Date: Mon, 12 Aug 1996 10:22:06 -0700 Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for August 12, 1996 nn nn
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 1996 10:22:06 -0700
Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for August 12, 1996
Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org, AMERICAN.ATHEISTS@listserv.direct.net
nnnnnnnnnn AANEWS nnnnnnnnnn
* Gavel Drops on Christian Coalition-GOP Convention
* Cruise Has "Mission Impossible" in Germany
* "Anti-Drug" Crusade a Cover For Muslim Militants?
* Meeting Other Atheists -- AACHAT
* About This List...
COALITION, RELIGIOUS ALLIES ''FLUSHED WITH VICTORY'' AS
GOP CONVENTION READY TO OPEN
With the gavel ready to drop in less than an hour at the Republican
National Convention in San Diego, religious groups -- including the Christian
Coalition and other anti-abortion forces -- are in a mood which the Chicago
Tribune describes as "flushed with victory." There still appears to be a
difference though in how the campaign organization of presumed nominee Sen.
Bob Dole and those delegates more closely identified with religious causes
perceive the "tone" of the convention.
* Dole handlers are pleased with the 9% "bounce" in the polls their
candidate has apparently received since the announcement that former
Congressman Jack Kemp would the vice presidential nominee. Ralph Reed,
Director of the Christian Coalition, seems less interested in Kemp's economic
and political views, though, and more pleased that the VP running slot is
indeed going to a "pro-life" candidate. Party strategists want to concentrate
on Kemp as someone who brings what the The London Times is describing as
"needed energy and vision to the ticket," but religious right groups want the
ticket, and the GOP platform, to remain "on track" concerning issues like
abortion, parental rights, school prayer and family values."
* Jack Kemp and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson have had bad
blood between them as far back as 1988 when both men were battling in
primaries for the GOP presidential nomination. AANEWS has learned, though,
that even before phoning Mr. Kemp to see if he was interested in the VP slot,
Senator Dole first called Robertson in an effort to pacify the powerful
televangelist and get the nod from the Christian Coalition!
* The Kemp decision has, at least temporarilly, distracted public and
media attention from the exclusion of three top GOP governors who happen to
be pro-choice. Governors Pete Wilson of California, William Weld of
Massachusetts and George Pataki have either given up their promised time to
address the convention, or refused to speak after being told about rules
restricting the subjects they could cover. One of the jobs for the
Christian Coalition "war room" will be making sure that the gag-issue isn't
resurrected on the floor of the convention. The London Times reports that
even the scheduled address by General Colin Powell -- a pro-choice favorite
of GOP moderates -- is being vetted, and will cut to only five minutes in
favor of a canned "multi-media' presentation.
* ANY possibility of a last-minute effort to amend the party platform by
inserting pro-choice or tolerance rhetoric is a concern of the Christian
Coalition; its "floor whips", linked to the "war room" by palm-held computers
and software that was developed specially for the convention, will be on the
* Tomorrow (Tuesday) at Sea World, anti-feminist guru Phyllis Schlafly of
the Republican National Coalition for Life and the powerful Eagle Forum, is
hosting a self-described "Whale of A Party." It is being touted as the
"social soiree of the week," and is expected to include movers-and-shakers
such as Ralph Reed, Gary Bauer (Family Research Council), Rep. Bob Dornan
(R-Calif.), talk-show host Alan Keyes, and Pat Buchanan. Buchanan also
controls delegates on the convention floor, and he will be honored at a
separate shindig on Sunday at the California Center for the Arts in upscale
* Yesterday, Reed reportedly held a closed-door session with the
Coalition's stable of delegates to brief them on floor strategy.
* On Wednesday, the Coalition will sponsor its Faith and Freedom
Celebration in Balboa Park. AANEWS has already reported that Elizabeth Dole
and House Speaker Newt Gingrich are slated to speak to the expected 3,000 CC
boosters. Former Vice President Dan Quayle, fresh from yet another "family
values" book tour, is also scheduled. Speaking of books, tomorrow Gary Bauer
of the Family Research Council will also be holding a soiree as part of the
convention, while he autographs copies of his paperback "Our Hopes, Our
Dreams: A Vision for America." Bauer describes the transition to the
Dole-Kemp team as "passing the baton -- and hoping he will run with it."
Coalition Plans Long Range
After the San Diego blowout, look for the Christian Coalition to "hit the
ground running" on behalf of the anti-choice ticket. Reed and Robertson
still face the daunting task of mobilizing their members to try and help Dole
reduce President Clinton's still hefty lead in the polls. Incidentally, not
all polls reflect the "bounce" which Dole received after announcing Jack Kemp
as a running mate -- some surveys indicate that the presumed GOP nominee is
still a good 20% behind Mr. Clinton.
The next move for the Coalition will be its September 13-14 "Road to
Victory" conference in Washington, D.C. Participants are being encouraged to
show up a day early, though, and "meet" and lobby Senators and
Representatives on Capitol Hill.
The Coalition conference tends to belie its assertion that it is not a
political action committee, a contention made in a lawsuit filed by the
Federal Election Commission. The roster of speakers is a who's who of
political activism, and includes Bob Dole, Newt Gingrich, Senator Phil Gramm
and Alan Keyes. "Invited speakers" include former Pennsylvania Governor
Robert Casey, Rep. John Kasich, Sen. Trent Lott (new House Majority Leader
who replaces Dole), and senate wannaabe Oliver North of Iran-Contra fame.
Also slated: Phyllis Schlafly, Pat Robertson, and Beverly LaHaye of
Concerned Women for America.
Another Platform Time Bomb?
While the abortion question remains at the top of the Christian
Coalition/religious right social agenda, election law specialist Roy
Schotland has told CNN that in addition to Dole and Kemp, there is a third
player of considerable influence on the convention floor -- Pat Buchanan.
His forces, working with Reed and others, are believed to be responsible for
other parts of the Republican platform which could end up as time bombs once
the real campaigning begins. One issue to watch -- illegal immigration, and
a Buchanan camp plank which calls for an end to 14th Amendment protection.
Offspring of illegal immigrants, under the Buchanan proposal, would not
automatically be considered U.S. citizens. These and other proposals may work
against any possible "basde broadening" influence by Jack Kemp.
Finally, prior to releasing this dispatch, AANEWS has learned through CNN
that Pat Buchanan has definitely decided to un-equivocally support the
Dole-Kemp ticket. In a speech to be presented to the convention, Buchanan
will reportedly tell supporters that the choice of Kemp as a VP running mate
"vindicates" not only the pro-life position, but his own strategic plan to
remain firmly in the Republican ranks.
(Look for more focused coverage on the Republican National Convention.
AANEWS has assembled its own team to monitor the Christian Coalition during
the San Diego gathering, as well as national/international press reports and
SCIENTOLOGY FLAP CONTINUES IN GERMANY
It may be a real life Mission Impossible for actor Tom Cruise. Besides
being the hit star of the cinema remake of the popular TV series, Cruise also
happens to belong to the Church of Scientology, a religious-spiritual
movement invented by the late pulp-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. And that's
is giving Cruise some problems in Germany, where "Mission Impossible" has
just been released.
Two weeks ago, during a publicity tour for the movie in Germany, Cruise
was reticent to discuss the issue. But now, the youth wing of the powerful
Christian Democratic Union -- the party which dominates the ruling coalition
-- has called for a boycott of "Mission Impossible," saying that they will
make it impossible for the movie to be anywhere near a box office success.
Indeed, Scientology has come under official attack from German
authorities, who say that the group is not a "religion" but a "mind control
cult" which extracts loyalty, and money from its followers. Scientologist
Chick Corea -- famous ex-rocker and now a hot jazz pianist -- has even been
barred from playing some concert engagements in Germany. That fact, along
with the latest furor over Tom Cruise, has reportedly caught the attention of
the U.S. State De[partment, which has sent a message to Congress aying that
it "had concerns" over the treatment of Scientologists by German authorities.
The timing of the State Department move is interesting; it could also put
"religious liberty" cheerleaders like Utah Senator Orrin Hatch who has
protested the "persecution": of Christians in Islamic countries, in the
somewhat peculiar position of actually defending the rights of
Scientologists. Some suggest that Scientology doctrine, with its tales of
Galactic Confederations and interplanetary wars, more closely resembles
science fiction that a sacred set of beliefs; even so, Hatch's own Mormon
religion has some peculair theological backwaters of its own, including the
belief that "the faithful" will someday rule their own planet.
In the meantime, Scientology officials deny that they have political
aspirations, and a Church representative says that the flap over Tom Cruise
is just the latest anti-Scientology "hysteria" in Germany.
MUSLIM DRUG VIGILANTES IN SOUTH AFRICA TIED TO INT'L PLOT ?
What began as a religious war against supposed drug dealers in South
Africa may be part of an international effort to really turn the
newly-emerged democracy into a base for Islamic extremism, according to press
A Muslim group calling itself Pagad, or People Against Gangs and Drugs,
earlier this month began marching on the houses of suspected drug dealers in
Cape town, and lynched a suspected crack baron named Rashaad Straggie.
Britain's Electronic telegraph noted that "While most South Africans
sympathise with Pagad's frustrations at the endemic crime, the appearance of
heavily-armed vigilantes disguised, Palestinian-style, in scarves has alarmed
President Mandela's government." There were also early reports that local
Muslim groups in the "anti-drug" crusade were really linked to interests in
Libya, and the notorious Intelligence Service and Revolutionary Guards
operating out of Iran.
Over the weekend, riots broke out following a militant "anti-drug" rally
in Athlone township, where Muslim activists vowed to kill any "gangsters" who
had not turned themselves into police by midnight. "One gangster, one
bullet!", promised a speaker. But in neighboring Manenberg, a coalition of
drug/street gangs suddenly appeared, led by the twin brother of Rashaad.
While the anti-drug militancy has all of the overtones of a
Prohibition-style religious crusade, there may be more at stake than simply
eradicating crack from the streets. Secret government documents released
over the weekend in the South African press suggest that many of the Muslim
"anti-drug" zealots are part of a larger, international fundamentalist
brigade which received training in places like Afghanistan and Iran -- and
may be the frontline troops in a future effort to establish an Islamic
Republic in South Africa, modeled after the theocratic state in Iran.
Indeed, Paghad members have many of the traits found in Muslim "warriors"
elsewhere; they have vowed to conduct a jihad, or holy war, against drug
dealers, and are "willing to die" even through suicide bomb-attacks,
according to the Telegraph. One reports identifies an Islamic group known as
Qibla as pulling the organizational strings of People Against Gangs and
Some South Africans, though, are reportedly growing concerned about the
wave of "decency" militance, asking themselves where the effort to "cleanse"
the society might end -- even after the drug dealers are allegedly lynched.
A Cape Town reporters says that there is at least one secret camp in the
area where militants are trained to combat "the moral corruption pervading
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