, they got a firsthand lesson in what the crackdown means.

The Chengs, along with their 5-year-old daughter, Karen, were arrested at the government's office of appeals, transferred to a local police station and detained for 24 hours. They were then released and returned to St. Louis last Friday.

The family was held briefly in a holding pen with common criminals but spent most of the time in the office of police station guards ''who actually treated us very well,'' said Amy Cheng. ''A lot of Falun Gong practitioners had been detained there before, and the guards said, 'We know you are very nice people.'''

The Chengs may have been aided by the fact that they have permanent resident status in the United States, where they have lived since 1989. Karen is an American citizen and so is her younger brother, Andrew, who did not make the trip. He stayed with friends of the Chengs in Ballwin.

Ming Cheng is a research scientist at Monsanto Co., specializing in plant genetics. Amy Cheng is a former senior business analyst at Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. They have been enthusiastic practitioners of Falun Gong for two years and credit the daily regimen of exercise and meditation with marked improvement in their physical and mental health.

That was the message they attempted to deliver in Beijing, in a jointly signed letter, ''Dear National Leaders,'' that urged the Chinese government to rescind the ban on Falun Gong that was imposed in July. Tens of thousands of Chinese practitioners have been arrested and detained in the months since; human rights groups assert that at least a dozen practitioners have died in police custody.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Ho-no-ha-na Sanpogyo

8. MPD to charge cult members with swindling
Daily Yomiuri (Japan), May 5, 2000
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/newse/0505cr03.htmOff-site Link
The Metropolitan Police Department plans to charge at least 10 members of the Ho-no-Hana Sampogyo religious group, including its founder and former leader Hogen Fukunaga, with swindling about 20 former followers out of more than 100 million yen, The Yomiuri Shimbun learned Thursday.

Police expect to launch a full-scale investigation into the group after they get a green light from prosecutors early next week.
(...)

Police said a careful inspection of items such as account books seized in the searches revealed that Ho-no-Hana had gleaned more than 80 billion yen from training sessions, in which about 30,000 followers participated, and the sale of talismans.

Police also learned through questioning former followers and people linked to the group that Fukunaga instructed his staff to lie to lure participants to training sessions.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Scientology

9. U.S. Challenges Germany on Scientology
Washington Post, May 4, 2000
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A1045-2000May3.htmlOff-site Link
Escalating a long dispute over religious freedom, the United States has formally alleged that certain contracting practices of the German government unfairly discriminate against members of the Church of Scientology.

In a report to Congress this week, U.S. trade officials challenged a German policy under which companies seeking certain training and consulting contracts can be disqualified if they refuse to sign ''sect filter'' statements.
(...)

Juergen Chrobog, the German ambassador to the United States, defended the policy yesterday. The measure ''is not focused on membership in the Scientology Organization,'' he said in a statement, ''but is instead designed to rule out the possibility that [Scientology founder] Ron Hubbard's methods, which seek to psychologically influence behavior, psychologically manipulate or oppress individuals, could be used for training or consulting purposes.''
(...)

Chrobog played down the scope of the policies, saying that ''no regulations which could perhaps represent an intervention in the private sector bidding process have been laid down.''

The most visible case of a U.S. company getting caught up in this dispute was Executive Software, a California company that creates disk-management programs for use with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 2000 operating system. When word circulated in Germany last year that Executive's head, Craig Jensen, was a Scientologist, there were calls in Germany for avoiding the entire Windows product, according to reports from Germany.
(...)

U.S. trade officials have had informal discussions about the issue with the German Embassy here and say they hope to settle it that way. If all else fails, however, the matter could eventually become the subject of a formal complaint against Germany at the World Trade Organization, which oversees international rules on openness of government contracting.
(...)

The German government has a long history of hostility to the group. According to the 1999 U.S. State Department human rights report, federal and state agencies in Germany often refuse to recognize the church as a religion, variously calling it a business enterprise and ''anti-democratic.''

Major German political parties ban Scientologists from their ranks, and authorities sometimes ''deregister'' church-associated groups from nonprofit status. Members, meanwhile, complain of difficulty in carrying out routine tasks such as getting jobs or buying property.

A German Embassy statement on Scientology said that ''because of its experiences during the Nazi regime, Germany has a special responsibility to monitor the development of any extreme group within its borders.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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* See also:

Scientology: religious persecution in Germany?
http://wpxx02.toxi.uni-wuerzburg.de/~krasel/CoS/germany/Off-site Link


10. Misunderstandings, but no crisis
Giessener Anzeiger (Germany), May 4, 2000
Translation: CISAR
http://cisar.org/000504c.htmOff-site Link
''Dissonances, misunderstandings and differences of opinion'' are seen by Federal President Johannes Rau in German-American relations, but ''no crisis.'' Rau gave this assessment at the start of his three day visit to the USA before the press in Washington.
(...)

Rau counted the understandings of religious congregations among the ''acceptable and explicit differences'' between Germany and the USA. In the case of Scientology he said that ''no religious substance was present.'' The Federal President said, ''The fact that someone calls themselves a church does not make them a church.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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11. Scientology sect may perform marriages in Sweden
AFP, May 4, 2000
Translation: CISAR
http://cisar.org/000504b.htmOff-site Link
Stockholm, May 4, (AFP) - Seven weeks after their recognition as a community of faith in Sweden, the Scientology sect may also perform marriage ceremonies there. As the sect itself announced on Thursday, the Swedish authorities had rejected two applications in the past few weeks. In Sweden, where church and state have just been separated since January 1, 2000, only the Lutheran church is regarded as a denomination. All other religions and denominations can register as a community of faith. With acknowledgment as a community of faith, the Scientology sect in Sweden has the same legal status as the Catholic Church.
[...entire item...]


12. Scientology says Sweden allows it to marry people
AOL/Reuters, May 4, 2000
http://my.aol.com/news/story.tmpl?
table=n&cat=01&id=0005040458288740
Off-site Link
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sweden, one of only a handful of countries to recognize the Church of Scientology as a ''religious community,'' has granted its ministers the right to perform marriages, the Los Angeles-based organization said on Thursday.

The Rev. Heber Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International, welcomed Thursday's move by the Swedish National Judicial Board for Public Lands and Funds as a ''milestone for the Church of Scientology in Europe and for religious freedom.''

''This recognition from a member of the European community sets a standard for all other governments,'' Jentzsch added.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Mormonism

13. Are the Latter-day Saints -- who face growing rejection -- Christians?
Star-Telegram/Arizona Republic, May 5, 2000
[URL removed because it currently refers to inappropriate content]/news/doc/1047/1:FAITH1/1:FAITH10505100.htmlOff-site Link
(...) But at a time when schisms between churches are diminishing -- nine Protestant churches are working toward an agreement to share ministries, the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox churches have made small gestures toward reconciliation -- the Mormon church is facing growing rejection, particularly from evangelicals.

For instance, a Christian festival held this year in Phoenix attracted 35,000 people from about 400 Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox congregations -- but Mormons were excluded.

So, why is the Mormon church so maligned within some Christian circles?

At the heart of this issue lie matters of doctrine and theology -- and the notion of just WHO is a Christian.

Evangelicals, who believe in literal biblical interpretation, say the Mormons aren't Christians. The Latter-day Saints, who believe their faith is a restoration of the original church founded by Jesus Christ and his 12 disciples, claim they belong to the true Christian church.
(...)

Richard N. Ostling, co-author of the acclaimed 'Mormon America: The Power and the PromiseOff-site Link' (HarperSanFrancisco, $26), says the Mormon church's ''sweeping policy of secrecy'' contributes to the faith being misunderstood in mainstream American religious culture. Its weddings are held in temples that require church-issued ''recommends'' to enter, meaning non-Mormons never get inside. Even the church's governing documents -- the sort that many denominations publish on their Web sites -- are off-limits to outsiders.

''Any time you have this situation, it creates rumors, speculations, misinformation,'' said Ostling, who wrote 'Mormon America' with his wife, Joan K. Ostling. ''There is room for a lot of confusion.''

Not that Mormons and their conservative Christian critics tend to disagree much on matters of morality and social values. Both groups stress the importance of family and personal responsibility, and decry abortion, gambling and same-sex unions.
(...)

''Most of the disagreement is doctrinal,'' Ostling said, ''rather than moral, political and cultural. The fundamental issues between Mormonism and traditional Christianity are the nature of God, the doctrine of Christ, the Bible's authority, and the doctrine of humanity and relating to God.''

Attempting to examine the commonalities and differences between the groups, Professors Craig L. Blomberg of Denver Seminary and Stephen E. Robinson of Brigham Young University wrote the 1997 book 'How Wide the Divide? A Mormon and an Evangelical in Conversation' (InterVarsity Press, $11.99).

Their point-counterpoint text includes a ''joint conclusion'' at the end of each chapter and doesn't dwell on trying to prove the other wrong.

Andersen says this civil tolerance and respect -- rather than active teaching against other religions -- is central to Mormon faith.
(...)

Ostling thinks today's Mormon church, especially under current President Gordon B. Hinckley's administration, goes ''back and forth'' on positioning itself closer to ''mainstream'' Christianity.

''Mormonism probably presents less of its doctrine to persons before baptism than any other religious group I can think of,'' he said. ''The key to winning converts and solidifying them in the faith is the community, and not the isolated individual. Some of the more complex doctrinal areas are left for later on.''

However, Andersen says the church doesn't dilute its theology just to make connections with potential members or other Christians.

Mormons' involvement in interfaith groups across the nation probably is a trickle-down effect of Hinckley's public relations-savvy administration, which is trying to build bridges with other religions while highlighting positive aspects of Mormon life.
(...)

A new book by Coke Newell, 'Latter DaysOff-site Link' (St. Martin's Press, $24.95), is more forthcoming about the faith's controversial beliefs. For instance, the '' 'transgression' of Adam and Eve was in fact a brilliant move, a bit of prescient genius,'' the book states.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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* Mormons are not Christians. A Christian is someone who follows Jesus
Christ as revealed in the Bible. The Mormon Jesus is one of their own
making. Just like slapping the Rolex brand name on a counterfeit watch does
not make it a genuine Rolex, using the name of Jesus does not make Mormonism
Christian. For a comparison of the Biblical Jesus and the Jesus of Mormonism
see: http://www.apologeticsindex.org/m04.html#ldsjesus


=== Witchcraft / Paganism

14. Druid ceremony celebrates powers of nature
Sun Herald, May 4, 2000
http://vh60009.vh6.infi.net/living/docs/living050400.htmOff-site Link
BILOXI - It was a windy, overcast Monday afternoon on the Biloxi River's banks when the witches publicly vowed to spend the rest of their lives together.

John and Jeanel Walker officially wed Nov. 1 (the Celtic New Year), but the couple renewed vows this week at Camp Wilkes in a pagan ceremony nearly as old as the world. Welcome to the far side of Coast religious life.
(...)

John, a Wiccan Christian, and Jeanel, a Wiccan Druid, are pagans - people who believe nature holds unseen powers that anyone can use if they know how. John holds to some Christian beliefs learned early in life, while Jeanel has rejected Christianity in favor of pure paganism.

Wicca is the ancient root of the word witch; druid is a term that means, among other things, wisdom (the old medieval Catholic saint Columba is said to have told Celtic converts that ''Christ is my Druid.'')
(...)

Numbers are hard to come by, but Coast pagans estimate that there are hundreds like them in this area who worship in groups or alone.

''Many people are rediscovering ancient pagan traditions because these religions are in harmony with the earth, the environment and the needs of the human spirit for a connection to deity,'' said Searles O'Dubhain, an author and internationally-known lecturer on paganism. ''This need in people is truly strong and has not been well-served by traditional Christian religion in the 20th century.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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15. Wiccan wedding story unearths strong emotions
Sun Herald, May 5, 2000
http://vh60009.vh6.infi.net/living/docs/wicca050500.htmOff-site Link
(...) A story about a Wiccan wedding ceremony held Monday at Camp Wilkes in Biloxi tapped strong emotions about the nature of religious faith, the meaning of spiritual living and the concepts of good and evil.
(...)

The simple reality is that we live in a world that can be very fast, very complicated and, to use mom's words again, very gray, and the media can't avoid subjects that some may find distasteful, or even downright wicked.

Some have questioned the appropriateness of running a story on Wiccans as part of a Faith & Values package. They object to lumping some groups with others in the same section and to publicizing beliefs that rub against the traditional spiritual grain of many.

The fact is that the Faith & Values package is the ''home'' in the paper for stories about spirituality, whatever shape or size they come in.
(...)

What we want to do is give readers a complete and accurate picture of the spiritual landscape on the Coast, a terrain that has more bumps than a tourist might see passing by our beaches.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Hate Groups

16. Racist' historian faces 150,000 bill
BBC News, May 5, 2000
http://news.bbc.co.uk/low/english/uk
/newsid_737000/737526.stm
Off-site Link
Historian David Irving has been ordered to pay 150,000 on account within six weeks towards defence costs in his failed libel action - or face bankruptcy.
Heather Rogers, counsel for Penguin Books, made the application on Friday at London's Law Courts.

It was made on their behalf, and for Deborah Lipstadt, author of Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory.

Mr Irving was left facing a defence costs bill of more than 2m after Mr Justice Gray rejected his action last month. The High Court judge denounced him as both an anti-Semitic and a racist.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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17. Irving attacks costs ruling
BBC, May 6, 2000
http://news.bbc.co.uk/low/english/uk
/newsid_738000/738453.stm
Off-site Link
Historian David Irving has condemned a court ruling that he must pay 150,000 towards defence costs in his failed libel action by 16 June or face bankruptcy.
Mr Irving told the BBC that the court order - applied for on behalf of Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt, author of Denying the Holocaust - was intended to prevent him appealing against the decision to reject his libel action over the book.

He said the 32-day trial could have been avoided had the parties agreed to pay him 500 and give an apology before the case came to court.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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18. Lawyer: Former Klansman refused deal for 1963 church bombing
CNN/AP, May 4, 2000
http://www.cnn.com/2000/US/05/04/church.bombing
.suspect.ap/index.html
Off-site Link
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (AP) -- A former Ku Klux Klansman suspected in the 1963 church bombing that killed four black girls rejected a deal in which he would receive probation for a guilty plea, his lawyer said.

Defense attorney Don Smith said U.S. Attorney Doug Jones and FBI agents told Bobby Cherry of Mabank, Texas, about six months ago that he would be prosecuted for the bombing itself if he did not plead guilty to transporting explosives across state lines.

''The FBI had pretty much promised him he would be on probation for the rest of his life just to get this over with,'' Smith said.

''They had the plea papers ready for him to sign,'' he said. ''He came in and talked to me and said, 'I don't want to plead guilty to something I had nothing to do with.'''

FBI spokesman Craig Dahle said agents lacked the authority to offer probation to anyone.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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19. Challenge to genuineness of Anne Frank's Diary Forbidden
Parool (Netherlands), May 5, 2000
Summary: Anton Hein
http://www.parool.nl/actueel/lunchnieuws/345027877.htmlOff-site Link
The Dutch-language book ''Anne Frank: A Critical Look,'' by Frenchman Robert Faurisson and Belgian Siegfried Verkeke, in which the two claim Anne Frank's father wrote his daughter's diaryOff-site Link, remains forbidden. With that decision, an Amsterdam appeals court validated a December 1998 court decision against the two authors, the Antwep-based foundation ''Free Historical Research,'' and the book's publisher.

The court declared that denying the diary's genuineness is an insult to Anne Frank's father, to Jews in general, and in specific to the Anne Frank Foundation and its related organizations.

In 1986, Holland's Royal Institute for War Documentation (now called ''Netherlands Institute for War DocumentationOff-site Link'') published a 700-page study that concluded, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Anne Frank herself wrote the diary.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Polygamy

2. U. Grad Says Education Helped Her Family Shed Shackles of Polygamy
Salt Lake Tribune, May 5, 2000
http://www.sltrib.com/2000/may/05052000/utah/46585.htm
When Tana Allred gives her graduation speech at the University of Utah's commencement ceremonies today and says education is the key to freedom, she will be speaking from experience.

The 45-year-old Salt Lake City resident is a former polygamist wife who credits education with turning her family away from plural marriage.
(...)

Until six years ago, Allred was a member of the Apostolic United Brethren, one of the largest polygamist groups in Utah, based in the Salt Lake City suburb of Bluffdale.
(...)

Vance Allred broke his leg twice as a construction worker for the group and went to college to start another career as a teacher. The family took a lot of heat for that move, Tana Allred recalls. Other polygamists told Vance Allred: ''If you go to school, you will lose your testimony.'' ''In fact, that's exactly what happened,'' she said.
(...)

Allred grew frustrated with the rigid lifestyle she and her family were living as polygamists. The leaders, she said, dictated every aspect of their lives, from whether they could buy life insurance to what vehicles they should own.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Other News

21. Satanic Rites Rumors Linked to Guatemala Attack
AOL/Reuters, May 4, 2000
http://my.aol.com/news/story.tmpl?
table=n&cat=01&id=0005040837366165
Off-site Link
GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - A rumor that kidnappers were stealing children to use their hearts in satanic rituals apparently motivated a mob that killed a Japanese tourist and a Guatemalan bus driver in a popular Mayan market over the weekend, tourism officials said on Thursday.

The Guatemalan Institute of Tourism (INGUAT) said in a news release that the attack on a group of 23 Japanese tourists on Saturday in the northwestern village of Todos Santos Cuchumatan was caused by ''rumors about satanic rituals.''
(...)

Mendoza said many neighbors were feeling ''nervous'' that day after a local radio reported that a satanic cult had rented the town's municipal gymnasium over the weekend to carry out their bloody rites.

''This is an illiterate community and people believe in rumors. Many schools remained closed for days and women stopped venturing out of their homes,'' Mendoza told reporters on Thursday.
(...)

It was not the first such attack on a tourist. In 1994, U.S. journalist June Weinstock was beaten almost to death by hundreds of angry peasants in the remote village of San Cristobal Verapaz who thought she was trying to steal a baby.

Although no cases have been documented, the rumor persists in some Mayan communities that foreigners come to steal children to sell them or their body parts abroad.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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22. Tarrant County jail ritual reported as security breach
Star-Telegram, May 4, 2000
http://www.star-telegram.com/news/doc/
1047/1:METRO42/1:METRO420504100.html
Off-site Link
FORT WORTH -- Two chaplains breached security when they took an inmate to an isolated area of the Tarrant County Jail and began commanding Satan to ''leave this man's body'' in an exorcismlike ritual, according to sheriff's documents obtained yesterday by the Star-Telegram.

The jail ministers violated safety rules by removing the inmate, who is charged with sexually assaulting a child, from his cell without notifying the shift commander, the reports show.
(...)

The ritual began about 8:30 a.m. Sunday in the county jail's Green Bay unit, near Interstate 35W and Loop 820. Hearing the commotion, described as ''loud and disruptive,'' guards rushed to the scene, at first believing that the ''inmate was assaulting the chaplains,'' according to witness statements and interoffice memos filed with the Tarrant County Sheriff's Department as part of an internal investigation.

What the guards found instead was the inmate sitting upright on a table. A volunteer chaplain, identified in the reports only as Ramirez, had his hand on the prisoner's forehead, according to the reports.

The jail preacher was ''praying very loudly, stating for Satan to get out of [the] inmate's head and heart,'' wrote one witness, identified as sheriff's officer Curtis Hickey.

''He shouted this several times, then started speaking a language that was unknown to me,'' Hickey wrote.

Another report said the volunteer chaplain was at times shouting in ''unknown tongues.''
(...)

Lt. Gayle Gray, a shift commander at the jail's Green Bay unit, wrote in a report that she walked in on the ceremony.

''I did not stop this performance because I am not familiar with this type of process and did not know what the moral or legal ramifications might be for interrupting such a procedure,'' Gray wrote.

Afterward, however, the lieutenant confronted Faries. ''I told him that what I had observed was totally unacceptable; it appeared to be an exorcism.

''He [Faries] stated that was exactly what it was,'' Gray said in her report.

Faries did not return calls made yesterday to his office, his home and his pager. He is a paid chaplain with Faith Restorative Justice Chaplaincy, headed by Hugh Atwell, a supporter of Sheriff David Williams.

Yesterday, Williams issued a statement saying he had signed a new contract that will extend for a year Faith Restorative's role as the official ministry of the county jail.
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23. Messianic Jews' Menorah Challenged
AOL/AP, May 5, 2000
http://my.aol.com/news/story.tmpl?
table=n&cat=01&id=0005051110611682

TORONTO (AP) - A major Canadian Jewish organization is challenging a group of Jews who believe in Christ for using a menorah as part of its trademark.

The Canadian Jewish Congress says it is misleading for the New York-based Chosen People Ministries Ltd. to use the menorah. The seven-branch candelabra is a significant Jewish symbol and part of the ceremony celebrating the eight-day festival of Hanukkah that commemorates resistance to oppression.

But Chosen People Ministries, which includes some non-Jews, says its trademark has been registered without challenge in several countries - including the United States and Israel, said Larry Rich, the group's Canadian director.

Most Chosen People members are Jews who ''have a right to use'' the menorah as a symbol of their religion and heritage, Rich said Thursday. ''Our Jewish identity is important to us,'' he said.

Jack Silverstone, the Jewish Congress' executive vice president, said that because the Chosen People seeks to convert Jews to Christianity it is not a Jewish organization.
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24. 'Tele-Vangelists' Take Kenyans By Storm
PANA/Africa News Online, May 4, 2000
http://www.africanews.org/PANA/news/20000504/feat10.htmlOff-site Link
(...) Welcome to the world of Tele-Vangelists, a new breed of preachers, who have taken the Kenyan religious scene by storm?

They come in all shapes, sizes and styles and preach on television. Some are dramatic, performing theatrics to mesmerised congregations who sometimes faint in ecstasy. Others shout themselves hoarse. Smooth talkers too are there.

The common thing that binds them together is preaching the gospel on the TV. This is a common feature in the United States, but a totally new phenomenon in Kenya where it is gaining currency very fast with new preachers coming up each day.

Understandably the Tele-vangelist or Tele-Vangelism in general has elicited a lot of debate from a cross section of Kenyans, with some bluntly accusing them of being ''con men''.
(...)

Human rights lawyer Wachira Maina feels that there is too much preaching on television, more so on state-owned Kenya Broadcasting Corporation-TV (KBC-TV).

According to Maina, Kenyans are not given a choice to either listen to the gospel or not, as Christian programmes dominate KBC-TV, especially over the weekends.
(...)

The Centre for Law and Research International (CLARION) supports Maina's views, but suggests that churches which are able, should be allotted their own frequencies to preach as much as they like, leaving KBC to air public interest programmes.
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25. Vatican puts bishops on alert over heretical Quebec sect
Ottawa Citizen (Canada), May 5, 2000
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/national/000505/4048988.htmlOff-site Link
The Vatican's top doctrinal watchdog says Canadian bishops must take action against a heretical Quebec group that the Catholic Church fears may break away with up to 25,000 members around the world.

In a letter to Bishop Gerald Wiesner, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger said the Army of Mary lost its status as a Catholic association in 1987 because of ''gravely erroneous'' publications that suggested its founder, Marie-Paule Giguere, is a living reincarnation of the Virgin Mary.

Although members of an affiliated group, Les Fils de Marie, are working as priests in Alexandria-Cornwall and Antigonish, N.S., the Army of Mary was banned from all Quebec parishes 13 years ago.

Yet the Army of Mary has continued its activities despite orders from the Vatican and the Archbishop of Quebec, said Cardinal Ratzinger.
(...)

The Army of Mary refused to comment yesterday but has claimed in the past to have up to 25,000 members around the world, plus 80 brothers, seminarians and priests in Les Fils de Marie, as well as 80 celibate women who are members of Les Filles de Marie.
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26. Trouble Aloft
San Diego Union-Tribune, May 4, 2000
http://www.uniontribune.com/news/uniontrib/
thu/currents/news_1c4loft.html
Off-site Link
Alot of property disputes find their way to the San Diego court system. Few of them involve an SUV-driving Sufi guru; the supposed donation of almost an entire building in a quest for yogi-hood; and a cadre of artists with designs on conquering the world.

But that's the story, or part of it anyway, at the World Evolution Loft, a kind of high-tech youth center and artistic funhouse at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Broadway downtown.

The Loft aspires to be a crucible of creativity, a place where young artists can let their imaginations run wild, free of financial worry aside from modest monthly dues.

At banks of sleek computers and in studios packed with recording gear, its members indulge their artistic impulses -- creating Web sites, composing music and even finding inspiration to forge new identities for themselves.

As an artist who calls himself Shiva (the name of a destroyer-god in Indian mythology) wrote in an introduction to his work recently exhibited at the building: ''I have chosen to detonate my stardom here at the World Evolution Loft.''

But before he gets his chance, the Loft -- which is now the subject of an eviction proceeding -- could well detonate itself. And not necessarily in a good way.

The dispute at the center of the case, destined for a hearing later this month in San Diego Superior Court, is over who has the right to occupy the four-story building that houses the Loft.

World Evolution Loft Inc., which is affiliated with a yoga-and-meditation organization called Circle of Friends, claims it has a right to use three-quarters of the building because of a supposed oral agreement made five years ago with Matthew Gordon, head of the partnership that holds title to the property.
(...)

But Gordon counters that ''we didn't buy them the building in any way, shape or form.'' He says his partnership was happy to let the Circle be part of the Loft, but only on a lease basis, and definitely not for all time.
(...)

The Circle of Friends' key spiritual leader is a Sufi devotee who drives a Ford Excursion SUV, lives in the pricey Harbor Towers complex and calls himself Murshid. (Real name: Jesse Lafayette Drennen III.)
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27. Pritt shows New Age side on Web site
The Charleston Gazette, May 5, 2000
http://wvgazette.com/display_story.php3?
sid=200005051&format=prn
Off-site Link
Charlotte Pritt, who lost the governor's election in 1996, is using an Internet site to promote her campaign to become the Democratic Party's nominee for secretary of state in Tuesday's primary.

On the Internet page promoting her candidacy (http://www.charlottepritt.com), Pritt reveals she is studying a variety of mystical healing techniques including Reiki, Kolaimni, Mechi, Holographic Memory Resolution, the Silva Method and Master Alignment.

Kolaimni is an ancient Native American Indian method of healing ''by connecting with the healing light. During Kolaimni, one channels healing light through their hands to help the sick, comfort the emotionally distressed and strengthen the weary and weak,'' according to a Web page set up by Aum Creations.

Reiki is an ancient Chinese form of healing that uses Chi, a term Chinese Buddhists, mystics and martial artists use for the underlying force in the universe which ''can be shaped and manipulated by thoughts,'' according to another Web page. ''Reiki is capable of healing anything because it works at very fundamental levels of reality.''
(...)

Pritt also thanks teachers who restored her health, including the Angels, a prayer group who ''sustained me with their love and support since 1990''; a ''Thursday group for dialog and healing''; and Brenda Turner, a ''visionary thinker of Turner Vision and the Wisdom Channel.''
(...)

Pritt is currently studying Holographic Memory Resolution with the concept's originator, Brent Michael Baum.

On his Internet site (http://www.healingdimensions.comOff-site Link), Baum states holographic awareness is ''the capacity to see the interconnectedness of all things within a single field of light. ... The holographic mind is the higher self.'' With this healing technique, a person can use colors to unlock frequencies that move ''through the cells of fields of the body ... to update the nervous system and the subconscious mind.''
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=== Religious Pluralism

28. Prayers, but no 'tolerance'
Orange County Register, May 5, 2000
http://www.ocregister.com/community/religion/pray00505cci.shtmlOff-site Link
[...Religious Pluralism...]
It was the National Day of Prayer - a time set aside to ask spiritual help in healing the wounds of the nation.

And at the first-ever prayer breakfast for the newly organized Interfaith Council of Central Orange County, they denounced tolerance. Yes, tolerance.

''The word 'tolerance' is too hierarchical,'' Ron Farmer, Chapman University's chaplain, told 200 community leaders gathered on campus Thursday. ''It indicates that there is someone above and someone below - a 'tolerator' and a 'toleratee.' It is much better to use the word ''appreciate.'' Appreciate diversity.''

At the breakfast, Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Scientologists, American Indians, Baha'is, Buddhists and members of several Christian denominations shared their faith through chants, hymns, readings and playing musical instruments.

Around the county, thousands of people attended other events. Traditionally a Christian event, the national task force this year encouraged other faiths to participate.
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=== Noted

29. Can We Tune in to Those Who Have Passed on?
CNN/Larry King Live, May 5, 2000 [Transcript]
http://cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0005/05/lkl.00.htmlOff-site Link
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, a son uses radio waves to connect with his long-dead dad in the new movie ''Frequency.'' Can we tune in to those who have passed on? Joining us tonight three famed psychics, James Van Praagh, author of ''Healing Grief: Reclaiming Life After Any Loss;'' also in Los Angeles, Char Margolis, author of ''Questions From Earth, Answers From Heaven;'' and Sylvia Browne, author of ''God, Creation and Tools for Life.'' They are all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
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30. Breathe
Washington Post, May 2, 2000
http://search.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/
2000-05/02/023l-050200-idx.html
Off-site Link
(...) Obviously, everyone alive knows how to breathe. But Gordon and other experts in the emerging field of mind-body medicine, say that few people in Western, industrialized society know how to breathe correctly.
(...)

'The simplest and most powerful technique for protecting your health is breathing,' asserts Andrew Weil, director of the Program in Integrative Medicine and clinical professor of internal medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Weil teaches 'breathwork' to all his patients.
(...)

Many systems of meditation and numerous spiritual practices also center on conscious breathing, Weil notes in his recently released CD, ''Breathing: The Master Key to Self Healing'' (Sounds True, 1999). ''By simply putting your attention on your breath without doing anything to change it,'' he says, ''you move in the direction of relaxation.''

Or as yoga master B.K.S. Inyengar explains in his classic guide, ''Light on Yoga'' (Schoken Books, 1966): ''Regulate the breathing, and thereby control the mind.''

There is little scientific research documenting the healing power of breathing, in part because its practice is so new in Western medicine. And unlike drugs or devices, breathing has no manufacturer who must sponsor studies to support its use.

Increased interest in studying the effects of nontraditional healing therapies such as relaxation breathing led to the founding in 1991 of the Office of Alternative Medicine, now the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, at the National Institutes of Health. As a result, more medical scientists are beginning to examine the health impact of a variety of mind-body therapies such as meditation, guided imagery and Eastern exercises--yoga, tai chi and qi gong--which typically incorporate focused breathing.
(...)

Carol Krucoff, the Health section's Bodyworks columnist, is co-author, with her husband, Mitchell Krucoff, MD, of ''Healing Moves: How to Cure, Relieve, and Prevent Common Ailments With Exercise'' (Harmony Books, 2000).
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