Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 12:25:24 -0700 Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for June 13, 1996 nn nn AA
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 12:25:24 -0700
Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for June 13, 1996
Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org, AMERICAN.ATHEISTS@listserv.direct.net
nnnnnnnnnn AANEWS nnnnnnnnnn
#63 uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu 6/13/96
In This Edition...
* Baptists Not Goofy and Gay Over Disney
* Church Arson: Clinton Wants Government Aid
* Churches Protected Pedophiles in Britain, Ireland
* Freement: Surrender Negotiations, More Christian Identity Links
* TheistWatch: Vatican & Iran To Team Up For Cleanliness?
* About This List...
SOUTHERN BAPTISTS BLAST DISNEY FOR GAY BENEFITS
Equal rights for gay men and women is once again the target of religious
bigotry. Yesterday, the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention
voted to censure the Walt Disney Co, in part because the giant theme-park and
entertainment conglomerate has a policy of extending health insurance
benefits to same-sex partners of employees. The Baptist censure comes amidst
a growing national debate on same-sex or "gay marriage," an issue which has
prompted legislation in Congress and criticism from President Clinton.
Meeting in New Orleans, the 14,000 Baptist delegates and officials
approved the anti-Disney resolution, but stopped short of launching an
economic boycott. Observers suggest that this action is a "wait and see"
strategy in hopes that the Walt Disney Co. will alter its benefits policy.
But the gay-marriage issue quickly began to spill over to other complaints.
One Baptist minister told the New York Times that delegates were also upset
with the distribution of the movie "Priest," by Miramax, a Disney Co.
subsidiary. The film plot dealt in part with a Roman Catholic priest
struggling with his latent homosexual tendencies. Catholic and other
religious groups throughout the country called for a banning of the movie.
According to the New York Times, other Baptists expressed sentiments like
"The Disney Co. is not the same Disney that it was years ago when we were
growing up. We find there is a philosophical shift at the highest levels of
the company, which is not friendly to families and people of faith."
Delegates mentioned Disney productions such as the hit-movie "The Lion
King," which some insisted promoted "nature worship." Some religious sects
claimed that the sound-track of the film contained "subliminal" messages
instructing children to remove clothing, although no evidence was ever
Baptists officials declared that homosexual behavior is clearly condemned
in the bible, and charged that "In recent years, the Disney Co. has given the
appearance that the promotion of homosexuality is more important than its
historic commitment to traditional family values." The SBC also condemned
what it said were special gay-themed events at Disney parks.
The trend, though, of offering insurance benefits to same-sex couples
seems to be growing; Disney is one of more than 40 entertainment firms that
now offers such coverage. A representative for the group Hollywood Supports,
which promotes the gay insurance coverage policy, declared that the Baptist
resolution signals "a sad day for organized religion."
There is no timetable or deadline listed in the Southern Baptist
resolution, and Disney Co. representatives said that while they would be
willing to talk with church officials, there were no plans to rescind the
insurance coverage policy.
CHURCH ARSON SPREE CONTINUES AS PRESIDENT CLINTON CALLS
FOR GOVERNMENT LOAN GUARANTEES TO RELIGION
An Oklahoma church with a mixed-race congregation went up in flames early
this morning; authorities are already labeling it arson, making it the fourth
such fire in the last ten days. According to CNN and other news sources,
officials insist that it's too early to know if it is related to any of the
more than 30 fires in the South involving churches, which have prompted a
massive federal investigation.
This morning, CNN reported that the Clinton administration was calling for
the establishment of a special, $10,000,000 guaranteed-loan fund to rebuild
churches, mosques, temples and other religious venues destroyed as the result
of "hate crimes" or "religious vandalism." The network also said that
administration officials were not worried about such a program violating the
First Amendment (Establishment Clause), since it would be including in a
program aimed at racially-motivated criminal behavior.
Even with a task force of over 200 federal agents on the arson cases,
though, there is still no pattern of widespread conspiracy. And religious
leaders continue to object that government investigators are apparently
investigating a number of possible explanations, in some cases questioning
church members and ministers. Throughout the week, leaders of various
religious organizations have denounced the suspected arsons. One United
Church of Christ leader declared "When you burn a church, you are burning a
house of god and the support center and nerve center of our community." A
UCC statement also said that "An outcry by all people of faith is needed now,
lest people as well as buildings become targets of these ugly and violent
On Tuesday, the Christian Coalition again tried to capitalize on the media
coverage of the arsons, sending out press releases noting that its member
churches would "offer the pastors of burned out churches alternative sites
to hold worship services." The group also reiterated its $25,000 reward for
any information leading to convictions in the church burnings.
So far, the arson probe has produced a "mentally troubled" 13-year old
white girl, and three men who were later released for lack of evidence.
About the only hard evidence being used for prosecution involves a case
filed late last week by the Southern Poverty Law Center against the Christian
Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Two Christian Knights are being held in
connection with arsons at a black church.
CATHOLIC OFFICIALS ADMIT CHURCH COVERED-UP CHILD
ABUSE, PEDOPHILE BEHAVIOR
The British cabinet meets today to approve what news sources say is a
"sweeping campaign against paedophiles (sic)", after revelatios about
institutional abuse of youngsters in children's homes. This comes after
revelations that a report on at least one sex-abuse scandal was suppressed.
And Roman Catholic leaders in both Britain and Ireland released statements
admitted that the church has turned a blind eye in the past to the activities
of absuve, pedophile priests.
The Bishop of Portsmouth, in an apology published in Catholic Herald,
said: "I want it to be very clearly understood that I will always act to
protect children...In the past, the Church has not always done this and this
failure to act was wrong."
In Ireland, Dr. William Walsh, Bishop of Killaloe said that the church has
been "sinful" and, according to Electronic Telegraph, must "set aside a
period of repentance each year to reflect on the suffering it has caused."
Walsh made his remarks to the National Conference of Priests of Ireland,
and added that "as a Church we need to apologist, to ask for forgiveness. We
need right now to be a repentant Church."
In both Britain and Ireland, the Church image has been tarnished with
growing numbers of revelations about pedophile activity, and cover-ups by
priests, nuns and ecclesiastical officials. Cases being cited in news
reports involved Fr. Brendan Smyth, jailed in 1994 for molestation, and
Bishop Casey who resigned in 1992 when it was disclosed that he had fathered
a child with an American divorcee. And this past year, numerous victims of
child abuse came forward with shocking accounts of beatings while at an
orphanage run by the Sisters of Mercy.
FREEMEN STANDOFF READY TO END?
As AANEWS is ready for dispatch, there is growing evidence that the 81-day
old standoff between the FBI and the Freemen group could be ready to end. At
least one large truck has moved onto the Freemen compound, reportedly to
transport documents which may be used in any subsequent legal proceedings
involving the separatist group. On the scene are representatives of the
CAUSE Foundation, a legal assistance group associated with white nationalist
movements, which was also involved in events at Waco.
AANEWS has also uncovered significant connections involving CAUSE founder
Kirk Lyons and Christian Identity groups, including the racist Aryan Nations
movement based in Idaho. Lyon's organization started off in 1989 as the
Patriots Defense Foundation, and is dubbed "The ACLU for Patriots" on the
nationalist "Stormfront" web site. Lyons is 37-years old, and a graduate of
the University of Houston. According to the "Stormfront" site, "Lyons and
CAUSE Foundation have gained a reputation for uncompromising dedication and
toughness, from the Ft. Smith, Arkansas, sedition trials to the Randy Weaver
case at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, on to the Branch Davidian affair in Waco, Texas."
Lyons is married to the sister of David Tate, currently serving two life
terms for shooting a Missouri state trooperin connection with the activities
of a group known as The Order. Tate had worked for Rev. Richard Butler, one
of the leading promoters of Christian Identity theo-politics. According to
"Armed and Dangerous", a book by James Coates dealing with Identity,
racial-nationalist and apocalyptic movements in contemporary America, "Tate
had signed on as one of Butler's Aryan 'soldiers," rising quickly through the
ranks until he was chief of security and in charge of training members in
hand-to-hand combat." While driving through Missouri in 1985, Tate was
pulled over by a state trooper after being indicted on racketeering charges;
those charges were connected to the activities of The Order, which had been
involved in a serious of violent robberies in order to raise funds for
various Identity-linked, nationalist groups. According to reports, Tate
opened fire with a machine gun and escaped, but was later captured after
leading police on a six-day hunt. Tate was also linked with CSA, an Identity
group known as Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord.
CAUSE Foundation is based in Black Mountain, N.C.; the abbreviation stands
for Canada, Australia, United States, South Africa and Europe. An Associated
Press story says that "Members describe CAUSE as an international civil
rights legal foundation that defends of the rights of the unpopular, the
powerless and the politically incorrect."
In the latest developments:
* The upside-down American flag at the Freemen compound has been taken
down; a Confederate banner has taken its place.
* Representatives connected with both sides of the standoff are now
hinting that they are working out final details on a possible surrender plan,
including the transport of at least of the Freemen to a jail in Billings,
* CNN reports (as of 3:00 p.m. Eastern) that there will probably be a
surrender today, and that two 15-person transport vans have been brought onto
an area near the Freemen compound.
(Our thanks to AANEWS correspondent Margie Wait for tracking these
THEISTWATCH SHORT SHOTS
AANEWS is tracking another story which hasn't got much mention in the
national media; there are reports that Iran and the Vatican are discussing
"possible cooperation in radio broadcasting in an attempt to
combat...immorality." This report originally came from Tehran radio about
two weeks ago. Seems that the head of the Iranian state-run "Voice and
Vision," a Mr. Ali Larijani, has been meeting with the head of Vatican Radio,
Pasquale Borgomeo. Iran is expressing "complete willingness to cooperate
with the Vatican in technical fields and in radio and television
Out Internet Representative, Margie Wait, does a good deal of background
investigation into the stories which eventually are covered by AANEWS. We
thought that her recent remarks on the aachat newsgroup about the spat of
church arsons would be of interest to readers:
"It just so happens that in today's Rocky Mountain News there was an
article about the displeasure that some ministers have expressed to Attorney
General Janet Reno because their internal organizations are being
"The ministers feel that it is turning into an interrogation, rather than
an investigation. One minister expressed, 'It creates a cloud of suspicion
over those persons and pastors in that congregation until this is resolved.'
They have been supposedly subjected to lie detector tests and other types of
"Apparently, churches are untouchable! Whether it's a fire investigation
or another criminal matter, the church and all of its parts should be left
alone. What they are saying is, 'We want these criminal acts investigated,
but you can't touch me or my flock, because we have special immunity from the
government. We should not have to open our records or our internal matters
to your investigators.'
"It's the old double standard; they want separation of church and state
when it involves 'government interference' in THEIR business, but the
churches want to have the right to interfere and infiltrate in the
government's business and, basically, tear down the Wall of Separation. Go
We also have a report, gratis Ms. Wait and aachat, that a "rabid Christian
talk show host," Hank Irwin, who broadcasts from Birmingham, Alabama, is
saying that some of the fires are copycat acts inspired by the Devil.
Ms. Wait observes: "When all else fails, 'The Devil made 'em do it!' "
About This List...
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