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Religion Items In The News

September 15, 1999 (Vol. 3, Issue 113)

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.

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

As most of these items stay online for only a day or two, URLs to the original stories are provided here as inactive links. If you can not find a story online, Read this).

Religion Items in the News - September 15, 1999 (Vol. 3, Issue 113)

=== Miscellaneous
1. Cultists Killed Amid Doomsday No-Show
2. 50 Nigerian Cultists Killed by Retaliating
3. Dozens feared killed in Niger Delta, says paper
4. Group holds memorial for cult victims (Aum Shinrikyo)
5. Japanese Cities Try Buying Out a Cult (Aum Shinrikyo)
6. U.S. Studies Religious Persecution
7. Myanmar Denies Religious Restriction
8. Indian PM Says U.S. Religion Survey Unacceptable
9. No plans to engage U.S. on religious freedom
10. Vietnam's Party Daily Slams U.S. Report on Religion
10. Schools Sued for Holiday Closings
11. Klansmen, protesters gather to shout it out
13. Father Of Columbine Victim Says Hatred Abounds
14. Minister's lawyer likens spankings to 'religious' event
15. Dad defends spanking to SJC
16. 150,000 Sectarians in Austria (Cult information conference)
17. Help eradicate belief in witchcraft - MP
18. Pastor says Pagans need new symbol

=== Scientology
[Story no longer online? Read this]
19. Scientologist Demands Apology (France)
20. Battles continue in Scientology suit (Lisa McPherson)
Also: Jesse Prince's declaration in McPherson case
21. Journalists sue the CoS (Denmark)
22. Bill to limit the Swedish offentlighetsprincip (Sweden)
23. Scientology loses bid to change Swedish law (Sweden)
24. Warning of new Scientology activities (Germany)
25. WWW ... (Internet)
26. Revenue Canade denies CoS petition (Canada)

=== Waco
[Story no longer online? Read this]
27. Justice removes Texas prosecutors from Waco case
28. GOP plans wider investigation into Waco
29. Text of Johnston's letter to Janet Reno
30. Congress Told Of Waco Military Gas Rounds In 1995
31. Hill Got Incomplete Report on Waco Gas
32. Coroner wants to reevaluate Waco shooting deaths
32. Up-to-date Waco-related News (Instant news searches)

=== Internet
34. Professor's Site Fills in the Blanks on New Religious Movements (Hadden)

=== The Church Around The Corner
35. Mayoral Candidate Ken Larsen, Founder of Church, Says `Drug War Is a War
of Religious Persecution'

=== Miscellaneous

1. Cultists Killed Amid Doomsday No-Show
Excite/Reuters, Sep. 13, 1999
Three Indonesian cult members were beaten to death by fellow cultists when
the 9/9/99 doomsday prediction failed to materialize, the Jakarta Post said

Like many cults across the country, members were told to prepare for the end
of the world at 9 a.m. on September 9. They sold their personal possessions
and for nine days before the big day, locked themselves up in their homes.
When nothing happened, the cult members lost control, the newspaper said.

2. 50 Nigerian Cultists Killed by Retaliating
Northern Light/Xinhua, Sep. 13, 1999
About 50 young Egbesu cult members were feared executed by angry soldiers on
their route to prison in Nigeria's eastern Bayelsa State.

The cult members were killed near a creek on the border of Bayelsa and Rivers
state by soldiers intercepting them in retaliation for the death of four of
their colleagues ambushed by the young cult members called "Egbesu boys" last
Thursday, reported the Daily Times, a Nigerian government owned newspaper

3. Dozens feared killed in Niger Delta, says paper
CNN, Sep. 13, 1999
At least 50 youths were feared killed by Nigerian security forces in the
oil-producing Niger Delta, the state-owned Daily Times said on Monday.

The newspaper said youths from the ethnic Ijaw Egbesu cult were shot dead in
a creek while being taken to prison from the Bayelsa State capital Yenagoa
following riots there last week in which four soldiers were reported to have
been killed.

Hundreds of people have died over the past two years in the Niger Delta,
during clashes linked to demands by impoverished villagers for a greater
share of the region's oil wealth which accounts for most of Nigeria's export

4. Group holds memorial for cult victims
Daily Yomiurim, Sep. 13, 1999
A group of lawyers on Sunday held a memorial service for lawyer Tsutsumi
Sakamoto, his wife and their son, who were murdered by members of the Aum
Supreme Truth religious cult in 1989, in front of a monument to commemorate
the son that stands in Omachi, Nagano Prefecture, where the body was found in

5. Japanese Cities Try Buying Out a Cult
New York Times, Spe. 12, 1999
Underscoring the fear that the Aum Shinrikyo religious sect invokes in Japan,
a growing number of cities across the country are driving out its followers
by using public money to buy up property owned by the doomsday cult.

A recent survey conducted by Kyodo, Japan's leading news service, found that
four municipalities spent a total of about $1.4 million in recent months to
buy property and facilities linked to the group.

On Tuesday, without offering specifics, Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi told
prefecture governors that his administration plans to push legislation that
would restrict the group's activities.

Already many cities will not allow the group's members to register as
residents, in effect denying them access to social services. Some businesses
will not sell goods to the group's followers.

But it is unclear whether these efforts have been effective, and some say
that the money used to buy property has served only to fuel the group's
activities. Some people with close ties to the group suggest that it is
simply taking advantage of the opportunity to sell marginal real estate at
elevated prices.

After the subway attack, the government stripped the group of its status as a
religious organization, and last year its assets were liquidated by the
courts. It then reorganized without official religious status. While
law-enforcement officials said the group has about 5,000 members, its
officials put the number at 1,500.

Victims who had sued the cult were awarded nearly $8 million for crimes
attributed to the group. The police have said that the group earns about $65
million a year through the sales of computers.

6. U.S. Studies Religious Persecution
Washington Post, Sep. 9, 1999
A State Department report Thursday pointed to evidence of widespread
religious persecution in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, all under varying
degrees of authoritarian rule, and to discrimination in some democratic
countries as well, including Israel and India.

The report, covering 194 countries and territories, is the first of what will
become an annual assessment of the state of religious freedom around the
world. The most serious violators could eventually face economic sanctions.

7. Myanmar Denies Religious Restriction
Washington Post/AP, Sep. 11, 1999
The government of Myanmar on Saturday dismissed as unfounded charges by the
U.S. State Department that it uses force to propagate Buddhism, the dominant
religion, and denies human rights and political freedom to some Buddhist

The Myanmar government statement charged that ``without substantial evidence,
it is improper to accuse other nations or governments just based on hearsay.
There is an American idiom which is quite appropriate for this case: `People
living in glass houses should not throw stones,''' it said.

8. Indian PM Says U.S. Religion Survey Unacceptable
Yahoo/Reuters, Sep. 13, 1999
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee Sunday condemned as unacceptable a
State Department report which linked his Bharatiya Janata Party to violence
against religious minorities.

9. No plans to engage U.S. on religious freedom
The Hindu, Sep. 11, 1999
Rejecting any intrusive examination of its internal affairs, India today said
it has no intention to engage the U.S. on matters of religious freedom in the
country. The Government was responding to media reports from Washington that
Mr. Robert Sieple, U.S. Ambassador-at-large on international religious
freedom, wants to visit New Delhi to discuss religious rights in India.

The Ministry of External Affairs in a statement here said the Government has
``no plans or intention'' to invite Mr. Sieple to India or ``engage in
discussion with any foreign government or agency on these matters''.
``The Government and people of India reject any intrusive exercise into how
we conduct our affairs'', the Ministry said.

The Government asserted that the Indian Constitution ``guarantees'' absolute
religious freedom, which is ``protected'' by the judiciary and ``effectively
enforced'' by executive authorities.

The Act also calls for economic sanctions against extreme offenders of
religious freedom, but the Clinton Administration has not made any decisions.
Both the Administration and the U.S. corporations had lobbied hard against
devising a new set of economic sanctions tied to the question of religious
freedom. Their pressure had helped tone down the legislation and create some
discretion for the executive in deciding upon punitive actions.

10.Vietnam's Party Daily Slams U.S. Report on Religion
Northern Light/Xinhua, Sep. 13, 1999
The Vietnamese Communist Party's daily Nhan Dan (The People) Monday carried a
commentary on the U.S. report on world religious situation, saying that no
one should use religion to interfere in other country's internal affairs.

Nhan Dan noted that Vietnamese religious believers have always been free to
practice their beliefs. This has always been the stance of the party and
state of Vietnam. The state of Vietnam respects the freedom of religion as
well as the freedom of non-religion of the citizens, the paper affirmed.

"Any attempt to use religion to cause public disorder and social instability,
undermine the national independence and national unity of the Socialist
Republic of Vietnam, will be punished in accordance with the law," Nhan Dan
said, adding that this is the responsibility of each state towards its own
people and there is no room for outside interference.

The Vietnamese daily stressed that "no one has the right to preach down or
preach up to the world about human rights and religious freedom. This is an
unacceptable action running counter to the basic principles of international

11.Schools Sued for Holiday Closings
Washington Post, Sep, 9, 1999
A suburban school district's practice of closing for the Jewish High Holy
Days is being challenged in federal court as a violation of the
constitutional separation of religion and state.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court
against Sycamore School District on Aug. 25, the first day of school in the
district that serves the towns of Montgomery and Blue Ash.

``The true motivation for the board's calendar decision to close on the
Jewish high holidays, but not the holy days of other faiths, was the
defendants' desire to favor Judaism over other religious faiths,'' the
lawsuit says.

12.Klansmen, protesters gather to shout it out
Columbus Dispatch, Sep. 12, 1999
(...) Other than slurs thrown from both directions -- and a few incidents in
which Columbus police used chemical spray on anti-racism protesters who were
shaking a security fence -- the rally occurred without any reported violence
or arrests.

About 30 Klan members, attired in robes and hoods, stood behind lines of
police officers and rows of chain-link fences and shouted at their opponents.
Five Klan supporters showed up at the rally. Opponents numbered about 350.

"Welcome to Columbus, where hate is still alive,'' a Klansman shouted at the
crowd. "Racism is pride in your own race.''

"I can't believe these guys stand up there and say they're Christians,'' said
Carter, a Capital University freshman. "They're making Christianity look

13.Father Of Columbine Victim Says Hatred Abounds
Excite/Reuters, Sep. 11, 1999
The father of the only black victim of the massacre at Columbine High School
in which 15 people died said Saturday the Littleton, Colorado, school was
still "saturated" by hateful students. Michael Shoels, whose family is suing
the parents of the two teen-age killers in the April murder spree and the two
men charged with supplying a semi-automatic gun used in the attack, said
Littleton and Colorado are in denial over the continued hatred at Columbine.

"There is still those children in that school," he said at the offices of his
attorney Geoffrey Fieger in Southfield, outside Detroit. "They saturated that
school and what they were doing is telling the rest of those kids that knew
who they were that you all better be quiet because we're showing you we're
still here."

Fieger, noted for defending assisted-suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian, said
the lawsuit would be expanded to include others, though he declined to name
the other parties.

14.Minister's lawyer likens spankings to 'religious' event
Boston Globe, Sep. 14, 1999
The whippings that Donald R. Cobble Jr. occasionally administers his young
son are, his lawyer argues, ''essentially a religious ceremony.''

Before and after spanking 12-year-old Judah with a leather belt - always on
the buttocks, and always when the boy is fully clothed - Cobble says he does
two things: He hugs his son, and he tells him that he loves him. Often, the
Woburn minister also reads from the Bible as he delivers the spankings, so
Judah understands ''the religious nature and spirituality of the

To Cobble, the ritual is constitutionally protected, effective parenting.
To the state Department of Social Services, it verges on child abuse.

Whether Cobble's method of discipline is protected by his constitutional
right to freedom of religion will be decided by the state Supreme Judicial
Court, which yesterday heard arguments by lawyers for both sides.

To supporters of corporal punishment, the Cobble case represents government
intrusion into a parent's God-given right to raise his son the way he sees

But many corporal punishment opponents think that some parents ''lean on''
outdated Scripture to justify what amounts to child abuse.

For example, noted Nadine Block, director of the Center for Effective
Discipline in Columbus, Ohio, which advocates alternatives to corporal
punishment, Deuteronomy teaches that a son who disrespects his father should
be stoned.

''Do reasonable people really believe we should be stoning children?'' she
said. ''We try to be respectful to people's beliefs, and yet we feel that our
greatest priority is to protect children.''

15.Dad defends spanking to SJC
Boston Herald, Sep. 14, 1999
(...) Chester Darling, attorney for the Rev. Donald Cobble, also told the
Supreme Judicial Court that the minister and his wife mete out punishment in
accordance with their religious beliefs.

Cobble is challenging a DSS and Suffolk Superior Court ruling that he abused
his son, Judah, in 1997 after the boy told a teacher he was afraid to bring a
bad report home for fear of being spanked. When the teacher inquired further,
Judah said his father spanked him regularly for discipline.

Following the arguments, Darling scoffed at the notion that the state can
define when spanking becomes abuse. ``They're saying you can go swimming but
you can't get wet,'' he said. ``Who the hell are they to say you can or can't
spank? In Florida, they passed a law saying it's okay for parents to spank
their children. Well, thank you very much but no thanks. Keep out of family
affairs. This is about social workers with their own private agendas.''

Cobble said his son is now in a private Christian school and he has given
teachers permission to administer corporal punishment.

16. 150,000 Sectarians in Austria
Der Standard (Austria), Sep. 14, 1999
Translation: German Scientology News
"Not just the turn of the millennium, but also the aggressive proceedings by
individual groups makes it necessary to get more extensively involved with
sects" - of that is Martin Bartenstein certain. For that reason, the Families
Minister, in conjunction with the Federal Center for Sect Issues, arranged
the international technical conference "Sects - from prevention to
intervention." Experts were already meeting on Monday in Vienna. Today,
Tuesday, the arrangements were finalized.

When people's personal freedom was abridged under the cover of religious
freedom, according to Bartenstein, serious psychic and existential damage
could result. On top of that there are groups who exert influence on politics
and democracy and intend to establish a new system. These endeavors must have
clear restrictions place on them by the legal state: "Our democracy may not
be infiltrated by totalitarian ideology which is characterized by contempt
for humanity."

There has also been much interest expressed in a 1996 brochure "Sects -
Knowledge Protects," published by the Youth Ministry. Over 350,000 copies
have been printed. An expanded and revised new version of the brochure has
been available since Monday. It is free and can be ordered from Youth Info
weekdays between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. In the next few days the contents of the
brochure will also be copied to the homepages of the Ministry
(http://www.bmu.gv.at), where it can be downloaded and printed. Further
information is available from the Federal Center for Sect Issues.

17 Help eradicate belief in witchcraft - MP
Ghanaian Chronicle, Sep. 10, 1999
The Member Of Parliament for Asante Akim North has urged the Men's Fellowship
of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana to help eradicate the belief in
witchcraft according to which old persons are deemed as either witches or

18 Pastor says Pagans need new symbol
Roswell Daily Record, Sep. 12, 1999
Members of the Christian faith protesting the Roswell School Board’s recent
attempt to change its policy regarding the display of pentagrams by students
in school say their intent has never been to infringe upon the First
Amendment rights of the Pagan faith. In reality, said Church On The Move
pastor Steve Smothermon, the goal is to protect students in Roswell schools
from harm.

Smothermon suggested Kathryn King, the most vocal spokeswoman for the Pagan
community in Roswell, should change her sacred symbol if it continues to
cause problems.

“How can one person change what a symbol means?” Smothermon asked. “You can’t
take one symbol and say it doesn’t mean what you think it means, because we
don’t believe that.

Mary Reeves, a member of Church On The Move and supporter of Smothermon, said
the pentagram has been seen as a satanic symbol for many centuries.

*From the "Witches Voice," the most prominent Wicca site on the web:

Frequently Asked Questions about Witchcraft, Wicca and Paganism

Q: So why do you use that "Satanic" symbol?
A: The pentagram, or five pointed star, is not Satanic. Pythagoras used it
as a symbol of health and his followers wore them in order to recognize
one another. In Medieval times, some Christian knights used the pentagram
as their symbol. To modern Wiccans the pentagram means many things; The
five points correspond to the elements Air, Earth, Fire and Water with the
top point corresponding to "Spirit". The pentagram in a circle may also
represent a human with their legs and arms outstretched, surrounded by
universal wisdom or the "Goddess" - humankind at one with the environment.
Many Witches and other pagan practitioners do not wear the pentacle at
all, but have other symbols of special meaning to them.

Satanists turn the symbol upside-down, which puts the elements of Fire and
Earth at the top (Fire symbolizes willpower and passion and Earth,
prosperity and earthly goods) and Spirit, spirituality, at the bottom.
Satanists also turn the cross upside-down. This, in itself, does not make
the cross or pentagram a Satanic symbol. In some Wiccan traditions, the
reversed pentagram is a symbol of "second degree" status - one who has
been elevated from "initiate". To members of these traditions, the
reversed pentagram is considered highly positive and has no connection to
Satanism. A symbol is simply an image or mark in itself. It is the mind
and the beliefs of the beholder which attribute to it a particular

=== Scientology

19. Scientologist Demands Apology
Internet Herald Tribune, Sep. 11, 1999
The Church of Scientology has demanded a formal apology from the justice
minister of France for her ''unconscionable speculation'' about the
disappearance of evidence in an upcoming court case.

The president of the church, Heber Jentzsch, accused Justice Minister
Elisabeth Guigou in a statement of ''doing the bidding of an anti-religious
hate group'' when she asked whether the affair involved a mistake or
sabotage. Mr. Jentzsch was referring to an anti-sect group that is critical
of Scientology.
[...entire item...]

*Correcting Mr. Jentzsch misinformation:

What CoS refers to as a "hate group" actually is France's most prominent
anticult organization - the National Union of Associations in Defense of
Families and Individuals (UNADFI). Founded in 1974, it is a cooperation
of about 20 anticult agencies. It is not a "hate group," nor

For contact info, see:


20. Battles continue in Scientology suit
St. Petersburg Times, Sep. 14, 1999
More than two years have passed since the family of Lisa McPherson filed a
wrongful death lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, but both sides are
still launching new and increasingly vigorous legal attacks.

The ongoing tempest continued Monday when lawyers for the church said they
have uncovered evidence that an aunt of McPherson's was fraudulently named to
represent McPherson's estate. The estate and the aunt, Dell Liebreich of
Texas, are the only plaintiffs in the case. If the allegation were proved,
the church would ask Hillsborough Circuit Judge James S. Moody Jr. to remove
both plaintiffs and dismiss the case.

Also Monday, the Tampa lawyer who represents McPherson's family sought to
expand the lawsuit for the fifth time, this time asking that the church's top
ecclesiastical leader, David Miscavige, be added as a defendant.
Ken Dandar asserted in a motion that Miscavige, based in Los Angeles, had
final authority over McPherson's care in Clearwater and thus contributed to
her death. Dandar says the motion is supported by an affidavit from Jesse
Prince, once a top Scientology official and now a critic of the church.

Moody declined to exclude Prince from the case. But he placed all documents
regarding Prince's affidavit under seal until a Sept. 24 hearing. On that
date, Moody will rule on the proposed changes to the lawsuit and on the issue
of alleged fraud regarding McPherson's estate, which was filed in Pinellas

*Do not click this URL. Highlight the entire URL, then copy and paste it:


From: Stacy Brooks <stacyb1@ix.netcom.com>
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: Jesse Prince's declaration in McPherson case
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1999 09:16:21 -0400

There is a hearing this morning in the McPherson case, which Jesse Prince
and will both be attending. One of the issues that will be raised will be
cientology's demand that Jesse Prince be banned from attending all
depositions because he is "untrustworthy" and "intimidating." In fact, it
is the information contained in this declaration that is their real

21. Journalists sue the CoS
From: "Catarina Pamnell" <catarina@pamnell.com>
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1999 12:05:32 +0200
Unofficial translation
[Highlight and copy entire URL]

A suit against Scientology has been filed in the district court [Byret] of
Copenhagen, by Joergen Pedersen from the television production company
Net-Produktion. Simultaneously, the freelance journalist Tom Heinemann is
preparing a suit against the cult in both the district court, and at the
board of press ethics [Pressenaevnet], according to the newspaper Kristeligt

Joergen Pedersen demands for Scientology to be convicted of defamation, and
that they will have to declare a number of statements which they made were

The statements were put forward in a special edition of the cult's magazine
'Frihed', after Net-Produktion had made a critical television broadcast
about the organization. The broadcast 'Religion or money machine?' was shown
in June, during a theme evening on Danish Radio 2, and subsequently
Scientology complained to the board of press ethics.

Joergen Pedersen also wants to be cleared from accusations of having been
connected to the former East German intelligence agency, Stasi, through an
East German agent, Walter Heynowski.
[...entire item...]

22. Bill to limit the Swedish offentlighetsprincip
From: Zenon Panoussis <oracle@xs4all.nl>
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1999 15:49:00 +0200
Dagens Nyheter (Sweden)
Unofficial translation
[Highlight and copy entire URL]
The goverment wants to introduce limitations to the rules on access
to public documents (offentlighetsprincipen) after the quarrel about
the so-called scientology bible.

A few years ago a person handed in the scientology scripture to
several authorities. It was thereby registered as a public document.
When a citizen requests to view a public document, the authority has
to decide whether it can give it out.

The US questioned whether Sweden was abiding by the international
agreements on copyright, the Bern convention and the TRIPS agreement.

In its referal to the law council, the government writes that the
US have made it clear that the country will request an arbitration
against Sweden if Sweden does not change the law so that such a
situation can be avoided in the future. According to the government's
assessment, such an international dispute could lead to Sweden being forced
to introduce limitations that go further than those that are now proposed.

Zenon Panoussis, who put the scientology bible on the internet and
spead paper copies of it was sued by the scientologists. The district
court of Stockholm found him guilty of copyright infringement. He has
appealed to the court of appeals, which has still not ruled in the

23. Scientology loses bid to change Swedish law
From: Grady Ward <grady@promisecreepers.org>
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology,misc.legal,alt.censorship,comp.org.eff.talk
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 07:04:45 -0700
[Highlight and copy entire URL]
From our Swedish correspondent:

The Scientology "constitutional experts" of the Swedish Department of Justice
have suffered a another disaster. This time it's Assistant Under Secretary
Per Hall. His draft for an amendment to the Swedish Copyright law in order to
seal OT II, III, NOTs and other parts of the Scieno Holy Drivel has been
rejected 100% as *unconstitutional* by the Swedish Supreme Court.

(More precisely: it was declared unconstitutional by "the Lagrad," which is a
standing committee of members of the Supreme Court and the High
Administrative Court. They consider all new legislation with Constitutional
consequences before governmental proposals are sent to the Parliament.)

As most readers of a.r.s probably already know, the peculiar Swedish
Offentlighetprincip is part of the Freedom of the Press act, a Constitutional
law in Sweden. It's very old, older than the US Constitution. It's almost
revered among the man in the street. Newspaper journalists use it in their
daily duties.

As a consequence the Swedish Copyright law, which is Common law,
includes an article 26b saying, that the Offentlighetsprincip isn't
restricted by copyright.

24. Warning of new Scientology activities
Mannheimer Morgen (Germany), Sep. 14, 1999
Translation: German Scientology News
The state office for Constitutional Security in Baden-Wuerttemberg warned
against giving up surveillance of the Scientology Organization (SO).
"Constitutional Security continues to be tasked with revealing the
machinations of the SO," stated the President of the state office, Helmut
Rannacher, at the announcement of the publication of a new brochure on the
goals and background of the organization, which has been classified as
hostile to democracy.

Scientology was said to be continuing its efforts to convert the social order
into a totalitarian system, said Rannacher.

The state office wants to give an insight into the Scientology system with
the brochure. "Infinite over-assessment of self and contemptuousness of all
others are characteristic of the totalitarian world picture of Scientology,"
reads the report. As evidence, the Constitutional Security agents include
quotations from written Scientology material in which a "goal worth striving
for" in a future society is described as granting civil rights only to

According to the study, Scientology systematically tries to incriminate and
discredit critics and former members. In Germany, the "arsenal of weapons" of
the OSA secret service ranges from the broadcast of material gathered by
spying in scandalous letters to intimidation by threatening lawsuits.

25 WWW ...
The Times of London, Sep. 11, 1999
If the recent advertisements and mailshot campaign have tempted you to join
the Church of Scientology, you may wish to find out more about the
organisation. Much has been published by and about it, but the Internet
offers far more information. You will quickly discover that Lafayette Ron
Hubbard has a lot to answer for.

In London a High Court judge called it "corrupt, immoral, obnoxious sinister
and dangerous", and described Hubbard as a "charlatan".

Head here first (www.primenet.com/~cultxpt/cos.htm) to taste an avalanche of
doubt. You can see the cover of the original tomb upon which the church was
practically born - complete with wacky werewolf character. There is also a
delightful photograph of Hubbard "auditing a tomato". The 14-page site takes
a general look, allowing you to "see another side of the Church of

Another treat is Scientology Critics
(http://www.xs4all.nl/~kspaink/cos/mpoulter/scum.html) which answers the
question, "Why are there so many anti-Scientology web pages?"

26. Revenue Canada denies CoS petition
From: Gregg Hagglund <elrond@cgo.wave.ca>
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Yes, it is official. Revenue Canada has refused the Co$ its petition to be
recognised as a Charity for Religious Purposes.

Charites Canada spokesperson Carl Juneau, during a phone interview
on Thursday, Sept.9, stated, " Scientology has not yet filed an Appeal
of our decision with the Federal Court." [It should be noted Mr. Juneau did
*not* mention what that decision was.]

If and when Scientology does file an Appeal, it will, if heard, be a
public event. Individual citizens, such as yours truly, or Gerry
Armstrong or Professor Steven Kent, could petition the court for
"Intervenor Status" so as to file briefs or present pertinent evidence.

=== Waco
[Story no longer online? Read this]

27. Justice removes Texas prosecutors from Waco case
CNN, Sep. 14, 1999
The Justice Department has removed the federal prosecutor who first raised
concerns about a cover-up at Waco from further involvement in the case,
saying he and his colleagues are potential witnesses in the independent
inquiry into the government siege. Justice officials said there could be
additional removals of lawyers involved in the case, including some who are
helping to defend the government against civil suits brought by the Branch

The removal of Johnston from the case came to light less than 24 hours after
the public release of a letter he had sent to Attorney General Janet Reno.

One frequent critic of Justice's conduct, Rep. Bob Barr, R-Georgia, a member
of the House Judiciary Committee, charged that the department acted to shut
Johnston up. "The department has swiftly and quietly silenced the one
internal voice of opposition to the party line, publicly embarrassed him and
damaged his career," Barr said.

28. GOP plans wider investigation into Waco
San Diego Union-Tribune, Sep. 13, 1999
Angered by the Justice Department's failure to produce a crucial document on
the Waco siege, GOP lawmakers are promising a broader investigation than the
one planned by a special counsel.

The renewed criticism of the Justice Department and Reno was prompted by the
news that an FBI report the department turned over to Congress years ago
lacked one page that mentioned the use of military-style incendiary tear gas
canisters against the religious cult.

29. Text of Johnston's letter to Janet Reno
Dallas Morning News, Sep. 12, 1999
The following is the complete text of a 5-page letter written August 30, 1999
by William Johnston, Assistant U.S. Attorney in Waco, Texas, to Janet Reno,
Attorney General of the United States. Below the letter are texts of some
August, 1999 e-mails between Johnston and his superiors as he alerted them to
the unfolding discovery by Texas Rangers of evidence of pyrotechnic tear gas
grenades being used against the Davidians on April 19, 1993.

30. Congress Told Of Waco Military Gas Rounds In 1995
Excite/Reuters, Sep. 14, 1999
The Justice Department gave Congress documents in 1995 describing the use of
military tear gas rounds during the assault on the Branch Davidian compound
in Waco, Texas, congressional Democrats said Monday.

They said the documents, discovered by Democratic staff members in House
Government Reform Committee files, contradicted claims that the Justice
Department had withheld from Congress evidence the potentially incendiary
military tear gas rounds were used in the assault.

Waxman said the discovery of the other documents by Democratic staff members,
who were looking through committee files held by Republican Chairman Dan
Burton of Indiana Friday, called into question the charges of a cover-up.

An aide to Burton said the documents did not change Burton's view of the
Justice Department's actions in the Waco probe.

"For six years the Justice Department has claimed it did not use any
pyrotechnic devices," panel spokesman Mark Corallo said. "Nothing Mr. Waxman
said today can change the fact the Justice Department knew about this for six
years and has denied using these devices for six years."

31. Hill Got Incomplete Report on Waco Gas
Washington Post, Sep. 11, 1999
The Justice Department had evidence at least four years ago that one or more
potentially incendiary tear gas rounds were fired during the 1993 Waco siege,
but did not provide the evidence to congressional investigators.

A 49-page FBI lab report, produced in December 1993, listed evidence from the
site of the standoff and cited on its final page a "fired U.S. military 40mm
shell casing which originally contained a CS tear gas round." When the
Justice Department provided the report to a House panel investigating the
Waco tragedy in the summer of 1995, the final page was missing, according to
an internal Justice memo dated Sept. 2.

The documents provide the first evidence that the Justice Department may have
been aware of the potentially incendiary tear gas rounds before the FBI's
admission last month that such rounds were used. The Justice Department has
repeatedly stressed that it had no knowledge of the rounds, and expressed
concern that the FBI had not turned over evidence pointing to their use

32. Coroner wants to reevaluate Waco shooting deaths
CNN, Sep. 11, 1999
As an independent probe prepares to look into the government's role in the
1993 Branch Davidian standoff, a medical examiner reportedly says he would
like to reexamine the cases of at least 23 sect members who died from gunshot

"There is a feeling one should go back and reevaluate," Tarrant County
medical examiner Dr. Nizam Peerwani was quoted as saying in Saturday's Waco
Tribune-Herald. "The focus at the time was not on whether the FBI was doing
the shooting."

Justice of the Peace David Pareya, one of four McLennan County justices who
ordered the autopsies, told the newspaper he has lingering questions about
some of the deaths. Pareya said he had no choice but to rule the cause of
death for many Davidians as unknown because the FBI would not supply him with
the results of the ballistics tests.

"The thing that always stayed in my mind was if they were afraid some of the
ordnance or ballistics could be matched up with their weaponry," Pareya said.

33. Up-to-date Waco-related News

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=== Internet

34. Professor's Site Fills in the Blanks on New Religious Movements
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Sep, 14, 1999
Most scholars aren't threatened with lawsuits by people who don't approve of
their research, nor are their "in" boxes flooded with e-mail messages from
professed pagans. But Jeffrey K. Hadden, a sociology professor at the
University of Virginia, has encountered all that and more. In his line of
work -- he provides on-line information about hundreds of what he refers to
as religious social movements -- it just comes with the territory.

Mr. Hadden is the creator of a Web site devoted to the understanding of
religious and quasi-religious organizations and movements. He built the site
with the help of his students, and it has attracted lots of attention and
lots of users -- he says it gets over a million hits every month.

Mr. Hadden began the site three years ago because he could not find much
information on line about groups outside the religious mainstream -- except,
he says, for sites that were "very negative" toward a particular group. His
site now offers more than 200 profiles, and it's still growing.

Mr. Hadden gets help from students in his courses, who do much of the
research for additions to the site. When the project began, Mr. Hadden only
had two students helping him. Last semester more than 30 students took part,
and together they were able to cover a lot of ground. Mr. Hadden now serves
chiefly as an editor on the project.

Mr. Hadden seems to take everything in stride -- even the time a woman called
him for advice because her daughter was "in a cult." Mr. Hadden told her to
learn about the group and keep the communication lines open with her
daughter. When he had the occasion to speak to the woman again, much later,
he learned that she and her husband had also joined the group.

*Prof. Hadden's site:

About Jeffrey Hadden
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About Cult Apologists
[Story no longer online? Read this]

=== The Church Around The Corner

35. Mayoral Candidate Ken Larsen, Founder of Church, Says `Drug War Is a War
of Religious Persecution'
Salt Lake Tribune, Sep. 14, 1999
Besides protesting police crackdowns on Liberty Park drum circlers and State
Street cruisers, Salt Lake City mayoral candidate Ken Larsen founded the
Church of the Hemp Goddess. Larsen says he formed the religion five years
ago to "dramatize . . . that the drug war is a war of religious persecution,
where the majority is enforcing their religious views on the minority."

He also is an ordained minister with the Church of Universal Life.

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