AmericanAtheist

articles
"Every Knee Shall Bow"

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Dr. Madalyn Murray O'Hair
MANAGING EDITOR
Jon Garth Murray
GENERAL EDITOR
Frank Duffy
ART DIRECTOR
Joe Kirby
NON-RESIDENTIAL STAFF
Ignatz Sahula-Oycke
G_ Richard Bozarth
Wells Culver
J. Michael Straczynski
Elaine Stansfield
Bill Baird
Gerald Tholen
Angeline Bennett

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
rate:
$20 per year.
Manuscripts submitted must be typed,
double-spaced and accompanied
by a stamped, self-addressed envelope. The editors assume no
responsibility
for unsolicited
manuscripts.

Austin, Texas

9

The Federal Censorship Commission

14

Clearing The Airwaves Of Bibliolatry

16

The Cross & The Eye - Religion In The Media

20

Ben Franklin - Chronology of a Famous Deist

39

features
Editorial - Religion & The Media

2

Our Readers' Opinions

4

Atheist News
Mangus Mangles Campus Crusaders

5

Religious Arsonist Destroys Abortion Clinic

6

Better Business Bureau Flunks Quacks

6

This Month's "Miracle":

7

Potato Rot In N.J.

Off With The Yoke Of Religious Dogma

8

Atheists In The U.S. Military

8

AA Film Review - Religious Censorship

27

AA Book Review - The Zionist Connection

40

our cover:
Quietly, like a thief in the night, religion has taken up the use
of the furthermost outreach of science and technology - the orbiting
space satellite - to instantly invade eve-ry home in America, and
elsewhere in the world, to suck up every dollar, yen, mark, rupee
and pound for the greater glory of mental serfdom.
Last year the income of religion in the United States was conservatively estimated at near $50 billion, of which 73 percent was
provided by city, county, state and federal grants and tax exemptions, the other $27 billion coming from ordinary "contributions."
Religion vacuums it up - leaving nothing but broken hopes and
empty promises. It is time to jettison the carpetbaggers. The technique may be new, but the scam operation is a very old one. This
entire issue of the AMERICAN ATHEIST magazine is dedicated to
exposing this holy fraud.

April 1979

Page 1

BY JON GARTH MURRAY

RELIGION & THE MEDIA
"Freedom
of speech" is a concept taught early in life to
almost every American.
We hear about it in school, listen of
struggles to retain it on radio and television, and our parents
tell us that it is good. In fact, I think it would be easily said
that the general consensus of Americans would say that "freedom of speech"
is a good thing, something
that everyone
should have for his or her own. Going further most would say
that it was one of the cornerstones
of the founding of our nation, a part of the basic philosophy of our founding fathers.
This valuable commodity
is often spoken of in another
way. That is, with the familiar phrase "Everyone has a right to
his/her own opinion," or "This is a free country."
To this notion I give a hardy round of applause.
I quite
agree that this should be the case in our country and that our
founders intended
it to be that way. I am also aware, however, that there is a concerned
effort abroad in the land to
limit the scope of influence that one's "opinion"
has unless
it remains within the confines of a pre-established
spectrum.
What is acceptable is governed by the boundaries of the spectrum which are defined by common consent among those who
govern the means of dissemination
of opinion. Your "opinion"
on any subject is your own, and rightly so, as long as you do
not attempt to broadcast it to others in an effort to establish
some solidarity
among those who share that opinion.
On
your own you are limited to an insignificant
number of persons with whom you cohabit or cowork or with whom you
have social or business acquaintances.
With the aid of the
media (radio, television,
newspaper
or magazine)
on the
other hand you can reach very impressive sections of the population.
It is at the point in which you desire to reach these
significant
numbers of persons with your opinion that the
restrictions
of that pre-established
spectrum
of allowable expression steps in.
Who establishes this spectrum and of what does it consist?
The establishment
part is easy.
You establish the spectrum
yourself by your complacency.
That's right. You accept the
definitions of what is right and what is wrong which are placed
before you by those in political, legal, social and other leadership roles without question.
For example, you would not
hesitate for a moment to say that murder is wrong, but when
the state does it (capital punishment)
it's okay.
In the same
way you accept that certain four-letter words for body functions should not be used in public. When someone uses the
unacceptable
word you admonish him. If he uses the accepted
word you say nothing at all.
What the spectrum consists of is a set of subjects that may
not be dealt with openly or in some cases not even at all.
Some of those are: sexual conduct, minority political views,
speaking favorably of activities which are against the law, and
religion. The latter is the most important
one. If any of the

Page 2

April 1979

v

untouchable
topics appear you must either very carefully talk
about them by using acceptable
topics to move them about
like a scientist may handle uranium with mechanical arms, or
avoid them all together.
Religion is like that to a far greater
degree than the rest.
Religion is considered
sacred and can
therefore not be spoken of like football or auto mechanics.
Compounding
the problem of dealing with the topic of
religion is that those who control the media, from the standpoint of administration
and ownership,
are almost solidly of
the Judeo-Christian
camp.
That is, those persons who fully
accept the Christian scheme of salvation and the authenticity
of the mythical characters attendant to that scheme.
How then can an Atheist partake of the "freedom
of
speech" concept in this country above the level of personal
interaction?
(S)he can't.
Not unless they are willing to use
the media within the media's rules. That is what the leadership of this organization
has been attempting
to do for years
- speak about the unspeakable,
religion, within the rules laid
down by the media and still be effective in broadcasting
the
viable alternative of Atheism.
The public is largely unaware of this censorship for two
reasons:
one, most people never have an occasion to participate in the mass media; two, the only thing that is ever
seen or heard or read by the public is that which has already
been censored.
If you are given only censored material you
cannot tell it apart from that which is uncensored.
There are
some things, however, that are obvious enough to provide
some clues to what is going on in the media today.
These
take the form' of various techniques
of censorship
which
are made to appear as though they are "fair."
The most widely used is the technique
of presenting an
unacceptable
opinion as a novelty item. An opinion is aired
simply to show that it does not fit.
Example:
Everyone
loves the clown at a circus. Why? Because he is doing what
is not acceptable
under normal circumstances.
He is doing
. things that are not necessarily
wrong but things that you
would never think of doing outside of that context.
In the
same manner guests with rninoritv opinions are placed on talk
shows as novelty items.
They are "funny"
because they do
and say things that those in the majority
of the audience
would not do or say. They are exhibited as a curiosity, something out of place. The audience or the master of ceremonies
often tries to find out what makes them that way, that is not
like the bulk of the audience.
This is too often conducted
in
a cruel atmosphere
like children taunting
a classmate who is
usually tall or fat.
In short, their opinion is taken far less
seriously.
A variation of this technique
is to focus on the personality of the individual who maintains
a certain opinion rather
than the opinion itself.
What the persons' background,
edu-

American

Atheist

cation, lifestyle, habits, etc., are becomes more important than
the opinion they hold which is their real distinguishing
mark.
Another
technique
is the watering down of a person's
opinion by the addition of many others of conflicting nature.
Opinions that are expressed over and over again in various settings are brought in on the occasion when a much less heard
opinion is aired. Example:
An Atheist spokesperson
comes to
a particular location with the dissemination
of the alternative
of Atheism in mind. Opponents
of that view, who happen to
be in the majority, show up demanding equal time. They have
a constant
forum for their opinion year round, unopposed.
Still thew feel they must take up the allotted time of the Atheist in a one-time-in-a-year
opportunity
at airing an alternative.
What starts out as a one-hour program for the presentation
of
Atheism
turns into a quarter-hour
for Atheism and threequarters of an hour for religion.
Fairness in broadcasting
should consist of an equal opportunity for all opinions.
It seems, however, that some are more
equal than others.
In place of permitting
each opinion to be
expressed with the audience viewing each, the opinions are
mixed so that neither gets a proper airing.
The most widely used technique
of all is the presentation
of what is average, in terms of public participation,
as novelty
or comedy with the treating of that which is below average
seriously.
Example:
All in the Family is a far more accurate
description
of an average American
household
than The
Waltons. Or the Peanuts cartoon strip depicts how children
behave to a far closer degree than Dear Abby deals with
questions about behavior.
The important
thing about this technique
is that what
is below average is projected
as the desirable
by the mere
fact that it is taken seriously.
The media projects an image,
like a slide on a screen, of the "perfect"
American, that is,
one who does not deal with those subjects that are taboo. The
Waltons never talk about abortion, but Maude does. The cornedy goes into those things that the average American talks of
and thinks of and argues about.
The non-comedy
does not.
The non-comedy
portrays the image of what the "perfect"
American should be, rather than is.
This same technique is also used widely in another setting:
the Bible. In the Bible an image of the "perfect Christian" is
presented.
Only that image is taken seriously.
The image that
is the personification
of natural tendency is not taken seriouslv. It is treated as evil. This projection of the perfect Christian in the Bible has nothing to do with what the average person is actually like. It is that to which it is hoped the average
person will conform in the future.

Austin,

Texas

Just like the Bible the media projects an image of what is
hoped for rather than what is. I like "what is" better, don't
you?
'
What happens then when someone spills the beans and announces to everyone that what they are laughing at is what
they are? The system of constant projection
of a false ideal
fails to produce the desired emulation
of that ideal and desire
to reach it. That which is emulated is unreal and that which
is laughed at is real. The media system is backward.
Just like
the Bible.
If you see something over and over again you feel that you
are not normal unless you are like what you see, when in actuality you are doing well if you don't fit the image.
The
image is what is not normal.
As Atheists,
our point is that the projection
of what
others desire that you should be or could be is not important.
It is what you are and what you should or could do
within the boundaries of what you are.
We urge you to investigate
all opinions
but especially
those that are laughed at.
From these opinions form your
own, tempered
by your own common sense. In order to do
that you need a full menu of images each presented equally.
This brings us right back to freedom of speech or the freedom
to enlarge that menu.
In order for those enlargements
to be treated seriously
we must break the projected image of what is desired and present what is, so that we can pick what we desire on an individual basis. An open forum of ideas and opinions is the basis
for a rational society.
There is no place for religion as special
in such a forum.
We are capable of picking what is good for ourselves. We
need only have a wide-open selection from which to choose.

April 1979

II

Page 3

LETTERS
An Atheist's Letter To JC
Dear President Carter,
The god of our mottoes, a fact or a
myth?
"One nation under god" is to define
democracy as a blasphemous government and for the people to rule a trespassagainst the rights of god to govern.
"In god we trust" is to define a
government of the people as absurd
and ridiculous. It is stating that the
people are not trustworthy and without the intelligence to reason or
govern themselves.
If the god of our mottoes is a fact,
then democracy and the freedom of
the people to be self-governing is
a myth.
If democracy and the freedom of
the people to be self-governing is a fact
then the god of our mottoes is a myth.
Erline Litterell
Oklahoma
Update:

Bruce Hunter Appeal

Dear Editor,
This ex-teacher who fought [Dec.
'78 issue, p. 5] for so long - a losing
battle so far - for Atheist rights in his
community is much encouraged by the
number of fellow Atheists standing up
to be counted. My appeal fund has
grown by about $400 thanks to the notice run in the American Atheist. Your
reader/contributors
have my deepest
thanks.
And I greatly appreciate the Center's
providing the valuable services of its
hard-working attorney, Paul Funderburk. Paul's resourcefulness and knowledge of state-church issues will greatly
enhance our chances of winning this
suit before the Fifth Circuit Court of
Appeals.
Further donations to help us raise
the projected $1,500 out-of-pocket expenses will be gratefully received, and
should be sent to:
Dick Nelson, Trustee
Bruce Hunter Appeal Fund
7417 Alto Caro
Dallas, TX 75248
Enclosed is my personal check to
help the Center keep up the fight
against religious tyranny. I look forward to sharing experiences and ideas
with all who can come to the Dallas
convention in April!
Bruce Hunter
Texas

Page 4

Male Abortion

Decrees 'Infuriating'

Dear Editor,
I just reread Atheist Gary Neale's anti-abortion letter [Jan. '79 issue, p. 26]
and was infuriated all over again.
Recently, when actor John Wayne had an operation, he made the basic assumption that his body was his own property. He didn't have to check with Califano to
see if it was immoral. He and his doctors decided that his life was threatened and
living tissue (meeting all the criteria set forth by Neale) must be killed to save his
life. This is a right that anti-abortionists would deny the women of this country.
I consider it peculiarly suspect that human males (through male doctors and
clergy) have decreed that life begins at conception which, for all practical purposes, is the moment the penis withdraws from the vagina and the male can disclaim further responsibility, while, nevertheless, reserving to himself the "right"
to regulate the remaining reproductive process.
Mr. Neale assumes that women must be entirely responsible for contraception
even though conception normally requires an act by two. Perhaps we should assume that men have forfeited the right to treatment for veneral disease since it
could be prevented by using a condom or refraining from sexual intercourse. I
contend that no women should be denied an abortion if her sexual partner failed
to use a contraceptive. If he doesn't "vote," he has no right to complain about
the consequences.
Carolyn Szymanski
Texas
On The Road With P. Wojtyla
Dear Editor,
Pope Wojtyla's visit to Latin America has my blood boiling! Here he has the
audacity, while in Santo Domingo, to call that land, that island, "The land of
Christopher Columbus." Then that duplicity-dealing necromancer proceeds to call
the Catholic Church "the protector of the weak, natives of this land," etc. Could
anything be further from the truth? It is only fitting, I suppose, that today's head
of the Catholic Church is still eulogizing Christopher Columbus - opportunist,
thief, spreader of smallpox and veneral disease, murderer. Fitting also that Pope
Wojtyla's first address in the New World was where the scourge of a "civilized,"
Christian nation first enslaved the Indian (it is said over one million died in Hispanola alone) ...
I suppose it is no coincidence that over half of all Catholics are in Central and
South America, and that is also where overpopulation is most rampant. For more
gold in this world and souls in the next, the Catholic Church would have us sacrifice all quality of life in this (the only) world.
Robert Cardwell
Texas

Nonsense - Political & Religious
Dear Editor,
I agree with Frank Duffy's opinion [Feb. issue, p. 35] that the best news of
1978 was the announcement that we were going to have normal relations with
China. For many years my generation was solemnly told that Formosa was China ...
Miami was Cuba ... Palestine was Israel, etc. In fact, there were a few times when
the political nonsense we received almost surpassed the religious absurdities. I also
think that some of the Chinese writers could tell us some pretty good stories
concerning their suffering and problems with the religious looneys and I hope they
will be given a chance to do so in your magazine. However, I hope that you won't
get sloppy over Jimmy Carter because he finally happened to do one thing that
made sense.
As for the "Old Dragon" and the SALT Talks [Feb. issue, p. 7], well, I was
glad to hear that it was a "this dance only" situation. She needs to keep in mind
that those Russian leaders are just about as big a bunch of bastards as ours are.
John B. Denson
Florida

April 1979

American

Atheist

~NEWS
Mangus Mangles
Campus Crusaders
* $1,300 to the Oakland Community College Christian Fellowship Association (Protestant);
* $800 to the Newman Association
(Roman Catholic); and
* $700 to the Jewish Students Association.
Robert Mangus
Many of you have personally met
Bob Mangus, both in the Michigan
Chapter of American Atheists and at
the Eighth Annual National Convention
of American Atheists held in San
Francisco in April of 1978.
Conforming to the outer appearance of many Atheists, Bob is wellgroomed, quietly attired, soft-spoken
- he reflects his business profession.
But his inner convictions run deep and
in action he is relentless.
Bob first contacted the American
Atheist Center with "a problem"
about a Michigan community college
in late 1977. Given legal counseling
and every support in his effort, he began his long stand-up-to-them journey, alone, and he has by and large
continued the fight in that mode
since.
The problem manifesting itself in
Oakland Community College, Farmington Hills, Michigan, is repeated
across the nation on hundreds of campuses. Tax-supported community colleges, state universities, city colleges
and universities give both money and
rent-free use of facilities, over and
over again, to campus religious groups.
In this case the student government
had approved grants from student activities funds, collected administratively by the college, to three campus religious groups:

These funds were for the school calendar year of Sept. '77 to June, '78.
Meeting facilities were arranged free
and campus bulletin boards as well as
campus distribution processes were
utilized to stimulate student interest.
After his verbal protestations were
ignored, his first written complaint
was directed to the president of the
student government on 15 Feb. '78,
in which he raised the question of the
eligibility of any and all religious
groups for either public facilities or
funding.
As is often the case, he was ignored.
We discussed the matter at
the American Atheist Convention and
encouraged Bob to not let the matter
drop. Perseverence is often the tool
of success.
As soon as the fall term began Mangus was at it again. This time his
written protest (15 Sept. '78) was
addressed to the chairman of the
board of trustees of the college and
his "request" was more specific that the board examine its policy of
permitting the religious organizations,
under the auspices of the student
government, access to and use of campus facilities and student fund money.
At this time, however, Bob had
access to a July '78 New Jersey Supreme Court ruling (Resnick us. E.
Brunswick
Tuisp., 389 A2d 944)
which had stopped similar practices in
that state.
A reply was quickly at hand. The
board had met on the question during
the summer and sought the opinion of

counsel. Three conclusions had been
reached:
1) The college had the right to impose a mandatory student activities fee
and the use of the funds collected was
within the discretion of the board
through its administrative processes
subject only to restrictions against
infringement of constitutional rights;
2) College facilities could be used
by religious organizations "for religious
services," discussions, etc.;
3) Mandatory student activities fees
could not be used to fund student religious organizations and funds which
were to have been disbursed to religious
organizations had been put in an escrow account on 11 May '78.
It was the opinion of the board that
budget requests as set forth in the proposed budget for 1978-79 could not
be approved as violative of the First
Amendment.
It was a good, partial victory and
Bob recognized it as such. By 22 Sept.
'78 he was at it again, this time noting
that the free use of facilities for "religious services" would be a continuing violation.
On 8 November, the trustees' attorney contacted Bob trying to make
the case that student religious organizations were not controlled by the
legal decisions or were not a violation
of state-church separation principle,
since the school fostering them was
creating a "benevolent
neutrality"
situation.
The battle wasn't over. The board
met on 14 Dec. and, with a student
speaking for the religious organizations, two of the trustees moved that
the escrow money be released to the
religious groups.
The motion was
carried 4-3 while acknowledging that
the board was, in doing this, acting
against legal advice.

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 to admit it.

Austin,

April 1979

Texas

1/

Page 5

NEWS
After the winter holidays Bob was
back to the board again, on 1 Feb. '79,
asking it to reconsider its actions.
The student newspaper, The Highland Voice, immediately came out
with an editorial in support of the
trustees' position and the college president opined, "They (the religious
groups) receive funds from the student activities fee, but it's college money -just like tuition."
He hoped for
a settlement out of court.
Meanwhile, Bob hopefully went
to the ACLU to ask for help to fight
what he called "religious fascism."
Again, the trustees met, this time
on 15 February '79, and refused to cut
funding, immediately opting for a
pledge not to continue the practice
next year. During 1979 the subsidy
and the use of facilities will continue
until June.
Again, the board noted it was acting
against the advice of its own attorneys
who said the funding violated the doctrine of separation of state and church
ordered by the First Amendment to
the Constitution of the United States.
Mangus would have preferred to
have the matter settled in court because the board may at any time in the
future vote to continue the matter.
A fallout of Mangus' efforts was a
decision on 5 Feb. by Bay City's
(Mich.) Delta College to eliminate
funding for the college's religious
clubs. At that school such funding had
been allocated from general funding
and the school's attorney recommen.ded it be discontinued because of its
violation of state-church separation.
Again the student editor of The
Highland Voice demanded the money
for religion and the student activities
allocation board director said the
attorney's decision was being "appealed" to the school administration.
The field of battle which Bob Mangus has entered is a wide one. Across
the length and breadth of the land
large state universities, as well as community colleges, give office space and
large meeting accomodations to religious organizations.
Bill Bright's Christian Campus Crusade for Christ invades all upper
education campuses and last year
it claimed a budget of $30 million.
It is often sponsored or supported
by student activities boards and facilitated by campus communications and
the colleges' administrations.
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes
is notorious for the strong-arm techniques which it uses.
Bob Mangus needs to be commen-

Page 6

ded and supported for his continuing,
long and solo struggle with one of this
monster's many tentacles.
Bob, we are beside you. Keep monitoring the situation because the religious and their supporters will use
any wiley trick in their mission to
subvert the Constitution.

Arsonist Destroys
NY Abortion Clinic
Bill Baird: ••..~~
Catholic
Responsible

Chur~

On Friday, 16 February, the campaign of violence by religious zealots
against women reached a new low as
Bill Baird's abortion clinic in Hempstead, Long Island (N.Y.) was burnt to
the ground when a man barged into
the clinic with a lighted torch and a
can of gasoline.
The next day, standing in the charred, cold, wet building from which 50
patients, counselors, nurses and doctors had escaped unhurt, Baird charged
the fire was the responsibility of the
Roman Catholic Church and antiabortion organizations such as Right
to Life, because they use such emotionarousing terms as "murderers" and
"baby killers" in their denunciations
of his and other clinics offering abortion services.
"I hold them responsible for what
happened here yesterday," said Baird,
the pioneer abortion advocate who
opened the clinic 12 years ago.
"What can you expect? This kind
of thing is bound to happen and I am
calling on them to stop using the rhetoric which calls us murderers and baby
killers, which I believe are the sorts of
hateful words which cause just this
kind of thing."
In May of 1978 Baird won an important decision in a Massachusetts
court which ruled unconstitutional a
1974 state law prohibiting
women
under the age of 18 from obtaining
legal abortions without the consent
of both parents or a judge.
The Massachusetts state attorney
general appealed the decision in the
case (Baird us Bellotti) and the U.S.
Supreme Court heard arguments in the
matter in early March.
Baird said that he had received calls
from supporters "all over the country,"
who were so angry about the fire that
they said they wanted to retaliate

April 1979

v

by firebombing the Right to Life headquarters or even a Roman Catholic
church, but that he had counseled
against that.
Baird promised that the clinic,
which treats mostly young, low-income
women, would reopen as soon as possible, and that he expected to have resources to give pregnancy tests by the
following week in the empty offices
next door to the burnt-out clinic, which
he had temporarily rented.
A suspect was arrested and some
employees of the abortion clinic said
they had seen the man, Peter Burkin,
21, marching outside the clinic with a
group of pickets a few weeks before
the fire.
Concerned American Atheists who
wish to contribute to the clinic's rebuilding fund may do so care of:
Parents' Aid Society
107 Main Street
Hempstead, NY 11550

BBB
FLUNKS
QUACKS
The Christian Broadcasting Network and numerous other sellers of
superstition have failed to meet the
standards of the Council of Better
Business Bureaus.
Among other practices, The CBN
along with Billy Graham's Evangelistic
Association and Sun Myung Moon's
Unification Church have failed to "disclose upon request information about
the decision-making structure" of their
tax-free empires.
The council also cited organizations
which failed to "disclose to any inquirer, upon request, current information about activities, finances, voting
trusteeship and accomplishments."
Among those holy hucksters noted
for this practice are: the Cathedral
of Tomorrow/Rex Humbard Foundation; Children of God; Operation
PUSH (People United to Save Humanity); the Oral Roberts Evangelistic
Association; United Jewish Appeal;
Universal Life Church; and The Way
International.
Those religious businesses that
were defined as having failed to "provide upon request an annual, externally audited financial statement and
the auditor's report" included the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, the
Christian Broadcasting Network, Inter-

American Atheist

NEWS
national Society for Krishna Consciousness (Hare Krishna), Jesus to the Communist World/Christian Mission to the
Communist World, Maryknoll Fathers
of Catholic Foreign Mission Society of
America, and the Unification Church.
The Charlotte-based PTL Television
Network, according to the BBB council,
did not "ensure that compensated
board members do not exceed 20 percent of those voting in any decision of
the voting trusteeship" or "employ
generally accepted accounting principles and reporting practices."
The Synan on Foundation
and
Underground Evangelism were noted
for not meeting the standard involving
compensated board members.
Youth for Christ International was
cited for failing to "avoid business
transactions in which board members,
staff or their family have a financial
interest. "

Beggar
of the
Airwaves
Baby-faced Jim Bakker of the PTL
Television Network milks millions of
dollars from his multitude of TV
viewers around the nation, yet the
Charotte, N.C. based god-guy has
merited a scathing editorial from the
largest newspaper in his hometown.
The Charlotte Observer in its 21
January lead editorial claimed that
Bakker "time and time again has
misled viewers and supporters of the
TV religious ministry about money."
The Observer cites as proof:

* Bakker sent PTL supporters a letter saying he and his wife "are giving
every penny of our life savings to
PTL." Less than a month later Bakker
spent $6,000 as a down payment on a

houseboat.
* At almost the same time that
Bakker fired 60 PTL employees explaining, "It was either let people go
or go bankrupt," the PTL board saw
fit to raise Bakker's salary $300 a
week to $52,000 a year. (PTL pays
his cutie-pie wife Tammy Faye a salary of $20,800 a year.)
* Bakker the "man of god" claims
that his show, a religious version of the
Johnny Carson Show, has 20 million
viewers. The major TV ratings services, Arbitron and Nielsen, say the
PTL Club has no more than 1.3 million.
Bakker's schemes to squeeze more
money from his viewers includes paranoic claims that Atheists are out to get
him in hopes that his fundamentalist
audience will rally with contributions.
The Charlotte Observer concluded
by likening Bakker to "a beggar pretending to be blind, he exaggerates his
need in an effort to add urgency to his
appeal for money."

Potato Rot in N.J.
Miracles are the "proof" conjured
up by religionists to feed their subliminal yearning for an all-powerful god
who, despite his omnipotence, is at the
beckon call of his superstitious creators.
The discoverer of the "miracle"
attempts to attribute natural phenomena to unnatural causes so as to justify
a belief in the absurd.
In 'this column you have read of
unearthly apparitions ranging from a
tortilla with Christ-like scorch marks
in the U.S. southwest, to a spot of mold
in the Soviet Union resembling the face
of a dead grandson of the miracle's
conjurer.
Miracles are where you find them,
and this month's Sacred Sham comes to
you from miracle-rich New Jersey
where an entrenched Roman Catholic
Church tolerates and actually uses
such superstitions so as to better keep
the shivers in the spines of its flock.
One morning earlier this year in
Trenton, N.J., Stella Knapzak began
her duties as cook at Murphy's variety
store in the same way she has for the
past 16 years - by slicing meats and
vegetables for the day's entrees.

Austin, Texas

While cutting up spuds for her
potato salad Stella came upon her
Claim to Famet a potato with some
rot in it.
.
"I opened the potato and I couldn't
believe it," she said. "There, on either
side of the potato is a cross."
"I got shook. I went to the counter
and showed the help and the customers.
I showed everybody. Then, with my
potato in my hand I went out into the
snow and I went into Thrift Drugs and
into Dunhams. Everybody I showed it
to touched it and made a wish on it.

April 1979

"I can't believe it, I can't believe
it," Stella babbled. "I mean, I could
have cut the potato the other way.
And I kept thinking, why me, lord?
What are you trying to tell me? I got
[sic] crying. I felt like god was trying
to tell me something. Like he is
with me."
People she showed the specious spud
to urged her to call a priest. "Father
Tom from Holy Cross said 'That's
great!' when I called him. He wants to
see my potato."
Rumors abound that Father Tom
has plans to market a line of "Amazing
Taters" available in either french-fried
or mashed variety to go along with his
parish's "Sacred Sausage" line which
is a big seller in Trenton's many bingo
casinos and polka parlors.
Stella meanwhile has her potato
halves swaddled in Saran Wrap and is
often seen wearing the Sacred Spuds
as earrings which quiver and bounce
along with Stella as she polkas across
the dance floor of The Immaculate
Deception, a recently opened disco
joint owned in partnership by Stella
and Father Tom.

Page 7

A 3-Gun Salute to The Rocky Mountain News
Finally, a major newspaper in the United States has permitted a column to appear in its pages which has been authored by an American Atheist.
We could hardly believe our eyes when we opened the envelope from Dale Woodcock, our Colorado chapter director.
Without fanfare (as usual) Dale had managed it first and then quietly informed us of his success. There it was, a fourcolumn top of the page spread in the 2 March 1979 edition of Denver's Rocky Mountain News. We have written a commendation which is on its way to that newspaper and we reproduce here the article as it appeared in that daily.

---Off with yoke of religious dogma
By DALE WOODCOCK
President Colorado American Atheists
The recent article in the Rocky
Mountain News concerning the World
Day of Prayer to be held today, was
amusing. Women from 169 countries
will be placing their childish dependency on divine intervention by various mythological gods and goddesses.
After Friday we can all sit back and
watch the troubles of the world disappear.
Christians become hostile when told
such activities are ignorant. They do
not like to be told there is no Santa
Claus for adults, and that such beliefs
are irrational and senseless because
they actually have nothing to do with
reality.
All religions are man-made
superstitions with absolutely no basis
for being believed.
Religion is the
world's biggest con game. Prayer is
getting on your knees and talking to
yourself.
If these women would take a close
look at religion they would see that
Judeo-Christian tradition is the oldest
and most entrenched enemy of women
striving for full human dignity and personhood. The most concerted foe of
the women's movement has always
been the Christian clergy, and it has
been the biblical, especially the Paul-

~

ine, texts which have been used continually as the bludgeon to beat women back into their traditional place.
The Old Testament is everywhere full
of contempt for women and the New
Testament increased that hostility.
Wherever Christianity has gone it has
taken along its ferocious anti-feminism.
Every form of religion which has
breathed upon this earth has degraded
women. The history of Christianity
proves it has been one of the worst
offenders.
For millennia women in
Christendom were trained to suppress all their thoughts, personality
traits, and desires and to be in complete subservience to men. Free action, free speech, and free thought all
were denied to women. Everywhere
the right to subdue women by force
was upheld by the church. Organized
religion preached from the pulpit the
right of men to beat their wives, and
the wives' obligation to kiss the rod
that beat them. Christianity deliberately sanctioned violence against women. Far hundreds of years it was debated whether woman even had a soul;
the sixth century Council of Macon
finally granted, by a majority of one
vote, that woman had a soul.
The full extent of organized Christianity's animosity
toward women
came out in the witch hunts. Women

ATHEISTS in the

Service Record Books as Atheists.
Atheist-of-the-Year
for 1978 Michael Dean Hagen, a Navy corpsman stationed in in Washington
state, demanded that his religious
preference be listed as "American
Atheist"
rather than the usual
"no preference."
His demand was
met [see Jan. '78 issue, p. 10] and
thus the door was opened for persons in all other branches of the
armed forces to make the same
demands of their superiors.
We are pleased to report that the
new Air Force Form 445, "Declar-

D ~:~t~!,~!~~~,r!heiSU
D
D
D
win small victories which the Atheist
community
often fails to learn
about and appreciate
for some
time,
For example, during the past
few years a number of Atheists in
the active U.S. military along with
others in reserve and National
Guard units have been attempting
to gain official recognition on their

April 1979

Page 8

v

•••

were blamed for everything. In 1437
and 1445 Pope Eugene IV issued bulls
commanding punishment for witches
who caused bad weather.
In 1484
the bull "Summis Desiderantes," by
Pope Innocent VIII, started a wave of
torturing and killing in which many
thousands perished. Similar bulls were
issued by Julius II and Adrian VI. Under the Spanish Inquisition, as many as
100 witches might be burned in a day.
This auto-da-te, as it was called, took
on the character of a carnival, with the
selling of food, souvenirs, rosaries and
holy relics.
Favorite target of the
witch hunters were epileptics.
Every phase of the fight against women's rights is based in theology and is
being waged with the full political
power of organized religion. Witness
the all-out attack by the Catholic and
Mormon churches against abortion
rights and the E.R.A. The churches
have fantastic power to implement
their doctrines.
Regrettably, these
teachings and doctrines are out of the
dark ages. There can be no meaningful civil rights for women until there
is, first, absolute separation of government and religion in America, and this
will not occur until women unite and
throw off the symbol of slavery, the
yoke of religious dogma and oppression.

ation of Religious Denomination or
Change Thereto," contains an expanded list of nearly 150 choices,
including Air Force Classification
No. 75, "Atheist."
In addition, members can still
select "No Preference," "Unknown"
specify some other group or merely
state that they do not want their
religion recorded.
These "small victories" are hardwon and solitary, but the ripples
from such initial Atheist action are
the cause of later victories which
benefit us all.

American Atheist

by Madalyn Murray O'Heir

EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW
Never
underestimate the power of
an idea - even an irrational one.
The religionists are, everywhere and
at all times, using the most modern
technology to push toward their goals,
the major one of which is for world
domination: "Every knee shall bow."
Romans 14:11, Phil. 2:10.
It was in that spirit that a number
of religious leaders began to recognize
the importance of utilizing a new mass
media communicator which was just
being introduced to our nation in the
mid-1940's, immediately after the close
of World War II: television. They met,
with broad interreligious support,
hoping to put their muscle on some
centralized communications organization to finance religious outreach.
This influential section of the administrative leadership of the United
States, institutionalized religion, wanted to use the developing mass media
to communicate the goals and objectives of organized religion beyond
those persons who voluntarily associated with churches and churchrelated groups. Concerned as they
always are with who they designate as
the "unchurched," they perceived the
need to reach ALL people with their
message, whether or not those people
desired to be reached.
If the citizens of the United States
could not be influenced to attend
church through the ordinary outreach
of the church, organized religion
planned to penetrate into the homes
of Americans whether viewers and listeners desired this or not.
It must be remembered that organized religion has never been able to
capture the loyalties of even 50 percent of our population for church-

Austin, Texas

Religion
Muscles In
On Global
Mass Media
affiliation or church attendance as
long as we have been a nation. The
highest percentage of church attendance was induced by terror in the
early 1950's when McCarthyism was
let loose upon our land. The religionists perceive this problem of nonchurch-attendance/church-affiliation
to be a grave one.
The big target was the Advertising
Council of America. If this powerful
group would endorse the idea of "free"
religious advertising as. a "public service," annual advertising campaigns
could be planned.
. The Federal Communications
Commission had already bowed to the
demands making it mandatory for all
radio and television services to include
religious events and services in programming in order to obtain or to retain their license to broadcast. For

April 1979

this, five percent of all their time was
required to be given to religion - free
of charge.
As early as 1943, a newspaper
journalist was hired by the national
headquarters of the Episcopal Church
to develop its national fund-raising efforts. He recognized the value of a
coordinated national appeal for funds
on behalf of all the religious groups
and organized an interlocking network of fundraisers and media persons
in all the church groups, which were
then affiliated with the Federal Council of Churches.
The head of the world's largest advertising agency was also an Episcopalian, and, over lunch one day, he
was approached to help. It was in
this way that the J. Walter Thompson
Company began producing - free a kit of advertising materials for
the new religious media-awareness
network.
Meanwhile, the United Church Canvass, as it was named, tried a blitz
campaign in Portalnd, Maine, as a
demonstration of the use of mass
media material: tape recordings for
radio, video clips for television, paper
matte advertisements for newspapers.
It worked out so well that the man in
charge of that prototype campaign
was chosen to head up the national effort.
The Advertising Council of America
had been founded in 1942 as the coordinator of the advertising industry's efforts in public service advertising - remember Smokey the Bear
... stopping forest fires? If the religious U.C.C. (United Church Canvass)
could persuade this council the widest
possible advertising industry outreach

Page 9

would be theirs. But the council's
policies did not permit it to endorse
an interreligious fund-raising campaign
which it did not perceive as a public
service.
But, with persistence - no, with
dogged determination - the U.C.C.
went to its task until it conceived the
idea of promoting religion generally such as encouraging worship attendance, with the expectation that increased income to the churches
would come from increased church attendance - be a by-product of it, so
to speak.
Religious sloganeering became a
part of mass media life: "Attend the
church of your choice." The subtle
inducement was not that obvious but
as the idea grew it was an imperative,
"Worship this week in the church of
your choice," and finally a command,
"Worship this week."
Troubled homes were told that
"The family that prays together,
stays together." The slick slogans became a part of American life:

God is hope.
Live your faith.
Practice what you pray.
And now a word from our Creator.
The church organizations are most
astute at reaching into high echelons
of business and government. A former president of the General Electric
Co. became the liaison as chairman of
the lay (but media) sponsors of the
U.C.C. while he was the chairman of
the Ad Council's "Industry Advisory
Council."
The final group was' founded in
1949. Although the lower echelons
or religious American are riddled with
hatred and animosities, the upper
echelons worked hand in glove.
"Religion in American Life, Inc." 's
board of directors sounded like an
ecumenical fair. Today it includes
representatives from the Roman CathIic Church, the Hebrew Congregations,
the United Methodists, Lutheran
Church, the First Church of Christ
Scientist, the Episcopal Church, the
Conference of Rabbis, the Seventhday Adventists, the Salvation Army,
the United Presbyterian Church, the

African Methodists, the Episcopalians,
the Southern Baptists, the Greek
Orthodox Church, etc.
Even while they, each, teach their
communicates one to hate the other
and rival with them, at the top they
work together since they know that
what helps one religion helps all religions and all irrational thought.
In 1949, the Federal Council of
Churches reorganized into the National
Council of Churches, and as RIAL
(Religion In American Life, Inc.)
was born the U.C.C. disappeared in
the National Council of Churches.
RIAL became an independent interreligious agency representing Catholic,
Jewish, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant interests in an annual national
campaign conducted by the Advertising Council.
The government helped. All advertising, by any corporation in the
United States, is a tax-deductible business expense. The plan is grand; the
bill is yours.
State, church and business were
united together to bring you to your
knees to worship one god - or another:
such as state, or General Electric.
The volunteer advertising agency, J.
Walter Thompson, had a coveted tax
write-off and in 1964 it moved, under the guidance of RIAL, Inc., to
expand the yearly campaigns' efforts
to emphasize and include "the social
concerns" of religion.
Therefore, the campaigns from 1965
forward' expanded on the religious
ideas and expounded that the JudeoChristian faith was not only for the
home and weekly worship but that the
ethnic (and largely insane) values of
"faith" be extended into one's daily
life, at work, at home and in the community.
The logical outcome was a full
blown Anita Bryant attempting to
force her interpretations of Christian.
morality on everyone.
So also the apparent defeat of the
Equal Rights Amendment is the logical
extension of Judeo-Christianity into
political action. The fire-bombing of
abortion clinics [news, page 6] is
another.
The Advertising Council
relentlessly packages and sells the
biblical themes of Faith (that the

EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW
Page 10

April 1979

the religious shall conquer the world),
Hope (that all opposition can be
squelched), and Love (of religious
power and dominance).
Through the manipulation of tax
exemptions and "public service" semantics the major, established religious
organizations currently are obtaining,
through RIAL and the Advertising
Council alone, about $30 million in
space and time "contributed"
each
year through coercion against the media.
The big-business religions receive
billions of impressions on radio and
television, thousands of lines of newspaper advertising in thousands of
newspapers, space in consumer magazines ranging up to double spreads in
such publications as Newsweek,
Reader's Digest, and Sports Illustrated,
and positions in thousands of prominent locations contributed by transit
advertising companies.
In the 1979 campaign, "Find yourself - with people who worship," the
Socratic "Know thyself" is perverted
and the slick brochures alter the striped
red/white/blue of "Old Glory" to reflect the Star of David and the Cross
of Christianity.
As the measured actor's image and
voice speaks of church day-care nurseries, church hospitals, and church
counseling services, it neglects to add
that each and every one, administered
by religious sects, is financed by federal, state, county and city funding.
No outline is ever given of the federal HEW (Health, Education & Welfare) dollars spent to support those
services, or the HUD (Housing & Urban Development) funds used to build
them, or the SEC (Security & Exchange Commission) money poured
into bonds which pay interest with
federal dollars, the FHA (Federal
Housing Authority) is never thanked
for financing and the taxpayer-citizen
who bears the brunt of it all is ignored
as religion and the churches are built
into heroes.
No newspaper, no magazine, no
radio station, no television station, no
media owner nor any politician anywhere in the United States has ever
even analyzed, much less criticized
this massive tax-supported, organized
effort to intrude into our homes with
a blatant attempt at cultural conditioning and brainwashing. Not one entity,
individual, agency or organization has
ever protested.
We forget history. We do not learn.

American Atheist

Often, we pay no attention.
Vatican II met in several sessions,
11 October to 28 December 1962, and
from 29 September to 4 December
1963. The media was on the mind of
this powerful religion. The "communications document," only one in a
series of documents covering a magnitude of subjects, was issued on 4 Dec.
1963, having been passed by a vote of
1,960 to 164. It was titled "Decree on
the Instruments of Social Communication."
It holds the answer as to why, in
1964, the Advertising Council moved
to enlarge the yearly campaigns in the
United States to include the "social
concerns" of religion.
The decree states:
"The Catholic Church has been
commissioned by the Lord Christ to
bring salvation to every man, and is
consequently bound to proclaim the
gospel. Hence she judges it part of her
duty to proclaim the gospel. Hence
she judges it part of her duty to preach
the news of redemption with the aid
of the instruments of social communication, and to instruct mankind as well
in their worthy use.
"Therefore the Church claims as a
birthright the use and possession of all
instruments of this kind [italics added
- ed.] which are necessary or useful
for the formation of Christians and for
every activity undertaken on behalf of
man's salvation."
The Protestants and the Jews are
fast learners. They understand that
the rat which gets there first gets the
cheese, and that the struggle is first to
convince everyone of a god and then
to try, each cult, each sect, to capture
the biggest piece of cheese.
The media was careful NEVER to
print any of the Decree, but the Protestants were, as were the Atheists,
able to obtain copies which held the
design principle of the great plan. Organized religion in the United States,
abundantly financed, favored by big
business, and made sacrosanct by
government, could easily begin the
operant conditioning of our citizens.
American Atheists, struggling
against the consortium of powers,
were as "the voice of the turtle abroad
in the land" Song 2: 12.
The language was bold - that "civil
authority is bound by special duties,"
one of which is that "This authority
should foster religion ... " This was so
imperative that it was noted, "This
goal should be achieved by enactment
of laws and their energetic enforcement," and that "The freedom of indi-

Austin,

viduals and groups is not at all infringed
upon by such watchful care ... "
A pontifical "Commission for Social
Communications Media" came into being so that these instruments would be
utilized effectively for "the will of
God."
The Protestant groups were heartily
behind the idea as the National Council of Churches had already issued
(8 June 1963) a pronouncement
adopted by its General Board that, " If
Christianity is to be a determining factor in shaping the future of mankind ...
steps should be taken locally, nationally, and internationally to inaugurate a
vigorous Christian witness through television and radio to bring the ideals
and precepts embodied in Christianity
to all men."

Religion
in tlie

After a two-year power struggle between laymen and bishopric control
of the Roman Catholic radio and television networks, in 1968 the control
of the Roman Catholic mass media
was safely in the hands of that church.
In their area of concern, such programming had never been out from under
direct control of the Protestants and
Jews.
What the public sees is often only
the surface - for the religious groups
produce (technical) quality children's
programs to beam into the religious
school systems, for church groups
across the country, for presentations,
seminars, video lectures, closed circuit
and private reception networks, and
for video packaging and cassette processing.
But, by 1972, what was public were
175 religious series in syndication on
the major commercial networks, the
statistics being compiled by the Broadcast Institute of North America. In
guises and disguises, contained in animated cartoons, in adult dramas, in

April 1979

Texas

v

sermons, discussions, interviews, musical programs, documentaries, holiday
specials, dramatic anthologies - the
variety is endless.
An example is the unknown "Radio
Bible Class" operating out of a postal
box in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which
has had 35 or more years of continuous
radio broadcasting and could boast of
352 separate weekly programs, on 257
stations in 166 cities of 48 states of
the United States, missing only Wyoming and New Hampshire on "Bible
teaching" alone, matched by weekly
186 television programs in that many
cities in 44 states.
A 10-minute "devotional program
of music and meditation" is "narrated"
daily on 89 stations and that many
cities in 36 states. The outreach is not
alone to the Bible Belt, but includes
"progressive" Wisconsin as well as New
York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois,
Michigan and New Jersey - hardly
backwater states. It takes a 32-page
brochure to list call letters, channels,
days and times for this single religious
outreach. Who among you know the
"teachers" - Richard deHaan and Paul
Van Gorder?
Who has ever heard of John E.
Douglas Sr.? Yet he has 208 daily
missionary broadcasts in that many
cities in 43 states.
It is otherwise with Oral Roberts
and Billy Graham and the other big
names. But the institutional religions
are in there, too. The "Lutheran
Hour" was budgeted at $21,4million
for purchase of air time domestically
in 1972-73, in addition to its free
public service time.
The Southern Baptists' Radio-TV
Commission in the same period had
3,000 outlets in all 50 states.
In New York City alone, the New
York Archdiocese of the Roman
Catholic Church sponsors nine radio
and six television programs on a typical Sunday - noting that this report
does not list "other involvements of
other Catholic groups in the metropolitan area of New York."
It is difficult to acquire it but, a
compiled list of "Radio and Television
Stations Controlled by Christians" was
issued in 1972 by the Christian Broadcasters group, showing 278 such stations including a 710,000-watt Roman
Catholic station, KXLU of Los Angeles; a 500,000 watter, WSGM out of
Stanton, Virginia; a 310,000-watt fundamentalist station, KGFO, out of a
Boone, Iowa, biblical college; a
250,000 watter, XERF in Del Rio,
Texas; KGFM, a 120,000 watter out
of Edmonde, Washington; a 115,000

Page 11

L
EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW
watter, WMUZ out of Detroit, Michigan; two 110,000 watters including
WDCX out of Buffalo, New York, and
KXKX, a theological seminary in San
Frandlsco; and two 100,000 watters,
Oral Roberts University's KORU in
Tulsa, Oklahoma, and KHOF of Los
Angeles.
Another dozen or more stations
ranging from 45,000 to 96,000 watts
include: WMOO in Mobile, Alabama;
KCIB in Fresno, California; KEBR in
Sacramento, California; KBBW in San
Diego, California; KEAR and KFAX
in San Francisco, California; WGNB
in St. Petersburg, Florida; WMBI in
Chicago, Illinois; KTFC in Sioux City,
Iowa; WBFG in Detroit, Michigan;
WFCJ of Miamisburg, Ohio; WEEC of
Springfield, Ohio; KPDG in Portland,
Oregon; WPEL in Montrose, Pennsylvania; KCTA of Corpus Christi, Texas;
and WXRI of Norfolk, Virginia.
The "medium" ones range from
40,000 to 10,000 watts with a dozen
of the latter, five of which were 20,000
watts and half a dozen over 30,000
watts.
It is folly to presume that the FCC
has not been fully aware of the magnitude of the intrusion of religion into
the mass media. That commission, indeed, promulgates rules and regulations
to assist religion wherever it can. In
1964, at open hearings on program requirements, all religions were represented and especially the powerful
United Churches of Christ, the United
Presbyterian Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the National Council
of Churches, all of which urged the
FCC to "suggest" that stations expand
time for religious programs and permit
them to move out of the Sunday slots
to more satisfactory (for them) week
days and evening slots when audiences
were larger.
In 1977, the FCC finally came under some industry attack as more and
more television and radio stations desired to charge for all religious air time,
even if at a reduced, preferential price
scale for religion.
The precipitant was Moody Bible
Institute's application for construction
permits to build FM stations in the
educational band in East Moline, Illinois, and in Boynton Beach, Florida.
The 20 FM channels are reserved

Page 12

6ttt The real goal

for educational, non-profit, noncommercial applicants. Ordinarily a religious institution could not qualify
unless it operated a school in the area
where the station was planned to be
built. The powerful Moody Bible Institute did not have such a school.
The commission granted the application, fearful as it was of a deluge of
religious comments being unleashed
upon it if it did not, and religion began its intrusion into the educational
band.
In order to permit all religious stations where heretofore it had not done
so, a new ruling promulgated considered the "market area" instead of the
individual station. Where formerly each
station needed to satisfy the FCC that
certain categories of program content
were included, now a "market area,"
such as a city, was defined and in this
a certain percentage of stations could
devote themselves exclusively to religion. The order caused them to
mushroom.
Beginning in 1970, the American
Atheist Center had demanded to know
how many such stations were religionowned, as distinguished from religiondominated-in executive or administrative personnel. The FCC has adamantly refused to release such information from its files.
Currently requests have been made
to NASA to uncover how many religious organizations use the NASA satellite free of charge. In 1975, NASA announced that "qualified communications agencies" could use the satellite
free of charge on an experimental basis.
Immediately the International
Christian Broadcasters started to plan
its broadcasts which link 50 churches
to cable TV systems in the West Indies
and South America. The project began in 1977.
The religious transmitter is in Rosman, North Carolina and the TV signal
extends from the southern U.S. to
the north of South America, including
the Caribbean Sea. The signal is then
fed into rural community centers, TV
stations for rebroadcasting or to existing cable TV systems in both Spanish
and English.
ICB speaks "in obedience to Christ's
great commission" given to it for

April 1979

iI

0 teach

"missionary endeavors," and the United States government's National Aeronautics and Space Administration furnishes the speaking tools with tax dollars.
Meanwhile, an industry organization, the National Association of
Broadcasters, seeking some uniformity
and broadcast levels as a means of selfregulation and in order to maintain
high programming and advertising standards, issued a radio and television
"Code of Good Practices" on 1 March
1952 which in practice precludes any
criticism of religion. This code reads:
VIII. Religious Programs
1. It is the responsibility of a television broadcaster to make available to the community appropriate opportunity for religious
presentations.
2. Telecasting which reaches men
of all creeds simultaneously
should avoid attacks upon reliion.
3. Religious programs should be
presented respectfully and accurately and without prejudice or
ridicule.
4. Religious programs should be
presented by responsible individuals, groups and organizations.
5. Religious programs should place
emphasis on broad religious
truths, excluding the presentation of controversial or partisan
views not di rectly or necessarily
related to religion or morality.
6. In the allocation of time for telecasts of religious programs the
television station should use its
best efforts to apportion such
time fairly among the representative faith groups of its community.
The entire package subjects freedom of conscience to the rule of the
majority, that majority being, meanwhile, educated to accept the JudeoChristian religion.
Over 400 television stations and all
three television networks subscribe to
this method of self-regulation and attempt to confine programming within
the reaches of the code, which is a
determinant concerned with "what is
right, proper and in good taste."

American Atheist

r

religion is to gain complete dominance and control"
What is "right, proper and in good
taste" was evidenced on 10 April 1972
when the National Association of
Broadcasters presented its "distinguished service award" to Billy
Graham, who responded with a clarion
call to the entire broadcasting industry
to "spearhead" a moral and spiritual
renaissance.
The 700 Club, the PTL Club and
the CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) are but linear developments
from the basis laid by the FCC [see G.
R. Bozarth's column, p. 14], i.e.,
the government of the United States,
business advertisers working through
the National Advertising Council, the
mass media cooperating through the
National Association of Broadcasters,
the mainline church organizations, in
concert, planning through RIAL, and
the apathy of the ordinary U.S. citizen.
It is probably a low projected figure

that a billion dollars' worth of advertising is utilized each year by the
churches, church and religious organizations, and religious hucksters to
convince each and all that this is a
nation "under god."
In 1978, the American Atheist
Center's budget for such advertising
was approximately $4,500. This is
comparable to confronting a MIRV
nuclear missile with a toothpick.
Atheists eschew miracles, but in the
confrontation of the religious supersell and the stubborn Yankee mind is
a miracle:
"Over 50 percent of our nation admantly refuses to go to church. "
They cannot be coaxed, convinced,
cajoled, threatened, frightened, bemused or beguiled into church attendance.
They are, however, given the bill
for other persons' superstition indul-

gences .
. Religion in the United States, and
this is incredible, still is used for mass
control. Industry and government
believe that religious institutions can
present them with docile workers or
servile citizens. Religion in a coy
manner supports this contention without revealing, except to scholars
in theology, that the real goal of each
religion is to gain complete dominance and control in a theocracy "his kingdom on earth" - with a
particular dominant brand, sect, or
cult, in power.
Each cult believes IT is that coming
ascendant power, be it Mormon, Baptist, Roman Catholic, or Born Again.
And, it is the basic irrationality of
that idea which ultimately defeats
them. But, surely, American Atheism
lends a hand ... or that toothpick.

•••

"Jeez! ... I was only kidding when I said the new FCC
commissioner was going to be Madalyn Murray O'Heir."

Austin,

April 1979

Texas

v

Page 13

Religion
in tlie

G. Richard Bozarth

the
Federal
Censorship
Commission
The

Federal Communications Commission was created to
meet the unique challenge to free speech made first by radio,
than later also by television. The challenge was, and still is,
how to preserve freedom of speech in a medium that by its
very nature forbids unlimited access. Only so many frequencies can be used in a given region to insure reception of all
without interference.'
This means that only so many radio and TV stations can
be permitted to operate in a given area. Of course, advancing
technology keeps increasing the number. For instance, when
technology opened up the FM frequencies, radio stations experienced a population boom. Cable is creating a similar increase in TV stations. Still, unlike the printed word, the broadcast word is a medium requiring regulation.
Regulation of freedom of speech is about as un-American
as a state religion. Yet, the limited number of frequencies
available requires regulation. The task of regulating access to
the frequencies while preserving freedom of speech was given
to the FCC. Naturally, it did not take long for the Communications Commission to become a Censorship Commission.
Not that they didn't try to preserve freedom of speech.
To prevent licensees from giving one candidate for public office an unfair amount of time, the famous "Equal Opportunity" requirement was enacted. This gives a candidate the right'
to an equal amount of airtime given to his or her opponent.
What about ideas; issues rather than people? Clearly, all
viewpoints require airtime if anything like freedom of speech
is to be preserved, Realizing this, the FCC created the "Fairness Doctrine," which "deals with the broader question of affording reasonable opportunity for the presentation of contrasting viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance." (Puble Notice FCC 64-611, "Applicability of the
Fairness Doctrine in the Handling of Controversial Issues of
Public Importance.")

Page 14

April 1979

v

Sounds great, doesn't it?
It is one big giant catch-22 that has been, and still is, effectively used to censor viewpoints of, among many others,
Atheists.
In 1946, Robert Harold Scott, an Atheist, filed a complaint with the FCC, accusing three California radio stations of
denying him fair opportunity to state his atheistic viewpoints
in rebuttal to the religious viewpoints abundantly aired. The
Commission's response, the Scott decision, sang eloquently of
the beauties of freedom of speech, and how Athiests had every
right to airtime. Then they showed their true colors by ending with: "Every idea does not rise to the dignity of a 'public
controversy,' and every organization, regardless of membership or the seriousness of its purposes, is not per se entitled
to time on the air."
Though Scott won the right for Atheism to be given airtime,
the licensees were given the FCC's blessing to never broadcast
an atheistic word while pumping out all the religious glop they
desired. The FCC used the "public controversy" cop-out to refuse to do anything to insure Atheists would be able to exercise their rights, thereby rendering the law meaningless.
This doctrine was repeated by the FCC in their 1965
Murray decision. Our Madalyn had challenged several Honolulu stations for denying her reasonable opportunity to counter the flood of religious slop being broadcast. The licensees
challenged responded "that 'freethought' is not a sufficiently
controversial issue of public importance in their respective
service areas to warrant presentation over their facilities."
Would an FCC licensee lie? The FCC doesn't believe so.
Accepting at face value the Honolulu licensees' claims, the
Commission concluded their Murray decision by saying "that
the licensees have acted reasonably and in good faith" in applying the fairness doctrine, and denied Madalyn's petition.
Logic informs us that if Atheism is not a controversial
viewpoint worthy of airtime, then the viewpoint it controverts (religion) is not worthy of airtime. If licensees are not required to give airtime to Atheism, then neither should they
be required to give religion airtime.
Is any Atheist that naive? I hope not.
From day one, the FCC has been in the business of establishing religion on the ail'. The FCC views radio and TV
stations not as commercial operations, but as public service
operations. Each licensee is ideally supposed to present a
program format that meets the taste, needs, and desires of
all substantial groups of the listening public of each particular licensee. (This is nonsense, of course. Radio and TV
stations are in it for the money, and whatever program format brings in the good green is the one the listeners and viewers will get.)
The theory is a nice one, though, and it allows the FCC to
establish broad, flexible guidelines advising licensees and applicants what goals they shoud try to meet in their programming. The FCC (and its predecessor the Federal Radio Commission) have been fond of promulgating what categories of
program content they feel meets the needs of the public. A

American Atheist

set of categories has been issued in 1927, 1929, and in 1960.
In each set, religion was listed a s program requirement.
(Cited in "Religious Liberty and Broadcasting" by former
FCC Commissioner Lee Loevinger, The George Washington
Law Review, March 1965)
Just how these categories (by 1960 they had grown from
six to 14) are put into actual practice is left up to the licensee, who is supposed to make a survey of his or her broadcast region to determine what sort of programming best suits
the local public he or she is supposed to "serve." How often
does the average radio or TV station give the public Cat. 7
(programs for children), or Cat. 9 (agricultural programs),
or Cat. ~ (the development and use of local talent), or Cat.
6 (public affairs programs), or Cat. 1 (opportunity for local
self-expression)? These categories are either ignored outright,
or so superficially presented they are blatantly only token observance of what the FCC calls "public service." And the FCC
does nothing.
That is, nothing until it deals with precious Category 4:
religion. When it comes to religion, the FCC throws the First
Amendment out the window. As Loevinger informs us, "decisions of the Commission have demonstrated that inclusion
of a significant percentage of religious programming is a practical necessity for applicants and licensees."
As if that isn't enough, the FCC has taken upon itself
the task of censoring religous programs. Loevinger reveals that
"the Commission has awarded a preference to some applicants in comparative proceedings on the basis of its analysis
of the content of their proposed religious programs. Similarly,
the Commission has imposed a demerit against some applicants in comparative proceedings because of a lack or 'weakness" in religious programming." (What constitutes a "weakness,' you ask? For one, not providing sufficient FREE airtime to religion!)
Do other FCC Commissioners back Loevinger up? It's
hard to get honesty out of a bureaucrat, but in times of great
pressure, they sometimes give clear, honest answers as a last
resort. After stating in the famous Scott decision that Atheism
deserves airtime as much as religion (that is, would deserve
it if it was a "controversial issue of public interest"),lhe FCC
came under heavy fire from religionists all over the country.
To calm the outrage, these bureaucrats actually resorted to
honesty.
Letter of 18 August 48 from FCC Chairman Wayne Coy
to Edward H. Heffron, president, Religious Radio Association: The FCC "has never stated or indicated that Atheists or
persons of similar views are entitled to radio time upon request to answer or reply to the various religious broadcasts
which may be carried by a radio station."
Commissioner George F. Sterling, speaking to the First
Radio Parish Church of America (15 April 51): "I am glad to
say the Commission has always looked with favor upon religious broadcasting."
Commissioner Paul A. Walker, speaking to the 165th
General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. (30
May 53): "I am sure that everyone would agree that a licensee who devotes no time to religious programming could hardly be said to be serving the interests of the public." This was
the opening statement of a boast about how the FCC had bullied some television stations to include religion in their programming by threatening not to renew their licenses. He brags
that they all surrendered.
Warren F. Baker, General Counsel of the FCC, speaking
to the Convention of the National Religious Broadcasters (30
Jan. 57), refers to the above incident, then brags proudly that
"since that time, I understand, few if any stations have come
in asking for renewal where they did not show at least some
religious programming."

Austin, Texas

So, we see how the Federal Communications Commision
has become the Federal Censorship Commission. Under the
aegis of "public service," the FCC has aggressively sought to
establish religion within its sphere of authority over radio and
television. At the same time, by defining religion as NOT a
controversial issue of public interest, the FCC has successively
given licensees the means to keep Atheism (and minority
sects as well) off the air.
The result is that when American Atheists have sought
airtime to express our viewpoint, we received replies like:
WCBS to S.O.S., Inc. (26 Mar. 71): "We do not believe
that the fairness doctrine requires us to make time available
to your organization as a result of other religious programs
broadcast on WCBS."
KODI to S.O.S., Inc. (23 Mar. 71): "Our Washington
counsel advises that religion is not a controversial issue per se
... we just don't feel it is necessary to make time available
even for sale."
WTIC to S.O.S., Inc. (27 Oct. 71): "It is our judgment
that at the present time the broadcast of programs presenting
the Atheist point of view would not serve the needs and interests of our area."
KVPI to S.O.S., Inc. (7 Dec. 71): "I have been advised,
that religion is not considered controversial and therefore, is
not subject to the rules set forth in the fairness doctrine."
WMCS to S.O.S., Inc. (7 Dec. 71): "We hold atheistic
preachments to be NOT 'in the public interest, convenience
or necessity.' So help us, god!"
Starr Broadcasting Group, Inc., to S.O.S., Inc. (4 April
71): After agreeing to receive a sample tape of the American
Atheist Radio Series, it is stated that if "your program is
atheistic in nature and destructive of the American concept of
religion, I will not broadcast the program. Our coinage says,
'In God We Trust,' [NOTE: all Atheists who think our suit
against this obscene slogan is a waste of timet] and in fact our
country has been built on a belief in god. If necessary, we will
remove our religious programming prior to progr-amming anything that would attempt to destroy American religion."
Religion does not want Atheism on radio or TV. It cannot survive open competition with our ideas, and as it always has done since the beginning, it relies on censorship to
save itself. In this it has been powerfully and actively aided by
the FCC, a federal agency that has a history of un-American
activity that begins with its establishment in 1934.
But this is still America, and the battered, but holding,
First Amendment still means something. As much as the religionists desire it, the FCC cannot make a ruling that flatly
prohibits the broadcasting of Atheism. It can only create a
devious means to achieve the same ends, and hope its accomplice, religion, can pressure stations to use this means to keep
Atheism off the air.
It is not a perfect "means of censorship. Among all the
thousands of radio and TV stations, there are many who will
sell American Atheists airtime, and even a few who will give
it to us free. These licensees are to be applauded for their
courage and fairness. But what a travesty of all that America
was meant to be at her founding!
As long as the Federal Communications Commission actively works to force radio and TV to broadcast religion, we
Atheists must fight it. As long as the concepts of "public service" and the "Fairness Doctrine" exist as tools to establish
religion while denying Atheism airtime, we Atheists must
fight them. We cannot surrender our right to free speech on
radio and TV and allow religion to take over both. In the last
quarter of the 20th century, that would be to surrender totally.

April

~I

1979

Page 15

ACTION
ATHEIST __
W

American Atheists may at times feel like powerless
strangers in this land where half of all Protestants, and a third
of all Americans, call themselves "born again," and in which
religious fundamentalism now has millions of dollars' worth of
media power. However, our culture - its zeitgeist - includes,
here and there, rational humanistic values which can give us
surprising leverage. Free speech, for example, is the basis of
the Federal Communications Commission's Fairness Doctrine.
It requires that radio broadcasters provide a "reasonable opportunity" for the expressison of "contrasting views on controversial issues of public importance."
WPJC ("We Praise Jesus Christ"), is a conservative fundamentalist radio station in southeastern North Carolina, perhaps the buckle of the infamous Bible Belt. WPJC had a practice of cutting off callers to its weekly phone-in program
"Speak Out for Jesus" if any of them had the temerity to disagree with the primitive theological doctrine constantly
promulgated by the station. This prompted a friend and I to
write to the station manager, who had been warned that the
FCC might be contacted about Fairness Doctrine violations.
Despite having declared on the air that he would quit before allowing Atheists on WPJC, the station manager provided
free weekly airtime which we have used for atheistic talks.
Anyone person may use WPJC's "dissenting opinion" time only
once every six weeks, however.
It was the warning alone, made by someone else who
signed our first letter along with my friend and I, that got
results. It was still worthwhile to write, if only to watch a
fanatical announcer make the as yet unfulfilled threat to sue
us for emotional damage caused by our calm, legalistic letter. Since this first letter, my friend (David Young) and I
have written again in protest of WPJC's six-week limit, among
other things.
My being an Atheist was enough of a novelty to get me a
debate on local television with a minister a few years ago. In
the case of WPJC, our success is the result of a clear working
understanding of the values and principles behind the Fairness Doctrine, and of some knowledge of past FCC cases. It
took research, for which David largely deserves credit, to prepare our letters and to gain this understanding and knowledge.
It was worth all the effort. Because of our continued letter writing, WPJC, whose owner recently came from another
city to discuss our concerns with us, still senses that we have
determined and legitimate complaints.
We Atheists CAN "fight back" - if only we take advantage of what social, ideological, legal and paralegal protections
and privileges we have.
[Editor - The first letter these North Carolina Atheists
wrote to the management of WPJC presented their complaints
backed up with legal citations to alert the station's management
to the reality that they were dealing with informed citizens
who knew the law and were willing and able to see that those
laws were not violated] :
WPJC-FM
Burgaw, NC
Gentlemen,
We have noticed that WPJC permits the use of its facili-

Page 16

April 1979

v

CLEARING
THE AIRWAVES
O_F _BI_BL_IO_L_AT_R_Y
JAMES COLEY
& DAVID YOUNG

ties for direct statements and arguments against Atheism, as
well as for indirect arguments, such as prayers, Bible readings,
gospel music, and other kinds of religious programs. Indeed,
after some months of monitoring WPJC, it appears that your
programming is devoted entirely to the propagation of one religious viewpoint; namely, that of fundamentalist Christianity.
We believe that this programming policy does not fulfill your
responsibility to serve the public interest. We refer you to the
6th volume of the FCC Reports, 1st edition, page 178 (6 FCC
178).
For example, when persons holding views opposed to fundamentalist Christianity have attempted to voice those views
on your weekly telephone interview program "Speak Out for
Jesus," they have consistently been cut off the air. The policy
of your station in this matter was made quite clear by the
moderator of "Speak Out for Jesus," Danny Marshburn, at
12:40 a.m., on 5 February 1978:
"If you want to praise the lord, then you can get on
the air. If you want to argue about god's word, ifit'« right
or wrong, then we just ain't gonna allow it. "
This policy is contrary to FCC rulings regarding "phone-in"
programs (see 22 FCC 2nd 459, 460) and is in violation of
the Fairness Doctrine (see 48 FCC 2nd 1).
By the emphasis you place on points of view related to
and constituting fundamentalist Christianity (e.g., the existence of god), you clearly regard them as issues of public
importance and recognize the controversy surrounding them.
However, you have failed to afford a reasonable opportunity
for the presentation of contrasting views on these issues. Accordingly, we believe that WPJC is in violation of the Federal
Communications
Commissions's Fairness Doctrine, which
states, in essence, that a reasonable opportunity be provided
for contrasting views on controversial issues of public importance. In order to balance your programming, we hereby request that WPJC make an effort to present views opposed to
the existence of god.
We do not make this request lightly. We feel that WPJC
has trampled upon the cherished American right of freedom of
speech. We agree with the FCC in that:
"Freedom of religious belief necessarily carries with it
freedom to disbelieve, and freedom of speech means freedom to express disbeliefs as well as beliefs. If freedom of
speech is to have meaning, it cannot be predicated on the
mere popularity or public acceptance of the ideas sought
to be advanced. It must be extended as readily to ideas
which we disapprove or abhor as to ideas which we approve. Moreover, freedom of speech can be as effectively
denied by denying access to the public means of making
expression effective - whether public streets, parks,
meeting halls, or the radio - as by legal restraints or punishments of the speaker." (11 FCC 374)
We feel that we have sufficient justifications for our request. We hope that it will not be necessary to file a complaint with the FCC, but are fully prepared to do so if it

American

Atheist

••

does become necessary.
Please inform us in writing of what efforts WPJC will
make to present more balanced programming. If you have difficulty in locating programs which present contrasting viewpoints, we will be glad to help you find some and are, as
Atheists, willing to appear on such programs personally.
Very truly yours,
David O. Young
James P. Coley
Eric S. Atkinson
[Editor - These young Atheists presented their complaints,
their well-researched knowledge of FCC regulations, requested
that the station in violation of these regulations, WPJC, rectify
the situation, and ended with their assurance that they would
go to the FCC with a formal complaint unless WPJC made an
honest attempt at fairness. They received a letter dated 21
March 1978 from WPJC General Manager Danny T. Marshburn
in which he referred them to his station's "Dissenting Opinion"
program which was aired each Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., and
on which Messrs. Coley and Young had appeared the previous
Wednesday. Mr. Marshburn also reminded them that his
station runs "at least two spots per day inviting members of
our audience who do not embrace Christianity to participate
in this program." Coley and Young answered on 12 June:
" ... the Federal Communications Commission has stated
that the conditions of its Fairness Doctrine cannot be met
'merely through the adoption of a general policy of not refusing to broadcast opposing views where a demand is made
of the station for broadcast time.' (13 FCC at 1251) You
have 'a duty to playa conscious and positive role in encouraging the presentation of opposing viewpoints." (48 FCC 2d 1,
part 37)
"You have stated what would serve toward compliance
with this further requirement - that you are broadcasting "at
least two spots" every day advertising the airtime mentioned
above. However, in several days of attentive monitoring we
have heard. but two such advertisements. This may help explain why, in three months, there have been only three dissenting opinions broadcast, all of which have resulted from our
efforts. With respect to this, consider the FCC ruling:
'If a licensee fails to present an opposing viewpoint on
the ground that no appropriate spokesman is available, he
should be prepared to demonstrate that he has made a diligent, good-faith effort to communicate to such potential
spokesmen his willingness to present their views on the
issues presented.' (34 FCC 2d 773)
"We wonder whether you are so prepared, since we have
expressed our willingness to help you find such spokesmen but
have never been asked to do so.
" ... (your) policy of a six-week limit, coupled with your
apparent lack of effort to find other spokesmen, has restricted
not only the frequency of presentation of our opinions, but of
any differing from yours. Consider therefore the FCC ruling
that an unfair imbalance in programming 'might be a reflection ... of the frequency with which each side is presented ... '
(48 FCC 2d 1, part 44)
In their letter Coley and Young included the Austin address of American Atheists as a source of radio programs expressing "views contrary to those espoused on WPJC/WVBS."
Apparently WPJC General Manager Marshburn saw that
he was now in over his head; so that the next correspondence
Coley and Young received was from Norman J. Suttles, president of "Smiles Associates, Inc.," which owns and operates
WPJC. Suttles stated that "Speak Out for Jesus" was a "praise

Austin, Texas

program and we do not get into controversial discussions in
any way. It's totally interdenominational in nature and sponsored as a praise program. Any negative discussion or arguments would be totally out of place."
Suttles also declared that "We do not consider religion of
itself a controversial matter of public importance to which
we need to search out opposing viewpoints ... "
Coley and Young replied that Suttles was addressing the
symptoms rather than the disease. They pointed out the contradiction in Suttle's statement about WPJC not getting into
controversial discussions. "We were not aware that the situation in the Middle East, the SALT negotiations, the Common
Market, the NATO alliance, the Panama Canal, germ warfare,
pollution, and the execution of Private Slovik are elements of
'praise.' Yet all of these issues have been talked about on
'Speak Out for Jesus.' We agree that you 'do not get into controversial discussions in any way' - WPJC presents its opinions on controversial issues, but any real discussion of those
issues is prohibited."
They also refuted Suttle's statement about the program
being "totally interdenominational
in nature" by reminding
him that a Satanist or a Moonie could not express their dogmas
on WPJC which only allowed born-again Christians on.
They closed with a "zinger" as effective as the proverbial
stake in a vampire's chest: "Unless the faith of yourself and
your listeners is too weak to bear the expressions of opinion
that you restrict, we can attribute this restriction only to what
appears to be an intolerant breed of bibliolatry."
Smiles Associates, Inc., President Suttles answered on
25 July requesting that Messrs. Coley and Young consent to
meet with him personally "to talk about our differences and
see if we can work out some solution to them.We want to be
fair to you as individuals and at the same time carry out our
responsibility as a licensee ... "
The parties met for lunch in August and later Suttles commented in a letter to Coley and Young that, "I feel that I understand your concerns better and hope that you too can
understand mine from a different perspective than before. As
a responsible licensee I do everything possible to be fair and
present programming that is in the public interest. ... we will
try to be very careful that those calling in to testify to the reality of 'Jesus' in their lives stick to the subject and that if any
local or national controversial subject such as the Panama Canal
issue gets injected we will accept calls with varying viewpoints
from you or others who might take issue with the particular
viewpoint expressed."
American Atheists David Young and James Coley prepared and prosecuted an effective campaign of civic Atheist
action to remind a federal licensee that he had a legal obligation to regularly present opposing viewpoints to the Christian propganda his station broadcasted. As columnist J. Michael
Straczynski urged in his "Atheist TV Tips" reply to a letterto-the-editor [Feb. issue , p. 4], "Write the FCC and the affiliates with your complaint, and threaten to call into question their license when it comes up for renewal if there is not
a balanced coverage in the public interest ....
The [Equal
Time] ruling is designed to apply to any producer of programming or broadcasting organization that takes a stand on a controversial issue."
These federal licensees are obligated by law to provide
equal time for an opposing opinion when they take and promote stands on controversial issues. There is no legal prohibition to that opposing viewpoint being an Atheist view.
What is lacking are more competent and courageous Atheist
spokespersons such as David Young and James Coley who are
not afraid to stand up and be counted among the growing
numbers of American Atheists.
••.

April 1979

v

Page 17

NATURE'S WAY
Gerald Tholen

The Media & The Mind

One

would think that at this point
in time it would be a comparatively
easy thing to achieve effective communication between people of all areas
and cultures. Through science we have
gained
ultra-sophisticated
devices
which greatly enhance our ability to
contact any point on earth or even any
area in space. We've gained the ability
to not only hear of events within minutes of their occurence, but to actually
witness them while they are occurring!
At times it seems difficult to realize that we watched comfortably from
our living rooms as the first human
stepped off of an incredible machine
on to the surface of the moon. It
seems even more incredible that such
an event is now past history and has
fallen into the category of "so what
else is new?"
Insofar as the ability to communicate is concerned, science has provided
mankind with astonishing expertise.
Woefully, in return mankind has furnished science with censorship and
apathy. Apathy is evidenced in the
disinterested gazes of people who
never seem to realize that it is the duty
of everyone to avail themselves of the
benefits and mechanics of modern society so as not to encumber their fellow citizens with the dragging delays
of ignorance. Thus we continually face
a situation where the materials are
present but the minds are absent.
There is an old saying: "While the
teacher was explaining arithmetic little Johnny was eating his paste." And
so, while science performs astounding
feats of interplanetary wizardry, the
population watches the 700 Club apathy in its purest form!
I often wonder of the gross exasperation that great people such as Einstein
and Edison must have felt throughout
their lifetimes. I wonder even more
about the young people who have available to them the scientific educational
facilities which would have seemed like
miracles to my generation; but instead
they seem more interested in pondering
religious absurdities.
In all its glory though, apathy is
completely shaded by the towering
stupidity displayed by society's efforts
to impose censorship! This reaches far

Page 18

beyond mere personal or individual ignorance and attempts to block the
knowledge yearned for by those who
are "concerned." The crippling ability
of censorship is by far more noticeable
in cultures where factual education is
compromised by stringent religious
practices.
Censorship is viewed by many people as a seemingly harmless activity engaged in by straight-laced cronies who
have aged mentally to the point of jealously guarding against other people's
ability to enjoy things which they
themselves cannot.
If this were true it would be comparatively simple for society to ignore
the sour source of such unrest. But
allow me to point out that censorship
comes in many forms and in varying
degrees of degeneracy.

Religion
in tile

WJ~
The most overlooked, yet the most
abundant form, is self-sensorship. If
you have not heard of it by that title
you may recognize it by other names:
shyness or timidness, a feeling of inadequacy, fear of intimidation, apathy,
or simply downright mental laziness.
All of these areas enable a person to
pass through this sea of life without
ever having left a trailing wake. What a
waste!
Every human being has something
to offer to the world, but only a few
make their gift. With this in mind I
must say that every Atheist should oppose, with bitter resentment, the outrages that religion has subjected society to. Yet, the number of prominent,
outspoken Atheists can be counted on

April

v

1979

the fingers of one's hands.
To make matters worse, some Atheists even criticize these few outspoken
contemporaries for being too "blunt,"
or too "pushy." It appears that no
thought is given to the fact that these
few dedicated "warhorses" are attempting to win the Superb owl of rationality vs. superstition while their very
dignified team hesitates to enter onto
the muddy field because the contest
tends to get slightly rough at times.
Still, at the same time, there are many
loyal Atheists who, while not withstanding the personal battering of the
game, certainly have been devoted fans
and cheering sections!
When a person's voice or typewriter
is quieted by fear, feelings of inadequacy, or any of the other forms of
self-censorship, (s)he can never add
wisdom to society.
There is a second form of censorship that seems to slip quietly by without recognition.
Recently I had occasion to experience this form along with Madalyn
O'Hair at a Houston TV station appearance. She and I were programmed
to appear on a 30-minute early morning
talk show on which we had hoped to
simply relate to the listening audience
the essence of Atheist philosophy and
of true state/church separation.
We were not aware that the program
director had seen fit to invite a religious
fanatic to appear with us! Once again
we found that it is virtually impossible
to be composed and intellectual while
a religiously "trained monkey" sat
scratching his fleas of ignorance. The
sole purpose of such programming is
NOT' to debate or discuss intellectual
topics; it is simply a plan to keep
Atheists from informing society of
things relative to progress. Relgionists'
fear of rationality must be so complete
that they will stop at nothing in their
attempts to destroy the Atheists' public endeavors.
With proper support by the Atheist
community the intimidation of TV
stations, newspapers, etc., could be
overcome. When this happens our
"warhorses" will crush the myth that
this country is controlled by religionists - because when we are able to have

American Atheist

our appearances without an accompanying clown, that so-called control
will have already been crushed.
Our present need is for tons of letters to be directed to TV stations,
newspapers, magazines, and the media
in general. They must be informed
that we DEMAND to be heard. We demand that the Federal Communications
Commission's regulations concerning
equal time programming be observed.
We must convince fair-minded editors that our desire to be represented
journalistically is a legitimate desire
and should be respected. So far .we've
been tolerant of such abusive misrepresentation or total lack of representation by the media. Constant pleas by
determined Atheists have made dents
in the media's attitude of indifference,
but this is not enough - not by a
damnsight!
What legitimate excuse can be made
by the owners and editors of the media
for their lack of willingness to allow
opposition to religious rhetoric? What
must be their comprehension of the
essence of the U.S. Constitution? All
people should be free to express their
concern for their nation.
Everyone in communications must
be aware that Adolf Hitler destroyed
Germany physically because he was
first able to destroy it intellectually. A
similar intellectual destruction is being
applied by the media of this naiton
simply because no citizen can find a
single editorial in his morning paper
that opposes the incredible stupidity
of the ghost worshippers. As a result
we have the same opportunities for
progressive advancement that can be
found in other cultures dictated to by
witchdoctors.
We are thus faced with a perplexing situation whereby a very refined
media system has been established but finds itself locked within the confines of contemporary commercialism.
Organized religion, being extremely
fatted in the wealth of our nation, uses
the power of the dollar along with the
subversive weight of the vast number
of irrational backers to influence or
actually acquire ownership of the media. When this tragic situation finally
reaches overwhelming proportions religious censorship will be complete. I
do not believe that many people realize the gravity of our dilemma!

For such people to delve into contradictory squabbles over the efficiency
of gnomes and ghosts would be an unforgiveable waste of talent. It is our
place as Atheists to make people aware
of the tremendous importance of 'having a free mind so as to properly evaluate the amazing discoveries of science.
The American Atheist magazine and
the appearance of qualified Atheist
spokespersons have laid the groundwork for such an effort. It is now time
to expand that effort because their are
too many people to be reached by limited means. This country cannot be effectively changed by political or
authoritative control-no
country can!
It must be changed by enlightment
of rational education of its citizens.
Iran has just experienced such
futility. Its leader, while not being an
ideal ruler, was trying to modernize
and improve his country. The people
of Iran chose to destroy him and his
programs because they prefer the ignorant religious assumptions which
have survived there since the fourth
century.
We may as well accept the fact that
unless we can breach all forms of censorship and gain access to all of the
media we will be less than effective in
aiding education. But, before we can
teach our fellow citizens to be free from
intimidations and censorship, we must
experience the feeling ourselves. Start
writing your complaints and suggestions and sending them where they belong: t9 YOUR radio and TV stations,
to YOUR newspapers and magazines.
A multilateral media was the intended product of the complex human
mind. How can anyone allow their
minds to be the influenced product of
a unilateral media?

A.

By Wells Culver

Our various fields of scientific endeavor are very proficient in their
works, but it is not within their structure to deal with philosophical applications. Their purposes are to determine positive factual truths - not to
debate mythological experimentation.

Austin, Texas

BORN-AGAIN

April 1979

CHRISTIAN

Page 19

the CROSS Religion
in tlie
and the EYE
by J. Michael Streczynski
It's
eight o'clock in the evening.
You're looking for something worth
looking at on the tube, and begin flicking from one channel to another. Suddenly, the phosphor-dot patterns on
your television screen metamorph into
the images of Jim Bakker, Pat Robertson, Billy Graham or anyone of their
other evangelical clones. They fill the
screen with their plasticene smiles
and polyester suits for only a brief
moment before you hit the OFF
switch.
Your reaction? "Hucksters. Two-bit
charlatans spinning their wheels on
national television and going nowhere."
Charlatans? Hucksters? Certainly.
Two-bit? Bound for nowhere? Don't
believe it. Despite all their sugarcoated inanities, these people and
others like them are rapidly becoming
a major force in the changing world of
national television.
In order for the reader to understand fully, however, the way in which
these programs are arriving at a point
where they can actually compete with
the networks, it is important to first
understand some of the changes that
have been taking place in the field of
television broadcasting over the last
five to 10 years.
For most of the many years since
their inception, the major networks
have had only two ways of transmitting their programs across the nation
and from station to station: "Bicycling, " and transmission through land
cables. Bicycling consists of shipping
tapes and films from one station to
another, until it is seen on each
affiliate. This method is the one
favored by Public Television (PBS),
and is also used to syndicate such
programs as "The Merv Griffin
Show" and others.
((r

Land cables have always been the
rule for the Big Three, however. Network programs are broadcast originally in the East Coast by the affiliates, and are then piped by cable to
the midwest and western states, where
they are taped and readied for rebroadcast at a later time. It is an often
cumbersome process, and frequently
involves a loss of broadcast quality in
the station-to-cable-to-station-to-tape
process.
Then came the satellites, and in the
span of a few short years, the face of
television was changed. One effect of
satellite relay system is a
tremendously increased
quality of transmission,
which is something
the networks loved
to discover ..But to
their great discomfort, they discovered something
else as well, for
the satellites
opened up the

era of the private programmer.
Anyone with sufficient funds to
build a ground-based dish antenna and
to lease space on a communications
satellite can broadcast to any number
of television cable systems across the
country. In this kind of hook-up, affiliates in the traditional sense are
wholly necessary. For a nominal
rental fee, anyone with a mind to can
rent a channel on a local cable system.
Few do so simply because they have 'no
source of programming, but

-'1P':P!!~~~~'"
r:ili:--~!Elll1II3

Page 20

April 1979

'/

American Atheist

A PERSONAL NOTE TO THE READER
that too is changing.
According to impact studies made
by the FCC and the three major networks, any community with a satellite-cable system arrangement can have
an almost unlimited number of channels, each catering to a certain need or
group. There can be channels for classical music, sports, stock market reports, and so on.
It is this which brings us to the subject of religions television programming. The advent of satellite and cable
systems has enabled organizations such
as the PTL Club, the 700 Club, and
other similar organizations to rapidly
build whole empires through the use
of these systems, and by taking advantage of their tax-exempt status.
They carry the potential of burying
the major networks through a sheer
weight of numbers; through violations
of union and broadcasting regulations
that do not apply to them; and
through producing programming that
not only competes unfairly with other
syndicated shows, but which is also
produced with only one goal: the
raising of vast amounts of money.
Not thousands, nor even hundreds
of thousands.

During the seven-odd years that I have actively been involved with the writing
profession, I've covered a lot of unusual stories. My work has carried me from profiles on the ins-and-outs of political back-stabbing to high-level exposes on CIA covert domestic activities that did not exactly serve to increase my popularity.
So when Frank Duffy, my editor at the AMERICAN ATHEIST, approached me
with the idea of doing an extensive article on religion in the media, with a particular emphasis on television, I was excited. The media is, after all, my element. In
addition, situated as I am in the heart of the vast California TV wasteland, it seemed
that I would have perfect access to the movers-and-shakers of the industry.
Then a peculiar thing began to happen. Producers, agents, writers - close friends
and confidants, all of them - suddenly started going off the record with me. They
would speak volumes off the record, and helped considerably in pointing me in the
correct direction on many occasions when I had worked myself into a corner. But
the moment the tape recorder was switched on, it inevitably came to an abrupt
stop. The subject made them nervous.
.
Nonetheless, largely due to a lot of help from the Americn Atheist Center and
a few people in the field who consented to go on the record, this article has finally
been completed. To my knowledge, it is the first and only such article to give a full
and complete picture of the so-called Christian television networks, their findings,
their attitudes, and the threat they pose to society as a whole.
Nor do I use the word "threat" in the preceding sentence lightly. The trends
which have been developing over the last five years pose a very real and present danger. I will not, however, go into further detail here, in this introduction. The facts
will speak far more clearly than I.

Religion in the media has now become
a multi-million dollar corporation built
on the backs of poor and gullible viewers across the country who are frightened and diabolically persuaded to part
with money that they cannot afford to
spend on food. More than that, how.ever, it is what these question-

able networks are doing with these
funds that must compromise the major portion of our investigation.
In the paragraphs to follow, therefore, we shall examine in depth each
of the major forces in modern religiovision; what their plans are, and how
they are using these vast financial resources.

))

Page 21

/

the CROSS
and the EYE

Christian
Broadcasting
Network
CBN, based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was one of the first such networks to call itself "The Fourth Network." Founded by Pat Robertson, 46,
CBN is one of the three networks that
regularly use satellite telecasts to feed
various gospel programs simultaneously
to the four channels owned by CBN,
and to 130 other stations as well as
a substantial amount of cable relay
systems in the United States and
Canada. The annual cost of this operation: $12 million.
To communicate with their present
satellite and the others to come, CBN
owns two 30-foot satellite earth stations. In addition, CBN crews are busy
installing the first group of 60 satellite earth stations in 20 more U.S.
cities. When all 60 of these dish antennas are in, CBN will be able to
broadcast live all across the nation.
The CBN satellite began in 1977,
when Robertson signed a $6 million,
six-year agreement with the RCA
American Satellite Corporation. This
was the first such agreement to be
made by an independent television
producer, and CBN is now the largest
syndicator of satellite-transmitted programs in the nation.
In addition, CBN programs will
soon be beamed off Western Union's
Westar satellite, and an additional $12
million has been set aside for the installation of even more satellites. As it
stands now, CBN is already carried on
daily television hook-ups in countries
in Central and South America, Africa
and the Far East.
Like a majority of the other organizations, CBN gives its programs away
free of charge to cable operators and
its affiliated stations, a situation
which provides a tempting alternative
to and an unfair competition for other,
non-religious syndicated programming.

Page 22

Not content with this alone, CBN purchased $9 million worth of air time
last year, and will exceed $11 million
this year.
But again, it is in their use of free
programming for cable and station
operators that CBN finds its greatest
advantage. The organization grows,
for instance, by acquiring bankrupt
stations and then putting them on a
tolerable footing through the use of
their own free programming. In time,
this favor is returned in spades through
the use of telethons, through which
the four CBN-owned stations garnered
$8 million this year alone.
Of its budget for 1978-79 of $58
million, CBN will spend $11 million
for air time; $5 million for overseas
operations; $12 million for new satellites, and will designate the rest for
programming.
Within this area of programming,
CBN is currently engaged in making
television movies, soap operas, situation comedies, and even a daily halfhour news program that will have
news bureaus in Washington, London
and Israel. It will be further aided
through the utilization of some 200
part-time correspondents.
Describing his organization as "A
fair and balanced alternative," Pat
Robertson describes the long-term goal
of CBN as "an effort to tell the whole
world about Jesus. Our immediate goal
is to become a strong fourth network
in this country. As of now, we've only
made a start. We can't really be taken
seriously until we're a $1 billion-a-year
operation. ,,'
On dealing with a question about
the hiring practices at CBN, a press
agent for the network said "You don't
have to be a Christian to work for us,
but I suspect you'd be made miserable
if you weren't."
Such a normal reaction is to be expected since in order for CBN to create its free programming, CBN em:
ployees are expected to actually give
back a portion of their salaries to CBN
as a tithe, usually 10 percent or more.
In fact, a majority of the employees
of CBN work for wages far below
union minimums, and in order to keep
staffers on its telephone lines during
all-night telethons, CBN employs up
to 19,000 volunteer workers who consider their work an expected part of
their beliefs, one which Robertson
does little to discourage.
Aided by these questionable employment and production practices,
as well as by its tax-exempt status,
CBN will soon be able to open the first
component of its $50 million comrnuncations school and university. Spread

April 1979

1/

out over 142 acres in Virginia Beach,
the goal of this school is to produce
evangelists and tomorrow's Christian
broadcasters. Including a school of
theology, an impressive array of television studios, dormitories and a massive auditorium, the school's most
heavily promoted class is entitled "The
Psychology of Persuasion."

The PTL Club
Easily recognizable by its sugarcoated resemblance to the Johnny Carson Show, the PTL Club is presently
one of the fastest growing religious networks in the country. With a projected income that is conservatively
estimated to surpass $100 million in
1979, the PTL Club is currently the
fourth largest purchaser of syndicated
air time. Its programs are aired regularly on 198 affiliates (as compared
with ABC's 200), over 4,000 cable
systems in the United States, as well
as in 12 countries in Latin America.
Led by Jim Bakker, a previous student of Pat Robertson, the PTL Club
is also taking considerable advantage
of satellite communications. PTL programs are presently being relayed on
a RCA Sat com II satellite; and the
FCC has recently approved the PTL
Club's application for another satellite relay station to be placed in orbit 22,000 miles from the earth. The
goal: to assure total worldwide broadcasts.
(As an interesting sidelight to all
this, a local Charlotte, North Carolina
radio station - Bakker's home base features a weekly satire of his organization. The bogus program is called
"The Pass The Loot Club," and is
hosted by Bill Taker. Representatives
of Jim Bakker say they are "not
amused.")
Not one to let Pat Robertson outdo
him, Bakker is also branching out into
other fields, all of them dubious. Upcoming plans call for the construction
of "Fort Heritage," an entire PTLowned city to be built on 1,400 acres
of already purchased woodland along
the North and South Carolina border,
a few miles from Charlotte. (Bakker

American Atheist

s
r
r
(

t
t
(

is presently involved in negotiating for
10,000 more acres.)
According to brochures already
circulating, "Fort Heritage" will consist of homes, condominiums and retirement villages. These residences are
to be inhabited by "soul winners and
faith partners;" i.e., dedicated followers
who will contribute time, support, and
funds for Bakker's work.
Additionally, construction has also
begun on the "Heritage University and
School of Evangelism," which will begin formally admitting students in the
fall of this year. According to Jim
Bakker, HUSE will be "the world's
largest school devoted entirely to
training people to use modern communications media to spread the
gospel."

Jerry Fallwell
Of all the television evangelists,
Fallwell is probably the most conspicuous. While the others prefer to
keep their social and political machinations as quiet as possible, Fallwell
flaunts his clout over those drawn into following him. Fallwell's attitudes
also bear a disturbing and frightening
similarity to those of James Jones. At
one point, he indicated that he is in
favor of a return "to the McCarthy
era. Not only should we register all
Communists, but we should stamp
it on their foreheads and send them
back to Russia where they belong."
Fallwell's growth probably parallels with greatest precision the incredible growth. enjoyed by most of this
country's religious broadcasters, or
Christcasters, as the case may be.
Although his programs are not yet
relayed by satellite (though plans are
now in the works), his creations are
heard daily on 275 radio stations and
seen weekly on 310 television stations
across the country. Within a "very
short time," he expects his number of
radio outlets to jump to 1,000, and to
move one-fourth of his "Old-Time
Gospel Hour" programs into prime
time. By 1983, his plans call for a total media empire as powerful as any
of the commercial networks.

The base whereat he hopes to construct this empire is the town of
Lynchburg, Virginia, where he owns
3,200 acres of prime land and is
constructing a $4 million radio and
television studio. In addition, 2,250
students at Lynchburg's Liberty Baptist College (founded by Fallwell in
1971) are being trained in evangelism
and sophisticated broadcasting techniques.
"In the next 10 years," Fallwell
once said, "we will have started at
least 5,000 new churches, schools, and
local radio and television programs."
Nor is this an idle forecast, for his
revenue (all tax-free) has increased at a
startling rate, as indicated below:
1971: $1 million per year.
1975: $1 million per month.
1978: $339,000 per day;
$1.2 million per week.
Not bad for a bootlegger's grandson
who, in 1971, attempted to raise funds
for his Liberty College and expand his
radio and TV organization by selling
$6.6 million in bonds through his
Thomas Road Baptist Church to patrons and church members. Some 20
months later, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged the
church and Fallwell with "fraud and
deceit." It took them five years to
payoff the debt.
Within the tight-knit community of
Fallwell's followers, women wear dresses far below their knees "for modesty." Smoking, dancing and drinking
are forbidden. Single dating is not allowed until the senior year in college, and a vast number of television
programs are also forbidden to parishioners.
And this is the world which Fallwell would create for us all.
"Developing Christian character is
our main purpose. We take the students from kindergarten through college, so we can shape them. We find
that when they grow up that way,
they don't revolt. We treat them like
privates in boot camp. We teach them
discipline and submission to authority."
Not content -to simply form his
own private world, Fallwell has moved
into every possible area of politics,
from speculating on how California
should handle its welfare rolls to the
question of church taxation. Over the
last year, his group has created a
questionnaire seeking people's opinions
on such topics as pornography, abortion, and homosexuality.
Fifty million ballots were mailed
to homes across the country (most of

April 1979

Austin, Texas

v

them carefully selected from his private mailing lists), and were also featured as advertisements in such magazines as The National Enquirer, TV
Guide, and others. When all the balots have been received, the results will
be catalogued, computerized, and sent
to the Supreme Court, Congress, legislators in all 50 states, and the mayor
of every major city.
As Fallwell's social and political
power grows, so does the openness and
arrogant forcefulness of his views. In a
recently published interview, a resident
of Lynchburg explained, "No one is
safe here anymore, and it's all because
of Jerry Fallwell. He sends hundreds
of student ministers to knock on our
doors to save our souls. And when we
turn them away, they go after our
children. The kids come home all upset crying all night because they are
afraid that unless they join Jerry's
church, they are going to hell. What I
want to know is this: Is there anyone out there who can stop him?"

The Organization
of NationalReligious
Broadcasters
The NRB functions as an organizational umbrella for over 850 program producers and station owners,
a figure which had only been as high
as 104 in 1967. They also represent a
bulk of the 25-plus television stations
and 1,100 radio stations that are devoted entirely to religious broadcasting.
The self-professed goal of the NRB,
as exultantly voiced during a recent
convention in Washington, D.C., is to
"saturate the nation through secular
TV." As a spokesman for the NRB put
it, "Consider the impact of a Jesus
spot at the end of the Super Bowl. Millions of fans whooping it up, and then
all of a sudden, whammo! The lord appears."
(Now that's what I call taking the
ball really out-of-bounds.)

Page 23

Bill Bright & the
Campus Crusade
Working out of the Campus Crusade for Christ headquarters in Arrowhead Springs, California, it is
Bill Bright's intention as head of
this organization to raise $100 million
next year, and he has targeted the
$1 billion mark for 1982. Like the
NRB, these funds will be used for
the goal of totally saturating the
media with gospel preachers and religious propaganda. "This is going
to be, without a doubt, the most
extensive Christian social and evangelization mission in recorded history," Bright maintains.
Asked previously if he feels the
goal of $1 billion to be a little distant, Bright responded that it is
"Absolutely realistic."

Billy Graham
Evangelical
Association
The main office of the BGEA, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, receives upward of $28.7 million a year
from Graham's followers. Precise figures are unavailable because of the
tight web of security imposed by
Graham upon his financial records.
Certain facts, however, have come to
light about the BGEA:
To start with, the BGEA computer
maintains a mailing list of eight (8) million names, as well as a comprehensive
record of their donations and purchases. It takes an entire squad of
housewives to keep pace with the
50,000 reported address changes that

Page 24

go through his office on a monthly
basis. In addition, on an average of
four or five times per year, an estimated 5 million people on the BGEA
active list receive a plea for financial
help.
It is also known that the BGEA has
recently transferred $7 million of its
funds to Graham's old alma mater,
Wheaton College in Illinois, for the
purpose of constructing a Graham
Center for Communications. Still
another $8 million has been set aside
for the Wheaton graduate school to
teach evangelists how to use modern
mass media techniques in their proselytizing.
At the present time, the BGEA
spends in excess of $12.2 million for
air time on a yearly basis.

Oral Roberts
Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Oral
Roberts evangelical organization receives "approximately $60 million a
year, and is growing at an annual rate
of 25.to 30 percent," according to an
organizational spokesman. One of the
most familiar faces in modern religiovision, Oral presently appears in weekly half-hour telecasts on 350 stations,
and usually has as many as four or
more prime-time specials on 550
stations.
Casting about for other ways in
which to spend his tax-free finances,
Roberts has recently begun construction on a $100 million medical center in Tulsa, to be located
directly across the street from Oral
Roberts University. (How convenient.) Opened in 1965, the $150
million campus features a 10,575seat sports arena and specializes in
communications curricula.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Roberts' plan to
use tax funds to build an enormous
hospital to provide "spiritual care"
along with physical care was ruled in
violation of the Establishment Clause
of the First Amendment to the US.
Constitution.
Roberts' attorney had
argued that the First Amendment
"safeguards freedom of religion - not
freedom from religion. "]

April 1979

Rex Humbard
Broadcasting from the secure sanctity of his Cathedral of Tommorrow
in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Humbard's
telecasts have an annual operating
budget of $18 million, a figure due
to considerably expand in 1979. Employing 300-plus believers, Humbard is
seen on a regular basis on 341 television stations outside the United
States. Further, according to Judd
Jackson, director of advertising and
marketing for Rex Humbard, "We
now have 237 United States television stations, and cover 94.9 percent of the country."
Although Humbard is not currently attempting to enter the teaching
business (although the day is young),
he does bear other similarities to people such as Fallwell and Roberts in
that he was in considerable troubles as
a result of his claims to healing people
over the air.
In 1973, Ohio and federal law enforcement agencies accused the Cathedral of Tomorrow and Rex Humbard
of selling $12.5 million worth of unregistered securities through unlicensed
salesmen. According to Dennis Shaul,
an Akron-based attorney who was previously the director of the Ohio Department of Commerce, immediate
payment of these fiscal responsibilities "would have put it (the Cathedral) under." To carefully avoid this,
and the outcry from Humbard's followers, the state worked out a special
repayment plan.
- Having paid back the funds and
now finding his organization to be
growing faster every day, Humbard
once speculated that "There is no
question that there is nothing as effective in the whole world as television. "
In this greatly understated assumption, one cannot agree too wholeheartedly with Humbard. Realizing
this fact, there are steadily more and
more and more religious broadcasters
cropping up every year. In addition to
those already named, there are such
additional groups as:

American Atheist

$

The Worldwide Church of God,
which takes in over $75 million annually, with a projected 1979 broadcasting budget of $10 to $12 million,

$

The Trinity Broadcasting Network, TBN, which owns stations in
Los Angeles and Phoenix, and which
once raised $6.6 million through a
telethon in just one week.

$

Robert Schuller, whose "Hour
of Power" telecasts from Garden
Grove, California, are broadcast on
130 stations at a yearly cost of $3 milion.

$

There is even a Lutheran television series, entitled "This Is The
Life," which takes advantage of the
Public Service clause on the Communications Act of 1934 that allocates air
time to religious programs on a free
basis. As a result, for a production
cost of $1.7 million, the program
gains tens of millions of dollars in air
time in the top ten U.S. markets.

candidate for United States senator
from Richmond, Virginia, received a
considerable amount of political support in every possible way from Pat
Robertson and his 700 Club. In addition, Conoloy was featured frequently on Robertson's program.
During these visits, Robertson made
no bones about how he would like to
see his followers vote. When asked at
the time how many born-again Christians he intended to turn out in the Phillips campaign, Robertson responded:
"As Joseph Kennedy said to his son
Jack, 'I don't mind buying an election,
but I'm not paying for a landslide'."

$

On a recent telecast of the PTL
Club, Bakker - speaking on the topic
of the taxation of religious schools said "You know what I'd really like?
I'd like all the mothers and fathers out

And all of that, friends, is just the
very tip of the iceberg.
Religion as a generalized force in
the media is expanding its range of
influence on a steady basis, supported
by such funds as described previously.
You may wish to even further add to
those figures the yearly income from
non-book religious products, which
now stands at an astonishing $2 billion,
supplemented by such incidental revenues as $600 million-plus for the
Christian Booksellers Association
alone!
At the very best, such vast sums of
money in the hands of a few people
whose expressed goal it is to promote
their own ideological viewpoint, is
frightening in the extreme. As George
Conklin, Associate Professor of Communications at the Pacific School of
Religion in Berkeley once put it, "It's
more than use such-and-such beauty
cream and be loved and lovable. It's
more 'Send money to our group and
God will love you. And if you don't,
God will know you don't'."
And what is the result of this financial and social power? Bluntly, the sole
result is a form of religious bigotry, an
irrational prejudice that sometimes
takes direct form and action, while at
other times simply manifesting itself
as an attitude.
Some examples of this phenomenon
follow:

$

Fed by programs such as the ones
described above, this new blacklisting is snowballing across the country.
In Baltimore, Maryland, the Born

". .. we know all you kind hearts out there want your
H.G.A.X. Club to take the gospel to Africa.
Send your offering right now! Let's light up Africa!"

Conoloy Phillips, a "born-again"

Austin,

there to have their children write to
their congressmen and their senators,
and tell them not to tax our schools."
Then, a little later, he said something which, because of its insidiousness and sly McCarthyism, has been
permanently burned into this writer's
memory: "You know, you can really
tell a lot about a person by the organizations he belongs to, and I'd like
to urge everyone out there to really
look into your representatives. Find
out what organizations they belong
to, what groups they affiliate with,
what kinds of people they seem to
associate with. If you see something
that isn't right, then tell us."

Texas

April 1979

v

Page 25

Again Realty Company, an affiliate
of the National Network of Christian
Believers, has placed with its advertisements "Christians preferred."
In Boston, the owner of an electronics firm dissolved his entire distribution network of 14 dealers and
distributors, and made the company
entirely Christian. The firm now contracts with and hires only people who
believe in Jesus Christ.
Charlotte, North Carolina, the
home of Jim Bakker's PTL Club, has
been the scene for vast numbers of
prejudice in hiring and actual harrassment in the pursuit of doing
business only with born-again Christians.
Nor should we forget the "Buy
Christian" campaign of a year ago,
embodied by the Christian Business
Directory, headquartered in San Diego,
and the Christian Yellow Pages, based
in Modesto. To be included in either
of the directories, an advertiser must
first sign a statement certifying that he
is a "born-again Christian believer"
and that he "accepts Jesus Christ as
the Son of God."
The Christian Business Directory
carries the endorsement of evangelical
associations in Tucson and Phoenix
(which has been recently associated
with the Trinity Broadcasting Network), and is linked further to the
California Christian Campaign Committee, whose goal it is "to elect
Christians to public office." This
committee was the brainchild of Bill
Bright and Campus Crusade.
To the casual outsider, such developments may not seem to be overly
disturbing. Regarding the question of
the growth of Christian influences
in the media through the direct use
of programming, the thought might
arise: "Well, just don't look at it."
Unfortunately, this is not possible.
For concurrent with the religionists'

A
T
H
A
E
I
Link?
S
FEMINISM
Is
There

Page 26

ability to create their own programming, has come the consistent trend to
influence and alter the programming
of the other three networks.
Some of these cases of interference
have already been documented in the
AMERICAN ATHEIST, and so will
not be dragged on again here. It should
be sufficient to instead simply list
the agencies involved: The two most
powerful organizations are the Southern Baptists' Christian Life Commission, and the Television Awareness
Training program sponsored by various
church groups.
The first organization sends out
"Help for Television Viewers" kits
to 35,000 pastors and 15,000 lay
leaders. The kit includes a checklist
for the viewer to log incidents of profanity, violence, and sexuality. The kit
even includes pre-stamped and preaddressed postcards for the purpose
of harrassing sponsors and networks.
The T.A. T. program, on the other
hand, specializes in the direct training of evangelical media guerrillas,
skilled in the tactics of sponsor and
network pressure tactics.
And these tactics are effective. In
addition to the long list of other
cancelled shows, the reader may add
"In the Beginning" of NBC to the
swelling ranks. A product of Tandem
Productions, the show was canned
largely because of the reactions from
the religious community. As previous
star of "Beginning" McLean Stevenson
recently put it, "The Catholics didn't
like it, and I got holy hell from the
Bible Belt. The letters I would get! I
couldn't believe Christian people used
words like that!"
So: The question now remains
... what to do about it?
The answer is to take action in any
conceivable way. For those who care
to become involved, the best way is
to approach the FCC with letters of
In November of 1977, MS. magazine ran a questionnaire
soliciting biographical information from its female subscribers
concerning their views on "Money: The Subject Harder To
Talk About Than Sex." The results were published in May of
1978 after 20,000 women responded.
An interesting but not surprising statistic which materialized in this survey of "liberated women" showed that a
MAJORITY 36 percent listed their current religious preference as "Atheist, Agnostic."
Surprising? It shouldn't be. "Women's Lib" was begun
by Atheist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. "Sex education"
was
started by Atheist Margaret Sanger. The road to freedom of the
mind begins by jettisoning the dead weight of religion heaped
on all our backs since birth - but particularly so on women.
We feel the AMERICAN ATHEIST magazine is that link
between Atheism & Feminism. For the males reading this:
make a gift of the AMERICAN ATHEIST to the women in
your life.

April

/

1979

protest against such programming and
the threats they pose. Ask the members of the Federal Communications
Commission such questions as:
1) Why are networks whose sole
purpose it is to propagate specific
ideologies allowed to use public
airwaves for this purpose?
2) Is it not unfair competition to
have numerous producing and programming organizations which
A) Give their programs away
free to cable systems?
B) Pay below union scale for
television employees?
C) Hire only those employees
whose beliefs are the same as
theirs?
3) If the term "Public Service"
may be understood to include religious
programming aired free of charge,
what about Atheism?
4) If, as Pamela Ilott of CBS says,
every group who feels they have something of value to say "has every right
to speak it," why has Atheism been
discriminated against?
5) Why are religious programs that
take and promote a political stance allowed a tax- free stance, and made not
subject to equal-time regulations?
Those may be hard questions to
ask, but it is long past time to ask. •••

Current Religious
Preference
Atheist,

Agnostic

36%

Protestant

26%

Childhood
Religion
5'J
55'1r

Other

17'1<

Ca tholic

11 %

25%

Jewish

10%

12%

(Source:

3%

MS. Magazine)

American Atheist

Religion
in tile

Film
Review
elaine stansfield

Movies
have never been the pioneers they would like to
think they are - and constantly tell us they are.
Movies always lag just a bit behind what a large percentage
of people are thinking. It is, after all, financially risky to try to
second-guess what people may be thinking a year from now
when the picture has been written, produced and released.
So, from the first Academy Award in 1928 for Wings, the
movie industry played coy with the public, bowing to god,
mom and apple pie, until the breakthrough year of 1960 with
Billy Wilder's utterly cynical The Apartment, for this was also
the year Atheist Burt Lancaster was awarded an Oscar for his
stunning portrayal of the evangelical con-man in Elmer Gantry.
It was as if all of a sudden some moviemakers decided that
possibly the Emily Posted hostesses who wouldn't allow discussion of politics, religion or sex to intrude on a dinner party
might be wrong. For it was also the year Elizabeth Taylor won
for her fast-living prostitute in Butterfield 8.
Everything is relative, of course, and as things change,
younger people accept the change as the status quo. But some
of us (including me) remember the movies when everybody
"paid" for their "sins" - especially those noble ladies who got
pregnant by the rotter who ran out on her, and she paid, and
paid, and paid. (Young ladies today simply don't understand
how lucky they are to have abortion services available to them.)
Such wonderful actresses as Barbara Stanwyck (Stella
Dallas) and Bette Davis (Dark Victory) suffered, along with
George Brent and Warner Baxter, through these sudsy moralistic dilemmas. However, in the absence of television's soap
operas, they were handkerchief-easy to take compared to
those awful epics with the likes of Bing Crosby and Spencer
Tracy playing priests of unimpeachable character, so stuffy in
their conviction they ALWAYS knew right from wrong that
they would be hooted off the screen today.
Oh, but I forgot, some of the ladies were pretty inflexible
about that too, come World War l. Ladies who, like Judy Garland, punished the happy-go-lucky draft-dodger Gene Kelly by
the withdrawal of her favors. In a recent revival of the MGM
musicals of that era, the audience at UCLA was not nearly so
disturbed that Kelly crashed the trunk lid on his finger, as that
she judged him a coward (For Me & My Gal).
In a word, perhaps the film industry has only handled religion when they suspected it would net them a lot of money.
Dear old Cecil B. DeMille made the most, with his Bible epics,
so full of violence and sex that this violence and sex was only
sanctioned by the much touted fact that he was telling stories
from the sacred book.
He didn't start it either. As far as our research goes, that
was started by Vidor's saga, King of Kings. Perhaps DeMille
was quite correct when he said privately that the only reason his
religious epics sold so well was that the Bible gave him a perfect chance to put all that in. He was a canny showman who
managed to make his audiences feel sanctimonious and titillated at the same time.

Austin, Texas

A lot of so-called history came under this religious classification too, like Ben Hur. Phoney chivalry, but exciting.
Moving up a bit, we find the same kind of heroics for god
& country in pictures like The Charge of the Light Brigade, in
which the hero and his comrades were asked to obey - and
did - totally insane directives. Nobly, they died. Sacrifice was
the word.
When the movies did tackle religion, it was often in the
smarmy Going My Way route, or in folktales like Green
Pastures, or the biography of a well-known religious person, as
in Martin Luther, Man for All Seasons or Nun's Story (even
Luther got in trouble when Catholic militants demanded
removal of some "offensive" remarks about the papacy. They
were removed.). Seldom did they reach the courage to do an
Inherit the Wind, until they acquired the courage from established science, and a well received stage play of the same title.
Then it was alright to show the gospel-pounders as misled in
their anti-science belief that every single word in the Bible was
literally true, especially the story of creation.
But darker days were ahead. The Catholic hierarchy, in its
wisdom, decided on a campaign for the purification of the
American cinema. One can only speculate on the reasons, but
surely the beginnings of dissidence about birth control and the
suspicion that- not all priests were speaking for god (indeed,
some seemed to be speaking for money and power, demanding
absolute obedience) prompted consideration of a ready victim - movies - and a perfect smokescreen.
Thus in 1934 was the so-called Legion of Decency born,
to hold a vice-like grip on moviemakers for 15 years, an economic grip whereby a banned picture might lose up to 40
percent of expected gross. Ten million Catholics were required to sign pledge cards stating they supported the Legion
of Decency and would not attend any motion picture the
Legion deemed a menace to morals.
Obviously not all of them stopped attending the corrupting offenders, and a ban may have even helped some films, especially where the ban was on a relatively inoffensive story.
But the Motion Picture Association quickly came to heel and
drafted a self-enforcing "Production Code" which went even
farther than the Legion, placing taboos on speech vulgarisms,
any reference to VD, sex "deviations," unfavorable references
to the clergy, and even the now laughed at convention that
married couples always occupied twin beds.
It doesn't help much to realize that the Legion would
have ended up with far less power had the movie industry not
gone overboard with this act of cowardly grovelling. During
this next 10-year period, the Legion won the war by winning
almost every battle, no matter how silly. And some serious
tampering with truth: they stopped Blockade, an adventure
film that tried to inform us about the Spanish Civil War, as
"foreign political propaganda" because the Vatican supported
Franco. The film ended up not making as much sense as it
should have, because of this censorship.

April 1979

Page 27

Some films were shelved, or never put on the drawing
boards at all, knowing they would not be approved. Remember the controversy over Forever Amber, and The Moon is
Blue? It may be that this was the wedge foreign films were
seeking, for the U.S. church did not have such power over
them, and some utterly realistic films had considerable success importing to the U.S. Ironically, some of these were
made in Italy, the home of the Vatican, like Bicycle Thief,
and La Strada, but people were hungry to view their greater
honesty.
During these black times, even theater owners and distributors were beleagured, to the extent that a Catholic fire
commissioner in New York issued summonses for arrest of
exhibitors, confiscation of films, picket lines were formed,
bomb threats made. It was overkill and, like all fanatic zealots, they defeated themselves by it.
Enough is enough, the movie industry said, and began proceedings to take the case of the suppression of Rossellini's
The Miracle through the courts. The Supreme Court finally
ruled in 1952 that,
"The state has no legitimate interest in protecting any or
all religions from views distasteful to them ...
It is not the
business of government to suppress real or imagined attacks
upon a particular religious doctrine ... "
The Production Code was relaxed, but changed to the
Hayes Office, and it was a long time before a shattered and
fearful film industry learned it must stand on its feet and at
least try to put out a product it believed in.
It was helped by changes in the American public, too.
World War II, which most people tended to see as a
"pure" war mainly in colors of black and white, gave way to a
couple of wars that were far less definitive or popular, in
Korea and Vietnam. Hence came a landmark: In 1970 a splendid film that, in my mind, marked a definite turning point.
Now immortalized by its own television series, the picture
M*A *S*H shocked as many people then as it delighted by its
stance.
It was a filthy, lousy war, and Hawkeye was a.hero because
he was able to save his sanity by poking fun at everything belonging to those old ideas. If some of that fun was a loud slap
at the mere idea that the people out of the war zone could
comfort themselves at all, the movie disabused them of any
such thing by pointing up that the war was so off-tilt that
practical jokes, amputations, and dalliance with any handy
female were all subject to inner permission. Surely Father
Mulcahy the resident priest understood this as well as anyone,
for his biggest and most constant worry was that he couldn't
seem to be of much help.
Comes the sexual revolution, and things begin to look a
little better, at least to the extent that people are now allowed
to be more realistic in their male-female realtionships. New
psychological insights, and the prevalence of all kinds of
therapy and' encounter groups, have found their way into
movie scripts, including medical revelations which, one hopes,
will enable us to accept the idea, for example, that .homosexuality is not an illness but a medical fact, and that certain abberations of a psycho-pathological nature can now
be treated by psycho-biology, and this can be shown in films.
We recognize a double-bind here: it means we must put
up with more sex and violence per se, but this has to be seen
in perspective. The public is already getting bored with pornography of both kinds, and it is possible that the conservative
backlash may in the end be worse than the sometime abuse
of freedom. I will opt for the freedom, rather than go back
to the simplistic, moralistic, religious censorship.
Today it is quite possible that, in the realm of religion,

Page 28

April 1979

television will prove to be the greatest sinner. What I see
happening is something none of us could have imagined in
the early days of simple little situation comedies, game shows,
and TV series spun off from movies.
An insidious monster has crept upon us: the televangelist.
A new huckster is with us, hawking salvation, along with cassettes, bibles, medals, stickpins, and incessant computerized
fund-raisers, like the old medicine shows, except that half the
people in the U.S. watch this ministry gone mad.
Evangelist Schuller who started .the drive-in church, and
who knows by millions of dollars how well his salesmanship
is working and how important it is to watch his ratings, says,
"I like to think of my church as a shopping center for god."
The lessons of Paper Moon seem to be lost, that delightful movie starring Ryan O'Neal and his daughter Tatum as the
con-man who found his little girl could sell bibles even better
than he could. Make-Iots-of-money-and-god-will-Iove-you
is a
philosophy most Americans can relate to, for America has
over 1,000 religious radio stations growing by one each month.
TV has revolutionized this branch of the church, to the dismay of many quieter, more orthodox religions, where the
money does not roll in so fast.
It was L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, who
said, "If a man really wants to make a million, the best way is
to start a religion." Especially one giving simplistic answers
to complex questions. Some of the crusades look like film
footage of Hitler's rallies. Religion is a salesman's dream.
The biggest. horror of all, however, is that the National
Religious Broadcasters Association now possesses an influential lobby in Congress, and they've gotten to the Federal
Communications Commission. Recently FCC head Robert
Lee told a gathering of broadcasters that his agency would
never restrict religious programming because "We consider it
in the public interest."
There may be a way to get him. Listen to this: Last
month I watched what I thought was an impartial documentary about teen pregnancy until near the end I'm stunned to
hear this cool narrator say that all these problems would go

·_·
~
"
.
r

91 reould :?JJe._~iJe
/~.-.--"A~g~i~~
Be;;'~tt·~~~~~
~,.:v)jj;I~I~

.~

MEMORIES OF A PREACHER MAN

.

.~

He waved his arms and shook a fist
At sinners in the pews
God surely must have been impressed
To see the Devil lose.
He'd hallelujah and amen
Between each awful threat
Of Hell's eternal brimstone which
Defied one to forget.

-,.,..

Though I was young and memory

J

~
,
;'..

,

ill
:al

;~
~~

i.

,.
.'

l
~,,".

This I remember well:
I'd live so as to circumvent
That preacher's God-damned

~,_"'!1nivl~~~8~i!;~""'
'''''~IO'J"fi'~'.-'~
- ..,...".•.
~~~~V-~~

J~f,
I

~

~

3~.
'~
~~\
~
~
~
.~

fades

,

I
If

Hell.

.~,

If

_"",
•••-~~~~.

"•.•'
,..~",,~af.l1!~

American

Atheist

away if only everyone would believe in god. Then the credits
came on, telling us that this was a presentation of the Christian Reformed Church.
It is not too late for us to get such stuff banned by the
FCC - or at least make a big noise about it. And demand
equal time! Already this Christian Reformed Church calls
itself the CRC-TV network! Write your complaints to:

say (if they manage to say anything) whatever they want
to say, and very little of it is conventionally religious. For this
we can be thankful.
Those of you who have read this movie column know that
we can expect to see a kind of ratio developing: for every sick
flick like Born Again, we get three interesting, thoughtful
films like Coming Home, and three pieces of harmless or silly
nonsense like The Exorcist.
At least we have a lot to choose from: we have feminist
viewpoints, other lifestyles, other lives, honest human relationships, and some way-out ideas to consider. Good music,
even educationally valid sociology, can be found with a little
searching. For the moment, the movies are relatively free of
religious censorship, regulation or dictatorship.
But be warned. The price is eternal vigilance. We must
never relax into complacency, for that is where danger lurks.
(Women relaxed after the 1973 Supreme Court decision liberalizing abortion, and now the anti-freedom-of-choice people
are putting riders on every legislative bill in sight, and screaming for a constitutional convention for outright repeal.)
The motion picture is a powerful propaganda tool, one
which can convince subliminally, insidiously, before the naive
person knows what's hitting him/her.

Mr. Robert Lee
Federal Communications Commission
1919 W Street N. W.
Washington, DC 20554
Make your feelings known. The church and the television
station have, in effect, entered into an illegal conspiracy, presenting a church-made film as a general information documentary. The terrible irony is that the church finances these enterprises by the money that pours in from the free time the FCC
allows them to demand on the air.
Well, back to our concluding remarks on the movies,
where things are not so bad today. The big-screen movies, as
opposed to some that are specifically made for television, are
experimenting with all sorts of ideas. Some of them are stupid, shallow, or inept, poorly produced and acted. But they do

~P~EMSI

Just think!
If Christ
Had lived today

CIRCUS CLOWNS

SUPERSTARS
Karl Marx
Feed to the sharks
Moroni
Is a phoney
Mohammed
Was quite rabid
Jesus
Tried to please us
Moses
Struck grand poses
Yahweh
Worked in clay
The gods
Had marvelous

ELECTROMAGNETIC

bods

The cosmos
Blinks unconscious

P. T. Barnum is said to have said,
"A fool is born every minute. "
The thought runs amiss, so don't be misled;
the truth is that there is no truth in it.
The quote is quite cute but wrong as can be,
for tabula rasa cannot be a sin.
Just think of a Christian and you will agree:
Fools are not born - they're born again!

Kendal Bush
After Life
There is no
Heaven or Hell.
Earth and Life
Is all we have.
Savor every moment ...
Truth, not faith.

And can't
You picture
The Christian
Churches
All over
The world
Worshipping
Before a
Painted
Plaster
Plastic
Portrait
Statue
Ofa man
In an
Electric chair.

Chuck Knipp
Pamela A. Marshall

Paul I. Edic

Austin, Texas

The punishment
Capital
Would be
Electric.

April 1979

Page 29

THE LORD'S

SLAYER

Our figment, who aren't in heaven
Hollow be thy name;
Thy kingdom's scum, thy will be dumb
On earth as there isn't heaven.
Leave us this day alone instead
And forgive us your morasses
As we forget you who trespass against us.
Lead us not into tabernacles
But deliver us from you,
For yours are the irksome, and the sour,
and the gory
Forever.
Aheml

THE PROTEST

Gregory M. Fahy

Over suffered
Cries a voice,
Free me from
My God, my

lengths of time
yet ill-defined
my rotting cellI
God, destroy this hell I

Endless streams of sins and lies
Betrayed the cause I symbolize
And turned this symbol into cell
My God, my God, destroy this hell I

THE EDIFICE

OF GUILT

Centuries of human thought
Were wasted by the fools I taught
Who never learned a lesson well
My God, my God, destroy this hell I

To buy salvation is nothing new;
Enrich me and I'll pray for youl
Who prays for him? is food for thought
Before this bill of goods is bought.

Twisted words and altered phrase
Over phony deeds decays
Leaving lies no tongue should tell
My God, my God, destroy this hell I

Offer of Heaven and threat of Hell
Are windfalls that the priests do sell
With warnings not from faith to budge,
And right away corrupt the judge

No one now can ever see
The truth of what was done with me
So locked inside this rotting cell
I scream my God, destroy this hell!

Who sits as solemn magistrate,
And opens court with "PASS THE PLA TE."
"And eternity without pain
Can be had for your earthly gain. "

John Crump

Invent a sin and increase guilt
For which a remedy is built:
But, even then, all is lost
Unless you can afford the cost.

DOLLAR

That business owns the churches is not news.
Big Business dictates to complacent pews.
Big Business gives the priestly set its cues.
Big Business holds religion in its palm.
Big Business is in back of every psalm.

No sackcloth does this vicar wear,
For stocks and bonds he is the heir.
Material empires have been built
Upon the edifice of guilt.

Maxwell Morton

John A. Jackson

Page 30

RELIGION

April 1979

American Atheist

ON OUR WAY
Ignatz Sahula-Dycke

ALL THE NEWS?

One

of the qualities of American
Atheism is that it impels its members
and others to think, analyze, and construct in their minds what should be
done to wrest from life the contentment which many people assume is the
lot of only those who are fortunate.
Anyone would think that this is something that the news media would enthusiastically support; but this is far
from being the case.

In the early teens of this century
American productiveness was beginning
to gain stature in the world's markets
due to the installment, in our factories, of production lines. Their products were being snapped up by the
consuming public at a rate in proportion to output only because the mass
market was being cultivated by a cadre of pioneers in a field as radical as
the factories themselves. They hatched
a new profession - advertising.
It became indispensible to the manufacturers because it was directed by
men of vision: students of economics,
of the theories of marketing, quick to
adapt the principles of psychology to
the problem whose only acceptable
solution was ever-increasing sales.
Despite the help given to industry
by these ad-men, they were in that
day looked upon as people who only
devised another way of getting to the
rich table set by the hard work of
those who produced the goods. But
this attitude changed after the producers saw their sales take a drop
proportionate to the decrease in their
advertising whenever the budget for
it was cut or eliminated. Advertising
thus became a power without which
the production lines slowed down,
faltered, or came to a complete stop.
Advertising thenceforth sat in all
sales conferences; became a valued
advisor. Everyone saw that it worked
like magic, but those who used it
gave little thought to why it worked
so well and so unfailingly.
The secret of advertising's success
was so simple it resisted analysis for
no little while. Books and tracts on
"how to advertise" weren't published
in appreciable
volume until after
World War I, in the 1920s.

Austin, Texas

Before we entered that war, I, then
a mere stripling, observed that in advertising organizations such as the
George Batten Company where I was
employed, and at N.W. Ayer & Son,
and at Critchfield, and others of early
renown, the key jobs in the preparation of the words and ideas that attracted buyers and promoted sales
were held by graduates of Yale, Harvard, Cornell and other Ivy League
schools - and that these "copy men"
had all studied theology, and (some
of them) held degrees of "Doctor
of Divinity."
I wondered why this fitted them
for advertising, and finally collared the
secret. It made them able to solve the
problems of merchandizing any product. They dramatized its uniqueness,

Religion
in tlie
~~

SELLING
THE BIG LIE
and this way persuaded the prospective users to try it. Well, was it strange
that what theologians devised to incite religious fervor for almost 2,000
years was now being utilized for
creating a desire for a material commodity?
I've indicated how the clerics' expertise in persuasion is akin to the
persuasiveness that powers today's advertising, and why it is an important
constituent of our American culture.
But most interesting about this phenomenon is that religion, no longer able
to market a product that has lost
everywhere most of the appeal that
persuasion created for it, is using the
new techniques devised in advertising
for the selling of novelties.
Religion -is doing everything pos-

April 1979

sible to present its revelation, salvation,
resurrection, immortality, etc., as novelties which its prospective converts
can sublimate into escape mechanisms for evading modern life's irksome
responsibilities. But as interesting (and
inexplicable) is that the media: movies, publications, radio and TV, which
couldn't exist without the revenue
from advertising, are being well nigh
mesmerized by this religious turnabout, and at least seemingly going out
of their way helping religion in it.
Wouldn't you think that the media bosses ought to see that this assistance given religion is tantamount
to inviting us to forget all about our
"American Dream" and start thinking about knuckling under to another
nation? What happened that people
as intelligent as the media bosses were
taken in to such degree? Have the clerics outsmarted the tycoons of the
American media?
Just the other day I received a
note from a friend with whom I correspond about matters of this kind.
He wondered how I could justify that
a religious takeover of our government could be accomplished.
He
claimed the people "wouldn't stand
for it."
That's just what "good ole Gerry"
replied when the House asked him if
he would pardon "Clever Richard" if
the latter resigned the presidency.
Anyone who keeps an eye on the behavior of today's people, most of them
worshippers of various icons, realizes
that the people will stand for almost
anything if it's put over by someone
promising them that he has the panacea sure to end all their existing worries.
ReligiOUS
promises of this kind
wouldn't presently be effective if the
people weren't distracted by conditions such as high taxes, ever-rising
costs of food and housing, rampant
inflation, and various other ills (including the possibility
of atomic
war).
Well, if the worst comes to worse
I'll just crawl into my barrel, pull the
opening in after me, and paraphrase

Page 31

Vip's line:
that the media are no
damn good.
Too, once cooped up inside, I'll
be muttering my own undying plaint:
that most of our troubles wouldn't
have come to roost in our belfry had
schools taught the new generations
that the most desirable commodities
in life aren't luxuries purchasable with
money, but the respectful regard for
every individual's prerogatives by all
others, regardless of religion, race,
or nationality.
Lack of this respect today, is the
basic cause of most of our troubles.
And the prejudices and bigotry which
Christianist indoctrination
implants
in people is, in my opinion, the chief
factor in the existing quandary. It
reaches critical proportions as soon as
anyone is convinced by the clerics that
Christian dogmas hold the final and
true answer to the riddle of life.
Belief in anything so silly is one of
the sad facts of today's American life.
It can be expected to persist as long as

Page 32

the majority trusts that god will provide and do for us what we alone will
ever be able to do for ourselves.
The media, in giving religious activities tacit editorial approval and support are only encouraging religion to
try, in civil matters, for the kind of
authoritarian
meddling that almost
wrecked the Western European civilizations until its peoples ended religion's interfering in governmental affairs, in 1848.
Religions have ever sided with those
who exploited the poor and helpless.
To religion, charity is what people
do for religion, not what religion does
for them. If the media had ever or
only occasionally given to Atheism,
Agnosticism, Humanism or some similar rational "ism" a commentary pat
on the back by way of space or time,
I'd say they were playing both sides
against the middle. Presently, however,
it can only be said that religion gets
all the breaks in the news columns and
on the air, as though our nation's life
and honor depended on it.
I'm not aware of everything that's
published in the newspapers and periodicals, so I've yet to read there a

April 1979

single paragraph that enthuses about
Atheism or anything of its rational
kind. Maybe it was there and I overlooked it; if so, I missed a veritable
miracle. The media usually give
Atheism, Agnosticism and Humanism
the cool and distant treatment; to religion the welcome embrace.
Today the media behave as though
their mission were to downgrade the
good and honest efforts that Atheism
exerts for the benefit of America and
all its citizens. Most efforts of this
kind get no mention from the media.
So, what price our vaunted "free
press?" How impartial is it really? As
we well know to our regret, it's free
to skip mentioning anything it chooses
to. That's why a medium such as this
magazine of ours deserves the loyal
support of everyone. It reports; tells
us just what makes American Atheism
the boon it is.
The media, by pandering to mentalities captivated by religion's outworn mythology, are abetting a morality of two polarities; are forfending,
if not wholly destroying, the clean-cut
decision-making so necessary in today's distraught world. With people
half-believing religious myths, and
half-believing science, we shouldn't
expect to hold the lead.
Although the larger portion of the
whole truth we seek about life is
presently denied us, the little of it
with which science has made us conversant is a far more dependable
guide than anecdotal religionism.
There's hope for us if we go ahead,
none if we retrace our steps. The
world's people have everywhere grown
more rational, are no longer to be mollified by the lollypops and gumdrops
of religion. The sooner we realize this,
the better off we will be.
Why can't our leaders see that retreat is foolhardy - that every defile
to the rear is blocked by the Third
World nations? And if the media,
whose job is to help us be informed
and united, have been sold the bill of
goods that survival depends on our reembracing a defunct theosophy, we
had better steel ourselves to withstand
a national tragedy - intellectual and
material defeat by those who perceive
and understand that mankind now
exists in a world no longer resembling
yesterday's.
.•

American

Atheist

The Media's Rite: To'NO!'
Art Jones

Nowhere
on earth does Holy Supernaturalism have a more pervasive stench
than in the middle southeastern area
of the United States. It dominates the
media of communication. If supernatural religion had not existed in this
world prior to now, this region would
invent it, and the media (television, radio, magazines and newspapers) immediately would become its chief
hucksters.
It is the most highly saleable commodity. Salvation from eternal damnation is as exportable as tobacco and
far more harmful to your health.
Georgia's President "Peanut" Claghorn
exudes it from the Oval Office. The
appetites of the devotees of rednecked
fundamentalism
are voracious; no
amount
of metaphysical
mumbojumbo is too much for them to swallow. Daily the airwaves, the boob-tube
and the print media spew ecclesiastical
crap ad nauseum. Holy Supernatural
Protestantism and Holy Roman Church
have at least one thing in common ...
the ability to make a mockery of the
first part of the First Amendment,
separation of state and church. Combined, their power knows no boundaries.
It is a power the CIA must envy. It
infiltrates the business world, the
structure of government from the
town hall, the court house, the state
capital up through the bureaucracies,
the Congress, the judiciary, the White
House ... and the media. Like electricity, it is invisible, but it can shock the
hell out of you.
Inherent in that power is the ability to stifle criticism of established religion. This absence of widely disseminated criticism helps create the illusion that there is little or no dissent
from the wide social acceptance of
Protestant, Catholic and Jewish brainwashing of the young before they
reach the age of reason, resulting in a
life-long belief in the supernatural.
This includes belief in heaven, hell,
purgatory, infant damnation and a
variety of eternal delights or everlasting tortures for those who in this life
either obey or violate the excresent

liturgies and rituals devised by selfordained members of a myriad of
priesthoods of every description. For a
fee, these "men of god" will pretend
to gain access to whatever brand of
deity they preach, and then, sitting in
the buddy-buddy seat on the right
hand of the most high, they will intercede on behalf of the poor sheep of
his flock who have been born in sin
and need atonement ... and get healed
of piles and get, maybe, a trip to Miami
Beach, already. But those sheep damned well better not get behind in the
collection plate!
Hand in glove with the religious establishment is the restraining hand of
the media censor of criticism that
would undermine the hypnotic, massopiating system. He has three reasons
for not tolerating published dissent:
1} It would "rock the boat" of
social structure if the likes of
Atheists were allowed to flourish
among the masses;
2}
It would interfere with the
Protestant goal of keeping our nation "Christian" (read "Protestant")
and the Catholic goal of eventually
making America the greatest Holy
Church country in the world; and
3} It would cut into the bottom
line of the media ... profits.

Therefore it matters little whether
the editor and/or his blue pencil staff
swear allegiance to the pope, Yahweh,
Calvin, Luther, Billy Graham, Ernest
Angley, Sun Myung Moon, Rex Humbard, Jim Bakker, Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swaggart, Thea Jones, Bob Harrington, Leroy Jenkins or Baal. Making it
big is their common bond ... like in
money. Very little gets into type or
over the mike if it is deemed a threat
to the supernatural beliefs of the modern Medes and Persians.
For example, after retiring in 1967
I served four years in the North Carolina Assembly, pioneering in some
medical legislation. It included, along
with Colorado, the very first breakdown of our inhumane and discriminatory abortion laws.
Later, while I was a consultant on
the faculty of the Population Center
of the University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill, the minister of the largest
church in town preached a nasty, god-

April 1979

Austin, Texas

!I

loaded sermon-diatribe against the sin
of women's termination of pregnancy
that could have been written by the
pope himself.
The town's only newspaper printed
it in its entirety, on the front page.
The editor bluntly refused to print a
word of mine in reply. The church itself refused equal time in the pulpit.
Mysteriously, a debate on the issue,
on TV, was cancelled without explanation.
This was before the Supreme
Court decision of 1973 and before the
Equal Rights Amendment was proposed; the very idea that a woman had
a right to control her own body was
a threat to society's male domination,
and undermined the fundamentalist
Bible and "holy" church. The editor
couldn't take any chances with THAT,
now, could he?
A more recent instance of editorial
exorcism of anything detrimental to
holy church occurred on Valentine's
Day this year, in connection with my
testimony before the Appropriations
Committee of the state legislature. The
Honorables were considering an antiabortion measure identical in language
to bills introduced before every legislature in the country, and identical to
amendments to innumerable bills of
every kind in the Congress.
Before a house packed with legislators, reporters, TV cameras and lobbyists, I charged that the bill I was attacking was part of a campaign plotted
by the nation's largest, tax-exempt, religious minority, organized in Washington, aimed at hamstringing the Supreme
Court decision by restricting funds,
then later, the overturning of the decision itself, and finally the eventual
subversion of the First, Ninth and
Fourteenth amendments to the Constitution through a constitutional convention that would bypass a vote of
the people. It would define "person"
in that Constitution to include a fertilized egg from the very instant of
fertilization.
Copies of my remarks and charges
were handed out to all the media present. Yet not a single word of those
charges appeared in print or over the
air in the entire state of North Carolina, despite the fact they were made
before the state's highest body, were

Page 33

serious in nature,
involved a worldwide hierarchy
and were made by a
well-known
citizen and former political figure. Why? Three guesses - and
the first two don't count!
As this is written, all media editors
are having a field day with news having
supernatural
overtones.
Jim Jones'
after-death
promises
in Guyana still
fascinate them. Christ, Moses and Muhammad are still mixing it up at Camp
David in a series that puts to shame
the
old-time
"Perils
of Pauline,"
villain-tied to the railroad tracks with
the express roaring down ... (continued next week!) god, Jehovah and Allah will rescue Israel and Egypt, no
doubt.
Ayatollah Khomeini has put god in
charge in Iran ... he will cut off oil to
the Jews and cut off the hands of
Americans.
Christ's
vicar on earth
high-tails it to Mexico to help get back
the vast state-expropriated
church
properties that Holy Church originally
stole from the peasants. Solzhenitsyn
would replace communism and capitalism with his version of "Christian"
principles.
Billy Carter's born-again brother favors compulsory
pregnancy
for barefooted
women, inferring
it is god's
will that life be unfair, while invoking
human rights for deposed tyrants in
the name of the most high.
The two popes (one Polish!) era
was a bonanza for the supernaturalists
in the media. They even tried to make
Einstein one of their own on the occasion of his 100th birthday,
but 01'
Albert eluded them, relatively.
You would think, would you not,
that with all that grist for the mills of
the gods to grind slowly, the media
managers would not mind if a slightly
different
opinion
slipped
in. Think
again! Last year (and again this year),
when medieval senators led by Hyde,
Helms and Garn were tying the Congress up in knots with vapid vaproizings of the Vatican, I wrote a protest
letter to the News and Observer newspaper in Raleigh.
It laid on the line who was leading
the vicious fight tearing the country
apart - the Roman Catholic hierarchy,
with a little help from Mormons and
fundamentalists.
The editor-in-chief
wrote me saying in effect, "We've already printed a couple of your prochoice letters in the past ... enough is
enough; we are not publishing
this
one."
Evidently he did not dare risk a
rebuke from his up-the-street
neighbor, the bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese that covers a major part of
his paper's circulation territory.

What may appear as an exception
to press censorship
of established
religion
criticism
was the Charlotte
Observer's probe of the Charlottebased PTL Club. PTL is one of many
TV "god-and-Jesus-Love-YOU"
dogand-pony
shows which are mulcting
the nation's
gullible of millions that
some ministers of old-line local churches complain are being diverted from
their own sacrosanct Sunday offerings.
In a classic example of TV vs. newspaper adversary relationship,
the paper
looked
into what they observed
as
financial hanky-panky
by the show's
top honchos,
headed
by innocentfaced Jim Bakker. The paper topped
off its investigations
of PTL's alleged
devious dollar duplicities with a biting
lead editorial charging Bakker with deliberate deception of his donors.

~~

YES!
I wrote the

The message of your excellent editorial was, essentially: "Bakker holds
truth hostage to the gullible. " He does,
indeed, deceive, consciously or not.
Scenario

II

All Christianity is based on two
premises:
1) The Fall of Man, and
2) The Atonement (over two-thirds
of living humans do not belieue
this, however.)
All Christian churches tell their
members constantly:
"You are born with 'original sin ';
a three-in-one god sent a ghost to
impregnate Joseph's wife with the
god's homonuclear little boy; the kid
was instructed by the old man to save
and redeem the descendants of Adam
and Eve; you can be saved and redeemed from sin by eating and drinking
(cannibalistically) his flesh and blood.
"In addition, you must go through
all the hocus-pocuses of the Catholic,
or the Protestant or the Greek Orthodox church, getting either dunked or
sprinkled. If you renege or don't pay
your dues, you are doomed to burn

April 1979

Page 34

v

People who ACTIVATE

their reason

renounce it lock, stock and barrel. The
question is, which is worse:
1) to hold the truth in hostage to
the pocketbooks
of the conned gullibles sitting before the boob-tube,
or
2) to hold the truth in hostage to
the brainwashed minds of the
equally gullible sitting in the pews
on Sunday?
Shall I, Mr. Editor, hold my breath
awaiting your editorial lamenting the
DECEPTIONS, worldwide, of Scenario
II?

Shalom Aleichem!
"Borin '-in Agin"
Art Jones

There was, of course, no acknowledgement, no publication.
Presumably
Editorial File No. 13 reserved for any
attacks on established religious systems
which support the bottom line of the
media, received my letter.

Religion
in tile

In thorough agreement,
editor the following letter:
Scenario I

for eternity in torturous hell-fire. "
People who reason simply do not
believe this hogwash.

My last example also concerns the
same newspaper,
many of whose top
executives
I know well and have for
many years. They had agreed to consider a few columns from me on the
strident issue of abortion
if I would
submit a general outline
for all, and
one lead column as an example, which
I did. The column was an enlightening
one, setting forth the background
of
the non-religious origins of our abortion
laws, and then, how organized religion
years later, moved in Mafia-like and
took over the turf, finding it an aphrodisiacal shot in the arm for its losing
cause.
Here is the column:
Senators Hyde and Helms, conniving
with
Jimmy
Carter's
five-Catholiccardinal advisory
committee
on how
to rip off poor American women who
want a legal abortion,
would have you
believe that their god wrote the laws
making abortion criminal and appointing them and Holy Church his enforcers.
Not so.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., said,
"When I want to understand
what is
happening
today,
I look back."
To
understand
the current
bitter, emotional and irrational uproar over a woman's right to initiate,
continue
or
terminate
conception
(affirmed by the
Supreme
Court, 22 Jan. 1973), let's
look back.
For decades after this country was
founded,
there were no laws against
abortion,
the most common means of
limiting unwanted
births since the be-

American

Atheist

ginnings of the human race. Why then,
in a short period of time, were laws enacted in every state making it a crime?
It is the only area of medicine where
ignorant laymen (MEN) dictate to
trained physicians and surgeons on
how to practice their profession as it
relates to female physiology.
Contrary
to widespread belief,
abortion law origins had nothing to do
with gods, preachers, priests or a modern Moses with stone tablets from on
high. Male adult humans were responsible, without any advice from a copulation-monitoring diety.
In the early 1800s, abortions were
not illegal; they were common, tolerable, and generally acceptable by society. Suddenly, within a few decades,
cruel, discriminatory and inhumane
anti-abortion laws were on the books
of every state in the Union. Why?
Basically, there were six reasons:
1) Discovery of gold in California
in 1849:
2) The Civil War;
3) Feverish settling of the west;
4) Barbershops;
5) The war between doctors featuring the "regulars" vs. the "irregulars," and
6) Denial of women's voting rights
by a male-dominated society.
Gold fever from 1849 to 1861
initiated a vast westward migration in
covered wagons, severly depleting the
already meager populations of the
eastern states. Among the migrants
were large numbers of single men who
left behind them large numbers of
young women with unwanted pregnancies. Then came the Civil War,
killing off thousands of the nation's
finest young men - potential future
fathers. They, too, had left behind
tearful young maidens, pregnant with
unwanted babies.
Great numbers of unwanted pregnancies led to zooming requests for
(legal) abortions, which in turn led to
zooming numbers of new-comer abortionists. Most of them were unskilled,
unsanitary and unscrupulous.
They operated in the backrooms
(sometimes astable) of barbershops,
barbers being the minor surgeons of
their day: letting blood, lancing boils,
removing warts - and doing abortions.
(The red-and-white-striped barber poles
of today are symbols descended from
the torn bloodstained sheets and rags
on the floors.)
Lacking antisepsis, anesthesia, compassion, and skill, they operated on
(and butchered) thousands of young
women who died in agony. This loss
of human brood-cows, plus the loss of

Austin, Texas

war-killed future fathers, dismayed the
politicos east and west; the east bemoaning declining numbers and the
west seeking more. A major solution,
they believed, was to stop abortion
mortality by making abortion a felony
and the abortionists a criminal (But
abortionists simply went underground
and their fees went up!).
In this "solution" the politicians
found willing and able allies in the
"regular" doctors who were from elite
medical schools. The "irregular" doctors were less qualified, including the
"botanies" who dispensed herbs for all
ailments. The "regulars" formed the
fledgling American Medical Association in 1847 and began a continuing
feud with the "irregulars" who did
most of the abortions and pocketed
the fees. Berating the abortionists as
"quacks," "charlatans,"
and worse,
the AMA came down solidly against
abortion itself.
The alliance of "regular" doctors
and politicians after the Civil War was
a powerful force that won over their
legislators, and presto! abortion laws
were "in" and on the books carrying
criminal penalties - with one exception:
If the abortion was done to
"save the life of the mother," it was
not a felony. That provision was inserted so the woman could go on
and on producing kids to increase
the population, provide cannon fodder for the military and child labor for
the bigger farmers and mill owners.
Upto this time (late 19th century),
no part had been played by religion,
church, clergy, morality or ethics. But
then, riding a wave of anti-abortion
sentiment, Holy (Catholic) Church and
Holy
Supernatural
Protestantism
jumped on the bandwagon in a masterpiece of timing.
In 1869, after centuries of condoning abortion up to 40 days after conception of a male embryo, and 80
days for a female embryo (they
couldn't tell the one from t'other so
it was always 80 days!), Pope Pious IX
issued the dogma that "ensoulment"
("personhood") took place at the instant of fertilization, and that any termination of 'the combined sperm and
egg was, in the Roman Catholic view
(but imposed on everyone else!)
"murder."
The edict was strengthened soon after by the bestowal on the pope of
"infallibility" in all matters of faith
and morals. It remains in full effect today. The implication is that god, Jesus,
the Holy Ghost or the vast numbers of
angels on furlough from dancing on
the head of a pin are monitoring every
bed to see at what instant orgasm oc-

April 1979

curs and whether or not the sperm has
penetrated the ovum and at what particular instant (what a celestial CIA!).
Then followed Anthony Comstock,
with some paranoid Protestant clergy,
pressuring Congress to pass "an Act
for the Suppression of Trade In, and
Circulation Of, Obscene Literature and
Articles of Immoral Use" that effectively proscribed contraception
and
abortion. Fanatic, porno-minded Comstock was then appointed by Congress
to enforce the law! He did so with a
vengeance.
The remnants of Comstockery and
the frightening exertion of growing
power by the Roman Catholic hierarchy to impose its theological beliefs
upon all citizens by law have combined
to set the stage for one of the bitterest
and most emotional struggles in the
history of the Congress. It is a needless, devastating schism that is tearing
the country apart.
There is a truism in the history of
jurisprudence that when the reasons
for any law cease to exist, the law itself should cease to exist. The reasons
that spawned the abortion laws in the
United States no longer exist.
Why are they so hard to get rid of?
The reason is the power of the hierarchy of a religious minority whose
members were brainwashed and their
views fossilized before they reached
the age of reason, whose fealty is to
the pope instead of the Constitution,
who know not the meaning of separation of state and church.
They are a vocal, loudmouthed
minority of whom our weak-kneed
politicians in our stale and national
capitals are scared, wetting their pants
instead of whetting their swords and
standing up to a force that, left unchallenged, will in a few more years
take over our country, making it the
greatest and strongest vassal nation
subservient to the Vatican.
This can happen as soon as threefourths of our states attain a majority responsive to the hierarchy. Any of
our freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of
Rights inimical to the hierarchy of
Rome will be done away with. Educational, religious and family controls will be transferred to the jurisdiction of Holy Church. This is in
line with the hierarchy's world-wide
plan for every nation.
.sic to the plan is the infiltration
and eventual control of the most
powerful tools in the world - the
media.
If you don't believe it, go to your
library and get out the papal encyclicals of recent times and the canon law.
'Read them carefully.

Page 35

Religion

Besides being a fine musician and the most popular rock
composer of 1978-79, Billy Joel is also one of the most artistic
and iconoclastic lyricists since Bob Dylan. In his two bestselling LP's, The Stranger, and 52nd Street, Joel attacks every
middle-class myth - from the "house in the suburbs, two cars
in the garage equals happiness" legend to the very popular
"just work hard and you will be rewarded" fable.
In one of his best and most justifiably critical compositions, "Only the Good Die Young," Joel raps one of the most
prolific myth propagators in history, i.e., the Catholic Church.
The lyrics are as follows:

in tlie

CENSORSHIP

Come out, Virginia, don't let me wait,
Catholic girls start much too late.
Aw, but sooner or later it comes down to fate,
I might as well be the one,
Well, they showed you a statue, told you to pray,
They built you a temple and locked you away,
But they never told you the price that you'd pay
For things that you might have done
Only the good die young, that's what I said,
Only the good die young,
Only the good die young.
You heard I roam with a dangerous crowd
We ain't too pretty, we ain't too proud
We might be laughing a bit too loud,
But that never hurt no one.
So come on, Virginia, show me a sign,
Send up a signal, I'll throw you a line,
The stained glass curtain you're hiding behind
Never lets in the sun.
Darling, only the good die young, I tell you,
Only the good die young,
Only the good die young.

~

The Good
Die Young"
••• DIESYOUNG
by TOM UNGER
Page 36

April 1979

You got a nice white dress and a party on your
confirmation,
You got a brand new soul, and a cross of gold.
But, Virginia, they didn't give you quite enough
information.
You didn't count on me, when you were counting on
your rosary.
They say there's a heaven for those who'll wait,
Some say it's better, but I say it ain't.
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.
The sinners are much more fun,
You know that only the good die young, I tell you
Only the good die young,
Only the good die young.
You said your mother told you the only thing I could
give your was a reputation .
Aw, she neLlercared for me,
But did she ever say a prayer for me?
Come out, come out, come out, Virginia, don't let me wait,
Catholic girls start much too late.
Sooner or later it comes down to fate,
I might as well be the one,
You know that only the good die young, I tell you
Only the good die young,
Only the good die young.

American Atheist

Good 'Die Young," including KXOK, had received numerous
complaints about it. His own station had gotten "about 50
calls, mostly from older people who don't even listen to the
station."
Smith also said that listener complaints concerning song
lyrics are "very rare," and that "Only the Good Die Young"
had precipitated more negative reaction than any other song
he had ever played. He went on to say that many St. Louis
radio stations, in order to preserve their "good guy" image
and to cash in on an opportunity for free publicity, had requested local television stations to announce that the former had taken "Only the Good Die Young" off the air.
The TV stations naively complied.
Smith claimed that KSLQ was the only St. Louis station
which had refused to knuckle under to pressure from the
Catholic community. He admitted, however, that KSLQ had
also dropped "Only the Good Die Young" after just one
month, but insisted that this was because of the rapidly
fading popularity of the song.
Apparently we are forced to chalk up another victory for
the religionist suppressors of free speech. Still, there is at least
some consolation in the fact that almost all those who complained about Joel's artistry were over the age of 30. At least
the younger generation shows some promise.
In the meantime, I'm hoping that Billy Joel is working on
a song in which he will criticize the suppression of free speech.
If I were he, that is exactly what I would be doing.

Of course, not even Superman, or god, or any other
mytholigical hero could possibly cram all the valid criticisms
of the Catholic Church into three minutes and 40 seconds, but
Joel does an admirable job of getting in as many licks as he can
in the time he allots himself. Even the name he chose for the
song's Catholic endoctrinee, Virginia, is not without significance.
Because it has both a very meaningful lyric and a pleasingly
rhythmic melody, it astonished me that most rock radio stations in St. Louis (my heavily Catholic home town) stopped
playing "Only the Good Die Young" shortly after it had been
released. Before long, rumors began to circulate that many
stations had dropped the song because they had gotten a lot
of complaints about it from the general public. I decided to
check it out.
First I called KXOK, the most popular AM top-40 station
in St. Louis and one of the many stations that has dropped
"Only the Good Die Young" just a few weeks after the song's
release. Lee Douglass, program director of KXOK, denied that
his station had gotten any complaints from Catholic listeners.
"'Only the Good Die Young' simply didn't meet our criteria for a hit record," he told me. Considering the tremendous
success of Billy Joel's other hit songs, I found Douglass' claim
hard to believe.
Ted Smith, general manager od KSLQ, St. Louis' leading
FM top-40 station, didn't believe it either. Smith told me that
almost all the St. Louis stations which had played "Only the

C~Z7~

~~,

~~

,.c<C:::::::~::>"'Iii---::;"I&===~
,

.~;.

,',

The Cause
It is Sunday morning and I am sitting in what must be the world's worst
restaurant, part of a complex dedicated
to selling diesel oil and fried eggs for
truckers and their trucks, although not
necessarily in that order.
It is late in the morning and church
has let out, so many of the customers
are not truckers at all, but churchgoing families who have come for
brunch. I am facing a table at which
two young married couples are seated
along with their almost identical firstborn infants. The couples, too, are almost identical - all four of the adults
have been outfitted by J.C. Penney,
the two men sport identical moustaches, the women look as if they
must do their own hair.
Watching these couples nattering at
each other in their sappy complaisance
bothers me. I consider what I did the
previous day. I took a lady whom I
have been seeing steadily for the last
seven months to a huge shopping mall
some 50 miles from the small town
where we live. She did some shopping,
then we went to a steakhouse and later
to a movie.
Shopping for shoes or eating our

Austin, Texas

by Arthur Maier-

New York strip steak or watching the
latest drivel from Hollywood, this
young lady and I represented, I admit to myself, an embryonic stage of
the two happily married couples in the
restaurant that I am now despising. In
a couple of years we could be sitting in
the same restaurant with another couple, wearing clothes, moustache and
hairdo of the same manufacture.
The young lady I have been dating
is a minister's daughter.
She was a
cheerleader in high school, she majored in American history in college, she
teaches junior high school classes and

April 1979

she sings in the choir at the Tabernacle
Church of God.
She loves sewing,
shopping and cooking. Socially she is
shy but likable, psychologically she
considers herself, in quotation marks,
normal, and sexually she is a nerd.
Why, I ask myself, do I waste my
time taking this lady to shopping centers and movies? Why do I not occupy
my days advancing my cause, picketing
the establishment, suing the government, pestering those in power so much
that, eventually, they will decide to
give in to justice just to have me leave
them alone?
People like Harriot Stanton Blatch,
the leader of women's suffrage, and
Madalyn Murray O'Hair, a more contemporary gadfly, have had the courage to taunt those in control, yet I sit
shamefaced in the closet, too cowardly
to stand up for what I believe.
I have finished my food, so I pay
my bill and leave the restaurant. Driving home, I pass through a subdivision,
and there I see a householder, armed
with a broom, futilely trying to chase
pigeons off his roof. I take a deep
breath and let it out; then I realize I
have just sighed.

Page 37

Benjamin
Franklin

The Chronology
of a Famous Deist
by Don Ti bbits

Deism, briefly stated, is the hybrid philosophy born by the marriage of the scientific revolution and
the prevailing notions of the deity in the 18th century.
Newtonian
physics helped explain, in rational
terms, the workings of the universe; gone were the mysterious and animistic forces that had prevailed in
European thought.
Yet the notion of the Supreme Being, of the Great First Cause, was still held to be true by most of
the intellectuals
of the day.
Thus the Deists understood
the universe as operating strictly through
natural laws as discovered
by science and set in motion by the deity.
This view did not admit such
Christian notions as miracles and revelation.
The Deists would point to the fact that the history of the
West since the advent of Christianity
is a history of oppression
and bloodshed.
Thus the notion of
monotheism
found in Christianity
is a deterrant to the advance of civilization, the Deists argued.
Benjamin Franklin was "a thorough deist" and was one of the prime movers of the Age of Enlightenment in America at its founding.
Not since the establishment
of Christianity
as a state religion by
Constantine
in 395 had Christian dogma so fervently and blatantly been rejected as it was by the founding fathers of our nation.
Benjamin Franklin died 189 years ago this month, on 17 April 1790, and we
offer this brief chronology of his life arjd his non-religious weltanschauung so that 20th century American
Atheists might become familiar with this intellectual ancestor to whom much is owed.

1706

Born in Boston, Mass. on 17 January.

1721

Benjamin Franklin became "A thorough deist" at the age of 15 and,
though he changed some of his early
views, he remained a Deist until his
death. His conversion was brought
about by reading anti-Deist books
which resulted in "An effect on me
quite contrary to what was intended
by them; for the arguments of the
Deists, which were quoted to be
refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations."
He was
a resolutely courageous doubter and
skeptic and experimenter and truth
seeker, which led to his acquisition of
the title, "The first great American
pragmatist." Among the fundamen-

Page 38

April 1979

v

tal Christian dogmas the mature
Franklin rejected were: original sin,
the divinity of Jesus, the doctrine of
the trinity, atonement, sanctification,
predestination, and justification by
faith. In fact, he was disposed to treat
matters of faith and dogma in a humorous and irreligious vein.
1723

Young Franklin left Boston. One reason was "that my indiscreet disputations about religion began to make me
pointed at with horror by good people as an infidel or Atheist." Later in
life his sister admonished him for his
alleged Atheism.

1725

Franklin wrote and published A Dis-

American

Atheist

should rewrite it in modern English.
He rewrote Job 1:6-11 in that style.

sertation on Liberty and Necessity,
Pleasure and Pain. This pamphlet contained his views that god could not
control the affairs of the. world and
that man was not morally responsible
for his actions. Future rewards and
punishments are not to be expected,
because everything is equally good
and respected by god. There is no
reason to believe in: the increased
happiness in a future life, a future life,
humans being better than beasts, or
religion.
1728

1730s .....

Austin, Texas

Franklin set forth his religious views
in writing entitled Articles of Belief
and Acts of Religion. He believed in a
supreme god, or "infinite," who was
the father of many gods. Each being
wise, good and very powerful, and
each having created his own solar system (Joseph Smith built a religion
- Mormonism - around this doctrine
a hundred years later.) The god who
created ours is the subject of his own
praise and admiration because he delights in seeing people happy. "And
since he has created many things,
which seem purely designed for the delight of man, I believe he is not offended, when he sees his children solace
themselves in any manner of pleasant
exercises and innocent delights; and I
think no pleasure innocent, that is to
man hurtful." This belief certainly fit
his lifestyle, for he took great solace
in pursuing "innocent delights" and
partaking of "pleasant exercises." This
manuscript was his daily guide to the
end of his life.

1740s .....

The Rev. George Whitfield, who
preached often in Philsdelphia during
the 1740s, was befriended and financially aided by Franklin. Of his relationship with the Irish evengelist
Franklin wrote, "He used, indeed,
sometimes to pray for my conversion,
but never had the satisfaction of believing that his prayers were heard.
Ours was a mere civil friendship, sincere on both sides, and lasted to his
death."

1770

Ezra Stiles, president of Yale College,
received a summary of Franklin's religious views. As to Jesus, BF doubted
his divinity and thought it needless to
study about him. He wrote, "I do not
perceive, that the Supreme takes
it amiss, by distinguishing the Unbeliever in his Government of the World
with any peculiar marks of his displeasure. "

1790

Died in Philadelphia, on 17 April at
the age of 84 years and three months.

Franklin printed, in biblical style, A
Parable Against Persecution He placed
it at the end of Genesis in his bible as
the 51st Chapter. When he had friends
at his home, out would come the bible
and he would listen with delight at the
ensuing discussion over a chapter unknown by any of his guests. The
moral of the parable was religious toleration. It was later discovered to be
the work of someone else. Frankiin
disliked the language of biblical scripture and suggested that someone

April 1979

Page 39

~OOK ~IEV~IEW 1"---

_

The Zionist Connection,
What Price Peace?
Alfred M. Lilienthal
The Zionist Connection, What Price Peace? authored by premature and jockeyed recognition of de jure Israeli statehood.
Alfred M. Lilienthal, is a 872-page hardback book measuring
Euripedes noted, "A bad beginning makes a bad ending."
6% x 91,4 inches. It is two inches thick. Its Index is 26 pages And as the terror, plunder, deaths, land thefts and uprootings
long and extensive bibliographical notes take up another 64 march resolutely across both the pages of the book and the
pages. It represents the first publication of an anti-Zionist and early years of Zionist statehood in Israel, one's sense of
pro-Palestinian book by a major publishing house, Dodd, Mead outrage heightens.
& Co., of New York. Its price is $19.95.
One sees the Palestinian Arabs emerge as a people for the
The author, a Jew, in his Introduction notes, "For some first time, sees their anxiety and then their anger, before the
time it has been apparent that someone would have to assume juggernaut of a Zionist military machine invented, armed, susthe burden of carefully examining the historical record of the tained and encouraged by America.
Arab-Israeli conflict," and that "one of the Jewish faith is perIt is our nation's betrayal by so few which is most painful:
haps able to speak with the necessary moral authority that no the New York Times, the American Jewish Committee, cheap,
Gentile can express."
petty politicians, the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee.
Dr. Lilienthal· is a graduate of Cornell University and
One gasps at the audacious theft of natural uranium from
Columbia Law School, having served in the Middle East dur- a Pennsylvania plant and our government's post hoc acceptance
ing World War II. He has been, since 1968, both publisher and of the theft, the (Lavon) affair which sought by espionage to
editor of the monthly newsletter, Middle East Perspectives. An alienate our nation and Egypt, the military attack on the U.S.
author and lecturer, he is an expert on his subject matter, an- Navy vessel, the Liberty, the "reprisal" mass murders of women
nually revisiting the Middle East both for interviewing and for and children in the bombing destruction of refugee camps. One
researching.
wonders if we have, as a nation, any sense of justice left.
The book is a tour de force guaranteed to enrage you, as
Israel has become a monster, reaching in all directions to
the denouement proceeds from each page to demonstrate with destroy - even to the perverting of the opinions of Albert
names, dates, times and places how over 200 million Americans
Einstein, the blatant interference of propagandizing in U.S.
have been bamboozled, demeaned, manipulated and cuckolded
public schools, the insulting of Arab heads of state on official
by, relatively speaking, a handful of fanatical Jews' - and how visits to our nation, the contemptuous handling of the Russian
the six million Jewish people in our nation have been used as Jews.
chess pieces to wield an imaginary power which has, on several
One stares in disbelief at the dollar figures of destructive
occasions, brought the world near to a total holocaust.
armaments given by the United States to Israel. While New York
Presidents are forced into unwanted positions, lawmakers
City (11 million people) went bankrupt, begging the U.S.
badgered or bought, media falsifying and proselytizing, threats,
Congress for $2.2 billion, that same amount was given to Isbrutalizing, even murders of those who fight the process, rael (3.3 million people) for its one-month "October War."
and manipulation of our international positions, all by the
One of the final chapters deals with the "myth" of the
"Zionists," the state-makers of Israel who are pinpointed,
Jewish race and in unequivocal terms and references points
documented and verified in the exposure. This book is muck- out that "Jew" designates religion, i.e., "believing in Judaism."
raking at its best, and the investigative researcher, the author,
Relying, also, somewhat on Arthur Koestler's research of the
Dr; Lilienthal, refuses to pull one punch.
Ashkenazim Jewry's descent from the Khazars, the author
It is scandalous, but also horrifying to be shown how we finds that half of all Jews are not Semitic at all.
have been systematically tricked, how our own sense of honor
His conclusion is for an outreach and understanding of
has been used against us, how our gullibility was exploited,
the problem, a cutting through of the thick propagandistic
how we were deceived for over 30 years.
indoctrination to which we have all been subject so that our
The author begins with the 9,000 Jews in Palestine in citizens, through our government, may support the establish1837 and takes his readers carefully through Herzl's founding
ment of a secular bi-national Palestinian state.
of the World Zionist Movement in 1897, to the Balfour DeeThe singular lesson for A theists reading this book - and
laration of 1917 to lay the predicate of the de facto first Jew- . every Atheist in the US. should read it - is the exposition of
ish settlements in Palestine.
the use of religious power against the best interests of all our
Carefully, deliberately, he explicates each step, impartially
people by the concerted efforts of a well-financed, powerful,
ticking away the Covenant of the League of Nations, the King- influential, penetrating religious lobby. This deals with the
Crane Commission report, the Woodhead Commission - the Jews ... only one of the religious power groups. We need to
beginnings, "the original sin" is slowly documented as we see a arm ourselves in political wisdom and with courage we must
first American president, Harry Truman, permit a Zionist fight them all.
threat in respect to votes and campaign money force him to a
Reviewed by M. M. O'Hair
$19.95/copy plus 75 cents postage

Page 40

April 1979

v

=

$20.70 each

American

Atheist

lFilElElDO
OIF 1rHlE-M~
~ere

is something

new in the United

States:
an organization formed exclusively for
American Atheists. This national organization
was founded to protect the civil liberties of
Atheists, to speak for them on public issues, to
educate the citizens of our country as to the
merits of an Atheist lifestyle, to fight for separation
option

of state and church, to preserve as an
for you the ultimate freedom:
free-

dom of the mind, i.e., freedom

from religion

and other superstitions.
AMERICAN
most

of the

comraderie
national

ATHEISTS,

United

States,

of other

Atheists,

convention,

informs

events with a monthly

with chapters
provides

in

membership

Atheists' civil liberties, maintains an Atheist
speakers' bureau across the nation and, generally, is the voice of American Atheism - big
as life, bold and beautiful.
You need not be alone again with your
ideas. Come, broaden your
Membership fee of $15/year

horizon with us.
(single), $25/year

(couple)
brings you a monthly
newsletter
edited by Dr. Madalyn Murray O'Hair.

you the

holds an annual
you

maintains an American Atheist Center of distinction, introduces into the nation's airways the
American Atheist Radio Series, litigates for

of current

NOTE:
ATHEIST

Newsletter,

bership in American Atheists.

l********************************

v

Subscription
to the AMERICAN
magazine does not include mem-

redress of grievances .• AMENDMENT I • Congress shall make
::J

o

lo-

o
'-+.j...J

C
<J.)

--:

ro

E

(J)
"'0

c

ro
("')

l0-

a;

>

rt

c

o

()Q

a;

:J

:J
Po;

.s:
.j...J

ro

(J)

c

rt

o

Po;

U

.j...J
.j...J

a;
0..

o

.j...J

-0
C

The Church doesn't believe in hook- burning,
but it believes in restricting the use of dangerous
books among those whose minds are unprepared

r;j

,

a;

for them.

--:

ro

...D

E
a;
rJ)

The

Church

understood

that

has,

through

the centuries,

ro

gerous than other weapons.

o

be restricted .

()Q

o
o

dan-

..••:J

Their use should

--:

ideas are really more

ir.

.j...J

-

o

>-

...D

ro

<J.)

u

ro

a;
0..
a;

0..

o
<J.)

0..

a;

~.j...J

Francis J Lally
(American Catholic Monsignor, editor of The Pilot)
From a 1958 interview :
with Mike Wallace
in Fund for the Republic

--:

ro
ro
ro
><
ro
--:

.n

'-+-

o

(J)

.j...J

rt

~

ro

7

ro
~--------------------------------------------~~--------~
ro
alp ro .ssord aLp ~o ro 'yJaads ~o wopaa.J~ aLp ~U!~P!.Jqp.Jo~
M
lo-

--: