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DETROIT

Issue:

ATHEISTS

IN ACTION

THE RISE OF RELIGION


AND ITS DECLINE

IN AMERICA
IN EUROPE

THE CASE FOR SECULAR MOR

A Journal

of Atheist

Thought

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I:

No: ie

FORCE AND MATT'ER


A

by

Popular

Prof.

Exposition

Ludwig

Buchner

M. D.

over 120 years ago the most compelling


language -- fit for our times.

This is an old Freethouqht Classic first published in 1856. By 1884 it had gone through 15 editions. To be published in the U. S. it was translated from the German by the author.

and simple

Chapter headings show clearly the areas you


may want to explore:

Again, this was one of the books that the established printing
houses of the United States
would not touch. The old Atheist publishing
house, the Truth Seeker Company, put out a rep'drit in' 1950.

Immortal ity of Matter


Immortal ity of Force
Immutability
of Natural Laws
Universality of Natural Laws
Th'e Idea of God
Personal Continuance
Free Will
Morality

".
The American Atheist Centre has purchased
alto1 tfiese books still in print.
This makes the
oo~'collector's
item a this point.'
.

".--.'.~:'

i"i',~ The
p~~s.

book

tftiCiira:m~ 8%"

is hardbound,
in good quality
5Y:/' the book consists of 400

Even
when
all
the
new
books
are
written, for our times, this will still be as good or
better than anything that could be produced now.
Seeing the classic, basic, argument, Dr. Prof. Buchner !~~es you to the root .. the radical >- and
answers the question with the reason that is
eternal with the thinkers of all times.

" ,C'[vririg every argument that is yet classic


toda~';'
'Phff. Buchner demolishes them one by
drie: lirs--~~t.irpTisi:Agto find in this book -. written

trr.

"i;~ociety

of Separationists.

lnc., P.

O.

Box

2117, Austin, TX 78767

"-:"'i.:'"

cop(y)ies of

"

:'~~ SEPARATION
OF RELIGION
.,
"
AND GOVERNMENT
Fra~k S~ancara (usual price $5.00)

" .. ':.'~y

xpires A
.~'f~RGE

'~ii~,e~~es:

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BANKAMERICARD

Signature:

Name':
Apt. No.

Address: _---------------City:

___________

State: .

_ Zip Code: _-----

NO:

ON THE COVER
Bertrand Russell was born in England on M~y
18th, 1872. He died in 1970.
Russell received his education at Trinity
College, Cambridge, where he later became a fellow and lecturer.
With A.N. Whitehead he wrote Principia
Mathematicia (1910-1913), a pioneer work in sym-

THE AMERICAN ATHEIST MAGAZINE


Vol. XVII, No.6
Editor: Madalyn Murray O'Hair
Contributing Editors:
Cover Artist:

JUNE 1976

Jon Murray
John Sontarck
Avro Manhattan
Jo Kotula

bolic logic. He was also the most skilled dialectician among the adherents of the New Realism. A
realist, his object was to give to philosophy a
scientific basis. As a social thinker he stressed
creative activity of man which he called the
principle of growth.
Always an open and militant Atheist, he
spoke bluntly to the problems of religion, as in his

Why I Am Not A Christian: .

THE AMERICAN ATHEIST is published monthly


by the Society of Separationists, Inc., 4408 Medical Parkway, Austin, TX 78756, a non-profit, nonpolitical, tax-exempt, educational organization.
Mailing address: P. O. Box 2117, Austin, Texas,
78767. Subscription rates $12.00 per year; $20.00
for two years. Manuscripts: The editors assume no
responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts. All
manuscripts must be typed, double-spaced and accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

"I think all the great religions of the world Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity,
Islam, and
Communism - both untrue and harmful.
...
I
am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I
am that they are untrue. . .. there are also', in
most religions, specific ethical tenets which do
definite harm.
"The harm that is done by a religion is of
two sorts, the one depending on the kind of belief
which it is thought ought to be given to it, and the
other upon the particular tenets believed.
"The whole conception of god is a conception ... quite unworthy of free men.
.'".
"Mv own view on religion is that of Lucretius. I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a
source of untold misery to the human race."

CONTENTS - THIS ISSUE


News
Detroit Atheists in Action

Editorial:
American Atheist Centre

17

American Atheist Radio Series:


Materialism - The Contribution of
Demokritos............

18

Feature Articles:
The Rise of Religion in America
And Its Decline in Europe................

21

Bertrand Russell was in correspondence with


Dr. Madalyn O'Hair during the early 1960's and
was the single person of note in the world to come
to her assistance during the times when she was
being arrested and imprisoned. On December 4,
1965 he issued the following statement:

The arbitrary arrest of Mrs. Madalyn Murray


is outrageous. Her views as an Atheist are shared by
the intellectual community of all countries, and
her persecution cannot be tolerated.
I urgently request the immediate release of
this brave, and entirely admirable, woman. Signed,
Bertrand Russell.

The Case for Secular Morality


Book Review:
Force and Matter

24
,

30

That statement, with his signature is framed


and hanging on the wall of your Ameri~n Atheist
Centre in Austin, Texas.
June 19761 American Atheist - 3

NEWS

from allover town".

The news oresented in these columns, which


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

DETROIT

ATHEISTS IN ACTION

Sometimes it takes a little while.


Twenty three years ago the Roman Catholics
working in the Old County Building in Wayne
County, Detroit, decided that they should be meeting in one of the court rooms at noon time to say
the rosary. Judge James Jeffries agreed that they
could do this.
The Protestants, not so strong in that city,
waited about five years before they decided that
they should be permitted to have prayer devotions
in one of the court rooms too.
An employee in the county treasurer's office
carried the ball and talked to the Detroit Council
of Churches and the manager of the City-County
building who had no objection to Protestant prayers. In this instance, the Judge of the Common
Pleas court, David C. Vokes, gave his court room
for the practice.
Vokes was a lay reader in the Episcopal
Church and although he later said that he originally
intended no personal involvement, when a minister
failed to show up the second week, he stepped in
and became an occasional lecturer.
As time passed, a Jewish clerk of the judge
got into the act and began scheduling ministers.
Vokes recalls that "We had top-flight
ministers
June 1976/American Atheist 4

Later both judges retired


ended up In the Court Room of
E. Byrd. When his court room
moved to that of Judge Julian
down the hall

and the groups


Judge Frederick
was busy, they
P Rodgers, Jr.

Finally,
the practice settled down to a
TI1U! sdav Roman Catholic Rosary service and a
Wednesday Protestant Bible service
The situation
continued,
then, until the
Detroit chapter of the Society of Separationists,
Inc was formed
in late 1975. Several of the
members of that group, (Henry Schmuck and Karl
Pauli) visiting the American Atheist Centre in
Austin
Texas called attention
to the situation
there 'and asked that a letter be written to the presiding' judge admonishing him to discontinue the
unconstitutional
practice.
Dr. a.Hair wrote such a letter contending
that the religious services were "illegal and unconstitutional."
Speaking to the news media later she pointed out that "Government can in no way sponsor or
aid religion and religion can not ask such aid." she
said. "It
is impermissible
for a governmental
agency (or official) to go out of its (or his) way to
aid or make available special privileges for religion."
Judge Byrd responded by saying that he was
willing to "fight all the way to the Supreme Court"
(with tax dollars of course) for the rigp.t to allow
Protestant and Roman Catholic religious services to
continue in his court.
Byrd was quoted in the press: "I'm ready for
a court fight ... " he said. "I believe in god and I
don't care ... " what anyone says.
The Detroit newspapers, radio,
vision covered the arqument in depth.

and tele-

On January 6th, the Wayne Country Board


of Commissioners approved unanimously of the
full religious services, lauded Byrd in a resolution
and urged him to continue with the services.
Commissioner Erwin A. Steiner Jr. said, "I
would be delighted to be sued over this issue."
Commissioner George F. Kileen said, "It is about
time that people stood up to the people who want
to do away with god in everyday life,"
Corporation
Counsel Aloysius
Suchy Jr.
said that he believed the practice was legal. "There

is a difference between mandatory


permissive services," he said.

services and

By mid-January, the Detroit News Newspaper issued an editorial denouncing Dr. O'Hair.
Incredibly
that article said: "Fortunately,
Mrs.
O'Hair's legal grounds seem far more shaky than
those she evoked in filing the lawsuit which led to
the U ..S. Supreme Court banning prayer in the
nation's public schools."
Meanwhile, the Detroit Chapter of S.O.S.
was attempting to form so that it could take a
stand in relation to the suit. Officers were elected;
a Dial-An-Atheist program was implimented; fund
raising was begun.
By early March $500 had been raised toward
a legal fund. The issue continued to remain much
in the news and the Chapter asked Dr.O'Hair to
challenge the judge to debate. She complied by
asking Judge Byrd to debate on the "efficacy of
prayers" and suggested that the debate take place
on April Fool's Day. The judge refused to defend
his belief in prayer.
Girding for the fight, Mr. and Mrs. John
Cruz, and Mr. and Mrs. Alan Scwartz attended the
Sixth Annual National American Atheist Convention in New York City, where further plans were
made for the filing of the suit and for a speaking
engagement for Dr. O'Hair as a fund raiser for that
suit.
David A. Goldstein was hired by theDetroit
Chapter and a petition was prepared.
Correlating a television appearance on "A.M.
Detroit"and
a speaking appearance at the Birmingham Temple in a Detroit suburb, again much
publicity for the approaching law suit was generated. The speech, for which an entrance fee of $3.00
was charged, brought in a total of $700 more for
the legal fund.
On May 12th the suit was filed in Wayne
Circuit Court..
The plaintiffs were the Detroit
Chapter of the Society of Separationists, I nc., with
John Cruz, Morris Brown and Henry Schmuck, as
taxpayers also. All three are officers and members
of the Detroit Chapter. The suit was filed against
Judge Frederick Byrd, Judge of the Common
Court.
Again, a great deal of publicity accompanied
the suit. with Judge Byrd stating "I'm going to get
a lawyer and fight this woman." He added, "We
need more prayer around here, not less." in obvious anger.

The Suit is titled "Complaint


for a Writ of
Superintending
Control"
which is the type required in Michigan. The facts cited are as follows:
[1] The Common Pleas Court of the City of
. Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan is a court of record, organized and existing under an act passed by
the legislature of the State of Michigan, and approved by the Governor thereof on June 8, 1929,
commonly known as the Common Pleas Court Act,
and subsequent acts amendatory thereof.
[2] Said Common Please Court has jurisdiction
within said City of Detroit, of certain classes of
cases specifically mentioned in said act and the
amendments thereof, as aforesaid, said jurisdiction
being limited by said acts and amendments thereof
both as to the territorial area within which said
court may exercise its jurisdiction and the subject
matter of the jurisdiction of said court.
[3] Said Common Please Court is a court inferior
to the Circuit Court of said Wayne County, both
by reason of the fact that the jurisdiction of said
Common Pleas Court is limited to the territorial
limits of said City of Detroit, and does not extend
throughout the whole of said Wayne Countv.iand
by reason of the fact that said Common Pleas
Court has no jurisdiction
over certain matters of
which the Circuit Court of said county has jurisdiction.
[4] On April 28th and April 29th, 1976, the Honorable Frederick Byrd was, and still is, one of the
duly elected, qualified and acting judges of said
Common Pleas Court; and on those dates he was
presiding over a branch of said court desiqnated for
convenience as Courtroom 921 in the Cltv-Countv
Building, located at 3 Woodward Avenue, in the
City of Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan.
[5] On Wednesday, April 28th, 1976, the Honorable Frederick Byrd, permitted, encouraged, suffered or otherwise caused the use of Courtroom 921
as the site for a Protestant prayer recital during the
noon recess of his court.
[6] During his tenure in office, Judge Byrd has
caused to be held said prayer recital on numerous
-other dates, being Wednesday of each week his
court has been in session.
[7] On Thursday, April 29th, 1976, Judge Byrd
permitted,
encouraged, and suffered the use of
Courtroom 921 as the site for a Catholic Religious
Mass during the noon recess of his court.
[8] During his tenure in office, Judge Byrd has suffered the holding of said mass on numerous other

June 1976/American Atheist - 5

dates, being Thursday


been in session.

of each week his court has

[9J During his tenure in office, Judge Byrd has


permitted and suffered the use of Courtoom 921's
storage facilities for the keeping of various religious
artifacts.
[10] Judge Byrd has commanded and suffered his
staff to disseminate information by phone and in
person as to the times and places of said religious
services.
CAUSE OF ACTION

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs pray that an Order


be entered by this Court directed to said CommonPleas Court and Frederick Byrd, as Judge thereof,
to answer this Complaint within a time to be fixed
by this Court, showing cause, if any, why an Order
of Superintending
Control should not be issued
pursuant thereto; that, upon a hearing hereof, an
Order of Superintending Control may issue, commanding said Common Pleas Court and Frederick
Byrd, the said Judge thereof, to cease, desist and
refrain from the holding of any further religious
services and the storing of any rei igious artifacts in
Courtroom 921 or on other state property of the
City-County
Building; and for such other and
further relief herein as law and justice may require.

[1] The use of Courtroom 921 for said religious


services constitutes the use of tax supported state
property for religious purposes.
[2] Said use of state property for a religious purpose is prohibited by Article I section 4 of the
Constitution
of the State of Michigan of 1963.
[3] Courtroom 921 is not made available to all
persons for meetings for any lawful purpose
during the noon recess.
[4] Said practice enlarges the civil rights and privileges of those persons of the Cathol ic and Protestant faiths who may attend said services if they so
desire.
[5] Said practice diminishes the rights and privileges of Plaintiffs and all others who are not members of the Catholic and Protestant faiths and
thereby denies equal access to tax-supported state
property solely on the ground of religious differences.
[6] Said denial of equal access is prohibited by
Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution of the State
of Michigan of 1963.
l7] Said services constitute
religion by a state.

the establishment

of

[8] The First Amendment to the Constitution of


the United States of America, as applied to the
several states by the Fourteenth Amendment to
said Constitution,
prohibits such establishment of
religion.
[9] Said denial of equal access to Courtroom 921
denies to Plaintiffs the equal protection of the
laws.
[10] Said denial of equal protection of the laws is
prohibited by the Fourteenth Amendment to the
Constitution of the United States.

June 1976/American Atheist - 6

Since the time that the suit was filed the


Detroit Chapter has formulated other plans and is
following through on them.
[1 [ The members are designing a flyer.and
having it printed and distributed to all media in the
area and throughout the state.
l2] They are placing regular advertisements
in local newspapers calling attention to their existence.
[3] They have begun an aggressive campaign
to place Atheist books in libraries and in schools.
[4] They have begun to contact a'lI the local
newspapers to see if a regular column on the subjects of American Atheism and state/church separation can be presented in those newspapers.
One such newspaper has already agreed to
review a series of such columns to see if they are
acceptable.
[5] They have' contacted radio and television stations demanding that the subject of Atheism be discussed more often and -- one of the
[arqest radio stations in Detroit, as a result of their
activity, has called the National American Atheist
Centre to agree that it would handle the American
Atheist Radio Series during prime time.
[6] They are involved in a continuing campaign of writing "Letters to The Editor" on any
matter in the area having to do with state/church
separation or the civil liberties of American
Atheists.

If you want to know how to really "go"


with Chapter organization
and activity, contact
them - if you are in Detroit, Michigan, or anywhere in that state, join them. They are:

Later, Marsa proposed that all religious ceremonies be stopped at Council meetings.
Wernik responded that the sentiment in the
past has been for the prayer and assured Marsa that
his request would be considered. The mayor said
also that this issue was discussed four or five years
ago.

SOCIETY OF SEPARATIONISTS,
INC.
Metropolitan Detroit Chapter
P. O. Box 38305
Detroit, Michigan 48238
Telephone: [313] 399-2889

Marsa told a reporter he is opposes to a flag


salute because of the phrase '~ .. one nation under
god. "
[source: News Tribune, 5/18/76]

You may address:


John Cruz, Director
Henry Schmuck, Assistant Director
Barbara Schwartz, Secretary
Bob Hawisher, Treasurer

The Council appointed a committee to study


the cause of the objection and Paul will be in there
watching to see what happens and to push for the
removal of religious ceremony.

It's the best team we have outside of the


National Office. And, if they can do it, American
Atheists in every other city in the U. S. can do it
too.

And, we will be reporting

on it.

Liberty
STOP THAT

UNIVERSITY

PRAYER

BAN

ON WORSHIP

IN DISPUTE
This time it was early Mav=and--another
Society of Separationists Chapter Director, Paul
Marsa, of I\lew Jersey, decided to try his wings for
a flight out of the closet.

The Supreme Court is being asked to decide


if a University's ban on campus re.ligious services
infringes on the freedom of religion guarantee in
the Constitution.

Paul attended his Borough (City) Council


meeting to make protest concerned with the religious services which open that secular function.

The University of Delaware, a land-grant institution in Newark, is appealing a State Supreme


Court decision against the University's religious
prohibition.

The next day the headlines read:


PRAYER,

SALUTE

DRAW

OBJECTION

and the news item said:


Objection to the invocation and flag salute
which open regular meetings of the Borough Council was lodged last night by a borough resident.
Paul Marsa, who sat through both, said the
prayer and flag salute violate the separation of
church and state.
Mayor Donald
forced to participate.

Wernik noted that no one is

<

If the Supreme Court refuses to act, the case


will go back to the County Chancery Court to see
if the University can justify its position.
This is the first lawsuit at the University
level since the United States Supreme Court
decisions in the early 1960's against officially sponsored prayers and Bible reading in public schools.
Those decisions touched off efforts to amend the
Constitution,
to change state laws and to assemble
pro-prayer sentiment in a "back to God movement."

June 1976/American Atheist - 7

Catholic Mass Disputed

The Delaware case arose when the Rev. William F. Keegan, without seeking permission, celebrated a Sunday morning mass for Roman Catholic
students in the Christian Commons, a student center between two high-rise residence halls. The University sued to stop the practice when its protests
were ignored.
The defendants, joined by Bishop Thomas J.
Mardaga of Wilmington,
filed a counterclaim
seeking to bar the university's interference with the
mass.
The First Amendment
prohibits
laws that
would establish a religion or interfere with its free
exercise. The Supreme Court has held that in order
to pass muster, a state law must have a secular purpose, must have a primary effect that neither inhibits nor advances religion and must avoid "excessive government
entanglement
with
religion."
If a law permitting
prayer required extensive use of state personnel and funds for regu lation
or oversight, for example, it could be struck down
as entangling.
The University told the Justices that there
were 1,410 public institutions
or higher learning
in the United States with 7,127,544 students, and
there were about 300 religios denorninationaThe
Delaware court's judgement, if applied through the
country,
would require all these 'tax supported
institutions
to supply facilities for worship to any
religious organization, 'the appeal said.
After the Catholics file their reply, the Justices will decide whether to hear the case or let the
state court ruling stand.
[source: New York Times, 1/5/76]

HONEST

CARL

Each Sunday, the "Family


Weekly" magazine included in your Sunday Newspapers, has a
"Ask Them Yourself" feature on the inside cover.
The name of the game is "Want to ask a famous
person a question? On a postcard send the question
to Ask, Family Weekly, 641 Lexington Ave., New
York, N.Y. 10022."

tion

In the issue dated May 23rd, 1976, the queswas for Carl Reiner, writer-actor-director.
Are

you

religious?-M.G.

June 1976/American

Emmons,

Minn.

Atheist - 8

No. We're all here on a one-way ticket. My


philosophy
is "be good to each other now because the rewards are here." I don't believe in life
after death. But if there is, I'll be in great shape because, with luck, I'll get my just deserts twice.
COURT

RULES FOR DIVORCE


RELIGIOUS
VOWS

DESPITE

The Ok lahoma Supreme Court ruled in late


1975 that a man may be granted a divorce on the
grounds of incompatibility
despite the wife's contention that such action goes against the religious
vows taken by both parties.
In a unanimous ruling on a Tulsa County
case, the high court said while there are both legal
and religious aspects to the marriage ceremony,
"We have no business or right, constitutional
or
statutory,
to interpret and enforce the ecclesiastical vows of marriage.
"While
this court
is concerned with the
mores and religious beliefs of the citizenry,
our
jurisdiction
extends only to the civil matters of
state," Vice Chief Justice Ralph Hodges wrote in
the court opinion.
Celestia Elizabeth Williams appealed a divorce on grounds of incompatibility,
because to do
so conflicted
with the religious beliefs shared by
husband and wife.
Attorneys
for
since both parties in
is the only scriptural
ther committed
an
should recognize the
vows of marriage and

Mrs. Williams
argued that
the case believe that adultery
grounds for divorce, and neiact of adultery,
the court
ecclesiastical obligations and
deny the divorce.

"We are a civil court having constitutional


and legislative sanction to administer
man-made
laws justly, fairly and equally,"
the court held.
"We have no jurisdiction
to regulate or enforce
scriptural obligations."
The court said the case was a first of its
kind, and said it had no precedent to go by in making a ruling.
The court also said because of the constitutional guarantee of the free exercise of religion,
the woman has the right to believe that in the eyes
of god, she and her estranged husband remain ecclesiasticallv wedded.
"Any transgression by her husband of their
ecclesiastical vows, is, in this instance, outside the
jurisdiction
of the court," Hodges wrote.
[source: Tulsa World, 12/3/75]

GOQ AND ENGLISH COURTS


Charges of indecent assault on an 11-yearold girl were dismissed today because the girl told
the judge she had never heard of god or the Bible,
did not go to church and did not receive religious
instruction.
The judge, in Chelmsford Crown Court, said
the girl was unfit to give sworn testimony and her
unsworn word was useless as there was no corroboration available.
The accused attacker, William Scott, 57,
had pleaded innocent.
[source: Capital Times, Madison, WI, 4/29/76]

PRAYER COST
A wood products broker named Lionel Trebilcock was turned down by the Tax Court when he
sought to deduct the pay of a clergyman hired to
hold prayer meetings at his business and give spiritual counsel to workers, says Prentice-Hall. The tax
court said spiritual counseling isn't a routine part
of business.
[source: Mail Tribune, Medford, Oregon, 12/5/75]

RELIGION

AND WORLD CRISES

How do secular leaders view religious inter


ference in programs to combat the crises facin
mankind? Derek Davies, editor of the Far Easten
Economic Review, told a "Population and Econo
rnics" seminar audience in Hong Kong that "th
time for intellectual debate, for gentle persuasion
has come and gone." He said that "the problem ha
reached such proportions
that governments canno
afford to preserve the people's freedom of choice
Direct official sanctions against large families ar
regrettably necessary now." Citing as examples th
Moslem 'right' to four wives and refusal to ea
pork, Hindu veneration of the cow, and the Catl
olic stand on birth control,
he asserted: Man
years ago, the civil governments ... should hav
begun the process of over-riding the archaic laV\
and morality
structures
erected by the world
major religions ... we must' use what tools we hav
in a world which we cannot afford to have limite'
by archiac religious laws and by the theology c
celibates."
[source: Awake, 7/22/74

ESCAPEES
That headline appeared in The Catholic He
aId Citizen. An article by Catholic priest Andre'

THE LORD'S

ECCENTRICITY

According
to a United Press International
news story, an eight-year old boy in Memphis, Tennessee, was lured to the Sunday services of a local
church by promises of hot dogs and soft drinks.
During the service, the minister,
the Reverend
Gene Hobgood, pointed out the boy's long hair,
saying in effect that all males who don't keep it
trimmed close are going to hell. The child was terrorized into submitting to a haircut then and there.
The hell-fire sermon so frightened the boy, his parents say, that his nose bled all Sunday afternoon.
The Reverend Hobgood, not dismayed, told the
press, "I didn't start it. The lord did. And it works
works."
,
If the Reverend Hobgood reports the lord's
position correctly,
the lord might need psychiatric treatment. Throwing little children into eternal flames because of the length of their hair is not
behavior characteristic of the mentally sound. Such
eccentric passions certainly do not fit a person for
a responsible position such as that of creator of
the Universe.
[source: Playboy]

Greely noted that in the United States "almost


fifth of those who were raised Catholic no lonq:
consider themselves to be part of the Church." ~
observed that in 1955 the apostasy rate was 7 pe
cent, but by 1973 it had doubled,
to 14 pe
cent. He said that the rate "apparently
is contim
ing to climb." Greely called this "a deadly serioi
problem for American Catholicism,"
and adder
"Quite simply, people are leaving in droves and at
parently are continuing to do so."
[source: Awake, 10/2217f

PRIESTS IN ROME
Pope Paul VI recently complained at lengtf
- about the "abandoning
of rei igious observances bentire populations"
and the "many seminaries'
that are "nearly deserted" as well as religious or
ders that "have trouble finding new followers.'
-Such problems are literally at the pope's own door
step." Rome ranks among the Catholic cities witt
the smallest number of native priests,"
report
Rome's Daily American. Less than half a dozer
were ordained this year in this city of three mil
lion inhabitants."
[source: Awake, 11/22/74]
June 1976/American Atheist - 9

VIVA
It's official.

Satan lives.

.
The Vatican has just announced that a specl~1 study commissioned by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had concluded
that the devil lives in fact and is not just a personification of evil.
[source: Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/27/75J

PRAYER

AS A CURE

FOR CANCER

A 19th century bishop of Phi ladelphia may


become the first American male saint in September, Vatican sources say.
.. A Vatican medical commission has already
certified
the authenticity
of a miracle attributed
to the intercession of the Blessed John Nepornucene Neumann-one
of the last steps toward his
canonization.
The doctor's findings must still be discussed
by prelates of the Vatican congregation for causes
of saints and a plenary meeting under Pope Paul VI
must be held to issue a canonization
decree.
Two miracles are normally required in canonization causes, but the Pope reduced the requirement in Neumann's case to one, the sources said.
They ~aid the miracle was the recovery of a Philadelphia man from Ewing's Sarcoma,R form of
cancer, after praying to Blessed Neumann.
[source:Chicago Tribune, 3/28/76J

IGNORANCE

OF THE

LAW

Every city and state has some laws on the


books that are stupid, or outdated, or unenforceable, or all three. But it's difficult to explain just
how such laws find their
way onto the books.
According to the Boston City Council librarian the first Boston municipal code book was
compiled in 1827, five years after the city was incorl?orated. It was 260 pages long. Prior to that,.
ordinances had been simply published in the daily
newspapers and read into law. The code book has
been rewritten many times, most recently last year,
after it had ballooned to 1000-plus pages.
Many of the colonial statutes have long since
been replaced, but some of them remain. As informed citizens, you should be advised that in
Boston:

June 1976/American Atheist - 10"

-And
"whoever wilfully
[sic) blasphemes
the holy name of god by denying cursing or contumeliously reproaching god, his creation, qovernment or final judging of the world, or by cursing
or contumeliously
reproaching Jesus Christ or the
Holy Ghost, or by cursing or contumeliously
reproachmg or exposing to contempt and ridicule,
the holy word of god contained in the holy scriptures shall be punished by imprisonment in jail for
not more than one year or by a fine of not more
than $300, and may also be bound to good behavior." (272:36)
-If you must blaspheme, do it in Vermont.
You'll save yourself $100. "A person who publicly
denies the being and existence of God ... shall be
fined not more than $200." (17:801)
[source: Boston Globe, 5/2/761

A SANE

nia

JUDGE

There was no time off this year for Califorstate employees to observe Good Friday.

The California Court of Appeals ruled for


the second time earlier this year that the annual order by the governor giving state workers three
hours off to go to church is unconstitutional.
The court reached the same conclusion
decision filed last year in the same case.

in

~ut the .court reaffirmed its earlier ruling


and said that time off for Christian state workers
to worship violates the First Amendment provision
against "any law respecting an establishment of
religion."
The court acted in the case of Shelley Mandel, a 25-year -old worker for the University of
California in Berkely.
Miss Mandel, a Jew, filed the suit in Septernber, 1972, in Alameda Superior Court. She pointed
out that Jews, for.example, were not given time off
~rom their state jobs to observe Yom Kippur. Similarly, persons of other religions were not allowed
time off from work for their observances.
The appelate court said that the governor's
Good Friday order amounts to "discrimination"
against all non-Christian religions and "preference"
of those that are Christian.
[source: San Francisco Chronicle, 1/22/76]

WHY

N.Y.C.

IS BROKE

New York city's municipal hospitals, which


have reported that they are under such crippling
budget cuts that there is danger of unnecessary
sickness and death, have had to pay for the services
of religious chaplains, whose services are provided
free to many other private voluntary hospitals.
The chaplains are paid between $14,500 and
$18,500 a year under "guidlines and standards" set
up by the Interfaith Chaplaincy Advisory Committee, which represents the three major faiths.
Up to about three years ago, chaplains at the
city hospitals were paid a' miminal stipend of no
more than $3,000 if they were paid at all. But in
1972, the interfaith
committee pressed to raise
the fee.
"All kinds of pressures were put on by people who wanted the jobs," says one former chaplain in the municipal system who is now working
without pay in a voluntary hospital.
According to the Health and Hospitals Corporation, which runs the municipal hospital system, the 18 city hospitals have 56 full-time and 22
part-time chaplains.
The chaplains operate under an 18-page
memo of "guidelines and standards" drawn up by
the interfaith
committee.
The memo says that
while the chaplains are selected by the executive
director of a hospital, the candidates are suggested
by the interfaith council.

distribute

literature that would trouble the patient.

Dr. Potter said some literature suggested that


the patient might die a difficult death if he did not
take certain vows.
"They [the extremists]
don't real ize what
this does to a patient," Dr. Potter said. "It
has
bad effects on health care."
The sharp increase in pay for chaplains has
not met with objections from the top leadership of
the Health and Hospitals Corporation.
Dr. John L. S. Holloman Jr., the president
of the corporation, says the full-time chaplains are
needed because the "problems
of despair" are
much greater among the poorer people who are the
municipal system's patients.
One of the chaplains in the municipal system who was recommended by the interfaith committee is Dr. Calvin B. Marshall, who is paid to
serve full-time at Cumberland Hospital in Brooklyn.
Dr. Marshall has been a leader in the drive
for reparations for black people because of the suffering he says they have undergone at the hands
of whites.
He has said that white Christianity
"only
sanctifies and blesses everything the racist capitalist
society has to do to keep itself intact."

"About 98 per cent of the time the person


we suggest is accepted," says Dr. Dan M. Potter,
executive director of the Council of Churches of
the City of New York, who spoke for the interfaith council.

Dr. Marshall is pastor of what he describes as


"the oldest black church in Brooklyn," the Varick
Memorial
African
Methodist
Episcopal
Zion
Church at 806 Quincy Street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section.

Another part of the chaplain's job in municipal hospitals, according to the guidelines and
standards, is to "be of assistance in the public relations activities of the hospital" and "to control the
distribution of religious literature."

Long Hours Reported

Asked about the public relations aspect of a


chaplain's job, Dr. Potter said, "Everything a chaplain does is public relation because he's dealing
with the public all the time."

'Extremist Groups' Cited


On controlling the distribution
of religious
literature, Dr. Potter said, "a lot of the hospitals
have trouble with extremist groups" who might

Dr. Marshall says he puts in 40 to 50 hours


a week at Cumberland Hospital but "my main salary comes from the church."
"I would like that to remain confidential,"
Dr. Marshall says when asked about his salary from
the church.
"I am adequately
provided for."
Asked how he could run his church if he devoted full time to the hospital, Dr. Marshall said,
"I'm a glutton for work." He said "There are two
other ministers and an administrative assistant who
actively run the parish on a day to day basis."

June 1976/American Atheist - 11

Cumberland Hospital is linked with Brook1yn Hospital in an affiliation agreement whereby


Brooklyn, a private voluntary institution, provides
professional personnel to the municipal institution.
Although Brooklyn Hospital is larger than
Cumberland-451
beds compared
with
358Brooklyn's executive director, Robert Markowitz,
says that his hospital has never felt the need for a
full-time chaplain. Mr. Markowitz says that BrookIyn Hospital has three volunteer chaplains and that
the most that is paid "is $400 to $500 a year for
travel expenses."
Attempts to make cutbacks in the chaplaincy service in the municipal hospitals in the current
budget crisis have met with strong resistance from
the Interfaith Chaplaincy Committee.
[source: New York Times, 11/23/75)

THICK

mony before congressional subcommittees and do


detailed research into the subjects that they feel
need lobbying.
"They know more about what is going on in
Congress and how it will affect the poor than many
congressmen do," marveled Rep. William Lehman
(D.-Fla.!.
"The great thing about Network is that for
the first time sisters across the nation are in touch
with what is going on in Washington," said lobbyist
Sister Maureen Kelleher. "Being better-informed,
they give us the feedback we need from the grass
roots. "
"We get reports from sisters working in the
ghettos or the poverty-stricken areas. These reports
break our hearts, but instead of feeling helpless, we
can do something at the government level to help
the suffering people of this nation."

SKULLS

Guess it's no longer safety first but religion


first! A second religious group has been exempted
by OSHA (Occupation Safety and Health Adrninistration)
from wearing hard hats on construction
sites and carpentry jobs. The latest exemption applies to the Sikh Dharma Brotherhood, of which
there are about two million members in the U.S.
Members of the Old Order Amish were excused
two years ago. The Amish wear wide-brimmed felt
hats, the Sikhs wear turbans. Both groups say it is a
breach of religious principles to wear hard hats.
OSHA says that the exemptions are based on provisions in the Constitution that permit free exercise of religion.
[source: Environmental

"We have proved our effectiveness-by


acting at the subcommittee stage where we can influence decision."
Sister Kelleher gave testimony
House Criminal Justice subcommittee
convince legislators to find alternatives
more prisons. Said Sister Marie Carol.
studying the Sugar Act and how sugar
fect the poor sugarcane workers."

Added Rep. Lehman: "The nuns are highly


efficient because they work for love of their fellow
human beings"-and for tax dollars.
[source: National

LOBBYING

"We decided there was a place for sisters to


become involved in the legislative process," said
Sister Marie Carol Coston. "So, four years ago we
set up 'Network,'
the first organization to have
nuns
as registered lobbyists who present the
wishes of other sisters, priests, brothers and lay
people across the nation."
now has 2,600 members.

Financially
supported
by the orders to
which they belong, all of which are tax exempt,
the nuns visit senators and representatives and push
for the social needs of the poor. They give testiJune 1976/ American Atheist - 12

INEFFECTIVE

LOBBY

LAWS

Six Catholic nuns are crusading on Capital


Hi II--as registered lobbyists.

Network

Enquirer, 9/9/75]

Observer, 6/20/75]

MOST
NUNS VIOLATE

before the
and helped
to building
"Now we're
subsidies af-

Oregon's liberal Republican Sen. Mark Hatfield is as devout and active a church member (Baptist) as anyone in Congress. Hence he was a natural
choice for speaker at the recent annual convention
of the Religious Public Relations Council-which
he proceeded to electrify (or possibly electrocute)
with the following statements
"The National Council of Churches is the
most ineffective lobby I know of on Capitol Hill."
"They come up with
resolutions that we
know probably couldn't even get a majority vote
in their local congregations."
"Everyone

of these people who come up to

It is also significant that, during the past


three years when this conglomeration of denominational I BM stockholders was demanding that IBM
stockholders
stop or inhibit business with South
Africa, these same church stockholders (54,000
shares) pocketed an estimated $957,000 in IBM
dividends, thus doing business, however indirectly,
with South Africa.

the Hill to see me, often from the religious establishment, never once look upon me, I have a feeling, as other than an object to be manipulated, just
like any other lobby does."
Retorted the National Council of Churches'
(NCC) man in Washington, Dr. James Hamilton:
"An

oversimplified

and undeserved cheap

shot."

Possibly these assorted I BM stockholding


hierarchs find a form of financial penance in paying the Corporate Information
people to conduct
their annual harassment of I BM for doing successful business in South Africa.
[source: Rev. Lester Kinsolving, 10/11/75)

Hamilton went on to note: "Each of the


member donominations of the NCC selects its own
representative to the NCC Governing Board and it
is this body which determines NCC policies and
positions ... Surely a denomination does not seek
to have its positions on issues misrepresented. In
such cases it can change its representatives."

CHRISTIAN CORPORATE MORALITY?

True. But the NCC Governing Board is heavily dominated by the large delegations of a few big
denominations-particularly
the United Methodists-where
the denominational
high commands
are heavily infiltrated by far left wing and black
militant bureaucrats, who are considerably adept at
the skill of ecclesiastical power politics.

No matter what intentions are, the question


arises, "Should religious groups, investing excessive
wealth in stocks, try to dictate corporate policy to
fit Christian morality?"
Exercising more than $25 million worth of
shareholder power, Protestants, Catholics,
and
Jews have launched a campaign to question the
practices of some of the nation's major corporations.

As an example, several of these NCC member denominations support a related agency of the
NCC called the Corporate Information Center. This
organization, which says it has an annual budget of
$195,000, is quite skilled at demanding public exposure of the financial transactions of large business corporations. But it has not, apparentlv.rvet
seen fit to demand that the United Church of
Christ stop concealing the salaries of top executives like the Rev. Larold Schultz.

The religious groups-ranging


from Catholic
orders and Jewish community
organizations to
large Protestant denominations-are
raising questions about corporate social responsibility by filing
resolutions for consideration at annual stockholder
meetings this spring.
The questions cover many issues including
Colgate-Palmolive's portrayal of women in advertising, the extent of Continental Oil's strip-mining
operations, General Electric's contracts related to
the B-1 bomber program, Eli Lilly's drug pricing
policies, and the extent of Motorola's operations in
South Korea.

Moreover, the Corporate Information Center


appears to be similarly selective about U.S. corporations who do business in Africa. IBM, for example, has for the past three years been asked by this
organization to stop or inhibit its trade with South
Africa. But no such concern has ever been expressed by this group about I BM's doing business
anywhere else in Africa--no matter how oppressive
the black dictatorships
where this corporation
does business may be.
,
At this year's stockholders'
meeting, the
"Committee on U.S. Investments in South Africa,"
which is part of the Corporate Information Center,
introduced for the third straight year its antiSouth African resolution-which
was defeated by
116,880,321 shares to 1,954,063, or more than 98
per cent of the votes.
This NCC effort therefore, appears to be even more disastrous than the effect of the NCC
lobbying reported by Hatfield.

"This year, more cornpan ies wi II receive reslutions on social issues than ever before," a United
Methodist Church official, said earlier this year as a
coaltion of 52 Protestant and Catholic organizations announced stockholder actions.
Estimates of ecclesiastical clout have been
placed as high as $20 billion in the United States.
But-as the Rev. Howard Schomer, of the United
Church of Christ, says: "That doesn't mean that all
of that could be brought to bear at once on corporations."
Excluding property investments, most recent
estimates of the Roman Catholic Church's investJune 1976/ American Atheist - 13

II

ment wealth
billion.

ies have given assurances that


tices would be avoided.

in the U.S. are between $1 and $10

Included
among other estimated
church
holdings in the U.S. that could be used to pressure
corporations are:

.$1

billion

held by the Episcopal

$500 million

by

the United

by

the

Church.

The action is seen by many as one of the


first concerted efforts to use church investments to
push for corporate responsibility .

Presbyterian

American

Baptist
A review of corporate
challenges by the
churches last year, however, shows that religious
shareholders failed to attract any more than 10
per cent of total annual meeting votes on the 20

Churches.

.$100

million

by

the

United

prac-

This year's questioning


is being played against a backdrop of past successes dating back to
1967 when five church denominations
voted their
combined $2.7 million in the Eastman Kodak Co.,
demanding the hiring of more unskilled blacks .

Church.

$300 million

anti-Semetic

Methodist

Church.

Corporate targets of religious groups


More than 50 Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish groups have filed stockholder
resolutions questioning the practices of a number of corporations.
Among those
resolutions set for consideration at spring corporate meetings are the following.
Company

Issue

Sponsors

Avon

Equal Employment
Opportunity practices

Unitarians

Colqate-Palmolive

Images of women
in advertising

Sisters of St. Joseph


of Peace

Continental Oil

Strip-mining

American Baptists

General Electric

Involvement in B-1
bomber program

United Methodists

IBM

Report of South
African saies

Christian ChurchDisciples of Christ

Kraftco

Disclosure of nutritional
composition of food products

Sisters of Charity of
St. Elizabeth

million

--~------~~~~~------policies
Servite Order

Eli Lilly

Drug pricing

Motorola

South Korean operations

Phillips Petroleum

Political contributions

Episcopal Church

Tenneco

United Farm Workers


treatment

School Sisters of St.


Francis of Rockford, III.

Source:

.$300

include

by

Interfaith
Center on Corporate
New York [January, 1976]

the

United

Church

Reformed Church in
America

Responsibility

of

proposals submitted

by the churches.

"But winning a resolution


doesn't always
mean getting 50 per cent of the vote," said Tim
Smith, head of the Interfaith Center on Corporate
Responsibility.

Christ.
While the drive for corporate responsibility has been largely a Catholic-Protestant
effort in
the past, the American Jewish Congress recently
announced it will file shareholder resolutions with
as many as 100 companies.
The AJC is asking companies to reveal
whether
they plan to participate in an Arab boycott of Israel or discriminate against Jews in any
other way. So far, it reports more than 25 of the
resolutions have been withdrawn since the cornpanJune 1976/American Atheist - 14

The center, which helps coordinate corporate challenges, includes 25 Protestant denominations and agencies and 27 Roman Catholic orders
whose total shareholder power is estimated to be
more than $3 billion.
Smith

said

the

resolutions

are just

one

of the "total pressure puzzle"


change their social policies.

to get companies to

Frequently,
Smith said, filing a resolution
causes companies to adjust their policies and allows
the churches to withdraw the challenge. He said
that happened last year in the case of challenges
against American
Home Products, Control Data
Corp., Sears, Roebuck & Co., and Tenneco.

"It carries quite different


symbol of the Christmas

connotations
from the
tree and Santa Claus."

Dowds
said the cross-lighting
practice, at
the time of trial, probably will fail all three tests
set by the U.S. Supreme Court to determine constitutional separation of church and state.

A coalition of has filed stockholders' resolutions with 10 United States corporations demanding a halt to overseas political contributions
and
bribes for favors.

To pass muster with the high court, Dowds


said, a governmental action must first have a secular
legislative purpose; second, must not have the
effect of either advancing or inhibiting
religion,
and third, must not foster an "excessive" governmental entanglement with religion.

"Foreign
political
contributions
and purchase of favored treatment
by some U.S. transnational corporations
are a form of neocolonialist
intervention
in the internal political life of other
countries,"
said the Rev. Dr. Howard Schomer, a
spokesman for the Interfaith Center of Corporation Responsibility.
[source: James Robison]

"While some of the resolutions adopted by


the City Council contain self-serving recitals, such
as that included in the resolution
of March 21,
1973, that the display of the cross is pred icated
upon it being a symbol of the spirit of peace and
good fellowship
toward all mankind on an interfaith
basis,"
Dowds
said, "other
evidence ...
make(s) it clear the purpose is a religious one."

JUDGE BARS CROSS


The 3D-year tradition
of displaying crosses
formed from lighted windows on the City Hall
tower at Christmas and Easter was blocked Friday
by Superior Judge Norman R. Dowds, who held it
an unconstitutional
pairing of church and state.
A preliminary
injuction was granted at the
request of Beverly Hills attorney S. Dorothy Metzger Fox, who had failed in a Christmas Eve attempt to stop the arranged lighting of city office
windows.
Dowds' order will remain in effect until the
case is brought to full trial, which could take two
or three years.
Fox claimed spending the $103 to arrange
the lights was an illegal use of tax money for an
unconstitutional
act depriving citizens of First and
14th Amendment protections of religious freedom
and equality.

While religious purposes are "wholly


admirable," Dowds added, they are not always permissible purposes for a governmental body.
[source: L.A. Times, 1/17/76]

GOD AND THE ACLU


The parents of a 16-year old retarded girl
in a Vermont training school have asked that she
be sterilized. She shares a dormitory
with male students and is incapable of understandi-ng motherhood. It is feared that she might become pregnant.
The American Civil Liberties Union, in what
can only be described as a god-like presumption,
has intervened to prevent sterilization.
Those who oppose sterilization
in cases like
this say that since the girl cannot decide for herself, she should not be subjected to the operation.
No one else should decide. But that's nonsense.
The decision

cannot

be avoided.

It is there.

H must be answered yes or no.


In a five-page written opinion
issued four
hours after he heard arguments, Dowds said the
cross symbol must be considered differently
from
Christmas trees displayed
in other government
buildings.
"While citizens of other religions or no religion may celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday,
they do not customarily,
if at all, use the symbol
of the cross in such celebrations,"
Dowds said.

The basic question here is whether the decision should be made by her parents, who understand her and are trying to act in her interest,
or whether strangers from the ACLU should be
allowed to "play god".
[source: Tulsa World, 12/3/75]

June 1976/ American Atheist - 15

SPECIAL
If you had been subscribing to the American
Atheist "I nsiders' Newsletter"
you wou Id have
known why the magazine has been held up.
If you are an American Atheist and you are
in agreement with the "Aims and Purposes" of the
Society of Separationists, Inc., printed on the back
inside cover of the magazine -- why don't you send
in for a membership application blank?
We are doing something that
thinkable -- if you think about it.

IS

NOTICE
Building our program of names was Genesis
- what else! Trying to find lost names when you
send in a different address or change your names
by adding a "Jr" now and then, is all under the
program Lamentations.
When you move that is
New Testament. If, and when, you send in money
for contributions, renewal or what-have-you - that
program, obviously, is Numbers. And, if we want
to find you anywhere in the computer, we naturalIy ask Revelations to do the job.

really un-

We are applying the latest business techniques to a "cause" organization.

It took from January to June 1st to get the


bugs out of the system, but if you will look at your
address label on the magazine, you will see that
you are -- for real -- on the computer.

We refuse to operate out of a cellar. We refuse to be marginal people. American Atheists are
the best thing that the country has going for it.
The application of pure reason is going to solve
every problem that the United States has -- ami
nothing less than that will do it.

I n the process, if your magazines were late


in coming to you -- if you subscribed in January
and this is your first magazine -- please recall that
famous phrase, "Oh father, forgive them. For thev
knew what they were doing - but it just took too
damn long to do it."

We own a modern office building. We have a


direct mail plant and our our own in-house printing
operation. We use the most sophisticated and upto-date office machines and equipment -- anct-- we
have just installed a computer on which we have
been struggling to work out a mailing routine.

We have a lot of gripe letters in here because


we have been a little late in getting the operation
going. But, if you can imagine that an American
Atheist organization is in existence! - that alone
is a miracle of our times.
To have one that is
functioning
properly and with business decorum
and proceedures is out of this world L:" and into
the next one which will be an Atheistic world,
through our efforts.

Computers have been used -- usually -- for


lab or math operations. This is the first time that
a computer has been used for mailing lists, updating and address changes. Computer programming
was not even available for such an operation.

Hang in there ..... hang in with us.

We began it in January - and it has been


"Disaster-City"
in an unending operation since that
time.

If you want the back issues which you have


missed -- write a post card -- and please use "gentle
languguage - we will see that you
receive the
copies you have missed.

However, persistence wins.


We came up
with eleven programs for that computer to make it
work.
With quaint sarcasm we named the programs from the books of the Bible.

It may take another six months!!..


and
you can help with that too - by making a contribution to us for our work here so that we can hire
more hands in the American Atheist Centre.

Your gift to us is tax exempt.


We are a
non-profit, non-political, educational organization.

Atheist
Radio Series
Contribution
of Demokritos

American
Materialism: The
Program 384
KLBJ Radio

13th March,

1976

Austin, Texas

Hello there,
This is Madalyn Mays O'Hair,
Atheist, back to talk with you again.

American

I am attempting--in this series-to give you a


review of the History of Materialism, basing this on
an English work of the scholar Frederick Lange,
who lived in Germany and taught philosophy there
at the Universities of Zurich and Marburg, about
100 years ago.
One of the earliest, perhaps the father of
western Materialism, was Demokritos (I will use
the spelling of Lange) who is described in Webster's Dictionary as a Greek Philosopher who lived
about 460 B.C., and who was popularly known as
"The Laughing Philosopher".
Demokritos was a citizen of the Ionian colony of Abdera on the Thracian coast. The prosperous commercial city was wealthy and cultivated. Demokritos' father was a man of unusual
wealth. There is scarcely room to doubt that the
highly-gifted son enjoyed an excellent education
... but there is no historical foundation for the story that he was brought up by Persian Magi.
That story was probably composed because
of the visit of the Great King of Persia, Xerces I
(486465) to the city of Abdera. There is no doubt
that the king had with him his most learned Magi.
Also, it would be obvious that when such a person
visited a town such as Abdera, the king and his
court would be housed with the richest citizen of
the place.
Actually there has been much research as to
the possible age of Demokritos. It is not known 'if
he was a contemporary of Socrates or not. In all
events, Demokritos only began to develop his doctrines when he had reached a mature age, and it is
possible that he was a contemporary of Socrates,
living about the same time.
Demokritos appears to have spent his whole
patrimony in the "grand tour" -visiting all existing
cities, acquainting himself with the countries and

June 1976/American

Atheist - 18

~I

the cultures of his time. Returning to his home, in


poverty, he was supported by his brother, but
soon, by his successful predictions in the sphere of
natural philosophy, he gained the reputation of being a wise and heaven-inspired man. Finally, he
wrote his great work, the "Dielosmos". With the
public reading of this he was rewarded by his native city with a gift of one hundred (according to
some five hundred) talents (the unit of money) and
with
the erection of commemorative
statues.
The year of Demokritos' death is uncertain,
but there is a general admission that he reached a
very advanced age, and died cheerfully and painlessly.
A great number of sayings and anecdotes are
connected with his name, though the greater portion of them have no particular import for- the
character of the man to whom they relate. This is
especially so of the interpretation
which has been
put
upon him as the "Laughing Philosopher"
which makes the historians see in him nothing but
a merry jester over the follies of the world, and a
holder of a philosophy which (without losing itself in profundities)
regards everything from the
good side. Amid all the contradictory
stories we
find that he did devote his whole life to scientific investigations, which were as serious-and logical
as they were extensive.
The primary collectors of the scattered fragments which are all that remain to us of his numerous works, regards him as occupying the first place
for genius and knowledge amongst all the philosophers before Aristotle. It is very significant that a
man of such extensive attainments would have a
fragment of his thought remaining which says, "we
should strive not after fulness [sic] of knowledge,
but fulness [sic] of understanding".
When he
speaks of his achievments, he dwells not upon the
-nurnber and variety of his writings, but of his personal observation, his mathematical method and
his intercourse with other learned men. He notes,
.
"Among all my contemporaries, I have traveled over the largest portion of the earth in search
of things the most remote, and have seen the most
climates and countries, heard the largest number of
thinkers, and no one has excelled me in geometric
construction and demonstration-not
even the geo-

meters of the Egyptians,


years as a guest."

with

whom

I spent five

One
of the circumstances which caused
Demokritos to fall into oblivion, was his want of
ambition and his distaste for dialectic discussion.
He is said to have been in Athens without making
himself known to one of its philosophers. Amongst
his moral aphorisms we find the following:
"He
who is fond of contradiction
and makes many
words is incapable of learning anything that is
right."
Demokritos founded no school. His words
were copied from
and his whole philosophy was
finally absorbed by Epikuros. Aristotle mentions
him frequently with respect. However, he cites him
only when he attacks him, and this is not done
with fairness or objectivity.
Yet, we know much
about Demokritos, mostly because of his clearness
and consecutiveness in thinking. We may consider
the following propositions as the essential foundations of his teaching.
I. Out of nothing arises nothing; nothing
that is can be destroyed. All change is only combination and separation of atoms.
This proposition contains in principle the two
great doctrines of modern physics-the
theory of
the indestructibility
of matter and that of the persistence of force (or conservation of energy). This
stands, of course, in contradiction to the Christian
concept of creation "out of nothing".
Out of this proposition came the theory of
the universe which we use today in physics, and astronomy.
II. Nothing happens by chance, but everything through a cause and of necessity.
When a tile falls upon a man's head while he
is walking down the street, this is regarded as an
accident. Yet, no one doubts the direction of the
wind, the law of gravitation, and other natural circumstances, which fully determined the event, so
that it followed from a physical necessity that, in
fact, any head which appeared there at that particular moment would be struck be a tile.
Although there may be an assumption
chance error, there were numbers of causes
volved.
His third proposition

of
in-

was:

III. Nothing exists but


space; all else is only opinion.

atoms and empty

On this atomic theory we explain today the


laws of sound, of light, of heat, of chemical and
physical changes.
H is fourth

proposition

was:

IV. The atoms are infinite in number, and of


endless variety of form. In the eternal fall through
infinite space, the greater, which fall more quickly,
strike against the lesser, and later movements and
vortices that thus arise are the commencement of
the formation of worlds. Innumerable worlds are
formed and perish successively and simultaneously.
Later, Epikuros comes to the simple conclusion that in empty space there is no resistance; all
bodies must fall equally fast.
H is fifth

proposition

was:

V. The variety of all things is a consequence


of the variety of their atoms in number, size, figure, and arrangement; there is no qualitative difference of atoms. They have no "internal conditions':' and act on each other only by pressure or
collision.
Demokritos regarded the sense qualities such
as colour [sic], sound, heat, and so on as mere
appearances. He felt that these were caused by the
arranging of the atoms in a schema or schemata.
H is sixth proposition

was:

VI. The soul (which is to say the essence of


life-ed.)
consists of fine, smooth, round atoms,
like those of fire. These atoms are the most mobile,
and by their motion, which permeates the whole
body, the phenomena of life are produced.
He conceived of the intellect as "a phenomenon taking its origin from the mathematical
constitution
of certain atoms in their relation to
the others."
From these propositions he derived ethical
concepts, which briefly stated are that:
"Happiness consists in the cheerful calmness
_ of spirit which man can attain only by securing the
mastery over his desires. Temperence and purity of
heart, united with culture of the emotions and development of the intelligence, supply every man
with the means, despite the vicissitudes of life, of
'reaching this goal. Sensual pleasure affords only a
brief satisfaction; and he only who does good for
the sake of its intrinsic
merit, without
being
swayed by fear or hope is sure of this inward reward."
June 1976/ American Atheist - 19

Demokritos was aware of how organic bodies adapted to environmental situations and considered the human frame to be especially so adapted.
H is view of the world was objective-not
subjective.

condition of most materialists. He felt that the distinctions of good and evil, right and wrong are to
be known instinctively without inquiry. He found
cheerful serenity of soul to be the most lasting
good, but that it could be attained most readily
through right thinking and acting, as a result of experience. The reason for striving after this harmonious inward condition is reason enough for the happiness of the individual.

Had Western civilization proceeded from this


point and built upon it, we could have eliminated
the 1,000 years of the "Dark Ages" which prevailed in Europe after the ascendency of Christianity. But, let us follow the thread and see how Materialism moved after these original propositions
were qiven to the world. The philosophy flowered
again only in recent times, but perhaps we can see
what subverted it.

And, we think

This informational broadcast is brought to


you as a public service by the Society of Separationists,
Inc., a nonprofit,
non-political,
taxexempt, educational organization dedicated to the
complete and absolute separation of state and
church. This series of American Atheist Programs
is continued
through listener generosity.
The
Society of Separationists (Inc.) predicates its philosophy on American Atheism. For more information, or for a free copy of the script of this program, write to P.O. Box 2117, Austin, Texas.
That zip is 78761. If you want the free copy of
this particular script ask for number 384. The address again for you is P. O. Box 2117, Austin.,
Texas, and that zip is 78767.

Demokritos wrote seventy books and Plato


wished to burn all of them. Two of these books
were on psychology, one on the mind and the other on the senses. He taught that the seat of the
mind was the brain and he called it "the monarch
of the body."
I n late antiqu ity there is a story that the sage
once saw a porter in his native town packing together in a very ingenious manner the wood blocks
he had to carry. He talked to him and was so surprised by his quickness that he took him as a pupil.
This man was supposed to have been Protagoras,
the first of the Sophists, and I will look at him
next week.
Demokritos

he was right, and that we are

right.

I will be with you again next week, same day


of the week, same time, same station, same time.
Until then, I do thank you for listening and "goodbye" for now.

was a happy man, which is the

~)

ECUMENISM

?(

An erotic young Baptist named Alice,


Once pee'd in the Archbishop's chalice.
But 'twas common belief
It was done for relief
And not thru Protestant malice.
[source: Sacramento Chapter, S.O.S. Inc.J

CONCHY

(:ii::)

June 1976/American Atheist - 20

THE

RISE
AND

OF
ITS

RELIGION
DECLINE
AVRO

IN

AMERICA
EUROPE

MANHATTAN

One of the most striking features of America, to one who has set foot on its soil for the first
time, is the incredible number of religious buildings dotting
the country here, there, and everywhere, all seemingly brand new, characterised by
neat, white, or red, or grey walls, chaste roofs, and
ornamented
with outsize contemporary
semi-futuristic crosses in their fronts. Each church is invariably accompanied by adjacent structures, probably offices of the house of the local clerical incumbent. They all exude a sense of prosperity,
well-being, affluence,
in fact. It is clear that there
was no lack of money behind the planners or those
who conceived their erection, maintainance and future care.
Since I was travelling from New York southwards, at first I assumed this was a phenomenon
peculiar to the North, a section of the U.S.A. generally regarded as prosperous.
But then as I penetrated deeper and deeper
into central and into what is still regarded as the
South, the number of these extraordinary
prosperous looking buildings,
far from diminishing,
increased, until finally having reached my destination, Texas, the sacred structures multiplied
beyond
the dream of any super-optimistic
building
entrepreneur.
I could not help making mental comparison
with old Europe.
There, of course, one sees
churches, local churches in every village, or city,
big or small. When one visits any European town,
one comes across lots of churches. But what distinguishes the church population
of sacred buildings from their American
counterparts
is that,
whereas the American ones are all brand new or are
looking extremely young and healthy, their European equivalents, by contrast, are old, tired, dilapidated, ancient, when not crumbling.
Europe, in fact, is the geriatric ward of
churches, whereas America is the youthful clerical
gymnasium of sacred architecture,
if we dare to
call the extraordinary
amalgam
of American
sundry church architecture, sacred.
But then, whereas Europe had almost 2000
years during which to build its churches, America
had only 200. As a result, therefore,
America

IN

should have a very small proportion


of buildings
dedicated to religion. Should we care to divide and
subdivide 200 years and place the buildings of American
Churches into the 2000 which Europe
employed upon erection of its own, then we will
see how America has built more than a thousand
per cent faster than Europe has, in any time during her long history.
If this was all, that would be bad enough.
But the most alarming fact is that America is still
building her churches at an ever accelerated tempo.
Only the other night during a television program, I
was surprised to hear a Baptist individual ask his
listeners to send him $100 each, in order to build a
new Baptist Church in Liberty Mountain, wherever
such mountain might be. He needed one or ten million dollars, he explained, to erect this new house
of god. In ali probability
he got what he wanted.
But even if he did not, the mere fact that he dared
to ask for such large sum of money to erect yet
another church is something which is peculiar to an
America which is already amply church-ridden.
I n Europe such requests are rare, very rare.
Indeed it can be said they are practically
non-existent. This is due not only to the fact that Europe
has already too many churches, but that it wants
to get rid of most of them. As a result new
churches are far and few everywhere.
I n many
European countries, they do not exist at all, with
the exception where war devastations have wiped
out most of the towns. This is so because Europeans no longer care for them. Or if they do, they
care for the old churches, chiefly with the view of
turning
them into warehouses, studios, schools,
boutiques and the like, When there is no demand
for them, they are simply pulled down, the ground
sold to the highest bidder.
The champion demolisher of churches is certainly the Church of England. The Church of England must beat the record for selling sacred edifices since the end of World War II having sold,
converted
or demolished churches by the thousands. The Church of England prefers to invest old
ground into pennies. With the money acquired by
the selling of unused churches, she has invested in
industrial
shares, including Shell, General Motors
and indigenous
British or Commonwealth
concerns.
June 1976/American

Atheist - 21

On Iy recently, it was officially disclosed that


the Church of England, for instance, had a capital
of real estate surpassing the 850 million pounds
sterling, or the equivalent of over 1,700 million
dollars. This, it must be pointed out, without accounting for the liquid cash, and other vast properties, which she has in certain streets of London,
where all blocks of houses belong to her. Her
agents, or the Church Comissionaries, as they are
called, have a reputation as the worst landlords of
England. They are reputed to be worse than the
legendary Shylock who, by comparison, looks like
the greatest champion of Christain philanthropy.
Other Protestant denominations fare no better. Presbyterian, Baptists, Methodists, and practically any other sect, are all in the same predicament. Any British city has its derelict church building. These are either closed, or are for sale. Most of
them are simply converted without any much fuss
into warehouses, or have even become dwellings
for hippies and discotheques. I, myself, only last
year negotiated for buying a Methodist Chapel to
convert into a weekend house, by the shore of the
North Sea.
In Europe the situation is not that bad, since
Europe is dominated
mostly by the Catholic
Church. But even in purely Catholic countries, one
sees beautiful 16th, 17th or 18th century churches
turned into warehouses, garages, or shops. Many of
those which cannot be used as business concerns
are sold or pulled down and the ground utilised
for the erection of modern blocks of flats or offices. Luckily, some of them cannot be demolished
owing to their historical or artistic qualifications.
It is a tragic state of affairs from the religious viewpoint, since even the powerful Catholic
Church has to think twice, prior to building a
brand new church, her main activities, in this field,
being mainly concentrated upon disposing of an
ever increasing number of obsolete churches by
closing or selling or just demolishing them.
It is difficult to give an accurate estimate.
But it can be said, without fear of exaggeration,
that whenever the Catholic Church builds a new
sacred structure, at the same time she will also
close or sell between 90 to 100 old ones.
The Catholic authorities are very cagey about disclosing figures, since that wou Id have an
adverse effect for the legend that the Catholic
Church is not declining. Figures of her adherents
have certainly shrunk. Many have left her, othersthough still within her fold-are
disillusioned about her protestantization.
Large sections have become indifferent and a great many are becoming
increasingly hostile. Such indifference, evasion and
June 1976/American Atheist - 22

open hostility
spells loss of income. In other
words, this means financial deprivation, hence the
scarcity for the erection of new churches. The latter when built as a rule are built in the suburbs
outside the new' industrial cities.
As for the Protestant Churches, whether in
Europe or in England, their situation is positively
a gloomy one. Their congregations are shrinking at
an ever alarming rate. Most of them consist exclusively of elderly people. The younger prefer the
discotheque to the chapel and the bars to the Sunday Schools. They look with contempt upon their
contempories who still cling to their pastors, clergy
or elders. Youth who do that are considered
squares. And although the image of choirs singing
hymns on the Sunday television screens might give
a different picture, it should also be remembered
that for one full chapel there are hundreds of empty pews.
By contrast
the American
congregations
look youthful and on the whole happy, clean and
prosperous. They struck me not only for their cohesivitv, but equally for the well-balanced mixing
of the age groups. There seem to be also a kind of
cohesion with the local pastor, moderator, or clergyman, lay preacher, or whoever runs the church.
It is the spirit of the friendly club, of a club
which has opened its portals only on a Sunday, but
which gives one a warm welcome, nevertheless.
Another feature which strikes the European
visitor, very vividly, is that the average American
suffers from a singular personal isolation. He appears to be living in a kind of systematized isolationism. He is isolated within his citvblock , or
within
his office encased within some vitreous
skyscraper; he is isolated in his supermarket. Everything around him seems to exhude anonymity. His
motels, his large stores, his suburbs, his wide wonderful highways. The good, average American, in
short, is squeezed between two impassable walls: a
crushing anonymity and a depressing isolationism.
Human nature, like nature itself, abhors a
vacuum. There will be a seeking after, to fill the
vacuum with something, no matter what. And
that's where the church or the chapel comes into
the picture. The neat, well painted, brightly lit
church building becomes a natural focus for all
those who feel lonely, abandoned, forgotten, bored
and deprived of the minimum of human contact.
And since most individuals in the dispersed
American communities feel that way, it is obvious
for them as the natural centre of their social activities; piety, even when genuine, being nothing
more than a basic excuse to consort with other hu-

man
them,
ble.

beings, who until the previous Sunday, to


were unrelated, ignored, unseen and invisi-

The chapel or church, in short, is transformed into the candle flame round which all the
moths of the neighbourhood congregate, fearful of
the terror of isolation.
The Sunday gatherings and hymns at the local church, therefore, become social fillers or the
foci of human contacts apparelled under the guise
of religiosity.
The man or the woman who has
worked a II the week in an office or factory, who
has gone to and fro isolated in his (her) car, from
his bungalow to his office, and vice versa, un-welcoming another day of physical and social isolation, looks forward to a Sunday attendance at the
local church. True, he has to put up with boring
sermons and bad singing, but at least he is given the
opportunity
to chat, to exchange views, to look at
his neighbors or to consult a friendly counsellor in
his pastor, clergyman, with all the beneficial and
social effects of a club, where the members feel
they belong intimately to some kind of living community.
The call of the chapel in America
such primary fundamental.

The prosperity, vigor and continuous resurgence of the American Churches, therefore, owe
their current paramount place to factors which are
peculiarly
American.
Of these, the most striking
are the following:
the growing antisocial habitat of
the average American, entrapped by an all embracing isolation and anonymity,
which he cannot avoid; and his yearning of belonging to something
where he can be considered human, individualistic and recognisable, hence, his otherwise unexplainable support of conventional religion.
The fact is that his religion is made simple,
indeed too simple to be even discussed, an all purpose filler, closing the widening gap between his
culture and his life, but above all, assuaging his subconscious fears of the unknown.
It is not for nothing that all his cosy little
churches, beside sparkling like jewels by day, are
lit by night, with all the glory that electricity
can
give to anything made out of brute matter. They
are a kind of estoric night club, promising endless
fun-with
a difference though. Instead of a suggestive nude figure, here, we have an illuminated
cross, the symbolic hope of all the joys of a forthcoming eternal life.

is due to

Another no less important factor is the immense religious naivete of the American believer
whether Catholic or Protestant. The average American theological knowledge is non-existent. As- for
that of their pastors, this is of such verbalised gullability that it must first be heard to be believed:
hence the triumphant
fundamentalism
of the American Churches.
In addition the American religious establishment has the clear eyed outlook of a babe, exhuding a simplicity worthy of a child, with the credulous inncence of one who can believe anything,
provided it is written in a book ... in our case, in
the Holy Book. This simplicism is typified by the
American clergy whose lack of historical and theological background is their most endearing quality.
As for the student population,
students could be
the latter-day students of a latter-day world, where ,
young people are no longer required to think, or even to know anything about yesterday or tomorrow, being mesmerised as they all seem to be by a
sense of unhistorical
immediacy. This, more than
alarming, is dramatic. It is even more so since such
sense of immediacy has affected also the American
Churches, hence the phenomenon of the Seventh
Day Adventists, the Jehovah Witnesses and others
waiting, in earnest, the Second Coming.

The contrast between the old dark, decrepit


churches of old Europe, with the well lit, freshly
painted, new churches of America, is immediate,
powerful and overwhelming.
It is a telling even if a somewhat superficial
distinction
between two cultures, since it indicates,
even if in a purely external manner, what has come
to divide the two continents, at least in tl{e field of
the established conventional religion:

Youth, optimism, energy and an immense


naivete in the first; religious and cultural decrepitude, plus inevitable decadence, in the second.
America has externalised her religious adolescence in her enthusiastic erection of ever charming, ever numberous
[sic] little, rich and chaste
churches, the positive externalisation
of something
which the American Man, in his spiritual isolation,
hag to make tangibly
concrete to give himself
self-confidence,
the visible tip of his sub-concious
iceberg, floating upon the dangerous waters of his
bewildered
ego. It is beneath such deep waters,
that we can detect the true motivation
of most of
h is atavistic fears.
Whether Europe, having lost such fears, has turned
cynical and therefore
is dying of old age, or whether America will be saved or destroyed
by its vig~rous religious adolescence, is a question which must remain unanswered.
Only the future will tell.
June

1976/American

Atheist

- 23

The

Case

for

Secular

Morality

ROBERT ASHTON

Most of the world judges Atheists and Agnostics unjustly. To the ignorant, lack of religion
is a mandate for abuses. I n a world that desperately
needs detached and rational viewpoints,
Atheists
and Agnostics are obliged to be on their best behavior. They can vindicate themselves only by
moral distinction.
So long as morality remains bound to religion it remains arbitrary, prejudicial, irrational, and
in many ways barbarous and dishonest. The few
high minded ideals of Christianity
have failed to be
exclusive. I nstead, we have often enough seen the
social attitudes
of Christians revert to the Old
Testament books of Deuteronomy
and Leviticus,
wherein the morality
is fundamentally
barbarous.
Our immature notions of democracy and humaneness make us weak in correcting such an objectionable moral tradition. We are hamstrung by contradictory myths.
The mark of a truly civilised and enlightened
society is a workable
secular morality.
Secular
morality is moral code based only upon logic and
the facts.
One of these facts is that religion and traditional morality are powerful ideological forces. It is
a more important
fact that these forces are ignorant and mostly unjust. It is to this last fact that
the greater emphasis must be given. Failure to do
so means failure and defeat for enlighteded free
thinking.
An educated and enlightened citizen has objective moral duties. One of these is the duty to
rationalise ethics. Unless this duty is accepted, the
education and enlightenment
have little tangible
worth. If there is any moral duty that rightly overrides all the others, it is to give human abundance
upon earth a moral justification.
This is to be done
by giving civilised ethical values a rational and factual basis. Unti] this is done, society will remain
as it is now, a poorly integrated happenstance agglomeration of parts.
In the West, the majority
of the religious
will agree with the Agnostics about specific social
goals. These are a constructive
and fulfilling
kind
of liberty, the rational give and take of good conduct and honesty, and a security from the calamities brought about by ignorance. Whatever we
wish to believe, however, we are still enmeshed in
June 1976/American Atheist - 24

~I

traditional
and myth ridden thinking.
This ignorance is rapidly bringing about our actual material
doom. This is beyond any truly honest argument.
We believe our liberties to be due to social
progress. We rightly value those liberties.
It is
nonetheless still true that an Atheist or an Agnostic
can encounter
economic or political
discrimination. Social progress cannot be taken for granted
unless we know exactly what it is and how it occurs, and then aim directly towards it.
Social progress cannot come about simply
by granting increased tolerance and humaneness
without any planned or coherent basis. One should
not expose one's flank without
first neutralising
the enemy. It makes Iittle sense to erect no guard
against such insidious follies as blindly venerated
tradition.
The most effective guard against this is
secular morality,
since it is the conscience in the
end that must resist conservative delusions.
True social progress will grant satisfying and
constructive
liberties. It will above all cause a real
improvement
in honesty. and good conduct. It will
also give to the individual a safeguard against the
effects of traditional
wrong thinking, that cesspool
of haphazardly accumulated nonsense.
True social progress cannot come about unless morality is a fully secular domain. This claim is
supported by a vast battery of arguments. All of
these simply cannot be included in a brief discussion. Importantly,
the merit of secu lar moral ity resides in its objective. It is to make good conduct
and above all honesty a rationally
and factually
conceived and planned system that will actually
bring improvements.
Secular morality is not connected with open
ended permissiveness. Open ended permissiveness is
an oddity of our age. It is undiscriminating,
apa_ thetic, and unreasoned. It is before all else a kind
of belated manifestation
of misconceived Christian
beliefs. It is as if the more merciful and charitable
conceptions of Christian thought had finally percolated throughout
society in a long delayed and
'unconstructive
reaction. Such a thing could hardly
occur except in a situation of relative per capita
wealth, that being another anomaly of our age.
Open ended permissiveness grants rights and
liberties through a vaguely conceived charity and

Good conduct and honesty are vital issues,


and therefore secular morality is a vital issue. Secular training and education in the values of integrity and fair dealing are essentially tactical maneuvers against the animal impulses of the untrained
human being. The most deadly of these impulses
is to wallow in illusions.

mercy. This does not create a balanced social system. There is no compensating demand for responsibilities and duties. The situation is in fact as unbalanced as was the feudal society, in which duties
were demanded and rights were not granted. The
present anomaly is hardly more intelligent.
The open endedness of contemporary
permissiveness makes no provision for the coherence
of society. Society is just as vulnerable to senseless conservative reaction as it is to senseless radical anarchy.

Our brains and brain cells are physically of


the same kind and quantity as those of our barbarous ancestors, whosei lIusions we readily recognise as such. This is an inescapable biological reality. Any real social progress is subordinate to this
reality. In the scale of human biological time, burnings alive for heresy occurred not three hundred
and fifty years ago nor yesterday, but on Iy a few
hours before. For all the areas of light that our efforts open up, compensating areas of darkness
spread out. No social perspective is more honest
and instructive than this.

We are at the moment experiencing an irresponsible disregard for the victims of violent
crimes. The problem is in distinguishing between
haphazard victimisation and crimes of violent revenge. Being rationsl, secular morality will make a
substantial distinction between these cases.

Good conduct
and integrity
arise from
planned and workable rules of mutually beneficial
behavior between the members of society. While
good conduct, fairness, honesty and loyalty are
demonstrably good in themselves, in hard fact they
are a contractual affair. They are parts of a conscious and purposeful compact between the intelligent members of society. Christian permissiveness
is far away from this concept.

Our ancestors made what to us seem intolerable errors of thinking. If we cannot at first see
the equally grave errors of our time, we should
reso lutely ferret them out. Intellectual
honesty
must be put before pride. It is the capacity to do
this alone can support self respect.
.
Intellectual honesty is at the core of a vast
fund of arguments that show that secular morality
is necessary not only for vindicating civilisation
but also for ensuring its continued existence. The
most important of these arguments concerns our
immediate material destiny.

The articles of the law and the accepted


ru les of good conduct are in no way a separate domain. No arguable division exists. At present, however, religion claims morality as its domain. Under
religious morality, good conduct and barbaric prejudicial taboos are untidily thrown together and
confused. Fair business dealing according to the
letter of the law is not a sphere separate from
kindness, honesty, and faithfulness in routine contacts between people. These things all belong in the
one rational and contractual domain of society.
The development of this domain by secular morality will put together logic and the facts and acceptable standards of good behavior into one intelligently integrated whole.
At best, the religions have accomplished
only a rare and sporadic success in cultivating good
conduct. The moral injunctions of religion have
done nothing to combat the lies, hypocrisy and
myths surrounding social realities. Doubtless because of this omission, the ethical achievement of
religion since the sixth century B.C. has been relatively minute.
The primary theme of secular morality is
necessarily honesty. It rests upon the facts. This
honesty has to be a searching and relentless honesty that must far excel the hesitating and limited
honesty permitted by religion.

Religion is a factor that contributes to a


blind and uncontrolled destiny. At all levels of education and society, religion has a strong tendency
to encourage self deception. Under such circumstances, destiny is totally uncontrolled.
Religion
places a formidable emphasis on faith. Only as an
afterthought are logic and the facts invoked by religion, and then only to justify the faith that it demands. This highly questionable proceeding encourages people to believe what they want to believe, that most despicable of failings. It often happens that a determined effort is made to justify
that belief by a misapplied logic.
'

Caught in the inertia and momentum of the


deadly sin of believing what it wants to believe, society is the victum of its follies. Worse still the individual is the victim of the follies of oth~rs and
suffers from their gratu itous lies. In this deplo~able
setting, human destiny unfolds itself like a predestined tragedy. Every evil event seems inescapable and fated.
All religions confuse honesty and faith. In
the present situation of the world, true honesty is
June 1976/American Atheist - 25

more urgently required than at any time before.


Honesty respects no institution whatever. It is con
cerned with the solid and inescapable real ity of
what is, and only with that. We should not allow
the security and comfort of the emerging genera
tion to be endangered, simply out of a hesitating
and cowardly respect for tradition, or for that matter a hesitating and cowardly submission to baseless and gratuitous technological optimism. The
only resource with which we can effectively combat the approaching doom is a resolve to squarely
face the facts of global limitations. This is basically
a moral issue, the issue of stern and uncompromising realism.
The evidence for the incapability of religion
to cultivate true honesty is everywhere readily observed. It cannot be honestly debated. The incapability exists because the crucial issues are thoroughly confused by taking faith as a conviction of
truth. We cannot possibly know what true honesty
is and of what it consists if we begin by rigidly asserting some article of faith. Long before the final
event, faith as a conviction of truth is a fatal obstruction to realism. To have faith in something
not reasonably substantiated by logic and the facts
is more often an offense than a virtue. It is inarguably an offense because so many people have suffered deprivation and injury as a result.
Religion of any specific sort is extraneous to
the practice of morality as such, except with regard
to barbarous and particularist taboos. Kindness,
loyalty, honor, honesty and charity are good in
themselves. As accepted values they serve to reinforce and perpetuate each other. Outside any narrow national confines, we can readily observe that
these virtues can be cultivated independent of the
agency, background, foundation,
inspiration, and
interference of religion. The sum of modern knowledge makes this venture more feasible than before.
It is a fact that man has biological limitations to good conduct. The average standard of
fairness and integrity is held down and depressed
both by individual animal impulses and by the operational interactions of society. The objective of
secular morality
is to raise this standard above
what it has hitherto been. There are plenty of good
reasons for assuming that the maximum standard is
yet to be reached.
From experience and observation It ISpossible to a fair extent to know what people want and
what they can be taught and made to want. Our
democratic ideals tell us that forcefully
intensive
propaganda is legitimate only for bringing about
juvenile acceptance of a social contract consisting
of kindness and honesty from each to all and from
June 1976/American Atheist -26

all to each. In training children to be worthy members of society. the inducement towards a conscience must be a many sided force.
In the development of a conscience, tradition presents us with a dilemma. It is rightly asked
whether fear of an omniscient supernatural judge
is more conducive to a sound conscience than logical and realistic ethical training. Fear of a Supreme
Judge has accomplished hardly anything so far.
Still more pertinently, blind faith is inimical to intellectual honesty. The dilemma is thus resolved.
We can prove our ethical worth only by
good conduct without
the spur of supernatural
fear. With such fear, our conscience is not fully
genuine or honest.
In the motivations of varied individuals there
are varied limits to charity and integrity. Ignoring
their own limitations,
these same individuals are
quick to ask for an improvement of their treatment
by society. In this seeming contradiction
resides
the basis and foundation for a factual and logical
development of social responsibility.
It is the factual basis of conscience in the education of a developing person.
It seems axiomatic that there are agreed
practical rules of kindness and integrity that are of
mutual benefit to those that put them into practice. This axiom should be a required part of the
school and indeed the nursery syllabus of the future. It is an apt and effective reinforcement of the
arbitrary injunctions that are in any event required
for training a child. Arbitrary
injunctions are not
good enough by themselves. Thevcan be obstinately and also logically resisted, albeit with a short
sighted logic. The superior logic must have the first
say. Without this salutary beginning, institutions
will be worthless and weak.
The advancment of scientific knowledge requires a detached and objective manner of enquiry.
So long as scientific endeavor applies this kind of
intellectual honesty to specific matters of science,
in these matters it is successful. This fact contributes towards a detached and objective manner of
enquiry in all fields of knowledge. This is a fitting
factual background for the moral teaching of intellectual honesty.
The paramount virtue of intellectual honesty
is as essential for meaningful and true social progress as it is for the advancement of theoretical and
practical science. If a juvenile recognises the fruitlessness of fraudu lent procedures for science and
technology but does not recognise this for matters
of social morality, society is still armed with censure, ostracism, the ruin of a moral reputation, and

even the rod itself.


Five factors may be counted as assets for the
teaching of secular morality.
[1] The young are
highly impressionable and readily form habits of
thinking that are retained throughout
life.
[2]
Modern communications
and education have an
enormous unused and misused potential that can
be harnassed to a worthy moral ambition. [3] Society contains morally idealistic persons whose
support can be won. [4] The facts of individual
human nature and human social organisation
provide an ample basis for the factual development
of conscience. [5] The faculty of logic has the
potential to create a fair and sensible body of rules
of conduct that can stand on- its own merits alone.
We have inherited from religion the redeeming conviction that charity and mercy, honor and
honesty are virtues that can and must be cultivated
to the fullest in society. Religion has hitherto made
these matters its preserve, but they do not by any
means necessarily belong there.
There is a strong case for regarding morality
as self contained and its basic components of good
conduct and integrity as parts of an autonomous
social institution. The case is in fact overwhelmingly strong. In all this, religion is in its nature external and unnecessary. It has forfeited its claim to
this mandate from unquestionable failure. There
are in fact many perspectives and viewpoints from
which it is readily seen that religion is extrinsic to
morality and not its fitting sponsor. The most important of all these contexts is of course the issue
of faci ng hard facts.
Religion is a wholly questionable support for
morality because it defers for ultimate authority to
something of an arguable nature. The concern of a
Supreme Being in human affairs is by no means

. factually demonstrable. To take such concern as


real is to give morality a questionable support. It is
also to be the kind of cowardly dreamer that a real
Supreme Being might despise. To assert the concern of a Supreme Being in human affairs is to invite people to believe what they want to believe,
that most poisonous of errors.
At the heart and soul of religion is the faith
that a Supreme Being is concerned with human affairs. This faith and this article of faith is in its
conduciveness to self deception an unfit basis for
morality. It is now time for intellectual honesty to
take its proper place at the head of the moral virtues. It is now time for morality to be part of an
intelligent and enlightened secular preserve.

It is not enough to hold certain views, even


if this itself demands courage. If those that think
correctly are silent, that corr:ectness is subjective
and irrelevant. Wisdom is of scant use if it is neither propagated nor practiced. In a useless inactive
silence, history continues to be what it has until
this moment been, a chaos of senseless mutual reactions.
Until now, the degree to which society has
been secularised has been largely a matter of luck.
The internal quarrels of religion have directly led
to this luck. It is time for this luck to be turned
into a design, a plan for an intelligent
stable
situation.
In all classes of people and callings of life,
intelligence is seen to work in a ruthlessly selfish
way. I ntell igence is therefore of little or no worth
unless it is redeemed, and it can be redeemed only
by an honest and courageous attempt to put moral
idealism into practice.

by Brickinan

the small

Niciis jo~OF= Pl...&A ~Jfoll~


1H~7 fZsw'~D-

<,

-I
-

[source: Chicago Daily News, 4/10n4]


June 1976/American Atheist - 27

UFOs
Understand

(Qnly

-Flats)

W. HOWARD
Several times I've heard a music teacher refer to music's flat symbol-" I)' -as a broken heart.
The first time I heard it I was amused. A few more
hearings set me to thinking, and what I construe to
be understanding began to reveal cleverly hidden
meanings in my favorite reading. Many centuries
ago the most poetic of peoples determined to not
be obvious. Hence "The broken-hearted in no wise
despise" replaced "play the flats with confidence
already!"
In other words, fear them not. "God
gave him another heart" =" bb" = double flat.
"God gave Solomon largeness of heart" = many
flats added as accidentals.
"His heart was lifted
up" (off the score) = cancelled by a natural--" t=,";
in this instance the "heart" may have been the keyflat, or DO. "The heart is deep" = a flat "deepens"
--Iowers--- the tone one half-step. "The heart is deceitful" = the hearing of singers and string players
is not always accurate in chromatic intervals. "Deceitful" is also fun-able terminology, D-C it, fool;
play D and C, then find the semitone between
them. "Hardness of heart" = establish the exact
pitch of the flatted note, and stubbornly maintain
it. "In singleness of heart" = music that is devoid
of double-flats. Eight-flats was a forbidden key. "It
is a good thing that the heart be established" = in
key signatures. That is, don't use the C-signature

for a composition that is in a flat (or sharp) key,


and so flood (Flood?) the composition with accidentals. "Purify your hearts, ye double minded" =
use the correct key signature, and avoid entire armies of accidentals, all that being "born again"
stuff. If the key signature is correct, only one
"birth"
is necessary-as a rule. Its no wonder that
abortion is an accented issue; it clews key signatures! Who cares if males are to be killed (v.t.l at
eighteen? Who controls clewing today? No moreimportant question exists.
"Not possible," you say? Don't forget that
much-overlooked tio kindly given by spokesmen of
that most poetic of peoples: "Our thouqnts are not
your thoughts." No greater truth was ever written.
And I've noticed that shaprs, flats, and naturals
acronym into SNAF. So how easy it is to add Used
and get SNAFU!
"He that hath eyes, let -hirn
see." SNAFU is not some more "wool" pulled over
our unsuspecting eyes, eyes that tell us so little?
Flood was mentioned. Are all floods wet? In the
thinking of a Christain, yes. "He (key sign) bindeth
the flood (of accidentals) from overflowing"
(correct scoring.) Even Mohammedan musicians will
say "amen" to this.

J E M
"Let the dead (tones) bury the dead" =
vibratoless open-string tones of all string instruments, as well as the tones of singers of peculiar
judgement.
Sky people are little men

= PSALM.

People who live in glass houses shouldn't


stoned.
Godspeed, and I didn't

get

bring my raincoat!

Those who love living recklessly invariably


suffer from brood-pressure.
"They

have ears, but hear not"

June 1976/ American Atheist - 28

was and is

serious commentary about singers. Why was Caruso? Always Hear Qver-Tones Resonating = TaRA = Overtones Are Readily Hearable (also HOTA.) Singer, Create Over-Tones = COST. "He that
hath an ear (rnusical.) let him hear" overtones. Car- uso could say with the Psalmist, "1 have heard with
my ears." And because Caruso heard his overtones,
he knew the reality of "both ears shall tingle" with
overtones, Wonderful Overtone Resonance = OUR.
,FATHER
Four
High
(over)
Tones
Are Easily Resonated. Why Caruso? Because he
conformed; he did as he had been told to do with
his ears (not his diaphragm) by those wise Ancients.

MADALYN APTS.
790 N. E. 128th ST.
MGR. APT. 307
NO. MIAMI, Fl. 33161
Phone (305)

895-1074

Beautiful,
Luxury,
Modern Apts. in heart of North Miami.
One of
lowest crime areas. Just one block to stores and movie.
Over 150 stores
within a S-block
area. Near a large adult playground
with numerous
tennis courts,
handball,
softball,
basketball
courts,
all within walking distance
of about 4 blocks.
No. Miami Beach less than 2 miles.
Bus line just 3/4 of a block.
Downtown
Miami only 15 minutes
via
Expressway
I-9S.
Only one mile to Biscayne
Boulevard.
The Apts. are just two and a half years old. Has a large 27,000gallon swimming
pool and sun area.
Soundproof
construction
... fully
wall-to-wall
carpet.
Also Dishwasher,
Frost-Free
Refrigerator,
Undercover
Parking,
Elevator,
Central
Air and Heat.

A Manager
that cares and wants you back, retired,
formerly
from
New York City area.
Average
winter
temp. of North Miami daytime,
78; nighttime,
71.
furnished,
with balconies.
_
2-Bedroom,
2-Bath,
Send last month's
rent
Season,
$
call torrate per month.
Lease will be sent by return mail.
and date of arri~al.

check

Name

------------------------------------Tel.
Address
------------------------June 1976/ American Atheist - 29

now

BOOK
The book, Force and Matter, written over
120 years ago, necessarily came at the inceptive
period of the study of natural science. Yet, in a
uniquely modern manner, the author is able to
apprehend the universals
where confrontations
would continue between religion and science.
Present, as he was, when science was in an awakening point, he saw the touchstones and set
about to delimit and define them.
Perhaps the single myth which lingers longest in the United States is that of life after death
which necessitates the belief in a "soul" which ca~
survive the physical deterioration of death. In his
chapter on 'Brain and Mind' Buchner has the
answers for the Kathy Quinlan problems of our
day.
With compelling facts he shows that the senility of old age would be impossible if the soul or
spirit was a thing independent of the body, and the
spiritual powers increased in proportion
as the
body drew nearer to its dissolution.
He proves that thought is indissolubly conjoined with definite material motions, matter, products and activities of matter. He attacks the
theory of the unity and immateriality of consciousness, to prove - in an overwhleming way - that
it rests on self-deception and ignorance of facts.
We are, today, still bogged in the Voltairean
concept of idees innees (what Locke designated as
innate ideas). Buchner spends one chapter on this
religious idea of 'conscience'. He finds that nature
knows neither views nor objects, neither psychical
nor material conditions imposed upon her from
'without or from above' and you will be convinced
by him if you have the need for such conviction.
When considering the idea of god, he refers
back to Martin Luther's famous quotation that
"God is a blank tablet, on which there is nothing
save that which thou thyself has written." Extensively reviewing the theorists of his day he finds

REVIEW

that many of them support his contentions that


Nature simply exists and that mankind has invented all of the gods which have supposedly governed Nature or mankind.

Buchner realizes, as do we all, that the cry


-thenalways arises as to how the "mob" of manind can be controlled if not through fear of god
and hellfire.
We are told today that without religion chaos would result and for no other reason
than this it should be continued -- it is needed, at
least, to control the 'masses'. His answer is two
fold. He finds that custom, and not religion, has
always created morality. Second, he finds that
religion has been deleterious to mankind and to
his general moral behavior. To delineate these
propositions
he first defines morality
as "the
law of an equal mutual respect for general as well
as private human rights, which law itself has for
its object to provide the largest amount of human
happiness." He argues, and effectively, that there
is nothing essentially wrong in egotism, or selflove. The Ayn Rand devotees will find many of
her arguments rooted here.
Buchner concludes that natural .truths may
not be impugned by moral consequences.
He argues that the only actual limit to our
knowledge is ignorance self-imposed,
decrying
that "If in the matter of religion and of all that
goes beyond our sensitive knowledge, nothing remains to us but to kneel submissively before the
shadow cast by our own ignorance, we must de
despair of knowledge. and deem the dead happier
than the living. But in reality, if we look at things
in open daylight we find that the 'unknowable' of
modern Agnostics is nothing more than the good
old god of the theologicans, who has already made
his appearance in so many deceptive disguises in
the history of philosophy."

We think you will enjoy this book.

See ad for purchase on inside cover of the


magazine. As a special offer until August, a free
copy of Frank Swancara's The Separation of
Religion and Government will be given free to
purchasers .

.b1e 1976/Amer;C*I Atheist 30

THE SOCIETY OF SEPARATIONISTS,

Inc.

Aims and Purposes


1. To stimulate and promote feedom of thought and inquiry concerning religious beliefs, creeds,
doginas~;tEmets, rituals and practices.
2. To collect and disseminate information, data and literature on all religions and promote a more
thorough understanding of them, their origins and histories.
3. To advocate, labor for, and promote in all lawful ways, the complete and absolute separation
of state and church; and the establishment and maintenance of a thoroughlysecufar
system of
education available to all.
4.

To encourage the development and public acceptance of a humane ehtical system, stressing
the mutual sympathy, understanding and interdependence of all -people and the-cerrespondinq
responsibility of each, individually, in relation to society.
.

5. To develop and propagate a social philosophy in which man is the central figu're wtlQ, alo~ ,
must be the source of strength, progress and ideals for the well-being and happmessof humanity.
.' :n'.(,
'.1:.
,C'

6. To promote the study of arts and sciences and of all problems 'a'ffecting' t~~'~tnamtelf8ncw,L
perpetuation and enrichment of human (and other) life:
., . ":' I'~rn'''",
7. To engage in such social, educational, legal and cultural activity as win bec.Useft.tllijQdrbertefjqjaf
to the members of this Society (of Separationists, lnc.) and to s_ocietv,a~,~who;l;,.; , !,5J-:"'v:-:

Definitions

"

-1;),0

:,: .',

:'H

1. Atheism is the life philosophy (Weitanschauung) of persons who '~i'refree' f;orr~~~:~7;~'.~~WJ_s:


predicated on the ancient Greek philosophy of Materialism.
"
"
r

r .

L,

'-

,I

,'-

2. American Atheism may be defined as the mental attitude which unreservedly ,,c.gept,s-Jtm,:
supremacy of reason and aims at establishing a system of philosophy and ethics verifiable
by experience, independent of all arbitrary assumptions of authority~r.c~eeds.;-,z,
", ,'1S'. ,,' ,.~.

_.

3. The Materialist philosophy declares that the COSI1}9S,;i~::.fhW9Ld_


9_Ur.n,r:.n~n_~!:l.1SQ~j~, purpose; that it is governed by its own inherent, immutaq~ .~nq:!ml?~r~tA~\'\f.l1(t@!!~q!~S;
no
supernatural interference in hUtl1~ life; that m~Q; :: finding his resources within himself -- can
and mu~t create his own .d~stlny; and tha~~~,p~~'1~t!or
good and higher development is for
~ll,era~t'qal,pruros~s1!rlll"!!.!ed!_
_ov' .~.~!"')
:i,~R/~~~:)p::iT:,".!\rv1
vrn OJ 9g'lsrb ,0

c~i;~~~).t;

The Society of Separationists, Inc. is a non-political, no n-prtiTir,-eaucaTional, tax-:exempTorgariiZiitlon,


tions to the Society are tax deductible for you, Our primary function is as an educational "watch-dog" organi~a;,,,
tion to preserve the pi ecious and viable principle of sepalation oi state and church, Membe,S'htp-j'OlreTrttJThu~~ I -'
who are in accord with our "Aims and Purposes" as above indicated, Membership dues is $12,00, per person, per
year, An incident of membership is receipt of a monthly, copv-of the-"American Athe-ist-.fRsi$f ..Newsletter", We
are currently forming local chapters and membership in the National orqanizat;ion automatically gives you entrance to your local chapter,
-

May i97S/

American

Atheist

- 31

The Truth,
at last, Revealed

about Organized

Shocking? Perhaps. But it is only a small


part of the fascinating mountain of evidence gathered in FREEDOM UNDER SIEGE by attorney Dr. Madalyn Murray O.Hair and her researchers as
part of their ongoing fight to preserve the First Amendment guaranty of the separation of state and
church - a guaranty of not just freedom of religion but freedom from religion.

FREEDOM
UNDER SIEGE
by Madalyn

Religion

Murray O'Hair

Official government and church figures


prove that churches have as-their membership only
a minority of our citizens. This books shows the
continuing pressures that this minority exerts on
the Iives of the majority of Americans.

Organized religion is working to destroy your


freedom. It strives to influence your elected representatives and to write the laws under which
you live, to regulate your children's schools and
dictate what is taught there, to censor your entertainment and choose what you and your neighbor can see and read, and to determine for all
women the right to -control their lives and their
bodies. And it is your money that makes this
tyranny possible. The churches have their billions
invested in profit-making enterprises; and their
wealth grows daily from gifts, grants, rents, interest, capital gains and government subsidies. They
are now financial giants, no longer dependent upon
their parishioners for support. What they count on
is their freedom from taxes. The churches' billions
are accumulated at your expense.

Dr. O'Hair deals with politics, not religion;


with separation of state and church, not Atheism.
This report shows how your treasured liberties are
slowly being eroded as the churches increase their
power over every aspect of American life, .Iimiting
your freedom of choice and even your accessto information regarding those choices.
FREEDOM UNDER SIEGE dares to focus
on the facts about this growing threat - a threat
that our politicians and the press, radio and television have been unwilling to confront.
HARDCOVER - 282 PAGES - $8.95

Clip and mail


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Pleasesend me [ ] copy (ies)
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