Apologetics Index
News about cults, sects, alternative religions...

Religion Items In The News

May 14, 1999 (Vol. 3, Issue 85)

About Religion Items In The News      More Religion Items In The News


You have landed on one of our very old Apologetics Index entries. The following information has probably not been updated for many years. We keep this entry online for historical research purposes. See a broken link? Here is how to find the archived article or website.

Home | How To Use | A-Z Index | About | Contact
Look, "feel" and original content are Copyright 1996-2024+ Apologetics Index
Copyright and Linking information

NOTE: Unlike the edition posted to the AR-talk list, items in the archived newsletters will, time-permitting, link back to entries in the Apologetics Index.

If links have not yet been provided, check the Apologetics Index for further information.

=== Main
1. Korean TV airs controvesial documentary (Manmin Chungang Sungkyol)
2. TV evangelists forced to recant claims of God's divine dentistry
3. Mother Sues Utah-Based Business Treating Teens in Jamaica
4. Scientology files motions to drop charges
5. BBC television stops worldwide broadcast of [Scientology ads]
6. [Scientology] incites unrest in the camp of its opposition
7. Sweden: new attempt to get NOTs sealed (Scientology)
8. Scientologists in state civil service anonymous again.
9. Mormon psychologist's recanting about church flawpuzzles some
10. Church shunned sex -abuse study (LDS)
11. Mormons caught up in wave of pedophile accusations
12. Ex-member of Children of God details childhood abuse
13. Moon's Doctrine Against Bible, Says Joint Christian Council
14. Spiritual Revival: Falun Gong grows in popularity in U.S., China
15. Cultists Threaten Ago-Iwoye (Supreme Eye)
16. Hate thy neighbor (American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan)
17. Judge strikes down Goshen anti-mask ordinance (American Knights)
18. Amway Stood To Gain From Rumor
19. Couple charged with child abuse in death of son
20. Blend of traditional therapy, spirituality going mainstream
21. Recovered memory theory derided as `junk science'
22. OSU conferences provide respite in creation debate
23. Islamic leaders push partnership with Christians
24. American Muslim Council Holds Annual Meeting in Washington
25. Reform Jews finding faith in old traditions
26. Jewish Leaders Want Palo Alto to Create Enclave

=== Noted
27. Catholic children pay tribute to Mary
28. Saints popular among believers
29. 'Cool' Bible launched in US

=== Books
30. On a Higher Level (Keepers of the Ancient Knowledge)

=== The Church Around The Corner
31. Giant banner ad of Schiffer drapes Berlin church tower

=== Main

1. Korean TV airs controvesial documentary
BBC, May 12, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
A South Korean television station has managed to broadcast a programme
previously forced off air by members of a Christian sect. Seoul-based
Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) went ahead with the documentary-
which examined claims that sect leader Lee Jae-rok could cure illness -
a day after demonstrators stormed the studios and forced it off air.

Riot police were out in force as the programme went out on Wednesday to
prevent further trouble.

Mr Lee heads the 65,000-strong Manmin Chungang Sungkyol sect, a
Protestant denomination whose name roughly translates as All Holiness
Church. His sect believe that he can cure people by touching them, and
is accusing the programme of distorting facts and defaming its image.

The organisation was thrown out of the Christian Council of Korea last
month in a row over "heretical" claims.

2. TV evangelists forced to recant claims of God's divine dentistry
National Post (Canada), May 12, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
God works in mysterious ways, but two high-profile evangelical
Christians in Western Canada have been forced to back down from claims
that He gave them gold teeth.

A chastened Willard Thiessen, host of a daily religion program on
Winnipeg television, admitted yesterday he was wrong in telling his
tele-flock that God had inexplicably planted a gold tooth in his mouth.
It turned out the gold tooth had been implanted by his brother Elmer, a
dentist in British Columbia.

Mr. Thiessen is not alone in his embarrassment. Dick Dewert, a
religious broadcaster in Lethbridge, Alta., told a CJIL-TV audience
during an on-air fundraising marathon in March that God had implanted a
gold tooth in his mouth after a bout of intensive prayer. But Dr.
Jack Sherman, Mr. Dewert's longtime dentist, said he had put it
in about 10 years earlier.

Praying to God to repair teeth is just another way of asking God to
reveal himself through healing, said John Arnott, senior pastor for the
Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, a charismatic evangelical
Christian group.

Mr. Arnott said about 20 of his flock of 2,000 believe God polished
their fillings or replaced them with gold after praying for such
healing in March.

3. Mother Sues Utah-Based Business Treating Teens in Jamaica
Salt Lake Tribune, May 12, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
A Houston woman has filed a lawsuit against a Utah-based treatment
business for troubled teen-agers, claiming her two sons were abducted
against her will and subjected to cultish behavior modification at a
poorly managed facility in Jamaica. Donna Burke was divorced from
her husband when, without her consent, the husband allegedly paid
Utah's Teen Help to arrange the "kidnapping" of sons David, then 16,
and Scott Burke, then 14.

Teen Help, the program Burke has sued, is named in at least two other
other cases filed in U.S. District Court for Utah. Thomas M. Burton, a
Pleasanton, Calif., attorney who filed the cases, likens the southern
Utah network of programs that includes Teen Help to a "cult."

Cross Creek Manor, a Washington County, Utah, home to which Teen Help
refers troubled teen-age girls, "is one of many closed, secret cult
centers . . . where adolescents are impounded, tortured, berated,
brainwashed, and otherwise abused," he alleges in a Utah federal suit
filed on behalf of daughter Celece and mother Ceta Dochterman of
California. In that lawsuit, Celece claims she was forced to urinate,
defecate and bathe while being watched; she was called a "slut" and
"family destroyer"; and paraded naked in front of male staff.
Burke's lawsuit, also handled by Burton, alleges similar outrageous

Along with Teen Help, Burke seeks damages from a network of businesses
and people the lawsuit claims are business associates, including
Tranquility Bay, The Caribbean Center for Change, Worldwide Association
of Specialty Programs, Brightway Hospital, Resource Realizations, R&B
Billing, Dixie Contract Services, Teen Escort Services, Key Kay, Robert
B. Lichfield, Karr Farnsworth, Brent M. Facer, Jay Kay, Jean Davis,
Lorraine Black, Delbert Goates and David Gilcrease.

Some of the defendants were involved with Brightway, a southern Utah
adolescent hospital Utah officials accused of operating as a front for
the network of teen homes. Last year, Brightway was forced to close its
doors under pressure from the Utah Department of Health's bureau of

4. Scientology files motions to drop charges
St. Petersburg Times, May 12, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
The Church of Scientology in Clearwater says it is immune from criminal
prosecution in the death of Lisa McPherson and wants the felony charges
against it dismissed.

In lengthy motions filed this week, Scientology's lawyers argue that
the charges filed against the church last November "are both
unnecessary and impermissible."

Church staffers gave "spiritual assistance" to McPherson, a fellow
Scientologist, in the days before she died, thus their actions were
protected under the First Amendment and the state's new Religious
Freedom Restoration Act, the motions state.

McPherson, 36, died Dec. 5, 1995, after spending 17 days at
Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater. Church staffers
isolated her in a room and forced food and medicines down her throat as
they treated her for a mental breakdown, according to state
investigators. The church also is accused of an "inexcusable delay" in
getting McPherson to a hospital when she became ill.

Two Scientologists questioned McPherson's care, according to
investigators. One was a doctor who was said to be shocked by her
condition when he pronounced her dead at a hospital in New Port Richey.

Notably, the church's new motions marked the first time since the case
became public in 1996 that Scientology has been explicitly
self-critical about what happened to McPherson.

The motions "condemn" the actions of church staffers, calling them
"negligent acts" that were "contrary to church scripture." They
referred to the delay in getting McPherson to a hospital as
"lamentable, even if it can be explained by the unfortunately stressful
circumstances created by this entire episode."

Charging a whole church for acts committed by individuals unnecessarily
burdens all of Scientology and its members, Scientology lawyers argue.

They also cite the recent case of Baptist leader Henry Lyons. McCabe
chose to prosecute Lyons, not his organization, the National Baptist
Convention. The church's motion calls it "troubling" that the same tack
was not taken with Scientology.

5. BBC television stops worldwide broadcast of commercials for Scientology
epd (Germany), May 6, 1999
Translation: German Scientology News
(Story no longer online? Read this)
After protests from German television viewers, BBC, the British
broadcasting company suspended the worldwide broadcast of commercials
for Scientology. Michael Kayser, the German representative from BBC
World, related this to the epd in Munich. The commercial for the 1950
book "Dianetics" by Scientology founder Ron Hubbard had been broadcast
several times a day for about three weeks.

The television spot had been released by the British Broadcasting
Advertising Clearance Center. However, since the Scientology
organization is essentially rated more critically in Germany than it is
in Great Britain, the broadcaster took the commercial off the air
prematurely. According to Kayser, BBC World is received by about ten
million households in Germany.

Scientology has been under surveillance by the state Constitutional
Security agencies in Germany since 1997. Critics speak of an
ideologically totalitarian system which closely observes its members
and operates primarily in a profit-oriented manner. The issue of
whether the organization is a religious congregation or a business has
not been uniformly decided upon by the courts. In 1997 Scientology gave
the number of its members in Germany to the U.N. Human Rights
Commission as 30,000. Experts have since concluded that it is much

6. Controversial organization incites unrest in the camp of its opposition
Suedwest Presse (Germany), May 11, 1999
Translation: German Scientology News
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Critics of the controversial Scientology organization are incurably
riven. This is over the outcome of an agent who operated undercover for
years. Another who recently left the organization has now exposed the

Psycho-concerns like Scientology fear nothing more than the exposure of
its dubious machinations. Those who make these revelations must be
silenced or discredited. A wedge must be driven into the alliance
against the [Scientology] organization, states the practical writings
of Scientology founder, L. Ron Hubbard. Critics, Hubbard continues, are
all criminal. In order to make that known, Scientology maintains its
own secret service. In Germany this is called the "Department of
Special Affairs" (DSA). When nothing incriminating can be found, then
it is manufactured, say critics.

If that is not enough, Hubbard recommends the employment of agent
provocateurs. Fantasies of a science fiction author? Not even close.
The Scientologists have slipped at least one man in amongst the
critics, and he has done his job successfully. The man who says this is
44-year-old Norman S., who himself has worked for DSA. He learned this
coincidentally from internal memos which state what actions Scientology
has taken against critics in the past years.

7. Sweden: new attempt to get NOTs sealed
From: Catarina Pamnell <catarina@pamnell.com>
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Date: Wed, 12 May 1999
Message-ID: <3738D3CC.E8AB101E@pamnell.com>

Summary of article in Metro newspaper May 11, 1999:
(Story no longer online? Read this)

Scientology has made a new request to the Supreme Court of
Sweden to seize the Scientology "secret scriptures" that are
currently open to public view in the Swedish parliament.

The scriptures legally became public documents according to the
"offentlighetsprincip" (a kind of wide freedom of information
act) when Zenon Panoussis in 1996 handed over copies to the
parliament. Scientology sued Panoussis, who lost the case in the
District Court and was ordered to stop spreading the material.

The problem for Scientology remained, as the material was still
publicly available through the parliament. After heavy pressure
from the US, the Swedish government did seal the material for a
while. That decision was quickly overturned by the Supreme
Administrative Court.

The Scientology movement turned to the bailiff, and demanded the
confiscation of all copies of the material, but the bailiff
denied their request. Scientology appealed the decision to the
District Court, and then to the Court of Appeals, but lost in

In a final attempt to keep the material secret, Scientology has
appealed to the Supreme Court. They state that RTC owns the
copyright to the material, and that the District Court has
actually sentenced Panoussis for spreading it.

The thesis of L Ron Hubbard's writings is that space aliens live
inside all humans and impede human development.

* Follow-up message regarding the availability of the NOTs

Anyone can get a copy. And that's *anyone*, it is not restricted
to swedish citizens.

You don't need to state the purpose of your request, or even
your name, just give an address where they can send it. You do
however need to pay a copying and postage fee, which could
amount to nearly $100. For instructions:

For checking current details, the phone number to the parliament
is +46 87 86 40 00

8. Scientologists in state civil service anonymous again
Die Presse (Austria), May 10, 1999
Translation: German Scientology News
(Story no longer online? Read this)
"Applicants for the Lower Austria state civil service do not have to
out themselves as to whether they are members of Scientology." Peter
Pitzinger, state sect commissioner, mentioned that while Scientology
was not acknowledged as a church or a religious congregation in
Austria, neither was it prohibited. He does not think that a
professional ban on Scientologists would contribute to anything, since
it would only create martyrs. Instead of that, people should be kept up
to date on the activities of the organization which makes widespread
use of anonymous operations. "In all of Austria, there are between
50,000 and 200,000 members of various sects. In Lower Austria it is
about 10,000 to 40,000 people," stated Pitzinger. According to what
Scientology says, it has around 10,000 Austrian adherents.
[...entire item...]

9. Mormon psychologist's recanting about church flaw puzzles some
Houston Chronicle, May 10, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
(Registration required - free)
As a psychologist and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints
, Arleen Cromwell wanted to help her church with a
problem. Later, however, she contended that there was no problem at

In a sworn affidavit she signed in February 1996 - but later recanted -
the Salt Lake City therapist detailed what she called a pattern in
which sexually abused children had been shunned or generally mishandled
by bishops, who in the Mormon faith are local congregational leaders.

Defense lawyers say the church is not liable because it has no control
over members who abuse children.

Cromwell would not talk to the Houston Chronicle about why she recanted
the original affidavit that she had provided for Michael Sullivan of
Columbia, S.C., the lead plaintiffs' attorney in the Beckley case.

"Had I been more knowledgeable of the efforts of the LDS church at the
time I signed the 1996 affidavit, I wouldn't have signed it or become
involved in the lawsuit. I based much of what I said about how the
church was handling these cases on one conversation with my stake
president. I should have looked into the situation further with church
leaders but I didn't."

Von Keetch, a Salt Lake City attorney representing the church in that
case and similar lawsuits, said Cromwell's recanting of her original
affidavit is evidence that the experienced therapist is impressed with
the church's turnaround in training its bishops in a concerted effort
that began in 1995.

Sullivan said he suspects that Cromwell was pressured to recant, but by
whom, he doesn't know.

10. Church shunned sex-abuse study
Houston Chronicle, May 10, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
(Registration required - free)
She thought the response would be positive - that the Mormon church
would embrace her study on women survivors of childhood sexual abuse as
a helpful, groundbreaking piece of research. But Karen E. Gerdes said
the report that she and three other women presented received the
opposite reaction: It was denounced or, worst of all, largely ignored
by church officials who still dismiss it four years later.

The study, which Mormon leaders condemned as flawed, found that more
than two-thirds of the women interviewed said they had bad experiences
when they turned to Mormon clergymen for comfort and counsel.

For a church that in recent years has faced numerous lawsuits accusing
it of harboring, or at least failing to stop, pedophiles in its midst,
Gerdes said she believed she and her colleagues were providing some
helpful insights.

"It was never our intent to make the church look bad, but that's the
way the church received it," she said of the 1995 study the group
conducted while at Brigham Young University.

11. Mormons caught up in wave of pedophile accusations
Houston Chronicle, May 9, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
(Registration required - free)
The church that is known for placing a spiritual premium on family
values is under increasing attack for an alleged failure to protect its

children from pedophiles.

Therein lies the irony of a barrage of lawsuits and general complaints
alleging that - in an effort to protect its wholesome image - the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly called the Mormon
Church, has failed to root out child molesters in its midst.

The fast-growing institution, with 10 million members worldwide, is not
the only church that has been plagued in recent years by embarrassing
cases involving sexual abuse of children. But while Mormon officials
maintain that they have eliminated most of the problems that may have
once existed, lawsuits and criminal charges linking the church to
pedophiles have continued to mount.

12. Ex-member of Children of God details childhood abuse
FACTNet, May 11, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
A 23-year-old woman who was born into the Children of God cult and left

at the age of twelve, tells her story today in The Mirror. Kristina
Jones was raped for years by cult members including her stepfather
beginning when she was nine, at cult communes in England and India. She
was sexually abused in other ways beginning when she was two, and
possibly even younger. Children of God believes that sexual "sharing"
among members is God's will, and that refusing sex is refusing the will
of God. David Berg, a Children of God leader, details in letters to
members how he enjoyed being sexually abused by a babysitter when he
was young, and how he wishes he'd had an opportunity to sleep with his
mother. He also produced a pamphlet for cult children with pictures and
instructions on how to give oral sex. F.A.C.T.Net cannot reprint the
entire story because of copyright regulations. Following is an excerpt:
"...When your earliest memory of your mother is seeing her walk into
your bedroom, witness you being given oral sex by one of her friends,
even though you were only two years old, and yet turn on her heel and
walk away, it's hard to bury your own feelings just to make her feel
better about it. When she joined the group in 1973, she thought they
were just another religious organization. But, by the time she had met
and married my father, Simon Peter, who was also a member, moved into a
commune in Kent with about 20 other members, and my elder sister
Celeste had arrived in 1975, they must have realized that the group
believed free love, incest, and intercourse with their children were
considered to be the will of God. I don't think either of them
questioned Berg's words. After all, he was God's right-hand man. If
they felt uncomfortable with this aspect of his teachings, they didn't
dare show it. Probably it was easy to kid themselves that, disgusting
as some of it sounded, it had to be all right. I can understand that,
but now that I'm a mother myself I can't even begin to understand how
they could have exposed their children to it... Little children were
taught that nudity was good and that sex was the best way of showing
someone that you loved them. Refusing to sleep with someone who wanted
you was the biggest sin you could commit, and you were punished for
it... Adults would come in to read us bedtime stories and have sex with
us. In a way, you welcomed it. Discipline was very strict, and when you
were constantly being criticized, beaten and punished you were grateful
for any kind of attention." When Kristina's mother finally left the
group, she still was - and is - in bad shape, and not of much help to
her daughter. Kristina began using drugs and attempted suicide three
times. She had a son at sixteen, who she parents with love and
protectiveness. She was awarded pounds 5,000 from the cult in court.
Kristina is now studying for a law degree and rebuilding her life.
[...entire item...]

13. Moon's Doctrine Against Bible, Says Joint Christian Council
Africa News Service, Apr. 29, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
The Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC) has warned Christians against
being misled by Dr. Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon of the Unification Church
[Story no longer online? Read this]
"because its doctrine violates the Bible."

He was reacting to several inquiries from curious Christians about the
visit of Dr. Moon, who arrives here today and why it has caused such

"While individual members of the member churches of the council may
have strong links with the Unification Church, as a council we have no
such links. There are fundamental doctrinal differences between the
member churches of the council and those of the Unification Church,"
Kaiso told The New Vision. "It is because of those doctrinal
differences that the mainstream Biblical Christians are not in
fellowship with the Unification Church and has come to be regarded as a
cult worldwide," Kaiso explained. The prelate said Rev. Moon's
teachings contradict the Bible.

He advised Christians who regard the Bible as a true word of God, to
ignore Rev. Moon and his doctrines.

14. Spiritual Revival: Falun Gong grows in popularity in U.S., China
San Francisco Chronicle, May 10, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
(...) Falun Gong is part of a broader revival of Chinese spiritual
practice, including qigong (pronounced CHEE-goong), an ancient Chinese
practice that combines breathing, concentration and meditation to
promote health and well-being. It works on some of the same principles
as t'ai chi ch'uan, the slow-moving martial art, and acupuncture, the
Chinese healing technique.

``There's qigong fever in China,'' said Nancy Wong, an assistant
professor of anthropology at UC Santa Cruz. ``There's an explosion of
spiritual practices. It could be a fad, or it could have long-term
political significance.''

Devotion to the teachings of Li is another major component of Falun
Gong. Devotee Claire Lee laid her hand upon two paperback books by Li,
``China Falun Gong'' and ``Zhuan Falun.'' ``This is like a Bible to
us,'' she said. ``It's the most advanced form of qigong.''

There are clear apocalyptic overtones to Li's teachings.

Chen, the Santa Cruz anthropologist, is writing a book about qigong,
and has been observing Falun Gong for about six years. ``It's
apocalyptic in that they are taking about the end of a certain kind of
history,'' she said. ``Millennial movements in China have always
threatened the state.''

15. Cultists Threaten Ago-Iwoye
P.M. News (Lagos), May 11, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Barely two weeks after the breathtaking school killing at Columbine
High School in the United States of America, a scenario close to that
was replayed at the Ogun State University when some students suspected
to be members of Supreme 'Eye' confraternity (the Airlords) marched
into one of the venues of the institution's harmattan semester
examination in a frantic search for members of a rival secret cult-the

16. Hate thy neighbor
Boston Phoenix, May 13-20, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
(...) Experts on hate-group activity say the message is clear: the
American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a recently formed and aggressive
branch of the notorious hate group, have arrived in New England. And
they're recruiting new members.

At a time when membership in hate groups is rising nationally,
according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Indiana-based
American Knights are growing especially fast. "They came from nothing
three years ago," says Mark Potok, editor of the quarterly Intelligence
Report, the SPLC publication that covers the radical right. "This group
has really exploded onto the American scene and is showing up in some
quite surprising places."

The KKK may be the most infamous of American hate groups, but it is no
longer the organization of choice for bigots seeking company. At its
peak in the 1920s, the Klan boasted millions of members and mainstream
status in some communities. But today, of an estimated 100,000 people
nationwide who belong to some type of organized hate group --
neo-Nazis, racist skinheads, other Aryan-pride sects -- only an
estimated 6000 are members of the Klan.

17. Judge strikes down Goshen anti-mask ordinance
San Francisco Chronicle, May 10, 1999

(Story no longer online? Read this)
A federal judge has ruled a Goshen city ban on masks unconstitutional,
saying it violates the rights of Ku Klux Klansmen to express themselves
and associate anonymously.

The American Knights argued that they consider themselves a religion,
and their national leader, the Rev. Jeffrey Berry, testified that
members conceal themselves because they are sinners in God's eyes.

The group also said many members wear the hoods to remain anonymous and
reduce the risk of retaliation.

18. Amway Stood To Gain From Rumor
FoxMarketWire, May 12, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Procter & Gamble Co.'s hell was a potential sales heaven for Amway
Corp., which stood to gain business from false rumors that its giant
rival had satanic links, a former Amway salesman testified Tuesday in a

His testimony came in the trial of a lawsuit by Procter & Gamble Co.
charging that it has lost hundreds of millions of dollars in sales
because Amway has fomented the satanic rumors since as early as the

The rumors, prevalent among some religious groups, include the
allegation that Procter & Gamble's venerable trademark incorporates
satanic symbols such as the number "666" and devil's horns.

Amway Corp., which sells its products directly to consumers through 3
million distributors worldwide, has denied the charges and filed a
countersuit accusing Procter & Gamble of conducting a smear campaign.

19. Couple charged with child abuse in death of son
St. Petersburg Times, May 11, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Authorities say the parents failed to seek treatment for the 2-year-old
boy after he was stung by a swarm of yellow jackets last fall.

The Johnsons, whose religious beliefs eschew medical treatment, have
refused to be interviewed and have never given detectives a reason for
not getting help for their child, said Hillsborough sheriff's Lt. Greg
Brown. "All we know is this: They waited seven hours to seek any kind
of medical treatment," he said. Investigators, armed with arrest
warrants, have been unable to locate the Melbourne couple, Brown said.

This was not the couple's first brush with the law over their religious
beliefs. As part of a small religious group known as Bible Readers
, the Johnsons were acquitted in March 1998 of charges they
did not report the death of a 1-month-old girl born to a couple from
their group.

During questioning for that case in October 1996, Wylie Johnson told
detectives he relied on his religion for healing. Asked if he would
ever call 911 to help his child, he replied, "I don't know."

20. Blend of traditional therapy, spirituality going mainstream
Star-Telegram, May 11, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
(...) For as more of their clients demand treatment for the soul as
well as the psyche, therapists are expanding their repertoire to
include talk of everything from God and the power of prayer to past
lives and karmic debt.

"There is a broad spiritual awakening taking place around us," says
Henry Grayson, executive director of New York's National Institute for
the Psychotherapies, a training ground for post-graduate students
studying to become therapists. Last year, the Institute opened the
Center for Spirituality and Psychotherapy. Its first conference drew
more than 500 therapists from the Eastern Seaboard alone.

Some might dismiss the trend as a New Age fad. But the focus on therapy
for the soul is merely the popularization of an idea that has been
around since Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung insisted the spiritual
component of the human psyche could not be ignored.

When panic attacks began keeping her from showing up at work, Carlucci
sought the help of Dr. Tasha Mansfield, a South Miami psychologist and
author of "When God Talks Back -- Madness or Mysticism?" (Centauro
Publishing, $18.50).

Yet if someone confides that he or she has seen an omen or received
messages from God, some psychotherapists may think it a sign of mental
illness. And a psychotherapist who delves into the spiritual world may
be considered a little crazy himself.

That's what happened to Dr. Brian Weiss, former chairman of the
department of psychiatry at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach
and best-selling author of "Many Lives, Many Masters" and "Only Love Is
Real, a Story of Soulmates Reunited."

Weiss says he now has a client waiting list of 5,000. He has been on
"The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "20/20." Last year, he trained at least
800 therapists from across the country to do past-life regressions.

In Los Angeles, Dr. Judith Orloff, author of "Second Sight," is a
member of the American Psychiatric Association, and an assistant
clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California. But
there is one thing that sets Orloff apart from her peers.

She's a psychic psychiatrist who prescribes Prozac while using her
intuitive abilities to "tune into" her clients and garner information
she thinks can help seed the healing process.

21. Recovered memory theory derided as `junk science'
Toronto Star, May 11, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
The theory of recovered memory in sexual assault cases is ``junk
science'' that has no place in the courtroom, says the lawyer who
defended John Paul Roby. ``It belongs on the shelf right up there with
witchcraft, sorcery and fortune-telling,'' says Steven Skurka. ``It's
junk science, and one day we'll look at it the way we look at the Flat
Earth Society.''

Prosecutors didn't get convictions on any of the six charges against
Roby involving three women and three men, who said they only recently
remembered the alleged assaults after undergoing therapy.

Memory researchers say there is no scientific evidence for the concept,
arguing other forces are at work, such as suggestive questioning by

22. OSU conferences provide respite in creation debate
Columbus Dispatch, May 9, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Despite recent fraternization between science and religion, the news
from the front is that no truce has been declared. At two conferences
last week at Ohio State University, scientists, philosophers,
theologians, evangelicals and creationists all suggested where the
lines might be drawn.

Mainstream academics flocked to "Religion and Science: Tension,
Accommodation and Engagement,'' while anti-evolutionists met to
"Rediscover Creation.''

I'd like to report that the proximity of two such conferences, and the
diversity of opinion, signaled a lull in the shooting between
scientists and their Bible-based critics. Unfortunately, that's not
the case. Peace will reign in the Balkans before this endless fight
over origins is settled.

Gentry, the creationist, said scientists are now giving lip service to
religious tolerance but still feel free to dismiss creationist
arguments without proving them wrong.

The war is being waged not so much in conference centers as in
classrooms and bookstores. Lamoureux, who teaches theology at the
University of Alberta, said he's appalled to find the majority of his
students now skeptical about the theory of evolution. Indeed, the
creationist viewpoint seems to be gaining in popularity, influencing
instruction not only in biology but also in astronomy and geology.

23. Islamic leaders push partnership with Christians
Nando Times, May 11, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Emboldened by NATO military policies to defend Muslims in Kosovo,
Islamic leaders in the United States speak confidently of a "new
partnership" with Christianity. And like conservative Christian
fundamentalists and evangelicals, the followers of Mohammed yearn to
restore to America a greater sense of modesty and morality.

"We are witnessing a reversal of sentiment which has been deeply
embedded in the West for more than 1,000 years," said Jamal Barzingi,
director of the International Institute of Islamic Thought. "This is a
new partnership. Not Islam against the West. But Islam and the West
against the decline of civilization."

Barzingi made his remarks at the American Muslim Council's eighth
national convention in Arlington, Va.

The group is seeking acceptance - or at least acknowledgment - from
U.S. leaders. The council last week dined with 22 members of the Senate
and House.

In a personal note, President Clinton commended the council's efforts
to bring Muslims into the political and social mainstream. "You can
take pride in knowing that your leadership is helping to uplift
communities, strengthen our nation, and set an example of faith for
peoples around the nation," Clinton wrote.

"We will find many, many fair-minded, honest, sincere, God-fearing
Christians who would like to work together with us to save this
civilization," Barzingi said.

She [Riffat Hassan, a professor of religious studies at the University
of Louisville] also sounded the convention's theme that Islamic culture
must reach out to "the people of the book" - Mohammed's term recorded
in the Koran to describe people who share a faith in the God first
worshipped more than 3,500 years ago by Abraham, patriarch of ancient

"Muslims have no special claim on God's grace," Hassan said. "It is
very, very important to engage in constructive dialogue with Christians
and Jews."

24. American Muslim Council Holds Annual Meeting in Washington
USIA, May 11, 1999

(Story no longer online? Read this)
(...) The first part of the convention was devoted primarily to
political organization and grass-roots lobbying. With American Muslims
[Story no longer online? Read this]
now numbering between four and eight million -- the U.S. census does
not collect information on religious affiliation -- the AMC and other
Muslim groups have begun to make serious efforts to organize their
members for the presidential and legislative elections in November

25. Reform Jews finding faith in old traditions
Cincinnati Post, May 11, 1999
Reform rabbis from across the country meet in Pittsburgh this month to
vote on a new direction and definition for their movement, the
fastest-growing stream of Judaism in America.

But portions of the new platform would be unrecognizeable to Reform
Jews of past generations. The platform embraces once-rejected Jewish
rituals, such as the study of Torah (sacred Jewish law), learning
Hebrew, keeping kosher, observing the Sabbath.

For a movement known for radically reforming Jewish laws, Reform
Judaism is looking awfully traditional these days.

The proposed platform, currently in its sixth draft, contains a curious
mix of liberal Reform pronouncements about social justice and gender
equality, and endorsements of more traditional ritual practices.

26. Jewish Leaders Want Palo Alto to Create Enclave
San Francisco Chronicle, May 12, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Palo Alto is on the verge of stepping back 2,900 years in history to
give its Jewish community something new and unheard of in Northern
California: an eruv.

In the days of King Solomon, a wall was built around a city to create
an eruv. The eruv, a district that creates a symbolic extension of the
home, allows Orthodox Jews to engage in neighborhood life without
breaking religious bans on doing simple tasks outside the home on the

In modern-day Palo Alto, religious leaders are asking the city to
recognize the city's perimeter -- about 80 percent of it already
demarcated by creeks and freeway walls -- as an eruv.

An eruv would create a large private domain that would grant more
flexibility, Feldman said. Eruvs exist in about 100 other cities
around the nation, including Beverly Hills, Washington, D.C., and St.

=== Noted

27. Catholic children pay tribute to Mary
Toledo Blade, May 8, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
In a centuries-old rite of spring rooted in medieval images, groups of
Catholic schoolchildren will gather this month to place a crown of
flowers on the head of a statue of Mary, the mother of Christ.

Known as the "May crowning," the ritual also is performed by women's
groups and others to honor Mary as a model of godly womanhood who often
is referred to as the "queen of heaven."

Today, a renewal of Catholic devotion to Mary brought about in part by
reports of apparitions around the world has been accompanied by
heightened interest in the May crowning rite as well.

More recently, Pope John Paul II, who is known for his strong devotion
to Mary, has further contributed to the revival of the tradition by
reorganizing the church's rite for the crowning of images in 1982.

The crowning of Mary is based on "the conclusion that Jesus is king;
therefore, his mother must be the queen mother," said Sister Jean.

28. Saints popular among believers
Detroit News, May 11, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
(...) Near the end of the millennium, saints still maintain their
popularity with believers. Millions like Gonzalez call on their saints
every day for help.

There's a saint for almost everything and everyone. There's Joseph
(protector of the home), Michael (guardian of flight), Gregory
(singers), Teresa (the soul) and Anne (houseworkers), to name a few.
There's even a saint for comedians (Vitis) and a saint you call on when
you have a toothache (Apollonia).

"We're very practical," says the Rev. Charles McDermott, Vicar
Episcopal for Theological and Canonical Affairs for the Diocese of
Sacramento. "If you have a need, I'm sure there's a saint for you."

All of this may appear strange to non-believers, bewildered by all the
different saints and the roles they play. Even some Catholics are
unsure what to make of them. "I don't get it," says one woman, standing
outside her parish on Easter Sunday. "Do they worship them?"

The answer to that is no. Saints are honored. They were human beings
who lived exemplary lives. They are role models, examples meant to
inspire others to lead richer, spiritual lives. Believers pray to them
for guidance or for help.

"They're like intermediaries," explains Margaret Hernandez, a case
worker for Centro Guadalupe, a Catholic social service program. "I pray
to them because I don't want to bother God all the time."

29. 'Cool' Bible launched in US
BBC News, May 11, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
An updated, "cool" version of The Bible - retitled The Book - has been
launched in the United States with the most expensive literary
promotion in history.

But the mastermind behind The Book, TV evangelist and former
presidential candidate, Pat Robertson, denied he was promoting The Book
for profit. "Our goal is not to sell Bibles. It is to make
Bible-reading cool and American," he said.

More than 90 million Americans have not read the Bible, suggesting a
huge, untapped market of potential readers.

American Atheists' spokesman Chris Pokrop said that when a religion
resorted to trying to make itself "cool" it had "lost the point".
People should be attracted to their religion because it makes sense,
it's meaningful and has something applicable to say," he said.

=== Books

30. On a Higher Level
JournalNow, May 9, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
Joan Parisi Wilcox writes of merging with the moon in an awesome and
ancient world hidden in the snow-peaked Andes Mountains. And the
Clemmons woman says that the lessons she learned from Q'ero Indian
shamans can be taught and applied in any setting. ''I think the basis
of their spiritual system is truly universal,'' said Wilcox, who is a
43-year-old free-lance writer and editor.

Element Books of Boston has just published Wilcox's first book, Keepers
of the Ancient Knowledge. In it, she weaves her own experiences with
the shamans, or ''priests'' of Andean mysticism, through a detailed
analysis of their complex belief system and threatened lifestyle.

As she began her writing career, she read heavily about religion and
spirituality. She brought a skepticism to her study, only focusing on
belief systems that really seemed to produce practical results. After
learning about Andean mysticism, she felt that it might fit that bill.

More study about the group led her in 1994 to journey to the land of
the shamans. She found a country that she said has become the new mecca
for spiritual seekers. ''Peru today is very much like India was in the
'60s when the Beatles discovered meditation,'' she said.

Other threats to the Q'ero culture include evangelical Christianity,
Wilcox said. She knows one shaman who is passing his practices on to
his nephews instead of his sons, she said, because his sons are
evangelical Christians who say that his practices are the work of the

=== The Church Around The Corner
[Story no longer online? Read this]

31. Giant banner ad of Schiffer drapes Berlin church tower
Nando Times, May 10, 1999
(Story no longer online? Read this)
A larger-than-life banner featuring German supermodel Claudia Schiffer
was draped over Berlin's landmark Memorial Church Monday in a
controversial move to fund renovations to the damaged structure.

French cosmetics company L'Oreal SA sponsored the renovation of the
church's 174-foot-high bell tower with $130,000 in exchange for the
right to hang the giant banners featuring the blonde beauty and other
models on the tower's scaffolding.

"Religion Items in the News" is now called "ReligionNewsBlog.com" - a service provided by Apologetics Index.

Home | How To Use | About | Contact
Look, "feel" and original content are Copyright 1996-2024+ Apologetics Index
Copyright and Linking information