American Atheists, Inc. P O Box 140195, Austin, TX 78714-0195 Telephone: (512) 458-1244 FA

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American Atheists, Inc. P O Box 140195, Austin, TX 78714-0195 Telephone: (512) 458-1244 FAX: (512) 467-9525 BBS: (512) 302-0223 PRESS RELEASE Por Immediate Release December 27, 1994 Congress Catches Up with Atheist Organization In the quest to bring down the costs of government, some Republicans are talking about replacing the congressional chaplains and their assistants with volunteer clergy. The cut would save $289,000 a year -- and catch the Congress up with decade-old American Atheist demands. GOP transition team leader Rep. Jim Nussle (R-IA) has said that Republicans should consider replacing the paid, full-time chaplains with a series of volunteer chaplains from different denominations. The chaplaincy appeared on a list of possible cuts after the November elections. Additionally, Rep. Robert Livingston (R-LA), the incoming House Appropriations Committee chairman, has made public his support for ending the chaplaincy. The Congressional chaplaincy was challenged in federal court by American Atheists during the 1980s in the suit Murray v. Buchanan. First filed on June 13, 1980, as Murray v. Morton, 505 F. Supp. 144 (D.C. District Court, 1981), the final decision in the suit was in 1982 as Murray v. Buchanan, 674 F.2d 14 (D.C. Cir. 1982). In its decision, the federal appellate court held that the matter was a political issue and was not ripe for adjudication by a federal court. In reaction to the challenge by American Atheists, the House passed a resolution endorsing the chaplaincy in 1982. "I am glad this is finally becoming a political issue," noted Jon G. Murray, who brought the 1980 case. "For over a hundred years, Atheist groups have demanded an end to legislative and military chaplaincies. We have always been blocked in the courts, but perhaps the need for a realistic budget will finally bring an end to this unconstitutional endorsement of religion." Jon G. Murray is president of American Atheists, Inc. Based in Austin, Texas, American Atheists is a national nonprofit organization providing information on Atheism and working for state/church separation. For further comments, contact: Jon G. Murray, president or Robin Murray-O'Hair, exec. secretary, at (512) 458-1244 or (512) 458- 1271. *********************************************************************** * * * American Atheists website: http://www.atheists.org * * PO Box 140195 FTP: ftp://ftp.atheists.org * * Austin, TX 78714-0195 * * Voice: (512) 458-1244 Dial-THE-ATHEIST: * * FAX: (512) 467-9525 (512) 458-5731 * * * * Atheist Viewpoint TV: avtv@atheists.org * * Info on American Atheists: info@atheists.org, * * & American Atheist Press include your name and mailing address * * AANEWS -Free subscription: aanews-request@listserv.atheists.org * * 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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