Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 12:25:24 -0700 Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for June 4, 1996 nn nn AANE

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Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 12:25:24 -0700 from: Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for June 4, 1996 Reply-To:, nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnn AANEWS nnnnnnnnnn #56 uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu 6/4/96 In This Edition... * More On Religion From "Justus Township" * Iran Behind Attempted Coup In Bahrain? * Utah: Court Doesn't Sing First Amendment Song * TheistWatch: Soccer In Peru, Sexy Perfume, Kids At Risk * aachat * You Too Can Become An AANEWS Correspondent! (Wow!) * About This List... FROM WACO TO ''JUSTUS'' TOWNSHIP `` RELIGION AND THE FREEMEN SIEGE It is the 71st day of the standoff between "Freemen" separatists in Montana and a small army of FBI agents. Yesterday, the government cut power to the Freeman ranch near Jordon, an area the group has declared "Justus Township." That action was followed by other FBI movements, including a single pass by a black helicopter near the Freemen compound. Three armored "emergency rescue vehicles", as one FBI press released described them, have arrived to a location near the government's tactical headquarters. Inside the compound, the Freemen show no sign of giving up. Members are wanted on a variety of state and federal warrants, including charges that they passed nearly $20 million in bogus checks and instruments. There have been over four-dozen third-party negotiators involved at one time or another in the confrontation, including Militia-patriot movement guru James "Bo" Grizt and Colorado State Senator Charles Duke. But now, another negotiator -- Phillip Arnold -- has been called in, thus emphasizing the bizarre, doctrinal religious nature of the Freemen standoff and creating in the minds of many people another syncretic link to other events laden with social significance, including the disaster at Waco in 1993. Arnold and co-author Jim Tabor wrote a detailed exposition of the theological ideas of David Koresh and his Branch Davidian followers titled: "David Koresh Manuscript, Exposition of the Seven Seals." In the book's editorial preface, Arnold notes that in his last public letter, Koresh "asked that the completed manuscript" he was working on be transmitted to Arnold and Tabor through attorney Dick DeGuerin. Adds Arnold: "His (Koresh) exposition of the First Seal was perhaps the most vital in understanding his sense of his own mission, the reasons for the Waco siege, and what ultimately transpired." Investigations by journalists, a congressional committee and other sources indicate that the actions of the FBI in the Waco tragedy arose from a number of complex factors, ranging from the possible lack of control exercised by Attorney General Janet Reno, to a "factional split" within FBI ranks between its Hostage Rescue Team ("cowboys") and the professional negotiators who talked to Koresh. For some, including Arnold, what happened at Waco stemmed in part from a misunderstanding of the religious aspect of the Branch Davidian confrontation. Indeed, James Tabor co-authored another book titled "Why Waco? Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America," (Univ. of California Press) and noted: "The FBI chose to ignore David Koresh's pronouncements about the religious significance of the events in Waco, statements that contained the only feasible solution to the crisis. The agents called to Mount Carmel could hardly have been expected to pack their Bibles, but in retrospect it would not have been such a bad idea." The religious ideas in Freemen ideology are different from those embraced by the Branch Davidian cult. The Freemen subscribe to a peculiar theology known as Christian Identity, a teaching shared by a hard-core of perhaps 30,000-40,000 adherents many linked to neo-nazi, racialist and militia movements. Elements of Identity teaching appear in books like "The Turner Diaries," which some say Tim McVeigh utilized as a "blueprint" in the Oklahomo City bombing. For Identity followers, Waco and Oklahoma City are constitute parts of a larger theo-political tapestry which includes the shootout between government agents and Randy Weaver during the Ruby Ridge, Idaho battle. Identity is based on two fundamental notions: * The white race of Anglo Saxons is the "lost tribes" of Biblical times and constitutes a distinct racial entity with a divine historical mission. The penultimate stage of biblical history will be the fulfillment of prophecy through an apocalyptic battle and the establishment of a White racial redoubt in the northwest United States. * There is a "Two Seed" Biblical truth. Whites descended from Adam and Eve, but blacks, jews and other "mud people's" came from a "Pre-Adamic" union between Eve and Satan who took the form of a grotesque, hairy beast. According to a leading exponent of Identity philosophy, Aryan Nations, the two seed theory holds that "there are literal children of Satan in the world today...the descendants of Cain, who was a result of Eve's original sin, her physical seduction by Satan." The "Cananite Jew" is the "natural enemy of our Aryan (White) Race." The Freemen mix Identity theology with a political doctrine suspicious of government authority which is not ordained by God. Indeed, the present U.S. government is actually seen as "ZOG", a "Zionist Occupation Government" presided over by a cabal of Jews; hence the popularity of such dubious literature as "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion" and other conspiracy materials in Freemen-militia teachings. Understanding the nuances of Freemen-Identity theololgy may yield a solution to this standoff. Besides his expertise in certain religions, Arnold is also involved with the Reunion Institute of Houston, Texas; one net posting says that its goal is "the reconciliation of children alienated by 'cults' from their families." ****************** VIRGINIA SENATE RACE HIGHLIGHTS CHRISTIAN COALITION EFFORT Today is make-or-break time for incumbent Virginia Senator John Warner. The 69-year old Republican politicians faces a stiff fight in his bid to win renomination, not only from challenger Jim Miller, but from Virginia's Christian Coalition and its staunch supporter, Iran-Contra figure Oliver North. Going into today's primary, Warner holds a commanding 2-1 lead; but that could turn out to be illusory polling- fluff if the incumbent's supporters don't get out to the polls. The roots of the anti-Warner effort go back to 1994, when he refused to support Oliver North in his effort to win a Senate seat. North had the enthusiastic support of religious groups such as the Christian Coalition; and even then, the party's fundamentalist-evangelical block was beginning to show disenchantment with John Warner. The Warner-North split soon turned into a brawl for control of the Virginia GOP organization. Warner attracts religious wrath in part because of his moderate stance on social issues, including his support for abortion rights. His personal life has also alienated staunch religionists; he was briefly married to actress Elizabeth Taylor who was repeatedly denounced by Roman Catholic authorities for her movie exploits (including "condemned" films like "Cleopatra" and "The Sandpiper"), and he presently dates TV interviewer Barbara Walters. Warner also refused to endorse the 1993 GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, Michael Farris -- another Christian Coalition favorite; and he was one of six Republican Senators who in 1987 voted against the confirmation of Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court. Many rank and file of the Virginia GOP, especially those with religious leanings, consider Warner a "traitor." His criticism of North was perhaps the most heated event in state party politics; he called the former White House operative a liar, and in turn North said that Warner's opposition to his own candidacy was "blasphemous." ******************** IRANIAN AGENTS BEHIND ATTEMPTED BAHRAIN COUP? The Arab gulf state of Bahrain announced yesterday that it had arrested 29 agents trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, who were part of an attempted coup against the ruling Khalifa family. According to the Ministry of Information, their purpose was to install a Shiite "Islamic Republic" modeled after the government in Iran. It came as no surprise. A slight majority of Barhrain's 500,000 are Shiites, but the ruling Khalifa family embraces the Sunni tendency of Islam. They have governed the tiny country since the late 18th century, and are generally known for a pro-Western stance. For the past year-and-a-half, Shiite activists have been carrying out a campaign of bombing and rioting which has resulted in over thirty deaths. Bahrain is considered a major financial center for the Gulf, and also has a base for the U.S. Fifth Naval Fleet. The country has received considerable support from neighborhing Saudi Arabia. But even with weapons training and other support, the government in Bahrain has yet to address what the London Times described as "shocking living conditions" in many Shia villages which surround the gleaming capital of Manama. The Helbollah, or "Party of God" is believed to be involved in both the latest spree of riots and the plot linking the 29 arrested Bahranians. As in other countries throughout the region, Iran is exploiting economic and social inequities which are often the result of religious tribalism. Middle East Correspondent Christopher Walker found that "the natural resentment of the Shia underclass provided Iranian recruiters with ready support." Meanwhile, the Gulf Cooperation Council issued an "unusually strongly worded statement" against Iran and demanded an end to "acts of sabotage and encouraging them." ************ SETBACK IN UTAH SEPARATION CASE A U.S. District Judge has ruled that a choir director at a Salt Lake City public school was not promoting religion in the selection of songs to be performed for a 1995 graduation ceremony. Rachel Bauchman, then a sophmore at West Side High School, claimed that her rights were violated by choir director Richard Torgerson who "created a hostile environment for students...not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Bauchman, a Jew, found the songs offensive, and said that a "totality of circumstances" -- including lectures and holiday rituals for the choir -- lead to a violation of the establishment of religion clause of the Bill of Rights. The court, however, disagreed. Judge J. Thomas Green ruled that "There is no allegation or evidence Torgerson taught his choir class to adopt his religion or that he advocated Christianity nor proselyted (sic) Mormonism." He dismissed a total of 13 claims against the choir director, and ruled that Bauchman's claims against district officials should be dismissed as well. A federal appeals court had barred the choir from singing religious Christian songs during the 1995 graduation ceremony. Some students, however, then "spontaneously" performed the song "Friends", thus igniting another round of bitter controversy. Utah Society of Separationists Director Chris Allen said that students were not only flouting the law but were engaged in "bigoted and intolerant" behavior in their efforts to use the graduation ceremony -- at any cost -- as a religious pulpit. Bauchman's attorney announced that the decision will be appealed. ****** THEISTWATCH SHORT SHOTS Scandal is rocking the Roman Catholic establishment in San Francisco. A 120-page indictment is pending against an accused pedophile priest, who is also charged with embezzling at least $150,000 from parishioners and living high on the hog. The priest was once "a trusted adviser" to former San Francisco Archbishop John Quinn according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and had earlier been busted for allegedly molesting nine young boys. The Frisco' church is still trying to recover from the $2.5 million it had to pay out in a civil suit filed on behalf of 15 men who say they were molested by various priests. And another man of the cloth pleaded guilty last month to grabbing $200,000 from the collection plate. The Rev. Martin Greenlaw, though, ended up drawing a year of home detention, which prompted the new DA, Terence Hallinan, to snicker "We put people in jail for less every day!" ************ State constitutions seem to be a tempting target for all kinds of religious nuttery. No sooner has Colorado recovered from the embarrassing incident of "Amendment 2" which discriminated against gays (and lost Denver and other towns tens of millions of dollars in an economic boycott) than religious zanies have a new proposal for the ballot. It's a state-level version of the Parental Rights & Responsibilities Act which, TW has observed, is just another excuse to beat the living hell out of the kids and indoctrinate them in all sorts of religious jive. Like its counterparts being promoted throughout the nation, the Colorado proposal would add to the state's constitution that inalienable right of parenets "to direct and control the upbringing, education, values and discipline of their children." The amendment is all the rage with that state's coalition of religious groups, many of which operate from their fundy Mecca of Colorado Springs. From the giant Focus on the Family group of Bible disciplinarian James Dobson to the tamer "missionary" and "crusade' outfits, Colorado Springs is becoming a city divided between secularists and theo-political extremists. Even so, the proposal is getting some stiff opposition. Our Colorado correspondent, Margie Wait, observes that "It didn't pass in the legislature, so now they're trying to get Parental Rights on the ballot." A spokesperson for the Coalition for the Protection of Children told the Rocky Mountain News "Of course we want parental rights, but this measure simply goes too far." Katie Reinisch added that "We have a responsibility to protect our children from abuse, and (this measure) would make that impossible." That's because children's advocates would be hard pressed to intervene in cases of abuse, beating and even sexual assault. Coalition attorney Louis Kelley said that the amendment would be "a full employment act for lawyers" who would be dragged into litigation over everything from school curriculums to birth control sounseling. Indeed, a whole range of outrageous behaviors could be defended as a "religious right", or "parental option." Bottom line: proposals like the Colorado Parental Rights Amendment have nothing to do with rights and everything to do with religious discontent with modernity -- evolution in science classes, sex education in schools, even the few protections which kids have from physical assault. The good news is that supporters have yet to even get the 54,242 signatures needed to get onto the ballot. *********** With the year 2,000 rapidly approaching, TW has predicted that more prosaic and even unusual events will be fitted into a pop-culture scenario linked to millennialist angst and day-of-judgment jitters. In May, for instance, we profiled the TV special "Mysteries of the Millennium" which discussed the feeling of trepidation, convergence, anciticpation and worry that has started to infest the culture over the fruition of everything from bible prophecy to the disjointed rantings of Nostradamus. Call it the millennium mind set. So when we read that an asteroid about 1/3 of a mile in diameter whizzed by earth in mid-May at the relatively close distance of 279,000 miles -- right next door in the cosmic scale of things -- we new that this cosmic interloper would become a hot topic for millennium watchers. It has. Millennium Matters, a web site and news group discussing the millennialist significance of everything from UFO's to cropcircles and visitations by the Virgin Mary, mentioned this high-flying asteroid, and netizens began chattering away as well. Late in May, an even larger asteroid flew into our neck of the solar system, passing within 1.9 million miles of earth. Don't bet money, though, on the end of the world, or its demise by an encounter with a Very Large Body (VLB). The odds are about 20,000 to 1 according to astronomers. Would you take those chances in Vegas? *********** The next time you hear an argument about prayer at public school athletic events, just think of Juan Osco. Juan is the self-styled "Shaman of the Andes," who is attracting plenty of media attention in his home town of Lima, Peru. Frankly, we expect to see him on one of those "unsolved mystery"-type programs for the intellectual consumption of "notreamericanos." That's because Mr. Osco is using his powers as a sorcerer to help Peru's ailing soccer team. Prior to games, Juan leads his fellow "medicine men" in such mysterious rituals as kicking, stabbing and spitting at dolls which represent top players from the opposing team. He told Reuters during one game with rival Columbia: "We're calling on the evil spirits to sap their energy so they'll be dozy on the pitch." Juan also builds a portable "Altar of Evil" to use with his figures. "We've bound their legs together so they can't run, we've covered their eyes so they can't see the goal, and the goalkeeper's got his hands tied up." Osco's latest attempt, though, was a flop. Columbia earned a crucial 1-1 draw. Wonder what THEIR shaman did! ******** How do you avoid secular temptation and "sin" when you're a Cistercian monk living on an island off the coast of Ireland? It isn't easy. But 16 monks on Caldy Island are bringing in the cold cash -- some 300,000 pounds, about $480,000 U.S. -- by selling everything from perfumes and dairy products to bringing in boatloads of tourists. It's a very worldly activity, of course, and it is causing a bit of a dilemma for one Father Stephen, the parfumier. He told the London Times that "Our fragrances are old-fashioned, classic blends which linger a long while," but advertising the scents was proving to be a bit of a problem. Said the monk: "Modern perfumes all tend to be advertised with references to sex and sexuality. We could not compete unless we used a picture of a nude granny on the beach." ***************************** It's not just those Protestant fundamentalists and evangelicals you have to worry about. Or those "bearded guys" in the middle east who are cheering their favorite Ayatollah or Rabbi. The Vatican is keeping its own "family values" campaign in high gear, and last Monday again blasted government and the media for promoting everything from quickie-divorce to homosexual marriages. In a thirty page document dealing with marriage, the Vatican decried a sharp drop in many countries in the rate of marriage and a rise in divorce rates, separation, and cohabitation. The statement was prepared by the Pontifical Council for the Family and titled "Preparation for the Sacrament of Marriage." You'd think that these folks would at least have the good sense to concern themselves with their own followers and congregations. But noooooo....the statement denounced laws which made divorce relatively easy (no-fault divorce), an issue that is quickly become a favorite topic for religious fundamentalists and evangelicals. Abortion, gay marriage, and even pre-marital sex were all listed as "contrary to the Roman Catholic faith" and said to "contribute to aggravating the situation and creating a mentality that hurts the family." And this from a bunch of guys who have never tied the knot! *************** Are You An American Atheists Member? If so, remember that we sponsor aachat, an internal, members-only moderated discussion list for Atheism, state-church separation and related subjects. If you would like to participate, send e-mail to: Be sure to include your name and mailing address, and the moderator will contact you. ******** Interested in a career in investigative journalism? Why bother trying to become an intern at the New York Times? There's plenty of opportunity as an correspondent with aanews! Seriously, we are looking for readers who would be willing to send aanews clips and other information from their local communities and states which we could use in preparing our dispatches.A fax machine helps, but e-mail works as well. If you can help out, just drop us a line at: Let us know where you live, what papers or other publications you read, and how we can get back to you. Sorry, no company car, no salary, no cell phone or credit card -- but lots of fun. ********* About This List... AANEWS is a free service of 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 more information on American Atheists, send e-mail to:, and include your name and mailing address. You may post, forward or quote from this dispatch, provided that appropriate credit is given to AANEWS and American Atheists. For subscribe/unsubscribe information, send e-mail to:, and put "info aanews" in the message body (minus the quotation marks.) Edited and written by Conrad F. Goeringer, The LISTMASTER. *********************************************************************** * * * American Atheists website: * * PO Box 140195 FTP: * * Austin, TX 78714-0195 * * Voice: (512) 458-1244 Dial-THE-ATHEIST: * * FAX: (512) 467-9525 (512) 458-5731 * * * * Atheist Viewpoint TV: * * Info on American Atheists:, * * & American Atheist Press include your name and mailing address * * AANEWS -Free subscription: * * and put "info aanews" in message body * * * * This text may be freely downloaded, reprinted, and/other * * otherwise redistributed, provided appropriate point of * * origin credit is given to American Atheists. * * * ***********************************************************************


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