Scientology-linked rehab Narconon under fire from two former executives

Religion News Blog
Two former Narconon executives will expose the Scientology front group to daylight in a broadcast on NBC’s Rock Center.

Also: a panel of cult experts looks at the question, Are Cults a Hidden Epidemic?

3 Aum members on death row may testify against fellow cultist

Makoto Hirata
Three men who were sentenced to death for their part in the Aum Shinrikyo cult’s 1995 Sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway may be called to testify in the trial of fellow cult member Makoto Hirata.

Hirata faces trial for the fatal abduction and confinement of a notary clerk.

Also: ‘Hot Yoga’ guru Bikram Choudhury faces a sexual harassment lawsuit. Plus, more trouble for Narconon Arrowhead: Lawsuits allege its counselors traded sex for drugs.

Plus: Citizens of a polygamous cult’s town are being watched by surveillance cameras.

Scientology Amsterdam ‘a small and failing org’

Scientology Amsterdam
Scientology Amsterdam is seen by the cult’s head office in Los Angeles as ‘a small and failing org,’ says Jenna Miscavige, niece of Scientology’s current cult leader, David Miscavige.

The Amsterdam base has faced rent arrears several times.

Some churches ‘operating more like cults than religious orders’

Some churches operate more like cults than religious orders, says a member of the advisory board for the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

What definition of a cult he uses is not clear, but

Scientology front group Narconon targets kids in Oklahoma

Parents in Asher, Oklahoma are concerned about the fact that controversial Scientology front group Narconon made a presentation — and handed out literature — at a local school.

Narconon Arrowhead currently is the target of three wrongful death lawsuits. Last week, Gary Smith, the chief executive officer of Narconon Arrowhead, and several of the center’s employees had their drug counseling certifications revoked.

Scientology Front Group Executive Loses Counseling Certification

Religion News Blog
Gary Smith, the chief executive officer of Narconon Arrowhead in Oklahoma, and several of the drug and alcohol rehabilitation center’s employees have had their drug counseling certifications revoked. Karla Taylor, President of the National Association of Forensic Counselors, can not say why the licenses have been revoked. But Gary Richardson, an attorney for families whose […]

Scientology has a reckoning ahead of it

Religion News Blog
Clear talk from Lawrence Wright, author of Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief in Talking Scientology: A Q&A with Going Clear Author Lawrence Wright: David Miscavige is different from L. Ron Hubbard mainly in the fact that he grew up in Scientology. He’s a product of it in a way that Hubbard […]

Scientology worms its way into schools

Former teachers and administrators are concerned that at-risk students at the Phoenix-based Career Success charter school district have been exposed to teaching methods tied to the Church of Scientology But upon reviewing the material DeAnna Rowe, executive director of the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools, says she sees no problem. “Overall it appears to […]

Religious intolerance is growing in Indonesia

Religious intolerance is growing in Indonesia Indonesia’s positive image of a country where different communities and cultures interact peacefully with each other contrasts heavily with the reality of the past 10 years, reports the Deutsche Welle. Many of the country’s Christians fear for their lives, as there has been an increase in attacks on religious […]

Woman banished from Westboro Baptist Church will publish memoir

Lauren Drain
Lauren Drain spent 7 years in the Wesboro Baptist Church. Her parents are still part of the hate group.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the UK’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric, resigns after being accused of “inappropriate acts” towards fellow priests.

And the Church of Scientology in Australia is in damage control — this time over claims that it held a woman hostage. .

Also: Irish exorcists. Plus the Ex-Scientology Kids website has a new look.

Scientology critic updates critique; Beard cutting cult sentenced

Jon Atack's critique of the Scientology cult
Jon Atack has vastly updated his critical book about the Scientology cult.

Also: a man quits his job over the number ‘666,’ and a cult leader who claimed to be an alien from Sirius has been jailed for abusing his followewrs.

Plus: Renegade Amish cult leader Samuel Mullet and 15 members of his clan have been jailed for their hate crimes. More inside…

Homegrown Muslim-American Terrorism Down for Third Year in a Row

Muslims in America
Muslim-American terrorism has declined for the third year in a row, a study concludes. Plus: Amish ask judge to keep a beard-cutting renegade Amish cult leader jailed.

The niece of Scientology cult leader David Miscavige speaks out in a new book that is sure to have the controversial ‘church’ in damage control mode.

Also, two FLDS cult towns owe lots in back taxes to Utah, Arizona.

Appeals court upholds conviction in baby’s ‘exorcism’ death

Amora Bain Carson
In today’s Religion News Briefs: An appeals court has upheld the capital murder conviction of a woman whose baby was killed during an alleged ‘exorcism.’

The Salt Lake Tribune introduces two new reporters for its Polygamy Blog.

A U.S. publisher is researching the possibility to publish a tell-all book on the notoriously litigious Scientology cult in Canada — despite that country’s antiquated, free-speech curtailing libel laws.

Plus: a baker in Oregon claims his religious convictions prevent him from baking a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.

European rights court orders France to pay four million euros to sects

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that that France infringed the religious freedom of two religious sects and an evangelical church when it taxed their donations.

The State of Georgia is investigating Scientology front-group Narconon for insurance fraud. Plus: a waitress gets fired over posting a receipt documenting how a ‘pastor’ stiffed one of her colleagues.

Also inside: God and game fixing, Calvary Chapel, and more about the Mexican ‘slavery cult’ that calls itself “Defensores de Cristo” (Defenders of Christ)

‘Psychic’ James Van Praagh sues sister for using family name

James van Praagh
‘Psychic’ James van Praagh is concerned that the public will be confused and deceived (but not in the way you might think).

A court has rules that the polygamous cult known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) cannot intervene in the way the State of Utah runs the sect’s property trust.

And Narconon of Georgia, a Scientology front group, is being investigated for insurance fraud.

Goblin causes deadly explosion

Survivor claims that goblin beheading caused explosion
A witchdoctor and four others were killed in an explosion allegedly caused when the sorcerer tried to behead a goblin for a customer.

Also: a feud between Biblical archeologists leads to a lawsuit. Plus: Mexican officials have broken up a bizarre cult called the “Defensores de Cristo” (“Defenders of Christ”).

The murderer of an Imam deemed to be a heretic has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Plus more religion news briefs, including items about Scientology, Colonia Dignidad and the Roman Catholic Church.

Belgium will prosecute Church of Scientology as a criminal organisation

Belgium’s federal public prosecutors have decided to prosecute the Church of Scientology in Belgium and several of its high-ranking members.

The charges include extortion, fraud, illegal practice of medicine and violations of privacy legislation.

Scientology front-group Narconon faces license revocation in state of Georgia

Narconon of Georgia
The Georgia state Department of Community Health has notified Narconon of Georgia it intends to revoke the clinic’s license for misrepresenting itself as a residential drug treatment facility.

The Scientology front group, which bases its treatments on the medical quackery of Scientology cult founder L. Ron Hubbard, has come under increasing scrutiny after the deaths of several of its customers.

Lawyer Fails to Prevent Secret Scientology Court Hearing

Ken Dandar Notorious for its abuse of the legal system, the Church of Scientology is about to be part of a secret court hearing in which lawyer Kennan Dandar expects the cult to cause his “utter financial ruin.”

The cult claims Dandar violated an agreement to never again be involved in a lawsuit against the Church of Scientology.

Dandar says his civil rights are being trampled by Scientology through its manipulation of the Florida court system.
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