Date: Mon, 9 Dec 1996 17:16:02 -0500 Subject: [Atheist] re: AANEWS for December 9, 1996 su

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Date: Mon, 9 Dec 1996 17:16:02 -0500 Subject: [Atheist] re: AANEWS for December 9, 1996 Reply-To: from: AMERICAN ATHEISTS subject: AANEWS for December 9, 1996 A M E R I C A N A T H E I S T S nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnn AANEWS nnnnnnnnnn #212 uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu 12/9/96 e-mail: In This Issue... * Remembering A Scientific Genius: Mary Leakey Dead * The O'Hair Saga Continues: A Problem With Identity? * Atheist Media Appearance * Ho! Ho! Ho! But Time's Running Out! * About This List... ARCHAEOLOGIST MARY LEAKEY DEAD AT 83 Mary Leakey, the cigar-smoking, Scotch whiskey sipping archaeologist whose work, along with that of husband, contributed so much to the understanding of human origins died yesterday in Kenya, Africa at the age of 83. Richard Leakey died in 1977; but Mary carried on the important investigation of early human ancestors, and the following year discovered footprints made in volcanic ash which indicated that early hominids -- dating back as far as 3.5 million years ago -- walked upright. She later remarked that she considered the discovery "the most important find in view of human evolution." The Leakeys were married in 1936, having met three years earlier. Their discoveries included the skull of Proconsul Africanus, an apelike predecessor of both modern apes and early humans. In 1959, Mary Leakey discovered the skull of Zinjanthropus in northern Tanzania at the famous Olduvai Gorge. Findings Demolished Creationism Along with Darwin's "On the Origins of Species by Means of Natural Selection" (London, 1895), Leakey's work ranks as some of the most significant in terms of vanquishing the last tenable creationist arguments and objections to the overall scheme of evolution in humans and other life forms. The discovery of footprints in the area south of Olduvai Gorge by Mary Leakey confirmed that early forms of Australopithecine were bipedal, and gained additional support when a complete skeleton of Australopithecus Afarensis was found in 1974, and later dubbed "Lucy." Indeed, "Lucy" has become the best example of a "missing link" (more accurately, a transitional evolutionary form) filling the temporal gap between primates and humans. In August, Mary Leakey made her last trip to the site near the Olduvai Gorge, an area known as Laetoli, where she found those ancient footprints. They have now been covered with a layer of high-tech sealant to preserve them. At the time of her death, Ms. Leakey was at work organizing her lifetime of papers and letters. ** ADVISORY PANEL ON ''RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION'' IS NAMED Religious Belief To Play More Of A Role in U.S. Global Strategy ? The State Department has begun forming its new Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad, a step the New York Times described as a "milestone in the battle against religious persecution." But there is evidence that religious fundamentalist groups, though represented on the taxpayer-funded body, consider the operation inadequate and, in the words of one pundit, a "charade." The panel is in response to a growing chorus of demands that U.S. foreign policy be crafted, in part, on the basis of religious freedom. A number of global regions, especially the middle east and Asia, represent possible "flash points" for State Department strategists; and many countries in these regions maintain state religious institutions, or discourage religious proselytizing by foreign interests. Even in the Soviet Union, the government of President Boris Yeltsin finds itself under mounting pressure to curtail the activities of aggressive foreign religious movements, including new age cults and fundamentalist church outreaches. Spear heading the effort to link U.S. foreign policy and religious rights abroad is Michael Horowitz, a former Reagan era official who has been lobbying the White House, State Department and even the Immigration and Naturalization Service about what he says is persecution of Christians overseas. Now a fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute, Horowitz's list of major offenders include the handful of communist nations, including China and North Korea, and Islamic states like Egypt, the Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. But Horowitz has attracted critics, especially for his hyperbole. He calls persecuted Christians "the Jews of the 21st century." Membership Last month, the Department of State began announcing appoints for its Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad. Members include: * Donald Argue, National Association of Evangelicals * Joan Brown Campbell, National Council of the Churches of Christ * Diana L. Eck, Harvard University * William M. Ellis, Board, Bahai'is of the Americas * Irving Greenberg, National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership * James B. Henry, First Baptist Church, Orlando * Frederick Calhoun James, African Methodist Episcopal Church * Leonid Kishkovsky, Orthodox Church of America * Samuel Billy Kyles, memorial Baptist Church, Memphis, Tenn. * Deborah Lipstadt, Emory University * David Little, U.S. Institute of Peace * Theodore McCarrick, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Newark * Wallace Dean Mohammed, Society of Muslim Americans * Russell Marion Nelson, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints * Ricardo Ramirez, Roman Catholic Bishop of Las Cruces, New Mexico * Barnett Richard Rubin, Council on Foreign Relations * Nina Shea, Puebla Project of Freedom House * Elliot Sperling, Indiana University * "Spyridono", Archbishop, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America At Taxpayer Expense? Should the U.S. government be setting up shop at taxpayer expense for a panel of religious "advisors," including the appropriation of money for offices in the State Department? So far, no one has challenged the existence of the "advisory" panel And some religious right groups have already expressed skepticism about the group. Richard D. Land of the Christian Life Commission, Southern Baptist Convention, fears that the panel will just be "a wholly owned subsidiary of the State Department." Both Land and Mr. Horowitz want more than just an advisory body, notes the Times; the two have suggested a "special adviser" which, says the paper, sounds "more like demands for a special prosecutor." Others fear that the "religious rights" cry will be more divisive than unifying, especially in areas like Bosnia and Israel. ** "MISSING'' STORY SPREADS THROUGH MEDIA There Is A New Report On Possible "Identity Problem" Says GHQ Director A story about missing funds in the disappearance of Atheist activist Madalyn Murray O'Hair in yesterday's San Antonio (Texas) Express-News spread quickly, and was picked up by Associated Press and major newspapers including the San Francisco Examiner and the Washington Post. Conservative radio pundit Paul Harvey reportedly grabbed the news to make a blast at the O'Hairs, who had been been prominent figures in the battle for state-church separation before their mysterious disappearance in August-September of 1995. The Express-News story was based in part on tax filings submitted by American Atheists and affiliated corporations, which showed that nearly $650,000 in monies are missing. The bulk of the funds involved a series of a interest-bearing accounts in New Zealand, a fact which has prompted speculation that the family may have travelled there. Some persons interviewed in reporter John MacCormack's story suggest embezzlement, while others raise the possibility of foul play. New Developments Today, American Atheists Office Director Orin "Spike" Tyson reported that the group's headquarters in Austin, Texas were being "besieged" with phone calls from reporters and other media inquiries. He said he was simply referring calls to American Atheists President Ellen Johnson. Tyson told AANEWS that one caller whom he identified as a reporter for a paper in Baltimore, Maryland, said that according to his information, there was now a problem with the identity of the individual thought to have been former AA President Jon Murray, who sold his car in San Antonio immediately following the disappearance. Murray had placed an ad in a newspaper there advertising his Mercedes automobile. Tyson informed us that the reporter claimed that the individual who purchased the car was later shown a photograph of Mr. Murray (possibly by the police?) but said the person selling the automobile "looked entirely different." And Who Provided The Tip? There is also a question of how news media, including Mr. MacCormack, quickly zeroed-in on the organization's tax form disclosures that reported the missing $650,000 as required by law. The forms were sent to Internal Revenue Service by the organization's Certified Public Accountant, and made a full disclosure of known income and expenditures. Mr. Tyson said that he was surprised, though, when he suddenly received calls demanding inspection at the American Atheists offices of specific tax documents which are public record. Tyson noted that the tax disclosure forms were filed as required with the Internal Revenue Service on November 15. Within four to five days, Tyson suddenly received calls from Mr. MacCormack of the Express, and a reporter identified as Ev Moore of the Houston Chronicle. He adds that Moore will be inspecting the records at the Austin office on Wednesday. Prior to that, notes Tyson, no reporters had requested any tax records. "And MacCormack seemed to know exactly what he wanted." Late this afternoon, Mr. Tyson informed us that he had begun receiving calls from foreign news operations, including the British Broadcasting Company (BBC). The ghq Director suggested that MacCormack had been "tipped off." ** ATHEIST MEDIA APPEARANCE... American Atheists Office Director Orin "Spike" Tyson will be tacking a bit of a break tomorrow from the current media-celebrity circus, to be a guest on the Joyce Kaufman show, airing on WFTL (1400 AM) out of Miami, Florida. The program begins at 12 noon. Mr. Tyson will be discussing evolution vs. creationism with creationist booster Mike Behe, author of "Darwin's Black Box." Tune-in if you're in the area! *** THERE'S STILL TIME TO SEND A SOLSTICE GREETING! But it's running out -- fast. The American Atheists Press Catalogue features hundreds of cool gifts for this time of year, from books to tee shirts and our popular Winter Solstice greeting cards. Send one to a friend, relative, or foe! Why not President Clinton? But while the staff at ghq is working furiously (like elves? imps?) to fill orders, time is quickly running out for us to rush a catalogue to you. NOW would be the time to request one through e-mail at Be sure to include your name and postal mailing address! You can also check out the catalogue on-line through our new ftp site. Go to We suggest that after today, those of you receiving catalogues through the mail or at the ftp site save time by faxing your credit card orders to our Austin offices. That will insure sufficient time for shipment of your holiday orders. Ho, ho, ho! and all that! ** 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 mailing address. Or, check out our cool web site at For subscribe/unsubscribe information, send mail to 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 aanews and American Atheists. Edited and written by Conrad F. Goeringer, The LISTMASTER ( Internet Representative for American Atheists is Margie Wait, **


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