Date: Fri, 9 Aug 1996 17:17:31 -0700 Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for August 9, 1995 (Nightow
Date: Fri, 9 Aug 1996 17:17:31 -0700
Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for August 9, 1995 (Nightowl Edition)
Reply-To: email@example.com, AMERICAN.ATHEISTS@listserv.direct.net
nnnnnnnnnn AANEWS nnnnnnnnnn
#124 uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu 8/9/96 (Nightowl Edition)
In This Issue...
* Judge Says Taxpayers Shouldn't Pay For Prayer
* Coalition Spent $750,000 On "War Room" Effort
* Cerullo Trades Air Miles For Donations
* Atheist Media Appearance
* About This List...
FEDERAL JUDGE NIXES AID TO CHRISTIAN SCIENCE CULT
The Christian Science religion, which teaches that illness results from bad
thoughts and requires only spiritual treatment, should not be receiving any
government reimbursements through the Medicaid and Medicare programs, a
federal judge in Minnesota has ruled.
Judge Richard Kyle ruled Wednesday that:" Legislative accommodation of
religious beliefs is a valuable and worthy enterprise, but here...the
accommodation has gone too far, and too strongly favors the convictions of
one particular sect."
Christian Science was founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879; the group
operates 23 nonprofit nursing and care centers throughout the country that
use only prayer to treat medical problems, rather than surgery or medicine.
Critics charge that Church doctrines have resulted in life-saving medical
care being witheld from children.
Christian Science -- known also as First Church of Christ, Scientist --
receives about $7.5 million each year in Medicare and Medicaid subsidies. A
spokesman insisted that those monies covered only room and board for
patients, and not the services of Christian Science "healers" or
"practioners" who just pray over the body.
The suit was filed by Robert J. Bruno, an attorney who said: "The
Christian Science Church has used these Medicare exemptions as some kind of
proof that the Government favors its form of religious healing." He told
the New York Times that such a policy was "what the establishment clause (of
the First Amendment) is supposed to protect against." Bruno's suit was on
behalf of Children's Healthcare Is A Legal Duty, Inc.. The President of the
company, Rita Swan, added: "Having taxpayer moneey pay for the methods of the
Christian Science church has been very detrimental to the interests of
children." Swan is a former church member; in 1977, her 16-month-old son died
of meningitis following the prayer-only treament prescribed by Eddy's
doctrine and outlined in books like "Science and Health" (1875).
Congress specifically included facilities belonging to Christian Science
and the methods of its practioners in crafting Medicare and Medicaid law.
The ruling is the second legal defeat for the church this year. The U.S.
Supreme Court upheld a $1.5 million ruling against four Christian Science
practioners in the case of an 11-year old Minnesota boy whose diabetes had
gone untreated. The church argued that the judgment "effectively prohibits
the practice of religion," and was supported by a slew of other religious
groups including the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, Baptist Joint Committee on
Public Affairs, and the National Association of Evangelicals.
PRO-CHOICE REPUBLICANS BACK DOWN: CC 'WAR ROOM' READY
It was a tough decision for Ann Stone of Republicans For Choice and her
allies to make, but late today, the handful of official abortion-rights
supporters who are GOP delegates announced that they would not be taking
their cause to the floor of the Republican convention, which starts Monday.
Stone had worked throughout the week to overturn the GOP's platform plank
which demands passage of the Human Life Amendment, a proposal that would
outlaw all abortion in the United States; it has been a key part of the
Republican agenda since 1980. She told CNN that "we just didn't have the
numbers" of delegates, a fact which she attributed to the convention
allotment rules. "We lost in 1992 because of the abortion issue, and since
we lost in the pro-choice states, there are fewer delegates elected from
those states to the national convention."
Earlier, there were reports that pro-choice governors, including Pete
Wilson of California, William Weld of Massachusetts and Georege Pataki of New
York might bring the abortion rights fight onto the floor of the convention.
But not even a "tolerance language" amendment to the party anti-abortion
plank was enacted; instead, a lukewarm "addendum" is to be inserted at the
end of the official document outlining Republican goals and positions in the
In related developments:
* The Christian Coalition is proceeding with plans to use its "war room"
to keep the anti-abortion agenda on track during next week's convention.
Director Ralph Reed told media: "There will be 102 floor whips. There will
be 8 regional whips; there will be 40 runners that will be running messages
around; there will be 15 regional communications hubs -- not really lap tops,
not really cell phones -- a new form of technology that is brand new and on
This "new technology" consists of palm-sized computers or personal digital
assistants using special software and a new wireless frequency recently
approved by the Federal Communications Commission. The Coalition has
reportedly spent $750,000, just for its convention outreach -- that after
spending an estimated $2,000,000 in a year-long effort to elect its members
as delegates. The New York Times noted today" The Coalition's planning and
committment of resources to next week's convention has, in fact, been so far
ahead and on such a scale that the results are reflected in more than
technology..." and describes the organization's efforts as "girding for
* Pat Robertson's Family Channel will be carrying a GOP-produced version
of Convention coverage each night from 9-11 p.m. Eastern. The Republican
National Committee is paying the tab, but the watchdog group "c.c.watch"
notes that there have been complaints "about potentially illegal subsidies
for that purpose to the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau by Amway."
The founder of Amway is Richard De Vos, whose participation in Christian
religious politics goes back over two decades when he was involved in the
Third Century Publishers. That company was established to link a
comprehensive political agenda with born-again Christian fundamentalism and
evangelism. Today, De Vos is active in the Council for National Policy, a
coalition of influential religious conservatives, bible literalists,
anti-abortion activists and political operatives. Other participants in the
Council include James Dobson (Focus on the Family), Phyllis Schlafly (Eagle
Forum) and Howard Phillips (US Taxpayers Party). Councidentally, the
semi-secret CNP is having its own closed-door meeting today and tomorrow at
Loew's Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego.
* Reflecting on the high-tech juggernaut the Coalition has assembled to
handle any possible dissent at the GOP gathering, Ralph Reed boasted: "I
don't think anyone was thinking as far ahead or on this scale of planning,"
and added: "We aren't big enough as a movement for the Republican Party to
win only with us. But we are big enough to where that the (sic) Republican
Party can't win without us."
* Gary Bauer of the Family Research Council told media: "Well, it will be
first and foremost a pro-Dole convention, and I think that's what will come
across the television screen. But if you polled each delegate about what the
issues were they really cared about, I think certainly the sanctity of human
life, and about one-and-a-half million abortions a year, would be something
that the overwhelming majority of delegates here would be quite concerned
SLEAZEOID EVANGELIST OFFERS AIR MILES FOR CASH
Televangelist Morris Cerullo, a faith-healer recently profiled in AANEWS,
has offered Londoners air miles in exchange for donations as part of his
so-called "Billion Soul Crusade." This past week, Cerullo announced that he
is forming an "Eagles Club" with a slogan borrowed from the Book of Isaiah:
"They shall mount up with wings as eagles." Those who "mount up" must first
pay a fee of approximately $115 to join; after that, money donated to the
"crusade" is converted into air miles.
"God has given me a plan that allows you to come alongside me -- to travel
with me anywhere in the world -- at no cost to you!", Cerullo told potential
members in a letter.
The Eagles Club was part of a Cerullo sweep through England, one of over
two-dozen the televangelist has made. Britain's Electronic Telegraph noted:
"The build-up is phenomenal. On Monday the audience of 2,000 was told to
stand and raise their hand if they had any financial worries. There was a
roar of "yes" from the crowd, made up predominantly of young black families,
and they were told to wave their donation envelopes in the air."
Cerullo repeatedly shouted in the microphone: "If you sow the see, God
will repay you a hundredfold," and was accompanied by "Loud, stirring music"
as volunteers with buckets suddenly appeared to collect the envelopes.
Morris Cerullo World Evangelism is estimated to have revenues of around
$65,000,000 per year.
The Eagles Club scheme was "presented as a spiritual breakthrough in his
ministry" by Cerullo, but The Times noted that it was quickly condemned by
Catalyst, a British group which counsels victims of religious cults. Graham
Baldwin of Catalyst told The Times: "This is yet another clever method of
preying on the vulnerable. People give vast sums of money they can't afford
on the promise that God will solve their financial problems and heal all
their ills. The Air Miles kick is one of many he uses and the damage done is
immense. We are left picking up the pieces."
Atheist Media Apprearance...
BARRIER ON ''AMERICA AFTER HOURS'' THIS MONDAY
American Atheists Media Coordinator Ron Barrier will be on CNBC this
Monday, August 12 at 11 p.m. Eastern as a guest during "America After Hours"
program. Mr. Barrier -- known affectionately as the "Slice 'n Dice Atheist"
for his demolition of religious dogma -- will be discussing the new Religious
Freedom Amendment introduced by Rep. Henry Hyde, which would permit prayer
and other religious intrusion into public schools.
The first part of our piece titled WHEN MARTIANS DID INVADE, RELIGIOUS
TENDED TO PANIC... had a serious typo. The Orson Welles broadcast of "War of
the Worlds" took place on October 30, 1938, not 1958. The Martians didn't
land that year either!
INTERESTED IN MEETING OTHER ATHEISTS/
If so, why not join American Atheists, and participate in our moderated
on-line discussion group, AACHAT? For membership information, send mail to:
firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name and postal address. If you are
already a member, just contact the moderator, Margie Wait, through
About This List...
AANEWS is a free service from American Atheists, a nationwide movement
founded by Madalyn Murray O'Hair for the advancement of Atheism, and the
total, absolute separation of government and religion. For information about
American Atheists, send mail to: email@example.com, and include your name and
postal address. Or, check out our cool new web site at
You may forward, post or quote from this dispatch, provided that
appropriate credit is given to aanews and American Atheists. For
subscribe/unsubscribe information, send mail to:
firstname.lastname@example.org and put "info aanews" (minus the
quotation marks, please!) in the message body. Edited and written by Conrad
F. Goeringer, The LISTMASTER.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank