Tax status of charities, religions under review

The Senate has agreed to launch an inquiry into the tax exempt status of religions and charities after allegations of abuse within The Church of Scientology.

However, the Senate inquiry will not focus on a single group.

Cults should be given nowhere to hide

Scientology abuse Despite evidence of abusive acts by cults, the Senate rejected Nick Xenophon’s request for an inquiry into Scientology when both major parties voted against it. We’ve been down this road before. Through much of 2006 and 2007, the Greens tried to get a Senate inquiry into the Exclusive Brethren, and the major parties vetoed it.

This means that, in Australia, cults are thriving under the protection of politicians, the police and the courts.

Senator Xenophon vows to pursue ‘cults’

Cults Addressing a conference of cult survivors in Brisbane today, Senator Nick Xenophon said a new motion for a new parliamentary inquiry might include a push for police to take criminal action against cults.

He was also attracted to using the Trade Practices Act to prosecute groups for false and misleading conduct if they wrongly claimed to provide therapeutic benefits to their devotees.

The conference has heard a number of heart-rending stories from different religion-based and therapeutic cults.

Senator to speak at Brisbane anti-cult conference

Cult Information and Family Support Independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon will address a conference in Brisbane which claims to be the first specifically organised to help people who have left cults.

Senator Xenophon has been campaigning for an inquiry into the Church of Scientology and its tax exempt status.

Inside New Zealand: How To Spot A Cult

Inside New Zealand Cult-like groups are on the rise in New Zealand. Now the two-part Inside New Zealand: How To Spot A Cult documentary uncovers what really goes on inside these often controversial groups.

The two-part documentary consists of ex-believers’ stories, and investigates the similarities they say exist between groups including the Exclusive Brethren, Scientology, Centrepoint, Gloriavale, Avatar and the International Church of Christ.

Raised as Jehovah’s Witness author shows others how to get free from cults

Brenda Lee Raised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Brenda Lee now educates people about cult involvement in communities across the world.

In free seminars, she addresses topics such as how to identify toxic organizations, the eight points of mind control and who is most at risk of joining a destructive group. [video]

Opinion writer spouts misinformation about the term ‘cult’

what is a cult An opinion writer with a poor grasp of the facts claims that the term ‘cult’ has fallen into disuse.

In doing so he merely apes the opinions of a handful of cult defenders, while ignoring the fact that the term ‘cult’ actually has precise sociological and theological meanings.

Used properly, these cult terminology is as valid today as it has ever been.

Was there a satanic cult at Hosanna Church?

Richard Ofshe After the trial of Louis Lamonica, Richard Ofshe said he could have offered the jury insight into the nature of cults to help them understand what was happening at Hosanna. He said he could have told them there is no such thing as satanic cults that abuse children.

If the initial statements of the children and suspects indicate the abuse occurred as part of a satanic cult — something that has never happened — then the truth of everything alleged in that statement is questionable, Ofshe said.

Cult experts question woman’s voodoo account

voodoo The account of a woman recovering from critical injuries she said were inflicted by members of an occult group may be difficult to unravel because it doesn’t match the typical methods used by such groups, an expert in cult activities said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, police investigators released little new information about the case but cult experts and police documents raise some questions about the woman’s account.

Inside the head of a new cult member

Cult expert and exit counselor Allen Tate Wood has a series of brief but informative articles in The Faith Column of the New Statesman on the subject of cults.

Why does sex play such a large role for fringe religious sects?

Various scholars try, and fail, to answer the question asked in the headline.

Cult experts; Utah officials discuss FLDS at cult studies conference

In the aftermath of the raid by Texas authorities into the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints’ Yearning for Zion ranch, polygamous sects are an issue of discussion at the International Cultic Studies Association meeting this weekend at the University of Pennsylvania.

At the conference top officials for the Utah and Arizona attorneys general were peppered with questions about prosecuting polygamous crimes.

All God’s children? Another tragedy

Reading about the child abuse in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Yearning for Zion community in Texas is painfully frustrating for cult specialists like me. Having worked with cultists and former cultists for more than 30 years, I am amazed and disheartened at the inability of authorities to learn from history.

Texas sect victims now face a reality shock

They have escaped from a bizarre world of polygamous sex – but the girls of the West Texan sect may soon wish they could return to it, writes Tim Guest, who spent his own childhood in a notorious religious commune himself.

Children of Polygamy: Life Outside the Compound

The children removed from Jeffs’ compound will likely suffer from terrifying phobias, says cult expert Steven Hassan. “In the mind of someone who has a phobia, they can’t imagine [living outside the compound] will have a positive result,” said Hassan. “They’ll develop phobias of losing their salvation or burning in hell.”

When cults turn bad

Destructive cults make an appeal to social contributions, which turn out to be fronts for recruitment and fundraising, solely for increasing the wealth and prestige of the leader. Members surrender their possessions, money, time and lives to their leaders.

Barack Obama criticised over cult-like rallies

For many it is simply a sign of his charisma. But for a growing number of Barack Obama sceptics, there is something disturbing about the adulation with which the senator and Democratic presidential frontrunner is greeted as he campaigns for the White House – unnervingly akin to the hysteria of a cult, or the fervour of a religious revival.

The debate on sects continues in France

French chief of staff Emmanuelle Mignon has tried to correct some of the controversial quotes attributed to her on the subject of sects. In an interview with the publication VSD, she reportedly said that “sects were a non-problem in France”.

Russia: The bewitching lure of home-grown cults

Since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, a troubling mysticism is emerging in Russia, attracting up to 800,000 followers, experts say.
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