Dec 4, 2021

CultNEWS101 Articles: 12/4-5/2021 (Conspiracy Theories, Scientology, Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries, Jamaica)

Conspiracy Theories, Scientology, Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries, Jamaica

"When does online disinformation cross a line from mostly innocuous to harmful to others? A Boston-based researcher who studies disinformation and misinformation sought to break it down in a chart that rocketed across the Internet last week, offering clarity to readers in an age when new conspiracy theories seem to pop up all the time.

The [researcher's] chart, which was retweeted more than 18,000 times, is organized to convey both an increasing detachment from reality and threat level, with the top grouping largely rooted in antisemitic views, its creator, Abbie Richards said. She emphasized that her design is "just one of many conspiracy theory frameworks."

In the time since Richards first designed her framework for understanding conspiracies and conspiracy theories, monumental events like the 2020 presidential election had not yet taken place nor had the coronavirus pandemic become as deeply intertwined with daily life."

Yahoo: Can former Scientologists take the church to court? Or are religious tribunals the only recourse?
"After Chrissie Bixler told the LAPD that Scientologist and actor Danny Masterson had raped her, strangers showed up at her home, filmed her family and peeked in her windows. Two of her dogs mysteriously died, one by eating meat laced with rat poison. Her security system was hacked. Someone posted ads in her name on Craigslist soliciting men for anal sex.

Bixler made these allegations in a lawsuit, charging that Scientology waged a campaign to terrorize her after failing to dissuade her from reporting Masterson to the Los Angeles Police Department. Other women joined the lawsuit after telling police that Masterson had sexually assaulted them — which he has denied — saying they too had been stalked and placed under surveillance.

But some of the women, including Bixler, formerly belonged to Scientology, and like other members signed agreements to submit any disputes to binding arbitration before a three-member board of practicing Scientologists. California courts are now trying to decide whether the agreements may be enforced and the lawsuit decided by a Scientology tribunal instead of a jury.

The case has brought attention to a practice known as "religious arbitration," in which Christians, Jews, Muslims and now Scientologists resolve disputes ranging from divorce to real estate to employment outside of a courtroom. The practice has long been upheld by secular courts, which by law cannot interfere with religious doctrinal matters.

In binding religious arbitration, disputes may be decided according to the tenets of a religion. Awards can be appealed to secular courts, which in most cases uphold them."

Tampa Bay Times: In Clearwater, no clear path for addressing Scientology-related land buys
"City officials express concern but say there's little they can do.

As companies tied to the Church of Scientology continue to buy more properties around downtown and keep them vacant, City Council member Mark Bunker on Monday proposed that city officials try to "understand what the hell is going on.'"

The Gleaner: Hush surrounds funeral plans for Kevin Smith
"Two weeks after an autopsy was performed and the body of deceased cult pastor Kevin Smith was handed over to relatives, there is an atmosphere of secrecy surrounding arrangements for his final rites. Smith, the late leader of the Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries."

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Selection of articles for CultNEWS101 does not mean that Patrick Ryan or Joseph Kelly agree with the content. We provide information from many points of view in order to promote dialogue.

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