Ready for Armageddon, Church Retails to the Masses

Scrambling to stay current as it reaches its 50th anniversary, the Church Universal and Triumphant has transformed itself into a New Age publishing enterprise and spiritual university. But still in the background is its “insurance” against the end _ the shelter buried beneath a hillside on the sect’s 7,500 acre Royal Teton Ranch.

Boys returned to families as abuse investigation continues

ONEONTA, Ala. (RNS) Eleven juveniles who had been at a faith-based home for troubled boys have been returned to their parents and guardians while a probe continues into charges of abuse at the facility. The boys, who had lived at Reclamation Ranch Ministries’ Lighthouse Academy, were the subject of a court hearing to determine if they should stay in the custody of the Department of Human Resources. The boys, who hailed from places including California, Kentucky and an Amish community in Ohio, were released by the court to parents, relatives or other adults. Some of the boys said their time at the academy had changed them for the better.

Alleged church shooter sought anonymity in Ga. town

Alleged church shooter sought anonymity in Ga. town NEWARK, N.J. (RNS) After gunning down his wife, her cousin and a would-be rescuer in a Clifton, N.J., church, Joseph Pallipurath dumped his pistol, abandoned his Jeep and stepped aboard a bus with the hopes of fading into obscurity, said authorities who nabbed the accused fugitive early Tuesday (Nov. 25). His destination was Monroe, Ga., in rural Walton County, a sleepy town of about 20,000 residents that boasts a historic downtown and classic Southern antebellum homes. “He said that this was just a square little town he thought he could get lost in.

More Mormon Prop. 8 Blowback

Rick Hertzberg gives the LDS Church a pop in the current New Yorker, but the big news is that the state of California’s Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating the church for allegedly neglecting to report “a battery of nonmonetary contributions — including phone banks, a Web site and commercials” in its effort to drum up support for Proposition 8. A California law whose constitutionality the state Supreme Court will be reviewing requires full disclosure of any money spent and services rendered to influence the outcome of an election campaign. Jay Sekulow, legal eagle for the conservative American Center for Law and Justice, doesn’t like the law one bit. As CBN reports:”These weren’t campaigns like a political campaign, like someone running for office,” Sekulow said. “This was on a moral issue and a cultural issue, and I think the church should be free to engage in these issues and not have to engage in oversight by the government when it comes to this.”

The GOP Civil War

What to make of the Recipe for Republican Recovery advanced today on Politico by Michael Steele, the former Maryland lieutenant governor who wants to be RNC chair? Here’s the nut:Ronald Reagan spoke to our deepest longing as a people. He gave a voice to principles that are true for all people in all times. Retool our message, but base it on those proven conservative principles for which our party has always stood: Our freedom is from God, not government. Our prosperity comes from a free people in a free market, not overtaxing, free-spending bureaucrats.

Hindus find new faiths in marriage

NEWARK, N.J.-Jeff Diamant talks with Hindu families about shifting marriage customs as American-born children of Indian immigrant parents increasingly opt to marry outside the faith.

Study suggests worship services reduces risk of death

JERUSALEM -Regularly attending religious services may significantly reduce the risk of death, according to a comprehensive study by researchers at Yeshiva University and its medical school, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

School allows American Indian boy to keep hair braided

SLIDELL, La.-An American Indian boy who wears his hair in a braid as part of a religious custom will be allowed to remain at his school after school officials reversed an earlier decision that the child would have to cut his hair or wear his braid in a bun.

N.J. church searches for answers after fatal shootings

CLIFTON, N.J. -Dennis John Malloosseril didn’t know the man shouting in the church vestibule had a gun, friends said, but he knew the disturbance was disrupting services at St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Knanaya Church on Sunday (Nov. 23).

COMMENTARY: Let’s cut to the chase, shall we?

I doubt that much sleep was lost, in heaven or an earth, when the tiny Episcopal Diocese of Quincy, Ill., voted to secede from the national Episcopal Church for being too liberal. Even so, Quincy’s debate over leaving the national denomination was illuminating. The debate’s final speaker is quoted as saying, “We need to make a choice. Is Jesus Christ our Savior or not?” If a church wanted to walk the walk of Jesus as Savior, it wouldn’t be debating sexuality.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2008 Religion News Service N.J. church searches for answers after fatal shootings CLIFTON, N.J. (RNS) Dennis John Malloosseril didn’t know the man shouting in the church vestibule had a gun, friends said, but he knew the disturbance was disrupting services at St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Knanaya Church on Sunday (Nov. 23). Then, according to witnesses, he saw a woman being manhandled.