Date: Mon, 12 Aug 1996 10:22:06 -0700 Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for August 12, 1996 nn nn

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Date: Mon, 12 Aug 1996 10:22:06 -0700 from: AMERICAN.ATHEISTS@listserv.direct.net Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for August 12, 1996 Reply-To: aanews@listserv.atheists.org, AMERICAN.ATHEISTS@listserv.direct.net nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnn AANEWS nnnnnnnnnn #126 uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu8/12/96 http://www.atheists.org * Gavel Drops on Christian Coalition-GOP Convention * Cruise Has "Mission Impossible" in Germany * "Anti-Drug" Crusade a Cover For Muslim Militants? * Meeting Other Atheists -- AACHAT * About This List... COALITION, RELIGIOUS ALLIES ''FLUSHED WITH VICTORY'' AS GOP CONVENTION READY TO OPEN With the gavel ready to drop in less than an hour at the Republican National Convention in San Diego, religious groups -- including the Christian Coalition and other anti-abortion forces -- are in a mood which the Chicago Tribune describes as "flushed with victory." There still appears to be a difference though in how the campaign organization of presumed nominee Sen. Bob Dole and those delegates more closely identified with religious causes perceive the "tone" of the convention. * Dole handlers are pleased with the 9% "bounce" in the polls their candidate has apparently received since the announcement that former Congressman Jack Kemp would the vice presidential nominee. Ralph Reed, Director of the Christian Coalition, seems less interested in Kemp's economic and political views, though, and more pleased that the VP running slot is indeed going to a "pro-life" candidate. Party strategists want to concentrate on Kemp as someone who brings what the The London Times is describing as "needed energy and vision to the ticket," but religious right groups want the ticket, and the GOP platform, to remain "on track" concerning issues like abortion, parental rights, school prayer and family values." * Jack Kemp and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson have had bad blood between them as far back as 1988 when both men were battling in primaries for the GOP presidential nomination. AANEWS has learned, though, that even before phoning Mr. Kemp to see if he was interested in the VP slot, Senator Dole first called Robertson in an effort to pacify the powerful televangelist and get the nod from the Christian Coalition! * The Kemp decision has, at least temporarilly, distracted public and media attention from the exclusion of three top GOP governors who happen to be pro-choice. Governors Pete Wilson of California, William Weld of Massachusetts and George Pataki have either given up their promised time to address the convention, or refused to speak after being told about rules restricting the subjects they could cover. One of the jobs for the Christian Coalition "war room" will be making sure that the gag-issue isn't resurrected on the floor of the convention. The London Times reports that even the scheduled address by General Colin Powell -- a pro-choice favorite of GOP moderates -- is being vetted, and will cut to only five minutes in favor of a canned "multi-media' presentation. * ANY possibility of a last-minute effort to amend the party platform by inserting pro-choice or tolerance rhetoric is a concern of the Christian Coalition; its "floor whips", linked to the "war room" by palm-held computers and software that was developed specially for the convention, will be on the look-out. * Tomorrow (Tuesday) at Sea World, anti-feminist guru Phyllis Schlafly of the Republican National Coalition for Life and the powerful Eagle Forum, is hosting a self-described "Whale of A Party." It is being touted as the "social soiree of the week," and is expected to include movers-and-shakers such as Ralph Reed, Gary Bauer (Family Research Council), Rep. Bob Dornan (R-Calif.), talk-show host Alan Keyes, and Pat Buchanan. Buchanan also controls delegates on the convention floor, and he will be honored at a separate shindig on Sunday at the California Center for the Arts in upscale Escondido. * Yesterday, Reed reportedly held a closed-door session with the Coalition's stable of delegates to brief them on floor strategy. * On Wednesday, the Coalition will sponsor its Faith and Freedom Celebration in Balboa Park. AANEWS has already reported that Elizabeth Dole and House Speaker Newt Gingrich are slated to speak to the expected 3,000 CC boosters. Former Vice President Dan Quayle, fresh from yet another "family values" book tour, is also scheduled. Speaking of books, tomorrow Gary Bauer of the Family Research Council will also be holding a soiree as part of the convention, while he autographs copies of his paperback "Our Hopes, Our Dreams: A Vision for America." Bauer describes the transition to the Dole-Kemp team as "passing the baton -- and hoping he will run with it." Coalition Plans Long Range After the San Diego blowout, look for the Christian Coalition to "hit the ground running" on behalf of the anti-choice ticket. Reed and Robertson still face the daunting task of mobilizing their members to try and help Dole reduce President Clinton's still hefty lead in the polls. Incidentally, not all polls reflect the "bounce" which Dole received after announcing Jack Kemp as a running mate -- some surveys indicate that the presumed GOP nominee is still a good 20% behind Mr. Clinton. The next move for the Coalition will be its September 13-14 "Road to Victory" conference in Washington, D.C. Participants are being encouraged to show up a day early, though, and "meet" and lobby Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill. The Coalition conference tends to belie its assertion that it is not a political action committee, a contention made in a lawsuit filed by the Federal Election Commission. The roster of speakers is a who's who of political activism, and includes Bob Dole, Newt Gingrich, Senator Phil Gramm and Alan Keyes. "Invited speakers" include former Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey, Rep. John Kasich, Sen. Trent Lott (new House Majority Leader who replaces Dole), and senate wannaabe Oliver North of Iran-Contra fame. Also slated: Phyllis Schlafly, Pat Robertson, and Beverly LaHaye of Concerned Women for America. Another Platform Time Bomb? While the abortion question remains at the top of the Christian Coalition/religious right social agenda, election law specialist Roy Schotland has told CNN that in addition to Dole and Kemp, there is a third player of considerable influence on the convention floor -- Pat Buchanan. His forces, working with Reed and others, are believed to be responsible for other parts of the Republican platform which could end up as time bombs once the real campaigning begins. One issue to watch -- illegal immigration, and a Buchanan camp plank which calls for an end to 14th Amendment protection. Offspring of illegal immigrants, under the Buchanan proposal, would not automatically be considered U.S. citizens. These and other proposals may work against any possible "basde broadening" influence by Jack Kemp. *** Finally, prior to releasing this dispatch, AANEWS has learned through CNN that Pat Buchanan has definitely decided to un-equivocally support the Dole-Kemp ticket. In a speech to be presented to the convention, Buchanan will reportedly tell supporters that the choice of Kemp as a VP running mate "vindicates" not only the pro-life position, but his own strategic plan to remain firmly in the Republican ranks. (Look for more focused coverage on the Republican National Convention. AANEWS has assembled its own team to monitor the Christian Coalition during the San Diego gathering, as well as national/international press reports and web coverage.) ********** SCIENTOLOGY FLAP CONTINUES IN GERMANY It may be a real life Mission Impossible for actor Tom Cruise. Besides being the hit star of the cinema remake of the popular TV series, Cruise also happens to belong to the Church of Scientology, a religious-spiritual movement invented by the late pulp-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. And that's is giving Cruise some problems in Germany, where "Mission Impossible" has just been released. Two weeks ago, during a publicity tour for the movie in Germany, Cruise was reticent to discuss the issue. But now, the youth wing of the powerful Christian Democratic Union -- the party which dominates the ruling coalition -- has called for a boycott of "Mission Impossible," saying that they will make it impossible for the movie to be anywhere near a box office success. Indeed, Scientology has come under official attack from German authorities, who say that the group is not a "religion" but a "mind control cult" which extracts loyalty, and money from its followers. Scientologist Chick Corea -- famous ex-rocker and now a hot jazz pianist -- has even been barred from playing some concert engagements in Germany. That fact, along with the latest furor over Tom Cruise, has reportedly caught the attention of the U.S. State De[partment, which has sent a message to Congress aying that it "had concerns" over the treatment of Scientologists by German authorities. The timing of the State Department move is interesting; it could also put "religious liberty" cheerleaders like Utah Senator Orrin Hatch who has protested the "persecution": of Christians in Islamic countries, in the somewhat peculiar position of actually defending the rights of Scientologists. Some suggest that Scientology doctrine, with its tales of Galactic Confederations and interplanetary wars, more closely resembles science fiction that a sacred set of beliefs; even so, Hatch's own Mormon religion has some peculair theological backwaters of its own, including the belief that "the faithful" will someday rule their own planet. In the meantime, Scientology officials deny that they have political aspirations, and a Church representative says that the flap over Tom Cruise is just the latest anti-Scientology "hysteria" in Germany. *** MUSLIM DRUG VIGILANTES IN SOUTH AFRICA TIED TO INT'L PLOT ? What began as a religious war against supposed drug dealers in South Africa may be part of an international effort to really turn the newly-emerged democracy into a base for Islamic extremism, according to press reports. A Muslim group calling itself Pagad, or People Against Gangs and Drugs, earlier this month began marching on the houses of suspected drug dealers in Cape town, and lynched a suspected crack baron named Rashaad Straggie. Britain's Electronic telegraph noted that "While most South Africans sympathise with Pagad's frustrations at the endemic crime, the appearance of heavily-armed vigilantes disguised, Palestinian-style, in scarves has alarmed President Mandela's government." There were also early reports that local Muslim groups in the "anti-drug" crusade were really linked to interests in Libya, and the notorious Intelligence Service and Revolutionary Guards operating out of Iran. Over the weekend, riots broke out following a militant "anti-drug" rally in Athlone township, where Muslim activists vowed to kill any "gangsters" who had not turned themselves into police by midnight. "One gangster, one bullet!", promised a speaker. But in neighboring Manenberg, a coalition of drug/street gangs suddenly appeared, led by the twin brother of Rashaad. While the anti-drug militancy has all of the overtones of a Prohibition-style religious crusade, there may be more at stake than simply eradicating crack from the streets. Secret government documents released over the weekend in the South African press suggest that many of the Muslim "anti-drug" zealots are part of a larger, international fundamentalist brigade which received training in places like Afghanistan and Iran -- and may be the frontline troops in a future effort to establish an Islamic Republic in South Africa, modeled after the theocratic state in Iran. Indeed, Paghad members have many of the traits found in Muslim "warriors" elsewhere; they have vowed to conduct a jihad, or holy war, against drug dealers, and are "willing to die" even through suicide bomb-attacks, according to the Telegraph. One reports identifies an Islamic group known as Qibla as pulling the organizational strings of People Against Gangs and Drugs. Some South Africans, though, are reportedly growing concerned about the wave of "decency" militance, asking themselves where the effort to "cleanse" the society might end -- even after the drug dealers are allegedly lynched. A Cape Town reporters says that there is at least one secret camp in the area where militants are trained to combat "the moral corruption pervading South Africa." **** INTERESTED IN MEETING ATHEISTS? If you are, well, consider joining American Atheists and participating in our on-line discussion group, AACHAT. For membership information, send mail to: info@atheists.org, and be sure to include your name and postal address. Members who wish to participate in AACHAT may contact the moderator, 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. 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. You may forward, post or quote from this dispatch, provided that appropriate credit is given to American Atheists, and aanews. Edited and written by Conrad F. Goeringer, The LISTMASTER. Internet Representative for American Atheists is Margie Wait, irep@atheists.org

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