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Religion News Report

July 4, 2000 (Vol. 4, Issue 223)

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=== Waco / Branch Davidians
1. Local man offers insight into Waco
2. Waco Trial Speeds Ahead Without Revelations
3. Member of jury that convicted Davidians criticizes U.S. agents

=== Life Space
4. Guru denies killing man found mummified

=== Islam
5. Legislature OKs bill on food of Muslims

=== Buddism
6. Buddhism's face changing

=== Mormonism
7. Controversial LDS Critic Ready to Repent and Return To the Faith? 'No,' He
Says, 'I Haven't Gone Insane',

=== Hate Groups
8. Racist Church Membership Increases
9. Novel of hate was his guide; Book by former US academic portrays setting
up of 'perfect Aryan world'

10. The Nailbomber Trial: The Internet - `Terrorist's Cook Book' found on the
Net

=== Other News
11. 'Cult members' murder woman
12. Seven Dead in Possible Family Suicide
13. Trial begins for cult killer on bad-check charges
14. 10th Wife, Now an Ex, May Be Key to Polygamist's Fate
15. Controversy brews over Korean preacher

=== Noted
16. Some Still Doubt Evolution
17. Preacher, Teacher, Nag: Dr. Laura Speaks


=== Waco / Branch Davidians

1. Local man offers insight into Waco
Portland Press Herald, July 1, 2000
http://www.portland.com/news/local/000701waco.shtmlOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Mark Swett of Westbrook was among the millions of television viewers who watched the Branch Davidian religious compound in Waco, Texas, go up in flames after a 51-day standoff with the FBI in 1993.

But while most Americans turned their attention elsewhere after the tragedy, the Waco incident became an obsession for Swett, a self-taught expert on religious cults.

For seven years, he has studied the siege and the theology of David Koresh, the sect leader who was killed in the fire along with 74 followers. In the process, Swett assembled perhaps the largest recorded and written archive on Koresh, his religious beliefs and the sect's fateful confrontation with federal authorities.

Today he is regarded as one of the nation's top independent researchers on the Waco tragedy. His work may play a key role in the $675 million wrongful death lawsuit that Branch Davidian survivors have brought against the FBI. The lawsuit is now being heard in U.S. District Court in Waco.

Swett, 49, believes the Davidians are largely responsible for the fire that killed dozens of sect members, and he presents the evidence that he says supports his theory on a Web site he created.

But Swett is quick to add that his goal is not to assign blame but to make sure all the facts are disclosed to the public. ''I don't support the government and I don't support the Davidians,'' he said. ''I'm pro-truth.''
(...)

Swett, who makes his living in the insurance business, said he was drawn to the Davidian tragedy because he has had a lifelong interest in studying religions, and the doctrines and interpretations of divinity on which they are built.

Using the Internet, the federal Freedom of Information Act and meetings with Davidians and their lawyers, he assembled hundreds of hours of audiotaped interviews as well as documents on the sect and its religious teachings.

His archive includes 75 surveillance recordings of conversations within the Davidian complex that the FBI gathered by concealing microphones in shipments of milk and food for the sect's children.

Swett also has hours of Bible study tapes recorded by Koresh, as well as tapes of FBI negotiations with the leader in Waco.

He also has created a Web site on the Waco tragedy. The site, titled ''Waco Never Again!,'' features transcripts of many of the tapes, essays on Davidian theology by biblical scholars and statements by sect members who survived the Waco tragedy.

While Swett is relatively subdued in personal conversation about Waco, the Web site features dramatic statements and transcriptions of tapes. ''For the record,'' Swett writes on the Web site, ''I firmly believe that the fire that consumed those inside of Mt. Carmel was the result of the actions of the Branch Davidians.'' He said he bases that conclusion on the FBI surveillance and negotiation tapes, as well as his knowledge of Koresh's theology.

The Internet address is:

http://home.maine.rr.com/wacoOff-site Link
(...)

Swett said it was impossible for sect members to obey FBI requests to abandon Mount Carmel.

''To leave David Koresh and to leave the building,'' he said, ''was to reject eternal salvation.''

With his knowledge of Koresh theology, Swett has contributed to four books, several television productions and two plays on the Waco tragedy. He has been interviewed by Justice Department investigators. He also provided information to John C. Danforth, a former U.S. senator who is serving as a special counsel looking into the Waco incident.

Swett said he may be called as a witness in the civil lawsuit against the FBI that began in Waco last month.
(...)

Swett said any testimony he gives on the surveillance tapes may undermine the plaintiffs' allegation that the FBI was to blame for the fire, because the tapes show that fuel was spread in the compound by Davidians.

He said his insistence on full disclosure of the evidence has undermined his relationship with several sect members, who previously provided him with information for his research.

''I've become a Judas,'' he said.

The trial is expected to end by mid-July, but Swett said he doubts that the verdict will settle the controversy over who should bear the blame for the deaths.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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2. Waco Trial Speeds Ahead Without Revelations
Los Angeles Times, July 3, 2000
http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/
20000703/t000062853.html
Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(...) Amid scant nationwide media attention, the testimony appears to have broken little new ground in the public's understanding of what happened at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco. And the trial is moving toward a rapid conclusion, weeks ahead of schedule.

''I think it's fair to say that there is little new material coming out, and what we're seeing at this trial is a focus on several fairly narrow issues,'' Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the Justice Department said in an interview from Waco.
(...)

As testimony continues this week, the government is expected to shift its focus from the ''ambush'' faced by ATF agents on Feb. 28 to the ferocious blaze that began just after noon on April 19.
(...)

Moreover, the FBI had ''no duty to rescue the plaintiffs'' from a fire that they themselves set, the government argued in a court filing last week. ''No such duty exists under Texas law,'' and as a result the Davidians' arguments that the FBI should have had a fire plan in place at the conclusion of the standoff is a moot point, government lawyers asserted.

Key testimony in the trial could come this week if two central players at Mount Carmel near Waco--FBI Hostage Rescue Team commander Richard Rogers and FBI regional chief Jeffrey Jamar--are called to the witness stand.
(...)

Mrozek, the Justice Department spokesman, said last week that ''we are considering [calling both men] but have not made a final decision yet.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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3. Member of jury that convicted Davidians criticizes U.S. agents
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 3, 2000
http://www.postnet.com/postnet/stories.nsf/ByDocId/
75C14A9345C90BFE862569110040E774
Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
WACO, Texas - The forewoman of the jury that convicted Branch Davidians of criminal charges believes the federal government was mostly responsible for the deaths and injuries that occurred at Waco in 1993.

Sarah Bain, the juror, says that the Davidians who were convicted are paying for crimes with prison sentences. And she said the time has come for the government to pay for its actions, too, through the civil trial that resumes Wednesday in Waco.

''I'm waiting for the balance of responsibility to be weighed,'' said Bain, a retired teacher from San Antonio. She believes that individual defendants should have been included in the suit, including government officials who planned the initial raid on the Davidians' complex as well as the tear gas assault to evict them.

''I think they are the ones who used poor judgment,'' she said.
(...)

She showed up in federal court last week as an observer. During a break in the testimony, she said she believed the federal government was 75 percent responsible for what happened, while the Davidians caused 25.
(...)

In 1994 Bain was one of 16 jurors (12 jurors and four alternates) who heard seven weeks of evidence and testimony in the criminal trial of 11 Davidians in San Antonio.
(...)

In an interview, Bain said it was never clearly established why the ATF needed 76 agents to raid the complex military style when it seemed that Koresh could have been arrested while he was out jogging. She said she suspected the agency needed favorable publicity at a time when its budget was in jeopardy.

''That was hinted at during the trial,'' she said. Another issue, she said, was the fact that the raid commanders went ahead with their plan even though they knew the element of surprise had been lost. A group of ATF agents later shared in a $15 million settlement from a Waco newspaper, television station and ambulance company. The agents had sued claiming that actions of the three indirectly contributed to the Davidians' learning that the raid was coming.

Bain had always been upset with the sentences that U.S. District Judge Walter Smith handed the defendants. Smith gave those found guilty of manslaughter the mandatory 10-year prison term. The use of a weapon in the commission of a federal crime brings a five-year sentence.

But Smith ordered additional 30-year sentences on the basis that they had access to automatic weapons, although no one had testified that they had used them. On June 5, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously decided to reduce the sentences of four Davidians to 15 years from 40 years and reduced the term of a fifth defendant to 15 years from 20 years.

The Supreme Court decision was a step toward balancing the scales of justice, Bain said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Life Space

4. Guru denies killing man found mummified
Japan Times (Japan), July 5, 2000
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20000705b2.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
CHIBA (Kyodo) The guru of a ''self-enlightenment'' group blamed for the death of a member whose mummified body was found in a Narita hotel last year pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of murder.

Speaking in his first hearing before the Chiba District Court, Koji Takahashi, founder of Life Space, pleaded not guilty to murdering Shinichi Kobayashi, 66, of Kawanishi, Hyogo Prefecture.
(...)

Members of Life Space, following the orders of Takahashi, left Kobayashi's body on the bed and kept records of its decomposition for four months -- until hotel workers alerted police and the corpse was found in November.

Before and after his arrest, Takahashi insisted Kobayashi ''was not dead yet'' and only died because police removed his body from the hotel.

Kobayashi's 31-year-old son, Kenji, also a member of Life Space, has also been indicted for his role in the death of his father.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Islam

5. Legislature OKs bill on food of Muslims
Chicago Tribune, June 30, 2000
http://chicagotribune.com/news/metro/chicago/
article/0,2669,SAV-0006300241,FF.html
Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
TRENTON, N.J. -- New Jersey is poised to become the first state in the nation to enact a law regulating the sale of food prepared under Muslim dietary laws.
(...)

Many Muslim leaders, who lobbied the state legislature to pass a law similar to the statute that regulates kosher food for Jews, praised the bill as a sign of the growing significance of their religion in mainstream America.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Buddism

6. Buddhism's face changing
Chicago Tribune, June 16, 2000
http://chicagotribune.com/news/metro/chicago/ws/item/
0,1308,41555-43857-45323,00.html
Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
The traditional image of Buddhism comes to life at Wat Dhammaram, a Thai temple in Bridgeview where monks with shaved heads and orange robes meditate, offer guidance and teach Sunday school classes to children of Thai natives.

But more and more often, the faces of Buddhism in the Chicago area belong to the young North Shore couple hoping to relieve stress or the computer analyst from Hyde Park who meditates weekly.

Without proselytizing or actively seeking members, Buddhism is flourishing in Illinois and nearby states. Over the last five years the number of Buddhists has risen 25 percent, said Asayo Horibe, president of the Buddhist Council of the Midwest, and four or five new temples open each year.

The increase, Horibe said, is explained in part by immigration, especially to Chicago, of people from countries that are strongholds of Buddhism, such as Thailand, Vietnam and Japan.

But she also finds more Americans and other Westerners interested in finding deeper spirituality through Buddhism.
(...)

Some of the current fascination with the religion, Horibe said, may be linked to celebrity Buddhists like Richard Gere or the fashion for new-age mysticism. Indeed, interest in Buddhism in America has spiked during introspective times, such as the beatnik times of the 1950s and the hippie movement of the 1960s.

But a closer look reveals a sincere commitment on the part of many Chicago-area converts to the teachings, as well as an openhearted welcome from many Buddhist temples.
(...)

While some members of the Buddhist tradition agree to live by strict rules, in particular monks who abstain from eating after noon each day and never touch women, there is no requirement to convert to the teachings before participating in the rituals. In fact, Buddhists embrace adherents to other religions.

''The Buddha said there are 84,000 different paths to the truth,'' Horibe said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Mormonism

7. Controversial LDS Critic Ready to Repent and Return To the Faith? 'No,' He Says, 'I Haven't Gone Insane',
Salt Lake Tribune, July 1, 2000
http://www.sltrib.com/2000/jul/07012000/
saturday/63352.htm
Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
The rumor hit Mormon Internet discussion groups like a trumpet blast from the golden horn of the Angel Moroni: Ed Decker, who left the LDS Church in 1976 to become one of its most reviled foes, was returning to the faith.

It was the story of the Prodigal Son all over again. Decker, founder of the ex-Mormons group Saints Alive in Jesus and author of such LDS exposes as ''The Godmakers,'' would confess his errors and possibly repent during the Aug. 24-25 Mormon Apologetics Symposium at Alta.

Problem was, it just wasn't true. More on that later.

The source of the speculation? A news release from the symposium's sponsor, the Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research Inc. (FAIR), stating that Decker had asked to present a paper to the group of Mormon defenders titled ''Confessions of a Professional Anti-Mormon.''

In announcing Decker's overture, FAIR President Darryl Barksdale admitted to being wary and asked him to submit a draft of his paper. Still, he could not completely contain his excitement about hosting the forum for such a sensational personal revival.

''If Mr. Decker is sincere in his desire to repent of his deceptive and un-Christian past, we certainly applaud his change of heart and his willingness to undo some of the damage he's done,'' Barksdale said. ''It takes a courageous man to do that. We welcome him with open arms.''

But members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can hold off breaking out in a round of ''Come, Come, Ye Saints.'' Decker, reached through his Saints Alive headquarters in Issaquah, Wash., says not only will he be a FAIR no-show, he has no intention of returning to the faith.

''No, I haven't gone insane. I'm not going back to the Mormon Church,'' he said, though he acknowledged having contacted FAIR about speaking.

Decker said his original inquiry was ''kind of tongue-in-cheek'' and that FAIR's reaction had convinced him he would be better off not going.

''I saw this [conference] pop up on my e-mails and just thought I'd e-mail [FAIR] and see what they'd think,'' Decker said. ''I was looking for something between me railing on the Mormons and falling down on my face and confessing and 'repenting my evil ways.' ''

Had he spoken to FAIR, Decker said he simply planned to ''tell them there are irrefutable, nonnegotiable differences between Orthodox Christianity and Mormonism.''
(...)

FAIR is in its third year, having been launched in late 1997 by a handful of Mormons participating in LDS discussions on America Online. They created a Web site (www.fair-lds.orgOff-site Link) as a repository for responses to church critics and later began distributing a free monthly newsletter.

Barksdale said the FAIR site now averages 250,000 visitor hits a week.
Meanwhile, the 2,500-member organization has published five books and is embarking on publication of a series of Mormon faith-promoting pamphlets.

Decker, too, operates a Web site for his ministry (www. saintsalive. com), which he says was called to ''witness Jesus to those lost in Mormonism and other cults.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Hate Groups

8. Racist Church Membership Increases
AOL./AP. July 3, 2000
http://my.aol.com/news/story.tmpl?
table=n&cat=01&id=0007020349341041
Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - From Matthew Hale's perspective, the year since a gunman went on a two-state campaign of racial violence has been one of conflict that yielded significant reward.

While the survivors of Benjamin Smith's attacks last July 4 physically healed and families of those killed nursed deeper wounds, the group that is accused of helping hone his racist beliefs - the World Church of the Creator - grew.

The organization found a national platform and has seen its membership increase. Hale, its leader, claims to have adherents in most states and says membership to the East Peoria-based group has doubled.

But the growth, Hale said, has had more to do with its philosophy than Smith's rampage, which targeted blacks, Jews and Asians across Illinois and Indiana.

``I would say it's not because of the specific actions Ben Smith engaged in, but it's because more people heard of us and more people respect us because we have refused to compromise our beliefs in the past year,'' Hale said. ``We've definitely spread the word, and that's always been my main mission.''

Hale, 28, refuses to say how many members - whom he calls ``creators'' - pay dues. But according to one hate-monitoring group, Hale's organization has added 35 chapters in the past year, and its recruitment programs have gained strength, particularly on college campuses, in prisons, among women and over the Internet.

The World Church of the Creator has become a ``magnet for young volatile white supremacists,'' the suburban Chicago hate-monitoring group Center for New Community said in new report.
(...)

Hale has done a masterful job of keeping himself and his group in the public eye, primarily through well-publicized appeals over Illinois's refusal to grant him a law license and lawsuits filed because of the attacks, said Richard Hirschhaut, director of the Midwest branch of the Anti-Defamation League.

He estimated that Hale's group had a dedicated membership of about 300, up from about 200 a year ago, though tracking it is difficult because members use the Internet for much of their communication.
(...)

Many of the organization members show an almost cult-like dedication to Hale, Hirschhaut said. However, the Center for New Community found that scrutiny of the group after the shooting and Hale's outspokenness have caused some discord.

According the report, several longtime members have left the organization and others question Hale's leadership. It quotes one disaffected member as privately referring to Hale, who calls himself the ``pontifex maximus,'' meaning supreme leader, as the ``Pontifig Bananamus.''

The report also noted that Hale's rhetoric also appears to be taking a more violent tone.

After the Supreme Court on June 26 refused to hear an appeal of Hale's law license case, Hale said that in light of the court's failure to hear his arguments, he could no longer encourage his followers to obey the laws of this country.

``Whatever blood is spilled will be on the hands of those who so severely wronged us today,'' he said.

In a more recent interview, however, Hale said he does not advocate violence but cannot stop individuals from taking whatever action they deem necessary.

``The pope can't control every Catholic and I can't control every 'creator,''' he said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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9. Novel of hate was his guide; Book by former US academic portrays setting up of 'perfect Aryan world'
Industry Watch/The Herald, July 1, 2000
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/newsreal/
Story.nsp?story_id=11721815&ID=newsreal&scategory=AP+Top+Headlines
Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
The Soho nail bomber was influenced by a novel sweeping ultra right-wing circles in the US and UK, according to the head of security at the Jewish Board of Deputies.

Mr Michael Whine believes David Copeland had been ''massively influenced'' by a book called The Turner Diaries.

Published in 1978, it was written by William Pierce, an American academic turned race-hate populariser, under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald.

The novel portrays the violent overthrow of the Federal Government and the systematic killing of Jews, communists, non-whites, and gay people to establish a ''perfect Aryan'' world.

In 1978, it was available only through limited distribution channels, primarily from far right hate groups. With its re- publication in May 1996 by Lyle Stuart's Barricade Books in America, it became accessible through mainstream booksellers and on the ''Interhate''.
(...)

Copeland is understood to have read the book several times and saw himself as a dedicated Nazi called by Adolf Hitler to rid the world of Jews and communists.
(...)

The novel is a veritable handbook of hate in which blacks and Jews, gays and communists, are targeted for murder by mentally unhinged white supremacists - people just like David Copeland.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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10. The Nailbomber Trial: The Internet - `Terrorist's Cook Book' found on the Net
IndustryWatch/The Independent (England), July 1, 2000
http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/newsreal/
Story.nsp?story_id=11723098&ID=newsreal&scategory=AP+Top+Headlines
Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
''Serious harm or death could occur from attempting to perform any of the methods in this publication,'' says the warning at the beginning of The Terrorist's Cook Book. It adds: ''This is merely for reading enjoyment, and is not intended for actual use!!''

David Copeland took note of the first and ignored the second of those warnings after he downloaded the file from a website while in a cybercafe. He also downloaded How to Make Bombs: Book Two, and took them home to study.

The ease with which he found that information - which is still out there - is indicative of the problem that legislators have with the untrammelled nature of the global network.

Some people argue that because three people died as a result of Copeland's web surfing, it is right to limit the sort of information that can be put on the internet. In the United States, though, such attempts collapse in front of the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Other News

11. 'Cult members' murder woman
Philippine Star (Philippines), July 2, 2000
http://www.philstar.com/datedata/i02_jul2/gen6.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
A 24-year-old woman was shot and hacked to death near her house in Caloocan City Friday night by two unidentified men believed to be members of a cult.
(...)

Neighbors described the suspects as wearing black shirts, bonnets and pants. A neighbor, who asked not be to named, thinks the suspects are members of Trese Hudas, a cult that has been sowing terror in their neighborhood.

She said cult members usually knock on the door and stab and hack anyone who opens it.

Others said that cult members paraded a coffin in Brixton Subdivision in Camarin on the evening of May 28. While marching, they chanted that they were immortal.

Both Caloocan City police and barangay officials brushed aside the involvement of the cult because there was no material proof.

SPO3 Reynaldo Domingo, Caloocan City police-General Assignment Section, said they have yet to receive formal complaints about the ''men in black.''

Domingo was supported by Danrio Monreal, chairman of Barangay 178, where the rumor about the cult spread, saying he, himself, has yet to see proof about the Trese Hudas.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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12. Seven Dead in Possible Family Suicide
Excite/Reuters, July 3, 2000
http://news.excite.com/news/r/000703/09/odd-suicide-dcOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
LIMA (Reuters) - Seven Peruvian family members were found dead with several Bibles by their sides after possibly poisoning themselves in a religiously motivated suicide at their shantytown home, police said Sunday.
(...)

The family were members of a evangelical group.
(...)

''The presence of Bibles leads us to believe (the deaths) were for religious motives. We are not ruling out a collective suicide,'' Gen. Raul Cubillas, the investigating police officer, told reporters.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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13. Trial begins for cult killer on bad-check charges
Sacramento Bee, June 29, 2000
http://www.sacbee.com/news/news/local10_20000629.htmlOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(...) But the check bounced, and the tale of Robert Rozier, a seven-time murderer -- as a robed hit man for a Miami religious sect -- would later begin to unravel.

Using California's ''three strikes law,'' El Dorado County prosecutors hope to put Rozier away for life because he allegedly wrote 27 no-account checks -- totaling more than $2,000 -- for such things as groceries, pizza, tires and his bar tab at a Coloma tavern.

The Cordova High and University of California, Berkeley, football star who went on to become a cult killer was living quietly in a Cameron Park neighborhood as Robert Rameses -- his once secret identity under the federal witness protection program -- when he was arrested Feb. 5, 1999.

Years earlier, in Florida, Rozier had pleaded guilty to four murders and confessed to three others to win a reduced prison term in exchange for his testimony against a Miami sect leader, Yahweh Ben Yahweh, and other members of a religious order in a series of killings and firebombings in the 1980s.

But the jurors weren't told anything about Rozier's past as trial opened Wednesday in a South Lake Tahoe courtroom, where the case was moved because of extensive news coverage in western El Dorado County. If they convict him, they will learn about his past during the trial's penalty phase.
(...)

Rozier, who was released in 1996 after serving 10 years of a 22-year sentence in an undisclosed federal prison, said in interviews with The Bee that the bounced checks resulted from a bank error. He also said he has spiritually rebuilt his life and is no longer a threat to society -- years after being brainwashed to kill by a cult leader who claimed to be ''God on planet Earth.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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14. 10th Wife, Now an Ex, May Be Key to Polygamist's Fate
Salt Lake Tribune, July 2, 2000
http://www.sltrib.com/07022000/utah/63716.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
NEPHI -- Although Thomas Arthur Green's five current wives are central to the bigamy and rape prosecution of their polygamist husband, Green's five ex-wives may ultimately decide his fate.

There is wife number one, the late Lynda Penman, who divorced Green when he first became a polygamist. There is ex-wife Beth Cook, who left Green after giving her 14-year-old (prosecutors claim she was 13) daughter, Linda Kunz, to Green in marriage. There is Cook's half-sister, June Johnson, whose two daughters are still married to Green. In 1996, Johnson filed a protective order against Green, alleging physical and mental abuse.

There is Julie Dawn McKinley, whom Green married four years ago when she was 14, and who appeared with Green on the Jerry Springer show before leaving him. And there is Allison Ryan, Green's 10th wife and perhaps the most damning of his behavior and damaging to his defense at trial.

''I've watched him portray polygamy as this wonderful little practice,'' Ryan told The Salt Lake Tribune. ''It's not true. He molested me before we were married. It was just humiliating.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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15. Controversy brews over Korean preacher
New Vision (Uganda), July 3, 2000
http://www.newvision.co.ug/07_03_st5.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Controversy has broken out in the born-again Christian circles following allegations that international South Korean evangelist Dr Jae Rock Lee, who is coming to Kampala this week, is a cult leader, reports Gawaya Tegulle.

Lee is due to hold a Christian leaders' conference in the International Conference Centre on July 5-6 and thereafter a gospel crusade in Nakivubo stadium from July 7-9.

Korean sources that requested anonymity told The New Vision that they had been ''alarmed when we heard of Dr. Jae Rock Lee's coming to Uganda to hold a (gospel) crusade in July because he is not well accepted by Korean churches.''

''First of all, he was excommunicated as a cult leader from his own denomination (Church of Holiness) in May 1990 and from the Korean Christian Association (Han Ki Chong) on 30th of April 1999 because of his unbiblical teachings,'' the statement reads in part.

The statement also claims that on July 5 1998 Lee said he was sinless and exempted from dying and he and Jesus Christ are one. However, Pastor Apolo Bukenya, the trip's organising secretary, denied the allegations.
[...entire item...]


=== Noted

16. Some Still Doubt Evolution
New York Times/AP, July 3, 2000
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/a/AP-Teaching-Evolution.htmlOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
BOSTON (AP) -- Scientists have made enormous progress building upon the theory of evolution in the 140 years since it was first proposed by naturalist Charles Darwin.

But some are particularly puzzled by one unsolved mystery: Why do so many people continue to have their doubts?

A Gallup Poll conducted last year found that 47 percent of Americans believe God created human beings, while 49 percent accepted the theory of evolution -- that mankind developed over millions of years from more primitive species.

``I think all that shows is that most Americans are woefully badly educated in science, which is our fault, not theirs,'' said Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould.

Scientists, who almost universally accept evolution, believe all the evidence is on their side. Facing activists who want creationism taught alongside evolution in public schools, they say they'll have to make a stronger case to the public.

Gould is one of several prominent scientists involved in a new Evolution Education Research Centre, based at Harvard and McGill University in Montreal. The premise is that Americans and Canadians -- about half of whom also have their doubts about evolution -- aren't being convincingly taught the science that supports the theory.

``If students understand well evolution, but for religious reasons say `I still cannot accept that because of my religious beliefs,' then we in the educational community say we respect that,'' said Brian Alters, a McGill science-education professor who is leading the center. ``But that is not the case, we usually find.''
(...)

Alters and Gould both say Americans' attitudes toward the teaching of evolution are more complex than they first appear.

The Gallup Poll conducted last year also found 68 percent of Americans favored teaching both creationism and evolution in the public schools. By a margin of 55 percent to 40 percent, they opposed replacing evolution with creationism.

Those results were based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,016 adults, 18 years and older, conducted June 25-27, 1999. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.
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17. Preacher, Teacher, Nag: Dr. Laura Speaks
Time Daily (Web-only news), July 3, 2000
http://www.time.com/time/daily/
0,2960,48069-101000702,00.html
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With 18 million listeners a week on 452 stations, Laura Schlessinger is the most successful female talk-radio host in the country today. This fall the sharp-tongued psychotherapist is scheduled to bring her views to television with the syndicated talk show ''Dr. Laura.'' But as its Sept. 11 premier date nears, she has been the target of a campaign by gay activists who are pressuring Paramount Domestic Television to pull the plug because of what they contend are her slurs against homosexuals. Procter & Gamble has backed out as a sponsor. In an exclusive interview with TIME, Schlessinger, 53, an Orthodox Jew, discusses the controversy as well as her new book, ''Parenthood by Proxy'' (HarperCollins, $24), and what she sees as a moral decline.
(...)

TIME: But what qualifies you to be a moral authority?

A: I am just conveying my understanding of the deeply felt religious perspectives that are timeless. I struggle to put those in a context that makes sense for callers. What the brilliant rabbis have done is take certain laws from the Bible and values of responsibility and honor and apply them to modern ideas. I struggle to do the same - understand the religious Scriptures and apply them to the dilemmas we have today.

TIME: Can you set the record straight and explain your comments about homosexuals as ''deviants''?

A: I never called homosexual human beings deviants. I have pointed out that homosexual behavior deviates from the norm of heterosexuality and is forbidden by Scriptures. That is basically the context... Even now I get hundreds of letters a week from gays and lesbians who realize the way I'm being presented is nowhere near the truth. I stand behind basic civil rights - where someone is able to live, and work at his job - and always have. The only place where there is a divergence is the issue that I consider sacred: marriage and family structure around children.

TIME: A homosexual couple can't be as good parents as a heterosexual couple can?

A: My point has never been that any individual, gay or straight, could or could not be a good parent. My concern is always the well-being of children. And since your average child human being is heterosexual, it seems to me self-evident that the best environment is with the polarity of a mother and a father joined in love, who raise that child with the image of what his future life will be. I say the same thing of straight, single women who have babies. It doesn't matter to me that you're a loving woman. You're not providing a dad, and it's in the best interest of a child to have a dad.

TIME: You've said, ''If you're gay or a lesbian, it's a biological error that inhibits you from relating normally to the opposite sex.'' Do you really believe homosexuals are biological errors?

A: We have vaginas and penises. We were biologically meant to give birth to more people. Not being able to relate normally to a member of the opposite sex is some kind of error. I do not see that as insulting at all. It is a statement of biological fact. When you read the whole thing in context, I'm anything but insulting to human beings. Some people just don't want to hear the truth.
(...)

TIME: Any regrets about some of your comments, given the outcry that has resulted and the attempts to abort the show?

A: I regret that my words were taken out of context, distorted and lied about so people were hurt from the lies. But that's not my action. Any time I was on the air, I had context, clarity and compassion. What is distilled out does not.
(...)

TIME: Do you really believe everything you say, or do you just think it makes great talk radio?

A: That's insulting. The reason people like my show is they know there is no shtick. What I say, I mean deeply. I could not invoke the name of God or Scriptures if I was shticking. That's even awful to hear.
(...)

TIME: How do you reconcile your harshness toward listeners over their moral lapses with your own, some of which have come out in the press?

A: I can extrapolate that no mathematician working at NASA should ever have got a C on a math test when he was learning. So what? I never said I was divine.
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