Religion News Blog Roundup for Feb. 13, 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.

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Scientologist confused about Sunday’s anti-Scientology demonstration

The Church of Scientology released an official statement that calls Anonymous “cyber-terrorists,” religious bigots and perpetrators of hate crimes.

Cathy Norman, director of special affairs for Austin’s Church of Scientology, said she could not make an informed guess about the purpose of the event and that church activities were not disrupted.

“We don’t stop serving our parishioners or our community because of cyber-terrorism or other forms of intimidation,” she said.

Norman said the church was simply protecting its copyrights by requesting the removal of the Tom Cruise video and that it was not a free speech issue.

That’s odd. No one needed to make an informed “guess” on what the protests were all about. One just needed to be informed. Newspapers, television stations, bloggers, and individuals around the world understood the purpose of the demonstration and the message it was intended to convey: You’re welcome to your beliefs, but we can do without your unethical behavior.
By referring to peaceful protesters as “cyber-terrorists” Cathy Norman demonstrates that she does not (is not allowed to?) think for herself, but instead simply toes the company line. Alternatively, she is simply doing what L. Ron Hubbard did and promoted: lying.
Whichever is the case, Norman has an entire month to ponder purpose of the protests against her organization. Then — on March 15, 2008 — she’ll get another chance to read the signs:

The Internet-based group Anonymous is calling global demonstrations it organized against the Church of Scientology a great success and plans another event next month to coincide with the birthday of the church’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the church denounced the group’s actions, which included a demonstration Sunday in downtown Clearwater that drew about 180 protesters.

“They’re little terrorists,” Scientology spokeswoman Pat Harney said.

Harney compared Anonymous’ tactics to those of the Ku Klux Klan.

Ms. Harney has a problem. A big problem. For while she calls peaceful protestors ‘terrorists,’ and compares their tactics to those of a hate group, the cult she respresents has a documented hate- and harassment campaigns mark Scientologists as terrorists, bigots and perpetrators of hate crimes.
See, for instance, this video of an event that took place in Ms. Harney’s own town — Clearwater:

Documenting Scientology hate crimes
This is how Scientologists behave. Upon her arrival at Clearwater airport, German Scientology critic Ursula Caberta is accosted by shouting Scientologists (yes, they accuse her of being a ‘nazi’) many of whom brought their kids to this hate- and harassment activity.
On the video, Mike Rinder — Commanding Officer of Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs (and thus, ironically, Cathy Norman’s boss) — not only repeated that hateful accusation, but spewed a raft of lies (there’s Hubbard’s influence again) about Ms. Caberta.
That is the true face of Scientology. And that, Ms. Norman, is but one of the reasons behind last Sunday’s protests. The others? Medical quackery, ambulance chasing, breaking up families, commercial exploitation, hate- and harassment activities against psychiatrists and others, and much, much more.
Our parent publication, Apologetics Index, has research resources on Scientology.
You can also use our service to find additional information about Scientology

Virgin Mary

These headlines turned out to be entirely unrelated:
Headline: Virgin Mary Statue Stolen from Cemetery
Headline: Woman Beaten with Image of Virgin Mary
Headline: The Mystery of Missing Virgin Mary is Solved

– [1] [2] [3]


Get Rich Quick Via Jesus Scheme Fails

A furniture maker found an image of Jesus in a fig tree. But since he forgot to go to the media before trying to sell his Jesus wood on eBay, it only got a top bid of $500.
Source and Source

Jesus Cosmetics Pulled from Shelves

A Singapore retailer has pulled a line of Jesus cosmetics after receiving complaints about the American-made products branded “Lookin’ Good for Jesus.” They included a “virtuous vanilla” lip balm, as well as hand and body cream. Their slogan: “Get His Attention.”

Speaking of getting his attention…
Jesus Struck by Lightning

A statue of Christ the Redeemer was struck by lightning in a bizarre thunderstorm on Sunday.

According to Brazilian reports, the statue has endured minimal damage and is to remain standing even after the uncanny event.


Not an ‘Act of God’
If we’re to believe Mike Huckabee’s theological insights, the lightning strike in the previous item was not an ‘act of God.’ He made this clear years ago:

The Arkansas Legislature scrambled today to rewrite a bill intended to protect storm victims after Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, objected to language describing such natural phenomena as tornadoes and floods as ”acts of God.”

Mr. Huckabee said that signing the legislation ”would be violating my own conscience” inasmuch as it described ”a destructive and deadly force as being ‘an act of God.’ ” The Governor, a Republican, said the legislation was an otherwise worthy bill with objectives he shared.

Mr. Huckabee did not veto the bill but instead asked that it be recalled by the General Assembly. He suggested that the phrase ”acts of God” be changed to ”natural disasters.”

The House of Representatives refused today to remove the offending phrase, but added the words, ”or natural disasters” after the words ”acts of God.”

George Bush tells the truth
Who says George Bush always lies? At times he is quite correct. Here’s what the President said during an interview with FOX News:

“I’m just a simple president.”
Transcript: President Bush on ‘FOX News Sunday’

On the other hand…
‘Prosperity and Peace’

The president told about 2,000 people at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington this morning that “prosperity and peace are in the balance” in the 2008 vote.

Our guess is that most Americans think ‘prosperity and peace’ would make a welcome change after eight years of Bush.

The Preacher Around The Corner

Prosperity preachers may be having a hard time nowadays, what with a senator investigating their get rich quick scheme But a preacher in Kenya recently discovered the doom and gloom approach also doesn’t work well:
I predict that I’m about to be beaten up

A self-styled preacher received a thorough beating last week from fellow passengers travelling from Kimilili to Kitale after he prophesied that the bus they were in would crash and kill them all because God was unhappy with their sinful way of life.

It so happened that the “preacher” was incensed by the travellers’ refusal to chip in something into the offertory pouch he was passing around.

There and then the passengers, infuriated by the man’s prediction, asked the bus driver to stop the bus, dragged the man out amid kicks and blows and left him on the roadside. The rest of the journey was uneventful.


Christians Wrong About Heaven, Says Bishop

N.T. “Tom” Wright is one of the most formidable figures in the world of Christian thought. As Bishop of Durham, he is the fourth most senior cleric in the Church of England and a major player in the strife-riven global Anglican Communion; as a much-read theologian and Biblical scholar he has taught at Cambridge and is a hero to conservative Christians worldwide for his 2003 book The Resurrection of the Son of God, which argued forcefully for a literal interpretation of that event.

It therefore comes as a something of a shock that Wright doesn’t believe in heaven — at least, not in the way that millions of Christians understand the term. In his new book, Surprised by Hope (HarperOne), Wright quotes a children’s book by California first lady Maria Shriver called What’s Heaven, which describes it as “a beautiful place where you can sit on soft clouds and talk… If you’re good throughout your life, then you get to go [there]… When your life is finished here on earth, God sends angels down to take you heaven to be with him.” That, says Wright is a good example of “what not to say.” The Biblical truth, he continues, “is very, very different.”
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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday February 13, 2008.
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