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Religion Items In The News

March 1, 1999 (Vol. 3, Issue 73)

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

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

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Religion Items in the News - March 1, 1999 (Vol. 3, Issue 73)


=== Main
1. Ex-daughter-in-law [to denounce spiritual leader] (Roy Masters)
2. Ousted juror: No reason to halt cult memory trial
3. State says counselors' methods harmed patients
4. Cult's Property Can Be Sold - California Judge (Heaven's Gate)
5. Judge Rules San Diego County Owner of Heaven's Gate Estate
6. Hare Krishna airport solicitations curtailed
7. U.S. Group Reports Sharp Rise In Web Hate Sites
8. Apocalypse Soon (Ron Cole)
9. FBI to help investigate, seek suspects among hate groups
10. Immigrant Muslims report 'intimidating' FBI visits
11. Merchant ... once proclaimed himself God
12. Burned man suspected in up to 50 church fires
13. Even fourth-grade vocabulary words at issue in Satanism lawsuit
14. Families accuse N.Y. school district of double standard...
15. School siege continues as Russia cracks down on religious groups
16. Russian police raid Moscow center for Scientology
17. Moscow Police Raid Church Of Scientology
18. Russian Secret Service searches Scientology Offices in Moscow
19. COS Membership No Reason For Denial Of Permit
20. Vexed over Scientology Bus
21. When People disappear in "Happy Valley" (Scientology)
22. "That has nothing to do with Church" (Scientology)
23. Mormon genealogy library has appeal to many
24. Muslim American Society is sold on Philly
25. Bay Area is a fertile field for Sufism's gentle path
26. Clergy predict diversification of Christianity
27. Alternative therapies moving toward the mainstream

=== Noted
28. Hoax on religion ban still plagues FCC
29. Religious counseling melds psychology with biblical teachings

=== Y2K
30. Some Christians fear Y2K signals the end
31. "The Christian Solution to Y2K"

=== Opinion
32. Observers are baffled about Clinton's... commitment to his faith

=== Books
33. James Van Praagh reaches to heaven

=== Left Field? Over There... To Your Right
34. Cat Psychic, Therapist Offer Their Services


=== Main

1. Ex-daughter-in-law of Grants Pass spiritual leader to denounce him
on TV
Oregon Live, Feb. 26, 1999
http://flash.oregonlive.com/cgi-bin/or_nview.pl?/home1/
wire/AP/Stream-Parsed/OREGON_NEWS/o0314_PM_OR--Evangelist-Feud
Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
The ex-daughter-in-law of conservative Grants Pass spiritual leader Roy
Masters
is about to accuse him on national television of violence
against her and her daughters.

A Los Angeles producer says Lisa Masters of Grants Pass is scheduled to
appear March 4 on "Extra," a nationally syndicated news show.
(...)

Lisa Masters told "Extra" producer Frank Snepp that the controversial
radio personality punched her once while she was married to his son
David Masters, and that Roy Masters slapped her daughters in 1997 while
they visited his home.

She said she considers the incidents consistent with what she says is a
long history of Masters' denigration of women. "He's said on the radio
there's a time women have to be restrained and even slapped," she said.
(...)

Roy Masters' spokeswoman, his daughter Dianne Masters, 42, said the
radio personality denies Lisa Masters' charges.
(...)

"We talked him (Roy) out of doing an interview," Dianne said. "The
reason why is, he's extremely honest and blunt, but he's not doing
anything wrong."

Roy Masters is a radio preacher and former professional hypnotist who
moved to the United States from England in 1949. His real name was
Reuben Obermeister.

He moved to Josephine County from Southern California 20 years ago.
Estimates of the number of supporters of his Foundation for Human
Understanding
in Josephine County range from 1,500 to several thousand.

Many moved there after Masters told listeners to move to Southern
Oregon to escape what he said was the inevitable collapse of a sick
society.
[...more...]
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2. Ousted juror: No reason to halt cult memory trial
Houston Chronicle, Feb. 24, 1999
http://www.chron.com/content/story.html/metropolitan/202001Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
A juror whose inadvertent contact with a prospective witness led to the
mistrial in a fraud case against five former psychiatric hospital
workers says he was not prejudiced by the brief encounter and believes
the trial should have continued.
(...)

Caldwell was among 12 jurors and four alternates selected when the
federal trial began Sept. 9. Five former workers at Spring Shadows Glen
Hospital were accused of conspiring to inflate insurance claims by
saying patients suffered satanic ritual abuse.
[...more...]
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3. State says counselors' methods harmed patients
Philadelphia Inquirer, Mar. 1, 1999
http://www.phillynews.com/inquirer/99/Mar/01/pa_west/WGEN01.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
When Jim Alton of Philadelphia sought psychotherapy in 1989 for
problems associated with being the adult child of an alcoholic, his
goal was to improve his life.

But after six years of treatment from psychologist Patricia Mansmann
and social worker Patricia Neuhausel, owners of Genesis Associates in
Exton, Alton said, he found himself alienated from his family and
friends, and under pressure to "remember" nonexistent episodes of
childhood sexual abuse and Satan worship.

"At the time, we were told that their treatment was different, that
they were pioneers and should not be compared to other types of
counseling," said Alton, 40, who left treatment and sued Genesis. "It
sounds funny now, but basically, it was pretty horrific."
(...)

The complaint says Mansmann and Neuhausel used a controversial
"detachment" therapy that tells clients to break all ties with their
family and friends, who are considered "toxic" or "diseased." The
clients are then encouraged to maintain relationships of those within
the Genesis network.

Mansmann, the complaint says, "sometimes tells clients if they leave
therapy with her and Neuhausel, the patient will die."

The complaint says Mansmann "directs clients to 'detach' from spouses
and/or minor children without due regard for the potential adverse
impact on the children."
[...more...]
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4. Cult's Property Can Be Sold - California Judge
Infoseek/Reuters, Feb. 24, 1999
http://www.infoseek.com/Content?arn=a3862LBY405reulb-19990223
&qt=%2Bcult+&sv=IS&lk=ip-noframes&col=NX&kt=A&ak=news1486
Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
A judge in San Diego County has cleared the way for an auction of the
possessions of 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult who committed mass
suicide in March 1997.
(...)

In a ruling Monday, Superior Court Judge Lisa Guy-Schall said the
possessions belonged to San Diego County and could be sold at auction.
[...more...]
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5. Judge Rules San Diego County Owner of Heaven's Gate Estate
KGTV 10, Feb. 23, 1999
http://www.sandiegoinsider.com/partners/kgtv/news/022399_gate.htmlOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
(...) The judge had presided over a three-day trial last month that
pitted the County of San Diego against an organization called TELAH,
which stands for Evolutionary Level Above Human.

The two founders of TELAH, Mark and Sara King, had claimed the Heaven's
Gate
members transferred ownership of all their assets to them before
39 cult members committed suicide in March 1997 in Rancho Santa Fe.
[...more...]
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6. Hare Krishna airport solicitations curtailed
USA Today, Feb. 22, 1999
http://www.usatoday.com/news/court/nscot970.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to let Hare Krishnas solicit
donations or sell religious literature at Miami International Airport.
The court rejected an appeal that argued such restrictions violate
free-speech rights.

Monday's action, taken without comment, is not a decision and sets no
national precedent. But the denial of review lets stand a ruling that
applies to all airports in three Southern states - Florida, Alabama and
Georgia.
(...)

The nation's highest court ruled in 1992 that airports nationwide may
prohibit groups from soliciting donations in terminals but must allow
distribution of free literature. That ruling was sparked by a challenge
to restrictions imposed on Hare Krishnas at New York City's three major
airports.
(...)

The appeal acted on Monday asked the justices to reconsider the 1992
decision ''in light of recent significant developments in the airport
industry involving the increased commercialization of airport
terminals.''
[...more...]
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7. U.S. Group Reports Sharp Rise In Web Hate Sites
Excite/Reuters, Feb. 24, 1999
http://nt.excite.com/news/r/990224/04/net-hateOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
The Ku Klux Klan and other racist groups are increasingly spreading
hate messages via the Internet and shifting their target audience from
street thugs to college-bound teens, the Southern Poverty Law CenterOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
said Tuesday.

The Montgomery, Alabama-based center, a human rights organization that
tracks hate groups and their activities, said hate sites on the
Internet had grown by nearly 60 percent, from 163 in 1997 to 254 at the
end of 1998.
(...)

The law center's report identified 537 U.S. hate groups, up from 474
the year before. The number of neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan groups grew by
nearly 40 percent, increasing from 227 to 314, the report said.
(...)

Potok said a few hate movements actually declined in numbers in 1998,
including Christian Identity, which saw a drop in congregations from 81
to 62 in a year marked by an extensive search for one of its
practitioners, Eric Rudolph.
(...)

The law center report said Aryan Nations lost four chapters as
followers of leader Richard Butler, 81, drifted away.
[...more...]
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8. Apocalypse Soon
Wired 7.02 - Feb, 1999
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/7.02/cole_pr.htmlOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
[NOTE: Feature-length article]
Ron Cole had a revolutionary Web site, a cache of automatic weapons,
and a millennialist dream to overthrow the government. He'll be back
out of federal prison any day now.
(...)

For him, as for so many others, Waco was the catalytic moment: Cole
considers it a clear-cut case of the mass murder of innocent people by
an out-of-control police state. And though he rejected the wildest
conspiracy theories that emerged after the fire on April 19, 1993, he
had no doubt about two grave (and, to my mind, outlandish) allegations.
One, that federal agents intentionally started the blaze to cover up
lies and blunders about the initial raid by the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, and Firearms. And two, that the government mercilessly gunned
down men, women, and children as they tried to get out.
(...)

Cole adopted much of the Branch Davidian theology, and he wrote a book,
Sinister Twilight, challenging the government's version of events at
Waco. His stated goal was to rebuild the sect, possibly creating a new
headquarters for the surviving members.

He didn't pull that off, but he did generate some notoriety. For one
thing, he had an indirect influence on the mind of Timothy McVeigh.
McVeigh reportedly had another Cole book, God Rocks, in his possession
when he was arrested. He was also a fan of a videotape called Day 51:
The True Story of Waco, a documentary that featured Cole's theories
about a government cover-up at Mount Carmel.
(...)

*** NoteSenior editor Alex Heard (heard@wired.com) is the author of
Apocalypse Pretty Soon, to be published in February by W. W. Norton.


9. FBI to help investigate, seek suspects among hate groupsOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Sun Sentinel, Feb. 26, 1999
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/daily/detail/0,1136,11000000000045128,00.htmlOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Police have asked the FBI to help investigate the slaying of Jody-Gaye
Bailey, who was shot in the head by another motorist as she rode with
her boyfriend on Oakland Park Boulevard early Wednesday morning.

"Due to the possibility that this is a hate crime, the FBI will assist
us with its subversive group databank," said Lt. Glenn Osani of Oakland
Park's detective bureau. Bailey, 20, is black; her boyfriend, Christian
Martin, 20, is white.
[...more...]
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10. Immigrant Muslims report 'intimidating' FBI visits
Journal Sentinel, Feb. 26, 1999
http://www.jsonline.com/news/Metro/990226immigrantmuslimsrepor.aspOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Immigrant Muslims in Milwaukee and several other U.S. cities claim the
FBI has been questioning them about their political beliefs, raising
concerns among Islamic leaders that the government may be going too far
to combat terrorism.

A local FBI official downplayed those concerns, saying any interviews
the bureau conducts stem from criminal investigations and are not
politically motivated.
(...)

Local Islamic leaders have scheduled a press conference today at the
Islamic Center at which they are expected to call for an end to what
they say are "intimidating visits" by the FBI. They will also meet with
FBI officials.

Nihad Awad, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Council on
American-Islamic Relations, said he has received similar reports from
Muslim immigrants in other cities, including one Thursday from a Muslim
leader in Oklahoma City, where Timothy McVeigh blew up the federal
building in 1995.
[...more...]
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11. Merchant who sparked anti-communist fervor once proclaimed himself
God
Sacramento Bee, Feb. 25, 1999
http://www.sacbee.com/news/calreport/calrep_story.cgi?N100.HTMLOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
The Vietnamese shopkeeper whose display of a poster of Ho Chi Minh and
a Vietnamese flag sparked anti-communist protests in Little Saigon once
sought to lead a spiritual group as a self-proclaimed god.
(...)

When Tran arrived in California as a refugee in 1980, he joined a
meditation group called Vo Vi, which claims millions of followers
worldwide, and he sought guidance from group leader Ong Tam after
feeling a change in his spiritual state.
(...)

Tran began lecturing in 1987 and began proclaiming himself god, but
says he did so only because he felt that Vo Vi's leader had given him
that title.
[...more...]
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12. Burned man suspected in up to 50 church fires
Bergen Record, Feb. 26, 1999
http://www.bergen.com/morenews/fires19990226.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
As many as 50 church fires in the Midwest and South over the past five
years may have been solved all at once with the arrest of a man
fascinated with the satanic.
(...)

Agents said they are not certain of a motive, but Ballinger's interest
in the occult is clear. Police said that a few years ago, he persuaded
50 teenagers to sign contracts in blood pledging their souls to the
devil.

Ballinger's stripper girlfriend and another man have admitted taking
part in burning an Indiana church where they painted an upside-down
cross on the steps as part of a satanic ritual.
(...)

Mostly unemployed since he settled back into his parents' rural home in
1990, he had two scrapes with the law before the arson case. In 1994,
he was cited for giving minors alcohol. That same year, parents
complained that he was recruiting teenagers into a cult.

Daleville Police Sgt. Mark Brewer went to Ballinger's house and
confiscated about 50 contracts signed in blood by teenagers who agreed
to give their souls to the devil and do "all types of evil" in exchange
for wealth, power, and sex.
[...more...]
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13. Even fourth-grade vocabulary words at issue in Satanism lawsuit
CNN, Feb. 23, 1999
http://cnn.com/US/9902/23/PM-SatanismLawsuit.ap/index.htmlOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Three Roman Catholic families are suing a school district, claiming
fourth-grade vocabulary words such as "ghoul," Earth Day celebrations
and drug counseling violate their religious and privacy rights.

The families also object to the study of a Hindu god, a field trip to a
cemetery and a card game with satanic references.

"There are two standards," said James Bendell, the families' attorney.
"Any trace of Christianity must be banished, but teachers are free to
smuggle in Eastern religions and any other forms (of belief)."
(...)

Satanism, occultism and New Age religions were being fostered, he said.

The card game "Magic: The Gathering," is worse than witchcraft,
testified one of the plaintiffs, Mary Ann DiBari.

Her two granddaughters and four teen-age brothers from another family
testified how they were offended as Catholics by an assembly with a
yoga teacher and a visit from a mineralogist who talked about crystals.
[...more...]
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14. Families accuse N.Y. school district of double standard in teaching
religion
Freedom Forum, Feb. 23, 1999
http://www.freedomforum.org/religion/1999/2/23nyschooldist.aspOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
(...) The American Catholic Lawyers Association has joined the
plaintiffs' side and People for the American Way, a nonprofit civil
rights group based in Washington, D.C., has supported the schools.

Christopher Ferrara, who is on the plaintiffs' legal team, said
yesterday that it is wrong to prohibit Christian religion while
encouraging other beliefs. "We believe it is the perfect case to bring
an end to the double standard," he said.
[...more...]
Back To Top



15. School siege continues as Russia cracks down on religious groups
Nando Times, Feb. 26, 1999
http://www.nando.net/noframes/story/0,2107,22521-36715-268878-0,00.html?group=globall
(Story no longer online? Read this)
In Russian security forces' latest confrontation with evangelical
religious groups, police and schoolchildren refused Friday to relent in
the occupation of a local school.

Since Monday dozens of pupils and some parents and teachers have
occupied the school, operated by a Dutch evangelical group in a former
army barracks in the center of Russia's second city, while two busloads
of armed police stand vigil outside.
(...)

The city says it has revoked a 1991 rent-free lease it gave to the
Dutch Open Christian Society, which runs the school. The school's
supporters say they are entitled to remain.
(...)

In a press release Thursday, the city said the school had violated the
terms of the building's lease and was enlisting the support of
international organizations by spreading inaccurate information in a
publicity campaign.
(...)

Moscow prosecutors are presently seeking to ban the Jehovah's WitnessesOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
in a court case that is being monitored closely by international human
rights groups. Thursday, Russian police raided Moscow offices of the
Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology.
[...more...]
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16. Russian police raid Moscow center for ScientologyOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
CNN, Feb. 26, 1999
http://cnn.com/WORLD/europe/9902/26/BC-Russia-Religion.ap/index.htmlOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Police seized boxes of documents from the Scientology movement and were
questioning the group's leaders Friday, the latest in a series of
government actions against religious groups in Russia.
(...)

The tax police said they were investigating possible tax evasion and
other financial irregularities, but the Scientologists said the move
was politically motivated.

"Cruelty was in the air during this visit (by the tax police), which
has reminded us that Russia has not yet acquired the right of freedom
-- freedom to think and act in accordance with the convictions of
conscience," Alexei Danchenkov, a spokesman for the group, said in a
statement.

The Scientology center in Moscow is formally called the Humanitarian
Hubbard Center, named after the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard.
It holds regular classes for both youths and adults, attracting about
200 students each week, according to Danchenkov.
[...more...]
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17. Moscow Police Raid Church Of ScientologyOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Infoseek/Reuters, Feb. 26, 1999
http://www.infoseek.com/Content?arn=a2746LBY463reulb-19990225
&qt=%2Breligion+&sv=IS&lk=ip-noframes&col=NX&kt=A&ak=news1486
Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
(...) ``We're conducting a comprehensive inspection,'' said a police
officer on the scene overseeing the raid. ``There is no repression
going on here.''
(...)

In a statement, the Scientology Church of Moscow described the raids as
an attack on freedom of religion.

``Actions by the state to repress religious freedom do not allow Russia
to move forward. On the contrary, Russia is moving backward to
totalitarianism,'' the statement said.

The Rev. Heber C. Jentzsch, the president of Scientology International
in Los Angeles, issued a statement denouncing the raids as
``unconstitutional harassment of members of a peaceful religion'' and
vowed that the church would carry on.

``We have withstood all past government harassment in Russia,'' he
said. ``In the face of such assaults, the Church has gone from a
handful of centers to some 54 missions across the nation, ministering
to a growing membership now thousands strong.''
[...more...]
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18. Russian Secret Service searches Scientology Offices in Moscow
Deutsche Press Agency, Feb. 25, 1999
Translation: German Scientology News
http://www.lermanet.com/cisar/990225e.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
(...) The procedure by the Russian authorities has been strongly
condemned by by Scientology. The President of the international cover
organization of the Scientology Church in the USA, Heber Jentzsch,
described the action as a sign of an "anti-American, anti-western
campaign by extremist Russian officials, together with the Russian
Orthodox Church." He further stated that the accusations were pure
fabrication by an alleged ex-member, who was just as fabricated as the
accusations.
[...more...]
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19. COS Membership No Reason For Denial Of Permit
Rheinland-Pfalz State Social Court (Germany), Jan. 28, 1999 (Press
Release)
Translation: German Scientology News
http://www.lermanet.com/cisar/990128b.htm<br>
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Membership in the "Scientology Church" alone is not sufficient grounds
for refusal of a permit for a private employment agency. This was the
decision handed down by the Rheinland-Pfalz State Social Court on
January 28, 1999 in favor of a complainant who had had her permit for a
private employment agency revoked by the Federal Labor Office, and had
had an extension of her permit refused.
[...more...]
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20. Vexed over Scientology Bus
Hamburger Morgenpost (Germany), Feb. 24, 1999
http://www.mopo.de/seiten/19990224/hamburg-artikel12.html
Translation: German Scientology News
http://www.lermanet.com/cisar/990224a.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Scientology is once again making a nuisance of itself in Hamburg; the
US sect puts their advertising bus in public parking areas without a
permit and distributes flyers on the sidewalks entitled, "The Truth."
In these the sect discounts its critics and the Christian Churches.

This past Saturday the sect adherents stood outside the Alster shopping
center on Heegbarg. "That is a commercial use of public space and
requires a permit," said Michael Naefken, Director of the Alstertal
district office. "However, a permit was not present. We would not have
issued it."
[...more...]
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21. When People disappear in "Happy Valley"
Stuttgarten Nachrichten (Germany), Feb. 25, 1999
http://www.stuttgarter-nachrichten.de/dc1/html/news-stn/19990225hint0009.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Translation: German Scientology News
http://www.lermanet.com/cisar/990225b.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Scientology maintains a prison camp. Up to now there has hardly been
any information about it available. And still no pictures. Peter
Reichelt, the Mannheim Scientology critic, succeeded in tracking
down the sect business' corrective institution.
(...)

"Happy Valley" is a two hour drive from Los Angeles which lies in a
desert-like landscape. David Miscavige, Scientology boss, has built an
empire in its vicinity which is as luxurious as it is mysterious. Happy
Valley, however, is no Club Med. About 100 people of the Sea Org elite
guard must serve time there. "The people are genuine prisoners. They
are absolutely not there of their own free will," relates Gerry
Armstrong, ex-coordinator of the OSA Scientology secret service, who
says he spent two and a half years in the prison camp.

Jesse Prince, former second man in the Scientology leadership, behind
Miscavige, told Reichelt before the camera what goes on behind the
barbed wire and walls which are watched by video cameras.
[...more...]
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22. "That has nothing to do with Church"
Mainpost (Germany), Feb. 25, 1999
http://www.mainpost.de/nl2view/?id=6ZJYDOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Translation: German Scientology News
http://www.lermanet.com/cisar/990225c.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
(...) The designation of "church," which was given to the organization
just 40 years ago after its founding by L. Ron Hubbard "has nothing,
but nothing at all, to do with religion, and the title of "sect"
continues to be used to lull people into a false sense of security,"
warned Hartwig, who, after personal experience with Scientology, has
been involved with it since 1990, and offers extensive help to its
former members.
(...)

Mass mailings by the organization which started four weeks ago in the
county show that Scientology's much talked about infiltration of
Germany is a theme for discussion even in Rhoen-Grabfeld.
[...more...]
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23. Mormon genealogy library has appeal to many
Sacramento Bee, Feb. 17, 1999
http://www.sacbee.com/news/news/local03_19990217.htmlOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
(...) What was launched as the seventh branch of the church's Family
History Library in Salt Lake City is now one of more than 3,000 sites
in 64 countries. It boasts its own building, 15,000 publications and a
5-year-old computer lab replete with an ever-present waiting list.

The libraries are steeped in religious purpose, allowing Mormons to
trace their ancestors for post-mortem baptisms, a doctrine of salvation
that aims to seal "those who dwell on earth to those who dwell in
heaven." But just 20 percent to 25 percent of the 1,500 people who
visit the Sacramento center each month are church members.
[...more...]
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24. Muslim American Society is sold on Philly
Philadelphia News, Feb. 26, 1999
http://www.phillynews.com/daily_news/99/Feb/26/local/MUSL26.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
The Muslim American Society says its national convention in
Philadelphia during Labor Day weekend will undo some stereotypes,
including the role of women in Islam.
(...)

The 1999 Islamic Convention will be held Sept. 3-6 at the Wyndham
Franklin Plaza, site of yesterday's press conference, with two major
events in Fairmount Park.

More than 10,000 Muslims, mostly African-Americans, are expected from
across the nation, with about half those from the Philadelphia area,
said spokesman Kaleem Shabazz. He said Muslims of all races and
nationalities are welcome, and major events are open to the public.
(...)

The schedule includes a Mass prayer on Friday, the Islamic holy day; a
cultural night and fashion show; youth activities; a family outing at
Memorial Hall; and a Sept. 5 address by Imam Wallace Deen Mohammed, the
society's leader, at Dell East that will be beamed by satellite
nationwide

The convention's goal, Shabazz said, is "outreach, so people can get a
true picture of Islam. This is a chance to see how Islam is practiced
by a balanced rational group, with women in leadership."

W. Deen Mohammed guided his followers, now estimated at 2.5 million,
toward mainstream Islamic practice after the death in 1975 of his
father, Elijah Muhammad. The society sharply distinguishes itelf from
Minister Louis Farrakhan and his much smaller Nation of Islam, which
traces its black separatist and anti-Semitic doctrines to Elijah
Muhammad.
[...more...]
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25. Bay Area is a fertile field for Sufism's gentle path
Contra Costa Times, Feb. 22, 1999
http://www.hotcoco.com/news/religion/stories/mpr01412.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Many follow its teachings, but some doubt that it is more than a
manifestation of New Age esoterics
(...)

Welcome to Sufism, a 1,300-year-old Islamic mystical tradition that is
re-emerging with modern-day embellishments as a pillar of the
spirituality circuit.
(...)

Skeptics liken the current Sufimania to cultural piracy. Hamid Algar,
professor of Islamic studies at UC-Berkeley, calls it "a vague,
universal mysticism that no doubt finds many buyers on the contemporary
market of esoterica." Algar criticizes New Age Sufists for rewriting
literature and ignoring Sufism's religious roots and ethical dimension.
(...)

Historically, Sufists strictly observed Islam's commands and
prohibitions. But today, be you Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist or
Hindu, there's a place for you in the new Sufism, "the Way of Love,"
where the search for God is within you, said the sponsors of the
sold-out Feb. 6 Sufi celebration at International House.
[...more...]
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26. Clergy predict diversification of Christianity
Providence Journal, Feb. 23, 1999
http://projo.com/report/pjb/stories/01805602.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
The title of the conference is ``One Nation Under God? Spirituality in
America.'' On Sunday, South African Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu gave the
keynote address.
(...)

The speakers were the Rev. Harvey Cox, a professor at Harvard Divinity
School and ordained American Baptist minister, and the Rev. James
Morton, former dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York
City and founder of the Interfaith Center of New York.
(...)

Christianity is the most widespread religion in the world, Mr. Morton
said, with 1.9 billion followers, according to a 1997 report. Next come
Islam, with 1.1 billion; Hinduism, with 781 million; and Buddhism, with
324 million.

America is still overwhelmingly Christian, Mr. Morton added, but other
faiths are growing rapidly: Of 272 million Americans, 236 million are
Christian; 8 million are Jewish; 4 million to 6.5 million are Muslim; 1
million are Hindu, and about 600,000 are Buddhist, he said.

The growth of Islam has been particularly dramatic. In 1960, there were
230 mosques in America, Mr. Morton said. Last year, there were 1,500 --
450 in New York City alone.

Christianity itself is changing drastically, Mr. Cox noted. The
fastest-growing branch is Pentecostalism, he said, and Christians in
South America, Asia and Africa are rapidly gaining influence even as
European and North American Christians are losing it.

As a result, in the 21st century, Christianity around the world is
bound to look less like we practice it, and more like Brazilians,
Koreans, Sri Lankans have adapted it to their cultures, Mr. Cox said.

The ``inculturation'' of Christianity is already raising very difficult
questions, Mr. Cox said. Is it appropriate to depict Jesus in a typical
Buddha position, for example, or as a ``dancing God'' in the Hindu
tradition?
(...)

Mr. Morton, who described himself as ``anti-boundaries,'' urged the
audience to be ``the best Muslim, Jew, Buddhist that you can be,'' but
to explore other religions and cultures as they might explore foreign
cuisines. They won't lose their identities, he said, but ``become
richer.''

Mr. Cox said he is uncomfortable with some adaptations of Christianity,
but for the most part, he welcomes a greater diversity. In the coming
decades, Christianity is likely to become more accepting of difference,
he said, moving away from a strict creed and dogma.

Some in the audience were disturbed by the two men's views. Several
people applauded when Billy Park, a Korean-American who is pastor of
Grace Covenant Campus Church, at Brown, said Mr. Cox's acceptance of so
many versions of Christianity ``offends me in some sense in my
fundamental beliefs.''
[...more...]
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27. Alternative therapies moving toward the mainstream
CNN, Feb. 23, 1999
http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/9902/23/alternative.mds/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
(...) "Acupuncture has become white bread in American society," said
Dr. Joseph Helms, of UCLA Medical Center. "It's no longer something
that's very unusual. It's something patients expect their physicians to
be able to provide or refer to."

Supporters of integrating alternative therapies into their practices
still have to face questions from sometime skeptics like Caryn Vogel,
an Indianapolis neurologist.
(...)

A recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association
estimates that in 1997, 83 million Americans paid out-of-pocket for
alternative therapies and medicine -- a market estimated at $27
billion.
[...more...]
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=== Noted

28. Hoax on religion ban still plagues FCC
Post-Gazette, Feb. 24, 1999
http://www.post-gazette.com/headlines/19990224fcc3.aspOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Don't ask Federal Communications Commission officials about "Petition
No. 2493" or you might detect the slightest note of resignation in
their tired voices.

The agency has gotten a steady flow of public inquiries about the
"religious broadcasting ban" for the past 24 years, and the trickle
becomes a flood right before Easter and Christmas. It is a hoax.
(...)

Sharon Jenkins, who tracks "2493" messages as the FCC's chief of public
inquiries, recalls appearing on the Christian Broadcasting Network's
700 Club in the mid-1980s to attack the rumor. She still replies to 10
to 15 e-mail or phone inquiries a day on the subject.
[...more...]
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*** Note: For info about the hoax, see
http://www.apologeticsindex.org/f00.html#fccOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]


29. Religious counseling melds psychology with biblical teachings
Philadelphia News, Feb. 25, 1999
http://www.phillynews.com/daily_news/99/Feb/25/features/ECOV25.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
(...) Although by no means a new field, Christian counseling has grown
in prominence and practice, counselors say. Increasingly, Christians --
even those who have not seen the inside of a sanctuary in years -- are
reaching to the Bible to help heal emotional difficulties. In addition,
Christians who are licensed counselors are relying on the Bible to help
people through trying times.
(...)

As a profession, Christian counseling has become more organized in the
past decade. Since 1991, the American Association of Christian
Counselors has grown from about 700 members to nearly 17,000, said the
group's president, Tim Clinton.
[...more...]
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=== Y2K

30. Some Christians fear Y2K signals the end
Chicago Tribune, Mar. 1, 1999
http://chicagotribune.com/version1/article/0,1575,ART-24255,00.htmlOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
(...) "Is it possible that we are sliding into the end-time events that
I have read about and heard about in my childhood and in my family and
my reading of the Book of Revelation and other places in the
Scripture?" Dr. James Dobson, one of the country's best-known Christian
teachers, asked on a radio program on Y2K that his influential
Focus on the Family ministry organization produced. Dobson's panel of experts,
including perhaps the two leading Christian authors on the Bug, stopped
short of saying yes, but they also did not push the question off the
table.
(...)

And though local pastors and theologians have dismissed a swelling
number of the alarmist Christian books, newsletters and Internet Web
sites as representing the fringe of Christianity, some mainstream
groups have at least taken notice.

Larry Eskridge, associate director of the Institute for the Study of
American Evangelicals in Wheaton, said the Y2K problem has "opened the
floodgates" on prophecy. Eskridge said that even most trusted Christian
sources have picked up on the issue to urge at least a bit of planning,
because the Bible suggests in books such as Proverbs that a wise man is
a prudent one.
[...more...]
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31. "The Christian Solution to Y2K"
Excite/Business Wire, Feb. 22, 1999
http://nt.excite.com/news/bw/990222/az-joseph-project-2000Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
America's wildly differing attitudes toward Y2K are at last starting to
come together into a coherent viewpoint that makes sense, and
evangelical Christians seem to have the most complete grasp of it.
This perspective on Y2K will be discussed publicly for perhaps the
first time in the Phoenix area at a "Christian Leaders' Briefing." The
meeting will be hosted by the Phoenix Metropolitan Chapter of The
Joseph Project 2000 on March 2, 7:00 to 9:00 pm, at Phoenix Christian
High School, 1751 W. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ.

Featured speakers are Bob Fraley, director of The Phoenix Metropolitan
Chapter of The Joseph Project 2000, Gary Niki, of the American Red
Cross, Jim Rutz, founder of Open Church Ministries, David Bradshaw,
with The Y2K National Educational Taskforce, and members of the Phoenix
Metropolitan Chapter.
(...)

JP2000 has been endorsed by Campus Crusade for Christ, Focus on the
Family, Promise Keepers, Larry Burkett, Henry Blackaby, Pat Robertson
and other major ministries.
[...more...]
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=== Opinion

32. Observers are baffled about Clinton's professed commitment to his
faith
Journal Now, Feb. 20, 1999
http://www.journalnow.com/news/local/features/religion/bill20.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
(...) Six years into his presidency, Clinton is an enigma to many
observers sifting through contradictory clues as to how meaningful
faith is to his public and private lives.

Richard Pierard, a historian at Indiana State University who has
written critically on the manipulation of religion and politics in the
Reagan presidency, said that Clinton has shown ''almost a split
personality'' when it comes to walking the walk of his very public
faith.
[...more...]
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=== Books

33. James Van Praagh reaches to heaven
MSNBC, Feb. 17, 1999
http://www.msnbc.com/local/WNBC/309108.aspOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Spiritualist James Van Praagh this week published a new book about the
human soul in the spirit realm during life and death. His most recent
work, Reaching to Heaven: A Spiritual Journey Through Life and Death
(Dutton, New York, 1999), follows up his best-selling 1998 work,
Talking to Heaven, and takes his transcendental message one step
higher.
(...)

Van Praagh recognizes that many people are skeptical about what he
does. However, he adds that only those who truly are open to the
possibility of contacting the dead actually can do so. The success of
his books is proof of a widespread interest in his message.
[...more...]
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=== Left Field? Over There... To Your Right

34. Cat Psychic, Therapist Offer Their Services
Excite/Reuters, Feb. 26, 1999
http://nt.excite.com/news/r/990226/09/odd-catshowOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Skip the cats at the International Cat Show in New York City this
weekend. Pay a visit instead to the cat psychic, the cat
acupuncturist, the cat therapist and the cat aerobics instructor
offering their services at the 15th annual feline fete at Madison
Square Garden.
(...)

Psychic Lydia Hiby said she can help owners understand what is going on
with their pets, whether it is a medical problem or an emotional upset.

For $30, Hiby said she will communicate telepathically with a pet. All
she needs is the animal's name and a brief description.

"I try to step into them and become them for a minute," she explained,
adding that she developed her telepathy through her work as a
veterinary nurse.
[...more...]
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Compiled by Anton Hein
Apologetics Index
http://www.apologeticsindex.org/

About "Religion Items in the News:"
  • These items are provided to facilitate research. Unless otherwise indicated, no endorsements are intended.
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