Date: Mon, 1 Jul 1996 12:25:24 -0700 Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for July 1, 1996 nn nn AANE

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Date: Mon, 1 Jul 1996 12:25:24 -0700 from: Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for July 1, 1996 Reply-To:, nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnn AANEWS nnnnnnnnnn # 83 uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu 7/1/96 In This Edition... * Bishops Try To Checkmate Clinton on Abortion Veto * Atheists Oppose Loan Guarantee Swindle * British Paper Charges Identity Link in Oklahoma Bombing * Ciller Sells Out to Fundamentalists in Turkey * About This List... CHURCH CAMPAIGN AGAIN SLAMS CLINTON ON ABORTION VETO Roman Catholic churches throughout the country became hotbeds of political activism on Sunday, as ecclesiastical officials distributed 27,000,000 postcards to parishioners, hoping to mobilize a wave of opposition to President Clinton over his decision to veto the Partial Birth Abortion Act. Earlier, AANEWS had reported that the recent Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting had discussed distributing five million pre-printed cards; it now appears that is just the number they hope lands on the desks of senators and congressional representatives in just the next few days. There are other scattered reports of the latest church effort to overturn the presidential veto which Clinton enacted on April 10. In Miami, the archbishop took out advertising in Sunday papers and television calling for Congress to repeal the ban. There have also been reports of prayer vigils and other activities. The Partial Birth Abortion Act was a major plank in the Christian Coalition's "Contract With the American Family" announced last summer; it would ban a rarely-used late term procedure referred to as "dilation and extraction." Abortion rights advocates note that the procedure is usually employed when there are severe medical complications to either the mother or the fetus; they warn, though, that banning the "D & X" would possibly be the first step in outlawing abortion altogether, especially since the legislation refers to "pre-born children" and not fetuses. Following his April 10 veto of the Act, Clinton came under immediate fire from the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, which released a rare declaration specifically addressed to the President condemning his action. Clinton refused to sign the bill, saying that it did not allow for exceptions such as the health of the mother. The Bishops declared that they abortion procedure was a "heinous act to kill a tiny infant just seconds from taking his or first first breath outside the womb." The Christian Coalition Contract is even more specific, talking about the "security of un-born children in their mother's womb." Critics say that the Bishops and their Protestant evangelical-fundamentalist allies are trying to create an emotionally-charged climate over the abortion question, and use extreme examples in whipping up support for their proposed ban. Kate Michelman, director of the National Abortion Rights Action league, said: "They're going to try to keep the issue of the right to choose confined to issues like late-term abortions rather than on the central question: Who should make the decision at any stage of pregnancy?" *************** ATHEISTS OPPOSE LOAN GUARANTEE SCHEME The following press release is being released to the news media today: American Atheists today announced that it opposes the Clinton administration's loan guarantee program for churches which have been destroyed as the result of arson. The senate version of the Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996 (S.1890) was approved on June 26. Section 4 of the proposed legislation authorizes the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to use up to $10,000,000 of credit subsidy which would be used in rebuilding religious houses of worship. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives which last week passed a similar measure, and President Clinton -- who originally called for the program -- is expected to sign it. Ellen Johnson, President of American Atheists, said that the loan program is a clear violation of First Amendment state-church separation. While condemning arson and violence against churches, she noted: "About 1% of the arsons committed in the United States each year involve churches. This program uses public funds to guarantee loans to religious organizations, and so involves the use of taxpayer funds to aid religion." "While we deplore violence against churches, President Clinton is being unfair when he asks the 10-15% of Americans who are Atheists, agnostics and other freethinkers to subsidize the construction of buildings for the purpose of religious exercise." ***************** CHRISTIAN IDENTITY FIGURE LINKED TO OKLAHOMA BOMBING? For pop-star Meatloaf, "Two outta' three ain't bad!" But that seems to describe the current government investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing, an event which has focused the nation's attention on the shadowy world of militias, racialist cult-compounds and and neo-nazi movements. According to Britain's Electronic Telegraph today, there are significant leads in the case involving at least one member of a Christian Identity group, which for some reason federal investigators seem to be overlooking. The Telegraph also observes: "The Oklahoma investigation is losing credibility fast, with talk of a cover-up now reaching fever pitch." Today's story involves the identity of the so-called "John Doe II" who was purportedly with bombing suspect Tim McVeigh when he allegedly rented a Ryder truck used in the April 1995 blast. This person was described as tanned and muscular with tattoos. Enter Glenn and Kathy Wilburn, who lost two grandchildren in the Oklahoma City blast which killed a total of 168 persons, and have been conducting their own probe of the tragedy. According to the Telegraph, they believe that they have found their man. But with McVeigh and co-suspect Terry Nichols now under wraps, the Wilburns think that for some reason, investigators have backed off of their original hunt for the elusive third suspect, dubbed John Doe II. Three witnesses at the Ryder agency claim that they saw McVeign with this person, and two more have come forward to describe this unidentified male -- Catina Lawson (a close friend of McVeigh's) and her mother, Connie Smith. Despite giving considerable evidence ot the FBI, and signing sworn statements, the information provided by these people has apparently not been pursued. The Telegraph reports that the Wilburns have identified this individual as a 24-year old who "comes from a solid Catholic family," and is the son of a fire department officials. He purportedly tried to establish a white supremacist group on the Philadelphia-area college campus he attended. In 1993 he left school, and joined the armed religious cult in the Ozarks called Elohim City, a sect within the Christian Identity movement. He shared living quarters with a German neo-nazi identified as Andreas Strassmeir. The Wilburns have announced that they plan to file a civil lawsuit naming Strassmeir as a "US federal informant with material knowledge of the (Oklahoma City) bombing." There is speculation that the former Bundeswehr intelligence officer has had ties to various U.S. government agencies. The man identified as John Doe II seems to match the description provided by witnesses at the Ryder truck rental firm, down to the tattoo on the left arm which consisted of a circle with four spokes. This is believed to be the symbol of The Order, a violent military faction of the Aryan Nation/Christian Identity church, which was involved in a series of robberies and murders during the mid-1980's. **************************** CORRUPTION CHARGES LEAD TO POWER FOR TURKISH MUSLIMS Islamic fundamentalists are on the verge of achieving political power in Turkey, an event unheard of in the 73-year history of that secular state. The muslim Welfare party of Necmettin Erbakan is working to cobble together a coalition government, and has apparently succeeded in winning the support of Tansu Ciller, leader of the True Path movement and a former Prime Minister. This is a strange role for Ciller, who became the country's first female leader in 1993. She had joined the True Path Party in 1990 after an academic career in the United States, and soon became identified as a champion of secular, free-market reforms. She had repeatedly maintained that her guiding principle was "no coalition with fundamentalists." Ciller did make a coalition with Mesut Yilmaz of the Motherland Parety, another secular, pro-western group. In late May, that arrangement disintegrated, in part from the victory the fundamentalists had won back in December when they emerged first in the national elections. The secular Democratic Left Party abstained from a confidence vote, thus creating an opening for Erbakan and his fundamentalist supporters. But there is evidence that Erbakan "has the goods" on Ciller; the Welfare Party charged that she had established an enormous slush-fund, and then- Prime Minister Yilmaz threatened to send the case for investigation to the country's Supreme Court. Now, Ciller appears to be in a shotgun-wedding with her enemy, Mr. Erbakan, and the country is thought by some to be on the possible verge of an Islamic uprising. Erbakan now promises to drop his support for a parliamentary probe into Ciller's corruption charges in exchange for a coalition with the True Path. The Sanbah newspaper which supported Ciller declared: "If Ciller now won't lose sleep over fears of being indicted before the supreme court, she should be kept awake by her own shame." Thus far, a number of True Path legislators are trying to assemble a "no" majority on another confidence vote, but observers say that is unlikely. The Islamicists have offered Mrs. Ciller the post of Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. The Times of London noted that "The woman who previously presented herself as a leader who could stop Welfare is now acting as the guarantor who can stop Mr. Ekbarkan turning Turkey into an Islamic state." As for the country's next leader , The Christian Science Monitor notes: "Turkey's new Muslim prime minister takes pride in the fact that he has not missed even one of his five daily prayers since he was 13 years old. In his speeches, he frequently refers to Allah. He also regularly invokes Ottoman words and lets admirers kiss his hands." Western observers are hoping that this political marriage of convenience will manage to keep the Islamicists in check. There is also a two-year rotation, which means that Ciller would again become Prime Minister in 24-months. Erbakan may not have sufficient clout to overturn the secular reforms begun by Kamal Ataturk seven decades ago, at least right away. But his more extreme supporters are believed to have plans of their own to establish an Islamic Republic, similar to that in Iran. *********************** 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 e-mail to: and include your name and postal address. You may forward, post or quote from this dispatch, provided that credit is given to AANEWS and American Atheists. For subscribe/unsubscribe information, send mail to: and put "info aanews" (minus the quotation marks, please!) in the message body. Edited and written by Conrad F. Goeringer, The LISTMASTER.


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