Date: Fri, 9 Aug 1996 17:17:31 -0700 Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for August 9, 1995 (Nightow

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Date: Fri, 9 Aug 1996 17:17:31 -0700 from: Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for August 9, 1995 (Nightowl Edition) Reply-To:, nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnn AANEWS nnnnnnnnnn #124 uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu 8/9/96 (Nightowl Edition) In This Issue... * Judge Says Taxpayers Shouldn't Pay For Prayer * Coalition Spent $750,000 On "War Room" Effort * Cerullo Trades Air Miles For Donations * Atheist Media Appearance * Erratum * AACHAT * About This List... FEDERAL JUDGE NIXES AID TO CHRISTIAN SCIENCE CULT The Christian Science religion, which teaches that illness results from bad thoughts and requires only spiritual treatment, should not be receiving any government reimbursements through the Medicaid and Medicare programs, a federal judge in Minnesota has ruled. Judge Richard Kyle ruled Wednesday that:" Legislative accommodation of religious beliefs is a valuable and worthy enterprise, but here...the accommodation has gone too far, and too strongly favors the convictions of one particular sect." Christian Science was founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879; the group operates 23 nonprofit nursing and care centers throughout the country that use only prayer to treat medical problems, rather than surgery or medicine. Critics charge that Church doctrines have resulted in life-saving medical care being witheld from children. Christian Science -- known also as First Church of Christ, Scientist -- receives about $7.5 million each year in Medicare and Medicaid subsidies. A spokesman insisted that those monies covered only room and board for patients, and not the services of Christian Science "healers" or "practioners" who just pray over the body. The suit was filed by Robert J. Bruno, an attorney who said: "The Christian Science Church has used these Medicare exemptions as some kind of proof that the Government favors its form of religious healing." He told the New York Times that such a policy was "what the establishment clause (of the First Amendment) is supposed to protect against." Bruno's suit was on behalf of Children's Healthcare Is A Legal Duty, Inc.. The President of the company, Rita Swan, added: "Having taxpayer moneey pay for the methods of the Christian Science church has been very detrimental to the interests of children." Swan is a former church member; in 1977, her 16-month-old son died of meningitis following the prayer-only treament prescribed by Eddy's doctrine and outlined in books like "Science and Health" (1875). Congress specifically included facilities belonging to Christian Science and the methods of its practioners in crafting Medicare and Medicaid law. The ruling is the second legal defeat for the church this year. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a $1.5 million ruling against four Christian Science practioners in the case of an 11-year old Minnesota boy whose diabetes had gone untreated. The church argued that the judgment "effectively prohibits the practice of religion," and was supported by a slew of other religious groups including the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, and the National Association of Evangelicals. *** PRO-CHOICE REPUBLICANS BACK DOWN: CC 'WAR ROOM' READY It was a tough decision for Ann Stone of Republicans For Choice and her allies to make, but late today, the handful of official abortion-rights supporters who are GOP delegates announced that they would not be taking their cause to the floor of the Republican convention, which starts Monday. Stone had worked throughout the week to overturn the GOP's platform plank which demands passage of the Human Life Amendment, a proposal that would outlaw all abortion in the United States; it has been a key part of the Republican agenda since 1980. She told CNN that "we just didn't have the numbers" of delegates, a fact which she attributed to the convention allotment rules. "We lost in 1992 because of the abortion issue, and since we lost in the pro-choice states, there are fewer delegates elected from those states to the national convention." Earlier, there were reports that pro-choice governors, including Pete Wilson of California, William Weld of Massachusetts and Georege Pataki of New York might bring the abortion rights fight onto the floor of the convention. But not even a "tolerance language" amendment to the party anti-abortion plank was enacted; instead, a lukewarm "addendum" is to be inserted at the end of the official document outlining Republican goals and positions in the 1996 campaign. In related developments: * The Christian Coalition is proceeding with plans to use its "war room" to keep the anti-abortion agenda on track during next week's convention. Director Ralph Reed told media: "There will be 102 floor whips. There will be 8 regional whips; there will be 40 runners that will be running messages around; there will be 15 regional communications hubs -- not really lap tops, not really cell phones -- a new form of technology that is brand new and on the market." This "new technology" consists of palm-sized computers or personal digital assistants using special software and a new wireless frequency recently approved by the Federal Communications Commission. The Coalition has reportedly spent $750,000, just for its convention outreach -- that after spending an estimated $2,000,000 in a year-long effort to elect its members as delegates. The New York Times noted today" The Coalition's planning and committment of resources to next week's convention has, in fact, been so far ahead and on such a scale that the results are reflected in more than technology..." and describes the organization's efforts as "girding for battle." * Pat Robertson's Family Channel will be carrying a GOP-produced version of Convention coverage each night from 9-11 p.m. Eastern. The Republican National Committee is paying the tab, but the watchdog group "" notes that there have been complaints "about potentially illegal subsidies for that purpose to the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau by Amway." The founder of Amway is Richard De Vos, whose participation in Christian religious politics goes back over two decades when he was involved in the Third Century Publishers. That company was established to link a comprehensive political agenda with born-again Christian fundamentalism and evangelism. Today, De Vos is active in the Council for National Policy, a coalition of influential religious conservatives, bible literalists, anti-abortion activists and political operatives. Other participants in the Council include James Dobson (Focus on the Family), Phyllis Schlafly (Eagle Forum) and Howard Phillips (US Taxpayers Party). Councidentally, the semi-secret CNP is having its own closed-door meeting today and tomorrow at Loew's Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego. * Reflecting on the high-tech juggernaut the Coalition has assembled to handle any possible dissent at the GOP gathering, Ralph Reed boasted: "I don't think anyone was thinking as far ahead or on this scale of planning," and added: "We aren't big enough as a movement for the Republican Party to win only with us. But we are big enough to where that the (sic) Republican Party can't win without us." * Gary Bauer of the Family Research Council told media: "Well, it will be first and foremost a pro-Dole convention, and I think that's what will come across the television screen. But if you polled each delegate about what the issues were they really cared about, I think certainly the sanctity of human life, and about one-and-a-half million abortions a year, would be something that the overwhelming majority of delegates here would be quite concerned about." ************ SLEAZEOID EVANGELIST OFFERS AIR MILES FOR CASH Televangelist Morris Cerullo, a faith-healer recently profiled in AANEWS, has offered Londoners air miles in exchange for donations as part of his so-called "Billion Soul Crusade." This past week, Cerullo announced that he is forming an "Eagles Club" with a slogan borrowed from the Book of Isaiah: "They shall mount up with wings as eagles." Those who "mount up" must first pay a fee of approximately $115 to join; after that, money donated to the "crusade" is converted into air miles. "God has given me a plan that allows you to come alongside me -- to travel with me anywhere in the world -- at no cost to you!", Cerullo told potential members in a letter. The Eagles Club was part of a Cerullo sweep through England, one of over two-dozen the televangelist has made. Britain's Electronic Telegraph noted: "The build-up is phenomenal. On Monday the audience of 2,000 was told to stand and raise their hand if they had any financial worries. There was a roar of "yes" from the crowd, made up predominantly of young black families, and they were told to wave their donation envelopes in the air." Cerullo repeatedly shouted in the microphone: "If you sow the see, God will repay you a hundredfold," and was accompanied by "Loud, stirring music" as volunteers with buckets suddenly appeared to collect the envelopes. Morris Cerullo World Evangelism is estimated to have revenues of around $65,000,000 per year. The Eagles Club scheme was "presented as a spiritual breakthrough in his ministry" by Cerullo, but The Times noted that it was quickly condemned by Catalyst, a British group which counsels victims of religious cults. Graham Baldwin of Catalyst told The Times: "This is yet another clever method of preying on the vulnerable. People give vast sums of money they can't afford on the promise that God will solve their financial problems and heal all their ills. The Air Miles kick is one of many he uses and the damage done is immense. We are left picking up the pieces." *** Atheist Media Apprearance... BARRIER ON ''AMERICA AFTER HOURS'' THIS MONDAY American Atheists Media Coordinator Ron Barrier will be on CNBC this Monday, August 12 at 11 p.m. Eastern as a guest during "America After Hours" program. Mr. Barrier -- known affectionately as the "Slice 'n Dice Atheist" for his demolition of religious dogma -- will be discussing the new Religious Freedom Amendment introduced by Rep. Henry Hyde, which would permit prayer and other religious intrusion into public schools. * Erratum... The first part of our piece titled WHEN MARTIANS DID INVADE, RELIGIOUS TENDED TO PANIC... had a serious typo. The Orson Welles broadcast of "War of the Worlds" took place on October 30, 1938, not 1958. The Martians didn't land that year either! * INTERESTED IN MEETING OTHER ATHEISTS/ If so, why not join American Atheists, and participate in our moderated on-line discussion group, AACHAT? For membership information, send mail to: and include your name and postal address. If you are already a member, just contact the moderator, Margie Wait, through ** About This List... AANEWS is a free service from 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. For information about American Atheists, send mail to:, and include your name and postal address. Or, check out our cool new web site at You may forward, post or quote from this dispatch, provided that appropriate credit is given to aanews and American Atheists. For subscribe/unsubscribe information, send mail to: and put "info aanews" (minus the quotation marks, please!) in the message body. Edited and written by Conrad F. Goeringer, The LISTMASTER.


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