Date: Mon, 1 Jul 1996 12:25:24 -0700 Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for July 1, 1996 nn nn AANE
Date: Mon, 1 Jul 1996 12:25:24 -0700
Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for July 1, 1996
Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org, AMERICAN.ATHEISTS@listserv.direct.net
nnnnnnnnnn AANEWS nnnnnnnnnn
# 83 uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu 7/1/96
In This Edition...
* Bishops Try To Checkmate Clinton on Abortion Veto
* Atheists Oppose Loan Guarantee Swindle
* British Paper Charges Identity Link in Oklahoma Bombing
* Ciller Sells Out to Fundamentalists in Turkey
* About This List...
CHURCH CAMPAIGN AGAIN SLAMS CLINTON ON ABORTION VETO
Roman Catholic churches throughout the country became hotbeds of political
activism on Sunday, as ecclesiastical officials distributed 27,000,000
postcards to parishioners, hoping to mobilize a wave of opposition to
President Clinton over his decision to veto the Partial Birth Abortion Act.
Earlier, AANEWS had reported that the recent Conference of Catholic Bishops
meeting had discussed distributing five million pre-printed cards; it now
appears that is just the number they hope lands on the desks of senators and
congressional representatives in just the next few days.
There are other scattered reports of the latest church effort to overturn
the presidential veto which Clinton enacted on April 10. In Miami, the
archbishop took out advertising in Sunday papers and television calling for
Congress to repeal the ban. There have also been reports of prayer vigils
and other activities.
The Partial Birth Abortion Act was a major plank in the Christian
Coalition's "Contract With the American Family" announced last summer; it
would ban a rarely-used late term procedure referred to as "dilation and
extraction." Abortion rights advocates note that the procedure is usually
employed when there are severe medical complications to either the mother or
the fetus; they warn, though, that banning the "D & X" would possibly be the
first step in outlawing abortion altogether, especially since the legislation
refers to "pre-born children" and not fetuses.
Following his April 10 veto of the Act, Clinton came under immediate fire
from the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, which released a rare
declaration specifically addressed to the President condemning his action.
Clinton refused to sign the bill, saying that it did not allow for
exceptions such as the health of the mother. The Bishops declared that they
abortion procedure was a "heinous act to kill a tiny infant just seconds from
taking his or first first breath outside the womb." The Christian Coalition
Contract is even more specific, talking about the "security of un-born
children in their mother's womb."
Critics say that the Bishops and their Protestant
evangelical-fundamentalist allies are trying to create an emotionally-charged
climate over the abortion question, and use extreme examples in whipping up
support for their proposed ban. Kate Michelman, director of the National
Abortion Rights Action league, said: "They're going to try to keep the issue
of the right to choose confined to issues like late-term abortions rather
than on the central question: Who should make the decision at any stage of
ATHEISTS OPPOSE LOAN GUARANTEE SCHEME
The following press release is being released to the news media today:
American Atheists today announced that it opposes the Clinton
administration's loan guarantee program for churches which have been
destroyed as the result of arson.
The senate version of the Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996 (S.1890) was
approved on June 26. Section 4 of the proposed legislation authorizes the
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to use up to $10,000,000 of credit
subsidy which would be used in rebuilding religious houses of worship. The
bill now moves to the House of Representatives which last week passed a
similar measure, and President Clinton -- who originally called for the
program -- is expected to sign it.
Ellen Johnson, President of American Atheists, said that the loan program
is a clear violation of First Amendment state-church separation. While
condemning arson and violence against churches, she noted: "About 1% of the
arsons committed in the United States each year involve churches. This
program uses public funds to guarantee loans to religious organizations, and
so involves the use of taxpayer funds to aid religion."
"While we deplore violence against churches, President Clinton is being
unfair when he asks the 10-15% of Americans who are Atheists, agnostics and
other freethinkers to subsidize the construction of buildings for the purpose
of religious exercise."
CHRISTIAN IDENTITY FIGURE LINKED TO OKLAHOMA BOMBING?
For pop-star Meatloaf, "Two outta' three ain't bad!" But that seems to
describe the current government investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing,
an event which has focused the nation's attention on the shadowy world of
militias, racialist cult-compounds and and neo-nazi movements. According to
Britain's Electronic Telegraph today, there are significant leads in the case
involving at least one member of a Christian Identity group, which for some
reason federal investigators seem to be overlooking. The Telegraph also
observes: "The Oklahoma investigation is losing credibility fast, with talk
of a cover-up now reaching fever pitch."
Today's story involves the identity of the so-called "John Doe II" who was
purportedly with bombing suspect Tim McVeigh when he allegedly rented a Ryder
truck used in the April 1995 blast. This person was described as tanned and
muscular with tattoos.
Enter Glenn and Kathy Wilburn, who lost two grandchildren in the Oklahoma
City blast which killed a total of 168 persons, and have been conducting
their own probe of the tragedy. According to the Telegraph, they believe that
they have found their man.
But with McVeigh and co-suspect Terry Nichols now under wraps, the
Wilburns think that for some reason, investigators have backed off of their
original hunt for the elusive third suspect, dubbed John Doe II. Three
witnesses at the Ryder agency claim that they saw McVeign with this person,
and two more have come forward to describe this unidentified male -- Catina
Lawson (a close friend of McVeigh's) and her mother, Connie Smith. Despite
giving considerable evidence ot the FBI, and signing sworn statements, the
information provided by these people has apparently not been pursued.
The Telegraph reports that the Wilburns have identified this individual as
a 24-year old who "comes from a solid Catholic family," and is the son of a
fire department officials. He purportedly tried to establish a white
supremacist group on the Philadelphia-area college campus he attended. In
1993 he left school, and joined the armed religious cult in the Ozarks called
Elohim City, a sect within the Christian Identity movement. He shared
living quarters with a German neo-nazi identified as Andreas Strassmeir.
The Wilburns have announced that they plan to file a civil lawsuit naming
Strassmeir as a "US federal informant with material knowledge of the
(Oklahoma City) bombing." There is speculation that the former Bundeswehr
intelligence officer has had ties to various U.S. government agencies.
The man identified as John Doe II seems to match the description provided
by witnesses at the Ryder truck rental firm, down to the tattoo on the left
arm which consisted of a circle with four spokes. This is believed to be the
symbol of The Order, a violent military faction of the Aryan Nation/Christian
Identity church, which was involved in a series of robberies and murders
during the mid-1980's.
CORRUPTION CHARGES LEAD TO POWER FOR TURKISH MUSLIMS
Islamic fundamentalists are on the verge of achieving political power in
Turkey, an event unheard of in the 73-year history of that secular state.
The muslim Welfare party of Necmettin Erbakan is working to cobble together
a coalition government, and has apparently succeeded in winning the support
of Tansu Ciller, leader of the True Path movement and a former Prime
This is a strange role for Ciller, who became the country's first female
leader in 1993. She had joined the True Path Party in 1990 after an academic
career in the United States, and soon became identified as a champion of
secular, free-market reforms. She had repeatedly maintained that her
guiding principle was "no coalition with fundamentalists."
Ciller did make a coalition with Mesut Yilmaz of the Motherland Parety,
another secular, pro-western group. In late May, that arrangement
disintegrated, in part from the victory the fundamentalists had won back in
December when they emerged first in the national elections. The secular
Democratic Left Party abstained from a confidence vote, thus creating an
opening for Erbakan and his fundamentalist supporters.
But there is evidence that Erbakan "has the goods" on Ciller; the Welfare
Party charged that she had established an enormous slush-fund, and then-
Prime Minister Yilmaz threatened to send the case for investigation to the
country's Supreme Court. Now, Ciller appears to be in a shotgun-wedding with
her enemy, Mr. Erbakan, and the country is thought by some to be on the
possible verge of an Islamic uprising.
Erbakan now promises to drop his support for a parliamentary probe into
Ciller's corruption charges in exchange for a coalition with the True Path.
The Sanbah newspaper which supported Ciller declared: "If Ciller now won't
lose sleep over fears of being indicted before the supreme court, she should
be kept awake by her own shame."
Thus far, a number of True Path legislators are trying to assemble a "no"
majority on another confidence vote, but observers say that is unlikely. The
Islamicists have offered Mrs. Ciller the post of Foreign Minister and Deputy
Prime Minister. The Times of London noted that "The woman who previously
presented herself as a leader who could stop Welfare is now acting as the
guarantor who can stop Mr. Ekbarkan turning Turkey into an Islamic state."
As for the country's next leader , The Christian Science Monitor notes:
"Turkey's new Muslim prime minister takes pride in the fact that he has not
missed even one of his five daily prayers since he was 13 years old. In his
speeches, he frequently refers to Allah. He also regularly invokes Ottoman
words and lets admirers kiss his hands."
Western observers are hoping that this political marriage of convenience
will manage to keep the Islamicists in check. There is also a two-year
rotation, which means that Ciller would again become Prime Minister in
24-months. Erbakan may not have sufficient clout to overturn the secular
reforms begun by Kamal Ataturk seven decades ago, at least right away. But
his more extreme supporters are believed to have plans of their own to
establish an Islamic Republic, similar to that in Iran.
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