Religion News Roundup: Bible verses + Burgers; Islamic sect pulls gold teeth; Woodstock spirituality

RNB’s Religion News Roundup

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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Nepal villagers flock to worship malformed baby as Hindu god

Thousands of people have flocked to a remote Nepalese village 2,000 metres up in the Himalayas to worship a baby born with four arms and four legs, revering him as the reincarnation of a Hindu god.

Villagers in the district of Ramechhap have said six-month-old Risab, who has a headless “parasitic twin” attached at the abdomen, is akin to the elephant god, Ganesh, whose various forms have between two and 16 arms.

“Some say he is like a god and they come to worship him and give money,” his 32-year-old father, Rikhi Ghimire, said. “They just give a few rupees, make an offering. Mostly the gifts are food and clothes. Others have said he looks like a monkey or is the child of a witch.” […]

– Source / Full Story: Nepal villagers flock to worship malformed baby as Hindu god, Olivia Lang, The Guardian, Aug. 11, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog


Islamic sect pulling out gold teeth with pincers

The Islamist group al Shabaab is forcibly removing gold and silver teeth from residents in southern Somalia because it says they contravene strict religious law, locals from a coastal town said yesterday. Residents in Marka say al Shabaab has been rounding up anyone seen with a silver or gold tooth and taking them to a masked man who then rips them out using basic tools. […] The Islamist group says the gold and silver teeth are used for fashion and beauty, which is against strict interpretations of Islam, residents said. The crude dental work has fuelled fears of health risks. Al Shabaab is an al-Qa’ida-inspired group that has taken control of large swathes of south and central Somalia.

– Source / Full Story: Islamic sect pulling out gold teeth with pincers, Reuters via The Independent, Aug. 11, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Bigamy is against the ‘letter and spirit’ of Islam, Indian judge rules

Bigamy among India’s Muslims is against the “letter and spirit” of true Islam, the country’s law commission has ruled.

The ruling, by one of the country’s senior judges, has provoked a wave of anxiety throughout India’s secular establishment which has until now been content to let its 150 million Muslims live according to its own system of “personal law”.

While bigamy has also been practiced by Hindus, it is more common among Muslims who believed they are justified in taking upto four wives.

– Source / Full Story: Bigamy is against the ‘letter and spirit’ of Islam, Indian judge rules , Dean Nelson in New Delhi, Telegraph, Aug. 7, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Girl Says Family Wants To Kill Her For Being Christian

An Ohio girl ran away to Orlando because she said her family threatened to kill her for converting to Christianity. Rifqa Bary, 17, said she was threatened by her family because she converted from Islam to Christianity.

– Source / Full Story: Girl Says Family Wants To Kill Her For Being Christian ,, Aug. 10, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

The girl, who turned 17 on Monday, is at the center of a custody dispute in Orlando, where she sought help from a family she barely knew — a pastor and his wife willing to take in a teen who feared her own family’s retribution because she converted to Christianity. […]

The girl appeared before a crowded courtroom full of lawyers and spectators on Monday when an Orange Circuit Court Judge ordered her into Department of Children and Families emergency custody.

It was another in a series of legal decisions in a complicated case: Beyond the girl’s religious preferences, the court must solve jurisdictional issues related to child services and courts.

– Source / Full Story: Runaway teen who fears family after Christian conversion ordered to DCF custody, Orlando Sentinel, Aug. 10, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Catholic Church

New Nuns and Priests Seen Opting for Tradition

A new study of Roman Catholic nuns and priests in the United States shows that an aging, predominantly white generation is being succeeded by a smaller group of more racially and ethnically diverse recruits who are attracted to the religious orders that practice traditional prayer rituals and wear habits.

The study found that the graying of American nuns and priests was even more pronounced than many Catholics had realized. Ninety-one percent of nuns and 75 percent of priests are 60 or older, and most of the rest are at least 50.

They are the generation defined by the Second Vatican Council, of the 1960s, which modernized the church and many of its religious orders. Many nuns gave up their habits, moved out of convents, earned higher educational degrees and went to work in the professions and in community service. The study confirms what has long been suspected: that these more modern religious orders are attracting the fewest new members. […]

– Source / Full Story: New Nuns and Priests Seen Opting for Tradition, Lauria Goodstein, New York Times, Aug. 10, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Religious Marketing

What’s behind the Bible verses on In-N-Out wrappers?

Author Stacy Perman recently discussed her new book In-N-Out Burger: A Behind-The-Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All the Rules, the inside story of the renegade, family-owned burger chain that evokes a passionate following unlike any other. Here’s the segment where she talks about the chain’s religious messages:

– Source / Full Story: In-N-Out Burger, — Summarized by Religion News Blog


Exorcism turns fatal

A BUA community is reeling from the shocking murder of a baby girl who was allegedly bashed to death by her father in a ritualistic sacrifice to “save his district spiritually”.

Fourteen-month-old Sadikuini Yalewavukivuki was allegedly murdered in front of her mother Valetina Dimae, 29, at their home in the Lekutu District School compound on Saturday morning. […]

“He said that if Abraham could sacrifice his son Isaac as stated in the Bible then he would also sacrifice his daughter as an offering to save his family and district, Lekutu, spiritually.”

– Source / Full Story: Exorcism turns fatal, Theresa Ralogaivau, Fiji Times, Aug. 10, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog


Church bans six dissident members

FORT LAUDERDALE – Six members of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church — including the daughter of founding pastor D. James Kennedy — have been banned from the premises and all functions of the Fort Lauderdale church.

The action, announced by a letter mailed to Coral Ridge members over the weekend, is the latest round in a brewing dispute between recently appointed Pastor W. Tullian Tchividjian, who is grandson of Billy Graham, and those members spearheading an effort to fire him. The events have rocked the church, once a stronghold of Christian conservative activism under Kennedy.

Among the accusations of the dissidents are that Tchividjian has replaced some longtime Coral Ridge staff with his own people. The dissidents have also accused Tchividjian of watering down Coral Ridge’s traditional worship style, de-emphasizing the Evangelism Explosion method developed by Kennedy, selling land at the church’s west campus “to make up for budget shortfalls,” and appointing an executive commission with equal power to the standard church government.

– Source / Full Story: Church bans six dissident members, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Aug. 10, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Manson Family

Hippy horror: how Manson murder cult went viral

40 years after the horrific killing spree by Charles Manson’s “family” in Los Angeles on August 9-10, 1969, the macabre fascination with the gruesome murders remains as intense as ever.

Several of the murderers have their own internet pages, books on the killings are being reprinted and a Hollywood tour dedicated to the crimes is doing brisk business. […]

British journalist Ivor Davis, whose book Five to Die is being reissued to coincide with the 40th anniversary, agrees with the suggestion that the Manson killings were “the day the ’60s died”.

“It was the time of Haight Ashbury, Woodstock, love and peace, hug your neighbour, go to bed with your neighbour, fornicate with your neighbour,” Davis said. “And then Manson came along and it was murder your neighbour.

– Source / Full Story: Hippy horror: how Manson murder cult went viral, AFP via The Sydney Morning Herald, Aug. 7, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog


Was Woodstock a spiritual experience?

“A community grew out of Woodstock,” says organizer Michael Lang in his new book The Road to Woodstock. “A sense of possibility and hope was born and spread around the globe.”

Rock historian Pete Fornatale goes further. “I wanted to make the case that Woodstock was a spiritual experience,” says the author of Back to the Garden: The Story of Woodstock.

Fornatale is no religious zealot. “I’m not a believer. I’m not a nonbeliever. I’m a wanna-believer,” he says. But he’s clearly on a crusade to explore the spiritual dimensions of the festival, which organizers moved from the town of Woodstock to a farm near Bethel, which means “House of God” in Hebrew.

“Spirituality may not be the first thing people associate with Woodstock,” says Fornatale, who recently talked about his book at the Museum at Bethel Woods, situated on the site of the festival. “But young people were searching for an identity and for a meaning that they found there that weekend.”

– Source / Full Story: 40 years later, Woodstock’s spiritual vibes still resonate, Steve Rabey, Religion News Service via the Houston Chronicle, Aug. 6, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog


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

• Muslim couple file human rights beef over Superstore salami:

• Atheist signs to be put back on Des Moines buses:

• Christian leaders plan anti-Islam conference:

• Therapists, pastors agree: Gay identity no block to spiritual growth:

• 40 years later, Woodstock’s spiritual vibes still resonate:

• Pat Robertson: a prophet or a fanatic:

• Bush to Chirac:”Iraq must be invaded to thwart Gog and Mago”

• Zen master’s followers allege Vietnam persecution:

• Once Mormon, now atheist, blogger taking religious tour:

• Atheist group’s signs removed from Des Moines buses:

• Swiss want to reverse prayers, ask God to stop glacier’s shrinking:

• Muslim observance on the wane in the Netherlands:

• Dying Jehovah’s Witness granted right to refuse dialysis treatment:

• Mormons in the mainstream: The LDS church and politics” (research resources)

• Study claims intermarriage causing US boost in secularism:

• Jailed FLDS cult leader being force-fed:

• Vietnam says booting Buddhist monks not repression:

• Out, atheist and American:

• Australia: Terrorism suspects ‘sought religious approval’

• Trial begins for Christian Sudanese woman facing 40 lashes for wearing trousers:

• 2 followers of Tony Alamo released from jail:

Follow our Twitter religion news stream for more religion stories.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday August 11, 2009.
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