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Religion News Report

September 8, 2000 (Vol. 4, Issue 258)

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Rainbow


=== Aryan Nations
1. Jury: Aryans To Pay $6.3M in Suit
2. Aryan Nations Leader Ordered to Pay $5 Million
3. Plaintiffs ask $11.26 million from Aryans
4. Aryan leader defeated by Dees watches trial
5. Butler rebuts charges
6. Protest in Feds Posing As Reporters

=== Attleboro Cult
7. Judge Rules in Favor of Fetus
8. Bristol DA denies holding cult mom has `chilling' effect
9. Appeal cites abortion ruling in bid to free pregnant cultist
10. Pregnant woman in bid to reverse Attleboro ruling

=== Falun Gong
11. Group: 3 Falun Gong Members Died

=== Catholicism
12. Archbishop Carey dismayed at Vatican document
13. No way, Vatican told
14. Vatican Claims Church Monopoly on Salvation

=== Islam
15. Leaders of two U.S. black Muslim groups still preach unity

=== Jehovah's Witnesses
16. Bloodless Surgery Comes to South Africa

=== Hate Groups
17. German Neo-Nazi Seeks Asylum in US
18. German Party Claims New Members
19. Neo-Nazis Seek OK for Protest
20. Racism, ties to neo-Nazis, Civil War revisionism all cited by
watchdog group

=== Militia Groups
21. Grays, police negotiate terms

=== Rebirthing
22. Mother faces trial over daughter''s death during therapy
23. Mother charged in therapy death waives hearing

=== Other News
24. Report: New O'Hair case prosecution planned
25. Yeats writings reveal occult interest

=== Religious Freedom / Religious Intolerance
26. China Says U.S. Religion Report a 'Fabrication'
27. Prayers for rain are urged

=== Noted
28. God's Country?


=== Aryan Nations

1. Jury: Aryans To Pay $6.3M in Suit
The Associated Press, Sep. 7, 2000
http://my.aol.com/news/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) - A jury on Thursday awarded $6.3 million to a woman and her son who were attacked by Aryan Nations guards outside the white supremacist group's north Idaho headquarters.

The jury found that Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler, the group and its corporate entity, Saphire, Inc., were negligent in the selection, training and supervision of the security guards who assaulted Victoria and Jason Keenan two years ago.

The Keenans' attorney, Morris Dees, had asked the jury to award more than $11 million in punitive damages. Dees, of the Montgomery, Ala.-based Southern Poverty Law Center, has said he hoped the penalty would be severe enough to bankrupt the Aryan Nations.

Jurors recommended that Victoria and Jason Keenan receive $330,000 in compensatory damages for being chased, shot at and assaulted by the guards. The jury awarded $6 million in punitive damages.
(...)

Also found negligent was Michael Teague, Butler's chief of staff. Security guards Jesse Warfield and John Yeager - who are serving prison terms for the assault - were also found liable for punitive damages.
(...)

The Aryan Nations assets consist mainly of a 20-acre property and some buildings that serve as the group's headquarters north of Coeur d'Alene. The group brings in about $80,000 a year through $5 monthly membership fees and other contributions to it and the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian, Butler said.

Butler has said his property was assessed at more than $200,000 about six years ago.

Dees characterized Butler as a purveyor of hate who controls an army recruited in prisons across the country. Butler's vision of America is one of white superiority that ignores the accomplishments of the country's minorities, Dees said.

``You are the conscience of this community,'' Dees told the jury. ``Tell Richard Butler, 'We don't believe in your America, Mr. Butler.'''
(...)

Defense lawyer Edgar Steele conceded the Keenans had been terrorized, but suggested they only be awarded $4,000 to $10,000 each.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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2. Aryan Nations Leader Ordered to Pay $5 Million
Reuters, Sep. 7, 2000
http://my.aol.com/news/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (Reuters) - An Idaho jury on Thursday found white supremacist leader Richard Butler negligent in letting guards at his Aryan Nations compound assault two passing motorists and ordered him to pay more than $5 million in punitive and compensatory damages.
(...)

The action was brought on the Keenans' behalf by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a means of destroying the Aryan Nations by forcing them into bankruptcy and off their 20-acre (eight-hectare) compound.

But the 83-year-old Butler, leader of one of the country's most virulent white supremacist groups, said that the jury's award would not ruin him.

``I'm still in business and I'll remain in business until the day I die, Butler told reporters after the verdict.

``Most of Northern Idaho is filled with people who don't want multiculturalism,'' he said before members of a crowd outside the courthouse shouted him down and he left in a waiting car.

In addition to the 83-year-old Butler, three Aryan Nations associates were ordered to pay stiff penalties.

His chief of staff Michael Teague, was ordered to pay $633,000, security guard John Yeager $100,000 and guard Jesse Warfield $500,000

``You can shut down the Aryan Nations but you can't shut down the white message,'' Teague said, adding that he would appeal the jury's verdict and ``stay right here in Idaho.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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3. Plaintiffs ask $11.26 million from Aryans
The Spokesman-Review, Sep. 7, 2000
http://www.spokane.net/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Coeur d'Alene _ A 12-member jury returns today to decide whether Richard Butler and his Aryan Nations were ''grossly negligent'' and responsible for an assault carried out in 1998 by Aryan security guards.

The victims of the attack near the Aryan compound, Victoria Keenan and her son, Jason, should be awarded $11.26 million in damages, their attorney Morris Dees urged the jury Wednesday.

Dees, in an impassioned 90-minute closing argument, urged the jury to award the Keenans $10 million in punitive damages and $1.26 million in compensatory damages.

''I think these are very reasonable sums of money,'' Dees told the jury panel, composed of nine women and three men.

Nine of the 12 jurors must agree that the ''preponderance of evidence'' -- meaning more likely than not -- shows that the defendants were grossly negligent.
(...)

Dees argued that punitive damages are a way to punish Butler and his Aryan Nations and deter similar conduct in the future.

''This is where this jury can send a message not just to these defendants, but people like them throughout the United States,'' Dees told the jury.

But defense attorney Edgar Steele said the jury shouldn't award a dime in punitive damages, and said Butler and his Aryan Nations were the victims of a ''railroad job.''

The only ones liable for damages are guards Jesse Warfield and John Yeager, Steele told the jury.
(...)

Dees said the case doesn't involve issues of free speech or freedom of religion as suggested by Steele.
(...)

Butler should be sent a message that ''you can practice your hate, but in America you don't have a right to hurt people.''
(...)

Both Warfield and Yeager told the jury they alone are responsible for their criminal conduct.

Dees said their statements were like soldiers falling on their bayonets to protect their leader, Richard Butler.

Steele attempted to convince the jury that Warfield and Yeager were rogue volunteer guards who broke Aryan rules by drinking beer and leaving the compound with an SKS assault rifle, pursuing the Keenans' car.
(...)

But Dees said the jury shouldn't buy the defense theory that ''this is the gang that was too drunk to shoot straight.''

Four shots from Yeager's assault rifle were grouped together near the left rear of the old Datsun and a fifth bullet flattened its right rear tire, sending the car into a ditch.

Such marksmanship from the back of a moving pickup would be difficult even for a sober shooter, Dees argued.

He also attacked the defense for attempting to depict Butler as a kindly old man who runs a bed and breakfast.

''He runs a haven for hardened criminals ... who have terrorized this community,'' Dees said.

Plaintiffs attorney Ken Howard, who concluded closing arguments, said Butler and his Aryan Nations have ''betrayed'' the region's values and high level of tolerance.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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4. Aryan leader defeated by Dees watches trial
The Spokesman-Review, Sep. 6, 2000
http://www.spokane.net/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Coeur d'Alene _ Tom Metzger, leader of the White Aryan Resistance, arrived in Coeur d'Alene Tuesday to show support for Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler.

Metzger, 62, drove from his home in Fallbrook, Calif., to attend one day of the civil trial against Butler. Metzger also came to face his nemesis, Morris Dees, who in 1990 won a $12.5 million judgment against Metzger and his son, John.

''Dees never put me out of business at all,'' said Metzger, who publishes a monthly tabloid called WAR, or White Aryan Resistance.

Metzger lost his house and personal business in the 1990 case and still pays the judgment with contributions he receives for WAR.
(...)

''I want to see pastor Butler retire with the dignity he deserves. It will be the end of a certain type of era,'' Metzger said. ''I think you can imagine what phase two is.''

Metzger did not speak with Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, who opposed Metzger in the 1990 suit.

In that case, an Oregon jury awarded the $12.5 million judgment against Metzger and his son for their role in helping incite skinheads to murder Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian immigrant living in Portland in 1988.

''It's a legal lynching,'' Metzger said of the civil trial against Butler. ''These cases are 90 percent smear and 10 percent evidence.''
(...)

Metzger said he does not support the openness of the Aryan Nations, such as allowing media to record the group's annual congress.

Instead, Metzger said he supports a lone wolf or ''burrowing in'' approach by a single person or a small group.

Metzger alluded to the millions being spent by the FBI to find fugitive Eric Robert Rudolph in North Carolina.
(...)

Metzger -- who said he hopes to be considered the most dangerous racist in the country -- wants a social revolution to assist the white race.

''People like pastor Butler and I can't force anyone to do anything. We can only support and advise,'' Metzger said. ''Effective revolutions always have a lot of violence.

''I don't believe in misdirected or nonsensical violence. But it's a tool -- like a pair of pliers or a hammer. If properly used, I see nothing wrong with it.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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5. Butler rebuts charges
The Spokesman-Review, Sep. 6, 2000
http://www.spokane.net/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Coeur d'Alene _ Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler told a jury Tuesday that he wasn't involved in a plot to firebomb property owned by a North Idaho civil rights activist who is Jewish.

Butler's testimony rebutted that of ex-Aryan Charles Hardman, who told the jury he built a Molotov cocktail intended for the attack after getting a Coke bottle from the Aryan leader.
(...)

Butler, testifying in his defense in a civil suit, said the Aryan Nations operates on donations that total $70,000 to $80,000 a year.

Butler said the Aryan Nations spends $600 to $700 a month on postage and others costs associated with maintenance and the publication of books.

That testimony may be the first time Butler has publicly disclosed any detailed financial information about his 25-year-old Aryan Nations operation.

Butler said he doesn't have a security force at his compound north of Hayden Lake.
(...)

Butler said he does appoint volunteers to security duties during the annual Aryan World Congress. ''They're not security, but ticket takers,'' he said.

''In truth, probably you can equate it to children playing,'' Butler said of his followers who call themselves security guards.

The issue of security guards is important because the plaintiffs' attorneys attempted to show that Butler and Michael Teague are responsible for the appointment of security guards Jesse Warfield, John Yeager and Shane Wright.
(...)

''Everybody likes a title, to be something in the world,'' Butler said of the appointments at Aryan Nations. ''It's more like play-acting.''

He also told the jury he doesn't condone violence, but does honor racists who have committed crimes on behalf of the white race.
(...)

In his testimony, Butler sought to downplay the image of his Church of Jesus Christ Christian-Aryan Nations.

He said a tall tower where armed Aryan guards are frequently photographed is a watch tower, not a guard tower.

He said his property isn't a compound, but church grounds.

And Butler said the Aryan Nations, with its outreach program for prison inmates, is ''sort of like a church way house.''

Plaintiffs' attorney Richard Cohen asked Butler why he refers to black people as ''beasts of the field.''

Butler said that's a biblical reference.
(...)

''The white race is the most endangered species on the face of the Earth,'' he said, telling the jury that whites make up only 6 percent of the world's population.

From those views, he explained, comes his Christian Identity religious belief that the white race is a nation. ''We are to be separate from all other people,'' Butler explained, quoting the Bible.

He said white people are the only race on Earth without a national state since the collapse of Hitler's Germany in May 1945.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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6. Protest in Feds Posing As Reporters
Excite/AP, Sep. 7, 2000
http://news.excite.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
WASHINGTON (AP) - The American Society of Newspaper Editors condemned Thursday the use of press credentials by undercover federal agents posing as journalists at a trial in Idaho last week.

In letters to Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louis Freeh, Richard Oppel, president of the Reston, Va.-based ASNE, called the tactics an ''affront to working journalists.''

''If citizens believe that members of the media may be investigators for federal state or local agencies, journalists will be placed at risk and will be unable to do our jobs,'' Oppel said.
(...)

The FBI issued a statement Friday acknowledging its agents were present at the trial. But spokesman Bill Matthews in Salt Lake City wouldn't comment on whether agents had posed as journalists.
(...)

The Society of Professional Journalists sent a similar letter on Sept. 1 to Freeh, Reno and President Clinton demanding an investigation and punishment for the agents.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Attleboro Cult

7. Judge Rules in Favor of Fetus
Yahoo/AP, Sep. 7, 2000
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
ATTLEBORO, Mass. (AP) - A judge Thursday ordered a pregnant member of a fundamentalist sect held in state custody until her baby is born, saying he could sense what the fetus would say to him: ``I don't want to die like my brother.''

Rebecca Corneau, 32, was ordered placed in a secure institution for pregnant women last week because she refused to consent to a court-ordered medical examination. Her sect rejects conventional medicine as blasphemy.

She is suspected of covering up the death of her last child in a case still under investigation.
(...)

The woman has refused to have an attorney.
(...)

The Attleboro-based group of Christian fundamentalists consists of about two dozen adults and children from related families. The group teaches that women should honor their husbands as second only to God, rejecting government, organized religion, banking, science and medicine.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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8. Bristol DA denies holding cult mom has `chilling' effect
Boston Herald, Sep. 7, 2000
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
There will be no ''chilling effect'' from a judge's decision to hospitalize a pregnant Attleboro cultist against her will and the controversial ruling should stand, Bristol County prosecutors said yesterday.

''Barbara F. does not have to be concerned that her rights will be `chilled,' '' Bristol County District Attorney Paul F. Walsh Jr. wrote in response to an appeal of the decision. ''The District Attorney . . . has no present intention of bringing a proceeding against Barbara F.''

Citing privacy rights guaranteed under the Roe vs. Wade abortion decision, Barbara F., a pregnant Norfolk County woman, appealed Attleboro Juvenile Court Judge Kenneth Nasif's decision to send pregnant cult member Rebecca Corneau to a secure hospital. In the appeal, filed with the state Supreme Judicial Court, Barbara F. said she fears Nasif's ruling could have a ''chilling effect'' on all pregnant women.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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9. Appeal cites abortion ruling in bid to free pregnant cultist
Boston Herald, Sep. 6, 2000
http://www.bostonherald.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
A pregnant Norfolk County woman, citing her privacy rights under Roe vs. Wade, has filed a last-minute appeal with the state's highest court of a judge's controversial decision to hospitalize a pregnant Attleboro cultist against her will.

According to the appeal, cult member Rebecca Corneau ``was deprived of her liberty,'' while other pregnant women have no protection from the ``chilling effect'' of Attleboro Juvenile Court Judge Kenneth Nasif's ruling. Last week, Nasif ordered Corneau placed in a secure hospital until she submits to a medical exam or has her baby.

As of last night, Corneau, who is 8 1/2-months pregnant, had not been examined by a doctor, officials said.

Corneau, 32, was hospitalized against her will after Bristol County District Attorney Paul F. Walsh Jr. expressed fears that her child might be harmed. Prosecutors say Corneau's last baby, Jeremiah - whom she claimed was stillborn - died a preventable death during a home birth last spring.

Another boy in the group, 10-month-old Samuel Robidoux, allegedly starved to death because the extremist sect thought it was ``God's will.'' The boys' deaths are the subject of a criminal probe into the fringe Christian fundamentalist group that doesn't believe in doctors or medicine.

The emergency petition, filed on behalf of ``Barbara F.,'' a woman who is six months pregnant, cites privacy rights guaranteed under the landmark Roe vs. Wade abortion decision in asking the state Supreme Judicial Court to overturn Nasif's ruling.

In a 12-page memorandum supporting the petition, Barbara F.'s attorney, Wendy Murphy, argues that ``incarcerating a pregnant woman because she has refused medical treatment she neither wants nor needs clearly burdens her right to make personal choices regarding her body.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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10. Pregnant woman in bid to reverse Attleboro ruling
Boston Globe, Sep. 6, 2000
http://www.boston.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Barbara F. is pregnant and in her 30s. But she is not a cult member and has never refused a judge's order for a prenatal exam. Nevertheless, Barbara F. shares a crucial concern with Rebecca Corneau, the Attleboro mother taken into custody last week by prosecutors who want to protect her unborn child. She does not want to be ''restrained against her will'' by the state in the name of protecting her baby. So Barbara F. has agreed to become the plaintiff in a legal bid to test the limits of key freedoms that Americans hold dear: reproductive rights, freedom of religion, and the right to privacy.

Requesting ''partial anonymity'' to protect the privacy of Barbara F., attorney Wendy Murphy filed an emergency request yesterday asking the Supreme Judicial Court to reverse a Juvenile Court judge's ruling to have Corneau taken into custody.

''What if my client rides a unicycle, climbs a ladder, or skydives during pregnancy?'' Murphy asked. ''Is someone going to take her into custody?''
(...)

Murphy, a lawyer who teaches reproductive rights at New England School of Law, announced last week her intentions to fight Judge Kenneth P. Nasif's order, made after Corneau refused to be examined by a court-appointed nurse.

The last child given birth by Corneau, whose fundamentalist Christian sect shuns medical care, died shortly after delivery, and the judge has declared her an unfit mother for her other three children.

But Murphy sees the bid to confine Corneau differently.

''It's always women's freedom getting second billing,'' she said.

John J. Rego, the court-appointed lawyer for Corneau's unborn child who filed the motion requesting that Corneau be forced to take a prenatal exam, says the judge's decision does not infringe on a woman's reproductive rights.

''This case in my opinion has nothing to do with the woman's right to choose,'' Rego said. Corneau is in her third trimester and could not get an abortion, he said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Falun Gong

11. Group: 3 Falun Gong Members Died
New York Times/AP, Sep. 6, 2000
http://www.nytimes.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
BEIJING (AP) -- Two members of the outlawed Falun Gong spiritual movement died from mistreatment in jail and a third plunged to his death while being interrogated by police, a rights group said Wednesday.

The deaths bring to 30 the number of Falun Gong members who have died in custody or following police mistreatment since China banned the group in July 1999, the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said.
(...)

Despite the crackdown, followers have continued to publicly protest the ban. In a letter to Chinese President Jiang Zemin printed in Wednesday's New York Times, U.S. Falun Gong members protested against what they called the illegal arrest, imprisonment and torture of the group's practitioners and asked for a meeting with Jiang.

Jiang is attending the U.N. Millennium Summit, being held through Friday in New York. While the government has mostly refused comment on individual cases, it denies abusing Falun Gong members.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Catholicism

12. Archbishop Carey dismayed at Vatican document
Yahoo/Reuters, Sep. 6, 2000
http://uk.news.yahoo.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world's 70 million Anglicans, has reacted with dismay and disdain to a Vatican document which rejects the concept that other religions could be considered equal to Roman Catholicism.

Archbishop George Carey said the Vatican's contention appeared to question efforts to cement closer ties among various branches of Christianity.

''The idea that Anglican and other churches are not 'proper churches' seems to question the considerable ecumenical gains we have made,'' Carey said in a statement.

''The Church of England, and the world-wide Anglican Communion, does not for one moment accept that its orders of ministry and Eucharist are deficient in any way. It believes itself to be a part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church of Christ,'' said Carey.

The controversial Vatican document, issued on Tuesday by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stunned many, worried others and left a number indifferent.

But there was general concern that the complex theological document could hurt decades of inter-religious dialogue that has made great strides since the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council.

The bitterness appeared to be felt most by other Christian religions, which the document implied were second-rate because of ''defects'', including their refusal to recognise papal primacy.
(...)

Dissident Swiss theologian Hans Kung, who has been disciplined by the Vatican in the past, said the document was reactionary.

''It's a mixture of mediaeval backwardness and Vatican megalomania,'' he was quoted as saying by an Italian news agency.

Kung, who had his licence to teach in a Catholic University withdrawn by the Vatican cardinal who wrote Tuesday's document, said it was hypocritical to ''continually talk about dialogue while not talking about this colossal pretence of absolutism''.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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13. No way, Vatican told
Daily Nation (Kenya), Sep. 7, 2000
http://www.nationaudio.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Controversy raged yesterday over Tuesday's declaration by the Vatican that salvation and redemption were possible only through the Roman Catholic Church.

In a quick reaction, the World Council of Churches stressed the importance of inter-Christian dialogue, saying that, ''not only is genuine ecumenical dialogue needed but ''common Christian witness'' on the problems facing today's world was also required.
(...)

Here in Kenya, Redeemed Gospel Church Bishop Arthur Kitonga rejected the notion of a universal church and said no church could take anyone to heaven. ''There is nothing like a true church and salvation has nothing to do with a church. It is faith that matters. We cannot say that there is only one true church,'' he said. Pastor Bob Kabugi of Kikuyu Restoration Centre said the Word of God qualified everyone to be saved.

A Mr Patrick Obare said Protestants should defend their salvation instead of taking a religious political view.
(...)

The document said that Christians are ''not permitted to imagine that the Church of Christ is nothing more than a collection -- divided, yet in some way one -- of Churches and ecclesial communities.''

''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 added.

In contrast to ecumenical documents published since the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council, which sought to reunite Christian churches, the Vatican paper stated bluntly that, ''according to the will of God'', the bishop of Rome -- the pope -- objectively has the doctrine of primacy which he exercises over the entire Church.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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* Many, though not all, Christians consider Catholicism to be a cult of
Christianity
, and thus not at all representative of the Christian Church



14. Vatican Claims Church Monopoly on Salvation
Washington Post, Sep. 6, 2000
http://www.washingtonpost.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(...) The goal, according to a top Vatican official, is to combat the ''so-called theology of religious pluralism,'' which suggests that Catholics are on a par in God's eyes with, say, Jews, Muslims or Hindus.

The pronouncement drew statements of dismay from other religious groups, with whom Pope John Paul II has sought to establish more peaceful and cooperative links over the past two decades. Muslim, Jewish and even Orthodox Christian leaders have repeatedly asked to be treated as equals in dialogue with the Vatican, an idea that the new declaration explicitly circumscribes by reaffirming centuries-old claims of Catholic primacy.
(...)

The Rev. Valdo Benecchi, president of the Methodist Evangelical Churches of Italy, declared: ''It's a jump backwards in terms of ecumenism and with dialogues with other religions. There is nothing new about this, but we had hoped they had taken another road. This is a return to the past. . . . The salvation through Christ is not deposited in one religion only. This puts not only the Catholic Church at the center, but especially the Catholic hierarchy.''

Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit scholar and editor of the Catholic weekly magazine America, said he was dismayed that the statement had ''practically no reference to the dialogue going on for the past 35 years between Catholics and Protestants'' on various religious issues. ''The danger,'' he said, ''is that this document will be seen as a rejection of that dialogue,'' a message he said he did not think was intended.

Issued after two years of study and timed to coincide with the millennial celebration of Jesus's birth, the document effectively delineates the boundaries of the Vatican's forbearance of other faiths.

As such, it reflects age-old Vatican anxieties about the dilution of Catholic authority, which Church officials maintain comes directly from God through the pope. It also may grow from a heightened concern by Church officials that Catholicism must remain competitive with Islam and other expanding faiths, particularly in East Asia and other battlegrounds for religious adherence in the developing world.
(...)

It also reminds Catholics that their duty is to evangelize adherents of other faiths during any dialogue, an idea that has rankled Orthodox Christian leaders, among others, who have long accused the Vatican of trying to convert their followers.

The document appears to differentiate non-Catholic Christian churches from other religions. The non-Catholic churches ''suffer from defects,'' it says, but they ''have by no means been deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation.''
(...)

John Paul has notably embraced a handful of dicta dating from the famed Second Vatican Council meetings of the mid-1960s, which called for religious liberty and explicitly supported ecumenism, or religious cooperation and unity. During a visit to the Middle East last March, he also called for ''more mature understanding and ever more practical cooperation'' among Christians, Jews and Muslims.

But today's declaration is concerned more with establishing limits than breaking barriers, and its tone at times seems closer to the inhibiting orders of the First Vatican Council, in 1870, which was convened just as the Church's political control over a sizable chunk of Italy was slipping away. Then, the council lent its support to a ''Syllabus of Errors,'' which explicitly challenged any notion that other religions were as ''true'' as Catholicism.

The 36-page dictum, issued under the title of ''Declaration The Lord Jesus on the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church,'' contains another list of doctrinal errors that Vatican officials say threaten the Church's ''constant missionary proclamation'' and must be shunned by modern adherents.

None of those who are alleged to have advocated these errors were identified in the document or at the news conference. But the list includes any conviction that divine truth is elusive; that a different truth can exist for some cultures, particularly those in Asia; that the last judgment of God does not loom; and that reason can be the only source of knowledge.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Islam

15. Leaders of two U.S. black Muslim groups still preach unity
New York Times/AP, Sep. 7, 2000
http://www.nytimes.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
CHICAGO (AP) -- The heads of the Nation of Islam and the Muslim American Society are repeating calls for unity between their formerly hostile organizations.

At the Muslim American Society's annual Labor Day weekend conference its leader, Imam W. Deen Mohammed, smiled and embraced the Nation of Islam's Minister Louis Farrakhan before a mostly black audience of about 7,000.

Farrakhan said, ``These tracks have been running parallel and have now become a monorail going down one track for the glory of Allah.... Today, we are determined to be one family. We are determined to be a nation of Muslims.''

Mohammed echoed Farrakhan's comments on unity and also urged Muslims to improve relations with Jews and Christians.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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* More about Islam
http://www.apologeticsindex.org/i07.htmlOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]


=== Jehovah's Witnesses

16. Bloodless Surgery Comes to South Africa
WOZA Internet (South Africa), Sep. 7, 2000
http://www.allafrica.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
By December this year major private hospital group Netcare will be switching to ''bloodless medicine and surgery'' via a new Blood Conservation Programme in some of its hospitals.
(...)

Patients are becoming aware that blood transfusion risks have increased with HIV and they are looking for other options.
(...)

While most surgeons are willing to adopt minimally invasive or non- invasive procedures to control bleeding during an operation - such as laproscopy, which requires tiny incisions, or ultrasound to destroy kidney stones - they usually stop short of transfusionless surgery.

Says Steven Gould, a surgeon at the University of Illinois at Chicago, US who advocates reduced surgical use of donated blood: ''Some operations require four to six units, and when you get to that level, it's hard to imagine not getting any blood. We will never have a completely bloodless society for surgical patients.''

Still, according to the Jehovah's Witnesses, more than 75 000 doctors in the US already practise bloodless surgery. Also, more and more patients are demanding safer and more effective options than transfusions, either because of religious conviction or fear of contracting disease.

Medical technology has tried to answer the call. It has come up with a panoply of methods and machinery, some of them known for decades but refined and repackaged to fit today's needs and concerns.
(...)

Advantages to bloodless medicine include quicker recovery, reduced risk of transmission of contagious diseases and a lower death rate.
(...)

In the US, about 5% of surgery is now carried out without extra blood, although it is unusual for there to be no blood at all in theatre as back-up.

The search is also on for blood substitutes, which is another story. Experts say that an effective, safe and inexpensive blood substitute that could be stored at room temperature or in a regular refrigerator for a long period of time, and which could be administered without any need for blood typing and cross-matching, could save millions of people every year.

In February 6 this year, a Western Cape Jehovah's Witness had a ''bloodless'' liver transplant. He had to travel to Leeds' St James Hospital, UK because Cape Town surgeons refused to carry out the operation, reported the Sunday Times.

According to a Sunday Telegraph report at the time, the patient - who refused blood products for religious reasons - was operated on without any back-up blood for transfusion and has recovered well.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Hate Groups

17. German Neo-Nazi Seeks Asylum in US
Excite/AP, Sep. 9, 2000
http://news.excite.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (AP) - A neo-Nazi wanted in Germany for violating parole in a murder case is asking for asylum in the United States, arguing the government in his homeland will persecute him for his political views.

Hendrik Albert Victor Mobus, 24, appeared in federal court Thursday in an attempt to block his expected transfer to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. His lawyer expects the INS to deport Mobus.

U.S. Magistrate John Kaull put off a decision on the INS issue until lawyers file briefs in the next three weeks. Mobus remains in jail in West Virgina.

Mobus, at 16, murdered a ''non-Aryan'' teen-ager in 1994 and was sentenced as a juvenile and paroled in 1998. He fled to the United States when German officials tried to revoke his parole.

In his plea for asylum, the fugitive challenged the German government's assertion that he committed crimes while on parole.

The alleged crimes include a public declaration that he would never surrender to authorities, and a public statement that the murder wasn't a crime because the victim ''did not fit the picture of the German race.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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18. German Party Claims New Members
The Associated Press, Sep. 7, 2000
http://my.aol.com/news/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
BERLIN (AP) - Germany's far-right National Democratic Party said Thursday that attempts to ban it as a sponsor of neo-Nazi violence have led to hundreds of new members joining in recent weeks.

The comments came as Germany tries to fight a recent wave of hate-motivated crimes. Launching a campaign against a potential government ban on their party, National Democratic officials said 750 people have joined in the last four weeks, pushing membership to 6,500.

Party Chairman Udo Voigt predicted even further gains for the NPD by the next national elections. The party has so far has been prevented from gaining seats in any state or federal elections by Germany's 5 percent vote requirement - a requirement instituted in light of the country's Nazi history to keep extremist parties out of power.
(...)

Politicians have pressed the government to outlaw the party amid a spate of right-wing violence that have left at least three people dead this year. The government is due to report next month on whether it will pursue a ban, which would have to be approved by Germany's constitutional court.
(...)

But others, including Greens party leader Renate Kuenast and some police chiefs, have argued that a ban would only drive neo-Nazis underground, making it more difficult to monitor them.

To support its case, the NPD said Thursday that it would try to gather 100,000 signatures of support by the end of the year. The party also is taking legal action against banks that in recent weeks have closed party accounts.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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19. Neo-Nazis Seek OK for Protest
Excite/AP, Sep. 6, 2000
http://news.excite.com/news/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
BERLIN (AP) - Neo-Nazis have renewed efforts to demonstrate at Germany's planned Holocaust memorial on the anniversary of the Auschwitz death camp's liberation, weeks after a far-right party withdrew a similar request, a city official said Wednesday.

The neo-Nazis, who do not belong to an organized group, have applied for permission to demonstrate Jan. 27 at the site of the memorial near the historic Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Interior Minister Eckart Werthebach told a Berlin radio station. The date is Germany's memorial day for the victims of Nazism, marking the 1945 liberation of the Nazi concentration camp where 1.5 million people were killed.

Werthebach and a leader of the local Jewish community said they hoped laws on public assemblies will be tightened in time to prevent the demonstration, which could also be barred on safety grounds.

Politicians have called for a stop to demonstrations around the Brandenburg Gate, where Hitler's troops once held their torch-lit parades. In January, neo-Nazis were allowed to march through the gate for the first time.

''Democracy suffers far less from restricting the right to assemble in public than when the state allows that right to be repeatedly abused,'' Andreas Nachama, head of Berlin's Jewish community, said in a statement.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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20. Racism, ties to neo-Nazis, Civil War revisionism all cited by watchdog group
Sun Herald, Sep. 7, 2000
http://vh60009.vh6.infi.net/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
An organization active in battles to preserve public display of the Rebel flag has been branded a racist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Law Center, a Montgomery-based watchdog organization that tracks hate groups throughout the United States, will issue a report today identifying the Tuscaloosa-based League of the South as the vanguard of a radical and growing neo-Confederate movement. The League's Mississippi chapter has been active in pro-Rebel flag protests on the Coast.

''The racism of these groups is undeniable, and it is spreading to thousands who once were merely enthusiasts of Confederate symbols and Civil War history,'' said Joe Roy, director of the center's Intelligence Project. ''These groups remind us that white supremacists do not always come wearing Klan hoods, shaved heads or swastikas. Sometimes they are dressed up with business suits and Ph.D.s.''

Michael Hill, the League's president, said he welcomed the designation as a ''badge of honor.''
(...)

Hill said the League's goal is to ''re-exert Southern independence'' since secession was already achieved and there was no formal peace treaty ending the Civil War.
(...)

The 53-page Law Center report titled ''Rebels With A CauseOff-site Link'' focuses heavily on the League, and Hill directly, as well as the Council of Conservative Citizens.

The report cites instances in which Hill and other neo-Confederates defend slavery, alleges ties between the League and neo-Nazis, and notes a growing trend toward revisionist Civil War history.

The claim that the Civil War wasn't fought over slavery is similar to statements by Nazi sympathizers denying the Holocaust took place, said Mark Potok, the Intelligence Report's editor.
(...)

John Cripps, president of the League's Mississippi chapter and a self-declared independent candidate for governor, says the hate group designation is unfair, but not unexpected.

''If they are against you they are going to paint you with as wide a brush as possible, that's how they increase their revenue,'' said Cripps, whose statements about the Rebel flag and Black Springbreak on the Coast were cited in the Law Center report.
(...)

''We as an organization do not have or foster any hatred toward any particular race,'' said Cripps, who denounced a Labor Day Rebel flag rally in McHenry because of its organizer's links to the Ku Klux Klan. ''I am capable of hatred of oppression and subjugation but I have no hatred towards a race of people.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Militia Groups

21. Grays, police negotiate terms
Athens Review, Sep. 6, 2000
http://www.athensreview.com/archives/index.inn?loc=detail&doc=/2000/September/6-195-news08.txtOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
TRINIDAD - The much publicized standoff between fugitive John Joe Gray and county authorities may be reaching a long-awaited peaceful resolution. According to Sheriff's Chief Deputy Ronny Brownlow, a qualified negotiator has been serving as a go-between for the past week between the family and authorities.

Gray is wanted on warrants out of Anderson County for biting one state trooper and attempting to unarm another during a traffic stop last December in Palestine. Gray has been holed up on his 47-acre rural piece of land along the Trinity River for over a year, warning police of violence should they attempt to enter his residence to serve the warrants.

Two of Gray's grandchildren, who were awarded by the court to their father last year, are also believed to be at the residence. The father, Keith Tarkington, has not seen his children in well over a year.

''We are and have been negotiating with (John Joe Gray) to reach a peaceful conclusion,'' said Brownlow. ''We have not talked to him personally.''

Gray's terms were not disclosed.

News of the negotiations comes a day after an area man was arrested for what is being called a drive-by shooting.

Milton Ray Sparks Jr., 26, of Mabank has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after he allegedly fired two shots from a .20-gauge shotgun into the Gray's property Monday.

No one was injured, but five people were standing inside the property when the shots were fired.

No clear motive is known for the shooting. However, sheriff's department Captain Ron Shields said Sparks, along with three other men who were in the truck at the time of the shooting, may have been drinking.
(...)

''It's my opinion that the Grays used a lot of sound judgment,'' Shields said. ''They didn't shoot back at the man who was shooting at them.''

Several members of the Gray family, along with supporters on the property, are armed with handguns and rifles.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Rebirthing

22. Mother faces trial over daughter''s death during therapy
CNN/AP, Sep. 6, 2000
http://www.cnn.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
GOLDEN, Colorado (AP) -- A woman whose 10-year-old adopted daughter stopped breathing while she was wrapped in a sheet meant to represent the womb will be bound over for trial, her attorney said.

Jeane Newmaker, 46, of Durham, North Carolina, is charged with negligent child abuse resulting in death. Newmaker, who waived her preliminary hearing Tuesday, faces up to six years in prison if convicted.
(...)

Prosecutors argue the girl told therapists she was having trouble breathing or felt like she was going to die.

Defense lawyers say parts of the video are inaudible and it is not always clear who is talking.

Four workers at the clinic where the therapy was performed are awaiting trial on more serious child abuse charges.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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23. Mother charged in therapy death waives hearing
Denver Rocky Mountain News, Sep. 6, 2000
http://insidedenver.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Jeane Newmaker, who is charged in the death of her 10-year-old daughter during therapy, has decided against having a preliminary hearing today.
(...)

Pamela Mackey, Newmaker's lawyer, would not explain why Newmaker waived her right to a preliminary hearing, nor would she comment on any possible plea bargain.

Newmaker, a nurse, attended the April 18 ''rebirthing'' session for Candace, whom she adopted in 1996. She left the 70-minute session at one point but watched via closed-circuit TV.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Other News

24. Report: New O'Hair case prosecution planned
Dallas Morning News/AP, Sep. 7, 2000
http://www.dallasnews.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
AUSTIN - Federal prosecutors intend to seek an indictment against a second suspect in the disappearance of missing atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair and her family.

Prosecutors could seek an indictment against David Roland Waters, 53, a former office manager for O'Hair who is serving 60 years in prison, as soon as next month, the Austin American-Statesman reported Thursday.

Waters was convicted of stealing from O'Hair's atheist organizations. He also faces time in federal prison on weapons convictions. Daryl Fields, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in San Antonio, would neither confirm nor deny the report.

''We have nothing to say other than the investigation is continuing and is active,'' Fields said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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25. Yeats writings reveal occult interest
Australian Broadcasting Company, Sep. 8, 2000
http://www.abc.net.au/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Ireland's National Library says a recently donated collection of the personal papers of Irish writer and Nobel laureate, WB Yeats, reveal the extent of his interest in mysticism and the supernatural.
(...)

''This new accession hasn't really been available before now. It consists mainly of material relating to the occult,'' Dr Kissane said.

''Up to about 20 years ago scholars had disregarded the influence of spiritualism and the occult on his writings. Now it is more recognised and has been found to be far more central than they had previously understood.''

Dr Kissane says the collection contains about 3,000 pages of ''automatic writing'', where the spirit of a dead person is claimed to guide the pen of someone living.

Yeates used the automatic writing technique for one of his most famous works A Vision, published in 1925, which yeates claimed was really the work of a 16th century mythical philosopher called Giraldus.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Religious Freedom / Religious Intolerance

26. China Says U.S. Religion Report a 'Fabrication'
AOL/Reuters, Sep. 6, 2000
http://my.aol.com/news/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
BEIJING (Reuters) - China said Wednesday a U.S. report that accused Beijing of persecuting people for their religious faith and practices was a ``fabrication.''

The criticism of China's treatment of Tibetan Buddhists, Falun Gong spiritual practitioners and members of unregistered groups came in the second annual report on religious freedom written by the State Department by order of lawmakers.

``This blatantly interferes in China's internal affairs,'' state radio quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi as saying.

``Through fabrication and twisting facts, this report attacks China's religious policy and freedom,'' he said.
(...)

Sun said China protected religious freedom and urged the United States to correct its report, but he made no specific demands.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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27. Prayers for rain are urged
Dallas Morning News/AP, Sep. 7, 2000
http://www.dallasnews.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Gov. Frank Keating suggested Wednesday that Oklahoma's best hope for relief from cloudless skies and searing heat is divine intervention. He declared Sunday a day of prayer for rain.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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* If history is any guide, it may be just a matter of time before the ACLU
and/or the Supreme Court will shoot that suggestion down.

More about prayer-bans in the US

=== Noted

28. God's Country?
Washington Post, Sep. 6, 2000 (Richard Cohen - Opinion)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
When last I left you (before going into a vacation hibernation) I had written in admiration of Sen. Joseph Lieberman--especially his fidelity to his religious values. Since then Lieberman has triggered a national debate on the role of religion in politics. I still admire the man, but fidelity to my own values compels me to say I wonder what in the world he's talking about.
(...)

My own continuing crisis of faith is beside the point. But the marriage of religion to politics is another matter. I thought it was in bad taste for Lieberman to go on and on about religion. But I thought it downright smug of him to suggest that God somehow favors America above all nations. The United States is a fortunate and exceptional nation, which I love dearly, but it is no more divine than any other.

''Our nation is chosen by God and commissioned by history to be a model to the world,'' Lieberman told the annual convention of B'nai B'rith late last month.

Is that so? Did God choose slavery, which persisted in this country long after it was outlawed elsewhere? Did God choose to nearly eradicate the American Indian? Did God choose to incarcerate the Japanese during World War II? Where was God when blacks were being lynched and bigots planted bombs in southern churches, killing innocent little girls? Are these the models God wanted for the rest of the world?

Lieberman's statement is preposterously false and lacks humility. In these and other statements, he and like-minded politicians not only have had God virtually raising a hand at a naturalization ceremony, but they have imbued religion with a power it does not have. They suggest that if only more people were religious and allowed to pray before football games or whatever, we would be a far better nation--and, surely, all games would end in a tie.

But we are already an awfully religious nation. Some 40 percent of us tell pollsters that we attend church at least once a week. In contrast, in Britain, Germany and the rest of Northern Europe, only about 10 percent of the people regularly attend church. In Sweden it's 4 percent.

Yet can we say that these Northern Europeans are less moral than we are? The Swedes may skip church and not pray before soccer games or before entering the sauna, but they take better care of their poor and their elderly and provide a higher percentage of the national budget to humanitarian efforts than we do. In fact, when it comes to foreign aid of all kinds, Americans are shamefully stingy. I would be remiss in not mentioning that America is the last Western nation to practice capital punishment--in part, probably, because we adhere to Old Testament notions of justice.

And what about crime? In non-church-going England, the homicide rate is about one-seventh of what it is in the United States. Of course, it could be argued that the rate here would be much lower if that other 60 percent went to church regularly, but that does not account for why the Brits are not murdering each other with abandon.
(...)

We are finally getting a state religion--an amorphous, theologically goopy church akin to a theme park: Be happy, be prosperous and, please, on Election Day vote the candidate of your choice.
[...more...]

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