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American ~heisl
February,

Vol. 21, No.2

1979

articles
Astrology

- 100 Million

A Computer-Made
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Dr. Madalyn Murray O'Hair
MANAGING EDITO R
Jon Garth Murray
GENERAL EDITOR
Frank Duffy
ART DIRECTOR
Joe Kirby
NON-RESIDENTIAL STAFF
Ignatz Sahula-Dycke
G. Richard Bozarth
JamesErickson
Wells Culver
J. Michael Straczynski
Elaine Stansfield
Bill Baird
Gerald Tholen

Americans

Are Wrong

Atheist

17

Kamekazi - A Promise Not Kept

23

The Sacred Foreskin Of Jesus Christ

24

Of Tabernacles & Virgins

27

features
Editorial

- Afraid

of Genius

2

4

Our Readers' Opinions
Atheist

News

Circle The Wagons!
Atheist

Indian Atheist
Monkeys
Atheists

5

Women & SALT

7

Leader Visits the U.S.

Debut "Shroud

AA Radio Series - Christian

Of Socrates"
Rewriting

of History

- George J. Holyoake

Book Review - When God Was A Woman

American
Atheists,
located
at
2210
Hancock
Drive, Austin,
Texas 78756, a non-profit,
nonpolitical, tax-exempt,
educational organization.
Mailing address:
P.O. Box 2117,
Austin,
TX,
7868.

Copyright

©

1979

by

Society
of Separationists,
Inc.
Subscription
rates: $20.00
per
year.
Manuscripts
submitted
must betyped,
accompanied

double-spaced

and

by a stamped,

self-

addressed envelope. The editors
assume
no responsibility
for
unsolicited

8
9

Trounce Christians

Roots Of Atheism
The American Atheist magazine is published
monthly
by

13

11
20

30
37

our cover
Joe Kirby's view of our nation's currency is but a preview of things to come once the constitutional
wall intended to separate state from church - reason from religion has been razed and a theocracy replaces the republic.
Symbols are powerful
medicine for Christians whose
psychoneuroses demand that real itv conform to their otherworldly fantasies. The religious community
grows fat while
overburdened taxpayers of any or no faith submit sheepishly
to the fleecing in the name of a "god" of human origins.
American Atheists alone recognize the infiltration
and
prosecute the resistance while daily the slouching beast of
religion perverts the nation's symbols behind which the
benighted flock follows dumbly.

manuscripts.

February,

Austin, Texas

I

1979

Page 1

by FRANK DUFFY

t

Afraid of Genius
Two davs of warmth and ''''''Y

for Atheists
in the otherwise
cold
month of hibernation
known as February are the twelfth and the twentysecond,
the birthdates
of Abraham
Lincoln and George Washington,
respectively _
Both of these American presidents
reached peaks of excellence in the lineage of that highest office down to
the present, with but a few of the 36
others who have held the office ever
approaching
the standards of our first
and sixteenth chief executives.

Washington was succeeded by fellow Deists (John) Adams, Jefferson,
Madison and (J_ Quincy) Adams, all of
whom upheld
the initial goal of a
secular
nation
as intended
by the
founding fathers whose ancestors had
fled the tyranny resultant to Europe's
inbred state-church
entanglement.
But Lincoln's
tenure
as chief
executive
remains
distinct
and poignant in our history for he more so
than any other American president was
most nearly Atheist in his life philosophy. Hence it is that his term and the

Page 2

achievements
therein stand apart and
are without
parallel from either his
immediate
predecessors
or his 20 successors.
For Christianity
not to have Lincoln's endorsement
in its quiver of distortions is a deprivation
so grievous to
its clergy that they feel righteously justified in bearing false witness aqainst
those
freethinkers
such as Lincoln
whose universal
appeal they would
appropriate
for purposes
of better
controlling
their flocks. The age-old
collusion
of the "haves"
with the
clergy who shepherd
the benighted
"have-nots"
is conceived to preserve
the cathedrals
of ignorance while fattening their prelates.
While he lived, the preachers and
parsons of the status quo denounced
the "great emancipator " because he
would free the black slaves from their
white slaveholders
who paid the salaries of "those same "men of god."
Slaves were chastised from the pulpits for not being satisfied with the
predicament
in which the Caucasian
god they were made to worship had
placed them. They were urged to be
"meek
for they would
inherit
the
earth" - someday.
Knowledge of the
type which would cause them to question their plight was forbidden
them
by their good Christian masters.
Lincoln
was held in contempt
yet feared by his Christian antagonists because he could not be bought
with bribe or brimstone.
In praise of Lincoln, his contemporary Robert Ingersoll touched upon
that fear of genius which many of us
have seen in the eyes of a Theist who
has been confronted
by the skeptical
smile of an Atheist for the first time:
"The average man is afraid of genius. He feels as an awkward man feels
in the presence
of a sleight-of-hand
performer.
He admires and suspects.

February,

~J

1979

Genius appears
to carry too much
sail - to lack prudence, has too much
courage.
The ballast of dullness inspires confidence."

With the death of a famous freethinker comes the volte-tece by those
who would claim allegiance in death
from an "infidel"
they so vilified in
life. Lincoln in his resolve to preserve
the Union above all other considerations cou Id not be made to kneel
before any clergy. But his historical
impact on the populace is so coveted
that
Lincoln
in death, as was with
Washington
[see p. 19], would be
made to cringe before the self-serving
superstitions
of persons
who
ran
before his shadow while he lived.
An Atheist, as was with Lincoln,
"appears to carry too much sai I" to
those who sti II linger in the caves
where they babble meaningless prayers
to harmless
wall shadows.
Dullards
must of necessity
seek to tarnish a
bright mind or risk seeing their own
abasement
sans the soothing
lies of
religion.

The American

Atheist

!

LETTERS
"Love it, love it!"
Dear Editor,
Enclosed is a money order for
another year's subscription to The
American Atheist.
I don't want to miss a word of my
favorite magazine. Each issue is read
cover to cover as soon as it arrives, with
much underlining and note-taking. Enjoy the whole magazine very much.
Just wish I could afford to get each and
every item and book you offer.
Love it, love it, love it!
I have been an Atheist all my life;
glad to have you all on my side.
~
B.J.Smith

V1~~~
,

Phoenix,

AZ

~~
Religion/Atrocity
Are Synonomous
Dear Editor,
The horrible finale to the Jim Jones
Peoples Temple in the jungles of Guyana should occasion no extraordinary
surprise. Atrocity is implicit in every
religion, any system of beliefs based
on faith, revelation, a sacred book or
the inspiration of a prophet.
Such systems rest not on demonstrable reality but dogmatic assertion.
The props of dogma are force, threats
and punishment. No one ever committed an act of terror to demonstrate
the truth of a Euclidian theorem.
The greater the faith in a prophet
or holy man the closer to the surface
lurks atrocity. Violence is the embryonic brother of faith and this is true of
even the most benign and pacific religious institutions.
W. Child Currey
Toronto, Canada
Guyana IlVasInevitable
Dear Editor,
The world's people had polygods
until Pharaoh Amenophia IV decreed
worship of the sun god Amun-re while
the Hebrews were yet in bondage. Exodus to Canaan permitted free thought
to invent "creation" and the "god of
Abraham."
Succinctly stated, cohesion of the
Jewish people under their new religion
caused some zealots to commit mass
suicide/murder rather than submit to
Roman rule. Emperor Constantine I,
aware of such loyalty, decreed Roman
Catholic Christianity for his people.

I

After more than 1,500 years of
brainwashing the gullible, captive, infantile and illiterate to "believe" in
that supernatural religion, it seems
logical that history has repeated it-

self in the mass murders/suicides of
the Peoples Temple religionists in
Guyana.
F.K. Campbell
Houston, TX

Guyana Unfortunates Had No Alternative
Dear Editor,
One of the more frequent excuses I hear for non-involvement by Atheists is,
"What does it matter? We can't change the world."
In my experience, the vast majority of Atheists feels it is alright to let the religious play their game as long as it does not directly interfere with their rights. The
growth of our parent organization, American Atheists, can probably be traced
to the more blatant and obnoxious interference by religion into our everyday lives
in recent times. We have slowly advanced from the days when Atheists would be
tormented and murdered by these superstitious humans.
Now, although the social price can be great, more rational humans are less
fearful to speak their minds. Lately we have an even more compelling reason to declare and promote our Atheism. How many of the over 900 dead at Jonestown,
Guyana, would be living today if an Atheist alternative had been available during
the Christian childhood and adult lives of Rev. Jones' followers?
Every Christian church must bear some responsibility for these needless deaths,
for every Christian church uses similar brainwashing techniques on their captive
flocks. Children are taught religious dogmas and rituals by parents long before they
have the free will and ability to reason as to the validity of those beliefs. Christian
children are programmed almost from birth - set up for just such an opportunistic
messiah as Rev. Jim Jones.
We Atheists have trouble comprehending why anyone would surrender voluntarily her/his free will or individuality for the comfort of the "Big Lie." I hope we
do not have difficultly assessing the situation now and reaching the conclusion that
perhaps a human life could be saved by one Atheist pointing out the alternatives to
surrendering to any of these ancient, primitive beliefs invented by our savage ancestors.
Please, fellow Atheists, speak up!
John Crump
Kentucky Director
American Atheists
Onus of Proving Atheism
Dear Editor,
Some people worry because Atheists cannot actually disprove the existence of
god and they therefore suggest that we should be more sympathetic to Agnostics.
I respect their skepticism, which I once shared, but it must be said that the onus of
proof falls wholly upon the believer, who claims god exists, and not on the Atheist,
who finds the evidence unconvincing. The full reasons for this have been set out in
Professor Anthony Flew's book, The Presumption of Atheism.
If I am told that Mars is inhabited by kangaroos who live 10 miles underground
and converse in Siamese, I cannot prove that such beings do not exist. But it would
be absurd for me to adopt the Agnostic position and reserve judgment because
these beings are unknowable and their non-existence unprovable. The rational thing
for me to do is to ask "what is the evidence for their existence?" And if the evidence is inadequate, then I must disbelieve. I do not need to look for counterevidence.
The question of god's existence demands an answer. If somebody convinces me
that god does exist, and so may punish my disbelief, then I must alter my opinions
and my way of life very radically and try to earn his favor, whatever the present
cost. I cannot, like the Agnostic, say "The question is imponderable" and set it
aside, because in living my life I must constantly make decisions; and these decisions
will depend on my basic assumptions, such as my belief or disbelief in god's existence. A man may call himself an Agnostic, but he cannot really be one.
The opinions on which we base our actions are nearly always a matter of
probability rather than proven knowledge, and there is no reason why this should
worry us. The important thing is the degree of probability. And today the hypothesis that god exists - if we grant the word "god" anything like a real meaning - has
become so improbable that we are more than justified in calling ourselves Atheists
rather than attempting vainly to evade the question.
Carl Lofmark
England

February, 1979

Austin, Texas

!I

Page 3

LETTERS
Atheist TV Tips
Dear Mr. Straczynski,
I am a new subscriber to the
American Atheist magazine, although
I have been a "closet Atheist" for 40
years.
Regarding the section of your article in the November 1978 magazine
ln. 6J about our writing to the TV
networks and the FCC, it seems to me
to be a good suggestion, which I wish
to pursue. However, I need some guidance in order to be more effective.
Should I send copies of the letters
to the FCC or send them a separate
letter?
I would appreciate any suggestions and comments, preferably in the
magazine as there must be other Atheists in the same boat.
Charles Manis
Ohio
Mr. Manis,
As a rule, there are two ways of
approaching the networks and their
affiliates. To start with, free time is
given by affiliates as a way of complying with the FCC regulation that they
provide local programming "in public
interest. " (It is interesting to note that
Pamela flott, CBS Coordinator for Cultural and Religious Programming, said
that "all viewpoints in religion have
the right to be aired in the interest of
providing a public service," but she
carefully avoided extending that prerogative to Atheism.) The implication is that Atheism is not in the
public interest, which is flat-out discrimination. Write the FCC and the
affiliates with your complaint, and
threaten to call into question their
license when it comes up for renewal
if there is not a balanced coverage in
the public interest.
I have also done further checking
on the FCC's "Equal Time Ruling,"
and can report this: The ruling is designed to apply to any producer of
programming or broadcasting organization that takes a stand on a controversial issue. In cunningly side-stepping
the issue, the FCC does not define religion as being controversial. (Give' us
time.)
However:
On a frequent basis,
the Christian networks and broadcasting services like the PTL Club, the 700
Club, and others, take and promote
stands on controversial issues like the
death penalty, taxation of churches
and church-schools, and so forth. They
actually tell the viewers how, for whom,
and on what to vote! Having taken

Page 4

such stands as producers and programmers on public airwaves, they are then
obligated by law to provide equal time
for an opposing viewpoint' And there
is no reason why that opposing viewpoint cannot be voiced by an Atheist.
So, in brief: Promote A theism as

being in the public interest, with the
alternative being discrimination, and
keep an eye on those Christian broadcasts for controversial stands and then
demand equal time. It's you right under the law; fight for it!
J. Michael Straczynski

9

HOUR
DEf.s1O ~

American Atheists and the Equal Rights Amendment
Dear American Atheists,
This has nothing to do with the "In God We Trust" lawsuit, but I would like to
express my feelings on another issue which is very important. to me. .
"
As an Atheist and a feminist I would like to see American Atheists join many
other organizations in the economic boycott of those states which have not yet
ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. AA recognizes the oppression of women, so
why not help them in their struggle for equal rights? American Atheists would also
receive free publicity in this endeavor.
Juliana Markiw
Oregon
Ms. Markiw,
"
Thank you for your contribution to our suit to have "In God We Trust removed from this nation's coins and currency.
You solicit commentary on our position on the ERA. American Atheists has
always been run, to the best of our ability, as a single cause organIzation. T.hat
cause is the acquisition and the protection of the civil rights of American A t~elsts.
We understand, however, that we can only gain those rights after we have attained a
complete and absolute separation of state and church as guaranteed by. the U.S.
Constitution. When the power of the state is removed from the church It can no
longer deprive Atheists of their constitutional rights.
Therefore, we concentrate our efforts in that area. Concerns such as the
passage of the ERA which are to some extent political we would :-ather leave to
those groups - such as the National Organization for Women - which are e~gaged
primarily in the struggle for women's rights. We have our hands full struggling for
the rights of Atheists, both male and female.
We do however realize that religion has been the principle oppressor of women in A~erica and throughout history, and that the ERA is therefore a statechurch entanglement issue. At the same time we feel that it is more imp0r.tan~ ~o
labor for basic human rights for all Atheists (male & female) with any beneficial
fall-out from that fight which may advance the cause of women's rights being our
contribution to their struggle. As an organization our thrust must be primarily
Atheistic.
.
Furthermore we support the ERA as a means to an end - equality for women
- but not as an ~nd in and of itself. As long as the women of America realize that
the ERA is merely the first in a long succession of steps towards their eventual total
liberation, we, support them in spirit and with such fall-out from. our litig~tion as w.e
can. If, however, the women of America look upon ERA as a f~nal so~utl.on to their
problems, then we cannot support them in that misrepresentation of Its Intent. ~he
ERA is a step in the right direction, but its passage will not mean an end to sexism
in the United States.
The answer to your question then is, no, we will not support a boycott of
states which have not yet ratified the ERA. If any member of our organization
chooses to do so we would support him/her in their freedom to exercise that right,
individually.
. .
Please be assured that American Atheists has a deep and abiding concern for
the rights of American women. We can only offer mora~ suppor~, however, as we
are embattled in an even more consuming struggle to eradicate theism.
.
Jon Murray
Managing Editor

February,

1979

The American

Atheist

(

00

NEWS

CIRCLE
THE
WAGONS!
Like a sudden winter storm, late in
November and early December a most
threatening situation enveloped the
American Atheist Center.
When religion says that "the meek
shall inherit the earth," it simply
means that as long as one is beaten and
cowed, meek and submissive, religion
will permit one's existence. As soon as
one becomes independent of mind
enough to challenge the excretia of
religion, there is a massive effort to
crush - either the outspoken individual or the group or organization which
attempts the criticism.
As long as Atheist organizations are
meek and lowly, submissive and supplicating, they have no real trouble.
When Atheists operate out of the cellar, behind closed doors, issuing timid
communications in brown wrapping
sans a return address, they have no difficulties. When, however, Atheists
boldly identify, openly challenge, and
courageously fight, oppressive measures
are immediately taken against them.
When we opened the American
Atheist Center in Austin, Texas, on
Summer Solstice day of 1977, we
thought we had arrived at a time in
history when we could function openly. Little did we know how much
hatred was engendered in the political
and religious backrooms in Austin.
At first, we now find, they all
thought that we would succumb, that
what we were attempting might be
more than we could do. But the
Atheist Center was opened on Solstice day and it stayed open. It did not
fold in a month, or even two months
or three ... and by the fall of 1977 it
was still there.
The first and most immediate difficulty we had was with the sign. NOW

we realize how they hated that proud,
defiant, tasteful-but-bold sign, done in
the red, white and blue which belongs
to American Atheism.
They hated with such intensity that
suddenly insurance on the building
was cancelled. When insurance is cancelled mortgage-holders become nervous and threaten to "call-in" their
mortgage. And that is exactly what
happened as we were faced with the
latter when the former was carried
out. We shopped haste fully and almost unsuccessfully
for insurance
and it was only an Atheist-run insurance firm which saved us from calamity. But no sooner was that insurance
bought. and confirmed when pressure
was apparently again applied against
the carriers and again the insurance
was cancelled. But our Atheist insurance firm was able to find a group of
insurers and we survived that threat.
It was then the unusually frequent fire inspections began, and
whereas former occupants of the
building needed no fire extinguishers,
or bright exit signs, or expensive fire
doors, or "break out" doors, suddenly we did - several thousands of dollars worth. City and county tax appraisers came to visit; the offices of
sales tax collection were represented;
and building inspectors arrived. After
one break-in was accomplished we
went to iron grilling on every door and
window, again for several thousands
of dollars.
It was then that the Murray-O'Hair
home was "discovered" and the attacks
on the home became constant. In two
summer months we went to the police

no less than a dozen times, to no avail.
We would hire persons into the Center only to find work that could only
be described as destructive, often ending in denouements that the employees
were Christians.
We attempted a mortgage fundraiser only to have the names of all the
donors disappear one day when an employee quit under odd circumstances.
Fortunately,
we think nothing has
come of that gambit.
And then the suits against us began: four of them, all calculated to
cause difficulties, but not any of them
substantive. We saw them for what
they were - harassment. With a determined effort we continued what
we could do best: challenge the irrationality of religion on every level,
continue our suits to separate state
and church and to preserve and defend the civil rights of American
Atheists.
,.
Then a vicious, unprincipled attack
was made within our organization itself. Self-styled Marxists, in the open
for the first time, dissidents who claim
to be "merely" anti-M.M. O'Hair but in
fact seek the "dictatorship of the proletariat," disrupted one chapter's meetings, moved to find their kind in other
chapters to drag Atheists back into the
closets while the real issues of Marxism
were being fought. These few contacted
every U.S. religious editor pandering
gutter-variety "information."
Our four chapters under attack survived and are going well but mailing
lists, treasury funds, and the precious
Atheist libraries have disappeared from
the chapters' custody.
We stood fast because we have business to do and because we know that
the enemy is religion. No side issues,

The news is chosen to demonstrate,
month after month, the dead reactionary
hand of religion. It dictates good habits, sexual conduct, family
size. It censures cinema, theater, television, even education ..!t dictates life values and lifestyle. Religion is politics and, always, the most authoritarian and reactionary
politics. We editorialize
our news to emphasize this thesis. Unlike any other magazine or newspaper in the United States,
we are honest enough to admit it.

Austin, Texas

February, 1979

Page 5

NEWS
no peripheral quarrels, no attritional
suits were going to stop us. We gave
them only the attention they deserved, which was minimal.
Neither your American Atheist
Center nor anyone in it has ever stolen
any treasury funds, mailing lists,
books, or monies. We have traded on
no one else's name and reputation,
have not plagerized any material, and
we fly under our own flag -American
Atheism.
We continued. One of the harassment cases came up in a local court
and we were defeated, as we thought
we would be on the lower level. With
a prejudiced judge, a biased jury, a
vindictive opposing legal counsel we
could only expect the worst. We let it
go at that. We put up an adequate defense and felt that we could win on
appeal.
Your American Atheist Center is financially stable. We have a Dun &
Bradstreet rating of double A. Our
credit ratings are excellent. We own
rolling stock, inventory, equipment
and furnishings worth $300,000. Our
real estate holdings are valued in
excess of $700,000. The holdings of
the American Atheist Library and
Archives is not rivaled in the world
and a conservative estimate of its
worth is about $3 million.
In any given year, our book sales
alone bring in $60,000 and our membership and magazine bringin another
quarter million. We are solvent, capable, sturdy as a rock. We now have 11
committed staff members.
The American Atheist Center is run
along business lines, and ordinary business principles are applied, from the
time clock to punch in, through the
computer for records, to continual
inventory techniques ...
we are organized and forward looking.
In any ordinary court case surety
bonds are acceptable. But, suddenly,
even with our solvency and our credit
rating we could not get a bond. We
could not use our own property for
bond as the clerk of the court adamantly refused to take anything but
cash. Well, no matter how well organized, how solvent and how secure
any business of the magnitude of our
"cause" is, to come up with $50,000
overnight is a staggering cost. 0 one
would touch us with a ten-foot pole,
much less help us. The smiling bank
officials now ran for cover, with the
newspaper accounts of the hostile jury
still fresh in their memory.
We sat down and talked - everyone
at the Center was willing to put in all
they had. Mary offered $3,000 from

Page 6

her credit union savings, David $1,000
from his, Eric $1,500 from his ... all
of which was a long way from $50,000.
We decided to write to the members
and see if they could help pull us out
of the situation by helping with a
"cash bond."
But we also have actuary statistics
on cause organizations, and what percentage of people respond to appeals,
and when and how. We thought that
we might get as much as a 10 percent
response, so we figured that if we
would ask that 10 percent we thought
would respond for $78 each, we could
make it. We did make it.
We put the mailing out on 11 December and by 27 December we had
our reply (this despite the heavy Xmas
mail). There were 462 answers and almost everyone sent $78 or $100 or
less. There were only a dozen who
sent over $100 and not one "rich"
Atheist came to the rescue.

At 3:20 p.m. on the 27th we
opened the final envelope which
pushed the total over the needed
$50,000.
Our attorney was immediately notified and began the process of obtaining from the court the necessary
permission and signatures in order to
file the "cash bond" which had been
laid on us - simply as harassment.
All of the checks were drawn on
out of town banks and our Austin
bank was immediately contacted so
that the collection of them could begin. Generally it takes 10 days, so that
it was necessary for us to obtain a
special arrangement with a bank to
secure a "cashier's check." The bank
we have been dealing with arbitrarily
refused, but another bank agreed.
All of this took until 1 :00 p.m.
on 28 December and our attorney
then proceeded to the courthouse
where the supersedeas bond was obtained by 3:30 p.m. It was that close.
We were rescued by American
Atheists donating "little checks." It
was the classic "little guy" who came
through in the dutch.

February,

~I

1979

You Atheists who responded in
time and with sufficient funds are on
an honor roll etched in our brains
which can never be forgotten. "Thank
you" is not enough. You will witness
the deeds of the American Atheist
Center coming up in 1979 arid thereafter.
While we were in the midst of all
of this, almost as if they were moving
in for the kill, we were struck with
several other heavy blows. The mortgage holder, a savings and loan association, called us to arbitrarily raise the
mortgage payment by $400/month,
with a $2,000 "escrow" account payment due on 1 January.
Also our printer got to us and told
us that the price of the magazine
would be raised to the point that it
costs us $l.OO/issue to print it. In both
cases we were cited "inflation" as the
cause.
In any event, the internal and the
external attacks on the only real, viable, active American Atheist group in
the United States is underway.
But we are not alone. Even an organization which hides its Atheist
premises under another name is in
similar difficulties, as we found out
that the American Humanist Association is currently being torn asunder
by an internal rift. The Humanist magazine is in stressful financial condition
and has continued during these last
years only because of enormous grants
of money made to it by individuals
and by foundations.
Its editor for
many years, and a person who has
brought it to some standard of excellence and even a bit of boldness,
Paul Kurtz, is being kicked out of his
job summarily. In extended conversations with us, Paul Kurtz theorizes
that perhaps there is some kind of infiltration and effort to destroy aimed
at the viable groups, the doers, those
who are effectively "anti-theistic," as
he puts it.
We only know what we feel and see,
and a part of what we see is that the
self-proclaimed "great separationist"
group, Americans United, now is
fighting FOR the right of religious
schools to practice segregation while in
receipt of tax funding and tax exemption and special status rights. We have
warned for years that this is truly a
Baptist organization, but, alas, Atheists
fall for anyone pretending to "prestigious" support. Americans United fights
as hard for segregation as for exemption on Baptist business.

The American

Atheist

We will survive. We plan to do more
than that. We are going to grow.We are
going to strengthen
in our determination and our effort. We put each and
all on notice:
do your damnedest Atheists are a hardy stock. By the year
2000 the U.S. is going to be Atheistic
and we are the organization
which is
going to get the nation there. Attack

how you will - we can parry. Pressure
anytime and anywhere:
you are a flea
on the back of a dog of progress. This
dog is going to get where he is going,
and he will be a continuing clarion call
to all the "little guys" who stood firm.
No doubt our theistic foes hoped
we would opt for the "Jim Jones" way
out in the face of harassment.
The

AtheistWomen:'This dance only'
In November of 1978, the organization of American
Atheist Women
was asked by the Arms Control and
Disarmament
Agency
of the
U.S.
Department
of State to send representatives
to the "Conference
for
Women on SALT II" which was to be
held at the State
Department
in
Washington, D.C., on 5 December.
S.O.S. Secretary
Jon Murray and
Dr. Madalyn
O'Hair were in attendance. American
Atheists Mary Lee
and Dr. Edward
Estey were kind
enough to offer the hospitality of their
home to the American Atheist Women
delegates and a three-day visit was ac-

"

complished.
About 300 representatives
of all the
major women's
groups in the United
States were in attendance,
and many
gave out literature.
The women were
enthusiastic
participants
in the panelized question-and-answer
periods which
were featured throughout
the presentation.
The moderator was Thomas Halsted,
of the Council of Foreign Relations,
the International
Institute of Strategic
Studies and the Arms Control Association. George M. Seignious, the newly
appointed
Director of the U.S. Arms
Control and Disarmament
Agency, and

I congratulate the State Department of the United States
for its perception of the need for domestic political education,
which is evidenced by the exercise of inviting heads of citizen's
groups - particularly women's organizations - to a Conference on SALT.
This is an exciting human event.
Behind this polite, measured, well-structured presentation,
the State Department of the United States is saying today
that the arms race has failed. Twenty-five years ago those of us
who proposed limiting that arms race could not convince the
State Department that the effort should be undertaken. Now
we are told that the sophistication of technology reaching all
nations has brought a stand-off, in State Department parlance
"a deterrent balance," and a "nuclear parity. " In essence,
technology is our savior.
Ambassador Marshall Shulman states that we must deal
now as equals, the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and that a treaty
will be concluded.
What is most significant, today, is that this presentation
of the failure of escalation is made to representatives of
women's groups, suddenly now politically significant. The war
games of men end in the peace goals of women.
The State Department is asking us to go out as ambass-

Austin, Texas

Warren Christopher,
Deputy Secretary
of State, were principal speakers with
the burden of the meeting upon Ambassador Paul C. Warnke, chief SALT
negotiator for the U.S.
Anne Wexler,
assistant
to President Carter, made a long presentation,
as did Ambassador
Marshall D. Shulman, Special Adviser to the Secretary
of State on Soviet Affairs. David J.
Fischer,
Director
of the Office of
Public
Programs,
Bureau
of Public
Affairs, gave special informational
disclosures,
along with Dr. Victor
E.
Alessi, deputy chief of the Strategic
Arms Division of the Arms Control
and Disarmament
Agency.
A special feature of the presentation was the inclusion of female representation
on the conference
agenda,
particularly
that of Anne H. Cahn,
Chief of the Social Impact Staff, Weapons Evaluation
and Control Bureau,
Adalyn Davis, Deputy Public Affairs
Advisor,
and
Katherine
N. Smith,
Legislative Management
Officer of the
U.S. Congress.
Toward the end of the conference
Dr. O'Hair summed up what had been
said, and challenged the 'State Department in this manner:

adors to sell the SALT II treaty as a beginning of limitations
which may lead to disarmament. I hope every group here
represented will enthusiastically accept the task. Since I see
that Phyllis Schlafly is not here, my hope may even be fulfilled.
Your message to us is. that we women must apply the
necessary pressures so that the treaty gets through the Senate. This is an admission that the State Department does not
trust the Senate to do what needs to be done. Those we optimistically designate as our representatives (politicians),
must be persuaded to accept. You ask this because you find
that women here represented are concerned and knowledgeable
with the problem.
I do not have an argument with the substance of your
presentation, I have an argument with the tone of it. That
comes over constantly that the United States has a superior system, economically, politically and morally - i.e., interspersed
with the presentation is a qualitative evaluation of the two
systems. I can see that this has to do with national pride, pride
in our system.
But, the question of morality is not relevant to the SALT
equation and can only exacerbate domestic political problems
which we have. The tone set is the same as that of Jimmy

February,

1/

halls of the Atheist Center in the midst
of the attacks have rung with "cyanide"
jokes.
We are in there to live and fight for
the truth; while the religious fanatics
are out there exalting and dying for
Jesus. The best people will win; the
meek do not inherit the earth.
~

1979

Page 7

Carter with his concern for what he calls "human rights. " The
State Department and our chief executive cannot play a
morals game and expect the Soviet Union to accept our indictment in that area. The State Department should take the lead
in showing also that the Russian system is different - not better, not worse - but that its cultures are predicated on different premises. With Russia, what you see is what you get. Deal
with it; don't try to reform it. The State Department should
have enough geopolitical sense and real concern for the world's
peoples to be able to accept that Russia is there, it is real, and
that it is, now, militarily coequal.
[The conference had many veiled references to the superior
moral, i.e., religious, position of the United States vis-a-vis any
country which was not religious, i.e., Atheistic. The inference
was that religious (theistic) persons were more reliable, more
trustworthy, more honorable and more ethical. This particular emphasis was placed on a part of the projected SALT
treaty concerned with monitoring. The U.S. position was repeatedly stated as one which would rely on "intelligence
capability" because of the inability to rely on "trust" with

Indian
Atheist
Leader
Visits
AID.eriean Center
During
October and November of last year, the head of
the Indian Atheist Centre visited the United States, various
American Atheist chapters and the American Atheist Center.
Lavanam is GORA's eldest son. He was born in 1930 at
the time of the famous act of defiance of Mahatma Gandhi,
the "Salt Satyagrha," and since his father had abandoned
naming his children after Indian gods and goddesses or holy
men, he was named "Lavanam," which means "salt." Lavanam chose to be closely affiliated with his father from a very
early age and was first arrested at age 12 for participating in
the "Quit India" movement directed against British colonialism in 1942. Jon Murray, the director of the American Atheist
Center, found much in common with Lavanam since Jon's first
arrest and jailing for the cause of Atheism was in 1965, in
Mexico, at age eight.
GORA spent some time living in Gandhi's Sevegram Ashram
when he was having discussions with Gandhi concerning Atheism, and Lavanam was with his father and Gandhi during those
years.
He learned the trick of walking on fire and even as a child
defied the Hindu system of inter-caste dining. As a young man
he married Hema, the daughter of an Indian poet of the "untouchable" caste. GORA's family was of the Brahmin caste.

Page 8

February,

~J

1979

Russia. The basic underpinned position was that the Soviet
Union could "trust" the U.S. which is theistic and moral,
while the U.S. could not "trust" the Soviets who are Atheists
and hence immoral.]
I see the State Department of the United States hoisted
on its own petard. It is one of the governmental agencies
which taught Americans to hate Russia. Can the State Department, then, undo what it has done? We women have come to
your conference; but from the questions here you can see
plainly that we have not, really, brought our trust with us.
We move cautiously, not enthusiastically, to support
you, for women know the real meaning of war. In your format you are pleading with the women of the United States.
I think we are saying "for this dance only," and that your
initial briefing process here must become a continuing communication with the internals of your own nation. The State
Department of the United States needs to have the nation
behind it. I am delighted to be a part of the beginning process
which may effectuate that in the future. "

Advocating Atheism and social change, he traveled extensively in India, at one time during the 1950s acting as a translator for the famous Vinoba Bhave. In 1962, he walked with
his father on the Sevagram-to-Delhi march for economic
equality and partyless, pompless democracy.The 1,100-mile
march was accomplished in 100 days. He has been arrested
many times, being jailed for as much as a month at a time.
India's government has been slowly recognizing his worth
and from 1965 to 1968 he was the assistant secretary of the
All-India Sarva Seva Sangh. In 1973, he was the state coordinator (for the state of Andhra Pradish) for the "Youth Against
Famine" campaign sponsored by the Education Ministry. For
this he conducted several student and youth camps in rural
areas, and in an innovative area he campaigned for and put
into effect the co-mingling of boys from Borstal School (for
juvenile delinquents) with collegians in social service camps.
In 1974, Lavanam began his work of reforming and rehabilitating criminals in the Tribe Settlements at Sitanagaram,
Stuartpuram, Kappralatippa and Kavali in Andhra Pradish. He
is the secretary and state coordinator of the Gandhi Peace
Foundation, a member of the State Level Committee on the
Implementation of the Protection of Civil Rights Act, for
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, appointed by the
government to this task.
In November of 1977, after a devastating cyclone and
tidal wave hit east-central India, Lavanam was named the convenor of the coordination committee of Voluntary Agencies
in the affected areas.
He has lectured extensively in Canada, Japan, South
Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, as well as
in the United States. He is the current director of the Atheist
Centre in Patamata, Vijawada, Andhra Pradish, India, and the
editor of the Sangham (Society) and Arthik Samata (Economic Equality) weeklies which are printed in the Telugu language
at the Atheist Centre, as well as being editor of the Insaan
(Human)
Hindhi-language monthly, and The A theist, an
English-language monthly.
Visiting extensively in the United States, Lavanam spent
time with the New Jersey, Ohio, Kentucky and Texas chapters
of American Atheists, as well as with the American Atheist
Museum in Indiana. We found Lavanam to be worldly wise,
dedicated, and in earnest concerned with the need for change
from theism to Atheism in India and we look forward to continuing cooperation with him and the Indian Atheist Centre.

The American

Atheist

NEWS
CLERGY EXEMPT FROM TAX CRUNCH
Excerpted from the "Employer's
Internal Revenue Service, Department

of churches

performing

duties as

15 (Rev. November

1978) of the

Treatment under different employment taxes

Special classes of employment
and special types of payment
Ministers
such.

Tax Guide" (Circular E) Publication
of the Treasury.

Income tax withholding

Social security

Federal unemployment

!
(Taxable
Exempt
if both
employer
and employee
voluntarily agree.)

Exempt

Exempt

a. For the order, agency of the supervising church or associated institution.

Exempt

Exempt,
unless
religious
the
order or autonomous
subdivision thereof irrevocably elects
entire
active
coverage
for
membership
and its lay ernployees.

Exempt

b. For any organization
other than
those described in (a.)
(See Revenue Rulings 76-323,
1976-2
C.B. 18, and 77-290,
1977-2 C.B. 26.)

Taxable

Taxable

Taxable

a. For the order, agency of the supervising church or associated institution.

Exempt

Exempt

Exempt

b. For any organization
other than
those described in (a.)
(See Rev_ Ruls. 76-323 and 77-290.)

Taxable

Taxable

Taxable

Members of religious
orders, who have
taken a vow of poverty and who are in·
structed by the order to perform servo

ices:

Members of religious
orders, who have
not taken a vow of poverty, and who are
instructed by the order to perform servo
ices:

_.

Guess who must pay the taxes these self-ordained

MONKEYS
TROUNCE
CHRISTIANS
Score one for us.
In a modern version of the Scopes
monkey trial, a federal judge ruled
that
the Smithsonian
Institution
doesn't have to thump the Christian
Bible alongside its exhibit on evolution.
U.S. District Judge Barrington D.
Parker ruled on 11 December against
a Washington, D.C. man and two religious groups who complained the
museum "presents evolution as the

Austin, Texas

"men of god" are unconstitutionally

only credible theory of the origin of
life."
One of the Christian plaintiffs had
asked the judge to stop a planned
$463,200 evolution exhibit or to compel the Smithsonian to spend an equal
amount for one on the biblical account
of the origin of man.
The suit against the Smithsonian
and its officials contended the evolution theory "is based on the assumption that man and all life on Earth is
the consequence of a series of accidents of molecular combination in the
dateless past."
Judge Parker said, "This is not a
situation where the Smithsonian has
put an unconstitutional condition on
plaintiffs' exercise of their belief ...
The plaintiffs can carry their beliefs
into the museum with them, though
they risk seeing science exhibits contrary to that faith."
One of the plaintiffs was quoted as
saying that "If we believe we descended
from animals, we are going to act like
animals." The father of that plaintiff
heads the National Bible Knowledge
Association.

February, 1979

exempt from?

... ditto in Georgia
Another victory - of sorts - was
won last November in Georgia where
religionists have been demanding that
local school boards direct that equal
time be given to the "creation theory"
for the origin of life in all life science
classes.
The state school board in Atlanta
ruled by an 8-2 decision in its monthly
meeting that it should not set a policy
on the matter and adopted the state
textbook
committee's
recommendation without debate.
The creation theory holds that life
or the favorable conditions for life
were established on Earth by a divine
being who in no way resembles a monkey. "Creationists" are Christians who
would have all children indoctrinated
into the Christian cult despite overwhelming scientific evidence which debunks the creation theory and leaves
serious doubts about the mental stability of those who wallow in such ignorance in defense of deities of their
own creation

Page 9

NEWS
CATHOLICS CENSOR FEMINIST PLAY
One can scarcely expect Roman
Catholics who've been born and bred
in that mind-decaying cult to ever gain
sufficient objectivity -- and independence of thought - to examine their
own denomination as infallibly as they
do others.
Most are born, reared, marry and
die knowing only other Catholics within the limited horizons of the city,
state or province of their birth. Such is
the effect of the early-implanted and
weekly reinforced "fear of the lord"
by which the clerical sherherds control
their woolly charges.
The Roman Catholic Church is particularly infamous for its attempts at
censoring the reading material not
only of its prey, but - when allowed that of all people. By denying alternative viewpoints to their docile lambs
the Catholic prelates insure the continued submission of their fundamentally
ignorant flock.
In December of last year the Roman
Catholic Church in Montreal, Quebec,
was roused to a state of acute animosity as they sought to prevent all persons
from attending or reading a feminist
play which portrayed their fictional
virgin Mary in less than a divine light.
The focal point of the clash was a
militantly feminist play called Les
Fees On t Soif (The Fairies Are Thirsty),
in which the church, through the Virgin Mary, is denounced for its part in
keeping women ignorant of their own
subjugation.
Livid at what they deemed blasphemy, Catholic groups obtained a
temporary injunction against sale of
the play in bookshops. The Quebec
literary and theatrical world in turn
became outraged at this example of
modern-day thought control being
practiced by the past master of the
"sacred art" of keeping the blinders on
their draft animals.
Controversy began to mount well
before the play commenced a highly
successful run in November at the
Theater of the New World, because
part of the theater group's subsidy had
been withheld by the Arts Council of
Greater Montreal, an official body
that attempts to encourage cultural
activities. The council was reluctant
to back what it saw as a controversial
work, but it only contributed to the
controversy by making the play the
most talked-about theater event of the
season.
Until the "quiet revolution" of the
early 1960s, the play could probably

Page 10

not have been produced, so tight was
Catholic censorship in those days. But
since the 1960s the growing broadmindedness of Canadians has so weakened the church's hold over education
and intellectual life that new forms of
militancy among French men and
women have been encouraged.
The fairies in the play are three
women, representing three aspects of
the feminine condition - the virgin
Mary, a housewife, and a prostitute.
There is no plot as such, just a long
and embittered lament on the role that
men have assigned to women and women's efforts to liberate themselves
from their situation.
The virgin Mary is depicted as an
earthy character (can you imaginei )
who first appears as a statue but who
keeps breaking out of it to say things
like, "I am the mirror of injustice."
As you might imagine, the male
Catholic prelates were furious. The
archbishop of Montreal admitted that
he had not seen the play, but said he
knew enough about it from "trustworthy persons" to condemn it. He
complained that Mary "has been made
a mere puppet, an invention of masculine domination, a fiction responsible
for the alienation of women."

Following their shepherds' denunciation, a dutiful group of Catholic
organizations, including the Knights of
Columbus, the Young Canadians for
Christian Civilization [oy ueyl]; and
the Association of Catholic Parents of
Quebec, sought an injunction against
the play on the grounds that it was
"filthy, sacrilegious and blasphemous"
and [take note] it undermines the
Catholic faith.
A Superior Court judge temporarily
enjoined sales of the book version until full hearings could be held. Only
because the play was about to end its
run did the judge refuse to prevent

February, 1979

further performances. The producers
said they intend to offer the play again
next year.
The partial injunction brought howls
of denunciation,
including several
newspaper editorials. Le Devoir, the
intellectual French daily that has had
close links with the church, said: "We
are in the presence of an act of censorship. We have known in Quebec in
other times censorship of ideas of
books, films and art works. We have
known the regime of religious unanimity. That time has passed."
.

Has it really? .

Italians
May Dump
Catholicism~~"'-lo
Italy, the kitchen of Roman Catholicism, is rapidly preparing to dump that
age-old cult of superstition as its
official state religion.
Italy would drop Roman Catholicism as its state religion under a proposal presented to the Senate in late
1978 by Premier Giulio Andreotti.
The proposal, worked out by Vatican and Italian negotiators and submitted on 6 December, would revise
the Concordat, a 49-year-old agreement that has governed relations between Italy and the Roman Catholic
Church.
The proposed revision of the pact
signed during the facist era of Benito
Mussolini could set a new pattern for
state-church relations long overdue in
Italy and in other predominantly Roman Catholic nations.
The major points of the agreement,
in its third draft after two years of negotiations, include:

* Roman Catholicism would no
longer be Italy's state religion - a
change that would mean, among
other things, that religious education
in Italian schools would no longer be
compulsory.
* Defrocked churchmen and women would no longer be banned from
holding public jobs.
* The status of church property in
Italy and tax privileges would come
under scrutiny of the Italian government.
The American Atheist

t

Ruth:
Jimmy Serves
Jesus

For those Americans who may have
wondered whether President Jimmy
Carter is able to set aside his Christian
biases towards those not of his nor
any other "faith" so as to perform the

On
12 December 1978, Dr. Madalyn
Murray O'Hair,spokesperson for American Atheism, revealed for the first
time that the American Atheists
organization had acquired a priceless
relic or"human heritage.
Speaking breathlessly almost with
reverence (you should excuse the
expression) she made the announcement while other Atheists, gathered
for the occasion, sat in hushed silence.
It seems that during a trip to the
mysterious Far East, in the summer of
1978, she and her family were able,
secretly, to acquire and to smuggle
past U.S. Customs Service inspectors,
the priceless "Shroud of Socrates."
This linen cloth had been known
historically in the dim reaches of the
Far East since the year 1353. It had
been handed down by its successive
owners, within one cult of Socra-philes
since the time an escaping Greek had
reverently taken it from the body of
the martyred Greek philosopher after
he was forced to drink the hemlock
(399 B.C. - the date being stamped
on the Shroud). The cloth has previously been displayed only six times,
all during the 19th century, and each
time within the restricted Socra-phile
communities of the Far East.

Rust-colored stains on the cloth are
said to be the actual impressions formed by the corpse of Socrates. Certain
other stains have been chemically identified as hemlock and matters regur-

Austin,

Texas

Z*

NEWS
duties of his office with a fair impartiality, forget it. His kinfolk know him
better than that.
Brother Jimmy Carter is "first of
all a Christian, and then president." So
says Carter's evangelical sister, Ruth,
who made the comment to a Lutheran
magazine while touring West Germany
recently.

Ruth Carter Stapleton termed her
brother a "follower of the radical Jesus, the leader of the rejected." She
added that he, therefore, always will
give first place to human rights and
"hold up the mirror to America's
materialism."
She gave this assessment of Carter to the German monthly, Luiherische Monatshefte.

gitated by Socrates in his death throes.
These stains require further detailed
analyzation to determine more accurately the foods consumed by the notorious "Gadfly of Athens" during
his Last Supper with his disciples.

of the linen causes this precious relic
to be of such delicacy that it cannot
be perceived by the impure whose reason is hopelessly clouded by layer upon
layer of religious superstition.
The presence of the Shroud in the
Atheist Center has already been responsible for "miraculous" cures to
long-time physical ailments of some
Atheist employees which, the staff
claims, had heretofore proven incurable using the latest medical techniques.

~'

The precious relic is currently under intense scrutiny by a team of
Atheist-experts using the latest radioactive carbon-dating techniques. Several strands of human hair will be
analyzed and are expected to be positively identified as being from the
head of this magnificent philosopher
immortalized in the writings of his star
pupil, Plato.
Mysterious letters dating from the
14th century are also a part of the
treasure. These letters allude to an
avowal associated with a discourse, revealed in a conversation, committed
to rote, of the impression of a casual
bystander of what was gasped by a
dying man in the 9th century - that
the Shroud of Socrates is not a fraud
as religious skeptics of that time had
claimed.
After final authentification,
the
Shroud of Socrates will be displayed
at the American Atheist Center in
Austin, Texas. "Its value is inestimable," said' Jon Murray, director of
the center. "It will be insured by
Lloyd's of London and only the most
dedicated Atheists of the world will
be permitted to view it," he said. Mr.
Murray claimed that the fragile nature

February, 1979

One employee of the center had
an inflamed wart on his toe cured
after the briefest of contact with the
Shroud. Still another staffer was cured
of his life-long case of viciously curly
hair after wearing the Shroud around
his scalp in turban-like fashion for 40
days and 39 nights.
Mrs. O'Hair refused to identify the
Far Eastern Socra-philes, thickly veiled
in obscurity, who preserved this relic,
but she did indicate that certain other
facts would be released to the public
after ancient Sanskrit manuscripts
are translated to the satisfaction of
the American Atheist Center.
"The Shroud," she claimed, "would
prove the historicity of Socrates beyond all doubt," and would put to rest
"ugly and vicious rumors" which,
through the ages, have cast him as a
mythological figure.

Page 11

NEWS
Huckster's
Hospital Hype
Hampered
Score one for the First Amendment.
Religion
huckster
Oral Roberts'
plan to build an enormous hospital to
provide
"spiritual
care" along with
physical care has been ruled in violation of the Establishment
Clause of
the First Amendment
to the U.S.
Constitution.
In April of 1978, the Oklahoma
Health Planning Commission
decided
to allow Oral Roberts
University
to
build his "City of Faith"
Hospital
which
Roberts
said would provide
"holistic"
medical treatment
- a com: .
bination
of medica! and' "spiritual" .
care. This modern terminology
for old
dogma
has been used to describe
treatment
of a person's
medical,
as well as spiritual needs.
At Roberts' City of Faith, this concept would include a medical team
composed of doctors, nurses and other
medical specialists as well as modern.day witchdoctors
known as "prayer
partners."
The three commissioners
on the
OHPC approved
the construction
of
the bizarre facility in April primarily
on the grounds that the evangelist's
thousands
of followers could not find
rational doctors of science who would
do anything but laugh at their requests
for "holistic"
medical
care in any
competent
facility.
On 1 December of1978, Tulsa (OK)
County Judge Ronald Ricketts overturned the OHPC's permission on the
grounds
that
"holistic"
treatment
in the City of Faith should not be used
as a criteria for permitting
the construction of new hospital space in Tulsa. "The manner in which the OHPC
resolved the issue of constituent
need
did violate the Establishment
Clause of
the First Amendment,"
which provides for separation
of state and
church, Judge Ricketts said.
"The description
of the concept of
holistic medicine in the record brings
it within the meaning of religion as
used in the First Amendment,"
the
judge ruled. He said the original plan
for the hospital included a religious
as well as a medical function.
"The singular
uniqueness
of the
ORU philosophy
is the incorporation
of prayer in the delivery of health care
in order to minister to man's spiritual
needs," the judge said.
Earlier in the week before Judge
Ricketts'
decision,
attorney
for the

Page 12

Tulsa Area Hospital Counci Bill Raul
had argued
that
ORU's
desire to
provide
"holistic"
medical
care is
unconstitutional.
"You
can't determine need on that kind of basis. A
religious need is a prohibited,
unconstitutional
need. It would be a horrendous decision, if it is allowed to stand,"
Raul opined.
The hospital council contends there
already is an excess of hospital beds in
Tulsa.
ORU contends
the City of
Faith is not designed to serve residents of Tulsa, but the nationwide
flock of evangelist Roberts.
An attorney
for ORU answered
charges
of unconstitutionality'
.with
a statement
for
those
(especially
Atheists) who think they have a right
to be free of theism and other forms
of superstition.
ORU attorney
James
Miller stated that the First Amendment
"safeguards freedom of religion - not
freedom from religion."

$

Sunday
$$
Parishioners $
Cough Up
$$$
$2 Million

$

Late in 1978, the Guileless Book of
Obscene
Records
had a new entry
under the category of "Shearing the
Flock" as a church in Lubbock, Texas,
hauled' in over $2 million in its collection plates in a single day.
The Broadway
Church
of Christ
with its 3,000-member
congregation
had been preparing for several weeks
for a late November Sunday collection
so that they might try to top the
previous record of $1.65 million in
untaxed
dollars
reaped
by another
flock
of god-fearing
Christians
in
Kirkland, Washington,
in June of last
year.
The
faithful
of the Broadway
Church
presented
their ecstatically
pleased clergy with $1.65 million in
cash and also coughed up two lots of
property
in Ruidoso, New Mexico, a
pecan orchard, a house, fine jewelry,
a teen-ager's
guitar and a 5-year-old's
tricycle.
The well-heeled
clergy planned to
use the bonanza
to defray the $3.8
million cost of a three-story
"educational" building.
"There was a real feeling of closeness last Sunday
night
when
we
thought we might be getting near $2
million,"
a church
spokesman
said.
The final tally, he said, was exactly
$2,005,637.

February,

1979

Latest
Polish Joke:
John Paulll
The new Catholic pope of Polish
origin has already begun to disappointthe liberal wing of his flock with his
endorsements
of his conservative Italian
predecessors'
life-denying policies.
Most recently John Paul II reaffirmed Catholicism's
1,500-year-old
ban on
marriage for priests.
"Let us not be ashamed. Yes, we
are in the world, but we are not worldly ," the pope said, drawing long applause from an audience composed of
1 ,300 celibate priests and friars.
Catholicism's
unnatural
doctrine of
celibacy
is believed
to be a main
cause for the defection
of priests,
which have risen worldwide from about
1,000 in 1965 to an annual rate of
about
4,000 - one percent
of the
world's 400,000 priests. In the United
States, it is estimated
that more than
8,000
Roman
Catholic
priests have
resigned since 1965.

*

*

*

In another
anti-life
pontification
from Rome, John Paul II has urged
nuns not to permit any feminist sympathies to overshadow
their call to a
chaste, poor and obedient
life in the
male-dominated
Roman
Catholic
Church.
"Yes, my sisters, in the church you
can show the proper place of women,"
he said to an audience, of 600 mother
superiors of religious orders.
The appeal for women
to know
their place came four days after a gathering of American nuns and lay Catholic women in Baltimore
demanded
admission
of women into the priesthood. The American conference
cited
the church's
"structural
sin of parochial sexism."
. American nuns who gave up their
traditional
uniforms in favor of more
modern and casual garb are reluctant
to go back to the old ways, in spite
of the pope's orders.
"I don't
think the original habit
will ever come back," said nun Magdeline
Brophy
of Pittsburgh.
She
described
the old black uniforms
as
"outdated
and unsanitary.
They were
so heavy and so long you dragged the
streets with them."
A New York nun who asked not
to be identified
by name said that
the pope's call for a return to the old
uniform
was "like a request to put
toothpaste
back in the tube."

The American

Atheist

*
by Albert
*

w'en
I was finishing up college 40
years ago, virtually none of my classmates gave any credence to astrology
palmistry, card reading, fortune telling:
phrenology, or allied occult "sciences."
I doubt whether I could have located a
single one who had any iota of belief
in exorcism. Millions of Americans
on lower educational levels were of
course devoted, in those days, to astrology and other kinds of prophecy.
But college students? Well, hardly
ever!
Time marches on - alas, in reverse.
As far as I can see, the majority - yes,
the distinct majority - of American
collegians subscribe to at least one
kind of magical or mystical nonsense.
And many endorse almost everything
from phrenology to guruism. What's
more, they devoutly believe that they
are aiding human knowledge by these
nutty espousals. Probably at least half
of the country agrees with them.
As I lecture at leading university
campuses - which I do about 40 times
a year - I am continually asked questions like, "Under what sign were you
born?" "Isn't mysticism more profound than science?" And, "Even
though you say you espouse a highly
rational form of psychotherapy, aren't
you really a guru?" All of these show
me exactly where my questioners are
and how pointed their heads are.
A recent and perhaps the most
dramatic case in point is "The Exorcist." This enormously best-selling
novel and record-breaking popular film
has not only thrilled millions of readers
and viewers, but has induced sizable
numbers of them to believe strongly
in its thoroughly asinine tenets - and
not a few to feel themselves possessed
of a devil, experiencing all kinds of
physical and emotional disturbances
and sometimes literally winding up in
a mental hospital.
The arrant hogwash that permeates
"The Exoricst" is typical of that sub,
scribed to by innumerable True Believers (to use Eric Hoffer's apt term)
in astrology, sorcery, witchcraft and
other forms of magic or fortune telling.
Some of the main ideas promulgated
by the novel and film are that: Immensely powerful and deeply mysterious
evil forces exist in the universe and are
incarnated in the form of a devil; these
devilish forces are superhuman and can
easily take over humans and can com-

illrnrnW[K@~®
iC
If the stars
rule your life
you were born
under the sign
of ignorance

AIbert Ellis, Ph.O., is executive
di rector of the Institute for Advanced
Study in Rational Psychotherapy in
New York City, a well-known psychotherapist, and author of over 400 articles and 34 books and monographs
including A Guide to Rational Living.

Austin, Texas

February, 1979

1/

Ellis,

Ph.D.

pel them to do impossible acts; certain
ritual and rites, particularly of a religious nature, can overwhelm the forces
of evil; in the final analysis, human
goodness and courage, especially when
abetted by self-sacrifice, triumph over
badness and horror, and that while
science is helpless in the face of demoniacal possession, magic and religion
which are infinitely more powerful
than science and ordinary human
knowledge can overcome such deviltry.
All these propositions, as virutally
any reasonably bright and thinking
person (that is, one who uses logic and
the empiracalmethod)
can see, are
most proabably drivel. Why?
* Because they are mainly vague
generalizations which cannot be pinned down to concrete reality testing.
* Because they, when partially
tested, show very low probabilities of
being factual or true.
* Because they are set up in such
indefinite terms that it is impossible
to definitely prove or disprove them.
* Because those who dogmatically
hold them almost always have ulterior
motives for their beliefs; especially the
conviction that if such fancies as
prophecy and excorcism are true
those who believe will surmount hu:
man limitations, will live forever, will
be holier than thou, and will presumably wind up in heaven on the righthand side of god, while the rest of
us mere mortals who disbelieve - or
merely take religion straight - will
doubtless end up in Hades.
When a person rigidly believes
anything outlandish that is highly improbable, that is deliberately stated in
an untestable way, and that includes
mystical or magical entities that are
both unprovable and undisprovable,
we can, easily suspect that he or she
has important psychological reasons
for inventing or accepting this kind
of twaddle. These reasons, or hangups, are usually as follows:
THE NEED FOR CERTAINTY.
Believers in various kinds of astrology
and (to coin a term) astralogy almost
always have a dire need for certainty.
Like the rest of us, they do not like
ignorance and disorder. But they absolutely need, or think that they must
have, order and certitude. And since
there are (as far as we scientifically
know) no absolutes, no imperatives
and no utter guarantees in human
life, they become anxious and de-

Page 13

pressed with the lack of what they
think they need.
Consequently, they invent all kinds
of demons, such as ineffable evil and
devils incarnate, and all kinds of
deities, such as prophets and excorcists, to (temporarily) chase away
these demons.
Since no one can logically-empirically prove or disprove their demons
and deities, they can remain completely certain that these fantasies do
have a real existence; and, perversely,
they feel "safe" - and often, absolutely safe - from the nonexistent
devils they have fabricated. This is
something like recognizing that a beloved person may reject you (which,
of course, is true); foolishly believing
that it is awful and horrible, instead
of merely very unpleasant, to get rejected; fantasizing that you are a godlike creature who is above earthly
love (which is, to say the least, dubious), and thereby "saving" yourself from the devil (rejection) that you
have invented. You are thereby "safe"
- and also uninvolved in vital living
and loving!
THE NEED FOR DEPENDENCY.
People who subscribe to various forms
of prophecy and control by mysterious
forces are generally dependent individuals who despair of solving difficult
life situations themselves and think
that they must have some higher,
supernatural power that really cares
about them and that will help and protect them all their lives.
Because of their intense selfdowning, they make themselves feel
truly helpless and hopeless and thereby escalate the real hassles and evils in
the world - with which they actually
could learn to live with normally
if they tried - into demoniac forces
that are insurmountable. They then
require some kind of Fairy Godmother
or Angel Gabriel to aid them in their
hour (or decades!) of need; and they
somehow manage to find that savior,
too. This helps them, very nicely, to
remain whining, inordinately needful
babies all their lives.
GRANDIOSITY & EGO-RAISING.
Those who fervidly adhere to magical
and
mystical
beliefs frequently,
whether they are aware of this or not,
do so out of grandiosity or out of
powerful ego-raising urges.
If they can somehow acquire
special powers of clairvoyance, fortune
telling, astral understanding, or cosmic
consciousness, they will then be phenomenally more achieving and superior
than other mere humans. Or so they
think!

Page 14

They therefore develop amazing
ways of fooling the public, and often
themselves, by faking the "evidence"
of their supposedly
supernatural
powers. Harry Houdini, the famous
stage magician, devoted many years
to disproving the estrasensory powers
of every single medium he was allowed
to investigate.
Innumerable soothsayers and telepathists have been unmasked as charlatans or psychotics. But if every mindreader in the world is fully exposed
as a faker (as legitimate magicians
and scientists are gradually exposing
them), I will make an almost foolproof prediction of my own: Millions
of gullible humans, 'most of whom are
strongly endowed with the urge to
prove how incredibly noble they are or
how godlike are the necromancers and
gurus to whom they give obeisance,
will still immutably hold that they or
their Anointed Ones are wizards, and
that they absolutely know this is so.
UNWILLINGNESS TO ACCEPT
HUMAN RESTRICTIONS.
Human
beings, for all their marvelous craniums
and their ability to change the world
around them, are tragically limited in
many ways.
They are easily hurt or pained by
external assault. They are continually
frustrated in many of their desires.
They are clearly limited in their physical prowess. They are prone to considerable
psychological
difficulties.
And, perhaps most important of all,
they have a limited life span, with no
more than religious faith to guarantee
an afterlife.
This is a hard thing for people to
accept. Most of them probably, in one
way or another, don't. They resent
these facts, which is a sad commentary
on human sagacity and realism.
Many of us, however, more or less
make peace with the high probability
of our own earthy limitations and
eventual death. Not so the occultists!
They pig-headedly refuse to accept
their condition and limitation.
This tendency is graphically shown
in the so-called ESP, or estrasensory
perception, movement that has recently
become so popular in this country. As
a little (very little!) fairly good research
by American and Russian scientists has
shown during the last 20 years, it is
quite possible that a few people
(damned few) have a small amount of
paranormal or unusual perception.
Such individuals have sensory abilities, such as ability to perceive by heat
rather than eye sensations, that most
of us do not have. Consequently, if
you lay an ace of diamonds and a 10

February, 1979

of diamonds face downwards on a
table, they may be able to tell which
one is the 10 by passing their hands
(with their unusual heat receptors)
above the cards.
This kind of paranormal perception
is definitely NOT extrasensory
which means (according to Webster's
New World Dictionary) "outside the
realm of the senses; apart from sense
perception. "
But because so many antirealists
are True Believers in extrasensory
phenomena - that is, truly spiritborne or nonmaterial phenomena they keep using terms like extrasensory
perception when they really mean
unusual sensory perception.
A horse of a completely different
color! This is a strong sign that even
when controlled scientific experiments
show that, at most, a few people have
special or unique but still obviously
human abilities, the occultist crackpots
- whose name is now, more so than
50 years ago, becoming incredibly legion - insist on stating or implying
that such abilities are indubitably
superhuman.
And, of course, that
superhuman factors are virtually everywhere.
Just about all the more common
forms of occultism that now are believed in by hordes of human "adults"
- including astrology, fortune telling,
prophecy, tarot card reading, numerology and exorcism - are, at bottom,
justifications or rationalizations
for
character weakness. There is probably
no way most of these people will ever
give up these beliefs, because they get
gratifications and ego .rnassage from
them.
Such believers can confound the
most learned theologian or scientist by
challenging - "prove it isn't so!"
But it is only by understanding
what dependence on occult power in lieu of one's own brain and heart says about an individual that this nonsense can be counteracted. To place
one's
fate
in
stars,
numbers,
playing cards or devils is to admit
your failure as a rational human
being.
~

The Case Against Religion:
A Psychotherapist's

View

- by Albert Ellis, Ph.D.
Booklet available for $2.00
from American Atheist Press,
PO Box 2117, Austin, TX 78768

The American Atheist

(

Three bitches with loaves and fishes
at a roadside stop in Texas

No one noticed.
These modern westward-hoers eager to eat
Clasped hands around
the supermarket bounty
and bowed heads,
their act of reciprocity
to an appeasable unknown.
They forked food into bodies
already overflowing
with years of enough to eat
and even the ants found the feast
But the puppy-hound
'
with shadows lurking in her emaciated
corrugated sides
Looked on through murky red-rimmed eyes
and waited to be recognized
by Anyone.

by Diane Curtis
Lunch ended: the groans of the gorged
attested to their fulfillment
as leftovers
were time-capsuled in Saran Wrap
and conveyored back
to the motorized Behemoth
standing ready at the curb.
Once more bowed heads petitioned heaven;
This time for Safe Journey
and Clear Skies
and Opportunities to Proselytize
and as He was being reminded
ot.His humble servants' deserving ways
the famished stray
in a moment of great daring
nudged the leg of the Leader of Prayers.
"Get that mutt out of here"
she cried, and kicked it away,
forgetting to say
Amen.

Austin, Texas

February,

1979

Page 15

A JOYOUS ATHEIST

G. Richard Bozarth
The End of the World
I'm sure I won't surprise anyone by saying that currently
there is a religious revival going on. To the dismay of organized
religion, this revival is basically evangelical-meaning there are
a lot of converts (evangelists like Billy Graham are raking in
tax-exempt dollars by the tens of millions), but established
churches are not enjoying a similar boom in membership.
This problem is particularly worrisome to the Catholic
Church, which, for all its vast wealth, is in a hum. Time reo
ported on 5 April 76 that weekly attendance at mass was
down to 50 percent of all Catholics, while only 17 percent
were showing up for confession.
On 26 December 77 Time did a big story on the evangelical
revival and attributed the current religious upsurge as in part
caused by "apocalyptic fear." Yes, the end is nigh once more.
In 1970, Hal Lindsey wrote a national bestseller called The
Late Great Planet Earth that is nothing more than a detailed
description of the end of the world and an attempt to show
how the prophecies of Revelation dealing with the preliminaries prior to the second coming are in the process of being
fulfilled at this very moment.
In his book, Angels, Billy Graham solemnly declared, "It
is my belief that the world is now possibly reaching the climax
of those great visions that God gave Daniel "(p. 83). Every now
and then at the place where I work, Christians scatter about
leaflets and comic books announcing the end of the world is
close. How can all these people be wrong?
We need only glance through the history of the end of the
world to answer that.
That history begins right away with the founding of Christianity. For JC Superstar and the first generation of Christians,
the end of the world was going to occur shortly after the crucifixion. This is proven by reading Matthew 16:28, Mark 14: 3031, Luke 21:32-33, Romans 13:11-12, James 5:8, 1 Peter 4:7,
and 1 John 2:18. Obviously the world obstinately went on
despite the word of god.
This created many problems for Christians. The blatant
meaning of those verses "is that the second coming will occur
soon, in the lifetimes of contemporaries. Its failure to do so has
made this prophecy a problem for Christians-among them the
famous missionary and doctor, Albert Schweitzer, who inferred from it that Christ could be wrong, a conclusion with
immense implications" (Man, Myth, and Magic, Vol. 22,
p.2,990).
To avoid such a shattering conclusion, it was decided by
some that not all of JC Superstar's contemporaries had died.
One such immortal sprang into existence in the 16th century.
This was Ahasuerus, the famous "Wandering Jew," who was
condemned to live until the second coming because he had
refused to let JC Superstar, who was carrying the cross, rest on
his doorstep. Another such immortal was Cartaphilus, a
Roman who had been Pilate's door-keeper. JC Superstar condemned him to live until the second coming because the doorkeeper had shouted, "Go on faster!" to JC Superstar when he
was lugging the cross.
These curious, silly legends had popular appeal, and
Ahasuerus served Shelley admirably as a character in the poem

Page 16

February,

1979

"Queen Mab," but they were fringe solutions to the problem
of JC Superstar's contemporaries. The mainstream solution has
been to continuously advance the date into the future.This
was necessary because the "ideas of a second coming were
clearly potentially highly disruptive of any stable social order.
As the Church itself became established and thoroughly integrated with political and civic institutions, it was threatened
increasingly by the type of enthusiasm to which ideas of the
return of Christ might give rise" (M, M, & M, Vol. 18, p. 2,518).
To cool off the anarchistic influence of the end of the world,
theologians like Origen and Augustine selected the year 1000
A.D. as the time of JC Superstar's return.
The result of this has been periodic religious revivals inspired by a renewed conviction that the end of the world was
imminent. So, after the world survived 1000 A.D., the Abbot
Joachim of Fiore in the 13th century predicted that the end
would come in 1260. This inspired a particular form of insanity called the Flagellants, "who went in procession from
town to town, where they beat themselves and cried for mercy
before the wrath to come" (M, M, & M, Vol. 18, p. 2,520).
The year 1260 came, but JC Superstar did not. A couple of
centuries later a group called the Taborites, an extremist action
of the Bohemian Hussite movement, became convinced the
end of the world would occur in February of 1420. When this
prediction failed, the Taborites were not discouraged. They
fought the Catholic armies believing that any moment JC
Superstar would descend with an angelic host to lead them to
victory. The Catholics were not impressed, and wiped them
out.
In the 1830s, a Baptist preacher named William Miller
studied the Bible, and became convinced the world would end
in March of 1843. He preached this revelation, and soon he
had a large following called Millerites. March, 1843 came
without anything apocalyptic happening, so a recalculation
was made. The month of October was given the honor of being
the last month of the world. The world survived October, so
the Millerites tried again, this time selecting 1844. JC Superstar failed to show up. Deprived of the end of the world, the
Millerites decided they could at least have their own sect. In
1860 they formally became the Seventh Day Adventists.
In the 1870s, the Jehovah's Witnesses came into existence
under Charles Russell, who preached JC Superstar had landed
on earth in 1874 and would bring about the end in 1914.
Embarrassingly, in 1914 the only catastrophe to happen
was the beginning of WW I. Not to be discouraged, the
Jehovah's Witnesses revised their predictions. Now JC Superstar had shown up in 1914, but he wouldn't bring about the
end until 1975. Surprise! The world once again survived, but
the end may be near for the Jehovah's Witnesses. According
to a story in the 11 July 77 issue of Time, 335,000 dejected
faithful have left the JW and since 1975 new JW baptisms have
dropped by a third.
The Jehovah's Witnesses were not the only ones suckered by
the year 1975. On 29 Sept. 75, in Grannis, Arkansas, the
Nance family gathered for a family prayer meeting. "At that
meeting, they received from the mouth of their aunt, Viola

The American

Atheist

Walker, a message that changed their lives. Like others they
claimed to have received, they thought this message was from
god. The message said the world-ending
second coming of
Jesus Christ was at hand and they should remain in. the house"
(Pacific Stars and Stripes, 6 Mar 76). Would god lie? Of course
not! Obediently 28 people crammed into the house to await
the end. They quit going to work, paying bills, or sending their
children to school. The world, unimpressed by god's messages
or the idiocy of the Nances, has continued to exist as usual.
Don't ever believe this consistant succession of failures will
make Christians reluctant to predict new future dates for the
end of the world. Lindsay in The Late Great Planet Earth
prophesies that the generation that will see the end of the
world is "the generation that would see the signs (prophesied
in the Bible )-chief among them the rebirth of Israel. A generation in the Bible is something like 40 years. If this is a correct
deduction, then within forty years or so of 1948, all these
things could take place. Many scholars who have studied Bible
prophecy all their lives believe that this is so" (p.54).
I guess I must have a hard heart. I just can't lose my conviction that the world will get through 1988 without divine
termination.
There are those who are more trusting in god, despite all
the groups and prophets he has misled, including his own son!
One such faithful Christian is Evangelist Daniel Rogers. When
his mother died, he had her frozen in a sitting position. Then
he and three other preachers, plus 250 persons who came to
help out with their prayers, tried to resurrect the corpse in a
chapel in Reeds Springs, Missouri!
They tried three times to resurrect that frozen body before

Forty-one
years ago I enlisted in
the Army Air Corps which is now the
United
States
Air Force.
When I
arrived at my station of assignment at
Pearl Harbor, Territory
of Hawaii, I
was asked for information
to be put
on my "dog tag." For "religion?"
I
said, "none."
The sergeant
frowned
and said he could not put that down.
He punched in, "none preferred."
Now I am an outpatient
at Niagara
Falls Memorial Medical Center and I
get the same treatment.
Before going
up to the laboratory
for my semiannual blood sugar test, I check in
with a receptionist
who reviews my
data and issues me a slip to take

Austin, Texas

they came to their senses and buried it. Why did Rogers think
he could resurrect his mother? Because, he said, "Jesus commanded us to preach the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead"
(San Francisco Chronicle, 13 Mar 78). Why did he want to
raise the dead? Because "he believed the resurrection
of his
mother would be a signal that Christ is coming 'and the end
of this age, as we know it, would be near.' "
What does all this nonsense mean to Atheists? Knowing
the ridiculous history of Christian end-of-the-worldism
is effective for any of us who get into a debate with a Christian
who tries to intimidate us with threats of the imminent end
of the world.
More important,
it is necessary for us to realize that religious revivals like the current one this nation is suffering are
often the product of the periodic upsurge of enthusiasm generated by a renewed belief that the second coming is due in a
few years. The product of all such revivals is a rise in what
H. R. Smith in the May, 1978 "Comment
Corner" so accurately termed "Christian fascism."
This revival will pass, probably in the 1990s, like all other
end-of-the-world
inspired revivals have passed when all the
enthusiasts
cool off with disappointment
at JC Superstar's
failure to appear. Be assured that a new future date will be
selected, and we must watch for the signs of a new upsurge
of erid-of-the-worldism.
When we find them occurring, we
must prepare to combat a renewal of aggressive Christian
fascism. When I think of how big and strong we American
Atheists will be by the time the next religious revival gets
fired up, I hope I am still alive to enjoy the battle. It'll make
the one we're putting up now seem like a friendly squabble .•••

with me to the laboratory.
The first
time I went through
this procedure
and was asked "religion?"
I said,
"none."
The receptionist
typed something into the computer,
asked other
questions,
then made a hard copy for
me to take to the lab.
Six
months
later,
when
the
receptionist
handed me my hard copy,
it read, "none
preferred"
for my
religion.
When I protested
that it
should
be "none,"
the receptionist
said that she could only make the
entry, "none preferred - (none)" but
since it was too long for the printout,
the "(none)"
part remained
in the
machine.
When I asked why there
wasn't a separate,
"none"
category,
she said there wasn't enough space for
it.
Six months still later, before the
receptionist
could get to it, I asked
her, "What have you down for my
religion?"
She said, "none preferred."
I told
her that was incorrect,
that it was
"none. "
She said, "I'll leave the space
blank."
Last month, I again jumped ahead
of the receptionist
and asked, "What
do you have down for my religion?"
She said "The space is blank."
I said, "That leaves it open to
presumption
that the data was not

February,

1979

taken. I should read, 'none at all,' or
'none whatsoever'."
Again the same story. So I asked
her, "Is' Atheist' a listed category?"
She said it was.
I said, "Put me down as Atheist."
And she did. Apparently,
the Center
views Atheism as some kind of religion.
Now I believe that if! a land of
religious freedom such as ours, you are
free to take religion or to leave it. For
over four decades I have sought freedom from religion and have not gotten
it. The word seems to be:
have a
religion - any religion - but have one.
And after 41 years of god's teeth in
the fleshy part of my thigh, I still say,
"NO!"
I am done with passive enduring.
Though I would love dearly to live my
retirement
peacefully,
I shall push
away religion
as zealously
as it is
thrust
upon me. And I begin with
Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.
I want my printout to reflect that
my religion is any of the following, or
the equivalent:
none at all, none
whatsoever, none in the least, nil, zero.
"None,"
alone, will not do - it
could be misconstrued
as "none preferred."

by Louis Longo

Page 17

ACTION
ATHEIST
Christians who feel their faith to be
the "one, true" cult are notorious for
trying to force their beliefs down the
throats
of others.
By hook or by
crook they feel compelled
to drag
others down into the rut leading to
the intellectual
dead-end
which
is
Christi ani ty.
The latest intrusion
of a fervent
Christian's opinions into the affairs of
another citizen was brought to our attention
by American Atheist Joseph
Hayden of San Francisco. We will let
Mr. Hayden's letter to Mr. A.D. Swift,
the president of Sears, Roebuck & Co.
explain the incident:

Included in Mr. (David) Thompson's
proselytizing
"A Message from the
President" were a few schmaltzy quotes
from the oft-edited Bible plus Thompson's suggestion to the reader:
"Why
don't you turn your life over to Jesus
Christ today and discover the abundant
life that He has promised to those who
believe and trust in Him."
To Joseph Hayden's concise letter
was added the following letter from
Madalyn Q'Hair, president of American
Atheists:

A concise, justified complaint from
a good customer backed by an official
letter from a nationwide
cause organization concerned
with just such violations
is exactly
the combination
needed to put an end to such intrusions of obnoxious
Christianity
into
the lives of those who would be free
of such superstition.
Shortly thereafter
Mr. Hayden and
American
Atheist
headquarters
received the following letter from the
Sears, Roebuck
& Co. headquarters
in Chicago, Illinois:

ATHEIST'S ACTION
ROUTS ZEALOT

Dear Sir,
I have been a customer of Sears, Roebuck & Co. for small items as well as major appliances
for a number of years. I recently made a cash purchase of a tool manufactured
by Thompson
Tool Company at a local Sears outlet. Among the enclosed instructions
was "A Message from
the President," a copy of which is attached.
I respect Mr. Thompson's
right to believe as he chooses. However, I resent the intrusion
of his opinions into my purchases from Sears, particularly when the cost of this printed matter
I am sure, is included in the sellini\ price of the tool, and the introduction
to his personal view
is disguised as "helpful instructions. '
I will never again purchase a tool made by the Thompson Tool Company.
I would like assurance from your office that future purchases of Sears products will be
free from religious propaganda.
Joseph Hayden

Mr. Swift,
We have received the enclosed [Thompson's
"instructions"
1 from a member of our organization. We also are shocked that such material should be introduced
into Sears for distribution.
I doubt that this will sit well with the Jews in the United States, or the Buddhists, or the Muslims - and certainly not with the United States.
We will be featuring this schocking situation in our magazine, THE AMERICAN ATHEIST,
which is widely distributed
in the United States. It would not surprise us at all that our Atheist
associates should also decline to use Thompson Tools.
If Sears plans to do anything concerned
with this proselytization
of Christianity
through
its offices" and stores, please advise us. We can append the story which will be included in our
magazine.
AMERICAN ATHEISTS
Madalyn Murray 0' Hair
President

Dear Mr. Hayden,
Madalyn Murray 0' Hair has forwarded you letter concerning the purchase of a Sears paint
scraper and the accompanying
"instructions"
for its use.
Please k now that Sears feels each individual has an inalienable right to his/her own religious convictions, and that most emphatically
the sale of general merchandise is an inappropriate
forum for the dissemination
of any religious, moral or cultural concepts or doctrines.
Sears has been aware of this unfortunate
problem for a number of wee ks. Immediately
upon discovering the insert our headquarters
buyer asked our San Francisco people to stop purchasing from the Thompson
Tool Company and to remove the "instructions"
from each tool
package. They did this. However, through a carbon copy of this letter I'm asking our local people to once again check to determine that all offensive instructions
are destroyed.
We apoligize for this most unfortunate
incident. We hope you now k now how and why
this happened and that Sears is interested in only one thing - bringing quality merchandise
to
American consumers at a fair and reasonable price.
Glenn Spoerl, Manager
Marketing Public Relations

Such intrusions by Christianity or any other strain of theism need not be tolerated.
We encourage other Atheists to make their objections known as concisely and forcefully
as did American Atheist Joseph Hayden when confronted with the dead, reactionary hand of religion.

Page 18

February.

1979

The American

Atheist

Xian Rewriting of History
The u.s.
St. George
of
Valley
National Park Service two
years ago authorized a $230,000 study
to be made of the first president of
our country,
George Washington, particularly in respect to his encampment
with the Continental
Army at Valley
Forge, Pennsylvania,
in the winter of
1777-78.
When that task was undertaken
"to
be sure the National Park Service has
its history
straight,"
no one ever
dreamed that American Atheists' portrait of Washington as a Deist would
be fortified by that government study.
Jacqueline
Thibaut
was the coordinating historian
for the 18-month
project and what she came up with
was a shocker.
An associate,
David
Rich, put the matter delicately,
to
say the least, concerning
books written in the Revolutionary
War, which
he found carried a certain unfounded
point of view.
"Their findings were tailor-made to
fit a popular image of Valley Forge as
a national shrine."
American
Atheists have been educating about this "point of view" for
years, warning that Christian historians
had, in a sense, captured our history
with their proselytizing interpretations.
Valley Forge, a battle encampment,
has indeed been made into a "shrine."
The research
undertaken
by the
National Park Service has proven conclusively
that
Washington
did not
kneel in prayer in the snow on Christmas Even at Valley Forge.
The recent postage stamp of G.W.
kneeling issued by the Post Office in
was a concession
to Christian mythmakers.
The statue
of Washington
kneeling
in prayer exhibited
at the
Freedoms
Foundation,
just outside
Valley Forge Park, is likewise a lie.
The pamphlets
and brochures
issued
by the U.S. National Park Service in
which the prayer story is told are also
distortions.
Atheists have known this and have
fought this distortion
of history for
years - but they have never been sufficiently
financed
to use other than
the tooth pick of truth against the armada of lies concocted
by religion
and government combined.

*

*

*

Acertain
Parson Weems had written much about Washington, including
the now totally discredited cherry-tree
myth.
His other famous (and until
now accepted)
myth was that Isaac

Potts had observed Washington kneeling in the snow in solitary prayer during Christmas
week of 1777 (when
General
Howe's
British
army
was
holding Philadelphia
just a few miles
away).
Washington
probably
used Isaac
Pott's house for his headquarters
but
Potts was not even there at the time.
Where one minister is dishonest, often another
is chagrined
into some
honesty.
In the Albany Daily Advertiser of 29 October 1831, was published a sermon by the Rev. Dr. Wilson of that city, in which occurred
the following paragraph:
"Washington
was a man of valor.
He was esteemed by the whole world
as a great and good man, but he was
not a professor of religion, at least not
till after he was president. When Congress sat in Philadelphia,
President
Washington
attended
the Episcopal
church. The rector, Dr. Abercrombie,
has told me that on the days when the
sacramentrof
the Lord's Supper was
to be administered,
Washington's
custom was to rise just before the ceremony commenced
and to walk out of
the church. This became a subject of
remark in the congregation,
as setting
a bad example. At length the Doctor
undertook
to speak of it, with a direct allusion to the president. Washington was heard afterward
to remark
that this was the first time a clergyman had thus preached
to him, and
that
he would
henceforth
neither
trouble the Doctor nor his congregation on such occasions.
And ever
after
that,
upon
communion
days
he absented himself from the church."
The following reference to the sermon is from the pen of Robert Dale
Owen, Washington's
biographer,
and
is copied from the appendix
to the
"Discussion
between
Bachelor
and
Owen" (p. 367):
"As this important paragraph, being
only from a newspaper report, could
hardly be considered authentic,
I myself called, accompanied
by a gentleman of this city, on Dr. Wilson this
afternoon.
After giving my name and

Austin, Texas

February,

v

1979

stating the object of my visit, I read
to the Doctor at his request the above
paragraph.
When I had completed,
he
said, 'I endorse every word of that.'
"He further added, 'As I conceive
that truth is truth, whether it make for
us or against us, I will not conceal
from you any information
on this subject, even such as I have not given to
the public.' At the close of our conversation on the subject, Dr. Abercrombie's emphatic
expression
was, for I
well remember
his words:
Sir, Washington was a Deist. 'Now, continued
Dr. Wilson, 'I have perused every line
that Washington ever gave to the public, and I do not find one expression
in which he pledges himself as a professor of Christianity.
I think any man
who will candidly do as I have done
will come to the conclusion
that he
was a Deist and nothing
more. I do
not take upon myself to say positively that he was, but that is my
opinion'."
A few of Washington's
own remarks
are instructive.
In a letter to Edward
Newenham
of 20 October
1792
he
wrote:
'
"Of all the animosities
which have
existed among mankind,
those which
are caused by a difference
of sentiments in' religion appear to be the
most inveterate
and distressing
and
ought- most to be deprecated.
I was in
hopes that the enlightened
and liberal
policy, which has marked the present
age, would at least have reconciled
Christians
of every denomination
so
far that we should never see their religious
disputes
carried
to such a
pitch as to endanger
the peace of
society. "
Washington,
after a brief illness,
died on 14 December
1799, nearly
68 years of age. A few hours before
his death, in contemplating
his dissolution,
he used these
words,
"I
look upon this event with perfect
resignation."

Page 19

...............................................................

The American Atheist Radio

.

~

ISeries

Christian Rewriting of History
Program

38 ....

17 Feb. 64 .....

KTBC .....

Austin,

TX

******************************************
Hello there,
This is Madalyn Mays O'Hair, American Atheist, back to
talk with you again.
Probably the single thing which angers Atheists more than
any other practice of Christianity is the insistence the religious
community
has in bending the facts of history to conform
with their dogmas.
Sherman Wakefield, who is married to Robert Ingersoll's
granddaughter,
has undertaken
a study of some of the specif'ic instances when such liberties have been taken with history
itself.
He became
particularly
aroused
at President
Dwight
Eisenhower at one point and wrote a short rebuttal to one of
the president's activities. I quote with Sherman's permission.
"On Washington's
Birthday,
President
and Mrs. Eisenhower attended
services in Christ Episcopal Church of Alexandria, Virginia, where George Washington was a vestryman
and occupied Pew No. 60. The service was conducted
by the
Reverend
Braxton
Bragg Comer Lile, the rector, who did
not tell his congregation
that Washington
refused to take
communion
and walked out of the church before each cornmunion service. When taken to task by the Reverend James
Abercombie
of Philadelphia
for this conduct,
Washington
stayed away from church entirely on communion
Sundays.
However, according
to tradition
in the parish church, the
Reverend Mr. Lile read Washington's so-called 'prayer'."
Now, this "prayer"
has been known to New Yorkers for
some years, as it is inscribed on a bronze tablet adjoining the
Washington pew in St. Paul's Chapel in that city. As a prayer
this is a forgery. It was made up from a circular letter which
General Washington
addressed
to the governors of the 13
states upon his disbanding the army, dated Newburg, 8 June

1783.
Forgery Done In God's Name
The "prayer"
was manufactured
from the last paragraph of Washington's
letter by omitting words in the original and replacing
them by words of divine petition.
The
letter was addressed to the respective governors of the states,
and not to god, and the original "you" was changed to "thou"
in the prayer. The text of the "prayer"
follows, with additions as I will note. First, the "prayer:"

Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt
keep these United States in Thy holy protection,
that Thou
wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of
subordination

Page 20

and

obedience

to government

to entertain

a

February,

1979

brotherly
affection
and love for one another
and for their
fellow citizens and the United States at large. And, finally
that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all
to do justice, to love mercy and to demean ourselves with that
charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the
characteristics
of the Divine Author of our blessed religion and
without an humble imitation of Whose example in these things
we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplica-

tion, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen."
Now, I have underlined
[italics] in the text the insertions
which were put into this letter in order to read into it an
actual prayer to god. Let me see how I can explain this forgery
to you.
The original letter from which this "prayer"
was manufactured is to be found in W.C. Ford's edition of Washington's
Writings (Vol. 10, pp. 254·265) and also in the official government edition of Washington's
Writings, edited by J.C. Fitzpatrick (Vol. 24, pp. 483·496).

Lifted

From A Letter

The text of the last paragraph of the original
lows, and includes the words that the prayer-makers
I think you will see the difference immediately.

letter folomitted.

I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have
you and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection that he would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination
and obedience to government,
to entertain
a brotherly
affection
and love for one another,
for their fellow citizens of the United States at large, and

particularly

for their brethern who have served in the field,

and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do justice, to love mercy, and to demand of
ourselves with that charity,
humility
and pacific temper of
mind, which were the characteristics
of the Divine Author
of our blessed religion, and without
an humble imitation
whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a
happy nation."

I have the honor to be, with much esteem and respect,
Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant, George Washington.
Now, the amount
of material
in this short paragraph
which has been omitted and changed to make the "prayer"
is about 33 percent of the whole, thus making the "prayer"
a real pious fraud. When Washington wrote the governors it
was his "earnest prayer" - he meant, of course, his earnest
wish, and his use of the word "prayer"
according to the cus-

The American

Atheist

tom of his day does not justify forging a letter into a prayer
to a deity.
Washington never actually penned any of the 13 letters to
the governors, and they were written by different aides on different days. The copy written on 8 June 1783, as published,
was penned by David Cobb. Washington may have made the
original dictation,
or furnished the ideas expressed in the letters, but they may also have been piously embellished
by
those who wrote them, after the custom of those times. In
any event, the last phrase of the "prayer,"
which is similar
to the Episcopal Prayer Book, is not in Washington's
style
and nowhere
else in his writings does he mention
Jesus
Christ by name.
The fact of this forgery has been pointed out to the officials of St. Paul's Chapel and Trinity Church, many times in
past years, but the bronze tablet remains in the church and in
addition
the "prayer"
is inscribed in a large framed background which rests in the Washington pew and is much easier
to read than the tablet itself. This is all in spite of the fact
that in 1935 a group of Atheists sued Trinity Church for capitalizing on a fraud, during which suit the alteration
was admitted but was justified as making the quotation
"appropriate for display and distribution
in a place of religious wor.ship."
This is by a leading representative
of Christianity,
which
claims to be the arbiter of our morality.
Sherman Wakefield spends much of his time tracing down
some of the forgeries in American history which the churches
have perpetuated
and he gets more and more furious with
each one he uncovers. And, so do we all.
He became quite incensed over Abraham
Lincoln's
alleged letter to Mrs. Bixby. He began to trace the original letter and readily found several facsimilies - only to discover
that there were several variations in the handwriting,
discrepancies in the formation of single letters, entire words between
the two. Mr. Wakefield has facsimilies of three of these letters,
all with differences in handwriting
and test, and he .•queries:
"If facsimilies from a supposed original document
do not
agree among themselves, which one, if any, is correct?"
The two most famous copies stemmed one from Michael
F. Tobin, a dealer in pictures and prints of New York City,
who applied to the Librarian of Congress for a copyright on
a facsimilie on 25 April 1891. This was about 30 years after
the letter was written. Later in the same year, Humber's Museum which dealt in a collection
of freaks and fakes of various kinds started to exhibit a document which was claimed to
be the original. The letter was supposed to have been written
on 21 November 1864, and sent directly to Adjutant General
Schouler in Boston, who delivered it in person to Mrs. Bixby
on 25 November.
Mrs. Bixby is said to have lost five sons in the Civil War.
Yet strangely a search of the records reveals that two were killed in battle (Charles and Oliver), one was honorably
discharged (Henry), and two deserted to the enemy (Edward and
George).
The Bixby letter is much quoted because in it, Lincoln,
who was known as a non-believer
in religion, was purportedly
to have said, "I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage
the anguish of your bereavement."
The battle over these letters has been long and enduring
and the authenticity
of the three quite different facsimilies
of the original letter has not been a barrier to the Christian
communities'
intent endeavors to authenticate
this as a true
Lincoln letter, and after its having found its way into a number of Lincoln's collected works the stamp of authority is now
upon the letter.

Completely
ignored are three rather striking documents.
One written by Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, a president of
Columbia
University,
in which was recounted
a story giving
the authorship
of this letter to a Lincoln secretary, John Hay.
The second document
is a letter from Rev. Gildart Arthur
Jackson, in which it is recounted
that Lincoln had instructed
Hay to write a suitable letter of condolence and that Hay had
done so.
Herndon, a friend and one-time law partner of Lincoln,
recounts that Lincoln once made him erase the word "god"
from a speech which he had written because the language
indicated a person known as "god," whereas Lincoln "insisted
no such personality
ever existed."
In the original drafts of the
Gettysburg
Address,
twice Lincoln
wrote out that speech
without
mention
of this nation "under God," an insertion
later suggested by Simon P. Chase, a member of Lincoln's
cabinet.
We wish our Christian brothers would be more honest and
permit us our heroes. We do not deny them theirs.

A.

This informational broadcast is brought to you as a public
service by the Socitv of Seperstionists, lnc., a nonprofit, nonpolitical, tax-exempt, educational organization dedicated to the
complete and absolute separation of state and church. This
series of American A theist Radio Programs is continued
through listener generosity. The Society of Separationists, tnc.,
predicates its philosophy on American Atheism. For more information write to P.O. Box 2117, Austin, Texas 78768.

r~fI;ii!i;;;"1.~~&.~.,,~~t,,"fi,Y~!###BOT_TEXT###quot;;:I~"""''''~W~~f''~I'ii9

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Angeline Bennett

t.J

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THIS BRIEF CANDLE

n

e

"

~;:

~ I am no stranger to Paradise
_
~ Nor unfamiliar with Hell
:..,
I have sampled them both ... the bitter and sweet .~
~ I know thei r taste very well
~ So don't threaten me with the DevilID

:s

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I_~

~on.'t promi.se me str~e~s paved with gold
I II live my life for all It s worth

I

~
i~

;1

~ Not wastin~ my. vouth gr?win.g old.
.~ And when It's time to relinquish
My hold on life, as I must,
'~ I'll make my own immortality
>~ A small, faint mark in the dust.

f,

;g

~

I
,
~

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DEAR

I

,i

ADAM

1

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~

What is it with moonlight and roses
That changes the set of your jib,

~

That ~a~sesyour caution to fa.lter . . .
What IS It With you and your nb?~f

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,.....
..,'"fd'~~~~/:jI~flt.""',;:

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Austin, Texas

_,

February,

1979

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Page 21

Film
Review

THE
LAST SUPPER

elaine stansfield
"The Last Supper" (directed by
Tomas Gutierrez Alea) is a picture for
all good Atheists to avoid.
It was recommended to me as a
terrific satire on religion, and a marvelous cinematic triumph to have come
out of Cuba. Now the word root of
"satire" means a poetic medley (originallya dish of various fruits!), and has
come to mean a work in which vices,
stupidities and abuses are held up to
ridicule and contempt.
Unfortunately, there is nothing to
laugh at here. I had expected to see a
modern drama/comedy in which only
the idea of the supper was used (master sits at table with 12 or his workers),
and which would offer lots of ironic
dialogue, play on words, with perhaps
incidents which would sharply point
up the foolishness of a religion no Ionger applicable to anything.
What I got was a revolutionary
tract, a Cuban "Roots" showing slave
conditions in a Havana sugar mill in
the late 18th century of such misery
and cruelty that one must constantly
avert the eyes (a runaway slave's eye is
cut out as punishment).
The plantation's owner, a nobleman
known as the Count, while not evil incarnate, is so fuzzy-minded, indecisive,
capricious, and frightened by what he

conceives to be his religious duty, that
his stupidity ends up being more wicked
than if he had set out to be evil.
His idea is apparently to propiate
his god during Easter week with a reenactment of the Last Supper using 12
of his slaves as disciples. He therefore
orders a table of such food as the
slaves have never seen in their entire
lives, including wine, and proceeds to
harrangue the slaves with long - no,
endless - dissertations on his concept
of religion.
Since the slaves don't know what
he is talking about, the camera lovingly focuses on the bemused faces at the
table. The scene for a rebellion is set.
The Count has no bodyguards present,
and as he proceeds to get sleepy from
the wine we wonder why they do not
kill him then, particularly as he has,
in his harrangue, said such things as:
"The black man does not feel pain as
we do, and god has created him for
work in'the fields."
The local priest is likewise a mystery. Though he exhorts the Count
that no work should be done on Good
Friday, when the overseer (again, not
an evil man so much as caught in the
trap of not knowing the best ways to
get ever more work out of the slaves)
says there must be work that day to

Famous Atheist Word Find
The surnames of 18 famous Atheists
are located somewhere in this puzzle.
Can you locate all of them? Answers
on page 37.
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)
8)
9)

Page 22

Mikail BAKUNIN
Ambrose BI ERCE
Andre BRETON
Robert FROST
Maxim GOR KI
Alfred JARRY
Nikolai LENIN
John LENNON
Andre MALRAUX

10)
11)
12)
13)
14)
15)
16)
17)
18)

Karl MARX
Michel de MONTAIGNE
Johann MOST
Friedrich NIETZSCHE
Madalyn Murray O'HAIR
Marquis de SADE
George SANTAYANA
Jean-Paul SARTRE
Percy Bysshe SHELLEY

February, 1979

keep the sugarcane pots boiling, the
Count replies to the priest, "If he wants
them to work, I can't interfere. He will
be punished by a higher power." The
priest tries to make a stand, but we
realize it is not in the interests of the
slaves, but because he wants everyone
in church.
As the rebellion foments, we see it
is doomed, because the slaves have no
real leader, they don't know how to
rebel, and for the most part are made
to seem stupid. Only one, the runaway
slave whose eye had been gouged, will
use the opportunity to run again, and
though all the other rebels are killed,
at the end of the picture he is seen to
be still running.
It is clear that religion is the real villain, yet the ethnic audience at the
theater I attended seemed puzzled by
this and were far more interested in
hissing the Count and cheering the
death of the overseer as if viewing the
simple blacks and whites of -no, that's
a bad expression in this case, let's say
the good versus bad - of an old-fashioned melodrama. This enables them
to preserve their own "true" religion
intact.
One wonders, will we ever win?

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The American Atheist

Kamt Kazi-A
Within the winding, torturous history of Japan, the Kamekazi (kah-mavkah-zi - meaning "wind of god") has
blown three times, twice rescuing her
from invading armies, the third time,
failing her completely.
In 1274 A_D., when northern Japan
was bowing to the weight of on-coming
winter, and southern Japan was picking
the last of the cherry crop, an aggressive
China, under the Khans, sent a flotilla
of junks fitted for war against Japan's
southernmost
island of Kyushu. As
this large fleet sailed into Fukuoka
Bay, a completely
surprised, unprepared, and fearful city sent runners
scurrying throughout the land to spread
the news.
In the meantime, it began mobilizing its scant forces to defend the
homeland.
Followers of the Shinto
religion, realizing the futility of the
city's defenses, decided to chant their
prayers in unison, hoping that the
combined
effort would bring their
god's aid.
Even as the Chinese warships were
tightening their formation in preparation for the attack scheduled to commence the following morning, a mixture of wailing wind and rampaging
rain, moving north towards Fukuoka,

February,

1979

Promise Not Kept

was roaring through the city of Nagasaki.
With the dawn, the Shinto prayers
seemed to be answered, as the typhoon
swept over Fukuoka Bay, sinking every
Chinese ship, drowning every invading
soldier. Within two hours, the "wind of
god" had disappeared,
leaving the
waters of the bay calm and bespeckled
with debris, which the out-going tide
would soon carry into the vast ocean
beyond.
The Kamekazi retu rned seven-yearsto-the-month
later, and repeated history by obliterating a second Chinese
fleet. The Khans never attempted to
make war on Japan again, and the
Japanese came to believe their land
protected
by the Kamekazi, impregnable to enemy invasion. And the
Shinto religion became that of the
state.
Nearly 700 years after the second
"sacred wind" rescued Japan from the
Chinese, the nation was again threatened with imminent invasion by an advancing American army. Few Japanese,
however,
eontemplated
fighting on
their own home islands, as they felt

by E. David Neutzling

protected.
Anticipating the gods, the Japanese
desperately created a man-made Kamikaze, composed of 500-pound bombs
covered with barely-flyable
aircraft
frames, and of pilots either dedicated
enough or fanatical enough to dive
them into the nearest enemy warship.
Sinking only a handful of enemy
ships, at the cost of hundreds of lives,
the third Kamekazi blew for nearly a
year. The young men and boys who
flew these bombs were holy, and considered to be instruments of an avenging god.
It ceased on 9 August 1945, when a
foreign "sacred wind" blew the city of
Nagasaki nearly from the face of the
Earth. To many Japanese, it seemed
that the gods of the Americans had
proven stronger than those of Japan.
Standing in Peace Park, laid out over
the site of the blast in Hiroshima, on a
wet spring morning, under the skeletal
shadow of the steel supports of a building which was the only to survive the
holocaust,
one is struck, then overwhelmed with the terrible knowledge
that these hundreds of thousands had
to die because their ancestors took a
coincidence of nature for a miraculous
prom ise of protection.

Page 23

A Special Report;
From The Fabulous World Of Religion & Science

THf SACRfO
FORfSKIN •••
of JfSUS CHRIST
The Romans executed him on the cross,
but he was
by Merritt

Clifton

Readers of a December, 1975 edition of Time might have noticed, in the
lower right corner of the color centerfold, a photograph of an ancient reliquary. Two angels upheld between
them a hollow silver ring, within which,
reputedly, lies Jesus Christ's foreskin.
Since Jesus ascended to heaven in
body as well as spirit, he left no other
earthly relics; this alone, removed
from him by the temple priests at the
age of 12 or 13, remains. Over 100,000
men, women, and children have died
in holy wars by way of certifying its
authenticity in blood; presently it rests
within a convent vault in Calcutta,
India.
We note that the dessicated white
lump of the alleged True Feces in a
secret Spanish shrine, reported in the
autumn, 1974 issue of Samisdat, is not
considered an actual relic in the classical sense, since it was never, in fact, a
living part of Jesus' body, but only
passed through it.
Whether or not either foreskin or
feces actually dates back as far as sup-

Page 24

posed, and whether or not these did
in fact belong to Jesus, we shall not
debate. Books have already been written for and against both, and lengthy
researches undertaken by hundreds,
without resolving either issue. The
foreskin, however, does raise still
another issue, even granting the ecclesiastical story full veracity.
Was Jesus, called the Christ, indeed
superhuman? What evidence might the
foreskin supply to this effect?
First of all, though Time claimed,
erroneously, otherwise, we do know
the reliquary does definitely contain a
foreskin, from X-ray pictures shot by
U.S. Army technicians in 1946. The
late Quentin Wilson, editor/publisher
of The California Watch weekly, was
present as an accredited observer, and
filed this report:

CALCUTTA, 4/1/46 - At request
of monastic authorities, in watchful
presence of the Mother Superior of the
convent keeping it, U.S. Army special-

February,

1979

ists today shot six X-ray photographs
of a reliquary purportedly containing
the foreskin of Christ. Undertaken to
determine the reliquary's rare metals
content for insurance purposes, the
X-rays revealed the reliquary does hold
a foreskin, quite possibly old enough
to be that of Christ.
Stated Colonel Robert C. McAuley,
before the war an archeological physiologist in Egypt:
"The degree of
shrinkage, combined with climatic
elements and preservation
factors,
compares favorably with similar specimens found in ancient temples. What
we have here is definitely the foreskin
of an adolescent male, taken no more
than 20 centuries ago, no less than 19."
These estimates are consonant with
the purported life of Christ, and tend
to confirm religious accounts previously considered mythical.
McAuley, who commanded
the
X-ray team, added: "While religious
authorities may not approve, I do
hope to show our pictures to several
medical doctors, who perhaps can ver-

The American Atheist

ify my verdict. We have potentially
a
major historical confirmation,
and I'd
like to be certain."
The foreskin
would
have been
taken at a briss some weeks or months
before Christ's bar mitzvah, or Judaic
coming-of-age. Customarily
the briss is
held in infancy, but since the Holy
Family was exiled to Egypt for most
of Christ's youth, it may be supposed
the ceremony
was postponed
until
Herod died and Joseph, Mary, Jesus,
and his brothers and sister could return.
The issuance policy will be held by
Lloyd's of London.
Contacted
in early 1976, Lloyd's,
following their usual procedure, would
neither confirm nor deny holding the
policy.
All information
in all such
cases, spokesmen
said, must come
directly from their clients.
Vatican spokesmen would say only
that Lloyd's insures most relics of any
special value. Calcutta correspondents
could not extract any word whatsoever from the reliquary guardians.
A more
promising
lead
came
through Ray Morrison, former curator
of the Quentin Wilson papers at San
Jose State University.
This consisted
of a 1948 address
for Robert
C.
McAuley, returned to civilian life as a
professor of ancient history in Long
Beach. Writing Cal State Long Beach
turned up still another
address, and
so forth until McAuley turned
up,
retired, in Santa Clara. In an exclusive, confidential
interview
McAuley
told us:
"Yes, -I certainly
did have several
doctors look at my X-rays, and several
University
of California
experts
on
mummification,
as well. I know more
about that foreskin than my own, as a
matter of fact, not that anyone will
publish my articles on it. I did write
my doctoral
dissertation
on it, but
otherwise it seems I've locked onto a
bit of historical trivia."
McAuley showed renewed interest,
however, on hearing our theory that
the foreskin X-rays might tell us something of Jesus' alleged superhuman
nature. He fetched a set of blow-ups taken from the originals, illustrating possibilities point by point.
"First of all, it becomes apparent,"
he said, "that for a very young man
Jesus was exceptionally
well-endowed.
We know this foreskin could not have
been removed any later than at 15
years of age, since a slightly different
circumcision
procedure
must be followed with older men, and since the
briss must occur before the bar mitz-

Austin, Texas

vah.
"But we also know that even after
20 centuries of shrinking, the foreskin
remains wider in diameter than that of
the average Hebraic adult male, equal
to that of the average Negroid male. I
say this based on surveys at Stanford
University.
It is rolled up, but the
X-rays show length anyhow.
"With the aid of a little high school
algebra, you can figure for yourself
that it covered a penis surface greater
than yours, or mine, for that matter.
Calculating
overall penis length, again
based on Stanford averages, I'd have to
say Jesus was at least nine inches limp,
possibly up to 18 ready for action."
We asked whether erections
prior
to the briss might have stretched
the
foreskin,
thus accounting
for such
extraordinary
dimensions.
"Well," McAuley told us, "erection
does of course stretch the foreskin.
And much as the church,
Catholic
and Protestant,
might like to think
Jesus a virgin, I can assure them he
wasn't.
"Look here. You can see the stretch
marks here and here. You can also see
dark spots. Those are a mixture
of
dried semen, roe, and blood unless I
miss an exceptionally
well-educated
guess. Ritual cleansing doesn't
take
those things off of something
this
delicate.
I've compared
those spots
to similar found
in Pompei, where
the volcano
caught several couples
in the act. They can't
have c~me from wet
dreams and still hold
that tone. They also
~
don't quite match the
bloodstains
caused by
the
circumcision
itself. Here - you can see those on this
shot. "
The six shots, each viewed in light
of the Stanford
research
and other
respected sources McAuley quotes, do
in fact confirm Jesus was, if a man,
certainly
a man of mythical
proportions.
The stories concerning
Jesus' lifelong virginity may well have been concocted later by early apologists within
the organized church. No internal evidence
within
the gospels
suggests
Jesus altogether
abstained
from sex
with Mary Magdalene,
Martha,
and
others, and the anonymous,
not entirely apocryphal
Gospel According to
Lucifer actually
describes numerous
encounters
with members
of both
sexes. Chapter 9, verse 10, for instance,
corresponding
to the same numbers in
the Gospel According to Luke, reads:
"And hoetook them and withdrew apart

from his concubine,
who he left dying
with child, to a city called Bethsaida."
But 10:38 proves still more revealing: "Now as they went on their way,
he entered
a village; and a woman
named Martha received him into her
house. 39 - And she had a sister called
Mary, who slept with Jesus and tended
to his needs. 40 - But Martha was distracted with much jealousy, and she
went to him in the night and said,
'Lord, do you not care that my sister
has been a harlot? Take me then instead, for I am a virgin,' 41 - And Jesus took them both."
And 11:27 "As he. said this, a woman from the
crowd raised her voice and said to him,
'Damned is the womb that bore you,
and the breasts that you sucked!' 28 But he said, 'Damned
rather are the
thighs I split and the breasts I fondled!'
And she crept away silent."
Granting that this gospel came from
heretics somewhat after the other gospels we know, we must still, in light of
McAuley's research, concede it partial
possibility.
We await
further
scholarly
and
scientific investigation,
the Time brushoff notwithstanding.

.A

[

-

February,

1979

"YOU DIRTY BASTARDS!"

Page 25

ON OUR WAY
Ignatz Sahula-Dycke

NATURE ~ RELIGION
Now

for more than 50 years respected philosophers, able
thinkers, and analytical observers have been conceding and
saying that a conflict was snowballing, a show-down coming,
between natural science and religion. They saw that scientific
probings and discoveries were minimizing beliefs in theological
dogmas-dogmas that held sway over the minds of the Western
peoples for almost 2,000 years. The conflict surfaced first in
Europe at the beginning of this century and left the first generation of the people who watched it almost totally disillusioned
and irreligious.
But here, in our U.S., the results of the conflict haven't
been nearly as abrupt or noticeable because prosperity that
long characterized American existence urged us to be conservative and to resist radical change.
Too, after 1920, because it involved no great self-denial,
our well-to-do believers, religionists and other sectarian
Christianists who sided with religion, kept at high flood the
radio and television propaganda without which the traditional
dogmas and fables of religion would have fared as in Europe
20 years earlier. American conservatism paid off for religion,
for H. G. Wells, as long ago as in 1920, saw the conflict
and made mention of it in his Outline of History. It affected
Europe, us very little.
But now even here in the U.S. the conflict, being unstoppable, represents a crisis for religion due to events totally
unexpected two generations ago. Jet-powered flight, atomic
fusion and fission, American and Soviet incursions into outer
space-all of these now make it difficult for religion to revive
in the people their formerly staunch belief in biblical' myths.
But, more important than the proliferation of disbelief in
theology is what the disbelief has done to the even tenor of
existence that-before these days of disbelief-undershored
the
balanced outlook of our citizens.
Everyone whom this problem irritates is looking for its
remedy, completely overlooking the fact that the remedy is
obtainable from education. Had our educational authorities
only taught students that science and theology were separate
fields, each with its peculiar polarity and each one discrete
from the other-and that belief for either one of them is
rationally improper except on the basis of evidence-then, in
such a case, the conflict now under way might well not even
have begun. Education+except in schools like Cornell-has
never taken this to heart because of religion's meddlesome
opposition to it for the obvious reason: it would have put
religion at a disadvantage.
Our changed outlook that I spoke of is a serious matter,'
almost frightening if the observer considers its possible consequences. The major threat in it, it seems to me, is the apathy
which it hatched in Americans toward their governmental
institutions, inducing them to regard as chancy and routine the
unique principles without whose respectful observance our
nation will deteriorate if not disintegrate beyond our people's
ability to preserve a cohesive front-an indispensable requirement enabling the U.S. to play the salutary international role
that fell to our lot after World War II. It demands that we view
this not as a function we accepted and presently perform as a
favor to the nations of the "free world," but as the price we
must pay for the survival of our country-the land that deserves

Page 26

February, 1979

the loyal support of all who cherish liberty and freedom.
This role of ours is so important because it charges us with
producing results which are compatible with the atomic age in
which we must lie and get along with rivals whose ideologies
are different from ours, and with nations whose peoples profess belief in religions equally as different. This situation isn't
without its wryly humorous side, for the authorities whom we
elect to get the job done are fellow-Americans who by force of
tradition and habit ask their god for help in it.
Thus, while we are watching these spokesmen in the spotlight at front center of the stage, religious prejudice prompts
them from the wings. This predicament is additionally complicated by kibitzing officials who for purposes of vote-getting
and for improvement of their standing in popularity polls wear
their religion on their sleeves. These stalwarts should be, but
aren't, concerned about keeping religion out of affairs of state.
So, in this fair republic of ours, where the donkey or the
tusker symbolize which way our self-government will go every
four years, the pendulum of consensus swings to and fro as
always before. At the moment, with the favorable publicity
the media are giving to officialdom's church-goers and their
church-going, religion is having things going pretty much its
own way. Religious belief, despite this help, is on a worldwide
down-trend-and science, its major opponent, on an up-trend,
no matter where today in the world one goes.
What in these hectic times of change is distressing is the collective American citizen's lack of introspection in the matter
of his beliefs. If you'll tune your radio to most any of the socalled talk-shows you will be promptly convinced of this.
These "shows" seek callers by awakening their interest in one
or another subject.
When the subject deals with religion, the opinions expressed
by most of those who call in show very little if any knowledge
of the history of the religions. Their comments show only the
degree of their brand of indoctrination, indicating why it is
that the ringing voices of revivalists such as Billy, Herbert,
Oral, and others get them out of their seats and marching
down the aisle like S0 many sheep humbly to confess their
"born-again" love for Jesus.
I mention this to show that when it comes to religion very
few people actually think before they act. Most of us simply
do whatever we're told, responding as commanded, strictly as
brainwashed.
Any mind uncluttered by religiously inspired threats is a
truly precious possession. There wouldn't be nearly as many
'believers if all asked themselves whether they believe as they
do because they are convinced it is reasonable, or because
they're afraid of god's threatened retribution in case they were
to give it up. There's no question but that today's people are
avid for information about religion, even those most uninformed. The religions have been losing adherents due to the
much greater dissemination of factual information than was
possible before. Radio and television programs such as Meet
the Press, Today, World News, and others, are doing a grand
job here.
America is known everywhere as the land of freedom and
everywhere respected by peoples who hold political freedom
in high regard. That Israel is in the Middle East the most

The American Atheist

vociferous supporter
of America's international
policies is
beyond dispute.
Equally beyond contradiction
is that in the hands of Israel
our interests aren't served to best advantage because Israel's
neighbor states aren't going to enthuse over anything that
pleases Israel, whose government is structured theocratically.
Looked at impassively, any observer will note that America
works much harder for Israel than Israel for us.
Our present administration's
foreign policy is beginning to
make a bit of headway now, its most notable advance the
Camp David talks between the trio of Carter, Begin, and Sadat;
but on the other hand some of the things that we hoped to accomplish during the SALT talks haven't turned out as well as

expected. Our widely publicized religious attitude is never out
of the picture: it's already noised about that the Camp David
talks succeeded as they did because Jimmy Carter's religious
fervor secured for them the blessings of his Baptist god.
As for me, I little doubt that Jimmy's born-again Christianism prompts him to deem this a fact, but I also think that
everything that Sadat and Begin accepted of Carter's guidance
they accepted because it made political good sense-not
because
it was god-guided. If by any stretch of imagination the world
of today can be called god-guided, you can be sure that it is a
case of its being guided by the god whose name isn't Jehovah,
but reason.

4.

of

TABERNACLES
~

VIRGINS
by Richard Rynen

T

he old woman lay shriveled and
dying, alone in a large house that
creaked in the winter like an ancient ship at sea.
Her mother had died under the same
roof 30 years before, and Elizabeth often thought about selling it and moving
away. But she knew such thoughts
were demons come to tempt her out
of Eden and she always managed to
drive them off with flailing arms and
shrieking cries.
She had been beset by many devils
in her long lifetime, especially in the
old days when she was young.
Her tutor once gave her a book
about
shining
young
men astride
prancing white horses and she spent
many hours alone in her room wondering what it was like to have lived in
those times.
Just the thought
of such magnificent
creatures
loping
beneath
her
made her body tingle and her breasts
grow hard. And when she touched her

February,

Austin, Texas

v

1979

nipples,
exquisite
currents
of electricity would arc through her abdomen
and set her aglow in a dewy warmth
that brought
her hands sliding back
and forth between her legs.
But she got frightened
one day and
told her mother, who threw the book
in the fireplace and spent long afternoons telling her about the temple of
god had fashioned of her body, a palace far more beautiful
than any castle built of clay by hollow men who
hide their weakness behind glistening
metal.
"But the lord giveth, and the lord
taketh away, child. And he wants you
back as he gave you to me: clean,
sweet, and pure. Undefiled
by men
who cast you aside and leave you to
pay for your sins alone."
Her mother went on to explain that
life was a series of trials conducted
by
god in order to determine
who was
worthy of eternal life in his glowing
presence.
Those who failed were forever damned to the darkened
pits of
hell.
There had been many tests over
the years, and as Elizabeth lay on the
couch nearing the end of the final one,
she thought back to the time almost a
year before when boys had come and
thrown rocks in the night.
The crashing glass and jeering words
frightened
her. When it was over, she
pulled the quilt up to her chin and
spent the long pre-dawn hours cowering with fear and shivering in the cold
mists that rolled through the house.
She set out that morning to tell the
police and was halfway there before

Page 27

realizing that it was simply another
test. So she turned and went instead
for a man to come fix the windows.
"Please forgive an old woman who
learns so slowly," she cried in shame
that night. "And please forgive foolish
children who know not what they do."
She was content
for a time after
that. But strange new demons soon
came to torment her. Again and again
she screeched and thrashed, yet they
would not go away.
They danced slowly at first, whispering things she did not understand.
Before long they worked themselves
into a screaming frenzy. "Worthless.
Futile. Wasted,"
they chanted
over
and over and over. "Seventy-three
years of loneliness,
waste, and futility. Ha, ha, ha. Ho, ho, ho. Look,
look! Look at Lizzie go."
Then one night she sat bolt upright
at a different
sound. A large brown
rat shot across the moonlit floor in
front of her bed, stopping in the doorway for a moment to look back at her
before bounding on down the carpeted
stairs. Her body turned to ice at the
sight of him.
For weeks she tossed through fitful
nights, listening as rats rustled about,
scratching and tearing her house apart.
Each morning she would go down
and clean up the mess they had made
the night before. And each night she
would take a broom to bed, where she
would lie sobbing and begging god for
deliverance.
None came, and she started out one
day to buy some poison. But as she
stepped into the afternoon sunshine, a
voice without a voice called softly:
"Oh ye of little faith, why are ye
fearful? Do ye not know that this is
the time of the end and there shall be
great tribulation?
Love ye thine enemies. Do good unto them that bring
ye travail. And do not be afraid, my
child. "
She again felt ashamed,
but this
time her eyes filled with tears of joy.
Turning quickly down the path, she
disappeared and returned shortly with
a bag of groceries.
Filling several bowls and plates with
meat, potatoes,
and bread, she spread
them out in neat little rows on the
kitchen floor and stood up with a look
of satisfaction on her graying face. She
then went to bed and slept soundly
for the first time in a long time.
The number of rats increased as the
weeks wore on, and she had to start
bringing the food home in a wagon.
One evening as she sat watching them
play, she laughed and said, "I will have
to find other food. The man is 'suspi-

Page 28

cious of an old woman who eats so
much."
She lay that night and thought for
a long time. A smile suddenly broke
across her face and she sat up as the
answer came in a brilliant flash.
"The dump! Every morning, before
it gets light, I will go there and bring
food for them."
And she did so for several months,
returning with bags of rotting garbage,
spreading
it out in the kitchen, then
going back to bed.
At night, she would rock back and
forth with a tattered
shawl draped
around
her withering
shoulders
as
three
or four
pot-bellied
rats sat
perched in her lap, watching the others
dart playfully about.
But she had to leave earlier and
earlier every morning,
for she was
walking slower and slower each day.
Finally, she could not make the trip
anymore. So, taking a pillow and some
blankets to the couch, she laid down
and waited patiently for death to come.
Within two days the rats had devoured every scrap of food in the
house. They soon grew antagonistic
toward each other and began eyeing
the old woman nervously.
Too weak to even get water for herself, she lay in her own excrement and
felt the hour drawing near.
Pointing feebly to the rats, she looked up and whispered,
"It is finished.
You sent them to me for food and
shelter. I have seen well to that."
She" stopped
to regain her breath.
Her arm went limp and sagged to the
floor as she sighed, "But once they

were so shiny and plump. Now see
how they get."
The largest of them crept up to
her hand and nudged it gingerly. She
began to stroke its head with her fingertips.
"See how they like me? I
have taken good care of your creatures. But soon you will have to look
after them once more."
The rat retreated
and sat watching
her from under the coffee table. Several others came and crouched beside
him.
She slowly pulled her arm up and
clasped her hands across her sunken
abdomen.
A faint smile crossed her
face. Closing her eyes, she murmured,
"I am ready. My body is as you gave
it to me. I have done all that you
asked. I am not afraid. I wait for you."
As darkness came, her hand slipped
to the floor. The rat drew close and
prodded her lifeless fingers. Leaping to
the couch, he darted under the covers
and sniffed the entire length of her
body.
He stopped
at her head and cautiously
inserted
his nose into her
mouth.
He withdrew
quickly, stood
looking
about
for a moment,
then
sank his teeth into her cheek.
Instantly,
dozens of long thin bodies exploded into the air and dropped
in a slashing fury of claws and fangs
that ripped, shredded,
and gouged its
way through her corpse.
When they were finished, the old
woman's
bones lay scattered
about
the house and the rats scampered off
in twos and threes, fat and sleek once
more.

A.

>-

February.

1979

The American

Atheist

What a wonderful feeling
Of joyous new laughter
I've finally discovered
There is no hereafter
Those long years of searching,
Self torturing me
Have suddenly shown the reality
The answer is knowing
Just how to pray
To bring out the best
In myself every day!
Accepting that fact
For me, god is She
Inevitably clarions
I am set free
Instead of believing religion's old fraud
I know now the
Supreme part of Anyone
Is god!
Jean Nourse

IN THE BEGINNING
In the beginning there was man,
But man could not comprehend.
So man said, "Let there be God."
Kit K. Kovacs

MAKE THE PRIESTS CONFESS
There's deceit and trickery in business,
But I really do believe it's high time
We began to search for fraud in the church Let's get rid of black-and-white collar crime.

(UNTITLED)
When Las Vegas is too far,
there is no need to fret
Just follow the sound
of the sermonette
Under that big cross,
you can place a bet

S.H. Crane

Per chance it's Monday,
Bingo will be for thee
Tuesday's funerals precede
fun at the races
Wednesday will find the holy
playing cards for money
Thursday will be the day
for the weekly raffle
Friday is a drunken party,
for good cause of course
Saturday is the Flea Market
to free you of your pennies
Sunday's services will surely
advertize their annual bazaar
Place your bets folks,
place your bets
Blackjack pays three for two
Blackshirt is paid by you
Sorry folks, no winners at your
Local friendly house of worship

god AND GOD
i is I
And god is GOD
Reading is essential
i use I
Rather than I
Because i
Resembles a man
Whose head is separated
From his body
i use god
Rather than GOD
Simply because
I refuse to shift keys
Myself

Philip Barry

Juanita Sanchez

Austin,

Texas

February,

1979

Page 29

Ro ts
of theism

... they [lawyers] , in our name,
recant with 'contrition' the
opinions which we go into
court to maintain.

GEORGE J.
HO LYOA KE
English Atheist George Jacob Holyoake was arrested and
tried for the crime of Atheism in 1842 because of the reply he
gave to a local preacher named Maitland who, after attending
one of Holyoake 's lectures, complained: "Though I [Holyoake]
had told them their duty to man, I had not told them of their
duty to God." The preacher asked if "whether we should have
churches and chapels in community?"
Holyoake's reply was characteristically to the point:
"I do not desire to have religion mixed up with an economical and secular subject, but as Mr. Maitland has introduced questions in reference to religion I will answer him
frankly. Our national debt already hangs like a millstone
round the poor man's neck, and our national church and
general religious institutions cost us, upon accredited computation, about 20 millions annually. Worship being thus
expensive, I appeal to your heads and your pockets whether
we are not too poor to have a god? If poor men cost the state
as much, they would be put like officers upon half-pay, and
while our distress lasts I think it would be wise to do the same
thing with deity. Thus far I object, as a matter of political
economy, to build chapels in communities. If others want
them they have themselves to please, but I, not being religious,
cannot propose them. Morality I regard, but I do not believe
there is such a thing as a god. The pulpit says, "search the
Scriptures," and they who are thus trepanned get imprisoned
in Bristol jail, like my friend Mr. Southwell. For myself, I flee
the Bible as a viper, and revolt at the touch of a Christian."
Holyoake made his reply in a tone of conversational
freedom and it caused only quiet amusement to those in
attendance at the meeting.
A few days afterward, Holyoake was sent a copy of the
Cheltenham Chronicle in which the following account of
Holyoake's remarks were prominently displayed:

Atheism & Blasphemy
"On Tuesday evening last a person named Holyoake, from
Sheffield, delivered a lecture on Socialism (or, as it has been
more appropriately termed, devilism), at the Mechanics'
Institution.
"After attacking the Church of England and religion generally for a considerable time, he said he was open to any
question that might be put to him. A teetotaller named Maitland then got up, and said the lecturer had been talking a
good deal about our duty to man, but he omitted to mention
our duty towards god, and he would be glad to know if·there

Page 30

February, 1979

- George Holyoake

were any chapels in the community?
"The Socialist then replied that he professed no religion at
all, and thought they were too poor to have any. He did not
believe there was such a being as a god, and impiously remarked
that if there was, he would have the deity served the same as
government treated the subalterns, by placing him upon halfpay.
"With many similar blasphemous and awful remarks,
which we cannot sull our columns by repeating, the poor
misguided wretch continued to address the audience. To their
lasting shame, be it spoken, a considerable portion of the
company applauded the miscreant during the time he was
giving utterance to these profane opinions.
"[We have three persons in our employ who are ready to
verify on oath the correctness of the above statements. We
therefore hope those in authority will not suffer the matter
to rest here, but that some steps will immediately be taken
to prevent any further publicity to such diabolical sentiments.] "
The newspaper barrage continued for a couple of days and
Holyoake felt that he must justify himself to the town, and he
set off, again, by foot to cover the 30 miles (from Bristol to
Cheltenham) and do so. He was apprehended without warrant
by a Superintendent Russell at a site in Cheltenham where
another lecture was to be held. He was kept overnight in jail
until he could be charged the next morning.
When Holyoake complained to the judge that he had been
arrested without a warrant, the judge replied that he could not
argue with anyone who professed the abominable principle of
denying the existence of a supreme being, and then promptly
accepted a charge from a local lawyer, Mr. Bubb, who consented to be the person bringing a charge of blasphemy.
The magistrate said that whether Holyoake did or did not
believe in a god was not nearly the crime of trying to propagate the infamous sentiment, which was equivalent of "producing disorder and breaching the peace."
Holyoake's account of the goings-on during his pretrial hearing comes from 'his The History of the Last Trial by
Jury for Atheism (1851):
"On the morning after my apprehension I was taken be. fore the Rev. Dr. Newell, R. Capper, an'o'J. 'Overbury, Esquires, magistrates of Cheltenham. The Rev. Dr. Newell ought
to have had the pride, if not the decency, to have kept away.
"The Cheltenham Chronicle reported that 'George Jacob
Holyoake, who was described as a Socialist lecturer, and as the
editor of the Oracle of Reason, was charged with delivering
atheistical and blasphemous sentiments at the Mechanics'
Institution, on the evening of the 24th of May. The prisoner
had been apprehended last night, after delivering another lecture at the same place. The affair appeared to have caused
great sensation, and several persons attended at the office
anxious to hear the examination. Amongst the number were
some individuals who, without the blush of shame mantling

The American Atheist

their cheeks, acknowledged
themselves friends of the accused.'
"Mr. Bubb, a local solicitor, a particularly gross and furious man, then said - 'I attend to prefer the charge of blasphemy, and I shall take my stand on the common unwritten
law of the land. There have been a variety of statutes passed
for punishing blasphemy, but these statutes in no way interfere with the common unwritten
law. (Mr. Capper nodded
assent.) Any person who denies the existence.or
providence of
god is guilty of blasphemy, and the law has annexed to that
offense imprisonment,
corporal
punishment,
and fine. I shall give
evidence of the facts, and I shall
ask that he be committed
for
trial, or required to find bail for
his appearance.
The offense is
much aggravated
by his having
put forth a placard, announcing
a lecture on a subject completely
innocent, and having got together
a number of persons, has given
utterance
to those sentiments
which are an insult to god and
man.'
"The assertion that I had employed duplicity in choosing my
subject was quite gratuitous. Addressing
the Bench,
I asked
whether it was legal in these cases
to apprehend
persons without
the authority of a warrant?
"Mr. Capper
replied,
'Any
person in the meeting would be
justified in taking you up without the authority
of a warrant,'
which showed that the Bench
were better read in Bigotry than
in Blackstone.
I said it was customary
in other towns, where
bigotry existed to a greater degree even than it did there, for
information
to be laid and a regular notice served.
"Mr. Capper said, 'We refuse
to hold an argument with a man
professing the abominable
principle of denying the existence of
a supreme being.' This was not a
very legal way of getting rid of
my objections, but it answered in Cheltenham.
"Magistrate
Overbury said he considered the case satisfactorily proved. Magistrate Capper said, 'Even the heathens
acknowledged
the existence of a deity. If you entertain the
same pernicious opinion on your death-bed you will be a bold
man indeed. But you are only actuated by a love of notoriety.'
"I only answered, 'Why do you address me thus, since
you will not allow me to reply?' and I turned away repeating
to myself the words of Sir Thomas Browne - 'There is a rabble amongst the gentry as well as the commonalty;
a sort of
plebian heads, whose fancy moves with the same wheel as
these:
men in the same level with mechanics, though their
fortunes do somewhat gild their infirmities, and their purses
compound for their follies."
Since Holyoake could not produce bail in sufficient quantity which was set extraordinarily
high (almost 200 pounds),

Austin,

Texas

he went back to jail, where the prison surgeon was brought in
to remonstrate
with him and argue against him as to whether
or not Jesus Christ was an historical person. The argument became quite loud and almost violent and the surgeon closed it
with the hope that they could have still used the stake to burn
Holyoake instead of merely jailing him. He was then transferred nine miles to a jail in Gloucester - by being instructed
to walk there and deliver himself up - which he did.
Holyoake was then handcuffed
with small irons, and kept
a fortnight (14 days) in jail. The official charge against him,
finally,
reads from the indictment:
that he had "on the 24th
day of May, last ...
wickedly
and profanely uttered, made use
of, and proclaimed
in the presence of a public assembly
of
men, women and children, then
and there assembled, certain impious and blasphemous
words
against god ... against the peace
of our lady the Queen,
her
crown and dignity."
Holyoake
the
imprisoned
Atheist had many visitors while
in "gaol"
and several of them
asked if he might not be a Deist
instead of an Atheist as they said
he did not "look
like" what
they in their bias imagined an
Atheist should. Holyoake asked
if, because he was an Atheist, he
was expected
to have horns or
eyes in his elbows!
Finally, realizing the improbabilities of retaining a Christian
attorney
to forcefully
represent
an Atheist in a hostile Christian
court,
Holyoake
decided
to
undertake
his own defense, and
when the trial came up at the
Court of Assizes on 15 August
1842, he did justfhat.
He had
heretofore
made it a rule to advise his friends caught in similar circumstances
to "defend
themselves,
and where unaccustomed
to public speaking,
to
write a brief defense in their
own language, and after some legal friends had revised it, to read it to the court. We do not
want lawyers to defend our opinions, those opinions not being
their own, but we want them simply to maintain our right to
publish what are to us important
convictions.
Instead of this
they commonly agree with the crown that we are criminal for
having a conscience,
and they, in our name, recant with
'contrition'
the opinions which we go into court to maintain."
The courtroom
was filled with clergy, wives of clergy, and
some nobility. The presiding judge was Mr. Justice Erskine.
The handling of the case had been so crass up to the point of
trial that it had made its way into the English House of Commons. Holyoake introduced
the minutes of the meetings of
the House into the trial to show that he had walked 30 miles
to Cheltenham
to defend himself, had there been arrested
without warrant or charge against him at midnight, seven days
after the alleged offense.
He also attempted
to show the prejudice rampant against
him and quoted to the judge remarks which the judge himself

February,

I

1979

Page 31

had addressed to the newspapers concerned with Holyoake,
and then pointed out that the newspapers were describing him
as a "wretch," a "miscreant," and a "monster" who advocated "devilism."
He was described as a "creature with wiry and dishelved
hair." He was classed with a young man who had just then
taken a shot at the Queen of England and the press had
analyzed him to have a morbid imagination, an affectation
of superiority, a contempt for existing institutions, and a
craving after notoriety. One newspaper labeled him a bigot.
Holyoake's defense consisted almost entirely of his
stating that there were those who thought religion was proper
and that it alone could lead to general happiness. He did not
think so, and he continued, "I have the same means of judging.
You say your feelings are insulted, your opinions are outraged;
but what of mine? Mine, however honest, are rendered liable
to punishment! I ask not equality of privileges in this respect; I seek not the power of punishing those who differ
from me - nay, I should disdain the use."
Holyoake the Atheist dramatically proclaimed that
"Christianity claims what she does not allow - each to have
his own belief."

gaol were to the effect that all prisoners must say prayers and when Holyoake refused, the chaplain insisted on his being
locked in the day-room during the prayer meetings. Already
confined in one prison, he was put in yet another locked
room as punishment!
Diverse magistrates dropped in on him with regularity
to argue with him in respect to his religious convictions and
to convert him if at all possible. His diet consisted of convict gruel, bread, rice and potatoes. His fellow prisoners were
felons. He was not permitted to stay up till 9 p.m., which was
the rule for debtors in the gaol, and was not even permitted
the newspapers which some of his friends sent regularly.
During his six months in prison, Holyoake, who had
worked as a mathematician, undertook to begin classes of instruction in this to his fellow prisoners and finally was given
permission to hold classes for them regularly in the day-room,
between the continuing visits from opportunistic clergy and
magistrates who sought to convert the now infamous Atheist.

A.

joekirby's

In his summation he went over his own religious life,
the arguments for religion and their refutation, and an appeal
for the right to state that in which he believed.
The jury promptly found him guilty as charged. He later
found out that one of the jury was a Deist, a professed friend
of free speech and one who had openly said that he never
could convict Holyoake. But in the hour of verdict, he "wanted courage" and gave in against the accused Atheist. The sentence was then rendered by Judge Erskine:

-----botiomlfneonthedTvTne

"George Jacob Holyoake, you have been convicted of
uttering language, and although you have been adducing long
arguments to show the impolicy of these prosecutions, you are
convicted of having uttered these words with improper levity.
The arm of the law is not stretched out to protect the character of the almighty; we do not assume to be the protectors
of our god, but to protect the people from such indecent
language. If these words had been written for deliberate circulation, I should have passed on you a severer sentence. You
uttered them in consequence of a question - I have no evidence that this question was put to draw out these words.
Proceeding on the evidence that has been given, trusting
that these words have been uttered in the heat of the moment, I shall think it sufficient to sentence you to be imprisoned in the Common Gaol for six calendar months."
The convicted Atheist was immediately handcuffed and
taken to a jail cell under the courtroom, in the basement. He
had been there only a short period of time when the prayer
bell rang, and the other prisoners scurried off for that useless exercise. Holyoake placidly sat there over his bowl of cold
gruel. The gaoler finally came in and told him that he must go
to prayers, that the chaplain was holding up the prayers
waiting for him. Holyoake replied that he would go only if
someone carried him there! He was soon personally summoned
to see the gaol's chaplain who demanded to know why he had
not been to the prayer meeting.
He responded: "You can not expect me to come to
prayers; you imprison me here on the ground that I do not
believe in a god, and then you would take me to chapel to
pray to one. I cannot prevent your imprisoning me, but I
can prevent your making me a hypocrite, and must."
The flustered chaplain insisted that the rules of the

Page 32

February,

1/

1979

"No! Not until you tell me what the hell an apple and
that lousy snake represent to your sick mind. "

The American

Atheist

INSIDE OUT
J. Michael Straczynski

~
nd so it came to pass that Jesus
did go out into the country, seeking to
teach the multitudes and sell the latest
12·volume set of encyclopedias.
After
travelling the road from Jerusalem to
Samaria for many days, stopping only
for sleep and an occasional
visit at
Herod's
Delicatessen
and Take·Out
Massage Parlor, the Lord did come
finally upon the home of his friend
Lazarus. Going within, he found the
wife of Lazarus, and inquired about
where he might find his friend.
"Oh, why dost thou trouble me
so? Canst thou see that I am in pain
most
grievous?"
she said, clasping
her head.
"You know, I've heard if you put
your head between your knees, and
allow the blood to rush to your head,
you'll feel a lot better."
"Please, do not speak to me so, for
I am fed up with home cures." She
looked up at Jesus. "Why seekest thou
Lazarus?"
"Well," Jesus began, "he owes me
10 sheckels on a bet we made on the
camel races, see, and I thought that
since I was in the neighborhood
and
all. .. "
"No!" she shrieked, looking heavenward. "Lazarus is dead!"
Jesus
snorted.
"Anything.
That
man will do anything to avoid paying
a debt."
Thus was Jesus brought before the
tomb where Lazarus lay in state. Upon
gazing at the stone which sealed the
tomb, Jesus wept, for 10 sheckels are
hard to come by, even under the best
of circumstances.
Then suddenly
Jesus approached
the tomb, and called out: "Lazarus,
come forth,
you no-good,
chintzy
son-of-a-bitch!
What the hell do you
think you're trying to pull with this
death crap?"
Slowly, after a moment's
silence,
the stone rolled back and Lazarus
came forth. "Alright,
alright; let be
already. Christ, you're making enough
noise to raise the dead!"
"That was the general idea."
Grasping
the
situation,
Lazarus
waxed wrath, and did rent his garment, even though he had not yet
finished payments
on the mortgage,

Austin,

Texas

for Lazarus was a bad loser.

*

*

*

On the third day of the Festivaf of
the Holy Chives, the faithful did.gather
together
beside the Sea of Galilee,
there to await the arrival of Jesus.'
As the hour grew late, John turned
to Mark and said, "You got the dice?"
"No. I thought Judas was supposed
to bring them."
"Same here." added Peter, who was
trying to lure a sheep within pounding
distance, a curious smile on his face.
"Just
as I thought,"
continued
John; "you just can't trust Judas to do
anything right. He's either too honest,
or too stupid, one or the other. Either
way, he's getting on my nerves."
There was general agreement to this
among the rest of the faithful. So did
they resolve that should anything ever
go amiss in the organization,
they
would put the blame on "that imcompetent Judas; in writing, if need be."

"What else can we do," said Judas,
"except invent a new game?"
"And what shall we call this new
game, Lord?"
asked Matthew,
who
was always a little slow on the uptake.
"Bingo."
said Jesus. Then at once
he took up the chips, gathered them
together, and handed them to each of
the faithful,
saying to each as he
passed, "Do this in remembrance
of
me."
At the end of the line, Jesus turned
and said "Where is my disciple Peter?"
"Minding
thy sheep."
said Luke
with a knowing smile to the others.
Jesus nodded. "Peter is good to so
behave. Mayall
those who follow in
his footsteps
upon this rock do to
their followers exactly what he is doing right now to his sheep."
"I am sure that it shall always be
so." said John with much suppressed
laughter. Then they all did proceed into the forest, and the disciples, falling
back, did yet wonder aloud at how
their Lord had been able to cross upon
the surface of the Sea of Galilee.
But their reveries were shattered by
tragedy on the morrow, for they did
find the body of the thirteenth apostle,
Sid, lying dead upon the shore. They
did determine
that he had drowned,
and were greatly puzzled at the signs
of footprints upon his shoulders.

*
More hours passed without the arrival of Jesus, and the faithful began to
grow afraid, for he was to bring the
cards, playing chips, and wine. Finally,
as night approached,
John looked out
across the surface of the Sea of Galilee.
And the faithful were afraid unto
death, for they had not known that
the sea was polluted so. As he came
ashore, he turned to John and spoke:
"You got the dice and the cards?"
"But Lord, we thought you were
bringing the cards?"
"Impossible,"
replied Jesus. "I distinctly remember telling Judas ... "
And they were all suddenly silent,
for they knew that Judas was an idiot.
"So what are we going to do with
just a bunch
of playing chips and
wine?"

February,

1979

*

*

One evening, after Jesus had gone
out into the forest to pray, John dwelling on what the Lord had said
that day - went off in search of Jesus,
so that he might inquire further of
him the meaning of one of his remarks,
as well as determine
whether or not
he had change for a ten.
After following
the footprints
of
Jesus for some distance, John came at
last into a clearing, where he found
Jesus' tent pitched under a grove of
olive trees. From deep within, John
could hear him calling out with the
passion of religious exhiliration.
"Master?"
John called. "Master, I
must speak with you."
Softly,
John heard:
"Oh , crap.
Why, WHY do they always pick the
wrong time to start bothering
me?"
Then, louder,
"I'll be out in a mo-

Page 33

ment."
There was a rustling noise from
within the tent, and then Jesus pulled
open the tent entrance.
Peering inside, John could see Jesus sitting on
the ground, with Mary Magdelene beside him.
"Now," Jesus said, "what the hell
do you want? And this had better be
good!"
"Well, Lord," John began, "I was
wondering
what the Meaning of Life
is. "
Jesus paused. "You come all the
way out here, bothering
me right in
the middle of ... " He looked at Mary.
"Right in the middle of communion,
to ask me what the Meaning of Life is?"
"That's about the size of it."
"I don't believe any of this." Shaking his head, Jesus looked out of the
tent and pointed outward.
"Do you
see that fig tree over there?"
"Yes. "
"Well, that's life. Life is a fig tree."
John considered
it for a long moment. "Life ... is a fig tree?"
"Okay, so it's not a fig tree. There's
your answer. Life is not a fig tree.
Now go back to sleep." Then Jesus returned once more to the closed confines of the tent, muttering the opening to his favorite prayer:
"Dumbshit ... "

John, taking Jesus' advice, returned
to the other disciples, there to consider
the words of Jesus.
Six months
later, John returned
once more to the same grove, and
there learned a great lesson, for the fig
tree was now struck barren, and Mary
Magdelene was fruitful.

At the beginning of the new Sabbath, Jesus gathered
the multi tides
who had come from many leagues
around to hear him preach. They had
come in vast caravans, many bearing
the camel-sticker
which reads:
DON'T LET SODOM
BUG YOUGO GOMORRAH
He gathered
the 50,000 listeners
unto himself and ascended the Mount
of Olives, and there began his sermon.

1) "Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for they shall be easy prey.
2) "Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall contribute
greatly to

A Modern Cynic'SDictionary
........
BANQUETEER
-n- One who calls a toast, roasts a host,
drinks the most, hits a post, and ends up a ghost.
BARKER -n- An individual who offers a bizarre circus
sideshow in return for the money in your pockets. One who
is in training for the legal profession.
BARNACLE -n- A saltwater shellfish that attaches itself
to solid objects in a parasitical fashion. Once lodged in place,
they are almost impossible to remove. See IN-LAWS.
BARNUM, P. T. - A statesman well noted for his dignified
and ordered fashion of organizing political conventions and
campaigns.
BARRACUDA
-n- An evil, sharp-tongued
gossip about
whom it is our sacred duty to warn everyone we can, in the
most intimate detail possible.
BARRED -adj- No longer visiting an establishment
that
one never cared for in the first place.
BARRISTER
-n- A type of English contortionist
who is
able to tickle the ear of a Magistrate with his tongue across
two tables and a bench.
BARROOM -n- A creation for selling drinks.
BARROW -n- A creation for hauling drunks.
BEHA VE -vi- To act in accordance with another's peculiarities.
BEIGE -adj- A color somewhere between gray, tan, white,
brown and cream_ Attempts
to determine the exact color

Page 34

February,

v

our coffers.
3) "Blessed are the meek, for they
are easily intimidated.
4) "Blessed are those that hunger
and thirst for righteousness, for they
shall spill the blood of the unbeliever
and be satisfied.
5) "Blessed are the poor in heart,
for they shall be easily deluded by empty promises.
6) "Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall stall for time while we
overshadow the world.
7) "Blessed are those who fear lone1iness, for they shall not dare speak
out against us.
8) "Blessed are the dedicated optimists, for we shall twist their energies
to our own purposes.
9) "Blessed are those who fear
death, for they shall turn to us with
money and power in trade for insurance.
10) "And finally, blessed are the
fools and the weak in mind, for without them, we would not prosper or
succeed."
4.

by J. Michael Streczynski
base for this shade have led to years of controversy
and provided at least three holy wars.
BELIEF -n- A set of lofty assumptions
about the nature
of the universe and metaphysical
realities; held dearly and
defended bitterly until such time as they interfere with one's
finances.
BENEVOLENCE
-n- The lack of any particular desire at
the moment to do harm.
BEQUEATH
-vt- To will to an individual that which you
could not bear to see him misuse while you were still alive.
BEREAVED
-n- One who's bequest was wholly unsatisfactory, as opposed to the MOURNER,
who has no vested
interest in the economics of the matter, and can only therefore be construed to be irrelevant to the proceedings.
BEST MAN -n- The pall bearer at a marriage ceremony.
He is called the Best Man because he has the good sense not
to be the principal character involved.
BETROTHED
-adj- The sound a prison door makes when
it slams shut.
BETTERMENT
-n- The wise decision of another person
to pattern himself more closely after ourselves.
BIBLE -n- A Band-Aid used to cover a malignant tumor.
BIG -HEARTED -adj- Small-brained.
BILINGUAL -adj- Able to be incomprehensible
in two directions at the same time.

1979

The American

Atheist

-CA1)FL'Y
==~
• •• • • • • • • • • • • ••• ..........................
-~:::::--..

~

frankdufru

Mandarins For Christ

a

,/

As far as I'm concerned,
the best news of 1978 broke in
mid-December
when it was announced in Peking and Washington that the People's Republic of China and the U.S. would
normalize diplomatic
relations on the first day of 1979 after
30 years of mutual vilification.
Despite the howls of protest from a small circle of Christian warlords in the U.S. and their religiously Marxist counterparts in China, our two nations - both of which claim to be
the globe's most civilized - will grant the other recognition
and "normalized"
relations.
For those Americans like myself who were born this side
of WW II, China has always been prefixed with "Red" and
suffixed
with endless propaganda
by our Christian
Cold
Warriors who resent the heathen
Chinese resistance
to our
civilizing them down to our level. The fact that literate Chinese
were enjoying
the fine arts of high civilization
more than
3,000 years ago while our ancestors
barely had their apish
knuckles off the ground yet is of no significance
to these
hawks of "muddled
America" who yet cling to the soothing
delusion which has it that all foreigners envy us our American
couth.
Envy us our technology
perhaps, but not our splotchy
neon civilization.
Historian Will Durant, in his Our Oriental Heritage, sees
depth and brightness underneath
even the Marxist veneer of
the ancient "Middle Kingdom":

"For behind this dark surface that now appears to the
alien eye is one of the oldest and richest of living civilizations:
a tradition of poetry reaching as far back as 1700 B.C.; a long
record of philosophy idealistic and yet practical, profound and
yet intelligible; a mastery of ceramics and painting unequaled
in their kind; an easy perfection, rivaled only by the Japanese,
in all the minor arts; the most effective morality to be found
among the peoples of any time; a social organization that has
held together more human beings, and has endured through
more centuries, than any other known to history; a form of
government which, until the Revolution destroyed it, was
almost the ideal of philosophers; a society that was civilized
when Greece was inhabited by barbarians, that saw the rise
and fall of Babylonia and Assyria, Persia and Judea, Athens
and Rome, Venice and Spain, and may yet survive when those
Balkans called Europe have reverted to darkness and savagery. "
The Japanese
learned an important
lesson early in the
17th century after nearly a century of dealing with Portuguese
and Spanish Westerners:
the big-nosed Caucasian "barbarians"
are fanatically
unrelenting
in their attempts at gathering converts to their cult of docile submission
to the black-robed
mandarins of Christianity.

Austin, Texas

The Portuguese
trading ships out of Macao brought the
viperous
Jesuits
who sought
to convert
Japanese
samurai
nobility in hopes that the ignoble peasants would docily follow. Spanish vessels from Manila ferried unwashed Franciscan
padres who mocked the Japanese for bathing daily and who
bought
converts
among Japan's starving peasants with rice
tithed from other peasants scarcely better off.
These "rice Christians"
reverted
back to their native
Shinto- Buddhist cults as soon as Japan's Shogun (generalissimo)
recognized
Christianity's
subversive intent and ex pulsed all
foreigners for more than 250 years - until 1853 when Japan's
need for Western technology came to overshadow its abhorrent
distaste for missionaries selling the barbarous Christian cult.
As an island nation slightly smaller than California, Japan
was able to successfully
keep foreigners out while modernizing at its own pace. Durant describes Japan's voluntary seclusion thusly:
" ...
isolated and self-contained,
seeking no
alien territory and no external trade, content with agriculture
and wedded to art and philosophy."
Such was not the case in China which had an enormous
coastline and a much less centralized government
to effectively
exclude the white barbarians. The slithering Portuguese Jesuits
worked their intrigue out of Canton and Hong Kong so effectively that they eventually
had a Caucasian Jesuit translating
for and advising the Chinese emperor, much to the chagrin of
their archrivals,
the Spanish Franciscans
who had only the
peasants to manipulate.
China was split like a ripe melon by voracious Western
nations seeking resource-rich
colonies. The British used opium
as their vehicle into China and eventually seized five "treaty
ports"
(Canton,
Arnoy,
Foochow,
Ningpo
and Shanghai)
while waging their Opium Wars from Hong Kong; the French
revenged the death of a missionary
by grabbing Indo-China
(1885); Russia gobbled Chinese territory
north of the Amur
and east of the Ussuri River (1860);
Japan betrayed
her
neighbor and civilizer by seizing Formosa
(1895) and later
Korea (1910); and Germany saw fit to grab Shantung (1898)
because two German missionaries
were murdered
by Chinese
who would have no part of the alien cult. The United States
was a late arrival to the feasting and hurriedly conquered
the

February,

1979

Page 35

Phillippines
in 1898 to put herself in a better geographical
. position to share in the spoils as China was now helpless before
superior technology in the hands of inferiors from the West.
It wasn't until after 1949 when Marxist Mao Tse-tung ran
off his Christian rival Chiang Kai-shek that China was able to
close its doors to relentlessly arrogant Christian foreigners as
Japan had done more than three centuries earlier. The Chinese
had to embrace the Marxist cult and its Russian proselytizers
to gain their needed autonomy
only because the Christian
paranoids who were at that time running the U.S. government
ignored the advice of qualified American "China hands" in
favor of the Red scare/yellow
peril Christian alarmists who
concluded - as their howling successors do today - that being
anti-Christian
necessarily makes one anti-American.
Such is not the case and American Atheists are the best
proof possible of the distortion
behind such Christian mudslinging.
Japan's Emperor Meiji (reigned 1868-1911)
opened his
nation to the world community
in 1868 after 250 years of
voluntary
isolation. His enlightened
reign is to this day considered the high-water mark in an unbroken line of Japanese
rulers going back almost 20 centuries.
Now with the emergence of Teng Hsiao-p'ing as China's
leader in fact, if not in title, a nation of almost one billion
splendidly down-to-earth
Chinese are apparently
eager to join
the planet's other passengers in getting on with the business
of securing a life free of hunger, tyranny, ill-health and superstition.
America's current generation of brazen missionaries have
other plans for the Chinese and they are already planning the
invasion of China in their (to me) embarrassingly
ethnocentric
scheme to divest the Chinese of their earthiness and in place
plant the viral seeds of Christian other-worldliness.
The Christ-

ian Broadcasting
Network
boasts of its satellite system and
studios in Hong Kong ready to reap/rape in China in the name
of an American embarrassment
known as Christianity.
Durant identifies the most effective pirates of the 19th
century who are much imitated by the scores of multinational
businesses and religions now perched in Hong Kong awaiting
the diplomatic green light:

"For two generations the merchants and missionaries
who had conquered China from the West had acted, willingly or not, as centers of foreign infection; they had lived
in a style, and with such comforts and conveniences, as made
the young Chinese about them anxious to adopt so promising
a civilization; they had undermined, in an active minority, the
religious faith that had supported the old moral code; they
had set one generation against another by advocating the
abandonment of ancestor worship; and though they preached
a gentle Jesus meek and mild, they were protected in emergencies by guns whose size and efficacy offered the dominating lesson of Europe to the Orient. Christianity, which had
been in its origin an uprising of the oppressed, became once
more, in these Chinese converts, a ferment of revolution. "
Hopefully, China's comparatively
brief 30-year incubation
has prepared them as well as 250 years did for the Japanese.
With a current population
of 115 million, less than one percent
of Japan's people are Christian.
To their credit, the Japanese were and are much too interested
in the here-and-now
to
worry about the carrot called heaven the missionaries would
dangle before them.
I trust the eminently
pragmatic
Chinese will consent to
benefit from the experiences
of their Japanese neighbors and
keep the pimps of the barbarous cult from the West on a tight
leash - or, better yet, excluded from the Middle Kingdom.

A

1\f.
_~n

Page 36

c.~~~df''''i

,I'

.... 01.

February,

1979

The American

Atheist

WHEN

GOD
WAS A

WOMAN
by Merlin Stone
When God Was A Woman is a 265page paperback, 5% by 8 inches, first
published in England in 1976. Its 12page bibliography is a truly fine reference list highly recommended for
serious devotees of history, anthropology, and Atheism.
Author Merlin Stone is an American
Atheist.
During the last several hundred
years, as Atheists in Europe and the
United States fought for the emancipation of women, it became more and
more apparent that the first deities
were in fact goddesses. Isis of Egypt was
known 14 centuries B.C., Ishtar of
Babylonia 18 centuries B.C., and
Nana of Sumer 19 centuries B.C.
Until Merlin Stone undertook the
investigation no one, really, ever asked
how, why and when the goddess system had been supressed to be superceded by the god guys. Beginning
ethnology describes the matriarchal
systems which, apparently, everywhere
preceded their patriarchal successors,
but the idea of an upsetting of the
established god( dess) system was not
attached to these mostly descriptive,
historical accounts.
There was speculation as to how
men had gained control of the world's
cultures, but in a male-dominated
world ruled by macho deities such
speculation was an idle game rather
than a matter of serious research.
With the advent of Judeo-Christianity and Mohammedanism a massive
assault was made on the old records as
destruction and obliteration of any
reference to the old gods (much less
goddesses) became a primary concern.
Bloody massacres of those who professed the old religions (now referred
to as "paganism"),
demolition of
pagan statuary, smashing of temples
and altering or records was the order
of the day for Judeo-Christians who
would have but one (male) god:

Austin, Texas

"But ye shall destroy their
altars, break their images,
and cut down their groves.
For thou shalt worship no other
god; for the Lord, whose name is
Jealous, is a jealous God.
Exodus 34:13-14
I am the Lord thy God,
which have brought thee
out of Egypt, out of the
house of bondage.
Thou shalt have no other
gods before me.
Exodus 20: 2-3
Only the winds of nature, the
desert sands and the gently shifting
topsoil preserved the evidence which
archeologists now patiently working
their digs are slowly uncovering as bits
and pieces of old records.
But woe to historical accuracy if
the archeologist is Christian or Muslim,
for the records again disappear or are
stashed away in unknown cellars or
tombs as unworthy of testifying to the
gross inaccuracies which compose the
Bible and the Koran.
Against stubborn resistance Merlin
Stone searched for a decade to uncover
what she could while the "scholars"
of antiquity brushed aside as "fertility
cults" or "gross mythology" the evidence of ancient female deities slowly
being unearthed.
In an unfolding tale the author
finds first The Great Goddess, Ashtoreth, she of several dozen names. Stone
traces her back to 25,000 B.C. amid
the Upper Paleolithic Age and sees
the spread of the idea throughout the
ancient world until in 500 A.D. the
last goddess temples were closed and
totally supressed by the Christian emperors of Rome and Byzantium.
But still she lives! - translated now
into worship of the Virgin (Queen)
Mary, mother of the Jewish Jesus.
Country by country, goddess by
goddess, the author introduces readers to their ancient mother gods. Herself
a trained sculptor, traveling worldwide, haunting libraries, museums,
universities, excavation sites, searching constantly for fragments of information, gleaning a myriad of diverse information,
Stone lovingly
patches the past together from physical as well as ideological research.
She became convinced that the
Goddess religion, if such it was, coexisted with the female kinship system before the introduction
of the artificial "high female status" under some
of the god systems.
Reviewing one of the (alleged)
historical references, the Bible, she
finds that it was the women of the

February, 1979

Hebrew tribes who first accepted the
new male deity. Following this the
more northern Indo-European tribes
also came to choose the male god, these
invaders dating from 2500-3000 B.C.
The female religion first assimilated
the male gods and then were overcome
by them. After suppression by them,
they finally were obliterated to be
replaced entirely by the male deity.
Hereditary male priest castes were
formed alongside divine-right kingships. But in the transitional stage the
castrated
or dying youth consort
emerged, so well explored heretofore
by Sir James Frazier in his The Golden
Bough.
She concludes that the Levite tribe
of the Hebrews wrote into the laws
the final destruction of the Divine
Ancestors and the matrilineal system.
Every canon, every law attacked and
reduced her. Every ritual, every symbolic act was toward her debasement
and disenfranchisement
as a part of
the human race.
The author deals at length with the
Adam & Eve myth to fortify her argument - seeing in the tale not theology,
but bare male politics of power.
She ends her book with a lament
for the daughters of Eve, noting that it
is the church and religion which continue the fight against equal rights for
women out of the necessity of the
theocracy theories which support the
church.
We recommend the book first to
American Atheist women so that they
may fully understand and appreciate
that it is their fight against religion
which is most important.
Women's Lib is nothing and futile
without first achieving liberation from
the original male chauvinist pig
religion.
.. __ Reviewed by M_M. O'Hair _ . __
.. $4.40 PP ..

use enclosed

order form

"Famous Atheists" Answers

FXRAMERTRAS
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NE0ANMKRHHTD

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B MO S TO J N V RN R
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Page 37

redress of grievances .• AMENDMENT

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of the United States is in

upon the Christian religion.

. The United States is not a Christian
nation

any more than it is a Jewish or a Mo-

hammedan

nation.

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. from the U.S. treaties with Tripoli, Algiers,
and Tunis, all written during Washington's
two administrations (1789-1797).

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clearer and stronger with advancing years and

of the

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Related Interests

laTE. 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; ",01' l.ECJ~l.1'EIoIOEfl.

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TUNE. \N -r01l'E..
(.HR,;TlAN 6R.O~o<A~;T'tl&~

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American ~heisl
February,

Vol. 21, No.2

1979

articles
Astrology

- 100 Million

A Computer-Made
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Dr. Madalyn Murray O'Hair
MANAGING EDITO R
Jon Garth Murray
GENERAL EDITOR
Frank Duffy
ART DIRECTOR
Joe Kirby
NON-RESIDENTIAL STAFF
Ignatz Sahula-Dycke
G. Richard Bozarth
JamesErickson
Wells Culver
J. Michael Straczynski
Elaine Stansfield
Bill Baird
Gerald Tholen

Americans

Are Wrong

Atheist

17

Kamekazi - A Promise Not Kept

23

The Sacred Foreskin Of Jesus Christ

24

Of Tabernacles & Virgins

27

features
Editorial

- Afraid

of Genius

2

4

Our Readers' Opinions
Atheist

News

Circle The Wagons!
Atheist

Indian Atheist
Monkeys
Atheists

5

Women & SALT

7

Leader Visits the U.S.

Debut "Shroud

AA Radio Series - Christian

Of Socrates"
Rewriting

of History

- George J. Holyoake

Book Review - When God Was A Woman

American
Atheists,
located
at
2210
Hancock
Drive, Austin,
Texas 78756, a non-profit,
nonpolitical, tax-exempt,
educational organization.
Mailing address:
P.O. Box 2117,
Austin,
TX,
7868.

Copyright

©

1979

by

Society
of Separationists,
Inc.
Subscription
rates: $20.00
per
year.
Manuscripts
submitted
must betyped,
accompanied

double-spaced

and

by a stamped,

self-

addressed envelope. The editors
assume
no responsibility
for
unsolicited

8
9

Trounce Christians

Roots Of Atheism
The American Atheist magazine is published
monthly
by

13

11
20

30
37

our cover
Joe Kirby's view of our nation's currency is but a preview of things to come once the constitutional
wall intended to separate state from church - reason from religion has been razed and a theocracy replaces the republic.
Symbols are powerful
medicine for Christians whose
psychoneuroses demand that real itv conform to their otherworldly fantasies. The religious community
grows fat while
overburdened taxpayers of any or no faith submit sheepishly
to the fleecing in the name of a "god" of human origins.
American Atheists alone recognize the infiltration
and
prosecute the resistance while daily the slouching beast of
religion perverts the nation's symbols behind which the
benighted flock follows dumbly.

manuscripts.

February,

Austin, Texas

I

1979

Page 1

by FRANK DUFFY

t

Afraid of Genius
Two davs of warmth and ''''''Y

for Atheists
in the otherwise
cold
month of hibernation
known as February are the twelfth and the twentysecond,
the birthdates
of Abraham
Lincoln and George Washington,
respectively _
Both of these American presidents
reached peaks of excellence in the lineage of that highest office down to
the present, with but a few of the 36
others who have held the office ever
approaching
the standards of our first
and sixteenth chief executives.

Washington was succeeded by fellow Deists (John) Adams, Jefferson,
Madison and (J_ Quincy) Adams, all of
whom upheld
the initial goal of a
secular
nation
as intended
by the
founding fathers whose ancestors had
fled the tyranny resultant to Europe's
inbred state-church
entanglement.
But Lincoln's
tenure
as chief
executive
remains
distinct
and poignant in our history for he more so
than any other American president was
most nearly Atheist in his life philosophy. Hence it is that his term and the

Page 2

achievements
therein stand apart and
are without
parallel from either his
immediate
predecessors
or his 20 successors.
For Christianity
not to have Lincoln's endorsement
in its quiver of distortions is a deprivation
so grievous to
its clergy that they feel righteously justified in bearing false witness aqainst
those
freethinkers
such as Lincoln
whose universal
appeal they would
appropriate
for purposes
of better
controlling
their flocks. The age-old
collusion
of the "haves"
with the
clergy who shepherd
the benighted
"have-nots"
is conceived to preserve
the cathedrals
of ignorance while fattening their prelates.
While he lived, the preachers and
parsons of the status quo denounced
the "great emancipator " because he
would free the black slaves from their
white slaveholders
who paid the salaries of "those same "men of god."
Slaves were chastised from the pulpits for not being satisfied with the
predicament
in which the Caucasian
god they were made to worship had
placed them. They were urged to be
"meek
for they would
inherit
the
earth" - someday.
Knowledge of the
type which would cause them to question their plight was forbidden
them
by their good Christian masters.
Lincoln
was held in contempt
yet feared by his Christian antagonists because he could not be bought
with bribe or brimstone.
In praise of Lincoln, his contemporary Robert Ingersoll touched upon
that fear of genius which many of us
have seen in the eyes of a Theist who
has been confronted
by the skeptical
smile of an Atheist for the first time:
"The average man is afraid of genius. He feels as an awkward man feels
in the presence
of a sleight-of-hand
performer.
He admires and suspects.

February,

~J

1979

Genius appears
to carry too much
sail - to lack prudence, has too much
courage.
The ballast of dullness inspires confidence."

With the death of a famous freethinker comes the volte-tece by those
who would claim allegiance in death
from an "infidel"
they so vilified in
life. Lincoln in his resolve to preserve
the Union above all other considerations cou Id not be made to kneel
before any clergy. But his historical
impact on the populace is so coveted
that
Lincoln
in death, as was with
Washington
[see p. 19], would be
made to cringe before the self-serving
superstitions
of persons
who
ran
before his shadow while he lived.
An Atheist, as was with Lincoln,
"appears to carry too much sai I" to
those who sti II linger in the caves
where they babble meaningless prayers
to harmless
wall shadows.
Dullards
must of necessity
seek to tarnish a
bright mind or risk seeing their own
abasement
sans the soothing
lies of
religion.

The American

Atheist

!

LETTERS
"Love it, love it!"
Dear Editor,
Enclosed is a money order for
another year's subscription to The
American Atheist.
I don't want to miss a word of my
favorite magazine. Each issue is read
cover to cover as soon as it arrives, with
much underlining and note-taking. Enjoy the whole magazine very much.
Just wish I could afford to get each and
every item and book you offer.
Love it, love it, love it!
I have been an Atheist all my life;
glad to have you all on my side.
~
B.J.Smith

V1~~~
,

Phoenix,

AZ

~~
Religion/Atrocity
Are Synonomous
Dear Editor,
The horrible finale to the Jim Jones
Peoples Temple in the jungles of Guyana should occasion no extraordinary
surprise. Atrocity is implicit in every
religion, any system of beliefs based
on faith, revelation, a sacred book or
the inspiration of a prophet.
Such systems rest not on demonstrable reality but dogmatic assertion.
The props of dogma are force, threats
and punishment. No one ever committed an act of terror to demonstrate
the truth of a Euclidian theorem.
The greater the faith in a prophet
or holy man the closer to the surface
lurks atrocity. Violence is the embryonic brother of faith and this is true of
even the most benign and pacific religious institutions.
W. Child Currey
Toronto, Canada
Guyana IlVasInevitable
Dear Editor,
The world's people had polygods
until Pharaoh Amenophia IV decreed
worship of the sun god Amun-re while
the Hebrews were yet in bondage. Exodus to Canaan permitted free thought
to invent "creation" and the "god of
Abraham."
Succinctly stated, cohesion of the
Jewish people under their new religion
caused some zealots to commit mass
suicide/murder rather than submit to
Roman rule. Emperor Constantine I,
aware of such loyalty, decreed Roman
Catholic Christianity for his people.

I

After more than 1,500 years of
brainwashing the gullible, captive, infantile and illiterate to "believe" in
that supernatural religion, it seems
logical that history has repeated it-

self in the mass murders/suicides of
the Peoples Temple religionists in
Guyana.
F.K. Campbell
Houston, TX

Guyana Unfortunates Had No Alternative
Dear Editor,
One of the more frequent excuses I hear for non-involvement by Atheists is,
"What does it matter? We can't change the world."
In my experience, the vast majority of Atheists feels it is alright to let the religious play their game as long as it does not directly interfere with their rights. The
growth of our parent organization, American Atheists, can probably be traced
to the more blatant and obnoxious interference by religion into our everyday lives
in recent times. We have slowly advanced from the days when Atheists would be
tormented and murdered by these superstitious humans.
Now, although the social price can be great, more rational humans are less
fearful to speak their minds. Lately we have an even more compelling reason to declare and promote our Atheism. How many of the over 900 dead at Jonestown,
Guyana, would be living today if an Atheist alternative had been available during
the Christian childhood and adult lives of Rev. Jones' followers?
Every Christian church must bear some responsibility for these needless deaths,
for every Christian church uses similar brainwashing techniques on their captive
flocks. Children are taught religious dogmas and rituals by parents long before they
have the free will and ability to reason as to the validity of those beliefs. Christian
children are programmed almost from birth - set up for just such an opportunistic
messiah as Rev. Jim Jones.
We Atheists have trouble comprehending why anyone would surrender voluntarily her/his free will or individuality for the comfort of the "Big Lie." I hope we
do not have difficultly assessing the situation now and reaching the conclusion that
perhaps a human life could be saved by one Atheist pointing out the alternatives to
surrendering to any of these ancient, primitive beliefs invented by our savage ancestors.
Please, fellow Atheists, speak up!
John Crump
Kentucky Director
American Atheists
Onus of Proving Atheism
Dear Editor,
Some people worry because Atheists cannot actually disprove the existence of
god and they therefore suggest that we should be more sympathetic to Agnostics.
I respect their skepticism, which I once shared, but it must be said that the onus of
proof falls wholly upon the believer, who claims god exists, and not on the Atheist,
who finds the evidence unconvincing. The full reasons for this have been set out in
Professor Anthony Flew's book, The Presumption of Atheism.
If I am told that Mars is inhabited by kangaroos who live 10 miles underground
and converse in Siamese, I cannot prove that such beings do not exist. But it would
be absurd for me to adopt the Agnostic position and reserve judgment because
these beings are unknowable and their non-existence unprovable. The rational thing
for me to do is to ask "what is the evidence for their existence?" And if the evidence is inadequate, then I must disbelieve. I do not need to look for counterevidence.
The question of god's existence demands an answer. If somebody convinces me
that god does exist, and so may punish my disbelief, then I must alter my opinions
and my way of life very radically and try to earn his favor, whatever the present
cost. I cannot, like the Agnostic, say "The question is imponderable" and set it
aside, because in living my life I must constantly make decisions; and these decisions
will depend on my basic assumptions, such as my belief or disbelief in god's existence. A man may call himself an Agnostic, but he cannot really be one.
The opinions on which we base our actions are nearly always a matter of
probability rather than proven knowledge, and there is no reason why this should
worry us. The important thing is the degree of probability. And today the hypothesis that god exists - if we grant the word "god" anything like a real meaning - has
become so improbable that we are more than justified in calling ourselves Atheists
rather than attempting vainly to evade the question.
Carl Lofmark
England

February, 1979

Austin, Texas

!I

Page 3

LETTERS
Atheist TV Tips
Dear Mr. Straczynski,
I am a new subscriber to the
American Atheist magazine, although
I have been a "closet Atheist" for 40
years.
Regarding the section of your article in the November 1978 magazine
ln. 6J about our writing to the TV
networks and the FCC, it seems to me
to be a good suggestion, which I wish
to pursue. However, I need some guidance in order to be more effective.
Should I send copies of the letters
to the FCC or send them a separate
letter?
I would appreciate any suggestions and comments, preferably in the
magazine as there must be other Atheists in the same boat.
Charles Manis
Ohio
Mr. Manis,
As a rule, there are two ways of
approaching the networks and their
affiliates. To start with, free time is
given by affiliates as a way of complying with the FCC regulation that they
provide local programming "in public
interest. " (It is interesting to note that
Pamela flott, CBS Coordinator for Cultural and Religious Programming, said
that "all viewpoints in religion have
the right to be aired in the interest of
providing a public service," but she
carefully avoided extending that prerogative to Atheism.) The implication is that Atheism is not in the
public interest, which is flat-out discrimination. Write the FCC and the
affiliates with your complaint, and
threaten to call into question their
license when it comes up for renewal
if there is not a balanced coverage in
the public interest.
I have also done further checking
on the FCC's "Equal Time Ruling,"
and can report this: The ruling is designed to apply to any producer of
programming or broadcasting organization that takes a stand on a controversial issue. In cunningly side-stepping
the issue, the FCC does not define religion as being controversial. (Give' us
time.)
However:
On a frequent basis,
the Christian networks and broadcasting services like the PTL Club, the 700
Club, and others, take and promote
stands on controversial issues like the
death penalty, taxation of churches
and church-schools, and so forth. They
actually tell the viewers how, for whom,
and on what to vote! Having taken

Page 4

such stands as producers and programmers on public airwaves, they are then
obligated by law to provide equal time
for an opposing viewpoint' And there
is no reason why that opposing viewpoint cannot be voiced by an Atheist.
So, in brief: Promote A theism as

being in the public interest, with the
alternative being discrimination, and
keep an eye on those Christian broadcasts for controversial stands and then
demand equal time. It's you right under the law; fight for it!
J. Michael Straczynski

9

HOUR
DEf.s1O ~

American Atheists and the Equal Rights Amendment
Dear American Atheists,
This has nothing to do with the "In God We Trust" lawsuit, but I would like to
express my feelings on another issue which is very important. to me. .
"
As an Atheist and a feminist I would like to see American Atheists join many
other organizations in the economic boycott of those states which have not yet
ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. AA recognizes the oppression of women, so
why not help them in their struggle for equal rights? American Atheists would also
receive free publicity in this endeavor.
Juliana Markiw
Oregon
Ms. Markiw,
"
Thank you for your contribution to our suit to have "In God We Trust removed from this nation's coins and currency.
You solicit commentary on our position on the ERA. American Atheists has
always been run, to the best of our ability, as a single cause organIzation. T.hat
cause is the acquisition and the protection of the civil rights of American A t~elsts.
We understand, however, that we can only gain those rights after we have attained a
complete and absolute separation of state and church as guaranteed by. the U.S.
Constitution. When the power of the state is removed from the church It can no
longer deprive Atheists of their constitutional rights.
Therefore, we concentrate our efforts in that area. Concerns such as the
passage of the ERA which are to some extent political we would :-ather leave to
those groups - such as the National Organization for Women - which are e~gaged
primarily in the struggle for women's rights. We have our hands full struggling for
the rights of Atheists, both male and female.
We do however realize that religion has been the principle oppressor of women in A~erica and throughout history, and that the ERA is therefore a statechurch entanglement issue. At the same time we feel that it is more imp0r.tan~ ~o
labor for basic human rights for all Atheists (male & female) with any beneficial
fall-out from that fight which may advance the cause of women's rights being our
contribution to their struggle. As an organization our thrust must be primarily
Atheistic.
.
Furthermore we support the ERA as a means to an end - equality for women
- but not as an ~nd in and of itself. As long as the women of America realize that
the ERA is merely the first in a long succession of steps towards their eventual total
liberation, we, support them in spirit and with such fall-out from. our litig~tion as w.e
can. If, however, the women of America look upon ERA as a f~nal so~utl.on to their
problems, then we cannot support them in that misrepresentation of Its Intent. ~he
ERA is a step in the right direction, but its passage will not mean an end to sexism
in the United States.
The answer to your question then is, no, we will not support a boycott of
states which have not yet ratified the ERA. If any member of our organization
chooses to do so we would support him/her in their freedom to exercise that right,
individually.
. .
Please be assured that American Atheists has a deep and abiding concern for
the rights of American women. We can only offer mora~ suppor~, however, as we
are embattled in an even more consuming struggle to eradicate theism.
.
Jon Murray
Managing Editor

February,

1979

The American

Atheist

(

00

NEWS

CIRCLE
THE
WAGONS!
Like a sudden winter storm, late in
November and early December a most
threatening situation enveloped the
American Atheist Center.
When religion says that "the meek
shall inherit the earth," it simply
means that as long as one is beaten and
cowed, meek and submissive, religion
will permit one's existence. As soon as
one becomes independent of mind
enough to challenge the excretia of
religion, there is a massive effort to
crush - either the outspoken individual or the group or organization which
attempts the criticism.
As long as Atheist organizations are
meek and lowly, submissive and supplicating, they have no real trouble.
When Atheists operate out of the cellar, behind closed doors, issuing timid
communications in brown wrapping
sans a return address, they have no difficulties. When, however, Atheists
boldly identify, openly challenge, and
courageously fight, oppressive measures
are immediately taken against them.
When we opened the American
Atheist Center in Austin, Texas, on
Summer Solstice day of 1977, we
thought we had arrived at a time in
history when we could function openly. Little did we know how much
hatred was engendered in the political
and religious backrooms in Austin.
At first, we now find, they all
thought that we would succumb, that
what we were attempting might be
more than we could do. But the
Atheist Center was opened on Solstice day and it stayed open. It did not
fold in a month, or even two months
or three ... and by the fall of 1977 it
was still there.
The first and most immediate difficulty we had was with the sign. NOW

we realize how they hated that proud,
defiant, tasteful-but-bold sign, done in
the red, white and blue which belongs
to American Atheism.
They hated with such intensity that
suddenly insurance on the building
was cancelled. When insurance is cancelled mortgage-holders become nervous and threaten to "call-in" their
mortgage. And that is exactly what
happened as we were faced with the
latter when the former was carried
out. We shopped haste fully and almost unsuccessfully
for insurance
and it was only an Atheist-run insurance firm which saved us from calamity. But no sooner was that insurance
bought. and confirmed when pressure
was apparently again applied against
the carriers and again the insurance
was cancelled. But our Atheist insurance firm was able to find a group of
insurers and we survived that threat.
It was then the unusually frequent fire inspections began, and
whereas former occupants of the
building needed no fire extinguishers,
or bright exit signs, or expensive fire
doors, or "break out" doors, suddenly we did - several thousands of dollars worth. City and county tax appraisers came to visit; the offices of
sales tax collection were represented;
and building inspectors arrived. After
one break-in was accomplished we
went to iron grilling on every door and
window, again for several thousands
of dollars.
It was then that the Murray-O'Hair
home was "discovered" and the attacks
on the home became constant. In two
summer months we went to the police

no less than a dozen times, to no avail.
We would hire persons into the Center only to find work that could only
be described as destructive, often ending in denouements that the employees
were Christians.
We attempted a mortgage fundraiser only to have the names of all the
donors disappear one day when an employee quit under odd circumstances.
Fortunately,
we think nothing has
come of that gambit.
And then the suits against us began: four of them, all calculated to
cause difficulties, but not any of them
substantive. We saw them for what
they were - harassment. With a determined effort we continued what
we could do best: challenge the irrationality of religion on every level,
continue our suits to separate state
and church and to preserve and defend the civil rights of American
Atheists.
,.
Then a vicious, unprincipled attack
was made within our organization itself. Self-styled Marxists, in the open
for the first time, dissidents who claim
to be "merely" anti-M.M. O'Hair but in
fact seek the "dictatorship of the proletariat," disrupted one chapter's meetings, moved to find their kind in other
chapters to drag Atheists back into the
closets while the real issues of Marxism
were being fought. These few contacted
every U.S. religious editor pandering
gutter-variety "information."
Our four chapters under attack survived and are going well but mailing
lists, treasury funds, and the precious
Atheist libraries have disappeared from
the chapters' custody.
We stood fast because we have business to do and because we know that
the enemy is religion. No side issues,

The news is chosen to demonstrate,
month after month, the dead reactionary
hand of religion. It dictates good habits, sexual conduct, family
size. It censures cinema, theater, television, even education ..!t dictates life values and lifestyle. Religion is politics and, always, the most authoritarian and reactionary
politics. We editorialize
our news to emphasize this thesis. Unlike any other magazine or newspaper in the United States,
we are honest enough to admit it.

Austin, Texas

February, 1979

Page 5

NEWS
no peripheral quarrels, no attritional
suits were going to stop us. We gave
them only the attention they deserved, which was minimal.
Neither your American Atheist
Center nor anyone in it has ever stolen
any treasury funds, mailing lists,
books, or monies. We have traded on
no one else's name and reputation,
have not plagerized any material, and
we fly under our own flag -American
Atheism.
We continued. One of the harassment cases came up in a local court
and we were defeated, as we thought
we would be on the lower level. With
a prejudiced judge, a biased jury, a
vindictive opposing legal counsel we
could only expect the worst. We let it
go at that. We put up an adequate defense and felt that we could win on
appeal.
Your American Atheist Center is financially stable. We have a Dun &
Bradstreet rating of double A. Our
credit ratings are excellent. We own
rolling stock, inventory, equipment
and furnishings worth $300,000. Our
real estate holdings are valued in
excess of $700,000. The holdings of
the American Atheist Library and
Archives is not rivaled in the world
and a conservative estimate of its
worth is about $3 million.
In any given year, our book sales
alone bring in $60,000 and our membership and magazine bringin another
quarter million. We are solvent, capable, sturdy as a rock. We now have 11
committed staff members.
The American Atheist Center is run
along business lines, and ordinary business principles are applied, from the
time clock to punch in, through the
computer for records, to continual
inventory techniques ...
we are organized and forward looking.
In any ordinary court case surety
bonds are acceptable. But, suddenly,
even with our solvency and our credit
rating we could not get a bond. We
could not use our own property for
bond as the clerk of the court adamantly refused to take anything but
cash. Well, no matter how well organized, how solvent and how secure
any business of the magnitude of our
"cause" is, to come up with $50,000
overnight is a staggering cost. 0 one
would touch us with a ten-foot pole,
much less help us. The smiling bank
officials now ran for cover, with the
newspaper accounts of the hostile jury
still fresh in their memory.
We sat down and talked - everyone
at the Center was willing to put in all
they had. Mary offered $3,000 from

Page 6

her credit union savings, David $1,000
from his, Eric $1,500 from his ... all
of which was a long way from $50,000.
We decided to write to the members
and see if they could help pull us out
of the situation by helping with a
"cash bond."
But we also have actuary statistics
on cause organizations, and what percentage of people respond to appeals,
and when and how. We thought that
we might get as much as a 10 percent
response, so we figured that if we
would ask that 10 percent we thought
would respond for $78 each, we could
make it. We did make it.
We put the mailing out on 11 December and by 27 December we had
our reply (this despite the heavy Xmas
mail). There were 462 answers and almost everyone sent $78 or $100 or
less. There were only a dozen who
sent over $100 and not one "rich"
Atheist came to the rescue.

At 3:20 p.m. on the 27th we
opened the final envelope which
pushed the total over the needed
$50,000.
Our attorney was immediately notified and began the process of obtaining from the court the necessary
permission and signatures in order to
file the "cash bond" which had been
laid on us - simply as harassment.
All of the checks were drawn on
out of town banks and our Austin
bank was immediately contacted so
that the collection of them could begin. Generally it takes 10 days, so that
it was necessary for us to obtain a
special arrangement with a bank to
secure a "cashier's check." The bank
we have been dealing with arbitrarily
refused, but another bank agreed.
All of this took until 1 :00 p.m.
on 28 December and our attorney
then proceeded to the courthouse
where the supersedeas bond was obtained by 3:30 p.m. It was that close.
We were rescued by American
Atheists donating "little checks." It
was the classic "little guy" who came
through in the dutch.

February,

~I

1979

You Atheists who responded in
time and with sufficient funds are on
an honor roll etched in our brains
which can never be forgotten. "Thank
you" is not enough. You will witness
the deeds of the American Atheist
Center coming up in 1979 arid thereafter.
While we were in the midst of all
of this, almost as if they were moving
in for the kill, we were struck with
several other heavy blows. The mortgage holder, a savings and loan association, called us to arbitrarily raise the
mortgage payment by $400/month,
with a $2,000 "escrow" account payment due on 1 January.
Also our printer got to us and told
us that the price of the magazine
would be raised to the point that it
costs us $l.OO/issue to print it. In both
cases we were cited "inflation" as the
cause.
In any event, the internal and the
external attacks on the only real, viable, active American Atheist group in
the United States is underway.
But we are not alone. Even an organization which hides its Atheist
premises under another name is in
similar difficulties, as we found out
that the American Humanist Association is currently being torn asunder
by an internal rift. The Humanist magazine is in stressful financial condition
and has continued during these last
years only because of enormous grants
of money made to it by individuals
and by foundations.
Its editor for
many years, and a person who has
brought it to some standard of excellence and even a bit of boldness,
Paul Kurtz, is being kicked out of his
job summarily. In extended conversations with us, Paul Kurtz theorizes
that perhaps there is some kind of infiltration and effort to destroy aimed
at the viable groups, the doers, those
who are effectively "anti-theistic," as
he puts it.
We only know what we feel and see,
and a part of what we see is that the
self-proclaimed "great separationist"
group, Americans United, now is
fighting FOR the right of religious
schools to practice segregation while in
receipt of tax funding and tax exemption and special status rights. We have
warned for years that this is truly a
Baptist organization, but, alas, Atheists
fall for anyone pretending to "prestigious" support. Americans United fights
as hard for segregation as for exemption on Baptist business.

The American

Atheist

We will survive. We plan to do more
than that. We are going to grow.We are
going to strengthen
in our determination and our effort. We put each and
all on notice:
do your damnedest Atheists are a hardy stock. By the year
2000 the U.S. is going to be Atheistic
and we are the organization
which is
going to get the nation there. Attack

how you will - we can parry. Pressure
anytime and anywhere:
you are a flea
on the back of a dog of progress. This
dog is going to get where he is going,
and he will be a continuing clarion call
to all the "little guys" who stood firm.
No doubt our theistic foes hoped
we would opt for the "Jim Jones" way
out in the face of harassment.
The

AtheistWomen:'This dance only'
In November of 1978, the organization of American
Atheist Women
was asked by the Arms Control and
Disarmament
Agency
of the
U.S.
Department
of State to send representatives
to the "Conference
for
Women on SALT II" which was to be
held at the State
Department
in
Washington, D.C., on 5 December.
S.O.S. Secretary
Jon Murray and
Dr. Madalyn
O'Hair were in attendance. American
Atheists Mary Lee
and Dr. Edward
Estey were kind
enough to offer the hospitality of their
home to the American Atheist Women
delegates and a three-day visit was ac-

"

complished.
About 300 representatives
of all the
major women's
groups in the United
States were in attendance,
and many
gave out literature.
The women were
enthusiastic
participants
in the panelized question-and-answer
periods which
were featured throughout
the presentation.
The moderator was Thomas Halsted,
of the Council of Foreign Relations,
the International
Institute of Strategic
Studies and the Arms Control Association. George M. Seignious, the newly
appointed
Director of the U.S. Arms
Control and Disarmament
Agency, and

I congratulate the State Department of the United States
for its perception of the need for domestic political education,
which is evidenced by the exercise of inviting heads of citizen's
groups - particularly women's organizations - to a Conference on SALT.
This is an exciting human event.
Behind this polite, measured, well-structured presentation,
the State Department of the United States is saying today
that the arms race has failed. Twenty-five years ago those of us
who proposed limiting that arms race could not convince the
State Department that the effort should be undertaken. Now
we are told that the sophistication of technology reaching all
nations has brought a stand-off, in State Department parlance
"a deterrent balance," and a "nuclear parity. " In essence,
technology is our savior.
Ambassador Marshall Shulman states that we must deal
now as equals, the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and that a treaty
will be concluded.
What is most significant, today, is that this presentation
of the failure of escalation is made to representatives of
women's groups, suddenly now politically significant. The war
games of men end in the peace goals of women.
The State Department is asking us to go out as ambass-

Austin, Texas

Warren Christopher,
Deputy Secretary
of State, were principal speakers with
the burden of the meeting upon Ambassador Paul C. Warnke, chief SALT
negotiator for the U.S.
Anne Wexler,
assistant
to President Carter, made a long presentation,
as did Ambassador
Marshall D. Shulman, Special Adviser to the Secretary
of State on Soviet Affairs. David J.
Fischer,
Director
of the Office of
Public
Programs,
Bureau
of Public
Affairs, gave special informational
disclosures,
along with Dr. Victor
E.
Alessi, deputy chief of the Strategic
Arms Division of the Arms Control
and Disarmament
Agency.
A special feature of the presentation was the inclusion of female representation
on the conference
agenda,
particularly
that of Anne H. Cahn,
Chief of the Social Impact Staff, Weapons Evaluation
and Control Bureau,
Adalyn Davis, Deputy Public Affairs
Advisor,
and
Katherine
N. Smith,
Legislative Management
Officer of the
U.S. Congress.
Toward the end of the conference
Dr. O'Hair summed up what had been
said, and challenged the 'State Department in this manner:

adors to sell the SALT II treaty as a beginning of limitations
which may lead to disarmament. I hope every group here
represented will enthusiastically accept the task. Since I see
that Phyllis Schlafly is not here, my hope may even be fulfilled.
Your message to us is. that we women must apply the
necessary pressures so that the treaty gets through the Senate. This is an admission that the State Department does not
trust the Senate to do what needs to be done. Those we optimistically designate as our representatives (politicians),
must be persuaded to accept. You ask this because you find
that women here represented are concerned and knowledgeable
with the problem.
I do not have an argument with the substance of your
presentation, I have an argument with the tone of it. That
comes over constantly that the United States has a superior system, economically, politically and morally - i.e., interspersed
with the presentation is a qualitative evaluation of the two
systems. I can see that this has to do with national pride, pride
in our system.
But, the question of morality is not relevant to the SALT
equation and can only exacerbate domestic political problems
which we have. The tone set is the same as that of Jimmy

February,

1/

halls of the Atheist Center in the midst
of the attacks have rung with "cyanide"
jokes.
We are in there to live and fight for
the truth; while the religious fanatics
are out there exalting and dying for
Jesus. The best people will win; the
meek do not inherit the earth.
~

1979

Page 7

Carter with his concern for what he calls "human rights. " The
State Department and our chief executive cannot play a
morals game and expect the Soviet Union to accept our indictment in that area. The State Department should take the lead
in showing also that the Russian system is different - not better, not worse - but that its cultures are predicated on different premises. With Russia, what you see is what you get. Deal
with it; don't try to reform it. The State Department should
have enough geopolitical sense and real concern for the world's
peoples to be able to accept that Russia is there, it is real, and
that it is, now, militarily coequal.
[The conference had many veiled references to the superior
moral, i.e., religious, position of the United States vis-a-vis any
country which was not religious, i.e., Atheistic. The inference
was that religious (theistic) persons were more reliable, more
trustworthy, more honorable and more ethical. This particular emphasis was placed on a part of the projected SALT
treaty concerned with monitoring. The U.S. position was repeatedly stated as one which would rely on "intelligence
capability" because of the inability to rely on "trust" with

Indian
Atheist
Leader
Visits
AID.eriean Center
During
October and November of last year, the head of
the Indian Atheist Centre visited the United States, various
American Atheist chapters and the American Atheist Center.
Lavanam is GORA's eldest son. He was born in 1930 at
the time of the famous act of defiance of Mahatma Gandhi,
the "Salt Satyagrha," and since his father had abandoned
naming his children after Indian gods and goddesses or holy
men, he was named "Lavanam," which means "salt." Lavanam chose to be closely affiliated with his father from a very
early age and was first arrested at age 12 for participating in
the "Quit India" movement directed against British colonialism in 1942. Jon Murray, the director of the American Atheist
Center, found much in common with Lavanam since Jon's first
arrest and jailing for the cause of Atheism was in 1965, in
Mexico, at age eight.
GORA spent some time living in Gandhi's Sevegram Ashram
when he was having discussions with Gandhi concerning Atheism, and Lavanam was with his father and Gandhi during those
years.
He learned the trick of walking on fire and even as a child
defied the Hindu system of inter-caste dining. As a young man
he married Hema, the daughter of an Indian poet of the "untouchable" caste. GORA's family was of the Brahmin caste.

Page 8

February,

~J

1979

Russia. The basic underpinned position was that the Soviet
Union could "trust" the U.S. which is theistic and moral,
while the U.S. could not "trust" the Soviets who are Atheists
and hence immoral.]
I see the State Department of the United States hoisted
on its own petard. It is one of the governmental agencies
which taught Americans to hate Russia. Can the State Department, then, undo what it has done? We women have come to
your conference; but from the questions here you can see
plainly that we have not, really, brought our trust with us.
We move cautiously, not enthusiastically, to support
you, for women know the real meaning of war. In your format you are pleading with the women of the United States.
I think we are saying "for this dance only," and that your
initial briefing process here must become a continuing communication with the internals of your own nation. The State
Department of the United States needs to have the nation
behind it. I am delighted to be a part of the beginning process
which may effectuate that in the future. "

Advocating Atheism and social change, he traveled extensively in India, at one time during the 1950s acting as a translator for the famous Vinoba Bhave. In 1962, he walked with
his father on the Sevagram-to-Delhi march for economic
equality and partyless, pompless democracy.The 1,100-mile
march was accomplished in 100 days. He has been arrested
many times, being jailed for as much as a month at a time.
India's government has been slowly recognizing his worth
and from 1965 to 1968 he was the assistant secretary of the
All-India Sarva Seva Sangh. In 1973, he was the state coordinator (for the state of Andhra Pradish) for the "Youth Against
Famine" campaign sponsored by the Education Ministry. For
this he conducted several student and youth camps in rural
areas, and in an innovative area he campaigned for and put
into effect the co-mingling of boys from Borstal School (for
juvenile delinquents) with collegians in social service camps.
In 1974, Lavanam began his work of reforming and rehabilitating criminals in the Tribe Settlements at Sitanagaram,
Stuartpuram, Kappralatippa and Kavali in Andhra Pradish. He
is the secretary and state coordinator of the Gandhi Peace
Foundation, a member of the State Level Committee on the
Implementation of the Protection of Civil Rights Act, for
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, appointed by the
government to this task.
In November of 1977, after a devastating cyclone and
tidal wave hit east-central India, Lavanam was named the convenor of the coordination committee of Voluntary Agencies
in the affected areas.
He has lectured extensively in Canada, Japan, South
Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, as well as
in the United States. He is the current director of the Atheist
Centre in Patamata, Vijawada, Andhra Pradish, India, and the
editor of the Sangham (Society) and Arthik Samata (Economic Equality) weeklies which are printed in the Telugu language
at the Atheist Centre, as well as being editor of the Insaan
(Human)
Hindhi-language monthly, and The A theist, an
English-language monthly.
Visiting extensively in the United States, Lavanam spent
time with the New Jersey, Ohio, Kentucky and Texas chapters
of American Atheists, as well as with the American Atheist
Museum in Indiana. We found Lavanam to be worldly wise,
dedicated, and in earnest concerned with the need for change
from theism to Atheism in India and we look forward to continuing cooperation with him and the Indian Atheist Centre.

The American

Atheist

NEWS
CLERGY EXEMPT FROM TAX CRUNCH
Excerpted from the "Employer's
Internal Revenue Service, Department

of churches

performing

duties as

15 (Rev. November

1978) of the

Treatment under different employment taxes

Special classes of employment
and special types of payment
Ministers
such.

Tax Guide" (Circular E) Publication
of the Treasury.

Income tax withholding

Social security

Federal unemployment

!
(Taxable
Exempt
if both
employer
and employee
voluntarily agree.)

Exempt

Exempt

a. For the order, agency of the supervising church or associated institution.

Exempt

Exempt,
unless
religious
the
order or autonomous
subdivision thereof irrevocably elects
entire
active
coverage
for
membership
and its lay ernployees.

Exempt

b. For any organization
other than
those described in (a.)
(See Revenue Rulings 76-323,
1976-2
C.B. 18, and 77-290,
1977-2 C.B. 26.)

Taxable

Taxable

Taxable

a. For the order, agency of the supervising church or associated institution.

Exempt

Exempt

Exempt

b. For any organization
other than
those described in (a.)
(See Rev_ Ruls. 76-323 and 77-290.)

Taxable

Taxable

Taxable

Members of religious
orders, who have
taken a vow of poverty and who are in·
structed by the order to perform servo

ices:

Members of religious
orders, who have
not taken a vow of poverty, and who are
instructed by the order to perform servo
ices:

_.

Guess who must pay the taxes these self-ordained

MONKEYS
TROUNCE
CHRISTIANS
Score one for us.
In a modern version of the Scopes
monkey trial, a federal judge ruled
that
the Smithsonian
Institution
doesn't have to thump the Christian
Bible alongside its exhibit on evolution.
U.S. District Judge Barrington D.
Parker ruled on 11 December against
a Washington, D.C. man and two religious groups who complained the
museum "presents evolution as the

Austin, Texas

"men of god" are unconstitutionally

only credible theory of the origin of
life."
One of the Christian plaintiffs had
asked the judge to stop a planned
$463,200 evolution exhibit or to compel the Smithsonian to spend an equal
amount for one on the biblical account
of the origin of man.
The suit against the Smithsonian
and its officials contended the evolution theory "is based on the assumption that man and all life on Earth is
the consequence of a series of accidents of molecular combination in the
dateless past."
Judge Parker said, "This is not a
situation where the Smithsonian has
put an unconstitutional condition on
plaintiffs' exercise of their belief ...
The plaintiffs can carry their beliefs
into the museum with them, though
they risk seeing science exhibits contrary to that faith."
One of the plaintiffs was quoted as
saying that "If we believe we descended
from animals, we are going to act like
animals." The father of that plaintiff
heads the National Bible Knowledge
Association.

February, 1979

exempt from?

... ditto in Georgia
Another victory - of sorts - was
won last November in Georgia where
religionists have been demanding that
local school boards direct that equal
time be given to the "creation theory"
for the origin of life in all life science
classes.
The state school board in Atlanta
ruled by an 8-2 decision in its monthly
meeting that it should not set a policy
on the matter and adopted the state
textbook
committee's
recommendation without debate.
The creation theory holds that life
or the favorable conditions for life
were established on Earth by a divine
being who in no way resembles a monkey. "Creationists" are Christians who
would have all children indoctrinated
into the Christian cult despite overwhelming scientific evidence which debunks the creation theory and leaves
serious doubts about the mental stability of those who wallow in such ignorance in defense of deities of their
own creation

Page 9

NEWS
CATHOLICS CENSOR FEMINIST PLAY
One can scarcely expect Roman
Catholics who've been born and bred
in that mind-decaying cult to ever gain
sufficient objectivity -- and independence of thought - to examine their
own denomination as infallibly as they
do others.
Most are born, reared, marry and
die knowing only other Catholics within the limited horizons of the city,
state or province of their birth. Such is
the effect of the early-implanted and
weekly reinforced "fear of the lord"
by which the clerical sherherds control
their woolly charges.
The Roman Catholic Church is particularly infamous for its attempts at
censoring the reading material not
only of its prey, but - when allowed that of all people. By denying alternative viewpoints to their docile lambs
the Catholic prelates insure the continued submission of their fundamentally
ignorant flock.
In December of last year the Roman
Catholic Church in Montreal, Quebec,
was roused to a state of acute animosity as they sought to prevent all persons
from attending or reading a feminist
play which portrayed their fictional
virgin Mary in less than a divine light.
The focal point of the clash was a
militantly feminist play called Les
Fees On t Soif (The Fairies Are Thirsty),
in which the church, through the Virgin Mary, is denounced for its part in
keeping women ignorant of their own
subjugation.
Livid at what they deemed blasphemy, Catholic groups obtained a
temporary injunction against sale of
the play in bookshops. The Quebec
literary and theatrical world in turn
became outraged at this example of
modern-day thought control being
practiced by the past master of the
"sacred art" of keeping the blinders on
their draft animals.
Controversy began to mount well
before the play commenced a highly
successful run in November at the
Theater of the New World, because
part of the theater group's subsidy had
been withheld by the Arts Council of
Greater Montreal, an official body
that attempts to encourage cultural
activities. The council was reluctant
to back what it saw as a controversial
work, but it only contributed to the
controversy by making the play the
most talked-about theater event of the
season.
Until the "quiet revolution" of the
early 1960s, the play could probably

Page 10

not have been produced, so tight was
Catholic censorship in those days. But
since the 1960s the growing broadmindedness of Canadians has so weakened the church's hold over education
and intellectual life that new forms of
militancy among French men and
women have been encouraged.
The fairies in the play are three
women, representing three aspects of
the feminine condition - the virgin
Mary, a housewife, and a prostitute.
There is no plot as such, just a long
and embittered lament on the role that
men have assigned to women and women's efforts to liberate themselves
from their situation.
The virgin Mary is depicted as an
earthy character (can you imaginei )
who first appears as a statue but who
keeps breaking out of it to say things
like, "I am the mirror of injustice."
As you might imagine, the male
Catholic prelates were furious. The
archbishop of Montreal admitted that
he had not seen the play, but said he
knew enough about it from "trustworthy persons" to condemn it. He
complained that Mary "has been made
a mere puppet, an invention of masculine domination, a fiction responsible
for the alienation of women."

Following their shepherds' denunciation, a dutiful group of Catholic
organizations, including the Knights of
Columbus, the Young Canadians for
Christian Civilization [oy ueyl]; and
the Association of Catholic Parents of
Quebec, sought an injunction against
the play on the grounds that it was
"filthy, sacrilegious and blasphemous"
and [take note] it undermines the
Catholic faith.
A Superior Court judge temporarily
enjoined sales of the book version until full hearings could be held. Only
because the play was about to end its
run did the judge refuse to prevent

February, 1979

further performances. The producers
said they intend to offer the play again
next year.
The partial injunction brought howls
of denunciation,
including several
newspaper editorials. Le Devoir, the
intellectual French daily that has had
close links with the church, said: "We
are in the presence of an act of censorship. We have known in Quebec in
other times censorship of ideas of
books, films and art works. We have
known the regime of religious unanimity. That time has passed."
.

Has it really? .

Italians
May Dump
Catholicism~~"'-lo
Italy, the kitchen of Roman Catholicism, is rapidly preparing to dump that
age-old cult of superstition as its
official state religion.
Italy would drop Roman Catholicism as its state religion under a proposal presented to the Senate in late
1978 by Premier Giulio Andreotti.
The proposal, worked out by Vatican and Italian negotiators and submitted on 6 December, would revise
the Concordat, a 49-year-old agreement that has governed relations between Italy and the Roman Catholic
Church.
The proposed revision of the pact
signed during the facist era of Benito
Mussolini could set a new pattern for
state-church relations long overdue in
Italy and in other predominantly Roman Catholic nations.
The major points of the agreement,
in its third draft after two years of negotiations, include:

* Roman Catholicism would no
longer be Italy's state religion - a
change that would mean, among
other things, that religious education
in Italian schools would no longer be
compulsory.
* Defrocked churchmen and women would no longer be banned from
holding public jobs.
* The status of church property in
Italy and tax privileges would come
under scrutiny of the Italian government.
The American Atheist

t

Ruth:
Jimmy Serves
Jesus

For those Americans who may have
wondered whether President Jimmy
Carter is able to set aside his Christian
biases towards those not of his nor
any other "faith" so as to perform the

On
12 December 1978, Dr. Madalyn
Murray O'Hair,spokesperson for American Atheism, revealed for the first
time that the American Atheists
organization had acquired a priceless
relic or"human heritage.
Speaking breathlessly almost with
reverence (you should excuse the
expression) she made the announcement while other Atheists, gathered
for the occasion, sat in hushed silence.
It seems that during a trip to the
mysterious Far East, in the summer of
1978, she and her family were able,
secretly, to acquire and to smuggle
past U.S. Customs Service inspectors,
the priceless "Shroud of Socrates."
This linen cloth had been known
historically in the dim reaches of the
Far East since the year 1353. It had
been handed down by its successive
owners, within one cult of Socra-philes
since the time an escaping Greek had
reverently taken it from the body of
the martyred Greek philosopher after
he was forced to drink the hemlock
(399 B.C. - the date being stamped
on the Shroud). The cloth has previously been displayed only six times,
all during the 19th century, and each
time within the restricted Socra-phile
communities of the Far East.

Rust-colored stains on the cloth are
said to be the actual impressions formed by the corpse of Socrates. Certain
other stains have been chemically identified as hemlock and matters regur-

Austin,

Texas

Z*

NEWS
duties of his office with a fair impartiality, forget it. His kinfolk know him
better than that.
Brother Jimmy Carter is "first of
all a Christian, and then president." So
says Carter's evangelical sister, Ruth,
who made the comment to a Lutheran
magazine while touring West Germany
recently.

Ruth Carter Stapleton termed her
brother a "follower of the radical Jesus, the leader of the rejected." She
added that he, therefore, always will
give first place to human rights and
"hold up the mirror to America's
materialism."
She gave this assessment of Carter to the German monthly, Luiherische Monatshefte.

gitated by Socrates in his death throes.
These stains require further detailed
analyzation to determine more accurately the foods consumed by the notorious "Gadfly of Athens" during
his Last Supper with his disciples.

of the linen causes this precious relic
to be of such delicacy that it cannot
be perceived by the impure whose reason is hopelessly clouded by layer upon
layer of religious superstition.
The presence of the Shroud in the
Atheist Center has already been responsible for "miraculous" cures to
long-time physical ailments of some
Atheist employees which, the staff
claims, had heretofore proven incurable using the latest medical techniques.

~'

The precious relic is currently under intense scrutiny by a team of
Atheist-experts using the latest radioactive carbon-dating techniques. Several strands of human hair will be
analyzed and are expected to be positively identified as being from the
head of this magnificent philosopher
immortalized in the writings of his star
pupil, Plato.
Mysterious letters dating from the
14th century are also a part of the
treasure. These letters allude to an
avowal associated with a discourse, revealed in a conversation, committed
to rote, of the impression of a casual
bystander of what was gasped by a
dying man in the 9th century - that
the Shroud of Socrates is not a fraud
as religious skeptics of that time had
claimed.
After final authentification,
the
Shroud of Socrates will be displayed
at the American Atheist Center in
Austin, Texas. "Its value is inestimable," said' Jon Murray, director of
the center. "It will be insured by
Lloyd's of London and only the most
dedicated Atheists of the world will
be permitted to view it," he said. Mr.
Murray claimed that the fragile nature

February, 1979

One employee of the center had
an inflamed wart on his toe cured
after the briefest of contact with the
Shroud. Still another staffer was cured
of his life-long case of viciously curly
hair after wearing the Shroud around
his scalp in turban-like fashion for 40
days and 39 nights.
Mrs. O'Hair refused to identify the
Far Eastern Socra-philes, thickly veiled
in obscurity, who preserved this relic,
but she did indicate that certain other
facts would be released to the public
after ancient Sanskrit manuscripts
are translated to the satisfaction of
the American Atheist Center.
"The Shroud," she claimed, "would
prove the historicity of Socrates beyond all doubt," and would put to rest
"ugly and vicious rumors" which,
through the ages, have cast him as a
mythological figure.

Page 11

NEWS
Huckster's
Hospital Hype
Hampered
Score one for the First Amendment.
Religion
huckster
Oral Roberts'
plan to build an enormous hospital to
provide
"spiritual
care" along with
physical care has been ruled in violation of the Establishment
Clause of
the First Amendment
to the U.S.
Constitution.
In April of 1978, the Oklahoma
Health Planning Commission
decided
to allow Oral Roberts
University
to
build his "City of Faith"
Hospital
which
Roberts
said would provide
"holistic"
medical treatment
- a com: .
bination
of medica! and' "spiritual" .
care. This modern terminology
for old
dogma
has been used to describe
treatment
of a person's
medical,
as well as spiritual needs.
At Roberts' City of Faith, this concept would include a medical team
composed of doctors, nurses and other
medical specialists as well as modern.day witchdoctors
known as "prayer
partners."
The three commissioners
on the
OHPC approved
the construction
of
the bizarre facility in April primarily
on the grounds that the evangelist's
thousands
of followers could not find
rational doctors of science who would
do anything but laugh at their requests
for "holistic"
medical
care in any
competent
facility.
On 1 December of1978, Tulsa (OK)
County Judge Ronald Ricketts overturned the OHPC's permission on the
grounds
that
"holistic"
treatment
in the City of Faith should not be used
as a criteria for permitting
the construction of new hospital space in Tulsa. "The manner in which the OHPC
resolved the issue of constituent
need
did violate the Establishment
Clause of
the First Amendment,"
which provides for separation
of state and
church, Judge Ricketts said.
"The description
of the concept of
holistic medicine in the record brings
it within the meaning of religion as
used in the First Amendment,"
the
judge ruled. He said the original plan
for the hospital included a religious
as well as a medical function.
"The singular
uniqueness
of the
ORU philosophy
is the incorporation
of prayer in the delivery of health care
in order to minister to man's spiritual
needs," the judge said.
Earlier in the week before Judge
Ricketts'
decision,
attorney
for the

Page 12

Tulsa Area Hospital Counci Bill Raul
had argued
that
ORU's
desire to
provide
"holistic"
medical
care is
unconstitutional.
"You
can't determine need on that kind of basis. A
religious need is a prohibited,
unconstitutional
need. It would be a horrendous decision, if it is allowed to stand,"
Raul opined.
The hospital council contends there
already is an excess of hospital beds in
Tulsa.
ORU contends
the City of
Faith is not designed to serve residents of Tulsa, but the nationwide
flock of evangelist Roberts.
An attorney
for ORU answered
charges
of unconstitutionality'
.with
a statement
for
those
(especially
Atheists) who think they have a right
to be free of theism and other forms
of superstition.
ORU attorney
James
Miller stated that the First Amendment
"safeguards freedom of religion - not
freedom from religion."

$

Sunday
$$
Parishioners $
Cough Up
$$$
$2 Million

$

Late in 1978, the Guileless Book of
Obscene
Records
had a new entry
under the category of "Shearing the
Flock" as a church in Lubbock, Texas,
hauled' in over $2 million in its collection plates in a single day.
The Broadway
Church
of Christ
with its 3,000-member
congregation
had been preparing for several weeks
for a late November Sunday collection
so that they might try to top the
previous record of $1.65 million in
untaxed
dollars
reaped
by another
flock
of god-fearing
Christians
in
Kirkland, Washington,
in June of last
year.
The
faithful
of the Broadway
Church
presented
their ecstatically
pleased clergy with $1.65 million in
cash and also coughed up two lots of
property
in Ruidoso, New Mexico, a
pecan orchard, a house, fine jewelry,
a teen-ager's
guitar and a 5-year-old's
tricycle.
The well-heeled
clergy planned to
use the bonanza
to defray the $3.8
million cost of a three-story
"educational" building.
"There was a real feeling of closeness last Sunday
night
when
we
thought we might be getting near $2
million,"
a church
spokesman
said.
The final tally, he said, was exactly
$2,005,637.

February,

1979

Latest
Polish Joke:
John Paulll
The new Catholic pope of Polish
origin has already begun to disappointthe liberal wing of his flock with his
endorsements
of his conservative Italian
predecessors'
life-denying policies.
Most recently John Paul II reaffirmed Catholicism's
1,500-year-old
ban on
marriage for priests.
"Let us not be ashamed. Yes, we
are in the world, but we are not worldly ," the pope said, drawing long applause from an audience composed of
1 ,300 celibate priests and friars.
Catholicism's
unnatural
doctrine of
celibacy
is believed
to be a main
cause for the defection
of priests,
which have risen worldwide from about
1,000 in 1965 to an annual rate of
about
4,000 - one percent
of the
world's 400,000 priests. In the United
States, it is estimated
that more than
8,000
Roman
Catholic
priests have
resigned since 1965.

*

*

*

In another
anti-life
pontification
from Rome, John Paul II has urged
nuns not to permit any feminist sympathies to overshadow
their call to a
chaste, poor and obedient
life in the
male-dominated
Roman
Catholic
Church.
"Yes, my sisters, in the church you
can show the proper place of women,"
he said to an audience, of 600 mother
superiors of religious orders.
The appeal for women
to know
their place came four days after a gathering of American nuns and lay Catholic women in Baltimore
demanded
admission
of women into the priesthood. The American conference
cited
the church's
"structural
sin of parochial sexism."
. American nuns who gave up their
traditional
uniforms in favor of more
modern and casual garb are reluctant
to go back to the old ways, in spite
of the pope's orders.
"I don't
think the original habit
will ever come back," said nun Magdeline
Brophy
of Pittsburgh.
She
described
the old black uniforms
as
"outdated
and unsanitary.
They were
so heavy and so long you dragged the
streets with them."
A New York nun who asked not
to be identified
by name said that
the pope's call for a return to the old
uniform
was "like a request to put
toothpaste
back in the tube."

The American

Atheist

*
by Albert
*

w'en
I was finishing up college 40
years ago, virtually none of my classmates gave any credence to astrology
palmistry, card reading, fortune telling:
phrenology, or allied occult "sciences."
I doubt whether I could have located a
single one who had any iota of belief
in exorcism. Millions of Americans
on lower educational levels were of
course devoted, in those days, to astrology and other kinds of prophecy.
But college students? Well, hardly
ever!
Time marches on - alas, in reverse.
As far as I can see, the majority - yes,
the distinct majority - of American
collegians subscribe to at least one
kind of magical or mystical nonsense.
And many endorse almost everything
from phrenology to guruism. What's
more, they devoutly believe that they
are aiding human knowledge by these
nutty espousals. Probably at least half
of the country agrees with them.
As I lecture at leading university
campuses - which I do about 40 times
a year - I am continually asked questions like, "Under what sign were you
born?" "Isn't mysticism more profound than science?" And, "Even
though you say you espouse a highly
rational form of psychotherapy, aren't
you really a guru?" All of these show
me exactly where my questioners are
and how pointed their heads are.
A recent and perhaps the most
dramatic case in point is "The Exorcist." This enormously best-selling
novel and record-breaking popular film
has not only thrilled millions of readers
and viewers, but has induced sizable
numbers of them to believe strongly
in its thoroughly asinine tenets - and
not a few to feel themselves possessed
of a devil, experiencing all kinds of
physical and emotional disturbances
and sometimes literally winding up in
a mental hospital.
The arrant hogwash that permeates
"The Exoricst" is typical of that sub,
scribed to by innumerable True Believers (to use Eric Hoffer's apt term)
in astrology, sorcery, witchcraft and
other forms of magic or fortune telling.
Some of the main ideas promulgated
by the novel and film are that: Immensely powerful and deeply mysterious
evil forces exist in the universe and are
incarnated in the form of a devil; these
devilish forces are superhuman and can
easily take over humans and can com-

illrnrnW[K@~®
iC
If the stars
rule your life
you were born
under the sign
of ignorance

AIbert Ellis, Ph.O., is executive
di rector of the Institute for Advanced
Study in Rational Psychotherapy in
New York City, a well-known psychotherapist, and author of over 400 articles and 34 books and monographs
including A Guide to Rational Living.

Austin, Texas

February, 1979

1/

Ellis,

Ph.D.

pel them to do impossible acts; certain
ritual and rites, particularly of a religious nature, can overwhelm the forces
of evil; in the final analysis, human
goodness and courage, especially when
abetted by self-sacrifice, triumph over
badness and horror, and that while
science is helpless in the face of demoniacal possession, magic and religion
which are infinitely more powerful
than science and ordinary human
knowledge can overcome such deviltry.
All these propositions, as virutally
any reasonably bright and thinking
person (that is, one who uses logic and
the empiracalmethod)
can see, are
most proabably drivel. Why?
* Because they are mainly vague
generalizations which cannot be pinned down to concrete reality testing.
* Because they, when partially
tested, show very low probabilities of
being factual or true.
* Because they are set up in such
indefinite terms that it is impossible
to definitely prove or disprove them.
* Because those who dogmatically
hold them almost always have ulterior
motives for their beliefs; especially the
conviction that if such fancies as
prophecy and excorcism are true
those who believe will surmount hu:
man limitations, will live forever, will
be holier than thou, and will presumably wind up in heaven on the righthand side of god, while the rest of
us mere mortals who disbelieve - or
merely take religion straight - will
doubtless end up in Hades.
When a person rigidly believes
anything outlandish that is highly improbable, that is deliberately stated in
an untestable way, and that includes
mystical or magical entities that are
both unprovable and undisprovable,
we can, easily suspect that he or she
has important psychological reasons
for inventing or accepting this kind
of twaddle. These reasons, or hangups, are usually as follows:
THE NEED FOR CERTAINTY.
Believers in various kinds of astrology
and (to coin a term) astralogy almost
always have a dire need for certainty.
Like the rest of us, they do not like
ignorance and disorder. But they absolutely need, or think that they must
have, order and certitude. And since
there are (as far as we scientifically
know) no absolutes, no imperatives
and no utter guarantees in human
life, they become anxious and de-

Page 13

pressed with the lack of what they
think they need.
Consequently, they invent all kinds
of demons, such as ineffable evil and
devils incarnate, and all kinds of
deities, such as prophets and excorcists, to (temporarily) chase away
these demons.
Since no one can logically-empirically prove or disprove their demons
and deities, they can remain completely certain that these fantasies do
have a real existence; and, perversely,
they feel "safe" - and often, absolutely safe - from the nonexistent
devils they have fabricated. This is
something like recognizing that a beloved person may reject you (which,
of course, is true); foolishly believing
that it is awful and horrible, instead
of merely very unpleasant, to get rejected; fantasizing that you are a godlike creature who is above earthly
love (which is, to say the least, dubious), and thereby "saving" yourself from the devil (rejection) that you
have invented. You are thereby "safe"
- and also uninvolved in vital living
and loving!
THE NEED FOR DEPENDENCY.
People who subscribe to various forms
of prophecy and control by mysterious
forces are generally dependent individuals who despair of solving difficult
life situations themselves and think
that they must have some higher,
supernatural power that really cares
about them and that will help and protect them all their lives.
Because of their intense selfdowning, they make themselves feel
truly helpless and hopeless and thereby escalate the real hassles and evils in
the world - with which they actually
could learn to live with normally
if they tried - into demoniac forces
that are insurmountable. They then
require some kind of Fairy Godmother
or Angel Gabriel to aid them in their
hour (or decades!) of need; and they
somehow manage to find that savior,
too. This helps them, very nicely, to
remain whining, inordinately needful
babies all their lives.
GRANDIOSITY & EGO-RAISING.
Those who fervidly adhere to magical
and
mystical
beliefs frequently,
whether they are aware of this or not,
do so out of grandiosity or out of
powerful ego-raising urges.
If they can somehow acquire
special powers of clairvoyance, fortune
telling, astral understanding, or cosmic
consciousness, they will then be phenomenally more achieving and superior
than other mere humans. Or so they
think!

Page 14

They therefore develop amazing
ways of fooling the public, and often
themselves, by faking the "evidence"
of their supposedly
supernatural
powers. Harry Houdini, the famous
stage magician, devoted many years
to disproving the estrasensory powers
of every single medium he was allowed
to investigate.
Innumerable soothsayers and telepathists have been unmasked as charlatans or psychotics. But if every mindreader in the world is fully exposed
as a faker (as legitimate magicians
and scientists are gradually exposing
them), I will make an almost foolproof prediction of my own: Millions
of gullible humans, 'most of whom are
strongly endowed with the urge to
prove how incredibly noble they are or
how godlike are the necromancers and
gurus to whom they give obeisance,
will still immutably hold that they or
their Anointed Ones are wizards, and
that they absolutely know this is so.
UNWILLINGNESS TO ACCEPT
HUMAN RESTRICTIONS.
Human
beings, for all their marvelous craniums
and their ability to change the world
around them, are tragically limited in
many ways.
They are easily hurt or pained by
external assault. They are continually
frustrated in many of their desires.
They are clearly limited in their physical prowess. They are prone to considerable
psychological
difficulties.
And, perhaps most important of all,
they have a limited life span, with no
more than religious faith to guarantee
an afterlife.
This is a hard thing for people to
accept. Most of them probably, in one
way or another, don't. They resent
these facts, which is a sad commentary
on human sagacity and realism.
Many of us, however, more or less
make peace with the high probability
of our own earthy limitations and
eventual death. Not so the occultists!
They pig-headedly refuse to accept
their condition and limitation.
This tendency is graphically shown
in the so-called ESP, or estrasensory
perception, movement that has recently
become so popular in this country. As
a little (very little!) fairly good research
by American and Russian scientists has
shown during the last 20 years, it is
quite possible that a few people
(damned few) have a small amount of
paranormal or unusual perception.
Such individuals have sensory abilities, such as ability to perceive by heat
rather than eye sensations, that most
of us do not have. Consequently, if
you lay an ace of diamonds and a 10

February, 1979

of diamonds face downwards on a
table, they may be able to tell which
one is the 10 by passing their hands
(with their unusual heat receptors)
above the cards.
This kind of paranormal perception
is definitely NOT extrasensory
which means (according to Webster's
New World Dictionary) "outside the
realm of the senses; apart from sense
perception. "
But because so many antirealists
are True Believers in extrasensory
phenomena - that is, truly spiritborne or nonmaterial phenomena they keep using terms like extrasensory
perception when they really mean
unusual sensory perception.
A horse of a completely different
color! This is a strong sign that even
when controlled scientific experiments
show that, at most, a few people have
special or unique but still obviously
human abilities, the occultist crackpots
- whose name is now, more so than
50 years ago, becoming incredibly legion - insist on stating or implying
that such abilities are indubitably
superhuman.
And, of course, that
superhuman factors are virtually everywhere.
Just about all the more common
forms of occultism that now are believed in by hordes of human "adults"
- including astrology, fortune telling,
prophecy, tarot card reading, numerology and exorcism - are, at bottom,
justifications or rationalizations
for
character weakness. There is probably
no way most of these people will ever
give up these beliefs, because they get
gratifications and ego .rnassage from
them.
Such believers can confound the
most learned theologian or scientist by
challenging - "prove it isn't so!"
But it is only by understanding
what dependence on occult power in lieu of one's own brain and heart says about an individual that this nonsense can be counteracted. To place
one's
fate
in
stars,
numbers,
playing cards or devils is to admit
your failure as a rational human
being.
~

The Case Against Religion:
A Psychotherapist's

View

- by Albert Ellis, Ph.D.
Booklet available for $2.00
from American Atheist Press,
PO Box 2117, Austin, TX 78768

The American Atheist

(

Three bitches with loaves and fishes
at a roadside stop in Texas

No one noticed.
These modern westward-hoers eager to eat
Clasped hands around
the supermarket bounty
and bowed heads,
their act of reciprocity
to an appeasable unknown.
They forked food into bodies
already overflowing
with years of enough to eat
and even the ants found the feast
But the puppy-hound
'
with shadows lurking in her emaciated
corrugated sides
Looked on through murky red-rimmed eyes
and waited to be recognized
by Anyone.

by Diane Curtis
Lunch ended: the groans of the gorged
attested to their fulfillment
as leftovers
were time-capsuled in Saran Wrap
and conveyored back
to the motorized Behemoth
standing ready at the curb.
Once more bowed heads petitioned heaven;
This time for Safe Journey
and Clear Skies
and Opportunities to Proselytize
and as He was being reminded
ot.His humble servants' deserving ways
the famished stray
in a moment of great daring
nudged the leg of the Leader of Prayers.
"Get that mutt out of here"
she cried, and kicked it away,
forgetting to say
Amen.

Austin, Texas

February,

1979

Page 15

A JOYOUS ATHEIST

G. Richard Bozarth
The End of the World
I'm sure I won't surprise anyone by saying that currently
there is a religious revival going on. To the dismay of organized
religion, this revival is basically evangelical-meaning there are
a lot of converts (evangelists like Billy Graham are raking in
tax-exempt dollars by the tens of millions), but established
churches are not enjoying a similar boom in membership.
This problem is particularly worrisome to the Catholic
Church, which, for all its vast wealth, is in a hum. Time reo
ported on 5 April 76 that weekly attendance at mass was
down to 50 percent of all Catholics, while only 17 percent
were showing up for confession.
On 26 December 77 Time did a big story on the evangelical
revival and attributed the current religious upsurge as in part
caused by "apocalyptic fear." Yes, the end is nigh once more.
In 1970, Hal Lindsey wrote a national bestseller called The
Late Great Planet Earth that is nothing more than a detailed
description of the end of the world and an attempt to show
how the prophecies of Revelation dealing with the preliminaries prior to the second coming are in the process of being
fulfilled at this very moment.
In his book, Angels, Billy Graham solemnly declared, "It
is my belief that the world is now possibly reaching the climax
of those great visions that God gave Daniel "(p. 83). Every now
and then at the place where I work, Christians scatter about
leaflets and comic books announcing the end of the world is
close. How can all these people be wrong?
We need only glance through the history of the end of the
world to answer that.
That history begins right away with the founding of Christianity. For JC Superstar and the first generation of Christians,
the end of the world was going to occur shortly after the crucifixion. This is proven by reading Matthew 16:28, Mark 14: 3031, Luke 21:32-33, Romans 13:11-12, James 5:8, 1 Peter 4:7,
and 1 John 2:18. Obviously the world obstinately went on
despite the word of god.
This created many problems for Christians. The blatant
meaning of those verses "is that the second coming will occur
soon, in the lifetimes of contemporaries. Its failure to do so has
made this prophecy a problem for Christians-among them the
famous missionary and doctor, Albert Schweitzer, who inferred from it that Christ could be wrong, a conclusion with
immense implications" (Man, Myth, and Magic, Vol. 22,
p.2,990).
To avoid such a shattering conclusion, it was decided by
some that not all of JC Superstar's contemporaries had died.
One such immortal sprang into existence in the 16th century.
This was Ahasuerus, the famous "Wandering Jew," who was
condemned to live until the second coming because he had
refused to let JC Superstar, who was carrying the cross, rest on
his doorstep. Another such immortal was Cartaphilus, a
Roman who had been Pilate's door-keeper. JC Superstar condemned him to live until the second coming because the doorkeeper had shouted, "Go on faster!" to JC Superstar when he
was lugging the cross.
These curious, silly legends had popular appeal, and
Ahasuerus served Shelley admirably as a character in the poem

Page 16

February,

1979

"Queen Mab," but they were fringe solutions to the problem
of JC Superstar's contemporaries. The mainstream solution has
been to continuously advance the date into the future.This
was necessary because the "ideas of a second coming were
clearly potentially highly disruptive of any stable social order.
As the Church itself became established and thoroughly integrated with political and civic institutions, it was threatened
increasingly by the type of enthusiasm to which ideas of the
return of Christ might give rise" (M, M, & M, Vol. 18, p. 2,518).
To cool off the anarchistic influence of the end of the world,
theologians like Origen and Augustine selected the year 1000
A.D. as the time of JC Superstar's return.
The result of this has been periodic religious revivals inspired by a renewed conviction that the end of the world was
imminent. So, after the world survived 1000 A.D., the Abbot
Joachim of Fiore in the 13th century predicted that the end
would come in 1260. This inspired a particular form of insanity called the Flagellants, "who went in procession from
town to town, where they beat themselves and cried for mercy
before the wrath to come" (M, M, & M, Vol. 18, p. 2,520).
The year 1260 came, but JC Superstar did not. A couple of
centuries later a group called the Taborites, an extremist action
of the Bohemian Hussite movement, became convinced the
end of the world would occur in February of 1420. When this
prediction failed, the Taborites were not discouraged. They
fought the Catholic armies believing that any moment JC
Superstar would descend with an angelic host to lead them to
victory. The Catholics were not impressed, and wiped them
out.
In the 1830s, a Baptist preacher named William Miller
studied the Bible, and became convinced the world would end
in March of 1843. He preached this revelation, and soon he
had a large following called Millerites. March, 1843 came
without anything apocalyptic happening, so a recalculation
was made. The month of October was given the honor of being
the last month of the world. The world survived October, so
the Millerites tried again, this time selecting 1844. JC Superstar failed to show up. Deprived of the end of the world, the
Millerites decided they could at least have their own sect. In
1860 they formally became the Seventh Day Adventists.
In the 1870s, the Jehovah's Witnesses came into existence
under Charles Russell, who preached JC Superstar had landed
on earth in 1874 and would bring about the end in 1914.
Embarrassingly, in 1914 the only catastrophe to happen
was the beginning of WW I. Not to be discouraged, the
Jehovah's Witnesses revised their predictions. Now JC Superstar had shown up in 1914, but he wouldn't bring about the
end until 1975. Surprise! The world once again survived, but
the end may be near for the Jehovah's Witnesses. According
to a story in the 11 July 77 issue of Time, 335,000 dejected
faithful have left the JW and since 1975 new JW baptisms have
dropped by a third.
The Jehovah's Witnesses were not the only ones suckered by
the year 1975. On 29 Sept. 75, in Grannis, Arkansas, the
Nance family gathered for a family prayer meeting. "At that
meeting, they received from the mouth of their aunt, Viola

The American

Atheist

Walker, a message that changed their lives. Like others they
claimed to have received, they thought this message was from
god. The message said the world-ending
second coming of
Jesus Christ was at hand and they should remain in. the house"
(Pacific Stars and Stripes, 6 Mar 76). Would god lie? Of course
not! Obediently 28 people crammed into the house to await
the end. They quit going to work, paying bills, or sending their
children to school. The world, unimpressed by god's messages
or the idiocy of the Nances, has continued to exist as usual.
Don't ever believe this consistant succession of failures will
make Christians reluctant to predict new future dates for the
end of the world. Lindsay in The Late Great Planet Earth
prophesies that the generation that will see the end of the
world is "the generation that would see the signs (prophesied
in the Bible )-chief among them the rebirth of Israel. A generation in the Bible is something like 40 years. If this is a correct
deduction, then within forty years or so of 1948, all these
things could take place. Many scholars who have studied Bible
prophecy all their lives believe that this is so" (p.54).
I guess I must have a hard heart. I just can't lose my conviction that the world will get through 1988 without divine
termination.
There are those who are more trusting in god, despite all
the groups and prophets he has misled, including his own son!
One such faithful Christian is Evangelist Daniel Rogers. When
his mother died, he had her frozen in a sitting position. Then
he and three other preachers, plus 250 persons who came to
help out with their prayers, tried to resurrect the corpse in a
chapel in Reeds Springs, Missouri!
They tried three times to resurrect that frozen body before

Forty-one
years ago I enlisted in
the Army Air Corps which is now the
United
States
Air Force.
When I
arrived at my station of assignment at
Pearl Harbor, Territory
of Hawaii, I
was asked for information
to be put
on my "dog tag." For "religion?"
I
said, "none."
The sergeant
frowned
and said he could not put that down.
He punched in, "none preferred."
Now I am an outpatient
at Niagara
Falls Memorial Medical Center and I
get the same treatment.
Before going
up to the laboratory
for my semiannual blood sugar test, I check in
with a receptionist
who reviews my
data and issues me a slip to take

Austin, Texas

they came to their senses and buried it. Why did Rogers think
he could resurrect his mother? Because, he said, "Jesus commanded us to preach the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead"
(San Francisco Chronicle, 13 Mar 78). Why did he want to
raise the dead? Because "he believed the resurrection
of his
mother would be a signal that Christ is coming 'and the end
of this age, as we know it, would be near.' "
What does all this nonsense mean to Atheists? Knowing
the ridiculous history of Christian end-of-the-worldism
is effective for any of us who get into a debate with a Christian
who tries to intimidate us with threats of the imminent end
of the world.
More important,
it is necessary for us to realize that religious revivals like the current one this nation is suffering are
often the product of the periodic upsurge of enthusiasm generated by a renewed belief that the second coming is due in a
few years. The product of all such revivals is a rise in what
H. R. Smith in the May, 1978 "Comment
Corner" so accurately termed "Christian fascism."
This revival will pass, probably in the 1990s, like all other
end-of-the-world
inspired revivals have passed when all the
enthusiasts
cool off with disappointment
at JC Superstar's
failure to appear. Be assured that a new future date will be
selected, and we must watch for the signs of a new upsurge
of erid-of-the-worldism.
When we find them occurring, we
must prepare to combat a renewal of aggressive Christian
fascism. When I think of how big and strong we American
Atheists will be by the time the next religious revival gets
fired up, I hope I am still alive to enjoy the battle. It'll make
the one we're putting up now seem like a friendly squabble .•••

with me to the laboratory.
The first
time I went through
this procedure
and was asked "religion?"
I said,
"none."
The receptionist
typed something into the computer,
asked other
questions,
then made a hard copy for
me to take to the lab.
Six
months
later,
when
the
receptionist
handed me my hard copy,
it read, "none
preferred"
for my
religion.
When I protested
that it
should
be "none,"
the receptionist
said that she could only make the
entry, "none preferred - (none)" but
since it was too long for the printout,
the "(none)"
part remained
in the
machine.
When I asked why there
wasn't a separate,
"none"
category,
she said there wasn't enough space for
it.
Six months still later, before the
receptionist
could get to it, I asked
her, "What have you down for my
religion?"
She said, "none preferred."
I told
her that was incorrect,
that it was
"none. "
She said, "I'll leave the space
blank."
Last month, I again jumped ahead
of the receptionist
and asked, "What
do you have down for my religion?"
She said "The space is blank."
I said, "That leaves it open to
presumption
that the data was not

February,

1979

taken. I should read, 'none at all,' or
'none whatsoever'."
Again the same story. So I asked
her, "Is' Atheist' a listed category?"
She said it was.
I said, "Put me down as Atheist."
And she did. Apparently,
the Center
views Atheism as some kind of religion.
Now I believe that if! a land of
religious freedom such as ours, you are
free to take religion or to leave it. For
over four decades I have sought freedom from religion and have not gotten
it. The word seems to be:
have a
religion - any religion - but have one.
And after 41 years of god's teeth in
the fleshy part of my thigh, I still say,
"NO!"
I am done with passive enduring.
Though I would love dearly to live my
retirement
peacefully,
I shall push
away religion
as zealously
as it is
thrust
upon me. And I begin with
Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.
I want my printout to reflect that
my religion is any of the following, or
the equivalent:
none at all, none
whatsoever, none in the least, nil, zero.
"None,"
alone, will not do - it
could be misconstrued
as "none preferred."

by Louis Longo

Page 17

ACTION
ATHEIST
Christians who feel their faith to be
the "one, true" cult are notorious for
trying to force their beliefs down the
throats
of others.
By hook or by
crook they feel compelled
to drag
others down into the rut leading to
the intellectual
dead-end
which
is
Christi ani ty.
The latest intrusion
of a fervent
Christian's opinions into the affairs of
another citizen was brought to our attention
by American Atheist Joseph
Hayden of San Francisco. We will let
Mr. Hayden's letter to Mr. A.D. Swift,
the president of Sears, Roebuck & Co.
explain the incident:

Included in Mr. (David) Thompson's
proselytizing
"A Message from the
President" were a few schmaltzy quotes
from the oft-edited Bible plus Thompson's suggestion to the reader:
"Why
don't you turn your life over to Jesus
Christ today and discover the abundant
life that He has promised to those who
believe and trust in Him."
To Joseph Hayden's concise letter
was added the following letter from
Madalyn Q'Hair, president of American
Atheists:

A concise, justified complaint from
a good customer backed by an official
letter from a nationwide
cause organization concerned
with just such violations
is exactly
the combination
needed to put an end to such intrusions of obnoxious
Christianity
into
the lives of those who would be free
of such superstition.
Shortly thereafter
Mr. Hayden and
American
Atheist
headquarters
received the following letter from the
Sears, Roebuck
& Co. headquarters
in Chicago, Illinois:

ATHEIST'S ACTION
ROUTS ZEALOT

Dear Sir,
I have been a customer of Sears, Roebuck & Co. for small items as well as major appliances
for a number of years. I recently made a cash purchase of a tool manufactured
by Thompson
Tool Company at a local Sears outlet. Among the enclosed instructions
was "A Message from
the President," a copy of which is attached.
I respect Mr. Thompson's
right to believe as he chooses. However, I resent the intrusion
of his opinions into my purchases from Sears, particularly when the cost of this printed matter
I am sure, is included in the sellini\ price of the tool, and the introduction
to his personal view
is disguised as "helpful instructions. '
I will never again purchase a tool made by the Thompson Tool Company.
I would like assurance from your office that future purchases of Sears products will be
free from religious propaganda.
Joseph Hayden

Mr. Swift,
We have received the enclosed [Thompson's
"instructions"
1 from a member of our organization. We also are shocked that such material should be introduced
into Sears for distribution.
I doubt that this will sit well with the Jews in the United States, or the Buddhists, or the Muslims - and certainly not with the United States.
We will be featuring this schocking situation in our magazine, THE AMERICAN ATHEIST,
which is widely distributed
in the United States. It would not surprise us at all that our Atheist
associates should also decline to use Thompson Tools.
If Sears plans to do anything concerned
with this proselytization
of Christianity
through
its offices" and stores, please advise us. We can append the story which will be included in our
magazine.
AMERICAN ATHEISTS
Madalyn Murray 0' Hair
President

Dear Mr. Hayden,
Madalyn Murray 0' Hair has forwarded you letter concerning the purchase of a Sears paint
scraper and the accompanying
"instructions"
for its use.
Please k now that Sears feels each individual has an inalienable right to his/her own religious convictions, and that most emphatically
the sale of general merchandise is an inappropriate
forum for the dissemination
of any religious, moral or cultural concepts or doctrines.
Sears has been aware of this unfortunate
problem for a number of wee ks. Immediately
upon discovering the insert our headquarters
buyer asked our San Francisco people to stop purchasing from the Thompson
Tool Company and to remove the "instructions"
from each tool
package. They did this. However, through a carbon copy of this letter I'm asking our local people to once again check to determine that all offensive instructions
are destroyed.
We apoligize for this most unfortunate
incident. We hope you now k now how and why
this happened and that Sears is interested in only one thing - bringing quality merchandise
to
American consumers at a fair and reasonable price.
Glenn Spoerl, Manager
Marketing Public Relations

Such intrusions by Christianity or any other strain of theism need not be tolerated.
We encourage other Atheists to make their objections known as concisely and forcefully
as did American Atheist Joseph Hayden when confronted with the dead, reactionary hand of religion.

Page 18

February.

1979

The American

Atheist

Xian Rewriting of History
The u.s.
St. George
of
Valley
National Park Service two
years ago authorized a $230,000 study
to be made of the first president of
our country,
George Washington, particularly in respect to his encampment
with the Continental
Army at Valley
Forge, Pennsylvania,
in the winter of
1777-78.
When that task was undertaken
"to
be sure the National Park Service has
its history
straight,"
no one ever
dreamed that American Atheists' portrait of Washington as a Deist would
be fortified by that government study.
Jacqueline
Thibaut
was the coordinating historian
for the 18-month
project and what she came up with
was a shocker.
An associate,
David
Rich, put the matter delicately,
to
say the least, concerning
books written in the Revolutionary
War, which
he found carried a certain unfounded
point of view.
"Their findings were tailor-made to
fit a popular image of Valley Forge as
a national shrine."
American
Atheists have been educating about this "point of view" for
years, warning that Christian historians
had, in a sense, captured our history
with their proselytizing interpretations.
Valley Forge, a battle encampment,
has indeed been made into a "shrine."
The research
undertaken
by the
National Park Service has proven conclusively
that
Washington
did not
kneel in prayer in the snow on Christmas Even at Valley Forge.
The recent postage stamp of G.W.
kneeling issued by the Post Office in
was a concession
to Christian mythmakers.
The statue
of Washington
kneeling
in prayer exhibited
at the
Freedoms
Foundation,
just outside
Valley Forge Park, is likewise a lie.
The pamphlets
and brochures
issued
by the U.S. National Park Service in
which the prayer story is told are also
distortions.
Atheists have known this and have
fought this distortion
of history for
years - but they have never been sufficiently
financed
to use other than
the tooth pick of truth against the armada of lies concocted
by religion
and government combined.

*

*

*

Acertain
Parson Weems had written much about Washington, including
the now totally discredited cherry-tree
myth.
His other famous (and until
now accepted)
myth was that Isaac

Potts had observed Washington kneeling in the snow in solitary prayer during Christmas
week of 1777 (when
General
Howe's
British
army
was
holding Philadelphia
just a few miles
away).
Washington
probably
used Isaac
Pott's house for his headquarters
but
Potts was not even there at the time.
Where one minister is dishonest, often another
is chagrined
into some
honesty.
In the Albany Daily Advertiser of 29 October 1831, was published a sermon by the Rev. Dr. Wilson of that city, in which occurred
the following paragraph:
"Washington
was a man of valor.
He was esteemed by the whole world
as a great and good man, but he was
not a professor of religion, at least not
till after he was president. When Congress sat in Philadelphia,
President
Washington
attended
the Episcopal
church. The rector, Dr. Abercrombie,
has told me that on the days when the
sacramentrof
the Lord's Supper was
to be administered,
Washington's
custom was to rise just before the ceremony commenced
and to walk out of
the church. This became a subject of
remark in the congregation,
as setting
a bad example. At length the Doctor
undertook
to speak of it, with a direct allusion to the president. Washington was heard afterward
to remark
that this was the first time a clergyman had thus preached
to him, and
that
he would
henceforth
neither
trouble the Doctor nor his congregation on such occasions.
And ever
after
that,
upon
communion
days
he absented himself from the church."
The following reference to the sermon is from the pen of Robert Dale
Owen, Washington's
biographer,
and
is copied from the appendix
to the
"Discussion
between
Bachelor
and
Owen" (p. 367):
"As this important paragraph, being
only from a newspaper report, could
hardly be considered authentic,
I myself called, accompanied
by a gentleman of this city, on Dr. Wilson this
afternoon.
After giving my name and

Austin, Texas

February,

v

1979

stating the object of my visit, I read
to the Doctor at his request the above
paragraph.
When I had completed,
he
said, 'I endorse every word of that.'
"He further added, 'As I conceive
that truth is truth, whether it make for
us or against us, I will not conceal
from you any information
on this subject, even such as I have not given to
the public.' At the close of our conversation on the subject, Dr. Abercrombie's emphatic
expression
was, for I
well remember
his words:
Sir, Washington was a Deist. 'Now, continued
Dr. Wilson, 'I have perused every line
that Washington ever gave to the public, and I do not find one expression
in which he pledges himself as a professor of Christianity.
I think any man
who will candidly do as I have done
will come to the conclusion
that he
was a Deist and nothing
more. I do
not take upon myself to say positively that he was, but that is my
opinion'."
A few of Washington's
own remarks
are instructive.
In a letter to Edward
Newenham
of 20 October
1792
he
wrote:
'
"Of all the animosities
which have
existed among mankind,
those which
are caused by a difference
of sentiments in' religion appear to be the
most inveterate
and distressing
and
ought- most to be deprecated.
I was in
hopes that the enlightened
and liberal
policy, which has marked the present
age, would at least have reconciled
Christians
of every denomination
so
far that we should never see their religious
disputes
carried
to such a
pitch as to endanger
the peace of
society. "
Washington,
after a brief illness,
died on 14 December
1799, nearly
68 years of age. A few hours before
his death, in contemplating
his dissolution,
he used these
words,
"I
look upon this event with perfect
resignation."

Page 19

...............................................................

The American Atheist Radio

.

~

ISeries

Christian Rewriting of History
Program

38 ....

17 Feb. 64 .....

KTBC .....

Austin,

TX

******************************************
Hello there,
This is Madalyn Mays O'Hair, American Atheist, back to
talk with you again.
Probably the single thing which angers Atheists more than
any other practice of Christianity is the insistence the religious
community
has in bending the facts of history to conform
with their dogmas.
Sherman Wakefield, who is married to Robert Ingersoll's
granddaughter,
has undertaken
a study of some of the specif'ic instances when such liberties have been taken with history
itself.
He became
particularly
aroused
at President
Dwight
Eisenhower at one point and wrote a short rebuttal to one of
the president's activities. I quote with Sherman's permission.
"On Washington's
Birthday,
President
and Mrs. Eisenhower attended
services in Christ Episcopal Church of Alexandria, Virginia, where George Washington was a vestryman
and occupied Pew No. 60. The service was conducted
by the
Reverend
Braxton
Bragg Comer Lile, the rector, who did
not tell his congregation
that Washington
refused to take
communion
and walked out of the church before each cornmunion service. When taken to task by the Reverend James
Abercombie
of Philadelphia
for this conduct,
Washington
stayed away from church entirely on communion
Sundays.
However, according
to tradition
in the parish church, the
Reverend Mr. Lile read Washington's so-called 'prayer'."
Now, this "prayer"
has been known to New Yorkers for
some years, as it is inscribed on a bronze tablet adjoining the
Washington pew in St. Paul's Chapel in that city. As a prayer
this is a forgery. It was made up from a circular letter which
General Washington
addressed
to the governors of the 13
states upon his disbanding the army, dated Newburg, 8 June

1783.
Forgery Done In God's Name
The "prayer"
was manufactured
from the last paragraph of Washington's
letter by omitting words in the original and replacing
them by words of divine petition.
The
letter was addressed to the respective governors of the states,
and not to god, and the original "you" was changed to "thou"
in the prayer. The text of the "prayer"
follows, with additions as I will note. First, the "prayer:"

Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt
keep these United States in Thy holy protection,
that Thou
wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of
subordination

Page 20

and

obedience

to government

to entertain

a

February,

1979

brotherly
affection
and love for one another
and for their
fellow citizens and the United States at large. And, finally
that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all
to do justice, to love mercy and to demean ourselves with that
charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the
characteristics
of the Divine Author of our blessed religion and
without an humble imitation of Whose example in these things
we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplica-

tion, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen."
Now, I have underlined
[italics] in the text the insertions
which were put into this letter in order to read into it an
actual prayer to god. Let me see how I can explain this forgery
to you.
The original letter from which this "prayer"
was manufactured is to be found in W.C. Ford's edition of Washington's
Writings (Vol. 10, pp. 254·265) and also in the official government edition of Washington's
Writings, edited by J.C. Fitzpatrick (Vol. 24, pp. 483·496).

Lifted

From A Letter

The text of the last paragraph of the original
lows, and includes the words that the prayer-makers
I think you will see the difference immediately.

letter folomitted.

I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have
you and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection that he would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination
and obedience to government,
to entertain
a brotherly
affection
and love for one another,
for their fellow citizens of the United States at large, and

particularly

for their brethern who have served in the field,

and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do justice, to love mercy, and to demand of
ourselves with that charity,
humility
and pacific temper of
mind, which were the characteristics
of the Divine Author
of our blessed religion, and without
an humble imitation
whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a
happy nation."

I have the honor to be, with much esteem and respect,
Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant, George Washington.
Now, the amount
of material
in this short paragraph
which has been omitted and changed to make the "prayer"
is about 33 percent of the whole, thus making the "prayer"
a real pious fraud. When Washington wrote the governors it
was his "earnest prayer" - he meant, of course, his earnest
wish, and his use of the word "prayer"
according to the cus-

The American

Atheist

tom of his day does not justify forging a letter into a prayer
to a deity.
Washington never actually penned any of the 13 letters to
the governors, and they were written by different aides on different days. The copy written on 8 June 1783, as published,
was penned by David Cobb. Washington may have made the
original dictation,
or furnished the ideas expressed in the letters, but they may also have been piously embellished
by
those who wrote them, after the custom of those times. In
any event, the last phrase of the "prayer,"
which is similar
to the Episcopal Prayer Book, is not in Washington's
style
and nowhere
else in his writings does he mention
Jesus
Christ by name.
The fact of this forgery has been pointed out to the officials of St. Paul's Chapel and Trinity Church, many times in
past years, but the bronze tablet remains in the church and in
addition
the "prayer"
is inscribed in a large framed background which rests in the Washington pew and is much easier
to read than the tablet itself. This is all in spite of the fact
that in 1935 a group of Atheists sued Trinity Church for capitalizing on a fraud, during which suit the alteration
was admitted but was justified as making the quotation
"appropriate for display and distribution
in a place of religious wor.ship."
This is by a leading representative
of Christianity,
which
claims to be the arbiter of our morality.
Sherman Wakefield spends much of his time tracing down
some of the forgeries in American history which the churches
have perpetuated
and he gets more and more furious with
each one he uncovers. And, so do we all.
He became quite incensed over Abraham
Lincoln's
alleged letter to Mrs. Bixby. He began to trace the original letter and readily found several facsimilies - only to discover
that there were several variations in the handwriting,
discrepancies in the formation of single letters, entire words between
the two. Mr. Wakefield has facsimilies of three of these letters,
all with differences in handwriting
and test, and he .•queries:
"If facsimilies from a supposed original document
do not
agree among themselves, which one, if any, is correct?"
The two most famous copies stemmed one from Michael
F. Tobin, a dealer in pictures and prints of New York City,
who applied to the Librarian of Congress for a copyright on
a facsimilie on 25 April 1891. This was about 30 years after
the letter was written. Later in the same year, Humber's Museum which dealt in a collection
of freaks and fakes of various kinds started to exhibit a document which was claimed to
be the original. The letter was supposed to have been written
on 21 November 1864, and sent directly to Adjutant General
Schouler in Boston, who delivered it in person to Mrs. Bixby
on 25 November.
Mrs. Bixby is said to have lost five sons in the Civil War.
Yet strangely a search of the records reveals that two were killed in battle (Charles and Oliver), one was honorably
discharged (Henry), and two deserted to the enemy (Edward and
George).
The Bixby letter is much quoted because in it, Lincoln,
who was known as a non-believer
in religion, was purportedly
to have said, "I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage
the anguish of your bereavement."
The battle over these letters has been long and enduring
and the authenticity
of the three quite different facsimilies
of the original letter has not been a barrier to the Christian
communities'
intent endeavors to authenticate
this as a true
Lincoln letter, and after its having found its way into a number of Lincoln's collected works the stamp of authority is now
upon the letter.

Completely
ignored are three rather striking documents.
One written by Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, a president of
Columbia
University,
in which was recounted
a story giving
the authorship
of this letter to a Lincoln secretary, John Hay.
The second document
is a letter from Rev. Gildart Arthur
Jackson, in which it is recounted
that Lincoln had instructed
Hay to write a suitable letter of condolence and that Hay had
done so.
Herndon, a friend and one-time law partner of Lincoln,
recounts that Lincoln once made him erase the word "god"
from a speech which he had written because the language
indicated a person known as "god," whereas Lincoln "insisted
no such personality
ever existed."
In the original drafts of the
Gettysburg
Address,
twice Lincoln
wrote out that speech
without
mention
of this nation "under God," an insertion
later suggested by Simon P. Chase, a member of Lincoln's
cabinet.
We wish our Christian brothers would be more honest and
permit us our heroes. We do not deny them theirs.

A.

This informational broadcast is brought to you as a public
service by the Socitv of Seperstionists, lnc., a nonprofit, nonpolitical, tax-exempt, educational organization dedicated to the
complete and absolute separation of state and church. This
series of American A theist Radio Programs is continued
through listener generosity. The Society of Separationists, tnc.,
predicates its philosophy on American Atheism. For more information write to P.O. Box 2117, Austin, Texas 78768.

r~fI;ii!i;;;"1.~~&.~.,,~~t,,"fi,Y~!###BOT_TEXT###quot;;:I~"""''''~W~~f''~I'ii9

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Angeline Bennett

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THIS BRIEF CANDLE

n

e

"

~;:

~ I am no stranger to Paradise
_
~ Nor unfamiliar with Hell
:..,
I have sampled them both ... the bitter and sweet .~
~ I know thei r taste very well
~ So don't threaten me with the DevilID

:s

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I_~

~on.'t promi.se me str~e~s paved with gold
I II live my life for all It s worth

I

~
i~

;1

~ Not wastin~ my. vouth gr?win.g old.
.~ And when It's time to relinquish
My hold on life, as I must,
'~ I'll make my own immortality
>~ A small, faint mark in the dust.

f,

;g

~

I
,
~

I

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DEAR

I

,i

ADAM

1

.}
~

What is it with moonlight and roses
That changes the set of your jib,

~

That ~a~sesyour caution to fa.lter . . .
What IS It With you and your nb?~f

i
'I,.

,.....
..,'"fd'~~~~/:jI~flt.""',;:

~fl~~~1t~f'~.....

Austin, Texas

_,

February,

1979

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Page 21

Film
Review

THE
LAST SUPPER

elaine stansfield
"The Last Supper" (directed by
Tomas Gutierrez Alea) is a picture for
all good Atheists to avoid.
It was recommended to me as a
terrific satire on religion, and a marvelous cinematic triumph to have come
out of Cuba. Now the word root of
"satire" means a poetic medley (originallya dish of various fruits!), and has
come to mean a work in which vices,
stupidities and abuses are held up to
ridicule and contempt.
Unfortunately, there is nothing to
laugh at here. I had expected to see a
modern drama/comedy in which only
the idea of the supper was used (master sits at table with 12 or his workers),
and which would offer lots of ironic
dialogue, play on words, with perhaps
incidents which would sharply point
up the foolishness of a religion no Ionger applicable to anything.
What I got was a revolutionary
tract, a Cuban "Roots" showing slave
conditions in a Havana sugar mill in
the late 18th century of such misery
and cruelty that one must constantly
avert the eyes (a runaway slave's eye is
cut out as punishment).
The plantation's owner, a nobleman
known as the Count, while not evil incarnate, is so fuzzy-minded, indecisive,
capricious, and frightened by what he

conceives to be his religious duty, that
his stupidity ends up being more wicked
than if he had set out to be evil.
His idea is apparently to propiate
his god during Easter week with a reenactment of the Last Supper using 12
of his slaves as disciples. He therefore
orders a table of such food as the
slaves have never seen in their entire
lives, including wine, and proceeds to
harrangue the slaves with long - no,
endless - dissertations on his concept
of religion.
Since the slaves don't know what
he is talking about, the camera lovingly focuses on the bemused faces at the
table. The scene for a rebellion is set.
The Count has no bodyguards present,
and as he proceeds to get sleepy from
the wine we wonder why they do not
kill him then, particularly as he has,
in his harrangue, said such things as:
"The black man does not feel pain as
we do, and god has created him for
work in'the fields."
The local priest is likewise a mystery. Though he exhorts the Count
that no work should be done on Good
Friday, when the overseer (again, not
an evil man so much as caught in the
trap of not knowing the best ways to
get ever more work out of the slaves)
says there must be work that day to

Famous Atheist Word Find
The surnames of 18 famous Atheists
are located somewhere in this puzzle.
Can you locate all of them? Answers
on page 37.
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)
8)
9)

Page 22

Mikail BAKUNIN
Ambrose BI ERCE
Andre BRETON
Robert FROST
Maxim GOR KI
Alfred JARRY
Nikolai LENIN
John LENNON
Andre MALRAUX

10)
11)
12)
13)
14)
15)
16)
17)
18)

Karl MARX
Michel de MONTAIGNE
Johann MOST
Friedrich NIETZSCHE
Madalyn Murray O'HAIR
Marquis de SADE
George SANTAYANA
Jean-Paul SARTRE
Percy Bysshe SHELLEY

February, 1979

keep the sugarcane pots boiling, the
Count replies to the priest, "If he wants
them to work, I can't interfere. He will
be punished by a higher power." The
priest tries to make a stand, but we
realize it is not in the interests of the
slaves, but because he wants everyone
in church.
As the rebellion foments, we see it
is doomed, because the slaves have no
real leader, they don't know how to
rebel, and for the most part are made
to seem stupid. Only one, the runaway
slave whose eye had been gouged, will
use the opportunity to run again, and
though all the other rebels are killed,
at the end of the picture he is seen to
be still running.
It is clear that religion is the real villain, yet the ethnic audience at the
theater I attended seemed puzzled by
this and were far more interested in
hissing the Count and cheering the
death of the overseer as if viewing the
simple blacks and whites of -no, that's
a bad expression in this case, let's say
the good versus bad - of an old-fashioned melodrama. This enables them
to preserve their own "true" religion
intact.
One wonders, will we ever win?

FXRAMERTRASI
NBTOEXUARLAM
I I SHELLEYENJ
NEOANMKRHHTD
URRI
GNLCEDAS
KCFRIOSNSGYK
AEPGAZUOTOAY
BMOSTQJNVRNR
MZNI
NNI
NUKAR
XAEBOHGEWI
CA
YNAOMI
PLBCLJ
ATNOTERBBFDE

The American Atheist

Kamt Kazi-A
Within the winding, torturous history of Japan, the Kamekazi (kah-mavkah-zi - meaning "wind of god") has
blown three times, twice rescuing her
from invading armies, the third time,
failing her completely.
In 1274 A_D., when northern Japan
was bowing to the weight of on-coming
winter, and southern Japan was picking
the last of the cherry crop, an aggressive
China, under the Khans, sent a flotilla
of junks fitted for war against Japan's
southernmost
island of Kyushu. As
this large fleet sailed into Fukuoka
Bay, a completely
surprised, unprepared, and fearful city sent runners
scurrying throughout the land to spread
the news.
In the meantime, it began mobilizing its scant forces to defend the
homeland.
Followers of the Shinto
religion, realizing the futility of the
city's defenses, decided to chant their
prayers in unison, hoping that the
combined
effort would bring their
god's aid.
Even as the Chinese warships were
tightening their formation in preparation for the attack scheduled to commence the following morning, a mixture of wailing wind and rampaging
rain, moving north towards Fukuoka,

February,

1979

Promise Not Kept

was roaring through the city of Nagasaki.
With the dawn, the Shinto prayers
seemed to be answered, as the typhoon
swept over Fukuoka Bay, sinking every
Chinese ship, drowning every invading
soldier. Within two hours, the "wind of
god" had disappeared,
leaving the
waters of the bay calm and bespeckled
with debris, which the out-going tide
would soon carry into the vast ocean
beyond.
The Kamekazi retu rned seven-yearsto-the-month
later, and repeated history by obliterating a second Chinese
fleet. The Khans never attempted to
make war on Japan again, and the
Japanese came to believe their land
protected
by the Kamekazi, impregnable to enemy invasion. And the
Shinto religion became that of the
state.
Nearly 700 years after the second
"sacred wind" rescued Japan from the
Chinese, the nation was again threatened with imminent invasion by an advancing American army. Few Japanese,
however,
eontemplated
fighting on
their own home islands, as they felt

by E. David Neutzling

protected.
Anticipating the gods, the Japanese
desperately created a man-made Kamikaze, composed of 500-pound bombs
covered with barely-flyable
aircraft
frames, and of pilots either dedicated
enough or fanatical enough to dive
them into the nearest enemy warship.
Sinking only a handful of enemy
ships, at the cost of hundreds of lives,
the third Kamekazi blew for nearly a
year. The young men and boys who
flew these bombs were holy, and considered to be instruments of an avenging god.
It ceased on 9 August 1945, when a
foreign "sacred wind" blew the city of
Nagasaki nearly from the face of the
Earth. To many Japanese, it seemed
that the gods of the Americans had
proven stronger than those of Japan.
Standing in Peace Park, laid out over
the site of the blast in Hiroshima, on a
wet spring morning, under the skeletal
shadow of the steel supports of a building which was the only to survive the
holocaust,
one is struck, then overwhelmed with the terrible knowledge
that these hundreds of thousands had
to die because their ancestors took a
coincidence of nature for a miraculous
prom ise of protection.

Page 23

A Special Report;
From The Fabulous World Of Religion & Science

THf SACRfO
FORfSKIN •••
of JfSUS CHRIST
The Romans executed him on the cross,
but he was
by Merritt

Clifton

Readers of a December, 1975 edition of Time might have noticed, in the
lower right corner of the color centerfold, a photograph of an ancient reliquary. Two angels upheld between
them a hollow silver ring, within which,
reputedly, lies Jesus Christ's foreskin.
Since Jesus ascended to heaven in
body as well as spirit, he left no other
earthly relics; this alone, removed
from him by the temple priests at the
age of 12 or 13, remains. Over 100,000
men, women, and children have died
in holy wars by way of certifying its
authenticity in blood; presently it rests
within a convent vault in Calcutta,
India.
We note that the dessicated white
lump of the alleged True Feces in a
secret Spanish shrine, reported in the
autumn, 1974 issue of Samisdat, is not
considered an actual relic in the classical sense, since it was never, in fact, a
living part of Jesus' body, but only
passed through it.
Whether or not either foreskin or
feces actually dates back as far as sup-

Page 24

posed, and whether or not these did
in fact belong to Jesus, we shall not
debate. Books have already been written for and against both, and lengthy
researches undertaken by hundreds,
without resolving either issue. The
foreskin, however, does raise still
another issue, even granting the ecclesiastical story full veracity.
Was Jesus, called the Christ, indeed
superhuman? What evidence might the
foreskin supply to this effect?
First of all, though Time claimed,
erroneously, otherwise, we do know
the reliquary does definitely contain a
foreskin, from X-ray pictures shot by
U.S. Army technicians in 1946. The
late Quentin Wilson, editor/publisher
of The California Watch weekly, was
present as an accredited observer, and
filed this report:

CALCUTTA, 4/1/46 - At request
of monastic authorities, in watchful
presence of the Mother Superior of the
convent keeping it, U.S. Army special-

February,

1979

ists today shot six X-ray photographs
of a reliquary purportedly containing
the foreskin of Christ. Undertaken to
determine the reliquary's rare metals
content for insurance purposes, the
X-rays revealed the reliquary does hold
a foreskin, quite possibly old enough
to be that of Christ.
Stated Colonel Robert C. McAuley,
before the war an archeological physiologist in Egypt:
"The degree of
shrinkage, combined with climatic
elements and preservation
factors,
compares favorably with similar specimens found in ancient temples. What
we have here is definitely the foreskin
of an adolescent male, taken no more
than 20 centuries ago, no less than 19."
These estimates are consonant with
the purported life of Christ, and tend
to confirm religious accounts previously considered mythical.
McAuley, who commanded
the
X-ray team, added: "While religious
authorities may not approve, I do
hope to show our pictures to several
medical doctors, who perhaps can ver-

The American Atheist

ify my verdict. We have potentially
a
major historical confirmation,
and I'd
like to be certain."
The foreskin
would
have been
taken at a briss some weeks or months
before Christ's bar mitzvah, or Judaic
coming-of-age. Customarily
the briss is
held in infancy, but since the Holy
Family was exiled to Egypt for most
of Christ's youth, it may be supposed
the ceremony
was postponed
until
Herod died and Joseph, Mary, Jesus,
and his brothers and sister could return.
The issuance policy will be held by
Lloyd's of London.
Contacted
in early 1976, Lloyd's,
following their usual procedure, would
neither confirm nor deny holding the
policy.
All information
in all such
cases, spokesmen
said, must come
directly from their clients.
Vatican spokesmen would say only
that Lloyd's insures most relics of any
special value. Calcutta correspondents
could not extract any word whatsoever from the reliquary guardians.
A more
promising
lead
came
through Ray Morrison, former curator
of the Quentin Wilson papers at San
Jose State University.
This consisted
of a 1948 address
for Robert
C.
McAuley, returned to civilian life as a
professor of ancient history in Long
Beach. Writing Cal State Long Beach
turned up still another
address, and
so forth until McAuley turned
up,
retired, in Santa Clara. In an exclusive, confidential
interview
McAuley
told us:
"Yes, -I certainly
did have several
doctors look at my X-rays, and several
University
of California
experts
on
mummification,
as well. I know more
about that foreskin than my own, as a
matter of fact, not that anyone will
publish my articles on it. I did write
my doctoral
dissertation
on it, but
otherwise it seems I've locked onto a
bit of historical trivia."
McAuley showed renewed interest,
however, on hearing our theory that
the foreskin X-rays might tell us something of Jesus' alleged superhuman
nature. He fetched a set of blow-ups taken from the originals, illustrating possibilities point by point.
"First of all, it becomes apparent,"
he said, "that for a very young man
Jesus was exceptionally
well-endowed.
We know this foreskin could not have
been removed any later than at 15
years of age, since a slightly different
circumcision
procedure
must be followed with older men, and since the
briss must occur before the bar mitz-

Austin, Texas

vah.
"But we also know that even after
20 centuries of shrinking, the foreskin
remains wider in diameter than that of
the average Hebraic adult male, equal
to that of the average Negroid male. I
say this based on surveys at Stanford
University.
It is rolled up, but the
X-rays show length anyhow.
"With the aid of a little high school
algebra, you can figure for yourself
that it covered a penis surface greater
than yours, or mine, for that matter.
Calculating
overall penis length, again
based on Stanford averages, I'd have to
say Jesus was at least nine inches limp,
possibly up to 18 ready for action."
We asked whether erections
prior
to the briss might have stretched
the
foreskin,
thus accounting
for such
extraordinary
dimensions.
"Well," McAuley told us, "erection
does of course stretch the foreskin.
And much as the church,
Catholic
and Protestant,
might like to think
Jesus a virgin, I can assure them he
wasn't.
"Look here. You can see the stretch
marks here and here. You can also see
dark spots. Those are a mixture
of
dried semen, roe, and blood unless I
miss an exceptionally
well-educated
guess. Ritual cleansing doesn't
take
those things off of something
this
delicate.
I've compared
those spots
to similar found
in Pompei, where
the volcano
caught several couples
in the act. They can't
have c~me from wet
dreams and still hold
that tone. They also
~
don't quite match the
bloodstains
caused by
the
circumcision
itself. Here - you can see those on this
shot. "
The six shots, each viewed in light
of the Stanford
research
and other
respected sources McAuley quotes, do
in fact confirm Jesus was, if a man,
certainly
a man of mythical
proportions.
The stories concerning
Jesus' lifelong virginity may well have been concocted later by early apologists within
the organized church. No internal evidence
within
the gospels
suggests
Jesus altogether
abstained
from sex
with Mary Magdalene,
Martha,
and
others, and the anonymous,
not entirely apocryphal
Gospel According to
Lucifer actually
describes numerous
encounters
with members
of both
sexes. Chapter 9, verse 10, for instance,
corresponding
to the same numbers in
the Gospel According to Luke, reads:
"And hoetook them and withdrew apart

from his concubine,
who he left dying
with child, to a city called Bethsaida."
But 10:38 proves still more revealing: "Now as they went on their way,
he entered
a village; and a woman
named Martha received him into her
house. 39 - And she had a sister called
Mary, who slept with Jesus and tended
to his needs. 40 - But Martha was distracted with much jealousy, and she
went to him in the night and said,
'Lord, do you not care that my sister
has been a harlot? Take me then instead, for I am a virgin,' 41 - And Jesus took them both."
And 11:27 "As he. said this, a woman from the
crowd raised her voice and said to him,
'Damned is the womb that bore you,
and the breasts that you sucked!' 28 But he said, 'Damned
rather are the
thighs I split and the breasts I fondled!'
And she crept away silent."
Granting that this gospel came from
heretics somewhat after the other gospels we know, we must still, in light of
McAuley's research, concede it partial
possibility.
We await
further
scholarly
and
scientific investigation,
the Time brushoff notwithstanding.

.A

[

-

February,

1979

"YOU DIRTY BASTARDS!"

Page 25

ON OUR WAY
Ignatz Sahula-Dycke

NATURE ~ RELIGION
Now

for more than 50 years respected philosophers, able
thinkers, and analytical observers have been conceding and
saying that a conflict was snowballing, a show-down coming,
between natural science and religion. They saw that scientific
probings and discoveries were minimizing beliefs in theological
dogmas-dogmas that held sway over the minds of the Western
peoples for almost 2,000 years. The conflict surfaced first in
Europe at the beginning of this century and left the first generation of the people who watched it almost totally disillusioned
and irreligious.
But here, in our U.S., the results of the conflict haven't
been nearly as abrupt or noticeable because prosperity that
long characterized American existence urged us to be conservative and to resist radical change.
Too, after 1920, because it involved no great self-denial,
our well-to-do believers, religionists and other sectarian
Christianists who sided with religion, kept at high flood the
radio and television propaganda without which the traditional
dogmas and fables of religion would have fared as in Europe
20 years earlier. American conservatism paid off for religion,
for H. G. Wells, as long ago as in 1920, saw the conflict
and made mention of it in his Outline of History. It affected
Europe, us very little.
But now even here in the U.S. the conflict, being unstoppable, represents a crisis for religion due to events totally
unexpected two generations ago. Jet-powered flight, atomic
fusion and fission, American and Soviet incursions into outer
space-all of these now make it difficult for religion to revive
in the people their formerly staunch belief in biblical' myths.
But, more important than the proliferation of disbelief in
theology is what the disbelief has done to the even tenor of
existence that-before these days of disbelief-undershored
the
balanced outlook of our citizens.
Everyone whom this problem irritates is looking for its
remedy, completely overlooking the fact that the remedy is
obtainable from education. Had our educational authorities
only taught students that science and theology were separate
fields, each with its peculiar polarity and each one discrete
from the other-and that belief for either one of them is
rationally improper except on the basis of evidence-then, in
such a case, the conflict now under way might well not even
have begun. Education+except in schools like Cornell-has
never taken this to heart because of religion's meddlesome
opposition to it for the obvious reason: it would have put
religion at a disadvantage.
Our changed outlook that I spoke of is a serious matter,'
almost frightening if the observer considers its possible consequences. The major threat in it, it seems to me, is the apathy
which it hatched in Americans toward their governmental
institutions, inducing them to regard as chancy and routine the
unique principles without whose respectful observance our
nation will deteriorate if not disintegrate beyond our people's
ability to preserve a cohesive front-an indispensable requirement enabling the U.S. to play the salutary international role
that fell to our lot after World War II. It demands that we view
this not as a function we accepted and presently perform as a
favor to the nations of the "free world," but as the price we
must pay for the survival of our country-the land that deserves

Page 26

February, 1979

the loyal support of all who cherish liberty and freedom.
This role of ours is so important because it charges us with
producing results which are compatible with the atomic age in
which we must lie and get along with rivals whose ideologies
are different from ours, and with nations whose peoples profess belief in religions equally as different. This situation isn't
without its wryly humorous side, for the authorities whom we
elect to get the job done are fellow-Americans who by force of
tradition and habit ask their god for help in it.
Thus, while we are watching these spokesmen in the spotlight at front center of the stage, religious prejudice prompts
them from the wings. This predicament is additionally complicated by kibitzing officials who for purposes of vote-getting
and for improvement of their standing in popularity polls wear
their religion on their sleeves. These stalwarts should be, but
aren't, concerned about keeping religion out of affairs of state.
So, in this fair republic of ours, where the donkey or the
tusker symbolize which way our self-government will go every
four years, the pendulum of consensus swings to and fro as
always before. At the moment, with the favorable publicity
the media are giving to officialdom's church-goers and their
church-going, religion is having things going pretty much its
own way. Religious belief, despite this help, is on a worldwide
down-trend-and science, its major opponent, on an up-trend,
no matter where today in the world one goes.
What in these hectic times of change is distressing is the collective American citizen's lack of introspection in the matter
of his beliefs. If you'll tune your radio to most any of the socalled talk-shows you will be promptly convinced of this.
These "shows" seek callers by awakening their interest in one
or another subject.
When the subject deals with religion, the opinions expressed
by most of those who call in show very little if any knowledge
of the history of the religions. Their comments show only the
degree of their brand of indoctrination, indicating why it is
that the ringing voices of revivalists such as Billy, Herbert,
Oral, and others get them out of their seats and marching
down the aisle like S0 many sheep humbly to confess their
"born-again" love for Jesus.
I mention this to show that when it comes to religion very
few people actually think before they act. Most of us simply
do whatever we're told, responding as commanded, strictly as
brainwashed.
Any mind uncluttered by religiously inspired threats is a
truly precious possession. There wouldn't be nearly as many
'believers if all asked themselves whether they believe as they
do because they are convinced it is reasonable, or because
they're afraid of god's threatened retribution in case they were
to give it up. There's no question but that today's people are
avid for information about religion, even those most uninformed. The religions have been losing adherents due to the
much greater dissemination of factual information than was
possible before. Radio and television programs such as Meet
the Press, Today, World News, and others, are doing a grand
job here.
America is known everywhere as the land of freedom and
everywhere respected by peoples who hold political freedom
in high regard. That Israel is in the Middle East the most

The American Atheist

vociferous supporter
of America's international
policies is
beyond dispute.
Equally beyond contradiction
is that in the hands of Israel
our interests aren't served to best advantage because Israel's
neighbor states aren't going to enthuse over anything that
pleases Israel, whose government is structured theocratically.
Looked at impassively, any observer will note that America
works much harder for Israel than Israel for us.
Our present administration's
foreign policy is beginning to
make a bit of headway now, its most notable advance the
Camp David talks between the trio of Carter, Begin, and Sadat;
but on the other hand some of the things that we hoped to accomplish during the SALT talks haven't turned out as well as

expected. Our widely publicized religious attitude is never out
of the picture: it's already noised about that the Camp David
talks succeeded as they did because Jimmy Carter's religious
fervor secured for them the blessings of his Baptist god.
As for me, I little doubt that Jimmy's born-again Christianism prompts him to deem this a fact, but I also think that
everything that Sadat and Begin accepted of Carter's guidance
they accepted because it made political good sense-not
because
it was god-guided. If by any stretch of imagination the world
of today can be called god-guided, you can be sure that it is a
case of its being guided by the god whose name isn't Jehovah,
but reason.

4.

of

TABERNACLES
~

VIRGINS
by Richard Rynen

T

he old woman lay shriveled and
dying, alone in a large house that
creaked in the winter like an ancient ship at sea.
Her mother had died under the same
roof 30 years before, and Elizabeth often thought about selling it and moving
away. But she knew such thoughts
were demons come to tempt her out
of Eden and she always managed to
drive them off with flailing arms and
shrieking cries.
She had been beset by many devils
in her long lifetime, especially in the
old days when she was young.
Her tutor once gave her a book
about
shining
young
men astride
prancing white horses and she spent
many hours alone in her room wondering what it was like to have lived in
those times.
Just the thought
of such magnificent
creatures
loping
beneath
her
made her body tingle and her breasts
grow hard. And when she touched her

February,

Austin, Texas

v

1979

nipples,
exquisite
currents
of electricity would arc through her abdomen
and set her aglow in a dewy warmth
that brought
her hands sliding back
and forth between her legs.
But she got frightened
one day and
told her mother, who threw the book
in the fireplace and spent long afternoons telling her about the temple of
god had fashioned of her body, a palace far more beautiful
than any castle built of clay by hollow men who
hide their weakness behind glistening
metal.
"But the lord giveth, and the lord
taketh away, child. And he wants you
back as he gave you to me: clean,
sweet, and pure. Undefiled
by men
who cast you aside and leave you to
pay for your sins alone."
Her mother went on to explain that
life was a series of trials conducted
by
god in order to determine
who was
worthy of eternal life in his glowing
presence.
Those who failed were forever damned to the darkened
pits of
hell.
There had been many tests over
the years, and as Elizabeth lay on the
couch nearing the end of the final one,
she thought back to the time almost a
year before when boys had come and
thrown rocks in the night.
The crashing glass and jeering words
frightened
her. When it was over, she
pulled the quilt up to her chin and
spent the long pre-dawn hours cowering with fear and shivering in the cold
mists that rolled through the house.
She set out that morning to tell the
police and was halfway there before

Page 27

realizing that it was simply another
test. So she turned and went instead
for a man to come fix the windows.
"Please forgive an old woman who
learns so slowly," she cried in shame
that night. "And please forgive foolish
children who know not what they do."
She was content
for a time after
that. But strange new demons soon
came to torment her. Again and again
she screeched and thrashed, yet they
would not go away.
They danced slowly at first, whispering things she did not understand.
Before long they worked themselves
into a screaming frenzy. "Worthless.
Futile. Wasted,"
they chanted
over
and over and over. "Seventy-three
years of loneliness,
waste, and futility. Ha, ha, ha. Ho, ho, ho. Look,
look! Look at Lizzie go."
Then one night she sat bolt upright
at a different
sound. A large brown
rat shot across the moonlit floor in
front of her bed, stopping in the doorway for a moment to look back at her
before bounding on down the carpeted
stairs. Her body turned to ice at the
sight of him.
For weeks she tossed through fitful
nights, listening as rats rustled about,
scratching and tearing her house apart.
Each morning she would go down
and clean up the mess they had made
the night before. And each night she
would take a broom to bed, where she
would lie sobbing and begging god for
deliverance.
None came, and she started out one
day to buy some poison. But as she
stepped into the afternoon sunshine, a
voice without a voice called softly:
"Oh ye of little faith, why are ye
fearful? Do ye not know that this is
the time of the end and there shall be
great tribulation?
Love ye thine enemies. Do good unto them that bring
ye travail. And do not be afraid, my
child. "
She again felt ashamed,
but this
time her eyes filled with tears of joy.
Turning quickly down the path, she
disappeared and returned shortly with
a bag of groceries.
Filling several bowls and plates with
meat, potatoes,
and bread, she spread
them out in neat little rows on the
kitchen floor and stood up with a look
of satisfaction on her graying face. She
then went to bed and slept soundly
for the first time in a long time.
The number of rats increased as the
weeks wore on, and she had to start
bringing the food home in a wagon.
One evening as she sat watching them
play, she laughed and said, "I will have
to find other food. The man is 'suspi-

Page 28

cious of an old woman who eats so
much."
She lay that night and thought for
a long time. A smile suddenly broke
across her face and she sat up as the
answer came in a brilliant flash.
"The dump! Every morning, before
it gets light, I will go there and bring
food for them."
And she did so for several months,
returning with bags of rotting garbage,
spreading
it out in the kitchen, then
going back to bed.
At night, she would rock back and
forth with a tattered
shawl draped
around
her withering
shoulders
as
three
or four
pot-bellied
rats sat
perched in her lap, watching the others
dart playfully about.
But she had to leave earlier and
earlier every morning,
for she was
walking slower and slower each day.
Finally, she could not make the trip
anymore. So, taking a pillow and some
blankets to the couch, she laid down
and waited patiently for death to come.
Within two days the rats had devoured every scrap of food in the
house. They soon grew antagonistic
toward each other and began eyeing
the old woman nervously.
Too weak to even get water for herself, she lay in her own excrement and
felt the hour drawing near.
Pointing feebly to the rats, she looked up and whispered,
"It is finished.
You sent them to me for food and
shelter. I have seen well to that."
She" stopped
to regain her breath.
Her arm went limp and sagged to the
floor as she sighed, "But once they

were so shiny and plump. Now see
how they get."
The largest of them crept up to
her hand and nudged it gingerly. She
began to stroke its head with her fingertips.
"See how they like me? I
have taken good care of your creatures. But soon you will have to look
after them once more."
The rat retreated
and sat watching
her from under the coffee table. Several others came and crouched beside
him.
She slowly pulled her arm up and
clasped her hands across her sunken
abdomen.
A faint smile crossed her
face. Closing her eyes, she murmured,
"I am ready. My body is as you gave
it to me. I have done all that you
asked. I am not afraid. I wait for you."
As darkness came, her hand slipped
to the floor. The rat drew close and
prodded her lifeless fingers. Leaping to
the couch, he darted under the covers
and sniffed the entire length of her
body.
He stopped
at her head and cautiously
inserted
his nose into her
mouth.
He withdrew
quickly, stood
looking
about
for a moment,
then
sank his teeth into her cheek.
Instantly,
dozens of long thin bodies exploded into the air and dropped
in a slashing fury of claws and fangs
that ripped, shredded,
and gouged its
way through her corpse.
When they were finished, the old
woman's
bones lay scattered
about
the house and the rats scampered off
in twos and threes, fat and sleek once
more.

A.

>-

February.

1979

The American

Atheist

What a wonderful feeling
Of joyous new laughter
I've finally discovered
There is no hereafter
Those long years of searching,
Self torturing me
Have suddenly shown the reality
The answer is knowing
Just how to pray
To bring out the best
In myself every day!
Accepting that fact
For me, god is She
Inevitably clarions
I am set free
Instead of believing religion's old fraud
I know now the
Supreme part of Anyone
Is god!
Jean Nourse

IN THE BEGINNING
In the beginning there was man,
But man could not comprehend.
So man said, "Let there be God."
Kit K. Kovacs

MAKE THE PRIESTS CONFESS
There's deceit and trickery in business,
But I really do believe it's high time
We began to search for fraud in the church Let's get rid of black-and-white collar crime.

(UNTITLED)
When Las Vegas is too far,
there is no need to fret
Just follow the sound
of the sermonette
Under that big cross,
you can place a bet

S.H. Crane

Per chance it's Monday,
Bingo will be for thee
Tuesday's funerals precede
fun at the races
Wednesday will find the holy
playing cards for money
Thursday will be the day
for the weekly raffle
Friday is a drunken party,
for good cause of course
Saturday is the Flea Market
to free you of your pennies
Sunday's services will surely
advertize their annual bazaar
Place your bets folks,
place your bets
Blackjack pays three for two
Blackshirt is paid by you
Sorry folks, no winners at your
Local friendly house of worship

god AND GOD
i is I
And god is GOD
Reading is essential
i use I
Rather than I
Because i
Resembles a man
Whose head is separated
From his body
i use god
Rather than GOD
Simply because
I refuse to shift keys
Myself

Philip Barry

Juanita Sanchez

Austin,

Texas

February,

1979

Page 29

Ro ts
of theism

... they [lawyers] , in our name,
recant with 'contrition' the
opinions which we go into
court to maintain.

GEORGE J.
HO LYOA KE
English Atheist George Jacob Holyoake was arrested and
tried for the crime of Atheism in 1842 because of the reply he
gave to a local preacher named Maitland who, after attending
one of Holyoake 's lectures, complained: "Though I [Holyoake]
had told them their duty to man, I had not told them of their
duty to God." The preacher asked if "whether we should have
churches and chapels in community?"
Holyoake's reply was characteristically to the point:
"I do not desire to have religion mixed up with an economical and secular subject, but as Mr. Maitland has introduced questions in reference to religion I will answer him
frankly. Our national debt already hangs like a millstone
round the poor man's neck, and our national church and
general religious institutions cost us, upon accredited computation, about 20 millions annually. Worship being thus
expensive, I appeal to your heads and your pockets whether
we are not too poor to have a god? If poor men cost the state
as much, they would be put like officers upon half-pay, and
while our distress lasts I think it would be wise to do the same
thing with deity. Thus far I object, as a matter of political
economy, to build chapels in communities. If others want
them they have themselves to please, but I, not being religious,
cannot propose them. Morality I regard, but I do not believe
there is such a thing as a god. The pulpit says, "search the
Scriptures," and they who are thus trepanned get imprisoned
in Bristol jail, like my friend Mr. Southwell. For myself, I flee
the Bible as a viper, and revolt at the touch of a Christian."
Holyoake made his reply in a tone of conversational
freedom and it caused only quiet amusement to those in
attendance at the meeting.
A few days afterward, Holyoake was sent a copy of the
Cheltenham Chronicle in which the following account of
Holyoake's remarks were prominently displayed:

Atheism & Blasphemy
"On Tuesday evening last a person named Holyoake, from
Sheffield, delivered a lecture on Socialism (or, as it has been
more appropriately termed, devilism), at the Mechanics'
Institution.
"After attacking the Church of England and religion generally for a considerable time, he said he was open to any
question that might be put to him. A teetotaller named Maitland then got up, and said the lecturer had been talking a
good deal about our duty to man, but he omitted to mention
our duty towards god, and he would be glad to know if·there

Page 30

February, 1979

- George Holyoake

were any chapels in the community?
"The Socialist then replied that he professed no religion at
all, and thought they were too poor to have any. He did not
believe there was such a being as a god, and impiously remarked
that if there was, he would have the deity served the same as
government treated the subalterns, by placing him upon halfpay.
"With many similar blasphemous and awful remarks,
which we cannot sull our columns by repeating, the poor
misguided wretch continued to address the audience. To their
lasting shame, be it spoken, a considerable portion of the
company applauded the miscreant during the time he was
giving utterance to these profane opinions.
"[We have three persons in our employ who are ready to
verify on oath the correctness of the above statements. We
therefore hope those in authority will not suffer the matter
to rest here, but that some steps will immediately be taken
to prevent any further publicity to such diabolical sentiments.] "
The newspaper barrage continued for a couple of days and
Holyoake felt that he must justify himself to the town, and he
set off, again, by foot to cover the 30 miles (from Bristol to
Cheltenham) and do so. He was apprehended without warrant
by a Superintendent Russell at a site in Cheltenham where
another lecture was to be held. He was kept overnight in jail
until he could be charged the next morning.
When Holyoake complained to the judge that he had been
arrested without a warrant, the judge replied that he could not
argue with anyone who professed the abominable principle of
denying the existence of a supreme being, and then promptly
accepted a charge from a local lawyer, Mr. Bubb, who consented to be the person bringing a charge of blasphemy.
The magistrate said that whether Holyoake did or did not
believe in a god was not nearly the crime of trying to propagate the infamous sentiment, which was equivalent of "producing disorder and breaching the peace."
Holyoake's account of the goings-on during his pretrial hearing comes from 'his The History of the Last Trial by
Jury for Atheism (1851):
"On the morning after my apprehension I was taken be. fore the Rev. Dr. Newell, R. Capper, an'o'J. 'Overbury, Esquires, magistrates of Cheltenham. The Rev. Dr. Newell ought
to have had the pride, if not the decency, to have kept away.
"The Cheltenham Chronicle reported that 'George Jacob
Holyoake, who was described as a Socialist lecturer, and as the
editor of the Oracle of Reason, was charged with delivering
atheistical and blasphemous sentiments at the Mechanics'
Institution, on the evening of the 24th of May. The prisoner
had been apprehended last night, after delivering another lecture at the same place. The affair appeared to have caused
great sensation, and several persons attended at the office
anxious to hear the examination. Amongst the number were
some individuals who, without the blush of shame mantling

The American Atheist

their cheeks, acknowledged
themselves friends of the accused.'
"Mr. Bubb, a local solicitor, a particularly gross and furious man, then said - 'I attend to prefer the charge of blasphemy, and I shall take my stand on the common unwritten
law of the land. There have been a variety of statutes passed
for punishing blasphemy, but these statutes in no way interfere with the common unwritten
law. (Mr. Capper nodded
assent.) Any person who denies the existence.or
providence of
god is guilty of blasphemy, and the law has annexed to that
offense imprisonment,
corporal
punishment,
and fine. I shall give
evidence of the facts, and I shall
ask that he be committed
for
trial, or required to find bail for
his appearance.
The offense is
much aggravated
by his having
put forth a placard, announcing
a lecture on a subject completely
innocent, and having got together
a number of persons, has given
utterance
to those sentiments
which are an insult to god and
man.'
"The assertion that I had employed duplicity in choosing my
subject was quite gratuitous. Addressing
the Bench,
I asked
whether it was legal in these cases
to apprehend
persons without
the authority of a warrant?
"Mr. Capper
replied,
'Any
person in the meeting would be
justified in taking you up without the authority
of a warrant,'
which showed that the Bench
were better read in Bigotry than
in Blackstone.
I said it was customary
in other towns, where
bigotry existed to a greater degree even than it did there, for
information
to be laid and a regular notice served.
"Mr. Capper said, 'We refuse
to hold an argument with a man
professing the abominable
principle of denying the existence of
a supreme being.' This was not a
very legal way of getting rid of
my objections, but it answered in Cheltenham.
"Magistrate
Overbury said he considered the case satisfactorily proved. Magistrate Capper said, 'Even the heathens
acknowledged
the existence of a deity. If you entertain the
same pernicious opinion on your death-bed you will be a bold
man indeed. But you are only actuated by a love of notoriety.'
"I only answered, 'Why do you address me thus, since
you will not allow me to reply?' and I turned away repeating
to myself the words of Sir Thomas Browne - 'There is a rabble amongst the gentry as well as the commonalty;
a sort of
plebian heads, whose fancy moves with the same wheel as
these:
men in the same level with mechanics, though their
fortunes do somewhat gild their infirmities, and their purses
compound for their follies."
Since Holyoake could not produce bail in sufficient quantity which was set extraordinarily
high (almost 200 pounds),

Austin,

Texas

he went back to jail, where the prison surgeon was brought in
to remonstrate
with him and argue against him as to whether
or not Jesus Christ was an historical person. The argument became quite loud and almost violent and the surgeon closed it
with the hope that they could have still used the stake to burn
Holyoake instead of merely jailing him. He was then transferred nine miles to a jail in Gloucester - by being instructed
to walk there and deliver himself up - which he did.
Holyoake was then handcuffed
with small irons, and kept
a fortnight (14 days) in jail. The official charge against him,
finally,
reads from the indictment:
that he had "on the 24th
day of May, last ...
wickedly
and profanely uttered, made use
of, and proclaimed
in the presence of a public assembly
of
men, women and children, then
and there assembled, certain impious and blasphemous
words
against god ... against the peace
of our lady the Queen,
her
crown and dignity."
Holyoake
the
imprisoned
Atheist had many visitors while
in "gaol"
and several of them
asked if he might not be a Deist
instead of an Atheist as they said
he did not "look
like" what
they in their bias imagined an
Atheist should. Holyoake asked
if, because he was an Atheist, he
was expected
to have horns or
eyes in his elbows!
Finally, realizing the improbabilities of retaining a Christian
attorney
to forcefully
represent
an Atheist in a hostile Christian
court,
Holyoake
decided
to
undertake
his own defense, and
when the trial came up at the
Court of Assizes on 15 August
1842, he did justfhat.
He had
heretofore
made it a rule to advise his friends caught in similar circumstances
to "defend
themselves,
and where unaccustomed
to public speaking,
to
write a brief defense in their
own language, and after some legal friends had revised it, to read it to the court. We do not
want lawyers to defend our opinions, those opinions not being
their own, but we want them simply to maintain our right to
publish what are to us important
convictions.
Instead of this
they commonly agree with the crown that we are criminal for
having a conscience,
and they, in our name, recant with
'contrition'
the opinions which we go into court to maintain."
The courtroom
was filled with clergy, wives of clergy, and
some nobility. The presiding judge was Mr. Justice Erskine.
The handling of the case had been so crass up to the point of
trial that it had made its way into the English House of Commons. Holyoake introduced
the minutes of the meetings of
the House into the trial to show that he had walked 30 miles
to Cheltenham
to defend himself, had there been arrested
without warrant or charge against him at midnight, seven days
after the alleged offense.
He also attempted
to show the prejudice rampant against
him and quoted to the judge remarks which the judge himself

February,

I

1979

Page 31

had addressed to the newspapers concerned with Holyoake,
and then pointed out that the newspapers were describing him
as a "wretch," a "miscreant," and a "monster" who advocated "devilism."
He was described as a "creature with wiry and dishelved
hair." He was classed with a young man who had just then
taken a shot at the Queen of England and the press had
analyzed him to have a morbid imagination, an affectation
of superiority, a contempt for existing institutions, and a
craving after notoriety. One newspaper labeled him a bigot.
Holyoake's defense consisted almost entirely of his
stating that there were those who thought religion was proper
and that it alone could lead to general happiness. He did not
think so, and he continued, "I have the same means of judging.
You say your feelings are insulted, your opinions are outraged;
but what of mine? Mine, however honest, are rendered liable
to punishment! I ask not equality of privileges in this respect; I seek not the power of punishing those who differ
from me - nay, I should disdain the use."
Holyoake the Atheist dramatically proclaimed that
"Christianity claims what she does not allow - each to have
his own belief."

gaol were to the effect that all prisoners must say prayers and when Holyoake refused, the chaplain insisted on his being
locked in the day-room during the prayer meetings. Already
confined in one prison, he was put in yet another locked
room as punishment!
Diverse magistrates dropped in on him with regularity
to argue with him in respect to his religious convictions and
to convert him if at all possible. His diet consisted of convict gruel, bread, rice and potatoes. His fellow prisoners were
felons. He was not permitted to stay up till 9 p.m., which was
the rule for debtors in the gaol, and was not even permitted
the newspapers which some of his friends sent regularly.
During his six months in prison, Holyoake, who had
worked as a mathematician, undertook to begin classes of instruction in this to his fellow prisoners and finally was given
permission to hold classes for them regularly in the day-room,
between the continuing visits from opportunistic clergy and
magistrates who sought to convert the now infamous Atheist.

A.

joekirby's

In his summation he went over his own religious life,
the arguments for religion and their refutation, and an appeal
for the right to state that in which he believed.
The jury promptly found him guilty as charged. He later
found out that one of the jury was a Deist, a professed friend
of free speech and one who had openly said that he never
could convict Holyoake. But in the hour of verdict, he "wanted courage" and gave in against the accused Atheist. The sentence was then rendered by Judge Erskine:

-----botiomlfneonthedTvTne

"George Jacob Holyoake, you have been convicted of
uttering language, and although you have been adducing long
arguments to show the impolicy of these prosecutions, you are
convicted of having uttered these words with improper levity.
The arm of the law is not stretched out to protect the character of the almighty; we do not assume to be the protectors
of our god, but to protect the people from such indecent
language. If these words had been written for deliberate circulation, I should have passed on you a severer sentence. You
uttered them in consequence of a question - I have no evidence that this question was put to draw out these words.
Proceeding on the evidence that has been given, trusting
that these words have been uttered in the heat of the moment, I shall think it sufficient to sentence you to be imprisoned in the Common Gaol for six calendar months."
The convicted Atheist was immediately handcuffed and
taken to a jail cell under the courtroom, in the basement. He
had been there only a short period of time when the prayer
bell rang, and the other prisoners scurried off for that useless exercise. Holyoake placidly sat there over his bowl of cold
gruel. The gaoler finally came in and told him that he must go
to prayers, that the chaplain was holding up the prayers
waiting for him. Holyoake replied that he would go only if
someone carried him there! He was soon personally summoned
to see the gaol's chaplain who demanded to know why he had
not been to the prayer meeting.
He responded: "You can not expect me to come to
prayers; you imprison me here on the ground that I do not
believe in a god, and then you would take me to chapel to
pray to one. I cannot prevent your imprisoning me, but I
can prevent your making me a hypocrite, and must."
The flustered chaplain insisted that the rules of the

Page 32

February,

1/

1979

"No! Not until you tell me what the hell an apple and
that lousy snake represent to your sick mind. "

The American

Atheist

INSIDE OUT
J. Michael Straczynski

~
nd so it came to pass that Jesus
did go out into the country, seeking to
teach the multitudes and sell the latest
12·volume set of encyclopedias.
After
travelling the road from Jerusalem to
Samaria for many days, stopping only
for sleep and an occasional
visit at
Herod's
Delicatessen
and Take·Out
Massage Parlor, the Lord did come
finally upon the home of his friend
Lazarus. Going within, he found the
wife of Lazarus, and inquired about
where he might find his friend.
"Oh, why dost thou trouble me
so? Canst thou see that I am in pain
most
grievous?"
she said, clasping
her head.
"You know, I've heard if you put
your head between your knees, and
allow the blood to rush to your head,
you'll feel a lot better."
"Please, do not speak to me so, for
I am fed up with home cures." She
looked up at Jesus. "Why seekest thou
Lazarus?"
"Well," Jesus began, "he owes me
10 sheckels on a bet we made on the
camel races, see, and I thought that
since I was in the neighborhood
and
all. .. "
"No!" she shrieked, looking heavenward. "Lazarus is dead!"
Jesus
snorted.
"Anything.
That
man will do anything to avoid paying
a debt."
Thus was Jesus brought before the
tomb where Lazarus lay in state. Upon
gazing at the stone which sealed the
tomb, Jesus wept, for 10 sheckels are
hard to come by, even under the best
of circumstances.
Then suddenly
Jesus approached
the tomb, and called out: "Lazarus,
come forth,
you no-good,
chintzy
son-of-a-bitch!
What the hell do you
think you're trying to pull with this
death crap?"
Slowly, after a moment's
silence,
the stone rolled back and Lazarus
came forth. "Alright,
alright; let be
already. Christ, you're making enough
noise to raise the dead!"
"That was the general idea."
Grasping
the
situation,
Lazarus
waxed wrath, and did rent his garment, even though he had not yet
finished payments
on the mortgage,

Austin,

Texas

for Lazarus was a bad loser.

*

*

*

On the third day of the Festivaf of
the Holy Chives, the faithful did.gather
together
beside the Sea of Galilee,
there to await the arrival of Jesus.'
As the hour grew late, John turned
to Mark and said, "You got the dice?"
"No. I thought Judas was supposed
to bring them."
"Same here." added Peter, who was
trying to lure a sheep within pounding
distance, a curious smile on his face.
"Just
as I thought,"
continued
John; "you just can't trust Judas to do
anything right. He's either too honest,
or too stupid, one or the other. Either
way, he's getting on my nerves."
There was general agreement to this
among the rest of the faithful. So did
they resolve that should anything ever
go amiss in the organization,
they
would put the blame on "that imcompetent Judas; in writing, if need be."

"What else can we do," said Judas,
"except invent a new game?"
"And what shall we call this new
game, Lord?"
asked Matthew,
who
was always a little slow on the uptake.
"Bingo."
said Jesus. Then at once
he took up the chips, gathered them
together, and handed them to each of
the faithful,
saying to each as he
passed, "Do this in remembrance
of
me."
At the end of the line, Jesus turned
and said "Where is my disciple Peter?"
"Minding
thy sheep."
said Luke
with a knowing smile to the others.
Jesus nodded. "Peter is good to so
behave. Mayall
those who follow in
his footsteps
upon this rock do to
their followers exactly what he is doing right now to his sheep."
"I am sure that it shall always be
so." said John with much suppressed
laughter. Then they all did proceed into the forest, and the disciples, falling
back, did yet wonder aloud at how
their Lord had been able to cross upon
the surface of the Sea of Galilee.
But their reveries were shattered by
tragedy on the morrow, for they did
find the body of the thirteenth apostle,
Sid, lying dead upon the shore. They
did determine
that he had drowned,
and were greatly puzzled at the signs
of footprints upon his shoulders.

*
More hours passed without the arrival of Jesus, and the faithful began to
grow afraid, for he was to bring the
cards, playing chips, and wine. Finally,
as night approached,
John looked out
across the surface of the Sea of Galilee.
And the faithful were afraid unto
death, for they had not known that
the sea was polluted so. As he came
ashore, he turned to John and spoke:
"You got the dice and the cards?"
"But Lord, we thought you were
bringing the cards?"
"Impossible,"
replied Jesus. "I distinctly remember telling Judas ... "
And they were all suddenly silent,
for they knew that Judas was an idiot.
"So what are we going to do with
just a bunch
of playing chips and
wine?"

February,

1979

*

*

One evening, after Jesus had gone
out into the forest to pray, John dwelling on what the Lord had said
that day - went off in search of Jesus,
so that he might inquire further of
him the meaning of one of his remarks,
as well as determine
whether or not
he had change for a ten.
After following
the footprints
of
Jesus for some distance, John came at
last into a clearing, where he found
Jesus' tent pitched under a grove of
olive trees. From deep within, John
could hear him calling out with the
passion of religious exhiliration.
"Master?"
John called. "Master, I
must speak with you."
Softly,
John heard:
"Oh , crap.
Why, WHY do they always pick the
wrong time to start bothering
me?"
Then, louder,
"I'll be out in a mo-

Page 33

ment."
There was a rustling noise from
within the tent, and then Jesus pulled
open the tent entrance.
Peering inside, John could see Jesus sitting on
the ground, with Mary Magdelene beside him.
"Now," Jesus said, "what the hell
do you want? And this had better be
good!"
"Well, Lord," John began, "I was
wondering
what the Meaning of Life
is. "
Jesus paused. "You come all the
way out here, bothering
me right in
the middle of ... " He looked at Mary.
"Right in the middle of communion,
to ask me what the Meaning of Life is?"
"That's about the size of it."
"I don't believe any of this." Shaking his head, Jesus looked out of the
tent and pointed outward.
"Do you
see that fig tree over there?"
"Yes. "
"Well, that's life. Life is a fig tree."
John considered
it for a long moment. "Life ... is a fig tree?"
"Okay, so it's not a fig tree. There's
your answer. Life is not a fig tree.
Now go back to sleep." Then Jesus returned once more to the closed confines of the tent, muttering the opening to his favorite prayer:
"Dumbshit ... "

John, taking Jesus' advice, returned
to the other disciples, there to consider
the words of Jesus.
Six months
later, John returned
once more to the same grove, and
there learned a great lesson, for the fig
tree was now struck barren, and Mary
Magdelene was fruitful.

At the beginning of the new Sabbath, Jesus gathered
the multi tides
who had come from many leagues
around to hear him preach. They had
come in vast caravans, many bearing
the camel-sticker
which reads:
DON'T LET SODOM
BUG YOUGO GOMORRAH
He gathered
the 50,000 listeners
unto himself and ascended the Mount
of Olives, and there began his sermon.

1) "Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for they shall be easy prey.
2) "Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall contribute
greatly to

A Modern Cynic'SDictionary
........
BANQUETEER
-n- One who calls a toast, roasts a host,
drinks the most, hits a post, and ends up a ghost.
BARKER -n- An individual who offers a bizarre circus
sideshow in return for the money in your pockets. One who
is in training for the legal profession.
BARNACLE -n- A saltwater shellfish that attaches itself
to solid objects in a parasitical fashion. Once lodged in place,
they are almost impossible to remove. See IN-LAWS.
BARNUM, P. T. - A statesman well noted for his dignified
and ordered fashion of organizing political conventions and
campaigns.
BARRACUDA
-n- An evil, sharp-tongued
gossip about
whom it is our sacred duty to warn everyone we can, in the
most intimate detail possible.
BARRED -adj- No longer visiting an establishment
that
one never cared for in the first place.
BARRISTER
-n- A type of English contortionist
who is
able to tickle the ear of a Magistrate with his tongue across
two tables and a bench.
BARROOM -n- A creation for selling drinks.
BARROW -n- A creation for hauling drunks.
BEHA VE -vi- To act in accordance with another's peculiarities.
BEIGE -adj- A color somewhere between gray, tan, white,
brown and cream_ Attempts
to determine the exact color

Page 34

February,

v

our coffers.
3) "Blessed are the meek, for they
are easily intimidated.
4) "Blessed are those that hunger
and thirst for righteousness, for they
shall spill the blood of the unbeliever
and be satisfied.
5) "Blessed are the poor in heart,
for they shall be easily deluded by empty promises.
6) "Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall stall for time while we
overshadow the world.
7) "Blessed are those who fear lone1iness, for they shall not dare speak
out against us.
8) "Blessed are the dedicated optimists, for we shall twist their energies
to our own purposes.
9) "Blessed are those who fear
death, for they shall turn to us with
money and power in trade for insurance.
10) "And finally, blessed are the
fools and the weak in mind, for without them, we would not prosper or
succeed."
4.

by J. Michael Streczynski
base for this shade have led to years of controversy
and provided at least three holy wars.
BELIEF -n- A set of lofty assumptions
about the nature
of the universe and metaphysical
realities; held dearly and
defended bitterly until such time as they interfere with one's
finances.
BENEVOLENCE
-n- The lack of any particular desire at
the moment to do harm.
BEQUEATH
-vt- To will to an individual that which you
could not bear to see him misuse while you were still alive.
BEREAVED
-n- One who's bequest was wholly unsatisfactory, as opposed to the MOURNER,
who has no vested
interest in the economics of the matter, and can only therefore be construed to be irrelevant to the proceedings.
BEST MAN -n- The pall bearer at a marriage ceremony.
He is called the Best Man because he has the good sense not
to be the principal character involved.
BETROTHED
-adj- The sound a prison door makes when
it slams shut.
BETTERMENT
-n- The wise decision of another person
to pattern himself more closely after ourselves.
BIBLE -n- A Band-Aid used to cover a malignant tumor.
BIG -HEARTED -adj- Small-brained.
BILINGUAL -adj- Able to be incomprehensible
in two directions at the same time.

1979

The American

Atheist

-CA1)FL'Y
==~
• •• • • • • • • • • • • ••• ..........................
-~:::::--..

~

frankdufru

Mandarins For Christ

a

,/

As far as I'm concerned,
the best news of 1978 broke in
mid-December
when it was announced in Peking and Washington that the People's Republic of China and the U.S. would
normalize diplomatic
relations on the first day of 1979 after
30 years of mutual vilification.
Despite the howls of protest from a small circle of Christian warlords in the U.S. and their religiously Marxist counterparts in China, our two nations - both of which claim to be
the globe's most civilized - will grant the other recognition
and "normalized"
relations.
For those Americans like myself who were born this side
of WW II, China has always been prefixed with "Red" and
suffixed
with endless propaganda
by our Christian
Cold
Warriors who resent the heathen
Chinese resistance
to our
civilizing them down to our level. The fact that literate Chinese
were enjoying
the fine arts of high civilization
more than
3,000 years ago while our ancestors
barely had their apish
knuckles off the ground yet is of no significance
to these
hawks of "muddled
America" who yet cling to the soothing
delusion which has it that all foreigners envy us our American
couth.
Envy us our technology
perhaps, but not our splotchy
neon civilization.
Historian Will Durant, in his Our Oriental Heritage, sees
depth and brightness underneath
even the Marxist veneer of
the ancient "Middle Kingdom":

"For behind this dark surface that now appears to the
alien eye is one of the oldest and richest of living civilizations:
a tradition of poetry reaching as far back as 1700 B.C.; a long
record of philosophy idealistic and yet practical, profound and
yet intelligible; a mastery of ceramics and painting unequaled
in their kind; an easy perfection, rivaled only by the Japanese,
in all the minor arts; the most effective morality to be found
among the peoples of any time; a social organization that has
held together more human beings, and has endured through
more centuries, than any other known to history; a form of
government which, until the Revolution destroyed it, was
almost the ideal of philosophers; a society that was civilized
when Greece was inhabited by barbarians, that saw the rise
and fall of Babylonia and Assyria, Persia and Judea, Athens
and Rome, Venice and Spain, and may yet survive when those
Balkans called Europe have reverted to darkness and savagery. "
The Japanese
learned an important
lesson early in the
17th century after nearly a century of dealing with Portuguese
and Spanish Westerners:
the big-nosed Caucasian "barbarians"
are fanatically
unrelenting
in their attempts at gathering converts to their cult of docile submission
to the black-robed
mandarins of Christianity.

Austin, Texas

The Portuguese
trading ships out of Macao brought the
viperous
Jesuits
who sought
to convert
Japanese
samurai
nobility in hopes that the ignoble peasants would docily follow. Spanish vessels from Manila ferried unwashed Franciscan
padres who mocked the Japanese for bathing daily and who
bought
converts
among Japan's starving peasants with rice
tithed from other peasants scarcely better off.
These "rice Christians"
reverted
back to their native
Shinto- Buddhist cults as soon as Japan's Shogun (generalissimo)
recognized
Christianity's
subversive intent and ex pulsed all
foreigners for more than 250 years - until 1853 when Japan's
need for Western technology came to overshadow its abhorrent
distaste for missionaries selling the barbarous Christian cult.
As an island nation slightly smaller than California, Japan
was able to successfully
keep foreigners out while modernizing at its own pace. Durant describes Japan's voluntary seclusion thusly:
" ...
isolated and self-contained,
seeking no
alien territory and no external trade, content with agriculture
and wedded to art and philosophy."
Such was not the case in China which had an enormous
coastline and a much less centralized government
to effectively
exclude the white barbarians. The slithering Portuguese Jesuits
worked their intrigue out of Canton and Hong Kong so effectively that they eventually
had a Caucasian Jesuit translating
for and advising the Chinese emperor, much to the chagrin of
their archrivals,
the Spanish Franciscans
who had only the
peasants to manipulate.
China was split like a ripe melon by voracious Western
nations seeking resource-rich
colonies. The British used opium
as their vehicle into China and eventually seized five "treaty
ports"
(Canton,
Arnoy,
Foochow,
Ningpo
and Shanghai)
while waging their Opium Wars from Hong Kong; the French
revenged the death of a missionary
by grabbing Indo-China
(1885); Russia gobbled Chinese territory
north of the Amur
and east of the Ussuri River (1860);
Japan betrayed
her
neighbor and civilizer by seizing Formosa
(1895) and later
Korea (1910); and Germany saw fit to grab Shantung (1898)
because two German missionaries
were murdered
by Chinese
who would have no part of the alien cult. The United States
was a late arrival to the feasting and hurriedly conquered
the

February,

1979

Page 35

Phillippines
in 1898 to put herself in a better geographical
. position to share in the spoils as China was now helpless before
superior technology in the hands of inferiors from the West.
It wasn't until after 1949 when Marxist Mao Tse-tung ran
off his Christian rival Chiang Kai-shek that China was able to
close its doors to relentlessly arrogant Christian foreigners as
Japan had done more than three centuries earlier. The Chinese
had to embrace the Marxist cult and its Russian proselytizers
to gain their needed autonomy
only because the Christian
paranoids who were at that time running the U.S. government
ignored the advice of qualified American "China hands" in
favor of the Red scare/yellow
peril Christian alarmists who
concluded - as their howling successors do today - that being
anti-Christian
necessarily makes one anti-American.
Such is not the case and American Atheists are the best
proof possible of the distortion
behind such Christian mudslinging.
Japan's Emperor Meiji (reigned 1868-1911)
opened his
nation to the world community
in 1868 after 250 years of
voluntary
isolation. His enlightened
reign is to this day considered the high-water mark in an unbroken line of Japanese
rulers going back almost 20 centuries.
Now with the emergence of Teng Hsiao-p'ing as China's
leader in fact, if not in title, a nation of almost one billion
splendidly down-to-earth
Chinese are apparently
eager to join
the planet's other passengers in getting on with the business
of securing a life free of hunger, tyranny, ill-health and superstition.
America's current generation of brazen missionaries have
other plans for the Chinese and they are already planning the
invasion of China in their (to me) embarrassingly
ethnocentric
scheme to divest the Chinese of their earthiness and in place
plant the viral seeds of Christian other-worldliness.
The Christ-

ian Broadcasting
Network
boasts of its satellite system and
studios in Hong Kong ready to reap/rape in China in the name
of an American embarrassment
known as Christianity.
Durant identifies the most effective pirates of the 19th
century who are much imitated by the scores of multinational
businesses and religions now perched in Hong Kong awaiting
the diplomatic green light:

"For two generations the merchants and missionaries
who had conquered China from the West had acted, willingly or not, as centers of foreign infection; they had lived
in a style, and with such comforts and conveniences, as made
the young Chinese about them anxious to adopt so promising
a civilization; they had undermined, in an active minority, the
religious faith that had supported the old moral code; they
had set one generation against another by advocating the
abandonment of ancestor worship; and though they preached
a gentle Jesus meek and mild, they were protected in emergencies by guns whose size and efficacy offered the dominating lesson of Europe to the Orient. Christianity, which had
been in its origin an uprising of the oppressed, became once
more, in these Chinese converts, a ferment of revolution. "
Hopefully, China's comparatively
brief 30-year incubation
has prepared them as well as 250 years did for the Japanese.
With a current population
of 115 million, less than one percent
of Japan's people are Christian.
To their credit, the Japanese were and are much too interested
in the here-and-now
to
worry about the carrot called heaven the missionaries would
dangle before them.
I trust the eminently
pragmatic
Chinese will consent to
benefit from the experiences
of their Japanese neighbors and
keep the pimps of the barbarous cult from the West on a tight
leash - or, better yet, excluded from the Middle Kingdom.

A

1\f.
_~n

Page 36

c.~~~df''''i

,I'

.... 01.

February,

1979

The American

Atheist

WHEN

GOD
WAS A

WOMAN
by Merlin Stone
When God Was A Woman is a 265page paperback, 5% by 8 inches, first
published in England in 1976. Its 12page bibliography is a truly fine reference list highly recommended for
serious devotees of history, anthropology, and Atheism.
Author Merlin Stone is an American
Atheist.
During the last several hundred
years, as Atheists in Europe and the
United States fought for the emancipation of women, it became more and
more apparent that the first deities
were in fact goddesses. Isis of Egypt was
known 14 centuries B.C., Ishtar of
Babylonia 18 centuries B.C., and
Nana of Sumer 19 centuries B.C.
Until Merlin Stone undertook the
investigation no one, really, ever asked
how, why and when the goddess system had been supressed to be superceded by the god guys. Beginning
ethnology describes the matriarchal
systems which, apparently, everywhere
preceded their patriarchal successors,
but the idea of an upsetting of the
established god( dess) system was not
attached to these mostly descriptive,
historical accounts.
There was speculation as to how
men had gained control of the world's
cultures, but in a male-dominated
world ruled by macho deities such
speculation was an idle game rather
than a matter of serious research.
With the advent of Judeo-Christianity and Mohammedanism a massive
assault was made on the old records as
destruction and obliteration of any
reference to the old gods (much less
goddesses) became a primary concern.
Bloody massacres of those who professed the old religions (now referred
to as "paganism"),
demolition of
pagan statuary, smashing of temples
and altering or records was the order
of the day for Judeo-Christians who
would have but one (male) god:

Austin, Texas

"But ye shall destroy their
altars, break their images,
and cut down their groves.
For thou shalt worship no other
god; for the Lord, whose name is
Jealous, is a jealous God.
Exodus 34:13-14
I am the Lord thy God,
which have brought thee
out of Egypt, out of the
house of bondage.
Thou shalt have no other
gods before me.
Exodus 20: 2-3
Only the winds of nature, the
desert sands and the gently shifting
topsoil preserved the evidence which
archeologists now patiently working
their digs are slowly uncovering as bits
and pieces of old records.
But woe to historical accuracy if
the archeologist is Christian or Muslim,
for the records again disappear or are
stashed away in unknown cellars or
tombs as unworthy of testifying to the
gross inaccuracies which compose the
Bible and the Koran.
Against stubborn resistance Merlin
Stone searched for a decade to uncover
what she could while the "scholars"
of antiquity brushed aside as "fertility
cults" or "gross mythology" the evidence of ancient female deities slowly
being unearthed.
In an unfolding tale the author
finds first The Great Goddess, Ashtoreth, she of several dozen names. Stone
traces her back to 25,000 B.C. amid
the Upper Paleolithic Age and sees
the spread of the idea throughout the
ancient world until in 500 A.D. the
last goddess temples were closed and
totally supressed by the Christian emperors of Rome and Byzantium.
But still she lives! - translated now
into worship of the Virgin (Queen)
Mary, mother of the Jewish Jesus.
Country by country, goddess by
goddess, the author introduces readers to their ancient mother gods. Herself
a trained sculptor, traveling worldwide, haunting libraries, museums,
universities, excavation sites, searching constantly for fragments of information, gleaning a myriad of diverse information,
Stone lovingly
patches the past together from physical as well as ideological research.
She became convinced that the
Goddess religion, if such it was, coexisted with the female kinship system before the introduction
of the artificial "high female status" under some
of the god systems.
Reviewing one of the (alleged)
historical references, the Bible, she
finds that it was the women of the

February, 1979

Hebrew tribes who first accepted the
new male deity. Following this the
more northern Indo-European tribes
also came to choose the male god, these
invaders dating from 2500-3000 B.C.
The female religion first assimilated
the male gods and then were overcome
by them. After suppression by them,
they finally were obliterated to be
replaced entirely by the male deity.
Hereditary male priest castes were
formed alongside divine-right kingships. But in the transitional stage the
castrated
or dying youth consort
emerged, so well explored heretofore
by Sir James Frazier in his The Golden
Bough.
She concludes that the Levite tribe
of the Hebrews wrote into the laws
the final destruction of the Divine
Ancestors and the matrilineal system.
Every canon, every law attacked and
reduced her. Every ritual, every symbolic act was toward her debasement
and disenfranchisement
as a part of
the human race.
The author deals at length with the
Adam & Eve myth to fortify her argument - seeing in the tale not theology,
but bare male politics of power.
She ends her book with a lament
for the daughters of Eve, noting that it
is the church and religion which continue the fight against equal rights for
women out of the necessity of the
theocracy theories which support the
church.
We recommend the book first to
American Atheist women so that they
may fully understand and appreciate
that it is their fight against religion
which is most important.
Women's Lib is nothing and futile
without first achieving liberation from
the original male chauvinist pig
religion.
.. __ Reviewed by M_M. O'Hair _ . __
.. $4.40 PP ..

use enclosed

order form

"Famous Atheists" Answers

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NE0ANMKRHHTD

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Page 37

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