+quot;Let's Not Abandon the Best Contract Our Country Has,+quot; American Atheists Declare

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"Let's Not Abandon the Best Contract Our Country Has," American Atheists Declares For Release: 17 May 1995 Contacts: AMERICAN ATHEISTS, INC. Jon Murray or Robin Murray-O'Hair Telephone: (512) 458-1244 American Atheists, the organization founded by the family which successfully litigated for the end of school prayer, issued a statement today calling "The Contract with the American Family" an attack on the nation's most basic social contract and ideals. "The bottom line," Jon Murray, president of the organization, added, "is that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights do not matter to the Christian Coalition and its allies. They do to American Atheists. And we will be on hand to work against each and every point of the so-called 'Contract with the American Family.' " Earlier this month, American Atheists launched a program aimed at specifically combating attempts to legislate school prayer. "The Problem with Prayer Project" calls for "school prayer survivors" to submit their accounts of dealing with religion in the schools for a presentation to Congress. The organization will also publish educational materials on the problems with other points in the Coalition's agenda, particularly the funding of religious schools and charities with taxpayer funds. "It's time to privatize religion," Jon Murray said. The full text of the statement follows: There is a dark and frightening irony in the Christian Coalition's call for legislation to forward its religious agenda: The Coalition is willing to abandon the most basic social contract our nation has ever forged -- the Constitution. Behind all the verbiage of the Coalition's "Contract with the American Family" is one frightening premise, that their interpretation of the Bible supersedes any manmade law, including the founding documents of the United States. In the past, Ralph Reed and Pat Robertson have claimed to respect the First Amendment. By embracing a call for a constitutional amendment superseding it, they show their contempt for it. They would rather change the laws than obey them. At issue is not religious freedom. Reed and his cohorts have that. Our country is filled with churches, religious broadcasting, religious books, even religious computer bulletin boards. Anyone can pray anytime, at home, at church, on television, or online. Religious people may conduct their lives in any way they see fit as long as they do not harm others. What is at issue is religious tyranny -- can Reed and Robertson make the rest of us a captive audience to their brand of Christianity? All over the world, we see the examples of what happens when religious and ethnic beliefs prevail over "manmade" law -- religious and tribal slaughters in Bosnia, in Ireland, in Rwanda. What has held the United States together in the past has been the secular social contract known as our Constitution, which provides for us all to be free from state sponsorship of sectarian beliefs. Now is not the time for our Congress to be bullied into breaching the contract that the Constitution of the United States has had with its people for over two hundred years. *********************************************************************** * * * 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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