Date: Mon, 9 Dec 1996 17:16:02 -0500 Subject: [Atheist] re: AANEWS for December 9, 1996 su
Date: Mon, 9 Dec 1996 17:16:02 -0500
Subject: [Atheist] re: AANEWS for December 9, 1996
from: AMERICAN ATHEISTS
subject: AANEWS for December 9, 1996
A M E R I C A N A T H E I S T S
nnnnnnnnnn AANEWS nnnnnnnnnn
#212 uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu 12/9/96
In This Issue...
* Remembering A Scientific Genius: Mary Leakey Dead
* The O'Hair Saga Continues: A Problem With Identity?
* Atheist Media Appearance
* Ho! Ho! Ho! But Time's Running Out!
* About This List...
ARCHAEOLOGIST MARY LEAKEY DEAD AT 83
Mary Leakey, the cigar-smoking, Scotch whiskey sipping archaeologist whose
work, along with that of husband, contributed so much to the understanding of
human origins died yesterday in Kenya, Africa at the age of 83.
Richard Leakey died in 1977; but Mary carried on the important
investigation of early human ancestors, and the following year discovered
footprints made in volcanic ash which indicated that early hominids -- dating
back as far as 3.5 million years ago -- walked upright. She later remarked
that she considered the discovery "the most important find in view of human
The Leakeys were married in 1936, having met three years earlier. Their
discoveries included the skull of Proconsul Africanus, an apelike predecessor
of both modern apes and early humans. In 1959, Mary Leakey discovered the
skull of Zinjanthropus in northern Tanzania at the famous Olduvai Gorge.
Findings Demolished Creationism
Along with Darwin's "On the Origins of Species by Means of Natural
Selection" (London, 1895), Leakey's work ranks as some of the most
significant in terms of vanquishing the last tenable creationist arguments
and objections to the overall scheme of evolution in humans and other life
forms. The discovery of footprints in the area south of Olduvai Gorge by
Mary Leakey confirmed that early forms of Australopithecine were bipedal, and
gained additional support when a complete skeleton of Australopithecus
Afarensis was found in 1974, and later dubbed "Lucy." Indeed, "Lucy" has
become the best example of a "missing link" (more accurately, a transitional
evolutionary form) filling the temporal gap between primates and humans.
In August, Mary Leakey made her last trip to the site near the Olduvai
Gorge, an area known as Laetoli, where she found those ancient footprints.
They have now been covered with a layer of high-tech sealant to preserve
At the time of her death, Ms. Leakey was at work organizing her lifetime
of papers and letters.
ADVISORY PANEL ON ''RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION'' IS NAMED
Religious Belief To Play More Of A Role in U.S. Global Strategy ?
The State Department has begun forming its new Advisory Committee on
Religious Freedom Abroad, a step the New York Times described as a "milestone
in the battle against religious persecution." But there is evidence that
religious fundamentalist groups, though represented on the taxpayer-funded
body, consider the operation inadequate and, in the words of one pundit, a
The panel is in response to a growing chorus of demands that U.S. foreign
policy be crafted, in part, on the basis of religious freedom. A number of
global regions, especially the middle east and Asia, represent possible
"flash points" for State Department strategists; and many countries in these
regions maintain state religious institutions, or discourage religious
proselytizing by foreign interests. Even in the Soviet Union, the government
of President Boris Yeltsin finds itself under mounting pressure to curtail
the activities of aggressive foreign religious movements, including new age
cults and fundamentalist church outreaches.
Spear heading the effort to link U.S. foreign policy and religious rights
abroad is Michael Horowitz, a former Reagan era official who has been
lobbying the White House, State Department and even the Immigration and
Naturalization Service about what he says is persecution of Christians
overseas. Now a fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute, Horowitz's list
of major offenders include the handful of communist nations, including China
and North Korea, and Islamic states like Egypt, the Sudan, Saudi Arabia and
But Horowitz has attracted critics, especially for his hyperbole. He
calls persecuted Christians "the Jews of the 21st century."
Last month, the Department of State began announcing appoints for its
Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad. Members include:
* Donald Argue, National Association of Evangelicals
* Joan Brown Campbell, National Council of the Churches of Christ
* Diana L. Eck, Harvard University
* William M. Ellis, Board, Bahai'is of the Americas
* Irving Greenberg, National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership
* James B. Henry, First Baptist Church, Orlando
* Frederick Calhoun James, African Methodist Episcopal Church
* Leonid Kishkovsky, Orthodox Church of America
* Samuel Billy Kyles, memorial Baptist Church, Memphis, Tenn.
* Deborah Lipstadt, Emory University
* David Little, U.S. Institute of Peace
* Theodore McCarrick, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Newark
* Wallace Dean Mohammed, Society of Muslim Americans
* Russell Marion Nelson, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
* Ricardo Ramirez, Roman Catholic Bishop of Las Cruces, New Mexico
* Barnett Richard Rubin, Council on Foreign Relations
* Nina Shea, Puebla Project of Freedom House
* Elliot Sperling, Indiana University
* "Spyridono", Archbishop, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
At Taxpayer Expense?
Should the U.S. government be setting up shop at taxpayer expense for a
panel of religious "advisors," including the appropriation of money for
offices in the State Department? So far, no one has challenged the existence
of the "advisory" panel
And some religious right groups have already expressed skepticism about
the group. Richard D. Land of the Christian Life Commission, Southern
Baptist Convention, fears that the panel will just be "a wholly owned
subsidiary of the State Department." Both Land and Mr. Horowitz want more
than just an advisory body, notes the Times; the two have suggested a
"special adviser" which, says the paper, sounds "more like demands for a
Others fear that the "religious rights" cry will be more divisive than
unifying, especially in areas like Bosnia and Israel.
"MISSING'' STORY SPREADS THROUGH MEDIA
There Is A New Report On Possible "Identity Problem" Says GHQ Director
A story about missing funds in the disappearance of Atheist activist
Madalyn Murray O'Hair in yesterday's San Antonio (Texas) Express-News spread
quickly, and was picked up by Associated Press and major newspapers including
the San Francisco Examiner and the Washington Post. Conservative radio
pundit Paul Harvey reportedly grabbed the news to make a blast at the
O'Hairs, who had been been prominent figures in the battle for state-church
separation before their mysterious disappearance in August-September of 1995.
The Express-News story was based in part on tax filings submitted by
American Atheists and affiliated corporations, which showed that nearly
$650,000 in monies are missing. The bulk of the funds involved a series of a
interest-bearing accounts in New Zealand, a fact which has prompted
speculation that the family may have travelled there. Some persons
interviewed in reporter John MacCormack's story suggest embezzlement, while
others raise the possibility of foul play.
Today, American Atheists Office Director Orin "Spike" Tyson reported that
the group's headquarters in Austin, Texas were being "besieged" with phone
calls from reporters and other media inquiries. He said he was simply
referring calls to American Atheists President Ellen Johnson.
Tyson told AANEWS that one caller whom he identified as a reporter for a
paper in Baltimore, Maryland, said that according to his information, there
was now a problem with the identity of the individual thought to have been
former AA President Jon Murray, who sold his car in San Antonio immediately
following the disappearance. Murray had placed an ad in a newspaper there
advertising his Mercedes automobile. Tyson informed us that the reporter
claimed that the individual who purchased the car was later shown a
photograph of Mr. Murray (possibly by the police?) but said the person
selling the automobile "looked entirely different."
And Who Provided The Tip?
There is also a question of how news media, including Mr. MacCormack,
quickly zeroed-in on the organization's tax form disclosures that reported
the missing $650,000 as required by law. The forms were sent to Internal
Revenue Service by the organization's Certified Public Accountant, and made a
full disclosure of known income and expenditures. Mr. Tyson said that he was
surprised, though, when he suddenly received calls demanding inspection at
the American Atheists offices of specific tax documents which are public
Tyson noted that the tax disclosure forms were filed as required with the
Internal Revenue Service on November 15. Within four to five days, Tyson
suddenly received calls from Mr. MacCormack of the Express, and a reporter
identified as Ev Moore of the Houston Chronicle. He adds that Moore will be
inspecting the records at the Austin office on Wednesday.
Prior to that, notes Tyson, no reporters had requested any tax records.
"And MacCormack seemed to know exactly what he wanted."
Late this afternoon, Mr. Tyson informed us that he had begun receiving
calls from foreign news operations, including the British Broadcasting
The ghq Director suggested that MacCormack had been "tipped off."
ATHEIST MEDIA APPEARANCE...
American Atheists Office Director Orin "Spike" Tyson will be tacking a bit of
a break tomorrow from the current media-celebrity circus, to be a guest on
the Joyce Kaufman show, airing on WFTL (1400 AM) out of Miami, Florida. The
program begins at 12 noon. Mr. Tyson will be discussing evolution vs.
creationism with creationist booster Mike Behe, author of "Darwin's Black
Box." Tune-in if you're in the area!
THERE'S STILL TIME TO SEND A SOLSTICE GREETING!
But it's running out -- fast.
The American Atheists Press Catalogue features hundreds of cool gifts for
this time of year, from books to tee shirts and our popular Winter Solstice
greeting cards. Send one to a friend, relative, or foe! Why not President
But while the staff at ghq is working furiously (like elves? imps?) to
fill orders, time is quickly running out for us to rush a catalogue to you.
NOW would be the time to request one through e-mail at
email@example.com. Be sure to include your name and postal mailing
You can also check out the catalogue on-line through our new ftp site. Go
We suggest that after today, those of you receiving catalogues through the
mail or at the ftp site save time by faxing your credit card orders to our
Austin offices. That will insure sufficient time for shipment of your holiday
Ho, ho, ho! and all that!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, and include your name and
postal mailing address. Or, check out our cool web site at
For subscribe/unsubscribe information, send mail to
email@example.com and put "info aanews" (minus the
quotation marks, please) in the message body. You may forward, post or quote
from this dispatch, provided that appropriate credit is given to aanews and
American Atheists. Edited and written by Conrad F. Goeringer, The LISTMASTER
(firstname.lastname@example.org). Internet Representative for American Atheists is Margie
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank