Lucifer's Echo

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

=============================================================== **************************************************************** ================================================================ ____ / ) ___ () / __ * / / ^ / / / / ) / _/_ ___ /__ / \ __| / / / / / /___) / ) \/ \ (_/ \____(__/___(___)___/_____/______(________/________/\___ ) _____ / ) / / _ / _ _ >-- / ) /___ / (_)___ / / / ) / / (_______)___(___)___/ (____(____/ =================================================================== ******The*E-Zine*of*Atheistic*Secular*Humanism*and*Freethought***** =================================================================== ################################################################### ########## Volume 1, Number 4 ***A Collector's Item!***########## ###################### ISSN 1198-4619 ########################### ########################## AUG 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: 100 Terrasse Eardley Aylmer, QC / J9H 6B5 CANADA. ==><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><====><== || 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. We are archived in the archives of the venerable mathew of alt.atheism & alt.atheism.moderated. If you can, obtain back issues there by ftp, otherwise, write. 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 Foreword: Name Controversy. Some will be sad, and some will be glad; I would say that mail (not exactly an avalanche of messages) has been fairly evenly divided on the issue of the name of the magazine. Those who are against it are fairly vehement in their objections to anything "Satanic," explaining that the association of atheism and humanism with Satan is bad for the image. I have decided, however, that this image crap is just that, "crap." There is nothing an atheist can do to get good PR from the conservative Christian community, except by ignoring it and empowering other atheists. The Jewish community has forced mainstream society to pay attention to it through economic power, through votes and through alliances. The gay community got diddly until they insisted on their differences and the right to express them. [ BTW, wasn't the Pope just wonderful in his recent proclamation re: homosexuality? You can be gay, you just can't express it? This can serve as a model for all totalitarians: you are free to have any opinions, you just can't let anybody else know what they are; you can dissent from the government, but you can't vote against it; you are free to hold demonstrations, as long as they are approved by the people in power. ] Let's face it, there are no such things as gods or satans or lucifers. These are all *myths.* They are as real as Santa Claus, and no more. God and Satan serve as metaphors and have as much meaning as Thor and Loki, devas and asuras, or Siva, Vishnu and Brahma. We can assign a meaning to a myth. I have made it clear the meaning which I wish to assign to "Lucifer," which, to repeat, is: the enemy of organized religion, i.e., the opponent of the "faith" meme, the enemy of the anti-science, authoritarian, misogynist, anti-human, irrational, and divisive, tribalistic, genocidal embodiment of all that is wrong with "religion." If you want to call that "Satan," fine with me. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-TABLE OF CONTENTS-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- 1. Part III Christianity on Trial, by Dr. Wendell Watters 2. Part II, Anti-Semitism: Its Prevalence Within the Christian Right, by Skipp Porteous 3. How to Get Excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church, a handy guide, by Greg Erwin. Part III Christianity on Trial, by Dr. Wendell 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 4. Christianity's emphasis on the primacy of the human-to- god bond has made it extremely difficult for human beings to develop the supportive human-to-human bonds required for adaptive interpersonal and social functioning. Two clinical vignettes illustrate this point. Vignette # 1. A young schizophrenic girl was seen with her family in interview and the following story emerged. At home, whenever she would feel herself getting upset, she would go to her mother who would tell the father. The father would then gather the family in the living room on their knees while he prayed to God. She said she liked this because when he way praying to God he was telling God how much he cared about her, which he could never say to her personally. Vignette # 2. In another family session, the identified patient was a boy of about 12 years. At one point in the session he started to cry, putting his chin on his chest and crying quietly. I looked at the father, one of the most inarticulate, emotionally uninvolved men I have ever seen, and he was staring at the ceiling. The mother was sitting with her eyes closed and her hands folded in her lap. I asked her what she was doing and she said she was praying. I told them it was not God she should be talking to but rather her son. Millions of people in the western world still cling to the notion that there is a loving Father up there who really has our best interest at heart, and if we simply rely on him everything will come out all right in the end. People who seek comfort in this myth are unlikely to play much of a role in confronting, let alone solving, the real human problems facing us. Their belief in the mythical Big Daddy makes them psychologically unable to forge links with other human beings and to put real effort into developing effective problem-solving strategies. It has been my observation that, when a parent or other adult is within earshot of a group of small children, there is much more squabbling than when they are on their own, or at least think they are on their own. Perhaps if we adult human beings got rid of our deities, there would be more motivation to join hands and hearts together and deal with our existential angst in adaptive ways. On the inter-personal family level, the person who regularly goes to church every Sunday is bearing witness to the fact that his or her interpersonal supports within the family are not working. In working with couples and families, I find that those who go to church and claim a strong belief in God are often the ones who have very poor patterns of communication, negotiation and support within the family. Where communication, negotiation and support skills are fairly well developed one is not likely to find religion playing much of a role in the family's life. People talk to God when they can't talk to each other. In my experience and that of many of my colleagues and students, religious people entering therapy tend to become less religious as they feel better about themselves and improve in their ability to relate to others, even when religion is never discussed in the therapy. Communication and negotiation skills can be learned and should be learned both at home and in the school. But "alas" this along with sex education are the most neglected areas in the school curriculum. A lot of people are upset about the absence of the Lord's prayer in public schools; instead of trying to promote this one-way communication with a mythical big daddy, they should be agitating for the schools to promote good two way communication skills between our young people. Christian doctrine and teachings actually discourage the de- velopment of human to human communication. Initially, vows of silence were big in the Church since one was supposed to "pray without ceasing", as St. Paul urged. The phenomenon called Chris- tian fellowship came about because the church realized that it could not extinguish the tendency for human beings to be social animals. But it certainly tried. In "The Imitation of Christ", there are countless admonitions to the faithful not to put any trust in their fellow human beings; "He is vain that putteth his trust in man" or this; "Converse not much with young people and with strangers. There is nothing subtle about this one; "Desire to be familiar with God alone and his angels, and avoid the acquaintance of men". And this warning certainly puts the lie to Christian fellowship; "Thou oughtest to be so dead to such affections of beloved friends, that, as much as concerns thee, thou shoulds't wish to be without all company of men". And there are many more where these came from. Get yourself a copy of this little book and read it. It is still being printed and, and given its popularity in Christian circles for centuries, it is no doubt very much alive in the lives of many people. Charge 5. Christianity's promotion of infantile strategies for problem solving compromises the natural human impulse to learn adult problem solving strategies as part of the maturing process. Jesus is reported to have said that "Unless ye become as little children ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. He also said; "Suffer the little children to come unto me for of such is the kingdom of God". Whatever he meant by that, the founding fathers of the church took these sayings literally centuries later when they were building an earthly home for the flock of sheep. Existential angst is the vague feeling of apprehension human beings are prone to get when they contemplate the universe, especially around issues like infinity, eternity and mortality. To help children cope with their existential angst, adults provide them with simple answers to their questions about life; although it is probably not the answers that comfort them as much as it is the quality of the adult-child relationship. One of the characteristics of being an adult is the ability to tolerate not knowing, to live with ambiguity and complexity, to recognize that all answers are partial answers at best and to understand that even these partial answers come to us through the scientific approach to life, and not through divine revelation. An adult's ability to live with uncertainty in this way, is partly dependent on the quality of his or her human relationships during the formative years. Christianity does not encourage people to become adult since it is based on the model that we are all "children of God." We must not aspire to deal with our existential angst in the humanistic way described above, but rather resolve that anxiety by taking comfort from the mythical answers it provides. The growth of education, and particularly the growth of science has been consistently resisted by Christianity since the Renaissance. It gives way only in the face of overwhelming evidence and under great pressure from outside: it also tries to control science and education by establishing its own institutions of higher learning. It is even capable of trying to co-opt science itself as in the oxymoron "creationist science." In order to understand this charge against Christianity we must talk about something called "ambivalence". Ambivalence is the almost universal emotional state in which one emotion exists in human beings side by side with the opposite emotion. We usually think of it in terms of love and hate: but ambivalence appears in connection with other emotions, as when joy is tempered by sadness. In fact it is probable that very few emotions exist in their pure unalloyed state in human beings; there is usually some evidence of other, at times, conflicting emotions existing at the same time. The healthy adult is able to tolerate ambivalent feelings and to make adaptive decisions about his or her behaviour in spite of them, and without feeling too distressed. One thing that charac- terizes all people who seek psychotherapy is their limited ability to tolerate their ambivalent feelings; and when these feelings, often unconscious ones, cause them enough distress, they seek help. one of the main characteristics of individuals who have been successfully treated in psychotherapy is the increase in their capacity to live with ambivalence. Children on the other hand are unable to tolerate ambivalence and when very young they tend to split: that is, one day they are angry at father but feel very loving towards mother; the next day they can't stand mother but love father. As they mature, if they do so in a family environment that allows this to happen, they come to realize that they can love mother but be angry at her at the same time; and they can be angry at father all the while they are fond of him. If they live in a family environment heavily influenced by Christian notions they may be trained to feel guilty about angry feelings towards mother or father; in which case their maturity may be seriously compromised. This is so because Christianity not only does not encourage individuals to live with ambivalent feelings as they mature, it actively discourages it, by encouraging people to feel guilty about every normal human affect or emotion, at least the ones it does not approve of. The Christian universe itself is split into God and Satan, Heaven and Hell. One is supposed to have only love towards God and hatred towards Satan; one is meant to have only love for one's parents because, as one of my devout Roman Catholic patients told me recently "They are my parents". One is trained to feel guilty about anger or hate, which are normal human emotions; and since these feelings cannot be integrated into the developing personality of the Christian child in a healthy way, they can only find their way into expression in pathological, often very self-- destructive ways. Charge 6. Christianity's reliance on the stimulation and exploitation of existential fear and guilt as strategies for gaining and wielding power, produces low self-esteem in those individuals who are influenced by those strategies. Fear has an extremely negative impact on the mental health of human beings and on the health of human relationships. The use of fear as a way of making people behave in certain ways will sometime produce results as victims of blackmail and other fear victims will attest; but the victims of behavioral control through fear remain deeply resentful and the behavioral conformity lasts as long as the internalized threat exists. Christian apologists will claim that fear is no longer the force that brings people to Christ but rather gratitude at the gift of his sacrifice on the cross. However, some televangelists still paint pictures of eternal damnation waiting for those of us who decline this gift; and even in those clergy who mute this message, the image of hells's fires is there in the scriptures in black and white. Even if all preachers stopped these kind of threats to- morrow, it is a legacy from Christianity's past that would not go away in a hurry. It is quite probable that at the bottom of every Christian's motivation for believing is the fear of what will happen to them if they do not. Equally as destructive as the exploitation of human fear is the manipulation of human guilt. Christians are quick to jump in here and claim that they have no need to feel guilty since that guilt was washed away forever, as it were "in the blood of the lamb", by Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. But think of it for a moment. If you believe that someone did you this incredible favour, one you did not ask him to do by the way, doesn't it follow that you would feel incredible guilt? Such guilt can never be washed away, unless you can be persuaded, as we humanists are, that it never happened. Christian promise of guilt relief is, of course, conditional on the believer accepting the Christian world view. Guilt, like fear, is a destructive source of human motivation. Human behaviour motivated by guilt is always accompanied by deep resentment and self-directed incrimination; if intense enough it may be associated with depressed mood and even self-destructive behaviour. And such suicidal behaviour can be traced in part to a suicidal diathesis inherent in the crucifixion myth. The scriptures tell us that Jesus had a number of opportunities to save himself from death on the cross, all of which he rejected. If someone actively chooses death over life, that is suicide. No doubt many you are now thinking; "But the Christian church calls suicide a sin". What you may not know is that the condemnation of suicide came late in the history of the Christian church. When the church turned its attention to building an earthly institution, it had to do something about the very common practice of voluntary martyrdom, in emulation of Christ's death on the cross; a practice that was thought to guarantee one a secure place in heaven. The founding fathers came out with a number of edicts against such suicidal behaviour, the large number of edicts being necessary because this proved to be a difficult practice to eradicate. The culmination of it all was an edict banning the practice entirely in 693 A.D. at the Council of Toledo. It is little wonder that suicidal behaviour in our society has such power to induce guilt in those closest to the "victim"; even the word "victim" implies that someone else is responsible for his or her act of self-destruction. The doctrine of original sin is another guilt button used by Christianity to manipulate and control; without the doctrine of original sin, there is no need for the crucifixion and the resur- rection i.e., no Christianity. And even in the most fervent "born - again" Christian the guilt is very much alive, notwithstanding the message that Christ's death took it all away. That may be theologi- cally neat, but psychologically impossible. And while, in the matter of guilt induction, special condemnation was reserved for sexual pleasures, the pleasures of the flesh, the most innocent of human pleasures are difficult for the believing Christian. Psychologists know that pleasure (or "fun" if you will) is one of the main building blocks in a healthy personality. If all pleasures are suspect, as they are in Christianity, then healthy psychologi- cal growth is impossible. Indeed the good Thomas a Kempis makes it plain that the Christian should seek out suffering, not pleasure, if he or she wants to store up brownie points with the Divine Big Daddy. Get this one: "The saints and friends of Christ served the Lord in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness, in labour and weariness, in watchings and fastings, in prayer and holy medita- tions, in many persecutions and reproaches." And this one: "Feed me, O Lord, with the bread of tears, and give me plenteousness of tears to drink". And this: "Assure thyself thou canst not have two paradises; it is impossible to enjoy delights in this world, and after that to reign with Christ". Nothing could be more specific. Turn your back on the real pleasures of this world if you want to go to heaven; and if you want to be certain of going to heaven, actively seek out suffering. This pleasure phobia in Christianity is so intense that in many Christians, it is almost a sin to have any human needs at all and an even worse sin to ask that those needs be filled, lest one appear "greedy." Indeed greed was one of the seven deadly sins. But apparently it was and is sinful to be greedy about human, earthly needs and pleasures but alright to be greedy about celestial, eter- nal pleasures. For sure, nothing could be more greedy than to expect more than one's share of biological existence. The promise of eternal life in exchange for poverty in this world or a lousy sex life is bound to appeal to people who are already poor or sexually deprived. Another of the great myths promulgated by Christianity is that moral behaviour is promoted by this belief system. Some very intelligent people in our society feel that one must believe in "God" if one wants to lead an ethical, moral life. If anything, the strategies used by Christianity, the manipulation of fear and guilt, may be instrumental in encouraging behaviour that is anything but ethical and moral. Rage is generated in the individual who acts out of guilt or fear. Rage or anger is one of the seven deadly sins and cannot be experienced by the Christian without additional guilt since Christianity makes no distinction between the feeling itself and the behaviour that appears in re- sponse to the feeling. The feeling of rage cannot be expressed in an adaptive non-destructive way. Often when such rage builds up to the point where the individual cannot defend against it any more, it emerges in a destructive way, usually in an act society would consider immoral. It is highly possible that the truly moral Christian is moral in spite of, and not because of his or her religious socialization. Anyone wishing to pursue this point in more detail is directed to my chapter in the book of the Proceed- ings of the Tenth World Humanist Congress in Buffalo in 1988. It doesn't take a psychiatrist to appreciate that all of this is likely to lead to lack of self-esteem in those who buy into it or are affected by it. Psychiatrists and psychologists know that a high self-esteem is necessary for sound mental and emotional health and that low self-esteem is characteristic of all forms of mental and emotional illness. If you haven't concluded by now that Christian indoctrination contributes to low self-esteem, listen to Thomas a Kempis, who makes no bones about it; "I am thy poorest, meanest servant, and a most vile person, much poorer and contempt- ible than I can or dare express. Yet do thou remember me, O Lord, because I am nothing, I have nothing, I can do nothing". There are many many more, for example: "Thou oughtest therefore to ascribe nothing of good to thyself, nor do thou attribute virtue unto any man; but give all unto God, without whom man hath nothing". There can be no doubt that the teachings of Christianity contribute in no small way to much of the suffering that ends up being dealt with by the health care system, a system that is becoming increas- ingly a financial burden to us all. Yet the institution that churns out these destructive messages with impunity continues to operate with the tax-free blessing of the same state. Go figure. End of Part III Christianity on trial ========================================================= =================================================================== || END OF ARTICLE || =================================================================== The Freedom Writer * May 1994 Anti-Semitism: Its Prevalance Within the Religious Right By Skipp Porteous c. 1994 IFAS =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= =- Part II -= =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Ethical Culture "The American Ethical Union, founded in 1889 in New York City, was a federation of over thirty ethical societies that had been initiated by Felix Adler (Jewish) more than a decade earlier. New York became the capital of the humanist movement, which then spread across the United States."(35) It is common knowledge that there are more Jews in New York than in any other city in the United States. (On extremist computer bulletin boards, New York is often referred to as "Jew York City.") It is well-known that many Jews who wanted to retain Jewish ethics, without the religious observances, led the Ethical Culture movement. LaHaye considers the American Civil Liberties Union, headed by Ira Glasser and Nadine Strossen (both Jewish), "The most effective humanist organization for destroying the laws, morals, and traditional rights of Americans." LaHaye adds, "The anti-Christian attitude of the ACLU is not only evident in its persistent attack on moral legislation but also in its efforts to compel our country to become totally secular."(36) LaHaye refers to "humanist attorney" William Kuntsler (Jewish) as "Communist oriented." He then attacks the Humanist Manifesto II, which like the original Humanist Manifesto, "criticizes religious dogmatism and denies the existence of a Creator." Dr. Tim Madigan is the editor of the humanist magazine Free Inquiry. His publisher, Dr. Paul Kurtz, drafted the Humanist Manifesto II, which LaHaye so despises. Madigan said that he thinks about a third of the signers of Humanist Manifesto II were Jewish. The Rev. Tim LaHaye's crusade against humanism parallels almost every anti-Semitic movement in recent history. In fact, Jews do have considerable influence in some of the arenas LaHaye writes about. Are these similarities coincidental, or is the campaign against humanism _ attributing society's every evil to supposed humanists _ really a covert attack on Jews? LaHaye is not the only conservative Christian minister whose assault on humanism raises serious questions about anti-Semitism. The Alleged Anti-Semitism of the Rev. Donald Wildmon The Rev. Donald Wildmon, founder and head of the American Family Association (formerly the National Federation for Decency) has, by design or chance, espoused Rushdoony's idea that modern Judaism is really humanism. With Wildmon, it is sometimes difficult to tell what group he's attacking _ humanists or Jews. It appears that in his mind they are one and the same. In Wildmon's view, television network executives (a majority of whom are Jewish, according to a Lichter-Rothman survey he often quotes) are in a deliberate conspiracy to promote "anti-Christian" television programming to undermine Christianity. Wildmon made his first anti-Semitic innuendo before a convention of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) in 1985. And as early as 1981, Wildmon said, "Most television producers are of the Jewish perspective."(37) The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B'nai B'rith wrote to Wildmon after a number of NRB attenders expressed concern about his presentation. "Your remarks imply that Jews create and condone anti-Christian programming," the ADL wrote on June 18, 1985. "You seem to be saying that the fact that there are so many Jews involved with commercial television programming is an explanation for the anti-Christian nature, as you see it, of that programming." Wildmon ignored the ADL's letter. In 1985, Wildmon wrote a book called The Home Invaders, published by Victor Books, of Wheaten, Illinois. Anti-Semitic aspersion is carefully woven into the book. In one section, Wildmon states, "Only a relatively small handful of people determine what Americans can and will see on network television. These people are overtly hostile to the Christian faith."(38) He doesn't say who "these people" are until the next chapter. Wildmon's modus operandi is to quote someone else and then add his interpretation. In this case, he made use of a remark by columnist Pat Buchanan: "If he [playwright Christopher Durang] were as anti-Semitic as he is anti-Christian, he would neither be collecting awards nor staging any more plays." Wildmon's interpretation of Buchanan's statement: "Buchanan is no doubt referring to the fact that Hollywood and the theater world is heavily influenced by Jewish people."39 In his NFD Journal(40), Wildmon again raised the specter of a conspiracy among network executives (stating that 59% of them are Jewish) to create prime time "anti-Christian" programming. Wildmon concluded, "What we are witnessing by the networks and advertisers is a genuine hostility towards Christians and the Christian faith. This anti-Christian programming is intentional and by design. It took me years to believe that, and to be willing to say so publicly, but it is true."41 Time and time again, in his AFA Journal (formerly known as the NFD Journal), Wildmon has used the same inflammatory rhetoric. On October 27, 1987, Wildmon wrote a letter to major television advertisers demanding that they stop advertising on shows that had an "anti-Christian" bias. Using the Lichter-Rothman study, he again blamed Jews for this objectionable programming. ADL Concurs Stuart Lewengrub, director of the ADL's southeast regional office, in a letter42 to Robert L. Brannon, then vice president of The Holiday Corporation, wrote: "ADL initially sought to communicate with him [Wildmon] in a low key, non-accusatory, manner. I've enclosed a copy of a letter ADL sent Wildmon when he first began to employ the anti-Semitic innuendo. We were trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, at least insofar as his singling out the Jewish background of those `anti-Christian' media folks was concerned. It is evident that he has little desire to alter that approach..." He continues, "Based on what I understand about Wildmon, he tries to evade the `anti-Semitism' issue by noting that the study on which he based his statistics was conducted by Jews (the Lichters and Rothman), which is true, but irrelevant to Wildmon's use of those statistics." Lewengrub concluded, "One final thought_I am reminded of one of the most poignant comments to emerge from the Nazi Holocaust. You recall the scenes in pre-war Germany of thousands of people hurling `unwanted' books into huge bonfires. It was said that `A NATION THAT BURNS ITS BOOKS WILL SOON BURN ITS PEOPLE.' Prophetic, but I doubt Wildmon would understand or care." S. Robert Lichter, a co-author of the Lichter-Rothman report, in a letter43 to Brannon, said that his survey "...drew no conclusions about the nature of [TV] programming or the precise motivations of program directors." He also said, "...we naturally abhor any imputation of anti-Semitic inferences from our survey of television producers and executives." Stanley Rothman, the other co-author of the Lichter-Rothman report, wrote44 directly to Rev. Wildmon. Rothman strongly repudiated Wildmon's use of the Lichter-Rothman study to prove that Jewish producers are anti-Christian. Rothman stated: "The inferences you draw from our data are not justified." Rothman told Wildmon that their findings presented `NO EVIDENCE' to support any of Wildmon's accusations, and that a new study actually proved the contrary. Wildmon ignored Rothman's letter and continued perpetrating this misinformation. Harry E. Moore, Jr., regional director (Memphis), of The National Conference of Christians and Jews, in a letter45 to Brannon, referred to Wildmon's alleged anti-Semitism. Moore said, "I agree that whether he [Wildmon] intends it or not, there is a not so subtle strain of anti-Semitism in his madness." He concluded, "I shall keep a wary eye on Mr. Wildmon. There is no telling which way his anti-Semitic bias will lead him." In the fall of 1988, Robert K. Lifton, president of the American Jewish Congress, in a letter to prospective members, wrote, "...when Right Wing Christians launched their unsuccessful campaign to block release by Universal Studios of "The Last Temptation of Christ," they picked a very special target. THEY WENT AFTER THE JEWS." "The Reverend Donald Wildmon, Executive Director of the American Family Association of Tupelo, Mississippi, mailed 500,000 letters [according to Wildmon, the final total was about 4 million letters] urging recipients to bring pressure upon "THE NON-CHRISTIANS OFFICIALS WHO RUN UNIVERSAL." Lifton added, "To be sure, films on such sensitive issues are bound to upset some people, and the right to criticize them is a constitutional right that we at the AJ Congress will defend. But, as we pointed out forcefully to these fundamentalists leaders, the exercise of this constitutional right `DOES NOT CREATE LICENSE TO ENGAGE IN BIGOTRY AND ANTI-SEMITISM." Jewish Support for Wildmon In the AFA Journal46, Rev. Wildmon quoted a Jewish colleague, Judith Reisman, who had come to his defense against charges of anti-Semitism. Reisman's words amplify Rev. Wildmon's alleged bigotry. She said, "The statements Rev. Wildmon has made which have been misconstrued as anti-Semitic, refer instead to the role of secular humanists and their control of mass media. Reverend Wildmon has no quarrel with Judaism. Quite the contrary, he has a quarrel with secular humanists and other non-Christians." Reisman adds, "Orthodox Jewry has similar quarrels with Jewish secular humanists and other non-Christians."47 Wildmon later acknowledged that his organization has given generous financial support to Reisman's research on pornography. The question remains: Why does Wildmon note that 59% of Hollywood's elite come from Jewish backgrounds? He not only mentions it, he repeats it ad nauseam. In his book The Home Invaders, Wildmon states, "When the Jewish organization B'nai B'rith honored [Hugh] Hefner as their man of the year, it reflected the shallowness and sickness of those who made the decision, not the religion which gave us the Ten Commandments and, for most of us, our Lord Jesus Christ."48 Like many anti-Semites, Wildmon has no quarrel with the religion of Judaism, just with the Jewish people. In a January 1989 AFA Journal article, "What Hollywood Believes and Wants," Wildmon stated, "The television elite are highly secular. Ninety-six percent had a religious upbringing, the majority (59 percent) in the Jewish faith."49 Again, an example of his continuing attacks on secular Jews. In the same issue, Wildmon published an article titled "Anti-Semitism Called A Serious Problem." The headline leads one to believe that the article is sympathetic toward Jews. In actuality, it creates a diversion and plays upon the prejudices of Wildmon's audience. The gist of the article is that anti-Semitism arises out of the black community! The article highlights that "Jews continue to be more liberal than other Americans..." and specifically points out that "Jews favor homosexual rights more than other Americans." The article stresses that "only 18 percent of the Jews" support a constitutional amendment to allow prayer in public schools.50 Wildmon is aware of his conservative audience's homophobia and approval of prayer in public schools. And, typically, Wildmon quotes from the words and findings of others to justify his own conclusions. Finally, Rev. Wildmon regularly reprints articles by Don Feder, the ultra-conservative syndicated columnist. Although Feder is Jewish, he and Wildmon see eye-to-eye on social issues. Wildmon is quick to point out that Feder "is a Jew." This is another device people employ to mask anti-Semitism, much as racists say, "Some of my best friends are black." Some Christian Leaders Denounce Wildmon Presented with these insights about Rev. Wildmon, several Christian leaders expressed their concern to the Institute for First Amendment Studies. James Lapp, executive secretary of the Mennonite Church, wrote: "We support Mr. Wildmon in his concern for decency and positive values. We do not support some of his tactics, attitudes or biases against Jewish people." John L. May, Archbishop of St. Louis, and former president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote, "I certainly do not agree with the obvious anti-Semitic bias of Reverend Donald E. Wildmon." Stuart Lewengrub of the ADL said his group has corresponded with Wildmon about anti-Semitism since 1985. He said the ADL has tried in a constructive way "to lean over backward to give him the benefit of the doubt." He's encouraging his followers," Lewengrub said, "to believe that Jews are responsible for the kind of programming they dislike." If Wildmon's point is that Hollywood leaders are secular or atheists, Lewengrub added, he can say so without alluding to their religious background. Nor does Wildmon need to note, as he does, that the Jewish background of television executives "contrasts with society as a whole, which is 2 1/2 percent Jewish." "There is no doubt in my mind that Wildmon has engaged in anti-Semitism," Lewengrub said. "He didn't stop. He continued doing it." In response to these accusations, Wildmon wrote, "As far as being anti-Semitic, I am not. I have a Jewish brother-in-law. Also, AFA has supported researcher Dr. Judith Reisman, who is Jewish, generously for over two years. And my Lord was a Jew." Wildmon and the Anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby Interestingly enough, Wildmon and his ministry are in favor with the The Spotlight, a virulently anti-Semitic newspaper. On March 7, 1994, Wildmon's smiling mug appeared in the back-page feature "Spotlight on People." The caption lauded Wildmon's opposition to gay rights, which mirror those of The Spotlight. The Spotlight, published weekly by the Washington, DC-based Liberty Lobby, operates a computer bulletin board service (BBS) called LogoPlex. The anti-Semitism in The Spotlight is mild compared to the material appearing on LogoPlex. LogoPlex is the electronic meeting place of Christian Identity, Aryan Nations, White Supremacists, gun owners, and Christian Patriots. LogoPlex maintains several libraries of articles relating to these themes. Anyone desiring a copy of the infamous and fraudulent anti-Semitic booklet The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion can download the entire volume to their computer. A popular article available on LogoPlex, "The Synagogue of Satan," claims to expose the Jewish people as being "false" Jews and members of the Synagogue of Satan. On LogoPlex members can "talk" to one-another via computer, advertise goods for sale, or simply exchange information. LogoPlex also lists over 125 other radical right-wing bulletin boards. LogoPlex's family forum includes the complete text of Wildmon's latest AFA Journal, a list of the AFA's other publications, and the names and addresses of every state AFA director. This enables White Supremacists and other racists to network with the American Family Association. If people are known by the company they keep, the surfacing of Rev. Wildmon and his American Family Association on LogoPlex says a lot. Anti-Semitism and Christian Identity Christians who embrace "Christian Identity" believe that there is a difference between "true Israel" and those who call themselves Jews. They think that the true Israelites are today's white Christians, descendants of white Europeans. The blessings promised Israel in the Bible, according to Christian Identity thought, are really for the Christian church. On the other hand, Jews descend from the tribe of Judah, and most who today claim to be Jews are not really Jews, but are Russian descendants of converts to Judaism about 1,000 years ago. Christian Identity loosely includes Aryan Nations, White Supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, Christian Patriots, and other related groups. Almost without exception, these groups are heavily involved with gun ownership and "self-defense," and harbor an assortment of bizarre conspiracy theories. This same faction was responsible for the 1984 machine gun murder of Jewish talk show host Alan Berg in Denver. The rising star of the Christian Identity movement is Pastor Pete Peters of the LaPorte (Colorado) Church of Christ. Peters distributes The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and is the author of the booklets The Real Hate Group and Death Penalty for Homosexuals is Prescribed in the Bible. Peters _ along with Ted Pike (producer of an anti-Semitic video called "The Other Israel"), other Christian Identity ministers, and the Rev. Donald Wildmon _ is a popular personality on LogoPlex. Peters' The Real Hate Group depicts Jews as controlling television, the film industry, and the news media. It describes the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as "the most dangerous hate group in America." Like the Bottom Feeder joke book published by Life Dynamics, The Real Hate Group characterizes Jews as having large noses. Peters is significant because he has crossed the line between Christian Identity and more mainstream conservative Christian groups. Besides broadcasting nationally on short-wave radio, he can be seen on the fast-growing Keystone Inspiration Network, of Red Lion, Pennsylvania. This cable TV network is picked up in about 120 cities. Described as a "family" network, it carries Pat Robertson's "700 Club," Jerry Falwell's "Old Time Gospel Hour," Morris Cerullo, James Robison, Benny Hinn, and other popular evangelical Christian programming. Some have questioned the presence of a rabid anti-Semite on a mainstream Christian cable network. The Rev. Clyde Campbell, Keystone's comptroller, said, "Some people have questioned Peters' presence on Keystone," but said the station previews his programs for anything distasteful. "Peters is a minister of the Gospel and he does a good job," Campbell said. "Pete says he loves the Jews," Campbell claimed. "The only thing I have against Pete Peters," Campbell said, "is the continual harping on the Old Testament. I think his attitude on killing homosexuals and lesbians is unloving. Jesus provides a better way." Conclusion It is important to note that on the few occasions conservative Christian leaders praise Jews, the praise is usually limited to certain ultra-conservative Jews such as Judith Reisman and Don Feder. In September 1993, the Christian Coalition held a "Road to Victory" conference in Washington, DC. One of the featured speakers was Daniel Lapin, an Orthodox Rabbi. Lapin, reared in South Africa, is a lively and entertaining speaker. As an ultra-conservative, his association with Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition is convenient for both parties. On a shuttle bus from the conference to the airport, two members of the North Florida Christian Coalition discussed Rabbi Lapin's presentation, and a telling remark was overheard. "He speaks better English than any Jew I ever heard," the speaker said. At the "Road to Victory" conference, Max Karrer, M.D., who heads the North Florida Christian Coalition, led a workshop called "Using Computers at the Grass Roots." He referred to a particular political race to illustrate Christian Coalition tactics. "As an example of how this works," he said, "we had a legislative race where we had a female Jewish lawyer _ liberal, feminist _ endorsed by NOW, who had knocked out three years ago a pro-life Christian." Dr. Karrer's description of a "pro-life Christian" against a "liberal female Jewish lawyer," while brief, smacked of bigotry. This is typical of the kind of anti-Semitism often found in conservative Christian circles. Anti-Semitism will always exist, but it can do so without popular support. Mainline Christian denominations have a moral duty to speak out against anti-Semitism. When Christian leaders decide to put their foot down, popular support will end. n FW 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 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 II of II || || ANTISEMITISM AND THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT || ============================================================== ============================================================== || END OF ARTICLE || ============================================================== Guidelines on Excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church (We concentrate on the Roman Catholic Church because it is one of the worst for inflating its number by counting everyone who was ever baptised without taking into account current attendance, and because leaving membership in many fundamentalist and cultish Christian groups is fairly easy. You can simply send a clearly worded letter to your local Mormon bishop asking to have your name erased from the membership records of the church, and it shall be done.) The Roman Catholic church apparently does not excommunicate its members easily. They say that the reason for this is to leave the way open for reconciliation. However, their thinking is based on irrational belief and is motivated by fear, and they assume that you are the same. They believe that you will react as they do to the fear of death, and wish to deny reality and embrace an illusion. Even more im- portantly, by never giving up a member, the church is able to claim millions as members, who do not accept its doctrines, who never attend, who never contribute money or time and who are, in fact, opposed to what it stands for. This greatly enhances its power. If you were ever baptised a Roman Catholic, and have not been excommunicated, you are still counted as a member. If you do not wish to contribute to the power of the Roman Catholic church, you may want to get yourself excommunicated. WHY SHOULD I GET EXCOMMUNICATED? THREE GOOD REASONS. The Roman Catholic church is misogynistic. Although they may talk about 'cherishing' or 'adoring' womanhood, they mean a master's appreciation of an obedient and docile servant. They do not believe that women are the equals of men. The church funds and works for anti-woman legislation around the world. The Roman Catholics and the Mormons were the primary sources of the funds and lobbying which helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in the United States. The church has crippled international development, especially in the neediest countries, by refusing to allow any form of birth control to be discussed. Ireland and other Catholic countries do the church's dirty work by blocking international meetings unless all countries submit to Cath- olic doctrine in matters of birth control. Historically, the church has fostered wife abuse by promoting cultures where any marriage, no matter how bad, was better for a woman than living alone. The Pope has just issued a statement that the Church will *never* ordain women as priests. *The Roman Catholic church is homophobic.* In fact, it's worse than that, the proper description of its position is 'pro-natalist'. Any form of sexual behavior that doesn't raise the birth rate is forbidden. Sex as an expression of love and sexual activity for simple pleasure are prohibited or subordinated to the production of little Catholics. Even within marriage the loving exchange of pleasure is a sin. The church will also refuse to marry couples if the union cannot be fertile, which has caused untold anguish to couples wherein one partner was handicapped or otherwise infertile. Through the ages, of course, men have had little trouble getting their pleasure from sex. The burden of this policy falls on women, whose bodies and health are destroyed by endless childbearing. Homosexuality is completely prohibited and is condemned with unusually intense loathing and disgust. (Although priestly pedophilia was very lightly punished, if at all, until recently.) The church has never objected to any punishments, up to and including death, which a society has wished to impose on homosexuals, quite the opposite. the Church is lobbying against civil rights legislation for homosexuals, and is attempting to influence its congregations to deny homosexuals equal human rights with other citizens. THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IS ANTIDEMOCRATIC, AUTHORITARIAN AND INTOLERANT. Americans, Canadians and others from secular or otherwise non-Catholic countries may refuse to believe this. However, like every religion, the Catholic church, when it is in a minority position, is all in favor of tolerance and democracy. However, when it is in control, as in Ireland or Poland, it shows its true colors. The church is much more comfortable with authoritarian right- wing governments and has historically allied itself with them. If the people in 'Catholic' countries who do not accept the homophobic, misogynistic and intolerant doctrines of Catholicism would take the step of leaving the church, especially in a positive direction towards humanism, the church's power to do harm would be greatly lessened. Historically, the church saw Mussolini and Hitler as bulwarks against atheistic communism and actively supported the fascist Spanish dictator Franco against the democratic republic. Hitler, although a Catholic, never committed a grave enough sin to merit excommunication. Such an action on the church's part might have saved millions of lives. **I don't accept the church's position on birth control, or on abortion, I don't believe in the prayers, the miracles or the theology, and I haven't been to church in ages except for weddings and funerals. I am no longer a Roman Catholic. I don't want to be counted as a Catholic. How do I get excommunicated?** As of 1983 there are nine canons under which excommunication can take place. Five of them only apply to priests or bishops. One of the others is physically attacking the pope, and criminal acts can hardly be recommended. Another is 'violation of sacred species', normally called desecrating a consecrated host. It is hard to imagine doing this without committing a criminal act; and it would certainly deeply offend almost everybody. Next to last is 'procuring of abortion'. Excommunication for this is supposed to be automatic, but it only applies to the doctor and the woman involved. I am told the church does not seek out such cases. In any case one would hardly choose an abortion solely for the sake of excommunication. It may pay to mention any active work you have done on behalf of making access to abortion safe and legal, and any work you have done help women procure abortions. This leaves canon 1364, section 1 'Apostasy, heresy, or schism'. This involves automatic excommunication, if you can convince the church that it applies to you. The most common usage of this canon is when a former Catholic embraces another religion. Obviously, if you are now a Muslim, a Mormon or a Jehovah's Witness, you are *automatically* no longer a Catholic. It is your task to convince the church that you, as an atheistic secular humanist, are in the same 'non-Catholic' category as a Muslim or Buddhist. In your favor is a nineteenth century ruling which stated that 'those who make a public renunciation of all religion may be subsumed under this category [apostates].' You will need to write a letter to your current parish. It should include the necessary information to meet all of the criteria for deserving to be excommunicated. You may also present this to your birth parish, if this is convenient. THE CHURCH'S CRITERIA FOR MERITING EXCOMMUNICATION. The church is patronizing to atheists. They can easily recognize another superstition, but, being unfamiliar with rationality, they have difficulty accepting the decision to renounce all mumbo jumbo. They have, however, officially established these criteria for judging all cases of excommunication: You must ACT. Mere thought is not enough. You should be able to cite memberships in freethought and humanist groups. You should be able to cite actions you have taken, such as, letters written, demonstrations attended, meetings attended, magazine subscriptions, etc. As well as negative actions, like not attending church, not giving them any money, time or thought for years. You must be PERSISTENT. This must take place over a long period of time. If at first you don't succeed...Cite long commitment, and keep trying and keep writing. You must be CONTUMACIOUS. As in: I am firm, you are contu- macious, he is pig-headed. Do not waver or indicate any hesitation. It is not necessary to be impolite, but do not be unclear in your condemnation of Catholicism in order to avoid offence. You must be AWARE that this involves excommunication. For them, ignorance of canon law is an excuse. State in your letter that you are aware of this, that you know what the consequences are and that this is what you wish to happen. You have to BE A ROMAN CATHOLIC. Obviously. In your let- ter, make them aware of this by telling them the parish where you were baptised and the date. THEY HAVE A DUTY to other Roman Catholics. Your mental state is something that no one knows except you. You are the only expert on your own non-religious status. They have a duty to inform other Roman Catholics about this change in you so that they do not mishandle their dealings with you. In terms of marriage, communion, death and so on, you should be treated as a non-Catholic. If they fail to do this, they are not dealing fairly with the Catholics in their charge. So far, most cases have gone smoothly. Using the citations in this article seems to impress them with the idea that you are serious, you know what you are talking about, and that this is not a "spur or the moment" whim. If, however, you meet resistance, there is some heavier ammunition below. Fill out the handy form below and send it in to your local priest. This may only get things started. Be prepared to continue for a long time. Remember: each person who does this makes it easier for the next person. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- I am an atheist. I hereby renounce all the trappings of religion. I renounce all blessings, benefits, graces, sanctifications, and advantages supposedly conferred on me by any religion or by any religious act done by me or on my behalf in the past, present or future. I condemn as monstrous the idea of original sin, and renounce any baptism done on my behalf to wash it away. I reject as ridiculous the idea of an atoning sacrifice and spurn its presumed benefits. I do not believe that any god, supernatural realm or afterlife exists, and will not act as if they did. I do not believe that any book, building, place, person, thing or action is holy and will not pretend that they are. I do not think that praying is anything more than talking to oneself and will not make believe that it is. I do not believe that any person is more sanctified than any other, or that any human being should be elevated above another in any way, due to ancestry, race, gender, occupation, belief or for any other reason and will not feign that I do. As a principled and rational person, it pains me that someone, somewhere may be counting me as an adherent of an irrational superstition which has done and is doing irreparable harm to humanity and with which I profoundly disagree. Please remove my name from the records of the church, and record that I am no longer a Roman Catholic. Please send me confirmation of this action. Please do this as soon as possible. ___________________________ Signature Suggestions for getting in the mood (optional) Remember: BLASPHEMY IS A VICTIMLESS CRIME. indulge extra during lent. attend blasphemous plays and movies. buy The Satanic Verses. write a Bangladeshi embassy supportin Taslima Nasrin. laugh at sacred things. unsettle the faith of anyone you can. foster reason, critical thinking and self-esteem in children. promote the taxation of churches. promote feminism and access to abortion and contraception. promote separation of church and state. fight creationism and coercive religion in public life. Public Prayer -- Don't Stand for it! promote human rights for all. eliminate blasphemy from the criminal code. avoid charities that waste money on religious indoctrination. study real biblical criticism and actual ancient history. study clear thinking. Read books by Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, Marvin Harris, Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, Robert Ingersoll, Daniel Dennett, Paul Kurtz and many more. Subscribe to Freethought Today, Skeptical Inquirer, Free Inquiry, Humanist in Canada, The Humanist, Lucifer's Echo, The Skeptical Review and many more. For further information on excommunication, write Lucifer at: ai815@FreeNet.Carleton.CA =================================================================== || END OF ARTICLE || =================================================================== ================================================================== || END OF ISSUE || ================================================================== Once again: ISSN: 1198-4619 Lucifer's Echo. Volume 1, Number 4: AUG 1994. -- --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


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank