Religion News Blog Roundup for Feb. 2, 2008

“RNB Roundup” is a collection of clippings, snippets, links, commentary and other items that, in one way or another, relate to the topics normally covered in Religion News Blog.

Note: This page may grow throughout the day€¦ Too, linked items may be online for a limited time only. Get them while they’re hot.

Odds and Ends

An exploding toilet and the Mormon Church

CANTON, Conn. — A simple flush of the toilet in Canton last March had a long-lasting, expensive effect.

Channel 3 Eyewitness News I-Team reporter Eric Parker reported the flush triggered an explosion and turned into an enormous environmental cleanup.

A prominent Canton family is fighting over unpaid bills with the Mormon Church that moved in next door.

Parker reported there has been trouble on all sides figuring out who should pay for the $800,000 flush.
More from WSFB TV

Pilot restrained after ‘talking to God’ on flight to Heathrow

The co-pilot of a Heathrow-bound passenger flight had to be dragged from the cockpit and handcuffed after suffering an apparent mental breakdown in mid-air, it emerged yesterday.

Passengers on the Air Canada flight from Toronto to London said the co-pilot was restrained after yelling and “invoking God” while at the controls of the Boeing 767 plane more than 30,000 feet above the Atlantic. The flight was forced to make an emergency diversion to Ireland’s Shannon airport early on Monday and the unnamed crew member was taken to a nearby psychiatric unit.
More in The Guardian

Scientology and Subud follower found naked at lover’s bed, court told

A wealthy man whose fortune is at the centre of a legal battle was found dead, kneeling naked, beside the bed of his young Russian lover, a court heard yesterday.

Retired engineer Daniel Smith, 67, said Mr King, who followed both Scientology and the “Subud” movement, wanted to marry Ms Chebotareva and have children with her and live in Scotland.
Full story in The Herald

Scientology and J. Gordon Melton

J. Gordon Melton’s Scientology whitewash
Many cult experts and Christian apologetics ministers refer to religion scholar J. Gordon Melton as a cult defender. That is because much of his work reads like PR material for the controversial religious groups he defends.
John Duignan, who escaped Scientology — one of the cults that has benefited from Melton’s optimistic treatment — provides this insight:

I spent a few days with Prof. Stephen Kent, of the Sociology Department of the University of Alberta, a couple of months ago. He is one of the few really brave academics willing to face up to mind control cults of the Scientology ilk, study, and expose what they really are and the damage they do the people they control.

I spent many hours with Steve, describing my 20-year experiences within the cult’s fanatical, militant and secretive inner circle, an organization run on paramilitary lines that uses both physical and tortuous mental restraint to control its people.

We were discussing the University of Warwick, England lecturer Gordon Melton’s ‘expertise’ – read whitewash, published circa 2001/2002 – on an aspect of the Sea Organization. They run their own prison, or “re-education” camps, which are, in theory, not that different from the Cambodian Khmer Rouge system described graphically in David Putnam’s 1982 film The Killing Fields.

The Scientology version is described as the RPF – Rehabilitation Project Force – and one can be assigned to this at the whim of a certain cadre, Hubbard’s personal staff, or by an internal kangaroo court called a Committee of Evidence.

I don’t know if you ever read Melton’s piece, but if you did, you will see that it reads like the RPF is a happy ‘boy-scouts camping’ adventure with a dose of Trappist meditative theory thrown in for good measure. I happened to be around when this whole Melton scam was being put together; I know all the prisoners he interviewed; I know them very well and I know the real conditions they lived under.

[…] Gordon Melton’s rosy description of the RPF is still used internationally, both in published Church PR booklets and on Internet sites to show just what a wonderful organization the Church of Scientology is.
– More: Scientology’s Fanatical Military

The Church Around The Corner

Short entry today (we’re speechless): a Crucifix Gun

Ryan Green

Justices Give ‘Antichrist’ Killer Life

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A young man who says he fatally shot a retired police officer because he thought the “A” on the victim’s cap meant he was the “Antichrist” had his death sentence reduced Thursday by the Florida Supreme Court.

The justices unanimously ordered that Ryan Green, instead, be sentenced to life in prison without parole based on evidence he has suffered for years from schizophrenic disorders. A Pensacola jury had rejected his insanity plea in convicting Green of first-degree murder, but he appealed only his sentence.

Green, 24, who claimed he was “the son of God,” killed retired Pensacola police officer James Hallman while the victim was out taking a walk on Feb. 23, 2003. He also had wounded another man and shot a bull he said had spoken to him earlier that day.

“Green said be believed the ‘A’ on the front of Hallman’s University of Alabama hat stood for the ‘Antichrist,”‘ the justices wrote in an unsigned opinion. “Green also said he interpreted Hallman’s body language as indicating that he wanted to die and that he heard a voice that told him Hallman wanted to be killed.”

Music Archive

Sweet Comfort Band

Sweet Comfort Band.

Sweet Comfort Band was a Christian rock band who were active from the mid-1970s until 1984.

Sweet Comfort Band was a late entry into the Jesus music with their 1977 self-titled release on Maranatha! Records. When they started, they had a funky, jazzy, R&B and 70’s rock sound. This set them apart from many of the bands in the nascent Contemporary Christian music industry who were primarily performing folk-rock and soft rock. Few bands had the musicianship displayed by this quartet.

This video was posted to YouTube by someone who has many Classic Christian Concerts available.

See also the official Sweet Comfort Band website — and find music by the Sweet Comfort Band at


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Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday February 2, 2008.
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