Subject: AAFWD: Theistwatch for 2/22 (THEISTWATCH is sponsored by American Atheists, a nat

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From: Subject: AAFWD: Theistwatch for 2/22 (THEISTWATCH is sponsored by American Atheists, a nationwide movement founded by Madalyn Murray O'Hair for the advancement of Atheism, and the total, absolute separation of government and religion. It is distributed to members and supporters on the AAFWD list; our thanks to Rich Daniels for operating this list. Edited and written by Conrad F. Goeringer.) ******** ON THE BUCHANAN FRONT... The pundits are still trying to make sense of Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, which saw religious conservative Pat Buchanan jump out in front of the GOP nomination race. In related news: ....The media is picking up on some classic "Buchananisms" such as. They include: --calling AIDS "God's awful retribution." -- suggesting that women are "not endowed by nature" for success in the workplace. -- being "skeptical" about the extent of the Holocaust against Jews in World War II, a classic outpost of right-wing historical revisionism and racism. --"If we had to take a million immigrants in, say Zulus, next year, or Englishmen, and put them in Virginia, which group would be easier to assimilate?" -- "Let the idiot-bankers of Wall Street and their duplicitous Mexican clients bail themselves out." --"Homosexuals do annually parade naked in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral, perform lewd acts on the parade route, disrupt Sunday Masses and valdalize churches. And almost always with the clucking indulgence of the Big Media." ....Pundits are also trying to fit Buchanan into the stereotypical political categories. Yesterday, he joked that he had been called a "socialist", and the Wall Street Journal has been less than joyous over Buchanan's strident economic protectionism. But the danger in Buchanan is his ability to link an otherwise-extreme social agenda with the everyday fears and anxieties which many people have about the economy. Buchanan is surging among worried blue colar types, who have been on the losing end thus far of new international trade agreements and free trade practices. These people have seen job security erode and real wages decline. In their view, Buchanan speaks to them. How much of his social and religious agenda will they buy, however? ************************* THEISTWATCH SHORT SHOTS Medical problems with Saudi King Fahd may be cause for concern in the near future. The desert kingdom was a launching pad for U.S. operations in the area during Desert Storm; it also provides a good chunk of oil supplies for the west. But the conservative House of Saud faces opposition from stern Islamic fundamentalists who want to ally the country with theocracies like Iran. When Fadh dies, there may be transition problems -- or an uprising. *** More on Tuesday's celebration in the White House hosted by First Lady Hillary Clinton to mark the end of the Ramadan season, the Islamic holy festival. Mrs. Clinton said that it was "a historic and overdue occasion...It is only fitting. Just as children and families of other faiths have come here to celebrate some of their holy days, so you, too, are here to mark this important Islamic tradition." Officials from the American Muslim Council were on the scene, along with Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad, the first Islamic chaplain in the U.S. military. *** After taking the culture on a rollercoaster ride through the sleaze park, America's daytime talk shows may be changing their act -- problem is, to what? Word is out that sleaze-meister Geraldo Rivera now feels guilty of his role in dumbing down the country, and wants to elevate the content of his 9th place talk show. Remember, it was Geraldo who popularized the hysterics of "Satan's Underground" and other artifacts of Christian fundy paranoia during the late 1980's, ignoring the protests of critics who question his assertions about devil-worshipping killer cults gone amok. But it was Geraldo's plasticity that really amazed this writer; one day he could have on a gaggle of religious blue-noses talking about pornography and smut, and the following day have a "Chippendale Review" or bikini contest. Oh yeah, there was also stuff like "Men in lace panties and the women who love them", or "death row moms", or "trans-sexuals behind bars." Now, Geraldo has his own "contract with America" (or so he calls it), a possible response to the criticisms of kultur guru Bill Bennet and other media cops. Will the rest of afternoon TV trashland follow suit, and exchange the company of "Drug addict Lesbian Hookers Who Kill" for tamer fare? Who knows. Don't touch that dial! *** Martin Luther as Themepark? Don't laugh. German tourism officials are trying to boost the late renegade theologians stature, whose 450 anniversary (of his death, that is) takes place on Sunday. We're told that during the Communist era, the East German government tried to portray Luther as some kind of proletarian hero; since the wall has come a'tumling down, though, officials in re-united Greater Germany want to capitalize on the fact that Luther built a huge movement which today has some 70 million followers. They won't discuss much about the role Luther's "thought" played in laying a foundation for German racism, of course, and this latest attempt to rehabilitate Martin Luther may not play well in Rome. But then again, those folks have their own religious theme park, the Vatican. *** At the John Salvi trial in Massachusetts (he's the guy charged with spraying deadly lead around two abortion clinics, killing two people and injuring five more), word that the accused murdered was also dispensing theological advice to potential victims. "This is what you get! You should pray the rosary!", Salvi is reported to have shouted as he opened up with his trusty assault rifle. Witnesses have told the court that Salvi's voice was "like a preacher('s)" and "high-pitched." *** THE GOOF BOX A tip 'o the TW hat to Daniel A. Foster who caught some egregious errors on my part yesterday. Buchanan was 4% AHEAD of Lamar Alexander. And 57% of the kids who are murdered each year are killed by their parents, not rampaging gang members. It's not 57% of ALL KIDS, as my column yesterday erroneously stated. *********************************************************************** * * * American Atheists website: * * PO Box 140195 FTP: * * Austin, TX 78714-0195 * * Voice: (512) 458-1244 Dial-THE-ATHEIST: * * FAX: (512) 467-9525 (512) 458-5731 * * * * Atheist Viewpoint TV: * * Info on American Atheists:, * * & American Atheist Press include your name and mailing address * * AANEWS -Free subscription: * * and put "info aanews" in message body * * * * This text may be freely downloaded, reprinted, and/other * * otherwise redistributed, provided appropriate point of * * origin credit is given to American Atheists. * * * ***********************************************************************


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