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Religion News Report

Religion News Report - Mar. 12, 2000 (Vol. 4, Issue 177) - 1/2

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Rainbow

=== Waco / Branch Davidians
1. Judge orders re-enactment of Davidian seige closed to media
2. Judge rules that reporters can't attend Waco re-enactment
3. Feds Spirited Body, Door Away at Waco, Trooper Says

=== Aum Shinrikyo / Aleph
4. Asahara told him to kill, cultist says
5. 'Aleph' cult accessed classified police data
6. Aum affiliate wrote software for MPD, news organizations
7. AUM leaks shake up MPD
8. Firm linked to doomsday cult designed software for Tokyo police
9. Major firms tied to cult software
10. Aum must pay 668 million yen in sarin redress
11. AUM gas victims awarded 670 mil. yen
12. $49m bill for doom cultists

=== Falun Gong
13. 2 more Falun Gong followers back home
14. Local Falun Gong members still struggling
15. Tokyo rejects falun gong
16. Sect 70 on hunger strike

=== Scientology
17. Scientologists decry toll of criminal case
18. Much contested in USA-EU relations

=== Hate Groups
19. Klansmen set march for today
20. KKK threatens to sue Fort Payne after being denied parade permit
21. KKK vows to fight for Fort Payne march

=== Mormonism
22. President Hinckley fields common queries
23. Pres. Hinckley outlines 'the genius of our work'
24. Transcript: National Press Club Q&A with President Gordon B. Hinckley

» Part 2

=== Islam
25. A Lifesaving Mission
26. Dilemma for Muslims in Berlin

=== Word-Faith Movement
27. Holyfield settlement will keep Dollar in circulation
28. Dollar and the Gospel

=== Other News
29. Judge Bans Greek Best-Selling Book
30. Religious group wants book banned throughout Greece
31. Pastor brainwashed teen, family alleges in lawsuit
32. Trial under way for man accused in blood-drinking ritual
33. High-ranking Sikh leader to appear for religious trial in India
34. Satanic Taxes
35. Hackensack man racks up $70,000 in psychic hotline bill
36. First Buddhist Fire Ritual in U.S. Set for April in Yorba Linda
37. Pope's apology for past sins is carefully worded
38. Church name reflects new century, clears confusion

=== Science
39. Poll on creationism, evolution manages to back both sides

=== Noted
40. The art of the spiritual smackdown
41. Deepak Chopra's search for God
42. Ral love
43. Americans paint a positive picture for future of faith
44. On Religion: A mega church with a message for smaller churches
45. Bible scholars take a new look at Jesus
46. Counselling the Devil

=== The Chip Maker Around The Corner
47. Chip upstart takes on Intel ... with God


=== Waco / Branch Davidians

1. Judge orders re-enactment of Davidian seige closed to media
Waco Herald-Tribune, Mar. 10, 2000
http://www.accesswaco.com/auto/feed/news/local
/2000/03/10/952738889.23059.7585.0110.html
A court-ordered re-enactment designed to determine if FBI agents fired into
Mount Carmel on the final day of the 1993 Branch Davidian siege will be
closed to the media, a federal judge in Waco ordered Friday.

U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. ruled that the media ''have
identified no constitutional or common-law right that would entitle them to
access to this procedure.''
(...)

The judge's ruling to close the re-enactment came in response to requests
from media outlets, including the Tribune-Herald , to view the tests.

''Conducting the field test in secrecy will only increase the public's
skepticism about whether all the facts surrounding the Branch Davidian raid
have been completely and accurately disclosed,'' media representatives argued
in their motion.

Smith wrote in his four-page order that the media ''is entitled to no greater
access than is the general public.''
(...)

Those scheduled to observe the re-enactment include Smith, Danforth, five
government and eight plaintiffs' attorneys or their experts, three members of
Danforth's staff, eight congressmen and four representatives each from the
FBI and the Department of Defense.

Rob Wiley, a Houston attorney who is president of the Freedom of Information
Foundation of Texas, blamed Danforth for Smith's ruling. Danforth filed a
motion with Smith objecting to letting the media view the re-enactment.

''I'm not going to quarrel with the judge and his application of the
principles of law to this case,'' Wiley said. ''My problem is with the
special counsel. If he wants the public to have confidence in his
investigation, he ought to be clamoring for access to the recreation by
the public and the press. If the media is denied access, the only people
really getting hurt is the public.''
(...)

Also on Friday, lead plaintiffs' attorney Mike Caddell of Houston criticized
the government's insistence on the use of a ''hemispherical reflector'' that
could produce flashes similar to those seen on the infrared tapes.

Caddell said government officials want to use a large pop-up tent covered
with heat-reflective ''space blankets'' during the re-enactment to recreate
the flashes seen on the FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) videos.

''It is clear that the Department of Justice/FBI and their experts are so
desperate to create a flash during the Fort Hood demonstrations from
something other than gunfire that they are willing to sacrifice credibility
and scientific accuracy in the process,'' Caddell said. ''It is clear to
everyone that there was nothing like a 6-foot-high safari tent covered with
space blankets at Mount Carmel on April 19. DOJ/FBI have obviously flung
scientific accuracy aside.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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2. Judge rules that reporters can't attend Waco re-enactment
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mar. 10, 2000
http://www.postnet.com/postnet/stories.nsf
/ByDocID/34F7C66D1B79D6328625689F000BC45D?OpenDocument
A federal judge has closed the March 19 re-enactment of the conditions of the
Waco siege, stating that the press has no First Amendment right to access to
such pretrial scientific tests.
(...)

John T. Gerhart, a Dallas lawyer representing the news organizations, said he
had not had time to consult with his clients to determine whether to appeal.

The news organizations maintained that closing the test interfered with their
First Amendment right to gather news and undermined the credibility of
Danforth's investigation by ''shrouding'' it in secrecy. They also pointed
out that the test was being conducted as part of the wrongful death suit
filed by the Branch Davidians against the government and that neither of
those parties objected to the presence of a press pool.

Judge Smith said he was denying the media request for ''legal and practical''
reasons. The practical reasons were security and safety. He said the viewing
area for the test is small and that military should not be ''responsible for
assuring the safety of more civilians than necessary.'' The parties to the
lawsuit, Danforth's staff and members of Congress will be allowed to attend.

The judge likened the re-enactment to other pretrial tests that are closed to
the press and public, such as autopsies, DNA tests and lie detectors. He also
likened the test to a ''crime scene'' and said denying the press access would
reduce the ''likelihood of any type of spurious test results.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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3. Feds Spirited Body, Door Away at Waco, Trooper Says
Newsmax, Mar. 10, 2000
http://www.newsmax.com/articles/?a=2000/3/10/52116
In startling testimony, a Texas state trooper told lawyers that what appeared
to be a body and a missing door were spirited away from the Waco scene just
before troopers took over the Mt. Carmel site from the FBI.

Sgt. David Keys also stunned lawyers and government attorneys in the wrongful
death case filed by survivors of the Branch Davidian sect when he testified
that he overheard FBI agents talking about a ''fire fight taking place in
the rear of the compound. The government has insisted there had been no
gunfire in that area despite infrared evidence indicating there had been.
(...)

''The van that Keys saw could only have been kept secret, at that level, by
the military,'' Brannon told reporters. ''If somebody was killed, they could
just say that he was killed in a training accident. It's a mystery who it was
and we're waiting for somebody in the government to tell us.''

''Keys also says that he saw something as big as a door being loaded into a
U-Haul truck. One of the doors from Mount Carmel has been missing since the
day of the fire the door that might prove that during the Feb. 28 raid, the
ATF fired first,'' Brannon added.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Aum Shinrikyo / Aleph

4. Asahara told him to kill, cultist says
Japan Times, Mar. 10, 2000
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/news3-2000/news.html#story11
Aum Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara specifically ordered a former cult
follower to torture and kill fellow cultist Toshio Tomita in 1994 because
Asahara found out that he wanted to leave the cult, the former Aum member
testified Friday.

During Asahara's hearing before the Tokyo District Court, Shigeo Sugimoto,
who was considering leaving the cult at the time, said Asahara was testing
his belief in the guru by ordering him to torture Tomita, whom Asahara
accused of spying.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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5. 'Aleph' cult accessed classified police data
South China Morning Post/Reuters, Mar. 11, 2000
http://www.scmp.com/News/Asia/Article/FullText_asp_
ArticleID-20000311154611467.asp
The doomsday cult blamed for the deadly 1995 nerve gas attack on the Tokyo
subway system wrote software for the police that provided the sect with
classified data on police patrol cars, Japanese media reported on Saturday.
The Metropolitan Police Department discovered that the Aum Shinri Kyo
(Supreme Truth) sect wrote software to track about 150 police vehicles,
including unmarked cars, about a month before the system was to be completed
in early 1998, they said.

The cult was briefly able to receive classified tracking data on 115 vehicles
through the contract, reports said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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6. Aum affiliate wrote software for MPD, news organizations
Daily Yomiuri (Japan), Mar. 11, 2000
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/newse/0311so10.htm
A software company operated by Aum Supreme Truth cult members developed about
60 systems for 50 companies and organizations, including the Metropolitan
Police Department and news organizations, officials of the MPD's Public
Security Division said Friday.

Aum firms were already found to have developed software products for four
ministries and agencies, including the Defense Agency, and about 80 major
companies.
(...)

Data on about 115 police cars, including unmarked police vehicles, was
leaked, but police were able to minimize the damage by changing the cars'
license plates, the officials said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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7. AUM leaks shake up MPD
Mainichi Daily News (Japan), Mar. 12, 2000
http://www.mainichi.co.jp/english/news/news02.html
Revelations that confidential data held by the Metropolitan Police Department
(MPD) was leaked to an AUM Shinrikyo cult-related company have illustrated
the MPD's lax information secuirity.
(...)

The MPD discovered the leakage in February 1998 but failed to disclose the
incident ''because it didn't cause any damage to the force.''
(...)

The MPD discovered the company linked to AUM, now known as Aleph, was
involved in the project in February 1998, about a month before the system was
completed. However, only a limited number of senior officials were informed
at the time.
(...)

Subsequently, the MPD was forced to get rid of some vehicles and change the
license plates on others out of fear that data, including license numbers and
types of vehicles, may have leaked to the cult.

The MPD said AUM obtained a list of some 100 contractors for a major
manufacturing company, also unnamed, through Vainqueur.

The MPD confiscated the lists during a raid it conducted on Feb. 29 on eight
AUM-related facilities in connection with a case in which an AUM member was
accused of renting an office for the cult under a false name.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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8. Firm linked to doomsday cult designed software for Tokyo police
Boston.com/AP, Mar. 10, 2000
http://www.boston.com/dailynews/070/world/Firm_linked_to_doomsday_cult_d:.shtml
(...) Computer-related businesses have been one of the cult's biggest sources
of revenue since most of its leaders were arrested following the 1995 sarin
gas attack that killed 12 people and sickened thousands. Former Aum guru
Shoko Asahara is on trial for allegedly masterminding the attack.

The group, which recently changed its name to Aleph, is still believed to
have more than 2,000 followers.

Police suspect the cult attempted to steal government and corporate data.

The software developed for the Tokyo police was designed to manage nearly 120
vehicles, including those of top officials and undercover agents, the
official said.

Although the police discovered the cult link before providing all its data to
the firm, it had to get rid of some vehicles and change license plates.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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9. Major firms tied to cult software
Asahi News (Japan), Mar. 11, 2000
http://www.asahi.com/english/asahi/0311/asahi031102.html
Leading companies such as Sumitomo Bank, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.
and Mitsubishi Corp. were among the clients who had software developed for
them by Aum Shinrikyo-related companies, police sources said Saturday.
(...)

The fact that these companies were clients of Aum-related firms came to light
after documents were seized by police in raids of Aum facilities.
(...)

On Friday, police said an Aum-linked company called Vainqueur subcontracted
software development for the Metropolitan Police Department in Tokyo. The
programs were for managing police cars.

MPD officials insisted Friday that there had been no information leaks during
the development of the software, although it provided data on police cars for
tests on the new system.

Media organizations, Kyodo News and Nihon Keizai Shimbun, as well as a local
government workers organization overseen by the Home Affairs Ministry are
also known to have been clients.

This brings the number of companies and government bodies that were clients
of the Aum-linked companies to about 140.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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10. Aum must pay 668 million yen in sarin redress
Japan Times, Mar. 9, 2000
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/news3-2000/news.html#story4
The Tokyo District Court on Thursday ordered former members of Aum Shinrikyo
to pay 668 million yen to survivors of the March 1995 sarin gas attack on the
Tokyo subway system and next of kin of those killed in the attack.

The 668 million yen suit was filed in three stages between October 1995 and
October 1996 by 34 people injured in the attack and the families of seven of
the 12 who were killed.
(...)

The plaintiffs' team sued seven Aum figures, including Yoshihiro Inoue and
Seiichi Endo. The court has already ordered Asahara and five other members to
compensate the victims because they refused to appear in court.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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11. AUM gas victims awarded 670 mil. yen
Mainichi Daily News (Japan), Mar. 10, 2000
http://www.mainichi.co.jp/english/news/news03.html
Victims of the 1995 lethal Tokyo subway gas attack were awarded 670 million
yen compensation Thursday after the Tokyo District Court ordered a band of
seven one-time members of doomsday cult AUM Shinrikyo to pay for their sins.

Labeling the sarin gas attack that killed 12 and caused thousands more to
fall ill ''selfish,'' the court sided with a group of 41 plaintiffs seeking
compensation and ordered the cultists to pay the 668 million yen demanded of
them.
(...)

Courts have already ordered AUM to pay out 890 million yen in compensation to
victims of the attack.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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12. $49m bill for doom cultists
Hong Kong Standard/AFP, Mar. 10, 2000
http://online.hkstandard.com/today/default.asp
A Japanese court yesterday ordered seven cult disciples to pay US$6.3 million
(HK$49.14 million) over a poison gas attack on Tokyo's subway that killed 12
people and injured thousands.

Tokyo District Court said the members of Aum Supreme Truth, which has since
changed its name to Aleph, must pay a total 670 million yen in compensation,
a court spokesman said.
(...)

It was the second ruling in a civil case filed against Asahara and 14 other
disciples.

In the first ruling, the court ordered the leader, 44, who is still on trial
for 17 criminal charges including murder, and of his five followers to pay a
total of 890 million yen to the same plaintiffs.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Falun Gong

13. 2 more Falun Gong followers back home
San Francisco Examiner, Mar. 10, 2000
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?
file=/examiner/archive/2000/03/10/NEWS5774.dtl
(...) Zhizhen ''Mary'' Qian, a software engineer, and her son, David Sun, 11,
returned to Fremont Thursday after several days of police detention in
Beijing. Qian and David were among 18 followers of Falun Gong, the popular
mystical movement banned in China, who were arrested Friday and Saturday.
Eight of the 18 were Bay Area residents.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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14. Local Falun Gong members still struggling
San Francisco Examiner, Mar. 9, 2000
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?
file=/examiner/hotnews/stories/09/detain.dtl
The moment Jein Shyue boarded the airplane headed for California, he wanted
to return to Beijing - despite just having been jailed for three days over
his spiritual beliefs.

''I want to go back right now,'' said Shyue, a 44-year-old San Jose materials
engineer and follower of Falun Gong, the popular though banned mystical
movement. ''Seeing practitioners with your same mind-set is like looking at
yourself in a mirror.''

Shyue, and Loretta Sukmei Lam, 42, of San Leandro, talked Wednesday about
their experiences in detention after Beijing police raided a rented house
Saturday night, arresting 18 followers, including seven Bay Area residents.
Authorities arrested another Bay Area resident, Zhizhen ''Mary'' Qian, on
Friday.
(...)

They had gone to China separately with plans to protest in Tiananmen Square
and to try to address the Chinese People's Congress on Sunday. Though they
never met before, the followers felt a deep connection by sharing their
experiences, meditating and practicing their Falun Gong exercises, Shyue
said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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15. Tokyo rejects falun gong
Asahi Daily News (Japan), Mar. 9, 2000
http://www.asahi.com/english/asahi/0309/asahi030906.html
An application by the Japanese branch of Falun Gong-the spiritual movement
outlawed in China-for status as a nonprofit organization was rejected
Wednesday by the Tokyo metropolitan government.

Officials said documents submitted by the Falun Gong did not meet legal
requirements. A metropolitan government official denied that political
pressure influenced the decision.

''The decision was not made for diplomatic reasons, but strictly on whether
the group's activities are eligible for recognition under the law,'' said an
official with the metropolitan Community and Cultural Affairs Division
charged with authorizing NPO status for groups.

The official explained that inconsistencies were found in the group's balance
sheet-which stated zero spending-and its activities which involved using
large venues for gatherings.

The metropolitan government also said the group's guidelines for membership
were unclear. It also said that group publications also had what can be
regarded as religious references. Religious groups are not granted a
nonprofit organization status under the law.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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16. Sect 70 on hunger strike
Hong Kong Standard/AFP, Mar. 10, 2000
http://online.hkstandard.com/today/default.asp
Some 70 members of the banned Falun Gong sect are on hunger strike in
detention at a drug-detoxification centre near Beijing, an activist said.

Authorities have launched a huge security operation in the capital to prevent
sect members from protesting during the annual session of parliament, the
National People's Congress.

But despite blanket security the Falun Gong have held sporadic protests in
and around Tiananmen Square in the past five days, as they have done since
they were labelled an ''evil cult'' and banned on July 22.
(...)

Other practitioners in Beijing have also been rounded up and put in
''education centres'' or ''re-education courses'' at their work units to
prevent them from holding demonstrations during the parliamentary meeting,
other Falun Gong sources said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Scientology

17. Scientologists decry toll of criminal case
St. Petersburg Times, Mar. 9, 2000
http://www.sptimes.com/News/030900/TampaBay/Scientologists_decry_.shtml
A group of more than 200 Scientologists says the criminal prosecution against
the Church of Scientology has hurt them personally, and they are asking a
judge to dismiss the case.

In affidavits filed Wednesday in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court, many church
members said the criminal case stemming from the 1995 death of Scientologist
Lisa McPherson has prompted their non-Scientologist relatives, friends and
co-workers to question their involvement in the church, shun them, ridicule
them or express concern about their safety.

They aired their complaints to buttress Scientology's argument that
prosecutors have improperly burdened the church with two felony charges in
McPherson's death, and thus have ''chilled the religious rights of every
Scientologist'' in the world.

The filing is part of a flurry of arguments this week by Scientology as
church attorneys and prosecutors prepare for a major hearing scheduled for
Monday on whether the case should be dismissed.

The church's Clearwater entity, known as the Flag Service Organization or
''Flag,'' is charged with abuse of a disabled adult and practicing medicine
without a license. McPherson, 36, died of a blood clot in her left lung after
17 days in the care of staffers at Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel. They
were trying to nurse her through what they believed was a severe mental
breakdown.
(...)

In a brief filed with the affidavits, lawyers Kendrick Moxon and Helena
Kobrin, both longtime Scientologists, had strong words for the prosecution
led by Chief Assistant State Attorney Doug Crow. They alleged the state
attorney's legal arguments in December were rife with ''extreme religious
bias'' and a ''narrow-minded concept of a church.''

One of Moxon and Kobrin's central points was that the Scientology staffers
who kept McPherson at the Fort Harrison were engaged in an ''entirely
religious'' practice called the ''Introspection Rundown,'' which was devised
by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard to calm a person in the throes of
psychosis before administering Scientology counseling called ''auditing.''

Moxon and Kobrin said prosecutors are attacking that practice, in effect
forcing Scientologists to get psychiatric or psychological care, which is
against their religion.

It would be like ''forcing an Orthodox Jew to eat pork or forcing a devoted
Catholic to have an abortion,'' the lawyers said.

Crow declined to comment Wednesday, saying he would make his arguments in
court next week. But he cited a section in the prosecution's December
argument, which said in part that many actions of the Scientology staff had
nothing to do with the church's teachings.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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18. Much contested in USA-EU relations
Die Welt (Germany), Mar. 10, 2000
Translation: CISAR
http://cisar.org/000310a.htm
The dispute about the chief posts of the International Monetary Fund is not
the only thing that is putting relations between Europe and America to the
test.
(...)

Five points of contention
Hormone beef:
(...)

Banana Market System:
(...)

Export subsidies:
(...)

Scientology: In several civil assignments in the EU, such as in training or
seminars, offers are not taken from providers who belong to Scientology. The
USA criticizes that as religious discrimination.

Hushkits:
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Hate Groups

19. Klansmen set march for today
The Augusta Chronicle, Mar. 11, 2000
http://augustachronicle.com/stories/031100/met_124-8697.shtml
Folks at Salley Baptist Church have quietly prayed for the past month that Ku
Klux Klan
rallies today in their small town and up the road at Wagener are as
peaceful as such things can be.

They started praying when Mayor Bob Salley first showed his pastor a
parade-permit request from Klansmen wanting to recruit members in Salley,
home to fewer than 500 people. About the same time, a similar letter arrived
in Wagener, population 814, about eight miles northwest of Salley.

Mr. Salley said neither he nor Wagener Mayor Steve Carver knew why their
towns were chosen by the Carolina Knights of the KKK Invisible Empire Inc.

''We get along as well as any community I know of,'' he said. ''We're puzzled
as to why this should be happening here. But we have no legal reason to deny
the request. We have to honor and protect everyone's freedom of speech and
assembly. When we protect these people's rights we protect our own. We just
hope and pray that nothing goes wrong with hotheads on both sides.''
(...)

About 25 members of the Carolina Knights of the KKK Invisible Empire Inc. are
expected to march in Wagener at noon and in Salley at 3 p.m.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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20. KKK threatens to sue Fort Payne after being denied parade permit
Alabama Live/AP stream, Mar. 9, 2000
http://flash.al.com/cgi-bin/al_nview.pl
/home1/wire/AP/Stream-Parsed/BAMA_NEWS/j6101_PM_AL--KKK-PermitSuit
The leader of a Georgia Ku Klux Klan chapter which has demonstrated on the
grounds of the DeKalb County Courthouse for the past five years, said he
would sue the city in federal court after being denied a permit for a June
parade.

''We'll be here on June 10, and we'll march on your streets,'' said Don
Romine of Oglethorpe, Ga., after the unanimous vote Tuesday by the Fort Payne
City Council.

Romine, Imperial Wizard of the North Georgia White Knights of the Ku Klux
Klan, said federal courts in Ohio and New York have ruled the KKK has a right
to demonstrate, and he would seek the same ruling in Fort Payne.
(...)

In efforts to keep the KKK from demonstrating, the council has banned
parades, citing public safety. The city's annual Christmas parade is the only
one permitted, because the city is a co-sponsor.

Celebrations like family reunions must have a permit in city parks, and must
be approved by the council on the police's chief's recommendation.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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21. KKK vows to fight for Fort Payne march
The Birmingham News, Mar. 9, 2000
http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/Mar2000/9-e406829b.html
A Ku Klux Klan leader said his group will fight for the right to march
through downtown Fort Payne in June after being denied a parade permit.

''That is one of our First Amendment rights, and they are not taking away my
rights,'' said Don Romine, imperial wizard of the North Georgia White Knights
of the Ku Klux Klan.

Fort Payne City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to deny the group a
march permit.

Romine said his group sent a letter Wednesday to the American Civil Liberties
Union office in Alabama requesting help to fight the council's decision in
federal court. The ACLU has helped Klan groups in other states win the right
to march.
(...)

Fort Payne Police Chief David Walker, who had recommended the council not
approve the permit, said he was concerned about the cost of providing
security for the march and its potential for trouble. ''It is very difficult
to provide the proper security that is necessary when such a controversial
group wants to march through your streets and get everybody stirred up,'' he
said.

The group has held demonstrations on the steps of the DeKalb County Court
house in downtown Fort Payne each of the past five years, Walker said. The
city couldn't regulate those gatherings because it was on county property, he
said. At last year's event, several klansmen were arrested after police found
firearms in their cars.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Mormonism

22. President Hinckley fields common queries
Deseret News, Mar. 9, 2000
http://www.desnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,155008865,00.html?
Yes, Mormons are Christians. No, Mormons don't seek apologies from those who
call them cultists. Yes, Mormons fought same-sex marriages in California. No,
that doesn't mean the church will expand more into politics.
(...)

LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley offered such answers during a
half-hour of fielding questions from international journalists and their
guests after a speech Wednesday at the National Press Club.
(...)

When asked about groups that say Mormons are not Christians, President
Hinckley said, ''I can never understand it. The very name of the Savior is in
the name of the church. . . . The New Testament is a fundamental scripture
for us. We have in addition to that the Book of Mormon, which becomes another
witness for Jesus Christ.''

But he said the church does not seek apologies from such groups. ''We have
some differences, but we don't worry much about that. We just go on talking
positively, teaching positively, working affirmatively to make the world a
better place.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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* Just like attaching a Roll Royce logo to a Volkswagen does not make the
latter a Rolls Royce, using the name of Jesus Christ does not make
Mormonism Christian. The ''Jesus'' created by the Mormon Church is far
different from
the biblical Jesus Christ. Suggesting the Mormon Jesus is
''Christian'' is as dishonest as selling a counterfeit watch as a ''Rolex.''


23. Pres. Hinckley outlines 'the genius of our work'
Deseret News, Mar. 8, 2000
http://www.desnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,155008626,00.html?
President Gordon B. Hinckley told the National Press Club Wednesday a secret
to the rapid, solid growth by the LDS Church. ''The genius of our work is
that we expect things of our people. They grow as they serve, and there are
numerous opportunities to challenge them,'' President Hinckley said.

He outlined such opportunities, especially expanding LDS humanitarian work,
to a sold-out crowd of journalists. He is the first president of The Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to speak at the club, where more heads
of state have appeared than at any other forum except the White House.
(...)

Their missionary service also has brought rapid church growth, and President
Hinckley said that ''no other church which has risen from the soil of America
has grown so large or spread so quickly.''

For example, he said he once had responsibility of overseeing church work in
Chile when only 100 LDS members lived there. ''A short time ago I was back in
Santiago, and spoke to a congregation assembled in a large football stadium
with 57,500 in attendance. I could scarcely believe what I saw.''
(...)

He said the church is also expanding humanitarian efforts to non-Mormons.
''Last year alone, we sent humanitarian aid to assist with 829 projects in
101 countries, giving $11.2 million in cash and $44 million in material
resources.''
(...)

President Hinckley also noted from where the money comes for such work. ''It
comes from the observance of the ancient law of the tithe.''

He said LDS Church members pay tithing ''cheerfully with faith in the
promise of Malachi that God will open the windows of heaven and shower down
blessings upon them. We do not pass the plate. We do not play bingo. We pay
our tithing.''

He added, ''This law is set forth in 35 words in our scripture. Compare that
with the rules and regulations of the Internal Revenue Service.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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* Full text: President Hinckley's speech at the National Press Club
http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,155008580,00.html?


24. Transcript: National Press Club Q&A with President Gordon B. Hinckley
http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,155008723,00.html?
Questions from Jack Cushman, The New York Times
President of the National Press Club
(...)

Q. How should members of the church respond to efforts of some other
religious groups to convert them to other beliefs and religions?
A. Well, I say this: We don't downgrade any religion. We recognize the good
they all do. I say to those of other faiths: 'You bring all the good that you
have and let us see if we can add to it.' Now that's our attitude reduced to
a very short statement, and it works.
(...)

Q. With more members of the church outside the U.S. than within the U.S. does
this present a need for greater decentralization of the administrative
functioning of the church?
A. We are doing that. We know we can't lick every postage stamp in Salt Lake
City. Of course, we do. So we have established area offices across the world
where we have three of what we call our general authorities presiding over an
area of the world. We now has such offices in Brazil, in Argentina, in
Bolivia, in Chile, in Japan, in Hong Kong and Manila, South Africa and West
Africa, and so on. We are decentralizing in that respect. We have to.
(...)

Q. Do you find that the image of the church is changing rapidly, slowly? Do
you work at bringing about change in the way the church is viewed by those
outside the church?
A. Constantly trying to build understanding. As I indicated in what I said
in my talk, ignorance leads to misunderstanding. When we don't know how other
people act, what they believe, we view them with suspicion. When we get to
know more about them that suspicion turns to appreciation, and I think that
is what we are trying to do, trying to accomplish. Now compared to 100 years
ago, 150 years ago, we live in a world that pretty well understands us and I
think appreciates us. We are freed from that terrible persecution of the
past. We are living in a new day when the sunshine of good will pours in upon
the church and assists us in the spread of our work across the world.

Q. And yet at times you hear even from other Christian faiths, your church is
not a Christian church.
A. I know. I can't understand it. I can never understand it. The very name
of the Savior is in the name of the church. I can't understand how they can
possibly say that. The New Testament is a fundamental scripture for us. We
have in addition to that the Book of Mormon, which becomes another witness
for Jesus Christ. I can't understand why they take that position, but their
position comes of the tradition of their fathers, I think. Our position comes
from the Restoration of the gospel. We have some differences. We don't worry
much about that. We just go on with our work, talking positively, teaching
positively, working affirmatively, making the world a better place to live.
[...more...]
* Just like attaching a Roll Royce logo to a Volkswagen does not make the
latter a Rolls Royce, using the name of Jesus Christ does not make
Mormonism Christian. The ''Jesus'' created by the Mormon Church is far
different from
the biblical Jesus Christ. Suggesting the Mormon Jesus is
''Christian'' is as dishonest as selling a counterfeit watch as a ''Rolex.''

» Part 2