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Religion Items In The News

March 5, 1999 (Vol. 3, Issue 74)

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Religion Items in the News - March 5, 1999 (Vol. 3, Issue 74)

=== Main
1. Lengthy imprisonment threatens Scientologists
2. Controversial Russian law used to ban Pentecostalists
3. Siberian police, religious sect end standoff
4. Eastern Europe: "God After Communism"
5. FBI plans to leave 'doomsday' cults alone
6. Fla. Religious Group Balks at Fine (Greater Ministries)
7. Accusations against Roy Masters are past history to some
8. Baby dies after medical care withheld (Church of the First Born)
9. Germans knock U.S. justice (Death Penalty + )
10. US Administration supports Scientology position
11. Beckstein criticizes Washington (Scientology)
12. XS4ALL vs. Scientology
13. Public service ads banned from buses (Scientology_
14. New Malibu church: cult or not? (ICC)
15. The Love Bombers (ICC)
16. Principal testifies on satanic prevention
17. School relents on anti-witch rule
18. School keeps watch on symbols
19. City police in crackdown on clairvoyants
20. Mormon conference emphasizes family, faith in church
21. Members like little dogma (Unitarian Universalism)
22. Farrakhan to blacks: Stop the violence
23. ISCA: National Muslim Organizations Incite Modern Day Lynch Mob

=== Noted
24. Truce in the Jesus war
25. Melvindale becomes creationism hotspot
26. African-Americans serve God in a variety of ways (Rick Joyner)
27. Once a skeptic, lecturer now tells others to find their angels
28. ... causing the melting pot of American religion to boil over
29. News with a View: Meet Mr. Moral Majority, political dropout

=== Books
30. Click twice for heaven
31. 'Left Behind' installment breaks onto secular lists

=== Beyond Left Field
32. Leather jackets banned
33. Charles Manson offers his help in teaching political science course

=== Main

1. Lengthy imprisonment threatens Scientologists
Tages-Anzeiger (Switzerland), Mar. 1, 1999
Translation: German Scientology News
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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After years of investigation, the Madrid state attorney's office
has held out for a strike against Scientology. The office has charged 18
leading members of the pseudo-church, reported the Spanish daily
newspaper, "El Pais." 30 years in prison was demanded for Heber
Jentzsch, the international President of the organization.

The indictment described Scientology as extremely dangerous. The
members are said to be financially exploited and subjected to
brainwashing. The twelve charges range from tax evasion to the
formation of an illegal organization. The Scientologists promise cures
without possessing the proper education or permits.

The District Attorney even rates using the personality test for the
recruitment of new customers as criminal. This uses the 200 questions
which the Scientologists also use in Switzerland in order to attract
new members. The person being tested is then told that he has
(fictitious) psychic problems, which can be corrected with expensive
courses and therapies, stated the District Attorney. The reality is
that many people tested become psychically ill only after having taken
the "therapy."

2. Controversial Russian law used to ban Pentecostalists
Seattle Times, Mar. 3, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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A Russian court has used a controversial religion law to ban the
Pentecostalist Church from a town in eastern Siberia, a news agency
reported today.

Under Russian law, courts have the right to outlaw religious groups
that are found to be inciting hatred or intolerant behavior. The law
has been used against several groups recently.

A judge in the Siberian town of Aldan ruled yesterday that the
Pentecostalists had violated the law because they refused medical aid
[Story no longer online? Read this]
for ailing members of the group. The court also said the
Pentecostalists had preached intolerance by teaching their children at
home, ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

The ruling came as Pentecostalists were involved in another
confrontation in Aldan, about 3,000 miles east of Moscow. Sixty
Pentecostalists took over the city's administration building Sunday and
demanded that the city pay them for work they performed during severe
flooding last spring, ITAR-Tass said. City leaders say they had already
compensated the church members.

3. Siberian police, religious sect end standoff
Yahoo, Mar. 3, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Police on Wednesday ended their siege of a building in a remote
Siberian town where about 60 members of a religious sect had been holed
up for three days and had asked to be shot dead, officials said.

The group, which earlier on Wednesday has asked police to shoot them
dead saying the police would be forgiven, was not officially
registered, Litvinenko said.

The group of evangelical Christians locked themselves in the
administrative building on Sunday evening demanding compensation for
timber they had provided for local residents. But they subsequently
rejected offers of money, broke off negotiations with the police and
began singing and praying.

Speaking in Moscow on Wednesday, Patriarch Alexiy, head of the
influential Orthodox Church, criticised the activities of minority
religious sects.

"Russia has been flooded by sects of a destructive nature which often
cripple people's souls," he told reporters.

4. Eastern Europe: "God After Communism"
EWTN/Zenith, Mar. 2, 1999
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(...) In order to have an up-to-date and objective evaluation of the
situation, a report has just been published in Germany entitled: "God
after Communism: Religion in Countries Under Transformation in Central
and Eastern Europe." The study was carried out by Paul Zulehner, a
theologian of the University of Vienna, and Miklos Tomka, a prestigious
Hungarian scholar whose focus is the sociology of religion.

The results of the study, which totals more than two hundred pages,
gives a great deal of figures and data, the result of thousands of
interviews held in 1998 over a very large sample of the population,
ranging in age from 18 to 65 years, in ten countries, including: the
former German Democratic Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, the
Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Rumania, Croatia and Slovenia.

The study reveals an interesting religious evolution in the Eastern
European countries. Following the euphoria of 1989 -- when 19% of those
interviewed said they experienced a personal religious transformation
after the fall of the Berlin Wall -- the advent of social and economic
difficulties has put a damper on their enthusiasm. Nevertheless, the
research gives signs of hope. In Poland, Rumania and Lithuania, there
are clear signs of religious interest among the youth. And, for the
first time, both in Eastern Germany and the Ukraine, there has been a
slight increase in the number of faithful.

5. FBI plans to leave 'doomsday' cults alone
Detroit News, Mar. 3, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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FBI agents have received special training to prepare for an anticipated
growing number of "doomsday" cults in the United States but are
forbidden from any surveillance of religious groups that believe the
world will end on Jan. 1, 2000.

Officials with the U.S. Justice and State Departments say they have no
plans to increase security measures against religious cults.
"We are not putting our heads in the sand," Scafidi said.
"We are aware of the importance of this date coming up. We have been
consulting with psychologists and experts in this field so that, if the
need arrives, we can deal with it."

6. Fla. Religious Group Balks at Fine
Access Waco, Mar. 3, 1999

[Story no longer online? Read this]
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A Florida religious organization was ordered to pay $6.4 million in
fines after it sidestepped a court's ruling to stop promoting its
``Double Your Blessings'' investment scheme.

But an attorney for pastor Gerald Payne of Greater Ministries
[Story no longer online? Read this]
International Church, based in Tampa, Fla., said Payne will not pay
because that would violate God's law.

In November, Ross ordered the ministry to stop soliciting money for the
program in Pennsylvania. Instead, the organization changed the name of
the program to the ``Faith Promise Plan'' and continued to solicit
investors, Stewart said.

Authorities in California, Ohio and Florida also have taken action
against Greater Ministries or associates in other matters, but the
Pennsylvania case is the first civil court proceeding against the
organization, said Luci McClure, an attorney with the Pennsylvania
Securities Commission.

7. Accusations against Roy Masters are past history to some
The Oregonian, Mar. 4, 1999
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Fifteen years ago, conservative radio preacher Roy Masters and
followers of his Foundation for Human Understanding were big news in
Josephine County.

In those days, the news that a former daughter-in-law would accuse
Masters on national television of violence against herself and her
daughters would have been the talk of the town. But those accusations,
scheduled to air today on the nationally syndicated show "Extra," have
elicited a different reaction.

"It's more of a Monica Lewinsky thing: 'Let's hear about somebody
else's woes and tribulations.' It isn't really about the person that
had the political influence or fear that he generated 15 years ago,"
said Dorian Corliss, head of Our Community Bank and former Grants Pass
city councilman.

According to family members, Masters has been in uncertain health for
three years and underwent heart bypass surgery in 1998. He sold his
downtown offices to the Salvation Army a few years ago, and last year
he and his partners sold Central Point-based KOPE-FM and Talk Radio
Network for $9 million.

But Brighton Academy, a private school he founded in Grants Pass,
appears to be thriving. His daily radio show is broadcast on 30-plus
stations nationwide.

8. Baby dies after medical care withheld
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Denver Post, Mar. 3, 1999
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Mesa County authorities are investigating the death of an infant as a
possible homicide after his parents withheld medical treatment because
of religious beliefs.

Warren T. Glory, born Feb. 10, died of cardiac arrest Sunday after an
infectious disease was not treated, authorities said Tuesday. His 23-
and 22-year-old parents, Joshua and Mindy Glory, are members of the
General Assembly Church of the First Born, a strict fundamentalist sect

with members who use prayer to heal and do not believe in doctors or
medicine. The Glorys have two other children.

Warren is the fourth Western Slope child of Church of the First Born
parents to die after the parents withheld medical care.

Kurtzman said he has seen other cases of adult members of the church
dying without medical care, but Colorado law applies only to
withholding medical treatment from minors.

The Church of the First Born has several hundred members in the Grand
and Uncompahgre valleys. The church the Glorys attend is in a rural
area near Clifton.

See also: Colorado authorities probe latest death in church opposed to medical care

9. Germans knock U.S. justice
Arizona Republic, Mar. 4, 1999
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(...) The most common reaction among German politicians and political
commentators has been outrage at the frequent practice of the death
penalty in the United States. Acutely ashamed of the murderous history
of Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime, Germany abolished the death penalty
shortly after World War II.

On German television Tuesday, government officials were lamenting the
fact that the United States was about to conduct another execution even
as Secretary of State Madeline Albright was in China, complaining of
human rights violations there.

The responsibility of a country to notify the appropriate consulate
when a foreign national is arrested is spelled out in the Vienna
Convention on Consular Relations.

Arizona officials have conceded that they did not follow the Vienna
Convention, but they said the LaGrands received all the legal
protections that are normally provided to U.S. citizens.

The frequency of executions in the United States has stunned many
German observers.

"What makes America, which regards itself as God's own country, so
devilishly fanatic about the death penalty?" the influential German
magazine Der Spiegel asked last week.

The magazine continued, "Why are over 70 percent of all Americans,
including deeply religious fundamentalist Christians who regard
abortion as murder, in favor of government-sanctioned killing? What
draws politicians of every stripe to the death penalty, although the
rest of the civilized world has long turned away from it?"

*** Note: This item is significant in light of what is seen by many in
Europe as US hypocrisy. A recent US report on human rights
violations chides Germany and other countries, while ignoring human
rights abuses within the USA. For documentation see

Amnesty International's Report on Human Rights Abuses in the USA

10. US Administration supports Scientology position
Berlin Online (Germany), Mar. 1, 1999
Translation: German Scientology News
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Not thirty-six hours after the execution of German national Karl
LaGrand in Florence, Arizona, the US State Department criticized
alleged human rights violations in the Federal Republic of Germany. It
mentioned more than twenty cases of what it alleged to be
transgressions against freedom of belief. Of course, the criticism
hinges in the dealings with the controversial Scientology sect. The
report is openly colored by the massive and generously financed
Scientology lobby, which takes a particularly sharp tone towards Bonn
every year.

11. Beckstein criticizes Washington
Sueddeutsche Zeitung (Germany), Mar. 1, 1999
Translation: German Scientology News
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
[NOTE: The "Mehmet" case refers to a 14 year old habitual criminal
of Turkish nationality. After committing yet another crime, Germany
ousted him - giving him a one-way plane ticket to Turkey]

The mention of the "Mehmet" case in the US State Department's human
rights report struck a note of discord with Bavaria's Minister of the
Interior Guenther Beckstein (CSU). He asks what the deportation of the
14 year old serial criminal to Turkey has to do with the report, said
Beckstein. Even foreign criminals in the USA are "known to feel the
extreme sting of the local law," all the way up to the death penalty.
Beckstein also protested criticism about the sending back of former
Bosnian civil war refugees.

The US report differs from former years in that it does not support the
accusations of the Scientology organization of an alleged persecution
of its members in Germany, but only refers to them. To that Beckstein
said that once more the Scientology propaganda is not being critically
scrutinized. However, the broad presentation of the German position is
cause for hope that it is also recognized in the USA that Scientology
is a "totalitarian organization."

12. XS4ALL vs. Scientology
Mar. 4, 1999
From a Press Release mailed to XS4ALL customers - NO URL

On Monday March 8, hearings will be held in a legal case brought by
Scientology against XS4ALL, various other Dutch ISPs and several

In 1996 a court in The Hague already declared Scientology's charges
against XS4ALL, Karin Spaink and other defendants to be without merit.

XS4ALL has rejected all recent request from Scientology for an
agreement, and is looking forward to the legal procedure with

The main issue in this conflict concerns publications on the Internet
of the Fishman Affidavit. In this American courtcase, portion of
Scientology publications are cited. Scientology acuses XS4ALL and
others of copyright violations.

In the eyes of XS4ALL, internetproviders are not responsible for what
its users do. Besides, the users, among which Spaink, have - in the
few cases in which Scientology was able to support its copyright claims
- adjusted their homepages. After all, these users are interested in
contributing to a social debate on Scientology, and not in breaking

*** NOTE: The press release includes links to a number of
Dutch-language newspaper articles on the case.

Other Relevant links:

Karin Spaink's site (highly recommended)

Fishman Affidavit

Scientology Cult Attacks XS4ALL (site produced by XS4ALL's
former owner)

13 Public service ads banned from buses
St. Petersburg Times, Feb. 25, 1999
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(...) The agency's board voted unanimously Wednesday to allow bus ads
that propose only "a commercial transaction." The decision means that
public service messages traditionally bought by such groups as the
Salvation Army and the United Way no longer will be allowed.

Opponents of the measure called it a violation of the First Amendment
and said they probably will challenge it in court.

The decision came after the agency found itself caught in cross-fire
between the Church of Scientology and a group of church critics who
bought anti-Scientology bus ads one weekend in early December.

Eleven messages about Scientology were featured on 10 buses in
Clearwater that weekend. They included "Think for Yourself. Quit
Scientology" and "Why does Scientology lie to its members?"

Church officials and their lawyers complained so forcefully that Roger
Sweeney, director of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, pulled
all 10 buses off the road that Saturday with two days left on the
critics' contract.

14. New Malibu church: cult or not?
The Graphic Online (Pepperdine University), Feb. 18, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
They're here, they're recruiting, and they're confusing people.
The Malibu Hills Christian Fellowship, a new church in Malibu, is
actively evangelizing in this seaside community. Its Sunday services,
held at Malibu's Juan Cabrillo Elementary School, are similar to
traditional Christian worship services.

But controversy surrounds this new church and numerous media reports
and Web sites have linked the church's parent ministry with cult-like
practices. The Malibu Hills Christian Fellowship is a ministry of the
Los Angeles International Church of Christ, more broadly known as the
International Church of Christ (ICC).

15. The Love Bombers
Philadelphia City Paper, Feb. 25, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
The devout crusaders of the International Churches of Christ have made
inroads on some local campuses, but they've been banned on others. Is
the ICC a cult?

"When I joined the church, they told me the sort of attitude that would
be required," Clayton, 23, says today. "They said I had to devote my
life to Jesus. But I didn't realize the practical ramifications. I
didn't understand the sort of submission I'd have to undergo."

Within four months, Yun was asked to co-lead the single women's
ministry. As time went on, leaders ratcheted up the pressure: Bring in
more members, give more money, follow an elaborate set of (sometimes
unspoken) rules. Members who didn't obey the leaders were often
chastised or ridiculed ("rebuked") and told that "to disobey the
leaders was to disobey God." Members weren't allowed to complain or
raise questions, and Yun noted that many lacked either the courage or
the theological education to challenge church authority.

In 1985, Dr. Flavil R. Yeakley Jr., then of the Church Growth Institute
at Abilene Christian University in Texas, was asked to do a study on
the growth and dynamics of the Movement. He ran a standard
psychological test, the Meyers-Briggs, on a large number of members of
the Boston Church of Christ and on a control group of members of the
mainline Church of Christ and other Christian denominations. The
findings indicated that an extreme level of "personality shift," a sign
of mind control, had occurred in members of the Boston Church compared
with members of other groups, thus suggesting that the Movement was
using cultlike methods. After Yeakley presented his findings, he was
"marked," meaning ICC members were not to have any contact with him.

Yeakley works with many cult counselors and says they receive more
complaints regarding the ICC than any other group except the Church of

16. Principal testifies on satanic prevention
Detroit Free Press, Mar. 3, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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Lincoln Park High School's principal banned pentagrams, witches and
pagans from the school last fall after several incidents involving
satanic cults, he said in federal court in Detroit on Tuesday, but he
wasn't aware that he was bumping into a religious issue involving

Principal Thomas Kolka testified in a daylong hearing stemming from a
student's lawsuit. She has asked U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen to
force the school to let her wear a pentagram.

Kolka testified that he was trying to put a stop to a satanic cult at
the school when he issued the ban.

The mother of a 15-year-old student testified that her daughter had
joined a satanic group and become involved in forced ritual sex,
drinking blood, self-mutilation and devil worship.

But Kolka acknowledged under questioning from Seifferly's lawyer, Wayne
State University law professor Robert Sedlar, that Seifferly is a good
student, has never been a discipline problem, and wears a pentagram
that is different from that on the cover of the satanic bible.

School officials agreed before the hearing that wicca is a legitimate
religion and that Seifferly sincerely believes in it. She testified
Tuesday that the points of the pentagram symbolize earth, air, fire,
water and the spirit.

17. School relents on anti-witch rule
Detroit News, Mar. 3, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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Witches are welcome at Lincoln Park High School -- but not necessarily
those wearing pentacles.

Lincoln Park School Supt. Randall Kite said Tuesday that he would
remove the terms "witches and pagans" from a school list of prohibited
groups after an eight-hour federal court hearing.

18. School keeps watch on symbols
Detroit News, Mar. 3, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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As part of Lincoln Park's crackdown on symbols sometimes associated
with gangs, Jewish students must petition for the right to wear the
Star of David, officials said Tuesday.

Muslim students also do not have the automatic right to wear a crescent
and star.

"Your policy means the only religious symbol that any student could
wear is a Christian cross," said Robert Sedler, an ACLU attorney
representing Crystal Seifferly, a self-described witch suing for the
right to wear a symbol that represents her Wiccan faith.

Eric Ortiz, a spokesman for the Midwest Witches Anti-Discrimination
League, said at least six school systems have banned pentacles,
including Chicago and Dallas. "We hope this sets a precedent that
allows us the right to religious expression," said Ortiz.

19. City police in crackdown on clairvoyants
New York Daily News, Mar. 3, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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(...) But police began cracking down on scamming psychics in November
under Operation Crystal Ball. They have arrested eight women, including
one on E. 50th St. charged yesterday with bilking a customer of

If you feel you have been the victim of an unscrupulous fortune teller
or psychic, call the Police Department's special frauds squad at (212)
374-6850, between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Information
will be kept confidential.

20. Mormon conference emphasizes family, faith in church
Las Vegas Sun, Mar. 1, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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(...) Monson began his address by commenting on the strength of the Las
Vegas Mormon population, which he attributed to the 1989 construction
of the Las Vegas Temple. There are about 75,000 Mormons in Southern
Nevada, growing at a rate of about 500 per month, Stoddard said.

21. Members like little dogma
Detroit Free Press, Mar. 3, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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(...) They all turned to Unitarian Universalism, a liberal religion
that emphasizes tolerance and respect and incorporates Jewish and
Christian traditions, but has no creed or doctrine.

More than 90 percent of the nation's 213,000-plus Unitarian
Universalists were born into other churches.

Today, there are more than 1,000 UU congregations in North America, 24
of them in Michigan.

Many religions lost membership in the United States in the 1970s and
through the 1980s. Membership in UU churches hit a low of 172,600 in
1982. It has since had 16 years of sustained growth, exceeding 213,000
in 1998.

22. Farrakhan to blacks: Stop the violence
Chicago Sun-Times, Mar. 1, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Minister Louis Farrakhan wielded his trademark sharp tongue against
racism and white supremacy on Sunday, but also called on blacks to stop
becoming their ``own worst enemy.''

Speaking to thousands of followers at the annual Saviors' Day
convention at McCormick Place, Farrakhan lectured for more than three
hours on the legacy of former Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad
and the group's founder, Master Fard Muhammad.

Farrakhan called on whites, Christians in particular, to face their
contributions toward the country's history of racism.

23. ISCA: National Muslim Organizations Incite Modern Day Lynch Mob
US Newswire, Mar. 2, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
(...) The following was released today by the Islamic Supreme Council
of America:

CAIR's false allegations create hysteria amongst American Muslims.
Death threats, harassment and acts of discrimination ensue

In an attempt to censor the viewpoints of moderate Muslims living in
America, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in concert
with six other "American" Muslim organizations have unified to stifle
the First Amendment rights of Shaykh Hisham Kabbani, chairman of the
Islamic Supreme Council of America (ISCA), and have instigated a modern
day Muslim lynch mob.

The Islamic Supreme Council of America invites the entire Muslim
population, US government officials and media representatives to
investigate this civil war and conclude for themselves who is really
responsible for endangering the security of Muslims in the US.

=== Noted

24. Truce in the Jesus war
San Jose Mercury News, Feb. 27, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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MAYBE THE Jesus Wars are settling down. Was Jesus God? Son of God?
Teacher? Prophet? Mystic? A mere revolutionary? Theologians and
historians have been waging such nasty fights over those questions the
past few years that they seemed ready to draw blood over the man who
was called the Prince of Peace.

But détente may be at hand. Crowds turned out in recent days -- 1,400
in Washington, D.C., 1,200 in Portland, Ore. -- to applaud the public
conversation of two of the most popular Jesus scholars on the scene.

They are Marcus J. Borg, a religious liberal and member of the
controversial, Sonoma-based Jesus Seminar, and N.T. ``Tom'' Wright, an
Anglican from England who is well-liked by evangelicals. And, behold,
audiences learned, they talk without shouting. They accept each other
as Christians. They pray together and lock minds: Yes, they are
friends, enjoying the rigors of religious debate. And they've written a
book to show it: ``The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions'' (Harper San
Francisco, $24), in which they alternate chapters, comparing and
debating their differences, including fundamental ones, with civility.

25. Melvindale becomes creationism hotspot
Detroit News, Feb. 25, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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Michael Behe is a Darwinist's worst nightmare. A biochemist and
author, he questions some accepted wisdom of evolution, raising
scientific points that push the debate beyond the traditional fray of

And his book, Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to
Evolution, has helped propel Melvindale into a national controversy as
a hot spot for creationism, a belief that God created the world along
the lines described in the Bible.

The 2,200-student district already is the subject of an Internet
"alert" by the National Center for Science Education. The state mailed
a stern warning on creationism. The American Civil Liberties Union is
checking it out.

26. African-Americans serve God in a variety of ways
Sun Herald, Feb. 27, 1999
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(...) And "because of the destiny of the black church in America, she
has been subject to the most severe systematic attacks of the enemy
(Satan)," specifically slavery and segregation, wrote Christian author
Rick Joyner in his article "Civil War in the Church."

Joyner, who has written prophetic books about what he believes will be
the future of Christianity, said the day is coming when racial lines
will disappear in the church, but only after a "civil war" that will
divide churchgoers who are willing to sacrifice everything in their
lives for the sake of the Gospel from those who won't do so.

"After this great spiritual civil war, there will no longer be a white
church and a black church," Joyner wrote. "There will be an entirely
new definition of Christianity, which the Lord Jesus has already
written. The world will know us by our love."

27. Once a skeptic, lecturer now tells others to find their angels
Boston Globe, Feb. 27, 1999

[Story no longer online? Read this]
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Sandra Adler thought she was going crazy. For years she had kept
hearing voices. Her husband told her she needed help. So she started
seeing a psychiatrist. But the voices wouldn't go away.

Today, Adler travels the country and the world spreading her message
that we all have guardian angels who are trying to reach us.

''Angels come close to us to let us know that they are there to protect
us or to let us know know that we are doing the right thing, '' said
Adler, who is vice president of Inner Peace Movement, a nonprofit group
in Washington, D.C., that offers workshops on angels.

Adler and Sharon Wevers, president of Inner Peace Movement, will offer
two lectures on Monday in Cambridge. The Inner Peace Movement says it
has trained more than 100,000 people in the United States to
communicate with their guardian angels.

28. Unlikely combinations are causing the melting pot of American
religion to boil over
Star-Telegram, Feb. 26, 1999
[URL removed because it currently refers to inappropriate content]/news/doc/1047/1:FAITH4/1:FAITH4022699.html
[Story no longer online? Read this]
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(...) If America has always been a melting pot, these days its
religious practices have become a spiritual hash. Blending or braiding
the beliefs of different spiritual traditions
has become so rampant in
America that the Dalai Lama has called the country "the spiritual
supermarket." Jews flirt with Hinduism, Catholics study Taoism, and
Methodists discuss whether to make the Passover seder an official part
of worship. The melding of Judaism with Buddhism has become so
commonplace that marketers who sell spiritual books, videotapes and
lecture series have a name for it: "JewBu."

For the traditional denominations, this cross-pollination presents an
excruciating dilemma. If denomination headquarters bend the rules to
accommodate the hybrids, they risk watering down their identities. But
if they stick to the straight and narrow, they may define themselves
out of existence -- and extinction is a growing possibility.

Meanwhile, membership is growing in organized religions that take a
broad view of God -- for example, in which pastors use Eastern and
Western Scriptures in their Sunday sermons and will marry people of all
religious backgrounds. Unitarian Universalists have increased their
numbers by 25 percent over the past 15 years. Two religious movements
rooted in 19th-century transcendentalism, Unity and Science of Mind,
have exploded. Fifteen years ago, there were 400 Unity churches in the
United States; now there are 1,000.

29. News with a View: Meet Mr. Moral Majority, political dropout
Star-Tribune, Mar. 4, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
When Paul Weyrich coined the term "moral majority" in the mid-1970s, he
was certain that more than half the U.S. population embraced
conservative religious values and could be mobilized politically to
stamp out the moral relativism spawned in the 1960s. Now, a
quarter-century later, Weyrich says he was wrong.

=== Books

30. Click twice for heaven
Sydney Morning Herald, Mar. 3, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
THE next time you key www. into your computer, pause for a moment and
consider this: you may be knocking at the gates of heaven, teetering on
the brink of hell, or at any rate coming as close to the experience of
eternal life as you are ever likely to get.

That, at least, is the claim made by the disciples of cyberspace. And,
says Margaret Wertheim, author of the acclaimed Pythagoras' Trousers
and internationally renowned science commentator, it is not as silly as
it sounds.

Moreover, if Christianity has a plausibility problem with its old
cosmology, Western culture has one with its new, science-based
cosmology as well. Western culture's official theory of knowledge is a
materialist one, says Wertheim, but she believes that most people don't
buy it.

Look at the renewed interest in traditional religion, she suggests, in
New Age, astral travel, crystals, feng shui and horoscopes. Look at how
the X-Files became one of the highest rating shows on American
television. Consider the enormous interest in Star Trek as both
entertainment and a rival cultural cosmos.

"Why are people doing all of this?" asks Wertheim. "If they really
accepted the materialist world picture this would all be rubbish. But
they don't [accept it]."

31. 'Left Behind' installment breaks onto secular lists
Dallas Morning News, Feb. 27, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
A dramatic tale about the chaotic period before the second coming of
Christ has surprised the publishing industry by becoming the first
fiction book from an evangelical publisher to leap off religion
best-seller lists and land near the top of secular best-seller lists.

Apollyon, by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, was listed by Publishers
Weekly, an industry trade magazine, as the Number 10 best-selling
hardcover fiction book for the week of Feb. 22, a first for a Christian
publisher in that publication.

Amazon, the on-line book retail giant, ranked it Number 1 on Feb. 13.
The book's publisher, Tyndale House, has been notified that the book
will appear somewhere on The New York Times best-seller list March 1.

"This has never happened before," said Phyllis Tickle, religion editor
emeritus at Publishers Weekly. "What's distinctive here is that this is
evangelical Protestant material."

According to Ms. Tickle, another key is the current fascination with
the new millennium and the increasing marketing savvy of religious
publishing houses such as Tyndale, Thomas Nelson and Zondervan.

=== Beyond Left Field

32. Leather jackets banned
Arizona Star, Mar. 4, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Leather jackets are now the latest item prohibited by the ruling
Taliban religious army. Taliban soldiers used knives yesterday to slash
the leather jackets young men were wearing in Kabul, saying the jackets
were prohibited under Islam, witnesses said. The attacks took place in
Kabul's northern Khair Khana neighborhood and in its central Ferozgha
district.No one could be reached for comment on the edict from the
Taliban's religious affairs ministry or its ministry of vice and
virtue.Since taking power in Kabul in 1996, the Taliban has imposed its
brand of harsh Islamic laws. It has banned music, videocassette
recorders, televisions, cameras and books published outside of
Afghanistan.It also has banned brown paper bags, fearing they may be
made of recycled copies of the Koran, the Muslim bible.

33. Charles Manson offers his help in teaching political science course
Topeka Capital-Journal, Mar. 2, 1999
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Teaching assistants are fixtures at America's colleges and
universities, eagerly helping professors grade papers, administer
tests, even teach class for a day.

All of which makes Charles Manson's foray into the role of teacher's
aide at a quiet Catholic school in Kansas a bit strange, if not

Beattie wants Manson's help in re-staging the trial in which Manson was
found guilty of the bloody 1969 killings of actress Sharon Tate and
four others in her house.

Manson, who has maintained his innocence, has been calling and writing
Beattie frequently during recent weeks in preparation for the class.
Beattie, who handles civil cases, said he was surprised when Manson
agreed to help.

On Jan. 22, Manson gave Beattie a 45-minute interview that Newman
students will use as evidence this fall.

Beattie -- who cleared his plan with school administrators -- said the
mock trial will involve students as jurors, with Beattie presenting
both prosecution and defense. Beattie also wants to set up a phone link

so Manson can testify in his own defense -- something Manson didn't do
in his trial three decades ago.

Compiled by Anton Hein (who boycotts Chiquita bananas, and uses a
Scientology-censored ISP)
Apologetics Index

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