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Religion Items In The News

August 16, 1999 (Vol. 3, Issue 104)

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


Religion Items in the News is always posted first to the AR-talk list.

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Religion Items in the News - August 16, 1999 (Vol. 3, Issue 104)

=== Main
1. ADL Backgrounder on Los Angeles Shooting Suspect
2. Hate groups embracing a theology
3. Some White Supremacists Say Bible Justifies Their Violence
4. "Christian Identity is for pantywaists"
5. LA suspect tied to radical Ariz. militias
6. What Is the Order?
7. Furrow a legacy of notorious ‘Order’
8. Furrow's people
9. These venomous groups turn up the terror
10. Hate-crime laws may be mostly symbolic
11. Is FBI watching extremists? Maybe not
12. Anti-Semitism Fans New Violence
13. No Legal Action Against Neo-Nazis
14. Neo-Nazis Plan Labor Day March
15. Klan rally dispute still alive in court after latest ruling
16. Man found guilty under law aimed at common-law lawsuits (Militias)
17. [Task force on cults]
18. Inside the Helidon religious cult
19. Time of prophecy at hand, Israeli tells churchgoers
20. AUM to pay 10 million for illegal squatting
21. Japan OKs New Wiretapping Bill
22. Report: China investigation huge meditation group (Xian Gong)
23. China accuses Falun Gong leader of plotting massive protest
24. Apocalypse When (Falun Gong, Others)
25. Falun Gong practices in HK amid China ban
26. Scholars Say Society Should Leave No Room For Cults (Falun Gong)

> Part 2
27. Freemasons now deny all cult allegations
28. Court upholds corrections employees' ' right to protest diversity
29. Keeping the faith (Various faiths)
30. Different paths: In the'90s, different faiths are soft-selling the
idea of one true religion (Catholics; Lutherans; Mormons, etc.)
31. Where Jesus and Buddha converge
32. Dalai Lama speaks to 40,000 plus
33. The Dalai Lama gets wired
34. Most Serene of Sects Creates Uproar in Buddhism (Dhammakaya)
35. Wiccans eye film for stereotyping
36. Healing body and spirit
37. Mind over maladies: Alternative healing taught
38. Jehovah group says it is envy (Jehovah's Witnesses)
39. Religious bigotry plagues Hatch (Mormonism)
40. Evolution decision creates talk of abolishing Kansas board of
41. ACLU May Sue Over Evolution Decision
42. Holland edges towards legal euthanasia
43. Dutch opposition up in arms over euthanasia bill

=== Noted
44. Death row exonerations inspire debate over death penalty
45. The toll in Texas (death Penalty)
46. Open letter ... concerning the imminent execution of Larry Robinson
in Texas (Death Penalty)
47. World leader in lethal injections sets deadly example (Death

=== Main

1. ADL Backgrounder on Los Angeles Shooting Suspect
U.S. Newswire, Aug. 11, 1999 (Press Release)
(...) Buford O'Neal Furrow, 37, the suspected gunman in the shootings
at a Jewish daycare center in Los Angeles, reportedly lived with Debbie
Mathews, the widow of Robert J. Mathews. Furrow allegedly met her at
the headquarters of Aryan Nations, a neo-Nazi and Identity group
based in Hayden Lake, Idaho. Robert Mathews, who died in 1984 in a
shoot-out and fire while trying to hold off federal agents who had
surrounded his hideout on Whidbey Island, Wash., had been head of
The Order, (also known as Bruders Schweigen or Silent Brotherhood),
the most violent and notorious domestic terrorist group of the
1980s. Robert Mathews had also been a recruiter for the National
Alliance, currently the largest and most active neo-Nazi organization
in the United States. Members of The Order were drawn from
the National Alliance, Aryan Nations, and various Klan splinter
groups. There are reports that Furrow attended an event at the Aryan
Nations compound in the early 1990s, and worked as a security guard
there. These groups -- The Order, the National Alliance, and Aryan
Nations -- have long been connected to violent incidents.

What follows is a brief backgrounder on The Order and Phineas

Forr additional information and to arrange interviews with ADL experts
contact the Media Relations Department at 212-885-7749. Visit our Web
site at www.adl.org

2. Hate groups embracing a theology
Boston Globe, Aug. 14, 1999
(...) The FBI, investigating Furrow's links to white supremacist groups
like the Aryan Nations in northern Idaho, had good reason to question
Barley. He is one of the leading lights in the Christian Identity
movement, a loose federation of fringe ministries preaching an
anti-Semitic, racist message that claims America is threatened by the
power of Jews, who are deemed agents, even descendants, of Satan, and
by minorities, deemed inferior to the white race.

Christian Identity's tenets are racist, insane, and incendiary,
according to scholars on contemporary Christianity, and its theology
increasingly is being embraced by right-wing paramilitary groups,
neo-Nazi skinheads, the Ku Klux Klan, and survivalists as a
justification for waging a holy war against groups they hate and fear.
Christian Identity's teachings are literally apocalyptic - followers
believe God's chosen people must destroy Satan's army at Armageddon -
and violence against Jews and minorities by people who have been tied
to the church is on the rise with the approach of the millennium.

Christian Identity, which is estimated to have from 35,000 to 50,000
followers nationwide, is what Mark Potok of the nonprofit Southern
Poverty Law Center calls ''the glue that binds the radical right
together,'' and it appears to be the common denominator in a series of
recent hate crimes.

3. Some White Supremacists Say Bible Justifies Their Violence
Salt Lake Tribune, Aug. 13, 1999
(...) "When it comes to hate groups that are religiously based, we'll
probably see violence from them," predicts Chip Berlet, senior analyst
for Political Research Associates, a Massachusetts think tank that
studies such groups.

Some of the most controversial supremacist writings come from Richard
Kelly Hoskins, author of Vigilantes of Christendom: The Story of the
Phineas Priesthood.

Phineas Priesthood, Richards says, is "the radical fundamentalist wing"
of the Christian Identity movement, whose tenets are shared by most of
America's hate groups.

In the 1990 book, Hoskins, who heads supremacist groups from his base
in Lynchburg, Va., urges followers to follow the example of the
biblical Phineas, whose story is told in Numbers 25. Phineas kills a
prince of Israel for marrying a woman from another tribe. After the
killing, God rewards Phineas with a "covenant of an everlasting
priesthood; because he was zealous for his God."

One doesn't join the priesthood as Hoskins and his followers define it.
A follower is "called" to it and becomes a Phineas priest by taking
action against those perceived to be enemies of God. They may be able
to wreak more havoc and are not as likely to be caught afterward if
they act alone or in small groups.

4. "Christian Identity is for pantywaists"
Salon, Aug. 12, 1999
Neo-Nazis are hoping attacks like Buford O. Furrow's push the nation
toward stricter gun control, say conservative students of right-wing
hate movements, because they believe such restrictions will touch off
anti-government warfare.

"They really believe 'The Turner Diaries' is the road map to their
success," says J.D. Cash, an Oklahoma reporter with long associations
among right-wing activists who broke stories about Timothy McVeigh's
links to white-supremacist groups like Christian Identity.

But the Christian Identity links to Furrow are less apparent than the
movement's links to Rudolph, right wing experts told Salon News. Furrow
is close to the neo-Nazi Aryan Nation in Washington state, while
Rudolph had no known neo-Nazi associations.

"We're talking about two different regions here, two different sets of
friends, two different sets of beliefs," said Mike Vanderbaugh, a
leader of the Alabama militia movement, in a telephone interview.
Vanderbaugh has made a hobby out of ridiculing Christian Identity
followers and excludes them from his organization. "Rudolph is more
Identity, this guy is more Nazi, is my read on it," he said.

"I think in some ways Christian Identity is designed for pantywaists
who are afraid to declare themselves true Nazis," Vanderbaugh jibed.
"These are the folks who have to tell their mommas or their wives,
"It's OK that we hate blacks and Jews, dear, because God and Jesus told
us it's OK. Whereas the Nazis don't worry about that kind of thing.
They're sort of beyond excuses.

"You know, when you've got Adolf Hitler as your standard-bearer, what
else have you got to be embarrassed about?" Vanderbaugh said.

5. LA suspect tied to radical Ariz. militias
The Arizona Republic, Aug. 12, 1999
(...) According to the Anti-Defamation League, Furrow had ties with the
Order, a defunct organization founded 25 years ago by Robert Mathews, a
neo-Nazi terrorist whose roots sprouted in Arizona.

Other radical Arizonans have migrated to the Pacific Northwest since
then, including Jack McLamb, a former Phoenix police officer who
founded Police Against the New World Order. McLamb, who wrote a popular
extremist tract called Vampire Killer 2000, has worked with former
presidential candidate James "Bo" Gritz to build a "constitutional
covenant community" in Idaho.

6. What Is the Order?
ABC News, Aug. 11, 1999
(...) They were, perhaps still are, the ideological children of the
neo-Nazi Aryan Nations Church of Northwest Idaho. But in the 1980s,
frustrated members who felt that the Idaho Nazis were all talk and no
action decided to create the Order. The Order, they vowed, would be

“This was undoubtedly the most organized group of terrorist-type people
to have ever operated in the United States,” says retired FBI agent
Wayne Mantis.

7. Furrow a legacy of notorious ‘Order’
MSNBC, Aug. 16, 1999
The Order, a 1980s white-supremacist gang, may be behind bars. But the
case of Buford O’Neal Furrow Jr., seemingly inspired by its calls for a
race war and the elimination of Jews, suggests that its bloody legacy
lives on in the world beyond prison walls, some 15 years after its
frightening rampage.

Among the material in the van was a 1985 book, War Cycles/Peace Cycles,
by a Virginia white supremacist named Richard Kelly Hoskins, that
predicts a major global economic downturn caused by increasing racial
strife. It advocates the assassination of political leaders who fail to
support a white nationalist agenda and suggests the existence of a
“Phineas Priesthood” to enforce it.

What was not fictional was the way the book became, like Pierce’s, a
blueprint for action. It has proved particularly potent in the setting
of the Identity movement, which advocates a strategy of “leaderless
resistance” — keeping the revolutionary acts contained to small,
independent action cells that are connected only by the shared
ideology, thus insulating the ideological leaders from prosecution or
arrest when followers act violently.

Further, as Hoskins’ writings suggest, prison has certainly not stopped
The Order’s members and their like-minded allies from continuing to
carry out their violent revolutionary agenda. One imprisoned member,
David Lane, continues to act as a guru for supremacists, operating a
publishing company, and its accompanying Web site, with the help of his
wife, who resides in St. Maries, Idaho.

* Includes links to additional material, as well as two Java windows:

- Origin of domestic terrorism in the U.S.
- What is Domestic Terroris?
- The Patriot Movement
- White Supremacy
- Leaderless Resistance
- Political crimes by alleged domestic radicals
A clickable map. Text:
Since the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City
on April 19, 1995, by domestic terrorists who supported the
“Patriot” movement, there has been a marked increase in criminal
activity by Patriot followers, or white supremacists: 39 cases
have been recorded in 25 states. To read details of each case,
click on the locations above.

8. Furrow's people
Salon, Aug. 12, 1999
On July 10, I interviewed five Nazis at the Church of Jesus Christ
Christian Aryan Nations in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The Nazis liked me. I
was polite; I was white; I listened to their jokes -- even the ones
about gas ovens.

Exactly a month to the day after I interviewed the Nazis, Buford O.
"Neal" Furrow shot five people, including three children, at a Jewish
Community Center in suburban Los Angeles. The connection with my
interview was about more than just the date: On the very same Nazi
compound I visited, Furrow was married to Debbie Mathews, the widow of
Robert Mathews, who founded the Nazi paramilitary organization the
Order in 1983. Early news reports identified Furrow as head of security
for the compound, but it turned out he was just a lowly volunteer.

Richard Butler, the founder and pastor of the Church of Jesus Christ
Aryan Nations, officiated at Furrow and Mathews' wedding, although he
claims not to remember. But Aryan Nations leaders frequently do not
remember much about their current or former members after they have
gone off and done something stupid with a weapon.

But I understood the Nazis' upset at finding that I wasn't a
sympathizer, though I appeared sympathetic; that I wasn't one of them.
Because if I hadn't known I was talking to Nazis, I might not have
known that they weren't just like us.

The other kind of hate mail I received after I wrote the article on the
Nazis did not come from the Nazis. It came from the Jewish Defense
League. They said that to portray monsters as human was a form of
exoneration. I say it's a form of defense -- know your enemy. The most
frightening thing about Nazis is not that they are monsters. It's that
many of them are not -- at least not visibly.

9. These venomous groups turn up the terror
Philadelphia Daily News, Aug. 12, 1999
Buford O. Furrow Jr., the man accused of opening fire in a Los Angeles
Jewish Community Center Tuesday, had connections to several hate
groups, The Order, Phineas Priesthood and the Aryan Nations. Here are
descriptions of those groups plus three other groups that are
considered the most dangerous by monitoring groups.

* Short descriptions of The Order, Phineas Priesthood, Aryan
Nations, National Alliance, The World Church of the Creator,
and Neo-Nazi skinheads.

10. Hate-crime laws may be mostly symbolic
Philadelphia Inquirer, Aug. 14, 1999
(...) But the thick litany of charges against Furrow indicates that
hate-crime laws are largely symbolic in the most serious cases of
racial, ethnic and religious violence. They can help as prosecutors
argue for stiffer sentences, and they are useful in sending a message,
but the penalties for them pale next to those for the more traditional
crimes that most violent suspects are charged with in the first place.

Added former San Francisco U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello:
"[Hate-crime legislation] may provide a short-term salve to the public,
but as a long-term solution it doesn't work."

There are plenty of hate-crime laws on the books. More than 40 states
have some form of a statute, and California's is among the broadest.
There likewise is a federal law, but it is so limited that Congress is
considering expanding its reach. As written, the federal statute can be
applied only if the victim is engaged in constitutionally protected
activities, such as attending school or voting.

11. Is FBI watching extremists? Maybe not
Pioneer Planet, Aug. 16, 1999
Three decades ago, federal authorities claimed wide-ranging and
often-abusive powers in the name of national security as FBI agents
trailed, harassed and threatened liberal demonstrators, black
militants, war protesters and many others whose ideas were deemed
dangerous. Today, the pendulum has swung so far away from the abuses
of the J. Edgar Hoover era that authorities are wary of proceeding
against an extremist group without a ``reasonable indication'' of
criminal activity.

But last week's shootings at the Jewish Community Center in Granada
Hills, Calif., to which white supremacist Buford Furrow reportedly
has confessed, have set off a vigorous debate over whether the federal
government has become too lax in seeking to contain extremists who spew
out hateful -- and potentially dangerous -- ideas.

Such talk is anathema to civil libertarians, who fear a return to
widespread political harassment by federal authorities of groups
engaged in legally protected activities.

But statements by federal law enforcement officials suggest such fears
are premature. Although the recent spate of high-profile hate crimes
has sparked demands for change, prospects are uncertain for a
significant shift in federal policies on the monitoring of extremist

Some activists believe the standoff near Waco, Texas, between federal
agents and religious separatists in 1993 that led to the deaths of more
than 80 Branch Davidians has made authorities gun-shy about moving
aggressively against fringe groups.

But Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League,
said that federal authorities have allowed hate groups to use the First
Amendment as a cover, moving in only after the damage is done.

12. Anti-Semitism Fans New Violence
Newspage, Aug. 16, 1999
(...) The reason for the stepped-up violence, experts suggest, is an
old one: Members of hate groups blame Jews for all that's wrong in
their lives. But there may be a new twist. This idea seems to be
gathering momentum and followers to act on it.

Chip Berlet, a senior analyst at Political Research Associates in
Somerville, Mass., says demonizing, scapegoating and conspiring have
been heightened by the approach of a new millennium. All this, he says,
flows from the centuries-old notion that ``Jews are the puppetmaster.''

13. No Legal Action Against Neo-Nazis
Washington Post, Aug. 11, 1999
Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) has decided not to pursue legal action
against the organizers of the aborted neo-Nazi march that was planned
for last Saturday, the city's top lawyer said yesterday.

Interim Corporation Counsel Robert Rigsby said a lawsuit against the
American Nationalist Party, also called the Knights of Freedom, would
not be practical. "The question became whether we wanted to expend
precious resources from the city" in recovering what few assets the
group might have, he said. He also said the group's members "have
harmful and hateful and offensive views that a lawsuit would do nothing
but bring to the fore."

14. Neo-Nazis Plan Labor Day March
Newspage, Aug. 16, 1999
A white-supremacist group that nurtured Buford O. Furrow Jr.'s
anti-Semitism before he attacked a Jewish community center plans to
march Sept. 4 in nearby Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, despite security

Among those who plan a counterdemonstration during the Sept. 4 march is
Irv Rubin of the Jewish Defense League. He and 200 others scuffled with
about 80 Aryan Nations members and supporters in a Coeur d'Alene park
on July 3, when a planned march was canceled.

15. Klan rally dispute still alive in court after latest ruling
Cleveland Plain Dealer, Aug. 14, 1999
Cleveland and the union that represents its patrol officers have one
week to devise a new security plan for a rally by the Ku Klux Klan
scheduled for Aug. 21. The change became necessary yesterday after
U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Gaughan threw out the original plan,
which called for the Klansmen to change into and out of their hoods and
robes in the Cuyahoga County Justice Center lobby. County government
officials blocked that option, forcing the opposing sides to come up
with an alternative plan.

16. Man found guilty under law aimed at common-law lawsuits
Cleveland Live, Aug. 11, 1999
In the first case using a state law aimed against the common-law
movement, a man charged with harassing Warren County officials with
false court notices was found guilty of 12 counts on Wednesday.

The 1996 law makes it a felony to issue false judgments and liens. It
is aimed at militia-style groups that reject federal, state and county
courts, and issue "orders" under its own judicial system.

During closing arguments Wednesday, Roten urged the jury to ignore Ohio
laws and follow the Bible to judge him.

17. [Task force on cults]
Baltimore Sun, Aug. 10, 1999 (Editorial)
Spurred by nervous parents, a legislative task force is examining
reports that cults are recruiting at college campuses across Maryland.
No hard data exists yet on how many Maryland students join religious
cults. The panel has commissioned a statewide survey of student
advisers and campus officials.

Denny Gulick, a University of Maryland, College Park, math professor
who has been helping students deal with cults for 14 years, estimates
about 50 to 100 of the campus' more than 30,000 students are cult

The General Assembly created the panel last year in response to parents
who said the International Church of Christ, an evangelical group, had
recruited their children at College Park.

Parents say young, impressionable people away from home for the first
time need to be protected from manipulative cults.

Members of Hare Krishna, the Unification Church and other religious
movements say students are adults who can make their own decisions.
Despite panel Chairman William T. Wood's assurances that the state has
no intent to regulate religion, they fear the task force will lead to
religious repression.

Steffie Rausch told members she joined the International Church of
Christ for several months in 1992 while a student at College Park.
In videotaped testimony, Ms. Rausch said her thoughts were soon filled
with the group's message that she was sinful and her family was evil.

After she left the group, she spent two years nursing suicidal thoughts
until she began sharing her experiences. But then she ran into another
problem: the school didn't share her concerns.

18. Inside the Helidon religious cult
Sunday Mail, Aug. 15, 1999
THE Magnificat Meal Movement fears an explosive birthday celebration
next month with their leader likening them to the Branch Davidian cult
in Waco, Texas. Movement leader Debra Geileskey said she identified
with the Branch Davidians, who died in a fire and shootout with
American authorities six years ago.

Mrs Geileskey also revealed beliefs in a global conspiracy ... that a
Jewish group controlled world power through an underground, unholy
alliance with Masonic Orders.

The Sunday Mail spent a day with Mrs Geileskey at the cult's
headquarters in Helidon, near Toowoomba, last week.

Security teams will be hired for the cult's holiest day of the year,
September 8, the birthday of the Virgin Mary to whom they are devoted.

The celebration coincides with a vision Mrs Geileskey had that someone
resembling her would be burnt at the stake by a priest at night on
September 9 in an unknown year. But she denies reports that a suicide
pact was planned for that day this year.

19. Time of prophecy at hand, Israeli tells churchgoers
Toledo Blade, Aug. 12, 1999
He says we are living in the end times. That the greatest event in the
history of Israel is modern-day Israel. "It is the fulfillment of the
prophets," said Gershon Saloman, an Israeli fundamentalist and leader
of the Temple Mount Faithful.

"This is the generation of the messiah; the rebuilding of the temple
should happen now," he said. To build this temple, the Temple Mount
Faithful advocates the removal of the Dome of the Rock and the
venerable al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam.

The Maranatha Bible Church adheres to the New Testament's Book of
Revelation, where the Second Coming of Christ and the final battle of
Armageddon are described in mystical language. It is a belief system
known as dispensationalism that holds that the signs of the Second
Coming of Christ are found in the Scripture and can be identified
through international events.

20. AUM to pay 10 million for illegal squatting
Mainichi Daily News, Aug. 14, 1999
The AUM Shinrikyo doomsday cult agreed Friday to pay 10 million yen in
damages for occupying a building unlawfully in Adachi-ku, Tokyo.
The cult agreed to pay damages to the bankruptcy receiver of the
building owner when the group moves out of the building, in which the
public relations department of the religious group is housed.

21. Japan OKs New Wiretapping Bill
Northern Light/AP, Aug. 12, 1999
(...) The wiretapping law is similar to those in other countries. But
many Japanese, remembering secret police brutality during World War II
and crackdowns on radical students and labor unions in the 1950s and
1960s, have long been reluctant to hand police greater powers.

The public, however, has been demanding more aggressive police action
against potentially subversive groups since a doomsday religious cult
attacked Tokyo subways with nerve gas in March 1995, killing 12 and
injuring thousands.

22. Report: China investigation huge meditation group
San Francisco Gate, Aug. 14, 1999
Three weeks after banning the Falun Gong sect, China is investigating
another meditation group with 30 million members in what might be an
expanded crackdown on religious activity, a human rights group said

Xiang Gong is similar to Falun Gong, with membership dominated by older
and retired people and doctrines based on meditation and exercise, the
Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democratic
Movement in China said.

China's Ministry of State Security has the group under ``intensive
surveillance,'' the Information Center said, citing members. It did not
give any details, but the center is usually well-informed about
dissident activity.

Xiang Gong has 1,200 ``instruction centers'' in China and followers in
more than 40 countries, the Information Center said. It said 50,000
people attended a 1993 event at Capital Stadium in Beijing.

23. China accuses Falun Gong leader of plotting massive protest
San Francisco Gate, Aug. 12, 1999
China's state media stepped up attacks on the founder of a banned
meditation group Thursday, accusing him of planning and directing a
large protest outside the Chinese leadership's Beijing headquarters.

In a possible sign that authorities may put other group leaders on
trial, state-run television also singled out several Falun Gong
organizers for their involvement in the silent, daylong protest by more
than 10,000 followers seeking legal recognition.

24. Apocalypse When
Newsweek, Aug. 9, 1999
In China's battle against mysticism, Falun Gong is just the tip of the
iceberg. What else worries Beijing? Witches, weepers and weather.

But today officially recognized religions—Buddhism, Taoism, Islam,
Protestantism and Catholicism—are enjoying a renaissance in China. So
are plenty of other forms of worship, ranging from the benign to the
bizarre. There are the hordes of believers claimed by Falun Gong
founder Li Hongzhi. There are also face readers, funeral shamans and
Christian cultists known as shouters and weepers who disrupt church
services. There are rural "witches" who beseech fox spirits to bestow
fertility. And pseudoscientists who find prophecies inside crumpled
papers. According to one estimate, quasi religions may have as many as
100 million followers, the same amount as the state-sanctioned faiths.
As Si Manan, a famous anti-superstition crusader, puts it, "Li Hongzhi
is just the tip of the iceberg."

25. Falun Gong practices in HK amid China ban
AOL/Reuters, Aug. 16, 1999
(...) Hong Kong, which reverted to Chinese rule in 1997, permits the
Falun Gong exercise and meditation movement to practice, despite its
being outlawed throughout mainland China. ``There is rule of law in
Hong Kong,'' said Tony Chan, a spokesman for Falun Gong in the
territory. ``We have no fears.''

Its Hong Kong members appear harmless, although the motives of its
leaders are difficult to grasp. Members deny that Falun Gong is a sect,
cult, religion, or even organization, but they believe they gain
supernatural powers through Falun Gong.

26. Scholars Say Society Should Leave No Room For Cults
Northern Light/Xinhua News Agency, Aug. 6, 1999
A sociologist at the China Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) has told
Xinhua that China needs to take a good look at the social causes of the
Falun Gong cult and to eliminate them and to promote science and
rational thought.

Jing Tiankui, a research fellow at CASS's Sociology Institute, said
that although Falun Gong cult is full of contradictions and lacking in
common sense, its numbers grew to about 2 million in just a few years.

In this shell game, people with education were deceived by inferior
people and people with a background in science were deceived by people
with no background, with good being tricked by evil and truth being
obscured by fatuousness, he said.

27. Freemasons now deny all cult allegations
The Nation (Nairobi), Aug. 6, 1999
The Freemasons yesterday took exception to the report and refuted
allegations that they practise the cult. A statement from the United
Grand Lodge of England, the East African District Lodge, issued by the
assistant grand master, Mr. Walter Ookok, said it was a worldwide
movement of repute whose members were supposed to comply with the laws
of the country they lived in.

"A worldwide organisation of more than seven million members,
Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual
values," he said.

He said there were no secrets attached to Freemasonry. Mr. Ookok said
its members were taught through ritual dramas which followed ancient
forms and used stonemason customs and tools as allegorical guides.

28. Court upholds corrections employees' ' right to protest diversity
Star Tribune, Aug. 11, 1999
State prison officials violated expression rights by reprimanding three
employees for reading their Bibles during a training session on
homosexuality, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery said Thomas Altman, Kristen Larson
and Kenneth Yackly had the right to express their opposition to
homosexuality with the silent protest. In her ruling released Tuesday,
Montgomery ordered the Department of Corrections to remove letters of
reprimand from their files.

29. Keeping the faith
San Francisco Examiner, Aug. 12, 1999
Hip to the fact that spiritual awareness is on the rise, The Examiner
invited young folks, from many walks of life, to discuss their faith.

* Includes a Nichiren Daishonin Buddhist, a registered "breath
therapist," a practicing Episcopalian, a Jewish school teacher
someone with a Baptist background.

30. Different paths: In the'90s, different faiths are soft-selling the
idea of one true religion
Sacramento Bee, Aug. 14, 1999
Bishop William Weigand, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of
Sacramento, was being interviewed earlier this year about the accord
between Roman Catholics and Lutherans that settled a bitter doctrinal
dispute going back close to 500 years.

Going a step further, Weigand said he would preach in a local Lutheran
church and his Lutheran counterpart would preach at a Catholic church.
"This shows how far we have come," Weigand said. "There was
considerable enmity; now there is mutual respect and cooperation on
many things."

But then the bishop was asked: "Does the Catholic Church no longer see
itself as the one true church, then?"

"No, we very much see ourselves as the one true church. ... It's not
like Christ founded more than one true church. ... It's clear from
history that the Lutherans broke off from the Catholic Church."

Consider the Protestant churches that are growing rapidly in the
Sacramento suburbs and around the country. These are generally churches
that take the Bible literally and embrace Jesus as their savior. Yet
they speak softly in public. They pride themselves on downplaying
religious dogma and symbolism. Their conservative, evangelic
denominational roots are rarely mentioned. Self-help classes come
before moral absolutes. Marketing strategies are geared to getting as
many 1000 people as possible through the doors. These churches don't
want to scare off the "unchurched" or those who had bad experiences
with religion.

But hard-core biblical beliefs still are present in the inner recesses
of these megachurches, said sociology professor Jim Mathisen at Wheaton
College, a nondenominational Protestant college in Wheaton, Ill., and
Billy Graham's alma mater. These churches are structured like
concentric circles with varying levels of religious commitment, he
said. When you get to the inner core, "the theology sounds like 1950s

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which views itself as
"the only true and living church," has almost an inverse relationship
between avoidance of public pronouncements and readiness to preach its
religious truths privately. The church, perhaps because of a long
history of discrimination against it, has been disinclined to draw much
public attention to itself. It's only in the last few years, as the
church has grown to become one of the 10 largest churches in the
country, that church officials have become more media conscious.

"Saying we're the true church doesn't endear us to people of other
faiths," said Robert Millet, dean of religious instruction at Brigham
Young University. "But fundamentally, we see ourselves as the only true
and living church. There was a falling away in the early (Christian)
church and a restoration was needed." That restoration, Mormons
believe, was initiated through God's revelations to Joseph Smith in
1820 and the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day

31. Where Jesus and Buddha converge
San Jose Mercury News, Aug. 14, 1999
When Father Thomas Hand first organized a conference on
Buddhist-Christian dialogue 14 years ago, the event attracted
``Christians who had this feeling that they were interested in
Buddhism,'' he said. This week, Hand is helping stage a fourth
conference in Burlingame and the interest level of participants is far
more finely tuned: ``There's a whole new level of people who say
they're Buddhist Christians.

``Buddhist is the adjective,'' said Hand, a Jesuit priest who has
practiced Buddhist meditation for decades. ``These people are
Christians; there's no getting around it. But they're also influenced
by Buddhism and don't know how to integrate their Christian roots. They
don't know what to do with 'em.''

Hand is trying to help them with their dilemma, drawing parallels
between ``Christ consciousness'' and the Buddhist notion of
enlightenment, and teaching that the Crucifixion is an excellent
illustration of Buddhism's First Noble Truth, which states that all
life is dissatisfaction or suffering. Speaking to 160 participants at
this week's six-day conference at the Mercy Center, a Catholic-run
retreat house and conference center, he said that Buddhism, without
ever mentioning a specific being, ``shows the way to God, the

This week's conference, titled ``Christ and Buddha: Weaving a Path for
the New Millennium,'' is bringing together scores of lay people, along
with Zen and Trappist monks, Protestant clerics and a Tibetan Buddhist
nun. There is a Roman Catholic nun who also directs a Buddhist sangha,
or community, in Baltimore.

And there is a former Carmelite monk, now ordained as a Zen monk and
living in the Tassajara Zen Monastery in the Carmel Valley. His name is
Nigel Edmonds and on the first full day of the sold-out conference,
which concludes Sunday, he told the audience that Buddhism ``can
provide us with important tools for the reclaiming of our Christian
teachings. We can reclaim Christ Jesus as our savior.''

32. Dalai Lama speaks to 40,000 plus
MSNBC, Aug. 15, 1999
The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, Sunday presented his
message of compassion, non-violence and altruism to more than 40,000
people sitting in near silence on a meadow in New York’s Central Park.
The main purpose of the Tibetan spiritual leader’s visit to the United
States, which started in New York Thursday, is to give Buddhist
teachings in New York and Bloomington, Indiana.

The sponsors of the trip — the Tibet Center and the Gere Foundation of
Hollywood actor Richard Gere, a practitioner and follower of Tibetan
Buddhism — estimated the crowd at 55,000. New York Police Department
spokeswoman Marilyn Mode said there were “more than 40,000” in

33. The Dalai Lama gets wired
Excite/ZDnet, Aug. 13, 1999
(...) Buddhism may be one of the most ancient religions, but its
leaders and followers have been at the forefront of using the Internet
to communicate among themselves and with potential donors to causes
such as the Tibetan independence movement. Many Buddhist practice
centers have active Web sites. Projects are in full swing to make
transcriptions of the most important Buddhist texts available on the

34. Most Serene of Sects Creates Uproar in Buddhism
New York Times, Aug. 13, 1999
The sheer psychic power of 30,000 people meditating together can make
miracles happen, say the monks here at the headquarters of Thailand's
biggest, richest and -- to the established priesthood -- most dangerous
new Buddhist sect.

The movement calls itself Dhammakaya (pronounced tah-mah-guy), and the
circular shape of its main temple is meant to represent the universe, a
fitting symbol: Its leaders intend it to become the central landmark of
world Buddhism, a sort of Vatican or Mecca for their faith, whether the

established hierarchy likes it or not.

Already the movement claims to have more than 100,000 followers who
gather in temples around Thailand and 10 foreign countries, including
the United States.

35. Wiccans eye film for stereotyping
Toledo Blade, Aug. 14, 1999
The buzz over The Blair Witch Project has covens of real witches
brewing about the popular new horror movie's portrayal of them and
their religion.

Lady Sidhe said some witches are concerned that the movie, in which a
witch is talked about, but never seen, is simply more negative
publicity for witches and their ancient, goddess-worshiping Earth

Witchcraft, she said, is a bona fide religion whose members have
presented papers at the Parliament of the World Religions and whose
churches enjoy tax-exempt status accorded other religious groups.

Peg Aloi, media coordinator for The Witches' Voice, a group that runs
regular reports on the media's portrayal of witches and witchcraft on
its web site, www.witchvox.com, said before the film was even out, she
was contacted by someone from a pagan group who wanted to mount a
protest campaign and demand that a disclaimer be attached to the movie.
"Absolutely no way," she said.

In an interview Ms. Aloi conducted with the film's directors for The
Witches' Voice, she said she believes Blair Witch deals nicely with the
archetype of the classic "witch in the woods" without necessarily
letting viewers see or hear it.

But she also said it plays on the fear accompanying the archetype and
she challenged the film's directors about their choice of a witch for
the legend, rather than a ghost or a vampire, for example.

36. Healing body and spirit
San Jose Mercury News, Aug. 14, 1999
ANN Ameling, a professor at Yale Nursing School, can recite a litany of
professional reasons for starting a spirituality and health program in
conjunction with Yale Divinity School.

The program is funded by grants from the Teagle Foundation, a private
New York-based organization that focuses on higher education, and the
John Templeton Foundation, a Radnor, Pa.-based group that has poured
money recently into spirituality and health programs.

The ``Spirituality and Health'' class introduces students to the
healing traditions in various religions and features rabbis, priests,
ministers and imams as speakers.

``One of the main richnesses of these classes is the attempt to be both
multifaith and multidisciplinary,'' said Lewis, an adjunct professor at
the divinity and nursing schools. ``We're looking at healing practices
from a whole variety of different lenses.''

37. Mind over maladies: Alternative healing taught
Miami Herald, Aug. 8, 1999
Marcy Roban wasn't having a crisis or searching to fill a personal void
the day a friend asked her to attend a class about channeling -- a
spiritual-based alternative state and a new age concept with roots in
Islam, Buddhism and other religions.

Shortly afterward, she began a serious study of spirituality,
psychology and alternative healing practices. Her goal was to have a
better understanding of the working relationship between physical,
mental and emotional components and the spirit. Eventually, she became
a full-time metaphysician and a minister of the Universal Brotherhood,
an interdenominational ministry.

Roban is leading a series of classes on metaphysical healing starting
today and running through September. One of Roban's areas of
enterprise is ``reiki'' a concept she explains like this: ``Reiki is
the knowledge that an unseen energy flows through all living things and
is connected directly to the quality of health and has been part of the
wisdom of many cultures since ancient times.''

Roban, 54, has appeared as a guest speaker on several televised
programs, including Univision WLTV Channel 23 and Telemundo WSCV
Channel 51, speaking on topics such as regression therapy, numerology
and earth changes. She was also on the BBC and other radio shows and
has given lectures at bookstores, Florida International University and
the University of Miami. She has speaking engagements both in Spanish
and English booked through 2000.

The appeal to holistic healing is gaining popularity in South Florida
as more people grow dissatisfied with the results of traditional
Western-based practices, she said.

38. Jehovah group says it is envy
Northern Light/Africa News Service, Aug. 6, 1999
The Jehovah's Witnesses have accused mainstream churches of implicating
them in devil worship. The group's Lang'ata overseers, Mr. Patrick
Kasuku and Mr. Christopher Kanaiya, said the big churches were alarmed
that many members of their flock were leaving to join the sect.

They claimed the sect was being punished for exposing anti-Bible
teachings in the mainstream churches. The two, who showed journalists
round the sect's buildings, said Jehovah's Witnesses were against blood
transfusions and wondered how they could be involved in sacrificing

39. Religious bigotry plagues Hatch
Deseret News, Aug. 13, 1999
(...) But there is one thing Hatch just cannot get used to: religious
bigotry. "Bigotry has raised its ugly head here in Iowa," Hatch said.
"I thought bigotry and religious intolerance had gone out when John F.
Kennedy was elected the first Catholic president. But it hasn't. Not by
any means."

Hatch is clearly using his connections to the LDS Church, and members
of The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints in Iowa, as a base to
recruit voters to Saturday's GOP presidential straw poll, held in Ames.
And that apparently is troubling some people.

Hatch, an active member of the LDS Church, said he's also heard the
claims that LDS Church members aren't Christians — a "misinformation"
campaign Hatch believes is intended to stir old prejudices in this
staunchly religious state where farming and church are fundamentally
interwoven in the heartland culture.

"I don't want any bigotry or intolerance against any religion," Hatch
said, "and I am not going to take any crap from anybody about my

"I can't do anything about bigots and bigotry, but I can do a lot about
people who are misinformed about my religion and say I am not
Christian," he said. "I take my Christian faith very seriously, and in
the end, I believe my personal beliefs will be my biggest advantage."

* Mormonism is a cult of Christianity. As followers of a "Jesus
Christ" of their own making, they are not Christians (followers
of Jesus Christ as presented in the Bible).

See: Cult - a theological definition provided from an orthodox,
evangelical Christian point of view:


40. Evolution decision creates talk of abolishing Kansas board of
CNN, Aug. 13, 1999
Gov. Bill Graves and some legislators are talking about abolishing the
State Board of Education or stripping it of authority because of its
vote to de-emphasize the teaching of evolution.

41. ACLU May Sue Over Evolution Decision
Yahoo/AP, Aug. 14, 1999
The American Civil Liberties Union says school districts could face
lawsuits if they attempt to teach creationism in wake of the state
school board's recent decision to de-emphasize the teaching of
evolution. The ACLU, in a letter Friday to school superintendents,
warned the districts about adopting ``religiously-based standards'' in
teaching science.

The ACLU also noted U.S. Supreme Court decisions that forbid the
teaching of creationism, the belief that a higher power created the
universe, because of its religious foundation.

People for the American Way and Americans United for the Separation of
Church and States also said they would consider lawsuits if
religion-based standards were implemented.

42. Holland edges towards legal euthanasia
BBC News, Aug. 11, 1999
The Dutch Government has moved a step closer towards legalising
euthanasia and assisted suicide, including children over the age of 12.

It has presented a draft law, which if approved by parliament as
expected next year, will make the Netherlands the first country to
decriminalise mercy killings. Under the law, euthanasia will only be
legal if the patient has made a voluntary and informed request, is in
unbearable pain and has exhausted all medical options.

The law would also apply to incurably ill young children, so long as
their parents agree. In exceptional circumstances, a doctor could
perform euthanasia even without parental consent.

43. Dutch opposition up in arms over euthanasia bill
FOX News, Aug. 11, 1999
Dutch opposition parties on Wednesday condemned government plans to
legalise mercy killing and extend the right to die to children as young
as 12 as a gross breach of medical ethics.

"This violates the Hippocratic oath,'' said Andre Rouvoet, member of
the orthodox calvinist RPF party.

Christian Democrats, ousted from power in 1994 for the first time since
World War Two, have also said they will oppose the bill, which was sent
to parliament on Monday.

Bert Dorenbos, leader of Dutch pro-life group Cry for Life called the
bill "gruesome.'' "You'll never know if doctors are coming to cure you
or kill you,'' he said.

De Volkskrant said on Wednesday the law would make it easier to monitor
assisted suicide. Some three percent — or 3,600 cases — of deaths in
the Netherlands were reported as euthanasia in 1995, the latest
available figure. But the real figure is thought to be twice that.

The Voluntary Euthanasia Association says 92 percent of the Dutch
population support mercy killing.

=== Noted

44. Death row exonerations inspire debate over death penalty
CNN, Aug. 15, 1999
Wrongful convictions are shifting the national debate over the death
penalty. The argument has changed from a focus on morality to the
question of how often the innocent are condemned.

In the last dozen years in Illinois, 12 men have been executed, but 12
others once condemned to die have been exonerated -- three this year.
Some were cleared with new trials. Some had their convictions
overturned in appeals. Some used DNA tests to prove their innocence.

The statistic mirrors a national trend. Since 1973, 81 men and one
woman sentenced to death have been freed, nearly half of them since
1990, according to Richard Dieter, director of the Death Penalty
Information Center in Washington. He believes more investigations by
lawyers and journalists and increased use of DNA testing are partly

Even so, he says, the 12 could easily have gone to the death chamber.
Their salvation depended on coincidence, good timing and good fortune.

But in 70 percent of the cases in which inmates asked for help, Scheck
says, evidence that would help determine innocence is claimed to be
lost or destroyed, though sometimes it turns up later.

Even when there is evidence, the wrongly convicted need something else:
a champion. That's been true in all the Illinois cases.

"These people are alive ... for the most part because they've been
lucky enough to find somebody in their family or somebody in their
community who's willing to fight for them," Marshall says.

45. The toll in Texas
US News & World Report, Aug. 16, 1999
As executions near a national record, inmates' legal representation is

It seems like rush hour on death row in the Lone Star State. At a time
when some states are rethinking the death penalty–after a number of
acquittals based on DNA and other belated evidence–Texas has
bumper-to-bumper traffic. By this fall, the state will have killed a
record 28 people, bringing the total number of executions to more than
200 since the death penalty was reintroduced in Texas in 1982. Texas
now leads the nation in executions, and Harris County, which includes
Houston, is No. 3 after Texas and Virginia, even though it's not even a

46. Open letter from Amnesty Internation to President Clinton, First
Lady Hillary Clinton ,Vice-President Gore and Mrs. Tipper concerning the
imminent execution of Larry Robinson in Texas
Amnesty International, Aug. 12, 1999 (Press Release)
(...) Larry Keith Robison is scheduled to be put to death by lethal
injection in Texas on 17 August 1999, 17 years after he killed five
people in Fort Worth. He has always maintained that the appalling
events of 10 August 1982 were the result of his chronic visual and
auditory hallucinations brought about by his schizophrenia. Although he
had been diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia three years
before the murders, the Texas mental health care services repeatedly
said that they did not have the resources to treat him unless he turned
violent. When he did turn violent, the state's response was to condemn
him to death.

Larry Robison was denied the "right" help when he and his family begged
for it. After he was first diagnosed as suffering from paranoid
schizophrenia at the age of 21, the necessary long-term treatment was
not forthcoming, because he was not covered by medical insurance. His
mother, Lois Robison, was repeatedly told that there were not enough
resources to treat her son unless he turned violent. At one time, his
family even left him in jail for six months because they considered
that he would be safer there than on the streets.

Mr President, you pointed out to the Conference that "people with
mental illnesses have always had to struggle to be treated fairly and
to get the treatment they need -- and they still do." However, you
added an optimistic note when you said that "we have made a lot of
progress by appealing to the better angels of our nature." You also
spoke about how you were continuing to ask yourself what more could be
done "to deal with the unbelievable tragedies that were plainly
avoidable..." Lois Robison believes that five people would be alive
today and her son would not be now facing execution if her repeated
pleas for help had been heeded.

47. World leader in lethal injections sets deadly example
Amnesty International, Aug. 12, 1999 (Press Release)
(...) The scheduled killings of eight people in the USA and Philippines
during the next seven days are linked by a deadly connection extending
beyond the calculated cruelty of executions and their affront to human
dignity, Amnesty International said today.

The fingerprints of the USA -- world leader in killing prisoners by
lethal injection -- mark the executions carried out in the Philippines,
Amnesty International said. We are witnessing the deadly fruits of an
international working relationship between an old hand and a newcomer.

There have also been unconfirmed reports indicating that the
Philippines authorities may have imported lethal injection equipment
from the USA. But even if they did not import the technology, they have
certainly imported the technique.

The USAs increasing resort to judicial killings -- against the global
trend and often in violation of international standards -- is setting
an appalling example for the rest of the world, Amnesty International

To in any way assist another country in learning how best to execute
prisoners renders null and void repeated US claims to be the worlds
leading force for human rights.

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