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Andrew Morton on UK Libel Law and his Cruise Biography

While we’re on the subject of libel, British journalist Andrew Morton has been pondering the UK fate of his Tom Cruise biography:

It is for sale in Vietnam, Serbia and China – not countries known for allowing free of expression. Yet in Britain it cannot be sold because of my country’s repressive legal system. The gagging of freedom of speech and expression in Britain and the willingness of judges to pay huge settlements to plaintiffs means that Britain is a haven for libel tourists and sharp lawyers. In an increasingly flat world where information is freely available to the rest of the world apart from Britain this will be a growing problem for authors and publishers.

I noted in January, there is also no Australian edition due to libel fears, and the Australian bookshop chain Angus & Robertson has declined to stock the US edition (although Private Eye suggests that this may be because the Murdoch family, which owns the stores, has links to Scientologist and Cruise friend James Packer).

Morton’s lament is of course very familiar; Britain’s excessive and punitive libel laws have been a problem for decades, yet despite the many complaints very little gets done. A few cases have established precedents that favour free speech, such as the 2002 case I mentioned yesterday, but the stakes are so high that it is usually more prudent to practice self-censorship (as I have done a couple of times) or for a defendant in a case to concede as quickly as possible.

Another option is to take up residence in New York State, where the recent Libel Terrorism Protection Act allows “New York’s courts to declare that a foreign judgment was unenforceable if the courts decided that the libel laws in foreign jurisdictions did not protect freedom of speech and the press to the same extent as the laws in New York and the US.” This was passed after an American author who had written on Saudi links to terrorism was sued for libel in the London High Court (as I blogged here), and the Act’s somewhat over-dramatic name doubtless reflects the US right’s notion that the problem is about the “appeasement of radical Islam” (see details of this conference for an example) rather than a more general issue of attempts by the rich and powerful (or in some cases simply the cranky) to silence critics and dissuade overcurious researchers.

It is certainly tempting to concur with the inference of the Act’s name that those who threaten or bring libel actions simply to suppress legitimate free expression and inquiry are engaging in a kind of terrorism against the values of an open society, but there is also a risk of trivialisation: excessive libel threats may make us fearful to write what we know we should have the right to express, but the devestation wrought by terrorist violence (both as regards its victims and the effects on societies where it occurs) is hardly comparable. However, whatever its name and the motives of its drafters, the Act represents a bit of progress.

(Morton link hat tip to Cult News Network)

Jerusalem Patriarch Launches London Libel Action

Staying with Jerusalem, here’s one I missed from a couple of weeks ago, via the Press Gazette:

The head of the Greek Orthodox Church has launched a legal battle for libel damages against an Arab newspaper in a bitter dispute.

His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos is suing HH Saudi Research and Marketing (UK) over a story in the UK version of the newspaper Asharq Al Awsat, which he claims was defamatory.

The story claimed that he had improperly and illegally sold real estate, parted with church properties in Jerusalem, and disposed of money raised, he says.

These are, of course, exactly the same accusations which Theophilos’s supporters have made against his predecessor, Irineos (Irineos in turn has blamed his treasurer, who reportedly fled to South America). I blogged on the saga most recently here.

…Patriarch Theophilos says that the paper’s response to his complaint about the story on March 31 last year has been characterised by evasion and delay, and that solicitors did not reply until six weeks later.

The publishers added insult to injury by relying on a defence of common law qualified privilege, on the spurious basis that the article fairly represented the claims of competing camps, according to a High Court writ.

…The writ was issued by solicitors Carter-Ruck.

Carter-Ruck is the best-known – or most notorious – law firm in the UK to specialise in libel cases, and it is often the preferred port of call for the rich and powerful; recent cases are listed here. The satirical news magazine Private Eye, which has been sued on various occasions in years gone by, invariably describes it as “Carter-Fuck”.

In 2002 HH Saudi Research and Marketing (UK) won a libel case which established a “reportage” defence in libel cases. As discussed here:

Al-Fagih v HH Saudi Research and Marketing (UK)

In this important decision, the Court of Appeal clarified the scope of the qualified privilege defence when reporting on political controversies. Mr Al-Fagih brought libel proceedings against the defendant newspaper, which is part owned by the Saudi Arabian royal family and which is generally supportive of the Saudi Arabian government. The newspaper had published an article alleging that a political colleague of Al-Fagih’s had told it that Al-Fagih had spread malicious rumours about him and had accused his mother of procuring women for sexual intercourse.

…Before the Court of Appeal, the newspaper argued that the disinterested reporting of a political dispute should more readily attract qualified privilege than an article in which the newspaper made allegations of its own. A majority of the Court, allowing the appeal, noted that although verification of a third party’s allegations would usually be necessary if a defence of qualified privilege is to succeed, circumstances can arise where the public is entitled to be informed of a political dispute which is being fairly reported even though verification had not been sought.

That ruling provided a precedent which was successfully used by Searchlight magazine in case brought by the BNP.

Boykin and Ex-CIA Director Address Apocalyptic Christian Zionists

April 10 saw yet another US Christian Zionist conference in Jerusalem: “Epicenter 08“, hosted by Christian author Joel C. Rosenberg (whom I blogged on in the very early days of this blog, here and here). The conference was organised in conjunction with the neo-Pentecostal Calvary Chapel, and Calvary’s leader Chuck Smith was one of the speakers. Smith, like Hal Lindsey, has published numerous books on the “Last Days”, including one which predicted the Rapture would occur by the end of 1981. Rosenberg scored rather better in 2001 with a tale of Islamic terrorists hijacking a plane and crashing it into an American city, with the result that enthusiasts have dubbed him to be a “modern Nostradamus”.

The conference – which can be viewed on an official website – came in the wake of a Rosenberg book and DVD also entitled Epicenter, and dealt with a familiar theme: the dangers of Islamic radicalism and Iran, and the consequent need to support Israel. Rosenberg was particularly excited by links between Russia, Iran, and Sudan, which he believes presages an alliance against Israel as predicted by Ezekiel – however, he also cautioned that we can’t know for sure that this is how things will unfold, and God may “kick the prophetic can” up the road by a few decades.

Among those addressing the conference was ex-CIA director Porter Goss, who did not appear in person but provided a recorded interview. Rosenberg claimed that Goss had found the book Epicenter to be “fascinating”, and this was how they came to meet. Goss’s interview dealt with obvious subjects: chaos in Pakistan might lead to the wrong people getting their hands on nuclear bombs; Iran might use a surrogate to deliver a dirty bomb in Israel or the USA (although this was “less likely than it used to be”); there are signs of paranoia in Russia; Iraq “has to come out right”. Rosenberg followed up with a call for his audience to make sense of this “though the lens of scripture”, although Goss himself offered no Biblical ruminations.

Retired Lt-General William Boykin (speaking in a personal capacity) sang from the same songsheet, announcing that although what he was about to say was influenced by his study of “Top Secret information”, his talk would present information from unclassified sources only. These included Armageddon, Oil, and Terror, an apocalyptic paperback written by John Walvoord in the 1970s and revised for the second time last year by Mark Hitchcock (strangely, books in this genre tend to require numerous revisions as the years go by. I blogged on this one here), and Infiltration by Paul Sperry. He also took the opportunity to plug his own book, Never Surrender. In fact, the talk went no further than to rehash familiar talking-points from websites like FrontPage or WorldNetDaily.

Boykin was keen to stress that not all Muslims hate the west and want to kill infidels, and that that this was not a war between Christianity and Islam. He also noted, citing Bernard Lewis, that suicide was forbidden in Islam and that radicals had turned around a 1,400 year old Islamic doctrine to justify their actions. However, he also claimed that the “Islamic armies never stopped”, and that today we are seeing a new strategy of advance: “Jihadists” wanted to destroy the Western democracies because they are “inconsistent with Shariah law”, and that the West was hampered because of “complacent and permissive” elements. It was probably only “a matter of time” before Islam “dominates Europe”, and Europe’s failure to support Israel is because it has “all but forgotten” the Holocaust. Further, “recruitment to Islam is rampant” in the USA, particularly in prisons, and money from Gulf States means that universities now teach “political Islamic propaganda” which encourages “young people to tolerate the intolerable”. As for Goss, Iran in particular represents an urgent danger – Ahmadinejad “seeks to bring apocalypse upon the world” as a religious duty. Boykin concluded with a bit of spiritual warfare:

Here’s the way I want to show up at the gates of heaven. I want to come skidding in there on all fours. I want to be slipping and sliding and I want to hit the gates of heaven with a bang. And when I stand up, when I stand before Christ, I want there to be blood on my knees, and my elbows. I want to be covered with mud. And I want to be standing there with a ragged breastplate of righteousness, and a spear in my hand. And I want to say, “look at me, Jesus, I’ve been in the battles, I’ve been fighting for you.” Ladies and gentlemen, put your armour on, and get in the battle. God bless you.

Other speakers included Likud MK Gideon Saar, who railed against “this Oslo crap”, and David Ortiz, an Israeli pastor who lives in the West Bank settlement of Ariel. Ortiz’s young son was recently seriously injured by a parcel bomb, and as Ortiz gave his account he was visibly distressed. Although it is not yet known who sent the bomb, anti-missionary Israelis are stronger suspects than militant Palestinians.

Rosenberg and the other speakers stressed that the dangers of Islamic radicalism needed to be taken very seriously and confronted urgently. Apparently the best way to do this is to suggest that recent developments may be a prelude to the Biblical apocalypse, and to offer a one-note analysis of why extremist Islamic ideology has emerged and is growing.

BNP After Jewish Votes

From The Guardian on Thursday:

The far right British National party is trying to shed its antisemitic past as part of a drive to pick up votes among London’s Jewish community. The party, which could get its first seat on the London assembly if voter turnout is low next month, is campaigning in Jewish areas across the capital and attempting to play on what it sees as historical enmity between the Jewish and Muslim communities.

Jewish groups, however, are not having it:

Ruth Smeed, of the Board of Deputies, said: “The BNP website is now one of the most Zionist on the web – it goes further than any of the mainstream parties in its support of Israel and at the same time demonises Islam and the Muslim world. They are actively campaigning in Jewish communities, particularly in London, making a lot of their one Jewish councillor, their support of Israel and attacking Muslims. It is a poisonous campaign but it shows a growing electoral sophistication.”

This should not be a surprising development, although it is of course utterly transparent. The one quote from Nick Griffin which sums up the whole strategy – and which reveals Griffin’s true feelings towards Jews – appeared in 2006 in a report for The Forward concerning an American Renaissance conference:

Nick Griffin has been credited with trying to root out antisemitism from the British National Party, which he leads. But in answer to a question at the recent conference, he said: “The proper enemy to any political movement isn’t necessarily the most evil and the worst. The proper enemy is the one we can most easily defeat.”

By swapping open anti-Semitism for Muslim-baiting, the BNP has managed appear more attractive to some – it has also enjoyed some PR assistance from the “libertarian” right. However, some new recruits eventually realise what they’ve got themselves mixed up with.

UPDATE: For some bizarre reason, David Irving’s website has linked to this story. Those who require more information about Irving should go here, Irving himself and his minions should get lost.

Ben Stein Tells of “Extremely Hurtful” Attacks

“One of the great benefits of being a Jew is that you’re used to being attacked”

Evangelical website ASSIST Ministries carries an interview between Dan Wooding and Ben Stein, maker of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a documentary which alleges that scientific evidence favouring Intelligent Design is being suppressed by evolutionary biologists (“Darwinists”) and other scientists, who are ruining the careers of dissenters and questioners. The film also suggests that Charles Darwin bears responsibility for the Holocaust.

Wooding, a former UK tabloid hack now based in California, was surprised to find the Jewish Stein championing the cause of ID:

Stein said, “Well, first of all, Evangelicals are not the only ones who believe in Intelligent Design. Anyone who believes that there was a God who created the heavens and the earth and created life believes in Intelligent Design. God is the most intelligent being there ever was; He’s the ultimate in intelligence. So I’d say the great majority of people who believe in religion believe in Intelligent Design.

This is an attempt to conflate religious belief with scientific method. It is one thing to believe that God created and mystically directs the universe, but quite another to propose that this is a scientific theory which can be directly inferred from the existence of flagellum on certain bacteria and the like. Scientists who have seen the film (or in one case, attempted to attend a preview only to be “Expelled” from the cinema) have offered in-depth critiques of the its argument; this site has numerous links.

Despite his vicious attacks on the personal integrity of evolutionary biologists (some of whom were interviewed for the film under false pretences), Stein complains that some people are now saying nasty things about him:

“Well, I’ll put it this way, Dan, I’ve had a lot but nothing compared to what I’m going to get,” said Stein. “It’s going to get worse and worse. Some of the attacks have been extremely hurtful to me. Nevertheless one of the great benefits of having worked for Richard Nixon was that I’m used to being attacked. I’ve been being attacked all my life. One of the great benefits of being a Jew is that you’re used to being attacked…

…and therefore any attacks on Stein must be invalid, and perhaps based on anti-Semitism? How else are we supposed to read this?

Stein also tells us that his Nixon days are used against him:

“I was a speech writer for Mr. Nixon and for Mr. Ford and I also did some legal work for Mr. Nixon. I can say that the parts of his defense in Watergate that I wrote were the only parts that flew and the only parts that the Watergate investigating committee said, ‘Ok, we think you’re clean on this.’”

He added, ” would say that this movie is the most controversial thing I’ve ever done aside from working for Nixon. And I’d say that working for Nixon was really, really, controversial. I must say at the time that I didn’t realize how controversial it was going to be. But it has sort of followed me all of my life and even now people who are mean-spirited nasty people invariably bring it up in a negative way. However, people who are open-minded will bring it up in a more positive way…

So, it’s OK to try to incite hatred against scientists today because of the Nazi appropriation of some discredited pseudo-scientific ideas, but only a “mean-spirited” and “nasty” person would suggest that Stein’s support for Nixon shows poor judgement.

This whining, of course, is a familiar rhetorical strategy: Stein can dish it out, but when he has to take it he becomes a victim of unfair abuse – and what’s more, this is a pattern in his life because he’s Jewish. In the same way, explanations of the shortcomings of ID are in fact attempts to “silence” proponents of the theory, just as a poor review of the movie is an attempt to “stop” it (as I blogged here, this was alleged by Christian film critic Ted Baehr).

Rick Warren: “You Don’t Overcome Evil by Protesting, Marching or Demonstrating”

In 2005, Pastor Rick Warren announced that Rwanda would become the world’s first “Purpose Driven Nation”, following the principles of his book The Purpose Driven Life and his “P.E.A.C.E.” plan for Africa. Originally, “P.E.A.C.E.” stood for “Plant churches, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick and Educate the next generation”, although the “P” has now become “Promote reconciliation”.

His latest tour of East Africa – during which he spoke against gay rights in Uganda – has concluded with high-profile meetings in Kenya, and a message of opposition to political protest. A news release from A. Larry Ross Communications reports:

“We must never let politics or anything else divide us,” Dr. Warren challenged. “Our message is, ‘Overcome evil with good.’ You don’t overcome evil by protesting, marching or demonstrating.”

Of course the context here is the recent violence in Kenya, and doubtless Warren believes that God’s will and prayer are ultimately what bring about change, but this appears to be a blanket dismissal of political protest. Warren continues:

“God is softening the hearts of people across this country; don’t miss this opportunity by focusing on politics,” Dr. Warren explained. “There is only one thing that will unite this nation, and it is not politics – it is the Church, your church.”

Kenya’s political leaders agree:

During a subsequent meeting at the Statehouse with Mr. Kenneth Marende, speaker of the house of parliament, Dr. Warren outlined biblical principles of leadership and how they apply to Kenya’s current crisis. Mr. Marende asked Dr. Warren to return for a day of training on that curriculum for all Parliamentarians on his next visit to Nairobi.

Kenyan church leaders are reportedly committed to making Kenya the third “Purpose Driven Nation”, following Rwanda and Uganda.

An earlier report gives the view from Rwanda:

“This week we are launching a biblical way of living in Rwanda – we call it, ‘The Purpose Driven Life,'” Dr. Warren said to nearly 20,000 gathered in the hot African sun. “What matters in life is your relationship to God and His purpose for you. The first 500 churches will start this weekend. When they finish, they will train others – your church – and then your church will help even more churches.”

There was a graduation ceremony for 200 Rwandan pastors who had been through the “three-year Purpose Driven and P.E.A.C.E. training program”:

“What is unique about this initiative is that the P.E.A.C.E. plan combines the talent and energy from three sectors of society – public, private and faith,” President Kagame continued, affirming Saddleback Church’s Western Rwanda HIV/AIDS Healthcare Initiative Project that is reinventing healthcare management and distribution by using churches as clinics. “This model can be replicated in other parts of our country. More importantly, more Rwandans of faith need to adopt this mindset.”

It seems to me it would be wrong to dismiss Warren’s efforts; clearly he and his church are providing much-needed services, and his approach to Africa is rather more sophisticated than that of some other foreign evangelists, who jet in to preside over “miracle crusade” mass rallies, perform a few dubious “healings”, and then fly out again. His emphasis on good management – borrowed largely from Peter Drucker – is also an appropriate response to some of the underlying problems in Africa. However, there is also cause for concern: Warren’s anti-gay comments in Uganda will exacerbate bigoted attitudes there, and there does not seem to be any critical distance from the political leaders he deals with – particularly troublesome given the increasing authoritarian ruling-style of President Museveni of Uganda.

His actual analysis of the situations in the countries he visits is sometimes also cringingly platitudinous; here he is in Kenya:

“God’s purpose for this nation is greater than the pain you are going through now,” Dr. Warren told Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka. “From the outside it looks like pain, but from God’s perspective, it looks like labor before new birth. Don’t look at what you’ve lost; look at what is left. Kenya is still a vibrant nation, and out of this will come new life for the country and its people.”

If the situation in Kenya deteriorates, this is going to look fatuous in the extreme. A report from Rwanda concerning Warren’s wife, meanwhile, has the smug headline: “Kay Warren Challenges Rwandan Women about Reconciliation and Forgiveness”:

“These are days of mourning and reflection, but also days of hope and healing,” Mrs. Warren said. “Rwanda is becoming known – not just for genocide, but for what you are teaching the world about reconciliation. But true reconciliation is not possible without forgiveness.”

Mrs. Warren used the New Testament passage found in Matthew 18 about the unforgiving servant, emphasizing that we are forgiven, so that we can forgive. “I believe in this story that Jesus is calling us to forgiveness, saying, ‘It is time to let it go,'” she said.

This contrasts with South Africa, where “truth” was seen as just as important as “forgiveness” to reconciliation, rather than just “letting it go”. However, it’s a message that’s likely to appeal to President Paul Kagame, who is facing scrutiny over his possible role in the 1994 shooting-down of President Juvenal Habyarimana’s areoplane, which ignited the massacres.

The Orange County Register, which has followed Warren closely, addressed some of these concerns in January last year; it noted that human-rights workers believe that “Warren and his teams of PEACE missionaries may be unwittingly playing politics.”

Colin Dye Distances Himself from Michael Reid

From Before I Forget, the blog of Simon Jones:

When the CCTV, headed by ‘Bishop’ Reid, put out their infamous “Gay aim” billboard earlier this year, I checked their website to see who else was in a position of influence within the organisation. Kensington Temple’s, Pastor Colin Dye, was named as ‘co-founder’ of the group so I decided to email the Revd Dye and ask him if perhaps it would be wise to reign in the Bishop who was clearly prone to unpleasant and unnecessarily confrontational outbursts. (You can read that email in the comments here.)

I looked at the Reid scandal yesterday. Colin Dye is a well-known Charismatic Christian leader in London:

His first response seemed somewhat defensive. However, in a telephone conversation with me this afternoon, Revd Colin Dye was keen to put as much distance between himself and the ‘Bishop’ as possible.

“I’d not heard or participated in the CCTV for quite some time, knew nothing about this poster, and the point is that he [Michael Reid] wouldn’t necessarily go and involve people in the committee meeting and say this is what we want to do and have you got any ideas. He would just sort of act independently on that.” Claimed Pastor Dye.

“I haven’t had a conversation with him in ages, and I had no idea he was putting posters out in the name of CCTV.” He continued.

Dye went on to tell me that he himself resigned from the CCTV this morning on learning the news of Reid’s affair.

Michael Reid: Peniel Ex-Members Speak Out

The Reachout Trust is a British Evangelical Christian organisation that seeks to oppose religious movements which it considers to be harmful or “false”. It hosts a number of discussion forums, including one devoted to Bishop Michael Reid (see yesterday). There various members and ex-members of his church have been having their say over the past few days, many complaining that the church mistreated them. However, as insiders and ex-insiders they have some extra details and allegations that are of interest. Here are extracts from the most striking posts:

It has emerged that allegedly Michael Reid has committed adultery and under pressure admitted this. Well, as an ex-member of peniel there is no surprise there! I have been 99% convinced that it had been going on for some time and the only surprise is that it has taken this long to come out. – Priscilla

If this is all correct it is very good news that Michael Reid’s cruel regime is drawing to an end. The great hypocrisy here is how harshly he has dealt with those who have committed similar misdemeanours in recent years. I know of some members who have been belittled and slandered from Reid’s pulpit because of extra marital relationships. – Nigel Davies

When Jimmy Swaggart resigned from his ministry after serious failings, I remember Michael Reid boasting that it could never happen to him. “It’s impossible” he proclaimed from the pulpit. Michael Reid felt that he was above such sin because he had God’s faith and faith that worked miracles. Miracles, healing, faith. You have no doubt heard and seen the claims. – John

Michael Reid has been involved in an EIGHT Year affair with a woman in the church. It was NOT Michael Reid who came forward with the information but the woman, who said she could not take the guilt any longer. How long would this man have continued with the lie…? –  sam cleminson

I left Peniel with nothing, no home of my own (I had lost mine), no savings, I had remained in debt while giving as much as I could, first to buy Reid’s home debt free – Testimony House – and then Brizes Park. It’s a delusion to claim Peniel was built ‘debt free’ – it was the church members who were laden with debt. I was given flawed financial advice by Reid’s financial advisors, and felt compelled to do business with them, believing it would benefit the church. My finances were wrecked. I felt guilty spending time on personal projects instead of spending my spare time working in the church etc. I felt guilty about doing anything for myself pretty much most of the time. – Jacob

There are also other allegations (nothing to do with sex). Reid has reportedly now made a quick exit to the USA.

Bishop Michael Reid Resigns over Sex Scandal

Headed “Christian Congress for Traditional Values”

From Premier:

A well known Pentecostal church leader has resigned after admitting he’s had an affair.

Bishop Michael Reid was the head of Peniel Church and school in Essex.

…In a statement Bishop Reid said:

“It is with great sorrow and regret that I have resigned from the church board and have stepped down from official duties. I confess that I have sinned by committing adultery. I recognize that I have failed in my duties and acted in a way that harmed the Church. I take full responsibility for my actions and so I resigned. I apologize to my wife and family and all of you whose trust I have betrayed and ask for your forgiveness and prayers.”

The websites of Michael Reid Ministries and of his Christian Congress for Traditional Values are both currently down, replaced by a brief contacts page.

Outside Northern Ireland, British evangelicalism tends to be politically centrist and wary of authoritarian leaders. However, Michael Reid and his Peniel Church in Brentwood, Essex, are an exception. Reid – a former policeman – is more like a US “Christian Right” figure, and for the past few years he has campaigned for “traditional morality”, arguing with figures such as gay-rights activist Peter Thatchell and protesting against Jerry Springer: The Opera. One 2000 Guardian report has further details:

…gays are “filthy perverts”; Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists are variously described in videoed sermons as “vile” and “foul heathens”. Christians who do not work, Reid said in one recording, should be allowed to starve. He believes in capital punishment, and he would pull the trigger himself; lethal injection is too good for them, he says in one church video.

Reid has also been controversial for other reasons: ex-members of his church have complained of authoritarianism (although be careful: he’s been known to sue over the “cult” label), and in the 1990s his church tried to derail a critical Channel 4 documentary through a bizarre scheme which involved hiring an actor to approach the documentary-makers with the story that he (the actor) was an intelligence agent and that the programme should not be made for reasons of national security (I blogged on this here). A few years after that, there was further bad publicity when members of the church were accused of joining the local Conservative Party en masse in order to back the local MP, Eric Pickles, against rivals in the party (Pickles is a former Tory centrist “wet” who moved to the right during the 1980s).

Thanks to Google Books, we’re able to see these pictures from Reid’s book Faith: It’s God Given (2002):

Interesting friends, and Reid’s admission is another blow to the International Communion of Charismatic Churches; former presiding Bishop Earl Paulk was last year engulfed in numerous sex scandals, including allegations of sexual abuse. Richard Roberts, meanwhile, was recently forced to resign from the presidency of Oral Roberts University over claims of financial mismanagement. Reid himself has long-standing links with Oral Roberts and ORU.

UPDATE: MediaWatchWatch recalls the work of the CCTV:

The CCTV has been providing us here at MWW with pleasingly whacky Christian fodder since its inception in March 2005. But they really showed their hateful side with their Gay Aim: Abolish the Family campaign which included posters and a video.

UPDATE 2: Ex-members speak out here.

UPDATE 3: Charismatice leader Colin Dye distances himself from Reid.

(Thank you to Michael Reid Miseries for the tip-off, and to MediaWatchWatch for the top picture)

Double Whammy

Two new books by journalists explore aspects of religion and power in the USA:

Websites here and here.

Also, an NBC report about The Family can be seen here, while a short documentary by John Gorenfeld can be seen here.