Apologetics Index
News about religious cults, sects, and alternative religions
An Apologetics Index research resource


Religion News Report

March 2, 2001 (Vol. 5, Issue 332) - 1/3

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

=== Aum Shinrikyo
1. Japanese cult wave of the future?

=== Falun Gong
2. China Sentences 37 Falun Gong Sect
3. China Arrests Two For Organizing Tiananmen Group Suicide
4. Beijing confirms falungong arrests over suicide bid
5. HK Security Chief: Falun Gong Could Be Banned
6. Regina in cult storm
7. Say No To Falun Gong, China Urges People In SE Asia
8. China rewards 1,600 anti-falungong fighters

=== Falun Gong - China's Government-Controlled Media
9. Reports from China's government-controlled media

=== Scientology
10. Spot the difference

=== Unification Church
11. Moon shines in Chicago
12. Local clergy join Moon's mission
13. Lunar Landing

=== Buddhism
14. Dropout now Buddhist lama

» Part 2

=== Islam
15. Afghan Taliban begin destruction of ancient Buddha statues
16. Taliban Destroys Religious Statues

=== Catholicism
17. Monks fight eviction by fellow Catholics

=== Mormonism
17a. New CD-ROM to open doors

=== Jehovah's Witnesses
18. Gummer condemns 'potty' Jehovah's Witnesses
19. Abducted girl gets foster mother

=== Hate Groups
20. White supremacist denied Montana law license
21. Bertollini pleads not guilty to DUI
22. German Far-Right Crimes Up 60 Pct.
23. Furor over neo-Nazi clothes ban
24. Germany Opens an Escape Hatch for Neo-Nazis
25. He likes guns, Nazi stuff, not mom-in-law
26. Church of Nav Russia Gets White Supremacist Sect With Political
27. Dees to speak at CdA banquet

=== Other News
28. D.A. Asks Limit to Witnesses in 'Rebirth' Case
29. Therapists should have used monitor, prosecutor says
30. France Rejects U.S. Accusations in Human Rights Report
31. Crackdown On Child Exorcism
32. Alternative religious groups rally against Faith Based Initiative

» Part 3

=== Satanic and/or Ritual Abuse
33. Police discover more child abuse horror on internet
34. I was wrong about cannibalism, so now I'm eating humble pie
35. A time they'd rather forget
36. Orkney: 10 years after
37. Growing number of victims of an abuse that 'does not exist'

=== Alternative Medicine
38. Public snaps up tickets to Weil meeting on alt medicine

=== Books
39. Self-Help Nation
40. IBM's connection to Nazi Germany: the untold story

=== Aum Shinrikyo

1. Japanese cult wave of the future?
WorldNetDaily, Feb. 28, 2001
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/62Off-site Link

[...Note: the full item is available in Apologetics Index - reposted by permission from WorldNetDailyOff-site Link...]
While the practice of traditional religions wanes in much of the West, one influential, violent cult headquartered in Japan -- Aum Shin Rikyo -- is raising eyebrows in intelligence agencies the world over.

The CIA, in fact is undertaking a global survey of apocalyptic cults in earnest. The intelligence agency says there are no less than 1,200 active cults on Earth. More than a quarter of them spread ''doomsday'' or ''end times'' dogma.

Apocalyptic cults are a serious concern, not only to the CIA, but to the FBI. Director Louis Freeh told Congress he feared some cults were willing to wage an ''apocalyptic struggle'' between what in their view were the spheres of good and evil.

Scores of cults have appeared on the scene in recent years. Who can forget Jim Jones and his Kool-Aid suicide cult in Guyana where 900 perished? Then came the Heaven's Gate group, which committed mass suicide while waiting for a UFO they believed was trailing behind the Hale-Bopp comet. More than 70 members of the Order of the Solar Temple committed suicide in Switzerland, France and North America. The Aum group even has a cousin in the neo-Nazi Japanese Sukyo Mahikari cult, which believes in an end-times blood bath and chastisement.

But there is no cult quite like Aum Shin Rikyo -- or ''Supreme Truth.''

What is the 'Supreme Truth'?
The cult's tenets are based on ancient yoga and primitive Buddhism. They also worship the Hindu god Shiva, who holds the keys to both destruction and creation. Destruction and creation, in the cult's view, are one in the same.

The sarin attack showed that Aum is no ordinary cult. It has raised its own army of computer programmers who have installed computer systems in almost 100 top Japanese corporations. No one knows what's been installed along with the assigned data. Bugs? Root-access privileges? Remote transmitters and monitors, perhaps?

The cult is diverse in its business interests. It sells health food and runs yoga studios. More importantly, the cult has stolen, through backdoors it set up at various outposts in Japan's military-industrial complex, secrets from the nation's top programs in the fields of lasers, nuclear warfare, counter-intelligence and space-flight operations.

Moreover, its ''M'' division has done work for Japan's version of the Pentagon, the national phone system and many top corporations. The cult is divided into various ''ministries,'' which in turn take their orders from the group's Science and Technology Agency. Medicine, physics, chemistry, biology, computer science, drugs and weapons are all disciplines the cult has compartmentalized with various experts. Cult members also manufactured amphetamines, truth serum and LSD. Anthrax and sarin nerve gas were also developed in the group's laboratories.

Aum Shin Rikyo should have caught the attention of U.S. military intelligence and the CIA long before the Tokyo subway attack. The cult mounted no less than nine attacks on American assets in Japan in recent years.

The sweeping growth -- there are members in 20 nations -- and military-style organization of the group concern Western intelligence agents, which are leery that there is more to Aum Shin Rikyo than meets the eyes.

For example, the group has ties to Russia, traditionally an enemy of Japan.

In late 1991, an Aum cultist had a meeting with Oleg Lobov, the chief at the Russian Security Council. The following year, Kiyohide Hayakawa, a top cult weapons expert roamed free in Russia, buying up weapons and advisers. The cult set up a front company that was staffed in part by Russian special forces, elite soldiers from the 9th, or ''Deviata,'' Division.

Maj. Vasily Bure, who served with the 9th Division at the Simferopol military base in Ukraine, told WorldNetDaily that his fellow soldiers would have been outraged to learn that the Aum Shin Rikyo cult was getting assistance from the Russian military.

The existence of various Western religious groups that infiltrated Russia after the fall of the Berlin Wall greatly angered Russia's leaders in the early to mid-1990s. Gen. Alexander Lebed, who ran the first war in Chechnya, railed against evangelizing groups like the Mormons. Many members of the U.S. Congress, meanwhile, were greatly angered when President Boris Yeltsin considered a bill that would limit the activities of foreign missionaries and recognized the Russian Orthodox Church as sort of an official state church.

Aum Shin Rikyo, however, was not deterred. They launched their Russian language website and dispatched Asahara to the Motherland.

Dr. Alexander Dvorkin, Russia's point man on combating foreign cults and a consultant under the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, spoke out against the rise of foreign religious cults in Russia.

Then-President Yeltsin expressed his desire ''to protect the moral and spiritual health of the nation and raise reliable barriers to radical sects which inflict great damage on the physical and mental health of our citizens.''

Yet despite the involvement of Yeltsin and other top Russian leaders in addressing the infiltration of cults into Russia, almost 50 of Asahara's men received military training from the elite Vympel special forces.

Said British MI-6 intelligence agent Bryan Hampton: ''This, of course, shows that the Russians are still fomenting terrorism in foreign nations. Everything is for sale in Russia -- satellite photos, advisers, nuclear and biological weapons, bodyguards, gems, oil -- you name it.''

=== Falun Gong

2. China Sentences 37 Falun Gong Sect
AP, Mar. 2, 2001
http://www.lasvegassun.com/Off-site Link

BEIJING (AP) -- China has sentenced 37 people to prison on charges of promoting the outlawed Falun Gong spiritual movement through gatherings and handbills, the government's Xinhua News Agency reported Friday.

The sentences of up to 10 years were given on Thursday by five courts in and around Beijing, Xinhua said in a brief report.

One alleged follower, Xue Hairong, received a seven-year sentence on charges of downloading articles about Falun Gong from the Internet to reproduce and distribute.

3. China Arrests Two For Organizing Tiananmen Group Suicide
AP, Mar. 1, 2001
http://asia.biz.yahoo.com/Off-site Link

BEIJING (AP)--Authorities have arrested two men accused of organizing an attempted group suicide in Beijing by purported followers of the banned Falun Gong spiritual sect, a Chinese newspaper said Thursday.

Five people doused themselves with gasoline and set themselves ablaze on Tiananmen Square in the Jan. 23 suicide attempt. One woman died and the others remain hospitalized.

The China Daily identified those arrested as Liu Yunfang, a 57-year-old former factory worker and Falun Gong practitioner, and Xue Hongjun, another sect follower who it didn't further identify.

Neither Liu or Xue set themselves on fire and the paper didn't say what crimes they were charged with.

The newspaper said Liu claimed that while doing the group's meditation techniques he saw his spirit setting itself ablaze on the square and ''his `Buddha body' spraying fire from the mouth.''

Xue told other followers in the central city of Kaifeng about Liu's vision and with others, organized a group to carry out the group suicide on Lunar New Year's eve.

However, Xue apparently remained behind, telling the others ''he would meet them in `heaven''' when they left by train for Beijing on Jan. 16, the newspaper said.

Liu had planned to take part but changed his mind, the China Daily said. Police who detained him on Tiananmen Square found two bottles of gasoline strapped to his body, earlier state media reports said.

Details of the China Daily's report, attributed to the state-run Xinhua News Agency, clashed with earlier state media accounts.

4. Beijing confirms falungong arrests over suicide bid
AFP, Mar. 1, 2001
http://asia.dailynews.yahoo.com/Off-site Link

A Chinese prosecutor on Thursday confirmed four people had been arrested on suspicion they helped organize the mass suicide attempt by alleged members of the banned falungong movement on Tiananmen Square in January.

The three men and a woman were arrested on Saturday on suspicion of ''using an evil cult to disrupt the law,'' although they had not yet been formally charged, according to a spokesman of the Beijing municipal people's procuratorate.

The spokesman confirmed a report in the state media that two of those arrested were Liu Yunfang and Xue Hongjun, described as the masterminds of the incident.
A third suspected mastermind, Wang Jindong, who took part in the suicide attempt and is currently hospitalized, had also been arrested, according to the spokesman.

The fourth arrest was of Liu Xiuqin, a Beijing woman who allegedly provided lodgings for the falungong adherents before the suicide attempt and equipped them with the gasoline they used to set fire to themselves.

Despite the apparent efficiency of the propaganda barrage -- many ordinary Chinese appear genuinely shaken over the reports of falungong fanaticism -- there are subtle discrepancies in the official accounts of events leading to the January suicide bid.

While the Chinese press had previously reported that Liu Yunfang, a 57-year-old worker from the city of Kaifeng in the central province of Henan, was prevented by police from immolating himself, Xinhua on Thursday said he never had the intention of committing suicide.

''I did not set myself on fire, because the 'master' wanted me to stay,'' Liu said according to Xinhua, referring to falungong guru Li Hongzhi. ''He wants me to live so I can speak.''

The allegation that the suicide attempt was orchestrated by Li Hongzhi in his US exile was given prominent coverage in Thursday's edition of the mass-circulation People's Daily, the Communist party's mouth piece.

5. HK Security Chief: Falun Gong Could Be Banned
AP, Mar. 1, 2001
http://asia.biz.yahoo.com/Off-site Link

HONG KONG (AP)--Hong Kong's security chief held out the possibility Thursday the Falun Gong meditation sect group could end up being outlawed here.

''I think it's a devious organization - many of the things contained in their writings can lead people into superstition,'' Security Secretary Regina Ip said. ''It has lots of overtones of Chinese folk superstition.''

Speaking to lawmakers, Ip said Falun Gong followers have harmed their health by relying on their meditation and exercises instead of going to the doctor. Some practitioners claim Falun Gong has improved their health.

Ip upped her rhetoric against the group banned in mainland China, and although she didn't specifically call for any action that might hinder Falun Gong here, she hinted the group might face troubles later.

''I never said that they are illegal but that doesn't mean that they will not be illegal in the future,'' Ip said.

6. Regina in cult storm
Hong Kong iMail (Hong Kong), Mar. 2, 2001
http://www.hk-imail.com/Off-site Link

Secretary of Security Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee launched another scathing attack on the Falun Gong yesterday, branding it fanatical, superstitious and devious.

She told the Legislative Council Security Panel the sect could lead believers to commit harmful acts and it should be monitored to prevent followers hurting themselves by blindly following irrational behaviour.

Mrs Ip told legislators that having read Falun Gong's teachings she believed it had ``the characteristics of being a fanatical'' group.

She compared the writings of Falun Gong guru Li Hongzhi with Zu Warriors of the Magic Mountain, a Chinese martial arts story about mythical characters set in an ancient magical era.

``Many of its contents bear Chinese traditional superstitious beliefs,'' she said, citing the fact that practitioners were not encouraged to seek medication if they fell ill.

``Their readings promote nothing but superstitions. I thought I was reading Zu Warriors of the Magic Mountain,'' she said.

``The writings encourage people to practise to stages like `Cultivation of Mind and Body', `Primordial Spirit Left the Body' and `Omniscient Celestial Eye'.''
Mrs Ip said the group's unique characteristic was that it was very ``devious''.

``They deny Falun Gong is a religion, but at the same time position themselves above all religions, even superior to Buddhism,'' she said. ``To prevent some possible believers from blindly following irrational behaviour such as avoiding medical treatment when sick or even self-immolation, why can't we keep an eye on them? We're simply monitoring.''

Responding to panel member Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee's concern that by such action the Security Bureau was monitoring thoughts and beliefs, Mrs Ip replied: ``The rights of conscience and beliefs are protected by law.

``However, manifested behaviour is excluded because it could affect other people.''

Another panel member Emily Lau Wai-hing challenged whether the bureau's jurisdiction would include any ``high-profile, organised societies which point their spears at the Central Government''.

``Should anyone or any organisation with these characteristics be monitored by the bureau?'' Ms Lau asked. Mrs Ip responded that it was legal to protest, even against the Central Government.

``But Falun Dafa is an organisation with a fanatical characteristics.

``Not only are they organised and resourceful, their beliefs are also distorted and devious,'' she said.

7. Say No To Falun Gong, China Urges People In SE Asia
AP, Mar. 2, 2001
http://asia.biz.yahoo.com/Off-site Link

SINGAPORE (AP)--Chinese embassy officials said Friday they have been urging people in Southeast Asia to ''say no to the cult'' of Falun Gong, saying the spiritual movement which is banned in China would harm them.

The Chinese embassy in Singapore organized a seminar last weekend to warn people about practicing Falun Gong, said Zheng Xue Fang, an official at the embassy.

A similar seminar was held recently in Thailand, Falun Gong practitioners said.

''We had a seminar on Sunday to say no to the cult,'' Zheng told The Associated Press. ''We're opposed to any kind of cult including the Falun Gong.''

8. China rewards 1,600 anti-falungong fighters
AFP, Feb. 26, 2001
http://asia.dailynews.yahoo.com/Off-site Link

China Monday issued awards to some 1,600 participants in the crackdown on the falungong spiritual movement Monday, and announced ''a great victory'' over the Buddhist and Taoist-inspired group, state media reported.

''The party and government in accordance with the will of the people have taken a series of important and resolute measures and led the entire nation in staunchly struggling against the evil 'falungong' cult,'' Politburo member Li Lanqing said on television.

''We have won a great victory,'' he told a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing.

The crackdown was necessary, Li said, as the outlawed group was ''a cancer destroying human civilization, violating human rights, harming society and bringing calamity to the nation and people.''

While proclaiming victory, Li said the fight against the group would continue to be ''a complicated, sharp and long-term'' one.

The ceremony for awarding 110 ''advanced collectives'' and 271 people engaged in the crackdown was presided over by communist party leaders Ding Guangen, in charge of propaganda, and Luo Gan, head of China's police.

Award winners, sporting large paper roses pinned to their chests, were seen glumly listening to Li's speech. Many were from the police or military.

=== Falun Gong - China's Government-Controlled Media

9. Reports from China's government-controlled media

* China's government-controlled media has, in recent days, published dozens
of items denouncing Falun Gong. As these items are essentially press
releases meant as propaganda rather than news reporting, there is little
to be gained by including them in RNR. Those interested may access the
reports via this Falun Gong news page

=== Scientology

10. Spot the difference
The Guardian (England), Mar. 1, 2001
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Off-site Link

Mike Slocombe, the designer and creator of Urban 75 (http://www.urban75.comOff-site Link), isn't the type you would expect to get agitated about the rights of the copyright holder.

But when Slocombe discovered last month that an organisation in the US had built web pages that looked like his own, even he was put out.

''I got emails from people in America saying, 'Are you involved in this site, or did you design it?' So I took a look, and shrieked in horror as I saw what looks like my site.''

Parts of the pages in question (http://www.cocaineaddiction.comOff-site Link) - published by Narconon, a drug treatment programme in the US - were, Slocombe says, a close match to earlier designs on Urban 75. The look and feel were confusingly similar. Certain graphics were identical. Sections of code - including, Slocombe points out, JavaScript for a pop-up window not used on the Narconon pages - were almost identical.

Even phrases were remarkably similar, Slocombe says. A Google search on the Urban 75 catchphrase - We are entirely non-profit, no banners, no tie-ins, no ads - returned only Narconon, Urban 75 and sites linking to Urban 75.

The main difference, it seems, is ideological. Urban 75 offers information about drugs without condemning their use, but Narconon actively promotes treatment of addiction through techniques developed by L Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology.

Slocombe alleges that a copyright violation had taken place - but Gary Smith, Narconon's executive director, in an email to Online, said he ''does not believe the websites in question include any copyright infringement''.

The problem for a one-man show such as Urban 75 is that hardball is an expensive game to play. The Church of Scientology, famously litigious, has been an aggressive defender of its online copyright.

So Slocombe used a radical tactic: posting comparisons of the two sites on Urban 75, plus a section (later removed) inviting his readers to email concerns to Narconon and its service provider, Earthlink.

Earthlink has not replied to either the Guardian or, we understand, Urban 75. The company was founded by a Scientologist, Sky Dayton, although it has distanced itself from the church.

Narconon, it appears, did get a reply. According to Smith's email, ''Earthlink did not see that there was any problem with the Narconon websites''. The ISP, he adds, was ''very concerned about the number of unsolicited emails that Narconon and Earthlink were receiving at the request of Urban 75.''

But Urban 75 has won small victories. Narconon took down the ''no tie-ins'' phrase the day Slocombe wrote to them. They tweaked the graphics - replacing the orange chevrons first with an orange blob, then yellow arrows. They eventually removed the JavaScript function. Narconon made such changes, Smith says, because it ''wanted to resolve all concerns amicably''.

Small victories, but valuable to Slocombe, a man wedded to his online obsession. ''I don't want people confusing my work with theirs.''

While the Church of Scientology claims promote high ethical standards, it's anything goes strategies tend to expose the cult's true nature.

See also:
Copyright TerroristsOff-site Link

=== Unification Church

11. Moon shines in Chicago
Chicago Sun-Times, Mar. 1, 2001
http://www.suntimes.com/Off-site Link

The Rev. Sun Myung Moon came to the South Side of Chicago Wednesday night on his 50-state tour to promote the restoration of family values and got a family-style welcome from local clergy.

The animated, 81-year-old founder of the Unification Church walked into the filled-to-capacity Life Center Church of God in Christ amid cheers.

He spared neither time nor words, immediately launching into the message of the ''We Will Stand'' tour, and often pumped his arm in the air for emphasis.

''Unless we have true love relationships between a man and a wife, we cannot have God's love,'' he said through an interpreter.

Practicing that kind of love, Moon went on to explain, means no divorce or ''free sex.''

Moon, in a blue suit and sporting a bright yellow tie and red carnation, gazed upon a cross-section of leaders of different denominations, many of them African American. A representative from the Nation of Islam, as well as Baptist and Pentecostal ministers, sat side-by-side at a rally held before Moon spoke at the church.

''Who is the master of America?'' Moon asked. ''It is neither white Americans or black Americans. The true master of America is the person who loves America as God does.''

Life Center Church member Tiffani Neubel, 19, said she didn't agree completely with Moon's message, but his ideas about family were on target. ''No matter what church, what nationality, whatever, you come together as a family and let your family come first, peace will come.''

The leaders gathered at Life Center Church spent a significant amount of time defending their relationship with Moon, often considered a controversial figure in America. They said they support Moon's message of breaking down racial barriers and his focus on strengthening the family and communities.

The Unification Church, based in South Korea, has been reviled by mainstream religious groups as a cult.

A self-proclaimed Messiah, Moon started the religious movement in 1945 after he said he received a revelation from Jesus Christ.

The Unification Church is a deceptive and blasphemous cult. Christians have no business cooperating - for whatever purpose - with its leaders and members who, essentially, are servants of Satan (see: 2 Corinthians 11:15-16 javascript popup window). The movement does not represent historical, biblical Christianity in any way.

» More about interfaith activities and interreligious dialogue

12. Local clergy join Moon's mission
Chicago Tribune, Mar. 1, 2001
http://chicagotribune.com/Off-site Link

At a rousing service Wednesday night at a South Side church, a group of African-American ministers proclaimed their support for a ''family values'' movement launched recently by Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

The ministers dismissed the controversy that has surrounded Moon and his Unification Church, saying what was more important was that clergy members form alliances to address the crisis in the nation's families.

''The reason I like Rev. Moon is that he brings black, white, yellow and brown together,'' said Rev. A.I. Dunlap, pastor of Mt. Olive A.M.E. Church on Chicago's South Side.

Added Rev. George Augustus Stallings, archbishop of Imani Temple African-American Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., ''We have come together not because of one man. We're not focusing on a person, we're focusing on a mission.''

The comments preceded a service that attracted more than 3,000 people to Life Center Church of God in Christ, 5500 S. Indiana Ave., for some foot-stomping gospel music, fiery sermons and an address by Moon, 81. Moon echoed the statements of the other ministers, talking about the need to strengthen families. ''I have been making my utmost effort to revive America by educating the youth in a country that is faced with a moral crisis and declining Christianity,'' he said to the crowd.

The church visit was the fourth stop of a 50-state tour aimed at finding common ground among racial, ethnic and religious groups.

The Unification Church has been controversial for its recruitment practices, religious teachings, and financial dealings. In 1984, Moon was imprisoned for tax evasion.

The church also has been criticized for a 1997 mass wedding in Washington involving 28,000 couples who paid $70 each.

Moon said he started his church in 1954 in Korea after receiving a revelation.

The church, which in 1997 he renamed the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, claims 50,000 members in the U.S. and 3 million in 190 countries.

13. Lunar Landing
The Moscow Times, Mar. 2, 2001 (Opinion)
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/Off-site Link

Cult leader and top GOP supporter Sun Myung Moon is wasting no time in toddling down to the trough of government pork that his good buddy George W. Bush is laying out for one of his favorite religions. (Sorry, one of his favorite ''faith-based organizations.'')

Moon - when he is not pairing up his followers by computer for mass marriages, or slipping a few hundred thousand to George Sr. and Babs for services rendered, or (as official Defense Intelligence Agency documents reveal) sending $3 million to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il as a ''birthday present'' - likes to dabble in teen sex. Preventing it, that is.

And so his ''faith-based organization,'' once called a church but, in true Bushian fashion, now going by the corporate moniker ''Family Federation for World Peace and Unification U.S.A.,'' is looking to George's new Office for Faith-Based Initiatives to come across with some scratch for ''abstinence programs in the schools,'' The Washington Post reports.

''You will see us deeply involved in any area where we can partner in practical projects with the government,'' says Phillip Schanker, the FFWPUUSA's vice president for public affairs. He need hardly have added that for all the quid Moon has poured into Bush pockets, it is now time for a bit of the old pro quo.
Yes, the Lord does help those who help themselves.

Fair Warning
Then again, perhaps we are being too partisan in our disagreements with the Bush administration and its associates. For, as we all know, those who dissent against conservative orthodoxy are sad, bitter partisans, notorious for engaging in spiteful personal attacks and emotive rhetoric, while the advocates of right-wing truth are universally fair, open-minded, even-handed and responsible.

Take, for example, Bush supporter Brian Buckley, attorney for the powerful right-wing web site FreeRepublic.com, and nephew of William Buckley, the renowned ''father of modern conservatism.'' While the vitriolic morons on the left indulge in childish shouting matches against their enemies, Buckley, in a recent posting, offers this tempered, Christian view of the former U.S. president and his wife:

''Even after [the Clintons] are dead, I say we stuff their bodies, fix them in some kind of preservative, and display them at county fairs across the nation, where the citizenry can have fun putting cow dung on them. Or if that's not in good taste, their bodies should be flattened as thin as possible, again fixed in some kind of preservative and then hoisted up a flagpole to flap in the wind. I'm sure others could come up with some additional ideas, but the point is we all need to spend every waking moment for the rest of our lives - even after the Clintons are dead dead dead - reminding people that the Clintons were bad bad bad. And if we can figure out how to do this in our non-waking moments, we need to act on that too.''

No vitriol or imbalance there, then.

=== Buddhism

14. Dropout now Buddhist lama
AFP, Mar. 2, 2001
http://www.hindustantimes.com/Off-site Link

A middle school dropout living with his parents in Florida has embraced his new future as a Buddhist monk after having been identified as a reincarnated Tibetan lama.

At a ceremony in November in India, Jack Churchward, 18, was declared the sixth reincarnation of Tradak Tulku, who ran a Tibetan monastery almost 100 years ago.

Churchward, whose parents both practise Buddhism, is now studying Tibetan and planning a trip to the Monastery Tulku once led. Eventually, he would like to have a monastery of his own.

Churchward grew up taking lithium and ritalin after being diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. He started smoking and drinking when he was 14.

A year later, after he was caught stealing, a judge ordered Churchward to help build a shrine room in the Tibetan Meditation Centre his parents started in Clearwater.

Churchward turned toward Buddhism after a friend died from a drug overdose, and a visit from Chetsang Rinpoche, head of the Drikung Kagyu sect and identified Churchward as a reincarnated lama.

» Part 2