‘Living God’ near death * Doubting Mormons * Evangelical Playboy cover

bullet As former cult leader Anne Hamilton-Byrne, 83, is near death, members of the Australian cult she founded in the 1960s are scrambling for control.

The Family” used adoption scams to illegally obtain dozens of children, who were subjected to cruel treatments — including beatings, starvation and forced LSD use.

They were told that Hamilton-Byrne was a ‘living god,’ and were taught a mixture of extreme Christianity and Eastern mysticism.

The Age reports that

The victims have sought damages for ongoing mental health problems from abuse and cruelty suffered, false imprisonment, mind control and use of drugs.

They all settled out of court for amounts of about 250.000 Australian Dollars, as lawyers have used Hamilton-Byrne’s dementia — from which she has suffered since 2007 as a defence in the civil court actions.

Her estate is estimated to be worth between $10 million and $20 million (Australian).

bullet Here’s another reason why people in civilized countries should combat any and all attempts by Muslims to establish Sharia — Islamic law: a 24-old Norwegian women in Dubai who reported to police that she has been raped has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for ‘having unlawful sex.’

In the United Arab Emirates, in criminal matters a woman’s testimony is worth half of that of a man before a court. That’s primitive, to say the least.

Update: the woman contacted the media, and is now free to go — after the Norwegian government raised a stink.

But remember: visiting Dubai is like traveling back to the dark ages. Beautiful buildings, fantastic shops, gorgeous hotels — but its a thin veneer that covers a law system based on an extremely intolerant religion.

bullet Carl Lentz is not your typical pastor — and Hillsong Church NYC is not your typical church.

The article doesn’t tell us much, if anything, about Lentz’ theology. Nor does this February 2011 interview in the Christian Post. Those are missed opportunities.

We do know that the church is part of the Australia-based Hillsong Church movement, which is known and loved for its popular worship music — and criticized for its Word-of-Faith theology, including a major emphasis on prosperity teachings.

bullet Brazilian model Aline Franzoi, who belongs to National Mission Evangelical Church in Brazil, has come under fire from fellow Christians for her decision to appear on the cover of Playboy.

She told a Spanish-language Christian site that she won’t pose nude because she is an Evangelical, but on her Facebook page she pointed out that her religion and her work are two different areas that she prefers to keep separate.

Franzoi says God looks at our heart and our intentions, but — as so often is the case — many of her fellow Christians are already throwing her under the bus.

bullet Scientology is not the only movement to have its teachings exposed to daylight by the Internet.

Some Mormons search the web and find doubt, the New York Times says.

Around the world and in the United States, where the faith was founded, the Mormon Church is grappling with a wave of doubt and disillusionment among members who encountered information on the Internet that sabotaged what they were taught about their faith, according to interviews with dozens of Mormons and those who study the church.

No wonder. While Mormonism tries to pass itself off as authentic Christianity, it is a religion cobbled together by ‘prophet’ Joseph Smith from his fantasies mixed with plagiarized and bastardized teachings from the Bible. It’s truly amazing that so many people have fallen for it in the first place.

One has only to look at the tremendous amount of problems faced by The Book of Mormon — which Smith claimed was the “most correct of any book on earth, nd the keystone of our religion” — to see that something is seriously wrong.

Mormons looking for answers will find lots of helpful information at Mormons in Transition

bullet Say, can you believe the hysterical reaction some Americans have to the Rolling Stone article about the surviving Boston bomber?

None of the victims are honored by such over-the-top flag-waving.

It’s good to see a top reporter like Janet Reitman take a look at what’s behind Tsarnaev’s actions.

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