Date: Wed, 24 Apr 1996 12:25:24 -0700 Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for April 24, 1996 nn nn A
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 1996 12:25:24 -0700
Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for April 24, 1996
Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org, AMERICAN.ATHEISTS@listserv.direct.net
nnnnnnnnnn AANEWS nnnnnnnnnnn
#23 uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu 4/24/96
In this edition...
-- "Porno Christ" is nailed...again
-- Aum Guru; would YOU buy used bathwater from this man?
-- "Decency" ban would boot naked Demi off the web.
PHILIPPINE ''CHRIST'' IS REALLY PORNO ACTOR IN JAPANESE S&M FILMS
Every year, Christians from across the world flock to the town of San
Fernando in the Philippines for a round of "Holy Week" events which
culminate in a gruesome ceremony depicting the alleged crucifixion of Jesus
Christ. The more devout become religious celebrities if they volunteer to
literally be crucified. Actors dressed up to resemble Roman Centurions
actually drive spikes into the hands (and sometimes the feed) of the willing
victims, who are then hoisted aloft for a few minutes while the flock of
on-lookers wails and prays.
Although the Philippines are nearly 80% Christian, with the bulk of this
group belonging to the Catholic Church, ecclesiastical authorities are
ambivalent about the San Fernando ritual. Officially, the church encourages
masses, prayers and other religious events; but the San Fernando crucifixions
have become the biggest box office draw for local churches and peddlers of
Now, a Japanese publication known as The Weekly Post has revealed an
embarrassing piece of news; of the 13 men nailed in the recent Easter
crucifixion, Shinichiro Kaneko, is "an actor in sadistic porno films" and
participated "because he was filming an adult video." News agencies
throughout the world mentioned Kaneko in their original stories about the San
Fernando crucifixions, how he "wailed in agony" as the phoney "Roman
Centurions" drove four-inch nails through his palms, and how he was hoisted
into the air for voyeuristic public consumption. The Post adds:
"Kaneko carried the cross to the top of the hill and the ceremony started
around 12:30 p.m. He lied on the cross and his hands were nailed, he
screamed because of the pain. The scene was televised in Japan since he was
the first Japanese who participated in the event. According to his
explanation, the reason for his participation was to heal the cancer his
brother was suffering from through his own ordeal on the cross.
"However, it was found to be a complete lie..."
AUM CULT LEADER ON TRIAL: ECHOED RELIGIOUS CONSPIRACY THEORIES
Japan's version of the "Trial of the Century" has begun, with thousands of
people lining up for seats in the prosecution of Aum "Supreme Truth" leader
Shoko Asahara. The 41-year old cult leader is charged with orchestrating the
Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway in March, 1995, and a string of other
crimes including kidnapping and murder.
Yesterday, the self-proclaimed messiah sat silently through most of the
proceedings; when the names of those injured and killed in the gas attack
were read, Asahara seemed bored; he refused to answer questions about his
More information is being made public about the group known as Aum
Shinrikyo, which embraced a blending of Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and new
* Asahara, writing in the cult's publication Vajrayana Sacca, launched an
attack on "international Jews" and "freemasons" who supposedly operated a
"world shadow government."
"On behalf of the earth's 3.5 billion people, (we) formally declare
war...Japanese awake! The enemy's plot has long since torn our lives to
shreds." The 95-page rant titled "Manual of Fear" quoted from such bogus
sources as "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion," and charged Jews with
trying to weaken the gentile ethnic stock and turn non-jews into "cattle."
* There are perculiar ideological links to far-right, Christian Identity
groups in the United States, which use many of the same materials promoted by
the Aum sect. Included are the names of two individuals listed in the
"Manual of Fear", Masami Uno and Hirose Takashi; the former published a
Japanese edition of "New American Review", the newsletter of the far-right,
Washington-based group Liberty Lobby. Founded by veteran nationalist,
anti-semite Willis Carto, Liberty Lobby promotes "revisionist" historical
groups, and is considered a friendly mouthpiece for Identity-militia linked
figures including James "Bo" Gritz.
* Aum writings reflect a resurgent mystical, conspiracy-oriented,
anti-internationalist bias; when the sect's "Minister of Science and
Technology" was stabbed by a disgruntled ex-member, Aum propagandists blamed
"Jewish Japanese" who belonged to a "black aristocracy." On the hit list
were former Japanese prime minister Nakasone Yasuhiro and U.N. Envoys Akashi
Yasushi and Ogata Sadako.
A recent posting about the Aum cult by the Simon Wiesenthal Center quotes
David Goodman, Professor at the University of Illinois: "The taint of
internationalism is what links these individuals together as "Jews" in Aum's
mind...If the Jews were plotting to exterminate three billion people in the
next five years, and if "Jews" were actually internationalized Japanese, then
a preemptive strike against a high concentration of these "Jews" in the heart
of Tokyo's cosmopolitan business district makes a kind of perverse sense."
* Asahara's own behavior followed closely the "cult model" of charismatic,
dominating sect leaders. He sold his bathwater to his followers for high
sums of money, so they could actually drink it and "be close to the Master."
He surrounded himself with nubile, young women, and is known to have
produced five children with his assorted mistresses. And according to one
"kept woman," Akiko Komiya, the blind guru declared once "I am the best sex
technician in my cult." There are confirmed reports that the leader sexually
abused females in the group, including the young daughters of cult members.
Asahara's sperm was, like his used bathwater, considered a holy substance,
and was eagerly sought by followers.
Accelerating the Doomsday Time Table
Asahara predicted the end of the world for some period between 1997 and
the year 2000. It is thought that the Sarin gas attacks in the Tokyo subway
last year were designed to speed-up the apocalyptic schedule; the Aum
Shinrikyo had even established its own "shadow government" to take over the
planet following the expected global catastrophe which Asahara had
prognosticated. 90% of the human race was expected to die, and the survivors
would live under an "enlighted dictatorship" administered by the Aum sect.
It didn't happen, of course, and following the initial Sarin attacks,
Japanese authorities quickly raided dozens of cult-compounds throughout the
country, seizing tons of chemicals and carting away documents and other
incriminating evidence. Former Aum followers are now "going public" and
providing more information about the workings of the cult, but at least 600
cult members remain active, and now work at jobs raising money for the legal
defense of their guru. Another 100 still live in the cult's remaining
The significance of the Aum's apocalyptic, mystical and racist philosophy
is not lost on observers who are following the growing trend of
"millennialist" fervor. Certain themes of Aum propaganda sound remarkably
similar to other apocalyptic, doomsday-type movements which incorporate
religious mysticism and Manichean conspiracy theories into their ideologies.
Science fiction writer James Oberg predicts that between now and the year
2,000, society may see what he describes as a "synergystic climb toward
panic," as apocalyptic religious and theo-political scenarios become even
more in vogue.
"DECENCY'' AGENT: DILDOS ARE OK, BUT DEMI MOORE A NO-NO
When religious groups like the Christian Coalition and the American Family
Association began beating the drums on behalf of the "Communications Decency
Act," odds are that they had little idea of some of the problems which would
arise. The act was passed and signed into law by President Clinton as part
of a larger Telecommunications Reform bill, and has already been challenged
in court by a coalition of civil liberties and cyber-rights organizations.
And last week, the absurdity of the new legislation became quite clear when
a Federal "decency" agent who investigates computer-based crimes began to
delineate what is and is not permitted in cyberspace. Agent Howard Schmidt
admitted that most of the "explicit images" children might find in cyberspace
would be caught by the "blocking" software now on the market. But some might
slip by -- or, worthwhile material may inevitably be censored.
Schmidt then turned to specifics, and declared that he would not
prosecute an on-line image showing how to put a condom on an erect penis or
dildo. But the catchy cover of Vanity Fair Magazine which depicted a very
naked and very pregnant Demi Moore WAS obscene under the new act. Said
Schmidt: the "More Demi Moore" cover was "for fun, not education" and might
be offensive in some communities.
We just have to ask: what does Agent Schmidt think a condom is for,
THEISTWATCH SHORT SHOTS
Divorce is bad enough these days with outrageous attorney fees and nasy
legal battles over things like child custody. But in England, a Jewish
couple -- Rachel and Moses David -- just made things a whole lot more
complex. Seems that Mrs. David, a sales rep for high-tech medical gear, has
gotten an official order from the British Rabbinate against her husband;
until hubby Moses (a computer programmer) grants her a religious divorce, no
good Jew may speak to him or even come within 18-feet of him.
Unfortunately, this antiquated religious law seems to be attracting
support from certain women's groups. Associated Press notes that some
organizations are "increasingly pressuring religious authorities to do more
to help women like Mrs. David." A New York Rabbi noted "It's having a
powerful effect. It's depriving him of his social freedom, and he's
sensitive to that."
This news is a bit overdue, but it nevertheless deserves mention. Up in
Illinois, Atheist activist Rob Sherman is proceeding in his efforts to stop
the plans of the Elgin City Council to aware the local YMCA and YWCA
thousands of dollars in government grants. Sherman insists that "Part of the
Y's mission statement is to aid in the development of Christian values,"
which he says is something which should not be done with tax dollars. At
stake is close to $1,500,000 in Community Development Block Grants, which
would be used to repair the YMCA-YWCA facilities. Sherman notes that the
Constitution of the State of Illinois prohibits government from assisting
religious organizations of any kind.
On Monday, the Christian Coalition held a press conference offering a
$25,000 reward to anyone "who can provide information that would expose a
link or a pattern of racial motivation in the church arsons." The reference
is to a string of nearly two dozen fires which have occured since January,
1995 involving black churches. The Coalition is also demanding official
Senate hearings to look into the matter, and wants Attorney General Janet
Reno to "take bold steps to restore public confidence in the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms."
"We will not rest until those responsible for these senseless acts of
racial terrorism are arrested and punished," declared CC head-honcho Ralph
It all sounds pretty positive and sincere, doesn't it? Violence is
violence even when directed against people and institutions we disagree with.
But it appears to this observer anyway that the righteous wrath of the
Coalition is, well, a bit late and bit selective and self-serving. I don't
recall seeing the Christian Coalition's allies in government being on the
front lines of the civil rights struggle; I keep thinking of
arch-segregationist types like Jesse Helms, who thinks that a month-old fetus
in the womb should have more rights than a black person riding a bus or
applying for a job. And the whole "warm and fuzzy" outreach to American
blacks by the Coalition and other mostly-white religious outfits like Promise
Keepers is a bit suspicious.
Could it have anything to do with a turf war? After all, the fastest
growing religious group in the U.S., especially among blacks, happens to be
Islam; Black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan is attracting a good share of the
black religious market segment. What better time start to start a
Christianized-publicity drive? Besides, a lot of blacks happen to believe
that the social and political agenda of the Christian Coalition really isn't
designed to help blacks, poor people, women and other groups. It's still
mostly a good, white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant, guy kinda' thing. And one
wonders if Ralph Reed would care to say anything about the religious
terrorism and violence directed at abortion clinics and individuals who
provide those services.
AANEWS and TW have warned readers about two pieces of legislation now
making their way through Congress. The Religious Equality Amendment would
sneak prayer and religious ritual back into public schools; school boards
could prohibit even the teaching of evolution -- after all, it's a "religious
freedom" issue, right? And the mis-named Parental Rights and
Responsibilities Act is, well, just another excuse for spanking the devil out
of rebellious kids, enforcing "bible discipline" in home, and keeping
agencies on the hunt for child-abuse at a safe distance.
Next time you hear anything about these legislative peccadillos, remember
the case of Loyd and Chrintina Hays, and their deceased 7-year old son, Tony.
The parents are members of a religious outfit called Church of the First
Born which practices so-called "faith healing." Loyd has just been found
guilty in an Albany, Oregon court of criminally negligent homicide; he
decided to pray over son Tony, who was suffering from a treatable form of
leukenmia, rather than seek real medical help. USA TODAY noted that "His
mother, Christina, was acquitted because jurors believer her husband ruled
The Hays case typifies the growing number of court cases involving
parents who withhold medical treatment from children for religious reasons.
Pass a "Religious Equality Amendment," many observers warn, and this
practice will be "protected" by law. Faith healing is already a comeback in
fringe Christian and New Age sects. Even the Pope knows better than this; he
breaks a leg bone, he at least calls the doctor!
Well, it's never too late. Earlier, this AANEWS correspondent chuckled
over the wrenching angst suffered by Methodists and other mainline religious
types who debate issues which Atheists long ago resolved, or found fit to
ignore. Case in point: the United Methodist Church, the nation's third
largest religious denomination with 8.5 million believers. At its annual
conference in Denver, Colorado, some 3,000 reform issues were being debated
including a proposal to stop condemning homosexuality as "incompatible with
Christian teaching," and even allow the ordination of gay priests.
We should point out, of course, that just because a priest happens to be
gay doesn't mean that the mumbo-jumbo he's muttering up at the altar makes
any more sense than it would coming from a heterosexual, married priest. Is
that really social progress? We think not.
But the Methodists have caught up with the times in at least one area. On
Monday, they officially denounced the actions of a Methodist "lay preacher"
who back in 1864 led a massacre of over 150 Native Americans at Sand Creek,
We're told that about 1,000 delegates at the annual conference passed the
resolution "with little dissent." (Hey, who are THOSE folks?) An Oklahoma
pastor who introduced the motion that "I think offering the hand of
reconcilliation will go a long way."
It's all the fad, major religious groups trying to santize disgusting and
embarrassing parts of their history by passing syrupy-sounding resolutions
and putting out a "hand of reconcilliation" to a bunch of dead victims. Last
June, the Southern Baptists finally apologized for their support of
slaveocracy. In 1994, the Evangelical Lutheran Church issued a declaration
rejecting the anti-semitic rantings of their founder, Martin Luther.
Catholics just got around to apologizing for the persecution of Galileo, who
insisted that we go around the sun.
Great. Now that apologies have been made, we can assume that all said and
done from here on will be just, sensible and proper. Right?
It's pretty obvious what the Christian Coalition and the U.S. Catholic
Conference are up to when it comes to abortion. Last night, AANEWS mentioned
the hearings which began earlier this week to "scrutinize" the 1973 U.S.
Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade which gave women some semblance of
control over their own bodies. Leading this circus is our old pal Rep.
Charles Canady, one of the movers-and-shakers behind such exemplars of
legislative wisdom as the Religious Equality Amendment, which in so many
words simply tells the First Amendment to the Constitution to, well, "take a
One Representative not playing along with the Canady hearings is Pat
Schroeder, who issued the following statement about her anti-abortion foes.
"Their master plan...culminates in the November election when after months
of a public education campaign funded by the Christian Coalition and the U.S.
Catholic Conference...anti-choice republicans will use this issue to elect
enough members of the House and Senate to overturn the high court ruling."
Schroeder noted that the hearings were a stunt to "undermine the public's
consistent and over-whelming support for Roe vs. Wade."
We should begin a new tradition; we should have an annual prize for those
who do the most to undermine state-church separation, and perhaps dub it the
"Wall Buster Award" in an obvious reference to Thomas Jefferson. My
candidate for this year's award, so far, goes to Colorado governor Roy Romer.
American Atheists State Director Margie Wait writes that Romer "wants every
newborn in Colorado to be visited in the home by volunteers from the churches
to instruct and guide new mothers in child care techniques."
The scheme is called "Bright Beginnings"; churches provide the support
network, and no doubt sooner or later will be getting tax money for the
administration of this program.
Wait is skeptical, and says "Does a religious person know more about
newborn care than a non-religious person? Wouldn't it be more logical to
enlist the help of the medical community, say nursing assistants, than to
call upon the religious community?"
But the guv' cites "deteriorating culture, rife with crime, violence and
aimless youth" as the reason why snoopy church members should make the rounds
to visit newborns. He also wants to add features to the "Bright Beginnings'
program later on, including a "mentor" for each family.
Wait adds: "Romer is definitely taking the old adage about giving the
pries a child until they are six or seven, and he'll have them for life. The
whole idea of this program smacks of the court sentencing a drunken driver to
Alcoholics Anonymous or other religious-based rehab programs."
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