Date: Sun, 11 Aug 1996 00:07:27 -0700 Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for August 10, 1996 nn nn

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Date: Sun, 11 Aug 1996 00:07:27 -0700 from: AMERICAN.ATHEISTS@listserv.direct.net Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for August 10, 1996 Reply-To: aanews@listserv.atheists.org, AMERICAN.ATHEISTS@listserv.direct.net nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnn AANEWS nnnnnnnnnn #125 uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu 8/10/96 (Nightowl Edition) http://www.atheists.org In This Issue... * Was $60,000 A Political Contribution? * Dole Family Values * TheistWatch: Billions and Billions of Crucifixtions * How You Can Help AANEWS... * AACHAT * About This List... * $60,000 COULD BE ''SMOKING GUN'' IN SUIT AGAINST CC Was a $60,000 donation to the Christian Coalition really a disguised contribution to the Bush-Quayle campaign in 1992? That's the question now being debated, especially in light of the recent suit filed by the Federal Election Commission, which maintains that the giant religious organization is really a political action committee. The $60,000 was given to the Coalition by John W. Wolfe, the late owner of the Columbus Dispatch. There would be no hint of illegality or impropriety with the donation, except for an important fact -- Wolfe wrote a personal letter which, according to sources made it clear that the money was intended for the Republican re-election campaign of then- President George Bush, a close pal of the Ohio publisher. The plot thickens even more, though: how did Wolfe choose the beneficiary -- or intermediary -- for the contribution? According to news reports in the Columbus Guardian, a Columbus-based paper known as The Other, and additional sources, one link in the chain was veteran political operative Lyn Nofziger, a former White House aide and top GOP political strategist. "It was Nofziger who recommended the Christian Coalition as a way (for Wolfe) to contribute to the Bush re-election effort," says The Other. "And since it (the Christian Coalition) was just your basic nonprofit organization, Wolfe could give as much money as he pleased. Even 60 grand." But along with the check was a letter, the alleged "smoking gun" that suggests for many impropriety on the part of the Christian Coialition, and that the group played the role of being a financial conduit to partisan political interests. "The problem is the tax-exempt Christian Coalition wasn't supposed to be doing anything on behalf of President Bush, or any other politician for that matter," adds the paper. That letter to the Coalition allegedly specified that the $60,000 was intended for support of the Bush-Quayle campaign. But according to the Christian Coalition's former chief financial officer, Judy Liebert, Ralph Reed (CC Director) specifically ordered her to treat the Wolfe money as an anonymous contribution. According to Lisa Rosenberg of the Center for Responsible Politics, "The Christian Coalition was being used as a money laundering device and clearly an illegal contribution was made (by John Wolfe)." The Coalition reportedly says that the contribution was originally earmarked for use on "voters guides," another issue raised in the FEC suit. Critics charge that the Coalition guides are actually political instruments, and are often worded -- even rigged -- to favor CCC backed candidates. There are reports that between 45 and 60 million guides are slated to be distributed through the Christian Coalition network of some 100,000 churches and religious groups in October. And Thicker... Following the $60,000 contribution, Wolfe's Columbus Dispatch endorsed the Bush-Quayle re-election bid, and according to The Other, "Wolfe told friends that Pat Robertson called to thank him shortly after the Christian Coalition received the donation, a source said." The paper also says that Wolfe "never would have agreed to let the Christian Coalition keep the $60,000 if he had been informed that it wouldn't be used for the Bush re-election effort." Coalition representatives insist that the group "does not accept contributions that are targeted on behalf of a campaign." In addition, the CC's 1992 tax return shows that the $60,000 was recorded on the annual statement signed by Ralph Reed. The question remains, though, what specific use the contribution was put to -- and whose campaign, if any, benefitted. *** LOOK WHO'S TALKING: REPUBLICAN ''FAMILY VALUES'' With Republicans getting ready to kick off their San Diego convention, frontrunner Senator Bob Dole is getting kicked -- and, of all the possible issues, it's over so-called "family values." On both sides of the Atlantic, media reports were skewering the presumed nominee, who just last week was lambasting the Hollywood entertainment media for dumping trash, senseless violence and moral bankruptcy onto the American cultural landscape. But Dole has done some dumping of his own; late this past week, the Washington Post said that Dole forced his first wife, Phyllis, into a divorce she did not want. The London Times adds that the Senator then "orchestrated the legal proceedings to ensure maximum speed and minimum political embarrassment." Vanity Fair magazine went even further, saying that Dole was playing the role of philaderer, a trait Republicans and other religious conservatives have assigned to President Clinton, and was seeing another woman before the ink was dry on the divorce papers. Worse yet -- his present marriage to Elizabeth Hanford Dole is essentially a "business association" between to politically ambitious individuals who "communicate by phone and memo." Dole met his first wife, Phyllis, while recovering from near-fatal war wounds. She was an occupational therapist, who provided "tireless support for her disable husband as he studied law and began his political career." In December, 1970, Dole reportedly announced to his shocked wife simply, "I want out." The London Times notes that Dole consulted then President Richard Nixon about the political consequences and then "had Phyllis file for a divorce that he had initiated. A friendly Kansas judge granted it after-hours, so no reporters were present and there was no public record of the testimony." Britain's Electronic Telegraph describes the "shabby treatment" of Phyllis, who received no child support, only minimal alimony, "and her furniture." Even more bizarre in light of the current faddism of "family values" is the relationship between Robert and Elizabeth Dole who were married in 1975. Liz at the time was an ambitious 39-year old White House aid who later would serve in both the Bush and Reagan cabinets. Vanity Fair says that the relationship is "a very separated marriage.'' Other phrases used to describe the relationship include "ships passing in the night" and "a business partnership. The couple spent their twentieth wedding anniversary in different cities, and, says The Times, share "no mutual passions beyond politics." *** THEISTWATCH SHORT SHOTS Our AANEWS correspondent in (Where else?) Alabama sends us a continuous stream of disturbing reports on that fundamentalist bastion of religious superstition. First was word that a key aide to the governor would interview prospective candidates for judicial appointments not about their knowledge of legal complexities -- enough of a mystery, at times, in themselves -- but on their religious convictions, if any. We later learn that this same assistant found it useful to affix his version of the governor's signature, even if it was on the wrong piece of legislation. But now, word of an even more potentiall ominous event... read on, gentle reader. We've heard of gun totin', bible-quotin' armageddon militia warriors, and even bomb-building Muslim fanatics from afar, but this wins the prize. How about Baptist hatchet throwers? Seems that in two weeks, Baptists from across Alabama will be gathering in Lowndes County for the annual Baptist Men's Shootout, sponsored by an outfit known as the Brotherhood Department of the Baptist State Board of Missions. The Birmingham Post Herald tells us that the competition includes "scoped and unscoped high power rifle; archery, knife and hatchet throwing; slingshot; scoped and unscoped .22 caliber rifle; and skeet." There's a barbecue chicken lunch, too. We have nothing against a good outing, of course, and this editor has certainly fired his share of ammo out of a variety of guns -- usually a bit wide of the target. But this announcement should make us greatful for political instruments like the First Amendment. If there's one one thing that has an ominous ring to it, it is the very notion of a Baptist hatchet thrower. *** Speaking of "family values," think what you will of Bill Clinton, but he's about the only guy in Washington who hasn't been divorced. Oh, we know all about that Ted Kennedy fellow, but consider the backgrounds of those who have been leading the charge on behalf of righteous , clean, wholesome living. Newt Gingrich, the esteemed Speaker of the House, divorced his first wife while she was laid up recuperating from cancer treatments. Phil Gramm -- a primary favorite of the Christan Coalition -- is also divorced, and he married "outside of his race" according to scurrilous pamphlets distributed by religious loonies during the Louisiana primary. Bob Dole is a somewhat typical divorcee, and Ronald Reagan made the Hollywood circuit before he discovered politics. How many bed sheets does this add up to? ** AANEWS is also getting a steady stream of reports concerning the alleged discovery of fossil remains found in a piece of meteorite which presumably originated on the planet Mars. Last week's announcement from a team of NASA and Stanford University scientists has prompted considerable philosophical musing on just what exactly such a discovery would mean for religion. Fundamentalists generally hold that The Creator conjured life unique to our planet, with the rest of the universe just so much flotsam. Why did He bother to create all those worlds which we (or presumably any other life form) will never see, anyway? But at least one Catholic theologian, John F. Haught, says that the new discovery "is not going to jolt us into finding new theological categories." He adds: "What it does do is expand our cosmic horizons and expands our sense of a thing that transcends the universe -- that is, God." Haught did note that evidence of even primitive life on the red planet would be a blow to creationism, since "It gives support ot the evolutionary picture of the universe." Professor Isbrahim Abu-Rabi of Hartford Seminary insists that the Koran is 1300 years or so ahead of its time, noting: "The Koran has a number of verses that life is not confined to human life as we know it on Earth." Hinduism goes a huge step beyond even that, saying that "the whole universe is intelligent life," according to the editor of Hinduism Today, a publication based in Hawaii... n interesting, if perplexing notion considering the abundance of foolishness here on earth. If anything, the range of religious speculation on the subject suggests that SOMEBODY is wrong, and that at least some of the "divinely inspired" books of religious doctrine have to be misguided, un-inspired, and just plain wrong. But imagine the dilemma of the Christian deity who -- were the universe just teeming with planets manifesting intelligent life -- would spend eons making the rounds on an endless trek of virgin births, crucifixtions and resurrections, all to "reveal the faith" to a multiplicity of different races. Truly, an "eternity in hell." **** Word is that a British Catholic prelate is calling upon faithful everywhere to protest the destruction of some 3,000 in vitro fetuses by reverting to the old practice of eating fish on Friday, avoiding meat. Our Colorado correspondent, Margie Wait, observes: "This is only damaging to the cattle industry, but good for the fishing industry." *** HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT AND HELP AACHAT In "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress," sci-fi writer Robert Heinlein created the acronym TANSTAAFL -- there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. That's certainly true on the moon, and just about anywhere on earth. Somebody has to pay. With nearly 1,000 subscribers now reading AANEWS, we have received a steady stream of inquiries about how people can help out. * Consider joining American Atheists. * Write for a catalogue of American Atheist Press books and other materials you may wish to purchase. * Make a contribution to American Atheists. For membership information about AA, send e-mail to: info@atheists.org, and be sure to include your name and postal address. You can order an American Atheist Press catalogue by writing to catalogue@atheists.org, and, again, including your name and postal address. Or, send an inquiry/donation to American Atheists, PO Box 140195, Austin, Texas 78714. Your interest and support is appreciated! ** INTERESTED IN MEETING OTHER ATHEISTS ? One way to interact with other Atheists is to join AA, and then participate in our moderated, on-line discussion group AACHAT. If you are a member, just contact Margie Wait through aachat@atheists.org. *** 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. 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: aanews-request@listserv.atheists.org, 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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