Aug 30, 2020

CultNEWS101 Articles: 8/29-30/2020

Online Event, Satanic Temple, Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, Brazil, Sexual Abuse, Meditation Research, Panama Religious Sect
An ONLINE EVENT for Families, Former Members and Friends Affected by CULTIC Groups and Relationships.


Dr Gillie Jenkinson will be doing a 50 minute talk at our 'up and coming' online event.

Many former cult members struggle to recover, and some take years before they are able to move on from their experiences. In this session she will share some key insights for former members and their therapists, and practical issues for facing the recovery process.

Early Registration Discount ends soon.

" ... In a series of three cases, the Court ruled that religion has a particularly special place in American law. So special, in fact, that religious entities can be exempt from generally applicable anti-discrimination laws, can refuse to follow Obamacare mandates about coverage of preventive medical care, and can force the state to send them public funds for students at their religious schools. This has been a trend for the John Roberts Supreme Court — religious entities have won claims of religious liberty in 12 of the 13 cases to come before the Court since 2012.
Not surprisingly, in each of the cases decided this year, it was the dominant Christian religion that won in its claims of religious liberty. So it's reasonable to ask whether the Supreme Court (or any court) would feel the same way about religious liberty claims brought on behalf of minority religions.
Enter The Satanic Temple. The Satanic Temple is a religion that believes in benevolence and empathy among all people, rejects tyrannical authority, and advocates for common sense and justice. For years now, The Satanic Temple has fought to expand religious liberty notions that the conservative Supreme Court has applied to Christians to apply to its members as well.
Particularly, The Satanic Temple has fought this battle over abortion. The third tenet of the religion is "One's body is inviolable, subject to one's own will alone." Thus, The Satanic Temple claims that the obstacle course of abortion restrictions that states impose on the procedure should not apply to its members because doing so violates their sincerely-held religious beliefs. As the church's reproductive rights spokeswoman puts it, "No Christian would tolerate a law that insists state counseling is necessary before someone can be baptized. Our members are justly entitled to religious liberty in order to practice our rituals as well."
The Satanic Temple has made these claims in multiple state and federal court cases on behalf of members who were pregnant and sought an abortion at the time the lawsuits were filed. So far, it has been unsuccessful. It lost in 2019 before the Missouri Supreme Court, which ruled that the challenged Missouri abortion law does not require any patient to actually have an ultrasound (though one must be offered) or read the state pamphlet (though it must be provided). In June this year, the federal appeals court that covers Missouri ruled that the Satanists cannot be exempt from generally applicable and neutral state laws just because their religious beliefs disagree with the law.
The Satanic Temple, who may wind up appealing this to the Supreme Court, isn't backing down, and it issued a press release earlier this month again claiming that it is exempt from state abortion restrictions. The church is clearly reading the tea leaves about how the Supreme Court is treating religious liberty. It's also counting on the Court ultimately being evenhanded with its religious liberty jurisprudence — if it benefits the country's dominant religion, it should benefit all religions. There's reason to doubt whether the Court will apply these principles neutrally, but if it does, The Satanic Temple may eventually win.
At issue is a 1990 Supreme Court precedent that says that a "neutral" and "generally applicable" law does not infringe on religious liberty when applied to someone who has a contrary religious belief. In that case, a state law against peyote smoking could be applied to a Native American who said that doing so was important to his religion. The Court said that because the law was not written particularly to harm Native Americans (neutral) and applied to everyone (generally applicable), the claim of religious freedom lost.
This case has been the subject of attack from the day it was decided. The left claimed that it allowed the state to persecute religious minorities. The right claimed that it allowed the state to persecute Christians. As a result, there has been a concerted effort to overturn this precedent at the Supreme Court. There has also been a movement to pass state laws that would protect religious liberty claims. In 2014, the Supreme Court applied the federal version of this religious liberty law (which only applies to other federal laws) to allow Hobby Lobby to refuse to provide contraceptive coverage to its employees, even though the federal Affordable Care Act mandated doing so.
The Satanic Temple is trying to use these laws and this movement to exempt its members from abortion laws. The argument is the same as Hobby Lobby's, though it's about state abortion laws rather than federal insurance laws. The church also hopes that the Supreme Court's precedent about "neutral" and "generally applicable" will be overturned. That precedent has been chipped away and called into question, but so far it remains good law. A case the Supreme Court will hear this coming term could change that. In that case, a Catholic foster care agency wants the freedom to discriminate against gay parents, contrary to Philadelphia's anti-discrimination laws.
In other words, The Satanic Temple is taking the Christian right's crusade for religious liberty seriously and saying that if it's good for Christianity, it has to be good for everyone. It's only a matter of time before the Supreme Court answers the question whether they actually believe in religious liberty for all."

"Prosecutors in Angola have ordered the closure of places of worship belonging to one of Brazil's biggest churches, accusing it of corruption.

"At least seven buildings belonging to the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) have been seized in the capital, Luanda.

Prosecutors said the evangelical church had been involved in tax fraud and other fiscal crimes.

UCKG officials have previously strongly denied any wrongdoing.

Last year about 300 Angolan UCKG bishops broke away from the Brazilian leadership, accusing it of mismanagement and not being African enough. UCKG officials described the accusations as "defamatory".

The UCKG claims to have about eight million members in Brazil and branches in several African countries. It promotes "prosperity theology", whereby believers are told their faith and donations to the Church will lead to material wealth.

The row started last year when Angolan bishops broke away from the Brazilian Church, accusing it of "fiscal evasion" and of practices contrary to the "African and Angolan reality"."

"A recent literature review by a University of Alberta cult expert and his former graduate student paints a startling and consistent picture of institutional secrecy and widespread protection of those who abuse children in religious institutions "in ways that often differ from forms of manipulation in secular settings."

It's the first comprehensive study exposing patterns of sexual abuse in religious settings.

"A predator may spend weeks, months, even years grooming a child in order to violate them sexually," said Susan Raine, a MacEwan University sociologist and co-author of the study with University of Alberta sociologist Stephen Kent.

Perpetrators are also difficult to identify, the researchers said, because they rarely conform to a single set of personality or other traits.

The findings demonstrate the need to "spend less time focusing on 'stranger danger,' and more time thinking about our immediate community involvement, or extended environment, and the potential there for grooming," said Raine.

Raine and Kent examined the research on abuse in a number of religious denominations around the world to show "how some religious institutions and leadership figures in them can slowly cultivate children and their caregivers into harmful and illegal sexual activity."

Those institutions include various branches of Christianity as well as cults and sectarian movements including the Children of God, the Branch Davidians, the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints as well as a Hindu ashram and the Devadasis.

"Because of religion's institutional standing, religious grooming frequently takes place in a context of unquestioned faith placed in sex offenders by children, parents and staff," they found.

The two researchers began their study after Kent was asked to provide expert testimony for a lawsuit in Vancouver accusing Bollywood choreographer and sect leader Shiamak Davar of sexually abusing two of his dance students in 2015.

Kent realized that although some scholars had written about sexual abuse in religion, "They had not identified the grooming process and the distinctive features of it." After the lawsuit was settled out of court, he approached Raine to take on the project.

"The two of us had worked on projects before (including the successful book Scientology in Popular Culture) and I knew that she wrote fluently and quickly," said Kent. "I provided her with initial ideas and suggestions, and she did most of the writing."

The result is "the first of its kind to provide a theoretical framework for analyzing and discussing religiously based child and teen sexual grooming," he said.

One of the best-known cases of such grooming in the Catholic Church was uncovered by the Boston Globe in 2002 and dramatized in the 2015 film Spotlight. The Globe revealed that John J. Geoghan, a former priest, had fondled or raped at least 130 children over three decades in some half-dozen Greater Boston parishes.

Eventually a widespread pattern of abuse in the church was exposed in Europe, Australia, Chile, Canada and the United States.

More shocking than the abuses themselves, said Raine, was the systemic cover-up that reached all the way up to the Vatican.

"And the relocation of priests to other churches, I think that was devastating for Catholics—a major breach of trust," she said."
Dr. Britton answers frequently asked questions about meditation-related difficulties.

"The authorities of Panama they rescued to three children held by an alleged religious sect in a community in the indigenous Ngäbe Buglé region, in the province of Veraguas, the only one in the country with coasts on the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, according to official sources and local media.
In the rescue of the minors participated agents of the National Aeronaval Service of Panama (Senan), as a result of the fact that his situation was reported by a journalist to the authorities, reported the Minister of Public Security, Juan Pino.

Pino pointed out that the children, who had been held together with three teenagers, are in good health, and that one person has fled.

He added that one of the people who was detained managed to escape to ask for help, and explained that according to the reports received, an alleged religious sect would be involved in the events."

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