Jul 20, 2020

CultNEWS101 Articles: 7/20/2020

Shincheonji Church of Jesus, Korea, Word of Faith, Kenja, James Arthur Ray

Voice: Religious leaders defend Shincheonji church founder
Religious leaders and NGOs in association with the United Nations around the globe have raised their voices on the need to correct inappropriate persecution and human rights violations against a South Korea religious group, Shincheonji Church of Jesus.

From Southern Africa, fourteen (14) religious leaders from the Christian, Islam, Hindu, the Church of Scientology, Hare Khrishna, and the Bruma Kumaris submitted video messages and open letters to the Korean Government urging the state to drop the charges and lawsuits against church leader, Man Hee Lee.

Spiritual leader, Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft of the African Jewish Congress wrote, "I implore you to rather channel your energy and effort in working to find the cure for this deadly virus, rather than to focus on direct anger at Chairman Lee who through his efforts is bringing unity, respect, tolerance and most importantly peace in the world."

In a video recording Reverend Mathias Tsine, Secretary-General of Federation for Indigenous Churches of Zimbabwe stated, "We are peace messengers, we support his vision, we advocate for freedom of religion as contained in the UN Charter". The Reverend also added, "Mr. Lee never used HWPL to pursue the interest of the church as falsely reported by critics bent on putting his personality into disrepute."

Since the COVID-19 outbreak in February 2020, the Shincheonji congregation members have been singled out by the government as being responsible for a coronavirus outbreak in the country. Recent developments in an ongoing court case against the religious group have led to an $82 million lawsuit, confiscation of buildings, and arrests of some church officials.

A controversial church in Rutherford County, that has been accused of abuse by former members, received a loan through the federal government's small business relief program, records released this week show.

The Word of Faith Fellowship, a church based in Spindale, obtained between $150,000 and $350,000 through the Paycheck Protection Program, Small Business Administration data show. Spindale is about 70 miles west of Charlotte.

The PPP was designed to provide assistance to small businesses amid COVID-19 shutdowns. The SBA guaranteed nearly 122,000 of the loans for North Carolina businesses since April.

Word of Faith attorney and church leader Josh Farmer refused to address emailed questions about the church's pandemic relief loan, including the exact amount Word of Faith received and how it had been used.

In court cases, Word of Faith has been accused by former members of physically and mentally abusing children. Four church members were also charged in 2018 in an unemployment benefits scheme."
Janice Hamilton and Ken Dyers co-founded the so-called spiritual healing group Kenja – an amalgamation of their names – in 1982

" ... Kenja - the sect which attracted Rau in 1998 - was established some years earlier in 1982 by World War Two veteran Ken Dyers and Jan Hamilton.

The sect's name is derived from the first letters of the couple's names.

Mr Dyers died in 2007, but Ms Hamilton continues to be involved in Kenja in a consultancy role which includes giving classes and lecturing, according to the company's website.

At its core, Kenja is based on "Scientology-derived pseudo-psychological hocus-pocus," according to an article published by Australian political magazine The Monthly."

"Self-help gurus don't come much deadlier than James Arthur Ray, a cult-ish charlatan who became a star thanks to 2006's film The Secret and the publicity given to it, and him, by the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Larry King.

Having achieved lucrative heights, however, Ray saw his empire come crashing down on Oct. 8, 2009, when three attendees at his Sedona, Arizona, "Spiritual Warrior" retreat—Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman—died as a result of a sweltering sweat lodge challenge, and Ray himself fled the scene without taking responsibility for the insanely reckless incident he'd personally overseen. Having preached the "law of attraction," which contends that our lives are shaped by the positive (or negative) energy and thoughts we put out into the world, Ray's career was rightfully shattered by this tragedy: the New Age businessman was eventually convicted of three counts of negligent homicide and sentenced to two years in jail, of which he served only 20 months before being released in 2013."

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