RNB’s Religion News Roundup: Tony Alamo, Alan Bushey, Allen Steed, Johnny McGowan and more…

RNB Religion News Roundup: a compendium of blurbs and links to, for the most part, religion-related stories and religion research resources.

You’ll find religion news stories ranging from serious to seriously offbeat.

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Tony Alamo

Laywers Hope Alamo Won’t Speak At Sex-crimes Trial

TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) — A judge has interrupted the sex-crimes trial of evangelist Tony Alamo to give his lawyers a chance to talk him out of testifying.

The 74-year-old pastor has told reporters he wants to speak with jurors directly, but his legal team has recommended against it. Defense lawyers sought a break until 1 p.m. Wednesday and planned to meet with their client.

Jurors could get the case later Wednesday.

– Source / Full Story: Laywers Hope Alamo Won’t Speak At Sex-crimes Trial, Jon Gambrell, AP via CBS5.com, July 22, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Alan Bushey

Sentencing in set in corpse case

MAUSTON, Wis. (AP) — A religious leader accused of hiding the body of a dead follower in a bathroom faces sentencing in Mauston Wednesday.

59-year-old Alan Bushey of Necedah pleaded no contest to one count of being a party to hiding a corpse in February in a deal with prosecutors. He faces up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

– Source / Full Story: Sentencing in set in corpse case , AP, via WKOW, July 22, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Alan Bushey led a six-member religious cult called the Order of the Divine Will. One of the group’s members, Tammy Lewis, had power of attorney for 90-year-old Magdeline Alvina Middlesworth, who lived with her. When Middlesworth died, Bushey told Davis not to report the death, claiming that prayer would bring the woman back to life.

They stored the body in Lewis’ bathroom. Meanwhile, Bushey kept collecting the woman’s social security checks. At her trial, Lewis said the older woman had used all of her money to support their six-member religious group.


No deal on polygamous sect rape charge

Attempts to settle a rape charge against an FLDS man, whose marriage to Elissa Wall led to the conviction of sect leader Warren S. Jeffs, have so far failed and his attorney now plans to ask a Utah judge to dismiss the charge.

During a brief hearing Tuesday in St. George, defense attorney Jim Bradshaw questioned whether the statute of limitations had expired, thus preventing the state from prosecuting Allen G. Steed for rape. He told 5th District Judge G. Rand Beacham he will seek to have the case dismissed.

Steed and Wall were married in 2001. He was charged with rape Sept. 26, 2007 — a day after a St. George jury convicted Jeffs of rape based on various actions related to the marriage.

Wall testified during the trial she told Jeffs and other church leaders she objected to the marriage, which took place when she was 14, but was pressured to go ahead with it.

Wall said that nonconsensual intercourse occurred about three weeks later and continued throughout the marriage, which ended in 2004.

– Source / Full Story: No deal on polygamous sect rape charge, Brooke Adams, The Salt Lake Tribune, July 22, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Johnny McGowan

Duplicitous Affair Alleged Against Houston Pastor

HOUSTON (CN) – While providing marriage counseling, two associate pastors concealed that a third pastor was having an affair with a man’s wife, and the adulterous pastor had the gall to pray with the husband, asking God to reveal the identity of his wife’s lover, the cuckolded husband claims in Harris County Court.

David Molina claims the Rev. Johnny McGowan carried on the affair with Molina’s wife for years. Molina says the affair began in 1998 when his wife began working with McGowan’s construction company.

He says he and his wife sought marriage counseling from associate pastors Leo Tyler and Paul Osteen in 2003. Molina sued all three pastors, and the Healthy Soul Network Inc. and Lakewood Church. […]

After an attempt at reconciliation, the Molinas divorced in April. Molina seeks punitive damages for fraud by nondisclosure, conspiracy to commit fraud and gross negligence. He is also suing on behalf of his non-biological daughter, whom he is raising as his own.

– Source / Full Story: Duplicitous Affair Alleged Against Houston Pastor, Cameron Langford, Courthouse News Service, July 21, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Hate Groups

Judge drops charge against white supremacist

A federal judge in Chicago has dismissed a charge against an avowed white supremacist accused of threatening a juror.

William White of Roanoke, Va., was accused of using his Internet site to call for the use of violence against a juror at the trial of another white supremacist, Matthew Hale.

Hale is serving a 40-year prison sentence for his conviction on charges of soliciting the murder of a federal judge.

– Source / Full Story: Judge drops charge against white supremacist, AP via the Chicago Tribune, July 22, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Long known for dancing along the line between free speech and illegal threats, Roanoke neo-Nazi leader William A. White has won the first round of his bout with the federal government.

In an opinion issued Tuesday in Chicago, U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman dismissed a charge that White used his Web site to encourage violence, ruling that his actions were protected by the First Amendment.

White had been charged with posting the name, address and telephone number of the foreman of a Chicago jury that convicted a fellow white supremacist in 2004.

Although the post made no direct threats against the juror, federal prosecutors had argued that White published the information with the hope it would prompt readers of his racist Web site, overthrow.com, to threaten or harm the man. In an attempt to prove that intent, authorities filled the indictment against White with examples of other, more hateful and inflammatory posts.

But White broke no laws in obtaining information about the juror, Adelman wrote in a 35-page opinion. As for using passages from overthrow.com to interpret White’s motives, “an intimidating context alone does not remove the protection of the First Amendment,” the judge ruled.

White, commander of the Roanoke-based American National Socialist Workers Party, remains in jail despite the judge’s opinion, his immediate fate unknown. […]

– Source / Full Story: Charge against Roanoke neo-Nazi leader Bill White dismissed, Laurence Hammack, Roanoke Times, July 22, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Ever So Briefly

• Among breast cancer patients, a positive religious attitude is not linked to measures of well-being, but a negative religious or spiritual outlook can lead to worse emotional and mental health, a recent study suggests. The study was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Palliative Medicine.

Communion wine is not being offered in some UK churches amid fears over swine flu. Across the world, fears of the spread of swine flu are also affecting churchgoers. In New Zealand, the Roman Catholic Church banned priests from placing communion wafers on the tongues of worshippers, while Chilean authorities suspended a northern religious celebration, prompting protests from the faithful.


Religion News Blog’s editors twitter religion news. Follow us for stories like these:

• Ex-Christian Coalition firebrand looking for redemption with broader venture: http://bit.ly/dQi5a

• Charge against Roanoke neo-Nazi leader Bill White dismissed: http://bit.ly/xRuy9

• Laywers Hope Evangelist Won’t Speak At His Sex-crimes Trial: http://bit.ly/3IqAQ4

• Apologetics roundup: Does God exist?; Answering New Atheists; Prosperity teachers; more: http://bit.ly/10mMsT

• Churches stop offering communion wine to halt spread of swine flu: http://bit.ly/RiAKk

• China says Falun Gong ban ‘works’ http://bit.ly/16MQHg

• Faith healing trial jury unable to reach verdict after 4 days: http://bit.ly/19Xagv

• Duplicitous Affair Alleged Against Houston Pastor: http://bit.ly/D2WbH

• Pastor on trial gives defense witness a thumbs-up http://bit.ly/1Eg3wJ

• Judge orders Joyce Meyer Ministries to cooperate in Coleman murder case http://bit.ly/ygrsH

• Swine flu may force Muslims to abandon Haj pilgrimage to Mecca: http://bit.ly/3OSvCZ

• Tourist gripes hush songs of praise in Samoan church: http://bit.ly/o1NtY

• Report on Catholic Church’s cover-up of child abuse in Dublin shows `horrific acts of depravity’ http://bit.ly/SZLqL

• Report into alleged sexual abuse of 450 children by Irish priests: http://bit.ly/q6QBX

• Atheists choose ‘de-baptism’ to renounce childhood faith: http://bit.ly/UlwGQ

• Christian group’s billboards denounce separation of church and state:http://bit.ly/3PnPiU

• Jury in Ava Worthington faith healing death trial still deadlocked: http://bit.ly/QY00H

• Prosecution rests at Tony Alamo trial: http://bit.ly/fJh3H

• Trial set for pastor charged with killing wife: http://bit.ly/2Rv6Qn

Follow our Twitter religion news stream for more religion stories.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday July 22, 2009.
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