5 religion news stories you might have missed

ReligionNewsBlog.com — Whether you’re a first-time visitor or you simply had a busy week, we can imagine that you don’t always read each and every religion news article we post.

In this ‘5 religion news stories’ feature we select a handful of stories from among those published over the past week to quickly get you you up to speed:

  • Faith-healing couple’s 6 kids in temporary state custody

    The couple was arrested earlier this month in connection with the death of their 16-year-old son. Police say Russsel and Brandi Bellew — the boy’s mother and stepfather — failed to provide adequate medical care — opting for prayer instead.

    The Bellews belong to the General Assembly Church of the First Born in Pleasant Hill, Oregon — a church known for its unbiblical beliefs regarding faith healing.

    Under a new state law which “Eliminates reliance on spiritual treatment as defense to certain crimes in which victim is under 18 years of age,” the parents each face mandatory prison sentences of six years and three months if convicted of second-degree manslaughter.

    House Bill 2721 was originally issued in response to a series of preventable deaths among members of the Followers of Christ Church — another congregation with extremist views regarding faith healing.

  • Jehovah’s Witnesses who banned blood transfusion for boy (3) lose court battle

    Ireland’s High Court has ruled that a three-year-old boy can be given a blood transfusion during surgery despite religious objections from his Jehovah’s Witness parents.

    Considered to be theologically a cult of Christianity, the organization that rules over Jehovah’s Witnesses preaches un-biblical teachings regarding blood and blood transfusions.

    Known for issuing a series of failed prophecies announcing the end of the world, the organization makes odd pronouncements. It also flip-flops on many issuesincluding its teachings regarding blood.

    Nevertheless, Jehovah’s Witnesses — fearful of being excommunicated and shunned — are willing to risk the lives of children and spouses in their efforts to obey.

  • Church of Scientology demands right to underpay workers

    If you’re impressed by the fact that the Church of Scientology buys up and restores countless old, monumental buildings, you’ll have to realize that these grandiose gestures come at a price.

    We view the Church of Scientology as a commercial enterprise that masquerades as a religion and acts like a cult and a hate group.

    But the organization views itself as a legitimate religion, and some countries actually agree.

    In Australia the Church of Scientology has now asked the Federal Government for an exemption to the Fair Work Act so they do not have to pay workers the minimum wage. Scientologists claim that the church is exempt from workplace law because it is ‘a legitimate religion.’

    Last September the Church of Scientology was found to be subject to Australian labour laws after an investigation into allegations it paid employees who were members of its clergy as little as $10 a week — despite the fact that the Australian branch of the organization earned more than $17 million in 2009.

  • Ousted FLDS sect member receives visiting rights

    A man purged from the FLDS — Warren Jeffs’ polygamous church — has won a partial court victory in a lawsuit he filed against the cult’s leader.

    Lorin Holm had not seen his nine children, ranging in ages from 2 to 17, since he was excommunicated in January 2011.

    FLDS leader Warren Jeffs is serving a sentence of life plus 20 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl and fathering a child with a 15-year-old girl — two of several young girls the ‘prophet’ has taken into ‘spiritual marriage.’

    Despite his imprisonment, the cult leader continues to rule his sect with an iron fist together with his brother Lyle and other cohorts.

    In what observers consider to be an effort to exert over more control, Jeffs recently ousted 1000-1500 people, including Holm, from his sect.

    Lawyers say the visitation ruling could open the door to more lawsuits from those excommunicated by the cult leader.

  • Anne Frank posthumously baptized in Mormon ritual

    The Mormon Church, considered to be theologically a cult of Christianity, observes an un-biblical practice called ‘Baptism for the Dead.’

    Christian website CARM explains that in this practice “individuals go to their local Mormon temple, dress appropriately for a baptism, representatively adopt the name of a person who has died, and then the Mormon is baptized in water for that deceased person. This way, the dead person has fulfilled the requirements of salvation in the afterworld and can enjoy further spiritual benefits in the spiritual realm.”

    The Mormon Church has a standing agreement with Jewish leaders that was supposed to halt the practice of baptizing Jews posthumously, but the practice — considered offensive by many — continues to this day.

    It must be point out though that the LDS Church now bans those who violate the agreement from accessing its computerized database used to suggest names of deceased people to be targeted for proxy baptism.

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