RNB Quicklinks: Patty Hearst, Jesus OneTouch, L. Ron Hubbard, and more…

RNB QuickLinks: a compendium of blurbs and links to, for the most part, religion-related stories you may have missed — be it on purpose or otherwise.


• The Pope is back in Rome
• The Virgin Mary is in Arlington, Texas
• Preacher Jesus Onetouch (real name: Nana Kofi Yirenkyi) is in Ghana


“Evolution is a world-view that leads to futility. It’s no wonder people are dissatisfied with it.” – Rev Greg Haslam, Westminster Chapel, London.

– Source: Who are the British creationists?, BBC Magazine, Sep. 15, 2008

Student Told Rosary is Gang Symbol

Tabitha Ruiz says her silver and ruby beaded rosary is a gift from her mother that she’s worn ever since she was a child. She had it around her neck last week at Seagoville High School when a security guard stopped her at the door. “I went to school, walked through the metal detectors and they told me to take it off,” said the teenager. “I asked them why and they said because it’s gang-related.”

Touched by an angel?

A new survey of the USA’s religious beliefs and practices finds 55% of all adults — including one in five of those who say they have no religion — believe they have been protected from harm by a guardian angel.

Members of almost every major religious group sensed angels running heavenly interference: evangelical Protestant, 66%; black Protestant, 81%; mainline Protestant, 55%; Catholic, 57%; Jewish, 10%; other religions, 49%; no religion, 20%.

Religion Newswriters Association

Religion Newswriters Association

Geoff Brooke is blogging the 59th annual Religion Newswriters Association (RNA) conference this week from the Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel in Washington, D.C.

He will also be twittering.

Today’s Religion Number: 65%

In the United States, 65% of women rate religion as very important, compared with only 44% of men.

Scientology abuses the law

Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard — who talked a lot about ‘ethics’ — encouraged abuse of (among other things) the legal system:

The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win. The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway, well knowing that he is not authorized, will generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly.

– Source: L. Ron Hubbard, A Manual on the Dissemination of Material, 1955 (See: The Purpose of a Lawsuit is to Harass)

Comes now this issue:

According to a report commissioned by the government of the time, between 1966 and 1970 Scientology organisations initiated 29 libel actions in the English courts. Since then, Ron Hubbard’s acolytes have gained a reputation for their appetite for legal sanction. And, in the digital age, policymakers have made it easier for them to have their fill.

– Source: Time to take notice, SOURCEANDDATE — Summarized by Religion News Blog

The article goes on to describe a recent event in which thousands of anti-Scientology videos were removed from YouTube.

The videos are back online — but at a cost:

Unlike the UK, which has liability arrangements similar to the DMCA, takedown procedures in the US contain a specific remedy for those whose content has been removed from the net unfairly – the DMCA counternotice. This is in effect a letter saying, “So, sue me,” which provides the issuer of the original notice with details such as name, address and telephone number, as well as an undertaking that the material removed does not infringe copyright. The day after the wave of YouTube takedowns, many of those whose videos had been removed issued counternotices to YouTube and had their videos reinstated on the site.

But question marks remain over who American Rights Counsel actually is. Anti-Scientology activists report that searches for any such limited liability company registered in the US bring up no results.

The penalties for issuing bogus DMCA takedown notices are steep; yet it is unclear who might be motivated to do so on such a large scale. Whoever the person or organisation is, it now has the personal details of several vocal critics of Scientology.

– Source: Time to take notice, SOURCEANDDATE — Summarized by Religion News Blog

This is significant, because as the record shows, hate- and harassment activities are part and parcel of Scientology — codified into the ‘religion’ by, again, L. Ron Hubbard.

Perhaps not unrelated…:

Anonymous launched its own video channel

Anonymous proudly presents: Anontube.com, a comprehensive collection of Chanology videos on the web. Currently starting from 2006, the website aims to showcase and document every video that has been the creative result of the fight against Scientology, whether it’s raid videos, TV documentaries, or plain lulz. A comment section is included for each video, and original uploader’s notes and commentary are automatically displayed on the site.

Included are videos such as this one, in which actor Jason Beghe — who recently publicly denounced Scientology — speaks in Hamburg at a government sponsored symposium on Scientology fraud and abuse:

Jason Beghe speaks in Hamburg at a government sponsored symposium on Scientology fraud and abuse.

Religion News Blog keeps track of Scientology-related news, and Apologetics Index provides research resources on Scientology.

Cult Information Search Engine

Speaking of cults, remember that we’ve got a handy Cult Information Search Engine for you. You can search for information about (religious) cults, cult-like organizations, — as well as paranormal-, New Age, and pseudoscientific claims — across 260+ websites, blogs and forums dedicated to cult research, spiritual abuse, ex-cult counseling & support. Give it a whirl:

Today in History

AP: In 1975, newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was captured by the FBI in San Francisco, 19 months after being kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army

CBS News, Feb. 5, 1974: Walter Cronike reports on the kidnapping of Patricia Hearst. Additional reports listed here.

Plus… In 1970, rock star Jimi Hendrix died in London at age 27.

Dick Cavett interviews Jimy Hendrix.

Social networking websites more popular than porn, says study

Bill Tancer, a self-confessed ‘data geek’ who analysed the search habits of more than 10 million web users, said that internet searches provide an up-to-date view of how society is changing. … “As social networking traffic has increased, visits to porn sites have decreased,” he said. … Mr Tancer, a general manager at global internet research company Hitwise, has written a new book, entitled Click: What Millions of People are Doing Online and Why it Matters. In it, Mr Tancer notes that celebrity websites get more hits than sites devoted to religion, politics, wellbeing and diets combined.

What is that book in your hotel nightstand?

If you’re staying at the Hotel Preston, you can get a copy of the ancient Hindu text for your room from a “spiritual menu” that includes the Qur’an, the Bible and other religious texts. Provenance Hotels, which owns Nashville’s Hotel Preston and four other boutique hotels, is part of a new trend in the hospitality industry: appealing to visitors from a wide variety of cultural and religious backgrounds by going beyond tucking a Gideon Bible in guestroom nightstands.

– Compiled by Anton Hein

Vacation? Short break? Day trip? Get Skip-the-line tickets at GetYourGuide.


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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday September 18, 2008.
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