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Religion News Report

July 16, 2000 (Vol. 4, Issue 230)

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=== Waco / Branch Davidians
1. Waco trial is over, but Danforth's work remains
2. FBI agent welcomes verdict on Waco siege; filmmaker disputes it
3. Branch Davidians in Waco are moving on after verdict
4. One Davidian lawyer to fight on

=== Scientology
5. Fear, mistrust kill plan to rebuild downtown

=== Jesus Christians
6. Cult kidnap boy aged 16
7. Cult leader defies bid to track down Bobby
8. We don't have missing boy, says cult leader
9. Missing boy - we'll go to court, says cult chief
10. Cult leader offers to return boy

=== Cults - General
11. Sinister groups that take over the lives of their disciples
12. Cults must be outlawed to protect young

=== Lucie Blackman
13. Japan pins reputation on bar girl hunt
14. Police step up search for hostess after sighting

=== Noted
15. Churches seek pathway to heaven - on ground; labyrinths used as
spiritual tool
16. What is the sound of one sect clashing? (Obaku)

=== Books
17. 'Harry' and hype

=== Waco / Branch Davidians

1. Waco trial is over, but Danforth's work remains
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 16, 2000
http://www.postnet.com/postnet/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
A jury has voted to clear the government of wrongdoing in the 1993 siege of the
Branch Davidians, but that may not be the nation's final verdict.

Still ahead is the report of special counsel John C. Danforth, appointed last
September by Attorney General Janet Reno to conduct an independent investigation
of the deadly siege in which about 80 Davidians died. Congressional committees
also have long-running investigations.

In addition, the monthlong trial had a limited scope. Some controversial actions
were not before the jury -- such as the wisdom of sending 76 armed men to arrest
David Koresh when authorities could have nabbed him when he left the compound.

Nor does the jury's verdict that the government wasn't negligent mean that the
government didn't make mistakes. The government itself has admitted to errors of
judgment -- such as sending in agents to arrest Koresh when he knew they were
coming and failing to heed the advice of FBI negotiators who counseled a less
controversial approach toward the Davidians.

Still, the verdict of five anonymous citizens of central Texas is a tremendous
boost for the government and the law enforcement officers who risked their lives
or died at Waco.

Jurors left the courthouse without responding to questions, so no one knows what
they were thinking. But the government emphasized the argument that the
Davidians should bear responsibility for resisting a lawful search warrant and
then, the government asserts, burning down their own building.

U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. has to decide whether to accept the
verdict that the advisory jury delivered on Friday. But both sides in the civil
lawsuit say that's a foregone conclusion.

In some ways, the Branch Davidians had lost their case before the trial began.
The national spotlight dimmed quickly after Danforth's appointment.

For one thing, former Sen. Danforth, R-Mo., located his investigation in St.
Louis and imposed a news blackout.

As it turns out, there is no proof of military tear gas being fired at the
building itself - just three canisters fired in a nearby field. And there is
plenty of proof the Davidians set the fire themselves.

The Delta Force allegation proved to be a dead end. No commandos got near the
complex with guns. And, Danforth's test of the gunfire theory undermined its
credibility. A British firm concluded last spring that the flashes on the
infrared tape were from solar reflections, not guns. As a result, Smith
separated that issue from the trial.

As the trial approached, the answer to the ''dark questions'' that Danforth had
said he would probe seemed to be no.

One other development may have accounted for the improved government position -
the decision to put J. Michael Bradford, the U.S. attorney from Beaumont, Texas,
in charge of the case. Bradford, a tall Texan with a slow east Texas drawl,
developed a rapport with Smith and came across as believable to the jury in a
case where believability was the ball game.

Mike Caddell, a young, smooth-talking Houston personal injury lawyer who wore
cowboy boots under his dark suits, had performed a minor miracle in getting the
Davidians' case into court. But he may have come off to the jury as a little too

The death knell of the Davidians' case was the jury instruction that Smith
announced at the end of testimony on Thursday.

Smith reduced the complicated lawsuit to a few simple questions for the jury -
far too simple in Caddell's eyes. The lawyer accused Smith of trying to
''engineer a verdict'' - a charge the judge hotly denied in court on Friday. But
the denial will not stop claims by the Davidians that the trial was unfair
because Smith is biased against them. He is also the judge who presided over the
1994 criminal case against the Davidians.

Ironically, Jamar and Rogers, the two key commanders whose actions were called
into question, were not called by either side for strategic reasons. Danforth's
investigators, by contrast, interviewed both men at great length.

The nation will see whether Danforth comes to different conclusions when he
issues his report, expected later this year.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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2. FBI agent welcomes verdict on Waco siege; filmmaker disputes it
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 16, 2000
http://www.postnet.com/postnet/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
An FBI agent who negotiated with the Branch Davidians during the 1993 standoff
near Waco, Texas, said he hoped the jury verdict absolving the government of
responsibility for their deaths would begin rebuilding public confidence in law

One reason some members of the public doubt the government's version of what
happened at Waco is because of two documentary films by Mike McNulty, who has
blamed the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for the Davidian
deaths. Despite the verdict, McNulty said he stood by his findings.

''The jury shortchanged the Davidians,'' McNulty said. ''There were too many live
issues that had to be deliberated with care and detail. Obviously they didn't

Phil Arnold, a Houston-based theologian who wanted to talk the Davidians out of
their complex during the standoff, said he believed the gas attack on the
concrete structure was the strongest evidence of excessive federal force.

''Had they (the jurors) been able to consider that, then perhaps they would have
concluded the deaths of those victims could be laid at the doorstep of the
government authorities,'' Arnold said.

Dick Reavis, author of ''The Ashes of WacoOff-site Link,'' covered the trial as a reporter for
the San Antonio Express-News. He said he believed it was hard for the jurors to
understand the argument by the Davidians' lead lawyer Mike Caddell that while
the Davidians bore some blame for what happened, it was time for the government
to shoulder its share.

''That's the kind of reconciliation that might work with one's spouse,'' Reavis
said. ''Jurors are not going to understand that. If this guy (Caddell) thinks
he's partly to blame, what's he doing in court? He defeated himself by trying to
distance his clients from the rest of the Davidians.''

The civil trial was the second time that issues surrounding the deadly raid and
the subsequent siege have been before a jury. In 1994, a jury in San Antonio
considered criminal charges against the Davidians. It reached a compromise
verdict, exonerating 11 defendants of conspiracy and murder but finding five
guilty of manslaughter and two of weapons charges.

Sarah Bain, who was the jury forewoman in that case, said she was disappointed
with the civil jury's verdict.

''It's still my belief that the government did have a hand in all of those
deaths,'' Bain said. ''They knew the teachings of the Branch Davidians that they
would have a conflict with the government. The government played right into that
and did nothing to assuage the fears of the Branch Davidians.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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3. Branch Davidians in Waco are moving on after verdict
Dallas Morning News, July 17, 2000
http://dallasnews.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
WACO - A small group of Branch Davidians gathered Saturday for a somber Bible
study, the day after an advisory jury sided with the government in a $675
million wrongful death trial.

Mr. Doyle, a plaintiff in the case, told the group that if a federal judge
agrees with the jury, he wants to appeal. The judge will probably make his final
decisions in August.

''The government would like to think we've had our day in court and it's over.
But you can't prove your point if you can't present your point,'' he said.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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4. One Davidian lawyer to fight on
San Antonio Express-News, July 16, 2000
http://www.mysa.com/mysanantonio/extras/waco/071600waco.shtmlOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(...) Most Americans, lead Branch Davidian attorney Michael Caddell said after
the verdict was announced, ''will take the verdict as the final word on this

Caddell himself seems willing to accept as much. He has not announced an intent
to appeal, and has, instead, said: ''I do not pursue lost causes.''

But the jury's verdict probably is not the final word and, for better or worse,
there may never be a final word in the Waco controversy - in court or outside.

The case may maintain a slow, feeble pulse because the lawyer who fathered the
suit is swearing to keep it alive, even in the Waco court of Judge Walter Smith
Jr., who acquired a reputation as a foe of the Davidians in both their 1994 San
Antonio criminal trial and in the proceeding that ended in Waco on Friday.

Attorney Kirk Lyons of Black Mountain, N.C., vowed Saturday to appeal the case
if, as seems certain, lead plaintiffs attorney Caddell lets it drop.

''If Caddell is going to walk away, I'll realign our people and go ahead,'' Lyons
told the San Antonio Express-News.

Lyons said that he already has won the cooperation of former U.S. Attorney
General Ramsey Clark, 72, an associate attorney in the wrongful death suit.
Clark won judgments from government authorities in suits by survivors of both
the Kent State and Attica prison massacres, though, as Lyons points out, 20
years passed before those cases were ultimately resolved.

The trial that ended Friday resolved several points of dispute in the
controversy over the events at Mount Carmel. But the issues that some consider
at the heart of the controversy, Lyons says, were not considered during the
trial, largely because most of them fall under a doctrine called the ''federal
discretionary function exemption.''

The upshot of the legal doctrine is that government agents are liable for
negligent actions, but not for bad decisions.

But the question most important to Lyons and other critics of the government's
action was not raised: why did the ATF raid Mount Carmel in the first place,
rather than arresting David Koresh away from the property? The decision to send
75 armed men and women to Mount Carmel may have been a bad one, but, in Judge
Smith's view, the federal discretionary exemption protects it from litigation.

Plaintiffs attorneys were not able to challenge the use of tanks, as Lyons and
others would have wanted, because Smith had ruled that the decision to use them
also fell within the discretionary exemption.

''If this verdict sends a message to law enforcement, it must sound like, 'It's
OK to use tanks,''' a dejected Caddell said afterward.

But Lyons says that he is not surprised or dismayed by the jury's ruling.

''The verdict,'' he said, ''is the culmination of years and years of work by
aggressive Justice Department attorneys, who have added piece after piece of
case law to the immunities protecting the government.

''Besides that,'' he said, ''Judge Smith took away all of the constitutional
issues. We had a truncated case when we started.

''It is almost impossible to win a political trial, and this was unquestionably a
political trial,'' he said. ''You can win, but it takes years.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Scientology

5. Fear, mistrust kill plan to rebuild downtown
St. Petersburg Times, July 16, 2000
http://www.sptimes.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
The polling places are darkened. The signs that said ''Vote Yes'' or ''Save the
Bayfront'' are slowly disappearing from Clearwater streets.

And the two master developers who were chosen by the Clearwater City Commission
to design and build a new downtown have gone home, to watch over their existing
projects and perhaps dream up new ones for some other city.

But the dust is far from settled in Clearwater, where last Tuesday's failed
referendum on a massive downtown redevelopment plan left more questions than

Voters rejected the plan, 58 percent to 42 percent. There is no misunderstanding
that message.

But the whys still have people scratching their heads.

Ask people (I have) why they voted no, and many say they feared that the
downtown improvements would be too good for the Church of Scientology, perhaps
encouraging more Scientologists to come to Clearwater and providing more places
downtown for them to live, work and play.

But ask other people why they voted yes, and some say: the Church of
Scientology. Unless something new and different happens downtown to draw a
better mix of people there, they say, Scientologists will continue to dominate
the area and buy up property at bargain prices.

Clearly, whether people voted yes or no, fear of the spread of Scientology was a
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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* For a look at Scientology's involvement in Clearwater, see Occupied ClearwaterOff-site Link

=== Jesus Christians

6. Cult kidnap boy aged 16
Daily Express (England), July 14, 2000
http://www.lineone.net/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Members of a religious cult were being hunted by police last night after they
were accused of kidnapping a 16-year-old schoolboy.

Bobby Kelly was made a ward of court on Wednesday because of concern for his
safety at the hands of the Jesus Christians.

Last night his photograph was circulated to police and a watch was being kept at
airports and docks because of fears the cult was planning to take him out of the

His grandmother, Ruth, 58, said: ''He told me in a phone call that the Jesus
Christians have told him he must give up everything, including his family.''

Solicitor Clare Kirby, who specialises in cases against cults, is acting for the
family. She said: ''It is scary stuff. These people can turn people's minds in
just 24 hours.''

The police hunt was launched as campaigners urged the Government to make it
illegal for religious cults to prey on the young and vulnerable. Graham Baldwin,
whose charity Catalyst was set up to help the families of people caught up in
cults, said: ''The case illustrates how these people target young people. Bobby
was under their spell within a few hours.

''We had gone shopping in Romford,'' she said, ''and Bobby later told me about the
man and said he was a Christian like he was. Bobby was a member of a local
church. That afternoon he said he was going out and then when he came home he
announced that he was going to join these people.''

She met them a few days later and quickly became suspicious of the group - an
Australian couple with a little boy, a German and two Englishmen. They were
travelling around in a white Leyland Daf van, registration number K141 LHT.

Bobby's grandmother said: ''They took his TV and video and wanted to take other
things belonging to Bobby from my flat but I banned them. They wanted his bank
book - not that there is anything in it - and they were trying to get him a
passport to take him abroad. They would not let him speak to me on his own. I
tried. But he said he had to have one of the group with him all the time.''

David Whitehouse, a youth worker at St Peter's Church in Harold Wood, Essex,
which Bobby attended, said: ''He is a typical cheeky teenager and will talk to
anybody and that's what happened here.

''This group has a veneer of respectability but there is something very
disturbing about them. When I saw Bobby a week ago he was with three of them and
he seemed very scared, which was unlike him.''

Last year the Jesus Christians were involved in another incident with a young
student in Guildford, Surrey, which is thought to be the home of one of the

Mother Bernadette Sheridan reported her son Kyri, 19, missing. When she tried to
snatch him back during a meeting in Guildford the police were called and she was
arrested. Bernadette told how when she finally made contact with her son he was
like a zombie with staring eyes. A member of the cult who was with him told her:
''He's not your son any more. Your job is finished, he's ours now.'' She has not
seen him since that meeting a year ago.

The Jesus Christians are a breakaway group of the discredited Children of God
. It is a small group headed by Australian David McKay. It has its own web
Off-site Link which is monitored by Mr Baldwin of Catalyst.

The group's literature calls on converts to forsake their jobs, family and
friends. ''God is now your Boss and he has a new job for you that will not wait,''
says the leaflet handed out by cult members.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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7. Cult leader defies bid to track down Bobby
Daily Express (England), July 15, 2000
http://www.lineone.net/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(...) Yesterday, as the hunt continued, the cult leader Dave McKay, who is based
in Sydney, spoke exclusively to the Daily Express.

But he refused to say if his followers would surrender the youngster to the
police and end the anguish of his family.

It was clear from an earlier e-mail from McKay that he had been in touch with
the group. They are aware that Bobby, 16, is a ward of court and that they must
not frustrate the efforts by police and court officials to find him.

But McKay would not give an assurance that Bobby's whereabouts would be
revealed. When he was pressed to give an answer he hung up.

He said in his e-mail that Bobby had been staying with members of the Jesus
of his ''own free will'' and that his grandmother Ruth Kelly had been
in ''complete agreement''.

Meanwhile, McKay tried to blame a friend of the family for the fuss.

He said: ''It is our guess that there has been an over-reaction from his former
youth pastor, based on religious differences and nothing more.

David Whitehouse, the family friend who helped set up the rescue effort, angrily
denied the accusation.

He said: ''They represent themselves as Christians, but they wanted to spirit
Bobby away from his family. That is not the teaching of Jesus.''

Graham Baldwin, who runs Catalyst, a charity that helps families whose children
have been taken over by cults, said yesterday: ''We would like these people to be
investigated because we think there are other young people who may have joined
them and whose families are very worried.''

Bobby was made a ward of court on Wednesday and the Official Solicitor Lawrence
Oates was appointed as his guardian.

When the boy is found he will be taken before a High Court judge who will decide
his future.

The Jesus Christians who are being sought by police are travelling in a white
Daf Leyland van registration K141 LHT.

The group includes an Australian couple and the woman is called Sue. She told
Ruth Kelly that she was 33.

Bobby informed his grandmother that he was not allowed to speak to her unless
Sue was present and she listens to the conversation when he has phoned home.Mr
Justice Sumner, who made the ''search and find'' order on Bobby, was told the
group had been planning to take him abroad and had tried to get documents that
would help them get him a passport.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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8. We don't have missing boy, says cult leader
News Wire (England), July 15, 2000
http://www.lineone.net/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
The founder of a religious cult has denied that a missing 16-year-old was to be
smuggled abroad by his followers.

Jesus Christians group founder David Mackay said: ''I don't have him. We don't
have him. We definitely won't take him out of Britain.

''But we believe in his freedom as a 16-year-old to make a decision where he is
going to go. The only way they are going to take him is to lock him up and I
don't think he has done anything to deserve being locked up.

''We are trying to recognise his rights. We are not the ones who are having to
force him to go some place,'' he told the BBC.

Ports and airports have been put on alert but there are fears he may already
have left England.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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9. Missing boy - we'll go to court, says cult chief
News Wire (England), July 16, 2000
http://www.lineone.net/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
The leader of a religious cult thought to be hiding a teenage boy says that he
plans to appeal against the decision to make the 16-year-old a ward of court.

But David Mackay, leader of the Jesus Christians, added that he was willing to
return teenager Bobby Kelly in exchange for continued access to the 16-year-old.

Mr Mackay - who on Saturday insisted that Bobby was not with the cult - made his
latest offer after it emerged that a newspaper had received e-mail messages
purporting to be from Bobby and saying he had ''never been happier'' since joining
the cult.

Mr Mackay said: ''We expect that Bobby will be handed over to the authorities
shortly - we just feel that we should be given the chance to get some legal
advice. If there is some way we can appeal against that court order then we will

Last night a person claiming to be Bobby was in contact with the Mail on Sunday
newspaper via an e-mail - and insisted that he was not being held against his

Mr Mackay said he was ''amazed'' to hear that a warrant had been issued for the
arrest of two people seen with Bobby in Romford. A Metropolitan Police spokesman
refused to comment on the claim.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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10. Cult leader offers to return boy
BBC (England), July 16, 2000
http://news.bbc.co.uk/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
The leader of the religious cult suspected of kidnapping a 16-year-old Essex boy
has said he will return him in exchange for continued access.

Australia-based David McKay, head of the Jesus Christians, also said he planned
to appeal against a decision to make the youth a ward of court.

His offer appeared to contradict his claim on Saturday that the teenager - who
left home two weeks ago hours after meeting sect members - was not with the

Under the terms of the ward of court order, anyone coming into contact with
Bobby is obliged to reveal his whereabouts to the authorities.

On Saturday Mr MacKay told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: ''I don't have him. We
don't have him.''

A statement on the group's websiteOff-site Link declares: ''We are realistic enough to
recognise that we will probably have to hand Bobby over to the authorities
eventually, whether we agree with such a ruling or not.

''At this stage, Bobby is strongly opposed to going with the police. However, we
are trying to prepare him both psychologically and spiritually for such a

The e-mail message, purportedly from Bobby, read: ''I believe there is something
better to do with my life instead of working for money. Because I have joined
the Jesus Christians, I can work for God full-time.''

Mr McKay, who exercises strict control over his followers around the world,
founded the Australia-based Jesus Christians in 1981.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Cults - General

11. Sinister groups that take over the lives of their disciples
Daily Express (England), July 14, 2000
http://www.lineone.net/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
The Jesus Christians are an Australian-based cult. Their leader is David McKay,
who is thought to have been a member of the notorious Children of God sect
before setting up the group.

The number of members in this country or worldwide is not known because members
are secretive and reluctant to talk about their activities.

But one of its basic rules is that members have to break contact with their
families and friends. They are also expected to hand over all their worldly

It was significant that within hours of involving teenager Bobby Kelly, from
Romford, the group had taken his TV and video and then wanted to strip his room
of his other belongings.

In that they are similar to the Children of God, now called The Family. The late
David Berg, an American who founded the Children of God in 1968, preached free
sex to his followers. He also preached child abuse.

A British woman, Sylvia Padilla, has described how she and her family were
members of the Children of God for 18 years before they escaped.

She said she decided to get out when she discovered her children - five
daughters and two sons - had been the victims of sex abuse by members. One of
her daughters, Victoria, told how she was brainwashed from the age of seven to
believe that sex with adults was normal. Her mother described how she was
required to trawl bars and restaurants offering sex to try to win recruits.

Graham Baldwin, who monitors the activities of cult groups, reckons there have
been at least 1,000 set up in this country in the last 50 years. Some are quite
small with only a handful of followers. Others have members around the world.

One that has been known to leave some adherents with serious psychiatric
problems is the Church of Christ.

It has branches around the country and its members believe they are the only
true Christians. Every member has a discipler, another member who is consulted
about every decision.

Graham Baldwin said: ''The effect is that everyone is controlled by the cult and
everyone is expected to hand over ten per cent of their income.''
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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12. Cults must be outlawed to protect young
Daily Express (England), July 14, 2000
http://www.lineone.net/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Young people must be prevented by law from being brainwashed by cult movements,
campaigners said yesterday.

Catalyst, a charity set up to help families rescue loved-ones from the clutches
of mind-control groups, is calling for a Royal Commission to be set up to
investigate the problems in Britain.

Graham Baldwin, 47, a former university chaplain and army intelligence officer,
is one of the charity's counsellors.

He said: ''It is an increasing problem in this country but we find the Government
is doing nothing about it.''

In many other countries, including Belgium, Switzerland and Germany, research is
conducted into such groups and public warnings are issued.

Only last week the French government announced plans to make ''mental
manipulation'' a criminal offence in a move to outlaw cult movements.

Support organisations believe the British Government should take similar steps
to stamp out the menace.

There are at least 500 groups in Britain, according to the Cult Information
in London, which provides help for families whose loved ones are
recruited by religious and new age movements.

Ian Howarth, himself an ex-member, said: ''The Government needs to acknowledge
this is a very serious problem - it needs to make a firm stance about the
exploitation of innocent lives in this country.'' His staff receives 3,000 to
4,000 telephone calls and letters a year from families who have ''lost'' loved
ones to a cult.

''We are receiving an increasing number of calls,'' Mr Howarth added. ''We are also
seeing people being recruited in big companies like British Airways.''

The new millennium has brought increasing numbers of new age and religious
fringe groups to Britain, expert counsellors warned. Cult recruitment is now
spreading to industry and commerce with professional people in large companies
being targeted, according to Catalyst.

A number of groups have already infiltrated university campuses where young,
intelligent, middle class students are recruited.

Lawyer Clare Kirby, of Kirby & Co in Wimbledon, South-West London, represents
former cult members in court.

She said: ''Young people get warned about the dangers of drugs and alcohol but
no-one warns them about these pernicious groups. It is a growing problem that
people don't know about until it affects their family.''

One of the fastest growing movements is the International Churches of Christ,
which has already been banned in 34 universities in the UK.

Its official website claims the group has grown by almost 200,000 since 1987.

Ayman Ashar was a student in London when he was recruited by the London Church
of Christ.

Today he runs the support group Triumph Over London CultsOff-site Link. He said: ''Students
are a perfect target because they are often lonely and open to ideology.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Lucie Blackman

13. Japan pins reputation on bar girl hunt
Sunday Times (England), July 16, 2000
http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(...) All of a sudden last week, the disappearance of a single British woman
among thousands of transient foreigners became the most celebrated police case
in Japan. The investigation has been placed in the hands of Superintendent Akira
Mitsuzane, the No 2 in the Japanese CID. Yohei Kono, Japan's foreign minister,
assured Robin Cook, the foreign secretary, that it was a top priority.

This week Tony Blair flies to Japan for a summit of leaders of the Group of
Eight industrial nations. Japan, proud of its reputation for security, does not
want any hint of scandal to tarnish the occasion.

The result is that the hunt is on in earnest for Lucie Blackman.

In Japan, information is released by police and other organisations through a
strictly vetted club of reporters. Even the Blackmans have not always been told
the details - because that is the Japanese way.

Last week the Tokyo police gave one of their briefings for the ''club''. According
to a Japanese-language text of that meeting, she made four telephone calls to
her best friend, Louise Phillips, 22.

The two had known each other for 13 years, worked together at British Airways
and travelled out to the Far East together, arriving in Japan on May 4 on 90-day
tourist visas. She and Phillips had found work illegally as hostesses at the
Casablanca, in the Roppongi entertainment quarter.

Since her friend vanished, Phillips has given vague and contradictory accounts
of events. The Blackman family says protectively that she is confused and
traumatised, and is doing her best to recall everything. But the Japanese
detectives find this hard to understand. They have questioned her at least three
times, on one occasion for more than 11 hours.

''Their work actually meant selling the club, and it often involved taking a
customer out to dinner and then on to the club for drinks,'' said Sophie
Blackman. ''I sometimes say the only difference between being a BA hostess and
being at the club was the altitude.''

But on July 1, Blackman showed unusual signs of being a young woman who had not
quite come down to earth. The police said she made another call to Phillips at
2.30pm - this time to the shared cellular phone. She said: ''I'll be leaving here
for Sendagaya in a half an hour.''

She did not appear. At 5pm, say police, she rang Phillips again, this time from
a mobile, and said: ''I'm being taken to the coast.'' Then at 7pm she called for
the last time, saying: ''I'll be back in half an hour.''

That night she did not show up for work. After more than 24 anxious hours, the
shared mobile rang again. This time it was a mysterious caller who gave his name
as Akira Takagi. Police believe the name, which is common, was false. Speaking
halting English, ''Takagi'' told Phillips her friend was in a ''newly risen
religion'' - a cult - and was ''safe and taking training in a hut''.

By now thoroughly alarmed, Phillips went to the British embassy and the police.
Investigators now regard the call as a decoy.

That was how Blackman's father, a property developer from the Isle of Wight,
found himself in Tokyo last week, shuttling between meetings with diplomats and
the police. At 46, Tim Blackman has a commanding presence and towers over most
Japanese. His calm courtesy is credited with winning co-operation from the
police and Japanese media in the hunt for his daughter.

''In talking to various groups who help families whose children have become
members of cults, and on hearing the description of what happened, they all
advised that this was not the way that cult memberships usually happen,'' he

The Blackman family has been less than pleased with the impression given that
working as a hostess is a coded term for prostitution. In Japan, there is a
highly organised sex industry that functions alongside the ''hostess'' phenomenon.

Hostess clubs charge huge sums for drinks and chat, especially with unattainable
western blondes. But the managers do not want to promote sex. This would be bad
for the drinks and illusion business. Roppongi is not Tokyo's red-light
district; that is the raunchier Kabuki-cho area.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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14. Police step up search for hostess after sighting
The Independent (England), July 15, 2000
http://www.independent.co.uk/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
Japanese police launched an intensive search of a district of Tokyo after a
reported sighting on Thursday evening of Lucie Blackman, 21, the British hostess
who went missing a fortnight ago.

Detectives checked passing cars in the Takinogawa area of Tokyo's North Ward,
after a resident reported seeing a woman matching Miss Blackman's description
being driven by a Japanese man in a car bearing number plates issued in Chiba.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Noted

15. Churches seek pathway to heaven - on ground; labyrinths used as spiritual
Waco Tribune-Herald, July 15, 2000
http://www.accesswaco.com/Off-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(...) Efforts by Christians to get a labyrinth in Waco tap into a tradition that
can be traced to Catholic cathedrals of the Middle Ages and to pre-Christian

Pam Bailey, a member of Central Presbyterian Church who is working with members
of Lake Shore Baptist Church to get a labyrinth in Waco, said the spiral shape
that churches are painting on asphalt parking lots and on canvas in
air-conditioned churches has been found on canyon walls.

''Labyrinths have one course. You cannot get lost. There are no tricks. It's one
path. You stay on it until you get to the center,'' Bailey said. ''As such it's a
real effective path for walking meditation.''

The Rev. Sarah Bentley of New Life Institute, a center for counseling, education
and spiritual growth related to the Austin-area United Methodist churches, said
she introduces labyrinths to people as a form of meditation.

She has seen Christians, Jews and Buddhists use the institute's labyrinth. It
has touched ranchers close to 70 years old, urban children and sophisticated

Labyrinths predate Christianity by more than 1,000 years, according to
''Pathfinders: Walking Medieval Labyrinths in a Modern World,'' an article on the
Web site of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.

The patterns of the labyrinth, the article states, resemble the mandalas of
South Asian Buddhism. The steps may recall the Japanese Zen practice of kinhin,
which is ''walking meditation'' where attention is focused on each step.

Some people on the way in ask God to take away burdens they don't think they
should be carrying. ''On the way out,'' Bouman said, ''I ask God to give back to me
those things I should be carrying, the things I am responsible for.''

Others ask forgiveness on the way in and empowerment on the way out.

Some people come with a particular burden or question. ''Every time there's a
major turn in the pathway, either a U-turn or a right-angle turn, they will stop
and say a prayer about the things they're concerned about,'' Bouman said.

Bouman said people can also clear their mind on the way in, then pray in the
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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Labyrinth Internet site
The Internet site for San Francisco's Grace Cathedral, www.gracecathedral.orgOff-site Link,
has a labyrinth locator. More labyrinth information is available at
www.labyrinthproject.comOff-site Link. Caerdroia - The Journal of Mazes and Labyrinths is
available online at www.ilc.tsms.soton.ac.uk/caerdroia/Off-site Link
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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16. What is the sound of one sect clashing?
Daily Yomiuri (Japan), July 16, 2000
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/newse/0716cu16.htmOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
For years, those interested in Zen Buddhism have focused mainly on the Rinzai
and Soto schools. The former, with its reliance on koans and sudden
enlightenment, has attracted the most attention in the West, what with its wit,
humor and basically ''easily'' accessible enlightenment. The latter, with its
emphasis on meditation to achieve the ultimate, has had little effect in the
West. It is perceived as being too difficult and requiring too much dedication.

And there it has stood for decades, even centuries; enlightenment at the whack
of a stick, or enlightenment that occurs like the encroaching tide, slowly but
steadily. Both schools wielded--and still do--great power, so it is no wonder
that scholarly discourse and history deal exclusively with these two branches of
Zen, derived from Chinese Ch'an Buddhism.

But, surprisingly, this is not a true representation of the facts. Appearing in
Japan in the mid-17th century was another import from China, a third school of
Zen that caused outrage and hatred among Japanese followers of the Rinzai path.
Soto adherents generally shrugged off the interloper, although some adapted and
learned from it. The third sect of Zen, referred to as Obaku, arrived with a
reluctant Chinese abbot.

Helen Baroni, discussing these matters as if investigating a new religion, has
shed some much-needed light on a movement that had drastic implications for
Japanese Zen but has attracted little academic consideration. By treating Obaku
Zen as a new religion, Baroni is able to range far afield from her roots as a
religions professor.

Baroni, to her discredit, does not delve deeply into these questions, probably
because she is a student of religion, not history. But it is bizarre that in a
society as tightly controlled as Tokugawa Japan, such a brash and unyielding
sect could even be allowed to establish itself, much less thrive.

Today, Obaku is belittled and reviled by many for its support of Imperial Japan
and is of marginal influence in Zen circles. But, as this book shows, the sect
is deserving of more respect, not only for its uniqueness, but also for its
adherence to discipline and its very existence as an antidote to the inertia of
modern Zen.
[...more...]   [Need the full story? Read this]
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=== Books

17. 'Harry' and hype
CNN, July 13, 2000
http://www.cnn.com/2000/books/news/07/13/potter.hype/index.htmlOff-site Link
[Story no longer online? Read this]
(CNN) -- Sure, the ''Harry Potter'' series by author J.K. Rowling has many
positive points.

Among the most popular: Anything that gets kids to choose reading over violent
video games must be a good thing. For that matter, anything that pulls adults
away from the lobotomy of reality-television must be a good thing, too.

But the way in which fans -- young and old -- responded to the marketing of the
release of ''Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire'' this past weekend is certainly,
at the very least, a statement on our hype-obsessed times.

But with all Big Hypes comes the Big Backlash, and there are grumblings from
outside Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry about the possible negative
connotations of our response to this whole ''Harry Potter'' thing.

Issues of ''Harry-as-Satan'' thrown aside, the real question is, why do we become
consumed with the latest trend? What happened to individuality? And in this
particular case, how can reading en masse the adventures of a fictional
14-year-old wizard-in-training bring us satisfaction in our all-too-real lives?

According to Murray, we buy into hype hoping to give meaning to our own
existence here.

Roy Peter Clarke, who teaches writing at Poynter and has penned his own series
novel that was published by The New York Times Syndicate, has read the first
three ''Harry Potter'' books and preordered the fourth.

''I think 'Harry Potter' ranks very high'' in children's literature, he says. ''I
want to put it with J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. I think it's very much a part
of the British story-telling tradition for children.

Don't tell this to Harold Bloom. The famed literary critic dismantled ''Harry
Potter'' on the PBS interview program ''Charlie Rose.''

''I think that's not reading because there's nothing there to be read,'' Bloom
said on the show. ''They're just an endless string of cliches. I cannot think
that does anyone any good.

''That's not 'Wind in the Willows,' '' he said. ''That's not 'Through the Looking
Glass.' ... It's really just slop.''