A Neo Nazi couple was arrested in Los Angeles for stockpiling bomb-making materials reports KABC in LA.

John Frederick Steele, 29, leader of the “Brandenburg Division” of the Aryan Nations and his girlfriend Christine Greenwood, 28 had “BBs, nails and razor blades” apparently intended to be used as “shrapnel.”

Steele is a security guard for the Port of Los Angeles.

But the seizure took place two years ago. Authorities were somehow reluctant to take immediate action, despite Steele’s sensitive security position and the potential risk to public safety.

A Deputy District Attorney in LA said, “Given the concern with both international and domestic terrorism on that front, (and) with the potential for incoming weapons, we felt that that might be a security breach.”

It took him two years to figure that out?

Domestic terrorism is still a grave concern in the US. Many experts still believe the anthrax terrorist may have been an American and not a foreign national.

It is important to remember that until the destruction of the World Trade Center, it was American Timothy McVeigh, who held the record for the most horrific act of terrorism in the United States.

There is still a plethora of potentially dangerous hate groups and extremists that pose potential threats to public safety in America.

It is unsettling to think that an alleged Neo Nazi terrorist known to have possessed lethal weapons was let loose and allowed to provide “security” at a major US port of entry.

Perhaps the new federal department of Homeland Security needs to educate law enforcement in Los Angeles?

According to some parents Harry Potter the boy wizard, encourages children to journey onto a dark path that may lead them to hell.

The Monterey Herald reports that “Harry Potter books have been banned in many school libraries across the county, as some parents have denounced the book’s content as being too similar to Satanism.”

But happily, thus far it appears that children have been able to resist the devil and merely be entertained by the Potter franchise of books and films.

There is no mention of Satan within the Potter films and the author of the books has repeatedly denied such allegations. However, some parents apparently have a more active imagination than their kids do.

Once upon a time Ozzy Osbourne was the target of such witch-hunts and accusations. Now that supposed sinister Satanic influence is an “amiable…patriarch” with his own TV show, reports the Oregonian.

The times may have changed, but for some folks conspiracy theories about Satanism seem to be a permanent state of mind, which makes you wonder whose really “possessed” after all.

Yehuda Bauer, a professor emeritus of Hebrew University wrote a piercing analysis of the current wave of violent Islamic fundamentalists, which was run within the Jerusalem Post.

First, Bauer observes that “Islam is not a murderous religion, and Muslims are no different from Christians, Jews, Buddhists, or Confucians.” That is, though obviously there are theological differences between these religions, there is no reason to conclude that Islam is especially predisposed to become violent.

He then acknowledges that “There are…’fundamentalist’…trends in all religions. They tend to be exclusionary…fanatic in their beliefs, and try to convert everyone else…They believe in the literal interpretation and absolute truth of every word of their sacred texts.”

Interestingly, Bauer finds that radical totalitarian Islamists seem to have more in common with destructive largely anti-religious mass movements such as the Third Reich of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Communism, as opposed to more mainstream and moderate religion.

Like the Nazis and Stalinists such radical Islamists seeks to control everything and utilize scapegoats to manipulate those who follow them. They also have an absolute worldview that does not tolerate an outside frame of reference.

Bauer says that the ultimate goal of radical, totalitarian Islamists “is to conquer the world and make it Islamic,” and that ironically an important “step toward that goal is the toppling of the existing Arab national regimes.” They see such regimes as essentially shamefully willing to compromise and sinfully open to outside input.

Ultimately their vision of the world is one “ruled by Islamic religious experts,” Bauer concludes.

Like destructive cults such radicals have a rigid mindset and are frequently controlled and/or influenced by charismatic totalitarian leaders, such as Khomeni of Iran and most recently Osama bin Laden.

What Bauer exposes is that the current wave of violence promulgated by this radical and violent mass movement within Islam has no easy resolution. And it will not end through some Middle East peace accord. Even the complete destruction of Israel would not satisfy these extremists, nor is this the real nexus of their agenda.

Bauer likewise tacitly acknowledges not so hidden agenda of extremists within Israel who “under various guises” want some version of “ethnic cleansing,” which they often rationalize through religious proof -texting.

Historically, Europe eventually learned that there was no way to deal with Hitler and that appeasement was not the answer. It should also be noted that the leaders of destructive mass movements, like many cult leaders, are frequently psychopaths and not rational.

Osama bin Laden, like Hitler and other radical totalitarian types, wants nothing less than the triumph of his brand of totalism and world domination. There is no room in his worldview for meaningful diolog and/or genuine negotiation. Eeither you are with him or against him. This includes Moslems, Jews Christians or anyone else who disagrees with what he calls “Islam.”

Yusuf Bey 66, a prominent leader within Louis Farrakhan’s “Nation of Islam” pleaded innocent last month regarding charges of child molesting, despite damning DNA evidence.

Now Bey has been booked on 27 more sex charges after three more women came forward, reports the Oakland Tribune.

Bey is being held in jail pending $1 million dollars bail.

Louis Farrakhan the fiery and charismatic leader who has warned the US against the moral consequences of a war with Iraq seems to have his own moral dilemma. It is unclear what he will do about Bey.

Another man with ties to the Nation of Islam is the Washington D.C. sniper, which was more bad news for the Muslim leader.

Certainly, Minister Farrkhan cannot be held personally responsible for the actions of every follower. And the Nation of Islam does not encourage or condone such criminal acts.

Oakland community leaders are in shock regarding the revelations about Bey, reports the Oakland Tribune.

It may be time for the originator of the “Million Man March” to march over to Oakland and confront the moral outrage there.

Guess what fanatics from Islam and some Jewish extremists have in common? They both hate Israel.

A fringe group of ultra-Orthodox Chasidic Jews called the “Neturei Karta” or “the Guardians of the City” consider the Jewish state an “abomination,” reports the Guardian of London.

Historically, some ultra-Orthodox Jews initially opposed the establishment of Israel on the grounds that it essentially undercut or pre-empted the “messianic” redemption they expected. Their position was to wait for the messiah, rather than be Zionists and work through the UN.

The Islamic Wahibi sect of Saudi Arabia would likely agree with such radical Jewish thinking. They too consider Israel an “abomination.” And support for violent radicals amongst Saudi Wahibists, unlike the “Neturei Karta,” appears to go all the way to the top, reports the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC).

So is there any chance that these different groups of religious radicals might sit down and discuss their mutual hatred? Might this be the basis to begin a dialog? After all according to their respective religious traditions aren’t they both descendents of Abraham?

Forget about it.

Saudi Wahibists often describe the “demonic nature of Jews,” like a religious doctrine, reports the DLC.

Eric Hoffer, the author of the seminal book “The True Believer,” points out that there is little difference between the “true believers” or fanatics from one group, as opposed to another. He wrote about their common characteristics, motivation and dynamics.

Ironically, it might be observed metaphorically, that they often seem to share the same “demonic nature.”

In what can easily be seen as a summary of the story of Osama bin Laden Hoffer once said, “Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life.”

Tom Cruise gives $2 million dollars a year to the Church of Scientology, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Australian press continues in its effort to dig up information about Scientology, as they run stories about the apparent conversion of one of their most prominent citizens James Packer to the new religion, which has been called a “cult.”

And why does superstar Tom Cruise think the church is worth the hefty donations that he reportedly gives it?

Cruise says that he appreciates Scientology, which is “an applied religious philosophy that you use in your life to help you … It’s something that helps an individual find out who you are.”

But according to Scientology finding out “who you are” is someone “full of these clusters of souls called ‘body thetans,’” that are the result of an event that originated in outer space 75 million years ago.

This story is typically told to Scientologists when they reach “OT III” (Operating Thetan Level 3), an achievement that often takes many years.

As a reported “OT V” Cruise already knows the story and accepts it essentially as religious revelation and apparently has “applied” it somehow for “use in [his] life.”

Learning this “religious philosophy” also can be extremely expensive. The Herald reports, “It is understood the cost of a course at the Los Angeles center is US $376,000.00.”

Of course this is not much for a superstar like Tom Cruise, who makes millions from one picture. He can probably also easily afford to kick in an extra two million, as something like an annual tithe too.

And James Packer, whose father is the richest man in Australia, should have no problem paying for his enlightenment either.

What is Mr. Packer’s response to recent stories? He says, “No comment whatsoever.”

A paid promotion this month run on I Wire, announced that 21 books by L. Ron Hubbard are set for release in E-book format for February. The books were touted as “world-wide science fiction bestsellers.”

However, some critics have observed that the way Mr. Hubbard’s books apparently become “best sellers” is through religious devotion, rather than any genuine fan base amongst sience fiction buffs.

His market appears to substantially consist of devoted Scientologists that buy his books, almost like an act of faith.

And judging by one title touted for February their faith might well move mountains.

On the list is “Battlefield Earth.” This was the Hubbard book, which was the basis for the box office bomb starring Scientologist John Travolta.

One critic wrote, “A million monkeys with a million crayons would be hard-pressed in a million years to create anything as cretinous as Battlefield Earth.” Another said the script and/or story line was “deeply dumb, depressingly derivative.”

A Hubbard enthusaist quoted by I Wire described the author’s legacy as “a rich storehouse of…fiction.” Perhaps the “rich[est] fiction” the writer ever produced was the religious mythology Scientology is based upon.

L. Ron Hubbard reportedly once observed that inventing a new religion would be a good way to make money. And based upon the quality of his writing this may have been a shrewd career move.

It seems that only a devoted Scientologist is likely to find Hubbard’s books anything but “deeply dumb” and “depressingly derivative.”

Scientology’s latest big celebrity fish is none other than James Packer, executive chairman of PBL and heir to Australia’s “richest fortune,” reports the Sun-Herald.

Packer 35, was apparently recruited during a troubled period in his life. This past summer he and his wife seperated. He then received support and apparently some advice from his new friend Tom Cruise, who it seems introduced his buddy to Scientology.

Cruise may have lost one Australian for Scientology, ex-wife Nicole Kidman, but it looks like he has recruited a richer one. And whatever money the former Mrs. Cruise took with her through the divorce settlement, it would likely only be “chump change” to this wealthy Aussie, who has access to billions.

Scientology seems to be sucking Packer in fast. A Scientologist is now reportedly his “personal assistant” and he was evidently spotted at one of their Australian campuses. Packer has also traveled frequently to Los Angeles in the past year. LA is where the church maintains much of its operations and a “Celebrity Center” that caters to prominent members.

What Packer cannot know until he reaches “Operating Thetan Level 3” is that the whole “religion” is based upon a story originated by sci-fi author L. Ron Hubbard, about alien beings from outer space. And the Aussie heir can only find this out after considerable paying, not just praying.

Hopefully, Packer’s father, the richest man in Australia, will check out this controversial new religion soon. After all, it was once dubbed the “Cult of Greed” by Time Magazine.

Some say that after Scientology hooks you, it’s not so easy to swim away.

A “nun” was brutally murdered in Oregon. However, the Seattle Times reveals that she was not really a Roman Catholic nun at all, but instead the follower of the self-proclaimed “bishop” and reclusive cult leader, Francis Konrad Schuckardt.

Schuckardt was a well-known cult leader during the 1980s. And though he claimed to be a “bishop,” he was never even ordained as a priest and only briefly attended “pre-seminary” before dropping out.

The man known as “Bishop Shuckardt” was once a high school teacher and popular public speaker. He cast himself as an opponent to Vatican II and modern Catholicism. This provided Schuckardt an excuse to invent his own church and gather followers from around Seattle.

But Schuckardt’s church became a destructive cult. And like other cult leaders he ruled over his kingdom like an absolute monarch. However, eventually the “bishop” was publicly exposed as little more than a sexual predator and drug addict.

And though Shuckardt demanded harsh punishment and penance from his followers, when confronted with his own sins he fled. He left the Seattle in 1984 with a group of core followers and $250,000.

Shuckardt sinful life caught up with him three years later when police raided a group refuge in California. Authorities seized a stash of prescription drugs, guns and $75,000 in cash.

It seems that Shuckardt wasn’t really willing to wait and receive his rewards in heaven either. Police found gold coins, silver ingots, German marks, Swiss francs, Canadian dollars, and bank records that reflected accounts the would-be “pope” kept around the world.

The “bishop” managed to squirm out of that situation and apparently continued to lead his cult without much notice for almost twenty years. That is, until the two “nuns” in Oregon who were fund raising for him, were brutally assaulted while praying the rosary. One was ultimately strangled to death.

This tragedy offers sad proof that despite repeated exposures and even arrests, some cult leaders can still manage to go on. And it seems that some cult followers are apparently willing to forgive almost anything, despite denouncing and condemning others.

One of Shuckardt’s devotees offered this apology, “We’ve had popes who have been real scoundrels, and people still recognized them as pope.”

Right.

However, rather than some historical pope from the past Shuckardt’s survival simply proves that many cults my never die out. And that there is almost always a faithful remnant of “true believers” that will soldier on no matter what. Just ask the bad “bishop.”

Jonestown remains an object lesson about the destructive potential of cults. Cult leader Jim Jones led his followers to an isolated camp in Guyana, later murdered a United States congressman and then commanded his people to commit suicide.

In 1978 almost 1,000 people were killed, including more than 200 children.

With the possible exception of the Ugandan group known as the “Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments,” Jonestown is the largest cult suicide in recorded history. The Ugandan group’s death toll may have exceeded Jonestown, but due to forensic problems will never be precisely known.

Now it seems some religious scholars want to soften the image of the tyrannical Jones, who led his followers to tragedy. This is reported within the Sacramento Bee in an article entitled “What was the lure?…religious scholars are re-examining the hold Jim Jones had on his followers.”

One scholar says, “It’s time to take a critical look to see what this religious movement was all about.”

“Religious movement” or “new religious movement” (NRM) is politically correct language for the more common term applied to destructive groups like the Peoples Temple, which is “cult.”

But an academic quoted within the article said, “That’s a term we use to describe religious groups we don’t like…It’s so loaded with negative connotations. If we label something a cult, then we don’t make any effort to understand it.”

However, understanding what Jones was all about is really rather simple. By most accounts he was a psychopath, who exercised harsh dictatorial control over his flock.

Perhaps the single most defining characteristic of a cult is a charismatic personality like Jones who becomes the group’s defining element and a locus for absolute power. Tellingly, the so-called “Peoples Temple,” ultimately became known as “Jonestown.”

One survivor explained Jim Jones this way, “I never liked the look in his eyes. He preached fear. God isn’t about fear. God is about love.”

But an academic quoted within the Sacramento Bee preferred to see Jones as a preacher of “social justice and racial equality [who] promised…[life] would get better.”

Maybe so, but Jones like many other cult leaders lied. Instead of providing a better more enlightened life, he led his followers to murder and suicide.

Sadly, some religious scholars today have become little more than “cult apologists.” And rather than listening closely to the first-hand accounts of former members, they frequently prefer to dismiss them as disgruntled “apostates.”

It seems that some academics would like to somehow alter the image of Jonestown. But history has etched this event so clearly it unlikely that the efforts of any revisionists, no matter how “scholarly,” can change its real significance.

One survivor told the Sacramento Bee, “I think it’s important for people to know what happened there.” And certainly what is “important” is the lesson learned about dangers posed by destructive cults, and not some supposed understanding of a “new religious movement’s” theology.