Apologetics Index
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Religion News Report

January 8, 2001 (Vol. 5, Issue 307) - 2/3

See Religion News Blog for the Latest news about cults,
religious sects, world religions, and related issues
Rainbow


» Continued from Part 1

=== Hate Groups
10. Aryan Nation compound to be sold at auction
11. Ex-Klansman David Duke Sets Sights on Russian Anti-Semites
12. Anti-Nazis protest in Germany

=== Other News
13. 'Demon' woman dies during exorcism
14. Abuse claims against monks
15. Utah Case Tests American Indian Law
16. Sect fights cell phones (Universal Church)
17. Roanoke police investigate church's activities (Deeper Life Ministries)
18. Underwood apparently attempts suicide
19. Inquest to begin into Kitchener murder-suicide
20. 30 years on, Ono meets daughter

=== Death Penalty & Other Human Rights Violations
21. Man Freed After Serving 32 Years
22. Boston man freed after 32 years in jail on murder conviction

» Part 3

=== Noted
23. Attack Points to 'Lethal' Mix of Religion, Rebellion, Drugs
24. The Devil in The Nursery (McMartin)
25. U.S. Bashing : It's All the Rage in Europe
26. Backlash of faith shakes atheists
27. Man's views change radically (ex- Operation Rescue)

=== The Priest Around The Corner
28. Priest banned from naked calendar

=== Hate Groups

10. Aryan Nation compound to be sold at auction
The Associated Press, Jan. 6, 2001
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/Off-site Link

SPOKANE - The 20-acre Aryan Nations compound likely will be sold at auction within the next six weeks. But the people who won a $6.3 million judgment against the neo-Nazi group may not end up with the property.

The wooded compound that served as a nationwide clubhouse for racists and anti-Semites will go to the highest bidder, possibly even another hate group.

Victoria and Jason Keenan won their civil lawsuit against the Aryan Nations and would receive the money if someone else bought the compound, located near Hayden Lake, Idaho, said their attorney, Norm Gissel of Coeur d'Alene.
(...)

There has been speculation that a wealthy supporter of Butler who lives in nearby Sandpoint, Idaho, might buy the compound at auction and return it to the neo-Nazi leader.

Vincent Bertollini did not immediately return an e-mail message seeking comment on that speculation. Butler recently moved into a Hayden Lake home bought by Bertollini, co-founder of the anti-Semitic 11th Hour Remnant Messenger.
(...)

Terms of the compound's sale were outlined in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court conference Thursday with U.S. Magistrate Terry Myers. Myers will decide next week whether to approve the sale, which would take place in mid-February.

Butler appeared at the hearing, and objected to the sale of the name, logo and other intellectual property of Aryan Nations, one of the conditions of the judgment.

''The church is not anyone's possession, never has been,'' Butler said. ''My race is my religion. Aryan Nations is the race to which I belong. I own neither.''

Butler has vowed to continue pushing his anti-Semitic, white supremacist philosophy under the name Aryan National Alliance.
[...more...]


11. Ex-Klansman David Duke Sets Sights on Russian Anti-Semites
Los Angeles Times, Jan. 6, 2001
http://www.latimes.com/Off-site Link

MOSCOW--Lost track of David Duke, who first made a name for himself in the 1970s as the supposed fresh, modern face of the Ku Klux Klan? If so, his latest opus can be found here, on sale in Russia's parliament.

For the past two years, the man who promised to move the Klan out of the cow pasture and into the hotel meeting room has been spending more and more time in a rented Moscow apartment, building bridges to right-wing nationalists in the new Russia.

He has held a rally at a respected literary museum, signed autographs at the Russian Writers Union and met with members of parliament, including a retired Soviet general, Albert Makashov, who is known for anti-Semitic remarks. And the preface to Duke's book was written by one of ex-President Boris N. Yeltsin's former ministers.

Since last month, bookstalls operating next to the cafeteria in the Duma, parliament's lower house, have been selling Duke's first book in Russian: ''The Jewish Question Through the Eyes of an American.''

According to the local office of the Anti-Defamation League, the book--with a glossy black cover portraying a suited, serious-looking Duke--is a classic anti-Semitic tract and appears to have been selling briskly.
(...)

The former Klansman served in the Louisiana Legislature in the 1980s and ran for the U.S. Senate in 1990. Until recently, he was an elected committeeman of the Republican Party in his home Louisiana parish. He left the Klan years ago and now presents himself as the president of a group he calls the National Organization for European American Rights.

Five thousand copies of his book have been published here, though it remains to be seen if he will develop any real following in Russia.

One right-wing editor said he doubts that Duke will win a large constituency, not because people don't agree with Duke but because his thoughts are not original.

''All the things that are said in the book are as old as time,'' said Alexander A. Prokhanov, editor in chief of Zavtra (Tomorrow), a nationalist weekly that sells as many as 100,000 copies per edition.

According to leading Russian pollster Yuri A. Levada, anti-Jewish sentiments are not representative of Russians as a whole. The number of rabid anti-Semites is relatively small at about 3% to 4% of the population, he said. ''David Duke, apparently, is flirting with this particular lot.''

Levada said he is not too concerned about Duke, but he does worry that his compatriots have been too sanguine about Duke's proselytizing.
[...more...]


12. Anti-Nazis protest in Germany
CNN, Jan. 7, 2001
http://www.cnn.com/Off-site Link

COTTBUS, Germany -- About 10,000 opponents of far-right violence have demonstrated in the east German border town of Cottbus after a series of racist and anti-Semitic incidents.

Police said Sunday's demonstration near the former site of the town's synagogue, which was joined by Brandenburg state premier Manfred Stolpe and other civic leaders, passed off peacefully.

''This protest shows that people refuse to be cowed by 60 or 70 Nazi thugs,'' Stolpe said at the protest.
[...more...]


=== Other News

13. 'Demon' woman dies during exorcism
The Advertiser (Australia), Jan. 8, 2001
http://theadvertiser.com.au/Off-site Link

WELLINGTON: A woman with a skin pigment problem likened to that of pop star Michael Jackson has died after an exorcism.

The pastor of the Auckland religious group involved in the exorcism says her death is a ''miracle'' and ''God's will''.

The decomposing body of the Korean woman, 37, was found by police in an Auckland home on December 15 and detectives are investigating the death and whether any charges - such as manslaughter - should be laid.
(...)

Mr Lee said members of the group, a small Korean Christian sect called Lord Of All, did not use great force.

Members said they believed she would return to life.
[...more...]


14. Abuse claims against monks
The Scotsman (Scotland), Jan. 8, 2001
http://www.thescotsman.co.uk/sOff-site Link

The number of alleged victims of physical and sexual abuse by monks at a residential school could run into hundreds, making it Scotland's biggest abuse case.

A report has been sent to the Procurator Fiscal alleging a catalogue of offences carried out on young boys at the St Ninians ''List D'' residential school at Gartmore, near Aberfoyle, during a 20-year period.

The allegations will come as a fresh embarrasment for the Roman Catholic church, which is still recovering from the conviction of nun Sister Alphonso on charges of cruelty at children's homes in Aberdeen and Midlothian in the 1960s and 1970s.

Among the claims made by several former pupils of St Ninians, which was run by the De La Salle Brothers and closed in 1982, are that they were subjected to electric shocks and forced to eat vomit.

Cameron Fyfe, a Glasgow solicitor who has launched parallel civil actions on behalf of several pupils against the teaching order of monks, said the revelations could bring forward hundreds more allegations.
(...)

The allegations of abuse - either sexual fondling or serious physical abuse or both - have been made against five monks, aged between 68 and 92, who taught at the school and are now all retired, two lay teachers and three other employees.
[...more...]


15. Utah Case Tests American Indian Law
The Associated Press, Jan. 8, 2001
http://www.washingtonpost.com/Off-site Link

BENJAMIN, Utah -- James Warren ''Flaming Eagle'' Mooney says he has seen people who use the peyote cactus freed from drug addiction and mental illness.

Now the mystical medicine he administers to his followers could cost Mooney his own freedom.

On Oct. 10, sheriff's deputies raided Mooney's home and his adjoining church, seizing a ceremonial pipe, a computer and 33 pounds of peyote. Mooney was charged with a dozen counts of drug trafficking and one count of racketeering.
If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

He has also become a peyote pariah, scorned by medicine men convinced peyote should be reserved for American Indians.
(...)

For the roughly 250,000 members in 100 branches of the Native American Church, peyote ceremonies are a sacred sacrament, the flesh of God put on earth to provide clarity and bring followers closer to the Creator.

It is illegal to ingest peyote, a hallucinogen, in Utah and at least 27 other states. But in 1994, Congress carved out exemptions for ''the practice of a traditional Indian religion'' by members of federally recognized tribes.

Utah County Attorney David Wayment argues the exemptions don't apply to Mooney, who is not enrolled in a tribe and administers peyote primarily to whites.
''Whether or not Mr. Mooney can possess peyote, certainly he cannot be distributing peyote to non-Indians,'' Wayment said.

Mooney said he was a member of the Oklevueha Seminole Band - which is not federally recognized - until the new chief threw him out for conducting peyote ceremonies. He makes no apologies for giving peyote to whites.

Prohibiting anyone from taking part in peyote ceremonies would violate the First Amendment, Mooney argues. He has sued Utah County in federal court claiming religious discrimination, and wants the county to return roughly 12,000 bulbs of peyote seized from his home.
[...more...]


16. Sect fights cell phones
Tages-Anzeiger (Switzerland), Jan. 5, 2001
http://cisar.org/010105a.htmOff-site Link

Adherents of the Universal Church (UC) have not only made headlines for anti-Semitic and racist statements, their fight against cellular phone antennae and electro-smog have made just a fanatical of an impression. (The ''Tages-Anzeiger'' has reported on that several times.) ''The cell phone heats up your brain,'' they wrote in a leaflet, as reported by the ''Beobachter.'' It was said that the cellular phone altered the brain's electrical currents and led to a premature death.

Campaign in disguise?
There is nothing discernible on the leaflet which indicates that members of the controversial esoteric sect are behind the operation. The document is signed by the ''World Foundation for Natural Science'' and the ''Radiation-free Switzerland'' (VS) organization. But both are branches or co-organizations of the UK. The president of the World Foundation is UK member Hans-Ulrich Hertel, who has also been convicted in court for making anti-Semitic statements. And the initiator of ''Radiation-Free Switzerland'' is Kurt Sieber, also a member of the UK.
(...)

The UK fight against cell-phones has an ideological background. In the most recent VS newsletter it was claimed that the cellular phone's success is a strategy of the Zion and our state government, which is said to belong to the Zionists.
(...)

The UK adherents go on to claim that the secret world government is using mobile telephones to strongly reduce the world's population in that the signals are said to make men infertile. The idea behind that is glaringly clear to the UK adherents: a decimated population is all the more easy to manipulate.
[...more...]


17. Roanoke police investigate church's activities
The Roanoke Times, Jan. 7, 2001
http://www.roanoke.com/Off-site Link

To six homeless guys from Myrtle Beach, S.C., it sounded like a great deal.
(...)

They soon found themselves in a life they didn't want - one that told them what to do, what to wear, what to say and how to act. So after only a week and half, five walked out. One stayed.

Now homeless advocates in Roanoke are worried that the man calling himself Pastor Vince is preying on the homeless, luring those looking for comfort into an organization that's been convicted of fraud, drawn scrutiny for its fund-raising methods and been called cultlike. Roanoke police are looking into what's already happened as possible fraud.

But Vincent Williams, who says he was a crack addict before he joined the church and became one of its many pastors, said his only goal is to help people turn their lives around. That's why, he said, he asked the six men to join him in the first place. Even though his Northwest Roanoke church was in the beginning stages of remodeling, he said, he wanted to help the men.
(...)

To Ronnie Carter, a shelter manager at Roanoke Area Ministries, the tale the men told him sounded exactly like a trick. It upset Carter so much he contacted Roanoke police, who talked to the men before launching an investigation.

''This guy's got a flim-flam scene going on,'' Carter said. ''He was using them for slave labor. He wouldn't let them smoke. He let them sleep on the concrete floor. And the public is gullible enough to give to them.''

Deeper Life Christian Church prides itself on turning society's losers into evangelists. It reaches out to the homeless, the prostitutes, the drug addicts - those no one else wants, according to Pastor David Austin, who works at the church's Tampa, Fla., headquarters.
(...)

That was exactly what Williams said he offered the six men when he encountered them outside a Food Lion in Myrtle Beach. One of the men took him to the group's hangout in the woods, and Williams told them of his new church in Roanoke and offered to take them with him.

The men agreed, and off they went in a van Dec. 13. With Williams was his wife, Lois, and four other women - church members who would stand on street corners to solicit donations in large white buckets in the cities where they stopped. That's part of the ministry's House of David program, and the way the 26-year-old church stays alive.

What the men didn't know is that the church has been in trouble for fraud.

In 1999, four of the church's pastors as well as the church itself were convicted of receiving stolen goods and laundering almost $20,000 a month in food stamps. Church members were encouraged to put food stamps in collection plates and trade food stamps for clothing. Deeper Life funneled the stamps through church-owned delis.

Meanwhile, the church has been accused of pressure tactics and psychological coercion in many of the places it has turned up in the South. Its founder, Melvin B. Jefferson, listed in city records as the owner of the Roanoke church, is believed by church members to be a prophet. Pastors call him ''God's man.''

One former member, homeless before she entered the church, told the Dallas Observer last year that the church wants complete control of people's minds and bodies. She described being urged to stop her anti-depressant medication because God would heal her, to shed her jeans for a long dress and to apply for disability assistance and pay a tithe from it to the church.

''It was like Jonestown,'' Tina Howard told the paper. ''The only thing missing was the Kool-Aid.''

During their brief stay with Williams, the Myrtle Beach men said they felt as if they were being brainwashed. They couldn't smoke, couldn't drink and couldn't joke around with one another. They were told to memorize verses from the Bible and recite them back to Williams on command.
(...)

Roanoke police said the solicitors, usually women, have been spotted with their white buckets decorated with a picture of a child and the words, ''Save the Children.''

According to authorities at the Hillsborough (Fla.) Sheriff's Office, which launched the fraud investigation several years ago, there's no evidence that the money collected in the buckets goes to anything but Deeper Life church.

Authorities have admitted, though, that the church did help blighted Tampa neighborhood. Court officials even started allowing defendants to perform community service with the church.

During the investigation, however, undercover detectives found that probationers sent to the church for court-ordered community service were given credit for giving up their food stamps.

Hillsborough authorities now frequently get calls from all over the country about the church and its practices.
[...more...]


18. Underwood apparently attempts suicide
Chicago Tribune, Jan. 7, 2001
http://chicagotribune.com/Off-site Link

Troubled Dallas Cowboys defensive end Dimitrius Underwood tried to kill himself for the second time in about a year, this time by running into traffic twice on a busy suburban highway in Coral Springs, Fla., police said.

Underwood, 23, told police he ''wanted to go to Jesus'' after he was detained for kicking and denting a car and asking passersby for a gun Wednesday.
(...)

Underwood, who is intensely religious, suffers from bipolar disorder, which causes him to display manic and depressive behavior, said his agent, Bob Huebner. He also tried to kill himself in 1999 by cutting his throat in Lansing, Mich.
[...more...]


19. Inquest to begin into Kitchener murder-suicide
Toronto Star (Canada), Jan. 7, 2001
http://www.thestar.com/Off-site Link

KITCHENER, Ont. (CP) - The elderly parents of a local man who shot himself after killing his wife and four children, will relive that tragedy when they join other witnesses in testifying at a coroner's inquest that gets under way Monday.

Vilem Luft and his wife, Miroslava, slept in a trailer parked in the driveway beside their Kitchener home as one of Canada's worst murder-suicides took place inside the house.
(...)

Luft, who suffered from a bipolar condition that causes extreme mood swings, didn't leave any notes or clues to explain his actions.
(...)

Previously released family court records show Luft was troubled long before the killings, and document his state of mind in the fall of 1997, when the couple's four-year marriage was crumbling and a battle erupted over custody of their children, then only two.

The documents show Luft was haunted by concerns that his wife was a member of a satanic cult.
[...more...]


20. 30 years on, Ono meets daughter
The Advertiser (Australia), Jan. 8, 2001
http://theadvertiser.com.au/Off-site Link

(...) This was the scene as Yoko Ono, John Lennon's widow, met for the first time her granddaughter Emi, 3.

Until recently her mother, Ono's daughter Kyoko Cox, 37, had kept the child away from Ono because of an extraordinary 30-year feud.
(...)

Yet three years ago Ono, 67, did not even know that Kyoko was alive.

For years, Kyoko lived in hiding after being abducted at the age of eight by her father, eccentric American film-maker Tony Cox, Ono's second husband.

He was deeply resentful when she left him for Lennon and vowed the Beatle, whom he accused of being a depraved drug addict, would never get custody of their child.

A Christian fundamentalist, Cox initiated Kyoko into bizarre Doomsday cult The Walk.

For three decades, moving from continent to continent, she evaded investigators paid by Yoko to find her.

In November, 1997, three weeks after Emi's birth, Kyoko finally re-established contact with the woman she was brought up to believe was, like Lennon, the personification of evil.

Kyoko, a charity worker, said: ''I didn't feel it right for me to become a mother without at least letting my mother know that I'm alive and well.''

Initially, Kyoko spoke to her mother on the phone, from Denver, Colorado, where Kyoko is married to a devout Christian.

In 1998, she agreed to meet Yoko and Sean, now 25. Last week, the emotional reunion finally took place.
[...more...]


=== Death Penalty & Other Human Rights Violations

21. Man Freed After Serving 32 Years
The Associated Press, Jan. 5, 2001
http://www.washingtonpost.com/Off-site Link

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- A former bookie who served more than 32 years for an underworld murder he said he didn't commit was released Friday after his conviction was thrown out at the request of prosecutors.

Prosecutors said newly discovered FBI files from the 1960s cast doubt on 66-year-old Peter Limone's guilt.

It appeared to be yet another embarrassment for the FBI's Boston office, which is under scrutiny for some agents' allegedly cozy relationships with the mob.
(...)

Limone was convicted in part on the testimony of mob hitman Joseph ''The Animal'' Barboza, one of the names on the list.

Superior Court Judge Margaret Hinkle on Thursday ordered Limone released without bail, criticizing the FBI for withholding information that could have led to Limone's acquittal.
(...)

Outside the courtroom, surrounded by his wife, children and grandchildren, Limone said he was bitter about his 32-year incarceration and accused the FBI of framing him.
[...more...]


22. Boston man freed after 32 years in jail on murder conviction
Reuters, Jan. 7, 2001
http://www.cnn.com/Off-site Link

(...) Prosecutors said FBI files released last month by the U.S. Justice Department cast doubt on Limone's guilt.
(...)

Limon was on death row from 1968 until 1972 when Massachusetts eliminated the death penalty.
[...more...]


» Part 3