Volume 21, No.6


The Journal Of Atheist News And Thought

St. Paul's Disease


"Aims and Purposes"
1. To stimulate and promote freedom of thought and inquiry concerning religious
beliefs, creeds, dogmas, tenets, rituals and practices.
2. To collect and disseminate information, data and literature on all religions and
promote a more thorough understanding of them, their origins and histories.
3. To advocate, labor for, and promote in all lawful ways, the complete and absolute
separation of state and church; and the establishment and maintenance of a
thoroughly secular system of education available to all.
4. To encourage the development and public acceptance of a humane ethical system,
stressing the mutual sympathy, understanding and interdependence of all people
and the corresponding responsibility of each, individually, in relation to society.
5. To develop and propagate a social philosophy in which man is the central figure who
alone must be tDe source of strength, progress and ideals for the well-being and
happiness of humanity.
6. To promote the study of the arts and sciences and of all problems affecting the
maintenance, perpetuation and enrichment of human (and other) life.
7. To engage in such social, educational, legal and cultural activity as will be useful
and beneficial to members of American Atheists and to society as a whole.

1. Atheism is the life philosophy (Weltanschauung) of persons who are free from
theism. It is predicated on the ancient Greek philosophy of Materialism.
2. American Atheism may be defined as the mental attitude which unreservedly
accepts the supremacy of reason and aims at establishing a system of philosophy
and ethics verifiable by experience, independent of all arbitrary assumptions of
authority or creeds.
3. The Materialist philosophy declares that the cosmos is devoid of immanent conscious purpose; that it is governed by its own inherent, immutable and impersonal
law; that there is no supernatural interference in human life; that man-finding his
resourceswithin hirnselt=can and must create his own destiny; and that his potential for good and higher development is for all practical purposes unlimited.

JUNE, 1979

VOL 21, NO.6

Puerto Rican Politics and the Bishop's Letters
Close Encounters of the Hallucinatory
Dr. Madalyn Murray O'Hair
Jon Garth Murray

G. Richard Bozarth
Ignatz Sahula-Dycke
Wells Culver
J..Michael Straczynski
Elaine Stansfield
Bill Baird
Gerald Tholen
Angeline Bennett


Atheist Museum Owner Speaks His Mind


& Liberalism

Austin, Texas



- The People Need to be Told






Atheist Columnist Angers RCC


House PassesSchool Prayer


CETA Rip-off by RCC


The American Atheist magazine is published monthly by
American Atheists, located at
2210 Hancock Drive, Austin,
Texas 78756, a non-profit, nonpolitical, educational organization. Mailing address: P.O. Box
2117, Austin, TX 78768. Copyright ©
1979 by Society of
Separationists, Inc. Subscription
$20 per year.
Manuscripts submitted must be typed,
double-spaced and accompanied
by a stamped, self-addressed envelope. The editors assume no
for unsolicited


A Time for Dying

Sheila Sandblade




- Hair


- Or Even Poetry


our cover:

As Summer lends reality
To promises of Spring
Soft breezes sound With pleasant calls
As laughing Seagulls sing

The gloWing warmth of Solstice Sun
Rains life on one and all
As Nature swells the precious seeds
With gifts to bear come Fall

Now Sun-drugged creatures seek the shade
Each leafy branch provides
Spring's raging rivers now Will rest
Purged by the ocean tides

So praise each pleasured Summer day
And toast her balmy nights
The dreams conceived in blossom time
Give birth to Summer sights

June, 1979

Page 1


Our Constitution has weathered many a battle over the past
200 years over issues such as slavery, women's rights, alcoholic
beverages, business conglomerates, and the right to vote. But
none has been so fierce as that with the forces of organized religion. Since the inception of our Nation, when the founding
fathers saw fit to set a world precident by kicking the church
out of State affairs, organized religion has tried to oil its way
back into its favored position reminiscent of monarchies gone
The latest barrage unveiled in Washington this month may
be the turning point in the war.
We now have a new, registered, Washington lobby. It's
called "Christian Voice," and if the mean name is not enough
to send Jefferson reeling in his grave, it states a purpose of promoting "Christian morality" in government by dedicating itself to "turning the nation toward Christian principles." The
group plans to promote legislation and candidates who advocate "Christian morality" through "television and thousands
of pulpits."
The group eventually plans to give money to candidates
deemed worthy on the basis of their Christianity. They also
plan to issue a monthly "legislative alert" to their network of
clergymen along with congressional voting records on "moral
The governing board of "Christian Voice" is composed of
4 U.S. Senators and 11 Representatives. Their names are:
Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Gordon Humphrey (R-New
Hampshire), Roger Jepsen (R-Iowa), and James McClure (RIdaho); Reps. Dan. Crane (R-lllinois), William Dannemeyer (RCalifornia), Bob Doman (R-California), George Hansen (RIdaho), James Jeffries (R-Kansas), Tom Kindness (R-Ohio),
Marvin Leath (D-Texas), Trent Lott (R-Mississippi), Larry MeDonald (D-Georgia), Warren Paul (R-Texas), and Floyd Spence
(R-South Carolina).
Their religious spokesman is the Rev. Robert G. Grant, and
their legislative director is Gary Jarmin, former legislative director for the American Conservative Union.
The group says it plans to spend $3 million initially ($1
million on TV alone) to organize. It has opened up its assault
by attacking TV sex and violence, the abortion movement,
pornography, the Supreme Court ban on prayer in public
schools, and the lack of administration support for the White
minority in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia.
It estimates that 50 to 75 million Americans are fundamentalist Christians.
The most stunning aspect of the emergence of such a lobby
group is that part of their stated purpose is in direct violation
of Department of Internal Revenue code. Section 501(c)(3)
of that code prohibits "political or legislative activity" on the
part of tax-exempt organizations. Yet, "Christian Voice" is
asking thousands of clergymen to use their pulpits for such
prohibited activity and is even providing them with the information to do so. In short, they are urging clergymen all across
the country to violate the law. Every church group participating in such activities should by all means be stripped of that

Page 2

June, 1979

which keeps them in business, their tax-exempt status.
The abortion movement. We can't feed or find adequate
fuel for the population we now have, but as long as they are
Christian and someday will vote, bring on the babies. The
mother's health or wishes need not enter into the picture.
After all, all she has to do is go along with the pregnancy.
Without Christian lobby groups, where would all of those
loyal abortion clinic torchers go for the opportunity to be let
off the hook by a loyal public official?
Let's look for a moment at some of the things they are
TV sex and violence. If you can't learn about sex on television or in the schools, where do you go for information?
To the streets where veneral disease is nearly epidemic and
unwanted pregnancy is a continuing tragedy?
Or to the
church, with their absurd morals that were unfit for human
use 2,000 years ago, and today only serve to promote sexual
maladjustment; We must save our children from TV violence then indoctrinate them in the religion that has caused more
bloodshed than any other!
Pornography. If you think dirty pictures are fun, try reading the story of Lot. The Bible would make Anita Bryant's
hair turn white if she ever read all of it. What ever happened
to freedom of speech? Does that only apply to that which is
spoken from the pulpit?
Banned prayer in the public schools. The Supreme Court
thought it had settled this issue in 1963. Ever since the ruling,
though, the religious community has tried to worm its way
back in. Meditation, released time, distribution of Bibles,
required "brotherhood week" assemblies, required assemblies
for speeches by converted convicts, and a series of other backdoor approaches have plagued the nation's school system;
most recently in the Helms Amendment in the Senate and the
Walker Amendment in the House. The church realizes how important snaring the children is. The Jesuits say it best: "Give
me a child until he is six and I've got him."
Last, but not least, against majority rule in Rhodesia.
This gives our conservatives a chance to speak out on events
in another country when in- reality they are opposing the very
basis of our own government. I don't know what they call
denial of self-government rights to persons on the basis of
their color, but I call it racism.
It's hard to believe that our nation has come to this from a
foundation on the principle of separation of state and church.
Faced with such a new and massive attack on our Constitution, we must remember one important fact: the "people" do
not want a "Christian" nation, they are being told they want
a "Christian" nation! Those are two very different things.
Each month we of The American Atheist try to emphasize
this. The "people" need to be told, if indeed they must be told
at all, to want something else besides mental slavery. We try to
do that each month, with each issue. The continuation and
broadening of that effort becomes ever more imperative with
this newest advance by the forces against Freedom of the

Austin, Texas

Good Idea!
Dear Editor,
I sometimes wonder how many of
our members, especially those who
travel quite a bit, think to keep a supply of leaflets on hand to place. in
the Gideon bibles that are found almo&t evel\YwDere in hotels and motels.
I taink A Few Biblical Contradictions, and A Spiritual Guide to
Gracious Living would be excellent
fer this use.
Vernon R. Horne
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Fifty (50) of the
from AA for $1.00. Also at the same
price are the What on Earth is an
Atheist? questionnaire; Agnosticismj
Atheism handout; We Are Atheist
Because handout; and the There is No
God flyer.]

Dear Editor,
I recently joined American Atheists because I was impressed by the
efforts you have all made toward enforcing the Constitution of the great
United States of America. You are all
patriots as well as inspirational leaders, and I hope to be able to make a
to your efforts. There
is, however, one point of disagreement
between us.
Many of your flyers have an occasional remark that slights agnostics
or free thinkers by implying that they
don't have the guts or intelligence
to be Atheists. I do not know what
percentage of our membership is
agnostic, but it is apparent that your
self-righteous attitudes are detrimental to the unity of American Atheists.
Surely the organized religions are in
error by claiming to know everything,
but can you make the same claim? If
scientific methods are correctly applied to the study of religion, then the
unknown is accepted as unknown.
Just as something is not true unless
proven true, neither is it false unless
proven false. To my way of thinking,
agnosticism and open-mindedness are
William B. Jones
Dubuque, Iowa
Dear Mr. Jones,
Such terms as "free thinkers"
have served mainly as a means for
Atheists to hide their true philosophy and not ruffle the feathers of
the religionists. We no longer accept
closet Atheism as honorable or con-

donable. It is a surrender to religion.
Agnosticism, . on the other hand,
if carried to the logical extreme, puts
one in the position of believing anything that cannot be proven false.
For instance, Santa Claus must be
allowed to possibly exist. Millions
of kids believe today he exists, and
even if he is no more responsible
for the gifts under the tree than
god is for where lightning strikes,
surely it can be argued with an open
mind that Santa Claus creates the
conditions that ultimately result in

gifts under the tree just as it can be
argued that god creates the conditions
that ultimately result in lightning.
Consider that you cannot prove
that fairies, nymphs, dragons, and
any host of mythological entities do
not exist. Yet, what agnostic, in the
spirit of open-mindedness, will argue
that fairies possibly exist? Agnosticism honestly
one sound like an idiot. Agnosticism
maintained is yet another closet for the cowardly Atheist
to hide in,

let's Teach Evolution
Dear Editor,
Judging from the enclosed article f~om the I~stI,tute for ~reatlOn Research In
San Diego, the most effective weapon In an Atheist s arsenal IS a tho.rou~h ~~owledge of the facts of evolution. [Enclosed was a copy of the ICR publication ~cts
& Facts" in which Henry M. Morris, the ICR's director, had quoted from G. RIchard Bozarth's "The Meaning of Evolution" (The American Atheist, February,
1978) to show that any Christian who does not believe in. ~he .Genesis creation
myth is joining the Atheists against god.] If all of the religionists of today (of
whatever faith) knew the truths of the evolutionary origins of all life, then the religious luggage that enslaves mankind would be quickly ~iscard~d with yeste.rday's
Greek gods and goddesses. More articles on the latest discoveries by Dr. RIchard
Leakey or Dr. David Pilbeam would probably do more for th~ Atheist movement
than all of the jokes and ridicule of religious leaders and practices that now aI?pear
in The American Atheist magazine. The creationists are on the move again to
either outlaw the teaching of evolution in the public schools, or to, at least, enforce the teaching of both the creation model and the evolution model together.
Alan Albert Snow, M.A.
Balboa Island, CA
Dear Mr. Snow,
You raise some excellent points about using the advances in evolution research
to back up our Atheist philosophy, as well as being a vehicle for persuasion to that
philosophy. As the ICR clipping you sent in indicates, I am in agreement with this.
However, our magazine itself is not a science publication, nor is it meant to educate religionists. Nearly every article I have ever read on evolution is not really the
sort of thing fitting to the nature of our magazine, mainly because neither Leakey
nor Pilbeam nor any other researcher in the field bothers to relate his or her work
to Atheism or religion. If they have, I have not yet had the privilege to read it, and
if you know of any works by these people considering the philosophical and religious dimensions of evolution, I'd appreciate knowing how to get a copy.
Our magazine is dedicated to the development of an Atheist philosophy in the
fullest sense of the term. To do this, we must demonstrate the poverty of religious
ideas while showing the richness of Atheistic ideas. We must totally destroy religion's main defense that it is essential to morality, and one means of doing this is
to ridicule religion's leaders, who are, after all, some of the mostimmoral people
around today. Another means of doing this js to show how the practices and dogmas of religion lead to immorality. This is essential work, for you would not believe how many Atheists still accept religion's claim. that it produces morality, and
I mean first-class intellectuals like the historians Will and Ariel Durant.
Our magazine is for the information, entertainment, and education of Atheists,
so our material content reflects this goal. We cannot please everyone with our editorial decisions but because we are the only Atheist magazine on the market, we
try. Many of o~r readers enjoy the jokes you would prefer not be in the magazine.
Are we to disappoint them to make you more satisfied? Maybe one day there will
be three or four Atheist magazines to cater to the various styles of Atheism we
know exist among our readers. We have readers who enjoy most a Hustler-like approach; others prefer a Scientific American-like approach; some would like a more
National Lampoon-like approach. We try to cater to all tastes, and end up really
never fully satisfying anyone.
I hope, though, the magazine is for you generally more satisfying than it is
unsatisfying. It is the only one we A theists have, and are likely to have for some
time to come.

Austin, Texas

G. Richard Bozarth

June, 1979


Page 3

Dear Editor,
In the March issue of The American
Atheist, Roz Glick of Pennsylvannia
gives an explanation as to why he can
be a Jewish Atheist. He says:
"Uncle Jake lived in Germany
Uncle Jake was an Atheist
The Nazis said Uncle Jake was a Jew
End of Uncle Jake
End of Explanation."
Here is another one:
"Aunt Bess lived in America
Aunt Bess was an Atheist
The Christians said Aunt Bess was a
End of Aunt Bess."
Does my argument prove that Aunt
Bess was a witch? Well neither does
Roz Glick's explanation prove Uncle
Jake was a Jew.
End of explanation.
Louis R. Williams
Northglenn, CO
Dear Editor,
I am thoroughly disgusted by your
answer to Roz Glick on the "Jewish
Atheist" question (American Atheist,
March, 1979).
Roz Glick tells hows "Uncle Jake,"
though an Atheist, was killed by the
Nazis because of his Jewish ancestry.
You simply refer her to G. Richard
Bozarth's article on the subject as if it
answered her argument - which it
doesn't. The. only thing in it that is
at all relevant is Mr. Bozarth's suggestion that people of Jewish ancestry should melt into the scenery by
adopting "non-kosher" behavior. (No
doubt Uncle Jake could have changed
his mime and gotten some expensive
skin grafts.) I don't believe in being
proud of one's ancestry, but nobody
should have to hide it either.
Constantine Coutroulos
Jackson Heights, NY


Dear Editor,
I agree with G. Richard Bozarth
that the term "Jewish Atheist" is a
contradiction in terms for most people. However, for some, they refer to
the dictionary's 2nd meaning of Jew,
which is: "A descendant of the Hebrew people." In which case they are
simply stating their descendants are
from the Hebrew people and that
they are now Atheists.
Also from "The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language" Atheism can be a religion. De-

Page 4

finition No. 4 states: "Any objective attended to or pursued with zeal
or conscientious devotion."
up religion.)
Personally, I prefer the word
American in the term "American
Atheist" because I live in the U.
S. of America, and I am related to
its people, culture, government, and
David M. Mandell
Fremont, CA
Dear Mr. Mandell,
Your argument is weak because
only those Atheists who were formally of the Jewish faith insist on the
segregating term "Jewish Atheist."
None of our other members insist
on being distinguished by their religious or racial ancestry. The reason
is not as simple as you seem to think,
unless you argue that only those who
perceive themselves still as Jews are
proud of their cultural and racial
Atheism cannot be called a religion because to have a religion one
must hold a belief in supernatural
forces. Atheism
contains no trace
of the supernatural in it, therefore
it cannot be called or defined honestly as a religion.


Mr. Robert H. TreIler
Publishers Clearing House
282 Channel Drive
Port Washington, NY 11050
Dear Mr. Treller:
Do you believe in the Constitution
of the United States? Do you believe.
in free speech? Do you believe in de
facto censorship?
I hope you answered the first two
yes and no to the third one. If you answered the way I hoped, would you
please stop assisting de facto censorship?
Your Publishers Clearing House is
missing a bet. Soclologists estimate
there are over 52,000,000 - that's
right -fifty-two
million Americans
who are agnostic or Atheist. Publishers Clearing House advertises both
the Christian Herald and the Catholic
I beg you, in the interest of free
speech and fairness, the Constitution,
and fifty-two million Americans to do
your part in ending the de facto censorship against us and offer The
American Atheist magazine along with
your other magazines. It is available


from PO Box 2117,



Sincerely yours,
Neil C. Reinhardt
We applaud Neil Reinhardt's bold
initiative, and recommend that every
subscriber follow his lead. If the Publishers Clearing House received several hundred letters like this, they
just might take corrective action.
But, if nothing is done - no other
letters written - then the Publishers
Clearing House will do nothing.
Numbers count in their business.
Only a large display of interest will
them. So, come on! It
takes little time, costs only 15 cents,
and the results possible are great.

For shame! Your splendid article
"First To The Jew" by Samuel Carter
McMorris in the March (1979) issue of
your journal of Atheist news and
thought was almost destroyed by the
cartoon on page 23.
The list of reasons that cartoon insulted the American Atheists and
people in general are too long for this
letter. If you will calmly reason it
out you will probably find some
reasons of your own not to publish
cartoons of that nature again.
Norman Ghinger
New York
Dear Mr. Ghinger,
We admit we ran the cartoon you
object to knowing it would' offend
some of our members - but also
it would delight others.
The tastes of our subscribers are so
varied that we cannot make one
faction completely
happy without
making another completely unhappy.
What we try to accomplish is some
middle-ground where we get most
teed-off for one reason
or another, but very, very few really
We see the cartoon as not a slander of the Jews, but the clever use
of the false Shylock-stereotype
satirize Christianity's
main motivation of all its actions: the greedy
acquisition of money. In fact, Christianity does not move - "bear its
cross" - except to protect or increase
its income.
We may have errored in putting the
cartoon on the same page as an article
critical of Judaism - thereby possibly
confusing its meaning - but we do
not believe we errored in printing it.

Austin, Texas

By Pope
Pope John Paul II, perhaps wishfully recalling the days when the Church
controlled all artistic expression, confessed in so many words that the
Church is losing control of the minds
of children.
He marked the Vatican's 13th International Communications Day by
blaming this in part on the media,
which he claims has the power to
"deform" (i.e., secularize) children's
He calls upon television to pursue
"art" rather than ratings, and darkly
quoted the Bible where it recommends that those who cause children
to sin should "be drowned in the
depths of the sea."
Although he did not elaborate on
what he believes art to be, many analysts of his remarks agree the art he
has in mind is the sectarian Renaissance art Italy is so famous for, and
that conveys unrelentingly the Christian message.
The pope said children are "totally defenseless in the world" and
"tend to accept everything" unquestioningly. This fact is the key to
Christianity's survival and John Paul
II is upset that young minds are continually exposed to TV dramas where
the heroes and heroines triumph by
their own efforts without so much
as a single prayer confessing helplessness to win without divine aid.
John Paul II fears the result of such
lessons will lessen a child's belief that
he or she must rely on god to achieve
anything in life, and thereby threaten
Church income. It came as no surprise
to many that he supports a cruel and
severe death for those responsible for
weakening the theistic chains religion
strives to imprison children's minds in.

Shot Down
The 1st Amendment received new
help in its continuing struggle for
survival when on 29 May 1979 the U."
S. Supreme Court ruled 6 - 3 that
states cannot give tuition tax breaks
to parents who send their children to
parochial schools. The constitutional
violation of the New Jersey law was

so blatant, the justices did not even
honor the case by hearing arguments.
The law was designed to help sustain and encourage enrollment
New Jersey's 575 Roman Catholic
parochial schools. The Church in the
past decade has had to close down
nearly a third of its parochial schools
due to rising costs and declining enrollment.
The Church" has been seeking
the magic formula that will open
the state and federal treasuries to its
parochial schools and at the same
time survive the Supreme Court.
The formula of granting a $1000
tax deduction for each child in a
"non-public" school was thought to
be a winner. However, there are
only 39 non-public schools in New
Jersey not religiously affiliated. No
one, least of all the Supreme Court
justices, was fooled as to the real
intent of the law.
Observers of the continuing battle for parochiaid believe this decision against private tuition tax credits will take the momentum out of
the California movement to put a
New Jersey-type law to public vote
in the form of a proposition in the
1980 elections.


Atheist Pol itician
Pleased in Defeat

The FCC has confirmed it is investigating Jim Bakker's PTL Club,
the Charlotte, NC, religious network,
for suspected misappropriation
funds. Calling the FCC the "devil",
Bakker has responded
by urging
regular contributors to double their
donations, "so we can beat the devil."
The PTL Club has long been known
to be in financial trouble, and Bakker
has resorted to a number of desperate"
schemes to gain deeper access into the
wallets of his viewers. Not long ago,
he announced hysterically over the
air while waving a February issue of
The American Atheist that Atheist
Spokesperson Madalyn Murray O'Hair
and a horde of her Atheist army were
descending upon him to get the PTL
Club off the air, and only a massive

Austin, Texas

June, 1979


amount of money sent in by the viewers could defeat the Atheists. It was
an outright lie.
Another scheme, the one that
aroused the FCC, which is ordinarily
tolerant of religionist media abuses,
was to raise funds to start religious
in Cyprus and Korea.
This project brought in $337,000,
only $56,000 of which actually went
to the cause for which it was raised.
The rest went to save the PTL Club,
which already has had to layoff 200
employees and end several executive
privileges just to hang on.
This action violated the FCC regulations that stipulate that money
raised by TV appeal cannot be used
for any other purpose than that
stated in the appeal. As one PTL
source who desired to remain anonymous revealed, "The FCC gave us
a set of guidelines about six months
ago. We didn't follow them."
While it is refreshing that the FCC
is investigating the PTL Club, the
Commission has no one to blame
but itself that a religious network
such as the PTL Club would be bold
enough to violate its regulations.
It has encourage such violations with
its long policy of ignoring communications abuses by broadcasting religionists.

On 29 May 1979 American Atheists
Chapter Director John Crump was defeated in his bid for a seat on the 10th
District Urban County Council serving
Lexington-Fayette, Tenn.
Far from discouraged, Crump is
pleased that he drew 61,4%of the votes
cast running openly as an Atheist.
He considers it a really incredible
result of a campaign he had to wage
without any funds and confronted
by a hostile media that refused to give
his campaign fair coverage.
The 6%% vote that went to Crump
despite these disabling obstacles demonstrates society is far more secular
and tolerant than religious leaders
will admit. Yet, it is their threat of
economic reprisals by the "flocks"
they lead that is largely responsible
for the limited or non-existent access
to the media Atheists in general, and
Atheist nolitical canidates in particular, suffer.

Page 5

Had all things been equal, Crump
believes he would have had a realistic
chance of winning.

Atheist Columnist
The American Atheist Center's long
struggle to raise the country's awareness of Atheism and to make Americans perceive it as a noble, viable alternative to the anachronistic theologies of religion in January, 1979
its increasing success.
Two St. Paul, Minnesota, community
newspapers, the West Seventh Community Reporter and the Midway
Monitor, opened their editorial pages
to a regular column entitled "Atheism and the Church."
While the Center may take credit
for creating the conditions to make
this possible, the credit for exploiting the opportunity goes to Connie
Perozino, the authoress of the controversial column that has become a
success for the Community Reporter.
"Connie's column is the reason a lot
of people read our paper," said Carol
Zick, chairman of the paper's board
of editors, who added, "I basically
agree with a lot of what Connie
The main theme of Perozino's
column is the stranglehold religion has
on American culture and politics. Atheists have spoken on such themes in
papers all across the nation, but invariably their forum has been the
"Letters to the Editor" section, while
religious spokespersons have enjoyed
the vastly more prestigious forum of
feature columnist. This has allowed
papers to pretend to be upholding
the ideal of freedom of speech when
actually Atheist ideas are presented
as unequal to religious ideas. With
Perozino's column, these two St.
Paul newspapers recognize the equality, if not superiority, of Atheist
Perozino, 51, seems from her history an unlikely candidate to be such
a controversial columnist. She was
raised to be a good Lutheran, but the
indoctrination failed. From ages 18 to
21 she lived in Mexico where her religious doubt began at the shrine of
Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Perzino recalls, "I saw statues with
coin slots - like a Las Vegas slot
machine. I saw people crawling on
their hands and knees to put their
last 25 centavos in that slot. That's
when I started thinking: Is there any

Page 6

Nevertheless, she married a Catholic and sent her three children to
parochial school. She was the parish's
Cub Scout den mother. However, she
resisted all pressure to convert, and
20 years ago divorced her husband.
Although she claims that she used
to keep her thoughts to herself and
let the men do the talking, her activist temperment has displayed itself
in her work as a court advocate for
juveniles, as director of the Youth
Services Bureau, and as an organizer
of a free dental clinic. In these activities she says she "learned words are
real powerful things. You can stimulate others to think."
She began to speak her thoughts
and writing them as well. She appeared frequently in the Monitor
and Reporter on subjects such as
anti-pornography zealots, criminal justice for juveniles, rape, and gay rights.
Says Zick admiringly, "She comes
down hard on everything." When
Perozino offered her column "Atheism and the Church," Calvin deRuyter,
co-publisher of the Monitor, said he
bought it because it's "interesting,
controversial and well-focused."
The Catholic Church was shocked
to see Atheism given the prestige of
a feature column and stung by Perozino's sharp criticism, particularly concerning its vicious anti-abortion campaign that has inspired several abortion
clinic fire bombings. The Church responded by having the local chapter
of the Catholic League of Religious
and Civil Rights do all it can to deny
Perozino and Atheism an open forum
for free expression.
Refusing to meet Perozino on the
field of ideas, where the Church knows
it cannot win, the League has begun a
savage, irresponsible campaign of slander. The League is calling Perozino
a religious bigot and claims her column
is inflammatory; that it would stir up
a horde of prejudiced Atheists who
would put every Catholic in physical
danger. The League failed, though, to
cite one instance of Atheists ever assaulting any religious person or sect
in the US of A, whereas hostile mob
behavior by Catholics has a long, infamous history.
To coerce the papers to submit to
the Church's adamant desire to stifle
all criticism of its theology and policies, the League is threatening to do
all . it can to scare advertisers away
from the two papers. This is an old
disgraceful trick that has proven successful in the past. So ugly and nasty
have been the League's tactics, that
Monitor Co-Publisher Timothy Nelson,
a Catholic who attends mass regularly,

June, 1979

has become offended.
The League complains that the
column makes organized religion seem
ill-willed, prurient, sexist, racist, and
money-grubbing, proving the old adage
that the truth hurts. It is insisting
Perozino must cease criticizing religion, but noticeably failed to call upon
such Catholic columnists as William
Buckley and George Will to cease their
attacks on Atheism
and- Atheists.
DeRuyter realistically admits that
an economic boycott by advertizers
would be hard to resist, if the League
could cause one. He says, "The main
thing we're concerned about is how
do we balance the need to protect
freedom of the press and the need to
survive financially?"
Perozino remains aloof of the nasty
battle and refuses to honor the
League's slanderous
with its representative's.
Meanwhile, she has expanded her
forum to a national scale by becoming a regularly featured columnist for
The American Atheist [see p. 15].





By over a 2-1 margin, the House of
Representatives showed their scorn for
the First Amendment on June 11,
1979, by voting in favor o..f school
prayer. The 255-122 vote was for a
school prayer amendment tacked on
to a bill to create a separate Department of Education.
The amendment's sponsor, Robert
Walker (R-Pa.), bragged it would "put
this department (of Education) in the
business of promoting school prayer."
Although the language of the amendment is in. terms of voluntary, the
spirit ana intent of the unconstitutional measure is clearly enforced
It is another blatant attempt by
Christians to "veto" the Supreme
Court's consistent refusal to rule in
favor of school prayer. Hundreds of
attempts to pass a "prayer amendment" to the Constitution have failed.
This new approach was developed
when it was seen that the current
mood of Congress is anti-Supreme
Passage of the Walker Amendment
by such a wide margin demonstrates
it is increasingly anti-First Amendment.

Austin, Texas

CETA Rip-Off
of Roman Catholic
parochial school jobs subsidized by
millions of federal tax dollars have
lately been exposed to state/church
controversy after the Wisconsin Civil
Liberties Union brought suit against
the Department of Labor to halt the
use of the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act to staff the
parochial elementary and secondary
schools in the Milwaukee archdiocese.
In the past decade, nearly half the
Church's parochial schools have been
shut down, and this loss of training
grounds to turn children into hopelessly committed Catholic adults is
largely responsible for the Church's
decline in America. To prevent further closings, and to start reopenings, the Church requires billions of
dollars. For this reason, the Church
has . long sought to legalize parochiaid to gain unlimited access to federal
and state tax dollars.
The Church has yet to succeed in
getting direct parochiaid, but has
found other devious accesses to tax
funds. One access is CETA, the corruption-ridden
program to hire the
economically disadvantaged and hardcore unemployed for training in skills
to give them a chance on the job
The Church has had great success
in getting CETA funds to pay the
salaries of its parochial school librarians, teachers' aids, and janitors. The
figures from around the country are
appalling. The archdiocese of Philadelphia receives this year $1.5 million
to fill 1,500 staff positions; New York
gets $990,000 for 768 employees;
Detroit is given $250,000; and Brooklyn receives $350,000.
The total figures are unkown by
even the CETA bureaucracy.
The First Amendment abuse is outrageous, as the Departments of Labor
and Justice are aware. Last November
lawyers for both departments reached
an out-of-court agreement with the
WCLU to stop the unconstitutional
activity in Milwaukee, and to begin
action to halt the rip-off nationwide.
When the Church learned of this,
it flexed its political muscles and
strings twitched. Like puppets, the
Departments of Labor and Justice immediately did the Church's will by
betraying their agreement with the
Instead of halting the First Amendment violation, the Department of
Justice is trying to find which parochial school jobs could be funded by

Austin, Texas

CET A and survive a Supreme Court
challenge. An attorney for the department said that jobs such as health aids
and kitchen personnel could probably
get through the Nixon Court, but he
had to admit other jobs, "including
those involving teaching or counseling,
maintenance or most clerical responsibilities" are too hopelessly unconstitutional to be allowed.
Clearly, the Carter Administration
has no intention of risking losing any
Catholic votes by repairing this breach

of state/church separation. The goal
is obviously to lessen the degree of
the rip-off to whatever level will survive a legal challenge.
It says a lot
for the disastrous condition of the
precious principle of state and church
separation that this level is not seen
as being absolutely not one cent of
tax funds to parochial schools. Rather
the level sought is one that will make
the Roman Catholic Church satisfied
with a partial victory over the First

Atheist Humanitarian
American Atheist of The Year Pat
Voswinkle has displayed admirably the
humanitarian side of Atheism by giving a house to the Charlotte (NC)
Animal Center to expand their facility.
Pat Voswinkle also joined the
"dog wash" held by the Humane
Society of Charlotte. The Be-Kind-

June, 1979

To-Animals Week activity was an
effort to find homes for dogs which
will be destroyed if not adopted.
Voswinkle, along with other volunteers, scrubbed
pooches clean to
make them more enticing to potential owners. This noble effort
resulted in 26 dogs finding a home,
and having their lives saved.

Page 7

In the spring and summer of 1960, friction between the
four parties involved in the upcoming gubernatorial elections
was rubbing old political wounds raw and incandescing tempers on the island of Puerto Rico. Puertorriquehos from all
walks of life bickered endlessly over the political turmoil that
was to explode into national prominence when the Catholic
prelates, Archbishop James P. Davis of San Juan, and Bishops
James E. McManus of Ponce and Luis Aponte Martinez of
Lares, sent out three pastoral letters. The letters first published
in the San Juan Daily, El Mundo, and read aloud from every
pulpit in Puerto Rico, enjoined the faithful from voting for the
candidate of the Partido Popular Democratico and incumbent
governor, Luis Munoz Marin.
Four parties appeared on the ballot that fall: the Partido
Popular of Munoz Marin, ultimately victorious and polling
465,317 votes; the Partido Estadista of Luis Ferre, 250,683
votes; the Accibn Catblica of Salvador Perea, 51,072 votes;
and the Partido Independentista of Julio Garcia Diaz, 24,047
votes. Of the island's 937,531 eligible voters, 83 percent voted,
giving Munoz Marin 465,317 votes against a combined opposition of 325,757 - nearly a two to one margin. Accibn Catolica
and the Partido Independentista, since they failed to poll a
minimum of 10 percent of the popular vote, were eliminated
by law and thereby deprived of their right to proportional representation.
On the surface, the four parties with their ideologies, their
aspirations, their leaders and followers seemed four clearly
defined entities. The Populares behind Munoz, the New Deal
intellectual, called for broader social legislation with continuing commonwealth status. The Estadistas, flaunting their official ties to the stateside Republicans - they named names
such as Eisenhower, Nixon and Rockefeller - and whose
leader Ferre passes for the richest man in Puerto Rico, desired
to stimulate U.S. capital investment on the island by granting
massive tax rebates and by a general relaxation of social benefits and labor regulations. Accion Catolica of Perea demanded
greater church participation in the affairs of state and a daily
period of religious instruction in the schools, as well as the
revocation of all statutes offensive to Roman Catholic dogma.
Garcia Diaz's Independentistas advocated immediate autonomy for Puerto Rico, come what may.
On the eve of the elections, however, and as had been accurately predicted by the Estadistas, many Independentistas
cast their vote for the Populares, while many Catolicos, fulfilling the predictions of the Populares, shifted their vote to
the Estadistas. This partially explains why Catolicos and Independentistas, who sacrificed their very parties' existence and
presumably their principles also to political viability, each
polled less than five percent of the vote. What really stands out
though is that, despite the huge sums of money spent by the
Estadistas, and in the teeth of a vicious offensive by the
Roman Catholic ecclesiastical hierarchy unheard of at least on
the U.S. soil, Munoz's popularity remained intact.
Puerto Rico saw its first example of intervention into island
politics by the bishops on July 1, 1960 when they released a
letter to the press urging Roman Catholics to vote for the
candidate of Acci6n Catolica, Salvador Perea. This letter went

Page 8

June, 1979

practically unnoticed by the stateside press and by the U. S.
public at large, however. The reaction of Luis Munoz Marin
seemed at the time exceedingly oblique. Instead of the irate
frontal attack that one would have expeeted, M~i~~
his indignation with a sophism calculated to effen:d M tine:nt!
criticized the bishops' disregard for elementary democratic
principles on the ground that they were doing a great disservice to religion.
The fact that the letter arrived at such an early date in the
election campaign was decisive in determining the relatively
moderate hue and cry that such clerical interference occasioned on the island (as well as the nearly total absence of hue and
cry in the States.) On October 21, however, a critical moment
in the campaign, the three Puerto Rican bishops fired off yet
another letter (usually referred to by the mainland press as the
"first" of the pastoral letters) in which they declared: "It is
our obligation to prohibit [Roman] Catholics from giving
their votes to a party that accepts as its own the morality of
the 'regime of liberty' negating Christian morals."
Such forthrightness startled some observers since no party
was advocating a negation of Christian morals in the name of
liberty or anything else. But it became clear that the snidely
Jacobin reference to a "regime of liberty" was an allusion to
Munoz's Populares and to their complacence in allowing oral
birth control measures to be tested on the islanders.
Again Munoz retorted in a mild vein. The pastoral letter, he
said, "had the character of medieval obscurantism," a meaningless statement since, if the letter was "medieval" ·in its antilibertarian spirit, there was nothing the least bit obscure about
either its intentions or its language. Munoz went on to promise
that the Populares would continue to defend religion and the
church "against the grave errors of a number of our priests." It
is to his credit that he spoke out against the "incredible and
unjust intervention in political liberties of Puerto Rican
citizens," and made the point that "the bishops' letter assumes
or pretends that Puerto Rico has only one church."
Munoz disappointed all partisans of separation between
state and church, however, because at that moment public
opinion was practically unanimous in his favor, and he was in a
position to lash out against such interference. El Imparcial,
(of San Juan), though generally Independentistas in tone and
thereby rather cool to Munoz but from the left, warned - it
seemed with exquisite tact - against fomenting "anti-clerical
passions," and maintained that the pastoral letter contained
"only bitterness of political harangue whose rancor is utterly
foreign to the religious harmony which has prevailed in our
midst for four-and-a-half centuries."
For the conservative factions, this constituted a pro-Munoz
stand and confirmed in their minds the suspected collusion between Populares and Independentistas. But even the El Mundo
daily, conservative itself and often anti-Munoz, labeled the
issue "a tragedy" and elaborated: "The pastoral letter has become a challenge to our system of government whose pillars
are rooted in freedom of worship." But the English-language

Austin, Texas

San Juan Star was the most vociferous of all, insisting that the
prelates had "grievously transgressed against the people of
Puerto Rico, against the country and against the [Roman]
Catholic Church," and demanded that the Vatican transfer
them from the island. Only Ferre, Perea and Garcia Diaz, the
three major opposition candidates for the governorship, remained silent.
In the states, where the question of separatism was having a
critical bearing on the (Kennedy-Nixon) election, the letter
had an electrifying effect. Pierre Salinger, Kennedy's press
secretary, hastened to issue the usual forceful demurrer:
"Senator Kennedy considers it wholly improper and alien to
our democratic system for churchmen of any faith to tell the
members of their church for whom to vote or for whom not to
C. Stanley Lowell, for the Protestants and Other Americans
United for the Separation of Church and State, wrote in a letter to then Secretary of State Herter: "This country should
protest clerical interference in the foreign policy of the United
States Government." He too thought "that the action by the
bishops violated Puerto Rican freedoms and would damage the
successful fight ... Governor Luis Munoz has made against
communism." The State Department informed reporters that
Lowell's letter had not been received and declined further
The reaction of [Roman] Catholics, United States and
others, was prompt and decisive. An editorial in the influential
Jesuit weekly America questioned the action of the bishops
and explained: "Such an action is unprecedented in American
[Roman] Catholic history. [Roman] Catholics in the United
States cannot but wonder about the nature of a situation
which would persuade church leaders to embark on a course of
action so open to misinterpretation, not to say futility. It must
indeed be a grave situation, for in a healthy democracy, such a
step as that taken by the Puerto Rican bishops can only be
viewed as a profound disruption of normal processes."
Cardinal Spellman, widely reputed to be a Nixon supporter,
entered the controversy with the conciliatory opinion that
"[ Roman] Catholics who disregard the directive would be
committing no sin and would not be penalized by the church."
This had the effect of beclouding the original issue and making
it into a question of no real consequence. In other words, if no
particular sanctions were to be called down on those failing to
comply, the letter did not constitute interference after all.
And as the letter carried no mention of sanctions, the question
was quickly raised.
Archbishop Davis had taken the initiative of a public declaration in which he maintained, very much as Cardinal Spellman was to do shortly afterwards, that "it was a matter between a [Roman] Catholic and his conscience." Bishops MeManus and Martinez emphatically did not concur. Finally the
Vatican cautiously approved the action of the bishops but
restricted it particularly to Puerto Rico. By this time nearly
everyone had had something to say about it again except the
three opposition candidates and our own State Department.
Then on October 28 the bishops issued a "second" letter,
actually the third, to clarify certain "misinterpretations"
the "first," actually the second. This time they were unanimous on the question of punishment: it was a sin punishable
by excommunication "for a [Roman] Catholic to vote against
his own religious convictions." The intransigent McManus had
apparently won. And once the question was settled, Archbishop Davis, abandoning his old stand, took up the cudgels
in energetic defense of the new stand, asserting that "the
church is no longer on the defensive. It and I go out to meet
the foe." At Notre Dame University, on the occasion of the
consecration of Archbishop Alfed F. Mendez, soon to take
over the diocese of Arecibo, he alluded to "the rising tide of

paganism and creeping secular paralysis."
On the same occasion, Archbishop Davis flailed "the birth
controllers and social scientists with an itch to remake a culture and a whole people (who) have beset Puerto Rico with
not a little help from Federal and Insular Government over the
years." He added, "If democracy in Puerto Rico had achieved
the maturity of democracy in the United States, the letter
would not have been necessary." All three bishops agreed that
it is not permissible for [Roman] Catholics "to favor with
their votes the establishment and spread of a morality without
God." Though these declarations are quite explicit, they open
into an area broader than just that of the insular elections.
That the three prelates were well-acquainted with the political situation both in Puerto Rico and in the United States is
highly probable. They must have known therefore that, given
the popularity of Munoz plus the notorious indifference of the
impoverished Puerto Rican masses to [Roman] Catholic prescriptions, the likelihood of the letters having any effect on
the outcome of the Puerto Rican gubernatorial elections was
slight indeed. And as we see, the letters had no appreciable
effect. Could there not have been some other reason for them?
It is clear for example that the letters, coming when they
did, could easily have had an impact on U. S. public opinion
and above all on that as-yet-undecided segment of the electorate which was hesitating to vote for a [Roman] Catholic. If
the bishops had been at all favorable to the cause of the stateside Democrats and their [Roman] Catholic candidate, they
could scarcely have chosen a more crucial moment to flaunt
before a Protestant majority the [Roman Catholic] Church's
capacity for intervention in politics. Which brings us to the
question of whether the bishops could actually have been opposed to a [Roman] Catholic candidate for the presidency,
and to the still broader problem of whether or not large numbers of the [Roman] Catholic hierarchy were in fact opposed to Kennedy. Certain European publications had been
hinting on and off that this was the case, and conversations
with priests and seminarians tended to indicate that many of
the [Roman] Catholic clergy did not prefer Kennedy.
Barrett McGurn, for example, then Rome correspondent
for the New York Herald Tribune, reported that those "who
reflect the general thinking (at the Vatican) make these pointe.
The main thing for the 250 [Roman] Catholic Bishops of the
United States is to continue to enjoy the great freedom they
have had under the parade of Protestant presidents. .. There
is no prospect that that would change under either Mr. Nixon
or Mr. Kennedy. The Vatican is therefore basically impartialand unconcerned."
The non-[Roman] -Catholic, however,
finds it difficult to understand what prevented the Vatican
from taking pardonable pride in the candidacy of a [Roman]
Catholic, from feeling that it had the right to be warmly
partisan in his favor.
The Vatican might have been impartial, but if it was not
actively pro-Kennedy, it was certainly not unconcerned, i.e.,
indifferent to public opinion, and there are doubts about its
impartiality. At least four reasons might be adduced to explain
why a large part of the [Roman] Catholic clergy itself could
have been hostile to Kennedy:
(1) Kennedy had maintained uncompromising opposition
to any interaction of church with state (ct., the above-quoted
statement by Salinger), a question on which the church has always hedged to its own advantage.
(2) As a [Roman] Catholic, Kennedy seemed less apt to
make concessions to [Roman] Catholics than a Protestant,
who might do so to avoid accusations of bias. Barrett McGurn
has quoted in this context "those who point out that it might
be harder to deal with a Kennedy who leaned over backwards
to avoid the appearance of improper connivance. It is the
Vatican's experience that [Roman] Catholic ambassadors


Austin, Texas


Page 9

from predominantly Protestant countries are often 'on their
guard' and harder to work with."
(3) When a [Roman] Catholic is elected, the [Roman]
Catholic minority suddenly loses a measure of its protest voice
as members of an "outside" group without necessarily assuming real power. In relation to the "outgroup" mentality, the
Rev. Charles R. Andrews of Chicago's First Baptist Church
stated, "Electing a [Roman] Catholic president would diminish inferiority feelings, aloneness and sensitivity. It would be
less and less sensible to describe Protestants as bigots every
time they question a Roman Catholic action - for haven't
they helped elect a Roman Catholic president?"
(4) The Vatican, along with all conservative [Roman]
Catholics, has obviously felt more comfortable with the Republican "hard line" foreign policy than with that of the Democrats who, at the height of the Cold War, were threatening to
bring in such notorious "appeasers" as Adlai Stevenson and
Chester Bowles. Also many [Roman] Catholics did not consider Kennedy a devout enough [Roman] Catholic, and some
pro-Kennedy [Roman] Catholics actually used this as an argument in attempting to persuade Protestants to vote for him!
Although the ecclesiastical hierarchy is not monolithic, nor
does it exact unanimity from the clergy on secular issues, its
members give some thought to the appropriateness and acceptability of their public utterances. They are not, therefore, apt
to take stands displeasing to the [Roman Catholic] Church.
The bishops who took this stand against Munoz knew in advance that it would hardly go counter to the wishes of their
superiors. They were, after all, attacking the hated "regime of
liberty" to the advantage of their good friends the Catolicos,
and ultimately to the advantage of their good friends the
Yet the real significance of their action lies against the
backdrop of mainland politics. The bishops were doing an immense disservice to a [Roman] Catholic candidate for the
presidency of the United States who many [Roman] Catholics
- among them highly-placed [Roman] Catholics - were
reputedly not backing. Their action could have done irreparable damage to the Democratic cause, and it is virtually a
"miracle" that it did not, in the final analysis, contribute the
decisive factor against Kennedy in an election that was already
(one of) the closest in U. S. history.
In 1962, two years after the furor over the bishop's letters
had died down, and with Kennedy in the White House, the following article (liberally excerpted here) appeared in the New
York Times:
Puerto Rico Accord Halts a Feud of 20 Years

the result of a visit to Mr. Munoz Marin last August by Monsignor Emanuelle Clarizio, Apostolic Delegate to Puerto Rico
and Papal Nuncio to the Dominican Republic. The preliminary
negociations (sic) were made by Dr. Rafael Pico, president of
the Government Development Bank. He is a [Roman] Catholic and one of the Governor's closest advisors.
Monsignor Clarizio visited the Governor at La Fortaleza
after first having talked with both Archbishop Davis and
Bishop McManus in the San Juan archepiscopal palace, a few
blocks from the Governor's official residence. After his meeting with Mr. Munoz Marin, Monsignor Clarizio said that Archbishop Davis and Bishop McManus were "fully in agreement"
that there should be better relations between the church and
the state.
Earlier in the summer, during a trip to Europe, Mr. Munoz
Marin had a 30-minute private audience with Pope John XXIII
at the Vatican.
The day after Monsignor Clarizio's announcement, Bishop
McManus, speaking at the benediction of the Hospital of the
Immaculate Conception at San German, underscored the need
for harmony between the church and the state. He said that
such harmony must rest on a mutual wish for collaboration
and "it must not be judged that either party dominates the
other. "
Despite the earlier announcement, Bishop McManus' speech
caused a stir in both government and [Roman] Catholic
circles. Many Puerto Ricans believe. that the strained relations
between the church and the Popular Democratic Party were
caused by the clash of personalities between Bishop McManus
and Mr. Munoz Marin. To add weight to this view, it was
pointed out that many of the Governor'~ advisers and closest
friends were [Roman] Catholics.
It was also noted that, although most of Puerto Rico's
900,000 registered voters were [Roman]
Catholics, only
52,000 followed the hierarchy in its call for a new political
Throughout the years, Bishop McManus has repeatedly
attacked the Governor and his party, charging "immorality
and corruption" in Mr. Munoz Marin's administration.
The foregoing demonstrates that never were the ..differences
between Munoz and the island's [Roman] Catholic hierarchy
irreconcilable. On the contrary, the bishops could have made
peace with the non-intransigent Munoz at any point in the preceding 20 years, or during the campaign itself. And it is likely
that they could have negotiated whatever compromises they
wanted with the Popular political organization, too. That they
resorted instead to those flagrantly undemocratic letters might
indicate, at leat circumstantially, who their target was: not
Munoz, but Kennedy.

The peace between the Governor and the Church was


Page 10

June, 1979





Austin, Texas

cose encounters
of the ha ucinatory kind
The year was 1947. Businessman
Kenneth Arnold was flying his private
plane near Mt. Rainier, Washington
when he saw a cluster of several bright,
metallic-like objects dodging around
nearby mountain peaks with "flapping, erratic movements."
estimated their speed to be somewhere
between 1,200 and 1,500 miles per
hour. After landing at an airport
where he was met by reporters, Arnold
described these unidentified flying objects as resembling "pie plates" and
"saucers being skipped over water."
Since Kenneth Arnold's flight, the
world has become captivated
those unidentified flying objects, or
UFOs. A torrent of books and magazine articles has suggested that earth
is being "observed" and "monitored"
by advanced beings from other worlds,
that UFOs are (or are not) a threat,
that aliens from beyond are the original colonizers of earth, or that the
human race will be rescued from its
folly by benevolent flying saucer inhabitants.
Close Encounters of the Third
Kind, a high-budget Hollywood production, suggested government collusion in covering up contact with
space beings. The works of Erich
von Daniken, who claims that early
man was assisted by "ancient astronauts," sell in the millions. Hardly
a week passes without a report of a
UFO sighting, encounters with threefoot tall green men, or' some "unexplained" happening in the atmosphere.
So extensive is public curiosity and
belief in UFOs that the elusive saucers
cannot be overlooked as a passing fad.
Polls indicate that a high percentage of
even college students believe strongly
in flying saucers. There are television
specials on UFOs and the supernatural, speakers on the lecture circuit,
movies, and organizations popularizing the flying saucer mania. As elusive
as' UFOs are, their believers are everywhere.
It is that belief which is becoming a
part of a new superstition, a new religion. The blind obsession in flying
saucers goes hand-in-hand with the
disturbing wave of mysticism now
plaguing the Western World. Find a

Austin, Texas

believer in astrology, god, spirits and
gurus, and the odds are you have a
victim of the UFO epidemic.
There may be intelligent life on
worlds other than our own, of course.
Such beings may have visited earth in
the past, or may be doing so now.
Both propositions are logically possible, but far less probable than most
people - including UFO enthusiasts choose to admit.
Evidence: Fact Versus Fantasy
The rock-bottom assumptions underlying the UFO epidemic are essentially religious in nature. They involve
great leaps of faith, blindness to scientific evidence (except when the
evidence can be construed as being
supportive), sloppy thought, and remarkably similar psychological disposition to that of our more traditional
UFOS are the celestial visions of a
new religion, the crisis-cult of 20th
century man. Biblical era prophets saw
burning bushes; the Inquisition sought
witches; and modem man now sees
flying saucers.
Entire books could and should be
written on the scientific evidence
germane to the UFO question. Unfortunately, as there are more Bibles in
print than copies of Ingersoll, so
there is an abundance of inaccurate,
pro-UFO literature in
marked contrast to the paucity of
myth-debunking studies on the subject.
Anything can be, in principle, an
flying object. A plane
flying at night, lost in a storm, can be
construed as a UFO. So can a weather
balloon blown off course by high-velocity atmospheric winds. UFOs are
just that - unidentified flying ob-

June, 1979

Even hardcore UFO believers admit
that the better portion of UFO sightings are misinterpretations
of visual
evidence. The Air Force investigation
of flying saucers, better known as Project Bluebook, studied 7,641 cases,
of which. nearly a third were sightings
of stars, meteors, or other planets.
563 involved satellites, and over
2,000 more were sightings of balloons
and aircraft.
There is also a variety of atmospheric phenomena
which the lay
person, including the blind UFO enthusiast, is unaware of. The atmosphere plays tricks on instruments
and human perception, as any radar
operator. or pilot knows. The atmosphere can refract light at strange
angles, and to the' untrained observer
can produce a number of illusions.
Under certain conditions, clusters of
"ball lightning" can fly about erratically, hovering over fields, houses
and railroad tracks. Power lines can
glow mysteriously in the night. Even
clouds can create problems for radar
sets. Much remains to be learned about the physics of the atmosphere,
- as scientists readily admit. This is why
there are weather balloons in the first
"But," our UFO victim will insist,
"astronomers tell us that there is abundant life throughout the galaxy." So
they do. Interestingly, before astronomers were painting the grim picture
about conditions on planets here in
our solar system, it was suggested that
UFOs came from Venus or Mars. This
seems highly impossible in view of
the boiling Venusian surface and
carbon dioxide laced atmosphere, or
the inhospitable conditions on Mars.
Saturn and Jupiter are balls of
frigid, poisonous gases, and the outer

Page 11

planets would provide a chilly reception for any life-producing organism,
With this discouraging evidence, UFOists have conveniently jumped lightyears across this vast galaxy, and now
suggest that flying saucers come
from other star systems. Like the religionists, UFO, enthusiasts retreat
before evidence. Show them Venus is
an unlikely haven for hypothetical
spacemen, and they'll show you another star system.
But what about those distant star
systems? The widely believed statement that scientists estimate that
there can be upwards of 100,000
planets in our galaxy capable of sustaining life, is at best a projective
guess. It is based upon the work of
astronomers such as A. G. W. Cameron, who devised multi-factored equations which took into account the
necessary variable from the propagation of life as we know it. Cameron
never claimed that his equations had
the status of laws, and his work was
punctuated by a variety of "can bes"
and "possibles."
Even so, given the generous estimate of 100,000 planets, we may
ask the question, "So what?" People
instinctively believe that the universe
is awash with life (even advanced
forms capable of building a typewriter or interstellar spaceship), and
that life can originate just about anywhere. Life scientists tell us the opposite, however. Life, especially highly
developed forms, is the result of
special and unique chemical-material
processes taking place at an auspicious
point in time and space. Conditions
must be just so. Not all life manages
to survive and evolve for long periods
of time, especially against the backdrop of astronomical time. Life is
tenuous, precious, and fragile.
While we may admit that there may
be advanced life forms sprinkled
throughout the galaxy, waiting to contact the ignorant, backward denizens
of planet Earth, they too are bound by
certain technological limitations and
laws. UFO freaks ask us to blindly
accept the existence of "advanced beings," presupposing a situation of
few, if any, scientific limitations.
Strangely, a look at our own history
shows us that new knowledge and
progress come with new problems
and limitations. When Einstein formulated his theories of relativity, thus
compounding our knowledge of time
and space, he also delineated inherent
problems and restrictions on possible
future technologies, such as the speed
of light barrier.
So, our hypothetical advanced be-

Page 12

ings "out there" have a variety of
problems we may not even imagine.
Great distances separate stars; there
are difficult problems of interstellar
navigation; problems of time; problems of fuel; and so on. Advanced
civilizations may simply not desire to
contact other worlds, or they might
be unable to do so. Advanced civilizations are not infinite in number; perhaps the one race that could have
contacted us was unable to find us.
Perhaps they searched in the wrong
portion of the galaxy. Perhaps they
blew themselves up. Perhaps. . . .
And it is here, in the religious world
of "perhaps" and "what if" that the
UFO problem ends up. Like religionists, UFO believers insist that we
selectively accept certain postulates
and evidence, while ignoring others.
The structure of belief in UFOs is
similar to that of traditional religions; indeed the UFO experience,
the sight of a hovering strangeness
operated by advanced, benevolent beings, is of the same type as religious
visions and revelations like Ezekiel
and Fatima. Atheists know better
than any other group of the notorious
selectivity of religionists. Any superstitious belief system requires this
"leap of faith" in order to survive
the test of empirical evidence.
When we hear of a UFO sighting,
believers insist this is "evidence" of
their case - fantastic case, at that,
since it requires that we accept a long
list of improbables. It makes more
sense to believe that Kenneth Arnold
saw an illusion, a cluster of balloons,
or some atmospheric phenomena, than
to maintain that his flying pie pans
were probes from another part of the
galaxy. In our hierarchy of possible
explanations for this, and other UFO
sightings, we should include not only
possibilities such as unreliable witnesses and refraction of light, but natural
events we may not, at present, fully'
understand on earth. At the very bottom of our long list, we can put "flying saucers" and angels.
UFOs As Enlightened S-aviors
As depicted in text and cinema,
the blind acceptance in UFOs from beyond resembles the belief systems of
traditional religions in a race of saviors
(or one savior) who will return someday, performing miracles and saving
humanity from its earthly tribulations. There is a knee-jerk conviction
among UFO enthusiasts that "they"
are friendly, peace-loving, and enlightened; the only group that theorized
hostility on the part of theoretical

June, 1979

visitors from space was, ironically, the
Air Force.
While religious myths talk of venerable, benevolent
gods - be they
Mayan or Christian - history demonstrates that, at least here on planet
earth, contact with higher cultures inevitably leads to the domination and
subjugation of the weaker. The enlightened savior motif which permeates the UFO belief system is grounded more in people's psychological expectations than in a basis of fact. Our
typical saucer enthusiast, poorly versed in the physics and astronomy of
his universe, nevertheless often feels
that "they" are here "to show us the
way," to save us from our own destruction, or to prevent a nuclear holocaust. (This salvationist aspect is a
common theme in science fiction, a
notable exception being the works of
H. G. Wells.)
George Adamski, author of several
UFO cult books, for instance, suggests
that flying saucer people are biding
their time, until a predestined elite
will become their de facto representatives on Earth - also a familiar religionist fantasy.
Through the Judeo-Christian belief
system, as well as in numerous Pagan
cults, there is the belief in returning
gods. Jehovah would return and redeem his people; the Mayans awaited
the return of Quetzalcoatl; Christians
to this day await the rapture (with embarrassing result); and saucer freaks
like von Daniken postulate the return
of the "ancient astronauts" to whom
we owe our early history.
Von Daniken, in a handful of
paperbacks, has managed to refute to
the satisfaction of the ill-informed and
vulnerable, the entire community of
thought. Ancient civilizations such as
the Egyptian and the Mayan, he
claims, sprung from the same source,
a race of Earth-visitors who assisted
early humans in such "impossible"
tasks as building Stonehenge and the
Great Pyramid. Suffice it to say, that
von Daniken's scholarship is sloppy,
even fradulent, and his interpretation
of archeological evidence is impulsive
and ill-thought.
There are detailed records on the
construction of the Great Pyramid, including how many slaves were utilized,
as well as a record of history's first
known labor strike for a six-day work
week! Those mysterious markings in
the plain of Nazca in South America,
which outline the forms· of animals
and pointers, represent UFO "runways" to von Daniken. (Strange one would assume that an interstellar

Austin, Texas

spacecraft, maneuvering in our 25,000
light-year wide galaxy, would not require a ground visual beacon.) Anthropologists suggest, however, that
the markings involve the projection of
religious or natural images for the
benefit of the gods.
These incredible feats ascribed to
our hypothetical ancient astronauts building cities, pyramids, beacons, an
Atlantis or two - remind us of the
superstitious legends of gods here on
Earth perfroming miracles. And, too,
we have the oft-repeated religious
theme of mankind's ignorance; the
von Danikens of the world often underrate the ingenuity and talents of
early peoples, peoples often termed
"backward" or primitive. Early man
did, in fact, perform some complex
mental functions and social tasks without the aids of gods or ancient astronauts; they erected huge structures
devised calendric recorders of astounding accuracy (such as the Mayan calender), possessed a workable mathematics, all using the same facility each of
us has today - the human mind.
UFOs As An Eden Metaphor
Another strain of UFO mania involves the myth of Atlantis, home of
the flying saucers, and a veritable
ancient garden of Eden. Only hardcore mystics verbalize such a fantastic
tale of an early race inhabiting a sincedestroyed continent and in possession
of advanced technological skills - including flying pie plates. Chronology
is one refutation of this myth; nearly
3,000 years elapse between the construction of the GreatPyramid and the
zenith of the Mayan culture. Egypt
and Tikal - oldest of the developed
Mayan cities - could not have been
"outposts" for a "mother continent,"
and arisen simultaneously,
conveniently ignoring 30 centuries.
The good and benevolent UFO
peoples, in the thinking of many cultists and, I suspect, in the subconscious
of many who blindly believe in the
saucers, stem from a metaphorical garden of Eden. Remember the "mother ship" in Close Encounters? Our
aliens, portrayed
friendly, happy sorts, implicitly come
from a world without the insanity of
our own; a heaven, a garden of Eden.
As for von Daniken, the literature
on the supposed "UFO earth outposts," like Egypt, Naca, or Mayadom,
is likewise metaphorical. No problems
here - everyone is busy getting a
friendly hand from our visitors from
outer space. The historical reality is
somewhat different, of course; many

Austin, Texas

of the spectacular structures in those
supposed Edens were, in fact, the
scene of blood-letting. Mayans constructed blood-altars atop sacrificial
pyramids, the Egyptians employed
slavery as a social institution, and the
Aztecs were notorious
for their
blood-thirsty ceremonies.
UFOs As Bi-cameral Hallucinations
Not only does the UFO myth parallel religious thought in terms of Eden
and the enlightened savior metaphor;
there is also the dimension of religious
hallucination which may well explain
some (but not most) UFO sightings.
For the sake of terminology, these
sightings are less visual surveys than
they are experiences. Ancient religionist literature abounds with evidence
of revelation. There are abundant records of gods addressing mortal men,
usually prophets, kings or priests,
through talking statues or visions.
Common sense tells us that an element of fraud was present then as it
is now, when people speak of "talking to the lord;" but there are genuine
cases of revelational experiences. Ezekiel's vision by the river Chobar, recorded in Ezekiel 1 is worth noting:
"As I looked, a stormwind came
from the North, a huge cloud with
flashing fire (enveloped in brightness), from the midst of which
(the midst of the fire) something
gleamed like electrum. Within it
were figures resembling four living
creatures that looked like this;
their form was human, but each
had four faces and four wings. And
their legs went straight down; the
soles of their feet were round.
They sparkled with a gleam like
burnished bronze."
Interestingly, much UFO literature
suggests that Ezekiel did, in fact, see
a flying saucer. It appears from his
description that the early models, like
early automobiles, lacked the slick
and streamlined appearance of later
Ezekiel may have been lying. He
may have been dreaming. Or, he may
have seen something. Better yet, Ezekiel may have had a particular type of
experience - a bi-cameral hallucination, a common element in early religious phenomena.
Ezekiel continues in his writing to
describe a somewhat common event
in ancient texts - communication in
times of crisis and indecision with
gods through the intermediary of a
statue. Most. religionist figurines serve

June, 1979

as mnemonic


to remind

the faithful of the presence and power

of the god(s). A Princeton psychologist, Julian Jaynes, now suggests that
these religious representations
triggers for what he terms the bi-cameral mind. This phenomena of bi-cameralism - the functional separation of
the human brain - may account not
only for early religious experiences,
but for more contemporary phenomena.
In his recent work, The Origin of
Consciousness in the Breakdown of
the Bi-cameral Mind, Jaynes postulates
a human brain divided into distinctive
hemispheres, each performing types of
thought-process functions. Right lateral functions involve intuitive "subconscious" processes and events, where
those of the left are of a more mundane nature. We might say that our
left brain-side is our "active" file,
while the right side is a little-understood, but nevertheless, busy file,
the mechanics of which we are rarely
aware. Electrical stimulation of certain portions (left hemisphere) elicit
the experiences of voices and apparitions.
Early peoples, according to Jaynes,
typified this bi-cameralism more so
than we do today. The demands of
technological civilization, the evolution of the brain, and other factors,
soon rendered primitive bi-cameralism obsolete; the residue of the bicameral faculty can still be observed
today in the realm of schizophrenia visions, voices, premonitions,
If Jaynes is correct; much of religious history and experience is rooted
in the bi-cameral mechanism. Times
of crisis (as recorded by Ezekiel),
triggered this faculty, and would account for the records of talking statues (auditory hallucination), such as
the firgurines of Akkad or Marduc,
first millenium B.C., or even the intuitive communiques of the Oracle
at Delphi.
The UFO experience in many
cases matches the paradigm of bicameralism. Jaynes notes that there
is a collective cognitive imperative,
a cultural context in which the phenomena occurs; UFO sightings match
this paradigm. Ezekiel's vision involved familiar objects such as animals.
UFO experiences are similar. There
are not sightings of, for instance, hovering stagecoaches
or Model T's.
Perhaps a religious parallel is found in
the "earth mother" image to the
peasants at Fatima, the apparition of
the Virgin Mary.
Bi-cameralism also involves an ar-

Page 13

chaic authorization, where the vision
is one of a god or "person who is accepted by the individual and his culture as an authority ....
" The myth
of intelligence greater than our own,
of advanced beings, of technological
gods matches this paradigm closely.
Throughout UFO literature, the theme
is repeated; von Daniken himself refers to "Chariots of the Gods." Those
UFOs are, in the bi-cameral model,
gods and authorities for 20th cenman.
"A further observation is a related
one," notes Jaynes, "that hallucinations are dependent on the teachings
and expectations of childhood - as
we have postulated in bi-cameral
times." A schizoid prophet, indoctrinated in the Messiah myth, will
naturally have visions appropriate to
that context. So with a Mesopotamian
king, a Mayan priest, or a 20th century observer.
UFOs may very well be products of
bi-cameral residue. A witness to a UFO
experience may see something - a
balloon, a reflection, a plane, ball
lightning - and experience something
else. There is an old formula that if
one wishes to see something with sufficient desire, then one will eventually
create that object in his consciousness.
("Have faith and see, my child.") This
distinction between our objective reality (which in our rational state we
would know to be a balloon, for instance) and the bi-cameral hallucination ("a hovering, shining craft emitting whirring noises") is a significant
one. I suspect that many otherwise sincere victims of UFO sightings (experiences) are modern day Ezekiels, experiencing visions conforming to our
modern context.
Several different persons can participate in a bi-cameral experience.
There were numerous Oracles at Delphi, more than one witness at Fatima
and Lourdes. In our compendium of
probable explanations for UFOs, how-

ever, the bi-cameral mechanism most
likely accounts for only a handful of
the "unexplained."
Most people in a church, of course,
do not claim to have had a vision of
the god(s) they worship, just as most
individuals who believe blindly in flying saucers cannot claim to have actually seen one of these over-grown pie
plates. UFOs fit nicely, however, into
the pop-culture matrix of today along
with astrology, yoga, orgone energy
and communications
with ghosts.
UFOs As Victim: The Religious
Persecution Model
There is one element which consolidates any movement, especially religious ones, before it becomes enshrined in the status of official sanction and respectability - persecution.
It was a long road for Christianity
from underground
sect to official
state religion of the Holy Roman
Empire. Various cults today howl
with charges of persecution; and so
it is with UFO followers. UFO sightings today, we are told, are the victims of all shades of coverup and conspiracy, beginning with Project Bluebook.
Bluebook was less cover-up than
it was a typical government botch-job.
Saucer fans claim the Air Force chose
to falsify sightings; in fact, the operation was too understaffed to achieve
even a cover-up (Bluebook employed three people, including one file
secretary). Close Encounters goes a
step further; the saucers have been
here, and the government was involved. Naturally, the lack of concrete
evidence becomes, in itself, "proof"
of a conspiracy.
UFOs As Faith Against Proof
Like the shroud of Turin, dubious
reports of healing from Lourdes, wood
chips from Noah's ark, ad infinitum ad

UFO Hoax Exposed
In the 1950s George Adamski became famous for making a career out of the face-to-face meeting he had with a man
from Venus. His book, Flying Saucers Have Landed, sold
250,000 copies. His picture of a flying saucer is one of the
most famous. Millions heard him lecture live or on radio or
In 1978 Hayden C. Hewes put Adamski's taped interviews
to the lie detector test called PSE (Psychological Stress Evalu-

Page 14

nauseum, there are relics in the UFO
liturgy. They are shoddy relics at that.
Every UFO book, every von Danikenesque TV special, features the inevitable "photographic proofs" of flying
saucers - jerky films of lights, out-offocus camera shots, reports of burned
circles on the earth.
Johann Most asked once: "If god is
everywhere, why does he not show
himself?" If UFOs are everywhere, including airports, why is there no clear
record of them?
Photography is a popular and growing hobby. There are millions of cameras sold each year, and billions of
photographs are taken. These cameras
at time depict the most astounding
events. A man named
Zapruder managed to catch on film
the shooting of President Kennedy in
such detail that the film to this day
continues to be analyzed for its content. Recently, a burning jetliner was
on its ghastly crash
dive; the color photo was in major
news magazines. We have photos of
meteor showers, and other rare events
in nature and history.
Yet, there is not one clear, definitive set of photos on our ubiquitous
flying saucers in which so many believe. There are photos of garbage
can lids, frisbees, workshop models,
and other fakes. There is not one
photograph of a known flying saucer.
So shoddy is the "proof," so weak
the arguments in defense of UFOs,
that belief in these hypothetical objects requires a leap of faith on a religious scale. Flying saucers become,
in their own unique way; religious
artifacts in a modern day context.
This is not to say that there are not
advanced civilizations "out there," or
even that they are not observing this
planet. There may be; but to believe
so on the basis of the "proof" and
conjecture today is an act of blind
faith, not rational conviction.

ator) where stress level in the voice reveals if the speaker is
telling the truth or not. Adamski's PSE ratings were solidly in
'the "lie" zone.
His famous photograph was examined by an electronic
digital camputer by an organization that investigates UFO
photos. The picture failed resoundly. Compared to other
objects in the picture, the "Venusian spaceship" would have
to be the size of a trash can lid. The blurred image was due
not to excessive speed as Adamski claimed, but to deliberate
Like other representatives of non-existant beings, Adamski
enjoyed a lurcrative career of public celebrity selling a big
lie to the gullible fools who regularly fill pews or attend
UFO lectures.

June, 1979

Austin, Texas

I Connie


Atheism and The Church
oneself an Atheist, even
in today's liberated society, is akin to
developing the open sores of a leper
in earlier times when novice Christians ostracized the leper from the
Organized religion has such a
on America that few
would dare incur their omnipotent
wrath by publicly stating, "I do not
believe you." That stranglehold is rapidly tightening and many freethinkers
are extremely concerned with the pressures being exerted upon elected officials (and those running for office)
by organized religion who would jam
"It is our way, it is the only way and
we WILL make it your way" down
every American's throat.
A group of avowed Atheists appeared on a recent Phil Donahue Show to
voice their dismay over the fact that
Catholic Church prelates are leading a
crusade for a constitutional amendment making abortion a federal offense, and has found elected officials
to cosponsor that proposed amendment in 14 states. They told of going
into federal court to end the abuse of
state-church separation by the United
States Postal Service which was giving
free cancellations to a Catholic group
across the country in violation of
their own regulations.
The Atheists said the Association of
Religious Broadcasters reports that
one new license is granted a religious
radio station each week and a new religious TV license is granted each
month. These Atheists fear that before
long, organized religion will control
the media.
Anyone who has a set has seen the
religious follies run regularly on all TV
networks. The scripts are identical and
members of the choir all have the same
hairdresser. Placed at intervals on a
split-level stage, the choir consists of a
bevy of mostly blue-eyed blondes clad
in flowing pastel chiffon, which wafts
mysteriously about their bodies as
though moved by some divine force
(actually it's agitated by a large fan
positioned well out of the eye of the
camera) and the backdrops are usually
tall, plastic ferns. An occasional minority is seen in the choir, leading the audience to believe that no racism is

Austin, Texas

practiced by this particular religious
group - but they seem to feel no need
for rationale to explain the sexism running rampant on the podium and
throughout the sermon.
Smiling beneficently, the parson/
peers into the
camera and says things like, "Because
the daughters of Zion are haughty, and
walk with stretched forth necks and
wanton eyes, walking and mincing as
they go, and make a twinkling with
their feet; therefore the LORD will
smite with a scab the crown of the
head of the daughters of Zion and the
LORD will discover their secret parts."
(I don't know, that sounds pretty
smutty to me.)
Meanwhile, across the bottom of
the TV screen is run a toll-free number
where one may call for an answer to
their most soul-searing problem and
that answer will be sent them absolutely
free. BUT, if you wish to enclose a
donation so "Our Good Work" can
continue, all donations will be religiously accepted.
The thought of 24 hours a day of
the ~religious follies being run on all
TV stations frightens me as much as
does the thought of a nuclear holocaust.
In an article titled, "Unborn Again,"
Robert Shurm (a Catholic) takes on
his own church's hierarchy for their
attempts to force every American to
subscribe to their religious philosophies.
Says Shurm: "In Catholic schools a
rewritten Pledge of Allegiance [see
Aug. '78 issue, p. 9 - Ed.] concludes
with, 'Liberty and justice for all, the
born and the unborn.' On lobbying
trips to Washington, Catholic schoolchildren ask members of Congress to
look at pictures of aborted fetuses and
listen to fetal heartbeats on portable
cassette recorders."
Catholic prelates insist that their
anti-abortion crusade includes Protestants and Jews as well, but a priest at
the headquarters of the United States
Catholic Conference concedes the
movement has been both "directed
and supported by the bishops."
New York bishops arranged for collections in every Catholic church in
the state to finance New York's Right

June, 1979

to Life group and contributed to the
national campaign for the anti-abortion
amendment to the Constitution.
Shurm observes, "The Catholic
hierarchy is taking electoral revenge
upon politicians who do not heed the
Catholic message," and points to the
case of our former (Minnesota) governor, Rudy Perpich, who blocked public funds for abortion. "Even politicians who follow the anti-abortionist line may not be deemed pure
enough. Shortly before the November
elections the anti-abortionist
blanketed the state with pamphlets
endorsing Perpich's opponent, former
congressman AI Quie, who has done
even better by cosponsoring the Catholics' amendment to the Constitution
which would forbid abortion."
A survey conducted by a Catholic
research center has concluded that
what really underlies the anti-abortionist position is their objection to sexual freedom. "The data suggest that
many of those in the movement see
abortion at the deepest psychological
level less as a taking of human life
than . as a practice threatening to
existing social patterns and customs
in families, marriages and sexual relations."
Concludes Shurm, "For Catholic
prelates to self-righteously brand politicians who favor publicly funded
abortion as 'murderers' comes with a
grace not sanctifying from a church
whose pope enbracedMussolini, abided
Adolph Hitler and whose cardinalarchbisop of New York blessed the
Vietnam War. Anti-abortionists in general have still not confronted the question that an anti-Vietnam War senator asked Cardinal Terrance Cooke,
who was preaching to him about abortion in 1972, 'Why does the church
seem to worry so much more about
human beings not yet born than of
human beings already alive?'"
Here in Minnesota, the editor of
the Catholic Bulletin went into court
to obtain the names of hospitals and
clinics performing publicly funded
abortions. I agree with this position
that public monies spent on anything
must be information
open to the
public. I highly resent his reasons
for wanting such data. He will pub-

Page 15

lish the names of those clinics, hospitals and doctors in an attempt to
intimidate them, which intimidation
could result in such perfectly legal
medical procedures being more difficult to obtain. The Catholic Bulletin
is practicing religious persecution of
the worst kind.
Take a realistic look at what is happening to our constitutional guarantee
that there shall be a separation of
state and church. Organized religion is
lobbying for tax credits for their private schools, the Catholic Church is
lobbying to change the American Constitution so it agrees with the religious
dogma and Minnesotans have a new
governor who, says Robert Shurm,
was a cosponsor of an anti-abortion
amendment that would force the rest
of us to bow to a particular gospel.
The time is past when these relig-

ious institutions should continue to
enjoy a tax-free status. They have broken the covenants under which such
organizations are at liberty to operate. They are lobbying, some are running profit-generating businesses and
most have acquired property other
than that upon which their church
proper sits. Why then does no elected official propose a change in their
tax status?
Is it because no sane politician
would dare take them on lest they
gather their forces to defeat him in
coming elections? You darn well
right it is and there's the pity. We
have allowed organized religion to become so powerful it is out of the control of we, the people.
Please feel free to worship whatever deity you believe in, and may it
be of comfort to you, but leave me

to worship Mother Goose if I choose.
If you want your children educated
in a particular religious philosophy,
pay the freight for the operation of
that school, don't force me to pay
for it. If you are against abortion,
don't have one - but neither attempt
to deny me access to abortions because of you religious tenets.
Thomas Jefferson
said, "It is
wicked and tyrannical to compel any
person to support a religion in which
they do not believe."
Napoleon said it differently; "How
can you have order in a state without
religion? For, when one man is dying
of hunger near another who is ill for
overeating, he cannot resign himself
to the difference unless there is an
authority which declares, 'It is God's
will.' Religion is an excellent stuff
for keeping people quiet." Amen. •

by Larry E. Wood
I didn't go back to the dorm this
year. It wasn't, though, because I embraced the fraternity mentality that attached a social stigma to staying there
beyond one's freshman year. In fact, I
had already stayed a year beyond that,
but I couldn't accommodate myself to
the lifestyle. There was no place to
study or to be alone.
Simmons and I used to sit down to
study together, and 30 minutes later
he'd say, "Hey, Rice, you wanna go
drink a beer?" Hell, no, I didn't want
to go drink a beer. I wanted to study.
"It'll clear up your head," he'd say.
Or he and some of his buddies would
come in during the middle of the night.
"Hey, Rice, you asleep?" Simmons
would yell in his drunken speech as he
flipped on the light.
So I moved into this place when
school started last fall. It's an upstairs
apartment in a white, two-story house
about three blocks off campus. Actually no more than a couple of spare
rooms that long ago lost their usefulness to the widowed old lady who
owns the house and has lived in it for
50 years, I guess. It's the same house
she and her husband, whom I have
come to know only through her recollections, lived in all their married life
and reared three children in.
"Now I don't want anyone up here
who's going to have wild parties or be
coming in at all hours of the night,"
Mrs. Stoner said with decision as she

Page 16

led me up the outside stairs the day I
rented the apartment. "I had a boy in
here one time who just wouldn't let
me sleep. I finally had to ask him to
leave. You look like a nice young man,
though. I don't think I'd have to
worry about that with you, would I?"
I assured Mrs. Stoner that peace
and quiet was what I, too, sought, and
that, no, she wouldn't have to worry
about my giving wild parties or coming
and going at odd hours.
"It's not much," Mrs. Stoner apologized as she shoved the door open,
"but I don't charge much for it either."
We stepped into a living room with
a couch that rolled out into a bed and
a small end table as the only furniture.
The second room was a kitchen-dining
combination with table and chairs.
Off this room was a small bathroom
that had apparently been installed expressly to accommodate an upstairs
"How much?"
"Seventy-five dollars a month. I
can't take a cent less than that." Mrs.
Stoner evidently expected an argument,
but I didn't give her one.
"I'll take it." I pulled out $75 in
cash and paid Mrs. Stoner my first
month's rent.
Now, five months later I sit on the
couch just returned from a trip home
(Home? Where is that?) during semester break. Registration for the second
semester is complete, and classes are

June, 1979

to begin again tomorrow. I am reading
Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil by
the light of a small desk lamp, one of
the few additions I've made to the
place during my occupancy.
I hear Mrs. Stoner's slow steps proceeding up the stairs. Funny that she
should be calling on me. Past her
bedtime. Perhaps she's come to welcome me back from semester break.
Or raise the rent. Or evict': me - to
tell me in her eccentric way that she's
decided she just wants to keep the
house all to herself from now on.
"Come in, Mrs. Stoner," I say as I
open the door for her.
"Hello, Jamey, you've got a telephone call downstairs." No one's ever
called me "Jamey"
Stoner. My real name is James, -but
one day Mrs. Stoner started calling me
Jamey, and when I corrected her, she
just said, "Okay, Jamey."
I follow Mrs. Stoner downstairs and
into her living room where the phone
is lying off the hook. "Hello."
"James!" comes the crying, desperate voice over the phone. It's my
she says again,
"your father's dead."
I have always thought when such a
time came, I would lose control and
cry hysterically - that the emotional
impact of such a moment would puncture the facade of masculine aplomb
that, ironically, he had helped to
erect. But not so. I feel only numb.

Austin, Texas

"They say it was his heart."
"Just an hour or so ago."
"I'll be home as soon as I can
make it, Mother."
I hang up the phone and turn to
Mrs. Stoner. "My father's dead." Our
eyes meet, and then I look at the
"Oh, no, Jamey! I'm so sorry. Is
there anything I can do?"
"No thanks, Mrs. Stoner. I'll just go
pack a suitcase and start back home."
"Well, if there's anything I can do,
just let me know."
I walk in a near cataleptic trance
out the door and up the creaky,
wooden stairs to my apartment where
I throw a few sets of clothes into my
suitcase without regard to their cornpatibility. Then, carrying the suitcase, I return to Mrs. Stoner's door
and knock. "Come on in, Jamey.
What can I do for you?"
"I was just wondering whether I
could use your phone to call the bus
station to see when the next bus
"Sure. Go right ahead. Do you
want me to call for you?"
"No, that's all right, Mrs. Stoner."
The next bus going east doesn't
leave until 2:00 a.m., more than three
hours away. I bid Mrs. Stoner goodbye
once again and start aimlessly in the
direction of the campus, which is also
vaguely the direction of the bus
"You're not going to walk all the
way to the bus station, are you, Jamey?" she hollers after me.
"Yes, I have plenty of time."
"But it's a long way and it's so
"I'll be all right," I say as I keep
I wander onto campus and find myself drawn to Frederick Hall which, I
spontaneously remember, was the site
of my Introduction
to Philosophy
class two years before. I stroll beside
the building and a chain reaction of
recollection jolts my mind.
It was .a day near the beginning of
the class. We had been assigned Hume's
An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding.
"Let's have some reaction to the
section on miracles," Professor Appleby suggested.
There was an awkward silence in
the classroom, reflecting on the part
of the students a reluctance to discuss
the subject, a lack of understanding,
or the fact that most had not even
read the assignment (I suspect the

Austin, Texas

latter). The tension built a long moment, and then slowly I raised my
"Yes, Mr. Rice."
"It seems clear to me," I began,
"that what Hume is saying is that
in order for anyone to believe in miracles such as those related in the
Christian myth, one must be willing
to suspend all reasoning, for-the weight
of logical evidence in opposition to
such miracles is far heavier than that
in favor of them. In accepting such
miracles, one is accepting phenomena
reported by a small band of ignorant
people living in barbarous times who
had a self-interest in propagating their
reportage. One is accepting reports,
the veracity of which was contested
even during the time in which they
supposedly occurred and which were
not written down until years later,
and then by mere mortal men given to
error and exaggeration. One is accepting reports that, if presented today,
one would dismiss summarily as the
wild imaginings of demented minds.
All in all I would say that Hume presents a very strong argument against
the truth of the Christian miracles."
Disbelieving, distrusting eyes turned
upon me, and shocked whispers
coursed through the room. I smiled
inwardly. It gave me a smug sense of
triumph to disturb the sensibilities
of the all-American sorority girls from
the heart of the Bible Belt.
Finally some Sunday-school type
spoke up in defense of the absolute
truth of the Bible, but it was a rather
futile argument. Something to the effect that the Bible was true because it
was the Bible.
A week later I was accosted on campus by two clean-cut upper-classmen
passing out literature.
"Have you heard the good news?"
one asked as he extended a leaflet
(which I declined to reach for).
"What good news?"
"About how you can be saved."
"Saved from what?"
"From eternal damnation. From
"I don't believe in hell."
"It says'right in the Bible ... "
And so it went. My college life has
been dotted with such episodes - little confrontations of the mind with
campus evangelists who invariably resort to argumentation substantiated by
emotionalism or faith, the only weapons they possess, and thus terminate
the tete-a-tete, for I refuse to be drawn
into specious speculation and emotional shouting matches. I have become a
crusader against the crusaders.

June, 1979

I have meandered past Frederick
Hall, and I walk on across campus and
sit at the steps of the campus chapel.
The gas lights of the campus reflect a
flickering glow in the fallen snow. In
the distance I can see a few room
lights still shining in Ellis Hall, one of
the girls' dorms. It is quiet and still on
I suppose it all started with him.
My father was a high school biology
instructor. Early on I sensed that we
were somehow different from other
families in the small midwestern communities to which we migrated almost
from year to year, and I knew it was
more than the fact that we were, indeed, transient. I ascertained that it
had something to do with our not going to church, and sensed that it even
went beyond that physical fact. There
was an intellectual and spiritual canyon between my father and the townspeople at every little community
where we lived, and we children were
not unaffected by that apartness.
I remember especially a small village in Kansas where we lived during
my fifth grade year in school. The first
time they came was probably not
more than a week after we moved in.
My father greeted them at the door.
"Come on in," he invited, and the man
and woman stepped inside.
"I'm Rev. Gerald Stephenson, and
this is my wife, Martha," the man gegan. "We're from the Fellowship Baptist Church. We'd just like to welcome
you ·to town and invite you to our
church, Mr. Rice."
My father nodded.
"Do you have a church preference,
Mr. Rice?"
"No we don't go to church."
"Oh: I'm sorry to hear that." It is
the pity implicit in their statements
and their tone of voice that I have always resented so very much.
"Let me ask you, Mr. Rice, the
minister continued, "have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?"
"No I can't say as I have. I don't
, to be saved from anything. "
feel I need
"Well, even if you're not concerned about yourself, think of your children. They should have a chance to
hear the word of god."
That's the way it started - with my
father trying to be accommodating
and polite and yet not yielding. The
minister and his wife stayed for over
an hour engaging my father in futile
arguments through which they sought
to disprove the theory of evolution
and to prove the existence of a deity
by quoting memorized passages from
(continued on p. 39)
Page 17

elaine stansfield

...a message of love, song and dance.
Hair is a thoroughly delightful romp, if you're in the mood
for a celebration of the unconventional, throw-out-tradition
way of life. It is an artful combination of dance/drama which
is stylized, and true history of the early 1960's, which is sad
and glorious and well documented.
After it appeared on Broadway in the late 1960's, Hair
swept the world like wildfire, because young people everywhere identified with its philosophical attitudes on the draft,
the flag, religion, apple pie, authoritarian police, and other
aspects of the establishment. Its concept of people not as
role-playing males and females, but as androgynous people,
a joyous unisex approach to human relations, gave the play
long runs in most major cities.
Writers Gerome Ragni and James Rado tore into the Establishment in such a way that it was difficult to object, because people were already feeling uneasy about the Vietnam
war, and Hair says "Make Love Not War" as it castigates, in
a quite gentle way, the lack of communication between
young people and their stuffy elders' ideas of politics, sex,
religion and social structure. The satire was biting, but today
it comes off with much good-natured humor, for time has
removed some of the bite.
Every single musical number, brilliantly conceived by Galt
MacDermott, remains iri the film; although they have somewhat elaborated on certain aspects of the story, the basic intent is true to the original. The language is totally uninhibited, which is one reason it took so long for it to come to
actual filming.
The picture does an interesting triple-take and, surprisingly,
succeeds on all three levels. First, the fantasy, where nonrealism holds sway, as exemplified by the marvelous dances
through Central Park, with the police keeping vigilance on
horses that dance right along with the dancers. Those dancing
horses must have come from the Lippizan show.
Second, the long, elaborate dream scene where the square,
young, hero-draftee from Oklahoma, Joe, drawn to the spectacle in the park, unknowingly takes a sugar-cube of LSD.
In a phantasmagoria of sound, color and flame, some of the
events are real, some are dream, we hardly know which.
Third, the tragic reality of the Vietnam war, intruding itself into all the iconoclastic behavior of the hippie group,
as well as into Joe's life, as he goes through basic training,
knowing he's headed for the real thing. Here the slender,
lightly amusing plotline turns dark, and for one heart-stopping
moment, totally tragic, in a completely unexpected way.
However you may feel about the arms race, or Russia, or
munitions stockpiling, or atomic submarines, the picture very
quietly asks - without asking it at all - haven't we learned
anything? When will all this insanity stop? How many more
are going to die? And for what?

Page 18

June, 1979

Is it indicative that the light-hearted hippie leader, Berger,
might have been the one to suffer the ultimate fate, against
his whole life's beliefs, beginning with the loss of his long
hair? Again, for what? A most capricious quirk of fate, set
in motion by all the old men who send young men to war, by
all the self-righteous, sanctimonious, religious do-gooders
who are so convinced they are right that it never occurs to
them to ask questions. Berger is committed to his own cause
of conscience.
Along the way, of course, Berger, who was obviously
fighting seriously for his lifestyle every step, was having a
great time poking fun at the Establishment. In one hilarious
scene he and the group crash a posh garden party being held
for Sheila, the beautiful girl Joe worships from afar. They decide the party needs a little stirring up, and their appearance,
by sheer contrast of costume alone, is funny enough, to be
followed by a sit-down banquet that turns into a riot.
Those who are squeamish will be disturbed that the girl
who is "earth-mother" to the group is pregnant, without the
least idea whether the father is the black or white boy, but
she is not concerned because she loves them both, and "it
will be interesting to find out."
They will be upset at the LSD and marijuana smoking, and
the irresponsible way of life. But it is clear, in a couple short
scenes, that they all have homes, at least we do see Berger's
interaction with his mother and father, and we see quite a
bit of the beautiful black girl who tries to get "her Lafayette"
to come home to her and their little boy. It is therefore
equally clear that, just as in Hardcore, the young people have
rebelled against homes that finally were too conservative for'
them to tolerate.
It would have been impossible, in the 1960's, to transcribe
literally to the screen numbers like "Sodomy,"
Spade," "I Got Life," "The' Bed," and "Three Five Zero
Zero." But people will quickly recognize the well-loved "Let
the Sunshine In," and "Age of Aquarius." The Twyla Tharp
Dance Company is superb, adding immeasurably to the verve
and spirit of the whole.
The Vietnam period is already history, however, and as
such the film can simply be viewed as cataloguing that history.
providing us with some utterly delightful singing and dancing
by some highly talented and vivacious youngsters who are
contagiously joyful. The cast is all good. John Savage is the
Oklahoma ranch boy, Treat Williams is Berger, Annie Golden
plays the pregnant "earth-mother"
and Beverly d' Angelo is
the rich girl.
The picture will not be met with cheers from everybody,
but it is one that deserves praise for succeeding in what it set
out to do, and I think it would be hard to resist its message
of love, song and dance.

Austin, Texas

Ignatz Sahula-Dycke

Promises, Delusions & Facts
Most religious dictionaries start out
defining the word "religion" by telling
us that its root origin is "taboo." In
today's scientific milieu nearly everyone, including the Christian, more or
less ignores this negative aspect of
Christianity. Yet, as always, the religion urges people to accept failure
and defeat while alive, in exchange
for the bizarre promise of a life in
heaven after they're dead. Christianity has thus become a curiosity,
an encumbrance, because it asperses
joy and eulogizes misery.
In the opposite corner, Atheism
tells people to seek happiness: that
life is to be enjoyed. The Atheist has
no quarrel with anyone aside from
those who worship a god of whom
no evidence exists, thus seeing them
trusting in a glorified Nothing. The
American Atheist hence sees Christianity derogating American enterprise.
Now, isn't it credible that the
Christian's blind belief in his imaginary
god (despite exhaustive deliberations,
investigations, and rational answers to
the question by the world's finest
minds) is injurious first to himself,
and next to humanity at large? Doesn't it reveal that any American of this
belief is a human being indifferent toward facts without which his worldenvied way of life will sicken and
surely die?
Now for more than two hundred
years, we Americans have been free to
guide ourselves by a rational outlook
usually ahead of its day, and this
way attained an ever higher economic
level. Whenever we've failed to reach
some desired and available higher level,
it usually happened because our thinking was muddl d by one or another
fanatical Christianist, who at such
times sees the hand of the devil in
anything progressive, and nothing but
a sacrilegious contempt for his god in
human advancement. Were a five or
six year old child of today, if not yet
religiously brainwashed, given this to
think about, it would in most cases
perceive it as a fact.
Thus a great deal of import to our
American life is obfuscated and practically destroyed by the prattle about
a "loving" father god, his martyred

"son," and all the other stupidly tinselled trivia to which fanatical religionists accord worship. They ruin
the child's mind with such tripe before it reaches the age of native reason.
Glue of Ignorance
The extent to which humankind
is being deluded in this way by theological artifice is incalculable. The
marsh of ignorance to which religionism consigns its victims will hold as
many as are persuaded to trust it.
The theologue's refrain is conscienceless, ruthless, indefatigable. He sings
it because he wants the power obtainable through its potency to perpetuate ignorance.
It takes a strong stomach to swallow the fact that in this late day a
major portion of more than two hundred million Americans remain stuck
in the glue of Nicenely cultivated ignorance about their essentiality much
as flies are caught on flypaper. Our
American way of life could forever be
the world's best, and in no small way
even better than at present, were
more of us as perspicacious as were the
patriots who in 1776, and even before,
realized that no nation would endure
that depended in its governmental conduct upon the outworn and totally
discredited trusting that some god
would watch over her and keep her
from making serious mistakes.
The patriots in that century saw
nations after nation in Europe disintegrate because its "by grace of god"
kings or emperors had but one main
objective: to exploit their subjects.
And the greatest help obtainable for
it was the cleric and his god-fable,
which; when the people swallowed
it, made the subjects soft as mush.
Our Founders did more than anyone
of that day to establish a nation to
which all the others would run a poor
second in personal freedom and opportunity given to the individual for
personal development.
In the sad lack of concerted public
opinion against religiously machinated,
but fundamentally political activities,
rests the answer to the question why

Austin, Texas

June, 1979


the religion (as changed as it has become) exists at all today, and this despite the indifference with which our
well-to-do intellectual upper crust
views silly, bumbling, religionary plotting against the people's Constitutionally established enfranchisement.
The basic reason for this lack of contra-religious consensus is attributable
to the haphazard way we educate our
Education, the moral duty of which
is to saturate with factual information
all stratums of our population, certainly doesn't do so. Those of us who've
dug into the history of Christianism's
brainwashing of the masses know that
the religion has, throughout its existence, so thoroughly in childhood infected them with its lies about its
god's vengefulness as to have scared
them out of their wits. As a result,
the people meekly obey the cleric as
do cattle or sheep their herder.
This sad spectacle is impossible to
ignore in our South and Midwest, especially around Eastertime. And, mind
that this still goes on in 1979, in our
country, whose Founders believed
that precautionary measures against it,
such as the Constitution, would obviate it. Well, it's clear they expected
American intelligence would increase
in proportion to the ease with which
the people of the new nation were
for the first time in history able to
savor the heady flavor of independence. Today we must admit that the
Founders gave the clerical junta too
much leeway to mulct the public.
Strength Only In Unity
That the preceding statement is factual looms obvious when self-informed, concerned Americans must today
publish a journal such as The American Atheist to inform and arouse the
public in defense of the freedoms
thus endangered by the clerical cartel,
whose cherished aim is to arrogate
the legislative powers of Congress.
At last count, some hundreds of
separate freethinking organizations
now stand opposing the vicious activism of organized religions and the itinerant, but equally as money-hungry,

Page 19

independent evangelists in our country. The efforts of these militant
groups are largely ineffective because
each of them fights alone - on its
own. It's imperative that they organize, federate, combine, join forces,
unionize - and fight jointly, or on
the cross tree of Christianism they'll
all swing, hung by twos, one to the
left and the other to the right of its
Today another dose difficult for
any loyal and wide-awake American
to swallow is that in but little over
sixty years, during which Marxism replaced Czarism in Russia, its people
have very nearly caught up with us
industrially and technically. Can anyone who views this nigh-incredible
transformation of Russia into our
leading competitor laugh it off? Can
anyone ascribe Russia's current standing to chance?

The chief reason for her advance
has been the Russian's dispensing with
the inhibitions ever innate in any godfraught doctrine. Inasmuch as the
USSR advanced almost abreast of us
in a bit more than sixty years, her
secularly pure outlook (which the
Christianists scorn) is what enabled
her to catch up to us. And the Russian has accomplished this despite his
loyalty to a governmental system beyond any question a poor second to
our own, which blossomed from our
Declaration of Independence.
The mind-boggling thing about
Christianity's god-worship of nothing
is that a large number of the world's
people do as it urges, and that they
bring along "offerings" of the pecuniary substance called money, which
of course is the means without which
this religious worship of nothing
would dry up and blow away to the

garbage heap where all refuse of this
stupid kind belongs.
My preceding remarks aren't intended to say that an occasional excursion of one's imagination into
realms of unreality indicates a sick
mind, The iffy thing about probings
of this kind depends upon whether the
person taking this way of escaping
from the pressures of reality is or
isn't aware of what he or she is doing.
Only if the person in question takes
theistic fantasies for reality is such a
person psychotic. When religiously deluded, such people feel certain that a
grandiose reward exists awaiting them
in the kingdom (of all things) that upon the long-promised second coming of the "son of god," and headed
by "god the father" and blessed by
the "holy ghost" - will replace our
United States of America.

Atheist Museum Owner Speaks His Mind
The Unifersity of Indiana has discovered the American Atheist Museum
in their state and recently gave American Atheists Pam and Lloyd Thoren a
one-page spread, here reproduced
courtesy of VI's Trailblazer newspaper.


Amidst a rustic, wooded area of
Southern Indiana, Lloyd Thoren and
his wife, Pam, sit quietly at a location
that has become the topic of criticism, discussion, and interest - the
American Atheist Museum.
The museum, located next to Prides
Creek Park about one mile south of
Petersburg, Indiana, is a shrine to the
Thorens' disbelief in god, or in any
"supernatural" being.
Headlines such as "Armageddon in
Indiana," "Atheist Museum Feared as
Sign of Last Days," and "Town Fears
Satan" were common in newspapers
across the U_S_after the museum was
Opened last June,
People were telling the media that
they thought devil worship and sacrifices were being conducted here,"
Thoren remarked.
Denying devil worship, Thoren
said, "In order for one to be a devil
worshiper, one must believe in the
devil or god, therefore believing in
both. Atheists. don't believe in any

Page 20

of that."
Why, one would ask, did Thoren
(referred to at times as "Mr. T")
build the only Atheist museum in the
Western Hemisphere in a religious
community where 17 church steeples
the community's
faith in god?"Because I wanted to," the 53year-old Atheist' replies to the of tenasked question,
Bold lettering on the front of the
museum reflects Thoren's true feelings
about building the museum:
"I could have built the museum
anywhere, but I happen to like this
part of Indiana," Thoren remarked.
"I can believe what I want anywhere at anytime," he said defensively.
The Thorens have earned college
degrees; his a bachelor of science
degree in business administration from
University, Evanston,
Ill., and Pam Thoren's is an associate
in science degree in mental health
technology from Vincennes University.
Since Atheism is highly unpopular
here in the Bible Belt, the Thorens'
lives often are lonely.
Thoren said that it is "not so bad"
being left alone because he and his

June, 1979

Austin, Texas

wife "enjoy the peace and quiet."
"Nobody bothers us," Thoren said,
adding, "We haven't had as much as a
stone thrown at the museum."
The museum's structure is expensive
and solid, and, according to Thoren,
the building he founded is a "quiet,
prestigious institution where American
Atheists can be recognized without
being withdrawn about their beliefs."
Inside the museum there are murals
characterizing cultural values, including a 32-foot mural depicting Darwin's
theory of evolution.
The museum also stocks a documentation of the world's major religions.
"We're trying to present religion in
a serious way with no intention of
making fun of it," he added.
Thoren said that he has studied
religion for some time, and he concludes that religion is an "accident
of place and time."
"If a person is born in the U.S.,
he or she probably will be a Christian,"
Thoren explained.
"In Egypt or Saudi Arabia one
most likely would be a Moslem," he
said, continuing, "People are taught
to be the way they are, just as Americans speak English instead of French
or German."
Pam Thoren elaborated on the subject by explaining the murals labeled
The Indoctrinators and The Mimic.
"The 'indoctrinators'
are parents,
grandparents, or any other adult figures who spoon-feed beliefs to the
'mimic,' or the child," she said.
The Thorens believe that this,
"spoon-feeding" or "indoctrination"
doesn't allow the child to question cultural values.
"Persons will be what they are
taught to be unless one learns to question," Thoren said.
Thoren revealed that during World

War II, while he was aboard a ship in
the Pacific Ocean, "I realized there
was no such thing as god."
"While looking up at the stars I
asked and hoped that god would hear
me and show me a sign so that I would
know he existed," Thoren recalled.
"I never got an answer," he said.
Questions always arise when museum visitors ask about a picture of
Thoren that hangs in the museum. In
the childhood picture, he is dressed in
a choirboy robe and is surrounded by
crucifixes and prayerbooks.
"I want people to know that I have
had adequate religious indoctrination,"
Thoren noted.
"When I was a child in Chicago, I
attended a Methodist church and sang
Onward Christian Soldiers," he recalled adding, "I still can say the catechism backward and forward."
Thoren once taught Sunday school
in a Presbyterian church when he lived
in New York City.
He claims that teaching Sunday
school helped build his image of a
"rising young executive."
"It was all part of the Mr. Nice
Guy image," Thoren noted.
Thoren said that he had doubts
about "reconciling Christianity with
my intellectual being."
"After studying and thinking about
the subject for a long period of time,
I finally decided that I was an Atheist,"
he said.
The-museum owner said that he
was afraid to announce that he was an
Atheist, especially since he still was
teaching Sunday school.
"Now that I understand
about religion, my Atheist beliefs are
stronger," Thoren commented.
In their studies, Thoren and his
wife have attended several Vincennes
University classes.
Prof. Frank Schroeder, sociology,

instructed the Thorens in his anthropology and social psychology classes.
Although the museum has had
Schroeder believes that the idea of
an Atheist museum is good,
"Since I'm an Atheist, too, I feel
that Thoren and his museum present
a viewpoint that should be expressed," Schroeder commented.
"It's an area of expanding knowledge if people take advantage of it,"
he said.
Center Chaplan, instructed the Thorens in a religion course.
"I was happy to see him (Thoren)
trying to broaden his knowledge of
religion," Vanderkamp
"Atheists need to study religion
more seriously," he noted.
Vanderkamp said that he has no objection to the museum "because it
represents a large segment of American society."
"Atheists are concerned with humanistic values and feel that religion
has hindered man," Vanderkamp said,
adding, "I happen to disagree with
Thoren said that there are many
things that he doesn't know about and
a few things of which he is sure of he feels sure that there is no god.
"There is nothing after death;
there's no heaven or hell - only decay. That is why I want to have a full
and happy life," Thoren said.
"There are many who wish I would
pack up and leave," Thoren said.
"But, I have as much right to be
here as anyone else, Atheist or not,"
he asserted.
"My wife and I are 'speaking our
minds' so that others like us can be
recognized, instead of having to keep
to themselves," Thoren said.



Austin, Texas



Page 21

St. Paul's Disease
by J. F. Johnen

centuries investigators have been
reporting a peculiarly morbid malady
known as St. Paul's Disease. This writer
will attempt a review of the case histories and will bring advances in research to the attention of physicians.
The name of this disease derives
from one of its best known victims
whose case history is presented in the
Book Of Symptoms (King James Version), abbreviated hereafter as BS.
The text of this study states that St.
Paul (AKA: Saul), a tent-maker by
trade, was of good health until one day
he fell and landed on his - the text is
vague here, and everywhere else, for
that matter - head, we'll presume, as
temporary blindness resulted.
The symptoms of St. Paul's Disease
soon became manifest. The patient
complained of hearing strange voices
and began to make wild and incoherent
speeches. As the disease progressed he
sought increasingly to infect others.
He finally died during a public health
program initiated by the Emperor
Soon afterward the disease became
epidemic. As far as has been discovered,
the malady is acquired in early childhood and is relatively mild until the
sufferer reaches adulthood. Then the
disease will either die out as the patient
develops immunity, known elsewhere
as education, or it will progress to the
more serious stages.
The symptoms may be quite wide
in range. Impossible as it is to organize
them, this writer will merely list them
to give the physician an idea of their
variety. They may be encountered
one at a time or in concert with others.
Severity may range from mild (Paul's
Pother) to acute (Paul's Pestilence).
Whenever a patient with an obscure
symptomology presents himself, St.
Paul's Disease must be suspected.
The most frequent symptom finds
the patient hearing voices, seeing visions, and having beliefs in things which
cannot be shown to exist, especially of
persons, called devils, whom the patient claims are determined to afflict
and torment him (Paul's Paranoia).
Instances of such symptoms are cited in.the BS in Genesis (chapters 3, 4,
6, 7, etc.), Exodus (chapters 3, 4, 5,6,
etc.), Amos (any chapter), and more.

.. ,•• Page 22



WARNING: The Editors Have Determined
That Satire Is Dangerous To Your Faith!

(Researchers desiring a complete list of
the reported cases of this phenomenon
may obtain one free by sending a request to the St. Paul's Disease Foundation. Please supply your own shipping crate and sufficient postage.)
A number of patients have had
episodes during which they fell onto
the floor (Paul's Prostration), foamed
at the mouth (Paul's Paroxysm), and
suffered a general convulsiveness (Paul's
Palsy). The attack is most severe when
the victims arise from their seizures
and describe the wonderful experiences
they had (Paul's Pretension). A state of
generalized confusion is present at these
times. One woman, after arising from
the dust, avowed unceasingly for two
hours that her fit had left her speechless.
Physicians are warned that any
statements made by suspected sufferers
of this disorder should not be taken
literally, but, rather, for their diagnostic or entertainment value.
Some doctors report that reading of
the BS increases symptoms. Fortunately, investigation has shown that
most of the patients lack either the
skills or the inclination necessary for
this type of activity.
Identification of those languishing
with St. Paul's Disease may be either
effortless or difficult.
Some patients-aid diagnosis by marking their foreheads with ashes (Paul's
Pox) just prior to an exacerbation of
symptoms (Paul's Pentecostal Plague).
A weakness of the muscles of the
knees has been noted and the sighting of a person kneeling on a cushion
with his hands clasped in agony is
(Paul's Painful Paralysis).
In general, those who have the ailment wish to conceal the fact from
examining physicians. An overabundance of clothes, to the point of heat

June, 1979

prostration, should arouse the alert
physician's suspicion. Some patients,
called priests (if male) or nuns (if sex
is difficult to determine) may be diagnosed at a distance.
The afflicted often have a copy of
the BS in their possession. It has been
thought that the disease is spread when
an infected person passes the BS to a
healthy one. Careful examination of
this book has revealed nothing of importance.
A small number of those indisposed
with St. Paul's Disease are known to
carry small vials of liquid (Paul's Poison) which they will sprinkle on anything that hasn't the sense to get out
of the way.
This malady is most remarkable
in that the patients have invented their
own vocabulary to describe the syndrome and its victims: "Those most
are called missionaries;
those who profit by means of their
affliction are termed ministers; those
who develop the most bizarre symptoms are known as Baptists. Newly
infected persons are referred to as
converts; those who are immune to
the malady are said to be sinful, or,
more specifically, intelligent.
This entity is frequently the means
malingerers use to escape having to
find useful employment. These patients, called bishops, presumably do
so because the symptoms are so
amenable to fakery. It should be
pointed out that in these cases the
symptoms, though of unusual severity,
rarely reach the terminal stage, called
This malady is also a prime target
for those suffering from hypochondria. These patients, differing from
the malingerers, state constantly that
they are infected; however, as of this
date, none have shown any symptoms
at all. These persons are most notable

Austin, Texas

for their skill in collecting health insurance for their supposed ailment.
Known as congressmen, they are a
significant burden on the economy.
Sad as it is to say, the disease is
thought to be incurable. Indeed, one
of its sufferers wrote, "Why is my pain
perpetual and my wound incurable,
which refuseth to be healed?" (Jeremiah 15:18).
Temporary relief of symptoms is
usually obtained by the administration of alcohol, three doses orally, in
the presence of infected, non-related
members of the opposite sex. However, when the effect of the medica-

tion wears off, the symptoms reappear in a very virulent attack. Although patients traditionally exhibit a
high willingness to undergo this treatment, addiction is risky and physicians are cautioned to weigh all factors carefully before initiating this
Early withdrawal from facilities for
learning has been acknowledged as a
causative factor.
One researcher pointed out that
many who develop to the acute phase
do so as the result of a visit to a meeting held in a tent. As St. Paul was also
in close proximity to tents, it has been

postulated that the malady is caused
by a hypersensitivity to canvas. Research in this area is scarce and it is
hoped that this lead will be followed up.
Some who are immune have written
concerning prevention. Russell (Why I
Am Not A Christian) and Darrow
(Why I Am An Agnostic) are most useful.
For those who have developed immunity, there is no risk of reinfection.
However, those in frequent contact
with the diseased have stated that two
aspirin are often most helpful.

J. Michael Stracz nski

Individual Activism Necessary
How do you tell a mother or a father that their child is addicted to religion? Bluntness seems cruely tacky, and a singing
telegram just doesn't seem to make it, somehow. How do you
tell them that their son or daughter has found Truth in a sack
of granola, along with a Captain America decoding ring? How
do you break these thing to someone?
Don't look at me. I don't know. If I did, would I be asking
Probably. My memory isn't all it used to be. At least, I
don't think it is. But I'm not sure. You see, my memory
isn't all. ....
Didn't I just say that? Oh, well. I was digressing anyway.
Just when parents were getting used to the idea of pot,
acid, protest, love-ins and drop-outs, women burning bras and
men wearing them, counter-cultures and culinary abstentionists, NOW they've got to deal with a bright-faced young convert coming along and patiently explaining that he has come
to a Divine Revelation of the meaning of Life through the
worship of pistachio shells. Not just ordinary pistachios, mind
you, but unsalted pistachios, as opposed .to the heretics who
follow the teachings of the salted pistachios. (This confrontation is usually resolved by both denominations eventually
merging with the First Church of Coca-Cola and opening up
a concession stand at Yankee Stadium.)
Because of this growing trend, people all across the country
are beginning to realize that religion really is the opiate of the
people, although some are still urging for the decriminalization
of possession of an ounce or less. You must ask, however,
why this current resurrection of religion has come about. Answer: Because it gives its members something. (I am led to understand, however, that it can usually be cleared up in a matter of days by a healthy shot of penicillin.)
If nothing else, a religion gives people a sense of continuity,
of being involved in something that has been going on for a
long time. Take, for instance, the new cult known as IMO.
According to IMO scriptures, their religion began in 2753
B.C. (This assertion is founded on drawings and documents

Austin, Texas

discovered stuffed in the exhaust pipe of an Oldsmobile buried
beneath the Cheops pyramid.) At this time, a recently converted follower of the country of I'th Bri'nks (now known as
Bakersfield) turned to the first leader of IMO and asked,
"What is Truth?"
The leader pondered the question for a moment, then
responded: "Shut up and pass the dried lizard, dolt," which
many interpret as symbolic of the de-emphasis of spoken
dialectic as a means of discovering Reality or the whereabouts
of the men's room.
(It is also recorded in the documents that-the gods became
angry at this line of questioning and caused the inquirer to
hiccup, swallow, pass wind and burp simultaneously, resulting in his demise and the immediate defoliation of 2,000
acres of surrounding forestry. Many followers speculate that
it was this event which caused the Mojave Desert. Other followers refuse to believe that there is a Mojave Desert.)
Reflections on a Reflection
Another great leader of IMO was Ben Hunabi, an Arab who
postulated that there was an Afterlife, but that getting hotel
reservations there was next to impossible, particularly during
the height of the season. Then came Roman prelate Marcus
Asparagus, whose works have come down to us in the form of
the frisbee, the word "Xylophone," and the obscene phone
call. Next came Gandasha the Prophetic, who theorized that
the universe was a spiritual duality and that the body and
soul were therefore two separate entities, although one or
the other would always have to pick up the tab in a restaurant while the other visited the bathroom.
Probably the most important leader of IMO - and the one
who gave it its name - was Gorgi Kornaslovitch. Born in Kiev,
Gorgi had long dabbled in religionism, but had never considered dedicating himself to it until his 50th year when, upon
looking in a mirror, he not only saw his own reflection, but
a reflection of his reflection reflected in his eyeglasses. Gorgi

June, 1979


Page 23

quickly became agitated, and began questioning what is real,
and whether or not he actually existed. So upset did he become that he eventually decided that there was no such thing
as physical existence, and, in accordance with his new uncertainty, called his tailor and ordered that all his pants be taken
in at the crotch.
For the next five years, Gorgi contributed greatly to IMO
literature on the Cosmology of Underwear, and refused to
wear his glasses except in dark rooms. He was finally appointed Court Philosopher by Czarina Sophia, where he stayed
until his execution was ordered for the crime of sneaking into
the Royal Kitchen and sniffing the Czarina's buns. Instead of
staying for the execution, however, Gorgi fled to the American
continent during the Civil War and founded IMO, the Institute
for the Mentally Obscure.
Sound rather unorthodox? Perhaps. But when one stops
to consider the background of many of the new religions that
are now sweeping through the ranks of young people throughout the country, the comparisons becomes less extreme. Religion is rife with gods, demons, flying saucers, untested
psychics and un produced gold (or stone) tablets.
Religion, the great meddler, the great mystifier, the great
mollifier ....
yet as reliable in its attractiveness as politics or
any other branch of organized crime.
Today's generation of young people is just as gullible as
any previous generation, although there are now more options
for the expression of that gullibility today than ever before.
As a rule, the only thing that separates the jet-setter from his
witch-burning, demon-dwelling predecessor is 150 years of
technological progress and the constraining powers of social
and normative laws. The distinction is a fine one, one of manners more than real substance, and easily repealed by stress or
Simpleminded Truth
Religion points out the ills and eruptions that trouble
society to the inquiring individual, proposing itself- as the
remedy while carefully omitting the fact that it is the cause
of these problems. It creates a gnawing guilt for sins uncommitted and thoughts unrealized; encourages the politics of
ethnocentrism and bigotry; permits the total and complete
abnegation of personal responsibility and social activism
through the three words "It's God's Will"; and openly solicits
war while preaching peace.


Yet for all that, it still appears to the vast majority in a
favorable light. In a lonely world of technocratic isolation,
chaos, and overwhelming dehumanization in a society where
Dignity is a non sequiter, it offers simple truths, compansionship, and the promise of eternal verities.
How foolish we are if we fail to recognize these facts. Yet
how much more foolish are those who fail to perceive that the
simple truths are too simple, that the only eternal verity in
these mythological ramblings is futility, and that the companionship of religionism is akin to the comradship of condemed men, whose eyes are fixed only upon the gallows and
the dubious Beyond.
The power of religion is founded upon the personality, the
catchphrase, the high-sounding, blood-stirring cries of the
fanatic bereft of any contact with reality. Although these
are, respectively, a sham, a contrivance, and a fiction, the
drawing power is, nonetheless, quite great. It is the Hitlerian
philosophy of The Big Lie, so broad and sweeping in nature
that it becomes virtually impossible to contest it.
But it is vital that we contest it, not merely as a group, but
individually as well, strange as that may sound. For while
there is strength in numbers, there is compassion in the human
being, singular. Atheism is a nice academic proposition when
discussed as a philosophy or an attitude held by a distant
group. But when a man or woman in the community stands
up and speaks out, there is identification. Atheism becomes
more than a concept; it becomes a reality that one can share
with another. It becomes, in short, a viable alternative to religion.
If we would ever wish to see an end to the stranglehold
placed on society by religionism, we must be willing to stand
up not only as a collection of names and numbers on a membership or mailing list, but as individuals, citizens of the community. For all the talk about the ineffectuality of the individual, one man or woman with the determination to arise
and speak, unbowed, against the forces of religionism and repression can have a profound effect on the community.
One person, regardless of the odds, who refuses to be
cowed or compromised, can shake the pillars of religionism
to its very roots. Because there is one thing which cannot be
countered by mythology or touched in any way by the forces
of repression, and it is this thing which is sought by young
people in this generation as in none before, since it is very
probably the only thing we have which truly is indestructible:
The sheer force of will born out of courage.





...... ~....~.....,-------,-----~:~-.....

"Kid, the next time you ask a question in church, I'll break your little arm!"

June, 1979

Page 24


Austin, Texas

G. Richard Bozarth
In 1830 the book of Mormon was published, and Joseph
Smith entered into American history as the father of a new,
distinctly American religion. Mormonism 149 years later,
while small in numbers (around four million according to
Time) compared with the other major religions, is definitely
a smashing commercial success. (But, then, what religion
could fail to be a commercial success in the US of A?) Mormonism is rich, it's getting richer, it's .growing here and abroad;
thus, it draws attention to itself.
My attention was drawn to it by the Mormons I inevitably
met during my nine years in the Marine Corps. The first one
was the chaplain serving Camp Hoa Long, the base where
my unit and other were located in Vietnam. He made an
attempt .to convert me, but succeeded only in arousing
my awareness of Mormonism. With awareness came curiosity,
and tagging after curiosity was study.
My study has convinced me that Mormonism ought to be
called Moronism.
Smith was just the sort of mystic to create a new religion.
He was the son of an impoverished farmer and grew up "in
that part of upstate New York now known because of recurrent revivalistic enthusiasms as 'the burned-over district.'''
(Encyclopaedia Britannica, Macropaedia, Vol. 12, p. 442)
In such an unstable religious environment, no wonder Smith's
mind got burned as well. "In adolescence Smith was known
locally as a romantic who professed on several occasions to
know the whereabouts of buried treasure, revealed to him
through a luminous peep-stone (a kind of crystal)." (Man,
Myth, & Magic, Vol. 14, p. 1886)
Smith claimed he encountered god face to face at the age
of 14. Between 1823 and 1827 he claimed the angel Moroni
made several visitations to him and revealed to him the location of gold plates hidden in a hill near his home. (Is this
not just an elaboration of the buried treasure trick he first
sought public attention and renown with?) The angel supposedly provided him with magic spectacles to translate the
mysterious language engraved on the plates. (Here again,
the magic spectacles are no more than a new version of his
luminous peep-stone.) The result was the "golden Bible,"
the Book of Mormon, the greatest buried treasure ever claimed
to have been found by this long-time mystic trueasure hunter.
The first and most striking thing about reading the Book of
Mormon is how poorly written it is. The style is a pathetic'
imitation of the language of the King James Version Bible.
A good example is the first verse of the first chapter of the
first book (1 Nephi): "I, Nephi, having been born of goodly
parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning
of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course
of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the
lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the
goodness and mysteries of god, therefore I make a record
of my proceedings in my days."

Austin, Texas

This is the excruciating style of the whole book. This
is the pompous, heavy style of someone with little literary
talent (and probably scant familiarity with great literature)
trying for an elevated, grand, "godly" style of expression.
Smith's most unbearable
literary idiosyncrasy is the frequent use of the phrase "it came to pass," which in the 20
verses of the first chapter of 1 Nephi he uses no less than
eight times. It is hard to imagine the "eternal truth" clothed
so shabbily by an omnipotent god, who ought to be able to
give a human literary talent at least as easily as he created the
One Mormon I debated with a few years ago assured me
that a man of Smith's limited education could not possibly
have written such a book as the Book of Mormon. I just
laughed and said holy books were easy to write. To prove it,
I wrote one: The Book of the Resurrection of the Church of
Jesus Christ. It's short - I certainly wouldn't waste my time
writing one as long as the Bible, Koran, or Book of Mormon but long enough to prove my point.
A sample of my "divine truth" should suffice. In 3:30-34
it is written: "I tell you, if your virtue goes no deeper than
that of the bishops, priests, popes, presidents, elders, and all
such princes, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.
And if your virtue is deeper than the princes, then the princes
will find no place in my church. It is the princes who have
sinfully shattered and split'my church into so many contentious sects and fragments and schisms. If a kingdom is divided
against itself, that kingdom cannot last. My church is my kingdom. Woe to him who would divide it."
Not bad for an Atheist, if I do say so myself. What, then,
could a fellow who has visions of gods and angels come up
with? A Book of Mormon would be no problem. In his "burned-over district" he would have been well saturated with Christian theological concepts, to which he would only have to add
to or subtract from according to his mystical perceptions of
religious truth to arrive at a Mormon theology. As a guide
to writing a holy book, naturally he would select the Bible.
Thus, the Book of Mormon "is reminiscent of the Old Testament; the names of its characters are borrowed from, or
similar to, those of the Bible, and some chapters of the Bible
are incorporated in it or are closely paraphrased." (MMM,
Vol. 14, p. 1888)
There is nothing out of the ordinary about the writing 'of
the Book of Mormon. And the terrible prose it was written
in is exactly what one would expect of the son of an impoverished . fariner of the early 19th Century, who wrote
the book between ages 18 and 22.
Mormons make a big deal out of the Three Witnesses and
the Eight Witnesses who were supposedly shown the gold
plates on which the book was engraved in the original language of the Nephites. I would like to know when in all the
history of humanity a religious visionary has failed to find

June, 1979

Page 25

a faithful batch of disciples to share totally in his delusions?
Particularly if the visionary is, as Smith is described, "a fluent
talker and a young man of considerable charm." (MMM, Vol.
14, p. 1888) Smith's eleven witnesses are not impressive, only
exactly what one would expect if one knows a bit of history.
The book is practically unreadable. I can only endure to
browse through it, taking only small doses. (Bad writing is
hard for me to tolerate.) Browsing, or full reading, produces
the same effect. One realizes that it is describing the rise and
fall of a civilization comparable to Imperial Rome or Dynastic
Egypt - on the land mass that is now the US of A over a
thousand years before Columbus! Surely, then, archaeology
should have little trouble proving the Mormon "history"
of pre-Columbian America.
Not so! As Time (7 August, 1978) put it, "The trouble is
there is no accepted archaeological proof of the book's
claims." James Michener is much more blunt in Centennial
when he has his character Dr. Lewis Vernor say, "I think
their Lamanite theory asinine." (The Lamanites are a renegade tribe who are the enemies and eventual conquerors of
the nobler Nephites in the Book of Mormon. After victory,
the Lamanites "degenerated" into the American Indians the
post-Columbian Europeans found all over the New World.)
To understand fully the meaning of the lack of any archaeological proof of the civilization described in the Book of
Mormon, compare two other books: The Annals by Tacitus
and The Silmarillion by Tolkien. The Annals tells the tale of
the Roman Empire from 14 A.D. to 66 A.D. The Silmarillion
tells the tale of Middle-earth from the creation of the world
up to the events described in The Lord of the Rings. Why do
we call The Annals history and The Silmarillion fiction?
Easily answered. Roman ruins litter all the lands Rome once
controlled, but not a single Hobbit hole exists to substantiate
the events Tolkien details as thoroughly as Tacitus details his.
The Book of Mormon deserves to be put among fiction along side :The Silmarillion rather than among histories with
The Annals.
A closer look into the book does not raise one's opinion
of it. For instance, in chapter 12 of 1 Nephi an angel shows
Nephi a vision of the Nephite-Lamanite wars, and the eventual defeat of the Nephites. The chapter concludes with the
victorious Lamanites becoming "a dark, and loathsome, and
a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations." Was this the true nature of the American Indian? In the
early 19th century nearly every American white would have
said yes. This dogma about the Indians was part of the "moral" justification whites used to take over America. God, you
see, never meant such a wonderful country to be owned by
such a despicable rabble of heathens as the Indians.
Does Nephi's prophetic vision, which supposedly took
place in the 6th century B.C., hold true today in the 20th
century A.D.? One of the most shameful aspects of the selfproclaimed moral superiority of Christianity; has been all
these centuries its subjection of women as second-class eiti'zens whose primary function is that of ~eing baby factories.
Like the Catholics, the Mormons strongly support continuing this abuse, and actively work to subvert all efforts to
end it.
If Nephi saw accurately, the American Indians must have
treated their women even worse. As it turns out, they didn't.
"In almost all primitive tribes, a wife possessed far more freedom to revise the pattern of her life than her counterpart of
any European nationality." (Indian Woman of the Western

Page 26

June, 1979

Morning by John Upton Terrell and Donna M. Terrell, p.
103) Exactly what did this freedom consist of? For instance,
"a wife who was abused, who was inadequately provided with
the ordinary necessities of life, or who was otherwise unhappy
could conclude her marriage simply by announcing that she
was leaving." (Ibid, p. 104) What is even more amazing, "this
respect for the person of the native woman was equally
shared by captive alien women." (Ibid, p. 106)
If this is how a loathsome people full of all manner of
abominations behaves, then I wish our European ancestors
had been a bit less Christian and a bit more loathsomely abominable. Had they been, then today NOW would not exist, ERA
would never have been written, abortion would be unresisted,
and women wouldn't have to sue so many employers to get
equal pay and promotion for equal work and merit.
There is nothing divine about Smith's nasty little racist
description of the American Indians, who are revealed as an
admirable, remarkably sane people to anyone who takes the
time to become informed.
Further along in 1 Nephi (chapter 18) the voyage across
the Atlantic and the landing in America is described. This took
place, a footnote informs, "probably about 589 B.C." Although it is now common knowledge that the Indians have
been on the American continents for tens of thousands of
years, such knowledge was not available in the early 19th century. So, not surprisingly, Smith does not describe his ancient
colonists as finding humans already occupying America.
What they do find is "beasts in the forests of every kind; both
the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse." (1 Nephi
Had there ever been such an expedition to America in
589 B.C., they would have found no cows, oxen, asses, or
horses. Those four beasts came over with the post-Columbian
Europeans. "The Great Plains culture that Coronado visited
(in 1541) did not remain as he saw them for long. Horses
were introduced from the Spanish settlements in the Desert
West, and they acted as a catalyst for drastic change as they
multiplied and spread over the area." (The Archaeology of
North America by Dean Snow, p. 92) This change was radical
and swift, displaying the keen intelligence and adaptability
of the Indians, because "for more than a thousand years
before the coming of the whites, the dominant native peoples
of the eastern plains were not nomads, but lived in semi-permanent farming villages. Although hunting contributed to
their economy, agriculture was the principal source of food."
(The Indian Heritage of America by Alvin M. Josephy, Jr.,
p. 111) The buffalo herds became so enormous because
pedestrian hunters made poor predators.
In 589 B.C., and for 1500 years after that, there were not
to be found in America any beasts of burden like horses or
oxen or asses. The buffalo simply would not become domesticated. So the Indians lost the advantage of the important
contribution beasts of burden made in the Old World by inspiring a technology to more efficiently use their strength.
.The major invention inspired by the Old World's draft
animals was the wheel. For the Indians before the coming of
the whites, there were no "large animals that were suitable
for eventual domestication as draft animals," and because of
this, the Indians had no "chances for plow agriculture and
wheeled transportation." (Snow, p. 29) Not even the brilliant
civilizations of the Incas, Mayans and Aztecs invented the

Austin, Texas

Yet the Book of Mormon assures us the Nephites and
Lamanites had chariots to run about and fight wars in! In
other words, wheeled transportation. Are we to seriously believe that the Indians would lose the wheel if they had once
possessed it? Such a notion is absurd! Did the Europeans
lose the wheel after Rome collapsed and civilization degenerated into the Christian Dark Age? The Europeans lost most
of the sophisticated Roman technology, but they didn't lose
the essential, simple wheel.
Considering how quickly the Indians exploited the potential of the horse and changed their culture to adapt to the
horse, one can easily imagine what they would have done
with the wheel had they had it as long before Columbus as
the Book of Mormon claims. The New World might have
discovered the Old before the Old could discover the New .

As is easily shown, the Book of Mormon is a monument to
the ignorance of the early 19th century concerning the history
of America beyond the first European settlements on the
East Coast, and a reflection of the common Christian racism
of those years. Had the book been written, as claimed, by the
actual participants in the events described, the book wouldn't
cave in so easily under even a little scholarship. Unlike the
history books of the Bible, which bear up reasonably well
under archaeological scrutiny, the 20th century advancements
in unearthing, literally, the past totally destroy the Book of
This is why I call Mormonism Moronism. Only a moron
would believe today the Book of Mormon is true. As we
can see, Mormonism has no trouble finding morons to fill
its ranks.



The American Atheist Radio




Program 123 ....

16 Nov. '70 ... KTBC ...

Good Evening,
This is Madalyn Murray O'Hair, American Atheist, back to
talk with you again.
Astrology is in vogue in America today. Everyone knows
the signs of the Zodiac. The word "zodiac" is derived from
earlier Greek and Latin, which means "figures," and the Zodiac is picturized for everyone with a Ram, or a Bull, or the
Lion, or the Goat. It started out to be an imaginary belt in the
heavens, usually eighteen degrees wide. It is a band which is
thought of as encircling the celestial sphere which we can see.
The band stretches eight degrees on each side of the so-called
ecliptic, which is the apparent path of the sun. The paths of all
the planets are supposed to be in this band - except Pluto.
Actually the ancients thought that there were seven heavenly bodies. They were the Sun, the Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Mars,
Mercury and Saturn. All of the stars seem to be stationary as
we look out there, but the planets move, or so it appears, in
this band around the earth. Indeed, the word "planet" is derived from Latin and Greek meaning "wanderer," or something wandering around up there. Due to the annual revolution of the earth, the Sun appears to make one complete circuit through the zodiac in one year, staying in one area about
one month. The Milky Way has always seemed to be just
there. And the Big Dipper is stationary, or one would think
so. And, the Andromeda constellation doesn't appear to move.
But the seven heavenly bodies? Ah! It seemed otherwise with
The signs of the Zodiac and the constellations of the Zodiac
were originally the same, but due to the procession of the
equinoxes, each sign moves westward into the next constellation in about 2,155 years. A sign, therefore, makes a complete
circuit of the heavens in about 26,000 years. One of the most
noted astronomers and mathematicians has calculated that

Austin, Texas

Nacogdoches, Tx

the signs and constellations of the Zodiac coincided about
300 B.C., and before that about 26,000 B.C. Since the signs
of the Zodiac were widely known thousands of years before
300 B.C., they evidently originated not later than about
26,000 B.C.
The constellations of the Zodiac have certain names. They
are Latin names, as known to us, with translations as I give
you now. Aries, the Ram (or the Lamb); Taurus, the Bull (or
the Ox); Gemini, the Twins; Cancer, the Crab; Leo, the Lion;
Virgo, the Virgin; Libra, the Balances; Scorpio, the Scorpion;
Saggitarius, the Archer; Capricorn us, the Goat; Aquarius, the
Water-carrier; and Pisces, the Fishes. The origins of the names
are just about agreed upon.
The Biblical Zodiac
The constellations of the Lamb, the Bull and the Twins
were star groups through which the Sun passed in the spring,
in which time of the year occurred the seasons of sheep-raising, ploughing and goat breeding. The Twins were originally
the two kids, since the young of goats are frequently born two
at a time. The Crab was so called because the sun reached its
most northern point in that constellation, and then returned
toward the south, figuratively moving backward like a crab.
The Lion is the star-group through which the sun moved in
July, when its heat was most powerful, being compared with
the most ferocious of the beasts.
The Virgin is an emblem of the harvest season when the
young girls were sent out to glean in the fields. The Balance is
the constellation in which the Sun moved when day and night
were equal in length, just as if they were weighed in a balance.
The stars of the Scorpion were hidden by the Sun during the

June, 1979


Page 27

season of unhealthy weather and of plagues, which were
imagined to strike like a scorpion. Stars called the Archer
reigned over the hunting season, when the hunter shot game
with bow and arrows. In the Goat, the Sun reached the lowest
point in its course, after which it began to climb toward the
north again, just as the wild goat climbs toward the summit
of the hill. The Water-carrier marked the position of the solar
orb during the rainy season. The stars of the Fishes constituted
that group through which the Sun passed when the fishing
season was at its height.
When we read the Bible with some of the Zodiac information at our elbows, some startling things are apparent. In
Revelation 4:7 we read of the Four Beasts and the Four
Horsemen. The first beast was like a ligon, the second beast
like a calf, the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth
beast was like a flying eagle. These animals were the constellations that were situated at the four cardinal points of the
Zodiac 5,000 years ago. They were Taurus the Bull (Vernal
Equinox), Leo the Lion (Summer Solstice), Scorpio the
Scorpion (Autumnal Equinox) and Aquarius the Water-carrier (Winter Solstice).
In the Bible the Eagle has been substituted for the Scorpion. But, why not? The signs of the Zodiac with the exception
of the Scorpion, which had been exchanged by Dan for the
Eagle, were carried by the different tribes of the Israelites on
their standards. Taurus, Leo, Aquarius and Scorpio (or the
Eagle), that is, the four signs of Ruben, Judah, Ephiram, and
Dan, were placed at the four corners of their encampments,
evidently in allusion to the cardinal points of the sphere, the
equinoxes and solstices.
But what of the Four Horsemen, and their steeds?
The first horseman is a conqueror, armed with a bow and
wearing a crown, and riding a white horse. This is the planet
Venus. The second horse is red, and on it is a warrior with a
sword. The red planet is, of course, Mars, worshipped by the
ancients as the god of war. The third horse is black, the planet
Saturn, and his rider holds a pair of balances aloft. The
balances may be emblematic of the Zodiacal constellation
Libra, for the sun was in that constellation when day and
night were equal, just as though weighed on a pair of scale
pans. The fourth horse is of a pale complexion, pale green
or blue-green, the color of the planet Mercury, and astride
him sits Death. The colors of the four horses point to their
origin in the astrological lore of Babylonia.
Why was Christ in the tomb for three days? Could it be
that there is a three-day period between the old and the new
Is the five-pointed star we know so well the five planets
visible to the naked eye?
The five points form ten angles of 108 degrees each. The
Babylonians had 10S days in each set of four months (27 days
each). In India the number 10S is the number of Brahma, the
god of light. The rosary, or Rudraksa, beads worn by Brahmans number IDS. There are 10S Vedas. There are 10S Upanishads. Tibet and China use 10S as a sacred and mystic number
in connection with architecture, ritual and literature. The
number of beads in both Tibetan and Burmese rosaries is
I hope to be able to do more research on the 10S number.
7s And 40s And Lunacy
The planets influenced everything. The divisions of the
Zodiac brought parts of the body under the influence of each
sign. Venus ruled over the genitaJ organs. Mars presided over
the bile, blood and kidneys. Mercury's domain was the liver.
Think of our week. The days of the week were also governed by the planets: Sunday by the Sun; Monday by the Moon;

Page 2S

June, 1979

Tuesday by Mars; Wednesday by Mercury; Thursday by Jupiter; Friday by Venus; and Saturday by Saturn. The day was
divided into twelve double hours, each hour representing the
time which the Sun spent daily in each sign of the Zodiac.
The passage of the sun through the signs of the Zodiac, beginning with its position at the beginning of spring, suggested
the division of time into years. The spring and autumn equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices further divided
the year into four seasons.
One of the greatest influences on religion has been the
cycle of the Moon, which is about 2S days. The menstrual
cycle of most women is also 2S days. Coupled with this is
the early notion of month counting. So, the Moon became
known as the Great Regulator. The gestation of women is
about 2S0 days, or ten 2S-day moon months. This period
also represents about 40 weeks according to moon calendars.
So, we see a remarkable number of 40s in all the works of
ancient people.
The number is habitually associated with periods of temptation, trial, hardship and pain for 40 something - 40 days,
40 weeks, 40 months, or 40 years. For example: there are
40 days and nights of the Deluge. There was 40 days and
nights of fasting by Moses on Mt. Sinai. Christ was in the
Wilderness for 40 days. There are 40 days between the resurrection of Christ and his final disappearance from the Earth.
There were 40 days of mourning for the death of Jacob.
There was 40 days of fasting by Elijahn on Mt. Horeb. Ezekiel
bore the iniquity of the house of Judah for 40 days.
There were 40 days of sacrifice in the old Persian Salutation
of Mithra. There were 40 nights of mourning in the Mysteries
of Persephone. There were 40 days of mourning by theBabylonians before the celebration of the festival of the Descent
of Ishtar, which corresponds to the Christian Lenten period
of 40 days from Ash Wednesday to. Easter. 40 is the number
for the punishment of sinners, says Deuteronomy (25:3).
Now, really, anyone who could possibly believe that all
of these important events for Judeo-Christianity really occurred in groups of 40 has to be just a little bit fruity. It is obvious that the magic number is worked into the stories as often
as it can be.
If we consider the number seven, things get worse. The
first seven days of the New Moon is it increasing in vigor
and power. The next seven days brings the Moon to the peak
of its power. When the Moon passes the full, the dark forces
are attacking during the seven days of the Moon's third quarter, and in the fourth quarter, the powers of darkness are in
control, and the Moon is deprived of its light.
The sacred number seven dominates the cycle of religious
observances. Every seventh day was a Sabbath and every
seventh months was a sacred month. Every seventh year was
a Sabbatical year. Seven times seven was the year of Jubilee.
The feast of the Passoverwith the feast of unleavened bread
began 14 days (which is two times seven) after the beginning
of the month and lasted seven days. The feast of the Pentecost
was seven times seven days after the feast of the Passover.
- The 7th month was marked by (1) the feast of Trumpets on
the first day, (2) the feast of Atonement on the tenth day, and
(3) the feast of the Tabernacles from the 15th to the 21st day.
The days of the Holy Convocation were seven in number: two
at the Passover, one at the day of Atonement, one at the feast
of Trumpets, one at the day of Atonement, one at the feast
of Tabernacles, and one on the day following the eighth day.
Doesn't Mean A Thing
From the beginning of history, changes of the moon were
believed to have a decisive influence on all existence and the
number seven was deemed the most powerful of magic num(continued on p. 30)
Austin, Texas

A Baptismal Encounter

~ R11J
The two young men walked at a
brisk enough pace to give each a pain
in the ribs from newly ingested food as
they headed down the cracked suburban sidewalk leading them to utopic
"downtown" where fun, excitement
and adventure on the high seas seemingly awaited them. They allowed the
early evening sun to grow orange unnoticed, paying more attention to
avoiding tripping on a red wagon, "Big
Red," or other such small transportation devices for children ages six to
From a paneled station wagon
emerged a thin, neatly groomed young
woman in a knee-length print dress
who firmly grasped a small, black
book and several different stacks of
She approached the young men in a sure, optimistic stride.
"Hi, I'm Patty," she announced.
"William. "
"Douglas," they responded cautiously.
"Do you mind if I ask you a question, William?" she asked in a rhetorical tone.
"Go right ahead."
"When was the last time you spoke
to Jesus?"
"Jesus who?"
"Jesus Christ!"
"Sorry, did Istep on your foot?"
"No, I mean Jesus Christ ... lord,
our god."
"Urn, let me see, uh ... a while I
"Have you ever felt a need to let
him into your heart?"
"Urn, no ... maybe ... not on a
conscious level, anyway."
"Then you accept the fact that
you exist with an incomplete soul?"
"I dunno. Where are you from
"Pittsburgh. Do you accept the fact
that you exist with an incomplete
"I dunno. Who are you anyway?"
"Patty. Do you accept Jesus as your
personal savior?"
"I dunno. Why are you bothering
"Bothering you? Don't you realize
that I'M trying to save your soul?"

Austin, Texas

by Richard Lee
Douglas snickered at the cliche as
William forced a smile and tried to
excuse them, "We've really got to be


"Do you mind if I ask you another
question? Good. If you were to die
this moment, can you be one hundred
percent sure that you wouldn't go to
"Yup, one hundred percent sure."
"How do you know that?"
"Because hell is a paganistic concept
created to frighten people into believing in god, the afterlife, and any
other ideas that organized religion has
tried to make compulsory in society
throughout history."
"You wanna fry for eternity?"
"Excuse me ... ?"
"I asked if you wanted to be thrust
into the Lake of Fire where you will
be tormented with ... "
"How exactly do you believe that
comes about, anyway?"
"In Romans 10 it is written, 'For
whosoever shall call upon the name of
the lord shall be saved."
"You used 'shall' in the third person."
"It's the New Testament, it's not
me. It's all written that way."
"The whole book is in emphatic
voice? And they haven't corrected it
"No! That's how it was written."
"What kind of editor would let
copy like that slip by him? If I were
the guy who ... "
"If you would listen to me for just
a minute ...
Okay. Now if you don't
call upon the name of the lord like it
says, when you die, you won't be accepted through the gates of heaven."
"Gotta keep 'the riff-raff out, eh?"
quipped Douglas.
"One at a time ... Okay. Now, if
you don't get accepted through the
gates of heaven, your soul gets expelled into the eternal Lake of ... "
"If it's just my soul, how can fire
hurt it?"
"Are souls heat sensitive?"
"Urn, I dunno,"
she admitted.
"But," she cleverly maneuvered, "if
you would come to the Valley Baptist
Church this Sunday at 10 o'clock, I'm

June, 1979



sure someone there would be able
to ... "
"No, I don't think so."
"Well then, would you take this
home and read it over carefully, and
if you have any questions, just give
us a call at the number ... "
"Do I get one, too?" Douglas
"One at a time!" She thought it
over for a moment and then broke
into a facial expression of generous
humility. "Okay, here, take one."
She handed Douglas the pamphlet
which William was already glancing
through. On the front it was entitled,
The Romans' Road Map to Heaven
and actually depicted a Roman warrior's helmet next to a 20th century
road map printed on a scroll. Inside
were various quotations from the New
Testament and on the back was drawn
a little cartoon devil with the bulging
eyes of a child molester standing next
to a note supposedly written by him.
It read:
"Hi, I'm Satan. You probably know
me by my more common name, the
Devil. You know, I'm really burned up
about the Valley Baptist Church.
They've been so busy spreading the
word of Jesus, I can hardly find anyone to go around and sin anymore. It
really sizzles me to know that all the
souls in this town are going to Him,
instead of me! So, whatever you do ...
The Valley
Baptist Church and DON'T CALL:

"Urn, Peggy ... "
"Yea, right," William agreed apathetically. "It says here 'For all have
sinned, and come short of the glory of
god.' What about god's sins?"
"God never sinned!"
"What about the floods?"
"What about them?"
"God wasted a lot of people in the
floods. I've never killed anyone. God's
a worse sinner than I am."
"God killed them because they
were evil. They scoffed at Noah."
"Oh, come on! They all stopped by
and scoffed at him? Every man.. woman and child on the planet told him

Page 29

to go sit on his boat?"
"It doesn't matter. He created them,
and it was his choice if he wanted to
destroy them. He can do that, you
"What about 'test tube' babies? If
a team of scientists creates a human
being, do they have the option of killing it if they want to?"
"Well, I really don't know. But if
you would like to come to the Valley
Baptist Church this Sunday at 10
o'clock, I'm sure that someone there
would be able to ... "
"Getting back to your paganistic
belief of hell," Williams said, avoiding
her invitation to the Save-a-Soul Festival, "I suppose you believe that the
only way to avoid hell is to 'accept
Jesus as your savior' and believe in
him in a really marvy and superneato way, eh?"
"Yes, we do believe that the only
way to be received into heaven is to
believe in Jesus Christ as your savior.
'For the wages of sin is death; but the
gift of god is eternal life through Jesus
Christ our lord'."
"Well, suppose a guy goes and hacks
up a family of four into little bite-size
pieces and then goes and accepts Jesus.
You mean that he'll go to heaven and
I, just an ordinary not-so-bad Atheist,
will fry in the Eternal Soup Bowl of
Torment or whatever you like to call
"If he really does call upon the
name of the lord to save him and believes it in his heart, really-truly-hopeto-die, of course."
"You mean there's no degree of
sin? A sin is a sin, and that's it?"
"Yes, of course."
"So coveting thy neighbor's wife
for a couple of minutes is as bad as


setting fire to a busload of nuns and
"In a way, yes."
"Mind-boggling, isn't it?"
"Certainly," responded Douglas.
"What if you grew up on a farm in
a remote, almost unpopulated area,
and you never had the good fortune to
come across a Bible?"
Douglas also theorized,
"and what if you were too stupid ....
no, not too stupid - just say you were
unable to read or comprehend the
written word - would you go to hell
"Um, yea, I think ...
Yes, you
"So, god is partial to urban areas
and people with college degrees?"
"Kind of. You see, if a person never
hears the word of the lord, he's not
really one of god's children. That's
why there are missionaries."
"So, what you're telling me is that
hell could be filled with bushmen and
farmers and alexics and aphasics while
heaven could be a haven for ex-Nazis,
ex-Mafioso and ex-members of the
Manson family?"
"You sure like to argue, don't you?"
"If a guy goes out and sins a whole
lot, then he accepts Jesus, then he goes
out and sins a whole lot more, then he
accepts Jesus again, is he covered?"
"If he really, truly believed in Jesus
in his heart, he wouldn't go out and
sin the second time."
"What about schizophrenics?" intervened Douglas.
"You know, schizophrenics, people
with multiple personalities. Like in
The Three Faces of Eve."
"Well," she strained, "I don't know.
Am I supposed to know everything?"

(continued [rom p, 28)

bers. The day of the full moon, called "Shabbatu" in ancient
Sumeria, was described as "the day of the heart, the day when
the heart of the god is appeased." Work was laid aside and old
and young gathered in the street to celebrate.
Later, Shabbatu came to mark the four quarters of the
moon, and the 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th days of the month
were celebrated by religious services and the cessation of work.
Although the Bible is not clear on this point, it does appear
as if the adoption of the seven day week marked the change
from lunar to solar time by the Hebrews (Exodus 31:16 and
Exodus 12:6 and 18).
It would take books to catalong the multitude of instances
in which the number seven seems to have either mystical or
astral significance. The Babylonians, the Hebrews and the
Egyptians were extremely partial to the number, and in the
Bible and the Koran the number seven, and seven times seven,
is employed repeatedly. Of course, the number of visible mov-

Page 30

"Yes, as a matter of fact, you
should. Anyone who knows the secrets
of the universe should be able to tell
us anything. How can you possibly
claim to know the most divine answers
to the most eternal of questions in the
history of the world when you can't
even tell me the capital of North Dakota?"
"What is the capital of North Dakota?" Douglas prodded.
"How should I know?"
"That's right. You should know."
"Why are you bothering me?"
"Bothering you? We're trying to
save your soul."
"Who holds the National League
record for most home runs hit in one
season?" Douglas smiled.
"Jesus Chr ... you try to help people and this is what you get."
"Come on, who holds the National
League record for the most home runs
hit in one season?"
"Tsk, you try to help people, what
do you get, tsk," she mumbled as she
tautly marched back to her station
wagon. "You try to help people, this is
what you get in return."
"Who was Martin Van Buren's vice
"What's the national pastime in
"Who invented the internal combustion engine?"
The station wagon pulled away.
"No hard feelings, Miss. Just work
on the small questions before you go
for the biggies, and then make sure
that you know all the answers before
you tell people that y6U know."
"Hey! ... What is god's last name?"

ing objects in the sky, as I have indicated, were seven also:
the Sun, the Moon, and the five planets visible to the naked
eye. But apparently seven was venerated long before the
development of astrology, and since the Moon has always
been obvious, it is thought that it derives from that.
Well, I will be back with you in just seven days - next
week, same day of the week, same time, same station.
The sponsor of this program is the Society of Separationists, Inc. The word sponsor has seven letters in it, and so does
the word society. All of which doesn't mean a thing. You can
send .contributions in sevens, or multiples of sevens, if you
like, and that would mean something! For we need your continuing support for these educational programs.
The Society of Separationists is a non-political, non-profit,
educational organization dedicated to the complete separation
of state and ehurch. We also have books, booklets, cassetts for
sale. Send for a list of them to PO Box 211 7, Austin, Texas,
Thank you for listening and a very good night to you.

June, 1979

Austin, Texas


is a lie!

So shall it be!
The world forever shall utter Judas'

by Paul Eldridge

That Judas did betray his loyal friend No thief, no patricide, but vaunting say:
"Thank God, I've never done what Judas did!"


It shall be so!



(groaning) My God! My Lord!

And must I kiss him? Must a kiss be the sign?



It must be done!

A kiss.

Betray my friend, my love? 0 Judas, Judas,
Thou art indeed accursed! What barren-hearted

A kiss - that sweetest symbol

What snake that hides within the grass
To spring upon the sweetly-throated
Wring its neck of song and mocking


What cunning fox that death will feign to tear
The tender lambskin unawares,
What Cain, impassioned,

jealous, smiting

Was ever half as wrong as I should

A kiss - shall a kiss be the fellest treason's


I am the God of Vengeance!
Vengeance on the innocent and true?
Because the world is vile, must virtue pay?




If guilt alone for guilt should expiate,
What penalty, however hard, would hurt?

For a purse of gold?

Who would not say -" 'Tis just, 'tis good, 'tis r!.~ht?"
'Tis when the good are scourged that mankind, startled,
Despairing shouts: "0 Lord, we sinners are!"

For gold alone!
I love the Nazarene!
I read thy heart and know full well thy love.
So many hands do itch for gold, so many
Fingers would point in sport at him to win
The graces of the Roman soldiery,

And so I chose you two, the best of sons,
The weaker to bleed upon the cross, the stronger,
Because he can endure the more, betray,
That man, affrighted, strike his heart and sob,
That Love is nailed and Friendship is a lie!
To what purpose,

0 Lord?

me, 0 Lord, of all the world

my love?

'Tis love that must be sacrificed.

That evil shall be punished,
Because the weaker,



God, be merciful!

Might I but say - "For my great love I slay!"
Love shall be humbled!
Humbled, dragged within the dust and spat upon,
And hate, the while, triumphant
shall trumpet forth

and the good,

shall receive the blow!

Such is the Law, and Fate.

Might I but strike his heart and kill outright,

Austin, Texas


Blended with the passions of each beast and being,
Entrances, heals, soothes - the purest balsam -


It is my will!

To barter, sell my dearest

of human

A kiss - that like a magic potion gathered
From the perfumes of a myriad flowers,


Aye, what beast, what brute, what devil, Lord,

Why choosest


Loathsome as the lizard's slimy virus!
No puny child, no palsied age, but know

A barren mountain, the sun is sinking.
Judas, a handsome youth, lies prostrate.
Arise, Judas,

That friendship

I cannot

alter one letter of the Law,

For I am both Creator

and Created.

be no more! 0 Love, 0 Friendship
Wither - for the God of Mankind wills you not!

o Virtue,

June, 1979

Page 31

NaY,notso0, let me hang upon the cross, 0 Lord,
0, let me die a hundred deaths ...

Bloom Vice and Lie - his favorites!


Nay, Judas, thou art wrong!

It shall not be!

There is no good nor ill, but what appears to manThere is but Law and Fate -

Art thou God or the Devil?


o senseless

I am both.

Fate, 0 vicious Law -



I obey, my Lord, I obey!

0, would it were not so!

(laughing ironcially)

Would it were not so! Forgive,O

I am all. I am I!

Lord, a poor blasphemer!

(thundering) Hang thyself,

But how shall I walk to Jesus, a friend so dear,
And kiss him as accustomed and say: "I love thee!"

It shall be done.

It is Fate. But I shall never forgive thee!
I curse thee! I curse thee!

It is the Law.
I curse thee, 0 Lord!

Hang thyself!

Hang thvself!




My lover sang an Atheist song
Set truths upon the wind
And she became the pleasant smile
That beams on every friend

I never laughed at your padded bra,
Though it represents the same concept
As the weave-job that sits upon my head;
My last dollar on that I'd bet.

Her ballad echoed nature's voice
Whose words I'd never heard
My heartbeats sounded every note
And thrilled at every word

I never stared at your contact lenses,
Though one was blue and one was green,
But state you did in disbelief
When first you gazed upon my new bean.

And suddenly my mind was free
No anguished gods to fear
And even at her music's end
Sweet memories stay near

I never smirked at those long eye lashes,
Though I knew they were not real.
So I can't see why you put me down
Just because I have a head you can peel.

She died you see in early Fall
My tears were Winter's rain
Until I hummed her Atheist tune
And filled my life again

I never smiled at your bicuspids,
And I surely never tried to give them a tug.
So where did you find the audacity
To lay hands on my new rug?

For truth and beauty never die
And pleasant smiles live on
Her song I'll cherish all my days
No matter that she's gone

No, I never laughed at your padded bra,
But now my whole point seems funny.
It doesn't matter whatever our appurtenance
Just so we love each other, honey.

And though her passing broke my heart
I now at last can see
All grief is mended by the song
My A theist sang to me

Joseph J. Doyle

Gerald Tholen

Page 32

June, 1979


Austin, Texas

toDeath l
The Christian religion is a religion
of death. Its basis revolves around the
death of its primary figurehead; its
minions have generously distributed
death to those who do not believe its
tenets; and its main purpose is to affect the fate of people after they die.
The real rewards and the real penalties offered by the religion can come
only after its adherents die.
Death is as indispensable to Christianity as oxygen is indispensable to
human life. This is particularly true
when one considers that behind all
of the shams, at the very root of most
religions, one will find the natural,
human fear of death. The most important purpose of religion is to permit people to hide from the reality of
death by pretending that they are really immortal after all. All they have to
do is obey - and a heavenly life will
be theirs.
In view of the stench of death that
pervades the concept of religion, it is
disturbing to read words friendly to
death in the articles of authors writing
for the American Atheist magazine.
Death is the friend of madness; it
is not the friend of Atheists. Atheist
writers have made a mistake. Asking
people to happily die is incompatible
with telling them to happily live.
If life is good, death is bad. Every
individual knows that instinctively.

Austin, Texas

The author received his Ph.D. in
pharmacology from the Medical College of Georgia in 1977. He is pres:
sently conducting research in the life
extension sciences in Maryland.

To deny such an obvious truth is to be
intellectually dishonest and open to
mockery. If death is really acceptable,
why do so many people have to work
so hard.to convince us of that fact?
Why, also, do so many people keep
paying for religion to keep the level of
anesthetic high? No: death is not acceptable. We have no choice but to
admit it.
Why deny that death is undesirable?
For only two reasons. The first reason may be called the "sour grapes"
syndrome: If I can't life indefinitely,
I'd better not want to. The object is
to brainwash one's self into believing
that death is okay BECAUSE you
know that it is NOT okay: a classic
case of doublethink, but one which is
nearly universal, even among otherwise
intellectually honest Atheists.
The second, reason arises in order
to hold your own in debate with the
religionists. If the religionist can smile
when he thinks about dying, the Atheist seems to feel that he must also be
able to smile in order to avoid admitting that his philosophy cannot provide the soothing opium hawked by
his rival. Here, the Atheist is unconsciously falling prey to an unstated,
but intuitively understood, though
false, idea: that what you believe
should depend on what you get in return.

June, 1979

A person with intellectual honesty
cannot believe that the world is square,
regardless of the rewards that may be
offered to him if he does and regardless of the penalties that may be forced
on him if he does not. The world is
not square. To the person interested
only in the truth, that-is the only fact
of relevance.
The sour grapes syndrome is also
really a subset of this "belief for relief" syndrome. But as far as the purposes of debate are concerned, smiling
at the ultimate catastrophe of death
is not a true requirement: Atheism is
not so weak as to stand or fall on the
issue of death. It is permissible to tell
the truth.
Life by its very nature seeks to live.
If it did not do so, it would cease to be
life. Man as a living being carries this
imperative in his genes as his heritage.
His body will react automatically to
maintain life at all costs. Put him in
the cold and he will shiver to stay
warm; put him in an oven and he will
perspire to stay cool; take away his
water and his kidneys will conserve
what he has; innoculate him with
disease, and his immunity system will
fight the invading organisms, no matter how miserable he may feel in the
Life is a very unique, a very special
process in the natural world. While

Page 33

everything else proceeds from a state
of high energy and order to a state of
low energy and disorder, living systems
tenaciously, relentlessly, and even violently, if necessary, go the other way.
Survival is not easy or guaranteed.
But although 95 percent of all animal
species which have ever lived are now
extinct, man has survived. This survival is its own justification. I am glad
to be alive. Life is valuable because we
declare it to be so, and we are the only
From the philosophical standpoint
of Atheism, confrontation with the
knowledge of death can prompt only
one of three possible responses.
The first response is to ignore the
problem. This is the most practical
approach if there is no possible remedy for the problem, and it is practiced
The second possible response is self
delusion; we have already considered
the embracing of falsehood at some
length. The third response is to attempt to solve the problem of death
by reaching for physical immortality
by means of science.
The other two responses are not
really solutions; they are, instead,
two different ways of coping with
The third response is audacious,
tremendously ambitious, and uncertain; but it is also scientifically possible

and philosophically exhilarating and
uplifting. It as as bold as Atheism itself; it is as proud as human self respect. The deification of man by
man: what a supremely triumphant
answer to the peddlers of death!
There is a name for those who are
in this philosophical camp. They call
themselves immortalists. Immortalism,
as defined by Alan Harrington in his
book, The Immortalist, is explicitly
a kind of second generation Atheism,
in which the desire to conquer death
has been wed to the philosophical
premise of Atheism.
If death is indeed something that
can be approached by science, then
Atheists, who traditionally are so
proud of the accomplishments of
science, should also be immortalists.
It is the most tenable philosophical
position for an Atheist to hold. It
also transfuses the vitality of science
directly into the Atheist philosophy.
If you do not prefer to die, then
you are an immortalist. It is almost
that simple. But if you actively pursue an extended life, you will find
the vast, rich panoramas of mankind's
future opening up before you.
In conclusion, this article has been
intended to offer an alternative to the
weak, insipid views on death which
have appeared in this magazine in the
past when Atheist authors have attempted to serve as the apologists of

death. The alternative can be summarized as follows. Death is a bad thing.
Everyone knows it - otherwise, there
would be no need to pretend otherwise. But we can take a positive attribute towards the human condition
because we can acknowledge that it
is mutable, and that the death of death
is a possible solution to the Ultimate
A couple of footnotes can also be
noted. Firstly, the conquest of death
is dependent upon willful human activity. The larger barrier to this activity in science is religion. For those
who think they have immortality,
there is no need to create it artificially.
This attitude is impeding research and
therefore threatening our very lives.
In this sense, religion is not only the
opium of the people, it is their poison
- and ours! The fight against religion
is thus a life-and-death struggle.
The second footnote is to note the
effect that physical immortality will
have on religion. Christianity cannot
long survive as a major force without
death. The advent of physical immortality or "secular salvation" will not
only be one of the greatest scientific
breakthroughs in history, but it will
also bring on some of the most important philosophical changes in history. The prospect is an exciting one.
I, for one, intend to be around to see

'I~(?Ltp; (9'F mn: c:5VI61'{'rH DEPT._---.


"God" has performed another miracle! No - he hasn't anewspaper. Unfortunately, the flow stopped just before the
bolished poverty or war or cancer or hunger or taxes or anynewsperson arrived, so no one but the Seymores have seen it
bleed. Nevertheless, the paper had a medical technician check
thing worthwhile. This time he displayed his vast omnipoout the coagulating goo. Sure enough, it was blood!
tence by causing a small picture of JC encased in plastic to
Naturally, believers in the colossal, history-changing hapbleed.
Or so claim the members of the Willie May Seymore family pening are not in short supply. After over 160 people had
come to view the cosmic occurrence, one family member
of Roswell, New Mexico, who are the latest of a long succesboasted, "People were falling on their knees, praying and
sion of obscure people who have discovered that a "divine
crying. We haven't anyone leave who was a skeptic." Of
miracle" is a quick path to public attention and mention in
course, those who make the pilgrimage to the newest holy
the newspapers.
shrine aren't prone to be skeptics.
The tiny picture was stuck in the corner of a larger picThe Seymore family, who seem to be pleased to be the
ture. Then one day "the blood was running from the picture
- object of so much divine and public attention, are certain
just as if I had cut my finger," Mrs. Seymore claimed with
the bleeding picture is only god warming up for a really
all due reverence.
big miracle. Theological speculation on this next miracle
The family first called, the local priest, but he refused to
is hot and divided. Some believe god will cause the fragments
even have a look at the latest demonstration of god's all-powof Skylab to spell out "Jesus Saves" at the point of impact.
erfulness. Some observers speculate even the Catholic Church
Others are certain the next miracle will be to make Jimmy
is getting tired of their god performing wonders using pizzas,
Carter a competent president.
potatoes, shoes, water stains, and now a tiny picture. Such
A small faction, though, noting the recent list of less-thanpicayune stunts are seen as demeaning to the glory that ought
prestigious displays of divine mightiness, sourly expect the
to be god's. Inside sources say the Church is trying to get god
to do something really god-like, such as having the Earth swal- next miracle to be no more than the face of JC formed by
low up the American Atheist Center.
pigeon droppings on some saint's statue.
Spurned by the Church, the Seymores' called the local

June, 1979

Page 34


Austin, Texas

.< ....


.: ..•...

.--. - ..":-.'"

definitions tend to accumulate meanings, with
the passage of time, that are irrelevant to the original use of
the word. For example, the word "Atheism" springs from two
Greek words, one meaning "without" and the other being the
word for god. Thus, "a" plus "theism" equals "without god."
Yet the seventh edition of Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary,
while giving the true definition, also shows Atheism to mean
"ungodliness, wickedness." The definition of the word has
grown from its linguistic origins to a full-blown set of mental
associations like a tree springing from a seed.
Likewise, current ideas of liberalism and conservatism, particularly in America, are frequently associated with ideas
having nothing to do with the proper definition. Liberalism
is and always has been an attitude not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy and traditional forms. In opposition is the
conservative attitude which prefers the stability offered
through existing forms. Reasonable persons might debate the
relative merits of the two attitudes, but the definitions remain
despite the torrents of language use and misuse.
Adhering strictly to the true definitions, it becomes clear
that a person who is an Atheist might well also be a liberal.

Austin, Texas


..... .

-:;-.=-":.,:.. -.'

-~ .:
:... -"





f" .:.







~ -, .~,.

Whatever else might be said of a god concept, it must be said
that the belief itself is the final example of authoritarianism,
orthodoxy and traditional form. By definition, the conservative individual who is rejecting any possibility of the existence
of a deity is substituting some other form as his authority and
in contemporary conservative thought, the new authority lies
in the individual himself.
As the Humanist errs in believing that divinity lies in the
human race, so the conservative errs in believing that divinity
- that is, supreme and unique goodness -lies in himself personally. He rejects the reciprocal demands and obligations of
society with the same fervor that he rejects the demands and
obligations implied in a belief in god. And he does so in favor
of what he conceives to be an unfettered personal liberty. He
may refer to a philosophical authority such as Objectivism or
Logical Positivism. Or he might accept the anti-philosophical
egotism of Existentialism.
In the former, he will see himself as the colossus bestriding the world. In the latter, he will see himself as the agent
responsible for the world. Ne!' her of these conservative
rationalizations are realistic. .!ley are what the idea of god
was to Alfred North Whitehead, an abstract necessity to complete an intellectual construct. The conservative bears a burden in avoiding being seen as childish and self-indulgent because of his excessive reliance upon his own instincts. The
conservative Atheist bears a double burden in avoiding his
tendencies to make himself god in the absence of the traditional deity.

June, 1979



Page 35

The liberal Atheist more genuinely denies divinity than
does the conservative. He views himself, not as a self-contained
organism, but as part of the universe with which he shares fundamental similarities. While the religious person will see god
as the cause of all effects and while the conservative Atheist
will see himself as the cause of many effects, the liberal
Atheist sees himself as a particle in an on-going relational
process without reference to any cause and/or effects. There
are three concepts that the liberal Atheist will grasp more
readily than either the conservative Atheist or the religious
individual: emergence, dynamism, and context.
The universe is an emerging reality. It emanates of and
from itself. Beginnings and endings are artificial forms that
conservative man has imposed upon reality in his attempt to
order events for the purpose of his own security. The real
milieu of events has no starts and no stops, no causes or
effects. The formation of clouds, their transpositions, dispersals and new ormations are analogous to all reality.
The greatest limitation that the human kind faces in its
attempts at scientific investigation is the relative brevity of
a human life. The traditional three score and 10 years alloted
to an individual as seen against the background of evolutionary
time is an insurmountable barrier to the vistas of the universe.
Yet, the careful observer with a liberal perspective will detect the evidence of the emerging world.
Simply put, things do not just happen. A fortiori, things
do not happen because Irian wills them to happen, all conservative horn-blowing notwithstanding. The greenhouse environment of the young planet enabled life to form from the
inanimate amino acids present on Earth. Life was enabled but
it was not forced. Through primordial heat waves lasting for
unimaginable periods of geologic time, life forms changed and
multiplied. In subsequent and shorter ice ages, the same life
forms contracted and became more specialized. Internal disruptions in the interior of the planet which varied the tilt of
the Earth by a fraction of a degree changed forever whatever
destinies that were being played out in the existing biological
forms. Tautologies would have been as meaningless at any time
in the past as they are in the present.
The emerging universe does not lend itself to statements
of purpose. Effects which might seem to be presupposed under
existing conditions in this century or this millennium become
impossible in the next era because of the mindless, emergent
ways of nature. And, as it is in non-human nature, so it is in
the affairs of men.
From the original microscopic pool of deoxyribonucleic
acid, which itself combined in an unimagined sequence of random events, organic life combined, re-combined, splintered,
hybridized and eventually produced a species called, retroactively, homo sapiens. Paleolithic man, the wandering hunter,
established patterns for himself, seeking the expected prey at
an expected time and place. But when an opposing group encroached, the expected did not occur.
When three successive glacial periods invaded prehistoric
Europe, paleolithic man amazingly did not move away from it.
Rather, he flourished through generations of individuals who
emerged as increasingly adapted to frigid conditions.
One adaptation to adverse weather was the emergence of
the neolithic community, the more permanent and identifiable
home as opposed to the homeless, wandering and predatory
paleoliths. Occurring as it did in widely various times and locations around the plantet (it might be said to be occurring
presently in some recently discovered societies in the Phillipine
Archipelago), the emergence of the neolithic community also
marked the earliest forms of human conservatism.
Once there was a hearth, it had to be defended. The female
of the species became the conservator of the species. Priorities assembled themselves. Territory was important. Cooper-

Page 36

June, 1979

ative labor and some distribution of wealth as well as labor
supplanted the earlier hunting and holding. The neoliths invented religion. Some of the earliest manifestations of formalized beseeching are found in the neolithic South Pacific seafarers. Recognizing their own limitations in coping with the
caprices of the ocean, they resorted to bribes, deals and promises with their pantheon.
When they planted yams, one of the very few crops purposefully tended by present-day Micronesians, they also
planted small gifts to be accepted by the gods in return for
their hoped-for favor in the form of rain. The ancient Hebrews
were a neolithic people who, from unknown conditions,
emerged as the significant tribe in the Mideast probably on the
basis of their monotheism and rigid internal structures.
From the neolithic groups, some reduced their spoken
languages to writing and historical perspective became possible. Existing values became codified and, therefore, immutable. Previously spontaneous religious practice became written
and ritualized. The Greeks produced Socrates, Plato and Aristotle among a galaxy of splendid thinkers. The Hebrews produced Amos, Hosea and Micah as early and far-thinking
writers. But the zenith was reached and crested quickly. The
Greeks were lost and forgotten entirely in Europe and the
decay of the Jewish culture occurred overnight, in the historical view.
Out of the loss of the Greek scientific and philosophical
insights and from the dissolution of Jewish hopes rose the
early Christian church. Within three centuries, that movement
had been established with such formidable presence as to make
all previous empires envious. During the next eight centuries,
Christian popes had engulfed all of Europe along with large
segments of Africa and Asia in what is now called The Dark
Ages. At the turn of the 15th century, the unsuspecting observer standing in his limited historical spot would have been
hard-pressed to predict the event of the new century and the
one to follow. In quick succession, an entirely new world was
found while attempting to reach a world which was known but not well. Rising nationalism was to present challenges to
the Vatican which would never be repressed again.
Luther, a man whose conscience has been highly overrated, displaced the authority of the Roman pontiff forever
and established a movement which quickly became entrenched
in the New World as if one had been made for the other.
It is at this point that we find ourselves today, the recipients of paleolithic developments as much as we are of our
own parents. We are as we are because our familial roots have
ethnic roots that have geographic roots that have climatological roots, etc.
The religious adherent will experience some disorientation
with the concept of natural emergence. The conservative Atheist will probably see emergence as a predictable process with
the fittest surviving at every turn. The liberal Atheist will nod
in assent with the idea of a randomly emerging universe.
Conceptually, dynamism might take priority over emergence. That is, one would not expect a reality to be described
as emergent if it were not first dynamic. Regardless of this apparent priority, dynamism is being described here after emergence because of its lesser distinctive value to the Atheist. It
isless debatable between persons of reason with otherwise
differing views. Still, it is an essential part of the Atheist
outlook and it is required in a description of liberal Atheism.
Dynamism refers to internal moving force of any reality.
It takes the anti-thetical position to the biblical account of
the genesis of the world. The ancient Hebrew story assumes a
static would which, once created by extraordinary means, is
maintained by and is dependent upon the creator. This statical
assumption survived in advancing cosmology until the advent

Austin, Texas

of the scientific method in the 19th century. Only then did
Darwin, Newton, Einstein and others interpret the evidence
The world is not simply what it has always been. Further,
it is not, when viewed in one state, what it appears to be when
viewed from another state. The forms of time and space, supposedly the forms most static, were seen to be changeable and
predictably so. Seen in retrospect, the reflective thinker might
wonder that the statical assumption endured as long as it did
in the history of human thought.
The human organism is a dynamic organism as are all
life forms. It is generated from previous life and then becomes
self-generating until its generating forces are exhausted. The
liberal and conservative Atheists will agree here. But, the
liberal Atheist will more readily concur that the human organism and its dynamism are subject to larger dynamic forces than
his own individual biology. The larger forces are the forms of
genetic evolution, natural occurences and social movements.
The evolution of the species will not be argued except by
the most extremely resistant religious believer and its defense
will not be reviewed here again. Its significance here is as the
background scenery is to the play - it will remind us of the
In his Study of History, a monumental 12-volume work
of historical philosophy, Arnold Toynbee supports the view
that human history is largely the result of human response to
natural occurence. Natural occurrence, by definition, is any
change in topography or climate motivated by dynamic forces
contained withing the conditions surrounding the occurrence
itself. Thus, as the northern half of the African continent dessicated and robbed the primordial inhabitants of trees and
grasses and rivers, the inhabitants regrouped on the banks of
the Nile and, by virtue of dynamic social movements, formed
the Egyptian Civilization.
According to Toynbee, it is the stress exerted upon humans by natural occurrences that produced humanity's creative movements. Some civilizations have fragmented in the
face of natural occurrence so that the mainstream continued
their social development while a remnant became arrested. The
Mongol Civilization, originating in Central Asia, crossed the
land bridge and entered the North American continent.
A fragment of that civilization stopped too soon and became the arrested Eskimo group while the mainstream of the
civilization continued their migrations until such time as
other environmental factors made possible such social triumphs as the Pueblo, Axtec, and Incan communities. In the
case of the Eskimo, natural occurrence, if not the conqueror,
was at least an evenly matched adversary and overwhelmed
their creative response, proving, if nothing else, that even a
mind like Arnold Toynbee's finds it difficult to formulate a
theory that has no exceptions. The point made here is that
the dynamic nature of the planet has been a dominant force
in human history.
Social movements likewise have their own force which
encompass human affairs. Shakespeare delved profoundly into
the fluid and erratic course of events in individual lives in
Hamlet and Macbeth. One of the pervasive themes in Tolstoy's War and Peace is the tendency of events to overtake
their planners as if large movements of people take on a life
of their own even to the exclusion of the individual lives of
the participants.
In his fictionalized account of the French invasion of
Russia in 1812, Tolstoy makes both Napoleon Bonaparte and
the Czar appear the fools because of the insistence on the
part of the two leaders to devise elaborate battle orders which
inevitably disintergrated spontaneously in the movement of
battle. When the French army reached the Dnieper River, the
only orders issued by Napolean to cross the river were related

Austin, Texas

to foraging for food on the Russian side. But as the foraging
parties grew in size and expanded their range of movement,
the invasion of Russia began to occur.
The tragedies of the following winter for the homeless
Muscovites and the subsequent decimation of the French army
in its frostbitten retreat become almost intolerably ironic for
the sensitive reader when it is seen that that whole episode was
unplanned. It occurred when the French foraging parties
crossed into Russia as a result of the same osmotic force which
acts upon a saline solution when it crosses a cell wall to enter
a non-saline cell. There is present, in both examples, an internal and dynamic force which moves inexorably toward a
natural end. Events are not predestined until conditons are
present; then, conditions establish the predictable outcome.
The Atheist who is also conservative will likely agree
with the premise of the existence of dynamic, internal forces
in all reality. But he will be less likely to see himself personally
at their disposal. Jean-Paul Sartre is the model for much conservative Atheism. Despite the fact that Sartre was politically
a socialist, he was and is a conservative-minded individual. He
propounded the human ability, and furthermore the responsibility, to mold events surrounding human life. He envisioned
the individual acting upon a strictly passive world.
Sartre, an Atheist, worked in the French underground
during World War II and Martin Heidegger, a Christian, was
tolerant, if not sympathetic, to the Nazism of his homeland.
But both of them were in general agreement in their Existentialism. Both made valuable contributions to the philosophical
and ethical efforts of the 20th century largely because they independently attacked such large bodies of traditional philosophy and normative ethics. But the liberal Atheist will take exception to these Existentialists, even though one was an Atheist himself, on the solid ground that the individual is subject to
the dynamisms of reality.
If it is true that a dynamically emerging universe is a distinctly liberal Atheist viewpoint, then the idea that human significance is found only contextually is doubly so. A context is
any milieu that, by itself, makes a smaller bit of information
significant. The novels of Joseph Conrad, stripped down to the
bare story lines, would be inane. The context of descriptive
writing, perhaps the most artistically descriptive writing in our
language, elevates the stories into masterworks of insight into
many human impulses. He probes the dark sides of story characters and draws analogies between his view of the human soul
with such eternal verities as the land and the sea. Without the
contextual envelope, the literature of Conrad would have the
same value as a comic strip. Indeed, it is the creative ability of
any writer to develop context that marks the writer for
In the 1960s, a new ethical phrase was coined - situational ethics. It was never held high in popular reputation because it attacked the characteristic absolutism of the American
religious establishment. Presumably, when Jehovah proclaimed,
"Thou shalt not commit adultery," he meant exactly that, under all possible conditions or circumstances. It is academic to
dispute whether the Hebrews' Jehovah said it for the first time
in human history or whether, more likely, it was taken from
an even older code.
In the context of modern America, it is accepted by a
large majority of the population that one should not commit
adultery precisely because the deity does not wish adultery to
be committed. The effort of a few liberal theologians a decade
ago to elevate the primitive commandment into a feasible
ethic and their subsequent failure to do so seems to imply that
the concept of context, whether in ethics or any other form, is
and should be distinctly Atheist. Unfortunately, Atheists who
are also conservative have typically rejected situational ethics
at about the same low level as the believers did.

June, 1979

Page 37

So effective was the counterattack upon the ethics of
situation that a new term, "permissiveness," has become
widely popular with a common definition that should be
rejected by all persons of reasonable good will. The term
actually means intolerant, tolerated or optional. In popular
usuage, it means without regard to the ancient and accepted
Appealing again to the strict application of definition, the
liberal Atheist is a permissive person because he is tolerating of
situational differences. Such situational differences are seen in
a myriad of obvious examples: racial, ethnic and cultural
differences, social and political differences; religious or nonreligious differences, to mention only the generic catagories.
The legal tradition in this country has used the term
"mitigating circumstances" almost from the beginning. Mitigating circumstances are nothing more or less than the considerations of the context of a crime. The practice of law, it would
seem, has accepted contextual thinking even if the ethical and
religious practitioners have not. And if religion has not
accepted it, then the idea becomes specifically non-religious
or Atheist.'
Contextual thinking occurs not only in ethics but in all
forms of reason. A fact recorded in isolation has some value.
For instance, if one were asked to name the winner of the'
National League pennant in 1969, there might be some importance in knowing that the answer is that the New York
Mets won. However, behind that single piece of information
lies a layer of monumental context.
At the beginning of the 1969 baseball season, the Mets
were picked by the baseball writers to finish dead-last in the
National League. The betting odds against them winning were
100-1 which in gambling jargon is "off the board." For the
avid baseball fan, it was the most spectacular season for any
one team in the history of the game. For the professional
gamblers, untold amounts of money were won and lost
because of the unexpected result. The record books reveal the
names of the winners but lack the context behind the event.
Context sheds light on an event as shown above. It also
provides meaning and substance for cognitive thinking. Thornton Wilder used contextual methods to write his story about
The Bridge Over San Luis Rey . Thill story is about a dozen
persons who fall to their death when a native-built, rope
suspension bridge in the Andes breaks and spills its human
cargo into the chasm.
It is a simple story simply told - until the writer brings to
the story the circumstances leading toward each of the individual characters being on the bridge at the moment of its
breakdown. The reader is given an opportunity to ponder the
imponderables. Every character had numerous "what ifs" in
the hours and days prior to the journey which took them to
the bridge. Many of their lives had been interrelated although
some of the persons did not know of the relationships when
they shared their moments of death. The cognitive possibilities in tracing philosophical logic and statistical probabilities
in the short novel are overwhelming. The intricacies of the'
routes which lead into an occurance make up the context
of the occurence and invest it with its significance for humans.
Context also exists aside from any human significance.
The origins of man are lost in the complexities of biological
context. Weather patterns are established in the context of
given temperature, humidity and density. Unicellular life
reproduces itself by fission without regard to the effects upon'
human health or disease. The universe is contextual and, in the
wee part of the universe that is of interest to humans, it behooves the humans to realize its contextual nature.
One of the lesser known philosophers of Greece in the
illustrious 4th century B.C. observed that it is not possible
for a man to stick his foot into the same river twice. His rea-

Page 38

June, 1979

soning was that at the instant that a foot is thrust into a river,
the river changes. It is perpetually changing and never the
same. To describe a phenomenon that is never the same, concepts such as emergence, dynamism and context have been devised. And if a river can only be described by means of such
abstractions, then surely the larger nature of which the river
is a part must clearly be described in the same terms amplified.
But the implications of the concepts presents problems to
minds that are oriented to primacies. Primacies may be a god,
the individual, reason and/or empiricism, or many other sacalled realities that assume a position in a mental association
of an individual or group of individuals when that position becomes so elevated as to make all other considerations unworthy.
Atheism disputes the belief and the authority of any
imagined divine being. Liberal Atheism disputes any idea
whieh sUQstii~tes ene primacy for another, i.e., the substitution of man 1i0rgod in the pantheon. Man, along with all of
his attributes of intelligence, altruism and wisdom, is not the
most important part of the universe. In the long run, he might
eventually be seen to have been entirely unimportant.
If there is any natural order in the affairs of men, it does
not derive from human governance any more than it does from
divine governance. The apparent order, the predictability that
we rely on in nature, is just so because of the dynamic emergence and continually shifting context of nature. It is as if the
infant human learns the relational processes that affect him in
his dependency and then grows to adulthood and buries his
knowledge ofreality. For, in truth, the human kind is as-dependent upon the unknowns of the universe as the child is
upon the unknowns of parental behavior. Man is no god nor
is any of his characteristics. Nature is no god nor is any of
its apparent characteristics. There is no god whatsoever.
Atheists are no different from any other of the many types
of our kind. We need to be reminded that an unexamined
idea, like the unexamined life, is worthless.
The genius of Thomas Jefferson will be the court of last
appeal in the case of this essay. The beginning phrase of the
Declaration of Independence is, "When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary ... " These few and simple
words embody the validity of emergence, dynamism and context. The adverb "when" broadly implies the emergent nature
of the statement. It becomes apparent with the use of the
word that there have been antecedents. Now, there is emerging a new reality from what has gone before.
"In the course of human events" states the dynamic
character of the reality. Inside the course of human events is
a force composed of probabilities, random occurrences, and
conflicting purposes which have now moved to this point of
action. The significance lies in the existence of the internal
force, the dynamic quality exerting pressure from within
the course of human events. The contextual nature becomes
clear in the phrase "it becomes necessary." Necessity only
arises from context. In the absence of an emerged context,
necessity is inconceivable.
Liberalism, like genuine Atheism, discards the vestiges
of early human developmental needs. The race is in the
process of self-realization. The conservative attitude, whether
Atheist or not, serves no useful purpose in its insistence on
priorities, primacies and exclusions. Along with the belief and
a faith in a god, priorities, primacies and exclusions must
also be discarded.
Reality is one piece. Humanity is a part of the piece.
The individual is a piece of the piece. All other abstractions,
however noble,are smaller pieces of another piece. The liberal
views reality collectively, universally. What could be more
truly Atheist?

Austin, Texas


(continued from p. 17)
the Bible.
The evangelists of the small town
became increasingly persistent and my
father correspondingly less patient after that initial incident. It was a Saturday afternoon after we'd lived there
about four months that his mounting
irritation at their perseverance solidified itself into a statement of disbelief, defiant of their doctrine and
impervious to their arguments.
"Here come some more of those
church people," I recall him saying as
he noticed them pull into the driveway. "What does it take to get those
people to leave you alone?"
My father answered their knock
at the door seconds later. There was
an exchange of greetings, and then a
mumbled transmission from the evangelists, which I, sitting on the couch
in the living room, could only assume
was some sort of invitation to church
or offer of salvation. What my father
answered, however, I heard clearly and
remember well. "No, thank you," he
said. "I'm an Atheist."
"But ... " one of the young men
stuttered, obviously trying to think of
a rejoinder to this unexpected declaration.
"Good day, gentlemen," my father
said as he closed the door in their faces.
It was after that episode that my
sense of difference grew acute. Other
children in the community began noticeably to avoid my sister and me.
Adults whispered their sympathies
as we would pass their way. It was toward my parents, however, and only

by association towards me, that the
town's change in attitude was most
apparent and most drastic.
I remember my father lamenting
the fact, only a few weeks later, that
he had become a social isolate among
his colleagues at school. One would
have thought, he said, that at least
teachers, those very individuals who
are supposed to extol the virtues of
objective inquiry, would not have let
their feelings toward a person be colored by that person's religious beliefs.
But such was not the case among
the high school faculty of this small
town, and my father's pronouncement
began to threaten, too, his relationship
with many of his students. The respect
that a teacher must necessarily command among his students in a high
school classroom was eroded, and a
few of his students began to defy him
Talk of firing my father soon began
to circulate among school administrators and board members as well as
townspeople. My mother no longer received the obligatory social invitations
and was shunned in the local marketplace to the point that she took to doing her shopping at a slightly larger
town 15 miles away.
The local purveyors of religiosity
became more aloof and their evangelical calls more oblique after my
father's infamous declaration. I remember one time, about two weeks after the announcement, a choir group
from the. Fellowship Baptist Church
came by quite late in the evening and
stood out in the street for perhaps half
an hour singing hymns of salvation. It

","ft\ \nll1





was all very annoying to my father,
and it only served to solidify his certainty of the stance he had taken.
The climax of our running conflict
(I say "our," because although it was
at first essentially my father's battle,
the whole family was drawn inextricably in the encounter) as it progressed with the little Kansas town came
another two weeks or so after the nocturnal crooning outside our home.
In fact, I remember the exact date.
It was the night of 17 February. My
sister, Julie, who was eight at the time,
and I had already gone to bed, she in
her bedroom which faced the street in
front of our house and I in my room
across the hall from hers. My father
had just turned off the TV news, and
he and my mother were preparing for
I heard the crash of glass across the
hall and then Julie screaming and crying. I jumped out of bed and rushed
into her room. Julie was sitting up in
bed looking, with terror on her face, at
a stone lying on the floor near the foot
of her bed. Pieces of glass were
scattered on the floor, and a note was
attached to the stone.
"What happened?" I asked.
Julie just pointed to the stone, and
I picked it up. My father rushed into
the room and, surveying the situation,
snatched the rock from my hands, but
hot before I had had time to read the
"Get out of town," it read. "We
want no goddamned Atheists
around here."

So, that's what we dJ9. We got out
of town. My father turned in his resignation the next day. What else could
he have done? Oh , certainly he called
the sheriff's office, but the deputy
who came out said there was nothing
he could do if we didn't know who
threw the rock (my father stated that
it was his impression that solving a
crime was not the victim's obligation,
.but this reminder went unheeded).
But that was long ago, I guess.
Here I sit in the snow in the deep of
winter on a college campus in that
same Midwest ... and he is dead. No
more forever!
I knock the snow off my suitcase,
stand, pick up the suitcase, and start
briskly away from the chapel, for it
is late and I am cold.
Fifty feet from the steps where I
sat, I stub my toe and turn up a
rock in the snow. I pick up the rock
and, turning, hurl it with.all my might
toward one of the stained glass windows of the chapel, and then hurry
on toward the bus station.

Austin, Texas

June, 1979'

Page 39


by Angeline Bennett
Edgar Allen Poe, though an excellent poet, was a mystic
who wrote the poetic principle was the poet's endeavor to capture in this life some fragment of the glories of the heaven of
the next life. This means, if Poe is right, that Atheists could
not be poets.
Angeline Bennett evidently was unaware of this, because
her latest collection of poetry Or Even Poetry proves beautifully that Atheism and poetry are extremely compatible.
Having been in love with words since her mother taught
her to read at age five, American Atheist Angeline Bennett,
62, has been writing poetry since she was in high school.
Her first poem was published in 1944, and she has contributed
to a variety of publications ever since.
Not limited in literary talent, Bennett is currently working
on articles and short stories - as well as writing letters to the
editor of her local newspaper to keep the religious community
"on its toes" and its hackles raised.
Bennett, a Northwest native, lives in Tacoma, Washington.
She is a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She
says her passions are travel, early American furniture, and
anything pink. She prides herself on the fact that she has all
her own teeth.
In Or Even Poetry, the author of It Could Be Verse displays a sharp wit, a merry humor, a humane social conscience,
and always the intense emotions that all poets share in common. For those who like to spice their reading with verse,
this is a book to satisfy them fully. For those who have been
tempted to enter the world of poety, this book is an introduction to that world likely to make them permanent residents.


is my level of concept
is my role in the play
is my station on stage
are the words I must say?


Page 40

do I fit in life's scheme
is my part in the script
is my note in the theme
in life's scene do I fit?

is my mental
am I destined
on a scale of
in the hell do

June, 1979

to sit
one to ten,
I fit?

Austin, Texas

Of lHlE -M~

is something


in the United

American Atheists. This national organization
was founded to protect the civil liberties of
Atheists, to speak for them on public issues, to

maintains an American Atheist Center of distinction, introduces into the nation's airways the
American Atheist Radio Series, litigates for
Atheists' civil liberties, maintains an Atheist
speakers' bureau across the nation and, gener-

educate the citizens of our country as to the
merits of an Atheist lifestyle, to fight for sep-

ally, is the voice of American
as life, bold and beautiful.


an organization

formed exclusively for


of state and church,


for you the ultimate

dom of the mind, i.e., freedom


from religion



of the United


events with a monthly




with chapters

States, provides

of other Atheists,




and other superstitions.




fee of $15/year







(single), $25/year



edited by Dr. Madalyn Murray O'Hair.

you the

holds an annual
you of current





- big

You need not be alone again with your

to preserve as an





magazine does not include mem-

bership in American Atheists.

redress of grievances .• AMENDMENT

I • Congress shall make

































As long as the Church has the power to close


the lips of men, so long and no longer will





rule this world. Blasphemy is the


the few. After every argument of the Church


has been answered, has been refuted, then the



Blasphemy is the

of religious prejudice.

Blasphemy is











the breastplate of the heartless.




word that the majority hisses into the ear of

Church cries, "Blasphemy!"



Robert G. Ingersoll
Blasphemy Trial of C. B. Reynolds, 1887























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