The Journal Of Atheist News And Thought




Atheist Teacher Fights Firing
New Battle Against A Very Offensive

Dr. Madalyn Murray O'Hair
Jon Garth Murray
G. Richard Bozarth
Ignatz Sahula-Dycke
Wells Culver
J. Michael Straczynski
Elaine Stansfield
Bill Baird
Gerald Tholen
Angeline Bennett


Assault On A Theocracy


Atheists Combat Creche


Convention 79


"How dare they do this?"


Indian Atheism


Editorial - A Few Who Understand


Our Readers' Opinions


Atheist News
School Prayer Victory

In Arizona

Atheists Challenge City Council Prayer

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

Austin, Texas



AA Film Review - The China Syndrome


AA Book Review - Nebe


our cover:
Religion's assault on our rights and civil liberties is not often, nowadays, so personal as it is in the case of Bruce Hunter, pictured this
month, on the cover, in front of some of the blackboard comments
his students felt free to make once they learned that the Christian
principal of the school fostered a climate in which these activities
were permitted.
It is 'hard for many to see the point of removing "In God We
Trust" from currency and coins of the United States, or the creche
scenes from government buildings. Yet, these symbols proclaim government sponsorship of religion and create the climate of uninhibited
bigotry that is responsible for ruining Bruce Hunter's teaching career.
Bruce Hunter is the personification of all the other suits being
fought by the American Atheist Center. What religion has done to
him, it will do to all of us if we lose the war, of which Bruce Hunter's
suit, like all the others, is a crucial battle.

May, 1979

Page 1



A Few Who Understand
Once upon a time a group of old and wise men who belonged to a very special class thought that they would change
the order of things in a way no one ever thought of before.
They were members of a planters and landowners class and
were well-educated and had plenty of free time to pursue
ideas. They knew that until their time, people had always
been separated into the rulers and the ruled. There was no inbetween. So, they thought of what it would be like to split
up the rulers into a wider group. Then, give some of the
non-rulers a say in what they would have the rulers do. With
this notion, a new system called democracy was born.
These men also knew that the church had always held an
honorary place in the rulers' circle. This new scheme would
upset this honorary position of the church, giving them more
rulers to try to influence. They knew that the clergy would
not fit in their new system. Their only function had been to
support whatever the rulers wanted by getting the people
to obey. If the people were to be free to submit suggestions
to the rulers, the church must not be allowed to put" them
in their place of only being permitted to follow. That would
not fit in the new system.
Thus the wise men excluded the church from their new
system. Oneness of mind could not be solicited in a system
that depended on a variety of input, from which input the
rulers could rule.
Now, this system was not the best. but, it did give the
people their first voice in the doings of the rulers they ever
had. It was better than no voice.
It worked fine at first.
But as the years passed, the church began to feel uncomfortable in their new position. They were not needed anymore.
The church knew then that it had to make things the way
they were before the new system began.
So, for many years now the church has tried to regain
its place as keeper of the people, even though the rulers intended not to have the people kept any longer. If the church'
regained its position, the people would no longer be free
to speak to the rulers and the system would not work.
But, still the church tried, and as it tried, some of the
people realized what it was doing: that it was trying to convince the rulers to go back to the old system. And the rulers

Page 2

May, 1979


were beginning to listen to it.
So, these people knew that if the church was not stopped,
all the people would lose their input to the rulers.
These few people, who understood, had to ask the rulers to
. keep their promise and stick to the new system as they had set
it up.
Unfortunately for them, the church could whisper in the
ear of the rulers all the time, but they could not reach the
rulers except as they were allowed.
Since the church had more time and more direct access to
the rulers, the rulers listened to them first.
This issue is about the few people who recognized what the
church was doing and who are trying to make the rulers play
by the rules they originally made.
It is a hard thing to do.
If you can only talk to someone once a year and your opponent can talk to them every day, your opponent can get
his idea over first to the person you both wish to influence.
In order to have a fighting chance, you must have the same
chance to present your ideas.
In this issue are described attempts by some people to ask
one section of the rulers to ask the other section to hear the
people as much as the church.
It is a very simple request. It is complicated, however, by
the fact that only a very small number of people are making
it. The majority of the people want to go back to the old way
before the system changed. They do not want a say anymore.
The few people must convince all the rest that it is important
to have a say to the rulers and that they must help get the
church out of the way of their having that say.
We hope that you, like us few people, want a say, too.
That is why we appeal to you each month to help us to convince other people and to help enlist the aid of one group of
rulers to talk to the others.
We must keep the best system that we have ever had.
Pe-ople must continue to be heard by the rulers. If we cannot
be heard anymore then we will have no choice but to go
around the rulers. That is very hard to do. It is much easier
to fix one system then to build a whole new one.
We are trying to fix our system of government, because we
feel that It is worth fixing.



Bunnies, Geese & Deities

Dear Editor,
How is it possible for an Atheist to
support separation of state and church
in one country and a theocracy in another at the same time? How can an
Atheist oppose racial discrimination in
this country and support it in Israel?
In other words: how can an Atheist
support Zionism?
I want equal rights for Jews the
same as I do for Christians, Moslems,
Negroes, Indians, etc., and the elimination of all prejudice against anyone.
However, establishing a Jewish theocracy is not the answer to anti-Semitism.
If anything, it causes more anti-Semitism.
An Atheist who supports human
rights will oppose Zionism as (s)he
would any other organization that
would try to divide people.
should instead try to educate people
about the foolishness of all religions
and the harm they cause.
Louis R. Williams

Support From Israel
Dear American Atheists,
Thank you for sending me information about your organization. As I am
not an American citizen (I'm an Israeli), I think that it would be inappropriate for me to join American
Atheists at this time because your
group's activities involve internal American politics.
I am very interested in your efforts
to bring about a total separation between state and church.
In this respect Israel lags behind the U.S .• Presently, Israelis who are non-observant
Jews or Atheist-Jews like myself are
subjected to religious coercion because
religious laws are incorporated into Israel's civil laws.
I would like very much to learn
from your experiences in opposing religious coercion. I would appreciate it
if you could add my name to your
mailing list so that I might benefit
from your experiences when I return
to Israel.
Joseph Hoshen


Dear Atheists,
Have you ever:

* winced when a football coach
claimed his team won because god
was on his side?
* wondered what's so great about
being god-fearing?
* been astounded when somebody
yelled, "God will punish you!"
Instead of becoming irritated at
these expressions, I have developed a
technique which completely defuses
them and simultaneously provides me
with a great source of amusement.
Every time I see or hear the word god
I substitute the words "Easter bunny."
Now the alleged deity can be placed in
its proper absurd perspective.

let's try some:

* Cleanliness is next to Easter
* Easter Bunny damn it!
* one nation under Easter Bunny.
* Easter Bunny foresaken.
* And the Easter Bunny said, let
there be light ...
Of course, you may prefer other
substitutes such as Mother Goose, or
Santa Claus.
Gosh, I feel so good; my new idea
has been a real Easter Bunny-send.
Anni Silberberg

American Warts Or American Atheists?
Dear Editor,
I am writing you in regard to the use of the word and name "Atheist." I note
that you don't seem hesitant about using the term in reference to yourselves and
yo~r philosophy. How.ever, I think you will find that a great number of people do
object to the word, as It seems to have definite negative connotations in the minds
of undoubtedly the majority of the population, including many Atheists themselves! Possible meanings attached to the label "Atheist" include "communist"
"monster," "evil," "enemy," "cruel," "satanic," etc.
You will note that "negroes" are no longer that, but are "black." Homosexuals
have come up with the more positive expression "gay." Liberated women are
"Ms." and "-persons."
Likewise, I think it might be desirable and advisable for
Atheists to devise or come up with a more positive and/or neutral term for use at
least until Atheism is more "socially acceptable" - whenever that might be.
Of course we already have terms like "freethinker,"
"secularist," "realist"
and so forth, but we could really do with something new, short and catchy. Facetiously, how about "Wart": World Atheist Revolutionary Taskperson ... ? Or how
about appropriating the ~?rd "brigh.t," ~hich implies shining, pleasant, intelligent
and optimistic - In addition to which It contains the word "right." If "bright"
came to mean "Atheist" then your magazine could be called The Bright American
- with much brighter connotations!
Paul I. Edic
Mr. Edic,
I don't know about you, but I'm old enough to remember when feminists
first introduced "Ms." and "-persons," and when blacks first insisted on being
called blacks. These terms were greeted with reactionary hostility and ridicule.
They were not in the beginning socially acceptable. Only persistence and insistence on the parts of the activists of each group removed the negative connotations these words caused in the minds of undoubtedly the majority of the population.
We are in the process of cleaning the term Atheist of the negative connotations
religionists have stained it with. It's a proud and good term that accurately and
unequivocally describes our philosophical, moral, and ethical stand in life. Any
other term would be a cowardly surrender to appease the religionists.
I am an Atheist. I shall be called an Atheist. As for your suggestion of "Wart"
I have this to say: I will convert to Catholicism before I write a column under the
heading of "A Joyous Wart"!

G. Richard Bozarth


May, 1979


Page 3

Common Goals
Dear Mrs. O'Hair,
I'm the radio newsman who interviewed you in early March prior to
your speaking engagement at the University of Kentucky.
I am not an Atheist. I'm Jewish, but
I wish to applaud most of the work
you've done or are trying to do. I'm
especially thankful that you got prayers and Bible-reading taken out of the
public schools.
I was in my first years, of elementaryschool when that Supreme Court
decision came down (1963), but because I was lucky enough to go to
Shaker Heights, Ohio schools, which
have a sizeable Jewish student population, I never experienced prayers or
Bible-reading in school.
Now, however, I have a daughter
who'll be entering school in about four
years, another child on the way, and
my family is now in Kentucky. If not
for your efforts, my children would
probably get a Christian education if
they go to public schools.
Jews (although I myself am a very
reformed Jew) and Atheists are in the'
distinct minority in this country. I'm
glad you have the courage to stand up

against this Christian dogma that we
find ourselves engulfed in.
Too often you're applauded only
,by other Atheists. Well, here's one believer in god who says bravo to the
work you've done in separating state
from church.
I don't agree with all
your statements, but I think you're
on the right track.
This country was not founded as a
Christian nation - despite the claims
of fundamentalists. They should remember their American history which
, shows that this country was founded
on the premise that each of us is to be
free from religious persuasion or indoctrination by the state. Too many people in this country have lost, sight of
that fact.
Name withheld by request
Research On Harassment
Dear Editor,
I am writing abook about recent
victims of religious' harassment. If any
, reader is, or has been, harassed for his
or her views on Atheism, state-church
separation, abortion, etc., please write
with details to:
" S. Weinman
P.O. Box 905
Wilmington, NC 28402

Foreskin Follies·


Dear Editor,
I'd like to make a few comments about "The Sacred Foreskin of Jesus Christ,"
which appeared in the February issue of the American Atheist.
1) .The 29 December.1975 issue of Time magazine states that the reliquary
which holds Jesus' foreskin is in Calcata, north of Rome. Calcata is a small town in
Italy, not India; the reliquary in question was part of an Italian exhibition of sacred
treasures. So, the cited report, "Calcutta, 4/1/46" from' The California Watch seems
rather strange, except for the identical English pronunciation of Calcata and Calcutta.
'2) Even supposing that, as I aminclined to believe, there existed a person called
Jesus or .Joshua, whose 'real or adoptiveparents descended from the royal house of
David (wherefore Jesus became or was made to be a claimant to the throne, a preacher for the re-institution of the kingdom, and a man executed as the king of the
Jews), that he was circumcised, and that his foreskin was preserved even before
Constantine's wife created a market 'for Christian relics, there is no way of telling
which of the dozen or so foreskins in European churches is the true foreskin. There
seems to be no legend about the true foreskin (like the legend about the true cross);
however, preputiologists, prepuce-students', would do themselves a great service if
they collected all the foreskins of Jesus and invited sick pilgrims (preferrably V.D.
patients), in the hope that a miracle would reveal the true foreskin.
3) Relics are to be venerated, but veneration is an ancient Roman practice, the
cult of Venus. The veneration - or should we say hermation? - of a foreskin is
related to phallic cults, which flourished in many parts of the ancient world. However, in Christ's times, the Jews and the Jew-Christians were against veneration and
hermation. Indeed, as symbolic castration, circumcision is the very opposite of hermation. Therefore, it is extremely' unlikely that the foreskin of Jesus would be preserved by anyone, even if they had foreknowledge of Jesus' ascent into heaven. Our
preputiologists of Jesus are just wasting their time!
, Amedeo Amendola, Ph.D.
New York

Page 4

May, 1979

'Foul Film'
Dear Editor,
I'm writing an angry response to
Elaine Stansfield's film review of Foul
Play in the January issue of the American Atheist magazine. She has totally
missed the boat of insight on this foul
film, and with her "charming movie"
review she has done a disservice to
Atheists. The movie is a chintzy, shallow, audience picture (money-maker).
Its content is aimed at a sub-teenage
The Atheist group in the film under
the name "Tax the Churches" were
portrayed as ugly, murderous, selfish
freaks. They were disdained and jeered
by the audience almost unanimously.
I'm sorry I hadn't seen this terrible review and responded sooner. Please advise all conscientious Atheists not to
see it. When a person places money on
a ticket (s)he's voting "yes" to the movie and its content. Stansfield owes us
an apology.
Thomas Cassotta
Mr. Cassotta,
I'm afraid you didn't read my review carefully enough since you missed my central point that the Atheists in the film were the villains, but
given the kind of movie censorship we
have today, the writers did manage to
slip in some heavy indictments against
the wealth of churches which should be
taxed - but aren't.
The writers also managed to slide in
a complimentary word about the lady
who headed the Atheist group. My use
of the word "charming" had sarcasm
surrounding it, and my readers have
generally understood this was scarcely
fulsome praise. In fact it was one of
our members' praise of the film which
prompted me to see it.
I make no apologies whatever for
my review since I still feel my fellow
writers in the PR field who say, "Any
publicity is better than none, "are generally correct. Since this film managed
to speak our feelings about the wicked
wealth of the Catholic Church it may
have given some viewers something to
think about, which is all to the good
for us. I think Atheists ought to see
the film.
Elaine Stansfield

American Atheist


Another local victory in the ever
ongoing battle for separation of state
and church was. won on 29 March
1979 by American Atheists Member
Theresa M. Collins of Chandler, Arizona, when a U.S. District Court
judge ruled in her favor that prayers
opening Chandler High School Assemblies were a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Named as defendants were
the school district, members of the
school board, the school superintendent and the principal of CHS.
The prayers began two years ago
when religionists gained control of the
CHS student council and requested.
permission from school officials to be
allowed to cram their theism down
all students' throats with prayers at
assemblies .. The school officials were
eager to appease the religious community at the expense of the 1st Amendment and allowed the prayers
to become an official part of school
. assemblies ..
At this time, American Atheists
Member Krista Collins was a CHS
student' and did not' appreciate being
proselytized .at assemblies she had
to attend. Theresa Collins took up
for her daughter by protesting. to
school officials in May, 1978. The
school district turned to the county
attorney for a ruling on the assembly
prayers and was assured that the
. prayers were not unconstitutional.
by this, the abuse'
carried. over into the next school
year. Although Krista Collins, who
is currently organizing an American
Atheists Chapter at Arizona State
University, had graduated from CHS
at the end of the 77-78 term, Theresa
Collins' son, James, was now a senior
at the high school. Ms. Collins pro-'
tested the prayers again on 15 Sept
The CHS principal responded that
prayers would not stop unless prohibited by a court ruling. Undaunted,
Ms. Collins, who was represented by
the American Civil Liberties Union,

filed suit on 19 Sept asking for an
order declaring the prayers in violation of the 1st Amendment and
reimbursing her for her costs in
bringing the lawsuit.'
On 29 March 1979 the US Dis·
trict judge assigned the case ruled
in Ms. Collins favor. In his decision
he quoted .extensively from the 1962
Engel vs. Vitale U.S. Supreme Court
decision, and concluded the high
court found that school prayers are
"wholly inconsistent with the estab-

lishment clause (of the U.S. Constitution)."
The stunned response of the Super.'
.intendent of the Chandler Unified
School District was one of -surprise.
He declared, "We thought we -would
win it." He claimed the school board's
next action would be a decision con· _'.
cerning appealing the ruling.
John Buttrick, one of Ms. Collins'
"ACLU attorneys, had a more realistic
response to the victory: "It's a shame
we ever had to file this suit." Yet, because the religionists constantly seek
to destroy the 1st Amendment in
the names of their various gods, such
suits must continually be filed.
One of Ms. Collins' supporters,
Beth Fenell, was much elated by. the
decision. She believes it will inspire
more complaints by students and


parents fed up with the religionist
of their constitutional
rights. She looks forward to suits that
will purge the public schools of
Christmas and Easter programs.
In April 1979 the Chandler Unified School District Board of Education asked the Maricopa County
attorney to appeal the school prayer
ban. Although the county attorney
had first encouraged the abuse at
CHS by assuring school officials
that prayers were constitutional, now
the county attorney refused to act.
The reason claimed was "a heavy
work load," but many believe the
real reason is that the county attorney recognizes that an appeal would
have no chance of success. The board
has decided to appeal using private
Theresa Collins plans to capitalize
on the publicity of her victory to
form an American Atheists Chapter
in Chandler-Mesa,
Arizona. So far,
public reaction has been limited to
a "March For Prayer" conducted
by the disappointed
religious students at CHS. But recently the Collins
family found a rattlesnake in their
backyard, and suspect strongly that
it had been deliberately placed there.
-Theresa Collins' 29 March, 1979
victory in the US District Court in
Phoenix banning school prayers at
. Chandler High School' demonstrates
.once again that Atheist activism is
the only hope to the restoration and
preservation of separation of state
and church.

White House Ghost
We Can DoWithout
Seeking every way to get his words
·closer to god,. President, Carter has
added to his team of speechwriters
R. L.Maddox, a Baptist minister from
Calhoun, Ga. Maddox has worked for
Carter before and says that he has yet
to get an official project, but is "playing. [or was that praying?] around
with some ideas."
Some Washington wits speculate
Carter' really intends for Maddox to
pray away inflation, the energy crisis,
and Ted Kennedy.

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, television, even education. It 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 tcadmit it.

Austin, Texas

May, 1979

Page 5

. This is a substantive extraction from the Brief (Le. legal
argument) which is currently in production, and to be filed
on April 30, 1979,
Fifth Circuit, New Orleans, Louisiana.
H. Bruce Hunter,

Case Nr. 78-3648

Dallas Independent School District, et al.
Statement of the Legal Issues

The Bruce Hunter Story
There. simply are several cases uihicn it is necessary that the
American Atheist» win. We can not permit religion to seize the
symbols of our nation and we can not permit religious forces
acting in government to abuse individual Atheists. On the
other hand, there are so many violations of state/churcn separation and so much abuse in respect to individual oppression
that it is impossible to do more than just sample the cases.
Wh~n you send these in by the hundreds, we do our best
to make complaints in administrative channels to help you,
but most often a case would eventually be needed.From time to time a person, individually, takes such a
case. Sometimes this is after coming to us, sometimes it is
before.W~ .try to help as we can along the way, giving information and encouragement, knowing full well that this
is not enough.
We need a staff of highly paid, expert, state/churcn
separation attorneys to handle even a fraction of what we
~everal years ago, Bruce Hunter, of Dallas, Texas, came to
us for help and we could give him only advice. We were not in
a position to assist him legally. However, Bruce was seriously
aggrieved, in that he had lost his employment. He began processing a claim, himself, and later found some assistance with
Texas State Teachers Association.
However, that organization saw him through only a lower
court hearing. When it came time for an appeal from that
adverse decision (and we all realized that the lower court
hearing. would be adverse) Bruce was without legal counsel.
At this point, Bruce again asked American Atheists for
help and Paul Funderburk, American Atheist Center's inhouse attorney was assigned this task.
You are all intelligent enough (being Atheists) to understand what is going on, so we simply give you, here, the
substance of the appeal. You can see for yourself if he was
abused by religious persons intruding their belief systems
into the Dallas Independent School District and being protected by that School District while they did so - all to the
derogation of an American Atheist, Bruce Hunter, in particular and to A theism in general.

Page 6

May, 1979

(1) Whether Plaintiff-Appellant's treatment and discharge'
by Defendant-Appellee were violative of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States
as well as 42 U.S.C. 1983.
(2) Whether Plaintiff-Appellant's treatment and discharge
by Defendant-Appellee were violative of Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, as amended (1972),42 U.S.C. t2000e, et

(3) Whether testimony at trial indicated that Plaintiff-Appellant's constitutionally protected First Amendment conduct
was a substantial or motivating factor in the Defendant-Appellee's termination of his employment.
Statement of The Case
Course of the Proceedings and Disposition in The Court Below
The Plaintiff-Appellant filed a Charge of Discrimination in
respect to religion, against Dallas Independent School District
(DISD) with the Dallas, Texas, District Office of the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission, charge nr. 061-613545 on 28th January, 1976. He received Notice of Right to Sue
Within 90 Days from the United States Department of Justice
on 20th January, 1977.
The Plaintiff-Appellant filed his original and amended Complaint against DISD, the President and Board of Directors the
Superintendent of Schools and the Principal of Spruce High
School in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Texas, Dallas Division for violations of Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (1972), for unlawful
discrimination on the basis of religion; under Section 2000e et
seq., specifically 2000e-5; under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1331 and
1343, 42 D.S.C. Sec. 1983 and 1988, 28 D.S.C. 2201 and
2202 and under the freedom of religion guarantees of the First
and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the
United States, seeking injunctive relief, a declaratory judgment
as to the Defendant-Appellee's practices, reinstatement in employment to the position which he would have held but for
the Defendant-Appellee's discrimination, back pay, damages,
and attorney fees and costs.
Defendant-Appellee filed a Motion to Dismiss on the 11th
Amendment grounds that the DISD is a political subdivision of
government and not a person subject to any cause of action,
that the court was without jurisdiction as to individual defendants named since no charge of discrimination had been filed

American Atheist

against such individuals with EEOC.
The Court denied Defendant-Appellee s motions under
Rule 12 except Motion to Dismiss all allegations against individual defendants, for the reason that the court lacked jurisdiction since no charge of discrimination naming these defendants had been filed with the EEOC.
After hearing the Court issued Judgment to DefendantAppellee denying Plaintiff-Appellee all right of. recovery, holding that the DISD's decision not to renew hIS contract ~as
not based on any substantial or motivating facto~ ste~mmg
from his religious belief or any protected conduct m WhIChhe
may have been engaged.
The Plaintiff-Appellee then filed a Notice of Appeal.
Statement of Facts
Bruce Hunter, Appellant, a 46 year old, white, male, mathematics teacher was employed by Dallas Independent School
District (hereafter: DISD), from 1957 to 1959, and again
from 1963 to 1976. His education includes B.A.E. (Oklahoma
State University, 1957), M.A.T. (Tulane University, 1968),
5 summers of National Science Program participation, attendance at State Conference professional workshops, and 6
hours of post-graduate work in Economics, North Texas
State University, all evidencing a continued high interest in
theoretical mathematics and' in maintaining and enlarging
his professionalism. He also was educated in the use of the
Olivetti 104 computer and the G.E. Time Sharing Computer
Systems used in the DISD.
During his two years of substitute and fifteen years of
full time teaching he maintained a job performance rating of
"Good" to "Excellent".
During the years 1971 to 1975
while assigned to Bryan Adams High School, he maintained
a uniform job performance rating of "Excellent."
He came
to a position of teaching all elective courses, including High
Academic and Honor classes, that is Geometry, Secondary
Algebra, Trigonometry, Analytics, Calculus, Computer Programming and an Advanced Study Program.
He was also the sponsor of the Chess Club and the Math
Club. He also assisted specially able interested students in
developing projects for the Science Fair programs held ~~thin
the district, and for interdistrict scholastic competitions.
His students won all of the awards in competition at Bryan
Adams High School and in the Mathematics Se.ction of t~e
Dallas Science Fair in 1972 and 3 of the 8 finahst awards m
secondary mathematics in the Regional Science Fair, in the
same year.
In October, 1970, a Canadian Christian evangelist, Brian
Rudd, was invited to speak at several DISD schools, and
Principal Richardson extended an invitation for Rudd to
include Bryan Adams High School in his itinerary. Attendance at the assembly was compulsory. Mr. Rudd, in his
address exhorted the pupils to evangelical Christianity. Although Mr. Hunter did not attend this assembly he was apprised of it by other teachers since he held the office ~f
Representative of the Classroom Teachers of Dallas for this
High School.
The complaining teachers reported the progra~ con.te~t
to be of a religious revival-type, with only some mmor tie-in

Austin, Texas

with drug abuse, the alleged ostensible r~ason for the address.
At the next' meeting of the faculty representativesof
room Teachers of Dallas, Mr. Hunter moved to adopt a resolution opposing religious indoctrination in the DISD assembly programs. There was a motion .to ~.t,able his resolut,ion,
"because otherwise' the community is' 'going to think we're
against religion." ,
Nevertheless the motion gained publicity and later Mr.
Hunter appeared on Channel 8 television (Dallas) to explain
it. Following this Principal Richardson notified Mr. Hunter,
"I have gotten (sic) parents and students coming to me asking
me to kick you out." This referred only to Mr. Hunter's
publicly expressed state and church-separation position.
This incident eventually resulted ill the promulgation of
DISD Administrative' Regulation No. 6141.2-.2a entitled
"Religious Liberty and Separation of Church and Stat~"
"Neither instruction nor materials (including films, copies
of religious texts, et cetera) nor assembly programs shall
be used' to promote or encourage non-religion, sectarian
religion, .partisan religious viewpoints, religious groups,
or sectarian religious activities.
"This shall not be construed to prevent persons engaged,
in religious work from speaking in school assemb!ies. In
each case, however, the principal shall be certain that
the speakers understand that remarks will not beof such
a nature as to promote or encourage a particular religion,
religious groups, religious activity, or non-religion. If a
school program, once underway, comes in conflict with
this policy, it shall be the responsibility of the principal
to interrupt and end such activity. "
This though was not before Dr. Nolan Estes, Superintendent of Scho'ols, made comments to newspapers concerning which ("If you take [religious-implied]
values out of
our classrooms you are raising robots who will answer to any
master.") Mr. Hunter became defensive and contacted Mr.
Estes by mail to protest.
This incident passed and the situation appeared to stabilize.
In Spring, 1972, the annual Mathematics Symposium
was held on a non-school day (Saturday) at Bryan Adams
High School to be opened with the national Pledge of Allegiance. When a student queried concerning this, Mr. Hunter
expressed a negative opinion in respect to the use of the
words "under god" in the pledge. From this event it was
deduced that Mr. Hunter might be an Atheist. A mother,
a member of the school board, called Principal Richardson
who advised Mr. Hunter that patrons wanted students re,moved from his classes. As Mr. Hunter's were the only Calculus classes, Principal Richardson was concerned over decline in enrollment. Actually four transfers to other subjects were made that year, and in the year 1973-4 the Calculus class was given to another teacher.
Absolutely no support was given by the school to this
outstanding teacher when his position ois-a-ois religion became known. The sympathy of the school administrators,
especially Principal Richardson, was given in support of
the patrons and transfers were made for their accommodation. Students were not urged to remain with an excellent instructor and to accept the pluralism of American
religious convictions which included the acceptance of the
viewpoints of Mr. Hunter.
Concerned with the outburst of hostility, Mr. Hunter
asked for and received permission from Principal Richardson to discuss the pledge incident and the rumors incident
thereto in after-school rap sessions.
Introducing a broad
array of religious literature (Buddhist, Hindu, Shinto, Judaism, Christianity), Mr. Hunter was asked by one student
for a particular sample of extremist Atheist literature. The

May, 1979

Page 7

student's father began a complaint concerning this tract
which culminated in Mr. Hunter being disciplined by John
J. Santillo, Assistant Superintendent in Charge of Personnel.
Principal Richardson
withdrew permission
to hold rap sessions with students and ordered Mr. Hunter
NOT to discuss either religion or Atheism at the school at
any time. Mr. Hunter brought himself into compliance with
this order.
At this time, Spring, 1973, Mr. Hunter asked Principal
Richardson to endorse a nomination for Mr. Hunter for
the annual Perot Outstanding Teacher Award, which the
principal declined to do. Mr. Hunter then approached the
Mathematics Department chairman, Winford Groves to endorse the recommendation.
Mr. Groves refused "because
I heard that you discussed religion in class."
This incident passed and the situation, again, appeared
to stabilize.
Early in October, 1974, the next year school term, Principal Richardson came to Mr. Hunter's classroom "waving
a Dallas Morning News" newspaper to demand if Mr. Hunter
had written a· certain "Letter to The Editor" having to do
with prayer in schools, titled, "Let's Face Facts About Religion in Our Schools." Principal Richardson claimed he
and his supervisor, Mr. H.S. Griffin, were "under pressure"
because of the letter which advocated compliance with the
United States Supreme Court decision Abington School
Dist. v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963).
Mr. Hunter declined to "affirm or deny" authorship
and pointed out that several "Bruce Hunters" were listed
in the Dallas telephone book. Up to and including this date,
the exact authorship of this letter has never been established,
but the DISD has acted on the presumption of Mr. Hunter's
authorship. Principal Richardson, certainly acting on this
(1) advised Mr. Hunter that he no longer considered him
"to be a part of the team;"
(2) asked Mr. Hunter if he "would be happier.teaching
in another school" and
(3) told Mr. Hunter that the letter writing (not the refusal to identify as the author) would be reflected
in subsequent evaluations.
Principal Richardson then encouraged patrons to attend
P.T.A. meetings if they desired to have Mr. Hunter transferred.
The 31 March, 1974, evaluation of Mr. Hunter reflected
Principal Richardson's retaliatory punishment for Mr. Hunter's
exercise of his protected rights to freedom of speech. In 7
categories, especially his subject mastery and teaching skills,
his ratings were "Excellent," in 3 categories the rating was
"Good," with a note in the "public relations" section"lack of cooperation." An overall rating of "Good" was
given. Simultaneously,
Principal Richardson required Mr.
Hunter to endorse Principal Richardson's request to transfer Mr. Hunter, against his expressly stated desire not, to
be so transferred.
Having taught, successfully at the school for eight years,
Mr. Hunter, not desiring to be transferred, filed a formal
grievance complaint protesting both:
(1) the lowered over-all evaluation of "Good," and
(2) the impending involuntary transfer.
Thoroughly frightened at the turn of events, he asked
for a sabbatical leave of one semester hoping this incident
would also pass and that the situation would again stabilize.
The three, cumulative, incidents had caused Mr. Hunter
to be labeled as "the Atheist teacher," to have his evaluation rating lowered, to lose his Calculus class and to have
a looming involuntary transfer from a school which had an
excellent reputation in the Dallas community. Noting that

Page 8

May, 1979



G of DISD Guidelines on Sabbatical Leave stated:
"Persons on Sabbatical leave will return with full seniority to a position or assignment on an equivalent or higher
he was influenced to request sabbatical leave while the
situation cooled off.
The grievance meanwhile went through level 5 (Appeal
to the General Superintendent)
and Mr. Hunter requested
a level 6 review (Hearing before the Board of Education)
when the process was interrupted and Mr. John Santillo
advised Mr. Hunter that his over-all rating had been changed
to "Excellent" and the transfer request of Principal Richardson was moot since the sabbatical leave of one semester
had been granted. This left Mr. Hunter with a continuous
history of "Excellent" ratings for the period of 1971 through
1974 at Bryan Adams High School.

During his sabbatical, Mr. Hunter completed 6 hours
of Economics at North Texas State University. He returned
to DISD in January, 1975, asking for reinstatement in Bryan
Adams High School. He was told there was no place for
him there and further that the only mathematics openings
were in FOM (Fundamentals of Mathematics) and IA (Introductory Algebra) teaching disadvantaged or slower students, with no positions teaching advanced or elective courses.
FOM and IA courses are generally assigned to new or
inexperienced teachers. After telephone conversations with
the principals of three high schools having such openings,
Mr. Hunter accepted assignment to Spruce High School,
which was involved in busing and integration problems.
Spruce High School had 40 mathematics classes, ten with
fast learners. None of the other teachers matched Mr. Hunter's education or experience. However, he was given 5 FOM
and IA classes, 123 pupils total, approximately 25 to a class,
with slow and otherwise disadvantaged learners, which classes
had been handled by four different teachers during the fall
period, September, 1974, to January, 1975. Mr. Hunter
began teaching these courses at Spruce High School in January, 1975, despite his repeated requests to. be returned to a
position "equal or superior" to that which he had before
taking his sabbatical leave.
Prior to Mr. Hunter's arrival at the new assignment; the
principal at Spruce High School was contacted by Principal
Richardson who advised of Mr. Hunter's Atheism and his
state and church separation concerns and by George Reed,
Assistant Superintendent in charge of Secondary Operations,
who made it understood that Mr. Hunter would be only
one semester at Spruce High School, if the principal there
would "be willing to accept him," his Atheism being again
On the first day of school, the school year of 1975-6,
at Spruce High School, the principal Bruce Norman, wearing a large (3 inches long, 2 inches wide) silver cross, on
a heavy chain around his neck, over his necktie, interrupted
staff activities to lead the faculty in a lengthy prayer, which
ended with " the name of Jesus Christ." The principal
subsequently surveyed teachers in respect to their religion,
made religious meeting announcements regularly over the
school's intercom system, openly supported and encouraged
three school sponsored and affiliated Christian groups:
(1) Young Life,
(2) the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and
(3) the Y-Teens.
In one instance when Principal Norman was sponsoring

American Atheist

the Fellowship of Christian Athletes as one of the "clubs
and organizations that are available to them (students) for
membership at Spruce High School" he became upset, as
he testified, that Mr. Hunter "when it came time for themfor the Fellowship of Christian Athletes-for
him to jump
up in the middle of everyone and go back to the back. It
was not only obvious to me, it was obvious to the students
and very obvious to other teachers and most especially to
all our administrators."
The school had 2,300 pupils, 105 teachers, and it was
not uncommon for one or the other to leave the assembly.
Principal Norman traditionally pledged allegiance "under
god" at assemblies, traditionally held religious assemblies
on Christian holy days (Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas),
exhorted parents and children to Christian precepts in parent conferences, described himself in the student handbooks
variously and in different years as (p. 4) having "a positive
Christian attitude and dedication" or as (p. 5) exhibiting
"fine Christian" leadership.
On "Career Day" the school choice sheets and work shops
featured one future career choice as "Christian service." In
a faculty orientation group, Cele Rodriguez, a counselor,
made a presentation, with charts, equating "godlessness"
with drunkenness, selfishness, jealousy, adultery, dishonesty,
drugs and despair. Principal Norman was shocked and dismayed when Mr. Hunter objected to this characterization
of Atheists.
Speakers at the Spruce High School assemblies were permitted to discuss "the kind of love showed (sic) by god
when he gave his only son so that we might have life," and
"please understand and realize that the greatest of all gifts
was the one Jesus Christ made when he gave his life for you."
Mr. Hunter has been for a number of years associated
with and has headed some Dallas chapters of certain organizations dedicated to the preservation of a founding principle
of our nation: separation of state and church. These included
P.E.A.R:L. (Public Education and Religious Liberty), Americans Umted (for separation of church and state) and Society
of Separationists, Inc., also so concerned. Seeing the situation
of excessive entanglement of religion and government at
Spruce High School, Mr. Hunter went immediately to Principal Norman and told him of his state and church separation commitment and concern.
He was unheeded. In fact as Easter assembly time approached (1975), Mr. Hunter was ordered to appear at the
assembly. When he asked if the assembly was to be sectarian, this was affirmed; when he asked to have his beliefs accommodated by being excused, this was denied; when he
asked for a non-partisan assembly, this was denied. His presence was, he was told, mandatory for this religious assembly.
Mr. Hunter again advised Principal Norman that such religious "Easter" assemblies were in violation of DISD Administrative Regulation 6141.2-d.
Spruce High School was in difficulty. Police were stationed
there. Fights erupted. Arrests were made in the integration
exercise. And, Mr. Hunter was a disciplinarian, a hard-line
tough teacher. He closely followed all written guidelines
as set forth in both the Teacher's and the Student's Hand-

books, as well as Board of Education Policy Regulations
and policy statements from administrative meetings. He
saw many violations, especially in the state and church separation area, but realized he would need to closely follow
all regulations and policies as he attempted to avoid another
Bryan Adams-type retaliation, especially since it was apparent that the "administration team" showed no concern
with the principal's Christianizing of the school.
As indicated, Mr. Hunter had 5 classes, approximately
125 students, heavily Black, many Mexican-Americans, some
Anglos, all slow learners indifferent or ill-disposed toward
algebra or mathematics, as evidenced by a 15% failure rate
and a 30% "D" level of accomplishment.
Mr. Hunter entered class one day in Spring, 1975, to
find taunts of "god loves you" on the board and a class full
of hostility. He took time out to answer questions (Where
will you go when you die?) and felt the situation was under
control although student curiosity was aroused.
This incident passed and the situation appeared to stabilize. His rating for the Spring term of 1975 was "Excellent."
During the summer, Mr. Hunter explored further the
possibility of transfer from Spruce, but application forms
for the DISD carried a question: "Do you profess a belief
in a Supreme Being?" He left the query with a blank answer.
He later was advised by Ed Cowens, Assistant Superintendent,
Secondary Personnel, that five other mathematics assignments
were open, but upon inquiry these all proved to be beginning
teacher positions with FOM and IA courses also.
Later still he found that several assignments on "an equivalent or higher level" had been available at a school of his
choice and that he had not been notified of any of these.
Since he thought no transfer was feasible, upon his return
to Spruce in the fall of 1975, he immediately asked for a conference, especially with one overtly Christian female counselor-administrator in order to gain support for his attempt
to discipline and to gain some acceptance in the school.
At the same time, as a principled advocate of state and
church separation he wrote a letter of complaint to Dr. Nolan
Estes, dated 6 September, 1975, asking:
(1) for discontinuance of school entanglement with religious clubs, especially the Fellowship of Christian
(2) that Principal Norman be instructed not to wear the
large cross over his necktie, equating it with a nun's
distinctively religious garb;
(3) for an Atheist Club (i.e., accommodation of his beliefs) if the Christian clubs were to continue to be
encouraged; and
(4) for a mathematics teaching assignment commensurate
with his education, teaching skills, experience and evaluation record of "Excellent."
He conceived the letter to be confidential, but Dr. Estes
instead sent it to Principal Norman and within four weeks
Mr. Hunter was put on probationary status by Principal Norman for reasons outlined in an October 14, 1975, letter to
Mr. Hunter:
(1) for persisting in attempts to organize a philosophy club
without the authorization of principal;
(2) for asking for a student to be excused from a solid subject class (which had to do with a club organization effort);
(3) for leaving the mandatory assembly when the Fellowship of Christian Athletes were being sponsored by the
(4) for circulating an interest survey as to how many persons would be interested in a philosophy club.
According to DISD Administrative Regulations, having
been placed on probation, Mr. Hunter was required to over-

May, 1979

Austin, Texas


Page 9

come the perceived deficiencies. However, the administrative team, other teachers, students and parents had come
to know of his status and the religious conflict he had with
the principal. Students were permitted to make complaining statements concerned with his Atheism and these were
put in his personnel file without his knowledge. Teachers
did the same. Newspaper articles concerned with him were
accumulated, as well as "Bruce Hunter" Letters to the Editor.
With the principal leading, Mr. Hunter became anathema
in the school. Concerned with other matters at the school,
including his genuine concern for the need of a non-smoking
male teacher's lounge, he was contemptuously and inconsistently handled by the principal. In a three-week period,
Principal Norman first refused to consider a male non-smoking lounge, then said, "We'll see."; then said, "We'll take
a poll."; then said, "Yes."; then said, "No."; and then created
the lounge which had been requested in the first place. During
this sequence of events Mr. Hunter sought outside aid from
ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), but the President
of that organization, Mrs. Betty Moore testified before the
School Board: .
"But had I known Mr. Hunter was an Atheist, I would
not have done so. I think I would have realized that the
principal would have felt some irritation already with Mr.
Unsupported by the administrative team, under fire in all
areas, Mr. Hunter on two occasions responded to queries
of students concerned with his views of religion in an attempt
to cultivate their tolerance. This was done once in classroom
with the approval of Principal Norman, who, in fact, participated. [A distinction is made here between "homeroom"
which meets approximately three times a month and mathematics (solid subject) class which meets daily.] When approached with questions during homeroom period on several
occasions, as a student testified:
"And we did-we did this a matter of a few of us, four or
five of us, on about six or seven occasions probably,"
during the year. Mr. Hunter attempted to answer queries
shortly and cogently without prolonging the query session.
Indeed the testimony of the student was that Mr. Hunter
never initiated the discussion.
Because of his insistence that students meet standard
behavior policies, Mr. Hunter-following
written regulations
and school policies-referred students to counselors for 3-day
tardies, 5-day tardies, wearing of caps in class (a characteristic
of Black student defiant behavior in the school), eating in
class, profanity, verbal abuse, fights, etc. In the Spring, 1975,
these referrals were so great in number that Mr. Hunter asked
Principal Norman if he should handle (1) more of them or
(2) all of them with in-class counseling and was advised by
Principal Norman to send all infraction cases to the counselors or the principal.
The referrals were serious in nature resulting in 14 threeday suspensions, 31 parent conferences, 21 instances of corporal punishment, 4 three-days in suspension center, 2 fivedays in suspension center, 2 five-days of K.P. and 1 student
referral to counseling. Tardy referrals alone included 78
total, diminishing in number from a peak in October, with
one in March, April or May, indicating that Mr. Hunter's
hard-line on discipline apparently worked.
Only 18 students were involved in repeated referrals, one
(Henry) having 10, two (Billups and Toscano) having six
and the other 15 having from 2 to 4 referrals. Most students
responded to one referral. During the school year this involved
an average of 3 such student referrals every 2 days. However,
the bumper crop occurred in September (26 with 20 students
involved) and October (58 with 20 students involved). By
April, May and June discipline had returned to the room
and no referrals were made in Mayor June, with only 10

Page 10

May. 1979

in March and 6 in April.
By the Spring evaluation time, Principal Norman decided
to seize upon the referrals as a part of a complaint concerned
with Mr. Hunter, characterizing them as "trivial" and stating
that two had reference therein to the word "gum." A perusal
of the referrals indicates a series of infractions which culminated in the needed discipline above indicated.
Mr. Hunter was addressed in class as "white boy," "punk,"
"junior," "squirrel," "creep," "old crippled
dog," "Atheist queer," and "Atheist weirdo." He should
have, perhaps, been given a meritorious citation for his absolute insistence on classroom discipline in this school then
being rent with integration difficulties.
When female students were sent for counseling, he soon
discovered that the counselor (for his classes) was sympathetic to the offender and not supportive of the teacher.
During his period of "probation" from October 14, 1975
to May 24, 1976, he was, according to school policy, to have
been given counseling or assistance to correct his deficiencies.
Principal Norman told him to "look within." This was the
sum and substance of the counseling offered. On May 24,
1976, Mr. Hunter was notified of his termination, the original reasons for placing him on probation had vanished and
in theirstead were 5 other reasons:
(1) He had sent disciplinary problems as referrals to the
counselor (as he had been instructed to do).
(2) An unusual number of students had requested transfer
(but this number was never clarified in any evidence).
(3) He had had confrontations with five persons on the administrative team (in each incident, religion had been
a factor) and there was "evidence that you have been insubordinate to your principal."
(4) His "feelings" (apparently state and church separation
concerns and his Atheist beliefs) had been "conveyed to
the patrons of the community."
(5) His students found adjustment difficult because of tension in the classroom (not substantiated
on trial).
After termination of Mr. Hunter's employment, he requested administrative consideration of the action, which
was held on July 26-7,1976, by DISD Administrative Council,
where Mr. Hunter was not allowed to complain of certain
violations of his First Amendment protected rights.
The Council upheld the termination, as did the DISD
Board of Trustees on December 2 and 14, 1976. Mr. Hunter
amended his EEOC Complaint of January 29, 1976, to include the complaint that the action of DISD in placing him
in termination status, shortly before the termination, was
an action taken in retaliation for his earlier filing of the
original complaint.

On June 6, 1976, Mr. Hunter also filed complaint with
the Professional Practices Commission of the Texas Education
Agency alleging that the practices at Spruce High School and
by the Principal Allen Bruce Norman there were in violation
of the Code of Ethics for Texas Educators. The Commission
on November 26, 1976, ruled:
"The Commission must conclude that approval by Mr.
Norman of the operation of the Fellowship of Christian
Athletes and other clubs of Christian orientation on the
Spruce campus is in violation of (DISD Administrative
Regulations) Policy 5133(c) .....
(and) in violation of
Policy 2211(h) .... .It finds that Mr. Norman is technically
in violation of Principle 11, Standard 5 (Code of Ethics
for Texas Educators). "
Despite this finding, the Commission declined to invoke
any sanctions against Mr. Norman for the violations found
at Spruce High School.






After a lengthy, forty page, legal argument, the brief concludes with this summary:
In the case at bar, undisputed testimony shows that the
principals of Bryan Adams and Spruce High Schools consistently violated DISD Administrative
Regulation Policies
2211 (h), 5133(c) and 6141.2-2a, which had been promulgated
to avoid excessive entanglement of the school system with religion.
When the Appellant exerted his First Amendment protected
rights to speak or complain concerning these violations he was
classified as "the Atheist teacher," against whom retaliatory
measures of lowered evaluation and requests for involuntary
transfers were made by the principal first involved. To minimize damage to his career, he exercised his right to a sabbatical
leave. Upon his return, DISD, refusing to reinstate him at
"equal or better" position than that previously held, as required, not alone did not restore him to his rightful place,
Pettaway v. American Cast Iron Pipe Co., 494 F2d 211,
(1974) Fifth Circuit, but assigned him to a school where the
principal's violations of the aforementioned DISD Administrative Policies were notorious.
In the school, Spruce High School, Appellant was required
to attend mandatory religious assemblies and otherwise involve himself involuntarily in other religious exercises (the
principal leading teachers in prayer). When he exerted his First
Amendment protected rights to speak or complain concerning
these subsequent violations, he was denied the right of freedom of association (sponsorship of an alternate opinion club
contra existing school-sponsored religious clubs), freedom of
speech (criticized for leaving an assembly at the height of a
religious propagandizing) and freedom to protest (in a letter
to the Superintendent of Schools in regard to the religious
garb of the principal).
The appellant did not attempt to prevent students, teachers or administrators from using the flag pledge (under God),
but merely expressed his negative opinion. He did not interfere
with religious assemblies or clubs, nor intrude his belief system
into them, but attempted to avoid controversy with students
and faculty members as he processed his complaints through
administrative channels and requested accommodations of:
(1) principal's compliance with DISD Administrative Policies;
(2) sought to be exempted from pledge recitation and compulsory religious assemblies;
(3) sought to obtain an alternate voice to the illegal religious club entanglement of the school.
On this second set of occasions, retaliatory actions of reduced evaluation and ultimate termination were taken against
him. Post hoc rationalizations were manufactured to cover
the discriminatory actions taken. Among these were recitation
of an undifferentiated fear or apprehension of future disturbance.
At trial the Appellee presented no evidence of any attempted accommodation, mandatory attendance at religious assem- ,
blies was continuing, as was the flag salute, school sponsored
religious clubs continued to flourish, alternate view point clubs
had been summarily denied to both requesting students and
There was no evidence introduced that Appellant's protected activity had materially or substantially interfered with the
requirements of the operation of the school.
After placing appellant on "probationary status," the Apellee took no affirmative action to assist him toward the resolution of his stated deficiency and indeed even questioned why
his attorney thought such help should be forthcoming, viewing
him as so competent as not to be in need of it other than to
exhort him to "look within" himself.

Austin, Texas

The paramount and recurring reasons for Appellant's difficulties were succinctly stated by the trial court, in its opinion.
"Unquestionably an administration must be sensitive to any
propensity of students to take advantage of teachers with unpopular beliefs and the statutory and constitutional command
of neutrality toward belief must be brought home to the students. A faculty member with minority beliefs cannot be left
to fend for himself. Otherwise stated, a failure to provide support is not a maintenance of neutrality. It takes no great imagination to perceive that if students learn that it is popular with
the authority figures in a school to be hostile toward a minority belief and that hostility is both encouraged and supported
by administration, the teacher with the unpopular belief is
doomed to reduced effectivenesss."

In addition to permitting the teacher "to fend for himself"
the evidence adduced no attempt was made by the DISD to
balance the interests of the teacher, the students or the school.
No evidence was introduced at trial as to the effect of the Appellant's letter to the editor (as an example) on the community as a whole or on the administration of the school system
in particular other than the discomfort a principal felt when
called by (a nebulous number of) parents.
A primary and underlying thesis exudes from the record.
Principal Norman was an open and outreaching Christian who
apparently felt Christianity was properly in the public schools
and therefore took positive administrative steps to put it there
and keep it there. Appellant is an Atheist who is convinced of
the necessity for state/church separation in the public school
system and felt a burden to confront the Christianization of
the school in which he taught. The series of actions taken for
invidious purposes by both, with Appellant in a lesser position
and the principal in a greater position of power, could have
led to the confrontation--and termination of the Appellant-evidenced in this record. One example of conflict is sufficient.
Appellant desired a philosophy club to counterpose the religious clubs at Spruce High School, just as the Blacks in the
Burnside case, supra, desired to wear buttons to counterpose
the white supremacy they felt was a part of the Mississippi
school system.
In each instance the predominant cultural mode precluded
the expression of such an opinion while insisting that the "established" customs (in one case emphasizing the supremacy
of the white race; in the second case emphasizing the special
accepted place of Christianity) remain inviolate in the schools.
The right to communicate
a matter of vital concern, especially when that communication is demanded by a minority opinion, is embraced in the First Amendment. Just
as buttons in one school, the formation of a club to permit
a minority teacher a right of expression so that he could
gain acceptance, in a very difficult position, would not have
materially and substantially interfered with the operation
of the school. Yet, the Appellant was arbitrarily denied his
right of freedom of association and freedom of speech.
Uncontradicted evidence shows that Appellant was teaching advanced math .courses at Bryan Adams High School
in 1973 until his involuntary transfer from that school as
a result of his protests against school sponsored religious
assemblies, his expression of a negative opinion to students
(for which he was verbally reprimanded) about the inclusion
of the words "under god" in the Pledge of Allegiance and,

May, 1979

Page 11

most" of all, his letter to the editor of a local newspaper against
in public schools, which resulted in a written
reprimand from the principal. To minimize the damage
from the .involuntary transfer he took a sabbatical leave and
upon his return was assigned to teach beginning math courses,
not advanced math as at Bryan Adams High School. Later
his "excellent" rating was lowered to "conditional" or "probationary" for four reasons stated in a letter to him by the
Superintendent of DISD for Personnel.
All four reasons stated related to religious clubs regularly,
illegally, promoted and sponsored by Spruce High School,
although the language in the probationary notice was designed
to avoid mention of the motivating cause of the four instances in which the conduct of the Appellant was reprimanded. Following receipt of the letter of October 14,1975,
the policies of DISD require that the censored teacher be

counselled with a view of removal of the probationary status.
In this case, however, no counselling followed. Instead, after
a seven month silence, the employment of the Appellant
was terminated in a letter dated May 24, 1975, in which
new stated reasons had been advanced to avoid mention of
any embarrassing incidents in which Appellee had violated
the First Amendment protected rights of Appellant. This
post hoc rationalized letter of termination was written only
for the self-serving legal convenience of the Appellee.
A teacher with almost 16 years of math teaching experience
at Dallas Independent School District, with advanced degrees,
46 years of age, has been fired and his career destroyed. If
only a partial cause of this action was due to the exercise
of First Amendment protected rights of the Appellant, the
law is clear that the decision of the District Court must be

New Battle Against
A Very Offensive Phrase
The American A theists' suit to remove the very offensive
phrase "In God We Trust" from the nation's currency and
coins has a long history, begun as it was in September, 1977.
After writing two long and involved briefs the Atheist
Center was confronted with the possible neeq for another in
a petition for writ of certiorari (review of a lower court's decision) to the United States Supreme Court.
The actual legal question is short and sweet. In the words
of the United States Supreme Court for any law "to pass
muster" as being constitutional, it must pass three tests:
(1) it must have a clearly secular purpose; (2) it must not
advance religion; (3) it must not entangle government excessively with religion.
The Atheist Center therefore decided it would make its
plea for writ of certiorari short and sweet.
In the pertinent points, here it is as filed 3 April 1979
with the United States Supreme Court, case No. 78-1683.
Petitioners, Madalyn Murray O'Hair, Jon Garth Murray
et al, pray (excuse the expression) that a writ of certiorari
issue to review the judgment of the United States Court of
Appeals for the Fifth Circuit entered in this cause on February 5, 1979, affirming an order and judgment which dismissed Petitioners' Bill of Complaint by the United States
District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division.
The jurisdiction of this Court is invoked on the grounds
that the United States Court of "Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
has decided a federal question of establishment of religion
in conflict with applicable legal standards derived in decisions
of this Court, or has sanctioned a departure from such standards and decisions by a lower court, so as to call for an exercise of this Court's power of supervision.

Page 12

May, 1979

Whether 36 U.S.C. 186, which states in its entirety "The
national motto of the United States is declared to be 'In God
We Trust',"
(1) has a clearly secular purpose;
(2) advances religion;
(3) in its use, especially, in the imprinting of the motto on
currency and coins, entangles government wit.h religion excessively?
Whether 31 U.S.C. 324(a), which states in its entirety "At
such time as new dies for the printing of currency are adopted,
the dies shall bear, at such place or places thereon as the Secretary of the Treasury may determine to be appropriate, the
inscription 'In God We Trust', and thereafter this inscription
shall appear on all United States currency and coins,"
(1) has a clearly secular purpose;
(2) advances religion;
(3) entangles government with religion excessively?
Whether 36 U.S.C. 324, in that part which states, "The
motto 'In God We Trust' shall be inscribed on all coins,"
(1) has a clearly secular purpose;
_(2) advances religion;
(3) entangles government with religion excessively?
The Petitioners, Madalyn Murray O'Hair and Jon Garth
Murray, et aI, filed their original and amended complaint with
the United States District Court for the Western District of
Texas, Austin Division, on 1 September 1977, invoking
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. sections 1331, 1346(2) and 1402
(a)(l), asking that 36 U.S.C. section 186 and 31 U.S.C. sections 324 and 324(a) be declared unconstitutional
on the
grounds that these laws, together with the enforcement
aspect of 18 U.S.C. sections 331 and 333 violate the free exercise, free speech and establishment clauses of the First



Amendment to the United States and that an injunction be
issued restraining the Respondents, W. Michael Blumenthal,
Secretary of the Treasury and James A. Conlon, Director of
Engraving and Printing, from inscribing any religious slogans
on United States obligations, currency or coins or using the
theological motto "In God We Trust" in any official manner
whatsoever. Petitioners also asked for costs, attorney fees,
expenses, and other such relief as the court deemed proper
under 28 U.S.C. section 2412.
Respondants filed a Motion to Dismiss and a Supplemental
Motion to Dismiss on the grounds that the Petitions lacked
standing and that the complaint failed to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted.
Without a hearing on the motion, the District Court issued
an Order and Judgment on 17 April, 1978, 462 F. Supp, 19,
dismissing, holding that the Complaint failed to state a claim
upon which relief could be granted and writing an opinion
to the merits, applying the tests of constitutionality outlined
in Committee for Public Education and Religious Liberty v.
Nyquist, 413 U.S. 756 (1973) and holding that the challenged
laws were constitutional.
Petitioners appealed to the United States Court of Appeals,
Fifth Circuit, which court, by James P. Coleman, U.S. Circuit
Judge, approved a motion to intervene by a clergyman, J. G.
Pending appeal of this case, the U.S. Congress passed P. L.
95·447. On 10 October, President Carter signed this bill authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to replace the current
dollar coin with a specially designed, octagonal, Susan R
Anthony coin, which under 31 U.S.C. 324 and 324(a) would
also bear the theological motto, "In God We Trust." A Motion
for Injunction was filed 14 December, 1978, by Petitioners,
with the United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, with
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. section 1331(a) and Rule 65(a)
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, reaffirming all First Amendment claims and seeking to temporarily restrain Respondents
from the expenditure of millions of dollars in minting and
flooding the country with the new coin until a finalhearing
and determination of this case now pending on appeal could
be had. Twenty-seven national Atheist organizations and
twenty-one international "free world" Atheist organizations
as well as over 200 individual Atheists from all states of the
union joined in the request for injunction.
The Petitioners' Motion for Injunction Pending Appeal was
denied on 2 January, 1979.
Under Local Rule 18, the United States Court of Appeals,

Austin, Texas

5th Circuit, on 18 January, 1979, transferred the pending case
to the Summary Calendar for disposition and on 5 February,
1979, affirmed the opinion of the District Court, 588 F.2d
1144. Therefore, Petitioners now file this Petition for Writ of
Certiorari to issue to the United States Court of Appeals for
the Fifth Circuit.
Thomas Jefferson has succinctly put forward the plea of
the Petitioners: that it is "sinful and tyrannical" to compel a
man to "the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and
abhors." Jefferson's Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom,
introduced 1779, passed 1786 by the Assembly of Virginia.
In making its decision the District Court did not consider
or accept any evidence, oral or written, as to the impact upon
the freedom of conscience of Atheists who are compelled to
carry upon their body in their clothing, or in accompanying
purses, government sponsored religious' sloganing which they
abhor. In the ordinary course of daily life they are, many
times each day, forced to broadcast a trust in god in their
unavoidable handling of the coin of the realm. The unique
and first impression question before the United States Supreme Court is: does the concept of "freedom of religion"
contain within its precepts the rights of Atheists to "freedom from religion?"
Although the First Amendment to the Constitution of the
United States contains the word "religion," our court of last
resort has never set forth with specificity a workable legal definition thereof, often taking great pains to be intentionally
open-ended or non-specific. Linguistic adroitness characterizes many, if not most, or all, decisions in this area.
In this case, the District Court avoided any effort to establish the intent of the United States Congress when the
subject laws were passed because the congressional records
so clearly and so embarrassingly show that it was to establish a "Christian" nation. (Report of Comm. on Coinage,
Weights and Measures, to accompany H.R. 17296, 1908;
Congressional Record, 7 June 1955, pp. 7795-6.)
The trial court did not consider or accept any evidence
as to whether the slogan or motto "In God We Trust" had
theistic, theological, patriotic or ceremonial implications.
If even a standard dictionary had been consulted, a manin-the-street testimony taken, as to the import of the words
to any reasonably prudent person, a different opinion would
have necessarily followed.
The Petitioners are Atheists and citizens whose patriotism
is impugned when the government legislates that "we" (i.e.,
the citizens of this nation) "trust in god," since the Petitioners have no such trust.
The argument is made ' that the motto is de minimus, insignificant. Yet much time of both houses of the United
States Congress was invested in the passage of the legislation, great costs were borne to change designs and dies to
strike coins or imprint obligations, excessively involving
government to the endorsement and distribution of the
The religious community has invested much concern
toward the capturing of our nation's symbols, for following
that the task of obtaining tax money is easier.
Our nation has the oldest, extant, viable, still operable
Constitution in the world, emulated by literally hundreds
of nations. This was developed by unique politically astute
statesmen, who set our nation apart from every other prior-existing government in the stream of human history, by their
insistence upon the concept of separation of state and church,
of religion and government.

May, 1979

Page 13

The United States of America is a major world power, with
the eyes of all nations focused upon it. A test, observed internationally, is here before the court: do human and civil rights
extend to American Atheists? May they be brought to the
compulsion of. affirming by daily use of religiously inscribed
coins and currency an opinion which they "disbelieve and
abhor?" Are Jeffersonian concepts alive and well, or has
antidisestablishmentarianism won the day?
There has been much media discussion that the United
States Supreme Court is afraid of the issue of Atheist civil
libertarian rights in a time full of the mystique of born-again
Christianity. Your Petitioners may have no trust in god,
but in this instance, somewhat warily, they do place their
trust in the United States Supreme Court.
Atheists have no escape, no alternate lifestyle, which would
allow them to avoid the daily use of theological currency
which plainly states that they, as patriotic Americans, must
not only believe in god, but must pay for placing the motto
indicating the same on the money as well.
If it is argued that the ceremonial purpose of the national

motto is secular, it should be remembered that "the First
Amendment prohibits a governmental agency from attempting to effect a secular goal by the propagation of a religious
concept." Malnak v. Yogi, 440 F. Supp, 1284 (later reported
592 F2d 197).
If on our currency there was an inscription, "There Is No
God In Which You Can Trust," would not the constitutional
rights of Christians receive the attention of this honorable
court through grant of writ of certiorari?
The decisions below directly conflict with the tests prescribed by this court to measure legislation as an establishment of religion promulgated in the Walz, Schempp, Lemon,
and Nyquist cases and should, tlierefore, be reviewed.

For these reasons the writ of certiorari should be issued
to review the judgment and opinion of the Court of Appeals
for the Fifth Circuit.


The most important
legal case
which the Atheist Center is currently
involved in is O'Hair v. Hill, now in the
United States Court of Appeals for the
5th Circuit, case No. 79-1397. The
brief on the case was presented to the
court on 13 May 1979 and the issue
there is basically:
Is a provision of the Texas Constitution, Article 1, Section 4, unconstitutional insofar as it excludes from
any state "office or public trust," persons who do not "acknowledge the
existence of a supreme being." when
enforced by mandatory state provisions, Constitutional
Articles 19
and 19.1, and 35.22 VACCP and
especially does such a law:
(1) have a clearly secular purpose?
(2) advance religion?
(3) in its use, entangles government
with religion excessively?
The case was filed because of a
number of harrassment suits brought
against the Atheist Center last year.
The "Statement of Facts" given to
the United States Court of Appeals
Atheists are deprived of their civil
rights under the Texas Constitution,

Article 1, Section 4, which states in
its entirety:
"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office
or public trust, in this State, nor shall
anyone be excluded from holding
office on account of his religious sentiments, provided the acknowledge the
existence of a supreme being."
Texas courts are deprived of jurisdiction to act in any manner which
would delete or limit this section of
the Texas Constitution as Article 1,
Section 4 is a part of the Texas Bill
of Rights and Article 1, Section 29
of the Texas Constitution mandates:
"To guard against transgression of
the high powers herein delegated, we
declare that everything in the 'Bill of
Rights' [all of Article 1, Texas Constitution] is excepted out of the general
powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate. . . . .and all
law contrary thereto shall be void."
Appellant Madalyn Murray O'Hair
is an Atheist and public figure well
known for her Atheism in the United
States. The Society of Separationists,
Inc., is a society, the membership of
which is composed exclusively of
Atheists. Appellants are defendants.
in four civil actions pending in state

Page 14

May, 1979


district courts of Travis County, Texas. After filing of this action on October 20, 1978, civil judgments have
been entered in two of the harrassment civil actions against Appellants
for the sum of $95,000, this being an
instance of what can occur.
Appellant O'Hair has continually
been threatened with "Christian juries" and in the case of Strobel, the
same awarded double the amount
sought in the complaint. In another
of the civil actions, the court is, at
this date after trial, considering entry of a further judgment against Appellant O'Hair in the amount of
$4300. The fourth case is not set for
trial at this time, but fhe Plaintiff has
brought suit against Appellant O'Hair
requesting $5,000,000 damages on the
basis that Appellant O'Hair committed
a tort in destroying his belief in god.
In the criminal action against Appellant O'Hair, in the County Court
at Law, No.1, of Travis County, the
complaint alleges that Appellant 0'Hair disrupted a meeting of the Austin
City Council on 2 November 1977, in
protesting the unconstitutionality
an invocation prayer. This criminal action was brought in retaliation against
Appellant O'Hair's affirmative action
against unconstitutional
praying in
government activities, especially the
City Council of Austin. Appellant
O'Hair subsequently
filed the case
of O'Hair v. Cooke, Cause No. A-77CA-236, in the United States District
Court for the Western District of
Texas, Austin Division, alleging that
the invocation of prayers at the Austin City Council meetings is unconstitutional.
In short, Appellant O'Hair is being
harrassed with a criminal charge, and



Appellants o 'Hair and Society of
Separationists, Inc., are being harrassed with four civil lawsuits in Texas
courts, from which all Atheists are
excluded from judgeship or jury service. The damages thus far are $95,000
(not including costs) in civil judgments
and the threat of fine and/or imprisonment of Appellant O'Hair in a criminal
proceedure which is unconstitutional
on its face.
All these actions are directed at Appellants because of their Atheism and
their attempts to assert their rights to
the free exercise of the same under the
guarantees of the Federal Constitution
and under the Civil Rights Act, 42
The brief is 50 pages of argument
with nine references to the constitutions of three states (Maryland, North
Carolina, and Texas), eight to "the
U.S. Constitution, six to U.S. statutes,
six to Texas statutes, 134 to other
cases, and twelve to state attorneys
general opinions or law treatises.
After a long, extensive, and detailed legal argument, the Athiest
Center noted:
In Plaintiff-Appellants' experience
in 14 years of attempting to recruit
Atheists and members to the Society
of Separationists, Inc., especially in
Texas, the existence of the unconstitutional provisions have caused and are
causing them much difficulty in that
(1) the provisions operate as a policy
statement of the State's hostility to
Atheists, and (2) enforcement of the
provisions by local officials continues
to be real and immediate, in two members of the executive staff of the
Society of Separationists, Inc., have
been called to jury duty and rejected
because of their Atheism, and Mrs.
O'Hair has, herself, been twice called,
on both occasions being held up to
public scorn and ridicule as well as
being denied the opportunity to do
her citizen jury service.
In addition, the Society of Separationists, Inc., and Mrs. O'Hair have
been subjected to and are now involved in simple harrassment suits calculated to cause immediate and irreparable damage to both. The hostility of a "Christian jury" was particularly evidenced in Strobel v.
o 'Hair, supra, when the jury brought
in an award of double what was
asked for alleged and actual punitive
damages, i.e., $80,000, and the court
was (reluctantly) required to reduce
the award to the $20,000 alleged
actual and $20,000 punitive damages
which had been pled in the original
complaint. The case is now in the
Texas Court of Appeals on approxi-

mately 123 error citations. The costs
of answering these frivolous (harrassment) suits is enormous with much
injury to Plaintiff-Appellants before
they can be vindicated. Yet, the
Texas legal and court system is set
up as a theocracy and they have no
adequate remedy at law to defend
themselves, or to actually vindicate
In the case at bar, to challenge
the unconstitutional
provisions of
the Texas State Constitution,
Plaintiff-Appellants need only show


Society cannot trust
the conscience
of a majority
to keep its religious zeal
within the limits
that a free society
can tolerate.

(1) that they have an adverse interest, (2) that the interest is personal,
and (3) that the interest is more than
negligible, i.e., not frivolous or insubstantial, especially when they plead,
as here, that an establishment of
religion by the State of Texas is involved, threatening the free exercise
of their Atheism.
complaint reveals that they meet these standards.
The allegation of facts are sufficient
(1) to show deprivation of a right of
free exercise of Atheism, (2) to show
an establishment not alone of religion
but of a theocracywhere
none but
persons who believe ..~!l sup~eme bemg may hold "office or public trust"
in the State of Texas, thus (3) depriving Plaintiff-Appellants of a Republican form of government, (4) to
show a deprivation of constitutional

May, 1979

Austin, Texas


rights guaranteed to be protected by
the states through the Fourteenth
Amendment, and (5) to also state a
cause of action under the Civil Rights
Act, since the abridgement of these
rights is affected under color of a
state constitution.
As noted by Mr. Justice Jackson:
"The' First Amendment grew out of
an experience which taught that
society cannot trust the conscience
of a majority to keep its religious
zeal within the limits that a free
society can tolerate."
Respectfully, the Appellate Court
should grant the injunctive relief
sought, render a decision that the
Texas Constitutional
provisions are
and grant prospective relief for damages against both
state and county and the employees
of the same.
The Atheist Center then, out of
the facts and arguments, came to the
The Texas Constitution, in Article
1, Section 4 is unconstitutional
excluding all Atheists from all state
offices or public trusts. Texas courts
are deprived of jurisdiction to declare that provision unconstitutional (Article 1, Section 29).
This case involves First Amendment
rights made applicable to states under
the Fourteenth
Federal Courts have jurisdiction of the
state defendants, notwithstanding the
immunity given in other types of
cases under the Eleventh Amendment.
Further, the immunity of state and
county defendants does not apply
where the Appellant has requested
injunctive and declaratory relief.
The immunity of state defendants
is applied only in cases involving
retroactive damages under the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, not for prospective damages under that act.
County defendants have no immunity
at all in excess of that afforded state
and legislative acts of
the county commissioners, knowingly
committed in violation of the U.S.
Constitution, are acts for which no
immunity attaches under the Civil
Rights Act aside from damage liability. County commissioners, judges
and county attorneys who act in
violation of constitutional rights are
completely subject to federal actions
for declaratory and injunctive relief.
The U.S. District Court was in
error in dismissing the complaint
without considering the various types
of relief requested in the complaint
and the constitutional basis for the
requested relief in' the Complaint.

Page 15

Atheists Combat Creche
After enjoying a "victory" over the removal of the nativity
scene from the capitol building in Austing, Texas, the Atheist
Center was as hurt as all of you were when the religionists
brought pressure enough to keep JC in the rotunda of the
So, back to the courts it went, and the brief on the case of
O'Hair v. Clements was filed 18 May 1979 in the United States
District Court, Western Division of Texas.
Since the brief is a good review of cases and can give you a
reference for your arguments in your town concerned with removal of nativity scenes, the entire brief is presented to you.
To the Honorable Judge of the said Court:
During the TET offensive, in 1968, in the war in Vietnam,
General Westmoreland, of the United States Armed Forces,
after total destruction of a Buddhist village and the elimination of its civilian population, explained, "We had to destroy
it, in order to save it." .
In the instant case, the Defendants would discredit Jesus
Christ, his alleged miraculous birth and the core theological
thesis of the Christian religion ("he came that we may be
saved") in order to retain the imagery of Christianity in the
very halls of a legislative body, committed by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States to the
processes of secular government. It is a bizarre semantic game
plan which descredits both the religion and the government
which uses the hypothesis.
If the creche is totally insignificant to Christianity, equivalent only to a secular holiday decoration, the question arises:
why display it anywhere? Its use can then be foregone as
easily as the use of a Santa figurine without trodding the
rights of any Christian. If the creche is totally insignificant
and only a tinsel decoration of a tree; why is the great State
of Texas involved in an impermissible excessive entanglement
with religion, and the defense of its use (in this suit which is
costing the state many thousands of dollars)? Why "save" the
creche" in the display?
The reason is, of course, apparent. At any cost, even that
of abandoning a founding principle of our nation (separation
of state and church), the god idea is to be preserved, serving
as it does, so well, its twin masters, state and church. The
Constitution of New Hampshire puts it succinctly:
"Morality and piety, rightly grounded on evangelical
principles, will give the best and greatest security to government, and will lay, in the hearts of men, the strongest obligations to due subjection."
The Plaintiffs, as American Atheists, are, however, uninterested in "due subjection." Hence, the problem of an "unpopular suit" is presented to a court indisposed to consider the
same and actively seeking "a way out."
The court may take judicial notice that the Christian
churches of Austin, Texas, feature the 'creche scene all over
the city during the "Christmas" season (note that the word
includes the proper name, Christ) and that the creche is, at
that time convincingly associated in the public mind, with the
birth of Christ, upon whose life, as the son of God, is the

Page 16

May. 1979

Christian religion built.
Indeed, the creche, or manger scene, has been publically
and notoriously used as a religious depiction for over 1600
years (Christianity was established in the year 325 AD at the
Council of Nicea, called by the Emperor Constantine) and
has had no other purpose in Christian religious history, or the
history of. the Western world than to depict that interference
of god into human history, by his agent impregnating a mortal
woman in order to introduce his son on earth in flesh form.
This is a claim of Christianity which allegedly sets it apart
from all other religions, and - even as Atheists ,- the Plaintiffs are embarrassed by the state claims, arid the testimony
of Mr. Foerster that this symbol is so unimportant that it
should be given no consideration at all. Au contraire, men
have lived and died for this symbol.
This is a case where, testimony and depositions indicate
that the site of the display is in the rotunda of the capitol
building of the State of Texas, the very heart of the state
government, where all executive and legislative processes and
offices are located. The creche must be passed by anyone
entering or leaving the building by the front door.
A system of administrative proceedure is set up by the Texas State Board of Control, Executive Administration Division,
under the authority of Section 11 of Articles 678(e) .and
665, v.c.s. Under rule .021 the Chief Security Officer is empowered to authorize the use of the capitol rotunda (and
grounds) for a "public purpose" only upon request, and if
available. A "Public Purpose" is defined as having "for its
objective the promotion of the public health, safety, morals,
general welfare, security, prosperity, and contentment
all the inhabitants or residents within the State ... " Further,
"the chief test of what constitutes a public purpose is that
the public generally must have a direct interest in the purpose,
and the community at large is to be benefitted."
The regulations in .021{b) (1) specify that notice of intent
must be received the day preceding the intended use, (2)
that the displays may not exceed three days, and that extensions of I-day duration may be granted and that only two
such extensions may be granted, and, (3) that no more than
one display at a time shall be permitted in the rotunda, (4)
that displays must be maintained by the owner at no expense
to the Board of Control, (5) no equipment will be furnished
except at the request of a State agency, the Governor, the
Lieutenant Governor, or Member of the Legislature, and (6)
intended use may not interfere with a legislative session or
regular use of the Capitol building.
The regular seasonal display continues for more than three

American Atheist

days, necessitating (1) an initial request, and (2) subsequent
daily requests. The above rules are violated in that the state
provides storage, the state employees are paid by the state
while they are setting up the display, the governor himself
issues a caroling notice which is in excess of the 45 minute
restriction, the caroling disrupts the regular routines of the
building, including the legislative sessions when those bodies
are in session, those persons who do not attend the caroling
are required to remain at their jobs, thus preferring one group
of employees over' another, the state supplies electricity, clean
up, construction, maintenance, disassembly time is paid when
employees use work hours for the same, debris collection is
cleaned by the state, and there is restoration of the area after,
as well as preparation of the area before, the event by the
The focus of the display is caroling consisting of Christian
songs, ending with "Holy Night, Silent Night." The Governor's
proclamation on December 12, 1978, exhorts the state employees to the "true spirit of Christmas"; i.e., the Christian
The United States Supreme Court has NOT considered the
question of religious symbols and all citations are to lower
court decisions. This case, however, will be taken to the United States Supreme Court if necessary, so that a test case may
be posed to that body. Some basic principles have been laid
down by the United States Supreme Court, being set forth in
Everson v. Board of Education, 336 US 1, McCollum v. Board
of Education, 303 US 203, and Zorach v. Clauson, 343 US
306. The District Court cited Zorach, but we call attention
to the majority decision at p. 312:
"And, so far as interference with the 'free exercise' of
religion and an 'establishment' of religion are concerned,
the separation must be complete and unequivocal. The
First Amendment within the scope of its coverage permits no exception; the prohibition is absolute."
And at p. 315:
"We follow the McCollum case."
The latter is particularly important since so many commenIn this case, there were three dissents: Justice Black, noting:
"Our insistence on 'a wall between Church and State which
must be kept high and impregnable' has seemed to some a
correct exposition of the philosophy and true interpretation of the language of the First Amendment to which we
should strictly adhere." at p. 317.
"In considering whether a state has entered this forbidden
field the question is not whether it has entered too far
but whether it has entered at all." at p. 318.
"Now as then (when the constitution was written) it is
only wholly isolating the state from the religious sphere
and compelling it to be completely neutral, that the freedom of each and every denomination and of all nonbelievers can be maintained." at p. 319.
"The First Amendment has lost much if the religious
follower and the Atheist are no longer to be judicially
regarded as entitled to equal justice under law." at p.
Justice Frankfurter also dissented:
"The result in the McCollum case 33 US 293, was based
on the principles that received unanimous acceptance by
this Court, barring only a single vote. I agree with Justice
Black that those principles are disregarded in reaching
the result in this case."
Justice Jackson also dissented:
"The day that this country ceases to be free for irreli-

Austin, Texas

gion it will cease to be free for religion ..... "
"We .start down a rough road
with compulsory godliness.'"
"Today's judgment will be more interesting to students
of psychology and of the judicial processes than to students of constitutional law ."
Of course, the dissent was so bitter in this 6 - 3 case that
released time was not attempted in other states, just as the
reaction of Everson caused other states not to attempt to try
busing to parochial schools. The cases can not be read outside
of the impact which they had on life in the United States. It
is an ill-advised, use of Zorach which has been so frequently
repudiated since.
Following the great chain of religious cases, Engel v. Vitale,
370 US 421, held that the Establishment Clause is violated
by the enactment of a law (in this case the promulgation of
an administrative decision) which established religion whether
those law (or orders) operated directly to coerce nonobserving
individuals or not. The redefined standards emanating from
Murray v. Curlett, 364 US 203, emphasized that purpose must
be considered, that the state is committed to neutrality and
that it is no defense to plead minor encroachments. This, and
the School Dist. of Abington Tuip. v. Schempp, 83 S.Ct. 1550,
were invoked in Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 US 97, where
there was a clear purpose to advance religion.
These broad principles remain as guidelines, supplemented
in Walz v. Tax Comr., 397 US 664, and Committee for Public
Education and Religious Liberty v. Nyquist, 413 US 756.
However, the problem of erection, maintenance and display
of religious symbols remains in cases in some lower state
courts and in one district court. The cases before the landmark
1963 Murray and Schempp cases have been variable with some
permissiveness of Christian saturation or intrusion into public
arenas, but the fact situations have caused a wide range of
In the most widely publicized case, Allen v. Hickel, (App,
DC) 424 F2d 944, the court did not reach the ultimate question of the creche scene. The case was remanded to build a
better record, while the court held that dismissal and summary
judgment were improper.
In that. case, much was involved; reindeer, a Yule log, a
tree which represented the United States and 57 other decorated trees representing the fifty states, and the seven territories of our nation, public addresses, instrumental presentations, choirs, singing groups, a peace theme, and many
secular activities. Since the ACLU had been involved, the case
caused the participants to put up disclaimer plaques that
the government was not a sponsor of the creche scene. However, the case was appealed again, and that decision, Allen v.
Morton, 495 F2d 65, will be discussed later.
In Lowe v. City of Eugene, 463 F2d 360, it was held that
the city could not issue a building permit for the erection of
a cross on city property, nor turn over to private parties city
maintained public land on which the cross was erected. The
, display connotated government sponsorship and was an official endorsement of the general religious beliefs which underlay that symbol (the cross), with the consequent result
that persons who did not share those beliefs felt that their
own beliefs were stigmatized or officially deemed less worthy
than those awarded the appearance of the city's endorsement.
The court concluded that the government has no business
placing its power, prestige, or property at the disposal of
private persons .or groups either to aid or oppose any religion,
and the majority, no matter how pure its intentions, has no
right to exert its political muscle to gain a preferred place
for its testimony to its religious beliefs. .
The case of Fox v. City of Los Angeles, 587 P.2d 663, was
decided in 1978, and in this Los Angeles was enjoined from

May, 1979

Page 17

displaying a lighted, single-barred cross on the city hall, which
had been displayed each year for over 30 years. It was ordered
to be neutral as a means of honoring the beliefs of the silent
as well as the vocal majority .
. Since this court and the State make much of the fact that
Christmas is a "secular" holiday, it is important to note that
in this case, the court said:
" .... while citizens of other religions or no religion may
celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday, they do not customarily, if at all, use the symbol of the cross in such
celebrations. "
giving the lie to the representation that a creche could be
secular or that it would be used in secular holiday festivities
by persons who were of other than Christian, or had no religious affiliation. It was particularly noted that there were
no Coptic crosses, no Buddhist wheel, no Shinto Torii, no
Confucian yang-yin, no Jain swastica, no Zoroastrian vase of
fire, and no Unitarian flaming chalice.
Citing Allen v. Hickel, supra, at p. 138, it reaffirmed:
"The Government may depict objects with spiritual content,
but it may not promote or give its stamp of approval to such
spiritual content." Creches differ from Santa Claus just as
Easter crosses differ from Easter bunnies. And, citing Abington School Dist. v. Schempp, supra: "Governments must
commit themselves to a 'position of neutrality' whenever
'the relationship between man and religion' is affected."
Some general language in the case is so significant that it
must be cited at length.
"Moreover, the cross was lit on the face of the city
building which indicated government's sponsorship of
the display in the clearest of terms.
"When a city so openly promotes the religious meaning of one religion's holidays, the benefit reaped by that
religion and the disadvantage suffered by other religions is
obvious. Those persons who do not share those holidays
are relegated to the status of outsiders by their own government; those persons who do observe these holidays
can take pleasure in seeing the symbol of their belief
given official sanction and special status.
"The simple but crucial fact at issue is that the city
government of Los Angeles has identified itself with the
central symbol of one religion. As judges, it is our unmistakable constitutional duty to protect those of other faiths
or no faith from the coercion toward conformity that attaches to every official endorsement of any religion, particularly the majority religion. Our ancestors would ask
nothing less of us. Having experienced religious intolerance themselves, they understood that faith flourishes more
freely in a sanctuary protected from the dictates of the
majority (emphasis added).
"The court's judgment cannot be affected by appellant's suggestion that the preferential effect of the city's
display of the cross is trivial. ....
" citing from Engel v.
Vitale, supra, quoting Madison, and his Memorial and
Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments: "It is proper
to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. Who
does not see that the same authority which can establish
Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians,
in exclusion of all other Sects?"
"The city argues that no preference was given to any
religion, since the purpose of displaying the cross was the
wholly secular one of promoting 'peace and good fellowship toward all mankind.' Whatever the city's subjective
purpose, an impermissible religious preference has objectively resulted. Had the city delivered its message by
simply lighting the words 'Peace On Earth' on city hall,
no constitutional questions would have been raised. In-

Page 18

May, 1979

stead, the city chose to deliver its 'secular' message
through a religious vehicle. The medium was the message.
Once the cross blazed from the top stories of City Hall,
some individuals obtained the satisfaction of knowing their
faith .was officially approved. Others had to pursue their
faith knowing that beliefs they did not share had received
official blessing.
"The city emphasizes that the cross was displayed on
Christmas for 30 years prior to 1975 without complaint.
However, far from indicating acceptance, such silence may
bespeak only the hesitancy of religious minorities to come
forward to complain about the recognition given to the
majority religion .....
The guarantees of this State's constitution exist to protect the lone dissenter, just as they exist
to protect the religious freedom of the majority."
We turn now to Allen v. Morton, 495 F2d 65, which the
District Court here has noted as "controlling" in the case at
issue. The finding on that case in 1973 was that the government had been excessively entangled with religion in supporting the Christmas Pageant of Peace and gave the committee
three options in respect to the Pageant: (1) to discontinue the
creche, and no further legal questions would arise, (2) to terminate all government sponsorship or connection with the
pageant and design appropriate plaques of disavowal of government sponsorship to be placed for maximum exposure and
readability, or (3) promulgate new and amended regulations
grounded in neutral principles if the government desired to
maintain a connection with the pageant.
The government withdrew. The Pageant committee incurred a deficit of over $8,000 to maintain the creche and
in 1977 discontinued it because of lack of participation by
churches, citizens, and others. The creche is no longer displayed.
Allen v. Hickel had given the Plaintiffs standing to sue
since they, as citizens-plaintiffs, had a beneficial right to have
maintained for public purposes a parkland and when such
land is used toward the establishment of religion, this is a
sufficient personal involvement as to provide standing to
challenge such use.
As noted in the Allen v. Morton case, supra, as long as the
government officials participated in the planning and sponsorship of the event, they could not escape religious entanglement, and so in this case. The government is entangled in
that this is in the Cupola of the state capitol building itself,
not in a park across from it, the group seeking a display
needed to make application for several days in a row, storage
was provided, the display was put up by employees on state
paid time, an announcement by the governor was required
to release some employees from work, special consideration
was given so that the rules of the State Board of Control were
arbitrarily breached.
As set up in Walz v. Tax Commission, 397 US 664, an entanglement test must be used. In that case, the Chief Justice
began his opinion declaring " ..... for the men who wrote the
Religion Clauses of the First Amendment the 'establishment'
of religion connoted (1) sponsorship, (2) financial support
and (3) active involvement of the sovereign in religious activity." The case at hand supplies all three. The State of Texas
pays employees' salaries while they set up the display, the
State stores, prepares, constructs and dismantles the display
by this payment. It provides electricity, the main event is
coordinated by the governor, and the continuing and regular
display of the creche for the last 17 years indicates government sponsorship.
The above three tests are the evils to be. guarded against
as given in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 US 602. The principle
of entanglement was further defined in Committee for Public
Education and Religious Liberty v. Nyquist, supra, and in

American Atheist

that case, Justice Powell's majority opimon make it clear
that it was sufficient if it was an "effect"; it was not necessary that this be the "principal or primary effect" 413 US
783 n. 39. That is, any effect of aid which would advance the
religious mission of a particular religion was impermissible.
The effect can not be to aid one religion more than another
or to aid religions as contra non-religion.
The now well defined three-part test has emerged from
McGowan v. Maryland, 366 US 420, 81 S.Ct. 1101, 6 L.Ed2d
393 (1961), from School District of Abington Township v.
Schempp, supra, (1963), Epperson v. Arkansas, supra, (1968)
and Walz v. Tax Commission, supra, (1970), as amplified in
Lemon v. Kurtzman, supra, (1971) and Tilton v. Richardson
403 US 672, 91 S.Ct. 2091, 29 L.Ed2d 790 (1972).These
are that a law in question must:
(1) reflect a clearly secular legislative purpose,
(2) must have a primary effect that neither advances nor
inhibits religion,
(3) must avoid excessive government entanglement with
1. Purpose
In this case, as in Allen, we do not follow the familiar
analysis of the intent of the legislature, but must discern the
purpose of the officials of the State of Texas. Here, such
purpose is hidden in the history of the display and we know
only that in the very late 1950's or the beginning of the
1960's the creche began to be displayed. The "secular" purpose of Christmas appears to be a post hoc rationalization
of the State after the fact of the filing of this present action.
Until that time the activities were not, apparently, characterized as such.
2. Primary Effect
The State and the District Court calls upon the case of
Hunter v. McNair, to supply a standard for the primary effect test and finds two: (1) That in flowing to an institution
in which religion is so pervasive that a substantial portion of
its functions are subsumed in the religion mission or (2)
when it funds a specifically religious activity in an otherwise
substantial secular setting.
The McNair test is inappropriate here. That involved
South Carolina's creation of an authority for a proposed issuance of revenue bonds, the purpose of which was to assist
higher education institutions to finance projects. The case
scrutinized the potential for entanglement likely to arise out
of the use of such funds and the court was unable to conclude
that there was a "likelihood" that the "Authority could become involved."
In this case one need not estimate future involvement.
We deal with a record that shows actual involvement, even
if we know not the "why's and wherefore's" thereof.
Government Entanglement
We already see in this case the result of the application of
the McNair test even though Plaintiffs hold that it is inapplicable, for that test is that "aid will normally be thought to
have a primary effect of advancing religion (2) when it funds
a specifically religious activity in an otherwise substantially
secular setting." The District Court has held that the creche
is religiously significant at the same time it finds the Christmas
season, and hence its celebration, to be secular. The issue of
proof is in this case and whether the Christmas celebration was
secular, and whether the creche was therefore in a secular
setting does not diminish the religious impact of the creche.
On this important point, the government cannot sustain its
burden of proof by mere assertion.
The court also cites Lemon v. Kurtzman, supra, for another test to be considered for the government entanglement

or "effect" test. Basically this is (1) that the enactment might
bring the need for comprehensive continuing state surveillance
(for instance when funding is given) or that (2) the government action would result in intensified fragmentation and
divisiveness of religious lines. In this case, already, a representative of the Jewish community, negotiated with the
Board of Control for over seven months in order to perform
a Hanukkah celebration in the rotunda.
This situation has come up in the case of Allen v. Morton,
supra, when in 1967 a Jewish citizen proposed that there be
displayed on the White House lawn a lighted Menorah - the
article that holds the candles in the festival of lights holiday
of Chanukah. Secretary Udahl responded as follows:
"The Menorah has religious significance ....
Display of
a lighted Menorah on the White House grounds could be
considered by some as a form of secularization of this
religious symbol which could reasonably and properly
be criticized. In ADDITION, there is the very serious
question under the constitutional
provision regarding
Federal involvement with a specific religious activity."
Yet, of course, that is exactly what happened in the instant case when a Menorah was brought to the capital and
the Chanukah services were held. What is next? A Buddhist
service? An Atheist festival in observance of the Winter Soltice?
In the instant case the government argues that "there were
many other decorations" but shows none by evidence. It argues that the "variety" of inter-denominational and non-religious expressions were to accommodate the celebratory nature
of the December holiday. But, none were there.
Sharon Weintraub observed a Hanukkah celebration on
December 24, 1978, at 5:30 p.m. with a Menorah. Other
than this, the governor and all employees excused gathered on
December 19, 1978, at 4:15 p.m. to attend a Christmas
Carol Hour. But the creche was in contradiction to the Chanukah service and in conjunction with the Christian caroling.
Neither religious exercises should have been permitted. They
were both outside of the confines of the rules promulgated
by the Texas State Board of Control.
The principle of neutrality is here violated. That principle
was to avoid the danger of aiding one religion more than
another, or the religious more than the secular. The government here gives its endorsement to a particular brand of
religion: Christianity, or at the most Judaic-Christianity, while
ignoring the Muslim, the Buddhist, the Jaininist, the Shinto,
the Confucian, the Zoroastrian, and the Unitarian faith, to
say nothing of the Atheist, the Agnostic, the Humanist, the
Secularist, the Freethinker., and the Rationalist.
As in Allen, supra, the court should hold that
(1) the creche is a religious symbol,
(2) that the primary effect of its use is to advance religion,
_ (3) that government sponsorship of the same must be withdrawn to avoid excessive entanglement.
The proposed rule of the Texas Board of Control published
in the Texas Register of November 14, 1978, would prevent
use of the capitol and grounds for celebration of a "religious
or pagan event" or "gathering concerning a subject or purpose
that is essentially religious or pagan." The rule is sound and in
accord with the law as currently stated in Fox v. Los Angeles,
supra, and Allen v. Morton, supra, cases on this issue decided
before the school prayer case, School District of Abington
Twp v. Schempp, supra, largely ignored the constitutional
issues present.
The criterion were tightened after that case, and now courts
in cases such as Fox v. Los Angeles, supra, and Lowe v. City of

May, 1979

Austin, Texas


Page 19


Eugene, supra, are responding to the inevitable social results
of increased religious and non-religious diversity in society
(e.g., see Yogi v. Malnak, 592 F2nd 197, where the religiosity
of transcendental meditation was thoroughly examined and
rejected as failing to pass the constitutional muster.)
The Texas Constitution in Article 1, Section 6, accords
with the U.S. Constitutional proscription on governmental
establishment of religion: "No man shall be compelled to
attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to main-

tain any ministry against his consent .... " The display of
a creche and Menorah in the Texas Capital must inevitably
lead to other unconstitutional displays there in the form of
Hare Krishna chants, Buddha's Birthday (Tet) meditations,
Ramadan (Islam) fasting ceremonies, and others. The creche
and Menorah should. be enjoined and the sound rule proposed earlier by the Board of Control - but later withdrawn is the constitutional approach.

Atheists challenge
City Counci I prayer
It's Wednesday, Feb. 21, 1979
15ft!Year-No. 52

TOrrance, California

February 1979 - American
Atheists strike another blow in
the ever ongoing battle to restore complete
and absolute
separation of state and chruch
in the California city of Torrance.
It was the first time anyone
had called upon the leverage of
George Washington and Abraham
Lincoln to convince the city
council to abandon the prayer at
the beginning of each council
But that
is exactly
American Atheists Member Neil
Reinhardt and several co-members did.
Reinhardt did not beat about
the bush as he told the politicians: "A city council chamber
isn't a church, and a government
meeting is not a religious service.
City council meetings are government sessions held in a city

Page 20



owned buildinq paid for by the
"There is no such thing as a
prayer, and
the fact that it is brief makes no
difference. The invocation at the
beginning of city council meetings is a direct violation of the
1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of
told the
that if they did not
drop the prayer, he would file
a suit to make them stop it.
'called' upon the
words of George Washington:
"The government of the United States is in no sense founded
upon the Christian religion. The
United States is not a Christian
nation any more than it is a
Jewish or a Mohammedan nation."
he quoted

May, 1979

"My earlier views of the unsoundness
scheme of salvation and the
of the Scriptures have become clearer and
stronqer with advancing years,
and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them."
The city
were a bit shocked to learn
that Lincoln's opinions on the
Bible and Christianity
were so
Later, the bold and: brassy
American Atheists presented the
bumper sticker which said: TAX
The mayor referred the matter
to the city attorney, who said
he would report back to the
council on the matter in about
30 days.
After the meeting, the city
lamely tried
to justify
the prayers by saying, "The city
clerk does not get paid to read
the invocation. The only thing
the city pays for are the lights."
She was evidently
that the 1st Amendment forbids
establishing religion even if religion is willing to let itself be
establ ished for free.

American Atheist

The director of the Missouri Chapter of American Atheists is a sky diver. It has been the hobby of Richard Richardson for many years; he is already a grandfather.
As these
people come out of the airplane and hurtle through space,
they 'style' which is to say that they place their bodies in
various positions as they fall through the sky waiting to pull
the ripcord on their parachutes so that they may open. Of
course, sometimes the parachutes do not open ... and the inevitable tragedy occurs. We asked Rich what he would ever do
if he pulled on that cord and his parachute did not open.
"Hell, guys," he replied, "I would style all the way to the
bottom. I would call that going out with class."
Whenever the American Atheist Center gets into a tough
bind, we all just chuckle and say that we too will 'style' all the
way down. We have been, recently, in such a tough bind and
faced with the Ninth Annual National Convention,
we thought
we would style it all the way.
That convention,
which may be the last sponsored by
the national offices of American Atheists, was so nearly perfect that everyone went away from it in a glow. The hotel was
beautifully appointed.
Every function was well attended. Each
meeting place was just the proper size, orderly and bright.
Even the microphone
and projector worked. The speakers
were outstanding.
Every aspect of the convention came off on
time, just as planned--and the hotel was swarming with Atheists. All our preplanning clicked. Even when it came tothe
Atheist wedding, the bride turned out glowing, which enhanced her natural beauty, and George Richard Bozarth
looked even better in his tuxedo than he had ever looked in
his Marine dress blues.
The guests were not alone from all over the United States,
but Canada, Mexico and France were represented with members and two major speakers came in from India and England.
Bill Baird actually made it and brought with him a film clip

Dinner in the Hugo's Market



which showed an abortion. He had been threatened
with imprisonment
if he dared to show it and we thought it would be
in the interests of freedom of speech--for which
so many Atheists have fought for so long--if we all went to jail
as he unveiled it. That too came off without a hitch and Bill got
a standing ovation, which was the first· one he ever got in his
life! He came to us later and said that he was floored. He is
so used to hostile audiences, interruptions,
hate responses that
he was not quite certain what to do with such a round of applause. He left with an awareness that he does have friends
and the fight might not be as uphill as he thought it would be.

Bill Baird shows lethal abortion devices
You should all watch the newspapers for information
concerned with Bill's latest case, to be announced
about 15th
May. The case, to permit teen-agers to obtain abortions without the approval of both of thei r parents, was he-ard by the
United States Supreme Court in February, 1979 and the decision is expected momentarily.
Everyone turned out to hear our guest from England,
Nicholas Walter, who had a delightfully dry sense of humor as
he presented the history and current situation of Engl ish
Atheists. Edamaruku had been rehearsing his speech in English
for days beforehand
and the exercise turned out to be fruitful.
We furnished each conventioneer
with a copy of the speech
and Edamaruku was concise, with that British accent that all
Indians have. Everyone understood.
A question and answer
period was had with his son, Sanal, assisting in the two-way
The entire speech is reproduced
in this AmeriCM Atheist Magazine and you will enjoy it.
This year, we did not lose any money on the convention.
The theme of it was "On the line, in '79" and we laid it on the
line. Of our thirty-three
chapters, twenty chapter directors
were there. We had several lengthy chapter director meetings.
Our Board of Directors met, also, as is their constitutional
duty and we again featured a "membership
only" business
meeting, which lasted all Sunday morning. Financial statements and the secretary's
report are always open aspects of
such meetings and we, again, laid it on the line ..
Every single person was suddenly concerned,
open, eager to help, suggestful and determined
that the or-

May, 1979


Page 21

may continua-but now everyone in the host state will be helping to do the work.
For years we have had to struggle to find someone doing
enough that they could obtain the coveted American Atheist
of the Year Award. This time, our track record for 1978 was
so good that we gave a total of thirteen awards. Harold Church
received his for outstanding
saturation of Tennessee with Atheist media coverage; Arnold Via received the same kind of instate award for what he has done in Virginia. (Arnold arrived
in battle fatigues, covered with Atheist buttons. He had been
creating a sensation cross-country
as he drove to the Convention!)
Winn Pegelow, Chapter Director for Dallas, a warm and
host for the convention
in his city, won a state
citation for his challenging of a religious requirement
in the
of a new Superintendent
of the Dallas Independent School Board. Winn, who is suffering through Ph.D. requirements has yielded the direction of the Dallas Chapter to
Bruce Hunter until he can obtain that coveted Ph.D. degree,
when he will be back with us in a leadership position again.
Bruce Hunter, himself, won a state award for putting his head
on the chopping block in a long and bitter battle with the Dallas School Board-one which lost him his job. (See the cover
story in th is issue for greater detai I.)
Michigan was a run-away for the other three state awards

Nicholas Walter on Atheism in England


ganization was not alone going to survive during the hard times
of inflation and uncertain economics of our nation, but that
we were going to grow, consolidate,
reach out and incorporate
within ourselves and the organization
in such a way that American Atheists would represent a hard-core of reason against a
stubborn world of unreason. They wanted nothing spectacular.
They all wanted and demonstrated
that there would be inchby-inch growth if that was what was needed, but that it would
be solid, well based, continuing and determined.
There was not one argument, not one disagreement,
even a catastrophe.
(Hey! Remember Chicago, where the roof
caved in and hospitalized Abe Cook!) Everyone came out of
those meetings with the idea of concerted effort, shoulder to
the wheel and an "it can be done" attitude.
For the last three years Robin Eileen Murray-O'Hair
managed the book sales at the conventions
and what financial
success we had at the conventions was due, in large part, to
book sales making up (or almost making up) the deficit spending occasioned by the conventions.
Many of you met Robin at
the Chicago Convention in 1977, at the San Francisco Convention in 1978 and now at the Dallas Convention in 1979. Once
again this year, Robin sold over $4000. worth of books at the
We did not vote as to where future conventions
would be
held for it was by unstated consent that the chapter directors
and members there agreed that the chapters in each state must
sponsor and administrate
a convention each year.
The Michigan Chapter had volunteered
at the San Francisco Convention in 1978 to do just that for the 1980 Convention and that will be held in Detroit, Michigan on April
14,15 and 16 of 1980, the national economy permitting. The
new Utah Chapter, located in Salt Lake City, wants to try it
for 1981 and at the rate they are going, that chapter is set to
catch up to Detroit, instantaneously.
The national office
has too many burdens and the conventions will no longer be a
part of that work load. With the individual chapters pitching in
to do the work and take over in that area, the conventions

Page 22

May, 1979


Awards Ceremony



with Henry Schmuck receiving recognition as an outstanding
member of his (or any other!) chapter and John Cruz taking
the Most Outstanding
Chapter Director Award for the second
time. Gerald Tholen's award was for his meritorious service as
the Chapter Coordinator
and as Ombudsman
of the American
Atheist Center. His is a thankless job as he tries to coordinate
all exchange information
for all of the chapters as well as handle the small trickle of complaints we receive.

Chapter Directors getting it on the line

we have a convention--or
even an American
the irascible Richard Scholten,
Ohio Chapter Director and even though his award this year
was for his thoughtful
monetary help to save the magazine
twice in 1978, he has also been nominated for American Ath;
eist of the Year for 1979 for the suit which he has filed in
Ohio to wrest back from the Roman Catholic Church a windfall of tax monies which came to that church through a business deal which cheats the taxpayers of Ohio.
The national office came in for several awards as Eric
McCann took home a visible sign of appreciation
for the work
he has been doing to switch the computer from tapes to disc.
Although the job is not quite finished, Eric has more than
earned that recognition.
The second national office award
went to Frank Duffy for the excellent work he had done with
the American Atheist Magazine. Frank quit the week before
the convention and we are sorry to see him go. Our best goes
with him in his new job.
. -' Because we had more than one candidate for the Atheist
of the Year Award and because the Board of Directors could
!not come down altogether on who should get what, Madalyn
exercised her prerogative as the president of the organization
to stop the buck. The problem was solved by giving a Male
Atheist of the Year Award and a Female Atheist of the Year
The first such award went to Paul Marsa for his outstanding work in New Jersey, particularly
his participation
in the suit of Marsa v. Vort,which is an effort to stop prayers
at City [Borough] Council meetings. Paul has richly deserved
this distinction and we hope that next year he gets a better
award than that--to win the case!
Naturally, the Female Atheist of the Year had to be
Patricia Voswinkel for her extraordinary,
quick win over the
How could

Atheist Magazine--without

Austin, Texas

library system of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, which
brings with it, since it was a federal court suit, the right to
have the American Atheist Magazine placed in all libraries.
The awards this year were based on accomplishments
last year, 1978. Next year, the awards will be based on activities of 1979 and already Patricia has been nominated
Atheist of the Year [1979] for her win against the great state
of North Carolina in the suit to correct that state's constitution, reported in April's Insider's Newsletter.
Because their accomplishment
was so singular and so significant, we carved out a very special award for Lloyd and Pam
Thoren, he for conceiving it and bringing it into being and she
for assisting every inch of the way in addition to being the
curator of the American Atheist Museum, founded in Petersburg, Indiana and opened on Summer Solstice, 1978. This
the first in the Western Hemisphere, is very significant in the onward realization of an Atheist world; therefore,
the Thorens received a special award as living pioneers in
thought and deed for American Atheism.
We congratulate
all of these good people and hope to see
them many times at the podium as they have repeat performances of their rich achievements,
so much needed to advance
our nation and the world into a realized Age of Reason.
A special international
award was given to Edamaruku for
his dedication to actualizing the concept of the United World
Atheist organization.
He has been faithful and stalwart in the
very long and slow processing of the initial phase of this project. His award was earned-owe are pleased to have him as a coworker.
We came back from the convention,
tuckered out, but
happy. As usual, pre-convention
publicity had been lousy and
publicity had been excellent. The former inhibits our attaining the kind of attendance
at these events that
we should have, but the latter continues a high interest in what
we are doing.


Good food, good company, good feelings
Movie Critic Elaine Stansfield socializing

May, 1979


Page 23

"How dare they do this?"
We owe a debt of gratitude to Elaine Stansfield for having recorded Bill Baird's eloquent and moving speech at the Dallas
American Atheists Convention, then providing a typed transscript to the staff of The American Atheist. Regretfully,
her recorder batteries gave out half way through the speech,
so we are unable to provide the full text.
I've been fighting the last 16 years the incredible power of
the organized religions into our private sexuality. I was arrested back in '67 on the official charge of "Crime against
Chastity," since the law in Massachusetts was that you could
not publicly exhibit birth control or abortion devices, you
could not give information, or print it. I had the penalty
of a felon: 5 years in prison, and it started because youngsters
in Massachusetts asked me to help them.
No one in the state wanted to undertake that fight. I read
the law and the 5 year prison sentence, so I had to weigh
it carefully. I certainly didn't want to sit in a cage in Boston
for 5 years. Just prior to that in '66 I was put in prison in
New Jersey for teaching birth control to poor people. I was
convicted for showing indecent articles and was sent to prison
for 20 days.
In '65 in my own state of New York I was also jailed on
a similar charge. I thought, "I can't go through all the states,"
and if only by some good fortune I could get this issue before
the Supreme Court it would wipe out every law.
I'll never forget that the judge said I was a menace to
society, that I was trying to make whores and prostitutes
out of girls. We tried as a part of my defense to point out
that I had purchased a package of foam from a local department store on which I paid three dollars plus a sales tax,
thus trying to bring the state into it, because if they charged
an illegal tax on an illegal item they were also- criminals.
So I reasoned.
I also reasoned that in the Bible I could cite Onan, who
spilled his seed on the ground, commonly referred to as
withdrawal. Now the law of Massachusetts said you could
not publish any mention of any method whatsoever, but
incredible as it may seem, the judge was not amused. He
sentenced me to prison. I forfeited my right to vote and a
lot of other things.
But finally in 1972 the Supreme Court did hear the case,
and they said something very powerful. They said if the right
to privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual (not
the right of the married, or those over 21, but the right of the
individual) to be free, and I predicted after that within one
year the right of women to get abortions would also be declared legal, which they decreed in 1973.
But what is going on today is something we've never
seen before. The viciousness of the anti-abortion forces,
chiefly led by the Roman Catholic Church, has led to such
an unbelievable climate of hatred and bigotry, which I've
never seen in all these 16 years. Some of you may recall
a couple months ago I was at a peace rally in Washington,
DC, to meet with some of the anti-abortion people to see
if we could stop this climate of hatred. I called my clinic
at 5 PM and the phone did not ring. I called Boston, and
as I was talking to them, they said, "Bill, your clinic is on
fire. "
I reached my secretary and she said a man had entered
with a gallon of gasoline and, with 50 patients and staff in
that clinic, he threw the gasoline over the walls and furniture,
then took a torch to it and everything exploded, setting fire
to himself. The man was badly burned on his arms and legs.

Page 24

May, 1979

It's tragic that that kind of hatred can destroy somebody.
The D.A. only wanted to prosecute for arson! We got the
50 people out, but we really felt we should try for attempted
murder, so after a lot of haranguing, we finally got the charge
for manslaughter, reckless endangerment, and arson. We're
already hearing his defense that embryos are talking to him
in Morse Code, and that god made him do ft.
But it's important for you to understand the hatred being
espoused. I have brought some documents I want to show you.
Here is a picture of Christ on a cross standing on the bodies of
babies, and it says, "The flag is at half mast for the murdered
unborn." This is distributed at churches and high schools all
across the U.S ..
Now, here is "Who Killed Junior?", which is a poster distributed to elementary schools, put out by "Right to Life,"
and it shows a cartoon of an embryo inside a woman's body,
with the hand of a doctor cutting off the head of the baby.
I want you to be aware of what is called propaganda warfare; I want you to understand that. the tactics used by the
Catholic Church are essentially as evil as any used in a major
Here is a quote from "Abortion Against Life," which
says, "When will we declare war against abortion? You will
be punished for your inaction." Here we have one of 12
cardinals in the U.S. telling his troops about declaring this
war, so now these people are picketing abortion clinics,
but more: they are now invading these facilities.
Some people, maybe even in this room, call them the
"Pro-Life" non-violent citizens. But envision with me, if
you will. You are a young girl about to have an abortion, on
the table, half undressed. We have a metal device inside the
uterus called a dilator, and suddenly you hear a commotion,
as these people in their "non-violent" sit-in suddenly start
to chain themselves to your operating table. Perhaps your
inclination is to jump off the table, or the doctor jumps.
The margin of error is half an inch in thewall of the uterus,
and if the doctor hits a blood vessel in the uterine wall, you're
dead right there.
Apart from the incredible insult!
And this sort of thing is occurring in clinics all across the
nation, and hardly any arrests have been made. There have
been over 25 firebombings! Suppose it were the other way
around, and I'd say to you there have been twenty-five Catholic churches firebombed. What do you think would happen?
Suppose I said 25 "Right to Life" offices were firebombed?
Well, 25 medical facilities have been firebombed, and not
one single arrest in this nation - except mine!
Shall we argue that the police are incompetent, or that
they are looking the other way? We sent out telegrams to
General Griffin Bell asking: "We have caught
the only known terrorist firebomber in the U.S. Would it not
make sense to take this man's photograph and send it to the
other clinics, and ask if they have seen him? Have they seen
him picketing? Do we have another Lee Harvey Oswald here?
We know the man is listed by the police as a drifter going
from state to state with no income. Is he acting on his own?
Is he part of a national conspiracy? Is he a hit man for the
anti-abortion people?" It seems to me the Attorney General
ought to investigate that.
Right afterwards, as a result of that appeal, people like
Rev. Abernathy, Julian Bond, and other civil rights leaders,
issued a statement which none of the press picked up. These
civil rights leaders said, "We are calling for an investigation.
How can this go on without any arrests being made except
(continued onp.29)



Jostph fdamaruku

Delivered at the American Atheists National Convention in Dallas, Texas

Dear Atheist Friends of America:
I consider this a great achievement to come here from the
other side of the globe and to see my brothers and sisters of
America who propagate Atheism in this developed nation. For
a common man in India, where the majority of people are
under poverty line, this foreign trip is an unattainable dream.
For a common Indian it is unimaginable to spend $1100.00
for an air ticket. May I express my kind regards to Mrs. O'Hair
and the American Atheists who spent this money for me and
make it possible for me to reach here. Though I am not so
aged, because of constant work without rest, and because of
the physical tortures given by the superstitious government of
my country, I was made aged. My son Sanal, who is to continue the struggle for Atheism even in my absence, is also
with me. Sanal is also a committed Atheist like myself.
What we wish is to know more and more Atheist friends,
and to know the pattern of functioning of the American Atheist Center so that with that experience and inspiration we
will be able to work more powerfully in India. We want to
make new orientations in Indian Atheism. We had to sell our
sole landed property in India for raising $1200.00 for purchasing the air ticket for Sanal's trip. But we do not mind it. For
Atheism, we dedicated everything we had, through the
years ... I don't want to trouble you by explaining all that.
I shall come to the subject.
You know that India has the largest democracy in the
world, with 650 million population. We have a constitution
based on secularism. Our first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal
Nehru was a confirmed Atheist. Dr. Ambedkar, who was one
of the chief authors of our constitution, also was an Atheist.
But it remains a tragic fact that India attained freedom in
1947 only after a religious riot. The Indian nation, with freedom, was divided into two. The Hindus and the Muslims
killed each other. In the East, West, and in the North, human
blood streamed as rivers. Gandhi, who gave leadership tothe
freedom struggle, was assassinated by a religious fanatic. Even
now Hindus and Muslims do not even take water from the.
same wells. They have separate areas in the villages.
An organization which tries to unify the divided Hindus
of India is gradually gaining more power. R.S.S., this Hindu
fanatic organization, wants India to be declared a Hindu state.
They believe in the superiority of the Aryan race. They have
the same symbol as the Nazis. They have gotten inspiration
from Hitler. The R.S.S. labors for constructing a Hindu nation with Aryan superiority. They organize in the army style.
They give army training to their members. It is very important to note here that it was one among them who assassinated Gandhi, the father of the Indian nation.
Thousands of Indian sanyasis and religious priests support this fascist organization. In a country where the literacy
level is not even 26%, this organization's base is not less than
the influence of the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages in
Italy. Many of our government authorities are merely superstitious. Our Prime Minister believes that his own urine is a
valuable medicine and drinks it every day. He is not even
ashamed to propagate urine therapy.
The majority of our people believe that cow dung and
cow urine are sacred. In twenty states of India, the slaughter
of a cow is a serious crime. Even the residents of India used
to drink the water after washing the legs of the Brahmins,
who are considered as the highest caste people. The lower
caste people are supposed to worship Brahmins according to
the Hindu concept of caste system. Even for the most minute
of things many will consult the astrologers in advance. Important things will be done only at the 'holy hours', for instance, at the suggestions of the astrologers. For marriages,
the consent of the concerned persons is not important, but
the astrological combination is important. The physical and

Austin, Texas

Sanal, Arnold Via, and Edamaruku
psychological side is completely ignored in normal Indian
marriages. There are many in India who donot.consult
doctors when they are ill, but will consult magicians.
Even in the case of worship and religious beliefs, our
country is very primitive. Hindus have 330 million gods.
This includes rivers, mountains, rain, and even some living
persons. Many people worship a 'holy penis', which is supposedly placed over a 'holy vagina'. They believe that it is
the penis of the god Shiva. There are temples which worship
the vagina of his wife. Another major god is the river Ganges.
It is believed that the sins will be washed away if one takes
a bath in that river. If a corpse is thrown to the river Ganges,
the dead will certainly get to heaven! Snakes are also worshipped in our country. In many Hindu families, you will
see one or another form of the idols of the snake god. Our
mythologies are wealthy with the stories narrating the sexual
relations of snakes with human ladies. An interesting thing
is that we have the highest number of snake bite fatalities
of any nation. Monkeys are also worshipped. In the Rajastan state, there is a temple which worships rats.
To destroy enemies, to attain personal goals and to
discover hidden treasures, there are people in our country
who practice black magic. Three weeks before I left from
Delhi, a person near our capitol city sacrificed a five year old
child to 'discover' a hidden treasure. There are at least 86
persons in India who claim they are gods. They all have
thousands of worshippers. If you study simple magic tricks
and pretend to be a bit 'holy'; you can easily become a living
god in India. Even the married women believe that it is 'holy'
if they have sexual relations with these 'godmen'. In some
religious 'ashrams', it is propounded that salvation is achieved
only through sexual intercourse. A few Americans and Europeans also go there to practice this 'holy ritual.' At the same
time, we have ashrams which teach that sexual intercourse
is a sin!
The gravest problem in India is the caste system. The
Hindu community is divided into four broad groups. Brahmins (the priests), Kshatrias (the warriors), Vaisyas (the
agrarians and merchants), and Shudras (the servants). In
each caste group, there are thousands of hierarchical subcastes. It is believed that the Brahmins originated from the
face of the creator. The majority of the population who do
not belong to this caste group were not allowed to go near
a higher caste man. Until recently, they were not even allowed to walk through the public streets, where only the
higher caste people were allowed to walk. It was considered
that even the sighting of a lower caste person was a sin. Now

May, 1979

Page 25

the government has passed laws prohibiting untouchability.
According to the laws, any Hindu can go and worship at
Hindu temples, but recently an Assembly member belonging
to, a lower caste, when reaching a Hindu temple, was not
allowed to enter there.
We fought long to get the right to walk through all the
streets for all the castes. The Brahmins had strict rules in the
past to prohibit the Shudras from learning even the alphabet. The rule was that if a Shudra studied the alphabet, melted
lead was poured in his ears. The main reason' for the low
level of literacy in India has been the religious taboos.
If I talk about the poverty in India, you will not even
understand it. The majority are under the poverty line.
There are millions in India who do not even have a meal a
day. The clever priests successfully feed them a religious
idea. The Indians believe that they have several births. If you
do good things in this life, you will become a Brahmin in the
next life. If you are a Shudra, that is because you did wrong
things in the previous life. This theory is called the Karmayoga. The majority of the down-trodden castes believe that
their social deprivation is because of their own sins in their
previous births. They don't understand that this myth has
been created to exploit them. You can very well imagine how
hard is our task to call upon these people who sleep under
these black religious notions, and to expose them to the
world of Free Thought.
According to the Hindu concepts, the caste system is
unbreakable. Each and every caste has its own separate rituals
and practices. Nobody is allowed to marry into a different
caste. Different castes do not dine together. We have many
hotels with caste names. You will see a Brahmin hotel, a Nair
hotel, or a Muslim hotel in India. This is why the Indian Atheists include inter-marriage and inter-dining in their practical
program. We live in a thick forest of superstitions. To clear
that forest and make it cultivable is a hard task. The Indian
Atheists have a more difficult job than the Atheists of many
other countries.
The Memory of a Golden Age
India may be the most superstitious nation in, the world.
But in the history of our nation, there was a period when
Atheism had prominence. About 1500 years beforeChrist,
India was one of the most modem nations of the world. The
Dravidians who lived in the Indo-Gangetic plain and in the
Deccan plateau had a developed culture. The caste system
was not there. The primitive Aryans attacked, defeated, and
destroyed our ancient culture. They established the caste
system. They propagated the theory of Karmayoga. The
Vedas were their religious books. They started practicing
primitive human and animal sacrifices to their gods. The
Buddhist and the Jaina religions came into existence in protest against this. Both these were Atheist religions. This was
2500 years ago. Until recently, it was considered that Indian
Atheism has that much history only.
But later research proved that the history of Indian Atheism is more ancient. It was at least 3000 years ago that Indian Atheism emerged. In other words, the history of Indian
philosophy starts with the history of Indian Atheism. Brihaspathy, who was one of the authors of the Hindu 'Rigveda'
was the first Atheist in India's (possibly the world's) history.
It was he who envisaged matter as the ultimate reality. He ana
his disciples denied god, opposed the conception of the immortal soul and a life after death.I His disciple, Dhishana,
made clear that all the Vedic rituals were nothing but tricks to
attain money. Parameshtin, another thinker of the Vedic age,
said that matter is the ultimate reality. He proclaimed that
there was no possibility of knowledge of anything beyond
original matter. Brighu was another Atheist of the Vedic
period. He said, 'Matter is the eternal, for from matter all
beings depart and return. '2
Vedas, Upanishads, and the other philosophical books of
this period give information about other Atheists also. Svansnaved Upanishad is mainly devoted to materialistic and naturalistic teachings. According to it, nothing but matter existed
and there was no other world beyond this world. It declared,

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May, 1979

'There is no incarnation, no god, no heaven, no hell. All traditional literature is the work of conceited fools; nature, the
originator, and time, the destroyer, are the rulers of things,
and take no account of virtue and vice in awarding happiness
or misery to men. People deluded by flowery speeches cling
to gods' temples and priests when, in reality, there is no difference between Vishnu and a dog.'3 The important point to
note is that this Upanishad was written some seven or eight
years before Christ.
In the Fifth Century BC, Buddhist and Jaina religions
originated. Both these religions were based on Atheism. During
that time, there also lived 62 heterodox thinkers. Ajitha Kesha
Kambaly, prominent among them, says, 'Upwards from the
feet, downwards from the lips, of the hair of the head, within
the skin's surface is called jiva, or what is known as the old
Atman (soul). The whole soul lives. When this body is dead, it
does not live. It lasts as long as the body lasts; it does not
outlast the destruction of the body. Those who maintain that
the soul is something different from the body cannot state
whether the soul(as separated from the body) is long or small,
globular or circular or triangular or square or hexagonal or
octagonal; whether black or red or yellow or white, of sweet
smell, whether bitter or pungent or astringent or sour or sweet,
whether hard or soft, or heavy or light, or cold or hot, or
smooth or rough. Therefore, those who say that the soul is
different from the body are wrong.'4
The materialists of this period in India said that the whole
universe is made of five elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and
Space. They proclaimed that there was no life after death.
When man dies, the earthly in him returns to the aggregate
of the earth, the fluid to the water, the heat to the fire, and
the wind to the air; while his faculties (five senses) vanish into
Materialism, during those days, was divided into many
branches. Those who said that there was no life after death
were known as Ajeevakas. Swabhava vada (naturalism), Lokayata (pure materialism), Yadricha vad (accidentalism), were
among them. There is not enough time to discuss them in detail. The most important among them was the Lokayata. This
later spread allover India.
It was some 2800 years ago that Lokayata originated in
India with a philosophical structure. Charvaka was one among
the propounders of this philosophy and hence, this was also
known as Charvaka philosophy. Actually both these names
were given to it by its enemies. The word Charvaka is said to
have been derived from the two words 'charu' (attractive)
and 'vak' (word). The enemies of this philosophy were suggesting that Charvakas tempted innocent people by their
skillful arguments and made them materialists.
Lokayata means a philosophy based on Loka, that is,
matter. This philosophy denied the existence of heaven, hell,
and life after death. Loka meant only the material world
capable of being perceived by the senses. According to Dr.
Radhakrishna, the interpreter of oriental philosophy, Lokayata is the Sanskrit word for materialism. The materialists in
India were known as Lokayatas.
No complete works of any of them are available now.
After the period of the Lokayatas all their works were collected and destroyed. The works which criticized the Lokayata philosophy at that time are still extant. In these works
there are many quotations from the Lokayatas. From that
only we get information about the Lokayatas. The following
is the gist of the Lokayata system as given by the idealist
1. According to Lokayata doctrine, the four elements
alone are the ultimate principles-earth, water, fire and air;
there are none other.
2. Only the perceived exists; the unperceived does not
exist, by reason of it never having been perceived. Even believers of the invisible never say that the invisible has been
3. If the rarely perceived be taken for the unperceived,
how can they call it the unperceived? How can the ever un-

American Atheist

perceived things such as the horns of a hare be existent?
4. others should not merely postulate the existence of
merit and demerit from happiness and misery. A person is
happy or miserable through the laws of nature; there is no
other cause.
5. Who paints the peacocks or who makes the cuckoos
sing? There exists no cause excepting nature.
6. The soul is but the body characterized by the attributes signified in the expressions: 'I am stout', 'I am youthful', 'I am grown up', 'I am old', etc. It is not something
other than that body.
7. The consciousness that is found in the manifestation of
non-intelligent elements (that is, in organisms formed out of
matter) is produced in the manner of red color out of the com, bination of betel, araca nut and lime.
8. There is no world other than this; there is no heaven
and hell; the realm of Siva and like religions are invented by
stupid imposers of other schools of thought.
9. The enjoyment of heaven lies in eating delicious food,
keeping company with young women, using fine clothes, perfumes, garlands, sandal paste and so forth.
10. The pain of hell lies in the troubles that arise from enemies, weapons, diseases; while liberation is death, which is the
cessation of life-breath.
11. The wise, therefore, ought not to take pains on account of liberation; it is only the fools who wear themselves
out by penance and fasts.
12. Chastity and such other ordinances are laid down by
clever weaklings. Gifts of gold and land, the pleasure of invitations to dinner, are devised by indigent people with stomachs
lean with hunger.
13. The construction of temples, water tanks, wells, resting places and the like, is praised only by travellers, not by
14. The agnihotra rituals, the three vedas, the triple staff,
ash-smearing are ways of gaining a livelihood for those who are
lacking in intellect and energy. So thinks Brihaspathy.
15. The wise should enjoy the pleasures of this world
through agriculture, keeping cattle, trade, political' administration and so on.
I hope this will be enough to show the pattern of ancient
Indian materialism. Lokayatas criticized religions and their
priests. They taught the public that there was no god or hell or
heaven. They examined each and every mantra and showed the,
public all were absurd.
"Samkhya Philosophy"
Samkhya was another materialist philosophy prevailing in
ancient India. Like the Charvaka philosophy, this also was
based on rationalistic thought. Samkhya was the son of an
Atheist monk called Kapila. He lived in the sixth or seventh
century before Christ. This was the period when clan-tribe
structure declined in Indiaand the caste system started under
the leadership of the Aryans. This was the period also of the
origin of separates in India. The king started claiming divinity.
To satisfy their gods, 'gagas' were conducted in elaborate
forms. Then Samkhya proclaimed that the universe originated
out of matter, that nature was the process of evolution,and
life and vitality, thought and consciousness were only the
products of matter. Mahabharatha (an epic of India which is a'
Vaishnava religious book) describes Samkhya philosophy as
the following, "He who is acquainted with only the metamorphosis of nature which is supreme and exists by herself, feels
stupefaction on account of his ignorance. He, however, who
understands the difference between nature and her metamorphosis is never stupefied. All things originate from nature. On
account of one's certain conviction about it one would never
be affected by pride or arrogance. When I know the origin of
all the ordinances of morality and when I am acquainted with
the instability of all objects, I cannot indulge in grief. All this
is endured with an end."5
The ancient name of Katmandu, the capital of Nepal, was
Kapilavasthu. This city got its name from Kapila, the father of
Samkhya. This northwest province of India was vehemently
against the supremacy of the Brahmins. Samkhya philosophy



gave them strength. Like the works of the Lokayatas, the
works of Samkhya also were destroyed later. We get information about the Samkhya philosophy only from the ancient
works, which criticized it. His philosophy was mainly based on
the theory of causation. This is also known as the doctrine of
cause and effect. According to this doctrine nothing could
emerge from void. Creation was only the new manifestation of
something that had existed before. Whatever exists must have
a cause, as there can be no existence without a cause, and
therefore, a thing is not made out of nothing. This meant that
all the qualities seen in a product could also be found, at least
in subtle form, in the cause from which the product was created. Every phenomenon in the universe had a cause. Every
cause produced its own effect. This was unavoidable, for cause
and effect were inseparably connected. For example, curd
could only be made out of milk, not out of water. The potter
shaped his vesselsout of clay, not of cloth.
According to this philosophy, our body, mind and intelligence were the transformations of this universe only. This
universe came from an element. Kapila called this the rootless
root, but it in no way related to the ged concept. This is the
eternal matter only. The idea that matter could never be destroyed, or created had been propagated 2600 years ago in
India by the Samkhyas. They said that there could not be a
creator for this universe. They challenged the Aryan belief that
everything was created by their god called Brahma, at the
philosophical level.
Buddhist Religion and the Jaina Religion
With the background of the material philosophy propagated by the Lokayatas and Samkhyas, two Atheistic religions (Buddhism and Jainanism) were made in India in the
Fifth Century, BC. Both these religions originated in the
northeast provinces of India. This was an area of lesser Aryan
influence. In western India, the Aryan influence was stronger.
Buddhism gained more influence in this area in later years
only. Buddha said nothing could be originated without a reason. All phenomena and objects, as in the case of suffering,
had their own causes or effects. The universe emerged without
a creator, without a known beginning and would remain forever under the influence of cause and effect. The following
will serve to know Buddha briefly. He stated, "Do not believe
all you have heard, do not believe in anything because it is
rumored and spoken of by many, do not believe because the
written statement of some old sage is produced, do not believe in conjectures, do not believe merely on authority of
your teachers and elders. After observation and analysis,
when it agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and
benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."
Buddha criticized the caste system. He taught that all
human beings are equal. He lectured and wrote in the language of the common man. This religion spread very quickly.
In a few centuries it spread to almost all of Asia. He organized monks to propagate the ideas of Buddhism. This religion
showed sympathy towards -the slaves and the downtrodden.
The Buddhist religion spread, breaking national frontiers and
caste separations, gradually taking more people under its sway.
During the period of the Emperor Asoka (Third Century, BC),
this religion grew as the official religion of India.
. Vardhamana Mahavira, who lived almost during the same
period as Buddha, founded the Jaina religion. Like Buddha,
Vardhamana Mahavira, too, rejected the authority of vedas
and opposed priesthoods and rituals. He did not believe in the
god concept. Jainans were like the agnostics of our period.
They declared that the existence or non-existence of anything
that was beyond human experience could neither be affirmed
nor denied. The Jainan philosophy teaches that "every aspect
of reality might or might not be and that all knowledge of
reality is only probable." It declares that the existence of a
thing may be affirmed from one point of view and denied
from another. A particular aspect of an object might be true
in a particular context; but viewed from a different angle,
the same might be wrong. To illustrate this, the Jainans were
fond of quoting the story of six blind men and an elephant.
Each laid his hands on different parts of the elephant and con-

May, 1979

Page 27

eluded that the elephant was in the shape he had contact with.
These were all partial truths. Jainans never challenged the
existence of god. But they did not accept that there was a
supreme power. Jainans followed a line in-between the material philosophies of the Buddhist religion, Lokayata, and Samkhya on one side, and the Brahmin religion on the other side.
The Rise of Brahmin Religion
For about eight centuries materialism spread and grew up
in India. Even at that time, Brahmin religion continued existing in some pockets, as religion prevails in Russia. The official
acceptance of the Buddhist and Jainan religions affected them
negatively. The kings who gave prominence to non-violence
and non-aggression did not give importance to defense. For
this, the kingdoms which sponsored these religions had to face
several conquerings. Then, to boost the morale of the people,
the stories about the war gods and goddesses were propagated
again. The Brahmin religion gradually came out from underground.
They started influencing and collaborating with the governments. This is just like the McCarthyites, who came into
prominence with the mask of grievance against the Communists in the U.S., where George Washington and Thomas Paine
propagated the ideas of secularism. To fight against that you
have a Madalyn O'Hair. Had we had a Madalyn in India in the
First Century, BC, we would not have had Brahmin superiorityagain.
Gradually the Brahmins started guiding the governments.
They crept into the ashrams of Buddhist and Jainan religions.
They did not forget to absorb some good aspects of these religions. When they succeeded in building more support gradually, their efforts turned to making new kings who supported
their religion. Some kings came out with full understanding of
this situation. The Brahmins had already propagated that the
system of slavery existed because of the sins people committed
in their earlier lives, and it is fatalistic to the slaves to accept
their slavery. All the exploiters of that age started propagating
Brahminism, seeing their benefits from that. This philosophy
was useful to the kings, also.
The destruction of the material philosophy became their
necessity. At one stage they started cruel tortures. against
Buddhists and Jainans. The monks were killed in large numbers. Their ashrams were looted. During the period of the
Gupta kings (from the Third Century, AD to the Fifth Century, AD) this attack continued with all their efforts. The
Brahmins came into prominence once again. From then, until
the 19th Century, we had a dark age in Indian history. The
caste system became all-powerful. Superstitions were propagated and the masses accepted it.
The Brahmins and the Kshatrians exploited the majority
low caste people and lived a luxurious life. All the ancient universities we had were destroyed. Even the study of alphabets
became the monopoly of the higher caste people. Sexual anarchy spread everywhere. It was preached that a pregnancy
from a Brahmin priest was a 'holy' thing. It was a custom that
the husband submitted his wife to the priests if they visited
his home. The numbers of the gods increased day by day.
Women were considered slaves. It was believed that a wife
should sacrifice her life with the cremation of her husband's
It was at this point in history that the Muslims conquered
India. The common people considered this an escape. Many
low caste people converted to Islam. Even the Muslim kings
did not try much to break the caste system, which was based
on the Karma theory. It was beneficial to the rulers. Even the
British who conquered India in the 18th Century did not try
to eradicate the caste system. They also wanted to exploit
the people.
Hindu Revivalism
Though the Brirish rulers supported the caste system and all
other measures to exploit the masses, it was for their benefit
that they spread English education. They wanted translators,
clerks, and people for lower jobs. The middle class studied-that
language. Through the newly acquired English language,

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May, 1979

modern thought emerging in Europe in continuation with
the Industrial Revolution, became known to them, too. Missionaries also reached India fo convert the superstitious masses
to Christianity. They criticized the Hindu religion. The development of printing technology and journalism also worked as
catalysts for change.
Christianity was never an attraction for Indians. To them,
it offered no advantages over their Hinduism. The Christians
believe that Jesus was born of a virgin mother. Indians have
several gods like that. Rama, the god of Vishnava Hindus, was
born of a lady who ate 'payasa' (a sweet). Krishna also was
born of a virgin. In Kerala, there is a Hindu god who is the result of the homosexuality of two male gods. Even now, he is
the most popular god in Kerala.
The story of the Christ has been copied from the story of
the Hindu god Krishna. Krishna is the hero in the epic 'Mahabharata', written long before the so-called period of Christ.
It is believed that prophets told of him even before his birth.
During the time of his birth, a holy star appeared in the sky.
Narada, the leader of the Magi, visited the child. Kamsa, the
king, ordered all the children of the country killed to destroy
Krishna. Then the 'holy ghost' appeared and suggested that
Krishna should be taken to a province at the other side of the
river Jamuna. By that suggestion, the child was taken away.
Krishna grew up doing a lot of miracles. At last he was killed
by an arrow while he was in a tree. Krishna was also the
human form of an original god. He came to re-establish good
life among people and to save humanity. Is this the same story
the Christians have? Will it elicit a response if it is given to
the people once again in a different form? The Bible does not
have anything which is absent in the various religious books
of the Hindus.
Christ said, "Love your neighbors as yourselves." What is
the relevance of this idea where Buddha preached to all the
creatures equally! The mountain preachings of Christ, which
are given in the Bible, are a copy of 'Dharma Patha', a Buddhist religious book written before Christ. Many Indian intellectuals understood this. This is the reason for the failure of
Christianity in India. In India the Christians are below 2%,
mainly in the southern state, Kerala. The Indians considered
their religion greater than the English religion.
They understood that Hinduism could be revived by the
abolishing of superstitions like Sathy, caste system, untouchability and so forth. As a result, in the 19th Century, efforts
were made at Bengal, Punjab and Maharastra The freedom
struggle also started during this period. The first leaders of
India's freedom struggle were Hindu revivalists, too. Gandhi
also was a Hindu revivalist.
This is what really troubled the Muslims of India. Gandhi
transformed the public meetings of the independence struggle
into prayer meetings, too. Gandhi aimed at a society which he
called 'Rama rajya'; the very word originated from a mythological story of the god Rama. This made the Muslims fearful
and irritated. This gave the opportunity for the growth of a
fanatical Muslim political party called the 'Muslim League.'
This is the background for the growth of religious rivalries
and riots by the Hindus and Muslims, which resulted in many
killings, at the last phase of the freedom struggle of India. The
colonial rulers encouraged these religious riots. In one part of
the divided India, an Islamic republic came into existence.
In 1971, Pakistan was further divided. Bangladesh, the new
nation that originated (the old East Pakistan), also became an
Islamic republic, though they proclaimed a secular state in
the beginning.
We had our first prime minister and the. chief author of
our constitution (Jawaharlal Nehru and Dr. Ambedkar respectively) who were Atheists. Despite pressures from various corners, we got a secular constitution. Constitutionally, we have
equality among men and women in our country. We have
equal positions for men and women in a government concern.
Even an Atheist can become prime minister or president. One
can take office as a member of Parliament or as a cabinet minister without taking an oath in the name of god, but this is
all on paper only. Even the Rationalists take an oath in the
name of god because they fear the public. Every public func-

American Atheist

tion starts with prayer. Even the Communists, though they
claim to be Atheists, will stand up at the time of public prayers in meetings where Atheists are also present. Recently a
Communist leader came to the defense of prayers in public
meetings. Even the persons who regularly go to temples or
churches are also known as Communists in India.
Gradually the Hindu fanaticism is gaining more and more
power in India. Their demand is to make India a Hindu nation.
For that they have organized a para-military force. The political party 'Jana-Sangh' is theirs. At present, a few of their
leaders are cabinet ministers of India. They are openly fighting against secularism.
In modern India, Atheism has to face a lot of hindrances.
Still, a powerful person from south India started Atheism in
the 1920's. He is known as Periyor E. V. Ramaswamy. E.V.R.
was an ardent enemy of Hinduism and Brahmin superiority.
He organized the Dravidians and the downtrodden. He started historic stuggles for the right of all persons to walk through
the same streets. He burned the Hindu religious books in public. E.V.R. was arrested several times. He organized an Atheist
association called the 'Dravida Kazhakam.' These are the
movements which checked the growth of the Hindu revivalist
movements effectively.
E.V.R. is the father of modern Indian Atheism, but his
work was mainly concentrated in Tamil Nadu, a south Indian
state. Even now the government of Tamil Nadu is ruled by
E.V.R.'s disciples. "Those who preach belief in god are scoundrels," he said. In Tamil Nadu, Atheism spread more powerfully than in any other Indian state.
Ambedkar, who organized the downtrodden, also was an
Atheist, but he did not declare it. He tried to revive Buddhism,
but it was not a success.
It was in the 1930's that the Rationalist Movement started
in India. It did not become a powerful organization, though
it was organized in Kerala, Andhra, Tamil Nadu and Maharastra. It remained as an organization of intellectuals only.
When I started my work in Kerala in the 1950's, the style of
the Kerala Rationalists discouraged me. They used to go to
temples and churches while preaching Atheism. Christians who
baptized their children and Hindus who went to temples regularly also were known as Atheists there. They preached that the
Rationalists should not become martyrs and until the whole
community became Atheists it was not wise to oppose religion. They argued that organizing Rationalists was not wise.
It took me fifteen years to build up a powerful Rationalist
Association, almost fighting with the traditional Rationalists.
I used to walk fifteen or sixteen miles to reach villages to give
lectures on Atheism. Many times the religious authorities tried
to kill me. The old Rationalists and the religious people made
common conspiracies against me. For the eradication of the
caste .system and untouchability, we organized an Inter-Marriage Association. This all certainly irritated the fanatics. They
cooked up cases, arrested and tortured me.
I should mention Gora, who started Atheistic works in
another state of India in the 1940's. Gora, who was a college
professor, lost his job because of his Atheism. He mainly concentrated on the freedom struggle. It was in the 1960's that we
met each other. We had a common front in our ideas regarding
Atheism in practical life. After that, we used to work in cooperation. Gora was more interested in other social activities,
than the Atheistic works. I could not join him when he started
fights against the making of gardens. I could not contribute to
the idea of living in huts in the name of simplicity. So I stuck
to the word Rationalism. Even when I started working from
Delhi, I used the term Rationalism only. To avoid being confused with the old Rationalists, we sometimes called ourselves
Revolutionary Rationalists.
It was at this point that your leader, Madalyn Murray
O'Hair, visited India. While travelling extensively allover India
with her and during the long talks we had, I got more ideas
about the development of Atheism in the Western Hemisphere.
It was then that we started the Indian Atheist Center at Delhi.
Though I was known as an Atheist, I was usually called a Rationalist leader. For getting a place for the office of the Rationalist Association, we did not have any difficulty, but no-



body is ready to lend a building for an Atheist Center. We operate the Indian Atheist Center without putting up a board. If
we put up a board on the Indian Atheist Center, by using some
provisions of the Rent Control Act they can demand that we
should vacate the building.
We gave the declaration to start the magazine Indian Atheist. last January. We could not start it because we did not get
a place for its office. To purchase a building for the Indian
Atheist Center at Delhi, we need at least $3000. The Atheists
of poor India are not capable of raising that much money.
Because of this, we fail to fulfill many of our practical programs.
Though we could not put up a board or start a magazine,
the Indian Atheist Center is the nerve center of the intellectuals of India. We have already contacted. Atheists of all the
states of India. We will try to build up a very powerful Atheistic organization in India within the coming five years. It is
our immediate task to check the growing Hindu fascism and
to keep up the secular character of our country. We can't give
up.650 million people to the gigantic exploitation of religion.
The Atheist Center of Delhi has already gotten attention
not only all over India, but also from certain corners of Asia
and Africa. Several persons of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malasia, Singapore, the Persian Gulf and others have
already contacted our center. Some persons from Africa also
recently visited our center.
What we labor for is to make the Indian Atheist Center a
nerve center of Asian Atheism. I request you to kindly cooperate with us in our efforts to develop Atheism in India and
in ~)Urneighboring nations with powerful organizations.

1 Radhakrishnan
p. 133

S., History of Indian Philosophy, Vol. 1,

2 Quoted by Aurabindo Ghosh, Life Divine, p. 662
3 Translated by M. N. RoY,Materialism,

pp. 77-78

4 H. Jacobi, Jaina Sukthas, Introduction,

p. xxiv

5 Mahabharata; Santhi parva.
HOW DARE THEY (continued from p.24)

in this one case?" And the answer was very frightening. They
said, "We are concerned about the pro-choice people retaliating. "
I predict that is going to happen. There is no way one side
is going to continually let themselves be firebombed. Somebody will say, "Enough is enough!" There are 25 centers that
have been firebombed! Will you not be outraged? How dare
they do this? How dare they not investigate? Does it take
someone being burned to death before somebody gets angry
enough to respond?
Setting that aside for a moment. The anti-abortion people
have had unbelievable success with something called the Hyde
Amendment, which is aimed directly against poor people.
32 states have stopped Medicaid abortion payments to poor
people. If anyone has the right to medical treatment, is it
not the poor?
When I was first getting into this 16 years ago, I gave up
a promising medical career. As fate would have it, a woman
literally collapsed in my arms. She had taken a wire coat
hanger, and in those days if you could just insert the coat
hanger enough to scratch the walls of the uterus to induce
bleeding, if you got a sympathetic physician "to save your
life," the abortion could be done. The woman miscalculated
by half an inch, went through her bowel and hemorrhaged
to death in front of me.
(continued on p.34)

May, 1979

Page 29

The American Atheist Radio


Program 162 ....

27 Sept 71. ... KTBC ...

Nacogdoches, TX

Good Evening,
This is Madalyn Murray O'Hair, American Atheist, back to
talk with you again.
Wherever did the idea come from that Atheists could not
possibly tell the truth? And, why does this still cling to the
courts of the land? Last year I was fighting a case against Bible
reading and prayer recitation, by military order, in our space
flights. When I went to file a suit in our federal courts, I found
out that some incredible laws had recently been passed.
Let me read them to you.
This is in 62 Statute 907, which has been incorporated into
28 U.S.C.A. 453. The first law states:
"Each justice or judge of the United States shall take the
following oath or affirmation before performing the duties
of his office: 'I [person's name], do solemnly swear, or
affirm, to do the duties of my office, so help me god."
The law was passed on June 25, 1948. What good does it
do to affirm if the affirmation must be "so help me god?"
This means that every justice and every judge in the United
States must believe in god and say so with this oath.
Ah! But then we go to Public Law 89·554, which was
passed on September 6, 1966. You heard me correctly, in
1966. This has become law in 28 U.S.C.A. 3331. This says:
"Any individual, except the President, elected or appointed
to an office of honor or profit in the civil service or uniform services, shall take the following oath, 'I, [person's
name], do solemnly swear, or affirm, to do the duties of
my office, so help me god.'"
This means that if you get a job under Civil Service with
the United States it is necessary for you to say that you believe in god by taking this oath.
Now, I wonder, don't you, why the President of the United
States is exempt? The answer is easy. The founding fathers
were deists and they were to a man anti-Christian. So, in the
Constitution there is Article II, Section 1, paragraph 8, which
says this about the President of the United States:
"Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall
take the following Oath or Affirmation: 'I do solemnly
swear, or affirm, that I will faithfully execute the Office
of President of the United States, and will to the best of
my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution
of the United States.'"
So, the oaths in the Constitution of the State of Texas, and
in these two laws passed in 1948 and 1966, are unconstitu-

Page 30

May, 1979

tiona!. I challenged them in my recent NASA case and the
Federal Court in Austin, the Federal Appeals Court in New
Orleans, Louisiana, and the Supreme Court of the United
States, upheld these unconstitutional oaths.
Now why? Why should we get such religion forced on us?
Why must we be forced and coerced to recognize god and have
the United States Supreme Court and other federal courts
willingly and wilfully disobey the Constitution of the United
States and the principle of separation of state and church
upon which our nation is predicated?
Religious groups are strong in America in the right places.
They are opposed to the abrogation of the ancient custom.
They desire that it be retained because of its effect as propaganda which indirectly protects their vested interests. Where
oaths are administered the ceremony carried out creates the
suggestion and solemnly implies that there is an omniscient
and watchful deity consciously observing every creature.
This is excellent propaganda for religion and it uses the force
of the state and its laws to require such an oath and therefore
to reinforce their position.
That is obvious today - but where did it all come from in
our laws and our legal system?
Intolerant Origins
If we go back to common law - as far back as 1607, when
Virginia was settled, we find that Lord Coke, a jurist and
legal interpreter, noted that only a Christian could be a witness
in common law. Unitarians were not recognized as Christians,
and neither were Jews, Moslems, or what have you, naturally.
The rule was, to test the competency of witnesses, that all
"infidels" were "perpetual enemies" on the supposition that
"between them as with the devil whose subject they are,
and the Christians there is perpetual hostility and can be no
Lord Coke in 1609 cited, in support of such alleged warfare, 2 Corinthians 6:15, which contains the question "of
what portion hath a believer with an unbeliever?"
The American courts, fortunately, did not follow Coke
exactly in this. They chose instead a case which arose in 1744.
That case is titled Omichund v. Barker. There was a pretext
in this case of finding a rule to follow and the court actually
quoted the Bible again. This time Acts 10:34-35: "Then
Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth, .I perceive
that god is no respecter of persons." Somehow the court
construed this to mean that other than Christians could
testify in court. But the newly announced nile was that one
could not be admitted as a witness unless he believed in a
god and future rewards and punishments, The rule was sum-

American Atheist

med up best in a case which was decided in 1820:
"By the law of England ....
it is fully and clearly settled,
that infidels who do not believe in a god, or if they do,
do not think that he will either reward or punish them in
the. world to come, cannot be witnesses in any case, nor
under any circumstances."
In the United States both the state and federal courts
at first followed this Omichund v. Barker rule, as reported
by Atkyns. But the opinion of the Chief Justice, Willes, was
drawn out at length and finally left among his other manuscript decisions. It was not published until 1799, although
decided in 1745. When this was finally published in Willes
Report, in a revised opinion the Chief Justice was supposed
to have said:
"Who either does not believe in god, or if they do, does
not think that he will reward or punish them in this world
or in the next, cannot be a witness in any case."
The Atkyns Report
to mean, as concerned
to believe in "a real fire
One court in North
from being a witness. It

was followed, though, and this came
divine punishment, that one needed
in hell."
Carolina in 1914 disqualified a Jew

"We know that the old Scriptures, which is the Hebrew
Bible, does not teach a future life, and hence there is absent therefrom the doctrine of future rewards and punishments. Indeed, the New Testament teaches that 'life
eternal came through Jesus Christ."
One famed jurist of the United States Supreme Court, Mr.
Justice Story, held that belief in future punishments was
necessary to be competent to take such an oath.
Now, our courts could easily have repudiated this law
precedent at any time under the doctrine of Cesante ratione
legis cessat ipsa lex, which only is to say that when the reason
for any particular law ceases, so does the law itself.
Not Much Better Today
Finally, a Virginia court in 1846, a Kentucky court in
1882, an Illinois court in 1890, and an Alabama court in
1931 adopted a new rule. Since the Virginia rule is the most
clear, I give that one to you:
The court held that "no religious belief is required to
qualify a citizen to take an oath."

However, as late as 1936 New Jersey, Arkansas, Delaware,
Maryland, New Hampshire, and North Carolina - where cases
had come up - were still following the old rule of a need to
believe in god and in future rewards and punishments by god
in order to be a witness in a court. South Carolina held "a
belief in god and his providence," which was construed to
mean a future providence. And, in the Declaration of Rights
in Maryland's Constitution, it was required that a witness
believe "that under his [god's] dispensation such person will
be held morally accountable for his acts, and be rewarded
or punished therefor in this world, or in the world to come."
Now in the Local Court Rules of the United States District
Court for the Western District of Texas, as amended through
April 7,1969, we find that an attorney who is an applicant 'for
the bar of any District Federal Court of the United States,
by Rule 2(d):



"When admitted ....
the applicant ....
shall. .. .in open
court. . . .take either an oath or affirmation. . . ."so help
me god."
By this rule, an Atheist attorney would not be able to
practice before this United States District Court.
Yet, let me read to you some very famous decisions. The
United States Supreme Court in 1961, in a case concerning
a Notary Public, ruled that:
"Probing religious beliefs by test oaths, or limiting public
offices to persons, who have, or more properly profess to
have, a belief in some particular kind of religious concept
[has been] an historically and constitutionally discredited
In another case in 1947 the United States Supreme Court
ruled "the Federal Government ....
can not force nor influence a person ....
to profess a belief or disbelief in any reli. .... "
Well, then, why do the courts of our nation require that
this be done, particularly the federal courts? It is obviously
unconstitutional in a court situation where the Constitution
of the United States is supposed to be supreme,
Up to 1936 in Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Tennessee had
statutes - laws - which permitted the credibility of all nonbelievers to be attacked simply because they were non-believers. At no time has there ever been, in legal history, a
challenge to Christians' credibility for believing in such nonsense as hellfire, or Jonah actually being swallowed by a
Let me read to you some comments

of some judges in

an "infidel" is "odious and detestable."
Tennessee (the Supreme Court): "The man who has the
hardihood to avow that he does not believe in a god,
shows a recklessness of moral character and utter want
of moral sensibility, such as very little entitles him to
be heard or believed in a court of justice in a country
designated as Christian."
New Hampshire (the Appellate Court): "He who openly
and deliberately avows that he has no belief in the existence of a god, is unworthy of any credit in a court of
Thus, there has existed in America, over many years, a
situation wherein a judge may calumniate with impunity,
under the pretext of expressing a judicial opinion, - may
insult or abuse - any person whose opinions in matters of
religion are different from those which the judge himself
professes to hold. Once such a judicial libel is promulgated,
it is permitted to travel on in history and be quoted as authoritative to laymen, without retraction by the court in
which it originated, and without criticism or correction
by any other tribunal.
So, I look here at the last legal document which I received
from the United States Supreme Court in the case of NASA
wherein I did challenge the rule that all judges must take
an oath of office with an affirmation of belief in god.
The United States Supreme Court upheld the finding of
the lower court that "indeed, Mrs. O'Hair's contention concerning the judicial oath, i.e., 'So help me god,' as systematically excluding Agnostics and Atheists from the judiciary approaches absurdity."
(continued on p. 34)

May, 1979

Page 31

Gerald Tholen

very intriguing question seems to
continually surface in cases of opposing
opinions of parents:
"My spouse is devoutly religious and I
am an Atheist. What lies ahead for
our children?"
What should a conscientious Atheist
parent do in such a situation? Historically it has been decreed that the "ungodly" parent must automatically subordinate himself/herself and relinquish
any parental advice that he or she may
deem necessary to the normal rearing
of their own child. Perhaps such an unfortunate parent could understand - if
the so-called' god had ever said anything! Surely many questions would
have been resolved. Facts being as they
are, how long should those parents
wait for a god, who does not exist, to
say something?
Religionists have been waiting millennia. Parents are born, grow old
and die waiting for verification of an
absurd fairy tale. And so goes the fate
of their children - century after century!
Now any Atheist knows this story
of repetitive
makes the situation pathetic is that
WE never realize that the people at
fault are not necessarily the religionists involved. They simply don't know
any better.
The people truly at fault are those
Atheists who recognize the situation
yet allow it to perpetuate.
I do not make this claim facetiously
- I say it in all sincerity. I, myself,
have been faced with the same family
situations that are shared by an Atheist
so entangled. Not from the standpoint of parental teaching of my
children, but from my abstaining from
the religious atmosphere created by
my parents. To say that this creates a
touchy situation is to put it mildly.
When one "strays from the flock"
(s)he is immediately besieged by multitudes of wailing, wimpering goddists.
They only attack in packs!
Atheists' past defensive measures
have been either to graciously submit
to mutation of the mind or be mauled
daily by the "word of god." Most
have simply evolved into their present
"closet Atheist" existence.

To them I say: Have you ever examined the source of the intimidation
that put you there? Is it the extraordinary wisdom of these religious
kibitzers? Is it that you might actually doubt your own sanity and feel
that they have legitimate reason to
impose their naivete upon you?
Let's examine their "wisdom."
You know what the religious story
has to offer - that their oft-edited
Bible is the "authority" on which they
base their naivete. If you do not
believe the Bible then read a copy of
Superman and see that' right always
prevails. But ... is the Bible right?

Certainly, being an Atheist you
already know that the Bible is wrong.
Common sense then will surely tell
you that in this age of knowledgeable
enlightenment the Bible is bound for
its final resting place - the garbage
can. Its insane prejudices have too
long enslaved the minds of people and it is our fault, the Atheists!
We cannot expect better of people
who have never known the wondrous
excitement of being able to think
rationally. We are cheating them by
allowing them to remain unimaginative to reality.
Can you really doubt your own
freedom of thought? Will you tolerate
the mind enslavement of your own
children? By so doing you will only
add to their inability to be "real
The next question:
What is defiance going to cost you? Your husband?
... Your wife? ... Your loved ones or

Page 32

May, 1979


parents? . . . Your job? What about
your self-respect? Is it so cheap that
you will sell yourself to satisfy those
who really need help?
When you finally sell your selfrespect, what will you have left to offer your children, or anyone for that
matter? For certain you will have no
more than your religious mates who
have already sold themselves
superstition. Are you willing to become a partner in such mindlessness?
I do not advocate abandoning those
you love. Surely, that love you hold
for them commands that you help
them! It would be extremely selfish
to even entertain the idea of allowing
them to remain at the mercy of mindlessness.
You are the only hope for enlightenment for your mate and your children in such a case. If it is your parent
who is "possessed" by religiosity, you
should be equally involved in their reeducation into reality. I can appreciate
your burden because I have shared it.
If anyone who happens to read this
article is so entangled I suggest that
you first ask your religious partner a
question: "Do you love me?"
If you really feel that love is there,
ask them to read this article. Perhaps
the unimpressive comments of an
"outsider" may help them to realize
that you love them enough to. be
truly concerned for them.
We do not live forever. Our time is
very limited. Life is too valuable to
waste even a moment. The daily problems we face simply existing in this inflationary ridiculousness is enough to
contend with.
The intimate differences between
husband and wife, especially, deserve
the attention of the two flesh-andblood humans involved. Respect is imperative between two such people. If
it is lost by one to a god or by the
other to his or her own abandonment
of humanistic knowledge of truth, the
partnership will never be fulfilling.
Their child's mind may be lost forever
to reality.
Truth is an inevitable realization. It
would be a true "blessing" if we and
our children should survive to know it
in a factual Atheistic manner.




Ignatz Sahula-Dycke

Every bookseller's shop stocks scads
of books telling us how to do one or
another thing, but very few that tell us
why this or that should be done.
We humans like to putter, somewhat
as do the monkeys. In a zoo all the
simians are seen scratching away; and
you can be sure if one sits in a corner,
idle, that more than likely it's sick.
I won't admit that my forebears
were monkeys, but might agree that
monkeys do resemble us.
Like ourselves they stay busy most
of the time, not bothering at all about
the why of it. As for us, we rarely ask
why we are so often harmed by the
innocent-looking busyness of others,
although knowing that no few people
spend their time taking advantage of
others, especially of those of us who
fail to ask them or ourselves to answer
why they're up to all their scratching.
Some of the scratching is innocent
enough, some of it not.
For example, to get pointers about
human nature, researcher Lorenz
studies the habits of geese. What if he
studied humans?
Then again, the priests warn us we'll
go to hell if we won't do as they tell
us. What if we told the priests to do
what we tell them or go to the devil?
Seems to me we humans are a contrary breed; we so often put the cart
before the horse. Why don't we care
what's frequently being done to us, so
long as it's disguised as something we're
told is being done for us? Why?
During most of my life I've noticed
that the happiest people aren't those
who simply stay busy but are those
who have figured out why they are at
it; and here a brief explanation showing
why Atheism is becoming more and
more a necessity in modern life could
serve a good purpose.
Atheism is necessary because it protects for you and me our American
form of self-government from its opponents: the church boys. Aren't
they constantly trying to change it
into a clerical dictatorship?
Early this morning I finished
reading a news item reporting that
church "dignitaries" are indignant
(and also, I take it, weeping crocodile tears) deploring the requests being
made upon them by federal authorities
for reports needed to analyze various
aspects of the standing of churches and


Find Out
religious activities in the United States.
So the priests are indignant; yet
every businessman, every citizen, is
subject to making reports to the
authorities upon request. Aren't such
reports indispensable, aren't they rational, aren't they proper, don't they
benefit equally every individual of the
First, the only thing wrong with the.
request for this churchly information
is why it hasn't been asked for long
before now!
And, next, are religious activities
above the laws and statutes providing
equitable treatment for all our citizens?
Aren't the priests, preachers, missionaries, and in fact all clerics citizens?
Or are they something more important - to be-accorded treatment that
the Jim Joneses and Bill Smiths can't
ask for and get?
Clerical behavior, in this instance
just as in similar others points to the
arrogance that now (after years of
maudlin favoritism) characterizes almost every utterance of the clerical
gentry whenever it is asked to get in
line with the rest of us, and come
across with information about its
The clerics behave like children
spoiled by too much attention and no
discipline. We've permitted them to
behave as they do because for many
centuries they've been telling us they're
something special:' mostly that they
represent a god called Jehovah, his
"son," and a "holy" wraith.
We've had this dinned in our
ears for so long a time that now, to
many people, it no longer sounds as
ridiculous as it really should. It's high
time that the religious cartel realized
that its palaver about god is the sales
patter of a business conducted for
profit - a venture not much different
from others of this nation - and that
the clerics aren't our governing aristocracy, with god its essence.
Call this ecclesiastic behavior what

Austin, Texas

May, 1979


you will, but please reflect that it
factually is arrogant which, if unchecked, will burrow into our system
of self-government and transform our
democracy into a theocracy. It has already adulterated, quashed, denatured,
and almost killed American self-reliance
by its preaching of the fable that its
sermonizing expresses the desires and
will of its so-called god whom - says
religion - every living creature owes
loyalty to first of all and above whatsoever other claim whether of family,
nation, or race.
These brazenly presumptuous
claims of religion's nabobs are currently losing credibility throughout the
Western world, but enough of the
West's people still pay them lip service - or fail to militate against them
- as to nourish religion's hopes for
its survival and eventual dominance
of the Western people's minds and
daily lives.
The paradox in this situation is
that surprisingly our US of A, the nation which in 1776, in all the world,
was the first one to have departed
from the once-prevalent theocratic
form of government, is now officially
boasting that it trusts in god, and this
way by example encouraging those
today who are seeking to escape from
the stultifying doctrines of the various
religious sects within their borders to
follow suit.
Because church-owned property, including rectories, schools, dorms, parish
halls, parking lots, etc., is tax-free, the
religions benefit disproportionately,
especially so in the cities and towns
where their properties are accorded
police and fire protection and other
municipal services financed by the taxation of the citizenry, of whose total
number only about a fourth are active
members of the churches. I wonder
how many of our 200-million-plus
peop' .re aware of this.
It ~ good to know that at least a
salutary number of rational people:
Atheists, Humanists, Agnostics, Freethinkers, scientists, and others - plus,
the clerics, of course - are aware of
In a welfare state, such as our nation has become since the last world
war, people don't have to scratch for

Page 33

a living as of old, nor worry or think
as much. They watch others and be. "'
have very much as they do. In recent
years psychologists have been trying
to find a better way of obtaining firm
insights from the reactions of the'
people engaged in observing other
people's behavior.
Broadly, this seems to me to be
an attempt to span the gap that was
left yawning in the presently more
or less dormant Watsonian behaviorism of the early twenties of this century. Pavlov was one of the more outstanding names antedating those early researches.
Within the past decade, Professor
Franz From, of the University of Copenhagen, has conducted experiments
that spotlight the conclusions that
people draw from observing the behavior of their fellows. His book about
this work, Perception of Other People,
has been translated and published by
the Columbia University Press, New
York and London, 1971.
So at least for the time being he
appears to have opened the doors to
our perception of matters that behaviorists of two generations ago left
unfinished or were powerless to enucleate.
I'll venture saying that From's experiments corroborate what for many
years I perceived could be true about
my pet peeve: the churchgoers; namely that their Sunday "going to worship"
is not necessarily motivated by their
reverence for deity, but is a response
to a habit which satisfies, as the case
may be, their gregariousness, penchant for music, need for surcease of
mental tension, etc., in fact any moot
thing but the one that their behavior
would ordinarily lead the observer to

, This prompts me to remark that the
day isn't far distant when the to-meodious word "church" will be replaced
by "meeting house" or something
similar, denoting a place wherein people
will congregate to discuss and hear
opinions about life, among which inanely lachrymose and boring sermons
about god will be booed by the atten, ding gentry.
'This hope of mirie isn't as idle as '
it sounds, when every well-informed
person is already aware that "old-timereligion" actually turned up its toes
and died during the last half of the 19th
century. Besides, From has now made
fairly obvious that when people are
seen going to church it doesn't always
mean they're going there to worship a
god. Once this gets around, matters
will bike a turn for the better.
To go on, it seems to me that those
of my fellow-citizens who at this late
day get some satisfaction out of
knuckling-under and listening to some
ordained johnny spout religious
mumbo-jumbo, ought to at least have
the common sense to realize that were
the god of his harangue, who is said to
have created everything, at all sane, '
their admiration and heartfelt appreciation of the cosmos, our earth,
its natural phenomena and all creaturedom, would please him a great
deal more than their kowtowing and
praying to him.
Too, were the god omnipotent and
omniscient as vaunted, he would have
given people the ability to recognize
the humbuggeries of religion; not be
letting the priesthoods hoodwink them
with prattle about his wisdom, justice, and boundless love for mankind.
It should serve everyone as food for
thought no less than me to try and' fig-

(continued from p.31)
And, in every court allover the United States, on the
federal level, even in the United States Supreme Court, the
court opens today with an "Oyez! Oyez! God save our nation
and this honorable court."
To which we can only sadly say, even today, "Yes, indeed,
someone had better save our constitution and the principle
of separation of state and church, which has, in great part,
been ignored in the actual administration of the legal system
and in each and many cases which have come through them.
Vis-a-vis our court system, excuse the expression, an average
Atheist, or any Atheist, hasn't got a prayer."

Radio Series

This program is brought to you as a public service by the
Society of Separationists, Inc., a non-profit, non-political,
educational organization devoted to, the complete and absolute separation of state and church. We can challenge some
of these obsolete laws if you will help us to build up our
legal fund. A tax-exempt contribution mailed to Po. Box
2117, Austin, Texas, 78767, will be appreciated.
Thank you for listening and a very good night to you .•

Page 34

May, 1979


ure out why it is that so many people
in this scientifically informed period
take theological mongering as coming
from god. They've got more than
enough brains for spotting lies of
other kind, why not those of religion? What keeps all these otherwise
bright Americans mentally paralyzed?
Well, every Atheist knows it is the
'result of whalebone-corsetted
here in the US of A still existing) Victorian partiality for revealed religion
characterizing the majority of the
teachers, endowers, and administrators
of our educational establishments.
Their anachronistic outlook is what
keeps so many of us yoked and pulling
the creaking chariot of the so-called
Christian doctrine, which even in
Rome nobody cares a tinker's damn
about except as a curious relic - a
tourist gimmick.
Luckily for us, our American press
speaks up, and our system of communications is prime. Because we get
from these two sources the indispensable information that education
doesn't provide, none of us needs to
remain victim of establishmentarian
We are free to choose between
having a closed mind or an open
one; it's all up to us. We're constitutionally enfranchised to be as free
as any citizen could desire - and all
without begging some cleric's god for
When we are bored we can look for
the answer to the why of anything
under the sun, and be entertained by
watching our sense of judgment work
it out for us as we meander on our


(continued fromp.29)
That's when I vowed to fight these laws. I went to Planned
Parenthood, and they said, "It's too controversial." If there
are any members of PP here, you ought to know that PP was
opposed to abortion until 1968. I had to sit at their headquarters, I took over their headquarters, to force them to
recognize the rights of women in this field.
The incredible concept was that we had seen woman after
woman go through this so we decided - with an Atheist
named Paul Krassner - to open a center, and he paid my rent
for the first three years, and we publicly helped women
get abortions. Somebody in this room came up to me last
night and said, "Bill, you don't remember me, but you helped
me back in 1967_"
Think back. Every single woman we helped then was a
ten year- prison term. But we said, '.'The law be damned!"
Why do you think we did that? The reason is that I saw
people from every state in this nation and Canada. Not a one
but had women coming to me saying, "I need help, if I don't
get it, I will do something, some criminal technique."
(continued on p,36)



G. Richard Bozarth

THE LAW: Protector or Oppressor
The Bill of Rights is the most moral
document ever to have been produced
in all history. No holy book or system
of philosophy prior to it can equal its
morality. These precious rights are universal in that they are adaptable to any
culture that can claim to be civilized.
While these truths may be self-evident, are they unalienable? No. Rights
are fragile things and cannot flourish
without the protection of law. The recent history of most Third World
countries demonstrates
how appallingly ephemeral rights can be. How
are people deprived of their rights?
By the law.
The law, unlike rights, is absolutely amoral. It can either be a protector
of the citizens or the oppressor of
them. Solzhenitsyn in his three volume
history of the USSR's GULAG prison
system shows how the law can be
turned into a devouring monster.
What is legal is not always what is
This amorphous nature of the law
is what has made religionists seek
solid union of state and church. Where
there is a theocracy, there the laws
make religious oppression of those.
defined as heretics legal. Never moral,
but legal. Might does not make right,
but it makes law.
One of the ugliest theocracies to
have existed was in colonial Massachusetts. Upon leaving Europe, where
theocratic laws oppressed them, the
colonists declared they were going to
the New World for religious freedom.
However, "the leaders of the Massachusetts Bay enterprise never intended
their colony to be an outpost of toleration in the New World; rather,
they intended it to be a 'Zion in the
Wilderness,' a model of purity and
orthodoxy, with all backsliders subject
to immediate correction." (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Macropaedia, Vol.
18, p. 948)
The appropriate 'laws to attain this
new Zion were put in practice. The result is described by Brooks Adams
in his The Emancipation of Massachusetts: "Provided a man conformed to
all regulations of the Church, paid his

Austin, Texas

taxes, and held his tongue, he would
not, in ordinary circumstances, have
been molested under the Puritan
Commonwealth. But the moment he
refused implicit obedience, or, above
all, if he withdrew from his congregation, he was shown no mercy, because
such acts tended to shake the temporal
power." (p. 286)
Thought was free,as long as it remained thought only.
Adams cites many cases showing
how the Puritans used the law as a brutal instrument of terror, but the conviction of William Leddra shows. best
the quality of theocratic law. This
gent was guilty of two 'crimes: "His
hair was too long, and that he had disobeyed
the commandment
saith, Honour thy father and mother."
(p. 321) Under the theocracy, colonial magistrates were included legally
under. the title of "father and mother." Leddra had dishonored his psuedo-parents by not taking off his hat
to them.
Adams mentions the Massachusetts law of 1775 - one year before
the Declaration of Independence! designed to iegally prevent "Atheism,
irreligion, and prophaneness" by em- .
powering county justices with the duty to' report any town without an
orthodox minister, and "thereupon
the General Court should settle a
candidate recommended to them by
.:ordained elders.: and levy a special
tax for his support." (p. 490) Yet,
one of the sore points that drove the
colonists to rebellion was the tax
levied on them to support the Church
of England.
After the Bill of Rights, the religionists had to change their tactics.
.They were successful in keeping the
law as an oppressor, because "religion poisons the judicial mind just
as it has often affected the mental
condition of the persecuting bigot."
(Obstruction of Justice by Religion
by Frank Swancara, p. 3) However,
the various sects lost the ability in
the 19th Century to persecute each
other where one. gained power. That
left them only the Atheists to per-

May, 1979

The theory used is not often explicitly stated by religionists,
although it is revealed by their actions.
I was surprised to find it clearly expressed when reading the transcript
of the 1948 House of Representatives Select Committee to Investigate the FCC, which was a hysterical
response to the Scott Decision, in
which the FCC admitted Atheists
have the right to broadcast Atheism.
One witness was Frank Roberson,
a member of the FCC bar. He told.
the Congressmen: "I do not believe
our forefathers and founders of the
Constitution had in mind protecting
freedom of speech and freedom of
religion for people who had no religion at all." (p. 122) This is the
theory religionists want the civil
law to conform to.
In the 19th Century this obscene
theory was put into practice without
any camouflage. Atheists were allowed
to breathe and exist, but not to seek
They were intimidated by
laws that made it legal to pronounce
them incompetent witnesses, whether
testifying on their own behalf or for
someone else.
The legal "reasoning" that permitted this abuse was that "if the witness
has not knowledge of god or belief in
his existence, and shows no sense of
accountability to him for false testimony, there is no guaranty of the
truth of his testimony."
(State v.
Washington, 1898, quoted in Swancara, p. 104) The other reason an
Atheist's testimony was legally held
to be worthless was that it was "reasoned" that "the man who has the
hardihood to avow that he does not
believe in a god, shows a recklessness
of moral character and utter want of
moral sensibility." (Odell v. Kopper,
1871, quoted in Swancara, p. 76)
In other words, only the belief in
hell can compel a person to tell the
truth, and only a belief in a deity can
compel a person to be moral enough
to deserve justice.
Swancara cites case after case where
thieves, murderers, rapists, and child

Page 35

molesters walked off free by proving
their accusing victims or the eyewitnesses of their crimes were "infidels";
i.e., Atheists. It is not unlike the
abuse rape victims still suffer today
when their past sex life is brought
out in court as a means to let the
rapist go free.
The vile law began to die when in
1900 the .Kansas Court of Appeals
held in Dickinson v. Beal that: "to
permit the question [concerning if
the witness is an 'infidel'] to be asked
would assume that a stigma was cast
upon a person who disbelieved in the
existence of a god in accordance with
the doctrine of the Christian church
or churches, such as felons suffer by
reason of the conviction of a crime."
(quoted in Swancara, p. 113)
The other approach to the legal
persecution of Atheists were blasphemy laws. One of Ingersoll's most
famous orations was his defense of
C. B. Reynolds, who in 1887 was
tried for blasphemy in Morristown,
New Jersey. The Atheist lecturer
had dared not only to speak his mind,
but to satirize religionist hecklers
who sometimes attended his lectures.
Reynolds was fined 25 dollars for his
"crime" - a sign all but the most
rabid fundamentalists
and religious
leaders were becoming uncomfortable
with the inherently un-American blasphemy laws.
The religionists once again had to
find a new formula to oppress Atheists
who dared to speek as freely as they
thought, thereby threatening the survival and income of religion with sane
ideas the religionists feared might
spread among the faithful who still
had uncorrupted
minds that could
reason rationally. They found one,

Charles Smith was arrested for
lecturing on Atheism in public and
duly convicted. In 1934 the New York
Court of Appeals upheld the conviction by "reasoning" that "the passion,
rancor, and malice sometimes aroused
by sectarian controversies and attacks
on religion seem to justify especial
supervision over those who would conduct such meetings' on the public
streets," (quoted in Swancara, p. 119)
In other words, Atheism upsets religionists, therefore Atheism must not
be allowed a public forum.
The arrival of radio, followed' by
television, caused religionists to .Iet .
Atheists have the freedom to write
books, speak in lecture halls, and
on soapboxes - as long as the law
excluded Atheism from radio and TV
with their audiences of millions. The'
Bill of Rights stood in their way and
this time they could not get a law.
But they have done very well at keeping Atheism off the air with the aid
of the FCC's regulations and support.
(See "The Federal Censorship Commission" and related articles in The
American Atheist, April 1979.)
It is better today, I will agree .. But
how much better? Just try to get the
American Atheist' Radio Series on
your local radio station. 'Or try to get
on the air yourself as a spokesperson
for Atheism. You will wonder what
freedom of speech legally means.
Ask Bruce Hunter if one may rely
on the law to keep bigoted religionists
from destroying one's career and depriving one of employment for being
openly Atheist. So far the law has
yet to rally to his aid. It has sided
once again' with the religionists, It
has acted as the oppressor, not the defender.
The Texas state constitution still

demands belief in a "supreme being"
for anyone desiring to hold political
office in the state. The Atheist must,
as in colonial Massachusetts, conform
hypocritically to supporting and perpetuating religious beliefs if he or
she desires a political career. The law
here once more oppresses instead of
Madalyn Murray O'Hair is fighting
the law that will put her in jail for the
"crime" of protesting the unconstitutional prayers of the Austin City
It is better today than in 1934 or
1887 or 1775 or 1692. But not because the religionists are getting
nicer! If it is better today, it is because
Atheists have fought all along to make
it better! They fought hard, defeated
more often than victorious, to make
amoral law the protector of our rights
rather than. the oppressor of our
And fight we Atheists of today
must as long as religion has the wealth
and political power to make the law
act as an oppressor. Only Atheist
activism will, let us survive; only
Atheist activism offers any hope
of victory.
Where, then, does the average
Atheist stand? If he or she is for
Atheism, then he or she is either an
. active fighter like Theresa M. Collins
of Chandler, New Mexico, (see p.5),
or an active supporter who assists the
fighters by donating as much money as
he or she can afford to the cause.
If the Atheist is neither an active
fighter nor an active supporter, then
he or she has effectively sided with
religion. He or she is a dog cringing
to be kicked by the oppressive laws
religionists strive to get legislated,
the guts to even growl.

HOW DARE THEY (continued fromp.34)

rupted. We faced a total of three years in prison'.
Do you remember the summer a youngster, a 20 year old
Some of you may remember that trial. We finally did win.
student named alia Pritchard, who couldn't get an abortion, . In fact, we sued for false arrest. We both got $4000. We used
aborted herself with a coat hanger? She almost died. She that money to set up a fund for poor people. So, in effect,
was rushed to the hospital, and the hospital called the police!
the police of that county financed us. [This inspires a roar
They arrested her for practicing medicine without a license!
of applause.]
Her boyfriend turned state's evidence, and said he saw
Now there's a suit coming up which you'll be reading about
her insert the coat hanger. That youngster would have gone
called Baird vs. Maderas, who is the cardinal of Massachusetts
to prison for ten years if she hadn't been decreed innocent
Nobody in the history of this nation has ever sued the Roman
by reason of insanity.
Catholic Church for libel and slander. A couple years ago I
gave a lecture in Marlboro, Massachusetts, where one mother
When I talk to you about the fact that people did use
there said, "I respect Bill Baird's courage," to a reporter.
these primitive techniques, I sometimes show this display
That's all she said; not one word about abortion. But three
board. [He held up a display of various home or backalley
devices used for abortion.] It was responsible for me being
weeks later, when this lady brought her baby to be baptized;
put in prison in Wisconsin as corrupting the morality of the
the Catholic Church said, "Your baby will not be baptized
community. In New York as late as 1971 I gave a lecture
unless you denounce Bill Baird as the devil."
before a Women's Liberation group, and one mother had her
This was on television. We got a priest from New York, one
14 month old baby in her lap. The police came in, handcuffed
from Texas, and I think one from California, who said they
me, also handcuffed the mother, and claimed that by looking
would baptize the baby. Finally, Father Joe Ross, a friend of
at this that baby, who was a minor under 18, would be cor(continued on p.40)

Page 36

May, 1979


American Atheist

J. Michael Stracz

It's the
thing to do
Mort Sahl once commented that no
humorist could ever hope to match the
bizarreness of events that transpire in
the real world. And if that's true for
the world in general, then it's doubly
true for some of the ill-publicized eccentricities that take place in the religious community. Take, for instance,
the following, all of which took place
in the last two months:
In Bergamo, Italy, police raided a
Roman Catholic parsonage which had
been converted (you should pardon
the term) into a counterfeiting mint,
producing thousands of fake 50,000lire ($60) notes. The resident priest
and three others were arrested.
In San Francisco, the Reverend
John San-Maung was arrested for defrauding his parishioners of more than
$100,000. The reason? He needed the
money to feed his gambling habit.
In Middletown, Pennsylvania, a Roman Catholic Priest - Rev. Bernard
Pagano - was arrested and charged
with seven counts of armed robbery,
the result of a looting spree which,
over time, had earned him the title of
"The Gentleman Bandit."
And in San Diego - this writer's
home turf - a bizarre story has been
developing which absolutely defies
and, for that matter, actually transcends the imagination. So incredible
is it, in fact, with so many tragic and
inadvertantly comic elements to it,
that the remainder of this month's
column will be dedicated toward its
Our story concerns itself with one
Dennis L. Goodell, of 1639 Graywood
Street, El Cajon, California (a suburb
in San Diego County). The fuzzy-haired Goodell (frequently known simply
as "Brother Denny") is pastor of the
Evangel Center, located at 1386 East
Washington Street in the same town.
In addition to his regular services, he is
a television evangelist as well, with ser-



mons and other televised services
weekly on Channel 2
(cable), which supplies an estimated
audience of 250,000. He also operates a
Like many other such television
evangelists, Brother Denny had a lot to
complain about. Sometimes it was
economic difficulties, while at other
times it was the ever-present skepticism concerning the alleged cures, miracles and other healings regularly performed by Rev. Denny.
But then, on March 1, 1979, Brother Denny got something new to complain about.
On March Ist, the right Reverend
Dennis L. Goodell was arrested and
booked into county jail on eleven
counts of statutory rape, to one count
of which he later pleaded guilty.
I repeat: Eleven counts. Not one,
not five, not even ten. Eleven - Count
'Em - Eleven.
The charges relate to offenses that
took place from July of last year to
January of 1979. The victim was a 17year-old girl, who the media and
friends described as "attention-starved,
the product of a broken home," and
who had come to Goodell for counselling.
Yet even that, folks, is only Act
One. Just wait until you get a load of
Act Two!
At his arraignment, Goodell turned
out with a flock of his supporters. He
was cooperative, yes; but surly. God,
you see, had forgiven him, and Goodell could not understand why all the
media and the judge were bothering
him so. "When you do wrong and you
confess, then God forgives you."
In a somewhat more. surly tone of
voice, he then remarked, "Sure, I'm
guilty. But others are guilty of other
things." Then, turning to his congregation, he announced "I love my
people, and I love my church."
"And your people love you!" one
woman called out.
Now, there's just got to be a Freudian implication in there somewhere.
In any event, however, the fact remains that only 10.5% of his rather
sizeable congregation responded unfavorably to a church poll on their
attitudes toward Goodell. (Perhaps

May, 1979



that has something to do with the fact
·that the overwhelming majority of the
congregation are women who seem
strangely close to good 01' Brother
Denny. Oh , well.)
From there, things got even kinkier.
Confident that god did not want him
to begin a prison ministry, Goodell
urged his followers to write the
Probation Department, extolling his
virtues and protesting his treatment.
"Maybe we can even convert the
probation officer," Goodell added. He
then went on to speculate that his
problems were rooted in a Satanic
media conspiracy against his church.
"Some feel I was set up for this. I
am guilty of wrong," Goodell graciously admitted, "but this is also a way to
get at the ministry by attacking the
very person."
Later, when his ministry was temporarily stopped - and his position
filled by another - until the judge
made some kind of disposition on his
case, Goodell turned on the media.
"The press forced me out. They have
taken this and compared it to the
James Jones thing. They. say I basically formed a cult. But I haven't." He
stood firm on this point of personal
attack. "If the press had not got this
thing and run with it, I could still have
my church."
(Awwwwww. Poor brudda Denny,
his small pwoblems blown awl out of
propowtion by dat nasty 01' First Amendment-gwabbing
pwess. SHAME
on them!)
Part of the reason behind his feelings of mistreatment lay in his asser-.
tion that "Doctors do this sort of
thing all the time, and you don't hear
about them! Why, I've never seen a
preacher so exploited and persecuted
Then, in an act of self-righteous arrogance that would dwarf a planet,
Goodell actually had the pomposity to
"They're trying to crucify me just
like they did Jesus."
When the day arose for Municipal
Court Judge Donald W. Smith to make
some decision on this matter, Goodell
was righteously confident. "If it were
up to God, I'd go free," he said.

Page 37

Which is probably why his jaw hit
the' floor when the judge ordered him
to undergo a series of psychiatric tests
to determine if Goodell is a mentallydisordered sex offender. At the time
of that determination, a sentence will
finally be handed down.
Given his relatively clean record
and the fact that he managed to get by
with pleading guilty to only one count
of statutory rape, most of the wise
money in town is on either a suspend-

ed sentence or probation. In either
event, however, Goodell is relatively
unconcerned. Instead, he is looking toward the future.
"I may write a book about all this,"
Goodell said. In addition, he predicts
that he may decide to travel the country, taking his evangelism with him,
and attracting even larger crowds then
ever before.
There's just on small, potential obstacle to these plans that's got Brother

Denny a little concerned. Referring to
the media and people in general, he
"I'm afraid that the moment I become great, they'll take an article and
bring up the whole thing all over again. "
And Brother Denny, as long as publications like The American Atheist remain active and vigilant, you're damn
right on that count.
You're damn right.

F I NALLY; one case laid to rest!
The song says, "Love is where
you find it." and the same can be
said of state/church separation violations throughout government at
every level thereof.
Everywhere one turns, in the
great and the small parts of life and in this case, of death - there
are exhibited the inroads of church
into state, of religion into government.
When Richard F. O'Hair died
and the arrangements were made
for a tombstone, no one would
have dreamed that a state/church
.separation problem could have been
there involved.
But, it was - even after death,
religion can affect us.
It was in mid-March, '78, after
returning from the funeral (Richard
is buried in Arlington National
Cemetery) that the National Cemetery received our first complaint
about the tombstone.
After that, it was a long road
down the rabbit's trail until the
correct agency to be contacted was
uncovered. When that was accomplished, the fight and the waiting
The partial results of that exercise are apparent in this letter from
the Veterans' Administration. We
will be following up on the 'policy'
and possible change thereof mentioned in the last paragraph - and
our readers will be the first to know
what those results are. Hopefully,
we can have a prohibition of any
'free' religious symbols.
Madalyn Murray O'Hair

Page 38




D.C. 20420

APR 9 1979

IN •••••.. V

Mrs. Madalyn Murray O'Hair
President, American Atheists
2210"Hancock Drive
Austin, Texas 78756
Dear Mrs. O'Hair~
In your letter of May 29, 1978, to Mr. R. L. Collins, a member of my
staff, you asked the question "If the U.S. Government can cut into a
tombstone a religious symbol, but requires that an Atheist pay for the
cutting thereinto of a non-religious symbol, is the United States
Government involved in an impermissible (by the constitution) admixture
of church/state in that it provides the religious symbolism." You
requested that your letter be referred to a Government attorney.
We forwarded your letter to the Veterans Administration General Counsel.
The General Counsel has reviewed the Veterans Administration inscription
policy and determined that the payment for inscribing the atheist emblem
on your late husband's headstone at private expense cannot be legally
justi fied.
You will receive a check shortly for $16.50 to reimburse you for your
payment in that amount to Columbus Marble Works. I regret any inconvenience this matter may have caused you.
We are re-examining our policy relating to the inscription of symbols
and emblems on Government-furnished headstones and markers to detenaine
the revisions to be made.
Sincerely yours,

May, 1979

American Atheist




elaine stansfield

This month has been blessedly free from religious films,
but also appears to have been free of those other pictures I
seek which bravely take potshots at religion.
I therefore thought it opportune to plunge right into today's headlines with China Syndrome, because it is a must-see
picture; thoughtful, beautifully produced and written, a great
thriller-as Jane Fonda has so carefully labelled it on all the
talk shows-and, in the light of Harrisburg, prescient to an
inordinate degree for Hollywood, which usually lags far behind current news.
I can even relate it to Atheism! We wouldn't have to build
great power plants were it not for over-population, and we
wouldn't have over-population if the religionists weren't so
hell-bent for women to have babies rather than brains.
The role of Kimberly Wells, on the news team of a television network, is of interest from several points of view.
As in all her films, Jane Fonda allows us to see her character
grow. I personally feel Jane might interest me even reading
aloud the Bible, although that might be carrying admiration
a bit too far. In any case, her character in China Syndrome
makes it clear in the beginning that she was only too pappy
to be hired by the network for her beauty, and to do the
"lighter side" of the news.
It is unfortunate that Fonda is required to make several
scathing remarks about having to cover zoo animals' birthday parties, for we know Jane herself is as caring about our
fellow creatures on this earth as anyone, and aware that man's
damage to the environment hurts them even more than us.
Nevertheless, we learn it's hard enough for her just to learn
the TV business: she displays nervousness about her appearance, tension over keeping schedules, that hectic side of her
dual role in gathering, then "perforining" her segment of
the news.
When the story on the nuclear plant comes her way, she
wants it. It's bigger than anything she has done, and she
puts her whole self into it.
She hires a previous co-worker and friend who, she says,
is the best freelance photographer in the business-played
perfectly by Michael Douglas-to
accompany her to the
nuclear plant. They are shown through the installation by the
company public relations man, and it is a routine "Everything
is wonderful here" type of tour. Only near the end of it
does the PR man become suspicious of their knowledgable
As they stand in the glassed-off room above the control
room, there is what appears to be an earthquake tremor.
The camera then cuts between reaction shots to all those
in the booth, and those staffing the control room, headed by
Jack Lemmon. As they watch, a crisis obviously develops,
because the tremor shot one of the temperature gauges up
too high, and we see Lemmon sweating it out trying to decide what to do.


Although Douglas has been forbidden to photograph
there, he manages to set his smaller camera going at his side,
and catches it all. The manager then has them hustled out,
with many platitudes about the "routine" nature of the
event, and that "Everything is now completely under control." We know better.
On their return, Jane is incensed to learn that the network
officials will not allow the film to be run. The implication
is that the government got to the network very quickly.
She is now ready to fight for her story.
More than incensed, Douglas steals his film from the
film room, unwilling to take a chance, as he believes it might
be destroyed or simply disappear. The network bigwigs tell
Jane her job is on the line until that film is returned.
Now the whole cloak-and-dagger situation that follows
becomes plausible, as the station is pressured by high government officials interested in covering up any hint that anything
is wrong at the plant. Lemmon himself begins to track down
some of his own suspicions.
Watching Jane and Douglas doing some research, it suddenly hit me that here is a new danger. I went to my files
and found an appeal from the "Fund for Open Information
and Accountability" in New York. There is a portion in it
that reads:
"The more material the government is forced to turn
over under the Freedom of Information Act, the more we
uncover about the systematic pattern of clandestine and
illegal activities which has gone on for years against Americans working for peace and social justice or for any unpopular cause .....
Now the Freedom of Information Act is
under attack. Under its provisions the searching light of
public disclosure has been turned on the FBI, the CIA, and
other agencies, and they don't like it. Already certain materials are being destroyed and withheld which the Act forbids. The Act itself is in grave danger."
One gets that creepy feeling up and down the spine that
some of the research the scriptwriters did for China Syndrome
was _acquired from a Freedom of Information Act already
in jeopardy.
Jane goes to see Lemmon at the plant and drags some
incriminating information
about the construction of the
plant from him. Once he commits himself to give her information, and the officials suspect it, they are ready to
clobber him, too. There is a freeway chase that will have
you gripping your chair arms, not only because it is a good
chase, but because it's the full power of the monied-vested
interests and the government against one good man in anguish
about doing the right thing. "I love this plant," he says at one
point, "it's my whole life." And, thus he puts his life in
Although this particular plant is supposed to be in Southern

May, 1979

Austin, Texas


Page 39

California, the events could be the mirror-image of what
happened in Pennsylvania just after the release of this film.
In fact, there is one hell of a line in the movie when someone
says, "An explosion could wipe out and make permanently
uninhabitable an area the size of Pennsylvania."
The "China Syndrome" is the name given to the theory
that a nuclear plant explosion here could have repercussions
right through the earth and down to China.
Just as nobody has even the faintest idea what to do with
all the deadly atomic waste piling up everywhere in concrete
containers that are already leaking, though the stuff is doomed
to be radioactive for thousands of years, so doctors are also
unwilling to predict how much cancer will show up in 15
or 20 years as a result of the radiation expelled at Harrisburg's Three Mile Island. Or elsewhere. And there are many
elsewheres. The news is now out that many plants have suffered similar potentially explosive situations-they
happen but they almost did.
Watching people come out of the theater is educational.
Bemused, thoughtful, fearful expressions; not much chitchat. It's as if they had just found out something they never
knew before. The average person who doesn't like to speculate on such things, who doesn't even want to know, is
They say people never feel impelled to act on anything
until it actually affects their lives personally. It may well
be that this is one of the biggest matters to affect all of us
personally that has come along in some eons, for the picture
demands that we think about it and make our Congress
aware that we have done so, in order that the lumbering
governmental machinery-and who knows better than Atheists
how it lumbers!-might get into gear.


(continued fromp.36)

mine, did baptize the baby. They booted him out of the
Jesuit order. The church flew a black flag at half mast with
a huge sign saying, "We protest Bill Baird, Peddler of Death."
As a direct result of that, I was surrounded by police. I
was supposed to be stabbed to death.
Now in the libel-slander suit, the church has to prove I'm
the devil. But first they have to prove there is a devil. I predict
I will win my 2% million dollar lawsuit. I will use the money
to set up free abortion clinics, and I will name them the "Bill
Baird Catholic Free Abortion Clinics" - catholic with a small
"c" meaning universal.
These little tabs [referring to the display still held up] were
used in evidence by the police. This is the board the judge
said would make whores and prostitutes out of women. If
anyone is turned on by this raise your hand.
Do you know what this orange tube is? It's a catheter.
This used to be called the $300 abortion. The uterus has
a small opening called the cervical os. What abortionists- used
to do was push the tube inside, and leave it in for 20 to 40
hours. The uterus would contract, and often enough the
woman would abort.
However, a lot of times people didn't have that much
money. They'd take a plain piece of plastic tube, put copper
wire in it for stability, insert, then take a sanitary napkin
belt and anchor it with a safety pin. As the uterus contracts,
what can happen is that with the constant pressing, the tube
can pierce the wall and cause hemorrhaging. Or they'd forget
to boil it to make it sterile, and if she set up an infection
in the fallopian tubes, which are about one eighth of an
inch in diameter, she can become sterile.
Are you embarrassed? Ten years ago nobody' bought
kotex, right? It was sold in a brown wrapper. Did you ever

Page 40

A little information about said lumbering in my state of
California might be of some interest here. In March, our
Los Angeles Times printed several articles about China Syndrome, and to a T, each of the authors, in one way or another,
downplayed the severest dangers of nuclear energy. Could
there by any connection between aforementioned moniedvested interests pressured by or pressuring government and
the major Southern California newspaper?
The writers of the film, Mike Gray, T.S. Cook, and James
Bridges (who also directed) say they first thought of writing
the script almost seven years ago, and their decision was
only intensified by the pressures put on investigative reporters
by the power companies who do, of course, stand to lose
billions in any plant shut-down.
Gray instances a PBS documentary made by Don Widener
called Plutonium: Element of Risk which was yanked from
scheduling; and a film he later made called Powers That Be
which was aired once by KNBC. Pacific Gas and Electric
sued the network for lies about their plant.
Widener filed a counter-suit that PG&E had illegally been
responsible for thus effectively keeping the stations from
running his film again when everything in it was true and
could be documented. After seven years of litigation, the
suit was eventually settled out of court for $470,000 to
Widener. However, the film was never shown again on television, Widener's contract was not renewed, and he has not
worked in network TV since. He claims this is a new and
interesting kind of blacklisting.
The last word came from Michael Douglas, who also produced China Syndrome. He said, "In Hollywood, I think the
First Amendment operates as long as you are into profits."

May, 1979

see a man go in to buy prophylactics? Did you see Summer
of '42? The incredible hangups we have!
The real hangup is that women should be driven to take
a douche bag, fill it with lysol, and force it in the uterus!
Or bleach! Or turpentine! How many times have I seen a
high school student who took a bar of soap, sharpened it,
and forced it in the uterus? In a matter of a few hours the
caustic properties of the soap could kill her. And so on.
All these things on this board are killers. If you use a
syringe wrong and force air into a major blood vessel, you're
dead where you stand. And how many times have I seen
a girl who had stood against a wall, and her husband or lover
punched them in the stomach to cause them to abort? How
many women threw themselves down a flight of stairs?
How many paid for an abortion they never got beyond
the pill to relax them, and then got sexually abused, but
didn't dare complain because they'd be arrested for seeking
an illegal abortion?
So, when you hear good people, and there may be some
in this room, call these people "Pro-Life," do you know
what that does to the dignity of a woman? Abortion has
saved the lives of women, but people get defensive and instead of seeing abortion as a positive thing, a freedom, they
talk of killing

American Atheist









By Ignatz Sahula-Dycke

"THE MESSAGE, resting in rubble deposited
millions of years ago, lay waiting, unheeded, until
the day when I, an artist, Ralph Hensley, chanced
upon it while sitting at my easel painting the kaleidoscopic splendor of a Southwestern canyon. The
immediate consequences of this occurrence spanned six months during which the message - inscribed on seven stone tablets - revealed an important bit of life's most tantalizing mystery. It
also triggered events, observations and discourses,
all briefly reported here and finally postulating by
whom, how, when, and where the Earth's earliest
human occupants were created.
"It is a story giving the reader challenging
material to speculate about long after turning the
last page. But how much of this report anyone is
henceforth to believe or disbelieve is a matter of
inclination and opinion.
"For those who are intent on probing scientifically the puzzle of mankind's existence, there
avails a vast backlog of material substantiating
all except the fantastic allegations recounted here
for the first time."

Ignatz Sahula-Dycke, nationally known designer, teacher, art director, illustrator, and regular
columnist for the AMERICAN ATHEIST magazine,
has authored this intriguing novel about man's
origins from an Atheist perspective certain to leave
its readers with far-reachinq afterthoughts.
This hardback book measures 5lh x 8~ inches
on the outside, but its interior stretches across the
vastness of our solar system as a long-lost sister
planet of our Earth is revealed to be the origin of
that intelligent aspect of the human animal which
keeps us ever-searching and ceaselessly reflecting
on our past and its effect in forming our present.
This entrancing tale of mankind's interplanetary
route to his present home is offered to our members and subscribers for $4.00


redress of grievances .• AMENDMENT

I • Congress shall make






















The liberation













mind is best

by merry fellows who throw dead cats

into sanctuaries


of the human

and then go roistering down the

of the




to all, that

all, is safe; that the god in the

sanctuary is a fraud.






H. L. Mencken