Lucifer's Echo

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=================================================================== ******************************************************************* =================================================================== ____ / ) ___ () / __ * / / ^ / / / / ) / _/_ ___ /__ / \ __| / / / / / /___) / ) \/ \ (_/ \____(__/___(___)___/_____/______(________/________/\___ ) _____ / ) / / _ / _ _ >-- / ) /___ / (_)___ / / / ) / / (_______)___(___)___/ (____(____/ =================================================================== ******The*E-Zine*of*Atheistic*Secular*Humanism*and*Freethought***** =================================================================== ################################################################### ########## Volume I, Number 3 ***A Collector's Item!***########## ###################### ISSN 1198-4619 ########################### ########################## JULY 1994 ############################## ################################################################### In the mythology and symbolism of our name, "Lucifer" is not to be confused with ha-Satan, the mythological source of evil. Lucifer's ancient identity was a bearer of light, the morning star, and it is as such that this journal intends to publish. As the religion virus depends on obscurity, obfuscation, confusion, irrationality and darkness in order to flourish, it is natural that it would see light as an enemy. Rational, skeptical inquiry has ever been the enemy of all religions and is ultimately fatal to all gods. The purpose of this magazine is to provide a source of articles dealing with many aspects of humanism. Humanists have been vilified by the religious as immoral. Apparently, the most horrible thing they can think of is an atheist. As we find their values, such as faith in the non-existent, obedience to the imaginary and reverence of the ridiculous, repulsive, we adopt the name of their ancient antagonist with pride. We are atheistic as we do not believe in the actual existence of any supernatural beings or any transcendental reality. We are secular because the evidence of history and the daily horrors in the news show the pernicious and destructive consequences of allowing religions to be involved with politics and nationalism. We are humanists and we focus on what is good for humanity, in the real world. We will not be put off with offers of pie in the sky, bye and bye. ==><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><== || Begging portion of the Zine || ==><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><== This is a "sharezine." There is no charge for receiving this, and there is no charge for distributing copies to any electronic medium. Nor is there a restriction on printing a copy for use in discussion. You may not charge to do so, and you may not do so without attributing it to the proper author and source. If you would like to support our efforts, and help us acquire better equipment to bring you more and better articles, you may send money to Greg Erwin at: 29, ch Grimes / Aylmer, Qc / J9J 1H4 / CANADA. As of 1994July1, the address will be: 100 Terrasse Eardley / Aylmer, Qc J9H nBn ==><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><== || End of Begging portion of the Zine || ==><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><== Articles will be welcomed IF: ( they are emailed to: ai815@FreeNet.Carleton.CA; or, sent on diskette to me at the above Aylmer address in any format that an IBM copy of WordPerfect can read; ) and they don't require huge amounts of editing; and I like them. If you wish to receive a subscription, email a simple request to ai815@FreeNet.Carleton.CA, with a clear request for a subscription. It will be assumed that the "From:" address is where it is to be sent. We will automate this process as soon as we know how. Yes, please DO make copies! (*) Please DO send copies of Lucifer's Echo to anyone who might be interested. The only limitations are: You must copy the whole document, without making any changes to it. You do NOT have permission to copy this document for commercial purposes. The contents of this document are copyright (c) 1994, Greg Erwin and are on deposit at the National Library of Canada -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-TABLE OF CONTENTS-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- 1. Christianity on Trial, part II, Dr Wendell W. Watters 2. Anti-Semitism: Its Prevalence Within the Christian Right, Part I, by Skipp Porteous 3. How We know What Isn't So; The fallibility of human reason in everyday life Reviewed by Greg Erwin 4. Visit the Birthplace of Robert G. Ingersoll by Fred Edwords -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Part II Christianity on Trial, by Dr Wendell W. Watters [Dr. Watters is Professor Emeritus of psychiatry at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. The following is a transcript of his talk to the 1991 Hamilton conference of the Humanist Association of Canada, which was published in the _Humanist in Canada_ quarterly magazine as a series of six articles] +=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+ + For subscriptions to Humanist in Canada send Can$15 for one year, + Can$28 for two years. Outside of Canada, US$16 for one year, (or + Can$19), US$30 for two years (Can$36). Back issues available, + write for free ten year index. Send large SASE. Address all + correspondence to: Humanist in Canada, P.O. Box 3769, Stn C, + Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1Y 4J8 +=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+ Charge 1. Christianity's teachings about sexuality have contributed in a major way to human misery in this area. Early in the history of the church, when it became evident that Jesus would not be coming back, the leaders of the church realized that they would have to harness the sexual and reproductive urges of the flock in order to build an earthly church. Previously they had not been very interested in what people did with their genitals. Jesus, for example, is mute on the entire issue. To achieve their demographic aims, they declared all forms of sexual expression not leading to conception to be against the laws of God. This included masturbation, oral sex, homosexual love, birth control and abortion. Only unprotected heterosexual inter- course between couples whose union was blessed by the clergy was licit and lawful. Many of the teachings on sexuality found their way into the secular legislation in states dominated by Christianity, the most notable example being to the effect that homosexuality was a crime. Many more found their way into the sexual mythology of couples throughout the western world and, when combined with attitudes about gender roles derived from Christianity, they formed some very destructive myths which still foul up sexual relationships between men and women the world over. Some of these are the fixation on coitus as the only legitimate outcome of all sexual encounters, the myth of the vaginal orgasm and even the myth of the simultaneous orgasm. This is the belief that, if women were to have a climax at all, it should be at the same time as her husband, presumably on the assumption that conception would be most likely to take place at that time. This statement appeared in a book called _Sex, Marriage and Birth Control_ by a Canadian Anglican minister writing in the 1930's: Experienced lovers will usually contrive that the climax shall occur for both simultaneously. This is the ideal and it ought to be striven for. I wish I had a dollar for every sexual relationship that has been ruined by that myth. Let me cite a clinical vignette to illustrate the connection between Christian teachings about sex and sexual difficulties. A University professor and his wife had been married for 20 or so years and sought help for sexual and marital problems. They had both grown up in the Bible Belt of the American midwest and when they were courting, got into heavy petting or manual stimulation of each others genitals, fully clothed mind you, and this they both found pleasurable. They did not have intercourse because of their Christian upbringing. When they got married and were now able to do it, they expected that now she would get the same or more pleasure out of intercourse that she had got out of the heavy petting. Expecting to experience simultaneous orgasm, they found that she was not even having an orgasm at any time during intercourse. It never occurred to them to incorporate the fun things they were doing before they got married. This was kid stuff and they should not need to do this now that their union was blessed by the deity. She felt she was a failure as a woman, and he felt he was a failure as a lover. Their relationship went down hill to the point where it could not be repaired. Returning to the myth of the vaginal orgasm, this myth is that the woman should have her climax, if not simultaneously with her partner, then at least sometime during the act of intercourse. In spite of the fact that this myth has been exploded in women's magazines, it is still very much alive. This places a tremendous burden on both participants. The fact is that the majority of women do not have orgasms with intercourse, requiring more direct stimulus of the clitoris than intercourse provides. Many men whose partners do not have orgasms after ten minutes of pelvic thrusting think they suffer from so-called, premature ejaculation. In fact the average length of time between penetration and ejaculation in the male is 2 to 5 minutes. On the other hand, I have seen women who felt they were defective because they were unable to have an orgasm during intercourse that lasted a mere thirty seconds. Space does not permit me to explore how Christian teachings about sexuality contribute to rape and child sexual molestation. Anyone interested in this can refer to an article I wrote on this in _Humanist in Canada_, Autumn 1990. I just want to remind you that neither rape nor child sexual molestation are specifically prohibited in Christian teachings about sex. One was not supposed to look at another man's wife or seduce his daughter only because these women were his property. The crime of rape was against the owner of the victim, whether she was a slave, a servant, or a wife. Indeed the concept of rape within marriage was not considered seriously by secular legislators until quite recently. Sexual ignorance is characteristic of all sexual problems. The level of sexual ignorance in our society moved Bertrand Russell to state: Almost every adult in a Christian community is more or less diseased nervously as a result of the taboo on sexual knowledge when he or she was young. It follows that knowledge is what people need to enable them to free themselves from the sexual prison Christianity has created, but the acquisition of that knowledge has been steadfastly resisted by Christian god-talkers everywhere throughout the English-speaking world. Charge 2. Policies of coercive pronatalism and demographic aggression, implicit in Christianity's opposition to reproductive regulation, have been directly responsible for sixteen centuries of human suffering, mainly on the part of women. The suffering of women has taken many forms; (a) premature death in countless millions of women over the centuries, (b) intense suffering by untold millions of families and individuals due to excess and unwanted births, and (c) ecological disaster through over-population, Christianity being numerically the largest religion in the world. American Demographer Stephen Mumford (5) has demonstrated pretty conclusively something we all knew but would rather forget, namely, that excessive population growth lies at the root of many of the world's social and economic problems. We are already the most numerous of all the mammals, whose numbers are dropping, and our growth rate is much higher than predictions of ten years ago. God must surely be satisfied, since the biblical instructions to populate and subdue the earth have been obeyed to a "T". The current recession, starvation in various parts of the world, the plight of the millions of street children especially in Catholic South America, the world-wide refugee problem, illegal migration across national borders; these represent only a few of the problems posed by excess population growth, and any discussion that refuses to confront connections between these problems and excess population is meaningless. Mumford also points out that, even when excess population growth is discussed, it is rare that the coercively pronatalist forces operating in society are identified. Even more rarely is the finger pointed at the main villains of the piece, the Roman Catholic and Fundamentalist Christian Churches. It is his view and mine, that, for example if the Roman Catholic Church were to drop its vigorous and vicious opposition to secular abortion laws, the so-called "pro-life" movement would collapse. And this is an important point since world population cannot be brought under control without ready access to abortion services to deal with failed contraception. Because many Catholics have ignored Humanae Vitae and use contraception freely, and because many of them have abortions when they are available, just like non-Catholics do, we have been lulled into a sense of false security about the part the Roman Catholic Church is playing now in the population crisis. We forget that the teachings of Christianity have more impact on people in the developing world, those who are less well educated and those who are economically disadvantaged: so that the church's pronatalist injunctions are still working directly in large parts of the Christian world. But more important is the control exerted by the Vatican over politicians throughout the world,(except perhaps in China), in blocking legislation aimed at placing more power to control their fertility in the hands of sexually active men and women. We have yet to see any world leader speak out against the Vatican for its part in hurtling all of us towards an ecological holocaust. Can you imagine Brian Mulroney or Joe Clark, both Roman Catholics, chastising the Pope for his part in setting a match to the population bomb? In this country it is a crime to yell "fire" in a crowded theatre; meanwhile, metaphorically, the pope and his fundamentalist friends set fire to the theatre and everyone ignores it. Mumford claimed in 1980, that when it finally gets through to people, the extent to which the policies of the Roman Catholic and fundamentalist churches are contributing to the population problem, people will turn on the churches in a rage and destroy them. Meanwhile it may be too late to save the world. If we want to avoid this Christian Armageddon, national secu- lar governments will have to lead the way and protest the coercive pronatalist policies of these Christian churches. And they must do what they can to mute the impact of those policies on the people who are not yet in a position to stand up to their god-talking masters. This is unlikely to happen unless we Humanists, on both a national and an international level give this issue top priority. We must see to it that the villains in the Vatican and elsewhere are recognized as the inhuman power mongers they really are. Only those of us who have managed to get the religious monkey off our backs, more or less, are in a psychological position to call a spade a spade in this way. Others will follow but we must lead and work until we have the support of enough people to convince our leaders that they must switch allegiances and confront the Christian church rather than remain cowed by that institution. Charge 3. Christianity's teachings about gender roles (sex roles) are a major cause of couple relationship stress. In the early Christian church, women may have had a totally different role than they had after the decision was made to build an earthly institution. Christianity may not have invented sexism, but it certainly did everything it could to place women in the subservient role, a role that was necessary for converting the uterus into a Christian baby factory. The church became a vehicle for males to assert absolute control over females, thereby making egalitarian human relationships between the sexes impossible. The attitude of the church about the role of the sexes was codified in a book all Humanists should read "The Malleus Maleficarum" or the Witches Hammer by two medieval Dominican priests. This was a manual for the Inquisition during the witch hunts that ravaged Europe for three centuries. This book, which one editor said was "among the most important, wisest and weightiest books of the world" first appeared about 1486 and saw 14 editions between 1487 and 1520 and at least 16 editions between 1574 and 1669, and was adopted by Roman Catholic and Protestant jurisdictions. Given that publication track record it must be given the credit or blame for many of our modern western attitudes about maleness and femaleness. Listen to what this book says of women: " There is no head above the head of a serpent and there is no wrath above the wrath of a woman. I had rather dwell with a lion and a dragon than to keep house with a wicked woman." "All wickedness is but little to the wickedness of a woman." "What else is woman but a foe to friendship, an unescapable punishment, a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a desirable calamity, a domestic danger, a delectable detriment, an evil of nature painted with fair colours. According to the authors, women were "credulous, more nat- urally impressionable and more ready to receive the influence of a disembodied spirit." They were reputed to have "weak memories," a view with which most married men will not agree, I'm sure. It was also determined that women "have slippery tongues and are unable to conceal from their fellow-women those things which by evil arts they know; and since they are weak, they find an easy and secret manner of vindicating themselves by witchcraft." I like that: the church does everything it can to keep women subordinate to men and then criticizes them for being weak! Women were "feebler in mind and body," and "intellectually like children." And "she was formed from a bent rib, that is, a rib of the breast, which is bent as it were in a contrary direction to man." The authors conclude "Since through this defect she is an imperfect animal, she always deceives." She is "a liar by nature." Most telling is this indictment of normal human emotions; "Just as through the first defect in their intelligence, they are more prone to abjure the faith: so through their second defect of inordinate affections and passions they search for and brood over, and inflict vengeance, either by witchcraft or by some other means." The good monks sum it up in these words "All witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which is in women insatiable." It is not much wonder that by the nineteenth century women had been so frightened of their normal sexuality that they had repressed it almost completely. The so-called Victorian era had nothing to do with Victoria but was related to three centuries of this kind of indoctrination by the Christian church. What about men, you ask. Well Eve was the one whom the devil managed to seduce in the Garden of Evil; Adam being too well put together apparently to succumb. But although Adam did not allow himself to be seduced by Satan, he could not stand up to the blandishments of the devil's agent, Eve. The authors of The Malleus Maleficarum put it this way: "And blessed be the Highest Who has so far preserved the male sex from so great a crime (witchcraft); for since He was willing to be born and to suffer for us, therefore He has granted to men this privilege. It always struck me that these female creatures who were so feeble in mind and body, stupid, deceitful, and emotional, were at the same time expected to conceive, to bear, to nurture and to raise each new generation of Christians. That sounds like a lot of responsibility for people who, by definition, were so ill-equipped for the task. One wonders why the men, who were so perfect according to this teaching, were not required to take over the job of raising the children, as soon as it was biologically possible, rather than leave them to the mercy of such wretched role models. Larry Feldman, a researcher on family functioning has reviewed the literature on the impact of gender role on the relationship between the sexes, and he concluded that this was and is a major cause of family dysfunctions(6). As he put it "Sex role conditioning exerts a variety of dysfunctional influences on the marital and family relationships: and these sex roles interact in a mutually reinforcing way that inhibits the psychological development of each family member. Feldman found that in our society, women were expected to be home and child oriented, warm, affectionate, gentle tender, aware of feelings of others, considerate, tactful, compassionate, moody, high strung, temperamental, excitable, emotional, subjective, illogical, complaining, nagging, weak, helpless, fragile, easily hurt emotionally, submissive, yielding, dependent. Men, on the other hand were expected to be calm, stable, unemotional, realistic, logical, ambitious, competitive, enterprising, worldly, strong, tough, powerful, aggressive, forceful, decisive, dominant, independent, self-reliant, harsh, severe, stern, cruel, autocratic, rigid, arrogant. I'm sure you can see many parallels between the profile of the female painted by Feldman and the one described by the Malleus Maleficarum. The same thing is true of the male. We usually think of the woman as being the chief victim of the fall-out of centuries of Christian teaching about gender roles. Few people realize that the male, who was encouraged in Malleus Maleficarum to suppress his normal natural emotions, lest he appear like a woman, was, in doing so, cutting himself off from a very important part of his humanness. This is also encouraged in the second book I would recommend to all humanists: "The Imitation of Christ" by Thomas a Kempis, first published about 1427(7). By 1472 the first printed edition appeared. By the end of the nineteenth century 600 editions had been printed in Latin, 300 in Italian, 350 in German and "uncounted hundreds of editions of this choicest devotional handbook," to quote one editor, had been printed in English. It has been called "the best-loved, most widely read religious book in the world, after the Bible." It was the book Pope John Paul I was supposed to have been reading when he met his untimely death in 1978. This book reinforces the notion that the godly man denies his emotions; "A passionate man turneth even good into evil and easily believeth evil. My son, trust not to thy feeling, for it will quickly be changed into something else." This is not simply an issue of historical or scientific curiosity. One of the main problems we find in working with couples in couple/sex therapy is the difficulty the woman has in living with a partner so cut off from feelings: the main difficulty for the male is recognizing this is no longer an admirable characteristic, but a handicap whose removal could make life a richer experience for him. End of Part II Christianity on trial ============================================================== ============================================================== || END OF ARTICLE || ============================================================== Anti-Semitism: Its Prevalence Within the Christian Right, Part I, by Skipp Porteous The Freedom Writer * May 1994 Anti-Semitism: Its Prevalance Within the Religious Right By Skipp Porteous c. 1994 IFAS A study by the Institute for First Amendment Studies found a prevalence of anti-Semitism within the Christian Right. While some of the prejudice and hostility toward Jews is concealed, much is blatant. Stereotyping of Jews is widespread; and anti-Semitism in the form of aggressive missionary activity threatens the very existence of Judaism. Several disturbing trends indicate that _ unless sweeping changes are made _ anti-Semitism within conservative Christianity will not only continue as a long-term problem, but will escalate sharply. Thousands of private Christian schools and Christian home schools utilize anti-Semitic textbooks. These textbooks include the "original" McGuffey's Readers, which have enjoyed a tremendous resurgence in recent years, and books published by Bob Jones University Press for use in Christian schools. Additionally, the Christian Right's anti-abortion movement has anti-Semitic overtones. Anti-abortion groups such as Operation Rescue and Life Dynamics list "Jewish doctors" as the leading performers of abortion. So-called "humanism" is under attack by the Religious Right in schools and other institutions across the country. Condemnation of humanism has anti-Semitic roots. Though seldom mentioned, Christian Right leaders link humanism with Judaism, saying "Judaism grew out of the rejection of Jesus Christ and steadily became humanism."1 Other disturbing observations involve a melding of extreme right-wing anti-Semites and their mainstream counterparts. Pastor Pete Peters, a nationally known anti-Semitic Christian Identity preacher, has found a home on the Keystone Inspiration Network. This Christian "family" network is available on cable TV in approximately 120 cities across the country. The Rev. Donald Wildmon, the Methodist minister who heads the American Family Association (AFA), is no stranger to accusations of anti-Semitism. Though he denies being anti-Semitic, he has emerged as the darling of the anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby. In fact, his AFA has a special spot on Liberty Lobby's LogoPlex, an extreme-rightist computer bulletin board service. Ofttimes, only the most blatant anti-Semitic incidents are reported. Much of the anti-Semitism within conservative Christianity goes unnoticed and unreported. Some forms are so subtle that only those familiar with the code words and innuendo can spot it. Stereotyping Stereotyping is among the most common form of anti-Semitism. This is evidenced by the words of many well-known Christian leaders, among them the Rev. Bailey Smith. "I don't know why God chose the Jew," Smith said. "They have such funny noses."2 Outward appearance, though, is not the only way some leaders characterize Jews. The Rev. Dan C. Fore, former head of the Moral Majority in New York, said, "I love the Jewish people deeply. God has given them talents He has not given others. They are His chosen people. Jews have a God-given ability to make money...They control the media, they control this city."3 "A few of you don't like the Jews and I know why," said the Rev. Jerry Falwell. "He [sic] can make more money accidently than you can make on purpose."4 Missionary Activity A second form of anti-Semitism involves missionary activity directed at Jews. Many conservative Christian leaders hold the view that Judaism is an invalid religion, that Jews who don't believe in Jesus are "unsaved" or "incomplete." The offensiveness of this type of anti-Semitism should be obvious, but often goes unnoticed. "It's interesting at great political rallies," preached the Rev. Bailey Smith, "how you have a Protestant to pray, a Catholic to pray, and then you have a Jew to pray. With all due respect to those dear people, my friends, God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew. For how in the world can God hear the prayer of a man who says that Jesus Christ is not the true Messiah? That is blasphemy."5 The Rev. Jerry Falwell sanctioned this viewpoint in his book, Listen, America! "The Jews are returning to their land of unbelief. They are spiritually blind and desperately in need of their Messiah and Savior. Yet they are God's people, and in the world today Bible-believing Christians are the best friends the nation Israel has."6 Falwell correctly points out that he and other American Fundamentalist Christians support the nation of Israel. It should be noted, however, that this support is for a piece of real estate, the land of Israel, and not necessarily for the Jewish people. Pat Robertson, too, thinks of Jews as "spiritually deaf" and "spiritually blind." In the end times, Robertson believes, Jews will be brought in as "offerings to the Lord."7 He predicts mass conversions of Jews to Christianity, and toward this end, Robertson built a Christian radio station in Lebanon to beam the Gospel into the Jewish state, which Fundamentalists believe will eventually be inherited by Christians. For the present, Jews occupy the land as caretakers. Many Christian organizations presume an obligation to convert Jews to Christianity. While Jews for Jesus may be the most well-known of these groups, according to Mark Powers, national director of Jews for Judaism, more than 450 missionary organizations specifically target Jews in the United States, Canada, and Israel. More than 350,000 American Christians now identify themselves as former Jews; 140,000 of that total call themselves "Hebrew Christians." One group, The Christian Jew Foundation (CJF), publishes a newsletter called The Message of the Christian Jew. An ugly article by Charles Halff, the group's executive director, titled "The Blindness of the Jew"8 stated: "Gentile Christians sometimes wonder why Jewish evangelism is such difficult and discouraging work. Our missionaries are spat on, ridiculed, threatened, maligned, and sometimes physically abused. "David Zauber, our CJF missionary in Georgia, is a Jewish Christian_and weighs probably 150 pounds, soaking wet! He was passing out Gospel tracts near the subway a few years ago, when a Jewish man knocked him down with his fist. By the time David caught his breath and got back to his feet, the man had disappeared into the crowd. This is just one example of the difficulties our missionaries face. "We wonder, why are the sons of Israel so belligerent and hard-hearted?" Halff answered his rhetorical question. "As we look at Jews today, we see that they are blinded by tradition; they are blinded by prejudice; and they are blinded by self-righteousness." He adds, "The majority of them live by the Talmud, rather than by the Old Testament. Judaism is a religion of works and tradition. One such tradition is the practice of waving a chicken overhead and chanting, `This is my sacrifice!' We know this is absolutely contrary to the teaching of the New Testament, since the blood of Messiah (Jesus) had been shed for the sins of many, and `there is no more offering for sin' (Hebrews 10:18.)" One entire issue of The Message of the Christian Jew9 dealt with anti-Semitism. While acknowledging the most overt types of anti-Semitism, the writers failed to see how Christian missionary activity is a threat to the very existence of Judaism. In fact, an article by Gary Hedrick, the group's president, utilized a strange approach. "Let us not forget, however," Hedrick wrote, "that a more subtle form of anti-Semitism is now sweeping our land. It's known by a variety of names, but most notably as the 'Two-Covenant,' or `Dual-Covenant' movement. Its proponents claim that the Jewish people have their own Sinai Covenant and therefore have no need of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. "Can you think of a more diabolical form of anti-Semitism than the view that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for Gentiles, but not for Jews?" Anti-Semitism and Christian Schools With an estimated 500,000 children being taught at home, the home school movement is a rapidly growing phenomena. Newsweek's Sam Allis called Christian Fundamentalism "the backbone of the home-school movement." One series of books, McGuffey's Eclectic Readers, popular with both Christian schools and home schools, influence the minds of tens-of-thousands of impressionable youngsters. These are the same books originally published in 1836 by the Rev. William H. McGuffey. With 19th century sales of 125 million copies, McGuffey is considered "the author of the most popular schoolbook ever written." McGuffey's original Readers were, according to the current publishers, "Christ-centered." In time, though, most of the religious references were removed. McGuffey's original Readers, now reborn for use in Christian homes and schools, are sexist, racist, and anti-Semitic. While the Readers reflect the time in which they were written, their use today indicates a giant step backward in human relations. The sexist aspects of the Readers promote "proper" roles for men and women. Among the racism portrayed is the constant referral to Native Americans as "savages." The anti-Semitism found in the McGuffey's Readers takes several forms. A line from the Eclectic Third Reader warns students about the perils of rejecting Christianity. "It will cost something to be a Christian: it will cost more not to be so."(10) In the same Reader, Christianity is championed as the only dependable religion. "There are no principles but those of CHRISTIANITY, to be depended upon in cases of REAL DISTRESS." (Emphasis in original)(11) Jewish veneration of the Scriptures is denigrated. "The Old Testament has been preserved by the Jews in every age, with a scrupulous jealousy, and with a veneration for its words and letters, bordering on superstition..."(12) McGuffey suggests that the rise of Christianity was not only predicted in the Old Testament, but was a result of Jewish infidelity toward God _ a common anti-Semitic theme. The Reader mentions "...the Jews as the keepers of the Old Testament." Then, "It was their own sacred volume, which contained the most extraordinary predictions concerning the infidelity of their nation, and the rise, progress, and extensive prevalence of Christianity."(13) In one fell swoop, McGuffey obliterates Jewish moral law, and all other moral teachings before Jesus. "The morality taught by Jesus Christ was purer, sounder, sublimer, and more perfect than had ever before entered into the imagination, or proceeded from the lips of man."(14) In Lesson XVIII, dealing with Divine inspiration of the Gospel, the Eclectic Fourth Reader asks, "Why is it inconceivable that the book is fiction?" The answer, "The Jewish authors were incapable of the diction, and strangers to the morality, contained in the gospel..."(15) A short story called "The Blind Preacher," recounts a blind minister's sermon about the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. The story reinforces the notion that Jews are responsible for the death of Jesus. "We saw the very faces of the Jews, the staring, frightful distortions of malice and rage."(16) In fact, every single reference to Jews in McGuffey's Readers is negative. No effort is made to explain Judaism, or to teach what Jews believe. The McGuffey Readers series is frequently advertised by the Conservative Book Club on the back of the Rev. Donald Wildmon's magazine, the AFA Journal, and in Pat Robertson's Christian American. The ads proclaim: "The ORIGINAL McGuffey's Readers were different. They were Christian." Copy in the ad says, "...give them some of the memorable poetry and prose of our Anglo-American inheritance..." Two companies, Mott Media, of Milford, Michigan, and Thoburn Press, of Tyler, Texas, publish the "original" McGuffey's Eclectic Readers. The seven-volume set has been reprinted from the originals. Several organizations that provide textbooks to Christian home schoolers promote the use of McGuffey's Readers. One, Christian Liberty Academy Satellite Schools (CLASS), now publishes its own Eclectic Reader. Michael McHugh, curriculum administrator for CLASS, reported that his organization sold between 5,000 and 6,000 of the Thoburn McGuffey's Readers to home schools. Since 1982, Mott Media has sold a whopping 100,000 sets of the Readers. "Last year [1993] we started our Home School Book Club," Joyce Bowen, Mott Media's general manager, said. "In less than a year we sold between 4,000 and 5,000 sets to home schools." The widespread use of McGuffey's Readers is a good indication of what children are being taught about Jews in many Christian schools and home schools. With the rapid growth of these schools, this should be of concern to caring Christian parents and responsible Christian leaders. In other Christian textbooks, anti-Semitism exists by omission. The curriculum used by many Christian schools neglects Jewish accomplishments and positive contributions to history. This is documented by Albert J. Menendez in Visions of Reality _ What Fundamentalist Schools Teach, a report on the textbooks used in Christian Fundamentalist schools: "Surprisingly, Jews and Judaism are almost invisible in these volumes. No mention is made of any Jewish contribution to U.S. history nor are any Jewish personalities in literature, sports or the arts mentioned. There is no reference to justices Frankfurter, Brandeis or Cardozo. The only Jews mentioned are Karl Marx, who is called `an atheistic German Jew,'17 and Sigmund Freud. It is noted that Jews were persecuted in Catholic countries but nothing is said about anti-Jewish discrimination in Protestant countries. Jewish supporters of Columbus are mentioned, as is the suggestion that Columbus may have been seeking a refuge for Jews. "One passage in a world history text, however, blames Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus. `The Jewish religious leaders, whose blindness and hypocrisy Jesus had denounced, sought to put Him to death. They brought Christ before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, charging that Christ had disrupted the state...Although Pilate found no fault in Jesus, he desired to maintain the peace. Giving in to the Jewish demands, he sentenced Jesus to death by crucifixion.'(18) In addition, we are informed, `God used the destruction of Jerusalem to separate the early church from its Jewish environment and to scatter Christians throughout the Roman Empire.'(19) "And one strange passage in a biology text says, `The Jews were pruned for the Gentiles' sake, but they were also pruned for their disbelief.'"(20) Anti-Semitism and Anti-Abortion There are indications that the Christian Right's anti-abortion crusade has anti-Semitic components. In 1989, Newsweek magazine reported that Randall Terry, founder of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, said, "We have tried to do some outreach to the black and Jewish communities," but admitted that those efforts have failed, "...and that he is critical of the Jewish doctors, who he believes perform a large number of abortions."(21) In doing research for this report, Operation Rescue National referred us to Life Dynamics Incorporated, a Christian anti-abortion organization based in Dallas, for specific information on abortion. Life Dynamics is an important research arm of the Christian Right's anti-abortion crusade. According to Life Dynamics, 26% of all doctors who perform abortions are Jewish (A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood called this figure "ludicrous.") Considering that Jews comprise only 2% of the population, this figure is disproportionately high. The thought is not lost in Life Dynamics' popular Bottom Feeder "joke book." Bottom Feeder is an assortment of hackneyed jokes aimed at doctors who perform abortions. The jokes and cartoons are crude, scatological, and suggest that abortionists have sex with animals. Significantly, Bottom Feeder contains a number of references to Jews, and consistently portrays in cartoon form doctors who perform abortions as having exceptionally large noses, an age-old anti-Semitic allusion to Jews. Examples of Bottom Feeder's references to Jews include a list of the "four shortest books in the world." One is entitled "Famous Jewish Astronauts." One joke favors Adolf Hitler over an abortionist. It goes, "Q. What would you do if you found yourself in a room with Hitler, Mussolini and an abortionist, and you had a gun with only two bullets? A. Shoot the abortionist twice." Aware that a high percentage of Jews are liberal and pro-choice, the anti-abortion movement targets Jews as "baby killers." Additionally, a considerable number of the people involved in groups such as Operation Rescue, Lambs of Christ, and Missionaries to the Preborn, teach their children at home, using McGuffey's Readers and other materials mentioned in the section on Christian schools and home schools. The Christian Right anti-abortion movement often refers to abortion as "the Holocaust in America." [Newsweek, May 1, 1989] This phrase is notable only for its shock value. To even remotely equate the two, especially in such a cavalier manner, offends not only Jews, but everyone who is aware of the horrors of the Nazis. Rabbi Balfour Brickner, Rabbi Emeritus of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York, said, "The Holocaust stands alone...There are no legitimate or acceptable analogies." Bait and Switch For years, anti-Semitic innuendo has cleverly passed as simply an attack on humanism. By employing a sort of "bait and switch" tactic, the conservative Christian right has shifted all the blame for the world's ills from the Jews to "humanists" _ whom conservatives suspect are mostly Jews anyway. The theory here is that humanism is a "secular religion" that evolved out of modern Judaism. Instead of saying that Jews control the financial institutions, the media, the entertainment industry, and education, it is now the humanists who are in control. This is borne out in the teachings of Rousas John (R.J.) Rushdoony, a former Presbyterian minister who is known as the "father of Christian Reconstruction." While Rushdoony is not well-known outside the circle of conservative Christian leadership, his influence within the movement is substantial. Rushdoony is a prolific author and his books approach best-seller status, shaping contemporary Christian thought since the 1960s. Rushdoony, a profound Christian thinker, is never afraid to say what some other Christian leaders are merely thinking. According to Gary North, Rushdoony's son-in-law, "Rushdoony identified the underlying problem a generation ago: `JUDAISM grew out of the rejection of Jesus Christ and STEADILY BECAME HUMANISM [emphasis added], and the Talmud is essentially the exposition of humanism under the facade of Scripture.'"(22) Judaism became humanism! To grasp this concept is to understand why some notable Christian leaders exhibit hostility toward humanists. Leaders of the radical Christian Right know that many influential Jewish leaders are wholly secular. That is, they embrace Jewish culture, without observing the rituals of Judaism. Another Christian writer is the Rev. Tim LaHaye, former leader of the Moral Majority. LaHaye is married to Beverly LaHaye, head of the 600,000-member Concerned Women for America organization. In his 1980 book, The Battle for the Mind, LaHaye unleashed a vicious attack against humanism. Jews have traditionally been accused of everything for which LaHaye blames humanists. Our country is "...controlled by a small but very influential cadre of committed humanists..."(23) Pornography is the fault of "the humanist controllers of the American Civil Liberties Union and their humanist partners in moral crime_the judges who were appointed by the humanist politicians."(24) "When the humanists came to America, their obstacles seemed overwhelming. But rather than waste their resources, they concentrated on using four vehicles to penetrate the minds and lives of our people: education, the media, organizations, and government."(25) "We have already seen how John Dewey and his fellow humanists took over education..."(26) While Dewey wasn't Jewish, many of his colleagues were. "Space does not permit a detailed account of how newspapers from coast to coast were gradually purchased by powerful, monied interests. As radio came into view, it was bought up by some of these same interests. Later, when TV licenses became available, the humanists flooded the field. Today, it is all humanistically controlled."(27) "This news is carefully edited before being sent out to the daily papers. Who does the editing? Who hired the editors, and what are their beliefs? Anyone really familiar with humanism can recognize its influence in the way the news is managed." (28) "It is obvious, by the degenerate programming that has appeared in recent years, that the three major networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS) are predominantly controlled by amoral humanists."(29) "Not all the fifty or so people who control network news are committed humanists, but most of them are."(30) "The humanists see TV as a vehicle, first, to indoctrinate and second, to make money. Shortly after learning that Norman Lear was the producer of the most amoral `comedy' series on TV (such as the infamous Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman), I had lunch with a Christian businessman who told me how relieved he was to have sold his cable TV stations. Guess who bought them? Norman Lear."(31) "There is one easy way to illustrate whose team Hollywood has really been on during the last fifty years. They rarely make a film that shows Communism as a world aggressor or murderer of the people _ particularly of their own. Anti-German and anti-Japanese films abound..."(32) "Sixty years of Communist crime against humanity provide ample material to draw on, but not if you're afraid to show humanistic socialism in a bad light."(33) Why, in LaHaye's opinion, are humanists "soft" on Communism? It is entirely possible, if not probable, that the Rev. LaHaye equates Socialist/Communist Jews with Humanists. In many instances, the words are interchangeable. In "A Special Jewish History Issue" of The Truth At Last(34), a tabloid published by Dr. E.R. Fields in Marietta, Georgia, the assertion is made that "the original founders of Communism were all Jews." The author names Lenin as "a secret Jew." Furthermore, the article states that these Communist Jews came to America and established "the U.S. Communist Party and other socialist groups." This echoes LaHaye's theories on "humanists" coming to America to establish socialist groups, armed with a plan to penetrate and control the minds of the American people. Oftentimes, conservative's use of "humanism," "socialism," "communism," and "Jews" are interchangeable. Of course, "humanism" is a more palatable word when speaking to the general public. Published monthly by Institute for First Amendment Studies PO Box 589 Great Barrington MA 01230 Annual subscriptions are $25.00 The magazine is ***The Freedom Writer*** and the organization is the Institute for First Amendment Studies. Contributions are tax deductible (in the US). ============================================================== || END OF PART I || || ANTISEMITISM AND THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT || ============================================================== References (both parts) 1 Gary North, The Judeo-Christian Tradition, 1989 p. 152 2 The Sunday (Hackensack, NJ) Record, June 21, 1981 3 The New York Times, February 5, 1981 4 The Washington Star, July 3, 1980 5 The New York Times, April 22, 1981 6 Jerry Falwell, Listen America!, Sword of the Lord Publishing, c. 1980, p. 113 7 Christian Broadcasting Network staff prayer meeting, January 1, 1980 8 Message of the Christian Jew, March/April 1994 9 Message of the Christian Jew, January/February 1994 10 Eclectic Third Reader (McGuffey), reprinted by Mott Media, 1982, p. 64 11 Ibid., p. 66 12 Ibid., p. 69 13 Ibid., p. 75 14 Ibid., p. 82 15 Eclectic Fourth Reader (McGuffey), reprinted by Mott Media, 1982, p. 67 16 Ibid., p. 205 Ibid. 17 Glen Chambers and Gene Fisher, United States History for Christian Schools, Greenville, SC: Bob Jones University Press, 1982, p. 38 18 Fisher, pp. 109-110 19 Ibid., p. 112 20 William S. Pinkston, Jr., Biology for Christian Schools, Book 1, Teacher's Edition, Greenville, SC: Bob Jones University Press, 1991, page 333 21 Newsweek, May 1, 1989, p. 32 22 Gary North, The Judeo-Christian Tradition, 1989, p. 152 23 Tim LaHaye, The Battle for the Mind, Fleming H. Revell, 1980, p.142 24 Ibid., p. 143 25 Ibid., p. 147 26 Ibid., p. 147 27 Ibid., p. 148 28 Ibid., p. 148 29 Ibid., p. 152 30 Ibid., p. 152 31 Ibid., p. 158 32 Ibid., p. 159 33 Ibid., p. 159 34 The Truth at Last, issue number 368 35 Tim LaHaye, The Battle for the Mind, Revell, 1980, p. 163 36 Ibid., p. 166 37 People magazine, July 6, 1981 38 Donald Wildmon, The Home Invaders, Victor Books, 1986, p. 49 39 Ibid., p. 68 40 NFD Journal, September 1986 41 Ibid., p.22 42 November 5, 1987 43 January 26, 1988 44 February 22, 1988 45 May 11, 1988 46 AFA Journal, November/December 1988 47 Ibid., pp. 28, 29 48 Ibid., p. 95 49 Ibid., p. 8 50 AFA Journal, January 1989, p. 11 ============================================================== || END OF ARTICLE (Part I) || ============================================================== How We know What Isn't So; The fallibility of human reason in everyday life by Thomas Gilovich Macmillan Inc., New York, 1992, hardcover, $27.95 216 pp. Index and Notes ISBN: Reviewed by Greg Erwin Despite such section titles as "Cognitive Determinants of Questionable Beliefs," this is a clearly written and easily understood book; only the titles are intimidating. Thomas Gilovich explains the many mistakes we all make in everyday reasoning. All readers will find that some belief that they lent credence to is overturned in this book. Gilovich also explains why we formed the belief in the first place, why it is wrong, and how to avoid similar errors in the future. These errors in "practical" reasoning (rather than formal logic or scientific method) have obvious implications for religion. The first few chapters point out errors such as: finding patterns in random data; drawing conclusions from incomplete or unrepresentative information; interpreting events with bias; accepting authority; avoiding contradiction to be "polite." These are things we all do. For instance, how often do you tell someone that their pet theories are moronic? (Off the Net, anyway?) In polite society, they conclude that everyone agrees with them, as no one ever contradicts them. Lastly, he gives examples of persistent questionable beliefs from "alternative" health, (e.g., faith healing); interpersonal strategies, (why do some guys continue to believe in the effectiveness of their incredibly corny come- on lines?); ESP, (astrology columns). He shows the errors that allow people to hold these beliefs and how we can correct these mistakes if we want to. In the last chapter he points out the salutary role of the social sciences in protecting against irrational beliefs. People who have studied psychology or sociology are less susceptible. The social sciences must deal with "messy," complex, human data, rather than the neat, mathematical, precise information that forms the object of the physical sciences, thus social scientists are more familiar with the 'tricks' data can play. I believe he has hit on the reason that simply informing people about the scientific method does not protect them against irrationality. A book to help understand practical everyday reasoning with clues as to why irrational beliefs persist. ============================================================== || END OF REVIEW || ============================================================== VISIT THE BIRTHPLACE OF ROBERT G. INGERSOLL by Fred Edwords After years of planning and restoration, the Robert G. Ingersoll Birthplace Museum opened its doors to the public on June 2, 1993. It is now regularly open to receive visitors June through October. The hours of operation are Wednesday through Sunday, Noon to 5:00 PM. Located in the Village of Dresden, on the shore of Lake Seneca, it becomes one of the many attractions of the picturesque Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York. Of especial interest to Humanists and Freethinkers is its convenient proximity to the Women's Rights Hall of Fame and restored home of Elizabeth Cady Stanton located in Seneca Falls, the homes of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass in Rochester, the Roycroft campus of Elbert Hubbard in East Aurora, the Elmira home and burial place of Mark Twain, and the natural monument to the last ice age in Watkins Glen (with its nightly laser show on evolution). Furthermore, all of this is in easy driving distance from the national headquarters of both the American Humanist Association (AHA) and the Council on Democratic and Secular Humanism (CODESH)! During the weekend immediately following Ingersoll's birthday on August 11, 1993, the Robert G. Ingersoll Memorial Committee, sponsors of the birthplace museum, conducted a special conference in nearby Geneva. The featured event was Roger Greeley giving his best performance yet of his "An Evening with Colonel Ingersoll." Attendees were also given the grand tour of the Ingersoll home. As one of the tourists myself, I was extremely pleased with what I saw. The 1833 birthplace of America's "Great Agnostic" has become everything I hoped it would be. The main rooms of the house are a museum of artifacts and information memorializing the life of Ingersoll. A short but informative video introduces the self-guided tour, and a gift shop offering Ingersoll tee-shirts, books, and other mementos greets you at the end. (Proceeds support continued restoration.) One of the rooms features objects and information relevant to the Village of Dresden. But, the best part of all is upstairs where, in the words of Ingersoll himself, "my infant cry first broke the stillness of the birth room and my wakening eyes first looked upon the wondrous mysteries of the little world around me." It is the museum's period bedroom, restored with furnishings appropriate to the time. The AHA newsletter Free Mind first reported on the Ingersoll home back in the summer of 1987, when the building was in danger of being torn down. In order to save it, the AHA expressed an interest in picking up from the work of Ingersoll enthusiast Ruth Jokenin and converting the home into a museum. That effort staved off disaster long enough for AHA member Phil Mass to inspire a number of Humanists and Freethinkers to join together, under the auspices of CODESH, to establish the Robert G. Ingersoll Memorial Committee. That committee then raised the money and restored the building. Appropriately, the museum video on Ingersoll is dedicated to Phil Mass, who unfortunately did not live to see the completion of his dream. As a lover of historic preservation, myself, I encourage Humanists and Freethinkers everywhere to plan a trip soon around the monuments to our philosophy that are so conveniently clustered in upstate New York. The Ingersoll museum can be the centerpiece of what could make for a great vacation! If you need more information for planning your itinerary, feel free to write or phone the Robert G. Ingersoll Memorial Committee, P.O. Box 664, Amherst, NY 14226-0664 -- (716) 636-7571. -------------------------------------------------------------- -- Originally published in the Sept./Oct. 1993 issue of Free Mind, the newsletter of the American Humanist Association. Permission is hereby granted to republish this article in any medium, in whole or in part. Please credit Free Mind as the original source. -------------------------------------------------------------- Phone the above number, or write P.O. Box 1188 Amherst, NY 14226-7188 for membership information about the American Humanist Association. Write CODESH at P.O. Box 664, Buffalo, NY 14226-0664 or call (716) 636-7571 for information re: CODESH. Or write Tim Madigan at ============================================================== || END OF ARTICLE || ============================================================== ============================================================== || END OF ISSUE || ============================================================== Volume I, Number 3: JULY 1994. Once again: ISSN: 1198-4619 Lucifer's Echo. -- --I appears to me that the time has come for all to make their dissent from religion known. John Stuart Mill / If this is a humanist, atheist, skeptical or freethought topic then I am President of the Humanist Association of Ottawa. Greg Erwin. ai815@FreeNet.Carleton.CA


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