articles from the Headline News and International columns of the Christian Research Newsletter, Volume 6: Number 2, 1993.
The Editor of the Christian Research Newsletter is Ron Rhodes.
A New Dutch "Right-to-Die" Law Makes Euthanasia and Doctor-Assisted Suicide Easier.
The February 22 issue of Time magazine reports that the parliament in the Netherlands "approved the world's most liberal rules on euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide. Both practices are still technically illegal, but doctors won't be charged if they notify coroners of their actions and if they follow certain guidelines. Among them: the patient must be mentally competent; must be suffering unbearable pain and request euthanasia repeatedly; and the doctor must consult a second physician before proceeding."
Dr. Hans Wessel, who has taken part in euthanizing patients, said: "Doing euthanasia, I'm sick for a week afterward...Is the patient manipulating me? Am I playing God? I'm quite ambivalent about it," the March 14 Los Angeles Times reported.
The Children of God -- A Sect that Fled from the United States in the Mid-1970s Amid Controversy -- Has Resurfaced in the United States as "the Family."
The March 21 Los Angeles Times reports that in earlier years the sect's "gospel of free love outraged critics. Under fire from deprogrammers and child-abuse authorities, the cult virtually disappeared. It's back -- calling itself 'the Family' and saying it has changed. But former members are skeptical."
The article notes that "in the beginning, there was controversy: predictions that Comet Kohoutek signaled God's destruction of America, claims that Douglas MacArthur and the Pied Piper were speaking from beyond the grave, and charges that Jews and blacks were conspiring to ruin the world....There was also sex. Lots of sex. All in the name of Jesus." The cult's free-love gospel "urged women to use their bodies to hook new converts." This was called "flirty fishing."
Some twenty years ago, "Berg and other members fled the U.S. -- partly because of Kohoutek, partly because of the New York attorney general's charity fraud division. Its 1974 investigation accused the Children of -- among other things -- tax evasion, rape, polygamy, draft dodging, incest, and kidnapping."
The article reports that disciples have been filtering back to the United States since 1989. "Berg, now 74 and reportedly living in Japan, is said to have urged the return as preparation for the Second Coming of Christ."
Medical Schools Are Increasingly Teaching Students about the Alleged "Mind-Body Connection."
The March 8 issue of Newsweek magazine reports that "one half of medical schools now offer some sort of mind-body instruction, says Dr. Herbert Benson of Boston's Deaconess Hospital." Benson is a proponent of the "relaxation response" for treating insomnia, hypertension, and other symptoms.
The article notes that Dr. David Eisenberg of Beth Israel Hospital has developed an "unconventional medicine" course in which he teaches about homeopathy, acupuncture, and massage. "Eisenberg and colleagues recently reported that 34 percent of the people they surveyed had used at least one unconventional therapy in the past year, mostly for chronic conditions such as back pain, insomnia, and headaches. That works out to 61 million Americans."
America's interest in the mind-body connection is also evident in Bill Moyers's recent Healing and the Mind television series, which scored ratings almost double PBS's usual ratings for this time of year. His accompanying book is now at the top of the bestseller lists.
As well, this past summer the newly formed Office of Alternative Medical Practices, part of the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, began hearings with practitioners of unconventional medical practices such as "acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, therapeutic touch, psychic healing, Chinese and Indian herbs, chiropractic and spinal manipulation, and transcendental meditation," the March 10 Orange County Register reports. The office's director, Dr. Joseph Jacobs, said: "We're not into licensing; forget about that...The bottom line is, how can these things work together for the betterment of the patient?" The office has received $2 million from Congress to carry out this study.
Dominican Priest Matthew Fox Was Expelled by the Vatican on March 3.
The March 13 New York Times reports that "Matthew Fox, a Roman Catholic priest who has tweaked church traditionalists with his blend of historic Christianity with New Age philosophies, has been formally expelled by the Vatican from the religious order he joined 34 years ago."
Dominican officials said the expulsion was simply a matter of discipline. "Our decision," said the Rev. Donald J. Goergen, who heads the Dominican's Midwest Province, "was never a judgment on his theology, spirituality, or ministry." Rather it was over Fox's refusal to return to Chicago in his home province. As reported in the March 24-31 issue of The Christian Century, Fox's expulsion came as a result of "illegitimate absence from his religious community." Goergen said that Fox will remain a priest, but is prohibited from celebrating mass or performing sacraments publicly.
Scientology Celebrates Worldwide Growth; Opponents Are Troubled
"Scientology Expands in All Corners of the World," trumpets a headline in Issue 29 of International Scientology News. The magazine, which bills itself as "News for all Scientologists [TM] from International Management," announces that "in 1992, 34 new missions opened and SMI [Scientology Missions International] missionaries opened an additional 25 new pioneer area groups and missions in 17 new countries including: Ivory Coast, Argentina, Honduras, Ecuador, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Jamaica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Cameroon, Slovenia, Gambia, Morocco, and Zambia."
The magazine describes budding Scientology efforts in the Philippines, Poland, India, and Pakistan -- further claiming that founder L. Ron Hubbard's booklet The Way to Happiness "has now been translated into 18 languages and is available in 55 countries, with more than 34 million copies distributed worldwide."
International Scientology News paints a glowing picture of Scientology activities in Russia, reporting that there are already Hubbard Colleges of Administration in Moscow and in Irkutsk, Siberia -- with a third proposed for Ukraine. It further claims:
The Russian Academy of Economics in Moscow, a 25,000-student institute for studies in management, determines the educational programs for universities and business schools throughout Russia. In looking for the best curriculum for management training, they rejected proposals from several American universities and voted to use [Scientology's] LRH admin tech as their new curriculum. LRH admin tech now sets the standard for all aspects of administration and management education across Russia.
Hubbard's disciples are now hard at work in tiny Albania, where "leaders have called for immediate implementation of LRH admin procedures in the Albanian government, thousands of LRH books have been delivered to the National Library system...and LRH admin tech is now the required curriculum for students at the Albanian National University's Department of Business Administration."
Scientology's spread across Eastern Europe and the former USSR has attracted the scrutiny of its critics. In the February 1993 issue of Update & Dialog, former Scientologist Jon Atack writes that Scientology "has been particularly successful" in establishing itself in the former East Bloc nations. "Hubbard's 'Road to Total Freedom' is available at centres in Prague, Breslau, Dresden, Leipzig, Budapest, Szolnok, and St. Petersburg. There are also centres in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria."
Atack reports disdainfully that Moscow State University has awarded Hubbard its first posthumous doctorate -- in Literature. "Worse yet, the University has renamed its Library of Journalism the 'L. Ron Hubbard Reading Room'" -- which was opened by no less an official than Boris Yeltsin's first aide. He adds that Scientology's Narconon drug rehabilitation program has been welcomed by prominent Russian officials, and a 400-bed Narconon facility is planned for Moscow.
But the sect's aggressive growth campaign faces serious resistance in Germany. On February 25 the major newsweekly Stern published a blistering, 14-page special section charging the sect with "turning people into psychological cripples while extracting money from their pockets." The magazine, which has a circulation of over 1.5 million, estimates Scientology's German membership at 300,000 and describes recent government attempts to investigate and restrict the activities of Scientology and such affiliate groups as Narconon and WISE. One German legislative body has called for "a battle against Scientology because its only concern is profit and because it is a profit- and power-oriented organization which disguises itself as a religion."
-- Paul Carden
End of document, CRN0068A.TXT (original CRI file name), "What's New In The Headlines" and "Scientology Celebrates Worldwide Growth" release A, July 15, 1994 R. Poll, CRI
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