(A compilation of religion news by James A. Haught, newspaper editor, Prometheus
Books author, and Free Inquiry senior editor.)
Jan. 29 - A bomb presumably planted by "pro-life" killers shattered
an abortion clinic at Birmingham, killing its security guard and critically
injuring a nurse. It was America's sixth "pro-life" murder since
Jan. 25 - Hindu suicide bombers killed themselves and a dozen others at
Sri Lanka's holiest Buddhist shrine, the Temple of the Tooth, which supposedly
houses one of Buddha's teeth. The attack was part of a 15-year war between
Hindus and Buddhists which has killed 51,000 people on the island south
Jan. 25 - Muslim militants who want to split Kashmir away from India massacred
23 Hindus and burned parts of their village. The eight-year Hindu-Muslim
conflict in Kashmir has killed 15,000.
Jan. 23 - A devout Hindu in Ventura, CA, sued Taco Bell because the restaurant
accidentally served him a burrito with meat in it. He was so traumatized,
he said, that he couldn't sleep or work, and had to travel to England to
be purified by Hindu masters.
January - Members of a Taiwanese cult who think God will arrive in a UFO
moved to Garland, TX, because the name sounds like "God land"
- but later relocated to Indiana and declared that Gary will be the site
of the miraculous event.
Jan. 18 - In Sayville, NY, a woman suffocated her teen-age daughter with
a plastic bag because she believed that a demon had taken possession of
January - The holy month of Ramadan brought the worst massacres in Algeria's
six-year religious war. In almost nightly raids, Muslim terrorists chopped
more than 1,000 villagers to death with hatchets and cut the throats of
women and children.
January - A month-long binge of Catholic-Protestant murders wracked Ulster
after Catholic assassins killed Billy "King Rat" Wright, the imprisoned
chief of a Protestant gang. The dozen killings threatened to halt peace
talks in Northern Ireland.
Jan. 11 - Violence between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims in Pakistan peaked
when two Sunnis on a motorcycle invaded a Shi'ite ritual at a cemetery and
opened fire with rifles, killing 28 and wounding 30. In the aftermath, thousands
of Shi'ites rioted.
Dec. 23 - The treasurer of St. Joseph's Cathedral at Wheeling, WV, was sentenced
to 10 years in prison for stealing $300,000 from the church.
Dec. 22 - Two Orthodox rabbis pleaded guilty to laundering $3 million in
drug profits through bank accounts of their Brookyn synagogues.
Dec. 13 - The Rev. George Crossley of Florida was convicted of attempting
to hire a "hit man" to kill a rival evangelist. Crossley had engaged
in sex with the rival's wife - and the rival ruined him by publicizing it.
Nov. 17 - Islamic zealots who want to create a theocracy in Egypt massacred
58 tourists visiting the ancient tombs of the Nile Valley.
Mid-November - Teen believers at Maranatha Church in St. Albans, WV, suffered
uncontrollable twitching and jerking for weeks after a revival.
Nov. 12 - Two more Muslim terrorists were convicted of bombing New York's
World Trade Center, an attack which they hoped would topple the twin towers
and kill a quarter-million Americans.
Nov. 11 - An abortion doctor at Winnipeg, Canada, was wounded by a sniper
bullet fired through a window of his home. Two other Canadian physicians
previously were wounded by "pro-life" snipers.
Nov. 3 - Three "Phineas priests" who bombed abortion clinics and
robbed banks for their white supremacy cause drew life prison terms in Spokane,
WA. One of them read the Bible aloud for 35 minutes in the courtroom, and
called the court a "temple of Satan."
Oct. 23 - The Rev. Michael Flippo of West Virginia was convicted of smashing
his wife to death with a stick of firewood.
Oct. 22 - Ten Santeria worshipers began performing occult rites over a corpse
in a Miami funeral home - but got into a quarrel that turned into a pistol
shootout, wounding some of the group.
Oct. 16 - The Rev. Andras Pandy, a Belgian minister and religion teacher,
was charged with murdering five family members and sexually molesting his
Sept. 22 - Born-again businessman John Bennett of Pennsylvania, who created
an investment foundation to "do God's work," was sentenced to
12 years in prison for swindling churches and charities out of $135 million.
Sept. 4 - Three more Muslim suicide bombers killed themselves and nearby
Jews in a Jerusalem pedestrian mall.
Aug. 29 - Muslim rebels trying to turn Algeria into a theocracy massacred
300 residents of Rais, a village 15 miles south of Algiers. Victims had
their throats cut, or were decapitated, or were burned. Some heads were
left on doorsteps by the religious insurgents.
August - Evidence continued emerging that the Rev. Henry Lyons, president
of the 8-million-member National Baptist Convention, lived like a maharajah
on church money, and gave some of it to his lovers.
Aug. 22 - Brendan Smyth - a child-molesting priest who caused the Irish
government to fall - died in an Irish prison, where he was serving a 12-year
term for sodomizing 20 boys and girls. The former government collapsed in
1994 when it was revealed that the attorney general had scuttled efforts
to extradite Smyth to Ulster to face child abuse charges.
August - In a one-week period, mobs in Senegal, Africa, killed eight people,
contending that they were witches who touched men and made their penises
July 31 - New York police shot and captured two Muslim zealots who were
making bombs. One confessed that they intended to detonate the bombs in
July 30 - Two Muslim suicide bombers killed themselves and a dozen Jews
in a crowded Jerusalem outdoor market.
July 28 - Muslim militants in Algeria killed 50 more people in a town 20
miles south of Algiers. They cornered the townspeople at gunpoint, then
cut their throats. More than 60,000 have died in Algeria's five-year jihad
July 24 - A Texas jury returned a record $120 million verdict against the
Dallas Catholic diocese because priest Rudolph Kos molested many altar boys
(one of whom eventually committed suicide) and the church conspired to conceal
July 16 - Shi'ite Muslim militants on motorcycles roared through Lahore,
Pakistan, gunning down four members of a rival Sunni Muslim group, the Guardians
of Friends of the Prophet - bringing to 150 the number of Pakistanis killed
in Sunni-Shi'ite clashes this year.
July 15 - An 18-year-old Catholic girl, asleep at the Belfast home of her
Protestant boyfriend, was killed by four shots - apparently a Protestant
assassination in retaliation for several recent Ulster murders by Catholic
militants of the Irish Republican Army.
July 14 - Accused of beating his wife to death with a stick of firewood,
the Rev. Michael Flippo of Landmark Church of God in Nitro, West Virginia,
was to stand trial -- but collapsed and was rushed to a hospital instead.
July 1 - Armed robber Harold McQueen, who killed a young woman clerk in
a convenience store stickup, died in Kentucky's electric chair. Before his
execution, he told reporters he's a devout Catholic who welcomed the death
chamber as a "gateway to heaven... I can go to the Lord's house."
Late June - In Israel, a Jewish woman artist drew a poster of the prophet
Muhammad as a pig, and pasted it on Muslim shops in Hebron. The insult triggered
a week of Muslim riots that injured dozens of people.
June 30 - Algerian troops killed 20 Muslim guerrillas in another battle
with religious militants who want to turn Algeria into a theocracy.
June 30 - An Israeli court convicted Muslim fanatic Hassan Salameh of arranging
three 1996 suicide bombings that killed 46 Israelis.
June 29 - The Living Church magazine reported that an Episcopal Church investigation
confirmed allegations, raised in Penthouse magazine, that Episcopal priests
in Brooklyn held sex orgies with youths, including young men brought from
June 27 - A teen-age girl testified in Provo, Utah, that her father, John
Chaney, leader of a Mormon polygamy sect, repeatedly had sex with her and
forced her to marry a middle-aged man when she was 13.
June 26 - In Japan, Yasuo Hayashi, a top lieutenant of the Supreme Truth
cult, pleaded guilty to helping release nerve gas in Tokyo's subway in 1995,
an attack that killed 12 people and sickened 5,000.
June 24 - Muslim terrorists cut the throats of 18 Algerians, including a
6-month-old baby, in the village of Mouzaia, as part of their "jihad"
(holy war) to make Algeria a theocracy.
June 24 - A Cairo judge struck down an Egyptian law banning genital mutilation
of girls, a custom practiced in several African Muslim nations to deaden
women's sexual pleasure and keep them "pure" for husbands.
June 16 - Catholic terrorists killed two Northern Ireland police officers
with point-blank shots to the head.
June 11 - Orthodox Jews who think it is sinful for men and women to pray
together threw rocks and bags of excrement at mixed groups of people visiting
the "Wailing Wall" in Jerusalem.
June 10 - Dennis and Lorie Nixon, members of the Faith Tabernacle Congregation
in Altoona, Pa., were sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for letting their
teen-age daughter die of treatable diabetes. Instead of getting medical
help for the girl, they prayed over her and anointed her with holy oil.
Two years earlier, the Nixons similarly let their 8-year-old son die of
an ear infection.
June 10 - Federal agents announced that a shadowy group of abortion-fighters
called the "Army of God" is suspected of two Atlanta bombings
- on Jan. 16 at an abortion clinic and on Feb. 21 at a gay nightclub.
June 6 - Christopher Rowland of Los Angeles was sentenced to 16-years-to-life
in prison because he thought his teen-age girlfriend was a vampire, so he
stabbed her to death, then placed crystals around her head and draped a
black pentagram on her body.
June 6 - A bomb presumably planted by Sikh terrorists killed seven bus riders
in northern India. The blast occurred on the 13th anniversary of an Indian
army raid on Sikh militants who had barricaded themselves inside their religion's
holiest shrine, the Golden Temple at Amritsar.
June 6 - Imam Mohamed Kerzazi, a French Muslim holy man who killed a teen-age
girl while trying to "exorcise demons" from her, was sentenced
to seven years in prison by a French court. To drive out demons, he had
beat the girl with a bamboo stick, dunked her head under water, and forced
her to swallow several quarts of salt water. The imam testified that he
merely was following exorcism rules he had been taught during clerical training
in Saudi Arabia.
June 5 - U.N. war crimes probers found 57 buried bodies in Croatia - presumably
Croatian Catholics killed by Orthodox Christian Serbs in former Yugoslavia's
tragic Muslim-Catholic-Orthodox war. A week earlier, 39 Serbs were convicted
of war crimes in Croatia.
May 31 - Universal Church of God pastor Ellis Butler of Shirley, Arkansas,
was sentenced to 60 years in prison for raping three church school girls.
May 29 - China executed eight Muslim fanatics convicted of bus bombings
and other violence that killed 18 and wounded 60 in Xinjaing province.
May 29 - A teen-age Canadian Indian boy was acquitted of manslaughter after
he testified that he beat a man to death with a ceremonial walrus bone because
he thought the man was an evil spirit called the Bearwalker.
May 16 - Ardent Jew Avi Kostner of New Jersey was sentenced to two life
terms because he killed his 12-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son, rather
than let them be raised as non-Jews.
May - Palestinian Justice Minister Freih Abu Medein announced that any Muslim
caught selling land to a Jew would be executed - and three Arabs suspected
of such land-selling were found murdered soon afterward.
May 15 - Muslim terrorists armed with hatchets and knives massacred 30 Algerian
villagers -- more than half of them children -- in their campaign to impose
a religious government on Algeria.
May 13 - Protestant terrorists in Ulster abducted a Catholic social club
operator and killed him with a shot in the head.
May - The Rev. Leroy Shanks of Racine, Wisc., pleaded guilty to sexually
assaulting a 14-year-old girl while "counseling" her.
May 13 - Two Lebanese newspapers reported that a Muslim terrorist group
called "God's army" had acquired 23 surface-to-air rockets and
planned to shoot down the aircraft of Pope John Paul II during his visit
to Lebanon, but police vigilance prevented the missiles from entering the
May 11 - Muslim militants who oppose Turkey's secular government firebombed
an American-run high school for girls at Izmir.
May 9 - Roger Katz, a New Mexico junior high school teacher, testified that
he made love to one of his 14-year-old students because they both were reincarnated
from seventh-century Tibet, where the girl had saved his life by taking
an arrow meant for him. The judge doubted his reincarnation explanation,
and sentenced Katz to a year and a half in jail.
May 9 - Catholic terrorists shot and killed an off-duty Protestant policeman
in a Northern Ireland pub - two weeks after a Protestant mob kicked to death
a Catholic man who was walking in a Protestant neighborhood.
May 6 - Two more members of the Heaven's Gate cult in California attempted
to "shed their containers" and travel to a different dimension.
One suicide succeeded, and the other failed.
May 6 - A Catholic priest, the Rev. Eugene Emo of Bath, N.J., was sentenced
to jail for sexually molesting a mentally disabled man.
May 3 - In Indonesia, a "sorcerer" who charged women to cast spells
on their husbands and boyfriends confessed to police that he murdered 42
of the women. He showed officers where to dig up 40 bodies.
April - The Rev. Jeffrey Horton of Liberty Christian Center in Michigan
was sentenced to jail for planting hidden video cameras in women's restrooms.
April 22 - Taliban religious zealots who rule Afghanistan enforced Islamic
law by chopping off the hand and foot of a convicted man.
April - Jenny Gallegos, 16-year-old honor student in Perry County, Pennsylvania,
was strangled to death by her religious father because she said a swear
word. He told police that Satan made him do it.
March 29 - Hindu Indian troops killed 22 armed Muslim militants holed up
in a building outside Kashmir's holiest shrine, the Hazratbal Mosque, which
houses a sacred relic, a whisker from Muhammad's beard. About 15,000 Kashmiris
have been killed in a six-year Muslim insurrection against Hindu rule.
March 28 - A young Afghan woman was stoned to death for being in company
of man who wasn't a relative. Afghanistan's zealous Taliban rulers force
women to wear head-to-toe shrouds, and impose other puritanical laws.
March 26 - Thirty-nine adherents of the Heaven's Gate cult were found dead
in a San Diego mansion. Their mass suicide was based on the cult's belief
that members could "shed their containers" and travel to a UFO
behind the Hale-Bopp comet.
March 21 - A Muslim suicide bomber killed himself and three Jewish women
at an outdoor cafe in Tel Aviv. The blast injured 46 others.
March - Catholic priest Brendan Smyth of Belfast, Ireland, who already served
four years in prison for child molesting, pleaded guilty to 74 new sexual
offenses stemming from his long career as a molester.
March 21 - Five more members of the Solar Temple cult -- who think that
death transports them to a planet named Sirius (not the star Sirius) --
died in a fiery suicide in Canada, bringing the cult's death toll to 74
in three years.
March 13 - A Jordanian Muslim soldier opened fire on Jewish schoolgirls
visiting an island in the Jordan River, killing seven girls and wounding
March - The Rev. Aaron LeBaron of the Church of the Lamb of God, a Mormon
polygamy sect, was convicted of sending "missionaries" to kill
three defectors and one's little girl. He inherited the western cult from
his father, Ervil LeBaron, who sired 54 children by 13 wives and committed
many murders before dying in Utah state prison in 1981. In mid-June, Aaron
was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
March - A North Carolina jury ordered Methodist minister Ed Privette to
pay $420,000 damages to two women he sexually molested at his church.
February - Jin Choi, a deacon in Glendale Korean Presbyterian Church in
California, pleaded guilty to helping two other exorcists beat "evil
spirits" out of a woman for six hours, causing her death.
Feb. 16 - The Indianapolis Star reported that 16 priests in the regional
diocese had committed sex offenses in recent years, many of them against
February - The Rev. Bryan Buckley of Christ Community Church in St. Charles,
Ill., drew a seven-year prison term for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old
Jan. 20 - The Ghanian Times reported that enraged mobs beat 12 "sorcerers"
to death in Ghana, because the shamans were suspected of practicing magic
that made men's penises shrink.
January - Church of God minister Scott Hogan of New Castle, Pa., was charged
with "flashing" women on a store parking lot. Last year he pleaded
guilty to burglary and indecent exposure.
Jan. 1 - A Jewish soldier who thinks God gave the Holy Land to Jews opened
fire on Muslims in Hebron -- and Islamic terrorists retaliated in subsequent
days by planting bombs in Tel Aviv.
MAJOR EVENTS OF PREVIOUS YEARS
-- September 1996: Afghanistan's Muslim fundamentalist government was overthrown
by even stronger extremists of the Taliban militia, an army of former seminary
students, who ordered men to grow beards and women to wear shrouds. People
were herded at gunpoint into mosques and forced to pray five times a day.
-- September 1996: After Israeli Jews extended an archeological tunnel on
Jerusalem's Temple Mount, Palestinian Muslims felt that their sacred shrines
were violated, and rebelled in rioting that killed 79 and wounded 1,600.
-- Summer 1996: When militant Protestants tried repeatedly to march through
Catholic neighborhoods in Ulster, riots caused $30 million damage.
-- June 1996: A huge truck bomb, presumably planted by Muslim fanatics,
destroyed a U.S. military compound in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 Americans
and injuring 270.
-- April 1996: After Hezbollah (Party of God) guerrillas in southern Lebanon
increased their rocket attacks on northern Israeli towns, Israel struck
back with fierce raids -- and accidentally killed 90 Muslim civilians sheltered
in a U.N. camp in Lebanon.
-- April 1996: At a Cairo hotel, Muslim terrorists screaming "God is
great!" opened fire on Greek Christians making an Easter tour of the
Holy Land, killing 18 and wounding 21.
-- March 1996: Another suicidal Muslim blew up another bus in Jerusalem,
killing 19 more, mostly Jews. The following day, a different suicide bomber
killed a dozen Jews in a Tel Aviv shopping center.
-- February 1996: Two more Muslim suicide bombers became "martyrs"
by triggering two Jerusalem explosions that killed 23 people, mostly Jews,
including two American students.
-- February 1996: Northern Ireland's Catholic-Protestant hate flared again
when the terrorist Irish Republican Army detonated more bombs in London,
killing three people and causing millions of dollars worth of damage.
-- December 1995: Sixteen more members of the Solar Temple cult died in
a murder-suicide on winter solstice day in France. Most of the bodies were
arranged in a star formation.
-- November 1995: A militant Jew who said he was acting "on orders
from God" assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Several
ultra-Orthodox colleagues were charged with him. Israeli writer Amos Oz
called them "a loose conglomerate of mad-dog fundamentalists,"
and remarked: "It is typical of religious fanatics, Christian, Muslim
or Jew, that the `orders' they get from God are always essentially one order:
Thou shalt kill."
-- November 1995: Muslim terrorists who hope to turn Egypt into a theocracy
dispatched a suicide zealot to ram an explosives-laden truck into the Egyptian
Embassy in Pakistan, killing 17 and wounding 60.
-- Late 1995: Killings between Catholic Croats, Orthodox Serbs and Muslim
Bosnians finally subsided in the former Yugoslavia, a tragic land wrecked
by religious tribalism.
-- All of 1995: Killings between Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims continued to
plague India, a nation long cursed by religio-ethnic conflict.
-- Summer 1995: Muslim fanatics from Algeria planted several bombs in France,
including one in a Paris subway that killed seven and wounded 90.
-- July 1995: An Islamic suicide bomber aboard a Tel Aviv bus killed six
Jews and himself.
-- March 1995: Poison gas loosed in Tokyo's subway killed 12 commuters and
sickened 5,500. Police charged leaders of the secretive Supreme Truth sect,
whose adherents kissed their guru's big toe, paid $2,000 each for a sip
of his bathwater, and paid $10,000 for a drink of his blood.
-- January 1995: Two Muslim suicide bombers killed themselves and 21 Jews
at Beit Lid, Israel.
-- December 1994: Muslim fanatics who want to turn Algeria into a theocracy
hijacked a French airliner, murdered three passengers, and planned to kill
100 more in a firebombing explosion over Paris, but commandos thwarted them.
-- December 1994: A Catholic zealot killed two women at abortion clinics
in Massachusetts. Screaming "You should pray the Rosary," he fired
10 bullets into one woman. It was the third fatal clinic attack in America
in two years.
-- October 1994: An Islamic suicide bomber blew up a bus full of Jews in
Israel, killing at least 22 and wounding multitudes.
-- September 1994: In Switzerland, 48 members of the Solar Temple died in
a mass murder-suicide. Many bodies were found in ceremonial robes in a secret
underground chapel lined with mirrors. Clusters of dead children were in
three ski chalets. In Quebec, four more victims were found at a Solar Temple
branch. The Canadian group had been stockpiling guns to prepare for the
end of the world.