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Religion Items In The News

Religion Items in the News - October 2, 1998 (Vol. 2, Issue 50)

About Religion Items In The News      More Religion Items In The News

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NOTE: Unlike the edition posted to the AR-talk list, items in the archived newsletters will, time-permitting, link back to entries in Apologetics Index.

Religion Items in the News - October 2, 1998 (Vol. 2, Issue 50)

Main

1. Russia Tests Law On Religion (Jehovah's Witnesses)
2. Jehovah's Witnesses Fight New Religion Law
3. Trial begins in case to oust Jehovah's Witnesses
4. Eileen McNamara and the Moonies
5. Caught up in the 'gotcha' mill (Unification Church)
6. Author says abusive marriage drove her out of the Moon family
7. Boy's abduction tied to religious beliefs (Faith Healing)
8. Parents' religious group disdains medical care
9. Friends say family didn't know stings were fatal (Faith Healing)
10. It's freedom vs. responsibility (Faith Healing)
11. Ordered to get doctors - Faith parents get 14-years probation
12. Court tosses ex-TV reporter's suit (Waco)
13. Couple in Idaho accuses LDS ward of conspiracy
14. Baha'i death sentences in Iran
15. New Age guru arrested in France on 21-year-old murder charge
16. Government To Act On Violence Related To Witchcraft
17. The religion of reincarnation is reborn among the masses (Buddhism)
18. Spirit incorporated: Enlightened One cures (...) stress (Buddhism)
19. Lawsuit says workers coerced to adopt religion
20. Commission rejects Scientology settlement
21. New school to use ideas of Scientology founder
22. Doctor settles his part of wrongful death suit
23. Small obstruction for Sect Recruiters in Basel
24. State Security: Scientology not able to gain ground in Germany
25. Scientologist Stars Slam Psychiatry
26. Ex-patient tells of bid to save son after cult diagnosis
27. School upheld on barring boy's Bible story reading
28. Hallelujah! Jim's back in God's good books (Jim Bakker)
29. Tickets to hear Clinton adviser sold out (Campolo)
30. Idea of clash between Islam and West wrong-Clinton

Noted

31. Take Us To Your Professor (Ufology)
32. Britain's Christians put faith in advertising (Alpha Course)
33. The temple is the nation's first Masonic grand lodge
34. What the man needs is a psychiatrist (Clinton, Campolo - Opinion)
35. Psychiatric head games hurt innocent folks

People Unclear On The Concept

36. Police Arrest Man for Making Stolen Statue of Jesus Into a Pot Pipe
37. Joe made good with Good Book (Bible "Codes" Pay Off...)

Main

1. Russia Tests Law On Religion - Foreign Missionaries May Be RestrictedOff-site Link
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Source: Washington Post, Sep 30, 1998

A Moscow city court opened proceedings today aimed at banning the Jehovah's Witnesses from the city, a case that will be an important test of a law restricting foreign missionary activity in Russia.

The case marks one of the first attempts to use the law to limit the activity of a foreign-based religious sect. Despite much criticism in the West, the law was adopted by parliament last year in an effort to proscribe the many proselytizing religions that have established a presence here since the fall of communist rule. A court finding against the Jehovah's Witnesses, which claims to have 100,000 adherents across Russia, could mean other foreign missionaries will face similar legal actions, human rights activists said.

In today's proceedings, a local prosecutor at a circuit court in northern Moscow accused the Jehovah's Witnesses of inciting religious unrest and disrupting family life. Defense lawyers said the prosecution's case targets the group's doctrine and not the actions of its members.
(...snip...)

The Jehovah's Witnesses estimate that their congregation in Russia grew 37 percent last year and 50 percent the year before.
[...more...]

Back To Top 2. Jehovah's Witnesses Fight New Religion Law Off-site Link
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Source: Russia Today, Sep 30, 1998
(...) But the Jehovah's Witnesses say they are the latest victim of the 1997 law "on freedom of conscience and religious organizations," branded by human rights' activists, the Vatican and Washington as discriminatory and politically motivated.
(...snip...)

Leontyev said the two sides had each made a statement at Tuesday's hearing and would present their detailed arguments at the next court hearing, set for Nov. 17.
(...snip...)

Human rights groups in Moscow said a body called the Committee for the Rescue of Youth had initiated the case by accusing the Jehovah's Witnesses of luring young people into their ranks without the knowledge or consent of their parents.

Itar-Tass news agency said the committee had also complained that a few young people had ended up in psychiatric hospitals or even committed suicide as a result of their involvement with the Jehovah's Witnesses.
(...snip...)

Leontyev said there were some 100,000 active members of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, including about 10,000 in Moscow.
[...more...]

Back To Top 3. Trial begins in case to oust Jehovah's Witnesses
Source: Newspage, Sep 30, 1998
No URL. Story at NewspageOff-site Link
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A civil trial to prohibit the activities of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia began Tuesday in a Moscow courtroom, where the American religious group was accused of cult-like activities, a news agency reported.
(...snip...)

The organization was accused of proselytizing young people without their parents' knowledge, stopping people from getting blood transfusions in emergencies and driving several people into mental institutions or to suicide, ITAR-Tass reported.
(...snip...)

Jehovah's Witnesses claim to be the fifth largest Christian group in Russia, with about 10,000 members in Moscow and more than 250,000 across the country.
[...more...]

Back To Top 4. Eileen McNamara and the MooniesOff-site Link
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Source: Boston Phoenix, Oct 1, 1998
The Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church has so far been distinctly unsuccessful in its efforts to lump Globe metro columnist Eileen McNamara -- the ghostwriter of a new autobiographyOff-site Link that's highly critical of Moon -- with her disgraced former colleagues Patricia Smith and Mike Barnicle.
(...snip...)

Actually, to call the charges "not clear cut" is too fair to McNamara's accusers, who in fact have no case at all. But Steven Hassan, a former top Unification Church official who's now a nationally respected expert on religious cults, doubts that the Moon organization is really trying to mold public opinion. It's Moon's devotees, Hassan suspects, who are the intended audience.

"It sounded to me like an internal damage-control technique," says Hassan, who's based in the Boston area. "What they want to do is give something to the members so that they'll distrust the media. I don't think they believe that they're going to convince the general public."
(...snip...)

Last Wednesday, the Globe reported that Hong and McNamara have been accused of plagiarizing from a largely favorable 1991 book about the Unification Church by George Chryssides, a British religious scholar. Yet the story -- by Globe staffer Joseph Kahn -- proves nothing except that Hong and McNamara repeated a few well-known stories about the church. And McNamara, in a follow-up column, suggests that the Globe made a significant omission: the fact that both books relied on the church's official texts.
[...more...]

Back To Top 5. Caught up in the 'gotcha' millOff-site Link
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Source: Boston Globe, Sep 25, 1998
(...) It was an attorney for the Moons who circulated a series of passages from "The Advent of Sun Myung Moon," a flattering portrayal of the cult by George Chryssides, that he alleged were stolen by Nansook Hong, a former daughter-in-law of the Rev. Moon who has far less kind things to say in her just-published memoirs about life in "the True Family."

Ms. Hong's book, "In the Shadow of the Moons," is a memoir of a young woman forced into marriage with the crown prince of the Moon family when she was only 15. It is her story of the abuse she suffered for 14 years until she escaped with her five children in 1995. Her publisher, Little, Brown & Co., hired me to help Ms. Hong craft her narrative.

This is what the Moonies say we "stole" from Mr. Chryssides:
(...) Is the wording similar in all three passages? Sure it is. This is church lore, passed orally among members. Like any oft-repeated story, it settles into a familiar form. In telling the story of ''Little Red Riding Hood,'' wouldn't we all note her mother's warning not to ''leave the path?'' Wouldn't we all have her exclaim, ''What big teeth you have'' to the disguised wolf?

This is an ugly time in America. Accusation alone destroys reputations. The respect we once had for evidence, the attention we once paid to an accuser's motives, has been usurped by a national game of ''gotcha.'' The media play it. Political candidates play it. Special prosecutors play it. False messiahs play it, too. The price we all pay is an erosion of human decency.
[...more...]
Back To Top 6. Author says abusive marriage drove her out of the Moon family, church Off-site Link
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Source: Dallas Morning News, Sep 26, 1998
(...) Chris Corcoran, a spokesman for the Unification Church of America, denounced Ms. Hong's book but said members sympathize with her "obviously difficult marriage."

"It's regrettable that she went as far as to attack the Rev. Moon and his church," he said. "She gave up on her faith and with the family, and that's a shame."

Ms. Hong said she wrote what amounts to her life story to unmask the Moons' public face and to explain the appeal that the church holds for its members, sometimes called "Moonies."
[...more...]

Back To Top 7. Boy's abduction tied to religious beliefsOff-site Link
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Source: Post-Gazette, Oct 1, 1998
The little boy can barely talk. Yet, by Christopher Fink's reckoning, his first-born son, David, is a child chosen by God, a divine prophet.

But to Earl Fink, Christopher Fink's graying, truck-driving father, grandson David is no prophet; he's a 21-month-old slowly being starved by parents clutching self-fashioned beliefs that allow the youngster little but lettuce and watermelon.

Twelve days ago, Christopher and Kyndra Fink, both 23, snatched the child from protective custody at a Salt Lake City hospital.
(...snip...)

Christopher Fink's beliefs turned severe sometime after 1995, when he broke with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons, over church policy accepting abortion in cases of rape, incest or danger to the mother, Breon said.
[...more...]

Back To Top 8. Parents' religious group disdains medical careOff-site Link
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Source: St. Petersburg Times, Oct 1, 1998
Note: See Faith Healing.
(...) Now Hillsborough County sheriff's detectives are investigating the toddler's death and, like their counterparts in Palm Bay, find themselves delving into a religious group that interprets scripture to equate medicine with sorcery.
(...snip...)

The Johnsons belong to a small group known as the Bible Readers Fellowship, which split off from a larger church in Brevard County. Earlier this year the couple was acquitted of charges that they intentionally did not tell authorities about the death of 1-month-old Alexus Aitcheson.
(...snip...)

Other members went further. Robert Aitcheson showed detectives a religious dictionary that traced a reference to "sorcery" in the book of Revelation to the same Greek root word as "pharmacy." Aitcheson told police that he and his wife did "not believe in using doctors because they feel medical doctors are sorcerers."
[...more...]

Back To Top 9. Friends say family didn't know stings were fatalOff-site Link
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Source: Tampa Bay Online, Sep 30, 1998
Note: See Faith Healing.
(...) The Johnsons are believed to be members of a fellowship called Bible Reader's Fellowship, a tiny Brevard County evangelical group that apparently broke away from another sect called Tabernacle.
[...more...]
Back To Top 10. It's freedom vs. responsibility - Religious beliefs go up against parental obligations when it comes to a child in need of medical helpOff-site Link
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Source: St. Petersburg Times, Oct 1, 1998
Note: See Faith Healing.
(...) The death of 2-year-old Harrison Johnson, the Melbourne boy whose parents belong to a religious group that disdains medical treatment, raises a visceral question: How could anyone watch this horror unfold and not scream for help?
(...snip...)

Most religions expect members to seek medical help for themselves and their children in any instance of illness or injury. Those that hold a different philosophy include Christian Scientists, Jehovah's Witnesses and a variety of small Pentecostal groups.

All but Christian Scientists take the Bible literally and can point to specific passages to support their tenets. Christian Scientists simply believe prayer is the best and most powerful medication available.

Contrary to some concepts, neither Christian Scientists nor Jehovah's Witnesses force their members to turn their backs on medicine.
[...more...]

Back To Top 11. Ordered to get doctors - Faith parents get 14-years probationOff-site Link
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Source: Philadelphia Daily News, Sep 25, 1998
Note: See Faith Healing.
Their religion prevented them from seeking medical help for their son -- a toddler nearly consumed by a cancerous tumor that spread from his kidney to his heart and his lungs before it was treated.

Now, Anne Marie and Daniel Foster will spend the next 14 years under the watchful eye of the state, making sure their other two children get the medical attention they deserve, a judge said yesterday.

The Faith Tabernacle parents, convicted in May of endangering the welfare of a child and criminal conspiracy for using faith and prayer, rather than medical help, to treat Patrick, 3, were sentenced yesterday to 14 years probation for the crime.
(...snip...)

When Patrick was 2, the Fosters discovered a lump in his abdomen, but did not take the child to a doctor. Instead, they consulted members of their Faith Tabernacle church, who believe in faith healing -- praying and anointing as opposed to medical attention.
[...more...]

Back To Top 12. Court tosses ex-TV reporter's suitOff-site Link
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Source: Access Waco, Sep 24, 1998
In an unusual case of a Waco television reporter suing another television station for libel over his coverage of the 1993 Branch Davidian siege, the Texas Supreme Court decided Thursday that the Waco reporter had no case.

The court's decision - that the Waco reporter was a "public figure" - was its first to define when someone involved in a high-profile controversy falls into a category that makes winning a libel case harder than someone considered a private person.
(...snip...)

John McLemore, who covered the raid at the Branch Davidian compound, alleged that Dallas television station WFAA and one of its reporters defamed him in a story on speculation that the Davidian sect members were tipped off to federal agents' raid of the sect's Mount Carmel headquarters. McLemore sought $15 million.
[...more...]

Back To Top 13. Couple in Idaho accuses LDS ward of conspiracyOff-site Link
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Source: Deseret News, Sep 22, 1998
A transplanted California couple has accused local leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of conspiring to run them out of southeastern Idaho.

Gary McDonald and his wife, Carol, are demanding $4 million from leaders of the "predominately Mormon-controlled cities and towns of Bear Lake County," who they say are trying to drive them out of St. Charles because they do not belong to the church. McDonald's ex-wife is also implicated in the plot.
[...more...]

Back To Top 14. Baha'i death sentences in IranOff-site Link
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Source: BBC, Sep 29, 1998
The organisation representing members of the Baha'i faith in Britain says the Iranian Supreme Court has confirmed death sentences on two more Baha'is in Iran.

A statement released in London says Sirius Dhabihi-Muqaddam and Hedayat Kashefi-Najafabadi had been condemned for their involvement in religious meetings known as Family Life gatherings.
[...more...]

Back To Top 15. New Age guru arrested in France on 21-year-old murder chargeOff-site Link
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Source: CNN, Sep 22, 1998
Longtime fugitive Ira Einhorn has been arrested in France under a new extradition warrant for the 1977 murder of a Texas woman, Einhorn's attorney said Monday.
(...snip...)

Although he wore dirty clothes, had a scraggly beard, long hair and frequently smelled bad, Einhorn became a successful New Age guru in the 1970s with an international network of scientists, corporate sponsors and wealthy benefactors.
[...more...]

Back To Top 16. Government To Act On Violence Related To WitchcraftOff-site Link
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Source: ANC.org, Sep 22, 1998
Crimes related to witchcraft had increased to such an extent over the last 10 years that government intervention had become inevitable, the Department of Justice said on Tuesday.

Witchcraft-related crimes include murder, the use of victims' organs and other body parts for "muti", and the putting to death of people suspected of using witchcraft on others.
(...snip...)

Porogo said witchcraft was a cultural issue and for centuries had formed part of the belief system of large sections of the South African population. Belief in witchcraft did not by itself pose any threat to peace or respect for the human rights of others.

"However, the translation of such belief into anti-social behaviour constitutes a major threat to peaceful co-existence. It is then that the government has to step in and protect those whose rights have been or are at risk of being violated."
[...more...]

Back To Top 17. The religion of reincarnation is reborn among the massesOff-site Link
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Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 01/10/98
(...) Like millions of other Chinese in this vast country that has been convulsed by decades of ideological turmoil and has now embraced a flinty, almost unrestrained materialism, Ms Yang has turned to one of China's oldest religions to fill the void. Buddhism is being reborn.
(...snip...)

Temples, monasteries and holy sites that were once desecrated and closed during the mayhem of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution are now thronged with crowds of worshippers and pilgrims.
(...snip...)

All religions in China, including the official and underground Christian churches, are now attracting rapidly growing congregations as millions of Chinese seek meaning in their lives that the Communist Party once insisted it could satisfy.
(...snip...)

Ven Yan, a standing member of the officially sanctioned board of directors of the Buddhist Association of China, estimates there are between 200,000 and 300,000 monks and nuns in China, where up to 300 million people are now influenced by Buddhism, making it easily the most popular religion.
[...more...]

Back To Top 18. Spirit incorporated: Enlightened One cures executive stressOff-site Link
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Source: Sydney Morning Herald, Oct 1, 1998
(...) Sydney's incarnations of Buddhism come in many guises - in uniform, in business suits and, of course, temples and saffron robes. While the majority of followers are migrants from China and South-East Asia, 30- to 40-something white-collar Sydney is finding the teachings of a man born more than 2,500 years ago increasingly attractive. CPO Brennan is a Buddhist...
(...snip...)

The statistics show it is the country's fastest growing religion and almost certainly the biggest non-Christian faith, with about 200,000 people in Australia describing themselves as Buddhists in the 1996 census. No-one knows the number of Western converts, but estimates vary between 15,000 and 30,000, with many more expressing some form of interest.

What's the attraction? "It could be because Buddhism does not command blind belief - it allows people to question. This is lacking in Christianity," said Graeme Lyall, chairman of the Buddhist Council of NSW. "Some people don't like religious dogma."
[...more...]

Back To Top 19. Lawsuit says workers coerced to adopt religionOff-site Link
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Source: Star-Telegram, Oct 1, 1998
A federal lawsuit filed yesterday against a south Arlington veterinary clinic charges that employees were pressured to adopt religious beliefs and practices to be promoted.

The lawsuit, filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleges that workers at the I-20 Animal Clinic, 5820 W. Interstate 20, were discriminated against if they did not adopt the principles of the Church of Scientology.
[...more...]

Back To Top 20. Commission rejects Scientology settlementOff-site Link
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Source: St. Petersburg Times, Sep 4, 1998
City commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to reject a settlement that would have ended a four-year legal battle with the Church of Scientology.

The deal concerned a federal lawsuit between the city and the church over the future of 40 boxes of intelligence files on Scientology gathered by Clearwater police for 13 years in the 1980s and 1990s. It would have required police to conduct a "good faith" search of the files and destroy any records it deemed unnecessary. But the deal fell apart over an unusual provision that would have required the police to notify the church's lawyers immediately by phone or fax when anyone requested the records that remained.

According to both sides, the provision was inserted so the church might have the chance to take legal action when anyone asked for the records. Church officials insist the records violate the privacy rights of Scientologists under the U.S. and Florida constitutions.
[...more...]

Back To Top 21. New school to use ideas of Scientology founderOff-site Link
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Source: St. Petersburg Times, Sep 9, 1998
A new private school using educational concepts promoted by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard is scheduled to open today downtown.
(...snip...)

About 150 people attended the event, including several top officials from the Church of Scientology, Clearwater's Assistant City Manager Bob Keller, city Public Works Administrator Rich Baier and Nancy Cartwright, one of several celebrities who work to promote Scientology and its causes. Cartwright is the voice of Bart Simpson in the animated television show The Simpsons.
(...snip...)

Chipman downplayed the school's ties to the Church of Scientology, which has its spiritual headquarters in Clearwater. She said some students come from non-Scientology families.
(...snip...)

The school is licensed by Applied Scholastics, which the Church of Scientology lists as one of its "social betterment" programs.
[...more...]

Back To Top 22. Doctor settles his part of wrongful death suitOff-site Link
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Source: St. Petersburg Times, Sep 15, 1998
A Clearwater doctor who declared Scientologist Lisa McPherson dead when she arrived at a New Port Richey hospital in December 1995 has paid her estate $100,000 to settle his portion of a wrongful death suit McPherson's family filed against the Church of Scientology and others.
(...snip...)

McPherson's family filed suit against Scientology, Minkoff and others in 1997. The suit accuses Scientologists of conspiring to keep McPherson, 36, in isolation inside the Fort Harrison against her will. Instead of calling emergency medical technicians or taking her to nearby Morton Plant Hospital, the Scientologists drove McPherson 45 minutes north to New Port Richey, where Minkoff was on duty.

McPherson was held at the Fort Harrison for 17 days after she was involved in a minor traffic accident. Scientologists say she suddenly fell ill, suggest she had a staph infection and deny holding her against her will.

But Dr. Joan Wood, the medical examiner in Pinellas County, says McPherson died a slow death from a blood clot brought on by dehydration and bed rest. Wood says she went without fluids for several days and was unconscious for up to two days before her death.

In addition to the lawsuit, a criminal investigation into McPherson's death is ongoing. Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe has yet to make a decision about who, if anyone, will be prosecuted. Agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Clearwater police have recommended filing criminal charges.
[...more...]

Back To Top 23. Small obstruction for Sect Recruiters in BaselOff-site Link
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Source: Basler Zeitung (Switzerland), Sep 17, 1998 English Translation: German Scientology News
Contrary to original expectations, the subject of sects - in plain language, Scientologists - did not occupy the Great Council for long. For once, everybody from one end of the room to the other agreed as to the assessment of the situation. Basel City is the first canton in Switzerland to proceed against aggressive recruitment by sects on the street. Radical measures, however, are out of the question.
[...more...]
Back To Top 24. State Security: Scientology not able to gain ground in GermanyOff-site Link
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Source: Suddeutsche Zeitung (Germany), Sep 23, 1998 English Translation: German Scientology News
The widely reported attempt by the Scientology sect to systematically infiltrate politics and the economy in Germany never got off the ground. According to a states security agency internal report, the Scientology infiltration of the civil service failed. Of the 3.2 million public employees, only 48 of them are Scientology members, according to the report. 14 separated from the service because of their membership in the sect; three were furloughed. For 16, membership could not be confirmed in the sect which maximizes profits and which has been categorized by German politicians as despising people. Things appear similar in the economy. Nationwide only 150 small companies are influenced by Scientology. The report, which has not yet been published, came to the conclusion, "It is hardly likely that there is a systematic infiltration of the German economy by Scientology."
(...snip...)

In all of Germany, the total number lies "significantly under 10,000," according to the report.

Heber Jentzsch, the American President of the Scientology enterprise, has been telling his members for years to build "personal communication lines" with influential members of society such as politicians, judges and state attorneys, banks and artists. They were also to attain positions in companies and then take "control over this area." State security sees a significant discrepancy between the grandiose expansion announcements of the Scientologists and reality. So many branches of the sect are plagued by debt that expansion is out of the question. The most important theory of the Scientologists does seem to function, "Make money, make more money." In any case, the sect denies financial difficulties.
[...more...]

Back To Top 25. Scientologist Stars Slam PsychiatryOff-site Link
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Source: TVgen, Sep 23, 1998
There's no way you'll find Jenna Elfman or Juliette Lewis on a psychiatrist's couch. You also won't see Anne Archer, Jason Lee, Jason Beghe or Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson) sharing their woes with a shrink. The stars have all signed their names to a recent mailing by the Church of Scientology that blames psychiatric and psychological practices for contributing to the death of several showbiz legends.

The mailing, which was sent to almost 300,000 members of the entertainment community, includes a 52-page booklet, Harming Artists: Psychiatry Manipulating Creativity, which claims that psychiatry and psychology played a role in the deaths of Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Vivien Leigh, Janis Joplin, Marilyn Monroe and Kurt Cobain.
[...more...]

Back To Top 26. Ex-patient tells of bid to save son after cult diagnosis by therapistsOff-site Link
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Source: Houston Chronicle, Sep 29, 1998
A former psychiatric patient described her desperate efforts to save her son after therapists in Illinois and at Houston's Spring Shadows Glen hospital concluded that she and the boy were involved with a satanic cult.

In her fourth day of testimony during the criminal trial of five Spring Shadows workers, Mary Shanley, 47, testified that she provided lists of colors, nicknames and toy animals she was told might be keys to deprogramming her then-9-year-old son, Ryan, from the influence of the cult.
(...snip...)

Four therapists and a hospital administrator are accused of fraudulently obtaining insurance payments by convincing patients that they suffered from multiple-personality disorder and other mental ailments caused by repressed memories of cult abuse.

Shanley said therapists told her that identifying her alternate personalities and recovering cult memories might save her son from continuing a life in a cult that practiced murder, cannibalism and torture.
(...snip...)

Dozens of patients nationwide have won or settled civil cases, but the Houston trial is believed to be the first criminal trial involving allegations that therapists planted false memories.
[...more...]

Back To Top 27. School upheld on barring boy's Bible story readingOff-site Link
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Source: Bergen Record, Sep 29, 1998
Note: See Religious Intolerance
A New Jersey public school had the right to bar a child from reading a Bible story to his first-grade class and did not violate his First Amendment rights, an appeals court has ruled.
(...snip...)

In its two-page opinion, a three-member panel said the school district acted on a legitimate educational concern in saying the story was inappropriate.
(...snip...)

An attorney for the boy's family, which has been backed by the Virginia-based Rutherford Institute, said an appeal is likely to the U.S. Supreme Court. A petition also could be filed seeking a hearing before the full appeals court.
[...more...]

Back To Top 28. Hallelujah! Jim's back in God's good booksOff-site Link
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Source: Sydney Morning Herald, Sep 21, 1998
The Rev Jim Bakker says he is a changed man.
(...snip...)

He confessed that the theology he was famous for - that if you are a good Christian you will be financially rewarded - was cold comfort in prison.
(...snip...)

He was scathing about his critics in the church and warned against the cult of personality which often develops around charismatic preachers, saying they are often "devils backstage".
[...more...]

Back To Top 29. Tickets to hear Clinton adviser sold outOff-site Link
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Source: The Oregonian, Oct. 1, 1998
(...) Campolo, a noted public speaker with 25 books to his credit, has consulted monthly with Clinton on social policy since 1993. Demands for his time soared off the charts, however, when word got out that since Labor Day he has provided personal counsel to the beleaguered president.
(...snip...)

A self-described conservative evangelical, Campolo has nonetheless drawn fire from conservative Christians for making statements such as, "Jesus! Now that you have saved us from sin, who will save us from we your followers?"

Some members of the religious right, in fact, have called him a heretic. In 1995, he clashed publicly with the Rev. Jerry Falwell after criticizing Falwell's role in the distribution of a videotape accusing the Clinton administration of numerous criminal acts.
(...snip...)

In a letter dated Sept. 21 and mailed to venues where he will be speaking in coming weeks, he referred to the controversy that counseling the president has sparked. Campolo complained of being misrepresented in news accounts, such as a front-page New York Times' story that described him as a liberal Baptist, who encourages Christians to accept homosexuality.

The newspaper subsequently printed a retraction, noting that Campolo continues to hold traditional Christian beliefs about homosexual behavior. But he said much damage has been done to his reputation.
[...more...]

Back To Top 30. Idea of clash between Islam and West wrong-ClintonOff-site Link
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Source: Infoseek/Reuters, Sep. 21, 1998
President Bill Clinton said on Monday the idea of an inevitable clash between Western and Islamic civilisations was terribly "wrong." Americans respected and honoured Islam, which was one of the fastest growing faiths in the United States, he said.
(...snip...)

Clinton said a quarter of the world's population was Moslem - "from Africa to the Middle East, to Asia and to the United States, where Islam is one of our fastest growing faiths."

There were more than 1,200 mosques and Islamic centres in the United States and the number was rapidly increasing, he added.

"The six million Americans who worship there will tell you there is no inherent clash between Islam and America. Americans respect and honour Islam."
(...snip...)

He said he agreed very much with the spirit of the words of the prophet Mohammed: "Rewards for prayers by people assembled together are twice those said at home."
[...more...]

Back To Top Noted

31. Take Us To Your ProfessorOff-site Link
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Source: Salon Magazine, Sept. 1998

(...) Academia has usually been a haven from crazes involving paranormal phenomena, but now there are signs that alien nation has finally caught fire within the once cool walls of the ivory tower.
(...snip...)

Despite ufology's stigma as an area of study for Weekly World News suckers and backwater eccentrics, a growing number of academics are risking their careers to come out of the extraterrestrial closet and openly study UFOs.

The best known and most controversial is Harvard psychiatrist John Mack, who uses hypnosis to determine if people have been abducted.
(...snip...)

If Mack is the founding father of ufology, Dave Jacobs of Temple University may be its revolutionary son. He believes that aliens are trying to colonize America by breeding with humans.
(...snip...)

While Mack and Jacobs have willingly lent their names to UFO research and have become the stars in this scorned little galaxy, they are not alone. But their fellow ufologists can be as elusive as the aliens they are trying to find.
[...more...]

Back To Top 32. Britain's Christians put faith in advertisingOff-site Link
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Source: Infoseek/Reuters, Sep 29, 1998
(...) The campaign aims to boost enrolment on the Alpha course, a 10-week course of informal meetings where participants are invited to make their own minds up about religion.
(...snip...)

Under the current parish priests at Holy Trinity the popularity of Alpha has grown by word of mouth. Half a million people attended the course last year, up from a thousand in 1992.

"The growth of Alpha indicates the spiritual hunger within the U.K.," said the Reverend Sandy Millar, one of the priests at Holy Trinity.
(...snip...)

Nick Drummond, a member of Christians in Media, left the advertising agency M&C Saatchi in March and spent three months on the campaign. He said the latest campaign was different because of the scale and the Alpha brand.

"What interested me was that they had developed a new product this time -- the Alpha course -- and made it relevant to people's lives today. In doing that they have created a church brand," he said. "The problem before was people we convinced to try church again found that it hadn't changed."
[...more...]

Back To Top 33. The temple is the nation's first Masonic grand lodgeOff-site Link
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Source: Philadelphia Daily News, Sep 28, 1998
(...) This wonder is the Masonic Temple, a one-of-a-kind structure which is observing its 125th anniversary this month as part of the Center City landscape at 1 N. Broad St.
(...snip...)

Freemasonry, the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world with more than four million members (151,000 in Pennsylvania), traces its roots back to a group of European stonemasons who in 1717 began holding informal gatherings on how to better themselves and help others.
(...snip...)

Over the years, said Garvey, the nonsectarian organization has been plagued with myths, distortions, rumors and untruths, all of which "come out of ignorance."

"We are not a religious organization. We are not in competition with any religion," said Garvey, although "we encourage members to pursue their religious commitments whatever they may be."
[...more...]

Back To Top 34. What the man needs is a psychiatristOff-site Link
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Source: Spokane.net, Sep 17, 1998 [Opinion]
(...) One of the chosen is Tony Campolo, a liberal Baptist who teaches sociology at Eastern (formerly Baptist) College in St. David's, Pa. Campolo likes to irritate conservative evangelicals. When he speaks of justice for the poor and the dangers of materialism, he is on solid biblical ground. But recently, Campolo has been urging conservative Christians to accept homosexuality, a subject on which the conservatives, not he, are on solid ground.
(...snip...)

About those who claim they are being used and manipulated, Campolo says: "It would not be the first time that Christians have been taken in. But we would rather be men of faith who believe that God is working in the life of the president than to join that army of cynics, many of whom are religious leaders, who cannot accept a plea of forgiveness at face value."

Which face? The other face is bringing in a new team of legal and political advisors. While one team thinks it can save the president's soul, the other team will try to save his behind. Church and state never looked worse together.

Clinton has manipulated religion since he joined a Little Rock church after losing an election. He also joined the choir, positioning himself behind the pulpit so the TV audience could see him. He uses religion the way he uses women, and -- like some conservative Republican politicians who use conservative preachers -- he embraces them to give himself credibility, not caring that their credibility is compromised.

Clinton needs a man of the couch more than men of the cloth. He fits the definition of narcissistic personality disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which include the following:
[...more...]

Back To Top 35. Psychiatric head games hurt innocent folksOff-site Link
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Source: The Ottawa Citizen, Sep 30, 1998
(...) Insiders in the head-reading game are now challenging, debunking even, syndromes like recovered memory and multiple personalities. Many people have gone to jail on the basis of recovered memories of childhood abuse, a diagnosis now considered by many to be a fraud.
(...snip...)

The syndrome may have hit its peak two years ago with a Wisconsin woman. In six years of therapy her psychiatrist convinced her she had a record 126 personalities. One of them was a duck. He was billing her insurance company for group therapy. His name was Kenneth Olson and she won a $3.6 million lawsuit against him.
[...more...]

Back To Top People Unclear On The Concept

36 Police Arrest Man for Making Stolen Statue of Jesus Into a Pot PipeOff-site Link
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Source: Foxnews, Sep 30, 1998

A suburban New York man was arrested Tuesday on charges of possessing a stolen statue of the infant Jesus that had been turned into a marijuana pipe.
[...more...]
Back To Top 37 Joe made good with Good BookOff-site Link
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Source: Philadelphia Daily News, Sep 28, 1998
Now let us say, "Amen," for one of the luckiest lottery players in Pennsylvania.
(...snip...)

While reading the 19th chapter of Jeremiah in the Bible, he found that verses 23, 25, 32 and 34 had special meaning. He played those verse numbers in different combinations with numbers 24 and 26 for two weeks in Pennsylvania's CASH 5.

"I liked the 19 and the 34 [ from the Bible ] ," Joe said, "and I also played [ verses ] 23 and 32. For one game I used [ verse ] 25, then went one number up [ 26 ] and one number down [ 24 ] in each of two additional games."

Joe, 64, collected $67,905 less 28 percent federal withholding as the numbers 19-23-26-32-34 were drawn.

But if you think that's all that Joe is thankful for, guess again. Joe still receives about $100,000 in annual payments from a Wild Card jackpot in 1989. His annuity runs out in 2010.
[...more...]

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