The Weekly Q.U.A.R.L.

Volume 1
Issue 6

November 15, 1998

Day 27, Season of The Aftermath, AM 3164

The Weekly Q.U.A.R.L. is an editorial based on actual news articles sent across various news agencies all over the world. It is full of conjecture and comments that will upset some people. Unless you are tied to a chair and have your eyelids taped open, you are not being forced to read this.

The articles are gathered by the Docile Evasion Foundation, a sub-organization of Q.U.A.R.L.

The editorials are provided by Master Thepines, EFG, KSC, spokesperson for Q.U.A.R.L.

The Weekly Q.U.A.R.L. is published by the Erisian Freedom Group, a sub-organization of Q.U.A.R.L.

For more information on Q.U.A.R.L. and it's organizations, visit us on the web at http://members.tripod.com/~Thepines

Table of Contents

Article 1 -- Tenn. Couple Charged in Kidnapping
Article 2 -- A Landmark Case Had Been Expected: AJCongress Regrets that Supreme Court Will Not Take Up Wisconsin Voucher Case, Thus Allowing Taxpayers to Continue Funding Parochial School Program
Article 3 -- Conservative Baptists Hold Convention
Article 4 -- Vietnam: No Plans To Invite Pope
Article 5 -- Churches Push for Organ Donations
Article 6 -- Scientologists Charged in Death

Article 1 -- Tenn. Couple Charged in Kidnapping

A former Baptist pastor and his wife were indicted on charges they kidnapped an infant 20 years ago and physically and sexually abused her for years.

Evidently, they didn't want to be left out of the religious persecution cycle.

The adopted child was hospitalized after a suicide attempt last year when she was 19, police Capt. Blaine Wade said. Doctors found ``scars with scars on top of scars. It was real apparent the child had received years of beatings,'' he said.

I wonder if we would find scars on top of scars on many of the students of Catholic schools.

Joseph Combs, 50, was indicted Wednesday on kidnapping, perjury and rape charges. He was pastor of the now-defunct Emmanuel Baptist Church. Evangeline Combs, 49, was indicted on kidnapping, assault and child abuse charges.

They were arrested Friday. The couple remained jailed Saturday on $250,000 bond each.

I didn't know you can put a price on these crimes.

An indictment charges the couple used rope, brooms, sticks, a metal whip, sharp-edged tin and a wood burner to abuse the girl.

Authorities said the couple took the girl from a children's home in Indiana when she was 4 months old under the pretense of adopting her but never completed the process. The couple allegedly hid the girl from authorities and home-schooled her.

Allegations of child abuse against the couple had surfaced in 1990 when they were living in a church parsonage, but police were unable to substantiate those charges.

Wade said the woman has been reunited with her birth parents and is living in another state.

With any luck, she'll grow up to be a good little atheist. Hopefully she hasn't been brainwashed into believing this was an act of God or God's will.

Article 2 -- A Landmark Case Had Been Expected: AJCongress Regrets that Supreme Court Will Not Take Up Wisconsin Voucher Case, Thus Allowing Taxpayers to Continue Funding Parochial School Program

American Jewish Congress President Jack Rosen and Executive Director Phil Baum today issued the following statement, in which they expressed regret that the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up the case involving a Milwaukee school voucher program, thus allowing the program to continue funding religious education.

The real tragedy is that I can yet fire in an empty theater and get more people to run in terror than this gross injustice.

The potential landmark Supreme Court decision that the American Jewish Congress and many others had anticipated in a case involving the Milwaukee school voucher program upheld by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, will not materialize, given the High Court's refusal today to take up the case. The effect, although not a decision on the merits, is to permit the program to continue to fund religious education.

We regret that the Court has allowed this program, which we believe to be in clear violation of the First Amendment separation of church and state, to continue. There will be -- already are -- other cases presenting the same issue. The Supreme Court will soon have to render a decision once and for all on the constitutionality of vouchers.

We will continue to oppose vouchers in the courts, legislatures and public forums as a disservice to American students and to the tradition of public schools upon which education in our democracy has been built.

I pretend to believe that this is a clear cut case for the Supreme Court. I don't understand their reluctance or their hesitance. This is clearly a violation of the first amendment. Does the Supreme Court not want to uphold the constitution?

Article 3 -- Conservative Baptists Hold Convention

Two Baptist conventions were underway today after a group of conservative Southern Baptists broke away from the more moderate Baptist General Convention of Texas.

The breakaway group opposes a more tolerant view of homosexuality and abortion. They severed ties with the organization Tuesday and opened their own convention at Woodforest Baptist Church.

They can't continue to be good Christians unless they follow God's word. Too bad they can't follow God's wisdom.

``I think we've got to get away from this thing of getting away from God's word,'' said Miles Seaborn, president of the group.

Now I am really confused. If they are not following God's word, what are they following?

Tension between the conservatives and moderates has been growing for nearly two decades. Conservatives claim the convention's stands against abortion and homosexuality were not strong enough.

Which is beside the fact that there shouldn't be a stand against abortion or homosexuality.

The larger group approved a new representation formula on Monday that further angered conservatives.

The plan links the number of future convention delegates, or messengers, to church membership and contributions to state causes. Previously the number was based solely on membership.

Churches get at least two messengers whether or not they contribute, but additional delegates will depend on the amount of money a church gives.

I should have known that money would somehow figure into this.

``I think it's fair,'' said Delores Flood, a member of San Angelo's Southland Baptist Church. ``If people aren't contributing, then why should they decide how my money is spent?''

I ask, why are they contributing in the first place?

But conservatives contend the formula amounts to a tax that forces contributions to moderate-controlled programs and reduces their numbers at meetings.

``Those of us who still believe the Bible is the word of God have been frustrated our money's been going to things'' conservatives don't support, said Ron Eldred, pastor of Hitchcock Baptist Chapel in Hitchcock, west of Galveston.

If it goes to anything other than direct support of the local church, then it is being wasted.

Article 4 -- Vietnam: No Plans To Invite Pope

Despite a request from Vietnamese bishops, the communist country has no plans to invite Pope John Paul II to visit next year, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said Thursday.

The bishops had hoped the pontiff would be able to visit in August for the 200th anniversary of the sighting of an apparition of the Virgin Mary at the tiny village of La Vang. This year's commemoration drew more than 100,000 people.

I think too many villagers were doing opium.

Although Buddhism is Vietnam's primary religion, about 8 million of the 78 million people are Catholics. There have been recent signs of improvement in the strained ties between the government and the Vatican, but religion remains a touchy subject here.

Only religions approved by the government are permitted; others are considered superstition that should be eliminated.

Human rights groups claim a number of dissidents are jailed for their religious beliefs. The government says the only people in prison are there because they broke the law.

Whether you like it or not, it is their law. If they are jailed for their religious beliefs, maybe they should leave the country. Keeping this in mind, I can not support any government that dictates what religion or any belief an individual should have.

Article 5 -- Churches Push for Organ Donations

Churches and synagogues across the country will ask the faithful to donate more than a few dollars this weekend. They want their kidneys, livers and hearts -- after death, of course.

They would take them from the living, but then they would be committing murder. We know hoe the church feels about that.

Tackling a perception that religions shun organ donation, they'll put donor cards in bulletins and encourage families to talk it over. Transplant recipients and people waiting for new organs will speak at services.

I guess they ran out of money for TV ads.

``There's no factual information about the afterlife,'' said the Rev. Clark Lobenstine, an organizer of this weekend's National Donor Sabbath. ``We're dealing with beliefs, we're dealing with family traditions, we're dealing with what Grandma said. These are deeply ingrained.''

I like this guy. He is not blind by the age old belief in Dante's trilogy.

One goal of the weekend is to let people know their religions support organ donation.

``People aren't sure how their religion stands on it,'' said Mark Saunders, 43, who is waiting for a kidney transplant and plans to speak Sunday at his church in Waldorf, Md. ``It's an opportunity to clear up a lot of things.''

Another goal is to prompt family discussions. Surveys indicate most people support donation, but when families are asked, half refuse, often because survivors don't know what their loved ones would have wanted.

The weekend also offers the organ transplant community a chance to change the subject from its divisive fight over how to allocate donated organs to something everyone agrees on: the need to increase donations.

One fear shared by religious and non-religious people alike is that doctors might not try as hard to save their lives if they have agreed to donate organs.

In fact, doctors who work with dying patients are different from the doctors who work with transplant patients, hospital officials say. In most cases, two doctors must certified a donor is brain dead before organs are removed.

It's nice to know that you only need two doctors to declare you brain dead. How many priests can declare me religiously dead?

Article 6 -- Scientologists Charged in Death

The Church of Scientology was charged Friday in the 1995 death of a member whose family claimed the church held her against her will for 17 days.

This just proves that no religion is safe.

Prosecutor Bernie McCabe charged the church with abuse or neglect of a disabled adult and practicing medicine without a license, both felonies.

I guess that would mean huge fines and jail time.

Lisa McPherson, 36, died Dec. 5, 1995, after being under the 24-hour care of fellow church members at the church's Fort Harrison Hotel. She had been taken there to recover from a mental breakdown, but records indicated she was in good physical condition.

An autopsy showed she died of an embolism, or blood vessel blockage, in her left lung caused by ``bed rest and severe dehydration.''

Ms. McPherson went without fluids for at least five to 10 days and possibly her entire stay at the hotel, Medical Examiner Joan Wood said.

Church officials have said that the investigation is part of a 15-year effort by Clearwater officials to discredit Scientology. Church lawyers said they would issue a statement later Friday.

So the church is saying this is a conspiracy against them.

Church officials say Ms. McPherson was well cared for by church members but became violent and incoherent, had trouble sleeping and frequently resisted efforts to give her food, liquids and medications.

Church officials said she grew weak, lost weight and suddenly fell ill. Staffers said they drove her to a nearby hospital where an emergency room doctor is a Scientologist. She was pronounced dead 20 minutes later.

He doesn't sound like a very good doctor.

Police recommended last December that charges be filed.

``The family wants justice,'' said Ken Dandar, the McPherson family lawyer. ``They're happy that criminal charges have been filed because, finally now, they believe criminal justice can take place and show this was a preventable death.''

Ms. McPherson's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit seeking unspecified damages against the church.

If Ms. McPherson was in as good condition as the church says, then she should not have died, and the doctor should have been able to save her. This seems pretty cut and dry to me.

Final Thought

It may seem unfair that I enjoy poking fun at religious organizations that allow abusive behavior to take place within their ranks. The truth is, these things happen, and no one is immune. So remember all of these events when you put your loved ones into the care and direct supervision of the church.