Apologetics Index
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Religion News Report

January 31, 2001 (Vol. 5, Issue 318) - 2/2

See Religion News Blog for the Latest news about cults,
religious sects, world religions, and related issues
Rainbow


» Continued from Part 1

=== Catholicism
14. Church won't bend rules on sacrament
15. Man sues teacher and Catholic Church over 1984 strapping

=== Hate Groups
16. Butler loses bid to delay Aryan auction
17. Former Aryans desert Butler for new church
18. Prison Gang Duo Linked to Dog That Killed Woman
19. Granddaughter tells of life with Winrod
20. Leader of anti-Semitic church walks out of his kidnapping trial
21. Neo-Nazi groups on rise in Europe

=== Other News
23. Commune ordered to return 'brainwashed' woman's cash
24. Texas Hunt for Missing Atheist Yields More Remains
25. Discovery of Bones May Close O'Hair
26. O'Hair Suspect Admits to 'Violence'
27. O'Hair's Son Happy Mystery Is Over
28. Chinese Indonesians Welcome President's Lifting of Ban on Confucianism
29. Va. Senate Passes Driver, Pledge Bills

=== Alternative Healing
30. Medicine taken with a dose of the spiritual

=== Film
31. Christian Comedy Aimed at Youth


=== Catholicism

14. Church won't bend rules on sacrament
Associated Press, Jan. 31, 2001
http://www.chron.com/Off-site Link

BOSTON -- Five-year-old Jenny Richardson doesn't go to McDonald's like other kids and doesn't share birthday cupcakes with her friends.

And now, because of Roman-Catholic Church rules, she can't have part of her First Communion rite, either.

Jenny suffers from celiac disease, which causes her to get sick from eating gluten, a protein in wheat and other grains. She can safely eat rice.

The Archdiocese of Boston has told the family that the church cannot substitute a rice communion wafer for the traditional wheat one, citing 2,000 years of tradition and faith.

The Richardson family now worships at a Methodist church, where the rules on communion are more flexible because Methodists believe the bread and wine are symbolic, not the actual transubstantiated body and blood of Jesus.

''It was hard. It's hard to make a decision to change,'' said the girl's mother, Janice Richardson.
(...)

For people with celiac disease, gluten flattens the villi, the tiny fronds inside the walls of the small intestine that absorb nutrients. That makes celiac sufferers sick, lowers their resistance to other illnesses and causes fatigue.
The only treatment is a diet completely free of gluten. The Celiac Disease Foundation estimates as many as 1 in 250 people are affected by it.

Still, church experts say there are numerous reasons they cannot compromise on wheat.

''This is not an arbitrary sort of thing, and we're talking about a religious sacrament,'' said John B. Walsh, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston. ''Bread is central to the Eucharist because of the imagery of Scripture, because of the prayers of the Christian community going back thousands of years.''

The Vatican takes the matter seriously enough that in 1994, it issued rules for all bishops to follow. Among them: ''Special hosts (which do not contain gluten) are invalid matter for the celebration of the Eucharist.''
(...)

Annette Bentley, president of the American Celiac Society and a practicing Catholic, said some priests quietly make a substitution to help parishioners. ''To be Christian is to be more flexible,'' she said.

Jenny's mother said even if the church were to come around now, the family's decision to leave is permanent.

''I believe Jesus would have made an exception,'' she said.
[...more...]
* (Mark 7:6-9Off-site Link NIV) He replied, ''Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: '''These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. {7} They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.' {8} You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.'' {9} And he said to them: ''You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!
(...)

(Mark 7:6-9Off-site Link NIV) Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.''

The stated stance of the Catholic Church on this issue is complete nonsense of Pharisaical proportions. As with so many teachings and practices of the Catholic Church, it reflects a marked misunderstanding of Scripture and, indeed unfamiliarity with the biblical Jesus the Catholic Church claims to represent.


15. Man sues teacher and Catholic Church over 1984 strapping
Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), Jan. 30, 2001
http://www.smh.com.au/Off-site Link

A man is suing a teacher and the Catholic Church, claiming the corporal punishment he received as a student 17 years ago has left him with a permanent hand injury and caused him loss of income.
(...)

Mr Hogan, who was 13 at the time he was caned, is seeking damages from Mr Fricot and the trustees of the Catholic Church for the pain and suffering he continues to endure, for loss of income and for his medical expenses.
[...more...]


=== Hate Groups

16. Butler loses bid to delay Aryan auction
The Spokesman-Review, Jan. 31, 2001
http://www.spokesmanreview.com/Off-site Link

Coeur d'Alene _ Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler lost his attempt Tuesday to postpone the public auction of his former compound north of Hayden Lake.

The abandoned 20-acre site, its buildings and all the items left in them are scheduled to be sold in one package at a public auction Feb. 13.
(...)

Acting as his own attorney, Butler filed a motion Tuesday asking U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Terry Myers to postpone the auction.

''This goes back to 1937,'' Butler started to tell the court, in what sounded like the beginning of his stump lecture about Judaism and communism.

''I don't want to hear about that,'' the judge said, quickly cutting Butler off and warning him to stick to legal issues involving his motion to postpone the auction.

Butler then said the court has no legal jurisdiction to sell ''intellectual properties,'' including the names Aryan Nations and the Church of Jesus Christ Christian.

The judge previously ruled that Butler's personal interest in use of those names will be part of the auction.

Butler said he wanted the auction postponed until he could appeal the bankruptcy judge's decision.
[...more...]


17. Former Aryans desert Butler for new church
The Spokesman Review, Jan. 20, 2001
http://www.spokesmanreview.com/Off-site Link

On the eve of the bankruptcy sale of the Aryan Nations, many former members are flocking to a new church that's also rooted in white supremacy beliefs.

The Church of True Israel, based in Noxon, Mont., is holding services at various locations until a permanent home is found, its leaders say.

While the Hayden Lake-based Aryan Nations was headed by one man for a quarter-century, the new spinoff church has a five-member ''council of prelates'' making decisions.

The new church appears to be set up to draw less media and law enforcement attention.

But already the emergence of this new Christian Identity church is sparking exchanges between its leadership and Aryan Nations founder Richard G. Butler.

The fight appears to be over power and influence in the white supremacy movement, and attracting members and their financial support.
(...)

''The loss of my home, church, personal possessions and automobiles didn't hurt so much as the loss of those who claimed to be my friends and comrades,'' Butler said in an Internet posting.
(...)

Butler and the Aryan Nations were hit with a multimillion dollar judgment last year in a lawsuit brought by Coeur d'Alene civil rights attorney Norm Gissel and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Hate group experts at the center said Friday they aren't surprised to see a new church pop up in an attempt to replace Butler and the Aryan Nations.

''Historically, when these organizations have been hit with these large judgments, we see efforts to revitalize things under a new organization,'' said Joe Roy, director of the center's Intelligence Project.

''We also have seen members recruited by other organizations in what can only be described as a feeding frenzy,'' Roy said. ''That's what we see going on here with the remnants of the Aryan Nations.''
(...)

Despite the defections, Butler said he's not going away and has Aryan Nations parades planned this summer in Coeur d'Alene, Rathdrum and Sandpoint.

Those involved with the Church of True Israel say they want nothing to do with neo-Nazi skinheads, parades, swastikas or felons -- trademarks of the Aryan Nations.

''You ain't gonna find any of that stuff here,'' said John R. Burke, of Coeur d'Alene, one of five founders of the Church of True Israel.

Burke said the new church is aimed at ''working-class people, with white, Christian values.''
(...)

While the new church disagrees with Butler for embracing Hitler and neo-Nazi beliefs, it shares his racist religious dogma that white people are the true Jews.

Some of its members, like Butler, also have ties to the Ku Klux Klan and cross burnings.

The Church of True Israel, known as CTI, preaches Christian Identity -- a white superiority religion long championed by Butler.

Both the Church of True Israel and the Aryan Nations appear to be soliciting financial support from two wealthy Sandpoint men, Vincent Bertollini and Carl Story. They are co-founders of the racist 11th Hour Remnant Messenger.

Bertollini, a self-described evangelist, said he has attended CTI services but remains closely aligned with Butler.

Butler's Aryan Nations Web site was quick to post photos and a statement from Bertollini this week after he claimed he was beaten by Sandpoint police during a DUI arrest.
(...)

Butler said he will keep using the names ''Church of Jesus Christ Christian'' and ''Aryan Nations'' even though they will be part of the ''intellectual properties'' sold at the bankruptcy sale.

For a brief time, Butler changed his group's name to Aryan National Alliance, but abandoned that last week when its Web site contact defected to the Church of True Israel.
(...)

The ''constitution'' of the CTI was signed by five founding members in November 1996 and filed in Montana, Burke said.
(...)

The ''commanding officer'' of the council of prelates is Charles W. Mangels, of Polson, Mont. He has long had ties with the Aryan Nations and once was its Montana state leader.

He also has worn a Phineas Priest belt buckle, an identifier within the Christian Identity movement of someone who believes he's commanded to enforce ''God's laws.''

Mangels declined comment, deferring to Burke to speak for the new church.

Burke and Mangels left the Aryan Nations after its 1995 Aryan World Congress.

At that congress, Mangels reportedly attended a secret meeting of state Aryan leaders in a failed attempt to take power from Butler. Butler walked in on the secret meeting and reportedly became angry.

Other founding members of CTI, Burke said, are John Miller, Stanley McCollum and Chuck Howarth, who died in November. All five founders lived in North Idaho or northwestern Montana and once were tied to the Aryan Nations.
[...more...]


18. Prison Gang Duo Linked to Dog That Killed Woman
San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 30, 2001
http://www.sfgate.com/Off-site Link

The dog that killed a San Francisco woman had a long history of viciousness and was secretly owned by two Aryan Brotherhood prison gang members as part of an underground scheme to breed and sell animals while in maximum security at Pelican Bay, officials said.

At the time of Friday's fatal attack on Diane Whipple, the 120-pound Presa Canario dog, Bane, was being kept by the inmates' attorneys, Robert Noel and Marjorie Knoller of Pacific Heights, as was another dog, Hera. The attorneys represented an intermediary in a suit to get the dogs back from a woman whom the inmates had hired to care for them. Her care wasn't satisfactory, according to the suit.

Authorities said Pelican Bay inmates Paul ''Cornfed'' Schneider and Dale Bretches were investigated by state prison authorities last year and found guilty in February of running a dog-breeding scheme while in the maximum- security housing unit at the prison, using third parties and attorneys to do the work on the outside.
(...)

A state prison investigation found that Coumbs was tricked by Schneider, 38, and Bretches, 44, -- both validated members of Aryan Brotherhood gang and imprisoned for life for offenses in and out of custody -- into helping them violate prison policy barring an outside business.
[...more...]


19. Granddaughter tells of life with Winrod
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, jan. 30, 2001
http://www.postnet.com/Off-site Link

GAINESVILLE, Mo. - A granddaughter of outspoken anti-Jewish pastor Gordon Winrod testified Tuesday that life with him was a daily regimen of guard duty and sermons.

Nearly a year ago, Erika Leppert, 18, left her grandfather's remote farm near Gainesville. She lived with Winrod and other relatives after leaving home in North Dakota when her parents divorced in 1994.

Leppert was the 16th and final witness against Winrod, who is accused of kidnapping six grandchildren. Leppert is not among them. Jury deliberation is set for today in Ozark County Circuit Court.

Leppert said that from 1995 to 1998, she, her siblings and her cousins took turns at daily guard duty, starting at 6 a.m. at the entrance to Winrod's property.
(...)

Afternoons and evenings were spent listening to sermons from Winrod, pastor of the small Our Savior's Church. If authorities showed up in search of the grandchildren, they had been instructed to hide at prearranged spots in the woods or in the house, in a tiny basement room they called the ''priest hole,'' Leppert testified.

For a second day, Winrod chose to be in his jail cell rather than the courtroom. If found guilty of the six counts of child abduction, Senior Circuit Judge William Mauer could sentence Winrod to as many as 30 years in prison.

With Winrod absent and, therefore, unable to cross-examine witnesses, the trial proceeded quickly Tuesday.
(...)

Authorities later found that each child carried a knife. A pistol was found in the priest room, investigators said. Cline alleges that Winrod ''brainwashed'' the children.

For decades, Winrod, 74, has preached his anti-Jewish views. He has reached a wider audience through his Winrod Letter, which he mails to as many as 10,000 homes in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas.

He is an adherent of the Christian Identity movement, which holds that Jews are the offspring of Satan, minorities are soulless ''mud people'' and that homosexuality is punishable by immediate capital punishment.

Winrod is charged with kidnapping grandchildren who had been living with two former sons-in-law in North Dakota. One by one, in 1994 and 1995, the children disappeared.
[...more...]


20. Leader of anti-Semitic church walks out of his kidnapping trial
AP, Jan. 30, 2001
http://www.cnn.com/Off-site Link

GAINESVILLE, Missouri (AP) -- Dismissing the legal system as a ''fiasco,'' the leader of an anti-Semitic church walked out of his own kidnapping trial leaving jury selection up to the judge and prosecutor.

The Rev. Gordon Winrod, 73, who elected to represent himself in court, asked to be taken back to his cell Monday.

''If you are not going to listen to my evidence, you can take me back to my cell and you can run this Jewish fiasco the way you want,'' said Winrod, known for his hatred of Jews, nonwhites and the government.

Winrod, pastor of Our Savior's Church, faces up to 30 years in prison on charges he kidnapped six of his grandchildren from their fathers in North Dakota in the mid-1990s and hid them on his farm.
[...more...]


21 Neo-Nazi groups on rise in Europe
The Associated Press, Jan. 30, 2001
http://archives.seattletimes.Off-site Link

STOCKHOLM - Neo-Nazism is on the rise in Europe, with hate groups using unemployment and poverty to promote a fear of foreigners and immigrants, Sweden's prime minister said yesterday at a conference about combating intolerance.

''Just a few generations after the liberation of Auschwitz, we see an alarming rise in right-wing extremists in Europe,'' Swedish Prime Minister Goeran Persson said. ''There is no room for hesitation. It is time for action and cooperation.''

For two days, world leaders will study racism, religious intolerance, homophobia and xenophobia, and will develop proposals for education, legislation and community initiatives to combat hatred.

Leaders also pointed to the need to address economic forces, as well as globalization, that make it easier to spread extremist ideologies.
(...)

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan criticized European governments for restrictive immigration policies, urging them to recognize the economic and social value of diversity.
(...)

The continent needs more - not fewer - immigrants to keep the economy going as Europe's population ages and its birthrate drops, he told more than 400 participants from 50 countries.

The white-power movement, whose adherents have found it increasingly easy to transmit racist propaganda over the Internet, was a major focus of the meeting.

Kurdo Baksi, a Swedish journalist of Kurdish origin who founded a magazine about racism in Sweden and Europe, said extremists have learned quickly how to use advanced technology to spread their ideas.

Baksi said 70 Web sites with racist and neo-Nazi material operate from Sweden, up from eight sites five years ago.
[...more...]


22. Germany Asks Court To Ban Neo-Nazis
AP, Jan. 30, 2001
http://news.excite.com/Off-site Link

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - The government Tuesday asked Germany's highest court to ban an extreme-right party in the strongest political move so far against neo-Nazis.

Officials expect that it will take at least a year before the supreme court rules whether to approve the ban on the National Democratic Party, or NPD.

Only two political parties have been banned in postwar Germany. The successor to the Nazi Party was outlawed immediately after World War II, and the Communist Party was banned in West Germany in the 1950s.
(...)

''We have gathered so much convincing material and recorded so many terrible ideological, aggressive and hateful remarks that we would be negligent to do nothing,'' an Interior Ministry official, Cornelie Sonntag-Wollgast, said Monday in a radio interview.

She said the NPD has become increasingly radical and aggressive in recent years while drawing closer to Nazi ideology, and expressed confidence the court will back a ban.

Security officials consider the National Democratic Party a magnet for violent young skinheads because of its anti-foreigner stance and slogans such as ''Germany for Germans.''

Although the party is electorally insignificant, the government accuses it of fueling racist violence and promoting neo-Nazi ideology.
(...)

The lower and upper houses of parliament plan separate applications for a ban on the NPD in the coming weeks.
[...more...]


=== Other News

23 Commune ordered to return 'brainwashed' woman's cash
Japan Times (Japan), Feb. 1, 2001
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/Off-site Link

The Tokyo District Court ordered an agriculture commune Wednesday to return about 240 million yen to a former follower who claimed she was brainwashed into donating the money.

The ruling ordered the Yamagishi Life Demonstration Community in Tsu, Mie Prefecture, and other Yamagishi entities affiliated with the parent Yamagishi Association to repay the money.

The Yamagishi Association, which was launched in the town of Iga, Mie Prefecture, in the 1950s, believes communal living based largely on agriculture is indispensable to producing a humane society.
(...)

The woman left the group in 1994 after becoming disillusioned by the extravagant lifestyles of some of the group's leaders and realizing she was simply a source of money and free labor, according to the court.

While the woman signed a contract with the organization stating the money would not be returned if she left the group, the court said the contract ran contrary to public order and accepted social customs.

It also said the contract contravened the freedom of thought guaranteed under the Constitution, as the contract may have prevented the woman from leaving the group.

Although the court ordered the group to return her money, her claim that the group used unjust canvassing measures such as the seminar was rejected, with the court saying it was socially acceptable.

According to the plaintiff's lawyer, around 10 civil suits demanding the Yamagishi affiliates return donations or pay compensation have been filed by former followers across the country.
[...more...]


24. Texas Hunt for Missing Atheist Yields More Remains
Reuters, Jan .29, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/Off-site Link

CAMP WOOD, Texas (Reuters) - Investigators unearthed the most tantalizing confirmation yet that atheist leader Madalyn Murray O'Hair and her two adult children were abducted and killed more than five years ago, authorities said on Monday.

FBI Special Agent Darrin Holmes said that the discoveries of three skulls and a part of a titanium artificial hip joint like one O'Hair had were made on Sunday at the huge Cooksey Ranch in Camp Wood, Texas.

A federal judge unsealed on Monday a plea deal between prosecutors and the top suspect in O'Hair's disappearance in 1995, David Roland Waters, which showed that he agreed to lead police to the bodies to avert a trial on charges of kidnapping and extortion.
(...)

The bones have been taken to a forensic laboratory in San Marcos, Texas, for identification, which should take about two weeks, Holmes said.
(...)

O'Hair, who once called herself the most hated woman in America, rose to fame in 1963 after the U.S. Supreme Court banned prayer in public schools as a result of her lawsuit against the Baltimore School District.

The 77-year-old and her children, son Jon Garth Murray and adopted daughter Robyn Murray O'Hair, who was her birth granddaughter, vanished in August 1995. Police found breakfast dishes still on the table at their Austin, Texas, home.

Since the O'Hairs disappeared, theories about their whereabouts have run rampant. One had O'Hair escaping to New Zealand with hundreds of thousands of dollars embezzled from her atheist organization.

But prosecutors have long suspected that a group of three men led by Waters kidnapped the O'Hairs, forced them to hand over $500,000 in gold coins, killed and dismembered them, and buried their bodies.
[...more...]


25. Discovery of Bones May Close O'Hair Case
AP, Jan. 29, 2001
http://www.washingtonpost.com/Off-site Link

(...) Investigators believe O'Hair, her son Jon Garth Murray and granddaughter Robin Murray O'Hair were killed, dismembered and dumped on the private, 5,000-acre ranch in south Texas.

A metal artificial hip and three skulls were unearthed Sunday near the same area where other human bones had been found a day earlier.
(...)

O'Hair had a hip replacement operation several years before her disappearance.
Though Beverly stopped short of confirming the identity of the bodies, he said officials believe the search is over.
(...)

O'Hair's disappearance was reported in the media within weeks, but it wasn't until a year later that her estranged son, William Murray, made a formal missing persons report to Austin police. He is the father of Robin Murray O'Hair; his mother had adopted her granddaughter.

Theories ranged from foul play to O'Hair and family having run off with the money from her atheist organization, United Secularists of America. Others said she went away to die somewhere Christians wouldn't pray over her.

Yet on Sunday, as law enforcement officers came and went through the ranch gate, a man walked down the road pulling an 8-foot wooden cross.

''I'm not doing it for her, I'm doing it for her family,'' said Bob Hanus, 35, a self-described Christian missionary. ''I said, 'What better place to go and pray?'''
[...more...]


26. O'Hair Suspect Admits to 'Violence'
AP, Jan. 29, 2001
http://www.washingtonpost.com/Off-site Link

AUSTIN, Texas -- The chief suspect in the 1995 disappearance of atheist leader Madalyn Murray O'Hair and her family said he committed ''physical violence'' against them before leading investigators to their dismembered bodies, according to court documents unsealed Monday.

David Waters, who had been indicted on five charges of kidnapping and extortion, pleaded guilty last week to one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery and extortion. He faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing March 30.

Waters, 53, already is serving 60 years for stealing $54,000 from O'Hair's atheist organization while he was her office manager.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerald Carruth said the plea deal was an easy resolution to the case and he didn't expect Waters to live long enough to get out of prison.
(...)

O'Hair's son William, 54, who was the subject of one of her lawsuits, is now a Christian evangelist. He said he feels sorry for his mother.

''She never really had the joy of living. She spent her entire life battling,'' said Murray, chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition in Washington, D.C.
''I don't think there was anything she didn't battle,'' he said.
[...more...]


27. O'Hair's Son Happy Mystery Is Over
AP, Jan. 30, 2001
http://www.washingtonpost.com/Off-site Link

AUSTIN, Texas -- Atheist leader Madalyn Murray O'Hair's estranged son says he's glad the mystery surrounding the disappearance of his mother, brother and daughter appears to be solved.

''I think we're fortunate to have some sort of a resolution, for the family members, even my mother's supporters, who I feel sorry for,'' William Murray said Monday by telephone from Washington.
(...)

William Murray, O'Hair's eldest son, said he plans to return to Texas to bury the bodies if the remains prove to be his family members.

''They just deserve a decent burial,'' he said. ''It's not the time to get into some kind of controversy with people who would like to martyr her.''
(...)

As an adult, William Murray renounced his mother's atheism and is now a Christian evangelist. He is the chairman of the conservative Religious Freedom Coalition in Washington, D.C.
(...)

On the Net:
American Atheists: http://www.atheists.orgOff-site Link
Religious Freedom Coalition: http://www.rfcnet.orgOff-site Link
[...more...]


28. Chinese Indonesians Welcome President's Lifting of Ban on Confucianism
China Times (Taiwan), Jan. 31, 2001
http://www.chinatimes.com.tw/Off-site Link

Taipei, Jan. 30 (CNA) The ethnic Chinese minority in Indonesia has expressed appreciation to President Abdurrahman Wahid for his recent call for the lifting of a decades-old ban on Confucianism and Chinese names in the Muslim country.
(...)

The report said former President Suharto outlawed the teaching of Confucian beliefs in 1967 after a bloody political transition in which the Chinese minority was targeted along with leftists.

During that purge, Suharto forced most ethnic Chinese to change their names to Indonesian-sounding ones in a sweeping assimilation program. Those who refused were banned from taking Indonesian citizenship, according to the report.
[...more...]


29. Va. Senate Passes Driver, Pledge Bills
Washington Post, Jan. 30, 2001
http://washingtonpost.com/Off-site Link

RICHMOND, Jan. 30 - The Virginia Senate this afternoon passed a bill that would restrict teenage drivers, then approved another measure that would mandate recital of the Pledge of Allegiance in all of the state's schools.

Both bills, which passed by wide margins, still must win approval in the House of Delegates and receive the governor's signature before becoming law.

The pledge measure, Senate Bill 1331, passed 27-9. It says that all school boards shall require the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in every classroom of every school. However, no student shall be compelled to recite the pledge if he, his parent or legal guardian objects on religious or philosophical grounds.
[...more...]
* The Pledge of Allegiance: A Short HistoryOff-site Link


=== Alternative Healing

30. Medicine taken with a dose of the spiritual
Seattle Times, Jan. 27, 2001
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/Off-site Link

[...more on alternative healing...]
When David Crow talks to students of medicine and healing, he offers them two widely divergent histories.

One history grew out of a pharmacy of toxic mercury compounds, a faith in bloodletting and a need to stitch up the wounds of war, he says. The other is the result of ancient scientific trial and error, of people using the plants that grew in the forests around them to attain balance of the ''humors, tissues and wastes'' of the body.

The first history is medicine as practiced in the West. The second is the mind-body healing tradition of the East, where doctor-sages still prescribe according to the teachings of the Medicine Buddha.

''What we're doing now is the result of chemistry, modern science and scientific research,'' said Crow, an acupuncturist, medical herbalist and author who visited Seattle this week to speak to naturopathic-medicine students at Bastyr University, which has a program in spirituality and medicine.

''But the entire focus of the Eastern medical system isn't treatment of disease. It's the embracing of the entire person, and the ultimate goal is awakening, seeing reality and union with God. The healing arts are used in the East for spiritual accomplishment.''

Crow, who operates a clinic in Venice, Calif., has written a book, ''In Search of the Medicine Buddha''Off-site Link (Tarcher/Putnam, $25), about his studies in Nepal of ayurvedic and Tibetan Buddhist medical practices. The Medicine Buddha he speaks of is a way of looking at Buddhist healing practices - an iconographic vision of Buddha similar to Catholic ways of seeing the Virgin Mary, Crow said.
(...)

Crow was influenced particularly by Dr. Ngawang Chopel, an elderly lama who had escaped to Nepal after years of imprisonment and torture by Chinese communists.
(...)

Prayer was as much a part of Chopel's healing art as the herbs he used, Crow said.

''He saw medicine as a path to spiritual development,'' Crow said.
(...)

Crow illustrated his ideas with a painting of the Medicine Buddha, an illustration showing Buddha meditating, surrounded by the great ayurvedic physicians of the past and illustrations of the healing herbs they used. Many of the plants are extinct, Crow said, although some could be restored through the growth of natural medicine and organic farming in the West.

Acceptance of the Eastern ways in the West has been slow, Crow said, and not always pure.

''Look how huge yoga is becoming,'' he said. ''Much of it is superficial, but gradually it's influencing society to learn to relax and meditate. Eastern practices and therapies are being used for patients with cancer and degenerative diseases, and the patient is getting more than just biochemistry. We must have the rational side of medicine, the reproducible and scientific. But the human being is also irrational.

''You can't just treat the body. You must also treat the spirit.''
[...more...]


=== Film

31. Christian Comedy Aimed at Youth
AP, Jan. 31, 2001
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/aponline/20010131/aponline120655_000.htmOff-site Link

MINNEAPOLIS -- Mob money and family ties form a strange mix in the first comedy from the Rev. Billy Graham's movie production unit, a story aimed at delivering a moral message to people who might not be tuning into Graham otherwise.

''Road to Redemption,''Off-site Link a $2.2 million film from World Wide Pictures, part of the Minneapolis-based Billy Graham Evangelistic AssociationOff-site Link, opens in test markets across the country Feb. 16.

''Everything in it is absolutely where the young people are today,'' said Barry Werner, director of operations at World Wide.

The lighthearted road movie follows a young woman, played by Julie Condra, who is in debt and on the run from the mob after losing money on a horse race.
(...)

''This isn't your father's Christian movie,'' said Tim Morgan, a spokesman for the film. ''We've got motorcycle gangs and car chases and '72 Cadillacs flying through the air and muscle cars ... there are things in here you wouldn't expect from Billy Graham.''

In the course of the journey, the young woman sees the viability of her
grandfather's faith.

''By the end, I think it's pretty obvious what his beliefs are,'' Morgan said. ''It's pretty well laid out, but it's not, 'We'll stop and have a commercial for Billy Graham now.'''

That process of people developing their own belief systems is what World Wide Pictures has tried to do in its more than 125 films since 1952, Morgan said.
(...)

''Road to Redemption'' will premiere Feb. 16 in Minneapolis; Phoenix; San Antonio; Austin, Texas; Norfolk, Va.; Seattle; Nashville, Tenn. and Portland, Ore.
On March 9 it expands to San Diego; Cincinnati; Denver; Dallas; Kansas City, Mo.; and Tampa, Fla.

The movie will be released on video and DVD in June.
[...more...]