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Religion News Report

Religion News Report - Mar. 9, 2000 (Vol. 4, Issue 176) - 1/2

arrow Latest: Religion News Blog
Rainbow

=== Aum Shinrikyo / Aleph
1. AUM tries to shirk payouts
2. City to register Aum followers
3. From Sarin to Software
4. AUM-linked security lapse
5. Japan Cult Trial Symbol of Slow Court System

=== Falun Gong
6. Tokyo govt rejects Falun Gong's NPO bid
7. Jiang likens Falun Gong to Tokyo gas-attack cult
8. More Falun Gong Followers Detained
9. HK, Australian sect members may face trial
10. Beijing holds Bay Area members of Falun Gong
11. Close eye kept on Falun Gong

=== Scientology
12. Church-paid defense experts: Scientologist's death unavoidable
13. Pathologists say clot killed Scientologist
14. Doctors paid by church give defense

=== Hate Groups
15. Patriot movement leader acquitted of conspiracy, attempted kidnapping
16. Lawmaker targeting hate group leaders
17. White power winning ears with pop rock
18. New ways to combat web racism

=== Christian Identity
19. The FBI calls it the nation's most dangerous hate group. And it's growing
in Missouri
20. Reporters manage to get in conference of Christian Identity, but they
stand out
21. Inside the Christian Identity Movement
22. Jewish man who has attended gatherings of group says, ''These guys are
very smart''
23. The movement ''is not Christian,'' says minister who heads ecumenical
group in St. Louis
24. Christian Identity beliefs
25. What is the Christian Identity Church movement?

» Part 2

=== Bob Jones University
26. Interracial dating? Get a note from Mom

=== Jehovah's Witnesses
27. Jehovah's Witnesses considering lawsuit over blood transfusion
28. Two principles in conflict over blood transfusions
29. Patients must be informed before donating organs

=== Mormonism
30. LDS prophet's book targets mainstream readers

=== Islam
31. While some overcome Islamic law, others are bound by it

=== Other
32. Cultists heed experts' warning, to abandon tunnels by mid-year
33. Cultists Shoot LASU Student
34. Religious Group Under Scrutiny
35. Ethnic Russian Religious Sect Seeks Swedish Asylum
36. Chopra Defeats Sex Harassment Suit
37. Vegetarian Antichrist is 'walking among us'
38. 'Devil' talk loses pastor TV slot
39. Mass Hysteria Causes School's Temporary Closure
40. Sikh Wins Discrimination Suit

=== Death Penalty
41. Court Voids Death Sentence After Jury Heard Bible References

=== Science
42. Evolution-creation debate grows louder with Kansas controversy

=== Noted
43. Why the X-Files is becoming our new religion
44. fromUSAlive.com Launches New Program to Explore the Mind and Spirit
45. Power of the Kabbalah


=== Aum Shinrikyo / Aleph

1. AUM tries to shirk payouts
Mainichi Daily News (Japan), Mar. 7, 2000
http://www.mainichi.co.jp/english/news/news03.html
Aum Shinrikyo has designated its software companies as being privately owned
in an apparent bid to evade legal requirements to compensate victims of their
terrorist activities.

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officials who are investigating five
AUM-run computer software companies have gleaned through e-mails that the
cult had ordered the firms to be established privately.
(...)

The five companies were set up but not registered with authorities, the
officials said.

''With no funds, [the companies] will not be covered by the law,'' the
e-mails said.

The e-mails were allegedly sent in November last year immediately after a
bill requiring AUM-run businesses to pay compensation was submitted to the
Diet.

Under the law, businesses affiliated with the cult have to pay compensation
to victims of AUM's crimes, such as the sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway
system.
(...)

In a related development, the Public Security Investigation Agency plans to
order the cult to resubmit reports on their members and assets.

Those reports were submitted earlier this month under a law that regulates
the cult. But the content of the reports was not consistent with figures
calculated by the agency.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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2. City to register Aum followers
Asahi News (Japan), Mar. 8, 2000
http://www.asahi.com/english/asahi/0308/asahi030807.html
Officials in Ootawara, Tochigi Prefecture, decided Tuesday to register
followers of the Aum Shinrikyo cult currently living in a former minshuku as
residents of the city, but only until July 20.

Ootawara will be the first municipality to register Aum followers as
residents since the start last spring of a nationwide movement to stop
cultists from moving in.
(...)

The decision, reached through a compromise between the followers and city
officials demanding their immediate departure, will be processed March 24.

In June, Ootawara officials rejected a request for residency registration
from the 19-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son of cult founder Chizuo
Matsumoto, and have yet to approve their move out of concern for public
welfare.''

We will serve as a test to see if the cult can maintain a harmonious
relationship with the municipalities,'' Ootawara Mayor Kazuo Senbo said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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3. From Sarin to Software
A doomsday cult's secret weapon: high tech
Newsweek, Mar. 13, 2000
http://www.newsweek.com/nw-srv/printed/us/in/a17040-2000mar5.htm
The M Group served some of the giants of Japanese industry and government.
(...)

No one had any complaints-until last week, when investigators in Tokyo linked
the M Group's five software firms to the doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo. Police
suspect that Aum followers wrote programs for more than 90 unwitting
government and corporate clients.
(...)

Was Japan on the verge of an Aum cyberattack? Managers of compromised systems
didn't wait to find out. They blocked Web sites, shut down networks and
closed databases. They have reason to be nervous. This year alone, hackers
have vandalized 11 government Web sites with messages denouncing Japan's past
militarism. Those attacks, plus Aum's violent past, stoked fears that the
quasi-Buddhist cult was plotting to cripple the country's computer systems.
Cult spokesman Fumihiro Joyu described Aum's software work as ''merely
economic and not based on any malicious intent.'' Few Japanese were
reassured.

Technology has always been Aum's secret weapon. In the 1980s its efforts to
peddle bargain PCs through cult-owned electronics shops blossomed into a $1
billion empire. The cult's half-blind guru, founder Shoko Asahara, lured
engineers, chemists and computer scientists from Japan's elite universities,
then put them to work developing weapons of mass destruction.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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4. AUM-linked security lapse
Mainichi Daily News (Japan), Mar. 8, 2000
(Mar. 6 in printed edition) - Editorial
http://www.mainichi.co.jp/english/news/opinion.html
(...) The police investigation has exposed an unanticipated flaw in
government-procurement policies in this technological age. Police officials
discovered AUM Shinrikyo's role in building government computer systems
because the group had been placed under police surveillance under a new law
passed in December. The government ministries and agencies, as well as the
private corporations, failed to discover the involvement of the AUM-related
company on their own. This oversight can only be attributed to sheer
carelessness.

A computer security plan compiled this January by the government proposed
that more sophisticated equipment and techniques be adopted to secure new
computer systems and to make them impervious to hackers and other invaders.

But what is the point in talking about computer security if an undesirable
group can become involved in installing computer systems that are to be used
by the government?
(...)

Police believe that AUM Shinrikyo could have engaged in cyber-terrorism and
infiltrated the Defense Agency's communications system if it had so desired.
The Defense Agency has pledged to beef up its screening of subcontractors for
all of its contracts.

While performing software work for a private company, cult members also
removed a disc containing personnel data on several thousand senior company
officials.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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5. Japan Cult Trial Symbol of Slow Court System
AOL/Reuters, Mar. 8, 2000
http://my.aol.com/news/story.tmpl?table=n
&cat=01&id=0003081022788547
Five years after a fatal gas attack on Tokyo's subway system, the guru of a
doomsday cult accused of the killing is still on trial, in what has come to
symbolize the country's snail-paced judicial system.

Shoko Asahara, leader of the Aum Shinri Kyo (Supreme Truth Sect), stood in
court for the 148th time on Thursday, on charges of masterminding the March
20, 1995 gas attack which killed 12 people and made thousands ill.

The trial, which is now in its fifth year, promises to go on much longer,
with legal experts saying it may be well over 15 years before the final
verdict.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Falun Gong

6. Tokyo govt rejects Falun Gong's NPO bid
Daily Yomiuri (Japan), Mar. 9, 2000
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/newse/0309so08.htm
The Tokyo metropolitan government decided Wednesday to turn down a request
for nonprofit organization status from Japanese members of Falun Gong, a
meditation group that has been outlawed in China.

The metropolitan government decided to deny the group NPO status on the
grounds that it could not rule out the possibility of the group's being a
religious organization. Such groups are not eligible for NPO status under the
law.

The Chinese government had asked Tokyo not to approve the group's request.
Sources close to the metropolitan government said the decision had been made
after taking into consideration relations with the Chinese government.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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7. Jiang likens Falun Gong to Tokyo gas-attack cult
Hong Kong Standard, Mar. 8, 2000
http://online.hkstandard.com/today/default.asp?PageType=aho7
The Central Government treats the Falun Gong in the same way the Japanese
government treats the fanatical Aum Shinri Kyo (Supreme Truth cult).

President Jiang Zemin gave this explanation yesterday of why the sect is
banned on the mainland.

In a talk with Hong Kong deputies to the National People's Congress, Mr Jiang
also disclosed that he had never heard of the group until his secretary burst
into his residence while he was having breakfast on April 15 last year,
crying, something bad is happening.''

At that time, Falun Gong members had surrounded the leadership compound at
Zhongnanhai in the mass demonstration that led to the crackdown.
(...)

After seeing the group, Mr Jiang said he ordered police to buy all the books
about the Falun Gong, and it was through these that he found the group was
spreading evil''.
(...)

After reading all the books and studying what he observed, Mr Jiang said he
was concerned that a great number of people had believed in the teachings of
the cult''. He wanted to stop its activities and educate people about its
dangers, Mr Ma said.

The Central Government then immediately defined Falun Gong as a cult.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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8. More Falun Gong Followers Detained
AOL/AP, Mar. 8, 2000
http://my.aol.com/news/story.tmpl?table=n &cat=01&id=0003081238577127
Chinese police have detained seven foreign followers of the banned Falun Gong
spiritual movement in the southern border city of Shenzhen, a human rights
group reported Wednesday.

The seven women, including three Australians and four from Hong Kong, planned
to go to Beijing to appeal for an end to the communist government's ban on
Falun Gong when they were detained Saturday, the Information Center of Human
Rights and Democratic Movement in China said.
(...)

Information Center founder Lu Siqing said four U.S. citizens detained by
Beijing police on Saturday in a sweep of Falun Gong followers remained in
custody. The U.S. Embassy confirmed that two were U.S. citizens and was
checking on the other two.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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9. HK, Australian sect members may face trial
Yahoo/WISE News, Mar. 9, 2000
http://asia.dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/newspapers/wisers/article.html?
s=asia/headlines/000309/newspapers/wisers/HK__Australian_
sect_members_may_face_trial.html
The mainland is planning to try Hong Kong and Australian members of the
banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, a rights group said yesterday as
authorities continued a crackdown to prevent protests marring the annual
parliamentary session. ''Authorities have detained seven Falun Gong members,
four from Hong Kong and three from Australia, in a sign of harsher treatment
for non-mainland members,'' said Frank Lu, the head of the Information Centre
of Human Rights and Democratic Movement.

Before people from Hong Kong and Australia used to be released ''soon after
being picked up'', Mr Lu said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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10. Beijing holds Bay Area members of Falun Gong
San Jose Mercury News, Mar. 8, 2000
http://www7.mercurycenter.com/premium/local/docs/falun08.htm
Eight Bay Area residents who practice Falun Gong remained under arrest in
Beijing on Tuesday, days after they were rounded up in China's latest
crackdown on the controversial spiritual movement.
(...)

At least two of the residents arrested are American citizens, and U.S.
officials are inquiring with Beijing authorities to determine whether two
more of the detained are also Americans, according to officials of the U.S.
State Department.
(...)

They think it's the right thing to go to China and talk to officials about
the crackdown and tell them that it's wrong,'' said Alan Zeng, a San Jose
software engineer, whose brother, Johnson Zeng, was among four others
arrested.
(...)

Zeng said he spoke with his brother about a week ago and knew that some
members of the group were in China to try to appeal to People's Assembly''
about its ban on Falun Gong. Most of them knew of the risk for arrest, Zeng
said.

The group went to Beijing a week ago to try to engage the government of China
in a dialogue about the practice of Falun Gong, a spiritual movement that
involves yoga-like exercises. Hundreds of Bay Area residents subscribe to the
practice, which is said to have a following of millions of people around the
world. Their arrival in Beijing was timed to coincide with the national
legislature's annual session.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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11. Close eye kept on Falun Gong
South China Morning Post, Mar. 7, 2000
http://www.scmp.com/Special/NPC2000/Article/FullText_asp_
ArticleID-20000307052524467.asp
Hundreds of undercover and uniformed police clamped a ring of steel around
Tiananmen Square yesterday to stamp out any protests by the banned Falun Gong
movement after a number of the sect's members were arrested over the weekend.
As the NPC started a second day of meetings in the Great Hall of the People
on the west side of the square, police roamed the huge esplanade
interrogating people.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Scientology

12. Church-paid defense experts: Scientologist's death unavoidable
Naples News, Mar. 7, 2000
http://www.naplesnews.com/today/florida/d429486a.htm
A Scientologist who died while under church care succumbed to an
unpreventable, unusual condition associated with a common injury, two
pathologists paid by the church said Monday.

Michael Baden, a former member of the O.J. Simpson defense team, and
Pittsburgh coroner Cyril Wecht are part of the Church of Scientology's
defense as it fights charges it was responsible for the 1995 death of
36-year-old member Lisa McPherson.

The two doctors said nothing the church did contributed to McPherson's death
from a blood clot in her lungs. Both agreed McPherson's condition was one
that can be missed in the best hospitals.
(...)

The church is fighting criminal charges of practicing medicine without a
license and abusing a disabled adult for it's treatment of McPherson.
(...)

In an unusual news conference Monday, the experts said they are coming
forward with their opinions now because they disagree with an editorial on
the McPherson case recently published in the St. Petersburg Times.

In most cases, defense expert witnesses do not discuss their opinions before
testifying to them in court.
(...)

The Pinellas County State Attorney's Office refused to comment on the
pathologists' opinions.

McPherson, died on Dec. 5, 1995, 17 days after being involved in a minor
traffic accident. She took off her clothes and began walking down the street.

Police took her to a hospital, but she soon left with Scientology officials,
who wanted her to avoid psychiatric treatment, which is against church
teachings.
(...)

McPherson was under the care of fellow Scientologists for 2 1/2 weeks at
Clearwater's Fort Harrison Hotel, the church's headquarters. Prosecutors have
accused the church of force-feeding her unprescribed medicine and forcibly
restraining her.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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13. Pathologists say clot killed Scientologist
Tampa Tribune, Mar. 7, 2000
http://tampatrib.com/FloridaMetro/MGIRYZO0J5C.html
A few years ago, forensic pathologist Michael Baden was a defense witness for
O.J. Simpson. On Monday, he went to bat for the Church of Scientology.
(...)

Baden and Wecht, who teamed up to write a book on the Simpson case after
Baden testified there had to be two killers, said McPherson was suffering
from neither malnutrition nor dehydration.

Those conditions were key components of Medical Examiner Joan Wood's findings
in McPherson's death Dec. 5, 1995, which occurred 17 days after a minor car
accident.
(...)

Both men said they were not working for free for the church, but they would
not disclose how much they were being paid. During Simpson's trial, Baden
testified he was paid $1,500 a day instead of his customary $2,500 to $3,000
fee because of Simpson's dwindling financial resources.

Wecht said Monday he was amused and offended by ysuggestions that Scientology
officials were paying the pair to say what the church wanted to hear.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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14. Doctors paid by church give defense
St. Petersburg Times, Mar. 7, 2000
http://www.sptimes.com/News/030700/TampaBay/Doctors_paid_by_churc.shtml
A former member of O.J. Simpson's ''dream team'' defense says Lisa
McPherson's As prosecutors consider whether to proceed with criminal charges
in the death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson, the Church of Scientology on
Monday presented two nationally known pathologists who said they have
scientific evidence that the 1995 death was accidental.

Drs. Michael M. Baden and Cyril H. Wecht also suggested their work is so
conclusive the case should be dropped.

Their primary conclusion: McPherson, 36, died suddenly and unpredictably of a
blood clot in her left lung that originated from a knee bruise she suffered
in a minor auto accident 17 days earlier.
(...)

Baden and Wecht said medical evidence proves McPherson did not die from
anything done by staffers at Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel, who, after
the auto accident, tried for 17 days to nurse McPherson through a severe
mental breakdown.

Prosecutors have questioned some of the methods of the Scientology staff,
including forcing food and medication down McPherson's throat and giving her
prescription medication and injections without medical licenses. But Wecht
and Baden dismissed these as the harmless actions of people trying to help.
They said they did not warrant criminal prosecution.

The doctors, hired two years ago by Scientology, also asserted there is no
evidence that McPherson was dehydrated or malnourished.

Their statements at a news conference Monday come at an unusual juncture in a
case that finds Scientology's Clearwater entity charged with two felonies in
McPherson's death -- abuse of a disabled adult and practicing medicine
without a license.
(...)

Baden and Wecht said they flew to Clearwater to respond to a recent St.
Petersburg Times editorial
about the case. In doing so, the two doctors
provided insight into the size and scope of the church's defense team. Wecht
said six additional forensic pathologists had independently reached the same
conclusions he and Baden reached.
(...)

The church also must contend with testimony from one of its own members, Dr.
David Minkoff, who told prosecutors in 1998 that McPherson was ''severely
dehydrated'' when he pronounced her dead.

In 1996, Wood said the blood clot that caused McPherson's death was due to
''bed rest and severe dehydration.'' She has since removed that phrase and
listed ''severe dehydration'' as one of several ''final anatomical
diagnoses.''

She has not explained her decision.
(...)

Both doctors said they spoke Monday because of a March 3 Times editorial that
said the church's experts put pressure on Wood to change her findings. It
also called for Wood to explain her revision and encouraged McCabe to
continue the prosecution.

Jack Reed, who edits Times editorials in north Pinellas, said the editorial
board ''is the newspaper's voice on public issues.'' ''Our editorial
position is that a jury should weigh the evidence and arrive at a verdict,''
Reed said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Hate Groups

15. Patriot movement leader acquitted of conspiracy, attempted kidnapping
CNN/AP, Mar. 8, 2000
http://www.cnn.com/2000/US/03/08/gritz.kidnap.ap/index.html
James ''Bo'' Gritz, a former Green Beret colonel and leader of the right-wing
Patriot Movement, was acquitted Wednesday of attempting to snatch a
12-year-old boy and reunite him with his mother.
(...)

Gritz, 61, had used his short-wave radio show and Web site to promote the
plight of Linda Wiegand, who accuses her ex-husband of sexually assaulting
and threatening the boy and another son.
(...)

Wiegand is a fugitive wanted on custodial interference charges. She called
The Associated Press on Wednesday to announce the verdict and said she still
believes her children -- who remain in the custody of her ex-husband -- are
in danger.
(...)

Gritz and his son, James Gritz, were arrested September 30, 1996, in the
parking lot of the McAlister Middle School, where Wiegand's son was a
student. James Gritz is being prosecuted separately, and prosecutor John
Malone said he would decide later whether to continue that case.

Prosecutors said the Gritzes planned to snatch the boy from school and
reunite him with Wiegand.
(...)

Bo Gritz served as a negotiator in the FBI siege of separatist Randy Weaver
and his family at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992. He also briefly was a mediator
in the Montana Freemen standoff in 1996. In 1998, he attempted to locate
alleged abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolph in North Carolina.

He ran for president in 1992 and is a leader of the so-called Patriot
Movement, which rails against a United Nations-led ''New World Order'' and
accuses the government of corruption and violence.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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16. Lawmaker targeting hate group leaders
Chicago Tribune, Mar. 8, 2000
http://www.chicago.tribune.com/version1/article/0,1575,SAV-0003060134,00.html
Seven months after Benjamin Smith's shooting rampage targeting minorities and
Jews, state lawmakers are considering beefing up what some already consider
the nation's toughest state hate crime law.

The proposal is aimed at leaders of groups who now cannot be prosecuted for
hate crimes they may have encouraged but did not directly participate in.

Bill supporters say Matt Hale, leader of the white supremacist World Church
of the Creator
based in East Peoria, is the most visible target because of
his outspoken views and his public attempts to recruit members. Smith was a
Hale follower.

The bill would create a new conspiracy crime that could earn up to 3 years in
prison for leaders found guilty. It also would create harsher penalties for
others who commit hate crimes.

Hate crimes are defined in Illinois as acts of violence or harassment against
a person or his or her property based on race, religion, gender, sexual
orientation, disability or heritage.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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17. White power winning ears with pop rock
Christian Science Monitor, Mar. 8, 2000
http://www.csmonitor.com/durable/2000/03/08/text/p1s4.html
The sound is that of most other pop music - straight rock, heavy metal, folk
ballads. But listen carefully, and the words can be disturbing, even
shocking. Race war is advocated. Germany's Third Reich is glorified. Blacks
and Jews are denigrated, sometimes targeted for violence and destruction.

It's called ''white-power music,'' played by bands with names like ''Blue
Eyed Devils,'' ''Plunder & Pillage,'' ''Bound for Glory,'' ''Skrewdriver,''
and ''Rahowa'' (the acronym for ''racial holy war'').

As it gains in popularity and acceptance, human rights advocates warn that it
is infiltrating mainstream youth culture as a recruiting tool for white
supremacist
and other hate groups.

''This is a movement that has grown from a few bands in the late 1980s to
over 100 bands in the United States today, a movement that has grown from a
handful of labels and distributors to over 50 in the US right now, and it has
been able to move closer and closer to the mainstream,'' says Devin Burghart
of the Center for New Community, a faith-based human rights organization in
Chicago.

Much of the activity is here in the Pacific Northwest, says Randy Blazak, a
sociologist at Portland State University in Oregon who studies hate groups.
But it is spreading throughout the country.
(...)

One particularly significant development, observers say, is the recent
acquisition of Resistance Records and its affiliated white-power music
magazine by William Pierce, head of the National Alliance. The West
Virginia-based organization, perhaps the most powerful and active white
supremacist group in the country, expects to sell at least 50,000 CDs this
year, which will raise money for its cause as well as draw potential recruits
among young listeners.

''Young people are not as interested with the details of ideology as they are
with the resistance music,'' says Dr. Pierce, who taught physics at Oregon
State University in the 1960s. (Pierce is better known for writing ''The
Turner Diaries,''
a futuristic novel about race war thought to have inspired
Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.)
(...)

Some experts say the trend has accelerated with the backlash against
affirmative action for minorities and the growing perception that the
economic boom (with its alleged ties to Jewish bankers) has bypassed the
working class.

Others note that it's attracting middle-class college students as well. A
recent poll of 18- to 29-year-olds conducted for the NAACP found that nearly
53 percent of white respondents essentially agreed with a separate-but-equal
philosophy regarding race in America.
(...)

In response, antihate groups are gathering in Chicago this weekend to promote
a ''Turn it down'' campaign to educate parents, teachers, and young people
about this growing trend. Here in Oregon, Dr. Blazak at Portland State
University has started Oregon Spotlight, an organization that provides
resources to fight hate crime.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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18. New ways to combat web racism
Neue Zuercher Zeitung (Switzerland), Mar. 3, 2000
Translation: CISAR
http://cisar.org/000303a.htm
For several years, government agencies, private citizens and politicians have
been trying to take measures against racism on the internet. With only
limited success: as long as nations like the USA protect racist publications,
the hands of Switzerland and other nations are tied. However, there are still
solutions, as the author presents in the following:

A year and a half ago, the Federal Police made their first attempt. They
tried to force Swiss internet access providers to block racist pages from
foreign countries. The attempt failed; since then providers and authorities
have been working on a mutual solution to the problem - so far without
success.
(...)

It is simple in principle: if illicit content is really to be prevented, then
that must happen where it is put on the net. In matters of racism, that is
primarily in the USA. Indeed, large providers like America Online have taken
measures against racist offerings on their public systems when they have been
made aware of it. Racist groups, however, can retreat to their own autonomous
internet computers without problem because their provider has separated its
own responsibility from that of the content put on the net by its customers.
This circumstance is also being exploited by people in foreign countries who
use computers on U.S. territory to globally distribute their propaganda. In
this way, the USA has used the label of freedom of speech to develop into the
world's leading ''safe harbor'' for racists.
(...)

However, private providers in the USA are not obligated to tolerate racist
publications on their computers or in their ''connections.'' Therefore, one
possible strategy would be to exert pressure on the individual provider.
(...)

Pressure upon American providers could also be used in other ways. One
possibility would be to win key figures on the internet over to the fight
against racism on the net: for instance, government agencies and larger
providers could declare that they would give services to providers who do not
support racism. Stormfront.org, for instance, one of the leading U.S.
internet platforms for racists, is serviced by Sprint, a U.S.
telecommunications company which is to be taken over by MCI Worldcom, which
is also active here in Switzerland.
(...)

Dangers of Self-regulation
(...)

For instance, in the USA today, individual people in companies who make
filter programs for the internet decide what should be accessible and what
not for schools, libraries and government agencies in the American State of
Utah. The filter in question blocks, for example, access to the Koran, the
Adventures of Sherlock Homes and an essay against racism.

In addition to that, there is a risk that, for example, an anti-democratic
regime would use a filter and blocking mechanism under the pretext of the
fight against racism for its own purposes to exercise censorship which would
not be legitimate according to today's standards. The same goes for private
organizations who do not wish text from the internet which is not accepted
them to be accessed. For instance, Scientology managed to intimidate the
provider Compuserve in Germany into shutting down a web site of a critic of
the sect. [That was Tilman Hausherr. Details at
http://home.snafu.de/tilman/cos_fun/parody_images.html - CISAR]
(...)

* The author of this article has written a working document for the combat of
racism on the internet on commission of the UNO High Commission for Human
Rights. It can be called up on the internet under
www.rvo.ch/docs/unracism.pdfOff-site Link .
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Christian Identity

* All items under this heading as part of a special report in the St. Louis
Post-Dispatch.

19. The FBI calls it the nation's most dangerous hate group. And it's growing
in Missouri
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mar. 5, 2000
http://www.stlnet.com/postnet/stories.nsf/ByDocID/
FBC2747240F6200A86256899003F00E0
The Christian Identity movement holds the distinction of being No. 1 on the
FBI's list of most dangerous hate groups. Extremist groups such as the Ku
Klux Klan
, the Aryan Nation and The Order have embraced the movement's
racist, gay-bashing and anti-Semitic doctrines to justify acts of violence.

Violence has followed Identity followers themselves. In the past year,
claiming they were acting under the authority of ''God's Law,'' Identity
followers have been charged in the slaying of a gay couple and the killing of
a postal worker in a shooting spree at a Jewish day-care center.

The movement is estimated by the FBI at 50,000 strong and growing,
particularly in Missouri, where there are 17 Christian Identity affiliates.
California is second with nine.
(...)

Post-Dispatch reporters Carolyn Tuft and Joe Holleman examine the beliefs of
Identity members and their movement, and the implications it will have on
race and ethnic issies in coming years.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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20. Reporters manage to get in conference of Christian Identity, but they
stand out
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mar. 5, 2000
http://www.stlnet.com/postnet/stories.nsf/ByDocID/
843A0B365E710B8186256899003708F1
Most religious denominations welcome visitors, trying to draw new members
into the fold. The Christian Identity movement's conference held last weekend
in Branson, Mo., seemed designed to keep outsiders out.
(...)

The reporters discovered the location by repeatedly driving down Highway 76,
Branson's main strip. One small sign at the Lodge of the Ozarks simply stated
''Welcome, Songs for His People.''
(...)

The two did not identify themselves as reporters, in hopes of not altering
the event.
(...)

But they did not conduct any interviews. They simply observed, took notes of
the presentations and bought Identity literature.

By Saturday, both reporters felt they were being watched. On several
occasions, they believed they were being photographed.

As the reporters were leaving the conference Saturday night, Farnum and two
Identity leaders, Ted Weiland and Michael Peebles, followed them down a
narrow hallway to the steps leading to the hotel's lobby.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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21. Inside the Christian Identity Movement
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mar. 5, 2000
http://www.stlnet.com/postnet/stories.nsf/ByDocID/
FFC96FC5E9247B228625689900360617?OpenDocument
Several crimes in the last decade have been linked to the Christian Identity
movement. At a conference in Branson, Mo., adherents worked hard to convey a
God-fearing wholesomeness. But a fundamental fierceness revealed itself.

The Christian Identity movement -- its message often used by white
supremacists
and anti-Semites as religious justification for their violent
acts -- is trying to soften its image as hard-core separatists.

Some Identity leaders were selling their new image at a conference last
weekend in Branson, Mo., although it is clear they still adhere to a
whites-only, gay-bashing, Jew-hating doctrine.
(...)

The Bible Belt along the Missouri-Arkansas border is the center of the
movement, and there are more Identity affiliates in Missouri than any other
state, according to a count of known affiliates across the country. Over the
past several years, Branson has become one of the movement's main gathering
places.

At last weekend's ''Songs for His People'' rally, members worked hard to
convey a God-fearing wholesomeness. But on Saturday, the two faces of
Christian Identity -- friendliness and fierceness -- revealed themselves.
(...)

Six hours later, many of the same children sat with their parents as speaker
Charles A. Jennings called himself ''a strong racist'' and said he was
pleased that ''the quality of our race is in this room.''

One audience member who applauded Jennings' speech was Thom Robb -- the Grand
Dragon of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which includes Missouri and is the
largest and most active chapter in the United States.

Robb lives in Harrison, Ark., about 30 miles south of Branson. Robb, who
dresses in conservative suits, has worked to soften the Klan's cross-burning,
robe-wearing image.

Taking a chapter from Robb's public relations strategy is Identity pastor Ted
R. Weiland, another speaker at the weekend conference.
(...)

What they believe

The roots of the Identity movement began in England in the late 1800s as
Anglo-Israelism. Followers believed that England and the United States were
the true Israel and that white Anglo-Saxons were God's chosen people.

They believed that Jews were descendants of Satan and that blacks and other
nonwhite races -- whom they called ''mud people'' -- were on the same
spiritual level as animals.
(...)

Not only are Jews and minorities vilified by Identity followers, so are gays,
lesbians and those who associate with them. Some of the more hard-core
members believe that followers can enact an immediate death penalty on those
who violate ''God's law,'' which they believe includes mixing races.

Identity followers, like many members of the militias that were exposed after
the Oklahoma City bombing, also hate the federal government.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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22. Jewish man who has attended gatherings of group says, ''These guys are
very smart''
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mar. 5, 2000
http://www.stlnet.com/postnet/stories.nsf/ByDocID/
A0D6483FBFD98A688625689900373D40
Ten years ago, a middle-aged Jewish man walked down the driveway of his house
near Springfield, Mo., to get his mail. Among the bills, he found a troubling
pamphlet.

It was from Gordon Winrod, a Christian Identity preacher from Gainesville,
Mo. Winrod is one of the most radical of the white-supremacist Identity
leaders
. He is the son of the late Rev. Gerald B. Winrod of Wichita, Kan., a
pro-Hitler propagandist so notorious in the 1940s that he earned the nickname
''Jayhawk Nazi.''
(...)

He spoke to the Anti-Defamation League and began researching the Christian
Identity's racist, anti-Semitic beliefs.
(...)

Increasingly troubled, he infiltrated the Identity ''Superconference'' last
spring in Springfield. To the man, a Marine who served 2 1/2 years in
Vietnam, the thought of entering a world where he was considered the
offspring of the devil was not overly frightening.

''I figured these guys were goofs,'' he said. ''But these guys are very
smart. I found them offensive and dangerous.''

At the conference, the man talked with Identity followers and heard diatribes
about blacks, homosexuals, mixed races and -- most of all -- Jews.

''I just schmoozed them to find out whether they were planning to shoot
someone or blow something up,'' he said. ''They laid out an apocalyptic plan
to get rid of all the minorities and Jews.''

He also heard of a plan to make the Bible Belt of Missouri the Identity's
promised land.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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23. The movement ''is not Christian,'' says minister who heads ecumenical
group in St. Louis
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mar. 5, 2000
http://www.stlnet.com/postnet/stories.nsf/ByDocID/
37E66D55ABF5E130862568990036A967
The constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech and religion allows anyone
to call an organization just about anything. But Christian leaders look
beyond names to see whether groups that give themselves religious-sounding
titles espouse Christian beliefs and theology.

The Rev. Dr. Robert W. Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of
Churches, had this to say about the Christian Identity movement:

''Even though this cult group camouflages itself under the word Christian,
its hate speech is not part of the Hebraic-Christian tradition.''

The council represents 35 Protestant and Orthodox denominations with a total
U.S. membership of 50 million.
(...)

''I'd like to go on record saying the Christian Identity movement is not a
church and is not Christian,'' said the Rev. Martin Rafanan, a Lutheran
minister and executive director of the St. Louis region's National Conference
for Community and Justice, formerly the National Conference of Christians and
Jews.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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24. Christian Identity beliefs
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mar. 5, 2000
http://www.stlnet.com/postnet/stories.nsf/ByDocID/
3F90169C27BE477C862568990036742B
* White Anglo-Saxons, the supreme race, are God's chosen people because they
were created by God and are the descendants of the lost ''12 Tribes of
Israel.''

* Jews of today are false Jews and not the chosen people; instead they are
the offspring of Satan as a result of Eve mating with the Serpent in the
Garden of Eden. Some preachers say Jews ''must be killed.''

* God will send another savior to restore the state of Israel to the rightful
people; all others will be condemned.

* Nonwhites are soulless ''mud people.''

* Isolationism and segregation are required; socializing with Jews or people
of other races is condemned.

* Interracial marriage, or mating with a non-white, is a sin.

* In some parishes, pastors call for the death penalty for homosexuals.

* Other religions gloss over the true meaning of the Bible, therefore
assisting in the erosion of society's morals.

* The mass media, controlled by the Jews, further erode our society's moral
standards.
[...entire item...]


25. What is the Christian Identity Church movement?
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mar. 5, 2000
http://www.stlnet.com/postnet/stories.nsf/ByDocID/
56D9C142F726A2C38625689900363099
(...)
Size: Experts estimate that the Christian Identity movement has at least 102
active affiliates, with 50,000 followers or active pamphleteers working in 35
states. Missouri has 17 Identity affiliates, more than any other state, with
California second with nine. The organization of the religion has no central
authority, instead it is a ''leaderless resistance'' -- hard-to-infiltrate
congregations around the country that adhere to the same doctrine but answer
to no one. The message is disseminated through mass mailings of pamphlets and
magazines, recruiting of the (disenfranchised) on college campuses and, in
the 1990s, on the Internet.

Some white supremacist hate groups who follow the Christian Identity
doctrine: Aryan Nations, Posse Comitatus, the Ku Klux Klan, the New Order and
the Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord.
[...more...]

» Part 2