A group of anti-government extremists and self-proclaimed “Redemtionists” espoused a philosophy they called “redemption-in-law.” This basically meant paying your debts with bad checks and/or phony paperwork, though I am sure they had some other more “philosophical” explanation.

Recently a group of “Redemtionists” passed millions of dollars in bad paper all over Ohio, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. But the group’s scheme broke down at a Cadillac dealership, when members tried to buy new luxury cars with bad bank drafts.

It seems though “Redemtionists” may have preached against the establishment, they longed for one of its most enduring status symbols, a shiny new Cadillac. But that desire was their undoing. Ultimately 17 members were indicted for racketeering.

The motto of the Cadillac dealer must have been, “In God we trust, ‘Redemtionists’ pay cash.”

A band called the “Jive Aces” sponsored an “anti-drug” event in Scotland, reported John Rutter of the Evening News in Scotland. But despite the fact that the band has promoted Scientology all over Europe and its “Say No to Drugs” campaign, they claimed that Scientology will not be promoted through their festival.

Scientology spokesman Graeme Wilson stated, “Any material we give out is for drugs education. None of the information we will be giving out will have any message about Scientology.” But this is often simply “Scientology Speak” for promoting Narconon, which is an essentially Scientology controlled drug treatment program.

Self-professed former “drug addict” and actress Kirstie Alley, a long-time Scientologist, credits Scientology for curing her drug habit. She is a strong supporter of Narconon, but now seems hopelessly hooked on Scientology.

Perhaps the band in Scotland not only plays “jive,” but talks it too.

The “death cult” Aum of Japan, notorious for gassing Tokyo’s subways, is now selling pats on the head. That’s right, for only $12,500 dollars or about 1.5 million Japanese yen, you can receive “sacred energy” by getting a little tap on the top of your head from Aum’s new leader Fumihiro Joyu, according to Mainichi Shimbun.

Apparently Aum needs the cash. The group once sold its former leader Shoko Asahara’s bath water. But Asahara either isn’t taking any baths in prison, or the authorities aren’t letting his used water leak out. So the cult that supposedly went broke in 1995, is now promoting the so-called “Shakty Pat” to raise funds.

Alleged child molester and “cult member” Kathy Johnson will not be released from jail pending trial, reported the Macon Telegraph.

Johnson was charged in a 116 count criminal indictment along with cult leader Malachi York, who is likewise now behind bars. Charges were also filed against Ms. Johnson by the federal government for the illegal transportation of minors.

Malachi York has been sued for $1 billion dollars by the parent of a purported victim.

Some of the children allegedly victimized by Johnson and York have tested positive for sexually transmitted diseases.

A prison inmate, who says he is a “Wiccan,” is suing the Wisconsin Department of Corrections because authorities did not let him wear a necklace, reported Associated Press. The AP reporter compared his neck ware to a “Catholic Rosary.”

However, prisoners are notorious for “running games.” That is, using whatever means possible to obtain special treatment and/or harass their jailers. Frivolous lawsuits filed by inmates are frequently little more than a tool used to play such games out.

A prisoner’s claim that a “religious right” is somehow being violated is a common ploy often used to obtain special diets or other privlidges. Supposed “Sikh” inmates (actually associated with the “cult group” 3HO) have used this strategy to grow long hair, or receive special diets. Another recent controversy involved alleged “Jewish” prisoners who want Kosher food.

Now it seems “New Age” religions may become yet another device used by some inmates in an attempt to play prison officials. The problem is differentiating between the convict who is a true believer, and the simple con.

The founder of Scientology L. Ron Hubbard liked uniforms and bragged about his military service record, Scientologists called him the “Commodore.” Many of Scientology’s full-time workers are assigned to its “Sea Organization” and they often wear blue uniforms.

Now Scientology has bought new uniforms for some Florida firemen, as reported by the St. Petersburg Times. Scientology has been quite active with firefighters since September 11th and received a certain amount of attention and publicity for that involvement.

So for the first time since Scientology moved into Clearwater, Florida in 1975, they donated money to the city. Scientologists gave $3,300 to make sure the city’s fire department “honor guard” looks good.

The “Commodore,” though now deceased, probably would have approved; he liked brass buttons and navy blue too. And the donation offered yet another photo opportunity for Scientologists, when they posed for pictures presenting the firemen with a big check.

Shortly after Scientology moved into Clearwater it began buying up downtown, which at first caused controversy. Some say they have increasingly come to dominate the community and that their influence expands annually.

A supposed “psychic” being sued by her former patrons for fraud has now been arrested for shoplifting.

According to the Palm Beach Post Linda Marks was picked up with a shopping cart full of unpaid for groceries outside a local supermarket. Ms. Marks claimed she was just “looking for an ATM.”

Oops. Linda’s “psychic” abilities don’t appear to include foreseeing personal situations.

According to the Lancanshire press, despite a serious complaint against an elder of “Jehovah’s Witnesses” regarding the sexual abuse of a child, he was later reinstated by that organization anyway.

However, the courts were not as lenient with the pedophile as his religious leaders. He plead guilty and was sentenced to a prison term. The former Witness elder and pioneer will be registered as a sex offender upon his release.

Jehovah’s Witnesses have an apparent habit of covering up sexual abuse within their congregations. And when members speak up, it seems they may more likely be shown the door than a sexual predator.

Once the United States was a playground for purported “cult leader” Amdi Peterson. But now he’s traded in his multi-million dollar digs for more modest accommodations in a LA jail. Peterson is being held on criminal charges filed by his native Denmark pending extradition.

Amdi Peterson hired O.J. Simpson’s former lawyer Robert Shapiro to represent him. But despite the lawyer’s help he will soon be on his way home to face criminal charges according to the Associated Press.

Mr. Peterson once lived a lavish lifestyle in a $6 million dollar penthouse on exclusive Fisher Island in Florida. But while he took in the sun and walked his dogs on the beach, the members of his charity organization called “Tvind” often-struggled in substandard living conditions.

Tvind was supposedly established to help the needy in Third World countries. But it seems now that it became little more than Peterson’s personal piggy bank. While many workers for the charity humbled themselves and surrendered their assets for the cause, Peterson spent more than $600,000 just decorating his bachelor pad. Tvind also shelled out $21,000 per month to maintain his country club Florida lifestyle.

However, now it doesn’t look like playboy Peterson will stroll along the beach again anytime soon.

The Mormon Church (LDS) wants to buy property in Pennsylvania, which they claim is where church founder Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon. A spokesperson for the church said this site might eventually be included in a “Mormon Heritage Tour,” reports the Salt Lake City Tribune.

Other locations the LDS Church has focused upon in recent years include Smith’s hometown of Palmyra, New York, Kirtland, Ohio where he built his first temple and Nauvoo, Illinois, which was a Mormon city ruled over by Smith until his death.

The LDS has poured considerable cash into such ventures and in Nauvoo this has generated some controversy. It seems that LDS Inc., ever pragmatic and business-like, has come up with a string of tourist destinations it can promote to the faithful.

Mormon families may now pack up the kids and tour “Mormon World” for their vacation, instead of going to Disneyland or some other secular site. This might ultimately create a significant stream of additional income for the church besides its expected regular tithes.