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March, 1980

$1.75.

Volume 12, No.3

I
!

, The Journal Of Atheist News And Thought

Elks, Pies anCi Jesus

AmericanAtheii
Vol. 22 No.2

Letters to the Editor


Editorial -

Jon G. Murray
"Comments on Losing the Ball Game"

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Dr. Madalyn Murray O'Hair

"God and the Elks"


"Taking god off the city steps"
"Onward Solstice Soldiers"
"Pie Trial Ends in Atheist Victory"

ASSISTANT EDITOR
G. Richard Bozarth
READING EDITOR
Barry Cashman

A Joyous Atheist - G. Richard Bozarth


On Our Way - Ignatz Sahula-Dycke
Film Review - Elaine Stansfield
It Could Be Verse - Angeline Bennett

STAFF ARTIST
Katherine Duff

The American Atheist magazine


is published monthly by American
Atheists,
located
at 2210
Hancock Drive, Austin, Texas 78756,
a non-profit,
non-political,
educational organization. Mailing address:
P.O. Box 2117, Austin Texas, 78756.
Copyright ~
1980 by Society of
Separatiomsts, Inc. Subscription rates:
$20.00 per year. manuscripts
submitted must be typed, double-spaced
and accompanied by a stamped, selfaddressed envelope. The editors assume no responsibility
for unsolicited manuscripts.
The American Atheist magazine is indexed in: MONTHLY PERIODICAL
INDEX

5
10
18
20

Columnists

MANAGER
Beverly Walker

NON-RESIDENTIAL
STAFF
Angeline Bennett
Wells Culver
Conrad Goeringer
Ignatz Sahula-Dycke
Elaine Stansfield
Gerald Tholen

News

MANAGING EDITOR
Jon Garth Murray

PRODUCTION

29
32
38
9

Departments
Roots of Atheism - Elizabeth Cady Stanton ..... 23
The American Atheist Radio Series Madalyn Murray O'Hair
34
Book Review - Massism vs. Natural Religion .~~.. 39
Poetry
9

Classifieds

40

Our Cover: This year, 1980, the Vernal Equinox occurs


at 5: 1 0 am Eastern Standard Time (6: 10 am Central Standard
time), when the Earth is in such a position that the Sun is
seen as exactly above the Equator, and day and night are of
exactly equal length. For many 'hundreds of years the
religious community interpreted this event as a part of its
"god" statement.
In 1970, American Atheist seized this great natural event
(as well as the autumnal equinox and the summer and winter
solstices) as a day of celebration for all humankind, transcending the boundaries of states, of race, of sex, and
especially religion.
Celebrate this moment of time, the coming of the season of
spring, by planting a traditional Atheist flower near your
home, or in your windowbox - a pansy (from the Latin
pensare, the French, penser), which calls everyone to "think"
one's way through life, not to be ruled by the whims of chance
or "fate. "
.

Austin, Texas

March,1980

Page I

Letters to The Editors

Dear Editor,
What ever happened to the columns
of J. Michael Straczynski and Ralph
Shirley? I liked both of them. The
magazine starts a columnist and then
he or she just disappears and we don't
see them again. What's going on?
G. R. Bates
Ohio
Sorry about that G.R.,
Straczynski was writing for us when
he was a student, but he graduated
from college in June of last year, got a
very good job working for the cinema
industry and just does not have time
for his column anymore. The last
letter from him was cordial, saying
that he would soon be sending in four
columns so he would be out ahead.
Two telephone calls have just confirmed that he cannot do what he
needs to do on film location to make
his place in that industry and to write
for this magazine, too.
Often persons think that they can
write a monthly column, but after
they write three or four they can't
think of anything else to say. Our columns are open to Ralph (who is on
the Board of Directors) but he simply
has not been able to do another column. We publish until the contributor
runs out of words, and then it is just
necessary to find someone else who
can go on from there. Everyone is not
a Sahula-Dyche.
Art Jones, our wonderful "grandpa ", died late last year and we didn't
have any extra columns from Art.
If any of you readers, out in that
great wasteland of Christian America,
think that you could write a column
each month for a year or two, please
send several samples. A theism presents
a vast new field to explore and much
needs to be written concerned with its
history, sociology, psychology and, as
well, much needs to be written to expose what religion has done, and continues to do, to' mankind.
Meanwhile, we use what we can.
When the well dries up, it is necessary
to move on.
The Editor.

Page 2

Editor,
I will not subscribe to theAmerican
Atheist magazine because you never
respond to letters sent to you. Others
have told me the same. "No time" is
no excuse - find someone to do it.
Christina Martan
California
Ma'am,
This needs to be spelled out- stepby-step - because yours is not the only complaint.
[l} The American Atheist Center
receives approximately 1,500 pieces of
mail in any given week: If there is a
great deal of Atheist activity, the incoming mail volume can go to 2,500
pieces a week.
[2] There are nine paid employees
and one part time volunteer at the
Center. Seven of those employees have
more than full time jobs doing their
work as (1) telephone switchboard operator and receptionist
- answering
five incoming telephone lines all day
long, (2) a printer who never gets away
from the press, (3) a book order filler
who never gets out of the book room
or the book mail out room, (4) a computer 'operator who is chained to the
computer
- volunteering often as
much as 30 hours extra a week to keep
up with that computer, (5) a comp/
edit operator to pump out the magazine and other mailings, (6) a full time
artist and layout graphics person, and
(7) an attorney who is handling 34
federal state/church. separation cases.
The volunteer collates and staples
booklets, stuffs Newsletters and magazines into envelopes and puts labels on
the same.
'
[3] Twice a month, all operations
halt while everyone stuffs envelopes or
pastes labels on the same - once a
month for the Newsletters, once a
month for the American Atheist magazines.
[4] This leaves two persons to answer 1,500 pieces of mail a week.
Those two persons are myself and Jon
Murray, the Director of the American
Atheist Center. Both he and I are away
from the Center approximately 50% of

March,

1980

the time to "do" appearances on television, radio and at colleges and universities.
Despite all this, I am happy to say
that I am up to 1976 in the mail. I
finished answering all the letters of
March,1976 last week. I can now start
on April, 1976.' Yes, that date is correct. I said 1976. .
Atheists believe in miracles.
They believe we can fight organized
religion (as well as disorganized religion) without a staff, without funds
for a staff, without consistent volunteer help - without a prayer!
If everyone who sent a letter in to
the Center included a dollar, we could
hire two secretaries - one for Jon
Murray, one for me. We don't even
have a typist - when a letter is to be
answered, either Jon or I must sit
down in front of a typewriter and do
it ourselves.
Where was your contribution
in
your letter? Any Atheist can afford a
buck ... or even two ... "'Orthree.
Now that you have brought it up, a
decision must be made. That decision
is that we both quit. There is not even
going to be an effort made any more,
at all, . in respect to individual letters
being answered. It is unrealistic for us
to attempt to answer letters from
1976, or 1977, or even from last year
or last month.
You must get the money into the
Center for the help that is needed. Or,
are you saying that the religious community is more devoted, more motivated, more concerned than are you?
The American Atheist Center must
have - at least - $1,500 a month more - for two secretaries at $750
each, (a very modest salary) to try to
remedy this situation.
Please, Ms. Martan, put your money
where your mouth is. Failing that do not expect us to be martyrs. That is
not a part of the life style of A theists.
We work hard enough.
Madalyn Murray 0 'Hair,
Editor in Chief

American

Atheist

Editorial
Jon G. Murra

Comments
on Losing the Ball Game
Religion is moving to take over America. It is moving now
and in great strength. With that movement will come the loss
of virtually every freedom you now enjoy. There is nothing
you can do about it but watch it happen ~ and you are to
blame. If you, as an Atheist, had said something thirty years
ago, [or twenty, or ten, or five, or last year, or yesterday] religious forces could not do what they are doing today. You did
not move. You sat and watched. You were cowards. Now, you
must pay the price. You will pay now and your children will
pay later and will pay much, much more.
Religion is winning in several, vital areas. We have tried, in
this journal, to inform you of these areas each month. Let's
take a look at the four most important ones, one at a time.
(1) Prayer: The Congress, state legislatures, city councils
and public schools all across the nation are opening with prayers. Federal and state employees are being forced to begin
their work days with prayer. Federal and state lands are being
used for prayer sessions. All of these activities are unconstitutional according to the United States Supreme Court.
In Murray v. Curlett the Supreme Court held that "religious
ceremonies" in public schools were unconstitutional since they
violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment to
the Constitution. There were two factors in this case. One
was the compulsory nature of school attendance. Since penalties were provided in every state for non-attendance in the
schools the student could not fail to attend in order to escape
an undesirable activity in the schools. Two was the nature of
the activity in the schools, namely a "religious ceremony" in
which all students were required to participate. This second
factor, however, depended upon the definition of a "religious
ceremony." The Court held, 8 to 1, that a prayer was a "religious ceremony." It stated that there could not be a "religious
ceremony" without prayer and that prayer does constitute a
religious ceremony.
As soon as the Supreme Court decision on prayer/religious
ceremonies came down in June of 1963, the religious community felt a need to search for a method of circumventing it.
It was obvious what they had to do. First, they had to get
around the compulsory nature of the ceremony. So they said,
6.K. let's say that any student who does not wish to participate may leave the room; or let's say that any student may initiate the ceremony voluntarily; or let's give free time to the
students during which period they may do as they please. Let's
call that "a moment of silent meditation." That should take
care of relieving the student of any compulsion. Second, they
had to get around the term prayer. If the activity could be defined as prayer, then it would be a "religious ceremony" and
would fall under the Court ban. How about "meditation" or
"a moment of silence," or even better, let's deny that prayer
has anything at all to do with religion. Let's say that it is used

Austin, Texas

-to bring the classroom into a proper mood for the day's activities. It is used as a gavel, if you will, to call the room to order.
In fact, let's even say that it is secular and that being a gavel is
its secular purpose. There, now, said the religious community,
that was easy. We have prayer back in public schools like it
was. The Supreme Court is happy, we are happy, and the
children are happy because we told them to be happy.
Suddenly it all became a matter of definition. The religious
community defined its way out of compliance with the law of
the land. What did the Atheists do? Nothing. Meanwhile, those
of us at the American Atheist Center were screaming, help!
succor! support! we are alone and outnumbered! Did we receive the help? No.
SCORE: CHRISTIANS -1; ATHEISTS - 0
(2) Human Sexuality: Religion is fighting very hard to ban
the right of women to obtain abortions. Even more, it is fighting the distribution of birth control information and it opposes sex education as a whole - thus forcing women to use abortion as a birth control technique instead of the medical emergency for which it should be used.
Religion has a problem. That problem is two-fold. The first
part is education. More people than ever can now read and
write: The second part is science. It has advanced. These problems have created a third problem for religion: doubt. People
are beginning to doubt its doctrines. When the Pope came to
the U. S. and said that birth control was a sin for Roman Catholics, many said they felt it was not. Roman Catholic women
did not want to keep having and caring for large families. They
liked the freedom to enjoy sexual activity and limit their family at the same time.
The Roman Catholic Church could not control its own
members' families on the issue of birth control or abortion. So
it said, O.K. let's control all families and that will keep the Roman Catholics pure. So, it set out to ban or seriously restrict
birth control information availability for all persons. The
"Right to Life" Amendment is a part of this outreach. It is
moving toward ratification nicely.
What have the Atheists done? Nothing. They don't want to
rock the boat. They don't want to lose their jobs - their only
freedom. Meanwhile, the American Atheist Center screams,
help! succor! stop them! The Atheists do nothing.
SCORE: CHRISTIANS - 2; ATHEISTS - 0

(3) Censorship: Your children read many books in the


course of their education. The first step in any schooling process is to teach the _student to read, then to write. The question is, however, read what? Religion has an answer for that.

March,

1/

1980

Page 3

Read only what falls within the boundaries of the ethical or


moral system laid down by Christianity and the Bible. If you
are a Christian, you are urged to teach your children not to
read anything outside of what Bible morality allows. Can you
always be sure that they will abide by that rule? No, of course
not. So religion says, lets censor all reading material so that
only that which falls within Bible morality is available for chilo
dren and then we do not have to worry about our teaching being obeyed. Lets ban things like "secular humanism" from
books. If someone in a book is humane without god then our
children may get the idea that they can be humane without
god. They may even begin to think that they can do other
things without god or even do without god himself. If it worked with sex education, why not try it with books.
Sometimes, however, it is hard to ban or censor a book if
what is being censored out of it has become popular. Then
what to do? Religion simply demands equal time for it. Evolution is a good example. Science has presented strong facts to
make evolution the best explanation of how things got from
where they were to where they are now. So evolution is popularly accepted. Creationism leaves many questions with bizarre
explanations. It is now not so popular. Creationism will be
placed on equal ground with evolution not because it belongs
there but because its mere visibility .will help to popularize it.
After all, what is popular is best. We all know that. It is like
smoking. It is popular so it must be good for all of us. It remains popular because it has been given equal time with government reports and doctors' warnings.
Where were the Atheists when the school texts were being
censored? They were not there. They did not show up at the
text book hearings to select books for the public schools. They
did not show up at legislative committee hearings on giving
equal time to creationism. They were at home - scared! The
American Atheist Center, meanwhile, was again busy shouting
help! succor! beware! The Atheists did nothing.
SCORE: CHRISTIANS -3; ATHEISTS - 0
(4) Financing Religion: Parochial schools are now receiving
books, educational supplies and busing of their pupils from
government. They have now been granted exemption fromcompliance with integration laws. This has made it possible
for them to double their enrollment with "white flight" students. Parents will soon be able to divert tax monies directly
to parochial schools by the use of vouchers.
The I.R.S. has been unable to enforce a directive that all
churches divest themselves of "unrelated businesses" by a certain date. The churches have simply said, "No".
The church has said that their interest is in the child, not
the money. Busing of parochial school children helps the children get an education. It does not help the church at all. The
courts have upheld this "child benefit theory". Is it not obvious, however, that parochial schools charge tuition? The
more students they have, the more tuition they get. The easier
it is for parents to send their children the more likely they are
to pay the tuitioh. What could be easier than having the same
old friendly neighborhood school bus driver drop the kids
off at the church school just like he did to the public school?
Nothing, if you attend parochial school. Something, if you are
a taxpayer.
The church says that the I.R.S. cannot tax their businesses
since in order to do that it would have to define what is and is
not church related. To define what is church related they must
define what a church is. If they define what a church is, however, that is a violation of church and state. Only the church
can define what a church is. "Okay," says the I.R.S. "Fine,"
says the church. A railroad is a church becaus~ you can get to

Page 4

March,1980

heaven on a train. Holiday Inn's are churches. There are bibles


in every room.
What did the Atheists say when all this defining was going
on? Nothing. Did the Atheists care about how parochiaid effected their children's schools? No. They were too busy teaching their children how to hide their Atheism from the other
children. FINAL SCORE: CHRISTIANS ~ 4; ATHEISTS - 0
In a way I like to see religion put in the position of needing
to enforce their doctrines with the arm of the state. This
shows that they cannot convince their followers as to the correctness or desirability of following their doctrines intellectually. On the other hand, that makes it bad for us as Atheists.
We suffer because religion cannot convince its own flock to
follow along.
I hope all of you Atheists out there are happy with the
score as it now stands. You did it all by yourselves. In any era
of history the Atheists have never stood up as a group to oppose anything. Only a few Atheist leaders have come forth.
There has been no army, just a general here or there.
When the score gets lopsided enough, when you are tired
of losing, you will come around. Until then, enjoy the agony
of defeat, you earned it. And if you learn a lesson from all
this, learn that the church is a survival institution. They will
do anything to continue in a style to which they should never
have been allowed to become accustomed.
Atheism is a survival institution, too. Only it survives in
individuals. I am one of those individuals in which it will not
die out. Wouldn't it be nice if there were a movement-to sur-,
vive with me? ~

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CAPACITY
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How much more would I be loved


If I were beautiful. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
If I were talented, or wise or good. . . .
Could I be loved much more?
I don't see how.
For I'm loved lightly by a hostW
Of choice, congenial friends '
And I'm loved deeply by a few
Whose blood is partly mine
And I am loved by only one
Whose promise stays intact
So if fate dealt me much more love
No doubt I'd use it but. . . . . . . . . .
I don't see how.

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TRAVELER

g:'Z:E::; ;f~fj~?ftZ~f~:~~ent
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Or was it because you were there?

~;s~~~~~#~,~t~~j!t~~"1!efl'n!=';.'!'):P.:lY.iJ

, American

Atheist

Small pleasures oft times


bring personal fulfillment.
So it is that many join fraternal
organizations for the joys of
being with others of like intent,
where the goals for the organization are full of promise, where
comraderie is emphasized, where a
brotherhood unites. Atheists join - the
Masons, the Elks, the Moose and often stay with
them for years out of the fulfillment of these personal
needs and these small pleasures of life.
The Elks is such a fraternal organization. If one should write
to its national office and ask what Elks is all about. one would
receive a booklet in which is described "The General Character
of the The Order of the Elks." This would state:
The Order of Elks is an organization of American citizens
who love their country and desire to preserve its cherished
institutions; who love their fellow man and seek to promote
his well being; and who love the joyousness of life and'
endeavor to contribute to it. as well as to share it.
The Order questions no man's religion; nor bars him on
account of his creed. It does not permit either religion or
politics to be injected into, or to have any effect upon. its
fraternal deliberations, national or local.
Heinz Weber, the Chapter Director of the San Francisco
Chapter of American Atheists, has been a member in good
standing in the Elks for about ten years. He felt so "at ease"
with those persons that he never gave a second thought to the
organization when he "went public" in early 1979, in respect
to his association with the American Atheist organization.

Austin, Texas

Heinz came out of the closet


actually with a splash - a
three-column, twelve-inch story
on the fourth page of the San
Francisco Examiner newspaper on
April 9, 1979. The lar~, four by six
and a half inch picture showing a
smiling, happy Heinz Weber, proudly
wearing his Atheist medallion and standing
in front of a picture of Albert Einstein, another
American Atheist. Since the story printed is importantto
what followed, it is reproduced here totally.
STICKING NECK OUT FOR A THEISM
'Trying to get more' of them 'out of the closet'
By Dave Dayton
Heinz Weber, 49, says that when most people learn he's an
atheist. they feel sorry for him.
But Weber, who is director of the Society of Seperetionists.
Inc. - American Atheists - does not feel sorry for himself. He
says that he's never been happier.
Weber runs a small electronics business on the Peninsula
and actively supports atheist causes in his spare time.
He has tried to get local libraries to put the organization's
magazine American Atheist on their racks. He supports the
group's fight to have the words "In God We Trust" taken off
U.S. currency.
He opposes the saying of prayers at meetings of government
bodies, and witnesses being sworn in on Bibles at trials.
"I have many friends who are good Christians, " Weber said.
"They think I'm crazy. They think that there couid be no such
thing as an atheist. "

March,

1980

Page 5

Weber was brought up a Protestant in Hitler's Germany,


but claims he knew by the time he was confirmed at 14 that he
was an atheist. "1 was confirmed to please the family. "
He said he first came to doubt religious teachings when he
was nine, when two Gestapo agents came into his classroom,
took all the Bibles and scratched out references to the Jews as
the chosen people.
"1thought that if two people can scratch out words that God
had written, something must be fishy," said Weber, who's
married and the father of three children.
He was indoctrinated by Nazi thinking, but says, "The
greatest thing that ever happened to me was when I came to
America and got unbrainwashed.
"1 love America or else I wouldn't be here. People equate
being a patriot with godliness. Nothing could be further from
the truth. We are not subversives. "
He became interested in the American Atheist organization
about three years ago after hearing its founder, Madalyn
Murray O'Heir, on a radio talk show. For a while he received its
mailings, but didn't attend meetings until about a year ago.
The directorship of the San Francisco chapter was open and
Heinz accepted it.
There are about 1200 persons on the group's Bay Area
mailing list. Weber said there are 200 active members, but no
more than 40 or 50 attend the monthly gatherings held in the
meeting room of a San Francisco bank.
American Atheists do not try to recruit members nor do they
try to convert people to their nonbelief, according to Weber.
"We're just trying to get more atheists to come out of the
closet," he said. "Our aim is to have an awful lot of atheists
around so that we feel secure in our position. The meetings
provide members the opportunity to be with people of like
mind. "
A recent classified ad announcing the formation of a new
chapter brought six or eight new members into the group,
which boasts 70,000 family members nationwide. W~ber said
most atheists are not joiners. "Some of them think that
religion will quietly go away, " he said.
"1 always used to say I was a freethinker or an agnostic, " he
said. "Most atheists use euphemisms because they are afraid
of reprisals from their communities. This fear may be paranoia. "
Weber, the recipient of hate mail, is reluctant to publicize
the address of the group's meeting place, or his home or
business addresses. "God may tell someone to throw a rock
through my window or slash my tires, " he joked.
A stated purpose of American Atheists is: "To advocate,
labor for, and promote, in all lawful ways, the complete and
absolute separation of state and church ... "
Heinz moved into his position as Director of the San
Francisco Chapter of American Atheists with some vigor,
being a capable administrator and organizational managerfor
the group. He also continued his association with the Elks
because he enjoyed the comraderie of that group.
The April monthly report of the Chapter activity which was
sent to the American Atheist Center was blithe, forward
looking and full of expectation.
The Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, however,
was feeling otherwise. On May 22nd, 1979, Heinz received a
letter from the secretary of the particular Elks lodge to which
he belonged.
It stated that a "complaint" had been filed with the office of
the secretary and that a copy was attached which was self-

Page 6

March,1980

explanatory. When he read the complaint, he was shocked


beyond belief. It was in the nature of an inquisitorial accusation
and read as follows:

BEFORE THE SUBORDINATE FORUM OF THIS LODGE


OF THE BENEVOLENT AND PROTECTIVE ORDER OF
ELKS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
ROBERT J. McSWEENEY, Accuser
vs.
HEINZ WEBER, Accused.

Complaint: Section 83A


Grand Lodge Stats.
Sees. 1 and b

For complaint against Heinz Weber, the accused, Robert J.


McSweeney, the accuser, states:
FIRST
That the accuser is a member in good standing of this lodge of
the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United
States of America, that he makes the complaint herein alleged
under the obligation of the Order.
SECOND
That Heinz Weber, the accused, is a member under the
jurisdiction
of this lodge of the Benevolent and Protective
Order of Elks of the United States of America.
THIRD
That the said Heinz Weber has, at various times within the
past year, committed acts in violation of his obligation as an
Elk, in that he has espoused, promoted and/or supported
Atheism.
/
FOURTH
That the said Heinz Weber has, during approximately the past
three years committed acts in violation of his obligation as an
Elk, in that he became and now is a member of the AMERICAN
A THEIST organization, and became and is now director of the
San Francisco Chapter thereof.
FIFTH
,.
That the said Heinz Weber did misrepresent to this lodge, in
relation to his eligibility for initiation on admission [ten years
ago -Ed.] in that he stated his belief in God when in fact he did
not so believe, and concealed from the lodge his Atheist belief
and lack of belief in God.
The undersigned, under the obligation of the Order, says. that
he is the above named accuser, that he has read the foregoing
complaint, knows the contents thereof and swears that the
things and matters therein set forth are true according to his
information and belief.
Robert J. McSweeney
At first Heinz was merely shattered. Then it was driven home
to him that a full scale hearing was to be held to review his
"crime." On May 25th, he received a letter that 25 names had
been drawn from the Subordinate Forum Box, that he could
challenge any six and that he had only until June 11, 1979, to
do so. On June 18th he was ordered to appear before the
Subordinate Forum on June 22nd at 7:30 pm in the Exalted
Ruler's Room.
Friends he had made in the Elks, for the ten years he had
been a member stood mute, saying nothing. He was quickly
and summarily read out of the organization.

American

Atheist

On July 7, he received a cordial birthday greeting from the


"Exalted Ruler" of the Elks and his hopes raised that he might
be able to continue with the companionship of his old friends.
The greeting read:

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be, tuid.!f<HL'~
0.raIt:ed ~

alJtk~

to come.

rm.d.llenzb.r e/

!lldJ Alto ~.JVo.

1471,

rlJ..0. CJ-.0.

f)jli)~

On July 4th, he wrote a short, somewhat sympathy seeking,


somewhat defiant, bifurcated appeal to continue his membership. On the one hand he damned the Elks for seeking to sever
his membership and on the other he defied them, taunting
them with his position of Atheism. He readily admitted that the
exercise had caused him anguish, but alternately refused to
yield and to subscribe to a belief in an omnipotent and
benevolent creator who would reward and punish after death.
He praised the position of Atheism, tortured then as he was
with the idea of the loss of so many old friends but yielded part
with the statement that "If there should be a just and loving
God, I am sure that He would prefer an honest doubter over a
fanatical hypocrite." He softly scolded, "I would suggest that it
would not harm the image of Elkdom, if the requirement of a
belief in God was substituted with, the requirement to be
tolerant, as the absence of tolerance is not conducive to
Brotherly Love, Justice and Charity toward which the Elks
allegedly reach." His final outreach to his soon to be rejecting
brethern was, "I am a compassionate human being and I
expect to be respected as such, regardless of my innermost
beliefs, which mayor
may not include a belief that is
compatible with anyone elses." He could not leave it there - it
was too supplicating and his flip Atheist nature overcame him.
"Should you decide that I am not worthy of being an Elk,
please don't feel embarrassed to throw me out. I have always
had a certain suspicion of an organization that would have me
as a member. (That last sentence I stole from Groucho Marx..)
However, I am very much comforted, knowing that a great
number of famous people from the past, as well as from the
present, share my philosophy."
The deed was done. Fully uncovered as an Atheist, Heinz
Weber, much as he desired to retain the comraderie of his
friends of the last ten years, could not embrace again a belief
in god having once been totally freed therefrom. When he was
forced to openly choose - with a loss which was great for him
since he liked the friends he had made over the ten year period
- his choice was with freedom of the mind: Atheism.
A week later he was notified.

Austin, Texas

Two days later, the official determination in his "case"


arrived in themail.as
"formal notification". The letter was
dated July 11, hypocritical in salutation ("Dear Brother
Weber") as well as in its formal close ("Fraternally"). He was
expelled from the Elks because of his Atheism. His membership card should be returned to the Secretary. There was a
right of appeal. Not one person had stood by him and he was
hurt.

Palo Alto Lodge

No. 1417

B.P.O. ELKS
4249 EI Camino Real
Palo Alto, California
94306
July

II, 1979

Dear Bro. Weber;


This is to confirm Subordinate
Forum decision, Expelling
you from the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Palo
Alto Lodge # 1471.
You have the right to appeal to the Grand Forum. This can
be accomplished
by filing a notice ofappeaJ with the secretary
of Palo Alto Lodge #1471, sending a copy thereof to life
Grand Secretary.

This matter will be entered into the minutes of the lodge on


July 12. 1979, you have six months from above date to file
your appeal.
Your membership

card should

be returned

to the Secretary.

Fraternally.

H. Joe Coleman,

Secretary

HJC:ah

cc:
Aubrey B. Fairfax. Justice, Subordinate
Forum
Robert J. McSweeney.
Est. Loyal Knight

Now Heinz began to look at the organization with awakened


eyes. He looked at its constitution and saw that it was
incorporated "To inculcate the principles of Charity, Justice,
Brotherly Love, and Fidelity; to promote the welfare and
enhance the happiness of its members; ..." He saw that by its
own Statutes, Title II -Forums,
Chapter 4 - Proceedings
Before Subordinate Forum, Sec. 83b that a "Violation of
Obligation" with which he had been charged could not include
a charge related to his application for membership if he was a

March,

1980

Page 7

member for four or more years. Here, the Lodge violated its
own rule, by reaching back 10 years, if he had indeed
misrepresented himself when he entered.
He searched further and now found the small print, "Title III,
Subordinate Lodges, Chapter 6 - Application for Membership
and Balloting. Sec. 144". No person shall be accepted as a
member of this Order unless he be a male citizen of the United
States, of sound mind and body, of good character, not under
the age of twenty-one years and a believer in God."
How could this be? It contradicted the brochure What It
Means To Be An Elk, "General Character of the Order": The
Order questions no man's reliqion; nor bars him on account of
his creed. It is not concerned with one's political affiliations.
And it does not permit either religion or politics to be injected
into, or to have any effect upon its fraternal deliberations,
national or local.
Heinz met Dr. O'Hair and Jon Murray, Director of the
American Atheist Center, who were in Los Angeles for' the
Winter Solstice Banquet. His wife was with him and they had
decided that the pain they had endured was not privy to them
alone. By publicly giving the tale Heinz perhaps could save
some other Atheist such a loss of so many years investment.
But Heinz had with him a letter from a close friend and this had
come to mean a great deal to him, too. It was, he thought. "an
eye opener."
Dear Heinz,
These are just a few comments reg8f:ding your dismissal
from 'Braggert and Patriot Order of Elks. ' I really think you
should be quite happy that you've been thrown out. It is
beyond my comprehension how anyone who is intelligent
enough to be an Atheist. can be affiliated in any manner with
boys in the guise of men who operate-organize, or are
members of the Elks, Lions, Rotarians, Toasters, Masons, etc.,
ad nauseum.
Any organization that has Chief Wizards, Exalted Rulers,
Loyal Knights, Grand Shams, etc. proves that it Is run by
inferior beings. These organizations exist for the 'sheep' of
society who feel membership offers them security. You
mention that you were a member for 10 years. How horrid. I
feel that other Atheists, and existentialists such as myself. are
wondering what you found interesting in association with
people that (sic) could be members of such an organization.
Really, Heinz, it's not too late to send them a letter of thanks.
I suggest you do it. Not out of animosity, but rather gratefully.
Hyposcrisy is manifest in your letter of dismissal. They

address you as Brother, and sign the letter fraternally, and as a


semi-secret "Benevolent and Protective Order." Hal Hal I
really find it amusing.' Come on Heinz, stop pulling our
collective legs. A few years ago the Supreme Court made them
accept Blacks.
Heinz, I kid you not. Recognize your superiority and be
grateful, but thank the Elks. However please don't expect me
to worry over a chickenshit little organization such as the Elks.
Take care, and all the best
Your friend, Art
Back in Austin, the Murray-O'Hair's turned the matter over to
the legal counsel at the American Atheist Center and before
the six month deadline given in the July 11th order of
expulsion, Paul Funderburk notified the Elks that Heinz Weber
was appealing their decision and that he would represent
Heinz. On January 8th, 1980, a reply was received. No
counsel could represent "the accused" unless he was an Elk.
The appeal is, apparently, filed and Heinz Weber is without
counsel. Paul, meanwhile, has done the researsh. Fraternal or
membership organizations can do what they will: expel
Blacks, Jews, Atheists; deny membership to the same and all
the time preach brotherly love and freedom of association.
Hypocrisy is the name of the game and the courts of the
United States, up to and including the U.S. Supreme Court.
sustain exclusionary provisions of private club constitutions
and by-laws. [MacDonald v. Shawnee Country Club, lnc., 404
U.S. 875 (1972); Central Presbyterian Church v. Black liberation Front, 303 F. Supp. 894 (Missouri, 1969); Cotillion Club
Inc. v Detroit Real Estate Board, 303 F. Supp. 850 (Michigan
1964); Van Doele v. Vinci, 294 F. Supp. 71 (tltinois. 1968);
Golden v. Biscayne Bay Yacht Clu'f 97 S. Ct. 186; Anderson v.
Louisiana Dental Ass'n., 502 F.2d 783 (Louisiana, 1974)]
The American Atheist Center, in late January, 1980, therefore issued a call for all American Atheists to resign from the
Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; it also requested
American
Atheists
to write
the "Exalted
Ruler"
of Palo Alto Lodge No. 1471, B.P.O. Elks, 4249 EI Camino Real,
Palo Alto, California 94306 and let him know what they think
of this matter.
'Heinz Weber will be happy to receive American Atheist
letters of encouragement for his courageous choice of open
advocacy of Atheism at: San Francisco Chapter, American
Atheists, P.O. Box 2635, Menlo Park, CA 94025. They might
also address the national "Grand Exalted Ruler" at B.P.O.
Elks, 2750 Lake View Ave., Chicago, IL 60614.

Page 8

March, 1980

American Atheist

SPIRITED
There are spirits (we all have been told)
For just about every occasion
Depending

on which myth

Or what your religious

you choose

persuasion.'

They come with assorted

objectives

Either evil or good and can fashion


A wonderfully

worked

up condition

Sending some into great righteous


They've
Departing
They've

passion.

been seen (some have soberly

claimed)

the lately departed


been rumored

to frequent

lone graveyards

Which is no place for one who's faint-hearted


There are those who attend

So stories of ghosts will continue

...

With the teller they alter and vary

paid seances

..

Spirits frighten

or torment

As was the renowed

...

or enter

...

case of Mary.

Come peer into my crystal

ball

Who help make some purse roly-poly

See the fear in the eyes deep within

And as with a lot of con artists

See the spirits and gods become

These fakers are not wholly holy.

See the faith in infallible

one

sin.
Angeline

Bennett

NEWS UPDATE: Marsa Case


By 18th December, 1977, Paul Marsa
had had enough. After nearly two years
of supplicating the Borough Council of
Metuchen, NJ, to stop the practice of
invoking prayer before council meetings,
he filed suit in the Superior Court of New
Jersey, Chancery
Division, Middlesex
County.
The pleadings were that Metuchen's
Borough Council was effectively "establishing" religion by making it a part of the
legislative process. Marsa demanded his
right to "freedom from religion." Two
cases were filed together. One was Marsa's in New Jersey going up in a series of
state courts to probably end in the United
States Supreme Court. The second case
was that of Dr. Madalyn Murray O'Hair
and Jon Murray, Director of the American Atheist Center, attempting to stop
prayers in the Austin, Texas, City Council. The latter suit was filed in the federal
courts, also to wend its way to the United
States Supreme Court. It was thought
that if one suit failed, the other might

Austin, Texas

win. Little hope was held for either a


quick or a lower court decision. [See the
American Atheist, March, 1979, issue.] It
is instructive that in New Jersey, where
the Roman Catholic percentage of population reaches 37%, the Roman Catholic
Knights of Columbus intervened in the
suit against Marsa.
On Nov. 6, 1978, the judge of the
Superior Court of New Jersey gave a
ruling. The facts were undisputed that
prayer only was involved and there was a
question of law only. The court held that
. since the New Jersey Senate and General
Assembly opened with prayer as the first
order of business, as did the U.S. Senate
and House of Representatives,
"a rationale striking down the .practice under
challenge as an excessive governmental
entanglement with religion would extend
to interdict prayers before Federal and
State legislative bodies."
This, the court was unwilling to do. It
admitted it was cowardly: "In the absence
of higher judicial authority this Court

March, 1980

concludes that any Metuchen Borough


Council entanglement
with religion is
minimal. .. Judgment
is rendered for
Defendants."
Marsa appealed the case to the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division. Briefs were submitted
and oral
arguments made before this three judge
court. A decision was rendered on 11th
January,
It was brief: "We affirm substantially for the reasons set forth by [the
lower court)."
Marsa, immediately,
opted to appeal
to the Supreme Court of New Jersey and
the American Atheist Center agreed.
The attorney's bill for $1 ,558.69 was in
the mail. Can you help with that? Send
any contributions
to the Paul Marsa
Legal Fund, address:
P.O. Box 361
Metuchen, NJ 08840
or:
c/o American Atheist Center
P.O. Box 2117
Austin, TX 78768

2Ik

Page 9

Taking God off


the City Steps

American Atheists have, for many years, demanded that nativity scenes,
crosses, prayers, or other religious displays be removed from government
properties. On a trip to Denver, Colorado, in 1979, apprised that a large
nativity scene was placed on the steps of the City-County building each
December, Dr. O'Hair and Jon Murray caused a furor by announcing a
challenge to that display for the holiday season of 1979.
The Colorado Chapter of American Atheists was enthusiastic and agreed
to assist in that challenge in whatever way it could. When the ACLU decided
to challenge the display, Harry Kier was greatly involved in obtaining
witnesses and being himself a witness in the case. Paul Funderburk,
American Atheist Center staff attorney, cooperating fully with the ACLU
- attorney, supplied research from unreported cases, particularly the entire
legal file oiO'Hair u-Clements which seeks the removal of a creche scene
from the rotunda of the State Capitol building in Austin, Texas. The Denver
Post immediately printed an editorial blasting the action; the logic of the
opinion expressed is illustrated in one paragraph. "Of course, that freedom
of religion included freedo~ from religion as well. Atheists, agnostics, and
secular humanists are fully entitled to the practice of their own beliefs. Were
Mayor McNichols to march unbelievers down to view the nativity scene at
bayonet point, the ACLU would have a legitimate grievance. But nothing so
absurd is happening."
Everyone was stunned by the decision of Judge Richard P. Matsch, Judge
of the US District Court for the District of Colorado, delivered on 17th
December, 1979. Without equivocation, in precise language, he ordered the
nativity scene dismantled immediately (within 48 hours) as offensive to the
constitutional dictates of state/church separation. In addition, he ordered
the city to pay all costs and fees incurred in filing the suit.
The decision is such a piece of masterful logic that it is given here in full:

IN THE US DISTRICT COURT


FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Civil Action No. 79-M-1605
CITIZENS CONCERNED FOR SEPARATION
OF CHURCH AND STATE,
Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY & COUNTY OF DENVER,
Defendant

MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER


This is a civil action by an unincorporated association of residents and
taxpayers of the City and County of Denver, Colorado, appearing through
the American Civil Liberties Union, seeking to enjoin the use of a Nativity
Scene as a part of a Christmas lighting display erected and maintained as a
qovernmental activity of the City and County on the public property of the
;)uildingwhich is the central headquarters of that government. The claim is
under 42 USC 1983 and jurisdiction is found in 28 USC 1343(3). At the
hearing held on the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction, the parties

Page 10

March,

1980

American

Atheist

stipulated to
consolidation with the
trial on the merits, as authorized in Rule
65(a)(2) of the Federal Ruie of Civil
Procedure. Accordingly, all of the evi:
dence has been taken, the arguments
have been heard, and the case is ready'
for final disposition.
,
For many years, Denver has had a
lighting display at the City and County
Building in downtown Denver during the
annual Christmas holiday season. Normally, the lights have been turned off after
New Year's Day and then turned on
again in mid.January for the ten days of
the National Western Stock Show.
Wilbur Latham has been working on
such displays for the past forty years as
part of his regular employment with the
City's Parks and Recreation Department.
Mr. Latham has been the person responsible for planning and construction
of such displays since 1956. Each yedr he
has sought to arrange the lighting and
physical objects used in differing configurations, r:ecognizing that large numbers of people photograph the display
each year and seek a variety of scenes.
Mr. Latham testijied that there has
/'''a s been a creche in the dis la .

Since 1962, that scene has consisted of


life-sized figurines of Mary, Joseph, the
infant Jesus, shepherds, wise men, and
, domesticated animals. The figurines of
Mary and Joseph are posed in a devotional attitude and they are within a
barnlike structure with the baby in a
manger. The scene is, therefore, a de-.
piction of the birth of Christ as described
in the writings of St. Matthew, St. John,
and St. Luke.
The figurines used in the Nativity Scene
were purchased by Denver with public
funds in 1962. The annual display also
includes comparably made figurines of
Santa Claus, his sleigh and reindeer, and
an elves' toy shop. These too were
purchased with public funds. From time
to time there have been some replacements and repairs 'paid for by private
donations.
The designed total effect of the display
is to turn the entire front of the City and
County Building into a spectacle of lights,
and when viewed from a distance, the
Nativity Scene is almost indiscernible.
About ninety percent of' the persons
viewing this display do so from cars while
drivin b. in front of the building. The

Austin, Texas

March,I980

Santa Claus and reindeer, the toy S;;",i>,


and the creche are clearly distinguishable from that vantage point. Persons
may also walk by the display, but the
physical objects are fenced off for safety.
Before the display was erected in 1978,
persons associated with the plaintiffs
point of view requested the Mayor of
Denver to exclude the Nativity Scene.
There was a strong public reaction with
letters and petitions urging a rejection of
that request and an adherence to tradition. The common contention in those
communications was that it would be
wrong to "take Christ out of Christmas."
In November 1979, counsel for the
plaintiff appeared before the Denver City
Council and again urged exclusion of the
Nativity Scene in the 1979 display. That
appeal was based upon the same ground
urged in this lawsuit and both the Mayor
and City Council denied the request.
The complaint in this case was then filed
on November 28, 1979, and, again, the
issue was the subject of many petitions
and letters to the Mayor, overwhelmingly
in support of his position. To these
communications, the Mayor addressed
the following standard
response:

Page II

"Thank you for your letter concerning


the Nativity Scene in front of the City
and County building. I appreciate your
taking the time to advise me of your
thoughts in this regard.
Please be assured that I do plan to
keep the Nativity Scene in our traditional Christmas display unless I am
ordered by the Courts to take it down."
The Nativity Scene had not yet been
erected when this case was filed. At the
time of the trial, the Nativity Scene,
Santa Claus, the reindeer, and the toy
shop, were all in place on the front steps
of the City and County Building. All of
the other elements have also been incorporated in the display and the lights
are scheduled to be turned on for public
viewing on the evening of Monday, December 17, 1979. A removal of the ereche and a repositioning of the other
objects on the front steps can be cccornplished within one working day.

The plaintiffs contention is that the


Nativity Scene is a religious symbol and
that by including it in the Christmas
display the City and County of Denver
has violated the establishment clause of
the First Amendment, which is incor
porated in the Fourteenth Amendment
to the United States Constitution. In
considering that contention, this court is
limited to the evidentiary record presented upon trial. Any personal beliefs or
opinions must be excluded.because they
.are as irrelevant as is the predominant
public opinion. The unique role of out
Constitution is protection from allforms
of tyranny, whether individualor collective.
The evidence presented at this trial is
so overwhelmingly supportive of the
plaintiff's position, and the defendant's
attempts to justify its politically popular
stand on legal grounds have been so
feeble, that there may be some question
as to whether there is an actual legal

Page 12

controversy or an abdication of responsibility for decision making. It should be


recognized that all who hold public office
have an equal obligation to adhere to the
United States Constitution. While the
judicial branch has the undeniable duty
to declare the invalidity of legislative and
executive acts which violate the proscriptions of the organic law, the courts
should not be used merely for the convenience of those who wish to avoid the
unpleasant consequences of a required
resistance to the majoritarian view on a
clamorous issue.
The only witness called by the defendant is a professor of religious studies
who has been ordained in the United
Church of Christ and has served as a
pastor. After being qualified as an authority on religious symbols, the defendant's
witness opined that while there is no.
universally accepted definition, it is generally agreed that such a symbol, unlike
signs, awakens a depth of response and
"participates in that to which it points. "
He accepted the creche as a religious
symbol, without question, but expressed
the view that the depth of awakened
response would vary among persons
and according to the context in which it
is displayed. Some would see it as a
depiction of an historical event; some
would see it as a depiction of a theological event; and the witness' personal
opinion was that while he would object
to the creche alone on the steps of City
Hall, there was no religious experience
for him in $he context of the Christmas
lighting display. He agreed that it would
not surprise him to learn that both
Christians and non-Christians may see
the creche as a religious symbol in the
display; but, he expressed concern that
to remove it for that reason may have
some chilling effect.
The plaintiff also called theologians
who testified as expert witnesses. Another professor of theology who teaches
the philosophy of religion and who was
also ordained in the United Church of
Christ and has served as a minister in
the Methodist and Congregational Churches testified that the Nativity Scene has
been used as a teaching device for the
indoctrination of-illiterate persons since
the Middle Ages. In his view, the conrernporcry role of the creche is to serve
as a symbol, reminding the viewers of
the incarnation of the deity, "a cosmic
event of saving significance.". Today,
most Christians stress Jesus as the
symbol of the redeeming power of God
(sic) at work in the world and see the
Nativity Scene as evoking strong feelings
of joy and deep feelings of reverence in a
way quite different from Santa Claus,

March,

1980

Christmas lights, Christmas trees and


other holiday ornamentation.
The witness further noted that there
are many differences of opinion among
scholars and theologians as to the date
of the birth of Jesus Christ as an historical event. It is generally accepted that
December 25 is not the anniversary of
that birth. That date was established by
Liberius, the Bishop of Rome, in the
Fourth Century. It is also a time of
significance in many other cultures and
beliefs. The winter solstice has long been
a season of celebration and pagan ritual.
The witness said that the blend of
pagan and Christian aspects in the celebration of Christmas has been a matter
as to which there have been significant
separations of opinion among faiths and
sects under the canopy of Christianity -.
The Pilgrims, devoutly re7igious, prohibited the celebration of Christmas by
idleness and idolatry; the Quakers have

not been comfortable with the use of


symbols, and Jehovah's Witnesses consider Christmas displays to be pagan.
The expert acknowledged that Christ
is an important historical figure in Western culture but differs from such other
historical persons as Abraham Lincoln,
Chris.topher Columbus and Karl Marx in
that Jesus is the central figure in Christianity. The witness expressed personal
opposition to inclusion of the creche in
the Denver Christmas display because
he thinks it confuses the nature of the
Christmas celebration and-because he is
aware of the sensitivity of others, recognizing that there is a history of oppression affiliated with the establishment
of any state religion. He expressed personal concern that such a use of a religious symbol may intensify divisiveness
in the community.
The validity of that concern about
divisive effects was demonstrated by the

American

Atheist

testimony of other witnesses called by


the plaintiff. A lawyer who was raised in
a Jewish family testified that she felt
surprise and anger in viewing the 1978
scene because the Nativity Scene represented a religious, mystical symbolism
which has never been accepted in the
Jewish religion and to her it was a painful
reminder of the history of oppression of
the Jews. Her expressed concern was
with the obvious connection between
that symbolism and the city government.
She had no such feelings with respect to
religious ar_UI1a city-owned museum.
A 'rnernoer of the American Atheist
Society testified that he felt fear when he
saw the creche in the display with what
he perceived to be an obvious religious
intent, recognizing that the majority religion in the United States is Christian,'
which he defined to be any faith which
has the incarnation of God as a central
tenet. To that witness, the impression

L-

kEEP
OUT

was that the city endorses such faith


contrary to his view that the Constitution protects him from imposed religion. The atheist witness is married to a
Roman Catholic and they have a Nativity Scene in their home during the
Christmas season. He had no objection
to such secular aspects of the Denver
display as Santa Claus, reindeer, the
Christmas tree and others because to
him they simply represent the winter
solstice season.
A clinical psychologist with an expertise in child psychology testified that in
her professional opinion such a display
of apparent governmental support of a
majoritarian view has negative effects
on the children in religious minority families because it tends to encourage prejudice among the majority, and because
it encourages self-degradation and diminished self-esteem among the minority.
She said that the parents of children in

Austin, Texas

religious minority families, in attempting


to deal with the conflicts which confront
their children during the Christmas season, often emphasize the neutrality of
government to ease the pressure of peer
conflict. Any weakening of that neutrality has an adverse effect upon that effort.
She also testified that children function
cognitively in a way which is much more
rigid than with adults and that what may
be benign to an adult would be very
substantial to children. On cross-examination, she opined that when children
view the Denver Christmas display, the
Santa Claus and reindeer scene would
have the most impact on Christian children; but that the creche would have the
most impact on children of religious
minorities. The psychologist, who is Jewish, also offered her personal view that
the Nativity Scene was somewhat offensive and frightening because she saw it
as an affirmation of the religious belief of
a particular group by a government,
which should be neutral, and because to
her it was a reminder of consequences
from more serious violations of neutrality in world history.
Another professor of religious studies,
who is an ordained Episcopal priest
affirmed the accuracy of the testimony
that the date for Christmas was established in the Fourth Century and that the
date selected had been the time for a
pagan celebration of the birth of the
invincible Sun. He too saw the creche as
the symbol of the incarnation of God
(sic) in Christ, and he described Christmas symbols such as Santa Claus, lights,
trees, and others as different from the
Nativity Scene because they are decorations which are not universally Christian.
He called them mere "frosting on the
cake" and the "cake is the creche".
Thus, those items should be considered
tangential, with the Nativity Scene being
central.
A Quaker lawyer saw the 1978 Denver
display, including the Nativity Scene as
the payment of tax money to put up a
eligious symbol, which some find contrary to their beliefs, and as giving an
impression of implicit endorsement of
Christianity over religious beliefs which
do not focus on Christ. Her testimony
was that Christ is recognized in her faith
and that while Jesus is also an important
historical figure, it is impossible to separate the religious role from the historical
influence. She had no diffi~ulty in considering Santa Claus as a totally secular
symbol, even though that symbol of spirit
and generosity evolved from Saint
Nicholas, a Christian figure.
A computer scientist, who is a Unitarian, saw the entire display as crassly

March,1980

commercial and inartistic. He also saw it


as participation by Denver in a religious
observance, contrary to the separation
of church and state, which Unitarians
have urged as a basic tenet since the
Middle Ages. He said that he was raised
as a Roman Catholic in Europe; that in
his home the family kneeled and prayed
in front of a creche which had been
blessed by a priest; and that he had been
taught to consider the scene to be sacred.
A retired Baptist minister testified to .
the importance of separation of church
and state in Baptist polity, remembering
that Baptist colonists had experienced
persecution, and that Roger Williams
had established the Providence Plantation for religious freedom through such
separation. The minister said that Baptists see the Nativity Scene as a religious
symbol and that there was no other way
to interpret it. In his opinion, Jesus
Christ could not be compared to any-

THIS 1S A
TAADITION
SO WAS,SLAVERY

""'''''''.-,-~.-' ----!

body else in the world.


The Mayor of Denver was also called
as a witness by the plaintiff. He testified
that the Christmas display at the City
and County of Denver building had always been paid for through funds appropriated il)the budgetary process and that
the purpose was to induce people to
come into downtown Denver to spend
money with merchants. He also stressed
the importance of the longstanding tradition which he believed
constituted good public relations for the image
of the City and that the Nativity Scene
demonstrated the historical origin of
Christmas. The creche has religious significance for the Mayor personally and
he expressed the hope that it would have
such significance for others. He said that
he had no opinion as to what it might
mean to persons' who do not have a
religious belief in Jesus Christ.
It is important to recognize the limits of

Page 13

the issue which is now before this court.


In this case, no one has challenged the
observance of Christmas as a national
holiday; no one has claimed that Denver
must not maintain the tradition of the
annual lighting display; no one has attacked the tenets of any religious beliefs;
no one has sought to prevent or limit the
use of the Nativity Scene or any other
religious symbols in churches, homes, or
on any private property; and no one has
sought to secularize our society. Those
who appear for the plaintiff here recognize the importance of religion in our
national history, and the American Civil
Liberties Union has always strongly supported the freedom to exercise religious
beliefs without regard for their popularity.
What is being asserted in this case is
the danger to that freedom resulting
from any encroachment of the power of
government into the pulpit. The Supreme Court and the lower courts of the
United States have long struggled with
the tensions between the establishment
and free exercise clauses of the First
Amendment in a wide variety of factual
circumstances. The natural tendency
toward attempting to resolve these questions by reasoning from first principles
and Framers' intent becomes increasingly attenuated as government grows more
intrusive and the social order becomes
more complex and pluralistic. It is difficult to imagine James Madison anticipating that municipal officials would use
public funds on a religious display for the
purpose of enticing people to come into a
commerical area and spend their money
with private merchants.
Where there is less consensus on
cultural values, including religious precepts, there is greater'needfor restraint
in the use of the coercive 'power of the
plurality in the exercise of authority by
those who obtain governmental office by
popular election. There are no differences in degree of the denial of constitutionally protected liberties and no governmental act can be approved on the
ground that it is only a little bit unconstitutional.
The First Amendment provides that:
"Congress shall make no law respecting
an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the iree exercise thereof." These
principles have been incorporated by
judicial decision into the Fourteenth
Amendment due process clause, and
are fully applicable to state as well as
federal action. Cantwell v. Connecticut,
310 U.S. 296 (1940); Everson v. Board of
Education, 330 U.S. 12 (1947).
As the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
has noted, the Supreme Court has "treated the Establishment and Free Exer-

Page 14

cise Clauses under various factual situations with perplexing diversity of views. "
Anderson v: Salt Lake City Corp., 475
F.2d 29, 31 (1973). This difficulty in
interpreting the amendment results from
the fact that the "[t]he sweep of the
absolute prohibitions in the Religion
Clauses may have been calculated; but
the purpose was to state an objective,
not write a statute." Walz v. Tax Commission, 397 U.S. 664 (1970). While that
objective must be identified in the context of a world far different from that of
the Framers, its roots lie in the historical
perceptions "that both religion and government can best work to achieve their
lofty aims if each is left free from the
other within its respective sphere," McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U.S.
203, 212 (1948), but that "a union of
government and religion tends to destroy government and degrade religion."
Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 431 (1962).
With these lessons in mind, the Supreme Court has held that: "The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First
Amendment means at least this: Neither
a state nor the Federal Government can
set up a church. Neither can pass laws
which aid one religion, aid all religions, or
prefer one religion over another .... No
tax in any amount, large or small, can be
levied to support any religious activities
or institutions, whatever they may be
called, or whatever form they may adopt
to teach or practice religion. " Everson v.
Board of Education 330 U.S. at 15-16.
Moreove~, while recognizing that they
"are no more than helpful signposts",
Hunt v. McNair 413, U.S. 734, 741
(1973), the Court has posited three tests
to determine when government action
escapes the prohibitions of the establishment clause: "First, the [action] must
have a secular legislative purpose; second, its principle or primary effect must
be one that neither advances nor inhibits
religion ...; finally, the [action] must not
foster "an excessive government entanglement with religion". Lemon v. Kurtz.man, 403 V.S. 602, 612-613 (1971).
In determining whether the "principal
or primary effect" of particular government action advances or inhibits religion, the courts are not required to parse
one "primary" effect of a given activity
from its other effects and analyze only
the former. In Committee for Public
Education v. Nyquist, 41<3U.S. 756, 783784, n.39 (1973), the Supreme Court
held: "We do not think that such metaphysical judgments are either possible or
necessary. Our cases simply do not
support the notion that a law found to
have a 'primary' effect to promote some
legitimate end under the State's police

March,1980

~I

power is immune from further examination to ascertain whether it also has the
direct and immediate effect of advancing
religion.... Any remaining question about
the contours of the' effect' criterion were
resolved by the Court's decision in Tilton, in which the plurality found that the
mere possibility that ajederally financed
structure might be used for religious
purposes 20 years hence was constitutionally unacceptable because the grant
might 'in part have the effect of advancing religion.' "
Rather, the Court indicated that benefits conferred upon religious institutions
must be "indirect", "remote", or "incidental". Id. at 771. As Professor Tribe
has noted, "[t]his shift is significant, for
the remote-indirect-and incidental standard plainly compels a more searching
inquiry, and comes closer to the absolutist no-aid approach to the establishment clause than the primary effect test
did." Tribe, American Constitutional
Law, 840 (1978).
The City has argued that its purpose
in including the creche in the Christmas
Display is sufficiently secular, in that the
entire display is designed to draw tourists and residents alike into the downtown business district, and to improve
the City's national image. This contention is trou~esome, not only in light of
the Mayor's expressed hope (but not
"intent") that viewers would see religious significance, but because it fails to
explain the importance of the creche
itself to such a commercial purpose. If
the City's intent is indeed to use an
appeal to sectarian religioL{ssentiments
to attract people into t1ie city, that
purpose might well be constitutionally
impermissible. It is not necessary to
.inquire further into the City's purpose,
however, for an analysis of the "effects"
and" entanglement" establishment clause
tests is dispositive of this case.
While the indisputably religious nature
of the creche is not in itself determinatiue.
as to whether its inclusion "advances or
inhibits religion", it is highly significant.
For whatever may be the governmental
purpose behind intrusion of the creche, it
is the symbolic' nature of that act, as
publicly perceived, which may have. an
advancing or inhibiting effect. See, discussion by Tribe, supra, at 843-844, of
the importance of symbolical impact in'
the Supreme Court's establishment
clause cases.
The convincing and uncontroverted
evidence presented to this court was
that the City's placement of the Nativity
Scene on the front steps of the City and
County Building (the very building to
which the citizens must turn for govern-

American

Atheist,

ment) is widely viewed as an affirmation


and support of the tenets of the Christian faith. On this issue there could be no
more persuasive evidence than the letters
and petitions sent to the Mayor of Denver
when the requests for removal were
made in 1978, and this year. They are in
evidence as Plaintiffs Exhibit 3. Consider these quotations from those letters:
"God and Christ in our lives has always
been what America is all about ... " "It
seems to me that if we are a Christian
nation that we should do something to
demonstrate that fact." "...as a good
Christian Mayor." "... Christmas is a
Christian holiday." "...upholding the symbolism of the religious majority." "Our
country was founded on God; if she
[Madalyn Murray O'Hair] doesn't like
our religious beliefs she's free to go to
. another country." "...God being always
the head of our nation." "This country
was founded on Christianity so why
allow some non-Christian to dictate to
the majority, and allow the infiltration of
such ideas to occur in our country. "" ...in
God we trust is our land's freedom of
belief." "Its (sic) because of our Christian
beliefs our Country has maintained its
freedom." "We cannot deny our religious heritage and I think the government can reflect the majority's opinion."
"We as taxpayers have a right to express to the people that we are Christians ... " "America was founded on Christianity and freedom of religion." Certainly the peoplecwriting those letters perceive the Nativity Scene in the Denver

display as a religious symbol and an


affirmation of their sincere religious beliefs. They are representative of the
sentiments expressed by the hundreds
of others whose strong convictions
moved them to write letters and the
thousands who signed the petitions.
Because the decision to include the
creche in the 1979 display was made
with awareness of this public sentiment,
it is somewhat difficult to accept the view
that the city officials' intent is only to
further commercial interests in downtown Denver.
The convincing expressions by various witnesses of their feelings of" discomfort", "anger", "fear" and "being left out"
upan viewing the scene, coupled with
the expert testimony of the psychologist
as to the effects upon minorities of
symbolic governmental alignment with
the majority, strongly suggest that the
Nativity Scene may well have the effect
also of inhibiting religious beliefs (nonbeliefs) of viewers.
These advancing and inhibiting effects
are far from being "remote, indirect or
incidental." indeed, the evidence suggests that whatever commercial and
public relations benefits derive from inclusion of the creche in the Christmas
Display, they are themselves incidental
to the "principal or primary" religious
effect which it has on viewers. At any
rate, the proven depth of response clearly establishes that the City Hall display of
the Nativity Scene is publicly perceived
as a religious symbol within the definition

of the defendant's expert witness and


that compels the conclusion that the
governmental actions of erecting, maintaining and displaying that symbol on
public property at public expense is
violative of the protection of minority
views provided by the establishment
clause of the First Amendment.
The mere fact that the rest of the
Christmas display is secular, and so
recognized, does not mitigate this constitutionally objectionable result. The Supreme Court has recognized that "[a]id
normally may be thought to have a
primary effect of advancing religion...
when it funds a specifically religious
activity in an otherwise substantially
secular setting." Hunt v. McNair, 413
U.S. 734, 743 (1973). Indeed, one of the
most important inquiries in application
of the "effect" test has been whether the
secular and religious aspects of the challenged activity. were sufficiently separable. See, Roemer v. Board of Public
Works, 426 U.S. 736 (1976), (Blackmun,
J., for plurality at 755; White, J., concurring at 768); Hunt v. McNair, 413 U.S.
734 (1973). The problem created by the
City's placement of the creche on the
steps of the City and County Building
stems largely from the fact that the
secular and religious aspects of the display cannot be separated, and indeed,
the latter may be intentionally presented
so as to promote the former.
In Walz v. Tax Commission, 397 U.S.
664, 674 (1970), the Supreme Court
stated its concern - which has since

'!~:~December
<

World Atheist Meet Two will be held at The Atheist Center,


Patamata, Vijawada, Andre Pradish, India in December, 1980,
Jon Murray) and the Atheis.t Center of India (Director - Lavanam) in the tradition of international cooperation begun by
Dr. Madalyn O'Hair and Gora, through United World Atheists.

Austin, Texas

March,1980

Page 15

become a separate test under the establishment clause - that "an excessive
government entanglement with religion"
be avoided. In succeeding years, this
concern has resolved itself into a dual
inquiry: First, government must not foster what Tribe, supra at 866, has referred to as "administrative entanglement",
that is, institutional interference between
church and state. In this regard, the
Supreme Court has held: "In order to
determine whether the government entanglement with religion is excessive, we
must examinee the character and purposes of the institutions that are benefitted, the nature of the aid that the State
provides, and the resulting relationship
between the government and the religious authority." Lemon v. Kurtzman
403 U.S. 602, 615 (1971).
The City government has acted in this
case in a manner which many reasonably perceive to ally it officially with

of our democratic system of government, but political division along religious lines was one of the principal evils
against which the First Amendment was
intended to protect. ... The potential
divisiveness of such conflict is a threat to
the normal politicalprocess." The Court's
cases in which this "divisiveness" element of "entanqlement" has played a
role have involved circumstances quite
similar to those engendered by the City's
actions in this case. The tone and content of the letters and petitions to the
Mayor contained in Plaintiff's Exhibit 3
and the testimony of the witnesses in this
court are clear demonstrations of a
division of the Denver community resulting from inclusion of the creche in the
Christmas display. The emotional intensity which 'is apparent in the conflict
which has brought this case to court
demonstrates once again the wisdom of
James Madison who expressed his fear
in the famous Memorial & Remonstrance
Against Religicus'Assessments, that government involvement with religion would
"destroy that moderation and harmony
which the forbearance of our laws to
intermeddle with Religion, has produced
among its several sects. "(Reproduced in
appendix to opinion of Rutledge, J., in
Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S.

value, Anderson v. Salt Lake City Corp.,


475 F.2d 29 (10th Circ. 1973). There, the
Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County
Boards of Commissioners had "informally permitted" the Fraternal Order of
Eagles to erect a granite monument on
city and county courthouse grounds.
The monolith was inscribed with the Ten
Commandments and other symbols, including the "all Seeing Eye of God", the
Star of David, letters from the Hebraic
alphabet, "Christ's Monogram" (a letter
"P" superimposed on the letter "X"), and
the "Order of Eagles". The installation
and maintenance of lighting equipment
to illuminate and enhance the display,
were authorized at public expense.
The court found that the Ten Commandments or "Decalogue" "has substantial secular attributes", is "an affirmation of at least a precedent legal
code", and contains" accepted precepts,
as a foundation for law". Moreover, it

1 (1947):)

churches following Christian beliefs. It


has provided the total design, plqnning,
funding, space, placement and maintenance for display of an inherently religious
symbol. Even if there has never been any
communication or contact between the
City and any religious authority, the
perception of such an affiliation in the
minds of the people actually creates a
relationship between the two which is
offensive to the Constitution.
The second strand of the "entanglement" test is that derived from the
Supreme Court's concern with "continuing political strife over aid to religion." Committee for Public Education v.
Nyquist, 413 U.S. 756, 794 (1973). The
Court elaborated upon this concern in
Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 622
(1971) while considering a program of
public assistance to parochial schools:
"Ordinarily, ootiticolrieoate and division, however vigorous or even partisan,
are normal and healthy manifestations

Page 16

The divisiveness caused by the City's


use of the creche is,' moreover, of a
particularly troublesome kind, for in this
case, as in Lemon, supra at 623, we are
"confronted with successive and very
likely permanent a'nnual appropriations
that benefit relativelyfew religiousgroups.
Political fragmentation and divisiveness
on religious lines are thus likely to be
intensified.",
'
Some of the letter-writers have offered
to donate money to pay for the erection
and maintenance of the creche in the
Christmas display to avoid the use of tax
revenues for that purpose. While the use
of public funds is one of the elements
involved in the question of entanglement,
the elimination of such support is not, in
itself, determinative. If the response to
this decision is an attempt to replace
public' with private support, and so to
come within the free exercise clause of
the First Amendment, care must be
taken to comply with those principles of
neutrality mandated by the establishment and equal protection-clauses of the
Constitution and set forth in O'Hair v.
Andrus, No. 79-2170 (D.C. Cir., filed
October.S, 1979).
Just as the defendant, has relied on
only one expert witness to support its
position, it has presented only one case
which it claims to have precedential

March,

1980

stressed thejact that the' Order of Eagles


is not a religious organization and concluded, that "the monolith is primarily
secular, and not religious in character;
that neither its purpose or effect tends to
establish religious belief." Id at 33-34.
The facts and circumstances comprising this case are strikingly different
from those presented in Anderson. Here,
the City itself has taken sole responsibility
for purchasing, erecting and displaying,
the creche. Thus, while it was clear in
Anderson that the Eagles had erected
the monument, this crucial symbolic
element requires a different result here.
Additionally, the monument in Anderson
contained a variety of religious and nonreligious symbols, all related to the theme
of law and justice appropriate to the
courthouse setting. This case, however,
involves a religious symbol central to the
beliefs held by those in a group of
organized religious institutions. It must
be remembered that "the narrowness of

"American

Atheist

the benefitted class" is an important


element in assessing offensiveness under
the establishment clause. Committee
For Public Education v. Nyquist, 413
. U.S. 756, 794 (1973). Moreover, the
court in Anderson found that the symbol
which was the focus of the controversy
- the Decalogue - had significantly
secular impact. No such finding could
reasonably be made with respect to the
Nativity Scene.
There are additional reasons, moreover, for rejecting the defendant's argument that Anderson is controlling in this
case. Since the decision in Anderson, the
Supreme Court has made it clear that
government action may be unconstitutional even if it has secular effects which
may be deemed "primary". See, discussion of this development supra, and
Nyquist, supra 413 U.S. at 783-784 n.39.
This court has found that however the
religious effects of the creche may be
characterized in terms of quantitative
primacy, they are certainly not "remote,
indirect or incidental", and the Constitution is thus violated. Finally, the Circuit's analysis in Anderson did not include consideration of the recently developed "entanglement" inquiry discussed above, and the record there does not
indicate what importance such [actorsmight have had in the court's decision.
At any rate, consideration of the "excessive governmental entanglement" in
religious affairs caused by inclusion of
the creche requires its removal in this
case. For a recent decision involving a
more closely analogous, though still distinguishable factual context, see, Allen
v. Morton, 495 F.2d 65 (D.C. Cir. 1973).
Upon the foregoing, which shall constitute the findings of fact and conclusions
of law herein, it is now
ORDERED, that the defendant City
and County of Denver is enjoined from
the inclusion of the Nativity Scene in the
Christmas display at the City and County
Building, and it is
FURTHER ORDERED, that the Nativity Scene which now stands on the
front steps of that building shall be
removed therefrom withinforty-eighthours,
and it is
FURTHER ORDERED, that the plaintiff shall have and recover from the
defendant, a judgment for costs and
attorney's fees in the amount to be
determined after the filing of an appropriate written claim for such costs
and fees within thirty days from the date
of this order, and it is
FURTHER ORDERED, that the injunction hereby ordered and the claim for
costs and attorneys' fees shall be considered to be separate claims within the

meaning of Rule 54(b) of the Federal


Rules of CivilProcedure, and there being
no just reason for delay in the entry of
judgment on the order for an injunction,
it is expressly directed that the Clerk of
this court shall forthwith enter such
judgment, making this order appealable
immediately ..
DATED December 17,1979.
BY THE COURT
(Signed) Richard P. Matsch, Judge
United States District Court

Clergy of several denominations


immediately expressed
disappointment. The pastor of one Roman
Catholic Church and editor of the
Denver Catholic Register was aghast.
"I think we have to pray for those
who spent that much money to take
God off the city.steps.when
people
are hungry and dying".
The mayor of Denver, Colorado,
always on the lookout for votes from
the reigious community immediately
announced he would appeal the decision.The Metrobank
of Denver offered to pay the estimated cost of the
scene ($25,000). The City council,
with one dissent voted to back the
Mayor's appeal. The one dissent was
a woman reared as a Roman Catho-

Austin, Texas

March,1980

lic; considering herself to be a Christian, she opposed the use of public


funds to depict beliefs of a specific
religion.
An emergency appeal was immediately filed with the U.S. 10th Circuit
Court of Appeals and on December
19th, within the 48-hour period during which the Nativity Scene was to
have been dismantled, the appellate
court agreed to order a stay of the
removal. until a full appellate review
could be had - a process which
normally takes six to eight months. A
special emergency appeal was made
to Justice Byron White of the U.S.
Supreme Court tooverrule the U.S.
10th Circuit Court of Appeals;
White, however, refused the appeal.
In conjunction with this suit, while
litigation was pending in the Denver
courts, the Colorado
Chapter
of
American Atheists mounted a picket
line against the display, in the very
midst of the Christmas season, while
Christian indignation was at its peak.
Once again, Atheists proved, with
their physical bodies on a picket line
that in the United States, today,
American Atheists have nothing to
fear but fear itself.
In an act of special defiance, however, the Mayor retaliated by ordering the Nativity Scene to remain in
place and be lighted for the lO-day
National Western Stock Show beginning January 20. Indeed, the creche,
Joseph, Mary, the wise men and
Baby Jesus stayed in rain, snow, and
shine into the fourth week of January
- something new for the Book of
Records, but typical of a religious
mentality.
The saga of the Nativity Scene
continued until the 21st of January
when 'the United States Supreme
court refused 7 to 2 to set aside the
10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
action which indefinitely postponed
the removal of the Nativity Scene.
The twojustices who saw the display
as an unconstitutional
mixture of
state and church were Justices William
J. Brennan Jr. and Thurgood
Marshall.
As it stands now, the case now
needs to be fought out at the 10th
Circuit Court of Appeals level and,
as indicated,
this may take over
another year. ~

Page 17

ONWARD
SOLSTICE
SOLDIERS
While Dr. Madalyn Murray O'Hair
and Jon Murray were in Los Angeles,
California on the KABC talk show of
December 19, 1979, hosted by Michael
Jackson, an M.D. was at the station and
listened to the exchange. Meeting the
Murray-O'Hairs
afterward, she informed
them that Santa Monica called itself/'The
Christmas Story Town" and had erected,
along the main street, a dozen large
religious displays. Noting that this town
is particularly well-populated with Jews,
she questioned why a challenge had not
been made to the Christianization
of
Santa Monica once a year.
Dick James drove the M urray-O'Hairs
to Santa Monica to inspect the situation.
For about one-fourth of a mile parking
meters were covered and. parking was
prohibited along Palisades Park so that
the display could be seen. There were 14
structures, each about eight feet tall and
about twelve feet long and six feet deep.
Inside each were life-size mannequins
depicting some features of the Christian
nativity story. Beside each was a metal
scroll indicating sponsorship.
To each
was attached electric wiring, from the city
street lighting system.
The 14 separate exhibits were labeled:
First, the Annunciation,
Luke 1:28.
Second, Joseph's Dream, Matt. 1:20.
Third, the Visitation, Luke I:42. (A
legend indicated the Roman Catholic
Church sponsored this one.)
Fourth, Caesar's Decree, Luke 2: I
(sponsored by a Catholic church).
Fifth, Rest on the Road, Luke 2:4-5
(sponsored by a Lutheran church).

Page 18

Sixth, No Room at the Inn, Luke 2:7


(sponsored by a First Christian church).
Seventh, The Nativity, Luke 2:7 (sponsored by a Roman Catholic church).
Eighth, Peace on Earth, Luke 2:8-9
(sponsored by a Methodist church).
Ninth, Herod's Court, Matt. 2:3 (sponsored by a Lutheran church).
Tenth, Three Wise Men, Matt. 2: I.
Eleventh.T'resentation
at the Temple,
Luke 2:22 (sponsored
by a Baptist
church).
Twelfth, Joseph's Warning, Matt. 1:20

March,

1980

(sponsored by a Baptist church).


Thirteenth.
Flight into Egypt, Matt.
2:14.
Fourteenth.
the Return to Nazareth,
Matt. 3:2 (sponsored
by a Lutheran
church).
It was presumed that those which did
not indicate a sponsor were a city display.
A visit to a local newspaper. the Santa
Monica Evening Outlook. resulted in a
lengthy article appearing
on the front
page:
Madalyn Murray O'Haif;-_America's
best-known Atheist said she plans to
campaign for the removal of the 14
nativity displays which have lined Santa Monica's Palisades Park for the past
26 Christmas seasons.
Mrs. o 'Hair, a long-time crusader
eqeinst' church-state entanglements,
said she will first ask the City Council
to order the displays taken down and,
if refused, she will go to court to have it
done.
"I want to throw the fear of god into
these people," she quipped.
Both Mayor John Bambrick and City
Manager Charles Kent McClain said
later they had received no formal requests to take down the displays.
The Christmas scenes were first put
up in 1953, at the suggestion of actress Joan Woodbury and her actor
husband, Henry Wilcoxon, who said
they were patterned after Christmas
nativity displays shown in medieval
England by traveling H-oupe of players.
Over the succeeding years, the displays were usually financed by city

American

Atheist

money grants, altflough they were


paid for by public subscription last
year when Proposition 13 forced the
city to cancel its participation.
This year the City;Counci(allocated
$7,000 for the displays to the Santa
Monica Chamber of Commerce as part
of a full year's promotion plan to be
handled for the city, by the businessmen's group.
.
In commenting, Mrs: O'Heir said
both the use of city money and placement of the nativity displays on cityowned property violate the U.S. Constitution's provisions for separation of
church and government.
"This is an offensetd all kinds of
minority groups," she said. "Let everybody celebrate their own ideas, but the
city should not be involved. "
Mrs. 'Hair said she was first told of
the Santa Monica displays Wednesday morning by a woman she met in a
Los Angeles radio station where she
was recording a program.
"It was absolutely accidental," she
said.
"She was very, very concerned. Our
immediate reaction was, 'Well, come
on, we've got to do something about
it. ,,,

{,'

Mrs. O'Heir said there is probably


too little time before Christmas to have
the displays removed this year, but
she or representatives of her group,
American Atheists, based in Austin,
Texas, will pursue their request next
year.
"We may not be able, to conclude it
this year, but we will continue to press
it, " she said.
She said that even if the nativity
displays and their installation were to
be financed by private funds in future
years, she would continue to object
" because Palisades Park is city-owned.
"It's still illegal," she said. "Why
don't they put it on a church lawn?"
In his comments, Mayor Bambrick
said another woman had protested the
scenes last year.
"There was a woman who came
before us last year and complained
about the nativity scenes," he said.
"But there were a number of people
. who spoke for them. I can't remember
when it was, but I think it was at
budget time. "
Bambrick said he favors keeping the
scenes because "Christmas is also a
spirit, a season when people feel like
doing good.
"It makes people feel good when
they're doing good," he said. "They
like to buy presents for their children
and their wives. "
Bambrick, himself an attorney, said
he does not believe use of the munici-

Austin, Texas

pal funds for the displays violates


separation provisions of the U.S. Constitution.
"I think the founding fathers had
something more in mind," he said.
"They didn't want anyone church or
churches taking over our government.
That's what they really had in mind."
Dick James advised that he would
request some action to be taken at the
next meeting of the Los Angeles Chapter
of American Atheists.
The mayor and city manager did not
need to wait long. On January 9, 1980,
the Los Angeles Chapter of American
Atheists addressed Richard Knickerbocker, City Attorneyfor Santa Monica, with
a demand that the entanglement
of re.li- ,
gion and government manifested in this

March,1980

display be discontinued,
The city was
asked to take whatever action would be
appropriate.
Failing this, the chapter
indicated that whatever legal action was
necessary would be begun.
Dick James suggested to the city that
"if the demand for holiday religious displays is so great, the supporting organizations (without government involvement)
can achieve their objectives by having
one display at each participating church.
and organizing a 'get to know your local
churches' mapped tour from display to
display,"
The suggestion is commendable
and
would put religion where it belongs: with
its practitioner instead of entangled with
the government of Santa-Monica.

3t

Page 19

"PIE" TRIAL ENDS

IN ATHEIST

The initial interview was done by telephone. Conrad Goeringer, Arizona Chapter Director, had asked the MurrayO'Hair team to swing through Arizona,
New Mexico and Colorado to help boost
the chapters. With the aid of Merrill
Holste, Chapter Director, American Atheists, very good media coverage had
been arranged. The Albuquerque Journal was doing an "advance" article for the
meeting to be held on Saturday, October
20, 1979. As' is often the case the large
one-third of a page story spread appeared
on the "Religion" page instead of the
general news sections. It was an old
device that hostile media used to present
Dr. O'Hair and Jon Murray in a forum
which Atheists never read, but where
they could be exposed to religionists,
"The better to hate you, my dear."
The result was as expected with a small
group (perhaps a dozen) of hostile, very
vocal, disruptive born-againers appearing at the Holiday Inn trying to prohibit
the orderly meeting of 150 Atheists. The
religious zanies were so raucous that the
police were called. Jon Murra y in the rear
of the room, tried to obtain order there
where the disrupters were gathered in a

Page 20

group and Dr. O'Hair at the podium was


attempting to make some "holding" interim remarks so that the 150 Atheists
there would not disperse before the meeting could, in an orderly fashion, get
under way.
At this point, a very large, somewhat
beefy, bearded young man in the first row
rose from his seat and hurled a chocolate
cream pie into Dr. O'Hair's face. Roy
Chardon, also in the front row, had seen
the pie in an open briefcase and had
crossed the room to ask what the man
intended. At the same time he threw the
pie, the young man also knocked Chardon to the floor. He was immediately
tackled and two Atheists pinned him to
the floor until the police arrived.
Dr. O'Hair, completely covered with
the pie, glasses knocked off her face, pie
caked in her hair and dripping over her
face, shoulders and bosom, retreated to
the adjacent kitchen to put her head
under a faucet to rinse out the slippery
ooze.
The police refused to take an information report, refused to arrest the man,
and were impertinent to both Mr. Chardon and Dr. O'Hair. At one point they
threatened to close down the Atheist
meeting, issued a warning to Jon Murray
and generally showed their approval of
both the religious disruptors and the pie
thrower. None of the disorderly persons
were charged, the police substantially
being of no help.;
Patiently explaining that the next day
was Sunday, that travel plans were for
leaving Albuquerque before Monday,
Dr. O'Hair and Jon Murray attempted to
have the police act immediately. It was to
no avail. They were told it would be
necessary to stay over until Monday, Oct.
25th to file charges-at the police station.
The officer in charge even refused to
obtain the offender's name and address
for the Murray-O'Hairs,

March,I980

~I

Well

Although every television station carried pictures of the pie-drenched Dr.


O'Hair, the Monday morning paper carried only a small note that an "alleged
assailant was described as heavy-set, balding, about 40, and wearing a suit." United
Press International meanwhile was carrying a different story, nationwide, which
was printed in the Oct. 24, 1979 issue of
the Phoenix Gazette:
.
Residents of Sedona [AZ] are planning a pie sale Nov. 3 to help defray
legal expenses of a man who hit Atheist Madaly" Murray O'Heir in the face
with a pie in Albuquerque, NM.
Mrs. O'Heir said after the incident
she would file assault and battery
charges against the pie thrower and
the Sedona group decided to hold a pie
sale at a local shopping center.
Joe Everett organizer,:-of the "Pies
for Madalyn" campaign said, "We're
just trying to make sure Mrs. O'Hsir
gets her just desserts. "

After a lengthy discussion it was finally


decided to stay in Albuquerque for one
extra day although a delay was quite
detrimental to the travel schedule.
The night he left the hotel, he had been
unmarked, on Monday morning when
the pie thrower appeared at the police
station, he had a bruise on his cheek for
which he filed a criminal complaint with
the District Attorney's office against Jon
Murray. This was remarkable since Jon
had been at the back of the large meeting
room when the incident occurred. It
presaged difficulties.
When Roy Chardon and the MurrayO'Hairs arrived at the police station, they
were told no report had been filed by the
police at the scene. It was over an hour
before it could be located. Then a referral
was made to the District Attorney's office, where an assistant D.A. calmly
advised that complaints were only taken
on Thursday. His superior, who told the

American

Atheist

Murray-O'Hairs he was a "fellow heretic," .ordered that the complaint be accepted and gave assurances it would be
acted upon.
Upon leaving that office, Jon Murray
noted that the reception area of the
Municipal Court Building displayed a
very large, handsomely framed, glasscovered picture of Jesus Christ knocking
at the door of the United Nations. Upon
inquiry, the building police were surly,
and the building superintendent was inhospitable and finally rude. It was necessary to go to the mayor's office before
agreement could be reached that the
picture was a flagrant state/ church violation and should be removed. The mayor's
office subsequently 'ordered it taken
down.
Later the same afternoon (Oct. 25th),
The Albuquerque Tribune carried an
editorial as follows:
Madalyn Murray o 'Hair has a knack
for stirring up controversy.
That knack, in fact. is her principal
weapon in her war against religion.
Understandably,
her
particular
brand of militant Atheism outrages
many of us. After all, she's attacking
the basic beliefs of most Americans.
We don't agree with her.
We think she's dead wrong in both
her unbelief and in her approach.
We find her somewhat tiresome.
But we strongly defend her right to
her own opinion and also her right to
express that opinion.
This is America, not Soviet Russia.
This is a country that was founded on
the principles of freedom of speech.
freedom of the press, freedom of
choice, and yes, freedom of religion.
Those principles have kept us free.
They will continue to keep us free
only so long as we vigorously defend
them.
Which means that we must defend
the right of people like 'Hair to speak
freely and openly - without interference of any kind - no matter how
much we might disagree with them.
When we prevent the O'Hsirs from
speaking we're operating the same
way they do in totalitarian countries
like Russia, where dissent is punishable by prison torture, or even death.
None of us want that in America.
Pushing pies into the faces of those
who disagree with us is not the way to
preserve American freedom.
It is ironic that the man so outraged
at O'Heir that he pushed a chocolate
pie in her face has pro/J..ablyaided and
abetted her cause.
As a result of the violent incident,
her views have received much wider
publicity than they would have otherwise.

The next day (Oct. 26th), the editorial


cartoon in the Albuquerque Journal was
outrageously funny.

The Tribune immediately responded


with an editorial cartoon of its own on
Oct. 27th.

'Boy, I really showed her!'

March,

Austin, Texas

~I

1980

Page 21

The Journal countered with an Oct.


28th editorial of its own:
Cream pie in the face seems the
least possible act of violence. But the
laughter fades when it is used to
choke off the right of self-expression.
Those who use such tactics - whether it's a Christian seeking to suppress the godless message of Madalyn
Murray
'Hair, or a radical Yippie
seeking to suppress the political philosophy of Gov. Jerry Brown - must
share in the same censure.
Each may be a hero in the eyes of his
advocates. But one of our country's
most precious principles suffers.
The "Letters to the Editor" and the
"People's Column" in both newspapers
kept going until Oct. 31 st. The letters
against the pie thrower rivaled the Journal for hypocrisy. Examples:
"Madalyn
O'Hair has the right to
speak without hecklers ... Even though
her brand of prejudice and hate is ... akin
to a Nazi visit to Skokie, Ill."
"It is to be hoped that the pie was good
tasting - otherwise, what a waste!"
"Mrs. Murray can be prosecuted for
attacking the Constitution of the United
States ... Her program is also riot inciting ... "
"Mad Madalyn, the purveyor of hatred
and filth, has been trying to incite people
against god and religion. In my opinion
she should' be jailed and deported in
chains to an Atheist country."
On Nov. 2nd, the City Attorney's Office announced it would prosecute the pie
thrower while the District Attorney's
office declined to do so. The case was to
be handled by the Municipal Court in a
non-jury trial.
The case was finally set to be heard on
Dee 20th. There were stilI to be interviewing events. A "More Pies for Madalyn"
rally was slated to be held in the civic
auditorium on Dec. 12th.

WEDNESDAY7:30P.M.

"MORE PIES. FOR MADALYN"

RALLY

ANTI~ATHEISTS UNITE
IN BEHALF OF

ALLEN HUNTER

.. PIE FLINGING CHAMPION


GU[$T SPEAKERS
"EVERYONE

WEt"CO'll"'="!M~E~

CIVIC AUDITORIUM

Page 22

On Dec. 13th the pie thrower's attorney asked for a pre-trial conference. The
issue was: is it necessary for witnesses in
criminal proceedings to swear to god that
they will tell the truth in order to testify?
The defense wanted to keep every Atheist
witness off the stand. The attorney's
argument was that Atheists would not
have the "ability to tell the truth."
A hearing was set, over this issue, for
Dec. 18th. The Murray-O'Hairs,
already
in California, read the results of the test
in the newspaper there, since the judge's
ruling was carried nationwide. The ruling
was that Dr. O'Hair could give testimony
by affirming that she would tell the truth
"under penalty of perjury." This was how
UPI reported it, as carried in the Nashville Banner on D~c. 20, 1979:
Atheist Madalyn Murray O'Heir will
not be required to swear to god in an
oath prior to testifying today at the trial
. of a man accused of shoving a pie in
her face.
On trial for misdemeanor charges in
the incident is Alan R. Hunter, 31, of
Albuquerque.
Hunter's attorney unsuccessfully argued Tuesday that court rules required Mrs. O'Heir to testify under an
oath in which she swears to god that
her testimony is true. Municipal Judge
Thomas Mescett. who rejected the
attempt also turned down a motion
that would have allowed Mrs. O'Heir
to be questioned about her religious
beliefs.
Mrs. O'Heir filed the misdemeanor
charge against Hunter after she was
hit with a pie Oct. 23 during an organizational meeting for an Atheist
group at an Albuquerque hotel.
The pie thrower came to actual trial on
Dec. 20th. The Murray-O'Hairs
flew in
from Los Angeles to be guests at the
home of Roy Chardon. The trial lasted
two hours, while IO to 15 picketers for
Christ paraded in front of the Municipal
Court building. The substance of the
signs was that Dr. O'Hair was an agent of
the devil.
Newspaper
reporters
and television
journalists were principal witnesses. All
the testimony was substantially the same:
an orderly meetin& of about 150 Atheists
had been severely disrupted by about a
dozen religious intruders. In the midst of
this disturbance,
the pie thrower had
risen and thrown a chocolate cream pie
into the face of Dr. O'Hair, However,
when the pie thrower took'the stand, he
insisted that Dr. O'Hair had provoked
the attack that night. Although he did not
explain why he came equipped with a pie
to the meeting, he swore that Dr. O'Hair
had said:
All Christians are a bunch of perverted bastards that should be sent to

March,

~J

1980

Russia so that the United States can


be taken over by Atheists the way it
was meant to be.
The judge delivered a stinging rebuke
to the pie thrower, pointing out that his
testimony was not corroborated.
He lectured not alone the pie thrower, but
about 60 people jammed into the small
court room:
There's a general feeling throughout this community that it's kind of
funny to hit someone in the face with a
pie - they think it's a friendly kind of
an assault.
I think it's anything but funny. I think
it's rude. I think it's cruel. I think it's
senseless. "
The First Amendment guarantees
us one of our most precious rights freedom of speech. It allows us to
voice a diversity of opinion. You can
come here and freely say whatever
you want as long as you don't create a
clear and present danger to the safety
of others, such as yelling fire in a
crowded theater.
The judge, finishing his comments,
sentenced the pie thrower to seven days in
jail and fined him $100. He ordered the to
begin serving his sentence in the .CityDetention Center (the jail) on January 2,
1980.
However, the judge dismissed the
charge of assault and battery which Roy
Chardon had filed when the pie thrower
knocked him to the floor.
In all phases of this incident in Albuquerque, the Atheists won -hands down.
Although the situation looked hopeless
on October 20th, the determination
of
the Murray-O'Hairs
to have a legal adjudication
of the event, his brought an
advancement and precedent for Atheists
everywhere.
A Roman Catholic who assaulted an
Atheist was punished by law.
A Christian picture, offensive to the
principle of state/ church separation, was
removed from a municipal court house,
and all Atheists can now point to the
precedent of giving testimony in court
cases' "under penalty of perjury" rather
than "So help me god."
When we can fight, we can win. When
we do not stand up for our rights, the
religious win by our default. We make the
future. It is in our hands, NOW!
Last Minute Addendum: The pie
thrower appealed to a court where
the judge was the brother of the
Archbishop of Santa Fe; the judge.
naturally. suspended the $100 fine
and decreed that the man could serve
the jail sentence on weekends. if he
completed the sentence (reduced to
seven days) within a 45-day period.
Well. so much for justice. It was a
good momentary victory.

3t:

American

Atheist

Rots.
of theism
ELIZABETH CADY STANTON
PART III
Despite the fact that Elizabeth Cady Stanton fought vigorously for the Equal Rights of all women, and for their
enfranchisement, she discovered along the way, in 1860 to be
precise, that she could not herself give as much time as she
needed to give if she did not have a housekeeper. In her
autobiography, written when she was 80, she gives a special
eulogy to Amelia Willard, who managed her home while she
managed the women's movement.
It was at this time that she discovered the perfidy of the new
political party then being successful. The Republican Party
had absorbed the abolitionists within its ranks by its declared
hostility to the extension of slavery. As the women gathered
forces for anti-slavery conventions, it became apparent that
the Republicans all over the country would not tolerate such
activity, in actuality closing ranks with the Democrats on the
issue and making common cause against abolition. Every
proceeding was disrupted. Discouraged, she commented,
"The whole State [New York] was aflame with the mob spirit,
and from Boston and various points in other States the same
news reached us."
Mrs. Stanton, also, was not without concern on issues
related to the women's movement. Both she and Susan B.
Anthony attempted, how they could, to encourage women
locked in a bad marriage. Indiana passed a divorce bill in 1860
and this was a beacon for the other states. A similar measure
failed in her home state, New York, by just four votes. She
therefore introduced the matter in the regular women's
convention only to be dismayed by a "liberal" friend taking the
floor to lash out against this matter which was "irrelevant" to
the women's issue. Susan B. Anthony immediately chal>
lenged him and joined the issue, but the damage was done.
Horace Greeley, of the New York Tribune, sided against the
women and his alliance with the women's cause found its first
rift here. The most severe criticism was aimed at the women
for this unseemly attitude. Once again both Susan B. Anthony
and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were heaped with ridicule,
denunciation and abuse. Mrs. Stanton notes, "So many
things, that I had neither thought nor said, were attributed to
me that, at times, I really doubted my own identity."
As always, war is a unifier. When President Lincoln called
upthe militia on April 15, 1861 the women put aside their own
concerns to assist with the war in whatsoever manner they

Austin, Texas

could. One of the ways that Mrs. Stanton felt she could help
was ideologically and she immediately called a meeting of the
women at Cooper's Institute and there they issued a manifesto calling for an "immediate emancipation and enfranchisement
of
the
Southern
slaves."
In a very short while the women were able to obtain 300,000
names on the petitions for the same to be sent to President
Li ncoln and the Un ited States Congress. To thei r utter dismay,
when a constitutional proposal was made for this enfranchisement, it included the word "male", thus dashing all
hopes of enfranchisement for women. The women, who had
supported the Republican Party, were dismayed. Miss Anthony
and Mrs. Stanton were the first to see the full significance of
the word "male" in the Fourteenth Amendment and, at once,
sounded the alarm. They wanted instead an amendment to
"prohibit the States from disfranchising any of their citizens
on the ground of sex." For this, they could get only 10,000
signatures.
The first barometer was in Kansas. There in 1867 the
proposition to extend the suffrage "to women and to colored
men" was submitted to ballot. The Republican Party advocated the "colored suffrage" with enthusiasm. The two
women immediately set out for Kansas. There in the most
primitive conditions, with a low carriage drawn by two mules,
they stomped across the state, speaking in log cabins, depots,
unfinished schools, barns, ~otels, in grain mills. With no
roads, no guide posts, fording streams, often obliged to walk
ahead of the mules, they made their way. Their diet often
consisted of dried herring, crackers, gun arabis and slippery
elm. Public tables and hotels were almost unknown. They
slept in barns, in the wagon, in meager accommodations of
the frontiersmen. Although they were doomed to disappointment, they did win large numbers of Democratic supporters.
When reviewing women's experience during the war period
and-with the Republican Party she wrote:
"However, women learned one important lesson namely, that it is impossible for the best of men to
understand women's feel ings or the h umi Iiation of their
position. When they asked us to be silent on our
question during the War, and labor for the emancipation
of the slave, we did so, and gave five years to his
emancipation and enfranchisement. To this proposition

March,

1980

Page 23

my friend, Susan B. Anthony, never consented, but was


compelled to yield because no one stood with her. I was
convinced, at the time, that it was the true policy. I am
now equally sure that it was a blunder, and, ever since, I
have taken my beloved Susan's judgment against the
World."
.The Republicans were again to come to the women for help
in New York for enfranchisement of the male Negro. This time,
both Mrs. Stanton and Miss Anthony balked. If the word
"white" was going to be taken out of theNew York Constitution, they insisted, that the word "male" also be removed so
that the enfranchisement which would flow from that action
would encompass both Negro men and all women, Negro or
white.
After the vote in Kansas, both ladies returned to New York to
start the women's magazine, Revolution, of which Elizabeth
Cady Stanton was a co-editor. The effort failed after two and
one-half years of valiant effort - during which time these two
stalwarts simply Were not financed and could not continue.
The journal was taken over by a minister,the
title was'
changed to the Christian Enquirer and its motto of "Men's
rights and nothing more; women's rights and nothing less."
was changed to "Whom God has joined together, let no man
put asunder." Again, they lost. Actually, these two women to
whom everything is owed, lost all of the time. And yet they
continued the fight against all odds, with a constantly reinforced determination coming only from their convictions
that.that for which they struggled so valiantly was right. The
magazine failed also because, as Mrs. Stanton noted: "We
said at all time and on all subjects just what we thought, and
advertised nothing that we did not believe in." They never
answered attacks on them either from withlner without their
ranks, saving all of their energies to combat for women's
rights.
Right after the Civil War the "Lyceum Bureau" came into
vogue and speakers were sent over the United States from the
three leading bureaus in Boston, New York and Chicago. The
managers of the bureau received ten percent ofthe speakers'
fees which ranged from one to two hundred dollars.a speaking
night. On November 14, 1869, Mrs. Stanton agreed to a "long
and weary pilgrimage" which went "from Maine to Texas"
and lasted twelve years. Among the "stars" of this lecture

platform was Charles Bradlaugh, the Atheist from England.


She met him almost immediately at the Sherman House in
Chicago and on 'other occasions as they both traveled the
speakers' circuit. She fought for admittance of females to the
universities, especially the University of Michiqan. She fought
for women's libraries everywhere: Finally, she included in her
war the elimination
of the word "obey", from marriage
ceremonies. She went by mule, by foot. by wagon. Everywhere she fought aiso to free infants of swaddling clothes.for
fresh air and for healthy diets. In 1871 she was in California
(with the ever present Susan B. Anthony again), to organize
suffrage meetings.
She mused on it all: "When women understand that
government and religions are-human inventions; that Bibles,
prayerbooks, catechisms, and encyclical letters are all emanations from the brain of man, they will no longer be oppressed
by the injunctions that come to them with the divine authority
of 'Thus saith the Lord'."
In the four year period of 1869 to 1873: she an'd Miss
Anthony were often in Iowa, Missouri, Illinois and Nebraska.
Every state in the union finally became a stomping ground for
these two determined suffragettes. Utah yielded in 1895,
Nebraska in 1867, Michigan in 1874.
'
1876 was the nation's year of the centennial and victory at a
federal level, or even in the Eastern states would have been
most welcome. This culminated in a demand to seat one
woman from each state in the public celebration to be held in
the historic Independence Hall in Philadelphia and to there
read the Women's Declaration of Rights prepared especially
for this day of commemoration. Naturally, the request was
refused, On the day of the celebration, the ladies entered the
hall, made their way down the aisles and with Susan B.
Anthony standing in front of the speakers' stand reading the
Declaration, the ladies passed O,#:ltcopies to everyone assembled. It was an audacious act of defiance that few today
would have heart enough to emulate.
They pressed their claims at the exposition 15uildings, at
public halls, wherever, atthat time Of celebration, they could.
But they were bitter, as Mrs. Stanton's words evidence:
"That a majority of the women of the United States accept,
without protest, the disabilities which grow 6ut of their
disfranchisement is simply an evidence of their ignorance and
cowardice, while the minority who demand a higher political
status clearly prove their superior intelligence and wisdom."
After the centennial, they decided to approach Congress. If
that body had a special committee on the rights of Indians, why should it not have one on the rights of women? And they
got it. They won help slowly from a senator from Massachusetts and one from Missouri.
By 1880 it became apparent that they needed to preserve
the history of their fight and rn that year they began to collect
material for an eventual book, The History olWoman Suffrage.
In the same year, Mrs. Stanton thought it might be propitious
for her to start a diary. She Was then sixty-five years of age, but'
another concern was before her. As she viewed her life, she
was worried of "all of the blunders in my own life" and in her
effortsfor education for her children. She felt keenly that no
training was ever given for parenthood. Bordering on the idea
of human genetics, she could see that. in regard to children,
parents should be able to "insure them sound minds in sound
bodies, and enough of the good things of this life to enable
them to live without
continual struggle forme necessaries of
existence." She became more aghast as she saw everywhere'
evidence that: "Men and women, intelligent and prudent in all
other directions, seem to exercise no forethought (concerned
with parenthood), but hand down thelr individual and family
idiosyncrasies in the most reckless manner."

Elizabeth

Page 24

Cady Stanton with Harriot


and Nora

Stanton

Blanch

March,1980

~I

American

Atheist

Meanwhile, in May 1881, the first volumes of the history


appeared, an octavo, containing 8.97 pages. But to "vary the
monotony of the work on the history", they decided to hold an
entire series of conventions throughout the New England
States. The work continued unabated by her advancing years.
. In 1898, when she was already 67 years old, after having
finished two years of hard work on the second volume of the
history, she departed to France with her daughter, traveling
later to England. There, she went to hear Moncure D. Conway,
the well-known freethinker who wrote for the American
later to England. There, she went to hear Moncure D. Conway,
the well-known freethinker who wrote for the American
Atheist magazine The Truthseeker. When asked to give a
"sermon" the next day, Mrs. Stanton became very nervous,
but it is best to let her describe what happened in her own
words:
"I retired Saturday night, very nervous over my sermon for
the next day, and the feeling steadily increased until I reached
the platform; but once there my fears were a" dissipated, and I
never enjoyed speaking more than on that occasion, for I had
been so long oppressed with the degradation of women under
canon law and church discipline, that I had a sense of relief in
pouring out my indignation. My theme was, 'What has
Christianity done for Woman?' and by the facts of history I
showed clearly that to no form of religion was woman
indebted for one impulse of freedom, as a" alike have taught
her inferiority and subjection. No lofty virtues can emanate
from such a condition. Whatever heights of dignity and purity
women have individually attained can in noway be attributed
to the dogmas of their religion."
She later was able to help the women of England rejoice
over the passage of the Marril3d Women's Property Bill, which
gave to the women of England, in 1882, what women had
enjoyed in many states in the United States since 1848.
She went often to homes of leading equal rights women and
remarked that: "On one occasion. I found George Jacob
Holyoake there ... " Of course, Holyoake was the last person
tried by jury in England for the crime of Atheism.
On the next day, she went to the House of Commons and
found Charles Bradlaugh there, still unable to take the seat to
which he had been elected - because of his Atheism. "I sent
my card to him, and, in the corridor, we had a few moments'
conversation. I asked him if he thought he would eventually
get his seat. He replied, 'most assuredly I will. I shall open the
next campaign with such an agitation as will arouse our
politicians to some consideration of the changes gradually
coming over the face of things in this country.''' Of course, she
knew Charles Bradlaugh, having visited with him in prior
times in England, meeting him on the Lyceum Bureau circuit
and knowing him through her other Atheist contacts, most
notably Ernestine Rose.
'
Susan B. Anthony came later that year to England to attend
the great liberal conference, and the old friends were together
again. Together they attended enthusiastic reform meetings.
Then, "We heard Bradlaugh address his constituency on that
memorable day at Trafalgar Square, at the opening of Parliament, when violence was anticipated and the Parliament
Houses were surrounded by immense crowds, with the
military and police in large number, to maintain order." It was
a fine state of affairs, to have these two women, both now over
75 years of age, in the midst of this fight of an Atheist to be
seated in the House of Commons in Englandl Before they left
England, it was - of course - necessary for them to make
their last visit to Ernestine Rose, then in very delicate health.
On the boat to return, she was again contemplative with the
fate of Charles Bradlaugh. He had, together with Annie
Besant, published a book on birth control, and had b.een

Austin,

Texas

brought to trial over the matter. Two other Atheists had been
prosecuted for their writings, G.W. Foote, and W.J. Ramsey.
She wrote concerning this:
"My sense of justice was severely tried by a" I heard of the
persecutions of Mrs. Besant and Mr. Bradlaugh for their
publications on the right and duty of parents to limit population. Who can contemplate the sad condition of multitudes
of young children in the Old World whose fate is to be brought
up in ignorance and vice - a swarming, seething mass which
nobody owns - without seeing the need of free discussion of
the philosophical principles that underlie these tangled social
problems? The trials of Foote and Ramsey, too, for blasphemy,
seemed unworthy a great nation in the nineteenth century.
Think of we ll-educated men of good moral standing thrown in
prison in solitary confinement, for speaking lightly of the
Hebrew idea of Jehovah and the New Testament account of
the birth of Jesusl Our Protestant clergy never hesitate to
make the dogmas and superstitions of the Catholic Church
seem as absurd as possible, and why should not those who
imagine they have outgrown Protestant superstitions make
them equally ridiculous. Whatever is true can stand investigation and ridicule."
Back in the United States, she could not keep her sharp
tongue still. When visiting with clergymen in the home of a
friend, she talked concerning the condition of women and how
the authority of the Bible suppressed their liberty and equality.
Her hostess was quite worried about the "liberal utterances"
she had made:
" 'We": said I, 'if we who do see the absurdities of the old
superstitions never unveil them to others, how is the world to
make any progress in the theologies? I am in the sunset of life,
andl feel it is my special mission to tell people what they are
not prepared to hear, instead of echoing worn-out opinions.'"
She was soon in plans for armeeting for "intellectual
cooperation of women" to secure equal rights and opportunities for their sex. A part of this was also a plan to have
lectures given by still another well-known English freethinker,
Atheist Gerald Massey, who was then in New York' City
lecturing on "The Devil", "Ghosts", and "Evil Spirits". Unfortunately, an illness prevented his lecturing. With this idea, she
and Miss Anthony began work for the International Council of
Women to be held under the auspices of the National Woman
Suffrage Association in Washington, D.C., in March of 1888.
At the same time, of course, they worked diligently on volume
three of The History of Woman Suffrage. However, she
wanted to do more concerned with women and the Bible and
decided that she would make her speech delivered in London
into an article which was then published in the North
American Review. At the same time, the National Woman
Suffrage Association was having an Annual Convention in
Washington. The main feature of the convention was an
attempt to pass the following resolution:
WHEREAS, the dogmas incorporated in religious creeds
derived from Judaism, teaching that woman was an afterthought in the creation, her sex a misfortune, marriage a
condition of subordination, and maternity a curse, are contrary to the law of God (as revealed in nature), and to the
precepts of Christ, and,
WHEREAS, these dogmas are an insidious poison sapping
the: vitality of our civilization, blighting women, and through
her, paralyzing humanity, therefore be it
Resolved, that we call on the Christian ministry, as leaders of
thought, to teach and enforce the fundamental idea of
creation, that man was made in the image of God, male and
female, and given equal rights over the earth. but none over
each other. And, furthermore, we ask their recognition of the

March,1980

[continued

on page 36]

Page 25

THE WOMAN'S
BIBLE
by
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, et al
This is the third part of a continuing series from The ',""
Woman's Bible.

THE BOOK OF GENESIS


CHAPTER
Genesis iv: 1-/2,19,23.
I And Adam knew Eve his wife:
and she conceived. and bare Cain.
and said. I have gotten a man from
the Lord.
2 And she again bare his brother
Abel. And Abel was a keeper of
sheep. but Cain was a tiller of the
ground.
3 And in process of time it came
to pass. that Cain brought of the
fruit of the ground an offering unto
the Lord.
4 And Abel. he also brought of
the firstlings of his flock and of the
fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering.
5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain
was very wroth. and his countenance fell.
6 And the Lord said unto Cain.
Why art thou wroth? and why is thy
countenance fallen?
7 If thou doest well. shalt thou
not be accepted: and if thou doest
not well. sin lieth at the door: and
unto thee shall be his desire. and
thou shalt rule over him.

IV
8 And Cain talked with Abel his
brother: and it came to pass. when
they were in the field. that Cain rose
up against Abel his brother. and
slew him.
9 And the Lord said unto Cain.
where is Abel thy brother? And he
said. I know not: Am I my brother's
keeper?
10 And he said. What hast thou
done? the voice of thy brother's
blood crieth unto me from the groundo
II And now art thou cursed from
the earth which hath opened her
mouth to receive thy brother's blood
from thy hand.
12 When thou tillest the ground.
it shall not henceforth yield unto
thee her strength; a fugitive and a
vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
19 And Lamech took unto him
two wives: the name of the one was
Adah, and the name of the other
Zillah.
23 And Lamech said unto his
wives. Adah and Zillah. hear my
voice; ye wives of Larnech, hearken
unto my speech .
.A

NE would naturally suppose that Cain's offering of


fruit indicatd a more refined and spiritual idea of
the fitness of things than Abel's of animal food. Why
Cain's offering was rejected as unworthy does not
appear.
There is something pathetic in Eve's joy and faith at the
advent of her first-born: "Lo I have a man child fro~ the
Lord." She evidently thought that Cain was to be to her a
great blessing. Some expositors say that Eve thought that
Cain was the promised seed that was to bruise the serpent's
head; but Adam Clarke, in estimating woman's reasoning
powers, says, "it was too metaphysical
an idea for, that
period." But as that it; just what the Lord said to Eve, she
must have had the capacity to understand
it. But all
speculations as to what Eve thought in that eventful hour are
vain. Clarke asserts that Cain and Abel were twins. Eve
must have been too much occupied with her vacillating joys
and sorrows to have indulged in any connected train of
thought. Her grief in the fratricidal tragedy that followed
canbe more easily understood. The dreary environments of
the mother, and the hopeless prophesies of her future

Page 26

March,

~I

1980

struggling life, banished to a dreary, desolate region, beyond


the love and care of her Creator, is revenged on her children.
If Adam and Eve merited the severe punishment inflicted on
them, they should have had some advice from the Heavenly
Mother and Father as to the sin of propagating
such an
unworthy stock. No good avails in increasing and multiplying evil propensities ana deformities that produce only
crime and misery from generation to generation. During the
ante-natal period the mother should be held sacred, and
surrounded with all the sweetest influences that Heaven and
earth can give, loving companionship,
beautiful scenery,
music and flowers, and all the pleasures that art in its
highest form can produce.
As the women at this period seem to be myths, no one takes
the {rouble to tell from whence they came. It is sufficient that
their husbands know, and it is not necessary that the casual
reader should. The question is often asked, whom did Cain
marry? Some expositors say that Adam and Eve had other
sons and daughters living in different parts of the planet,
and that they married each other.
There seems to have been no scarcity of women, for

American

Atheist

Lamech, Cain's great grandson. took unto himself two wives.


Thus early in the history of the race polygamic relations
were recognized. The phraseology announcing the marriage
of Lamech is very significant.
In the case of Adam and Eve the ceremony was more
imposing and dignified. It was declared an equal relation.
But with the announcement of Lamech's, he simply took two
wives. Adah and Zillah. Whether the women were willingly
captured will ever remain an open question. The manner in
which he is accustomed to issue his orders does not indicate a
tender relation between the parties.
"Hear my voice: ye wives of Lamech. and hearken unto my
speech!"
As the wives made no reply. it shows that they had already
learned that discreet silence is the only security for domestic
happiness.
Naamah the sister of Tubal Cain was supposed to be the
wife of Noah. Her name in Hebrew signifies the beautiful or
the gracious. Jewish doctors say her name is recorded here
because she was an upright. chaste woman. but others
affirm the contrary because "the whole world wandered
after her." But the fact that Naamah's beauty attracted the
multitude. does not prove that she either courted or accepted
their attentions.
The manner in which the writer ofthese chapters presents
the women so in conflict with Chapters i and v, which
immediately precede and follow. inclines the unprejudiced
mind to relegate the ii, iii and iv chapters to the realm of
fancy as no part of the real history of creation's dawn.
The curse pronounced on Cain is similar to that inflicted
on Adam. both were to till the ground. which was to bring
forth weeds abundantly: Hale's statistics of weeds show their
rapid and widespread power of propagation. "A progeny,"
he says. "more than sufficient in a few years to stock every
planet of the solar system." In the face of such discouraging
facts. Hale coolly remarks. "Such provisions has the just God
made to fulfil (sic) the curse which he promised on man."
It seems far more rational to believe that the curses on
both woman and man were but figments of the human brain.
and that by the observance of natural laws. both labor and
maternity may prove great blessings.
With all the modern appliances of steam and electricity.
and the new inventions in machinery. the cultivation of the
soil is fast coming to be a recreation and amusement. The
farmer now sits at ease on his plough. while his steed turns
up the furrows at his will. With machinery the sons of Adam
now sow and reap their harvests. keep the wheels of their
great manufactories
in motion. and with daily increasing
speed carryon the commerce of the world. The time is at
hand when the heavy burdens of the laborer will all be
shifted on the shoulders of these tireless machines. And
when the woman. too. learns and obeys the laws of life. these
supposed curses will be but idle dreams of the past. The
curse falls lightly even now on women who live in natural
conditions. and with anaesthetics is essentially mitigated in
all cases.
When these remedial agents were first discovered. some
women refused to avail themselves of their blessings. and
some orthodox physicians refused to administer them. lest
they should interfere with the wise provisions of Providence
in making maternity a curse.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton

~)/3rfoF
Co-author

s Bible.

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March,1980

Austin, Texas

of The Woman

Page 27

- from a dog, which is the symbol of the water goddess.


Dr. andMadarne Le Plongeon relate that in their discoveries
among the buried remains of the Mayas in Yucatan, everything
Nothing would be more interesting in connection with the
marks a very high state of civilization. In one of the exhumed
"Woman's Bible"than a comparative study of the accounts of
temples they found pictures on the walls, which seem to be a
the creation held by people of different races and faiths. Our
combination of the stories of the Garden of Eden and Cain
Norse ancestors, whose myths were of a very exalted nature,
and Abel. The Serpent was always the royal emblem,
recorded in their Bible, the Edda, that oneday the sonsof
Bor (a frost giant), Odin, Hoener, and Loder, found two trees
because the shape of Yucatan is that of a serpent ready to
spring. It was the custom among the Mayas for the oldest son
on the sea beach, and from them created the first human
of the king to be a priest, and the second son to marry the
pair, man and woman. Odin gave them life and spirit,
oldest daughter. The pictures represent that the oldest son in
Hoener endowed them with reason and motion, and Loder
gave them the senses and physical characteristics.
The man
this particular case was dissatisfied with this arrangement,
they called Ask, and the woman Embla. Prof. Anderson
-and wanted to marry the sister himself. To tempt her he
finds in the brothers the three-fold Trinity of the Bible. It is'
sends a basket of apples by a messenger. He stands watching
the way in which the present is received, and the serpent in
easy to fancy that there is some philological connection
the picture (indicating the royal family), makes it curiously
between the names of the first pair in the Bible and in the
Edda. Perhaps the formation of the first pair out of trees had
suggestive of the temptation of Eve. The sister, however,
a deep connection with the tree of life, Ygdrasil, which
rejects the present, and this so enrages the elder brother that
he kills the younger, who accordingly
is deified by the
extended, according to Norse mythology throughout the
Mayas. The image of Chacmohl was discovered by the Le
universe. furnishing bodies for mankind from its branches.
Plongeons, and is now in the possession of the Mexican
It had three great roots, one extending to the nebulous world,
Government. Perhaps these brothers were twins, as the
and this was constantly gnawed by the serpent Nidhug.
There was nothing in the Norse mythology that taught the
commentator says Cain and Abel were, and that gave rise to
degradation of woman, and the lay of Sigdrifa, in the Edda is
the jealousy.
Nothing can surpass in grandeur the account in the first
one of the noblest conceptions of the character of woman in
chapter of Genesis of the creation of the race, and it satisfies
all literature.
the highest aspirations
and the deepest longings of the
North American Indian mythology has the human race
human soul. No matter of what material formed, or through
born of the earth, but the writer cannot learn that women
how many ages the formative period ran, or is to run, the
held an inferior place. Among the Quiches the mothers and
fathers of old slept in the waters, covered with green, under a
image of God is the birthright
of man, male and female.
Whatever the second chapter may mean, it cannot set aside
limpid twilight, from which the earth and they were called
the first. It probably has a deep spiritual significance which
out by a mighty wind. The Algonkinsbelieved
the human
mankind will appreciate when cavilling about the letter
family were the children of Michabo, the spirit of the dawn,
ceases. To the writer's mind its meaning is best expressed in
and their supreme deity. In their language the words earth,
the words of Goethe: "The eternal womanly leads us on." mother and father were from the same root. Many' tribes
Clara Bewick Colby
claim descent from a raven, symbolizing the clouds; others
MYTHS OF CREATION

..:-.:

YOU'LL MEET THE DAMNEDEST

PEOPLE

at the
10th Annual National
AMERICAN ATHEIST CONVENTION
April 4-5-6

Detroit, Michigan

for registration information, contact:


Helen Weaver
P.O. Box 37056
Oak Park, ~178237
Page 28

March,

1980

American

Atheist

A JOYOUS 'ATHEIST
G. Richard Bozarth

TH.E ATHEIST

LETTERS

-6

recommended she subscribe to The American Atheist as another


In December, 1978, I moved from Vacaville, California (giving
up an illustrious career cleaning toilets and emptying garbage cans, source of "ammunition."
A few days later, I received another letter revealing the woman to
at the Nut Tree restaurant), to move to Austin, Texas, and launch
be an Agnostic - and full of the usual surrendering "reasoning"
myself upon a career no less illustrious as an employee at the
American Atheist Center. There I met, fell in love with, and
characteristic of Agnostics. I gave her a stiff dose of the undefeated,
undefeatable spirit of Atheist reasoning.
married at the 1979 Atheist Convention in Dallas the Center's
lovely receptionist, Alisa. For this alone, the move was the best
The Charges
thing I have ever done for myself.
I brought to Austin the same combative spirit that made me
I. The authors of the biblical epistles did not support slavery, .
write so many letters to the Vacaville Reporter. Although the
Reporter did not permit equality of forum (the religionists enjoyed
they were sadly expressing "toleration of a circumstance the people
the prestige of being featured columnists or guest editorialists, . of the time were powerless to change .... [and] .... intent only on
giving comfort and hope."
while Atheists could only appear in the much inferior forum of.the
"Letters to the Editor" section), it did permit equality of expression
2. "So many struggling, unloved human beings, so many who are
- that is, both religionists and Atheists could fully develop their
born with handicaps or handicapped by circumstances, so many
arguments.
who cry out, 'Why? Why?' and are not answered. To give them
I was disappointed and discouraged to find the Austin Amerihope, even if it is based on no hard evidence, no provable facts, is a
can-Statesman not only denied equality of forum, it also denied
kindness most men cannot do without else they-would go mad."
equality of expression. Atheists are severely limited to 200 words,
3. "A small child, feeling lonely or misunderstood, invents a
which means the Atheist can only make statements that he or she
Pretend Friend and talks to him as if he were really visible .... What
can rarely back up with reasoning or evidence. Meanwhile,
if he can't prove it true? What if logic indicates it well may not be
religionists can give all the evidence and reasoning, such as it is, to
true? The uncomforted child is not looking for logic; he is filling an
back up their concluding statements.
emotional need."
.
Nevertheless, I have from time to time appeared in the States4. "I think I see the trouble with Atheists as a group: they are so
man's "Letters" section with 200-word squeaks hurled against the defensive about their ideas (understandably) they tend to make the
two- or three-thousand-word roars of the religionists. One such same mistake the churches do, ridiculing the beliefs of those who
s~ueak resulted in the writing of the letter that is the reasonJor this disagree."
piece.
5. "Where are your hospital, day camp, soup kitchen, charity?
The newspaper had published a letter jn which a whacko
Where, as a group, have you impressed the Christian majority with
religionist claimed that "this state and this nation have benefitted" your kindness and compassion?"
by the effort and dedication of people of Christian principles, and
6. "Atheists must as a group show that their philosophy can
strong religious ties', and by applying those principles to govern- , produce as kind and loving a human being as others who assert
'
ment." I naturally had to challenge that absurd contention, and it . their love of humanity is god-inspired."
was published on 5 March, 1979.
Mary Goldsmith
The principal portion of the letter stated that "Christian
'principles' have done mom harm to this country-than anything
The Answer
else.... [such as the institution of] .... slavery, which was defended
most hotly not by the white masses of the South, but by the
You have a somewhat sympathetic view of Paul's wholehearted
reverends of theday like Rev. Alexander Campbell (There is not support of slavery: I wonder how sympathetic you would be if you
one verse in the Bible' inhibiting slavery, but many regulating it..'), were a slave and heard his offered "hope"; that is, degrading, ugly
Rey. R. Furman (The right of holding slaves is clearly in the holy
submission to being a piece of property rather than a human being
scriptures. '), and Rev. Thomas Witherspoon ('I draw my warrant
in return for a merry paradise after death. If Christianity had been
from the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to hold the at its initiation a moral force superior to all others (and this
slave in bondage. ')."
Christians' constantly preach), then no way would slavery have
Because the Statesman prints addresses (no doubt to intimidat~ " been even tolerated'.
such dissenters as Atheists), a few days later I received a letter from
The reason Paul supported slavery was because his god did. In
a woman who sounded as though she was an Atheist. Her opening
Exodus 21 are given a few laws regarding slaves presented as direct
paragraph was: "Mr. Bozarth, you've made some excellent points, quotes out of the mouth of god. Read these laws, and try to tell me
in your letter and you have done what I should have done; they constitute "toleration" and "hope" rather than absolute
researched your subject. May I ask where you found the quotes by , theological approval and support of slavery as moral and good.
the various 'Reverends/and db you have any more ammunition of (Particularly charming is the hideous law of Exodus 21:20-21:
this sort?"
"When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard
,I wrote her back, of course. J told her my source for the quotes that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If,
wasLincoln the Atheist;
American Atheist Press publication. I however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be
told her the Center had plenty of "ammunition" in the form of punished, since the slave is his own property.") Nowhere in the New
books she could buy. Because she wasn't a member or subscriber, I Testament will you discover that JC Superstar or Paul or James or
Peter thought their god was wrong about slavery.

an

Austin, Texas

March,

1980

Page 29

Thus, Paul was not sadly surrendering,


as you claim, to "a
circumstance the people of that time were powerless to change." He
was reinforcing god's holy laws found in the most sacred books of
his day. Seeing Paul's position as one of toleration would not be
"nearer the truth."
You write eloquently of "hope," particularly of the sort religion
offers. On what is that hope based? To have it, one must submit to
the authority of a god. Ah, but god never bothers with the.actual
administration
of this authority.
This is left in the hands of
priesthoods, who require absolute submission to their rule' if one is
to obtain the "hope" of religion. There is nothing praiseworthy
about a hope based on submission.
Why, for instance, should a handicapped
person require the
fantasies of a heaven to endure his or her handicap? Wouldn't a
better life philosophy be one that enables the handicapped person,
to make a healthy adjustment to reality, regardless how unpleasant, and go on to live as full a life as possible? Isn't the strength to
live up to one's potential despite disabilities more praiseworthy
than a weak submission expressed in a hope that some fairy tale
being will make an afterlife happier? There is no kindness in giving
a person a mutant "hope" that weakens their capacity to deal with
reality - to deal with life - while at the same time strengthens the
power of a priesthood over them.

to go it alone." A man or woman is strong enough. It is the child


who cannot go it alone.
John A. Gerber in his The Psycho-neurosis Called Christianity
(p. 52) explains it very well where he writes .that when the
religiously weakened "adult finds himself in an impartial, impersonal world of reality and in a struggle for survival, that adult
desires to return to the protection in the form of sustenance, love
and reassurance ofthe child-inferior by the parent. It is at this time
that the adult begins to regress to the child-inferior role. Religion
then becomes the sustaining image, in the form of a super god-thefather-superior.
The childhood emotions become predominant
in
the adult to the point that to gain the favor of this god-superior the
adult will prostrate himself in a role of-slave-inferior and accept a
subtle yet very positive enslavement merely to satisfy these infantile
emotions."
, In no way can this be good, Anything that weakens an
individual,
makes one less competent
to cope with (i.e., find
happiness in) reality, is not possibly good.
You write the trouble of Atheists as a group is that "they are so
defensive about their ideas they tend to make the same mistake the
churches do, ridiculing the beliefs of those who disagree." In the
first place, ideas not worth defending are not worth having, and
any ideas worth having must be defended whenever and wherever

"TO HA VETO FIND LOVE'IN A MYTH IS SO


MUCH COMFORT THERE, BECA USE ONLY
As to unloved humans: a person receives in life as much love as
she or he earns in life. No person with loveable virtues need go
unloved. If they are unloved, it is their fault. As the Beatles sing:
"The love you take is equal to the love you make."To have to find love in a myth is so pathetic that I doubt if there is
much comfort there, because only humans can return love for love.
No god ever gave anyone (except deranged mystics) the pleasure of
love returned for love. Go seek out these unloved people: look how
many love god, watch CBN, send their dollars in to various
vampire evangelists, yet are still miserable.
There is comfort in "feeling someone care about one, loves one,"
but only if that someone is a real person capable of giving love.
Love cannot come from a non-existent being. The feeling "god
loves me" is only a perverted narcissism that only the mentally
unsound can take comfort in. To encourage this sort of delusion is
no kindness, except to priesthoods who thrive on it.
You mention small children with pretend friends and security
blankets. A child of five with a pretend friend is understandable,
but wouldn't you think a person might be mentally deficient if at
age 25 he or she still had a pretend friend? Many parents find it
charming to convince their children to believe in the reality 'of
Santa Claus as absolutely as they, the parents, believe in god. A
five-year-old's belief in Santa Claus is cute to many people, but I
think no one would believe it cute if a 25-year-old believed in Santa
Claus as profoundly as a five-year-old.
To have pretend friends and to believe in Santa Claus would be
signs of mental ill-health in an adult. Yet, to believe in god, who is
nothing more than a super pretend friend and Santa Claus all in
one, is to be considered a sign of mental healthiness? Belief in god is
nothing but immature childishness: it is evidence of a mind that has
failed to mature beyond the need of Santa Claus and pretend
friends. You are wrong when you write "man is not strong enough

Page 30

March,1980

necessary. In the second place, what group of people is more


ridiculous than those who believe in fairy tale beings and who
actually think it is important to human affairs where one stands on
questions like whether or not a cracker is the real flesh and blood of
JC Superstar; whether or not JC Superstar existed prior to his
earthly birth (assuming there was such a birth for the sake of
argument); whether or not the Holy Ghost came-from both the
father and the son; or whether or not one is predestined from the
beginning of time to heaven or hell?

Atrocity In The Name Of God


It is demeaning and degrading to expect a human to sacrifice his
or her self-respect and integrity in order to respect ideas undeserving a decent person's respect. Were the subject racism or
sexism, would you urge me to respect the ideas of the racist or the
sexist? I hope not. Why then expect me to respect ideas that are the
very source of racism and sexism - religious ideas? You yourself
write the "churches have fostered the bigotry and evil they profess
to abhor," then in the next paragraph say my trouble is I do not
respect the ideas of the churches!
I will respect and admire only those ideas deserving my respect
and admiration. I respect ideas that have proven.to have had truly
moral influence on society and have increased human happiness in
this life. Such beneficial ideas are those to be found in the
Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. These ideas I
shall always respect, and those whose philosophy is based on them
will never find me ridiculing them.
I will never respect religious ideas. They have never been
beneficial to the welfare and happiness of society. This is proven by
the awful history made by religions whenever and wherever there
has been a theocracy. Right now I am reading The Emancipation

American

Atheist

of Massachusetts by Brook Adams. It is a history of the Puritan


theocracy in colonial America. It is a horrorstory of persecution,
murder, and savage torture that is most painful to read. Every
atrocity was committed in the name of god and justified by book,
chapter and verse.
If religious ideas are worthy of.respect, why have religious ideas,
when given the force of political power, never produced a society as
free and unrepressive as the USA, for all its failures in the area of
civilliber.ties? Without a good answer - and before you try to take
a long, hard look at Iran since its "liberation" from the Shah -to
this, how can you ask anyone to respect the ideas that have failed to
make a better, more moral society here on Earth?
You ask "where, as a group, have you impressed the Christian
majority with your kindness and compassion?" I would like to
ask where as a group the Christians have demonstrated kindness
and compassion? You mention hospitals, day camps, soup kitchens, and charity. These are not done out of kindness and
compassion, though the various religions put on a mighty PR
effort to convince us they are.
Have you ever been to a Christian camp, whether day or longer?
I went to one once when I was 14. For two weeks I and the other
kids were continuously and rigorously indoctrinated with the
brand of Christianity favored by the sponsoring church. These

PATHETIC

that person should have to endure the consequences of his or her


desire to remain a derelict. Charity only provides a means by which
the wretched can stay wretched without assuming any responsibility for it.
Lastly, you write that" Atheists must as a group show that their
philosophy can produce as kind and loving a human being as
others who assert their love of humanity is god-inspired." Atheism
has already proved that it has and does produce better human
beings. If Atheism was not a source of morality, then it should be
proven statistically that in proportion to their percentage of the
population, Atheists are responsible for more crime and immorality than Christians.
This is not the case. In the pamphlet "If Christ Came to New
York" by Dr. Ira D. Cardiff, the author gives a 193 I religious
census of New York's Sing Sing prison taken by the prison
chaplain - which leads to asking why, if religion produces
morality, are the prisons so full of religionists that they need
chaplains? There were at that time 855 Catholics, 518 Protestants,
177 Jews, and only eight listed as "no religion." Cardiff adds that it
"must be borne in mind that approximately 75 percent of the
population of New York are not communicants of any church."
In his book Crime and Immorality in the Catholic Church,
Emmett McLoughlin gives prison population and state population

THAT I DOUBT IF THERE IS

HUMANS CAN RETURN LOVE FOR LOVE."


camps exist only as part of religion's unending effort to brainwash
the vulnerable minds of children and adolescents, for it is the
pre-adult mind that can be most easily conditioned to accept the
"truths" of Christianity. Kindness? Compassion? How kind and
compassionate is it to enslave a mind to superstitions which make,
as you so accurately write, "decent, kindly individuals turn into
lynch mobs?"
Hospitals? Churches run hospitals because they bring in high
profits. They also run them as another attempt to totally surround
a person in the womb of religion. A church wants its faithful totally
dependent on it for everything. A church thrives on this dependence, which is why they like to call their faithful by the
disgusting term "sheep." A person never exposed to an influence
not originating from his or her religion will probably never
question his or her religion. Is this kindness and compassion?
Encouraging dependent, or child-inferior, psychology in a human
being, who given the proper stimulus could be a proud, independent individual, is neither kind nor compassionate.
Soup kitchens and charity are demeaning to human beings, and
only encourage the weakness that reduced the receivers to the point
where they must become totally dependent on other people to
sustain life. The churches are understandably eager for this. What
has any form of charity every accomplished? Only to provide a
means whereby derelicts can live without having any reason to
change or alter their dispicable state. Is this kindness or compassion. No.

Proving Atheist Morality


The only decent, truly decent, human thing to do is to offer help
that opens a way by which the derelicts can become self-reliant,
productive members of society. And if that way is refused, then

Austin, Texas

figures that prove that in nearly every state in the USA Catholics
make up a larger percentage of prison populations than they do
state populations. This is still true right now. Go to the library and
research it yourself. You'll discover Atheists are rarely found in
prisons despite the fact they make up at least a fifth of the country's
population.
There is another approach you can try, equally-effective and
persuasive. First, subscribe to a magazine like Newsweek as well as
at least two newspapers from different major cities. Next, buy two
scrapbooks; title one "Religious Crime and Immorality" and the
other "Atheist Crime and Immorality." In both put those news
stories reporting crimes committed by Atheists and religionists in
which the criminal's Atheism or religionism was such a factor in the
crime that it was necessary to mention it in the story. Do this for
one year, then see which scrapbook is the fattest.
I can already tell you, because I've been doing this for a couple
years. I've got dozens of religionist crime stories, but I've yet to
read a single Atheist crime story. This is solid proof that can be
measured quantitatively, whereas your qualities of "kind" and
"loving" and "love of humanity" are so vague no proof is possible.
Atheism produces better, more decent citizens, and this is the
only realistic goal worth working for. Our actions - and the rarity
of our Atheism-inspired criminal actions - do speak louder than
words, but they do not speak loud enough as yet to be heard over
the continuous roar of religious PR propaganda trying to make the
world believe religion is the only reliable source of human decency.
Unlike you, I do care what inspires people. History, current
events, and the psychology you believe we Atheists lack an of
convinces me that religion inspires human beings to crime, and
psychological deterioration. It is an evil unfit to exist in a society
great and strong enough to have a Bill of Rights and walk on the
moon.

March,

2!f;

1980

Page 31

ON OUR WAY
Ignatz Sahula-Dycke

THE TIME FOR A WAKENING


Within a short time after birth we
grow increasingly aware of our surroundings. We wax curious about the
purpose and meaning of the things
then revealed to us by our senses.
Later on, unless someone troubles to
explain these things to us clearly and
factually, we can only try to understand them to the extent of our congenitally inherited talent for inventiveness. Hence, due to our lack of
experience, we often guess wrong.
Yet, even if we were to be wrong in
every case, our predicament
would
be preferable to the one in which we
would flounder by trusting anyone
who gave us answers contrived out of
fantasy or sanctimonious rabble-babble.
While its true that any explanation
basi ng in fan tasy or emotion can for a
brief time put off or even satisfy a
child's curiosity, such explanations
will remain worthless until supported by solidly factual evidence. Lacking this, such explanations will in the
meantime irritate to a minor if not
major extent the cerebral locus that
enables us to distinguish right from
wrong - and will keep on disturbing
our natural sense of values until we're
given the factual truth. Should we
not get it, it will become a chronic
puzzle and make us schizoid; make us
more or less neurasthenic by evoking
conflict between our instincts and
emotions.
Especially bothersome are pseudoanswers to questions which have always resisted full and satisfactory
explanation: notably those of religion
and theology. They'd probably intrude forever unless terminated by subjective rejection consciously based upon a materialistic
rationale. This is
easily done once we recognize them
as phantasms which, nourished by
superstition, grew within our minds
into psychotic delusions.

Page 32

tude affects the nation's mores and


deprives the rest of our nation's people of the vigorous, virile, and selfreliant kind of life which our Founding Fathers envisioned and hoped all
Americans would enjoy. Were it not
for this interference of religion's debilitatingly
delusive doctrine and
dogmas, the life of the American
citizen could and would be the world's most enviably meaningful and
satisfying.
The viciousness in this religiously
engendered
insanity is that it's so
sterile - and of no benefit to anyone
but the religion (meaning those who
count its money) and those others who
for selfish reasons help keep this
~;
fraud going. The promises about re,
surrection,life
after death, etc. trumpeted by the religions are, and always
have been unmaterializable.
Hence,
aside from its social herding aspect,
churchgoing or convening where this
sterile piffle is constantly repeated, is
time thrown away that [ould be spent
far more purposefully were the individuals or the congregations to pursue or discuss truly worthy subjects
such as abound in the sciences and
the arts.
Nothing better could happen to our
USA than getting rid of present-day
religion which only tends to make the
people easy for the clerical element to
exploit. Rejection of religious balderdash would enable America to become everything it's amply endowed
to be. Even so, it's inevitable that as
our perceptiveness gains in acuity, so
will our judgment. Then, should the
religions not have disappeared, they
will, as always, revise their structure, and the American melting-pot
will regain the lustre that the tarnish
~~oday's
religion now conceals.
The trouble, one of long duration, is
"God is love, and anybody who don't
that the Christianist religion - like
believe that is gonna BURN IN HELL!"
all others - resents hearing anyThe prevalence of these delusions
throughout the minds of the Western
people testifies that the majority of
the people have not learned how to, or
aren't prepared to, reject them, and
have consequently become their victims.
This religiously triggered psychoneurosis is so common that in some of
the Western nations practically their
entire populations are infected by it
with little or no hope of a cure. In our
USA, the citizens of large and populous sections are beset in the same
way. Their religion-benumbed
atti-

/ (~~'

March,

1980

American

Atheist

thing tending to change it. But change is inevitable whether welcome or


not. Even change undergoes change.
To some extent religion has undergone change during merely the present generation. Pope John initiated
some of it, and none will deny that
John Paul II is trying to follow suit.
Even the dourest among the protestant sects abashedly admit this. Atheists certainly aren't trying to change
religion or destroy it - they only
wish it stuck to its last like the proverbial cobbler and refrained from telling everyone that the vengeance of
its god will descend upon those who
sanely disbelieve its mythology. But,
Christian ism has never stopped hating anything and everything that's
non-christianic
because it is made
power-manic by unseeing how pathetically self-righteous it is.
Its priesthoods are beyond doubt

the world's most astute practitioners


of a money-conscious
psychology.
These well-trained people, all of them
without exception smoothies of the
first water, know first of all that less
than a hair's thickness separates lies
and truths, and have capitalized on it.
Next, those of them who most delude
the rest are veritable magicians in
the technique of making the tawdry
aspects of religion look attractive,
acceptable and venerable.
Lastly,
they know that the cruel ogre who in
their doctrine masquerades as their
god is credited in the Bible with
having authored a few things which
even the apostate will admit make
good sense. But I challenge anyone to
write a book as long without something good in it if only by chance.
Seems to me that people who've
apparently packaged so acceptably
the preposterous religious flimflam

'C.-_:
.':.t-:~~

.:=
-===-.

that's being snapped up by the masses must be credited with having a


sizable fund of ingenuity. Or cupidity. So watch the new pope; "he is
every bit as good an arm-twister, and
as adept at doubletalk, as the best of
his wily predecessors. And just imagine, if you will, the furor to come
when, in five years or so, Halley's
comet arrives, to hang in the sky and
awe christianism's superstitious masses! They'll be busting church doors
off their hinges - the good padres
will not overlook such an opportunity.
It'll be a grand show, folks. I hope I'll
still be around when the curtain's run
up on it.
Well, if religion weren't around.
the time spent upon it could, as said,
be devoted to better ends. But religion alone" isn't entirely to blame.
People, after all, are what keep it
going. Kicking the habit isn't easy.
And yet, science has for years been
telling them that the globe on which
they live is an unimaginable
span of
years old. But they keep right on
worshipping a god, who, it is claimed,
created them - yet one who suddenly
- only two thousand years ago remembered they were so sorry and
evil a creation of his that they needed
jesussa vi ng.
Weird conduct, if considering that
" the god is supposedly omniscient and on top of that, infallible. Science,
on the basis of more than a century of
painstaking archeo-, anthropo-, and
paleontological researches, estimates
that our earthly globe is about five
billion (5,000,000,000) years old, and
that the human animal began to evolve on it during the Pleistocene epoch
in the Quaternary period of the Cenozoic era. So we vertebrates have been
here only a relatively short time appearing
vestigially
possibly no
more than a million years ago. We
arrived at the tail end of the evolutionary process which, science estimates, began perking on earth about
4,000,000,000 years earlier. One or
two respected philosophers long ago
called man the most intelligent of the
mammalian animals, but when I review what all man continues to worship and how he goes about it, I'm
inclined to think that the philosophers in question had been dipping
their proboscises into a beaker of
sour-mash.

KILL THE ROOTS AND THE TREE WILL ROT AWAY


March,

Austin, Texas

1980

Page 33

The American Atheist Radio


~torgt lfacob J!}olpoakt
Program 54 - June 9, 1969
KTBC - Austin, Texas
Hello there. This is Madalyn Murray O'Hair, American
Atheist, back to talk with you again.
Among the many books which we are now acquiring for
our library, one has been of extraordinary delight to me. It
was printed in England in 1851 and it contains a first person
account of the last trial by jury for Atheism in England. I am
delighted because it was the last trial, although we Atheists
continue to have trials with our Christian neighbors, they
are now covert, for no more of this nonsense dares go on in
the full light of modern mass communication.
This book was written by George Jacob Holyoake. Mr.
Holyoake had walked to Cheltenham, England, in December, 1840, to give a speech. His usual residence was in
Worcester, England, and he and his wife and their daughter,
Madeline, had only this mode of transportation.
Mr.
Holyoake was a Social Missionary, and even reading the
book I am not quite certain what that was, for he speaks of
his "congregation"
which was composed mostly of freethinkers. A fellow "missionary",
Mr. Charles Southwell,
had set up an Atheistical periodical in Bristol, England,
entitled the Oracle of Reason, but the authorities there had
put Mr. Southwell in prison for his effort, and he was at the
time ensconced in Bristol gaol.
After affection for the man, Mr. Holyoake had walked the
ninety miles to see him, and on the way home had stopped in
Cheltenham to deliver a speech. It was entitled: "Home
Colonisation as a Means of Superseding Poor Laws and
Emigration". At the conclusion of the lecture he accepted
"relevant questions" and for one of these a gentleman asked
in this wise: that Mr. Holyoake had told them of their duty
to man but had not instructed them of their duty to God, and
the gentleman desired to know if there should be churches
and chapels in community, in home colonisation.
As to the best of Mr. Holyoake's memory, he responded
in these words: "I do not desire to have religion mixed up
with an economical and secular subject, but as Mr. Maitland
has introduced questions in reference to religion, I will
answer him frankly. Our national debt already hangs like a
millstone round the poor man's neck and our national
church and general religious institutions
cost us, upon
accredited computation,
about twenty millions (pounds)
annually. Worship being this expensive, I appeal to your
heads and your pockets whether we are not too poor to have
a God? If poor men cost the state as much, they would put
like officers upon half-pay, and while our distress lasts I
think it will be wise to do the same thing with deity. Thus far

Page 34

March,

1980

I object, as a matter of political economy, to build chapels in


communities. If others want them they have themselves to
please, but I, not being religious, cannot propose them.
Morality I regard, but I do not believe there is such a thing as
a God. The pulpit says "Search the Scriptures", and they
who are thus trepanned get imprisoned in Bristol jail, like
my friend Mr. Southwell. For myself, I flee the Bible as a
viper, and revolt at the touch of a Christian."
Mr. Holyoake upon later recall felt that the reply might
have been indecorous, but that it was delivered in a tone of
conversational
freedom, and produced only quiet amusement in the meeting. The next day he continued on into
Bristol.
.
The newspapers the next day delivered themselves of an
attack on Mr. Holyoake through an "Archdeacon
Hare",
charging that the remarks were so "awful" that the columns
of the newspaper could not be sullied with them. The
barrage continued for a couple of days and Mr. Holyoake
felt that he must justify himself to the town, and he set off,
again by foot, to cover the thirty miles and do so. He was
apprehended
by Superintendent
Russell at the proposed
lecture without warrant, and kept overnight in jail till he
could be charged the next morning. When he complained to
the judge that he had been arrested without a warrant the
judge replied that he could not argue with anyone who
professed the abominable principle of denying the existence
of a Supreme Being, and then promptly accepted a charge
from a local lawyer who was willing to be the person
bringing a charge of blasphemy. The magistrate said that
whether M r. Holyoake did not or did believe in God was not
nearly the crime of trying to propagate
the infamous
sentiment, which was equivalent of producing disorder and
breaching the peace.
Since he could not produce bail in sufficient quantity
which was set very high (about 200 pounds) he went back to
jail, where the surgeon was brought in to remonstrate with
him and argue with him as to whether or not Jesus Christ
was an historical person. The argument became quite loud
and almost violent and the surgeon closed it with the hope
that they could have still used the stake to burn M r.
Holyoake instead of merely jailing him. He was then
transferred nine miles to a jail in Glouchester - by being
instructed to walk there and deliver himself up - which he
did.
He was then handcuffed with small irons, and kept a
fortnight (14 days) in jail. The official charge against him,

American

Atheist

finally, is recited here from the indictment: that he had "on


the 24th day of May, last, ... wickedly and profanely uttered,
made use of, and proclaimed in the presence of a public
assembly of men, women, and children, then and there
assembled, certain impious and blasphemous words against
God ... against the peace of our lady the Queen, her crown
and dignity."
.
He had many visitors and several of them asked if he was
not it Deist instead of an Atheist and said that he did not
look like an Atheist. Mr. Holyoake asked if he was expected
to have horns or eyes in his elbows.
Finally Mr. Holyoake decided to undertake his own
defense, and when the trial came up at the Court of Assizes
on 15th August, 1842, he did just that. The court was filled
with clergy, wives of clergy,and some nobility.
The judge was Mr. Justice Erskine. The handling of this case
had been so crass up to the point of trial that it had made its
way into the English House of Commons. Mr. Holyoake
introduced the minutes of the meetings of the House of
Commons of England into the trial to show that he had
walked 30 miles to Cheltenham to defend himself, had there
been arrested without warrant or charge against him at
midnight, seven days after the alleged offense.
He also attempted to show the prejudice rampant about
him and quoted to the judge remarks which the judge
himself had addressed to the newspapers concerned with
Mr. Holyoake and then pointed out that the newspapers
were describing him as a 'wretch', a 'miscreant', a 'monster'
who advocated 'devilisrri', He was described as a 'creature'
with 'wirey' and 'disheveled hair'; he was classed with a
young man who had just then taken a shot at the Queen of
England and the press had analyzed him to have a morbid
imagination, an affectation of superiority, a contempt for
existing institutions, a craving after notoriety. One newspaper labeled him a bigot. His defense consisted-almost
entirely of his stating that there were those who thought
religion was proper and that it alone could lead to general
happiness. Mr. Holyoake did not think so, and he continued, "I have the same means of judging. You say your
feelings are insulted - your opinions are outraged; but what
of mine? Mine, however honest, are rendered liable to
punishment! I ask not equality of privileges in this respect; I
seek not the power of punishing those who differ from menay, I should disdain the use." He dramatically proclaimed
that "Christianity claims what she does not allow" - each to
have his own belief.
In his summation he went over his own religious life, the
arguments for religion and their refutation, and an appeal
for the right to state that in which he believed.
The jury promptly found him guilty as charged. He later
found out that one of the jury was a Deist, a professed friend
of free speech and one who had openly said that he never
could convict Mr. Holyoake, but in the hour of verdict, he
"wanted courage" and "gave in" against Mr. Holyoake. The
sentence was then to be given by the judge, and it was, with
this kind of admonition:
George Jacob Holyoake, you have been convicted of
uttering language, and although you have been adducing
long arguments to show the impolicy of these prosecutions,
you are convicted of having uttered these words with
improper levity. The arm of the law is not stretched out to

protect the character of the Almighty; we do not assume to


be the protectors of our God, but to protect the people from
such indecent language. If these words had been written for
deliberate circulation, I should have passed on you a severer
sentence. You uttered them in consequence of a question=-J
have no evidence that this question was put to draw out
these words. Proceeding on the evidence that has been given,
trusting that these words have been uttered in the heat of the
moment, I shall think it sufficient to sentence you to be
imprisoned in the Common Gaol for Six calendar months."
Mr. Holyoake was immediately handcuffed and taken to
a jail cell under the court, in a basement. He had been there
only a short period of time when the prayer bells rang, and
the other prisoners scurried off for that exercise. Mr.
Holyoake sat there over his bowl of cold gruel. The gaoler
finally came in and told him that he must go to prayers, that
the chaplain was holding up the prayers waiting on him. Mr.
Holyoake replied that he could go only if someone carried
him there! He was soon personally summoned to see the
Chaplain who demanded as to why he had not been to the
prayer meeting .
. He responded: "You can not expect me to come to
prayers; you imprison me here on the ground that I do not
believe in a God, and then you would take me to chapel to
pray to one. I cannot prevent your imprisoning me, but I can
prevent your making me a hypocrite, and must." The
Chaplain insisted that the rules of the jail were to the effect
that all prisoners must say prayers - and when Holyoake
refused, the Chaplain insisted on his being locked in the day
room during the prayer meetings. Already in one prison, he
was put in yet another locked room as punishment! Diverse'
magistrates dropped in on him with regularity to argue with
him in respect to his religious convictions and to convert him
if at all possible. His diet was convict gruel, bread, rice and
potatoes, and his fellow prisoners were felons. He was not
permitted to stay up to 9:00 pm which was the rule for
debtors in the prison, and was not even permitted the
newspapers which friends sent.
During the time that Mr. Holyoake was in prison, he was
unable to provide an income for his family and his infant
daughter, Madeline, died. The wife of Mr. Holyoake had
insufficient food, insufficient medical care, insufficient
clothing, and insufficient housing for herself and for the
child.
During his six months in prison, Mr. Holyoake, who was
a mathematician undertook to begin classes of instruction in
this to the other prisoners and finally was able to hold classes
for them regularly in the day room, between the continuing
visits from clergy and magistrates with ideas of conversion
of Mr. Holyoake.
He was released from prison on February 6th, 1843, and
returned to Birmingham, England. In the words of sociologists interested in penology, he was a recalcitrant, for he did
not correct his ways at all. He immediately began to write for
the Atheist journal The Oracle of Reason and spent a long
and good life on the side of reason.
I wanted to bring this little tale to you tonight, because of
an article which I just received in the mail, having to do with
blasphemy in the United States, just 125 years later. In
Maryland, that good Christian state of our nation where I

March,

Austin, Texas

[continued on p. 39]

1980.

Page 35

[continued from pg. 25]


scriptural declaration that, in the Christian religion, there is
neither male nor female, bond nor free, but all are one in
Christ Jesus.
Of this effort, Mrs. Stanton reports:
"As chairman of the committee I presented a series of
resolutions, impeaching the Christian theology - as well as
all other forms of religion, for their degrading teachings in
regard to women - which the majority of the committee
thought too strong and pointed, and so, after much deliberation, they substituted the above, handing over to the Jews
what I had laid at the door of the Christians. They thought they
had so sugar-coated my ideas that the resolutions would pass
without discussion. But some Jews in the convention promptly repudiated this impression of their faith and precipitated the
very discussion which I desired, but which our more politic
friends would fain have avoided.
"From the time of the decade meeting in Rochester, in
1878, Matilda Joslyn Gage ... and I had sedulously labored to
rouse women to a realization of their degraded position in the
Church, and presented resolutions at every annual convention for that purpose. But they were either suppressed or so
amended as to be meaningless."
As she read a Christian book at this juncture of her life, she
said, "It is very amusing to see the author's intellectual
wriggling and twisting to show that no one can be good or
happy without believing in the Christian religion. In describing
great women who are not Christians, he attributes all their
follies and miseries to that fact. In describing Pagan women,
possessed of great virtue, he attributes all their virtues to
Nature's gifts, which enable them to rise superior to superstitions." Yet Mrs. Stanton saw clearly that "The happiest
people I have known have been those who gave themselves no
concern about their own souls, but did their utmost to mitigate
the miseries of others."
It was in Jdnuary 1886, when she was 71 years old, that she

conceived of the idea of a Woman's Bible. " ... tr; thought


came to me that it would be well to collect every biblical
reference to women in one small compact volume and see on
which side the balance of influence really was. To this end I
proposed to organize a committee of competent women, with
some Latin, Greek, and Hebrew scholars in England and the
United States, for a thorough revision of the Old and New
Testaments, and to ascertain what the status of women really
was under the Jewish and Christian religions .... it seemed to
me pre-eminently proper and timely for women themselves to
review the book." When she proposed th is to her daughter and
a friend, it was agreed. "We found that the work would not be
so great as imagined, as all the facts and teachings in regard to
women occupied less than one-tenth of the whole Scriptures.
We purchased some cheap Bibles, cut out the text, pasted
them at the head of the page, and underneath, wrote our
commentaries as clearly and concisely as possible. We did not
intend to have sermons or essays, but brief comments, to keep
'The Woman's Bible" as small as possible." The work was
partially finished in 1887 and at this time she contacted others
for a committee to be formed for publication. Of the letters in
reply, "Some said the Bible had no special authority with
them; that, like the American Constitution, it could be interpreted to mean anything ... " With her daughter, she returned
to England and there found someone who would work on the
Bible with her, an old Atheist friend, Harriet Martineau.
"All through that winter Hattie and I occupied our time
studying the Bible and reading the commentaries of (then
contemporary authorities). We found nothing grand in the
history of the Jews nor in the orals inculcated in the
Pentateuch. Surely the writers had a very low idea of the
nature of their God. They make Him not only anthropomorphic, but of the very lowest type, jealous and revengeful,
loving violence rather than mercy. I know no other books that
so fully teach the subjection and degradation of woman."
She returned to the United States in time for the January

~)

..

~~J
Q

"Get your Easter specials here!


Inflatible party popes in living life-like colors!"

Page 36

March, 1980

American Atheist

1887 National Woman Suffrage Association, which now


extended invitations to all women in the trades or professions
and reform movements. Again, Susan B. Anthony was left
with the fund raising (on this occasion $12,000). When Mrs.
Stanton left the convention in Washington, D.C., she spent the
month of June in New York City where she attended a number
of receptions given by CoL Robert G. Ingersoll, the great
Atheist of that century. She remarks in her autobiography of
"the great pleasure" attending this, to hear "the great orator
and iconoclast at his own fireside, surrounded by his admirers, and heard his beautiful daughters sing."
In her seventv-tntrd year, Mrs. Stanton wentto Nebraska, as
well as other western states, to continue "our struggle for
emancipation." Finally returning to New York, she decided on
one more trip to England. There she became involved with the
right of women for divorce and was delighted to see the Lord
Chancellor of England uphold a decision that no woman could
be required by physical force to remain with her husband. In
speaking of the English customary right of husbands, which
had remained until his case was heard, to seize, imprison, and
chastise their wives, the Judge said, "I am of the opinion that
no such right exists in law. I am of the opinion that no such
right ever did exist in law. I say that no English subject has the
right to imprison another English subject, whether his wife or
not." The decision was rendered on March 18, 1891. It had
been just one hundred years prior that the Lord Chief Justice
(Mansfield) had given his famous decision in the Somerset
case, "That no slave could breathe on British soil." Women, in
England, had remained less than a Negro for one hundred
years after that case.
There, in England, she also became embroiled in still
another controversy over personal rights.
"One side was against all governmental interference, such
as compulsory education and the protection of children
against cruel parents; the other side in favor of state interference that protected the individual in the enjoyment of life,
liberty, and happiness. I took the latter position. Many parents
are not fit to have the control of their children, hence the State
should see that they are.sheltered, fed, clothed, and educated.
It is far better for the State to make good citizens of its children
in the beginning, than, in the end to be compelled to care for
them as criminals."
This time in England she met the sister-in-law of Karl
Pearson who had written The Ethic of Free Thought. (Free
thought was then the euphemism for Atheism in England.)
This inspired Mrs. Stanton and she notes: "It was through
reading his work ... that the Matriarchate made such a deep
impression on my mind and moved me to write a tract on the
subject."
She returned to the United States in time for the great
Chicago Exposition, which was closed each Sunday. It was
necessary for her to immediately launch a campaign, complete with leaflets, to fight this. Again, in her own words:
"As Sunday was the only day the masses could visit that
magnificent scene, with its great lake, extensive park, artificial
canals, and beautiful buildings, I strongly advocated its being
open on that day. One hundred thousand religious bigots
petitioned Congress to make no appropriation for this magnificent Exposition, unless the managers pledged themselves to
close the gates on Sunday, and hide this vision of beauty from
the common people. Fortunately, this time a sense of justice
outweighed religious. bigotry. I sent my leaflets to every
member of Congress and the State legislatures, and to the
managers of the Exposition, and made it a topic of conversation at every opportunity. The park and parts of the Exposition were kept open on Sunday.' but some of the machinery
was stopped as a concession to narrow Christian sects."

As late as March 1895, when she was almost 80 years old,


she was still plotting to get the "Woman's Bible" into print, but
was refused help by many women "fearing the work would be
too radical." And as Mrs. Stanton continued to research, she
saw that:
"The more I read, the more keenly I felt the importance of
convincing women that the Hebrew mythology had no special
claim to a higher origin than that of the Greeks, being far less
attractive in style and less refined in sentiment."
Part I was published in November of the same year and
"created a great sensation". Some of the New York papers
gave a page to its review. The clergy denounced it as the work
of Satan. "Extracts from it and criticism of the commentators
were printed in the newspapers throughout America, Great
Britain and Europe. A third edition was found necessary, and
finally an edition was published in England. The Revising
Committee was enlarged and it now consists of over thirty of
the leading women of America and Europe." She contemplated that Part II would be issued in January 1898.
Meanwhile, Susan B. Anthony made arrangements for the
National Council of Women to prepare a grand birthday tribute
to Mrs. Stanton for her eightieth birthday on November 12,
1895. It was a eulogy to her courage and her work, with
participating organizations and persons gathering not alone
from the United States, but from all parts of the world. Of it,
Mrs. Stanton said, "Having been accustomed for half a
century to blame rather than praise, I was surprised with such
a manifestation of approval." At the same time only three
states in the United States had enfranchised women. She
used the birthday celebration as an opportunity to demand
that the women make the same demands upon the church (for
equality) as women under her inspiration had made upon the
state. They objected, saying, "That is too revolutionary, an
attack on the Church would injure the suffrage movement."
But in the last page of her autobiography, recounting this
birthday celebration, her last remarks are:
"It requires no courage nowto demand the right of suffrage,
temperance legislation, liberal divorce laws, or for women to
fill church offices - these battles have been fought and won
and the principle governing these demands conceded. But it
still requires courage to question the dlvine'Insplration of the
Hebrew writings as to the position of woman. Why should the
myths, fables, and allegories of the Hebrews be held more
sacred than those of the Assyrians and Egyptians, from whose
literature most of them Were derived? Seeing that the religious superstitions of women perpetuate their bondage more
than all other adverse influences, I feel impelled to reiterate
my demands for justice, liberty and equality in the Church as
well as in the state."
A search of contemporary reference books, including the
1980 edition of EncyclOpaedia Britannica contains not even
the name of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
After some research, this writer found that Mrs. Stanton
died in New York on October 26,1902, at the age of 87. What
- she did during those last seven years is, apparently, little
known. The current paperback edition of her autobiography,
Eighty Years and More, Reminiscences, 1815-1897 includes
a preface by a Harvard woman which is almost wholely
derogatory. Being most frequently in the hands of religionists,
<history does not deal kindly with the Atheist heroes and
heroines of humankind. This is why our own preservation of
their history is of such incalculable importance. The Charles E.
Stevens American Atheist Library and Archives, Inc., located
at the American Atheist Center in Austin, Texas, is dedicated
generally to the preservation of Atheist history and houses as
much material concerned with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth
Cady Stanton as it can acquire.

March,1980

Austin, Texas

:;

Page 37

Film
Review

ALL THAT JAZZ

elaine stansfield
Bob Fosse, like so many super-talented people, is so loaded
with it that his personal life is all messed up, but unlike so
many of them, he has attacked the problem by a therapy available to few: he has written about it and broadcast it in this extraordinary film. Fosse (pronounced fossi) has worked in theater and dance most of his life, and is a workaholic, which may
have something to do with his obsessions with sex and death.
Trying to get a handle on it for himself, he has represented
death as an angelically beautiful woman dressed in chiffon
white, complete with hat, gloves, and one red rose, who makes
cynical comments about his life at each encounter. [What! the
rose!]
Fosse, who was responsible for Cabaret and Dancin' and
who danced a charming and seductive snake in a highly underrated film The Little Prince, has done everything in this film
except play himself - that job is accomplished superbly by a
man who looks, acts, dances and talks like him, Roy Schneider. It doesn't matter that there is no one in this picture whose
name immediately strikes one as "famous," because everyone
is perfectly cast, from ex-wife Leland Palmer, to current mistress Ann Reinking, to his daughter, a lovely young dancer,
Erzsebet Foldi. Ben Vereen catches the ultimate phoney folly
of a TV variety show host and Cliff Gorman recalls Lenny
Bruce's monologue on death to a fitting fare-thee-well.
The biggest problem with the picture is that it is too much:
too loud, too busy, too full. Fosse shot reels that ended up on
the cutting room floor (one hopes kept, for probably there's
enough to do another picture!). The dances are almost frenetic,
the emotions thick with tension as one overlays another and
you fear the pile will, like anything topheavy, do a Humpty
Dumpty fall. The fact that this is obviously what Fosse wants
us to understand makes it no less an unnerving experience, as a
dance is intercut with shots of an actual open-heart surgery
operation, or as a laughing, drinking group of people jump to a
lonely Fosse roaming an empty white hospital corridor reminiscent of Kafka; in despair over his illness, as he bangs his head
against the wall until the blood leaves a red line.
Nowhere is religion or a deity mentioned - the work/sex/
death problem must be worked out by the man himself, and
this is made plain. There is an interesting undercurrent involved here: if man does not have the security blanket of being
told what to believe, especially about what happens to him after death, then he is not only responsible to himself, but he also has a lot more to sort out, a lot more thinking; knowledge
must be balanced with the jumble in one's head, which can
sometimes be so deafening as to preclude organized thought.
Better that, of course, than organized religion, except that along the road to organized thought, one grabs at every thingin Fosse's case, patently, work and sex. There is a wryly- humorous but utterly delightful scene with the angel of death,
Jessica Lange, where Fosse remembers a time when he lived in
a menage-a-trois, and one of the girls eventually left,leaving a
tender note saying, "I can no longer share y~>uwith anyone

Page 38

March,

1980

else." Lange's comment: "What makes you think the note was
to you?"
The Lenny Bruce routine was the one he developed around
1969 after the publication of Dr. Kubler-Ross' book On Death
and Dying. As Bruce goes through the five stages of emotional
reaction to the prospect of one's death, Fosse is using this routine in a film he is making, and so his editing of the film is
used as a springboard for his own later emotions in the hospital. Bruce is gruesomely funny as he hits the third state, Bargaining ("Hey, you don't want me; I'm scarcely weaned yet;
take my mother." - Reminiscent of Orwell's 1984) but Fosse
is even more sophisticated and amusing as he spreads his-arms,
in his short hospital gown, and hollers at the ceiling, "What's
the matter, you don't like Musical Comedy?" He will not allow himself to die yet, there is too much work to be done on
the picture. He has gone through the first two stages of Denial
and Anger, and is hitting the bad Depression of the fourth
stage; but when he finally hits the fifth and last stage of Acceptance, and he goes toward Lange, it is with the same smile he
has shown us before when another sexual experience comes his
way. The picture also makes it plain that the first stage of Denial is in itself a death-wish, as we ignore our illness and exasperate our doctors in a refusal to believe there is anything wrong
by continuing the smoking, drinking and pep-pilled pursual of
work and of the opposite sex (which caused the problem in
the first place.)
However, none of this is to say that the filni\s not a magnificent theater piece as well. The dancing is all innovative and
superb, the music just right, the ambiance of the theater exciting, the emotions real. There is a beautiful little dance between
Schneider and his daughter which is tenderness itself. There
are some funny scenes with the backers of the show, the old
moneybags men with calculators for hearts, that show the
theatre-money situation as it is, and the angry bitterness which
must be felt by the creative people who can't exist without the
money. There is an opening rehearsal scene right out of Chorus Line only more so. There is a deft scene showing Fosse as
a boy, working the burlesque houses as a tap dancer. There is
a mood-shifting twin scene later as he first berates, then encourages one of the dancers. There is an erotic group dance number unlike anything you've ever seen before.
If you remember the wonderful early television Playhouse
90 you will recall that some of the best scripts were written by
Robert Alan Arthur, who, ailing himself, collaborated with
Fosse on the writing of this script. We can only hope he lived
long enough to see the good product that was emerging.

American

Atheist

JBook Review
massism vs. natural religion:
the atheistic connection
American Atheists have the continuing problem of ignorance in respect to their position. No matter what
spokesman goes on the electronic
media, the interviewer - or persons
calling in to the television or radio
station - insists that Atheism is a
religion.
The word religion (look it up!) means
"to tie back". We fully agree. But
"religion" has also always meant "the
service and worship of God".
All religions have a "super" natural
entity which can break natural laws
(miracles); they have a method of
communication with their gods (prayers), a (usually) complicated reward
and punishment system while adherents are alive (blessings and sufferings)
- or when adherents are dead (heaven and hell).
Atheism is free from theism. We do
not accept any of this garbage. However, we all have the problem of "Well,
Atheism is a religion, too." Of course, it
is not. But, for those of impaired intellect, i.e., your Christian (or religious)
friends, Gerald Tholen, a member of
our Board of Directors and a regular
columnist in the American Atheist magazine, has agreed to write and issue a

small booklet, Massism us. Natural


Religion: The Atheistic Connection.
Gerald Tholen has been a regular
columnist in this magazine for many
years and many appreciate his quiet,
albeit revolutionary writing style. In
this booklet, as always, he is methodical. First, undertaking the nine stock
definitions of "religion", he destroys
each one profferred.
There have been many ideas proposed for "mass" culture, for political
control of "the masses", for inculcation
of religion precepts into "mass" mankind and Gerald, here, attempts a
basic inquiry: what is the single factor
of "mass" behavior? His guess, we
opine, is as good as any so far proposed.
Armed with the ideas of "religion"
and "mass control", he then moves in
to have a look at morals. What is
moral? He looks at the status of being
"chaste"; is this, itself, moral? Is "fear"
a moral tone? How is morality equated
to minority rights? To overproduction
of the human animal to the detriment
of the total ecology of the world?
It is after an essay approach to these
problems that Gerald proposes "naturalism" - i.e., Atheism, as a "religion".

The American Atheist Radio]~Series


[continued

from p. 35]

'V'

underwent so much harassment for my religious convictions, another young man had come to woe over blasphemy.
Let me read this report from the Associated Press, dated
today:
"Maryland's 246 year old blasphemy law was struck down
as unconstitutional
on Thursday. Judge Edward O. Weant,
Jr. said the United States Supreme Court has made 'it
abundantly clear by its recent decisions that the blasphemy
statute would be unconstitutional."
His ruling overturned the conviction of Irving K. West
last June 21st by Trial Magistrate Charles J. Simpson of
Westminster, Maryland, which resulted in a $25 fine and a
30-day jail sentence which West served. West, 20, had just
returned from the army when he was convicted of disorderly
conduct and blasphemy after a fight on MainStreet.
Police officers testified West said, "Take your goddamn
hands off me" when arrested.
Judge Weant's 16 page opinion traced the history of

Austin, Texas

If you are reduced to arguing in these


terms with your mindless friends who
cling tenaciously to a word bereft of its
meaning by the subject under discussion, Gerald has. provided you the
ammunition.
After a discussion of Einstein's awe
at all natural manifestations, Gerald
attempts to take the reader gently by
the hand to step into bold Atheism,
which must, then ultimately speak to a
new definition of "religion" - and he
gives one - one with which even a
Unitarian cannot argue.
This thick little booklet (68 pages)
will provide you with a sustaining stance for your own Atheism free from any
concept of "religion" but still give you
"persuading" ideas.
Since this speaks of the unspeakable, Atheism, Gerald was forced to
print this himself. He then collated and
assembled the book himself and it has
been stapled and given a cover at the
American Atheist center. For all which,
the price is only $3.00 a copy. That's
not much to pay for an argument to
use on the mental Neanderthals. Only
500 of these booklets have been issued. It is all on a first come, first serve
basis. Get yours now.
-

blasphemy I" NS back to 1656 in England when the penalty


for a first offense was that "a hole be bored through the
tongue". The Maryland law provides ajail sentence up to six
months and fine up to $100 "if any person, by writing or
speaking, shall blaspheme or curse God, or shall write or
utter any profane words of and concerning our Savior Jesus
Christ, or of and concerning the Trinity, or any of the
personsd thereof .... "
Judge Weant ruled that the Maryland law violates the free
speech, freedom of religion and equal protection provisions
of the First and Fourteenth
Amendments
to the U.S.
Constitution.
That is all for now - and it speaks for itself.
This informational broadcast is brought to you as a public
service by the Society of Separationists,
Inc., a non-profit,
non-political,
tax-exempt, educational organization dedicated to the complete separation of state and church. This
series of American Atheist Radio Programs is continued
through listener generosity. The Society of Separationists,
Inc., predicates its philosophy on American Atheism. For
more information write to P.O. Box 2117, Austin, Texas
78768'$

March,1980

Page 39

.. [

~C__la_S_S_lfi_e_d_A
__ d_v_e_rt_is_in_g

L.A. No.1

L.A. No.7

L.A. No. 16

Correspondence wanted with single


females, Must be 100% Atheist, 5'5"
or taller, 135 lbs or less, white female
who is free to travel. American, white
male, 51 years old (look 41), 6'1"
taU, 180 lbs, non-smoker, very light
drinker. Am a pipe welder by trade,
and an ex-New Englander, presently
living in Houston, Texas.

Bachelor (35, 6'6", 200 Ib) wishes


to meet single lady in the Corpus
Christi area with the object of matrimony.

100% Atheist male, Caucasian with


pinch of American Indian (which I
resemble), average looking, balding,
518", 146 lbs., 27, divorced from
"good Christian", don't want kids,
disciplined,
strict morally and ethically, non-bigoted, open-minded, conscientious, thrifty, sense of humor; uncertain about marriage, my health, job
future, life goals. Interested in communicating
with female 5'3" or
shorter, average to slim built, similar
personality, especially Baltimore, Md.
or Pa. area.

L.A. No.2
Male, would like to share the better
things in life with fun loving female.
Over 50. Smoker preferred. Likes
dancing and sailing.
L.A. No.3
Divorced, 6', 200 lb., nice looking,
white male. Healthy, sexy, nonsmoker, social drinker only. 65, but
look and act years younger. Work
everyday. Scientific minded, love to
think, reason and wonder. Own home
and business in Texas panhandle.
Interested in nice looking, younger,
slender, non-religious
lady. Please
write.
L.A. No.4
Correspondence wanted with single,
Atheist woman. Object: to share life.
I'm a single, American Atheist, white
man age 57, '5'9", 160 lbs, college
graduate, don't smoke or drink. I'm
retired, romance and health minded,
like intelligent discussion, table and
lawn tennis, travel.
L.A. No.5
Friendship sought with female Atheist of small stature (about 5'2" or
less), no "clinging" relatives, free to
travel if desired. American, white
male, 5'4" tall, chunky build, nonsmoker, non-drinker, live in Ohio
Valley, age 67, retired research chemist. Just damn tired of living alone.
L.A. No.6
White male (English-Irish), 32 years
old, single, 6'2", 180 lbs, college education, dark brown hair, non-smoker,
mail carrier living in Kansas. Will
answer all letters from lonely females.

Page 40

L.A. No.8
Male research
non-smoker,
5'10%", 170
with similar

physicist and musician,


non-drinker,
age 35,
lbs., desires to meet girl
interests in Michigan.
L.A. No.9

Irishman
Atheist, living alone in
Chicago, 64, 5'9", 164 lbs, retired
on social INsecurity, non-smoker, very
light drinker, .never married, easy to
get along with; fond of reading,
moderate in all things, wishes to
meet unattached, female Atheist in
Chicago area, object mutual romance;
companionship, comradeship, etc.
L.A. No.n

L.A. 17
Attractive, outgoing female, 43, college grad., short, shapely, fair, brown
eyes & hair, sense of humor, in trying
situation: married but completely estranged from rabid fundamentalist.
Seeks contact with sympathetic Atheists, single or in similar bind.
L.A. 18

Correspondence
wanted with trim
female, age 20-30. Male school teacher, age 27, 6'5", 235 lbs, backpacker/
mountaineer in California.

Lady Atheist, age 35, living in Idaho,


would like Atheist correspondence
from allover.

L.A. No. 12
L.A. 20
Correspondence wanted with single,
female Atheists. Must be pleasant,
easy going, and unemotional and have
a minimum I.Q. of 120. I'm 34 years
old and have never been married. I'm
politically right-wing. My hobbies are
Irish music, art, canary breeding,
and Irish dancing. I live in the Milwaukee area.
L.A. No. 13
Gentleman bachelor, age 65, seeks
female companion over 50 for companionship. Floridians preferred.
L~A. No:-14
Divorced, electronics trainer (53, 5'5",
160 lbs.), Puerto Rico. Seeks single or
widowed,
non-smoker,
non-drinker
female Atheist - age 3040.
L.A. No. 15
Correspondence wanted with female
Atheists. Am white male, 40, nonsmoker living in San Francisco Bay area.

March,1980

Couple, forty, seeking extended family


relationship with female enjoying gardening and country lifestyle. Prefer
semi-vegetarian, non-smoker.

Address your reply to L.A. No.


(whatever that number may be.) Place
your sealed envelope in a letter and
address the letter to the American
Atheist Center, P.O. Box 2117, Austin, Texas, 78768. We will see that
all replies are forwarded to the advertiser. No identities are ever revealed; we protect you from any
harassment which might come from
your home address appearing in our
columns.
All Lonely Atheist ads can be
placed for $1 per word and run for
however long you are willing to pay
for it. The funds raised from these
ads go to help pay for the various vital activities of the American Atheist
Center.
.

American Atheist

WHAT DO THESE FAMOUS


PEOPLE HA VE IN COMMON?

Bertrand Russell

Butterfly McQueen

Isaac Asimov

Albert Ellis

Leonard Bernstein

Margaret Sanger

This box
is for

YOU

Membership in the
AMERICAN ATHEISTS
P.O.Box 2117
Austin, Texas 78768
Send $15.00 for one year's membership and you will
receive the first newsletter, a membership card and a
certificate.

redress of grievances . AMENDMENT

I Congress shall make

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