Date: Wed, 1 May 1996 12:25:24 -0700 Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for May 1, 1996 nn nn AANEW

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Date: Wed, 1 May 1996 12:25:24 -0700 Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for May 1, 1996 from: AMERICAN.ATHEISTS@listserv.direct.net Reply-To: aanews@listserv.atheists.org, AMERICAN.ATHEISTS@listserv.direct.net nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnn AANEWS nnnnnnnnnn #27 uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu 5/1/96 In This Edition... * GOP Hopes Aborted Over Platform Issue? * Wild 'N Crazy Folks At USTP * Should Muslims "Serve And Protect" At Public Expense? * Freemen Update ~~ More On "The Guy Thing," And A Nervous Goat *TheistWatch ~~ Find Out About The REAL Mark Of The Beast! GOP ABORTION PLANK FIGHT LOOMS Some political pundits have already written off the Republican Party in the November, '96 Presidential race; the party's platform, which calls for a constitutional amendment to ban all abortion, will make the difference when voters (particularly women) step into the polling booth, they insist. And barring a depression, major scandal or some other calamity which isn't on the political radar screen right now, Bill Clinton will be residing in the White House for his second four-year term. That scenario has many Republican heavy weights worried, and this past weekend, California Governor Pete Wilson joined a small but growing list of GOP luminaries who want the anti-abortion plank yanked from the party's platform. It is a move which is already drawing plenty of flak from the party's religious conservatives, including supporters of nomination-contender Pat Buchanan and the influential Family Research Council. But Wilson's announcement comes after other GOP governors -- George Pataki of New York, Christine Whitman of New Jersey, and William F. Weld of Massachusetts also declared their support for striking the 20-year old provision. The move reportedly caught GOP frontrunner Sen. Bob Dole by surprise; religious conservatives are still wary of the Kansas senator's opposition to abortion, and are demanding that he select a staunch, anti-abortion running mate in the Vice Presidential slot. Some see the Wilson proposal as an effort to "take back" the GOP from one-issue, religious special-interest groups who control much of the party's state organizations, and constitute the rank-and-file of the Republican volunteers. Gary Bauer of the Family Research Council blasted Wilson's call for taking out the anti-abortion provision, insisting "That is a prescription for disaster for Bob Dole and the Republican Party." Angela Buchanan, who serves as her brother's campaign manager, added "If the Republican Party chooses to abandon the unborn, politically, it would be absolutely foolhardy." With polls showing Dole trailing President Clinton, especially in the category of women voters, the abortion plank fight could spell even more trouble for the GOP. The Dole campaign quickly sent out press releases re-affirming its support for the anti-abortion provision, and the candidate announced that he was appointing Representative Henry Hyde of Illinois as chairman of the Platform Committee. (Hyde is supported by many religious conservatives, and has drafted one of the two versions of a "Religious Equality Amendment" now winding through Congress.) GOP Chairman Haley Barbour quickly went into damage control mode after the Wilson announcement, insisting that "he did not want propspective Republicans to feel excluded from the party because they did not share the anti-abortion stand of its standard-bearer," according to the New York Times. Buchanan A Factor? One wild-card in the GOP house squabble is Pat Buchanan, who despite 28 consecutive losses in the recent primaries, still managed to galvanize considerable support for his religious-populist cause. Groups such as the U.S. Taxpayers Party attempted to draft Buchanan for an independent run at the White House, raising the prospect that the conservative commentator would be a "spoiler" for the Dole campaign. Buchanan has insisted that he's staying in the GOP ranks -- at least for now -- and promises to continue in efforts to keep Republican ideology in accord with his vision of religious conservatism and nationalism. AND MORE ON THE U.S. TAXPAYERS PARTY... In early April, AANEWS covered the connection between Buchanan, the U.S. Taxpayers Party, and the Christian Reconstructionist movement which seeks to implement old testament "Bible law" as the basis of civil society. Founded by former Reagan White House strategist Howard Phillips, the Party reflects the "dominionist" philosophy of extreme theologians like R.J. Rushdoony of the Chalcedon movement. "What the movement lacks in size, it makes up for in vigor and influence," we observed. We also noted that Reconstructionist "justice" considered homosexuality and adultery to be capital offenses punishable by death, and would oppose women holding any civil office. The U.S. Taxpayers Party seems to be the culmination in Phillip's own personal journey into the realm of more extreme and authoritarian politics. For two decades, he was involved in more mainstream, conservative movement like the old Barry Goldwater campaign and Young Americans for Freedom; he later helped found groups like the influential Conservative Caucus, the Heritage Foundation and the Fallwell-linked Moral Majority. But as a recent issue of The Nation notes, "Unlike the more pragmatic Ralph Reed, Phillips has given up on the Republican Party as a means of restoring the 'Christian republic' he says the Founders intended." Along the way in their ideological Haj, he and the U.S. Taxpayers Party have picked up some bizarre and even violent company. The linkage of the USTP to even something as extreme as the Buchanan campaign could provide a new platform for anti-abortion terrorists and other millennialist culture warriors, including: *Rev. Matthew Trewhella, Wisconsin USTP organizer and head of the "Missionaries to the Pre-Born" which The Nation describes as an 'armed antiabortion militia.' Trewhella is also a leader in 'Defenders of the Defenders of Life' which raises money to support the legal battles of those who kill abortion providers and clinic workers. * Jeffrey Baker, chairman of the Florida USTP, insists that "Abortionists should be put to death. They are murderers." Represents the "Tenth Amendment Militia, Church Status." * Byron Dale, speaker at the Wisconsin State Convention of the USTP and a close associate of one Gordon Kahl. Kahl became a folk hero to the Christian Identity and militia movements when he shot two federal marshalls in 1983, and ended up being killed in a battle with the FBI. He had declared in one of his manifestos that "our nation has fallen into the hands of alien people...These enemies of Christ have taken their Jewish Communist Manifesto and incorporated it into the Statutory Laws of our country and thrown our Constitution and our Christian Common Law (which is nothing other than the Laws of God as set forth in the Scriptures) into the garbage can." Dale is reportedly an Identity supporter, and a believer in the "Two Seed" theory which states that Jews and "Mud People" originated in a conjugal union between Eve and the devil. * Randall Terry, l'enfant terrible of the anti-abortion movement and one of the founders of the notorious Operation Rescue. The Nation quotes Terry: "This I can promise you. You will never see a pro-death, pro-sodomite 'moderate' in the U.S. Taxpayers Party." * Rev. Michael Bray, described as a signatory in the "Defensive Action" statement of accused murderer Paul Hill which attempts to justify the murder of abortion doctors. Served four years for conspiracy to bomb clinics in the mid-1980's. Do some links constitute "guilt by association"? Sources close to Buchanan insist that the feisty conservative commentator is not a racist or advocate of anti-abortion violence; however, it is significant that the USTP attracts such trypes, and provides a political vehicle for promulgating such bizarre views including Reconstructionism and the "Two Seed" theory. ***** FARRAKHAN GROUP AT THE PUBLIC TROUGH How would we react if, say, members of religious militia groups were given public contracts to "patrol" public housing projects in mostly poor-white neighborhoods? Reverse that situation a bit, and you've got a pretty good description on how Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam is cashing in on public contracts to provide security in cities throughout the country. The latest controversy centers in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. where a corporate affiliate of the Farrakhan group known as "NOI Security Agency" has a $97,400 - a - year contract with that city's Housing Authority. The arrangement doesn't sit well with people like State Representative Thomas Kirwan who told the New York Times: "I don't want public money going to racists of any stripe. I'd be just as outraged if the Ku Klux Klan or Aryan Nations had been hired." According to a study last year, Nation of Islam security firms have been awarded more than $15 million in nine cities; they include Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Washington and New York. Some critics charge that the Muslim companies were awarded contracts even when they had not submitted the lowest bids; others insist that the NOI affiliated firms should be disqualified since they do not practice equal employment hiring practices. Those who live in public housing developments often claim that the Muslims are effective in ending drug dealing, beatings and other forms of violence in their community. But an executive director of the Poughkeepsie Housing Authority notes that other firms produce similar results, including the previous security company which was known as Big Mac. And Kirwan adds: "As for the effectiveness of reducing crime, if you could find some old members of Hitler's Gestapo or the Waffen S.S., they also would provide good security, but I doubt if there would be a groundswell of support for public funds going to a bunch of Nazis." Others charge that the NOI security companies have used heavy-handed tactics themselves, and cite a case where Muslim guards grabbed and beat teenagers they suspected of shoplifting from a mall. Critics also note that Nation of Islam is a religious organization, and should not be receiving public monies of any kind. ***** FREEMAN UPDATE ~~ GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES AND MORE ABOUT ''THE GUY THING''... The Montana Freemen group which has managed to project an image of rebellious independence and self-sufficiency actually received over $676,000 in government aid according to public records and files in a local County Courthouse. While branding the Federal Government as a "corporate prostitute," Freemen booster Ralph E. Clark was the beneficiary of subsidy programs and emergency aid over a ten-year period. But when the farm economy started having trouble in the 1980's, Clark began having confrontations with everyone from state tax officials to the Farmers Home Administration. One problem which may have complicated things -- the Freemen member cannot read or write according to an attorney who helped Clark once avoid foreclosure. There is other interesting news about the Freemen and their Christian Identity beliefs: * Rodney Skurdal, head of security for the Freemen group was a Marine Corps sergeant who worked in a special detail which drove political dignitaries at the Western White House under President Nixon, and even guarded President Gerald Ford during his stays at Camp David, Maryland. Following his discharge, Skurdal became a roustabout, and damaged his skull during an oil rig accident. He "underwent a personality change," according to the New York Times, and now, appropriately, has the nickname "Skull." * There is an interesting Mormon connection in the Freemen saga, involving that sect's teachings about women, patriarchy and polygamy. Identity teachings such as the "Remnant Resolves" affirm the subjugation and submission of women to men. There is also the tradition of men taking numerous wives to emulate the practice of the old Hebrew Patriarchs, a church teaching declared in 1843 when the inventor of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, wrote about "Moses, Abraham, David and Solomon having many wives and concubines...a new and everlasting covenant." Smith declared that "if any man espouse a virgin...(or even) ten virgins...he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him." Smith and other Mormons practiced polygamy; the Mormon prophet accumulated a "stable" of forty-two women, but favored one or two at any time. Some declared that there was "less room for jealousy when wives live under the same roof," but feminists of the era tried to woo Mormon women away from the practice. Polygamy was even compared to the institution of slavery by some. While Polygamy was abolished in order to bring Utah into the Union, it is still advocated by "fundamentalist Mormons" who constitute a unique sub-culture on the American religious landscape. There are "fundamentalist Mormons" who, as part of that doctrine, consider girls to ready for marriage when they reach puberty. Freemen compound member Gloria Ward is one such person, and reportedly "pushed" her 14-year old daughter into marriage with the leader of such a neo-Mormon sect, John Perry Chaney, age 38. Chaney is presently in Utah, charged with conspiracy to commit rape; he "married" his 13-year old daughter to a 48-year old sect member named Don Beaver. * Dale Jacobi is the man in charge of religious doctrine for the Freemen group; he is a Christian Identity preacher who had lectured at various militia seminars, and declared that "Jews brought the blacks into this country to destroy us (whites)," and that "God tells his people to kill many, many times in Scripture. He doesn't allow murder, but he allows killing. * Former Green Beret Colonel "Bo" Gritz, who continued to be an intermediary in negotiations between the Freemen and the FBI, is an ex-Mormon. Adherents of the "Two Seed" theology, however, may find the "Patriarch of the Militia Movement" as a lapsed soul, since he is divorced and presently has a Chinese wife. * There appears to be an odd synergy between doomsday-militia groups which retreat into fortified compounds, and bizarre religious ideologies that preach subjugation of women, and the role of males as "heads of the household." That has made female militia leaders such as Linda Thompson an outcast in the eyes of certain segments of the movement. There is the case of the Rulo compound in Nebraska, for instance, where Michael "Archangel" Ryan presided over a neo-Nazi community with four "Queens" and numerous servants and followers. Echoing his "God of the Old Testament" patriarchal line, Ryan engaged in murder, torture and theft. He also invented a scam called "the Arm Test" to determine the will of God when the almighty was asked a question. This "test" was employed nightly to see who would be the recipient of Ryan's "seed". The compound also had a rather nervous goat; males in the Rulo compound were forced to sodomize the animal and each other while the "Patriarch" had sex with their wives, mothers and daughters. (For more on the Rulo compound, see "Armed and Dangerous" by James Coates --Hill & Wang, 1987) ***** THEISTWATCH SHORT SHOTS Pope John Paul assures us that a) the "resurrection of Christ" was for real and b) followers of J.C. were really skeptics. Speaking to a throng of believers Sunday in St. Pete's Square, the Pontiff, "replying to recent theological skepticism concerning the resurrection of Christ" (Reuters) said: "The appearance of Christ was the determining experience. It was certainly an extraordinary experience but completely believable given the trust owed to those who were involved. Not just Peter and the other apostles but a good number of disciples, men and women." Really? We beg to differ. The accounts about tales like the resurrection weren't put to paper until decades, even centuries past the time when they allegedly occurred. Worse yet, scholars still argue over the authenticity of the documents which were conveniently massaged, edited, embellished, cut and then fit in Procrustean form into the church doctrines of the fourth century, c.e. and labeled with much fanfare as "The New Testament." And His Holiness has some strange standards when it comes to the verifiability of claims and evidence. "One can rule out any possible fraud," we're assured, "by considering the holiness of their lives, many of which ended in martyrdom. Nothing makes one think they were seized by mystical exaltation or collective hallucination." Well, being killed for a cause doesn't make that cause proper, true and just, at least in the eyes of cool, objective and critical observers. And the "holiness of their lives", referring to the apostles, rests likewise on some dubious writings. Bottom line, Your Eminence -- you've got a shabby case at best for demonstrating the validity of any of your religious claims. ***** We keep hearing about how the "god" of various religions does so many wonderful and miraculous things... the one person who survives the airplane crash is a "miracle" or the lone individual who is "cured" of cancer after prayer is proof of "God's power." But it sure takes some good 'ol technology and Works of Man (and Woman!) when it comes to things like logistical support for the annual Haj or pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. For the latest four-day event, more than $1.6 billion was spent improving water and sewage facilities, and close to 4,000 additional phone circuits installed. Special medical evacuation planes were on stand-by, and we've gotten reports of everything from air conditioned tents (!) for the faithful to cold-storage centers and trucks with food supplies. In their enigmatic style, the Saudi authorities also note that the only individual who became ill during the religious festival was an Iranian politician; he was shipped back home in a plane. *************** We're really becoming a nation of wet-nursed wimps who want church and state to hold our hand, lest we see, hear, experience or (worse yet!) actually DO something sinful, offensive, politically incorrect or taboo. We've got warning labels on everything from CD's to magazines, and now -- thanks to the Communications Decency Bill and the religious right -- we might just have them in cyberspace. Yesterday, a government witness who happens to hail from the Mormon Church university -- Brigham Young -- proposed that "objectionable" Internet material have a tag he called "L-18" which would require proof of age from users, similar to a credit card verification number. Now, this writer hears constantly about how constipated religious types worry and fred over the "Mark of the Beast", good 'ol 666, which supposedly will be stamped on all believer's foreheads, hands, buttocks or some other anatomical part under the regime of the Antichrist as a requirement for doing business. The more imaginative proclaim that the supermarket barcode is the first insidious step in this diabolical process. (I've though it was just a scheme to rip off consumers, but...) I think that the REAL mark of the REAL beast is something like "L-18" Anyway, yesterday in Manhattan Federal Court, BYU professor Dan Olsen proposed this Orwellian scheme, and was promptly challenged by attorney Randall J. Boe. Mr. Boe happens to represent a man named Joseph P. Shea, editor of an on-line newspaper called The American Reporter; and Mr. She would like to publish an article about former President Richard Nixon, and wanted to include excerpts from those (explitive deleted) Watergate tapes, which are just brimming with foul language. Olsen admitted that under the "Decency" Law -- now being challenged in two lawsuits, including the Manhattan litigation -- readers of The American Reporter would have to go through the cumbersome task of "L-18" verification; that could cost Olsen and his on-line paper $10,000 if, say, 10,000 people had to be verified at an estimated cost of $1 per person. Well, the rest of Monday's court fiasco involved numerous what-ifs; at one point the Judge became so frustrated that he asked lawyers to provide clear definitions for terms like "patently offensive" and "indecent." Judge Jose Cabranes then queried "Can material be 'sexually explicit' and yet be neither 'obscene' nor 'indecent'?" Such legal sophistry is clearly the result of religious prudes trying to legislate that thing they define as morality. The Christian Coalition and its allies is chalking up the Communications Decency Act as one of its recent "victories", but it remains to be seen if the law is constitutional, or even enforcible. Just to appease religious sentiment, we may all end up paying more and more for information in cyberspace, as worried publishers on-line implement costly and cumbersome schemes like "L-18." Hmmm...wonder if "L-18" should be required for any on-line version of The Holy Bible? There's plenty of "sexually explicit" material there, Your Honor. ********* Remember the controversy that erupted when Pope John Paul took his roadshow through Latin America last fall? TheistWatch tracked the antics of one Bishop Sergio von Helder, a member of the Brazilian Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, as he beat up a statue of Mary during a TV broadcast. The Kingdom of God outfit is headed by one Edir Macedo, who presides over a network of 300 member churches in 30 countries. While blasting the papacy for all sorts of alleged vices and crimes, though, Macedo has been up to some hanky-panky of his own. The Brazilian government has gone to court to freeze his assets, insisting that he owes some $5 million in back taxes and fines. And the Roman Catholic Church there struck back, releasing a video provided by a former Macedo flunkie, which shows the Neo-Pentacostal leader "dancing lewdly on a beach, joking about stripping at a Jerusalem hotel party, and grinning while counting donation," according to Christianity Today. The Kingdom of God countered, pouring demonstrators into city streets throughout Brazil, and managed to mobilize 100,000 in Sao Paulo alone. Pentacostal and evangelical groups are booming in Latin America, once considered the privileged "turf" of the Roman Catholic Church, which has a long history of allying itself with the political powers-that-be throughout the region. Seems now that the monopoly is broken, but unfortunately not by secular activism. In the meantime, Mr. Macedo has apparently corralled his own substantial and lucrative following in the belief-marketplace and is, literally, joking and dancing all the way to the bank. ********** ON-LINE RESOURCES FROM AMERICAN ATHEISTS... If you would like to receive information about American Atheists, just send e-mail to: info@atheists.org. Be sure to include your name, address and zip code. Members of American Atheists may participate in aachat, our moderated discussion forum. Contact aachat@atheists.org for further information, and be sure to give your name and mailing address. You may post or forward dispatches of AANEWS, or quote our material provided that appropriate credit is given to both American Atheists and the aanews. For additional background on this list, contact: aanews-request@listserv.atheists.org, and put "info aanews" in the body of your e-mail message. Coming soon ~~ the American Atheists site on the world wide web! Watch this space for further details. ******** AANEWS is a 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. Edited and written by Conrad F. Goeringer, The LISTMASTER.

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