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 religious cults, sects, and alternative religions
An Apologetics Index research resource

 

Religion News Report

September 6, 2000 (Vol. 4, Issue 257)

arrow Latest: Religion News Blog
Rainbow


=== Aryan Nations Trial
1. Lawsuit may force Aryan move to San Diego area

=== Aum Shinrikyo
2. Court orders AUM to vacate Yokohama office
3. Niiza revokes ban on Aum settlers

=== Falun Gong
4. Chinese spiritual group to protest U.N. summit

=== Scientology
5. Arizonan faces 37 counts in investment scheme

=== Buddhism
6. Buddhists Turn Expectantly To Teenage Monk

=== Hinduism
7. To his wife, this guru is an average guy; to his devotees, he is much more
8. 'Weeping' goddess draws crowds in southern India
9. First stage of state's first Hindu temple is completed

=== Islam
10. Egypt court says Sufi group denigrated Islam

=== Mungiki
11. Mungiki Leaders Convert to Islam
12. Outcry on Mungiki converts

=== Fang-Cheng church
13. China Says It Smashed Cult, Not Underground Church

=== Catholicism
14. Vatican Says No Religion Equals Roman Catholicism
15. Churches stunned by Pope's attack on 'defects'
16. Pope is wrong, say Kenyan clerics

=== Atlleboro Cult
17. Hub lawyer braces for brush off in cult case
18. Lawyer Offers Aid to Sect Member
19. Stop the rhetoric, save the child

=== Occult
20. Officials Commission Jailhouse Exorcism

=== Hate Groups
21. German Police Raid Far-Right Music Distributors
22. KKK robe, hoods seized

=== Other News
23. Catholics turn to Islam as faith conversions rise
24. Religious Sightings in Egypt Town

=== Religious Freedom / Religious Intolerance
25. U.S. to World: Practice What We Preach on Religion
26. US warning over scourge of religious persecution

=== Death Penalty And Other Human Rights Abuses
27. Even more prisons wanted in Texas

=== Noted
28. England's 'Potter' parish isn't hip to changing culture
29. House of God
30. Spiritualist community offers path to `inner peace'


=== Aryan Nations Trial

1. Lawsuit may force Aryan move to San Diego area
The Idaho Stateman/AP, Sep. 5, 2000
http://www.idahostatesman.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
ESCONDIDO, Calif. -- Although the compound of the newly appointed Aryan Nations leader, Pastor Neuman Britton, is hidden from neighbors, most know what occurs each month when a line of cars travel the road to his homestead.

The 74-year-old, known for his fiery, hate-filled sermons, was appointed the top spot at the July Aryan Nations National Congress in Hayden Lake, Idaho.

However, a pending civil rights lawsuit could potentially bankrupt the white supremacist group, forcing it to relinquish its Hayden Lake compound and relocate its headquarters to Britton's six-acre, San Diego County property.
(...)

San Diego attorney Jim McElroy, who is assisting Dees, told the San Diego Union-Tribune Thursday that he believes a victory in the case could force the group to move to Britton's Escondido compound 30 miles north of San Diego.

''That's a pretty logical conclusion to make that if we get a judgment, they are going to pick up and go somewhere else,'' he said. ''And since Britton is the heir-apparent, it would not be surprising that that's where they would end up.''

After canceling an interview with the Union-Tribune, Britton denied, in a brief e-mail to the paper, that Aryan Nations would move its headquarters.

Britton, who had been serving as the group's chaplain, is battling melanoma, the most life-threatening form of skin cancer. Some law enforcement officials said Britton's illness renders him too old and ill to orchestrate such a move.

However, T.J. Leyden, an ex-skinhead who lectures on the white supremacist movement, told the Union-Tribune he has no doubt the move will happen.

''I've heard that Britton is breaking ground on a church, a bookstore, bunkhouses, rest space and gun towers,'' Leyden said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


=== Aum Shinrikyo

2. Court orders AUM to vacate Yokohama office
Kyodo News Service/Associated Press, Spe. 6, 2000
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
YOKOHAMA, Sept. 6 (Kyodo) -- The Yokohama District Court on Wednesday ordered the AUM Shinrikyo cult to vacate its branch office in a Yokohama apartment building, supporting a request by the building's management association.

Presiding Judge Susumu Suenaga handed down the eviction order, saying it was possible AUM members could again commit heinous crimes, making it difficult for the building's other tenants to feel secure and live peacefully.

The AUM office, located in a building in Yokohama's Naka Ward, is the home of 37-year-old Fumihiro Joyu, a senior member of the cult who was released from prison in Hiroshima last December after completing a three-year jail term for perjury.

Police have been put on alert around the building because right wing groups have staged periodic protests against the cult.
(...)

In its suit, the building management association said the cult had not changed its behavior, despite the arrests and convictions of many followers, and that those living in the building still feel anxiety and fear toward the group.

AUM said it no longer poses a danger as it has apologized for serious crimes committed by its members and is compensating victims of those cases. The cult, which now calls itself Aleph, claimed that building residents were not being objective in their feelings about the group.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


3. Niiza revokes ban on Aum settlers
Daily Yomiuri (Japan), Sep. 6, 2000
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
URAWA -- The municipal government of Niiza, Saitama Prefecture, has made an about-face on its earlier refusal of residence to followers of the Aum Supreme Truth cult and the school registration of their children and has now allowed them to settle in Niiza and send their children to school there on the condition that they do not establish a cult foothold or live in groups in the city, it was learned Tuesday.

Niiza is the nation's first municipal government to have changed its policy prohibiting settlement by Aum followers and their children.

Many municipal governments across the country have adamantly refused to allow Aum followers to register as residents in their towns and cities or to let their children to study there for fear the followers would transfer or extend their footholds to their municipalities.

Niiza Mayor Kenji Suda said the about-face was made because his government cannot keep on violating the law that guarantees children's right to an education.

The policy change, however, is controversial because although the municipal government decided in April to accept Aum followers and their children, it did not formally inform the assembly or local residents of the decision.
(...)

Residence by individual Aum members or families will in principle be accepted. The ban on the education of Aum children at public schools was completely lifted. Suda said he still resolutely opposes the establishment of a foothold by Aum members and he requires them to obey the law.

Suda said he did not inform the assembly or local residents as the residence and schooling issues do not need assembly approval. He said he is simply trying to implement the policy without making waves and has not changed his policy on dealing with Aum members.

Assembly member Kunio Mimura, chairman of Shinwakai, a conservative bloc in the assembly, said he was upset that the municipal government adopted such an important policy without informing the assembly.

He added that, since any kind of Aum presence would be troublesome for Niiza, his group would study measures to deal with Aum followers.

Shoko Egawa, a journalist who has long covered the cult, said Suda did his duty as the city's mayor.

She said that if Niiza is the only municipality to accept Aum members, it may find itself flooded with cult followers, adding that she hopes other cities and towns will follow Niiza's lead.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


=== Falun Gong

4. Chinese spiritual group to protest U.N. summit
Kyodo News Service/Associated Press, Sep. 5, 2000
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
NEW YORK, Sept. 5 (Kyodo) -- The Chinese spiritual group Falung Gong said Tuesday it will rally some 1,500 group members to stage a protest outside of the United Nations Wednesday morning on the opening day of the Millennium Summit meeting of world leaders.

Zhang Erping, a Falung Gong representative in New York, told Kyodo News that the protest was aimed at pressuring Chinese President Jiang Zemin -- who arrived in New York on Monday to attend the summit -- into officially recognizing the group, which has been outlawed in China and branded an ''evil sect.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


=== Scientology

5. Arizonan faces 37 counts in investment scheme
The Tucson Citizen, Sep. 1, 2000
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
PHOENIX - An Arizona businessman was indicted Wednesday in one of the biggest dollar fraud cases ever prosecuted by the Arizona Attorney General's Office.

Benjamin Franklin Cook III was charged with 37 counts of racketeering, fraud and theft in connection with an investment scheme run by his company, Dennel Finance Ltd. The indictment alleges that Cook defrauded more than 300 investors of a total of $41 million.

If convicted, the suburban Carefree resident could be sentenced to several hundred years in prison.

Five government agencies investigated Cook's plan, which promised investors that their money would be placed in a European Bank Trading Program.

They allege he used the money to buy cars, airplanes, a house and other real estate properties. Cook also donated $1.8 million to the Church of Scientology.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


=== Buddhism

6. Buddhists Turn Expectantly To Teenage Monk
The Hartford Courant, Sep. 2, 2000
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
A daring escape from Tibet and the Chinese regime there nine months ago catapulted 14-year-old Ugyen Trinley Dorje onto the world stage.

The Tibetan monk fled through mountain passes to India, where he was welcomed by the Dalai Lama and has continued his studies in exile. The escape shocked and embarrassed Chinese authorities and elated Buddhists, some of whom see the teenager as an emerging leader in the footsteps of the Dalai Lama.

At a press conference in June, the 65-year-old Dalai Lama hailed the teenager as ''one of the very important reincarnate lamas of Tibet among its four sects.''
(...)

The boy, now 15, is revered as the 17th incarnation of the Gyalwang Karmapa, head of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. At some point, followers are confident he will visit the United States.

Until then, it is up to Tibetan leaders in this country to lay the groundwork. Next week, one of those leaders will visit Hartford to do just that.

Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, abbot of a Buddhist monastery in Woodstock, N.Y., will give a free lecture on the Karmapa Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Trinity College Chapel in Hartford.
(...)

When Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche met the 17th Karmapa, he said, ''[I] explained to his holiness that the monastery that he asked to be built in the United States had been built, and activities were going on there ... and asked the Karmapa to come to America, and the Karmapa said definitely, yes, I will.''
(...)

The Dalai Lama, whose Gelugpa sect has long been at odds with the Karmapa's Kagyu sect, has encouraged followers to break down barriers among all four sects.

Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche was reluctant to forecast whether he thought the 17th Karmapa could bring the sects closer together. ''It's certain that the activities of a Buddha is going to be beneficial in all regards,'' he said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


=== Hinduism

7. To his wife, this guru is an average guy; to his devotees, he is much more
Star-Telegram/Knight Ridder Newspapers, Sep. 4, 2000
http://www.star-telegram.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
PHILADELPHIA -- There are women who think their husband is a god. Then there is Lakshmi Adigalaar, of Madras, India: She believes her husband is a goddess.

Known to an estimated 20 million devotees by his nickname, ''Amma,'' he is Bangaru Adigalaar, incarnation of the goddess Adhiparasakthi, the supreme Hindu divinity.

Devotees of this self-proclaimed guru are most numerous in southern India and south Asia, but as ever more immigrants from that region migrate to the United States, his followers here have grown numerous enough to warrant their own temple.

And so, on Sunday, Bangaru Adigalaar will lay the foundation stone for his first American spiritual center, in Chester Springs, Pa.

''I don't feel so different'' from other wives, Lakshmi Adigalaar said in an interview Aug. 29 at a devotee's home in Plainsboro, N.J. ''He is not totally a saint. When the soul occupies him, he is as God. Other times he is a family man, living an ordinary life.''
(...)

The first sign of his special status came, his wife said, when his parents discovered a cobra snake playing in his crib.

''His parents were frightened,'' she said, and mystified when the snake disappeared. The snake appeared and disappeared several times, she continued, before Adhiparasakthi appeared to Adigalaar's father in a dream and said, ''I am coming in the form of a snake. He is my son, not yours. I and my son are the same. Don't differentiate. I will not harm my son.''

''It is like Jesus,'' explained A.R. Bhanumathi, a member of the entourage from southern India that is accompanying the guru on this, his first visit to the United States. ''God said: `This is my son.' ''

At 12, Adigalaar could ''read people's souls'' and ''at age 20 he was able to realize God's soul is with him,'' Lakshmi Adigalaar said.

Adigalaar enters a trance state three times a week, during which Adhiparasakthi -- the name means ''first infinite power'' -- speaks through him, his devotees believe. Bhanumathi said that in private audiences he could ''solve all the personal problems'' without a person's explaining first what those problems were.
(...)

Since the divinity Adigalaar is believed to incarnate is female, his devotees typically call him ''Amma,'' which in the Tamil tongue means ''Mother,'' and use male and female pronouns interchangeably to refer to him.

Although Adigalaar and most of his devotees come from the Hindu tradition and dress and worship in that tradition, he says he is not Hindu. He encourages his Hindu, Christian, Muslim and other devotees to remain in their faiths and to ''perform service'' for the good of others.

Unlike the Hindu tradition, his followers explained, Adigalaar allows women and people of even the lowest castes, or social strata, to enter the holy parts of his temples to perform pujas, or ritual prayers and ceremonies.

Although literature published by his Adhiparasakthi Charitable, Medical, Educational and Cultural Trust asserts that he has restored sight, hearing and speech to the disabled and ''has stopped the rains and brought the waves to a halt,'' it stresses the organization's charitable work, including a hospital and engineering university in Melmaruvathur, about 60 miles from the city of Madras in India's populous Madras state.

''Most gurus do this miraculous curing; they are not unusual claims,'' according to K.R. Sundararajan, a theology professor at St. Bonaventure University in New York and associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism, who said Adigalaar was revered in India.
(...)

Adigalaar will reveal an oracle and conduct a ''mass prayer for world peace'' at Sunday's ceremony, according to his followers.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


8. 'Weeping' goddess draws crowds in southern India
Yahoo/AFP, Sep. 4, 2000
http://asia.dailynews.yahoo.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Thousands of devotees of the Hindu goddess Durga flocked to temples in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad for the third straight day Monday, amid claims that statues of the deity were shedding tears.
(...)

The ''miracle'' was first noticed around noon on Saturday at a temple in Dhoolpet in the old quarter of the city. In a few hours, reports of weeping Durga statues in other temples were flying in thick and fast.
(...)

By Monday, the tears seemed to have dried up, although late arrivals did not leave disappointed.

''I didn't see the tears myself but the goddess is shining and looking very different,'' said devotee Vasudev Raju.

Local police were more sceptical, pointing out that all the temples had been washed on Friday at the start of a nine-day religious festival.

''Some of the idols may have been shining and looking new because of the clean-up,'' said sub-inspector Sudharak Rao as he tried to control traffic outside the Dhoolpet Durgar temple.

''People's imagination can be quite powerful sometimes,'' Rao said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


9. First stage of state's first Hindu temple is completed
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sep. 5, 2000
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
City of Pewaukee -- After years of making regular treks to Illinois to worship, Wisconsin Hindus finally have a temple close to home, a $4.5 million facility nestled among more than 20 acres of woods in Pewaukee.
(...)

After raising about $2.5 million from the state's Hindu population to build the first phase of the temple, the Hindu Temple of Wisconsin's board of directors has begun a $250,000 to $500,000 fund- raising push for a second phase of construction that will put the finishing touches on the worship center.

More than 400 families have donated to the temple's construction fund, some contributing up to $75,000. An additional $2 million in construction costs were covered by loans.

Temple leaders hope to hold a grand opening for the temple, near I- 94, in May 2001.
(...)

Planning and fund raising for the worship center, which includes a smaller temple on the site for members of the strict Jain religious sect, began in 1996, Pawar said. About 40 families practice Jainism in Wisconsin.
(...)

A Hindu temple houses idols of goddesses and gods, which are typically carved in stone or marble from India.
(...)

The temple will include idols popular in each geographic area of India, and the temples will be topped with domes in the Hindu styles of both northern and southern India.
(...)

Hindus bring offerings, including flowers, dried fruits and rice, to the idols, which include the elephant-headed Ganesh, the Hindu god of prosperity, and Vishnu, a lord of protection and maintenance.

Paintings of the gods suffice as idols until marble and granite statues are shipped from India.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


=== Islam

10. Egypt court says Sufi group denigrated Islam
CNN/Reuters, Sep. 5, 2000
http://www.cnn.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
CAIRO, Egypt (Reuters) -- A Cairo state security court on Tuesday sentenced a woman who said she was the leader of a Sufi sect to five years in jail with hard labor, court sources said.

They said the woman, known as Sheikha Manal, was found guilty of denigrating religions by ''claiming prophecy and using the Islamic religion to propagate extremist ideas.''

The court said she distorted Islam by claiming to have visions from her deceased uncle, the founder of a Sufi sect, which contained instructions to her followers that flouted basic Islamic tenets.

They included forgoing daily prayer, pilgrimage to Mecca and the belief that Prophet Mohammad was the last Muslim prophet.

Sufis are Muslim mystics and Sufi orders are widespread in Egypt, but traditionally frowned upon by the mainstream religious establishment.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

* More about Islam
http://www.apologeticsindex.org/i07.htmlOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]


=== Mungiki

11. Mungiki Leaders Convert to Islam
The Nation (Kenya), Sep. 3, 2000
http://www.allafrica.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
The chairman of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya, Sheikh Ali Shee, said yesterday those converted included national co-ordinator Ibrahim Ndura Waruinge and founder-member Mohammed Njenga.
(...)

The Mungiki leaders, who wore Kanzu and white caps, thanked Muslims for accepting them. They said the harassment of Mungiki members would now be seen as an insult to Muslims.

They appealed for financial and moral support to spread the religion and create a ''nation guided by the Sharia''.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


12. Outcry on Mungiki converts
The Daily Nation (Kenya), Sep. 6, 2000
http://www.nationaudio.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
The 13 Mungiki sect followers who converted to Islam should be monitored for six months to ensure they adhered to the tenets of the faith.

A Muslims leader suggested that a special team be formed to monitor the progress of the new converts.

The National Islamic Preachers Association of Kenya secretary general Sheikh Yusuf Trukana said the new converts also have to take special lessons in the faith from recognised Islamic institutions, such as Madrassa, for at least a year.

Sheikh Trukana criticised Cabinet Minister Shariff Nassir for opposing the move to accept the Mungiki sect members into Islam and advised him to leave the new converts to be taken care of by Muslim leaders.

He said Nassir should concentrate on politics and leave religion to the religious leaders.

He appealed to the new converts to respect Christians and not think that joining Islam was a license to insult other religions or look down upon them.
(...)

The Administrator of the Noor Muslim Institutions in Kwale District, Mr Y.S.Hamada, opposed the conversion of the Mungiki followers to Islam, saying they had not denounced activities linked to their sect.

But members of the Mwembe Tayari Tabligh Group, led by Mr Abdallah Ali Shee and Mr Adam Ambesta, welcomed the conversion and said other members of the sect are welcome to convert to Islam.

Mr Hamada said converts to Islam must denounce their previous religious beliefs before being accepted as Muslims, a thing he claims the Mungiki followers had not done.

''Converts to Islam must not be addicted to intoxicating drugs, a habit and lifestyle of Mungiki,'' he said.

But Mr Shee and Mr Adam said Islam being a universal religion of Allah (God), the Mungiki adherents were converted through clear Quran teachings.
(...)

During the ceremony Mr Waruinge asked the Government to stop harassing Mungiki members now that they had converted to Islam. He said harassment of his members would be viewed as an insult to Muslims worldwide.

He said they would use their new religion to fight against corruption, bad governance, poverty, immorality and diseases such as AIDS among Kenyans.

But yesterday Mr Hamada said Mungiki was not a genuine religious group but a political pressure group which was being used by other interest groups to destabilize the Government.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


=== Fang-Cheng church

13. China Says It Smashed Cult, Not Underground Church
Yahoo/Dow Jones, Sep. 5, 2000
http://asia.biz.yahoo.com/news/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
BEIJING (AP)--China said Tuesday that more than 100 people arrested in what human rights campaigners called a crackdown on an underground Christian church were really members of an illegal cult.

A Hong Kong-based group, the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, reported that 130 members of the Fangcheng church, including three American evangelists later deported, were rounded up in a sweep in central China's Henan province Aug. 23.

But in his ministry's first comment on the incident, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said, ''There is no such thing as the so-called Fangcheng religion in China.''

Instead, Sun said leaders of a banned cult he identified as the ''national scope church'' illegally organized a gathering of 105 people in Henan's Xihua county Aug. 23.

The meeting ''seriously affected the normal production and lives of people in the area'' and was broken up by police acting on public complaints, he said.

''The so-called national scope church is a cult organization that has been banned by the government,'' Sun said.

China is increasingly using anti-cult laws tightened last year during a crackdown on the Falun Gong spiritual movement to target other groups, including underground churches and meditation groups that officials view as threats.

The Fangcheng church is one of scores of clandestine Christian communities known as house churches because they are unable to worship in public. The officially atheistic communist government forbids worship outside state-sanctioned churches.

Sun said China protects religious freedom but ''religion should be strictly differentiated from cults.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


=== Catholicism

14. Vatican Says No Religion Equals Roman Catholicism
New York Times/Reuters, Sep. 5, 2000
http://www.nytimes.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican Tuesday rejected the concept that other religions could be equal to Roman Catholicism and ordered its theologians not to manipulate what it called the truth of the faith.

The Vatican's restatement of its position was outlined in a complex theological document, the English title of which was ''Declaration The Lord Jesus -- On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church.''

The document repeated Church teachings that non-Christians were in a ``gravely deficient situation'' regarding salvation and that other Christian churches had ``defects,'' partly because they did not recognize the primacy of the Pope.

The 36-page document, which was bound to spark fresh debate, was prepared by the Vatican's Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and approved by Pope John Paul.

It said the clarification and restatement of the official Catholic position was necessary to contest ``relativistic theories which seek to justify religious pluralism'' as a principle rather than a de facto practice.

Revelation of Christ
It said only the revelation of Jesus Christ was ``definitive and complete.'' Asserting that Christian revelation could be complementary to that found in other religions was ``contrary to the Church's faith.''

The document was addressed primarily to Catholic theologians but it appeared destined to spark dialogue on all levels with other Christian Churches and with non-Christians.

At a news conference to present the document, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican's doctrinal head, said some theologians were ``manipulating and going beyond the limits'' of tolerance when they put all religions on the same plane.
(...)

Walking a theological tightrope, the document said the ''Church of Christ'' was present and operative in other Christian Churches today.

But, in the Vatican's view, it subsists fully in the Roman Catholic Church because the Pope is the successor to St Peter, whom Christ named as his first vicar on Earth. Papal primacy was divinely willed, it said.

``Therefore, there exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him,'' it said.

''Defects'' of other churches
Some other Christian churches, while not in ``perfect union,'' remained united to Catholics by close bonds, it said.

``The Church of Christ is present and operative also in these Churches, even though they lack full communion with the Catholic Church since they do not accept the Catholic doctrine of the primacy, which, according to the will of God, (the Pope) objectively has and exercises over the entire Church,'' it said.

While other Christian churches ``suffer from defects,'' the document said they had not been deprived of what it called ''significance and importance in the mystery of salvation.''

But it was the Catholic Church which possessed and had been entrusted with ``the fullness of grace and truth.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

* Declaration ''Dominus Iesus'' on the unicity and salvific universality of
Jesus Christ and the Church
Off-site Link

Theologically, most forms of Roman Catholicism can be viewed as cults of
Christianity.

Cult experts John Weldon and John Ankerberg note that ''issues surrounding
Catholic belief and authority are compounded by the fact there are some ten
categories of Roman Catholicism around the world.'' They also note that
Catholicism has ''denied, altered, or confused all but one or two'' key Bible
doctrines. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that most evangelical
Christians would not recognize the claim that the Catholic church is the
''mother''' of other Christian churches.

More about religious pluralism

More about interfaith dialogue and interfaith activities


15. Churches stunned by Pope's attack on 'defects'
The Times (England), Sep. 4, 2000
http://www.the-times.co.uk/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
The Church of England and all other Protestant churches are not ''proper'' churches because they suffer from ''defects'', according to the Roman Catholic Church.

In a declaration approved by the Pope, the Vatican will also state that followers of all non-Christian religions are ''gravely deficient'' and their rituals constitute ''an obstacle to salvation''.

The statements are contained in Declaration Dominus Iesus, to be published in Rome tomorrow. Although not in the name of the Pope, it was approved by him and ''reflects his thinking''.

The declaration, which has been received with ''stunned horror'' by bishops and Roman Catholic theologians throughout the world, threatens to undo decades of inter-faith bridge-building. The Church of England called it disappointing and negotiations have taken place between Catholic officials and Lambeth Palace, the London headquarters of the Archbishop of Canterbury, in an attempt to limit damage.

With the Pope and the Queen due to meet in Rome next month, the document will also threaten relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England, of which the Queen is the Supreme Governor.

Although written by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican body formerly known as the Inquisition, the declaration has the authority of Pope John Paul II.

It was ratified and confirmed by him ''with sure knowledge and by his apostolic authority''.

The declaration is merciless in its cutting through of the diplomatic language of ecumenism and inter-faith relations of recent decades.
(...)

John Fitzsimmons, former Rector of the Scots College in Rome who currently chairs the faith and order commission of ACTS, the churches' ecumenical body in Scotland, said: ''The tenor of this document gives me a sense of disappointment and dismay. It is a return to the idea that the Catholic Church is the embodiment of the truth and anything that falls short of the Catholic Church is not the fullness of the truth. It is terrible.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


16. Pope is wrong, say Kenyan clerics
The Daily Nation (Kenya), Sep. 6, 2000
http://www.nationaudio.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
The Pope is contradicting the Bible by his declaration, the head of African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa, Rev Stephen Mburu said.

He said the protestant churches broke away from the Catholic Church because of their ungodly practices.

''The catholics don't practice Christianity. They follow, their religion blindly. For one to be a true Christian, one needs to practice Christian values and live by the word of God contained in the Bible,'' Rev Mburu said.

Quoting from Roman Chapter 8, Rev Mburu said the bibles says that there is no condemnation for those who live in union with Christ.

Rev Mburu who was speaking on behalf of Archbishop Samson Gaitho said the Pope, the Church do not bring Salvation.
(...)

The provost of the Nakuru Cathedral Church of the Good Shepherd, the Very Reverend Phillip Obwogi said that the Catholic Church of Rome was among those which had been condemned for having ''erred in their living and manner of ceremonies as well as of faith.''

The Very Rev Obwogi said the Anglican Church was guided by 39 tenets and was an ''improvement'' of the Roman Catholic.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


=== Atlleboro Cult

17. Hub lawyer braces for brush off in cult case
Boston Herald, Sep. 5, 2000
http://www.bostonherald.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
A Boston attorney, who today will ask the state's highest court to overturn a judge's ruling to incarcerate an 8-months pregnant cult member shunning modern medicine, is afraid she could be turned away for ``butting in.''

``I'm not a party to the proceeding. I don't represent any interest in the underlying dispute,'' attorney Wendy Murphy said yesterday. ``They may say, `This is ridiculous. How dare you butt in.' ''

If the state Supreme Judicial Court rejects her efforts to represent ``a similar class'' of pregnant women against what she calls an unconstitional ruling, Murphy has an alternative plan.

She'll ask the court to independently consider reversing Attleboro Juvenile Court Judge Kenneth Nasif's decision to hospitalize cult member Rebecca Corneau - who has also refused legal representation.
(...)

If the court grants Murphy a hearing, which could be held as early as tomorrow, she is prepared to represent other pregnant women of Bristol County who say they're threatened by the judge's ruling.

``They'll say, `I'm afraid for my liberty. I'm afraid of the ramifications of this ruling and if (Corneau) could be incarcerated against her will, what's to stop officials from locking me up for equally invalid reasons?' '' Murphy said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


18. Lawyer Offers Aid to Sect Member
The Associated Press, Sep. 6, 2000
http://my.aol.com/news/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
BOSTON (AP) - An attorney asked the state's highest court Tuesday to step in and review a lower court's decision to place a pregnant member of a fundamentalist sect into state custody.

Wendy Murphy, a Boston attorney, said women's rights are ``chilled and threatened'' by Judge Kenneth Nasif's decision. Murphy filed the request with the Supreme Judicial Court to review Nasif's ruling on behalf of a pregnant woman not connected to the original case.

``The lower court's decision squarely conflicts with a long line of settled case law striking down similar infringements on the important constitutional rights at stake here,'' Murphy wrote in her petition.

Murphy made the request on behalf of a woman who is six months' pregnant and identified only as Barbara F. The petition said she often travels in Bristol County, where the ruling was issued, and could be affected by it.

The petition said the woman is concerned the ruling means she could someday be forced into custody herself.

Murphy said she wanted the court to scrutinize ``whether it's correct that a woman who doesn't want and, by all accounts, doesn't even need medical intervention can nevertheless be held against her will by the government.''

Jerry Fitzgerald, spokesman for Bristol County District Attorney Paul Walsh's office, called the petition ``disingenuous, at best.''

``They're trying to make this into something it isn't,'' Fitzgerald said. ``This is a case, not a cause.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


19. Stop the rhetoric, save the child
Boston Globe, Sep. 5, 2000 (Opinion)
http://www.boston.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Women's rights groups ought to take a deep breath in the legal drama unfolding around cult member Rebecca Corneau and the impending birth of her baby. If they don't, they're at risk of harming their own worthy cause.

Far more important than any murky precedent that may or may not be established by placing Corneau in state custody, far more significant than the ongoing intellectual parrying in the courts and news media, is one simple, indelible fact: This case is about life and death.

In a couple of weeks, a child will be born to Rebecca Corneau, a child who, from the very second he or she enters this world, deserves the full rights and protections inherent as a citizen of the United States. That child didn't ask to be born to a member of an extremist cult, and that child shouldn't be put at risk because of the mother's noxious beliefs.

Some facts: Two children of this Attleboro-based cult are missing and presumed dead - a 10-month-old who authorities have good reason to believe was starved to death over the course of three agonizing months as part of ''God's will,'' and an infant (Corneau's most recent child) who died at birth, probably for lack of proper medical care.

The 13-member cult regards science and medicine as blasphemy and refuses to acknowledge the existence of the United States.

Members apparently buried the tiny bodies in makeshift coffins, perhaps somewhere in the wilderness of Baxter State Park in Maine. No one really knows because the cult members won't say.
(...)

So officials have taken a series of uncommonly sensible steps. First, a judge ruled that the members of the cult - including Corneau - were unfit parents, and so their 13 children were removed and placed in the custody of the state Department of Social Services.

Then Bristol District Attorney Paul Walsh asked a judge to place Corneau, who is believed to be about 81/2 months pregnant, in state custody to assure that she will take proper steps in delivering a healthy baby.
(...)

The plan is that as soon as the baby is delivered, Corneau will be free to go; the child will be turned over to the DSS.

Enter an assortment of women's advocates and civil rights groups, many of whom have begun sounding as shrill as the National Rifle Association when it fights proposed bans on deadly submachine guns by saying that such measures will erode the rights of hunters.

In a vacuum, their arguments have some merit.
(...)

But let's be clear: The body count from this cult already stands at two - two boys named Samuel and Jeremiah.
(...)

Let's be equally clear: This is not about religious freedom. No acceptable religion allows a child in its immediate care to starve to death. No acceptable religion hides corpses from authorities who don't just have a right but a responsibility to recover and analyze them.

Likewise, this is not about abortion rights, of which I'm entirely, unequivocally in favor. In this one instance, it is about the care of just one child - a newborn who will be endangered by a group of fanatics the second he or she enters the world.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


=== Occult

20. Officials Commission Jailhouse Exorcism
APBnews.com, Sep. 1, 2000
http://www.apbnews.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
SAN JOSE, Calif. (APBnews.com) -- Prisoners at a county jail were so spooked by séances with a makeshift Ouija board that officials felt compelled to call in a priest to cast out demons.

The prisoners actually thought they were possessed by the devil, said Bryan Peretti, spokesman for the Santa Clara County jail system.

The strange happenings began earlier this summer in a dormitory-type room that houses 29 male prisoners at the main county jail in San Jose. The men, all members of Latino gangs from southern California, are segregated from other prisoners due to their gang affiliation.

The jail supplies them with board games such as Monopoly, Peretti said.

''On the back of a Scrabble board, they created the moon and the sun and the letters -- all the components of a Ouija board,'' he said.

Meetings in the dark
According to occultists, people who use Ouija boards can communicate with spirits. Voices from the beyond are said to coax an indicator device around the board, spelling out words and pointing to answers to questions.
(...)

The prisoners, in their 20s, were 'spooked' at one point early this month and went to guards for help, Peretti said. They reported that ''we've summoned up some spirits, but we think we've gathered the wrong kinds of spirits. We're feeling possessed and scared and nervous.''
(...)

The prisoners complained so much about being possessed that four were removed from the dorm. A Catholic priest arrived and blessed the 29 prisoners. The priest also sprinkled holy water on them and their bunks, Peretti said.
(...)

The priest's visit seemed to calm the prisoners.
(...)

The Rev. Andrew Skotnicki, a priest who counsels prisoners in Santa Clara County jails, said people may have personal reasons for thinking they're possessed.

''In normal pastoral situations, oftentimes it's a guy who is overwhelmed emotionally and is facing guilt about things he's done,'' he said. ''I'm not saying demon possession is not impossible. It's part of our tradition, but the actual cases of it happening are rare.''

As for the use of Ouija boards, Skotnicki does not recommend it.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


=== Hate Groups

21. German Police Raid Far-Right Music Distributors
Excite/Reuters, Sep. 5, 2000
http://news.excite.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
MAGDEBURG, Germany (Reuters) - German police said on Tuesday they had confiscated more than 7,500 compact discs of neo-Nazi music, some bearing photos of Adolf Hitler on their covers, along with far-right paraphernalia in a pre-dawn raid.

Authorities in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt said it was the biggest sweep against the far-right this year. A total of 11 sites were raided in the early hours of August 30.

''A lot of young people have internalized this music and often commit hate crimes against foreigners after hearing this,'' said Manfred Puechel, interior minister of the state west of Berlin. ''The music inspires them and is extremely dangerous.''
(...)

One of the CDs seized by police featured a neo-Nazi band called ''Zillertaler Turk Hunters'' and had pictures of hanged blacks and Turks on its cover. Another CD described how it felt to kill blacks.
(...)

Police said they also confiscated some 30,000 CD covers, computers with customer addresses, videos and posters showing swastikas. They said the material clearly violated the country's strict laws prohibiting the incitement of racial hatred.

Police said they had now disrupted the operations of two distributors of far-right rock music, but there were still about 50 to 70 others operating in Germany.

''Based on our preliminary investigation much of the material is in violation of the law,'' the head of the state's crime office, Guenther Flossmann, told a news conference in Magdeburg.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

* More about hate groups
http://www.apologeticsindex.org/h00.html#hategroupsOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]


22. KKK robe, hoods seized
Tulsa World, Sep. 3, 2000
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Police recovered a ''KKK robe,'' a white cone-shaped hood and a black full-face hood from the residence of a 20-year-old Tulsan who is charged in the widespread vandalism of a Jewish cemetery section, records show.

Officers also seized ''two drawings depicting KKK white supremacist ties,'' a Polaroid picture of a Klansman and a black jersey bearing swastikas from the home of Jonathan Brian Duke, according to documents filed Friday in Tulsa County District court.

Duke and Dillon Bell, 18, were each charged Wednesday with one felony and 90 misdemeanors stemming from Aug. 25 damage to Jewish gravestones at Rose Hill Memorial Park in Tulsa.

Along with a felony charge of malicious injury to property, Duke and Bell are charged jointly with 89 counts of injuring a grave- stone or monument and one count of malicious intimidation and haras- sment based on religion, ancestry and national origin.
(...)

A Tulsa judge approved a warrant on Aug. 26 allowing officers to enter Duke's home to search for items displaying or promoting the philosophy of white supremacists -- which would include the Ku Klux Klan -- or any group that promotes harassment or intimidation of another due to race, color, religion, ancestry or national origin. The judge limited the search to Duke's bedroom unless items were in plain view at the residence, records show.
(...)

Police also searched Bell's residence, where a .22-caliber pistol and bullets were seized. No items linked to white-supremacy beliefs were recovered in that search, records indicate.
(...)

The state misdemeanor charge outlawing intimidation based on religion, ancestry and national origin carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. A federal civil rights criminal statute that is being examined carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison upon conviction, Lewis indicated.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


=== Other News

23. Catholics turn to Islam as faith conversions rise
Electronic Telegraph (England), Sep. 3, 2000
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
People are converting from one religious denomination or faith to another at a faster rate than ever, with 1,000 swapping every week, according to a new study.

Despite the decline in formal church attendance, the remaining ''religious traffic'' is ''heading in all directions'', Rabbi Jonathan Romain claims in a book to be published next month. Traditional barriers between religions are crumbling in a multi-faith, consumerist society, he says in Your God Shall Be My God.

Anglicans are becoming Roman Catholics, and vice versa, Jews are becoming Buddhists, Muslims are becoming Anglicans and Roman Catholics Jews. Between 10 and 30 per cent of converts to Buddhism are Jewish, according to official estimates. Such converts are referred to as a ''Jew-Bu''.

Dharmachavi Vishvapani, 35, a Jew who changed his name from Simon Blomfield to join the Western Buddhist Order, said he preferred Buddhism because it focused on practice rather than dogma.
(...)

A high proportion of the 1,500 to 2,500 converts to Islam every year are Catholics. According to Sarah Jacobs, a former Catholic who is now a Muslim, the leap between the two faiths is not as great as it seems.
(...)

She said: ''What appealed to me was the incredible simplicity and clarity of Islam.''

Dr Ahmed Andrews, a lecturer in the sociology of religion at Derby University and another convert from Catholicism to Islam said: ''There are between 5,000 and 10,000 white Muslim converts in this country, and most of the ones I know are former Catholics.'' Rabbi Romain maintains that Islam is not the only beneficiary: of the 300 to 400 coverts to Judaism every year, about a fifth are Catholics.
(...)

Rabbi Romain, minister of Maidenhead synagogue, Berkshire, says in his book: ''Not only is Britain a multi-faith society, but it is proudly so. People previously used to one faith are now presented with an array of different religious options that were hardly thought of beforehand.'' He says that a further spiritual impetus has been created by the Millennium. ''While there has been a decline in knowledge about religion, the spiritual yearning for answers to questions of the meaning of life and personal direction remain. People feel a spiritual vacuum so they look outside their own religious backgrounds, and there is a lot more on offer.''

The biggest growth is being experienced by Islam and Buddhism, and movements such as New Age and paganism. Rabbi Romain believes that Britain is more fruitful territory for the ''new religious movements'', or cults, than the United States. An estimated 400 have spring up since 1945, and there are 3.2 cults per million of the population in this country compared with 2.3 per million in the US. ''Britain also has the distinction of being the country in Europe with the highest number of Indian and Eastern cult centres and communities,'' he adds.

Peter Brierley, of Christian Research, said the rate of cross-fertilisation appeared to have increased. He added: ''What we don't know is whether people, having changed, are not changing back again five years later.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


24. Religious Sightings in Egypt Town
The Associated Press, Sep. 1, 2000
http://my.aol.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
ASSIUT, Egypt (AP) - Thousands of people were traveling to this southern Egyptian city in recent weeks after reports of an apparition of the Virgin Mary and a flock of exceptionally large, white pigeons in a shining light.

The local Coptic Christian synod released a statement Sunday reporting some sighting of ``spiritual features'' since the first one Aug. 17 over the dome of Saint Mark's church. The statement did not say whether religious leaders had confirmed any sightings personally.

``I haven't seen any light,'' Father Baki Sedka, head of a neighboring church, said Monday. ``I stayed up all night and I didn't see anything except a few pigeons.

``The appearance of a few pigeons doesn't justify a miracle,'' Sedka said.
(...)

Copts make up less than 10 percent of the population in Egypt, where Islam is the state religion.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


=== Religious Freedom / Religious Intolerance

25. U.S. to World: Practice What We Preach on Religion
AOL/Reuters, Sep. 5, 2000
http://my.aol.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday told the world to heed its founding fathers who saw religious freedom as a key to democracy, blasting China, Sudan and Afghanistan among others it found guilty of restricting expression of faith.

In its second report on how free people are to practice their beliefs in 194 states, the State Department also rebuked some of its allies including Saudi Arabia, Germany and France.

Beijing's crackdown on Falun Gong spiritual practitioners provoked some of the harshest criticism in the report, mandated by Congress under a 1998 law which gave the U.S. government a variety of punishment options, including sanctions.

Last year the U.S. government chose not to impose additional sanctions on countries it designated as being of particular concern for their religious tolerance -- China, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar and Sudan.

This year U.S. officials say they do not expect any significant change in that list, which last year was announced about a month after the religious freedom report.
(...)

Citing the United States as an example of how religions should be allowed to flourish, the report said: ``Today, at the dawn of the third millennium, religions are flourishing in the United States, their respective traditions enriching not only their own adherents, but American public policy as well.''

Religious freedom was the first one listed in the U.S. Bill of Rights -- ``a reflection of the founders' belief that freedom of religion and conscience is the cornerstone of liberty'' as the report put it.

Some of the hundreds of pages of text concentrated on states the U.S. government says do not fulfill a covenant signed by 144 nations acknowledging the right to ``have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice''.

It accused Germany of encouraging discrimination against members of the Church of Scientology, which enjoys tax-free status in the United States.

Some German officials believed Scientology was a money-making scheme rather than a religion and government procedures sometimes screened out its members, it said.

In France, a 1996 law labeling 173 groups as sects included organizations which were ``merely unfamiliar or unpopular,'' some of whose members continued to allege discrimination, it added.

The U.S. government did not analyze how religious freedom was respected at home, though it acknowledged followers of Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Roman Catholicism, Judaism, Islam and indigenous American religions had been persecuted in the past.

In February, a French government mission accused Washington of being too lax on cults and unfairly blaming France for its harsher stance.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top

* 2000 Annual Report on International Religious FreedomOff-site Link
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
U.S. Department of State, September 5, 2000

The annual report is seen by many as an acceptable attempt to interfere with
the internal business of sovereign nations. Many also consider the U.S.
report to be hypocritical, seeing that it fails to address human rights
abuses in America:

http://www.amnestyusa.org/rightsforall/index.htmlOff-site Link

Once again the US government appears clueless as to how to recognize or
deal with dangerous cults. It's promotion of the Church of Scientology can
only be viewed as criminal complicity.

Germany's positionOff-site Link on the Scientology Organization is representative of how
civilized countries deal with such extremist organizations


Like most European countries, France ignores US protestations,

President Jacques Chirac has told Mr Clinton that religious freedom will
no longer be a subject for bilateral presidential talks, in the light of
what has been officially described as ''shocking'' White House' support
for Scientologists and Moonies.



26. US warning over scourge of religious persecution
AFP, Sep. 5, 2000
http://asia.dailynews.yahoo.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
The United States warned Tuesday that state-driven religious persecution was rampant across swaths of Asia and the Middle East and censured several European nations for branding influential spiritual groups as cults.

The annual report on International Religious Freedom, unveiled by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on the sidelines of the United Nations millennium summit here, surveyed the state of religious tolerance in 194 countries.

Totalitarian governments were accused of treating religions threatening their dominant ideology as an ''enemy of the state'' in the report, which painted a damning picture of life for believers in nations including China, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.
(...)

The report also targets governments deemed guilty of controlling religions by designating them as hostile or security threats.
(...)

Austria, France, Germany the Czech Republic and Belgium were also targeted, for stigmatising certain religions ''by wrongfully associating them with dangerous ''cults'' or ''sects.''

The report mentions findings by the French National Assembly which contributed towards an ''atmosphere of intolerance'' toward minority groups.

''A few of the groups on the list are clearly dangerous, but most are merely unfamiliar or unpopular,'' said the summary.

Germany is criticised for its handling of the Church of Scientology, a which counts several Hollywood stars as members, while Austria is faulted for referring to Jehovah's Witnesses in ''negative'' terms.

Continued government ''observation'' of the group created an environment which encouraged discrimination, the report said.

Concern is also expressed about a ''restrictive'' law in religions in Russia, which is said to create a hierachy of faiths, and alleged harrasment of some groups in the country.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


=== Death Penalty And Other Human Rights Abuses

27. Even more prisons wanted in Texas
The Spokesman-Review, Sep. 5, 2000
http://www.spokane.net/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
AUSTIN, Texas _ The people of Texas should be gearing up to pitch a fit come January.

They want us to pay for more prisons. MORE prisons. We just finished the biggest prison-spending spree in history. Starting in 1991, we spent billions to more than double the number of beds in the system. They promised us that we wouldn't have to build another prison for at least a generation. And now they want more.

And there's one other point. This. Is. Not. Working.

The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that Texas has more of its people imprisoned than any other state -- 163,190. That's more than California, which has 13 million more people than Texas does.

The study, released this week by the Justice Policy Institute, not only finds Texas with the highest incarceration rate in the country -- it also finds the incarceration rate among young African-American men 63 percent higher than the national average. Nearly one out of three young black men is under some form of criminal justice control in Texas.

BUT -- our crime rate has NOT dropped proportionately to crime in other states that did not expand their prisons and that incarcerate far fewer people.

We're spending more money, imposing far harsher punishment and getting worse results. This. Is. Not. Working.

The Justice Policy Institute says Texas has led the nation since 1990 with an annual average prison growth rate of 11.8 percent at a time when crimes in all categories are going down. Nearly one in five new prisoners (18 percent) added to the nation's prisons were in Texas.

No one comes remotely close to our record on the death penalty -- 227 dead so far since 1982 -- more than the total of the next five death-penalty states combined. If this were working, Texas would have the lowest crime rate in the nation.
(...)

Steve J. Martin, former general counsel for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and probably our most respected prison expert (author of ''Texas Prisons: The Walls Came Tumbling Down''), uses even more telling statistics. There are twice as many blacks in Texas prisons as are enrolled in our public universities. In contrast, the ratio for Anglos is five university students for every prisoner.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


=== Noted

28. England's 'Potter' parish isn't hip to changing culture
New York Post, Sep. 5, 2000 (Opinion)
http://www.nypost.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
It's an idea so absurd and tasteless that only a hapless Muggle divine could have come up with it.

Poor Harry Potter has fallen into the clutches of the Vicar of Dippy!

Over the weekend, a Church of England vicar was to have celebrated a special ''Harry Potter'' liturgy for families, in an effort to win young people back to church. According to a report in The Times of London, the service planned to feature wizards, pointy hats, broomsticks and a game of Quidditch.

The door of All Saints parish in Surrey was to have been made up like the special train platform at London's King's Cross Station, where students at J.K. Rowling's famous Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry catch the train to boarding school.

According to the report, the parish priest, whose British brain has apparently gone as soft as his British teeth, intended to don wizard's robes as Albus Dumbledore, the Hogwarts headmaster. Banners from the four Hogwarts houses, including the serpentine standard of evil Slytherin, were to be hung from the rafters.

The special service was to end with worshippers chasing a yellow rubber ball around the church in an attempt to play Quidditch, the popular wizard's game in the best-selling children's-book series.

Oh, dear. The thought of a church full of mad Englishmen pursuing a rubber ball around the sanctuary in a desperate attempt to be culturally appealing is simply beyond parody. Monty Python, thou shouldst be alive at this hour.

Some clergy from the Church of England's evangelical wing have protested, saying importing occult symbols into Christian liturgy is a terrible idea that can confuse children.

They're right - and I say that as someone who adores the Harry Potter books - but the real error here has nothing to do with the misuse of our beloved Harry. The real offense here is the profane notion that sacred liturgy can or should be made a slave of entertainment-driven faddishness.

What's next, a ''Survivor'' service, with the minister as God (Jeff Probst), a deacon as Lucifer (Richard), and a congregant as the Christian innocent (Dirk) fighting to keep from being booted off the island for reading his Bible too much?

Don't laugh: Somewhere in America, a suburban megachurch is surely hatching this idea. Never underestimate the clueless idiocy of those who, having shed the timeless structures of traditional religion, fall for anything that seems ''relevant.''

The Church of England and its Episcopal branch here in America are particularly susceptible to this sort of suicidal mania. No matter what they do to accommodate themselves to contemporary culture, their numbers keep declining.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


29. House of God
Omaha World-Herald, Sep. 2, 2000
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Three weeks ago, Episcopal Church of the Resurrection launched its own version of ''Survivor.''

It brought in three recent college graduates, installed them in its newly remodeled vicarage, and told them to live and serve together in harmony for the next nine months.
(...)

Voting one another out of the house is not an option. Their job instead is to form a team and explore parish ministry and simple communal living for the next nine months.

The hope is that they will find church work and the spiritual life so rewarding that they will consider the priesthood, said the Rev. J. Scott Barker, pastor of Church of the Resurrection.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
Back To Top


30. Spiritualist community offers path to `inner peace'
Star Telegram/AP, Sep. 6, 2000
http://www.star-telegram.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(...) Calling itself the ''world's largest Spiritualist community,'' Lily Dale and its year-round and seasonal residents invite visitors to renew body and spirit. That could involve meditating at an ancient tree stump deep in a virgin forest, taking part in a ''thought exchange,'' or walking a shrubbery labyrinth while contemplating life's challenges.

For many of the 22,000 to 25,000 who pass through the gates each year, it means meeting with one of the assembly's three dozen registered ''mediums'' -- people who claim to commune with the spirit world -- in hopes of receiving a message or guidance from a loved one who has died.

But, cautions historian Joyce LaJudice, ''It is not a psychic fair.'' She stresses Lily Dale residents are serious about privately practicing the religion of Spiritualism. ''We are not here for entertainment.''

Being a believer is not a requirement to wander the grounds, browse the bookstores or attend free daily meditation and healing services and clairvoyance demonstrations by resident and visiting mediums.

Lily Dale, now in its 121st year, is busiest in summer, with workshops, services and lectures on topics ranging from past-life regression to yoga scheduled every day through Sept. 3. Services are held on a more limited basis during the rest of the year and Lily Dale's resident mediums continue to offer readings.

The Marion Skidmore library is stocked with hundreds of books devoted to healing, mediumship, transpersonal psychology and spiritual development and gift stores stock crystals, clothing, herbs and jewelry.

Lily Dale Assembly, named for the abundance of lilies flowering on Cassadaga Lake on which it sits, has its roots in a group of Spiritualists who met regularly in the mid-1800s to discuss their beliefs and practice their healing and mediumship. The first speaker at Lily Dale was suffragette Elizabeth Lowe Watson, who was followed by peers like Susan B. Anthony, as the gathering place about 55 miles southwest of Buffalo became a stronghold for the suffrage movement.
[...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