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Religion News Report

Religion News Report - Mar. 3, 2000 (Vol. 4, Issue 174)

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« Part 1

=== Jehovah's Witnesses
17. Top court backs right to refuse blood

=== Wicca
18. Niles teacher disciplined for book
19. Book on witchcraft leads to suspension of Niles teacher

=== Attleboro Cult
20. DSS takes steps toward cult kids' custody
21. State seeks custody of children in sect under investigation

=== UFOs
22. Flying visits to world of UFOs
23. Operation St-Bartholomew - Collective Request from Members Of Religious
Minorities In France For Political Asylum In The United States (Raelians)

=== Hate Groups
24. 'Mockery' of Nazi victims by Irving
25. Judge: Threats violated Fair Housing Act
26. University Takes Out Full Page Ads (Bob Jones University)

=== Other News
27. Church provokes unholy row
28. Blood traces match O'Hair family members, authorities say
29. Court document reveals O'Hair blood evidence
30. Sect creates religious crisis in Thailand (Dhammakaya)

=== Noted
31. Experts differ over future of New Thought religious movement
32. Hmong keeping new faith -- Christianity
33. Frocks cost vicars image battle

=== Books
34. Spellbound Harry Potter fans are given a temporary fix
35. Providing a new faith for business
36. Navigating spirituality sprawl

=== The Copyist Around The Corner
37. [He copied it, but hasn't read it]

=== Jehovah's Witnesses

17. Top court backs right to refuse blood
Daily Yomiuri (Japan), Mar. 1, 2000
The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that surgeons violated a woman's right to
self-determination when they gave her a blood transfusion during an
operation, breaking their promise not to do so even if it meant she would

The Supreme Court upheld the Tokyo High Court's ruling that ordered the
government and surgeons to pay 550,000 yen in compensation.

The lawsuit was filed by a Jehovah's Witness who died before the Supreme
Court handed down its verdict.

The main focus of the lawsuit was on which took priority: A patient's right
to self-determination based on religious beliefs, or a doctors' obligation to
try to save a life.

The Petty Bench of the Supreme Court said, ''If a patient is adamant that a
blood transfusion would violate her religious beliefs, her right to refuse
one must be respected as part of her personal rights.'' The Petty Bench ruled
that the surgeons violated her personal rights by offering her an inadequate
explanation, and turned down appeals by both sides.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Wicca

18. Niles teacher disciplined for book
South Bend Tribune, Mar. 1, 2000
The teacher who gave a Ring Lardner Middle School student a book about Wiccan
practices should not be teaching, a Niles parent says.

Brian Wozniak, the father of a student who saw the book, said the teacher
never should have brought the book to school. And he said the fact that the
teacher gave the book to an eighth-grade student -- apparently with the
instructions to keep it secret -- showed a lack of judgment.

That is something Niles Community Schools officials don't necessarily
disagree with, saying in a statement issued Tuesday that the district
disciplined the teacher accordingly.

The book, ''Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner,'' deals with the
practice of Wicca.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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19. Book on witchcraft leads to suspension of Niles teacher
The Herald-Palladium, Mar. 2, 2000
Two Niles parents aren't too happy that a middle school teacher is back in
class after a three-day suspension for giving students a book on witchcraft.

Wozniak said science teacher Cheryl Malinowski was suspended. Schools
officials would not confirm the name, but did say a teacher served a
three-day suspension in early February.

The Wozniaks said school officials asked them to keep the incident quiet for
the sake of school order. But Brian and Diane Wozniak decided to contact the
media after learning of alleged threats against their daughter - whose name
they would not divulge - and others questioning the book by students
supporting the teacher. Those threats reportedly escalated Tuesday, with two
threatened students leaving school early.

The only comment from Niles school officials this week came in a press
release dated Feb. 9. Niles Superintendent John Huffman said the press
release was written at that time but was released only when reporters asked
for it.

''Recently, a teacher at Ring Lardner Middle School provided a student with
inappropriate material that indirectly refers to witchcraft,'' the release
states. ''Upon discovery of this incident, Nancy Nimtz, Ring Lardner
principal, began an investigation with the cooperation of the student and
parents and initiated disciplinary action against the teacher.

''Another student gave the book to our daughter with the permission of the
teacher,'' Brian Wozniak said. ''The teacher told everybody to not tell
anybody where they got the book. After we went to the school, she told the
principal that she had given the book to a student doing a report on herbal

''It is supposed to be about ecology-based religion, but in our view, it gets
into the dark side and has parallels to things found in the movie, ''The
Craft','' he said. ''We were immediately upset when we saw the book. You
can't have God in the schools, but you can have that? It scares us to find
this in a public school.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Attleboro Cult

20. DSS takes steps toward cult kids' custody
Boston Herald, Mar. 3, 2000
The state Department of Social Services placed an ad in an Attleboro
newspaper this week, a step toward taking custody of four children raised in
a controversial fundamentalist Attleboro cult.

The legal advertisement in Wednesday's issue of the Sun Chronicle concerned
three children of Jacques and Karen Robidoux and one child belonging to Mark
and Trinette Robidoux Daneau.

In November, 11 children were removed from a Knight Avenue duplex in
Attleboro after the 26-member group - known for shunning conventional
medicine and public schooling - became the focus of a criminal investigation
into the suspected deaths of a 1-year-old and a newborn, both children of
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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21. State seeks custody of children in sect under investigation
Bostom.com/AP, Mar. 3, 2000
The state is seeking to sever the parental rights of two couples who were
part of a strict Christian sect investigated after two children disappeared.

The department is taking the action against Jacques and Karen Robidoux and
Mark Daneau and his wife, Trinette Robidoux Daneau.

The petition filed in Juvenile Court in Attleboro covers three of the 13
children taken from the group's home in November. The fourth child is Samuel
Robidoux, who officials believe may have died of malnutrition when he was
nine months old.

Carol Yelverton, director of public affairs for DSS, said it was standard
procedure to include Samuel on such a petition even though he is believed
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== UFOs

22. Flying visits to world of UFOs
The Express (England), Feb. 29, 2000
Fans FANS of flying saucers and alien visitations will soon have their own
mecca. Best-selling author Erich Von Daniken, famous for his books on how
ancient cultures worshipped extra-terrestrials, is to open a theme park which
will ''reveal the archaeological mysteries of Earth.''

Von Daniken, who has sold 56 million books in 28 languages, has been given
permission to build a vast spaceship-like dome outside the Swiss Alpine
resort of Interlaken.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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23. Operation St-Bartholomew - Collective Request from Members Of Religious
Minorities In France For Political Asylum In The United States
Raelian Religion, Feb. 29, 2000 (Press Release)
To the memory of the thousands of Protestants victims of the massacre of
St-Bartholomew that was perpetrated and ordered by the French government,
RAEL - spiritual leader of the Raelian Religion - launches Operation

By publishing a report on cults, which concluded that all of them should be
considered dangerous, the French government simply points their fingers and
throws a part of its population to the popular justice.

So the only solution to avoid living a life that has become unbearable is to
flee to the only true Country of Liberty: the USA, which has the power to
impose economic sanctions to France for its discriminatory actions toward
religious minorities. This is why, like hundreds of us have done for so many
years, we officially ask the United States of America to grant us the status
of political refugee for religious discrimination.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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* The Raelians may want to familarize themselves with Amnesty
International's report on human rights violations in and by the USA:


It includes a chapter on the treatment of those seeking political asylum:


Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy asylum if they are forced to
flee their country to escape persecution. The USA accepts this principle,
and has agreed to be bound by international standards to protect
refugees. Yet US authorities frequently violate the fundamental human
rights of asylum-seekers by detaining them simply for seeking asylum.

Asylum-seekers are not criminals. But an increasing number of
asylum-seekers are placed behind bars when they arrive in the USA. They
are often detained indefinitely, and many are held on grounds beyond those
allowed by international standards. Many are confined with criminal
prisoners, but unlike criminal suspects, are often denied bail and have no
idea when they will be released. They are held in conditions that are
sometimes inhuman and degrading. Asylum-seekers in the USA are liable to
be treated like criminals: stripped and searched; shackled and chained;
sometimes verbally or physically abused. They are often denied access to
their families, lawyers and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who
could help them.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Hate Groups

24. 'Mockery' of Nazi victims by Irving
The Guardian, Mar. 3, 2000
The historian David Irving was accused in the high court yesterday of
''mocking the survivors and dead'' of the Holocaust.

The allegation was made by the QC representing the academic Deborah Lipstadt
and Penguin Books in their defence to Mr Irving's libel action against them
over claims that he is a ''Holocaust denier''.

Mr Irving, of Mayfair, central London, is seeking damages over Professor
Lipstadt's 1994 book, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and
Memory, which he says has generated waves of hatred against him.

The defence alleges that Mr Irving's audiences often consisted of radical
rightwing, neo-Nazi groups. Mr Rampton reminded the court of what Mr Irving
had said to an audience in Canada in 1991. Mr Irving then stated: ''I don't
see any reason to be tasteful about Auschwitz. It's baloney, it's a legend.
Once we admit the fact that it was a brutal slave labour camp and large
numbers of people did die, as large numbers of innocent people died elsewhere
in the war, why believe the rest of the baloney?

''I say quite tastelessly, in fact, that more women died on the back seat of
Edward Kennedy's car at Chappaquiddick than ever died in a gas chamber in
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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25. Judge: Threats violated Fair Housing Act
Seattle Post-Intelligencery/AP, Mar. 2, 2000
A federal judge has ruled that a hate group leader violated the Fair Housing
Act by making Internet death threats against a woman who was forced to hide
in the Seattle area.

Ryan Wilson and his Philadelphia neo-Nazi group, ALPHA HQ, were accused last
month of violating the Fair Housing Act. The case involved death threats to
fair housing advocate Bonnie Jouhari, a Reading, Pa., woman who moved to
Silverdale to escape the threats.

But anonymous death threats followed them and they moved again, this time
finding sanctuary with the family of a pastor in south King County. Jouhari,
who has since moved to the Washington, D.C., area, could not be reached for

Jouhari's case is believed to be the first brought by HUD for an
Internet-related hate incident.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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26. University Takes Out Full Page Ads
AOL/AP, Mar. 3, 2000
Bob Jones University is using full-page newspaper advertisements to answer
national criticism of its interracial dating ban and other issues that
cropped up after Republican presidential contender George W. Bush made a
campaign stop at the fundamentalist Christian school last month.

In the ''Letter to the Nation,'' University President Bob Jones III says the
school in Greenville has been wrongly painted as racist and anti-Catholic.
The issue is religious freedom, Jones wrote. The ad appears in USA Today and
the three largest South Carolina papers, in Columbia, Charleston and

Jones has an essay on the school's Web site that describes Roman Catholicism
and Mormonism ''as cults which call themselves Christian.''

In today's ads, Jones says the school admits students of various races and
works at ''promoting racial harmony'' in the community.

The university is not anti-Catholic, said Jones, adding that those in the
school ''love (Catholics) in Christ.''

The school lost its tax exemption in 1983 after a 13-year battle with the
Internal Revenue Service that cited the school's discrimination. BJU now
admits blacks but keeps the ban on interracial dating based on a biblical
interpretation that God created people differently for a reason.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Other News

27. Church provokes unholy row
BBC, Feb. 28, 2000
Plans for an evangelical church to move into a dilapidated Parisian theatre
is turning the spotlight on an official clampdown on what the French
authorities are describing as dangerous, religious sects.

Three weeks ago, a government committee recommended dissolving the Church of
Scientology there on the grounds that its activities threatens public order.

The latest target is an evangelical church, which promises to cure diseases,
including Aids. It hails from Brazil and has only a few hundred followers in
Paris, but its small size has not stopped the authorities from being worried.

The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, which has millions of followers
in Brazil, its own TV channel and a football team, is one of about 200 groups
who have been branded dangerous by a recent parliament report.

One of the report's authors, French MP Jacques Yard, told the BBC that
churches such as the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God should not be
allowed to operate in France because they ''try to control people's minds''.

He is in no doubt that such organisations are dangerous - not least, he says,
because they extort money from their followers.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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28. Blood traces match O'Hair family members, authorities say
Dallas Morning News, Mar. 2, 2000
Authorities investigating the disappearance of atheist leader Madalyn Murray
and her two children have linked bloodstains on a storage unit to two
of the missing family members, court papers said.

The findings represent the first physical evidence that suggests O'Hair was
murdered when she and her children vanished from San Antonio along with
$500,000 in gold coins in September 1995, the San Antonio Express-News
reported today, citing court papers it obtained.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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29. Court document reveals O'Hair blood evidence
San Antonio Express-News, Mar. 1, 2000
Blood traces recovered from an Austin storage unit have reinforced federal
authorities' belief that Madalyn Murray O'Hair and her two children were
dismembered there after being kidnapped and killed in 1995, according to
court papers.

The same court document claims Gary Karr, one of three men accused in the
disappearance of the O'Hairs, ''has allegedly told an informant that the bow
saw found by the FBI was one of two saws used to cut up bodies in a storage
unit and put the bodies in 55-gallon drums.''

In a lengthy affidavit filed last spring, federal authorities accused Waters,
Karr and Fry of abducting and killing the O'Hair family for $500,000 in gold
coins. And they have accused Waters and Karr of then killing and beheading
Fry, whose nude body was found on a Dallas riverbank two days after the
O'Hairs vanished.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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30. Sect creates religious crisis in Thailand
Chicago Tribune, Mar. 2, 2000
(...) In fewer than three decades, using modern marketing techniques and
selected monks, the Dhammakaya movement has grown from a small household
meditation group into a multimillion-dollar empire. Today it boasts a million
followers, a 600-acre headquarters an hour's drive from Bangkok and 13
meditation centers around the world, including one in Chicago.

The movement's success is one outgrowth of a return to religion across
Thailand after the nation was shaken by the economic downturn that swept Asia
in the 1990s and left many searching for other answers. Buddhism provided a
serene spiritual haven.

In Dhammakaya's case, the mass return to religion has elevated the movement
and made it the most powerful in the nation, though not without controversy.

Among the things that have raised suspicions is the fact that the governing
Buddhist Council (Sangha) has been unable, or unwilling, to crack down on the
movement's monks and abbots who break fundamental Buddhist principles, such
as the taboo on sex and the prohibition on accumulating personal wealth.

Some followers say the movement's abbot, Dhammajayo Bhikkhu, 55, is the
victim of a witch hunt. He is facing a court case for allegedly channeling
donations into his pocket instead of the temple. A Sangha inquiry, its
members already split, intends to find out whether his teachings have created
a schism in the religion.

So far none of a variety of allegations against the order has been proved.
Police found no evidence to support accusations the order asked its followers
to donate blood. The medicines Dhammakaya collected were indeed for
distribution to the poor. The authorities also failed to collect 10
followers, as required by law, willing to testify they had been coerced to
donate money.

In Thailand's temples, holy men conduct fortune-telling classes for a fee,
and authorized peddlers sell lottery tickets in the courtyards. Abbots have
been defrocked for living with women and fathering children. Others have been
accused of corruption or preaching false doctrines.

Thai Buddhists are concerned that in a country still recovering from an
economic bust, too many unworthy men donned the orange robe to escape poverty
and to gain a roof over their heads. Thailand now has an estimated 300,000

''On the one hand, you have a public which goes through the rituals but knows
nothing about the concept of Buddhism. On the other hand, you have untrained
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Noted

31. Experts differ over future of New Thought religious movement
Star-Telegram/The Gazette/AP, Mar. 1, 2000
(...) The unusual group, called Spiritual Gathering, is among fewer than a
handful of local congregations with links to an American religious movement
called New Thought that is more than a century old.

Churches differ -- some stress Christianity more than others, some eschew
psychic readings -- but all draw from a tradition that believes in the power
of the mind to positively influence health, wealth and relationships.

Though the movement's heyday was a century ago, these small congregations are
trying to hang on and even thrive, seeking new believers despite their
opposition to proselytizing and firm belief in individual will over

''The basic claim is your thought has power -- it can control or change
reality if you focus it properly,'' said Beryl Satter, an associate professor
of history at Rutgers University and author of a book on New Thought's
origins. ''They tend to say there's a God within, a divine spark within human
beings, and that's manifested in our thought power.''

It's hard to gauge how many people subscribe to New Thought philosophies.

The International New Thought Alliance, a loose-knit umbrella group for the
movement, counts 2,000 congregations around the world, most in the United

Even the schools of thought that have sprung from New Thought are loose in

The three largest -- Unity Church, Religious Science and Divine Science --
count among them about 780 churches and between 130,000 and 150,000 members,
according to a 1996 almanac of American religions.

One of the newer New Thought movements is Religious Science, ''a correlation
of laws of science, opinions of philosophy, and revelations of religion
applied to the needs and aspirations of humankind,'' the church says.

Though the church is sometimes confused with Christian Science, the two
differ in many ways. For example, the Church of Religious Science believes
thought and prayer can complement medicine, not replace it.

It ''considers the teachings of Jesus to be sacred, and (we) touch on them a
lot,'' Amant said, but it also incorporates Native American spirituality,
Buddhism and other world religions.

The spiritual climate in the United States suggests some hope for proponents
of New Thought. A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll in December found Americans
remain intensely religious but embrace nontraditional approaches to religion.

Only 54 percent of those surveyed described themselves as ''religious,''
while 30 percent defined themselves as ''spiritual'' but not religious.
Seventy-five percent said there's a religion ''other than their own that
offers a true path to God.''

Some New Thought churches in Colorado are getting their message across.
Mile High Church of Religious Science in Lakewood, Colo.
(www.milehighchurch.org) draws a total of 2,200 to 2,500 to three Sunday
services in a sanctuary holding 900.

The membership of the local Religious Science church dwindled to 13 around
1983, Amant said,but has grown steadily since, strictly through

Unity Church in the Rockies has taken a pro-growth approach by airing radio
ads and supplying information about the ministry to local cable TV stations.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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32. Hmong keeping new faith -- Christianity
Sacramento Bee, Mar. 2, 2000
For 16 years in her native Laos, See Thao was a Hmong shaman, called upon to
heal ailments of body and soul. She'd send evil spirits back to another
world, or bring a sick person's restless spirit home. She'd bargain with
spirits over matters of life and death, offering them gold and silver paper
and animal sacrifices.

But in 1979, when Thao herself was stricken by a mysterious illness, she said
a Christian pastor brought her back from the dead when shamans couldn't.

She burned her shaman's tools -- her gong, her finger ring bells, her
scissor-sword and her split buffalo horns -- and converted to Christianity.
''My clan and patients cried and tried to stop me, but I made my decision,''
she said.

Despite the resistance of some Hmong elders who see Christianity eroding
their ancient traditions of animal sacrifice and spirit worship, at least
3,000 of Sacramento's 20,000 Hmong are now Christian. They include Mormons,
Catholics, Methodists and Baptists, said the Rev. Timothy Vang, the erudite
pastor of the Hmong Alliance Church.

Although devotees of shamanism and Christianity seem worlds apart, they share
a common belief in holy spirits and a supreme being. The Hmong deity, Yawm
Suab (pronounced Yeh-shao), is a heavenly father who created the world and
all living things. And traditional Hmong believe in Shi Yi, who was sent to
Earth by the heavenly father to heal the sick, raise the dead and battle
Satan, Vang said.

Christianity also appeals to many Hmong because it's cheaper and cleaner than
animal sacrifice, and because of its purported healing powers, he said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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33. Frocks cost vicars image battle
The Times (England), Mar. 1, 2000
Bishops and clergy are seen by the public as white-haired, middle-class men
who wear dresses and ''are always after your money'', according to new
research commissioned by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Dr George
Carey and Dr David Hope.

The report, to be released to the General Synod of the Church of England
today, paints a picture of the public perception of the established Church as
an exclusive and out-of-date club with strange practices and rituals and dull
services. It could lead to radical changes in church dress and practice. The
research showed that young people in particular would respond better to a
more masculine image from male clergy.

The report, Hope and Dreams for a Future church, shows that young people feel
the main hope of eternity the Church can offer is in services that are
''boring and go on and on''.

Church spokesmen were painted as ''meek and weak'', and the Church was
criticised for ''constantly trying to tear itself apart''.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Books

34. Spellbound Harry Potter fans are given a temporary fix
The Times (England), Feb. 29, 2000
Classic British children's books are gaining extra sales because of a
phenomenon called the ''Harry Potter withdrawal syndrome''.

Addicted fans who have gobbled up J.K. Rowling's three bestsellers about the
young wizard have been appalled to learn that the next instalment, Harry
Potter and the Doomspell Tournament, will not be out until September. As a
substitute, booksellers are cashing in on America's new-found obsession for
children's fantasy by recommending ''Potteresque'' alternatives - spurring a
mini-boom in works such as The Hobbit and the Narnia series.

With 18.5 million copies in print, Ms Rowling's existing titles have achieved
the near-impossible by tempting American children to turn off the television
and log off from the Internet. The American Booksellers' Association's Book
Sense marketing campaign recently polled its 1,200 affiliates for suggested
alternatives. The group's ''Potteresque Top Ten'' features such staples of
British children's literature as The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien and The Lion,
the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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35. Providing a new faith for business
The Times (England), Mar. 2, 2000
Anyone who advocates that companies should define and preach their own
religions is courting controversy. When that person is also a marketing
expert, it's a fair bet that he is well aware of that fact.

Danish-born Jesper Kunde called his book Corporate Religion because he wanted
people to sit up and take notice. ''Had I called it Value Based Leadership it
would have met total neglect,'' he says. ''I was well aware of the freshness
and wonder that the word religion would add to my title. After all, I come
from a marketing background and know the power of intelligent advertising.
Corporate Religion is a memorable title, a provocative title. And that's what
corporate religion is about - you're committed to it or you're not. There is
nothing in between.''

Corporate Religion, for all its provocative title, has a serious message.
What most evangelists have in common is an obsession with a particular
religion. Mr Kunde, a branding expert, wants companies to create their own.
He claims that, in future, branding will have to go much deeper, embodying
the personality and beliefs of the company.

''The word religion derives from the Latin religare - to bind something
together in a common expression,'' Mr Kunde says. ''Corporate religion is
that which expresses the soul of a company and supports the building of a
strong market position. In order to make a corporate religion come alive you
have to describe your internal organisation as well as your external market.
These internal values create an internal movement that delivers the whole
heart and soul of the company.''

Mr Kunde cites Richard Branson's Virgin Group as an example of how to create
a corporate religion. ''Branson is a true visionary who sticks to his faith.
He has amply demonstrated that you can market a wide range of product
categories under one brand. In other words, the value element of the brand -
what the company stands for - is elevated over the product.''

Only a handful of companies have achieved brand religion status. They include
Harley-Davidson, which makes motorcycles but is associated in consumers'
minds with something much bigger - freedom, and Walt Disney, which has a
brand religion that embodies family values.

Corporate Religion is published by Financial Times Prentice Hall at £25.
Info: www.corporatereligion.com

36. Navigating spirituality sprawl
The Toledo Blade, Feb. 26, 2000
As seminary professor Bruce Demarest surveys the terrain of religious life
these days, he sees something he refers to as spirituality sprawl.

''People are clearly looking for meaning, looking for purpose, looking for
something beyond themselves, looking for satisfaction,'' says Dr. Demarest, a
professor of theology and spiritual formation at Denver Seminary.

To help those who are interested in spirituality but are overwhelmed by the
number of options, Dr. Demarest has written a spiritual traveler's guide
called Satisfy Your Soul (NavPress).

In it, he explores and tries to make sense of spirituality sprawl, placing
signposts along the way to identify what he considers true and authentically
helpful. He covers such practices as silence, meditation, contemplation,
journaling, spiritual direction, reading the spiritual classics, and walking
the labyrinth.

Writing from an evangelical Protestant Christian perspective, Dr. Demarest
says he wanted to recognize the valid insights in the long history of
Christian spirituality that he believes the Protestant church has neglected,
inviting Christians in that tradition to be more open to them.

In their zest for change, he says, the Protestant reformers of the 16th
century overreacted to legitimate excesses in the medieval church, ridding it
of many treasures. ''They stressed the intellectual dimension of faith, but
they threw out the experiential, subjective dimension.''

The result, he says, is that many Protestants today are strong in knowing
their faith and acting on it, but have seriously neglected its ''being''

He advises Christians to be discerning with the glut of spiritual practices
in modern culture, and offers some guidelines. For example, Dr. Demarest
recommends that Christians approach the labyrinth, an increasingly popular
walking meditation based on an ancient pattern, with an attitude of openness
to Christ.

He does not support the view of those who would link the labyrinth to the
divine mother, the God within, or the goddess.

Despite such reservations, Dr. Demarest remains an advocate of the
spirituality movement for Christians who stay within the bounds of their
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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* Satisfy Your Soul : Restoring the Heart of Christian Spirituality

=== The Copyist Around The Corner

37. [He copied it, but hasn't read it]
Yahoo/AP, Mar. 2, 2000
(...) It certainly would have been enough of a challenge if 64-year-old
Truman Meredith had merely decided that he was going to hand-copy the entire
Bible. But the semiretired construction worker's accomplishment is more
extraordinary, considering that he cannot read what he wrote.

Hour after hour, night after night for the past year, Meredith sat at the
dining room table in his apartment and meticulously printed the words of the
entire Bible onto loose-leaf notebook paper.

Meredith copied the Bible to express his newfound religious faith. He said he
hasn't always been religious, but health problems about a decade ago
motivated him to change his lifestyle.

''I know my letters, but I can't read. I want to learn how. It would tickle
me to death to read that Bible,'' he said, pointing to his stack of 14

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