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This Issue Student

Released Time and Ernie Krumm


Atheist Activity

Natives Are So Naive


Coping with Theism

MERICAN
lHEIST

Profanation of Sabbath Laws


Church/State: The Last Act

$1.25

A Journal Of
Atheist News
And Thought

Vol. 19, No.4

April,1977

Vol. 19, No.3

EDITORIAL
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

" "

April 1977

2
3

NEWS
Atheist-Christian Debate
Hank Larson, Atheist
Catholic Money
ReleasedTime and Ernie Krumm
Student Atheist Activity
Reiigious Presidents???

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5
6
8
13
14

FEATURE ARTICLES
Should We Grieve for Gary Gilmore?/Anne Gaylor
"
Natives Are So Naive/Mort
Lewis
Church and State: The Last Act/Bev Jones
Tax-Exemption for Religion/Warren Shibles
Coping with Theism/Bernard G. Colby

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18
19
25
31

AMERICAN ATHEIST RADIO SERIES


Profanation of Sabbath Laws

20

BOOK REVIEW
Jesus,God, Man or Myth

23

POEMS

30

Editor-in-Chief/Madalyn
Murray O'Hair, Editor/Jon G. Murray, Managing Editor/
William J. Murray, Design/Valerie l. Murray, Cover Artist/Mark
Blanton, Circulation/John I. Mays, Non-Resident Staff/Anne Gaylor, Warren Shibles, Mort Lewis,
John Sontarck, Jo Kotula (Artist),
Production
Coordinators/Delores
Riordan,
Ralph Shirley.

The American Atheist Magazine is published monthly by American Atheists, 4408 Medical
Parkway, Austin, Texas, 78756, a non-profit, non-political, tax-exempt, educational
organization. Mailing address: P. O. Box 2117, Austin, Texas 78768; copyright <91977 by
Society of Separationists, Inc.; Subscription rates: $15.00 per year; $25.00 for two years.
Manuscripts: the editors assume no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts. All manuscripts
must be typed, double-spaced and accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

ON THE COVER
The Southern Baptist Convention utilizing the legal gimmick of owning "properties
under liquidating leases" now has "ownership-lease back" deals with Borden Milk,
Bemis Bags, Burlington Mills, Burroughs,
Dunlop, Firestone, Fruehauf, Hertz, Hutrig,
Mack Trucks, Mobil Oil, Newberry, Rath
Meats, Reynolds
Metals, Textron
and
Westinghouse.
The Roman Catholic Loyola University
of Los Angeles owns three dairies, a plastic
factory, a hotel, a foundry, a printing
company, and businesses producing oil
burners, rubber treads and locks.
I.R.S. is concerned with "one church
which is a wholesale distributor of popular
phonograph records, another which has
acquired seven sportswear and clothing
manufacturing
business, a third which
manufactures mobile homes and operates a
drilling business, others which conduct real
estate development
businesses, provide
petroleum
storage facilities and carry
on a broad variety of manufacturing enterprises."
Churches control huge blocks of stock,
most frequently in finance companies, such
as Beneficial Finance, CIT, Commercial
Credit and General Acceptance Corporation
(GAC). They like the blue chip issues of
U.S. Steel, Standard Oil, American Airlines,
AT&T, IBM. But since public utility bonds
pay such good dividends they are deeply
involved in Illinois Power Company, Baltimore Gas and Electric, Arkansas Power and
Light, Alabama Power Company, Florida
Power Company,
Consolidated
Edison,
Kentucky Utilities, Idaho Power Company
and many more.
To realize profits out of war or Pentagon
spending, they heavily invest in Dow Chemical, Boeing Aircraft,
Bethelem Steel,
Lockheed.
Gas prices are what they are as the
churches collect from Shell Oil, Gulf Oil,
Standard Oil and Texaco.
They are absolutely tax-exempt on
income from real estate, manufacturing,
stocks, bonds, inheritances, capital gains,
ordinary collections (which now reach $11
billion a year). Organized religion is currently in a direct confrontation with I.R.S. and
refusing to comply with recent legislation
which would require them to report on
"unrelated" business owned.
The more churches own; the higher
your taxes. Need we say more?

The time for any idea is always now.


If one puts out an idea which is ahead of one's
time, just the fact that the idea is presented, is introduced into the market place of ideas, is an incident toward that idea's ultimate acceptance.
If we wait until the time is ripe, it never will be
ripe.
We need first to educate toward an idea, introduce
the idea and then work for the idea.
Will we ever have an American Atheist President of
the United States? How
can we know if we never
run one for the office?
How shocking will the
idea be, first time presented? and how inane
will it be when an American Atheist
finally
is
elected thereto?
If we have "freedom
of conscience"
in the
United States, then one's
convictions
in respect to
religion should have little
to do with candidacy on
the pol itical issues.
Before an Atheist can
run
for
president,
we
must test the issue on
which
Robert
Ingersoll
faltered:
Can an Atheist
run
for
public
office
anywhere?
How would
an Atheist
fare
in a
sizeable city? Would the
fact that (s)he was an
Atheist be a part of the
campaign? The only way
to answer the questions,
the only way to test the
waters, was to dive in.
The
first
week
of
February,
1977, therefore,
your
editor,
Dr.
Madalyn Murray O'Hair.
filed
for
a place
on
Austin City Council,
in
Austin, Texas. This is a
very prestigious political
position,
a two
year
term, salaried at $12,000. For as long as there has
been a City Council, the scions of the wealthy class in
Austin,
have set on it. Campaign funding for any
position
usually runs from $35,000
to $75,000,
although some candidates have spent as much as
$100,000 on this race.
The day Dr. O'Hair called the press conference to
announce her candidacy every media outlet in the
city turned out. All radio stations, all television
stations, every newspaper, were represented. Flash

lights popped; the table was jammed with microphones; the room was filled; reporters sat with pencil
and pad posed.
Dr. O'Hair gave a twenty (20) minute presentation
which covered every political issue of the city. She
had researched for weeks, taking an analytic stand on
forty four issues. Atheism was not mentioned.
At the end of the presentation
the silence was
staggering. The media had expected anything but
a knowledgeable,
informed,
concerned, candidate.
Since that first week in
February
American
Atheists
have gained so
much stature in the City
of Austin,
that win or
lose the
election, the
venture
was worth one
hundred times the effort.
She has spoken before
100 civic groups and she
is being
treated
with
civility,
dignity
and reo
spect. The aspirants for
aII seats (there are six
council seats) sit equally
with
her and she with
them
at every public
forum.
Time and again
her remarks are met with
ringing applause or standing ovation, as over and
over again - using pure
reason - she exposes the
causes and suggests the
remedy for local problems. Time after time she
is surrounded by citizens,
who want to shake her
hand.
Her literature is
rapidly sought. And, she
has the most beautiful of
all compliments
paid to
her,
as
candidate
.
:.
.
i.O.:U:...
.. candidate steal bits after
""
.....
and
pieces of her program
to incorporate
into their
own.
Dr. O'Hair
has been
hampered
by
lack of
funds, by lack of volunteers, by lack of staff - but it was time to test the
water. The election comes on April 2nd, after this
issue has gone to press, and been mailed to you. Win
or lose, and we will report to you, we have won. The
change in media handling, the places where she has
had entry to speak, the associations she has developed, the respect she has won can only redound to the
image of American Atheists as rational, concerned,
competent human beings and able citizens.
Editor

EDITORIAL

TO KEEP CHURCH
STA'(t: SEPARATE

y
..
I

':

,.-

""

To run for public office as


an AMERICAN ATHEIST

APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN

ATHEIST - 2

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR


Recently, John Dart, Religious
Editor for the Los Angeles Times
Newspaper, came to the American
A theist Center specifically to do a
story about the organization and its
leader.
While he was here, he gave us
what he considered to be one of the
most amusing "Atheist-type"
letters
he had ever received.
We
checked
our
computer
M*A *R*S* (Master Atheist Record
System) and sure enough Daniel J.
Mason is a member in good standing.
Wereproduce the letter here in full.
Dear Editor,
Perhaps you have heard of me and
my nationwide campaign in the cause
of Atheism. Each year, for the past
fourteen years, I have made a tour of
the middle west and delivered a series
of lectures on the evils of Religion.
On these tours,
I have been
accompanied by my young friend and
assistant, Clyde Lindstrom. Clyde, the
young son of a good family, and excellent background,
is a pathetic
case whose life was ruined by excessive indulgence in doctrines
and
dogmas, fears and guilts; not to mention Biblical myths, being "bornagain" and "decisions for Christ."
Clyde would appear with me at
lectures and sit on the platform drooling at the mouth and stari ng at the
audience through bleary, bloodshot
eyes, while I would point him out as
an example of what Religion could do.
Last summer, unfortunately, Clyde
died. A mutual friend has given me
your name, and I wonder if you would
be available to take Clyde's place on
my spring tour?
Reverend Daniel J. Mason
Los Angeles, California

I made a large counter sticker:


I NEVER NEEDED IT
and the current joke is "Now that
you've found it, play with it."
"MARANTHA",
"Jesus
is the
Way", "God Help Me", "One Way",
ad nauseum are all over the place. It
occurs to me that a counter response
might be a good investment. Might it
be feasible for S.O.S. to develop a
line of bumper stickers to be made
available to Atheists ... and perhaps
even a line of smaller stickers to be
placed adjacent
to the ubiquitous
god plugs on telephone poles, sides of
buildings, etc.? These might be an
adjunct
to the "Keep Church and
State Separate",
and "Have Faith"
stickers you sold a few years ago.
Jerome H. Manheim
Long Beach, California
Dear Jerome,
Good idea!
We are having five (5) bumper
stickers printed in time for the American Atheist Convention (April 8, 9,
and 10). These will be advertised later
in the magazine.
We do still have available our "Have
Faith" stickers priced at 2 cents each.
Editor

Good work Dan. Keep it going.


Editor
Dear Editor,
Enclosed is $15 to keep me current:
As you know so well California,
kookerie of the nation, is incessant in
it's popular barrages for god. The
latest scene (which I understand,
perhaps incorrectly, is mostly in the
L.A. basin) consists of stickers-bumper, wall, door, everywhere-proclaiming salvation. Most insidious are the
bumper stickers, springing up all over
the place, viz:
I FOUND IT

Dear Editor,
In the penultimate
issue of the
American Atheist Journal, page thirty,
there begins an article by Warren
Shibles implying that Atheism cannot
prove the religionist's god, or gods, do
not exist. It gives me no pleasure to
criticize a fellow craftsman, (I am a
novelist)
and especially
a fellow
Atheist regarding Atheism, but Shibles
should research his subject matter in
greater detail before
making such
blanket
implications.
If he cannot

disprove the existence of the so-called


supernatural
beings claimed to populate religious mythologies,
it is his
lack, though
I find it difficult to
understand
how any person claiming
to be an Atheist can rest content with
his claim of merely believing the
religionist's gods do not exist. Mere
belief in this matter is usually based
on the flimsy foundation
of assumption,
instead
of irrefutable
proof,
and has no more substance or validity
than the pathetic religionist's feebleminded
contentions
concerning
his
pantheon
of mythological
odd-balls.
As an Atheist, and hence a part of
Atheism,
I want no one stating,
either
directly
or by implication,
that I cannot disprove the existence
of any religionist god.
This is not meant to be a criticism
of the American A theist Journal.
Please believe me, it is not. Frankly,
I can't imagine how you manage as
well as you do without
proofreaders ....
Brandon O'Dochartaigh
Greensboro, Georgia
Dear Editor,
At the moment the main problem
with Christianity
is not that it is an
organized attack upon reason or that it
glorifies blind obedience to dogma. It
is the avowed goal of religions to intrude upon the lives and trample the
rights of all people, particularly the
nonbeliever.
The most obvious example is the catholic attempt to force
their beliefs concerning
birth control and abortion upon all people ...
... but in fighting the menace we
must be careful not to become one
ourselves. Your call in the February
editorial to protest the content of
films was very disturbing.
If the
church is propagandizing through film,
then combat it with opposing propaganda and information.
Publicize the
church's involvement with films, but
do not seek to influence the content
of other people's
films. This puts
Atheists in the position of participating in activities which they condemn in others.
Herbert Hastings, Jr.
Roanoke, Virginia
Dear Herbert:
Good point, if only we had the
funds to produce our own films!
Sorry we did not have the space to
produce your entire letter.
Editor
APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN

ATHEIST - 3

The news presented in these


columns, which fills approximately one half of the magazine,
is chosen to demonstrate to you,
month after month, that the
dead reactionary hand of religion
is always on you. It dictates how
much tax you pay, what food
you eat and when, with whom
you have sexual relations, how
often, where, when and what
kind, if you will have children
and how many, what you read
what plays, cinema and television
you may see and what you
should or should not believe
about life.
Religion is politics and, always, the most authoritarian and
reactionary politics.
We editorialize our news to
emphasize this thesis. Unlike any
other magazine or newspaper in
the United States, we are honest
enough to admit it.

NEWS
Does Cod exist? Christians, Atheist
explore their beliefs
Two
Atheists,
a visiting
minister and a few Christians
debated the existence of god
before
a group of over 25
students at a public gripe session.
The session was held in the
Old Union Ballroom as an open
forum for complaints
against
Christianity' and was sponsored
by Eastern's Christian Collegiate
Fellowship
and
the
Baptist
Student Union.
Debbie Brown, a junior who
chaired
the event,
said the
purpose of the forum was to
"look over what you believe and
why you believe it, and ask
questions about Christianity."

Two avowed Atheists Mark Winter, left, and Terry Kroenung, sit in
on a forum on the existence of god.
APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN

ATHEIST

-4

Some of the questions brou


up ranged from the validity
the resurrection of Christ, to
hypocrisy of the church, to th
existence of a perfect god.
Two students who identifi
themselves
as Atheists, Te
Kroenung and Mark Winter, bo
freshmen,
brought up seve
questions
about
the aile
contradiction
between a perf
god creating imperfect people
and god violating his own co
mandments.
Winter asked, "If god were
perfect,
could
he
crea
imperfect people?"
Kroenung said if god created
everything, he was responsib
for violations of various commandments, such as establish'
idols, which is against the second
commandment.
He also said the Bible was
"obviously messed up" because
it gave two versions of the
creation of the world.
Another student who identi
ed himself as a Catholic asked
why it was necessary to attend
mass every Sunday "if you
privately hold god in respect."
One student
also said the
church is hypocritical in that it
treated
those
who donated
money to it better than those
who did not.
Another
asked why people
felt guilty about things.
In addition, questions aroseas
to the evidence of the actual
bodily
resurrection
from the
dead of Christ and what it hadto
do with anything.
Larry
Brandon,
visiting
campus
minister
from the
University of Kentucky, answer
the questions
in a short discourse.
He said, "Life was meant to
be a series of relationships - it's
not what we do but who we

Brandon added that the key to


derstand god is love and
owing god to enter yourself. "
'I don't want to tolerate the
consistencies (in the Bible)
er, but you have to trust
, you don't have to know
w he operates everything, you
t have to relax and let him
"he said.
Explaining the resurrection of

Christ, Brandon said there was


"no way that rumor could've
caught on and grown if it was
not true."
A member of the Soul Liberation group, which is now visiting
campus, added, "One thing I've
found about Christianity is faith.
I cannot explain faith to you
other than it's peace of mind and
knowing who you are."

At least, two openly avowed


Atheists showed up and declaimed themselves at this university
(Eastern Illinois University, at
Charleston, Illinois) and that
took some nerve. Downstate
Illinois is not a hot bed of
radicalism. If these two young
men could speak up there; you
can speak up anywhere.
Editor

Atheist resorts to an ad to find thought-sharers


NK LARSON is an ordilooking man. He doesn't
any horns or tail. He talks
tly, is affable, and bears no
anybody.
t makes him different
a lot of others are his
fs, or rather, lack of beliefs.
ou see, Larson doesn't
ve in god, any god. He is an
ist, a disbeliever, and he
ts to talk with others of like
and different.
KNOWS HIS opinions
es him a bit of an oddity in
bard where he lives and in
e County where he works
homebuilder with his wife,
, , who designs the houses.
wife doesn't agree with
neither do his children.
go to church like a lot of
people in middle size,
e class, Midwestern com'ties.
disbelieving and everyone
d him believing makes
a little needy for contion with people who agree
his viewsabout deities.
WOULD LIKE to talk
anybody who is interested
ting once, maybe more, to
Atheism and religions
to listen to believers tell
about their opinions. Maye Atheists would plan
action to end taxt status for churches and
-owned property, since
don't think it's fair for

them to be taxed for somebody


else's beliefs, he said.
Larson's invitation is friendly.
He promises no malice or badgering will be brought against anybody who participates. He hopes
none will be directed at him
because of his public declaration and invitation,
but he's
prepared to face hostility if it
comes. Larson is a firm believer
In non believing.

ATHEIST HANK LARSON-

He placed a personal ad in a
newspaper to gain attention of
other
Atheists.
Instead,
he

received two biblical tracts by


mail, one sent anonymously.
LARSON SAID he would like
to invite the Western Springs
man who sent him one of the
tracts to participate in the first
discussion. "I wish whoever sent
the other one would have given
their name," he said. "I would
like to contact them too."
The group could meet in
Larson's home at a mutually
convenient time.
Larson said he doesn't believe
in gods because no evidence of
their existence has been shown
him.
"EVER YTHING THAT I've
read or learned just doesn't
confirm
the religious theories
that
abound
Christianity,
Buddhism,
astrology.
To me
they're all the same, no different
than fairy tales like the Easter
Bunny or Santa Claus," he said.
Larson,
49, was reared a
Lutheran in Chicago but broke
away from religion when he was
17. He said he has encountered
few others who "admitted' their
lack of faith. "I suppose job
pressures, social pressures maybe
make them afraid. I have one
friend who admitted to me that
he's an Atheist, but I don't
think he wants anybody else to
know."
Larson said believers impose
their credos on him and other
nonbelievers
in many
ways.
Many meetings, including those
APRIL, 1917/AMERICAN ATHEIST - 5

he attends as a lieutenant colonel


in the Army Reserves, begin with
prayers. Sports events begin with
prayers. The pledge of allegiance
mentions
god and "god"
is
printed on all American money.
LARSON SAID HE is concerned about Jimmy Carter's
presidency, but not because of
Carter's
fundamentalist
"born
again"
religion.
"I'm
more
worried
about
his economic
policies,"
said
Larson,
who
describes himself as a conservative.
Atheists, he said, are about
the last minority group to have
their case presented before the
public. "We've heard from Blacks
and women and everybody else.
I think it's time we heard from
the Atheists.
"What I want to do is make
a plea for tolerance. We all have
to live together. I'm not trying to
tear down anybody's church,"
he said.
LARSON SAID he would be
delighted to hear from anybody
on the subject.
The American A theist Center
has contacted Hank Larson by
telephone (312-495-1970). He
sounded certain and enthusiastic.
He has had about twenty-five
Atheists contact him, has held
four meetings, attended on the
averageby about six to eight or
ten persons.
The group has not, as yet,
decided on any specific activity
but the interest is generally on
state!church separation issues.
Hank will be in attendance at
the Seventh Annual National
American Atheist Convention in
Chicago on "Easter" weekend
and is looking forward to
meeting his lIIini compatriots
there. An ILLINOIS CHAPTER
WILL BE CHARTERED THEN.
Editor

Money Makes the (Catholic)


World Go Around
Late last year, the Vatican's
official representative in the
United States, Archbishop Jean
Jadot met with the news media
to decry that there could be a
shortage of priests soon in the
United States.
Most newspapers carried the
story along with a "scholarlytype" posed picture of the Archbishop and headlines of how the
poor priests are overworked,
"chronically
tired
and
frustrated. "
Buried
deep within
one
lengthy article was the news that
a proposed budget for 1977 was
being approved by the good
Archbishop for the activities of
the (United States) National
Conference of Catholic Bishops
and its "social action arm", the
United States Catholic conference.
In this budget of $3.67
million, the single largest items
were earmarked for "communication" and "education".
In addition a quarter of a
million dollars was budgeted for
1977 for "government lieison".
The conference has six full-time
staff persons spending most of
their time on Capitol Hill and
with federal agencies. These six
"function as lobbyists", although
they are NOT registered as such.
The Internal Revenue Service
precludes religiously exempt organizations from the exercise of
"Iobbying"
but
the Roman
Catholic Church has enough
political clout that it ignores
the law. I. R.S. cowers before
that church.
But the Roman Catholic
Church is not alone - take the
recent retirement notice concerned with one, Dr. Van
Deusen. The innocent eulogy

delivered in print is instructive


all.
When Dr. Robert E. V
Deusen
came to Washin
nearly 30 years ago as a religi
lobbyist, churches functioned
quiet,
cautious
governme
spectators that reported politi
events to the people back home.
In the last decade, thi
have changed. Churches ha
recognized their "right to infl
ence public policy" according
Dr. Van Deusen, director
public affairs and governme
relations
for
the Luthe
Council in the U.S.A.
"Lobbying"
isn't the w
preferred
by religious grou
but that's what jobs like Dr.V
Deusen's amount to. As many
30
individuals
have si
positions, and they meet twice
month for a half-day to comp
notes and organize for joi
action in the Washington Int
religious Staff Council of Prot
ants, Roman Catholics and Je
Scheduled for retirement .
June
1977, Dr. Van Deu
described the role of chure
in government.
He came on the scene e
in 1949, with experience 0
as a parish minister and past
to servicemen in World WarI
"Now we are better train
some with doctorates," he e
plained.
"It used to be," he
"that most of our work
telling our churches what
government was doing. Now~
say it's half that and half
telling the government what
churches think."
For example, when a Luthe
body makes a statement
issues like abortion, crimi

THE CHARLES E. STEVENS AMERICAN ATHEIST LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES, INC. IS IN CONTINUING NEED OF FINANCIAL
CONTRIBUTIONS. IT ALSO NEEDS ANY OLD ATHEIST BOOKS OR FREETHOUGHT MAGAZINES YOU MAY HAVE.THE
LIBRARY IS TAX-EXEMPT. ANY GIFT OF BOOKS, MAGAZINES, OR MONEY GIVES YOU A TAX DEDUCTION.
C.E.S.A.A.L.A. 04203

APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST - 6

MEDICAL PARKWAY

o AUSTIN,

TEXAS 78756

ce or civil rights, he sends


to congressional offices
committees and appropriate
tive agencies.
ionally, he will follow up
tter in person as simple
cy, i.e., lobbying, for his
's position.
e deal with the issues on
merits ... We don't base
decision on what will win
on what is right," (accordto Christian theology) he
. Van Deusen spends his
reading about governmental
ess and moving about town,
. g or testifying at legislahearings or attending
gs at executive agencies
governmental groups, like
. g coalition.
Ie like Dr. Van Deusen
how their government
They have gained special
to high officials-even
ents-as representatives of
us constituencies.
a year, for example, he
a State Department
g for nongovernmental
. tions active in public
fluence is difficult
to
," he said. "You judge
outcome."
or about a year, we met
for worship at ReforLutheran Church and
went over to Congress
y," he recalled.
success was an immigrabill liberalizing policies
refugees a decade ago,
. He also maintains con. Lutheran members of
and offers an annual
on "the church and the
life" for Lutherans in
vemment positions.
ppointing was the defeat
sals for selective conobjection to the Viet, a position advocated
three Lutheran bodies in
cil and other religious
t1y, he is pressing for
ent of Cambodian and

Vietnam refugees by the American government, a comprehensive system of health care that
will reach the poor, congressional budget reform, and freedom
for the state of Namibia, which
is about 80 per cent Lutheran,
from South Africa.
As he relinquishes
his job,
Dr. Van Deusen is leaving some
finished business. "I think one

of the biggest needs is for the


church to educate the people on
how to influence public policy."
"The biggest impact on public
policy is the individual
back
home writing his member of
Congress. We can go to talk to
members
of Congress, but it
really means something if the
individual does it," he said.

DON'T MIX COKE, WINE:

whine Methodists
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Coke and wine should not be
mixed, says a United Methodist Church spokeswoman.
A Charlotte, member of the United Methodist General
Council N.C. on Ministries, says the denomination is
threatening to sell its Coca-Cola stock because of the
company's planned merger with Taylor Wine Co. of New
York.
She said the sale of the Coca-Colastock would eliminate a
good investment, but avoid a serious conflict over abstinence.
United Methodists own 7,600 shares of Coke stock, worth
an estimated $587,000.
"IT'S BEEN THE STAND of the Methodist Church as long
as I can remember for total abstinence," said Mrs. Barnhardt.
"Not all Methodists abide by this, but it has been a
policy... "
A spokesman for the Global Ministries board said such a
stock sale would not upset the denomination's $50 million
investment program.
"It was a stable stock and we held onto it, but it was no
great money-maker. It is not going to affect us financially,"
the spokesman said.
Please note that the Gospel Ministries of the' United
Methodist Church instead of using their accumulating funds
for ministries of the gospel, place $50 million in an
investment program with a yield of $3 million a year back to
them, for more investments.
It pays the church to invest in Coca-Cola; it does not pay
the
church to invest in people - Christ's missions go where
.~
the money is.

L.

Editor

II

Ii

APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST-7

On February 16th, one of the members of the to hide some legislation concerned with 'religi
American Atheists, Ernie Krumm, of Great Falls, instruction',
he read on. Representative Moes
tinued:
Montana, read a "Letter to the Editor" in the Great
"If the government may not even ask whether
Falls of Tribune newspaper, in which a Montana
resident of Conrad, John N. Moes, attempted
to instruction is religious or not, then no govern
justify a proposal for legislation which had been in- agency could declare it to be qovernrnent-establi
troduced into the House of Montana, but which he religion. This is a provate (sic-probably 'aIrs
wanted to see altered. He explained that he wanted
proven') matter. But how can people be freeif
to substitute the word, "alternate"
for the word
government gives them no alternatives? H.B. 31
"religious" on page 2 of his bill.
must become law."
The letter concluded:
There had been no other mention of H.B. 315
"By labeling the course 'alternative instruction,'
the Great Falls, Montana press. Ernie therefore
the trustees and courts would not have to question the "Pubic Information"
toll-free legislative ans
whether it was religious or not. Then to spell this ing service in Helena. This number was unknown
out even more clearly another subsection should be the Great Falls telephone company's informati
added, probably as subsection (2) reading: '(2) To service, and even unknown to the wife of the Ho
insure the free exercise of religion and to prevent a Representative who lives in Great Falls. Ernie fo
government-established reiigion, no test to determine out that the bill was in the "Senate Education Co
its religious, secular or partisan nature shall be put, mittee" and that the title of it was "Released timef
by any employee or agent of government, to any religious instructions,
public schools of Montana
alternative course of instruction, or any teacher of, He immediately contacted his Representative, Pat'
sponsor or contracted supplier of, such alternative Ryan, and advised that he had children in the C
instruction, permitted under this section"'.
gressman's district (No. 37) and desired informati
Ernie Krumm did not know what to make of this on the bill as a concerned citizen and parent.
kind of letter, since it obviously was speaking of a
He, in due course, obtained a copy of the bill.
continuing legislative process, but when he saw the
was short and sweet as here indicated:
words 'alternative instruction' which were apparently

Released Time and ErnieKrumm


45th Legislature

LC 0957/01
Approved by Committee
on Education

House Bill No. 315


INTRODUCED BY Dassinger, Teague, O'Connell,
Courtney, Conroy, Kenning, Ryan, Day, Bengtson,
Menahan.
A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT TO
ALLOW TRUSTEES OF ELEMENTARY AND
HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO PROVIDE FOR A
RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION RELEASED TIME
PROGRAM; AMENDING SECTION 75-7403,
R.C.M. 1947."
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE
STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 75-7403, R.C.M. 1947, is
amended to read as follows:
"75-7403. School day and week. Subject to section 21, a school day of pupil instruction shall be at
least two (2) hours for kindergartens and all other
preschool programs, unless a variance has been
granted by the superintendent of public instruction in
APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST - 8

accordance with the policies of the board of


education, at least four (4) hours for gradesone(
through three (3), and at least six (6) hours for
four (4) through twelve (12). The number of hoon
anyone school day for grades four (4) through
(12) may be reduced by one (1) hour if the t
number of hours in the school week is not less
thirty (30) hours. The number of hours in a sdt
week may be reduced, in an emergency, with
approval of the board of public education."
SECOND
READI

Section 2. There is a new R.C.M.


reads as follows:
Religious instruction released time p
(1) The trustees of an elementary or high
district may provide for a religious instruction
leased time program under which a pupil may
released from regular school attendance for a
not to exceed 2 hours per week for the purpoee
receiving religious instruction upon written
renewed at least annually, of the pupil's parent
guardian.

religiousinstruction released time program


. ed or administered in such a way that
property is utilized for the purpose of
ction.
public moneys may be used, directly or
lor such religious instruction.
period for which a pupil is released under
truction released time program is part of
day and week for purposes of 75-6304,
-7402, 75-7403, and all other provisions
IIld such release may not adversely affect
ttendance record.
-Endbe instructive here to elaborate on what
had stumbled upon.
that a group of Protestant parents in
, before the First World War, about
ed that they needed to bolster their
and particularly the declining Sunday
dance. Someone had the bright idea of
thority and the discipline of the public
m to enforce the same. It was thought
school day was interrupted and the
y assembled there were "released" for
to attend a Sunday school that this
the attendance and be somewhat
n the children who were disinclined to
they had a choice between Sunday
free time. Parents were not enthusiastic
early on Sunday morning to have the
and in attendance.
.
''Gary plan" which this "released time"
e to be called, the teachers, the
11, were required to keep records of abattendance, and the peer pressures were
pupil participation. The churches used
here they could as distributing agencies
and forms used in enrollment in these
s. Teachers of strong religious inclinapted to persuade students
to take
f the religious classes and in some
Iy prosyletized for them.
Catholic schools were not at first ineffort. They had parochial schools and
on increasing the number of them. In
the child could be surrounded with
Jewish synagogues had well-attended
.. g classes conducted after public
as at that time, only the Protestants
ble to enforce attendance at church
and the inception of the plan was to
religiousgroup-the Protestants.
was implemented in Gary, Indiana, in
1925, 200 communities in 24 states
the program at the urging of religious
947, there were 2,000 communities and
. dren in 47 states involved in the

practice.
At first the Roman Catholic Church made use of .
released time only to prevent it from becoming a
Protestant monopoly. However, within a very short
time, several years, the Roman Catholic Church,
mindful of preserving and increasing its hold on its
adherents, availed itself of the program in an extensive manner. Soon, statistics began to reflect this
-an example being New York City where 81 % of the
students accepting the released time plan was Roman
Catholic, although only about 23% of the total
enrollment of the public schools was of that faith.
The program affected the public schools in that
when the dismissed pupils departed for their religious
classes there was a definite interruption of the regular
classroom schedule. The classes were reduced in size.
It was not "fair" to continue regular instruction with
so many missing. Tests could not be given. Yet, the
non-participants
could not just be released from
school since the religious group needed to be checked
back in. Teachers would grade papers; most of the
students remaining were given "study" time. In some
schools efforts were made to reorganize scheduled
school programs. A few schools attempted to devote
the interrupted
hours to ethical training for those
who remained, but this proved to be unsatisfactory.
Later it was felt that it was not "fair" for the
remaining students to have this uninterrupted
time
for study since it was not available to those who were
being instructed in religion in their churches. The
policy came to be that no work, no tests, no instructions, no study were scheduled during the interrupted
time of day ..
The churches very quickly failed in their duty to
report to the Board of Education who had played
hookey, failed to attend, etc. The entire attendance
check devolved on the teacher.
Meanwhile, religion became an obvious concern
between
the children. In New York City, for
example, the children were asked to line up in the
halls or in the basements according to their designations. The method was an obvious way of refraining
from asking the children to line up by creed, but it
had essentially the same effect. It did not stop the
children in one line from, occasionally, hurling insults
at the children in the other line. It was also obvious
which lines were the longest. Suddenly the religious
identification
of children set them apart. Up to this
point children in our public schools had not been
identified
as Catholics and Protestants,
Jews or
Atheists, they had been involved in a common
process of learning without those distinctions.
The schools almost became a religious battleground. When the Protestants saw that the Roman
Catholic Church had taken over the program in
school after school a great outcry against it was
mounted by the Protestants.
The entire matter came to a head when a case was
brought to the United States Supreme Court, in
APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST - 9

1951. The issue was argued in January and February,


1952 and decided by that court on April 28, 1952.
The name of the case was Zorach vs. Clauson.
Tessim Zorach brought the case to the court protesting about the City of New York establishing a
"released time" program for the religious instruction
of public school children. The Supreme Court, in a
split decision, with three strong dissents, found that
the practice was "constitutional."
The majority
decision supporting
the use of "released
time"
stated,
"There cannot be the slightest doubt that the First
Amendment reflects the philosophy that church
and state should be separated... the separation must
be complete and unequivocal. The First Amendment
within the scope of its coverage permits no exception;
the prohibition is absolute." However, "When the
state encourages religious instruction or cooperates
with religious authorities by adjusting the schedule
of publ ic events to sectarian needs, it follows the best
of our traditions." Not seeing that they had just
ruled that the "state" could "encourage" religion,
which is anything but' maintaining the neutrality
toward
religion which the First Amendment
mandates, the court created a muddle.
Justice Black dissented. "Pupils compelled by law
to go to school for secular education are released in
part from their legal duty upon the condition that
they attend the religious classes. This is beyond all
question a utilization of the tax-established and taxsupported
public school system to aid religious
groups to spread their faith." He noted that in the
New York case, the practice was to "hold the other
children in the school building until the religious hour
is over." He continued:
"Here the sole question is
whether New York can use its compulsory education
laws to help religious sects get attendants presumably
too unenthusiastic to go unless moved to do so by
the pressure of this state machinery. That this is the
plan, purpose, design and consequence of the New
York program cannot be denied. The state thus
makes religious sects beneficiaries of its power to
compel children to attend secular schools. Any use of
such coercive power by the state to help or hinder
some religious sects or to prefer all religious sects over
nonbelievers or vice versa is just what I think the
First Amendment
forbids. In considering whether
a state has entered this forbidden field the question
is not whether it has entered too far but whether
it has entered at all."
Justice Jackson also dissented. He noted, "Here
schooling is more or less suspended during the 'released time' so the nonreligious attendants will not
forge ahead of the churchgoing
absentees."
"I
challenge the Court's suggestion that opposition
to this plan can only be antireligious, Atheistic or
agnostic.
My evangelistic
brethren
confuse
an
objection to compulsion with an objection to religion.
It is possible to hold a faith with enough confidence
APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST 10

to believe that what should be rendered to


not need to be decided and collected by
day that this country ceases to be free for
it will cease to be free for religion-except f
that can win political power."
Justice Frankfurter
also dissented. He
out, " ... the Court relies upon the absence
record of evidence of coercion in the 0
the system. 'If in fact coercion were used,'
ing to the Court, ... a wholly different case
presented." But, "the appellants were not
make proof of it." "When constitutional'
on facts it is a strange procedure indeed not
mit the facts to be established."
"The deeply divisive controversy aroused
attempts to secure public school pupils for
instruction
would promptly end if the
of such instruction were content to have th
'close its doors to suspend its operations'
is, dismiss classes in their entirety, without
mination-instead
of seeking to use the public
as the instrument for securing attendance at
national classes. The unwillingness of the p
of this movement to dispense with such use
public schools betrays a surprising want of co
in the inherent power of the various faiths
children to outside sectarian cIasses-"
Nonetheless, the thrust of the Zorach VB.
case was to see "released time" as a pe
exercise of government discretion to "en
religion. With the vigorous dissents of Justices
Jackson and Frankfurter, there was a lessening
programs thoughout the United States.
However, in the 1970's there were somea
at legislation to establish "released time",
well known of these being in Wisconsin in 1974
Into all this Ernie Krumm had stumbled,
the reading of the letter to the edtior. Ernie
to fight them. So, armed with a statement of
preparation he went to the Senate Education
mittee, at the Capitol Building, in Helena, M
on the 24th of February, 1977. He carefully, .
typed copies for each of the ten (10) members
Senate Education Committee and then present
himself, orally. No questions were asked ofE .
comments
were made by one of the spo
senators. He was not permitted to respond,
he says, "I tried". What Ernie read to e
follows:
Statement,
Instruction

Witness Against
Released Time.

HB 315,

Presented before the Senate Education Co


Montana State Legislature, 2-24-77, 11:00
Rm. 402, Capitol.
Ernest

L. Krumm,

Jr.,

1013 9th Av. S., Gt

MT.59405
lesson, just when the teacher may be "wrapping up,"
------------------------------getting a point over, reviewing, etc. Interruptions.
Honorable Senators, my name is Ernest Krumm.
Interruptions
of teachers, hired to teach students.
I'm speaking as the father of two young schoolNot direct traffic. Nor baby sit. The more interrupage boys, as a Korean Veteran, as a tax-paying
tions, the more teachers are relegated to these funcproperty owner, as a counselor, and as a teacher with tions.
two life-time credentials and 16 years of public
Compounded
by outside interruptions
is that
school teaching (with released time for religious in- caused by the innocent child who must respond to
struction), as well as three years of combined experithe call and get up from his or her desk or whatever,
ence teaching in Japan and U.S. private and parochial
and leave as unobtrusively as possible, considering all
schools. I oppose HB 315 for four main reasons:
the interruption that has already been caused on his
Constitutional, Tax Trust, Teacher and Student.
account. Later, the entire process (less the announceForemost among my reasons is the glaring fact that
ment) is repeated in reverse, as the class regains its
HB 315's passage would be but another state's ig- original size with the return of the absentees. (Whose
noring the U.S. Constitution,
which calls for absence shall never be counted as absences, thanks
complete separation of Church and State. The enactto Part 4, Section 2, HB 315.)
ment of Section 2, HB 315 in itself would be an enThrough all this, of course the teacher survives,
dorsement of religious instruction during school
and manages a less-than-maximally
effective lesson
~ours;it would mean using school monies from trustto those left behind, who because of their particular
mg taxpayers to schedule, announce, and make up religious beliefs find themselves now "stuck" in class,
loll puMc scDou/ &4U ~
due /p ~d
H~
EDM ~PC
cLKqo;~ /P
L7k-~
pff /D

/Jir"~d!!

kd7.i-' ~a?../~~Q

Ai'7Z"

ything but public school instruction.


the issue of separation of Church and
to be of prime importance by our
en, but increasingly forgotten by subntatives), and that of abuse of the
t, I am so convinced of the importance
IIldfourth reasons for opposing 315 that
them one title, and including it in my
obstaclesto effectiveness in the public
. In a word, it is: "Interference."
ee first as it affects the teacher and the
88: Picture a lesson just beginning
oped, with the children just starting to
d interested, even involved. Suddenly
aker comes the blast of an admineecretary, "Catechism classes time" ,
rll times, in a variety of ways, each
the other. It is bad, even when done
n when done by little messengers who
they are at such times working for the
to mention missing out on their own
lessons.Even then, it is disruptive, with
of being so to the student messenger's
to mention those of his or her own classit is disruptive.
it breaks into the middle of a lesson.
feel when interrupted, with several of
leaving and/or returning before you
. the middle of an important conversaor argument pro or con on a bill?)
temuptions come at the close of a

W/~

A-.t1'H~

&7.H7&"

PE ~

~~

PAi!!F

manage to "catch up" on some of their lessons,


though it will never be possible to regain the threads
of the lessons interrupted either in leaving or reentering the class. (What would the Church say to
granting the public schools the right to interrupt
church services with announcments
of "released
time" to make up for released time from public
schools? ... )
Students remaining behind in public schools have
traditionally found it hard to hide feelings of resentment generated during released time for Catechism .
These feelings persist, and serve to retard still further
the academic, personal and social growth of both the
Catholic and non-Catholic student.
We can at least be thankful that thus far only the
Catholic Church has decided it could not (or would
not?) try to schedule all of its religious instruction
during after-public school hours or on weekends.
Picture what it would be like, if each of the many
western, oriental, and Indian beliefs were to be
equally honored by released time: Grand Central
Station would seem quiet by comparison. Even little
Atheists and non-believers unaffiliated with any
group might catch on, and demand time off to take
instruction regarding whatever it is they might be
religious about. No, schools already have more than
enough built-in interruptions.
They need to be cut down, not added to. When we
begin to be a little more religiously concerned with
the maximal growth of all public school students, we
won't even consider a bill like 315. Why now?

------------------------------APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST 11

While he was waiting for the Senate Education


Committee to finish its business, and as he listened to
others testify in behalf of HB 315, he heard the same
comments on Senate Bill 421, titled "An act to establish
a resident
student
financial
assistance
program", which was in essence a scheme to aid
religious schools in Montana. Once again, he states,
"I had never heard of the bill, nor read it, and the
committee was obviously hell-bent for lunch, it being
about 1:00 P.M., so I merely loudly gasped, shook
my bald head, and scribbled as fast as I could."
By March 1st, he had decided that it was necessary
to respond to the material introduced to the Senate
Education Committee by John Frankino, a Roman
Catholic leader. Becoming aware that the final
meeting would be held in "executive session", and
closed to the public, with uncontested discussion and
final vote on HB 315, with not even the date being
revealed, he thought he simply had to make one more
try. It was as follows:

HOUSE BILL 315 - Released Time for Religious Instruction


Testimony of Ernie Krumm, responding to that of
John Frankino
John Frankino's paper presented 2-24-77 to the
Montana Senate Education Committee quoted the
Education Dept. of the Montana Catholic Conference's study of released time, to the effect that
Montana educators are searching for "values education" programs; released time programs were presented as the answer to this search.
Since there can be little if any connection between
"released time for religious instruction" and "values
education," and since there has been demonstrated
by young and old of all religious persuasions the need
for what is being called more properly, "Values
Clarification" type instruction in all schools, I
respectfully take issue with Mr. Frankino on this
point in particular. I hope my quoting selected
passages from the book, "Values Clarification" by
Simon, et al, 1972, Hart Publishing Co., New York,
will assist the Committee in making its final decision
on HB 315.
"Everything we do, every decision we make and
course of action we take, is based on our consciously
or unconsciously held beliefs, attitudes and values.
"This is a confusing world to live in. At every turn
we are forced to make choices about how to live our
lives. Ideally, our choices will be made on the basis of
the values we hold; but frequently, we are not clear
about our own values.
'The children and youth of today are confronted
by many more choices than in previous generations.
They are surrounded by a bewildering array of alternatives.
APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST -12

"Moralizing is the direct, a/though


subtle inculcation of the adult's valu
young. But young people brought up by
adults are not prepared to make their own
choices. They have not learned a process
the best and rejecting the worst elerne
it the various value systems which oth
urging them to follow.
"Thus, too often the important choi
made on the basis of peer pressure,unth
mission to authority, or the power of
Another problem ... (is that) moralizing
Iy influences only people's words and Ii
their lives.
"Some adults maintain a laissez-fai
toward the transmission of values.Most~
do not need adults running their livesfor
they do want and need help.
"Modeling; is a third approach in t
values ... (but) the young person is ex
many different models to emulate; (parents,
politicians, movie stars, friends). How is
person to sort out all the pros and cons
his own values? When it comes time to
occupation, or a spouse, or a candidate,or
how far to go in the back seat of a carona
night date, how does the young person
own course of acting from among the man
and many moralizing lectures with whi
been bombarded? Where does he learn
he wants to stick to the old moral and
standards or try new ones? How doeshe
own sense of identity? How does he learn
to people whose values differ from his own?
"The values-clarification approach tries
young people answer some of these ques'
build their own value system. The values-cla
approach We are discussing in this book
systematic and more widely applicable.
previous approaches}. (It} ... is not cone
the content of people's values, but the p
valuing.
"Thus the values-clarification approachd
aim to instill any particular set of values.R
goal of the values-clarification approach is
students utilitize (a systematic) processof
their own lives; to apply these valuing po
already formed beliefs and behavior patterns
those still emerging.
"To accomplish this, the teacher usesap,
which help students become aware of the
and behaviors they prize and would be will
stand up for in and out of class. He uses
and methods which encourage students
sider alternative modes of thinking and acti
dents learn to weigh the pros and cons
consequences of the various alternatives.
'The teacher also helps the students to
whether their actions match their stated belt

if not, how to bring the two into closer harmony.


Final/y, he tries to give students options, in and out
of class; for only when students begin to make their
own choices and evaluate the actual consequences, do
they develop their own values."
HB 315 is not about values clarification. It's
Section 2 is about religious instruction during school
hours, via "released time." While more and more
attorneys of relatively "unknown" as well as "newsmaking" status are re-assessing their own values and
finding themselves increasingly included to become
involved in issues and cases previously held to be too
unpopular and/or unprofitable, to this date none has
indicated any concern over the schools trying to
teach values clarification.
Unlike released time for religious instruction,
values clarification carries no suggestion of being in
violation of the Constitution
on the grounds that
it smacks of violation of the concept of separation of
church and state. For values clarification enables the
teacher and student
to actively formulate
and
examine values without sermonizing or moralizing,
or teaching a particular set of values. As it states on
the back cover of Simon's book:
'The goal is to involve students in practical experiences,making them aware of their own ideas, their
own feelings, their own beliefs, so that the choices
anddecisionsthey make are conscious and deliberate,
basedon their own value system. "
If the Senate Education Committee members will
amend the title and Section 2 of HB 315 to read, "inschool time for values clarification classes" (and all
other such passages, appropriately),
instead' of the
present "religious instruction released time", both
the Committee and all of Montana's school boards

will be in considerably safer legal waters; at the same


time you will be providing the state's educators with
the most useful and long-overdue
educational
opportunity in the history of public schools, thereby
pleasing as well a significant portion of those parents
and church people who wish HB 315 would solve
some of their current frustrations about the directions being taken by their children. Whatever you do,
do not confuse "released time" and "values clarification".

-BULLETINA telephone call was received from Ernie Krumm


on March 10th stating succinctly:
"Montana Senate has killed a house approved bill
which would have allowed public school children to
attend released time religious instruction.
"The religious time bill failed when the Senate
accepted an unfavorable committee report from the
Education Committee.
"Senator Harold Dover, a minister said he may
try to revise the bill for floor debate."
Those of you who live in Montana, will certainly
want to contact Ernie Krumm to ,assisthim in what
he is doing. He can be reached by telephone at
(406) 727-4814. His address is 1013 9th Avenue
South, Great Falls, Montana, 59405. Ernie is also
interested in helping to form a Chapter of American
Atheists in Montana. He certainly needsa letter commending him on his courage to go, alone, to the
Senate in Montana and to assume all the financial
burden that his trip entailed.

********************

STUDENT ATHEIST ACTIVITY


The following letter was received in American A theist
CtmteronJanuary 31, 1977.
DearMrs.O'Hair,
I had a chance at the University of Nebraska to reaffirm
separation of church and state,
and my efforts were met by the
tablished clergy with similar
feelings. For many years, the
University administration, as a
esy generally, placed each
mester in each student's
istration materials (mailed
t, assembled,etc. at university,

i.e. public expense) a "religious


a mailing list for contributions.
After I exposed this practice
preference
card." These cards
and publically questioned it, the
were prepared by the campus
administration
decided
to
ministries, and the card listed
the cards. Political/
their demoninations thereon, and eliminate
sought information such as the religious pressure was applied to
the Regents of the University
student's address and the name
and they reversed this decision.
and address of parents. Students
However, the cards were altered
could return these cards with
their registration materials. The so that they now clearly state
University then collected them . that compliance is voluntary and
and turned them over to the that these cards are not official
university materials.
ministers, so that the students
Sincerely,
could be contacted. One church
Doug Voegler
used the names and addresses
Lincoln, Nebraska
of the students' parents to form

nN: HB 315, Montana State, passed both houses and was submitted to the Governor for his signature on March 16,
Nopublicityattended this sneak through legislature. Ernie Krumm, now, really needs your hel p!
APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST 13

Freedom From Religion


Foundation Objects to AP Storg
The Freedom from Religion
Foundation,
the
Madison
Wisconsin Chapter of American
Atheists, in mid-January issued
the
following
news release
through their director, Ms. Anne
Gaylor.

PRESS RELEASE - January

15,

1977

FOUNDA TION OBJECTS TO


AP RELIGION STORY
The Associated Press was attacked today by the president of
the Madison based Freedom
from Religion Foundation
for
its
"irresponsibility"
and
"reliance on shoddy sources" in
an article about the religiosity
of United States presidents.
In a letter to AP the foundation president, Anne Gaylor, also
objected to the accompanying
AP drawing showing a cross over
the White House, a drawing that
the foundation called "an insult
to the Jews, non-Christians and
non-theists" in the country.
"This is the most biased, inaccurate AP story I have ever
read," Ms. Gaylor said. "Religionists are supposed to accept
everything on faith, without investigation,
but
obviously
journalists
should
not.
To
portray deist presidents who, in
fact, rejected Christianity
as
Christian pietists is either religious distortion at its busiest or
reporting at its laziest."
The categorization of Thomas
Jefferson as "most religious" was
particularly offensive, according
to the statement, which claimed
that Jefferson would be insulted.
"J efferson called Christianity
a superstition.
His statements
have been featured in freethinkers publications for a century
and a half. His portrait hangs
today in the American Atheists
Center in Austin, Texas. This is
not because of his religiosity!"
APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST - 14

In her letter to AP, Ms.


Gaylor questioned
why one
president's
name
had been
omitted.
"It is instructive in
analyzing the motivation of this
article that its author chose not
to mention that super-religious
occupant of the White House,
Richard
Nixon!
Why,
one
wonders, would such a devout
president be overlooked?"
Ms. Gaylor's letter follows:

Associated Press
c/o Timothy Harper
1901 Fish Hatchery Road
Madison, Wisconsin
SIRS:
The Associated Press has released an article by George W.
Cornell which represents
all
presidents as rei igious, and classifies Thomas Jefferson as "most
religious".
Its accompanying
drawing shows a cross over the
White House, an insult to the
Jews, non-Ch ristians and nontheists in our country.
On behalf of the Freedom
from Religion Foundation, I object to the irresponsibility of
such journalism
and to its
reliance on shoddy sources. Religionists are supposed to accept
everything
on faith, without
investigation,
but
journalists
should not.
Mr. Cornell cites Thomas Jefferson as one of the most
religious presidents.
Jefferson
would. be insulted.
Jefferson
called Christianity a superstition.
He has been featured in freethinkers
publication
for
a
century and a half. His portrait
nangs today in the American
Atheist Center in Austin, Texas.
This is not because of his
rei igiosity!
Jefferson wrote: "1 have re-

cently been examining


known
superstitions
world, and I do not find
particu lar superstition,
itv, one redeeming featu
are all alike founded u
and mythology and the
god is a being of t
character - cruel, vi
capricious and unjust."
Jefferson wrote to his
about the importance of
mind, investigation and l
He concluded: "Questi
boldness even the exi
god; because if there be
must approve the ho
Reason rather than that of
folded Fear."
Jefferson was so pu
Jesus Christ as portrayed
Scriptures that he once
the various verses of
Testament pertaining
and pasted them on a
book in order to see if
then make Jesus Christ
be rational. He decided
not!
Our early presidents
Christians, they were
Deism is a system of
that advocates a natural
divorced from the J
tian Bible, based on
rather than revelation
phasizing nature's ha
nature's intelligibility.
cepting the idea of some
creator or creative fo
deists of the eighteenth
teenth century rejected
that a creator could i
either with the lawsof
the matters of humanki
To portray deist p
who, in fact, rejected
itv, as Christian pietists
religious distortion at i
or AP reporting at its I .
George Washington,
the "father of his
could be expected to k
that, "The government
United States is in
founded upon the
religion." John Ad
"This would be the
possible worlds if there

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\.~~

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ment fJ' C'm\<:,,\\an\'-'I neen fJn


trial and what have been its
fruits? More or less, in all places,
pride and indolence in the clergy,
Ignorance and servility in the
laity, and in both, superstition,

\\. \'\0 \"'\o\..'..~~~'\\.~'~


~~ ~~
~~ w...~~:Q.'\.'\~"~\ ~\'!:. ~~~n~\\'
i'1
article that its author choose not
to mention that super-rei igious
occupant
of the White House
Richard
Nixon!
Why,
on~
wonders, would such a devout
president be overlooked?"

MANY EX-PRESIDENTS VIEWED NOT


DEVOUTL Y RELIGIOUS
MADISON (AP) - Many of America's early presidents were not particularly
devout, contends the
leader of an anti-religion group who quotes Thomas
Jefferson as advising a relative to question even the
existenceof god.
Anne Gaylor, president of the Freedom from
Religion Foundation
headquartered
here, recently
urged President-Elect Jimmy Cater, who describes
himselfas a "born again" Christian, not to make use
of the Bible in this week's inaugural ceremony.
Her group claims a major role in recent moves somesuccessful - to eliminate prayers from public
eventsand bar religious meetings from tax-financed
buildingsin Wisconsin.
Ms. Gaylor, who prefers the feminist-designation,
took issue with a recent Associated Press story
which described various presidents as religious men
andcalled Jefferson "most religious."
"Jefferson would be insulted," said Ms. Gaylor.
"Jefferson called Christianity
a superstition.
His
portrait hangs today in the American Atheist Center
in Austin, Texas. This is not because of his religi-

osity."
She quoted a passage from a letter which she said
effersonsent to his nephew:
"Question with boldness even the existence of god;
causeif there is one, he must approve the homage
reasonrather than that of blindfolded fear."
Jefferson spoke in favor of religious freedom and
eration of differing beliefs, but kept his personal
wson religion to himself.
'Religion is a subject on which I have ever been
t scrupulously reserved," he wrote in an 1813
r. "I have considered it as a matter between
man and his maker, in which no other, and far
the public, had a right to intermeddle."
d in 1816, saying that he had never told his
religion or scrutinized another's, Jefferson reed that "it is in our lives, and not from our
that our religion must be read."
Gaylor said most of the early American presifollowed "deism," which she characterized as
m of thought advocating a natural religion
from the Judeo-Christian scriptures. Most of
she said, based their religious beliefs on reason

Anne
Gaylor's
protest
was
effective,
for two days later
AP issued the following
story
nationwide:

rather than revelation,


and believed there was a
creator or creative force but not that there was a
supreme being which could interfere with nature or
affect mankind.
Ms. Gaylor quoted George Washington as saying,
"The government of the United States is in no sense
founded upon the Christian religion."
She said John Adams once said, "This would be
the best of all possible worlds if there was no religion
in it."
And James Madison, she said, had this to say:
"during all those 15 centuries have the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial and what have been
its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy, ignorance and servility in the
laity, and in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."
If Anne Gaylor can challenge Associated Press and
cause a re-issuing of its statements, so can any of you.
The next time an erroneous story appears, we
expect you to complain.
Editor

ATH~STSOFFERTOSTOPTERROR
The fol/owing mailgram was sent to Chief of
Police, Washington, D.C., on March 10, 1977.
THE AMERICAN ATHEIST CENTER IN AUSTIN HAS
SEVERAL NEGOTIATORS
EXPERIENCED
IN DEALING WITH RELIGIOUS
FANATICS.
DUE TO OUR
UNTAINTED
MATERIALISTIC
ATTITUDE WE HAVE
SUCCESSFULLY
DEALT WITH CHRISTIAN,
MOSLEM, HINDU AND OTHER FANATICS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.
IN AS MUCH AS HELPLESS
WOMEN AND CHILDREN ARE INVOLVED
IN YOUR
CURRENT SITUATION
WE WOULD BE HAPPY TO
ASSIST AS NEGOTIATORS
BETWEEN THE MOSLEM
TERRORISTS
AND
YOUR
PREDOMINANTLY
CHRISTIAN POLICE FORCE SINCERELY
WILLIAM
J MURRAY VICE PRESIDENT AMERICAN ATHEISTS AUSTIN TX.

APRIL,

1977/AMERICAN

ATHEIST

-15

Speaking for women:


ANNE GAYLOR

SHOULD
WE
GREVE
FOR
GARY
GLMORE?

APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST -16

It is hardly surprising that the


state that broke the 10-year
moratorium on state-killings in
our country was good old Utah,
where some of the nastiest
church-state entanglement goes
on at every level of government.
The bloodthirsty Christians are
back at it, and we can expect to
see more state mu rders via the
electric chair, gas, hanging, or
rifle squad. In Texas, the good
Christians can hardly wait; they
are even planning to televise the
proceedings.
Capital punishment that is,
murder by the state-cannot be
defended. If your laws say that
murder is a crime, and the laws
of all countries do, and if premediated murder is regarded as
the most heinous crime, as it
universally is, then what happens
to logic when state-killings take
place? What could be more premediated than tying a man to
a chair, putting a hood over his
head, and having four skilled,
hired markesmen shoot him?
What must the world think of
us?
About 70 countries in the
world now shun capital punishment. England, which once listed
300 crimes for which persons
could be sent to the gallows, and
where there are records of
children being hung for stealing
food,
abolished
the
death
penalty in the 1960's. And we
were on the verge. But the
United States is in a religious
pendulum
swing, the fundamentalist religions arecorninq on
strong, and blood-vengeance is
again in vogue. The less religious
Warren court has been replaced
by the more religious Burger
court, and the change does not
bode well for the advancement
of humanity.
My state, Wisconsin, was one
of the first in the nation to ban
state-killings. A legislator and
newspaper
editor,
Latham
Sholes, of Kenosha, introduced a

bill in 1853 with a com


margin. Only three or.
persons were put to death
territory or state of Wi
prior to 1853. Yet Wi
a relatively safe, secure
Our law officers sta'
stand less chance of bei
than those in stateswi
histories of capital pun'
Wisconsin residents are'
danger in being murdered
for instance, Texas r .
Violence does beget vi
and state-killings setane
of violence.
Gary Gilmore is notthe
victim to grieve for. He
two persons without cause,
nonetheless, society could
Iy have been protectedfrom
through his confinement
may have chose to commit
cide, and that should have
his choice. At least,hewould
have been murdered bythe
One of the most ludicrous
pects of
the whole
spectacle of the Gilmorecase
the meticulous effort to p
Gilmore from dying asa SUO
The state used heroic me
to save him so they could
him! That is blood-ven
straight out of the Bible.
Do not underestimatethe
of the religion in all this.
every state legislative hearing
capital punishment, the reli.
proponents of state-killings
there, quoting scripture.
38 per cent of the citizens
our country believe that
Bible is literally true, word
word (and Gallup saysthey
then we should hardly be
prised at the popularity
capital punishment. Because
Bible is the most vengeful
on earth.
One wonders that the
sciences of the religionists
not at least nudged by the
fairness of the selection of
who sit on Death Row. Are
not disturbed
that in

country,
where about 11 per
cent of the population
is Black,
that Blacks constitute
over half
the
popu lation
of
those
murdered by the state? Are they
not concerned
that victims of
capital
punishment
almost
always are poor? Is their smug
~ religiosity so blinding that they
cannot acknowledge
that race
, and poverty dictate who shall
live and who the state shall put
to death? The rich can get good
legal advice; the poor get an
overworked public defender who
frequently
is
inadequately
trained.
Law professor
Charles
T.
Black once speculated on what
hewould expect in legal defense
if he had killed someone in selfdefense.
"If
I were
charged
with
murder," he wrote, "and if my
defense,which I myself knew to
be true, were that the deceased
hadthreatened to kill me with a
knife, I would want a thorough
professional investigation
conducted into the habits of the
deceased
with respect to carrying
and theatening to use knives.
I would want my own people
king into the question
of
ether a knife had been found
the vicinity, and into whatever
es might exist-such
as, say,
e story of a hardware store
-that connected that knife
. the deceased. I would want
find out as much as I could
t his prior record of arrests
violent crimes, of psychiatric
finement, and so on. I would
t to have located and interall possible witnesses to
demeanor and words just
to our private meeting.
al/, I would want a lawyer
t an overworked
'public
er,' not
an
'assigned
I,' but the best criminal
in town, to advise me and
work with the detective
employed by me, toward
ing everything we needed

for the best possible defense


case. Are not these the very minimum
requirements
of
prudence?"
Prudence Professor Black goes
on to say, costs money-lots
of
money.
"1 think
I could just barely
raise enough money for something like a fairly adequate defense-though
this would utterly
ruin me, because adequate investigation and good legal counsel
come very, very high. But it
is all completely out of the reach
of the poor. The poor man, unless some public
interest
organization
happens to see an
important
issue in his case, can
no more afford a really adequate
defense than he could afford a
year's cruise around the world on
a luxury liner."
Capital punishment is a primitive idea, rooted in revenge. It
does not deter crime. AppallingIy, innocent
persons wrongly
convicted of murder, have been
hung or electrocuted
or shot by
the state, their innocence discovered or establ ished after thei r
execution,
or even know at the
time. The most famous man to
be put to death by the state of
Utah, excepting
Gary Gilmore,
was Joe Hill, the legendary organizer for the Wobblies, whose
arrest
took
place during
an
especially bitter labor strike, and
who was taken in on a trumpedup charge of murder. Following
his trial,
a charade,
he was
executed,
and left behind the
wish that h is body be cremated
and his ashes spread throughout
the country,
save for Utah. "1
wouldn't
be caught
dead in
Utah," Joe Hill explained.
Yet despite the role of race,
poverty and caprice, defenders of
state-killings accuse opponents of
sentimental itv.
"Sentimentality,"
writes
Sidney
Hook,
a philosophy
professor
and
author
whose
writings
frequently
appear
in

collections
on capital
punishment,
"is found
in Clarence
Darrow's
speeches and writings
on this subject. Darrow was an
attractive
and likeable
human
being
but
a very
confused
thinker. He argued against capital
punishment
on the ground that
the murderer was always a victim
of heredity
and environment,
and therefore
it was unjust to
execute him."
Hook adds, "Nor am I imthe
argument
pressed
with
punishment
on
against capital
the ground of its inhumanity."
Naturally.
J.
Edgar
Hoover
regularly
wrote strong statements in favor
of the death penalty, which are
liberally
sprinkled
with
references to the Bible.
"There are many passages in
the Old Testament which refer to
capital
punishment
being
necessary to enforce the laws of
society. Since the Old Testament
was written to individuals and to
a non-poltiical
body known as
the Church, there is a difference
in
emphasis
and
approach.
Certainly,
however,
the moral
laws
of
the
Old
Testament
remain with us today. Misguided
do-gooders frequently
quote the
Sixth
Commandment,
'Thou
shalt not kill,'
to prove that
capital
punishment
is wrong.
This
Commandment
in
the
twentieth
chapter, verse 13, of
Exodus has also been interpreted
to mean: 'Thou
shalt do no
murder.'
Then the twenty-first
chapter, verse 12 says, 'He that
smiteth a man, so that he die,
shall be surely put to death.'
We can no more change the
application to our society of this
basic moral law in the Old Testament than we can change the
meaning
of
Leviticus
19:18:
'Thou
shalt love thy neighbor
as thyself,'
which Jesus quoted
in the New Testament. To love
thy neighbor is to protect him;
capital
punishment
acts as at

APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST - 17

least one wall to afford god's


children protection."
So, the director of the FBI in
this country, with its principle
of separation of church and
state, relied on the Bible for his
interpretation of the justice of
capital punishment in his official
writings.
Christians will make sure that
the blood flows.
And what of Gary Mark
Gilmore, whose bizarre, macabre,
off-again,
on-again execution
captured news headlines. and
demanded our attention
for
months? If he wanted to die, he
should have been allowed to die
by his own hand, but the state
should never have been allowed
to kill him. The legal precedent
set by Gilmore's murder by the
state applies to others who,
unlike Gilmore, do not wish to
die. The capriciousness of application of the death penalty is
apparent in other recent murders
in Provo, Utah, the city where
Gilmore shot his two victims.
A local farmer allegedly killed
his mentally defective child by
stomping it to death, and a
young Mormon, who impregnated a girl and was then compelled by his family to marry
her, stabbed her 18 times, then
cut her open and stabbed the
fetus an additional eight times.
These murders were far more
vicious
than
the
Gilmore
murders, yet neither defendant is
on Utah's Death Row. The death
penalty
always
has
been
capriciously applied.
Will we ever be free from the
horror of capital punishment?
Not until we are free from religion. It is apparently impossible
for most Bible-fed children to
grow up and ever understand
that punishment is not good in
and of itself. Bible-toters never
ask "Why?" They don't need to.
The answers, for them, are all
there, in that dark and bloody
book.
Sources:
Charles 1. Black, Jr. ~f!tal Punishment.
W. W. Norton, New York, 974.
Hugo Adam Bodeau, The Death Penalty
in America, Doubleday, 1964.
Robert Sam Anson, "An American Way
of Death: The Last Days of Gary Gilmore,"
New York Times, February 4, 1977.

APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST -18

NATIVES ARE
SO NAl'VE
by mort lewis
During World War II, United States military personnel
occupied various
islands in the South Pacific and built airstrips and supply depots on them.
One such island was inhabited
by natives who had never before seen an
airplane or a white man. The natives considered the airplane crews and navy
sea bees to be gods and the airplanes that they used for transport
to be
nothing less than celestial canoes. No amount of explanation
or refutation on
the part of the American servicemen was sufficient to convince the natives
that the Americans were not gods. The natives said, in effect, "don't confuse
me with the facts, my mind is made up."
When the airmen and sea bees gave the natives food in cans- an obvious
miracle in the eyes of the natives-presented
the natives with gifts of clothing,
mirrors and cigarette lighters and gave demonstrations
of the potency of their
weapons, the natives were irrevocably convinced of the god-state of the white
men.
When the war moved on in the Pacific towards the Japanese home islands,
the small, native islands were no longer of any strategic use to the United
States, consequently
all American personnel left the islands never to return.
Cargo planes ceased to land. The natives were thunderstruck
when their
"gods" deserted them. They created a religion that sociologists refer to as the
"Cargo Cult" because of the cargo planes and their crews that the natives
came to worship. The natives built small landing strips in the jungled and
erected wooden images of airplanes on low towers to entice the white gods to
return to them. Perpetual fires were set burning near the wooden airplanes to
guide the "gods" to the island and to a safe landing.
One of the natives, a singularly intelligent pre-teenage
boy, was taken on
board one of the American ships anchored off of the island. He was a favorite
of many of the American servicemen on the island. He was taken aboard ship
to be treated for rather serious injuries. The ship's captain received orders to
depart at a time that the native boy could not be removed from the ship's
sick bay. The boy was retained on board and eventually transported
to the
United States where he was raised and educated in a home sponsored by a
Protestant religious group.
In his thirtieth year, the boy, now a man, was a passenger on a ship returning him to his native island. He found himself in the company of a Protestant
minister. As they stood side-by-side at the ship's rail looking out over the sea,
the islander related the Cargo Cult religious belief of his people to the minister. The minister laughed until tears came to his eyes. He asked the native
if the people of the island didn't think it a bit ridiculous
to have cleared
landing strips, built effigies of airplanes and kept fires burning continually
for thirty years when no airplanes or white men ever appeared. The islander
replied, with narrowed eyes and a hard, half-smile, that a thirty-year
wait on
the part of members of the Cargo Cult for the landing of an airplane-an
event several hundred
still-living members of the cult had personally wit
nessed-apparently
seemed pagan and silly in the eyes of the ultra-civilized
Christians.
"How strange it is," the islander remarked,
"that the Christians
ridicule a thirty-year
wait on the part of my people for a reoccurrance of
events that they witnessed with their own eyes, while, at the same time, after
almost two thousand years, the Christians still patiently and expectantly
wait
for a dead man (long since no more than dust in the nose of a camel) to rise
from his grave and greet them each and everyone!
The Christians, apparently,
find nothing at all incongruous
or ridiculous in such mental contortions!
"1'11 be glad to be back on my island in the company of 'uncivilized,' but
reasonably rational men. A few more years lived in your kind of 'civilization,'
pastor, and I might come to be as illogical as you are!"

CHURCH and STATE: The Last


It is reliably estimated that before the legalization
of abortion
in this country
2,000
American
women died each year in back-alley
abortions and untold
others were
maimed and degraded in their effort to
terminate unwanted pregnancies. Why
is the Roman Catholic Hierarchy the
driving force behind
a campaign
once again to outlaw abortion? Why is
the Roman Catholic
Hierachy so
willing to condemn to death each year
2,000 full-grown responsible American
women?
1. The Roman Catholic Hierarchy
and the Pope in particular want more
parishioners.
There was a time when church
and state were indistinguishable, when
christendom ruled half the world, and
catholicism was the whole of christi
anity. Those days are long passed but
it is, of course, not easy to give
ground. The Roman Catholic Hierarchy maintains that
the Roman
Catholic church is the one, true,
andonly christian church. Ah, but the
distanceis so long from the statement
to the fact. Still if Roman Catholic
women will support Roman Catholic
missionaries in their effort to convert large sections of "heathen"
1!rritoryand if women under Roman
Catholicdisciplines can be forced to
bear more and more children, the
church might yet regain its former
tories. It is a long shot, of course, but
no matter. It is so cheap. The Hier.chy and the Pope risk nothing. Why
~ould these fathers who are not
fathers,these celibate old men, scruple
"condemn people for not bearing a
nsibility they themselves have so
venientlyavoided.
We are not anti-religious.
(This
'Ie was written for a religious
by

a religous

person=-ed.)

do not question the existence


faithin the church. But one would
to be blind not to understand the
temporal power of that instituBureaucracies tend to grow and
always strives for increased
r. Rome has parishes, parish, and financial holdings in every
of the world. And everywhere
is twoway communicationmoving to Rome and orders
from it.
any priest can tell you, the
Catholic church is no demo-

cracy. Parishioners have no voice in


the church and the hierarchy which
governs it is itself governed by an
"infallible"
pope. Women have not
only been totally excluded from this
hierarchy but, presumably because of
their impurity, have been prohibited
from singing in choirs, serving on the
altar, or otherwise
participating
in
their own religion.
All women must come to realize
that childbirth has been romanticised
because children are valuable products
and can only be obtained through
women's bodies. It is not easy to bear,
deliver, and raise a child. The production of another human being is not as
the holy fathers would have us believe,
a minor inconvenience. In the general
case there are years of drudgery, denial
and despair. And frequently those long
years of rearing leave mothers, and
fathers too, drained of mind and spirit,
or personal hopes and aspirations, of
dignity and ability.
Pagan gods frequently
demanded
the first fruits of the season, Jehova
the first male child, but the pope
demands as many children as possible
from every woman within his jurisdiction.
Throughout
christendom
women
have been taught that spirituality can
be obtained only through humility.
Women, having absorbed this lesson,
must now impose it where humility
is more needed. We must no longer
permit ourselves to be governed by the
worldly ambitions of those in charge
of the faith.
2_ The Roman Catholic Hierarchy
believes women to be the center of sin
and finds their castigation justified and
good_
The most basic doctrines of Roman
Catholicism is original sin. By eating
from the tree of knowledge and urging
Adam to do likewise Eve presumably
laid this burden on each of us. Eve's
transgression,
according
to official
dogma, caused the fall of man. It
robbed him of innocence, ignorance,
and immortality.
To punish Eve god
presumably laid a curse on all women.
That curse accordinq to the hierarchy
is sufficient
to explain
woman's
subordinate status within and without
the church and the transgression itself sufficient to justify all horrors
perpetrated against women.
To understand the hierarchy's view

Act/By

BevJones

of women one must understand


the
doctrine of priestly celibacy. Celibacy
is not related to other forms of abstinence as, for example, the denial of
food in a fast. Celibacy is not meant to
discipline priests or conserve their time
and energy. Those matters are not to
the point. Celibacy is meant to protect
priests from contamination-to
protect
them from the "evilness" inherent in
all women. In the eyes of the hierarchy priests are other Christs who can
do no wrong, while women
are,
at least potentially, the devil incarnate.
Sex is the instrument
by which the
devil is presumed to pleasure women
and through which women are able to
lure men to the hell fires of eternal
damnation.
If the hierarchy
has never been
sure of women, let women, at least, be
sure of the hierarchy and resist with all
their strength the state of degradation
to which that ruling caste would
happily reduce the whole of womanhood. We are not dumb beasts to be
forced to bear for the profit of our
masters.
No past transgression
or
mystery of the faith could possibly
justify such debasement.
3. In promoting
a constitutional
amendment
against
abortion
the
Roman Catholic Hierarchy announces
to the world that it has lost its grip
over the mass of the faithful.
The Roman Catholic Church has
always professed belief in the efficacy
of prayer and to this day maintains an
army of cloistered religious dedicated
to bringing about
change in this
world
by praying
to the next.
Presumably no member of the heavenly family has lost interest in us and if
entreated
properly may intervene in
our behalf or at least plead our case
before the Father or the Son.
If the hierarchy
believes in the
efficacy of prayer-why,
one must ask,
is it turning away from the Lord and
entreating instead the flawed, tainted
and temporal power of the state?
One can only assume that its
most fervent prayers having remained
unanswered, the hierarchy has decided
to take matters into its own earthly
hands. In other days a few wellchosen excommunications
might have
been sufficient
to hold the fort.
Nowadays these sanctions are often
met with ridicule and indifference and,
(Continued on page 24.)

APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST 19

AMERICAN ATHEIST RADIO SERIES


Program No. 338
April 5, 1975
KLBJ-Radio/Austin, Texas

()

()

Profanation of Sabbath Laws,


United States Colonies

Hello there,
This is Madalyn Mays O'Hair, American Atheist,
back to talk with you again.
The religious community likes to remind us that
our forefathers came here from Europe because they
wanted the right to "freedom of rei igion".
Let's look at just that - freedom of religion in respect to Sunday laws and church. Did the
colonists freely flock to church on Sunday as we are
given to believe or not? Wasthe attendance at church
coercive? Every Christian would immediately say that
no one, ever, was forced to go to church in the
United States.
Well, lets look at the first law ever passed in the
United States in respect to this. This is an early law
of Virginia. The Honorable R. W. Thompson, Secretary of the Navy, in an address delivered in Washington, on May 16th, 1880, made the following
statement concerning a law made before the organization of the regular assembly in 1619:
'The very first statute passedby the Cavaliers
of Virginia provided that he who did not attend
church on Sunday, should pay a fine of two
pounds of tobacco. This was the first law ever
enacted in the United States, and waspassedin
1617, three years before the Puritans landed at
Plymouth. "
Sabbath Doc.No. 45, p. 15, New York
In 1623 a fu rther law was passed, and I have the
actual copy of that one which reads:
"Whosoever shall absent himself from divine
service any Sunday without an allowed excuse,
shall forfeit a pound of tobacco; and he that
absents himself for a month shall forfeit fifty
pounds of tobacco."
Statutes at Large of Virginia,
Hening 1619-1660, vol. i, p. 123
In 1629 authorities were ordered to take care that
the law was carefully executed and by 1642 "church
wardens" were bound to present to the civil authorities all cases of 'profaning god's name, and his holy
Sabbaths'. Gradually the law began to prohibit
APRil, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST - 20

activities other than that of attending church. By


1657 laws prohibited 'traveling, loading of boats,
shooting of game', so that there would be a 'better
observation of the Sabbath,' and fines were increased
up to 'one hundred pounds of tobacco'. By 1705
all general acts of profanation of the Sabbath by
working, playing, drinking, being absent"from church
for one month, were included in one class witha
penalty of 'five shillings or fifty pounds of tobacco'.
In default of payment the offender was subjectto
'ten lashes'.
The addition of these offenses as violations of a
law obviously meant that first people did stay away
from church and second that they then did enter into
such profanations as either working or playing on the
Sabbath.
This was Virginia, where - obviously - one did
not have freedom, then, of religion. One was required
to attend church or to pay a fine. What about the
other colonies? In Plymouth there was a rigid com
mon law requiring observance of the Sunday until
June 10th, 1650. At that time the general court
enacted the following:
"Further be it enacted,
profane the Lord's day
work, or any such like
for every such default
whipped."

that whosoever shall


by doing any servile
abuses, shall forfeit
ten shillings, or be

The next year, the general court made it explicit


that it intended that people should be in church on
Sunday. On June 6th, 1651 the following was
enacted:
"It is enacted by the court that whatsoeverperson or persons shall neglect the frequenting of
the public worship of god that is according to
god, ... everyone that is a master or dame of a
family, or any other person at their own disposing, to pay ten shillings for each such default. "
Plymouth Colony Records, vol. xi, pp. 57-8
such non-attendance at church was deemed to be in
this enactment, "contrary to god and the allowance
of the government, tending to the subversion of reli
gion and and churches, or palpable profanation of
god's holy ordinances,"
To make it even more clear, the law went further:
"Enacted by the court, that if any in any lazy,
slothful or profane way doth neglect to come
to the public worship of god, shall forfeit for
every such default ten shillings, or be publicly
whipped. "
Plymouth Colony Records, vol. xi, p. 58
By 1662 when it was found that people did not

come to church but did go to public drinking houses,


a "Sunday Excise Law" was passedwhich forbade the
drawing of "any wine or liquor on the Lord's day",
with a ten shilling fine for every default.
When the poor colonists were forced to go to
church,and went to sleep there, even as we do now,
in the year 1665 a law was enacted against "Sleeping
in Church". Anyone found offending was to be put
in the stocks. By 1669 it was discovered that some
people even smoked on Sundays and this was forbidden by twelve pencefine.
By 1670 the court was fuming that people
continued to "slothfully, lurk at home" and orders
were given to uncover them and identify them to the
court.
But, let's move on to the Massachusetts Bay
Colony. On April 17, 1629 the first general letter
from the governor and deputy of the company was
issued.This required:
"that all ... surceasetheir labor every Satruday
throughout the year, at three of the clock in the
afternoon and that they spend the rest of that
day in catechising,and preparation for the Sabbath ... "
Everyone was really set for church or else. Among
the "Answers of the reverend elders to certain questions propounded to them," we note the following on
November 13, 1644. Remember the weather in
Massachusettsin November, and the need to keep
warm there.
The elders set forth as law:
"So any sin committed with an high hand, as
the gathering of sticks on the Sabbath-day,
may be punished with death, ... "
Recordsof MassachusettsBay, vol. ii, p. 93
On the 4th of November 1646, the general court
decreed:
"That wheresoeverthe ministry of the Word is
established,according to the order of the gospel,
throughout this jurisdiction, every person shall
duly resort and attend thereunto, respectively,
upon the Lord's days... And if any person
within this jurisdiction shall, without just and
necessarycause,withdraw himself from hearing
thepublic ministry of the Word, after due means
of conviction used, he shall forfeit for his
absencefrom every such meeting five shilling."

Records of Massachusetts Bay, vol. i/~p. J 78


By 1653, the theocracy was fuming that still
therewas not sufficient observance of Sunday, and
ruledagainst:
"childrenplaying in the streets and other places,

youths, maids and other person, both strangers


and others, uncivilly walking the streets and
fields, traveling from town to town, going on
shipboard, frequenting common houses," and
"otherwise to misspend that precious time ... "
Recordsof MassachusettsBay,
vol. iii, pp. 316, 7
The first offense brought a reprimand, the second a
fine of five shillings, the third ten shillings, and
further offenses "they shall be whipped by the
constable" (five stripes).
Nothing could bring all the people into church and
the laws were more and more severe as the time
passed.Constableswere given the right to go to places
where people drank, or where Quakers might be
meeting and to break down the doors and arrest "according to law", (by 1667). In 1711 '''twelve hours'
imprisonment" was added for profanation of the
Sunday.
In the New Haven Colony the situation was the
same. There the matter of Sunday desecration came
before a civil court in December, 1647 and legislation
seemingto be demanded, the samewas passed.
This merged into the New Haven Code, which
came out with the enforcement of public worship:
"And it is further ordered that wheresoeverthe
ministry of the Word is established within this
jurisdiction, according to the order of the
gospel, every person, according to the mind of
god, shall duly resort and attend thereunto,
upon the Lord's days, at least, and also upon
days of public fasting or thanksgiving ordered to
be generally kept and observed... "
Now, what punishment was to be given to those who
did not obey?
"But if the court upon examination by clear
and satisfying evidence, find that the sin was
proudly, presumptuously, and with a high hand,
committed against the known command and
authority of the blessed god, such a person
therein despising and reproaching the Lord,
shall be put to death, that all others may fear
and shun such provoking, rebellious courses."
New Haven Colony Records, 1653-1655, p. 605
And, in Connecticut"It is ordered and decreed by this court and

authority thereof, that wheresoever the ministry


of the Word is established according to the order
of the gospel, throughout this jurisdiction, every
person shall duly resort and attend thereunto,
respectively upon the Lord's day and upon such
fast days, etc."
Public Recordsof the Colony of Connecticut
APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST - 21

prior to 1665, p. 524


Here the fine was five shillings ...
By May, 1684 it was ordered that selectmen,
constables and grand jurymen ... should promote
due and full attendance. All work, or play, on land,
or water, was prohibited. All traveling was forbidden
except for church attendance. Playing and talking
was forbidden as was staying outside of the meeting
house ("there being room inside"), loitering, ...
anything was punishable by fines.
In New York, fines were used for traveling,
working, laboring, shooting, fishing, sporting, playing
. . . and so one might as well go to church, the intent
to forbid anything else was clear, and this, of course,
extended to Pennsylvania, as well.
There is ample proof that these Sunday Laws were
not a deadletter either.
October 6, 1636, John Barnes was found guilty
of "Sabbath breaking" by a jury, fined "thirty
shillings" and "made to sit in the stocks one hour".
In 1639 Web Adey was arraigned for working in
his garden on Sunday. Before the year closed he repeated the offense and was "set in the stocks" and
"whipped at the post". (Both from Plymouth Colony
Records, vol. 1, pp. 44, 68, 86, 92.)
In 1651 Elizabeth Eddy was arrested for "wringing
out and hanging out clothes on the Lord's day in
time of service". Arthur Howland for not "attending
church". (Plymouth Colony Records also.)

In 1651-2, Abraham Pierce, Henry Clarke, and


Thurston Clarke, Jr. were arrested for lazily spending
Sunday, and staying away from public service.In
1654-5
Peter Gaunt, Senator Ralph Allen, and
George Allen appeared to similar charges.
Similar cases can be quoted from many pagesof
the colonies history and legal records ...
Yet, the myth persists, that our ancestors, who
came here from Europe for Freedom of Religion,
would never have dared to compel anyone to goto
church against their will ...
All one needs to do to refute th is is to readthe
history-that
is history which has not been rewritten
by the Christian community .
This informational broadcast is brought to you as
a public service by American Atheists, a non-profit,
non-political, tax-exempt, educational organization
dedicated to the complete and absolute separation
of state and church. This series of American Atheist
Radio programs is continued through listener qenen
sity. American Atheists predicates its philosophy on
materialism. For more information, or for a free copy
of this particular script, write P. O. Box 2117, Austin,
Texas. That zip is 78768. If you want a free copy of
this script ask for number 338. The address for you,
again is P. O. Box 2117, Austin, Texas, and that zip
is 78768.
I will be with you again, next week, same day of
the week, same time, same station. Until then, I do
thank you for listening-goodbye for now.

JESUS, GOD, MAN OR MYTH, AN EXAMINATION


This highly controversial work, the result of
extensive research, proves that Jesus never lived.
The cumulative evidence that the Christian hero
is an invented character is clearly presented; the
arguments of the principal mvthicists, Dupuis,
Taylor, Drews, Smith, Robertson, Rylands,
Whittaker, and Couchoud, are summarized;
and the contentions of their critics are refuted.

OF THE EVIDENCE

The author, Hebert Cutner, lived in London.


He was one of England's leading Freethought
writers. A Short History of Sex Worship is his
best known work.
This is a rare one and higly recommended.
298 pages

$10.00

P
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(Enclose check or money order payable to: AMERICAN ATHEISTS)

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APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST - 22

JESUS, GOD, MAN OR MYTH,

An Examination

of the Evidence

Herbert Cutner, Author


Jesus Christ never existed but the "myth"
of Christ
came to be used, to control, and it was by the establishment of this myth centered upon this fable-man
that Western civilization
was brought to a halt for
over one thousand years. This highly controversial
work, the result of extensive research, proves that
Jesus never lived. The cumulative evidence that the
Christian
hero is an invented character is clearly
presented; the arguments of the principle mythicists,
(Dupuis, Taylor, Drews, Smith, Robertson, Rylands,
Whittaker and Couchoud) are summarized; and the
contentions of all their critics are refuted.
Again, Herbert Cutner, is an English scholar, one
of those upon whom we have had to depend so often
for scholarly criticism,
as religion retained its grip
on the American intellectual to the extent that little
- if any - scholarly works have been produced in the
United States.
The book is a hardback, another old Truth Seeker
printing, this time of 1950. It is 8%" x 5-3/4" and
contains 298 pages. Some copies still have uncut
pages.Again, this is a rare book.
The only "evidence"
for the existence of Jesus
Christ as a god is contained in the New Testament.
Therefore, the Christian usually defends the entire
book, in order to defend his god. When he attempts
to reach out to secular evidences, they slide from his
fingers, while he struggles to support them. These are
meagre, a letter supposedly written by Pliny, in the
year 106 A.D., a passage in the Annals of Cornelius
Tacitus, a Roman historian who lived from perhaps
the year 55 to sometime after 117, and a small
passagein the book, Jewish Antiquities, written by
the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who lived from
the year 37 to about the year 100.
Cutner tears to ribbons, with authenticated counter documentation, the puny evidences there offered.
It is incredible that the omniscient, omnibenevolent,
omnipotent, god of the Christian faith could not even
provide adequate record for the birth, and death, of
his son whom he had placed on earth only to save
mankind. We have kept a better record of the birth of
our nation than god kept of the promised saviour of
the human race.
Not content to strip bare the forgeries and frauds,
Cutnerexamines all of the pagan "witnesses" and the

Jewish "witnesses"
as well as the "witness"
of Paul
and of the New Testament. One is a little ashamed of
our Christian
brethern's
gullibility
and lack of
scholarship when the book is read.
Everything that can touch on the mythical figure
is historically
traced:
the idea of the cross, the
legends of 'mothers of gods', possible sources of the
myth. Yet Cutner states:

"It seems to me that those of us who disbelieve in the existence of the man Jesus have
really no need to account for his story, or the
beginnings of the Christian Church, or even to
show how they both originated. We are given a
religion called Christianity, taught us from
almost babyhood, and we are told that it is true
and must be implicitly believed, and we are
threatened with eternal damnation if we doubt.
This religion comes in with our birth, follows us
all our life, and does its utmost to be in at our
death. It is practically impossible for the average
person to escape it. Yet, when some of us ask
for evidence for its truth or necessity, every
effort is made to fob us off with statements
clearly not evidence at all accompanied with the
brazen request for us to account for Jesus and
Christianity in any other way than that taught
by the Church."
Given the challenge to account for the origins of
the Christian church, he does it, with whole chapters
on pagan saviours, allegory, theories on the origination of the gospels and a review of books one should
read touching on all the ideas.
This book sold out and oversold the last time it
was offered. We have been fortunate enough, now, to
find four (4) more boxes stored away and we bought
them. The supply
is limited.
If you missed this
before, order early.
Today, with the rise of "evangelical"
(i.e. illiterate)
Christianity,
the American Atheist needs to be fortified with facts to overcome the hysteric emotionalism
of the "born again" Christian.
(To purchase this book; see advertisement

on page 22.)

ATHEISTBOOK RE\JIEW
APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST - 23

(Church & State, continued

from page 19)

of course, the time for burning witches


is long past. So the strategy of the
hierarchy is to maneuver the state to
do its bidding. It believes that the
threat of a jail sentence is a more
potent deterrent,
even for cathol ics,
than the threat of eternal damnation.
And in this it is probably correct.
This country, however, was founded on the doctrine of the separation of
church and state. We have refrained
from making laws governing matters of
religion and expect each church to
refrain
from
attempting
to legislate in the civil sphere. In short we
have not meddled in the church and
expect the church not to meddle in
government.
The enormous
funds
expended
and open lobbying with
regard to abortion on the part of the
Roman Catholic Hierarchy deny the
spirit and perhaps even the letter of
this agreement.
In any contest between church and state there is no
longer any question as to the victor.
4. The Roman Catholic Hierarchy is
desperate about abortion not because
it is somehow attached to fetuses but
because it sees the life of the Church
as determined
by the outcome
of

the issue.
As we pointed out earlier, there was
a time when church and state were
synonymous,
when christendom ruled
half the world, and all of christendom
was catholic.
Since then,
history
has mercilessly shrunk the temporal
power of the church. In open conflict
the church lost control of government,
lost control over the economy, and
finally lost the exclusive franchise on
education.
Now ask yourself-what
temporal institution does the Roman
Catholic Church still claim to govern?
Answer:
the family.
The Roman
Catholic
Church
has raised every
aspect of family life to either a sacrament or a position governed by doctrine and dogma.
Birth, marriage,
divorce or separation,
sex and the
rearing of children, and finally death.
The Church pronounces, repronounces
and over pronounces on each of these
events because its legislative authority,
its temporal power is acknowledged
in no other sphere. The fear of the
celibate
Roman
hierarchy
is that
abortion permitted, sex-crazed women
will wantonly
"mate"
outside the
family and destroy
that
"sacred"
institution. This fear is ludicrous and

The American Atheist is the only monthly


Atheist journal available in the world. Since January of this year the publisher, American Atheists,
has distributed
5,000 extra copies monthly to
Universities, Libraries, and prospective subscribers
in an effort to build its circulation. This process
is costly but of great educational value to those
who receive sample copies of the American
Atheist. This can only be done with the continuing

insulting but why all the apprehension


and unease? Does god depend upon
the family? Is religion unintelligible
or undesirable for those living without
the institution of marriage? Does the
Church not transcend the family? As
a spiritual institution,
of course. As
a temporal one, all it has left is the
family and, if history is any precedent,
it will lose that.
According
to the church,
Eve
brought to Adam the fruit of knowledge and encouraged
him to eat
thereof. So be it. By taint of blood
Eve's courageous act raised all humans
above the level of animals. Before us
now lies the full potential of conscious
understanding.
Women bring the same message
today they brought in the beginninglove, peace, science, rationalism,
a
respect for knowledge
and for the
integrity
of each individual.
The
Roman
Catholic
Hierarchy
may
excommunicate
us but god does not
sit as the head of a heartless, corrupt
and dictatorial
all-male bureaucracy.
The word is with each of us and
likewise the responsibility.

These are the


Murray O'Hair.
radio programs.
grams, monthly,
subject matter
Atheism.

programs produced and recorded by Dr. Madalyn


Each cassette contains two complete fifteen minute
The programs will be offered in sets of four proor one hour total listening time. All sets vary in
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THE AMERICAN

424
425
426
427

Bishop's Bluff
What Makes Easter Move?
The Churches and IRS
Freethought in the Early U.S.

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Churches should not be used by the state to perform secular or charitable functions. Nor should
they be given tax-exemption for their work. With
poverty, needed health research, joblessness inflation
and social welfare needs it would be cruel and inhumane to continue to allow religion to continue to be
tax-exempt. All citizens who pay taxes, in effect
contribute directly to tax-exempt religious groups.
Church and reiigious institution assets and operations involve many billions. If they were taxed taxpayers would save billions each year in state and
federal taxes and would have superior organized
public health and social services as a result.
The giant churches, schools and church wealth do
not come from praying. They come largely from
the U.S. taxpayer and government programs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton in a women's suffrage campaign
said, "If all those magnificent cathedrals with their
valuable lands in Boston, Philadelphia and New York
were taxed as they should be, the taxes of women
who hold property
would be proportionately
lightened ... I cannot see any good reason why
wealthy churches ... should be exempt from taxation while every poor widow in the land, struggling
to feed, clothe, and educate a family of children must
be taxed on the narrow lot and humble home."
Because of tax-exemptions people are encouraged
to give money to the church whereas they might
otherwise give money to social welfare organizations.
It may be supportive of a rational society to allow
educational, research and some other institutions for
the direct benefit of society to be tax-exempt. But
those are institutions deserving direct federal support
as well. A Citizen's Budget Commission Report revealed that if only half of the tax-exempt property
in New York were taxed, New York could pay its
$400 million
yearly deficit.
(Christian Science
Monitor, Mar. 29, 1967) "Social Utility" does not
justify making religious institutions tax-exempt. It
interferes with religion by forcing or encouraging
them to engage in social welfare and misallocates or
allocates social welfare to an institution inappropriate
to doing publ ic non-rei igious social work.
By charity the Catholic often means mainly caring
for the soul, that is religious indoctrination, not
merely help. The best contribution the church can
make is to pay its taxes like everyone else. The nonreligious contributions
of religion are seemingly
trumped up ways to 1) obtain tax-exemption and 2)
find ways to persuade people to believe in religion
by giving them government food, etc. We need not
wait until religions such as the Roman Catholic
Church takes over nearly all of our secular institutions (education, hospitals, child care homes, nursing
homes, orphanages, law schools, etc.) to realize that
the, government is encouraging religion by allowing
tax-exemption to rei igious institutions.
Nearly every state forbids direct cash aid to institutions devoted solely to worship. 1) This encourages

TAX-EXEMPTION
UNCONSTITUTIONAL

FOR RELIGION IS
AND UNREASONABLE

All Religious Groups Should Be Taxed Totally


And in Full And No Longer Be Supported by
The Government or The United States
WARREN SHIBLES
religious institutions
to combine their religious
functions with social welfare only in order to
maintain tax-exempt status. 2) This suggestsalso that
religious institutions could not passthe test that they
should not be given tax exempt status if they do not
qualify for direct aid. The Church does not and
should not be given secular public functions by the
state. Needed social work should be done by government institutions which can properly control and coordinate activity, have no dogmatic or religious
strings attached, have account books that can be
audited, do not require a second Church bureaucratic religious organization to exist. "When charity is
permitted to remain in private hands, the work
ordinarily is not properly coordinated or controlled."
It makes no more sensefor government to support
or give tax-exemption to religious institutions to
perform secular functions than for the government
to build churches to teach religion. Because of the
arguments presented here it is clear that religion does
not contribute to the well-being of the community,
especially in non-religious ways. Religions have rights
and benefits without responsibility. Religious groups
benefit from tax-exemption without having to benefit society. They also use the court, public parks,
police, fire, and other publicly tax supported systems
without having to contribute to them. They are protected by a military but do not participate often and
do not pay taxes for the defense.
The Catholic Churches have shown no concern for
the community in which they reside. They pay little
or no local, state of federal taxes. The Unitarians and
other churches have, however, on their own, contributed funds or willing paid taxes. But there should
be full taxation not token contribution. "To levy
upon churches nondiscriminatory charges for municipal services such as water, sewage, police, and
fire protection we believe is an action consistent with
sound public policy. We believe that the churches
should be willing to accept equitable taxation of
parsonages and
other
dwellings
owned
by
churches ... " Also non-church related businesses
should be taxed. Carl Reuss, ed. Conscience in
Action: Social Statements of The American Lutheran
Church, 1971.
Tax-Exemption And State Aid to Religion
Is Unconstitutional
Justice Douglas in Walz vs. Tax Commission of The
APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST - 25

City of New York (1970) held that tax exemption


for religious organ izations do violate the establ ishment of religion clause of the First Amendment.
Religion is protected
by the First Amendment
regarding freedom of speech and the statement that it
is not to be prohibited.
"Free exercise" of religion
however does not justify
tax-exemption
anymore
than it justifies tax-exemptions
of anyone who speaks
freely. "Organized
religion does gain an economic
benefit
from
tax-exemptions
and this benefit
is
at the expense of the general taxpayer."
Held by
Maryland Court of Appeals Feb. 14, 1966. Justice
William Douglas made it clear that tax-exemptions
for religious organizations are unconstitutional.
Engel

vs. Vitale 370 (U.S. 421 [1962]).


Government does contribute to religion. As Justice
Douglas stated, a tax-exemption
for religion is in
effect the same as a direct subsidy to the religion.
It is also, he says, a first step toward the establishment of religion. In 1876 William Garret stated that
the state does not have the right to "exempt church
property
from taxation."
The Everson vs. School
Board case 330 u.s. 1 (1947) states that churches
should receive no financial aid.
President Ulysses Grant in his State of the Union
message of Dec. 7, 1875 opposed tax-exemption
for
churches referring to "the importance of correcting
an evil ... The accumulated
of the vast amount of
untaxed church property ... The accumulation
of so
vast a property as hereby alluded to without taxation
may lead to sequestration
without
constitutional
authority."
On September 29, 1875 he urged, "Leave
the matter of religion to the family altar, the church,
and the private school, supported entirely by private contributions.
Keep the Church and the State
forever separate." Also in 1976 Grant proposed a
constitutional
amendment to tax chu rch property.
In McCollum vs. Board of Education (333 u.s.
203 [1948]) Justice Black stated that indirect aids to
religion are forbidden to the states equally with direct
aids. In this case the arguments were discounted that
1) non-discriminate
exemption
was given to all
religions. 2) the aid was indirect. The Court held that
taxation will not be allowed for the building of a
religious society and what cannot be done directly
cannot
be done indirectly.
Spencer vs. School
District, 15 Kansas 259, 262-63 (1875). The conclusion may also be drawn that religious organizations
should not be tax-exempt.
The State has no more reason to tax-exempt
religion than to tax-exempt communism (who other
than secular groups are the Catholics chief competitor? "Can the church qualify as a public charity? Or
is it essentially private in character? The church is a
purely private institution
... No church constituency
can possibly be equated with the general public ...
Each church is ... dedicated to its own sectarian
position ... Churches, therefore, may not claim to be
institutions
directly serving the welfare of the general
APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST - 26

public ... Churches are essentially different from


Red Cross, the Community
Chest, a public lib
or an art gallery. The latter have no creed, no
tarian position."
Since 1968 an individual
can sue to chall
federal expenditures
on the basis that they viol
the principle
of church/state
separation. Flast
Cohen (New York 1968). Constitutional
Law
102: "No one acquires a vested or protected right
violation
of the constitution
by long use, even
that span of time covers our entire national exi
and indeed predates it." The fact that religious i
tutions have in the past been given tax-exempt
does not give it a vested right to that status. Also it
practice
seems to be unconstitutional
as Ju .
Douglas asserted.
Dr. Paul Reynolds, Professor of Philosophy
Wesleyan
University
(Conn.)
at the Twenti
National Conference on Church and State Febru
5, 1968 argued that the church should be taxedj
as other property
is. It is property not the religi
which is taxed. It is not a separation of property
state but church and state. Americans are hypocr'
in so far as the Constitution
requires separation
church and state, yet in thousands of ways the ch
is given aid by the state. Chief Justice Warren Bu
(May 4, 1971) speaks of "benevolent neutral'
toward religion. This is an oxymoron and a con
diction.
Court decisions on religious issues are often inval
because rei igious judges bound to rei igious dogma
asked to decide religious issues. The courts i
sistently sometimes disallow religious use of pu
property and sometimes declined such use. Suchr
gation and inconsistency
undermines confidence
the law, and should be avoided by disallowing
gious use of public tax supported property in all
and disallow the religious groups to be tax-ex
This move would promote consistency, give
dence in courts and the law, be more fair to the
payer and put billions each year into the tr
for social welfare and other public uses. To req
tax-exempt churches to have enough church me
and to continue to worship if they are to mai
exemption
(and require other restrictions) is in
fect to establish a religion. "The state may
spend funds to secure religion against skeptici
Justice Jackson, Everson vs. Board of Education
u.s. 1 (1947). L. Pfeffer (Church, State andh
dom 1953) doubted that there would ever be a
of federal exemption
to religion and if there
"the court would employ a fiction in upholding
validity."
Religious Tax-Exemption
Violates "Excessive
Entanglement"
Clause of The Constitution
The state and federal government is unne
involved and entangled with religion in violati

1
the constitution. a) division of religious activity into
secular and religious created involvement; it is unrealistic and naive to think a religious group can perform merely neutral secular functions, b) the state
is involved in determining what is and what is not a
religion (in and out of court) c) political activity
of church ties up legislatures and the courts, e.g.
the Catholic abortion issue. Religion especially
Catholicism is aggressively committed to interference
with the state. It causes bitter divisions among legislatures about abortion, divorce, school aid, etc.
d) The government is involved with religion because
the government loses billions of dollars each year due
to religious tax-exemption e) the best way to avoid
involvement with religion is to require it to pay taxes
and not allow it to become involved with any secular
state function. f) the state is entangled with religion
by not being allowed to audit it and check its activity
to find out what it is up to, whether it is undermining
the state and government or what tax or business laws
are being violated.
To avoid entanglement the state has naively given
the church unlimited power even to undermine the
state.
Religion ties up an already overloaded court
system. Courts are frequently involved in determining whether business activities are religious or not for

jectors were exempt from the draft. They were


given preferential treatment. Government is not
neutral, although the First Amendment stressed that
it should be neutral. The Everson case holds that
neither the state nor federal government may "pass
laws which aid one religion, and all religions, or
prefer one religion over another".
Freedom of
religion comes to mean giving religion special
authority, exemption, preferential treatment and
privilege to religion. And because Catholicism is the
largest religion the government and states when they
aid religion aid Catholicism more than other religions.
Protestants especially are aware of that. The United
States in effect encourages Christianity and especially
Catholicism as the national religion. Not all religions
are equally recognized by the government.
In the U.S. Christianity is not held equal with
other religions, e.g. Mohammedan morality, but
favored over others. That the first amendment promotes and allows a plurality of beliefs is a rationalization. The Christian church is rather consistently
favored and other views are not allowed to flourish or
gain tax-exemption. Government favors believers over
non-believers. Tax-exemption is a reward for religious
institutions. Religions compete to see if each can be
established as the only state religion. Governmental
neutrality is a fiction and contradiction. It for ex-

"To avoid entanglement the state has naively given the church unlimited power
even to undermine the state."
purposes of tax-exemption. All such litigation costs
the government money and is not paid for by
religion. It is a way for religion to drain the finances
of a secular state. (City of Nashville vs. State Board of
Education 360 s.w. 2d 458 [Tenn. 1962j). There is
alsotoo much "involvement" with religion regarding
who is to obtain tax-money for schools or for other
purposes. Churches compete with other private and
public schools and groups for government and state
financing. "The cumulative impact of the entire relationship arising under the statutes in each State
involvesexcessive entanglement between government
and religion; the substantial religious character of
these church-related schools gives rise to entangling
church-state relationships of the kind the religion
clausessought to avoid ... " Chief Justice Burger
(Di Censovs. Robinson 1970). Tax-exemption cannot
bejustified by claiming that to tax the church would
"involve" or "entangle" the state. The governmental
approach to religion is not "neutral" but rather
"neutral involvement" - an oxymoron and a contradiction.
The State Gives Preferential Treatment to
Religion Over Secularism and to Some Religions
Over Others
f

Ministers,theology students and conscientious ob-

ample disallows prayer in schools but allows bus fare


to parochial schools. Tax-exemptions are not granted
to all religions and even if they were they would also
have to be granted to all non-religious institutions
to maintain neutrality and equality.
Inconsistency-if
a church or religious group can
have a tax-exemption why cannot a religious person
have a tax-exemption (and his religious friends who
visit him)? That institutions other than religious
ones are tax-exempt does not justify rei igious ones.
Many reiigious groups are not exempt and many
non-religious groups are not exempt. It is token
equality. Church tax-exemption does not equitably
distribute government subsidy in different areas and
among different religions. For example, aid to parochial schools helps those states and religions more
with the greatest number of parochial schools and
penalizes public education.
The U.S. Government presupposes a Supreme
Being. This is in violation of the Constitution. The
government violates its own neutrality. It says in
effect, "we shall have religious freedom and freedom
of belief, under god," as in the pledge of allegiance.
Putting "In God We Trust" on coins and requiring
one to recite allegiance is to illegally require a religious test for membership. A bill should be proposed
to have "In God We Trust" removed from all U.S.
currency. Such words support religon and dogma and
APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST - 27

show bias not neutrality and in addition support


religions believing in god as opposed to religions not
believing in god. Such words advance religion and
violate the First Amendment.
Wisconsin Constitution stressing a belief in "Almighty God" is prejudicial especially since there are
some tax-exempt religions not requiring a belief in
god. See Fellowship of Humanity vs. County of
Alameda 315 - 2d 394 (1957) and Washington
Ethical Society vs. District of Columbia 249 F. 2d
127. The attorney general in Wisconsin held that the
Pledge of Allegiance, as it contains the words "under
qod," violates the first and fourteenth amendments.
It is no argument that rei igious groups are not the
only tax-exempt groups. Education and medical
research contribute directly to the welfare of society.
For a clergyman to sav, "Well, we have as much
right to tax-exemption as other tax-exempt institutions" is the tu quoque fallacy. Just becauseanother
may not deserve tax-exemption does not mean they
deserve it. A more equitable solution would be to
disallow tax-exemption to all but medical, health
and similar institutions. Another solution would be to
disallow all tax-exemption but give direct support for
social and public welfare and public education.
Hospitals are tax-exempt but then the constitution
does not say Congress should "make no law respecting the establishment of hospitals." Religious groups
are not tax-exempt equally with other groups.
Only a few groups are allowed to be tax-exempt.
These are preferential groups. The government does
not maintain neutrality regarding religion by such
token-equality or token neutrality. It is as if it has
to allow a few other groups to be tax-exempt in order
to allow religion to be tax-exempt. Tax-exemptions
can't be kept equal between sects and between nonreligious organizations, so the only exemptions
should be for secular organizations devoted to the
public welfare of all citizens e.g. education, medical
research, etc. The church is not entitled to tax
support from believers and nonbelievers alike.
Other Arguments against Religious Tax-Exemption
(The Heaven Is on Earth: Tax-Exemption)
Tax-exemption is supposed to be given to institutions which do or cannot gain profits, but churches
obviously do seek to gain and have gained billions in
profits. Institutes such as nstitute for Church-State
Law" of Georgetown University promote the taxexempt status of rei igious institutions. Such institutes
themselves are directly or indirectly tax-exempt. A
profession is being made of sustaining and promoting
tax-exempt institutions. "The exemption of church
property from taxation constitutes a subsidy paid by
the taxpayers to the church associations. It is clear
that what had been expressly prohibited is being indirectly carried on. There is great inconsistency and
inequality in Church-State issues and to eliminate
III

II

APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST - 28

such inconsistency and inequality, to religiousinstitu.


tions tax-exemptions should be disallowed.
The Catholic church requires its followers to 0ppose the 1973 Supreme Court decision on abortion
for all. Thus religion is given tax-exempt statusso
that it can oppose government and force its viewon
all people. Individual corporations or businesses
usually dissolve but religions such as the Roman
Catholic Church continue and continue to gainpower
and wealth. They do not need tax-exemption. If all
religions are disallowed tax-exemption it will elimi
nate some of the antagonism between Catholicsand
non-Catholics. Religion is bad for businessmenwho
must yearly pay billions more than they otherwi.
would, due to the fact that religious institutions art
tax-exempt. Note: The taxpayer and the government
are not thanked by religion though they are the
one's giving the tax-exemption.
For the religious person, governments and people
are secondary and only puppets of god. They only
thank god for tax-exemption and pray to godfor
more. Religious practice sometimes opposescriminal
and state laws yet is encouraged and rewardedby
state tax-exemption.
Church tax-exemption and
subsidy tends to increase without end. Churchtax
exemption narrows the tax-base thus increasingthe
taxpayer's taxes. Catholics complain that someof
their taxes go to abortion but billions are lost bytax
exemptions to churches. In Wisconsin in 1976 the
Catholic representatives and senators voted to disallow medical aid for poor people needingabortions.
This also meant thousands would be lost to thestate
in federal medical aid.
Often public places are not used for worshipbe.
cause it violates separation of church and statebut
instead the state allows the church billions in tax
exemptions. This tax-exemption is inconsistent,poor
logic, and contradictory policy which undermines
the state and confidence in the law. Peopletendto
Communism because it is anti-Catholic and antireligion. If no tax-exemption is allowed for religi~
groups such people would have less tendencyto
Communism. Religious workers are exempt frOlft
taxes for social security or unemployment COllipensation. Churches want these benefits. If
were to give up their tax-exempt status then th
employed may be able to qualify for such programs.
In nearly every town there are a great number0
churches. They are often the largest, most attract'
and expensive buildings in these towns. That
church can afford to pay taxes is obvious becauseof
the extravagant churches it erects and maintains.The
Internal Revenue Service itself rents from the
Catholic Church (Columbus, Ohio). An assemblyh.
owned by a church was used for social and religious
meetings and rented out to other groups yet it
given tax-exemption. Churches are often usedonlyI
few hours on the weekend, Such activity should
justify tax-exempt status for the entire week.

.\

1
Churches must rent unused government property.
So also churches should not be allowed tax-exemption for the samereasonsthat they must pay rent.
In Protestants and Other Americans United vs.
United States (1970) one Justice said, "The decisions
of the Supreme Court construing the Free Exercise
and Establishment Clausesof the First Amendment
have drawn fine distinctions and have laid down rules
not easy to apply. They have been decisions by
divided courts." 435 F. 2d at 630. It would be easier
to disallow religious institutions tax-exemption as a
blanket policy. The fine distinctions are probably
often due to the fact that religious judges wish to
favor religion and so they rationalize and twist
language in order to do so. The present encouragement and preferential treatment of reiigion leads to
strife. The Irish reiigious war shows what happens
when religion is encouraged. "The untaxed commercial revenues and properties of churches constituted
the basiccauseof almost every European revolution."
The church-state separation was supposed to avoid
the previous hundreds of years of wars. Jefferson
speaks of the necessity of "The wall of separation
between church and state." This wall has become a
battleground.

The Catholic is the great exception, they fight


for tax-exemption, aid to school and every kind of
federal fund. This is becausetheir mission is to take
over the world. Protestants and Other Americans
United for Separation of Church and State vigorously
opposed Catholic attempts to gain public funds and
establish Catholicism as the state religion. "Resolved,
that the Fourth Biennial Conference of the American
Unitarian Association places itself upon record as
favoring taxation of church property for municipal,
state and national purposes." Southern Baptists have
been reluctant to receive government aid. Baptist
Joint Committee on Public Affairs opposed all taxexemption for business not related to the reiigious
purpose of the church.
Protestant Recommendation

In 1966 a Baltimore Methodist Conference poll


revealed that 70% opposed public financial assistance
for religious institutions. Protestants, Atheists and
other non-Catholics themselves have vigorous campaigns to eliminate tax-exemptions to religious institutions. e.g. The journal Church and State (Baylor
University, Texas) is devoted to eliminating such
abused tax-exemption. The Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of the U.S. has stated that it doubts
Tax-Exemption Undermines the Church
that churches should be tax-exempt. C. Antieau,
Did Christ die for tax-exemption? People should P_.Carroll, T. Burke Religion Under the State Connot need tax-exemption to show they are religious, stitutions. Reinhold Neibuhr attacked public financing of parochial schools. "A Plea for Tolerance" in
yet religious groups seem to think so. Being truly
religiouswould rather be shown by private support. The Atlantic Monthly, Aug. 1962 p. 77. "Every test
It should be able to exist on its own if there is any of public opinion disclosed that a substantial majority
purposefor it to exist. Tax-exemptions weaken the oppose federal aid to parochial schools." Pfeffer
independenceof churches from the state. (House "Federal Funds for Parochial Schools?" 37 Notre
Waysand Means, Senate Finance Committee). The Dame Law 309, 1962.
generalassembly of the United Presbyterian church
The U.S. Catholic Conference and National
has said that any favored tax position constitutes Council of Churches supported disallowing taxa "hindrance to the fulfillment of the church's exemption to unrelated businessinterests of religious
mission." (CS July-August,
1967, II). The New organizations. They opposed also the "Clay Brown"
Catholic Encyclopedia (p. 950) states: "Inevitably,
tax loophole. (Catholic Almanac 151) The General
the independenceof churches will be weakened by Board of the National Council for the Churches of
governmentfavoritism and their dependence on tax- Christ in the United States of America gave the
exemptions." It is not a good argument to say that following statement in 1961: "We do not consider it
if we tax churches it is a kind of control. On this just or lawful that public funds should be assignedto
argument we should not tax anyone. President support the elementary or secondary schools of any
Madison,the force behind the First Amendment, said Church." "AII Church subsidies, direct or indirect,
in effect that Church tax-exemption is even an should be ended forthwith. No institution definitely
offenseagainstgod. Benjamin Franklin wrote, "When related to a church should be granted public funds."
a religion is good, I conceive that it will support "AII priests, ministers and members of reiigious
itself,andwhen it cannot support itself, and god does orders should be treated by state and federal taxing
not take care to support it, so its professors are authorities exactly as if they were laymen." The
obligedto call for help from the civil power, it is a religious should read their own bible: "Go, sell what
sign,I apprehendof its being a bad one."
you possessand give it to the poor, and you will have
treasure in heaven." Matt. 19:21.
BothChurchand State Oppose Tax-Exemption:
Harry Boyer, Penn. state president of AF L-CIO
TheChurch Should Return Their Property
said, "The ... AF L-CIO believes that the exemption
to the State for Purposesof Social Welfare
now accorded to religious ... is not only unwarrantand Charity
ed but unfair to the citizen as a whole." Americans
APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST - 29

POEMS

_
FEAR

WRITTEN IN DISGUST OF VULGAR


SUPERSTITION
The church bells toll a melancholy round,
Calling the people to some other prayers,
Some other gloominess, more dreadful cares,
More hearkening to the sermon's horrid sound.
Surely the mind of man is closely bound
In some black spell; seeing that each one tears
Himself from fireside joys, and Lydian airs,
And converse high of those with glory crowned.
Still, still they toll, and I should feel a dampA chill as from a tomb, did I not know
That they are dying like an outburned lamp;
That 'tis their sighing, wailing ere they go
Into oblivion;-that
fresh flowers will grow,
And many glories of immortal stamp.

JOHN KEATS
TING A LING

As ages passed their numbers grew


To triumph in their way
And conquered all that troubled them
Each specie night or day
It finally came then - man fought man
And time was drawing near
To hide from human terror now
They huddle in their fear
So now they chose to search for cause
To end this pain of mind
And ministers held prayer pause
But nothing there did find
Dissenters to the ranting cries
"God" ringing in the ear
Exhausted now they hid away
And huddled in their fear

The same old ding-dong, same old bell,


The same old heaven, same old hell.
The same old Parson, dressed in black,
The same old sermon, quack, quack, quack.
The same old Churches, deep in gloom,
The same old faces, preaching doom.
The same old custom, hating life,
The same old humbugs, causing strife.
Despite all their cunning,now
so vast,
Truth shall destroy it all at last.
For men will follow reason's light,
In marching upward, from the night.

PAUL VARNEY
To accept christianity

Mankind's dawn began to break


And humans numbered few
They dared not chance in dark to take
But vigiled till the morning drew
Then set in groups upon their prey
For feasting time grew near
And they had fasted thru the night
And huddled in their fear

Could I but write a final phrase


To change the things I find
And bring contented peaceful days
To every human mind
Or would they doubting stare at me
My meaning never clear
And burn my work and tear me down
And huddle in their fear

is to sacrifice the intellect.

-ROMANES

GERALD THOLEN

The taxpayers of this country should be askedif


United for Separation of Church and State, ACLU,
Jewish organizations (e.q, American Jewish Congress) they wish to continue to subsidize religion by taxall oppose any church aid. "Plainly, a tax measure is exemption. Missouri taxed church property until
not invalid under the federal Constitution merely 1876. Many states have already begun to put Church
because it falls upon persons engaged in activities of a property back on the tax rolls (e.q. Phoenix, Arizona)
religious nature." The rei igious can be taxed. Justice Lowell PLTE p. 58. In 1875 President Grant sugFrankfurter, Jones vs. City of Opelika 319 U.S. 105 gested a constitutional amendment to provide" ...
(1943). Church tax-exemption is not a right but a that all church property shall bear its own proporprivilege and it can be withdrawn by the local tion of taxation and that the increasing church wealth
authorities. Walz vs. The Tax Commission of New would bring "great trouble in our land." (Herman vs.
York 1970.
Ames, Proposed Amendments to The Constitution
Even in Ireland rei igious order must pay taxes and 277 [1877]) "Under Henry V III, and later under
even turn over to the states all money in excess of Edward VI and Elizabeth, the greater part of church
living expenses. Some legal scholars who hold that property was confiscated on the ground that the
tax-exemptions to religious groups violate the First religious groups were not handling the property in the
Amendment to the Constitution are the following:
best interests of God and Man." For the benefit of
Paulsen "Preferment of Religious Institutions in Tax society the Catholic and other churches should return
and Labor Legislation" 14 Law Contemp. Prob. 144 their property and wealth to the U.S. government or
(1949); Leo Pfeffer Church, State and Freedom the government should take it over. This should be
(Boston 1953) pp. 183-190; 4 Villanova Law Rev. 1; done at once. The proceeds should be given to health
Note, 3 Rutgers Law Rev. 115 (1949); Note, 49 organizations, hospitals, orphanages, the poor, and
Columbia Law Rev. 968 (1949); see also 9 Stanford
other uses to promote the public good. The Church
Law Rev. 366; 35 Calif. Law Rev. 352; Stimson, was given money for charity and secular functions so
"The Exemption of Property From Taxation in the there should be nothing wrong with returning it for
United States," 18 Minn. Rev. 411 (1934); Note, 64 truly public benefits.
Harvard Law Rev. 291.
APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST - 30

Coping With Theism


bernard g. cotb~
From time to time I find two conflicting ideas
opposing each other in my conscious aware mind.
They are:
"I will feel good about myself" and
"I won't let you feel good about yourself".
I call the forces behind these ideas, my will and my
won't. They have been with me all of my adult
life and before.
My contemporary struggle to explore my mind
and find out more about these forces so that I
can deal with them in a constructive manner has
proved fruitful. I have discovered their etiology.
The origin of the impusle or desire to feel good
about myself is basic. It is a product of my survival
instinct. All animals, I believe, have this instinctive
drive or urge. It is altogether fitting and proper
from a rational point of view that I exert my best
efforts to achieve this result, provided of course
that I don't do something self-destructive to attain
it.
As for the impulse or drive not to feel good
about myself, I have discovered its source to be a
distortion. Unlike my desire to feel good about
myself, this determination to thwart that desire
is not natural and probable consequence ofuncontaminated instinct. It is, in short, something in
the nature of a conditioned response. A major
component of the distortion flows from the
belief in an anthropomorphic god. From long
hours, days, weeks, months and years of inner
probing and exposing, I have made conscious the
theistic belief that I literally absorbed in my
mother's milk. The kind of god I was conditioned
to believe in was a supernatural who knew my
every thought and my every deed. This, (my
mother's version) was supplemented and supported
by the fables and stories I was told during the
various religious services and school sessions I was
causedto attend as I was growing up.
When I emerged from this growing up process I
was a person whose psyche reflex responded
asthough there was an anthropomorph ic god who
knew my every thought and my every deed and
automatically sent me messagesthrough my conscienceevery time I did something that displeased
him. Oh, yes, I neglected to say that my mother
(and so I also) believed that god was a jealous
and vengeful god who hated anybody who was
confident and sure of himself. God only liked
those who were humble and meek (and believed
in him). If for one moment I should permit my-

self the luxury of feeling confident and certain


about any undertaking, he would most certainly
give me my come-uppance - "Fear ye the Lord!"
"Go ye and be perfect for I, Thy god am perfect!"
For much of my life I lived in this kind of contradictory,
psychological atmosphere where I
struggled and strained to be an achiever but handicapped myself with these feelings of "don't you
dare feel good about yourself or you will most
certainly fail". Hence whatever I achieved never
gave me any real unfettered joy of accomplishment. I functioned in a kind of goaded and
shackled manner - I was both driven and restrained. In a way it was like driving a car with the
brakes on. Obviously whenever a confident inner
strength was needed to bring success, I would fail.
I don't know whether it is possible to convey
the misery endured by a person with the kind of
psychology that I have described. Anyone who has
been though it will recognize instantly what I am
talking about. Those who have not been a product
of such mal-conditioning or are too far gone to
recognize it, probably can never have it explained
to them in a cognitive sense.
I know it defies credulity for a person who never
had this tyranny of the anthropomorphic god
blackmail imposed on his psychic apparatus, to
believe such a thing exists and can resist rational
argument. He would be disposed to say: "Can't
you see, you fool, what they have done to you?
It's all a tissue of lies from beginning to end. There
is no such thing as an anthropomorphic god that
knows your every thought and your every deed.
Use your logic and reason; that should convince
you! The only reason you believe it is becausethe
important people in your life, when you were a
defenseless child, filled your psyche with this kind
of bullshit. In a conditioned reflex manner you
have been habitually reinforcing this utterly impossible belief in you psyche. You can stop it, so
do it!"
To the fortunate ones who never had to emancipate their minds from the tyranny of anthropomorphic god-conditoning, let me try to explain
why logical argument did not instantly work long
after my mind began to struggle with this logic.
The tyrannical state of affairs in my psyche continued unabated. You see, when I became an adult
and was exposed to rational argument opposing my
religious beliefs, I was, as I said, possessedof a
psychology that made me feel bad when I so much

APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST - 31

as questioned
the validity of my theism. It is obvious that in
order to be able to stand up and say: "I don't believe what my
loved ones believed, I don't respect the opinions and teachings
of all those people in my formative years who trained me to
believe in god", - I had to have a mind that was strong, confident and sure of itself. I had to overcome the mind that I
had that was conditioned
perpetually
to be weak, humble and
unsure of itself. This took a special kind of training. I didn't
undertake that training until middle age.
It was only after successfully undergoing the discipline of
psychoanalysis
(after an unbelievably
long and arduous struggle) that I was finally exposed, in a constructive
way, to the
reality of my unconscious
psychodynamics.
I had to discover
from blood, sweat, toil and tears that there were forces like
will and won't at work in my psyche whose motivation
was
deeply hidden and barred from reaching conscious awareness.
Anyone who has had a similar experience will know at once
what I am talking about. I fear also that those who have not
will never grasp the truth. You see the intelligence
is not
didatically communicable.
This is what is wrong with B.F. Skinner and behaviorists
like him. They think they can deal with mal-conditioning
like
in religious
beliefs
by appealing
to the mind's
rational
processes. There is some support for believing you can uncondition bad behavior by reinforcing
alternatves
and punishing
the undesirable
response
(checking
the smoking
habit for
example).
But in my opinion there is absolutely
none for
hoping to cope with a belief that you absorbed with your
mother's milk, by rational argument alone. The logical reason
why this is so stems from the reality of our voluntary
and
involuntary
nervous systems and the nature of the emotional
reactions themselves.
A bad behavior inevitably requires the use of muscles that
are ordinarily
subject to volition (conscious
control).
Thus
through conscious effort the individual suffering from the bad
habit can abstain and refrain from doing it. It may not be easy
because the customary
psychic pattern
reinforcing
the bad
habit may be too powerful;
it's possible. Over a period of
time reversing the habit pattern will form the force of reversal, make the habit less powerful in the person's nervous
system. But what of a habit-like belief in god that has no behavior pattern involving muscles subject to conscious control?
The truth in my experience is that a belief that there is an
anthropomorphic
god who knows your every thought
and
your every deed and hates and despises the strong, confident
and certain (except as to their belief in him) gets irrevocably
established
and reinforced
in the unconscious
vectors of the
psyche. It is impossible to entertain
rational thoughts about
the subject in any constructive
way without first dealing with
this conditioned
belief itself. The reason this is so is because
the psychic apparatus
cannot intellectualize
effectively
with
the mal-conditioned
feelings dictating
otherwise.
The mind
becomes a Lincolnian house divided against itself. (The poor
guy will go bananas if it persists).
I can now hear you ask, if what you say is true, what can be
done about it? In answer I can only report my experience.
I
had to achieve a familiarity
with my concealed
inner self
which, though ordinarily hidden from consciousness,
neverthe-

less was dictating my disturbed state of mind when it came to


being rational about supernaturalism.
Of course, there was
more in conflict
between
my rational
and irrational than
religion. The psychoanalytic
approach is directed at exposing
my whole neurotic structure.
When I was enabled through the
discipline to free associate the inner happenings of my mind,
especially when emotional
disturbance,
psychosomatic symptoms or bad habits emerged, a whole new psychological world
opened for me. Then, for the first time, I was enabled to
contemplate
an existence free from theism and to countenance
a mental attitude which accepts the supremacy of reason and
an outlook on life based completely
on verifiable experience
independent
of arbitrary
assumptions
and dogma. Until
then, it seems that my mind literally cringed at the very idea
of declaring the cosmos as devoid of anthropomorphic
purpose. I was frightened
at the very thought that I must find
resources within myself without the help of a comfortable,
all-compassionate
god who was all-knowing and would punish
all evil and reward all good. It required considerable growing
up and development
of courage and strength before I could
believe in my own capacity to create my destiny and understand the meaning of a good life and strive on endlessly to
achieve it.
Which brings me to my concluding thought. If my experience is at all representative
of what it takes to achieve the
cross-over from the mind in bondage to coventional religious
beliefs, on the one hand to a liberated mind that can fearlessly
embrace agnosticism or Atheism, on the other, what chance is
there to reach the vast population
of the mal-conditioned?
If every mind that is heteronomously
trained and conditioned
in the formative
years to theism must undergo something as
difficult, rigorous and expensive as psychoanalysis
in order to
become autonomously
emancipated,
the practical obstacles are
insurmountable.
It will never happen in the forseeable future.
Obviously the answer lies in some simpler and more feasible
way. But what is that way? I have a thory that psychoanalysis
can be self-taught.
If I am right, the solution may lie in the
widespread
practice of the mental hygiene that is called self
psychoanalysis.
In our contemporary
society, self-analysis is an
esoteric technique
known only to the handful of analysands
who have undergone a successful interpersonal
psychoanalysis.
Thereafter
they graduate to an on-going rewarding life experience directed at overcoming mental disturbances
and achieving
emotional maturity through self-analysis.
If self-analysis, self-taught, proves feasible, not only will the
minds in bondage to theism be liberated from that tyranny but
potentially
from all neurotic tendencies.
They will be able to
achieve their optimum for emotional development
and growth.
But now I am being a visionary - perhaps as bad as the supernaturalists.
It is a dream too fantastic
for a pragmatist to
entertain.
But this paper may have some value for a society
committed
to reality. It may be telling them the way it really
is - the reason why a rational appeal is not now and never will
be enough. Human minds, as they are now constituted, are not
free to be influenced
by such argument.
They are heteronomous and in bondage. What we need is an emancipating idea
and technique.
In my humble opinion self-analysis provides
both.

"The first clergymen was the first sly rogue that encountered the first fool. "
-Voltaire
APRIL, 1977/AMERICAN ATHEIST - 32

When you join American Atheists you receive a complete membership


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This includes the current
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~~~~~~~

~~~~~~$

OO~~~~~$ $
In 1959.courllgeoosleen~eMy~fuudr05.y
,",o,h hi, "Kh". hi< p,;odp.'.
his Schaol Board iIfId me Att,uney
Gene,., of
Maryl.nd told him thaI ~ wllS reqvired to bow his
hei Itnd pray in his Junior High School e.:"
morning.
His [divOfCtldJ moth".
bKked
him up
and the case ewmru.tly c,,", (0 the Unit,d Srltes
Svpreme Cour! - which ruled the boy witS right.

Fromrhilrfif$(lIetofdefi.,..oehIJCOfN,nOrgMIiZlllion which is knolWl round


me world

hi, P"Y"

.~o

"gIoa to pro'K'
~.

m. ".11 """M;M

A~isrse~ry~re.
tharhf!ritilgf!.

for Irs
';gIoa ot

Youlrllnow,proudpllrtof

Membership
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is 8;1," x 11" parchment
paper.
Dr. O'Hair signs each certificate
personally
after Board of Trustees votes for membership.
Only
one issued per member.

c;,~.( AMERICAN

ATHEIST
NEWSLETTER

~c;,<::,~<;,'\

..\~'\=====,---------=-;;-=;-:--:-=-=
AMERICAN ATHEISTS
P. O. Bo~ 2111, Austin, TX
(S121458

78768

1244

Frj<!nd,

Membership folder contains


bership certificate and card.

first newsletter,

mem-

You
religIOn

have anolne,

and from

relatively

f,eedom

90ers

from

freedom

paVIng heavy

few church

taxes

so that

on America

the

All of those

comparues

from you.

Internal

etteoos

of every f,ve

Church

rl!9ularly on America; most of these are chIldren


There are ave, 15 mdhon persons In Our pOpula

neve,

tion .hohal'e
total

population.

evenenrered,t:hurch.

of tbe

1977

l nthe

HXI mjlllonperson'

.ho

bysoc.aland
bu$'rle$SfeaSOnS
tile church doclf1nes and dogmil
Yet. every
pays

lax.

free

of

from

$200

Chyrches

pay

no Income

lax

lheUnlled

all Ii'''. on

rear

lax.

States
to keep

estate.

enormo."

no sales
They

taX"

buSl'

weallh

on

Wall
unnec
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and OIher

reseiN'ch

CatholIC

Jo ..~I.

Streel

Press.
10

Church

'hit

B.

o'gan,zatoons

thoe holdIngs

alone

exceeds

the

IheflweLa'geuAmeflcanCO<~atlOfls
own f'Ie;I.ly as much.
St~rd
FOfd.

St,tef

Steel

televISIOn.
ha-.e found

total

autu

of

iJlod

MOfOrJ.

Socony Mobil

own leu land. have leu ush and \lTWlle,


InvenlOl'I!'S IhiW'l Ihe AomitO C~tholoc Chu,ch
owns ,n IUSI real eslate ,lone'

business

basis.

reply envelope

is t.ice as
Industr~.

does

net

In

property

special

made

then

tal< nee.

lhe bUSIness

The
10

melhod

for churches

to cheat

on the taxes

WIth

the

church

BaQ5.. Aath

lone uoocklng

togelher

Soothern

Bapt.st

Mack

Trucks.

Fruehauf

30<'1

and
MIllS.
Borden

TraIlers
I""

any of

steel mlll~. !.Uf)effl'lil,kels.

ro1ann. l)"lh

er~.rtl$lIner'Hand

ISI

'lour ,axes are h,gh

the

MealS.

hao<lk~. holel~.

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able to 'purchiw
01 Burlongton

Auhl~'.

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fi~nc

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50

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ctrtilln
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th

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le....e bM:lr,' cerla.n
pbnu
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gimmick'.

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'purchases'

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'Iegal

irrangemenu

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control

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pdl manufooctur

lelevlslOflSl.IIOflS

Aelo'llOU'S prestoi!'! prInt


'Uadlng
operalerest(tUranlchilos.offocebIJlldings.bo
Gtneral

0,/.

A new card is sent on an annual

a veae.

Iheor bus,neues.

Protestants

0.1 of New Jerwy.


U",t/

of thoe Aoman

a very

have
A church

no mhoerltance

fI'IiIYo .n and operale

bIllIon

from

rentals. money received


on "",115. or the YIeld from
thei' slock holdlng~. or bond holdongs

bu.",esllt'$

In hidden

annually

oncome of the leather


56'1,

profits

churches

bUSInesses and be eXe<T\Ot from all corporaloon


lax
Slowly bul t:eftalnly churches.n
theUnotedSlI"~S
are acqUorlng a stranglehold
on our economy

JOHN ATHEIST
ANY STREET
ANY CITY, U.S.A.

Please use enclosed

the

total
about

USlIlg

notbyabehefon

.n

Single f"mlly

a mInImum

oesses.
Income. iIfld on Ihelf
stocks and bonds.

card.

elude

to the churches

the

ThIS figure.

ong".

churches

Membership

as

much

rs about Jlo5!lmesa
1$ most often mot,vated

do 90 to chufch.allendance
year.
Church attendance

MEMBER
AMERICAN ATHEISTS

.. the

AevenueServlcerepOrtslhatlhe

cash donations
Only one person

mu~t ~ell a product

churchesglveonlyproml~S.

Clln prcht

alleys.
pan.es.

t.Undrles.

departmerll

ThoeSe-.enlh

corner

the

health

londa"

brando!

O.y
food

to apply for membership.

ma.ket

that church

Sample
of
monthly
"Insider's"
Normally four pages describes activities
can Atheist Center.

no-es.

stamps'.
.long

fl~nc:e

Adventlstsa,e
..

.,th

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oom

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to

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Newsletter.
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