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Spring 1999

AJournal of Atheist News and Thought


John Paul II Picketed by American Atheists The Pope Wants to Tell You How to Die
Religious Displays with Santa and Frosty Ezekiel As A Prophet The Atheist Who Saved
The United States How the Pope of Peace Traded in Blood

American Atheists Ine.

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Materialism declares that the

cosmos is devoid of immanent conscious purpose; that it is governed
by its own inherent, immutable,
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no supernatural
human life; that humankind - finding their resources within themselves - can and must create their
own destiny. Materialism restores
dignity and intellectual integrity to
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prize our life on earth and strive
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and their ability to
transform the world culture by
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It considers
struggle for progress as a moral
obligation that is impossible without noble ideas that inspire us to
bold, creative works. Materialism
holds that our potential for good
and more fulfilling cultural development is, for all practical purposes,

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American Atheist on-line edition:

A Journal

Spring 1999


of Atheist

News and Thought

Editor's Desk
Pope John Paul n
the Criminal
Frank R. Zindler

Travels of a Modern-Day
Janus: John Paul n
Visits the Americas
Conrad F. Goeringer
A two-faced theocrat comes to
meddle with North America and American Atheists protest.







UI __


~ __

Cover art: The cover of the

October, 1979,issue of American
Atheist. Members of American
Atheists, Inc., have been picketing the intrusions of the Polish
pope for twenty years now.

Why We Picket the Pope

Ellen Johnson
The President of American
Atheists explains why
American Atheists always
pickets the pontiffs invasions
of America.
The Pope Wants to Tell you
How to Die: Will You Stand
For It?
Faye Girsh
The Executive Director of The
Hemlock Society USA challenges the inhumane teachings
of the pope in St. Louis.
Need Help Preserving Religious
Displays? Let Santa, Frosty
Conrad F. Goeringer
Santa and his helpers are helping city after city transmute
displays flagrantly "respecting
an establishment of religion"
into seculat "public forums" or so it is claimed.

Faith Fails in Medical Test 32
Medical research alleging
health benefits of religion is
debunked by The Lancet.
The Atheist Who Saved The
United States (...and the thanks
he got for it)
Carole Gray
An Atheist historian recounts
the life, death, and subverted
will of Stephen Girard, the
Atheist whose financial aid prevented the US from reverting
to British colonial status.
Atheist Masters
Joseph McCabe, writing in
1941, reveals how popes Pius
XI and XII aided and abetted
the rise to power of Benito
Mussolini and Adolf Hitler and
set into motion a long war
against reason and secular
democracy - a war still being
waged by the present pontiff.
Excerpts from the HaldemanJulius publication The Black
International No.2, "How the
Pope of Peace Traded In

Ezekiel As A Prophet
Frank R. Zindler
If Ezekiel were alive today, he
wouldn't even be as successful
as the Bureau of Long-Range
Weather Forecasting.
Volume 37, No.2

Parsippany, New Jersey



Spring 1999

Page 1

Volume 37 Number

Membership Application for

American Atheists Inc.


Frank R. Zindler
Ann E. Zindler
Conrad F. Goeringer
Ellen Johnson
The American Atheist is published by
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Page 2





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Spring 1999

American Atheist

Editor's Desk

Pope John Paul II

the Criminal

hundred years from now,

who will be remembered as
the most evil man of the
twentieth century? Adolf Hitler,
you think? Perhaps, but not likely.
I suspect that if there is any civilization surviving on this plundered planet a century hence, its
historians will point with irrefutable evidence to Pope John Paul II
as the most evil man of our times.
To be sure, Hitler's image is not
likely to improve any with age. He
will always be remembered as a
man who brought about the deaths
of some millions of innocent people, yet remained a Catholic in
good standing until his death. But
his crimes will pale beside those of
John Paul II.
Whereas Hitler was guilty of
genocide against
particular groups of humans, John
Paul II could be charged with premeditation of genocide against the
human race itself, for advancing a
"Pro-Life Program" that actually is
the most fiendishly Pro-Death
Program ever seen in the history of
our species.
By a hundred years from now,
at least a billion people will have
suffered extended agony and death
because of John Paul II's opposition to birth control, sterilization,
and abortion - opposition exerted
by hundreds of his lobbyist minions in the parliaments and legislatures of the world. It will be

Frank R. Zindler
Parsippany, New Jersey

understood that this pope's "pilgrimages" back and forth across

the globe were really political exercises in extortion - exercises that
weakened the fabric of secular
societies and strengthened
political muscle of the Vatican
It will be pointed out that this
pope had a science advisory committee which had explained the
ecological realities of life on this
space-ship earth. It will be noted
that he rejected the scientific fact
that the planet's "carrying capacity" can only support indefinitely
about one-half the 1985 population
of the world.
It will be remembered that this
pope went to the starving in Africa
and South America and encouraged them not only to breed themselves into oblivion, but to increase
many-fold the number of unfortunate innocents who would have to
starve later on. John Paul II will
be remembered as the man who
increased human misery more
than anyone in the history of civilization. The pope's callous encouragement of procreation, with its
resultant poverty, will be shown to
have had a profoundly destabilizing influence upon the governments of the world, and to have led
to the ascendancy of dictatorships
where formerly fragile democracies had existed. Indeed, so threatening are the pope's pronatalist
preachments to the future of freedom, it may well be that democraSpring 1999

cy will be extinct a hundred years

in the future.
If so, instead of future historians proving me right in my assessment of Karol Wojtyla - alias John
Paul II - the memory of John Paul
II will be revered and glorified by
the tyrants of the times as the man
who made it possible for them to
come to power.
It has been estimated that the
Roman Catholic Church killed over
eleven million people during the
course of the Inquisition, but John
Paul II may be responsible for
more than that in his own lifetime.
The juggernaut of genocide which
he has set in motion will continue
to crush and kill the innocent of
this earth far into the future.
Is it any wonder that American
Atheists, Inc., has demonstrated
against this pope during everyone
of his invasions of our fair land?
For twenty years we have been trying to get our compatriots to recognize the evil of this man and the
institution he represents. While
we have succeeded in getting at
least some Americans to recognize
the impropriety in paying for this
man's subversions with the taxes
of American citizens, and we have
gotten about the same number to
recognize the unconstitutionality
of diplomatic recognition of his
church, alas! Very few perceive or
understand the profound and monstrous wickedness of this man and
his agenda. But we're not giving
up! Read about it in this issue.
Page 3

II landed in MexicoCity in
February, 1999, the latest
round began in the Vatican's global
effort to reverse a decline in membership throughout much of the
America's and bring straying flocks
- and even some of the church leadership - into doctrinal conformity.
The visit also marked a shift in the
Vatican's priorities on the international political scene; indeed, since
the disintegration of the former
Soviet Union, the church has identified new significant threats to its
position including secularism,
material culture, free trade, and
pluralism on the religious scene.
The pope's visit, including his
sojourn to St. Louis, was marked
with irony, contradictions, staged
spectacle, media hype, and warnings to the American people.
American Atheists has protested the papal visits since 1979 when
Karol Wojtyla - newly minted Pope
- made his first official visit to
Chicago as John Paul II. When the
papal road show rolled into the
Windy City or other locations, from
Phoenix and Denver to New York
and now, St. Louis, American Atheists was there over the years to
protest and ask the tough questions.
Who was paying the bill? Were taxpayers being compelled to fund religious display? Was US Government
recognition of the Vatican entity a
violation of the First Amendment?
Was it proper that the pope's reactionary stand on abortion rights,
civil liberties, the status of gays,
and other important issues result in
a courtier line of leading American
political figures greeting him when

The pontiffs hemispheric

tour presented a kindly
face to the public, while
promoting a stern,
authoritarian agenda for
church and political

Conrad Goeringer is a
Contributing Editor for
American Atheist and is
Director of American Atheists
On-Line Services. He writes
about the world and surfs the
Internet from his home on the
Jersey Cape.

Conrad Goeringer
Page 4

Spring 1999

he arrived, or hanging breathlessly

on every word?
Often, we were alone, and the
St. Louis demonstration was no
exception. Few groups find it proper
or even possible to mobilize their
members to exercise their right to
demonstrate in the finest American
tradition when the head of the
Roman Catholic Church arrives.
Protests are rare when the pontiff
comes, the media blackout on objective criticism is, well, overwhelming.
Hype and Glory
The first leg of John Paul's visit
began on January 22 when he
arrived at Mexico City airport and
was greeted by Mexican President
Ernesto Zedillo and his wife. It was
his fourth visit to that country in his
twenty-year tenure. It was also
replete with symbolism, in a country that itself has come to symbolize
the tension between religious institutions and civil society since the
revolution in 1917. Even before
that, many Mexicans were openly
hostile to ecclesiastical power.
President Benito Juarez severed
ties between his country and the
papacy in 1861 and expelled the
papal nuncio. The church, tied to a
feudal aristocracy, still remained
identified with ruling elites and
became an appropriate target of
popular wrath when the modern
Mexican nation was established.
That anticlerical uprising placed
strict limits on religious groups,
including the powerful Roman
Catholic Church. In 1992, the
Mexican Constitution was altered to
provide the Catholic church and
Protestant groups with "legal standAmerican Atheist

ing." Primate Cardinal Ernesto

Ahumada praised then-President
Carlos Salinas for his decision to
extend recognition, declaring "This
is the beginning of an important
change ... It is very opportune."
Indeed it was, and the following
year, Mexico joined the ranks of a
hundred other nations which had
extended official diplomatic recognition to the Vatican as an autonomous political entity. The United
States had done so during the
Reagan era. Still, Mexico has
retained some strictures on religious
Catholic Church. Even Salinas, in
expressing his desire to "take another step toward domestic harmony
within the framework of modernization," warned: "Owing to past experience, the Mexican people do not
want the clergy to take part in politics or to accumulate material
Even with these restrictions,
though, the Roman Catholic Church
has retained a cultural stranglehold
throughout Mexico and the rest of
Latin America. This became evident
when the pope arrived in Mexico
City. There was a full mobilization
of private and public resources to
hype John Paul's visit to the country.
The Papal Product Line
For those of us who think ofreligion as basically a "belief industry,"
the papal road show in Mexico was
confirmation of that view. More
than two-dozen "official sponsors"
joined in hyping the visit, among
them Pepsi, Federal
Kodak, Hewlett-Packard, Mercedes
Benz and Sheraton Hotels.! Even
the Washington Post noted that "in
the view of religious scholars as well
as many priests and ordinary
church members, the mixing of spiritual and commercial has gone overboard.s
Singled out for media attention
in advertising a virtual papal "product line" was the Mexican snack
food firm known as Sabritas, a subsidy of Frito Lay and, in turn, Pepsi,
Parsippany, New Jersey

Inc. The company inserted stamplike pictures of John Paul into its
potato chip bags, along with icons of
the Virgin of Guadalupe, a powerful
iconographic image in Mexican religious belief and folklore. The tenpicture collection could be mounted
in a special frame which was also
available for sale. Sabritas also ran
a full-page ad in La Reforma the
week before the papal visit, using a
clever play on the word "papa,"
which in Spanish means both pope
and potato. The product was cleverly packaged as "Las Papas del Papa"
- Potatoes of the Pope.
If this sounds like so much
advertising fantasy hatched from
distant corporate advertising offices
on Madison Avenue, think again. In
fact, the Mexican Catholic Church
made the initial overture to the
Sabritas company; a spokesman
revealed "a program to reach millions in all corners of Mexico with
images of the Virgin and the pope."
Those images also appeared in
other corporate advertising campaigns as well, including efforts
launched by Pepsi and Bimbo, a
Mexican bakery. "We Reaffirm the
Faith" read huge billboards paid for
by Bimbo. Pepsi advertisements
cited the pontiffs words on a previous visit to the country, "Mexico,
Always Faithful." Included was the
reminder: "Pepsi - Official Sponsor
of the Fourth Visit of His Holiness
John Paul II to Mexico."
The religious kitsch was evident
elsewhere, too. The Mexican financial conglomerate Bancomer aired
television spots to advertise the
papal visit, and its commemorative
coins to mark the occasion. The
Radio Red network took out fullpage newspaper ads depicting "a
smiling figure that looked like Jesus
with his arm around the pope's
shoulder. "3
A debate quickly ensued about
the wisdom of having "official sponsors" for what the Church attempted
to bill as a divinely-inspired spiritual event. The estimated $2,000,000
raised from corporate underwriters
Spring 1999

appeared to accomplish its goal,

however, as large crowds - estimated by different
news sources
between 700,000 and 1 million persons - swarmed to the main pontifical mass. That event "was a powerful display of the aging pontiffs
spell over this predominantly
Roman Catholic nation,"4 and
resulted in considerable international news coverage. America network media, keen to the second leg
of the papal tour which would take
John Paul to St. Louis, covered the
event with lead segments during the
evening news.
Taking Off The Velvet Gloves
While the pop-culture view of
the pontiff as an avuncular, friendly
spiritual advisor dominated the surface views of this event, the papal
visit was also very much about politics and the changing geopolitical
reality that the Vatican confronts,
especially in Latin America. N 0where else on earth is the Holy See
facing an erosion of its cultural
hegemony on such a scale. Indeed, it
is not so much an aggressive secularism which is drawing people
away from the Catholic Church, but
the proselytizing of energized Protestant sects, new-age cults and
"Eastern religions." The Washington
Post noted, "The frail-looking pope is
using his four-day visit to Mexico
City and two-day stopover in St.
Louis to reverse the decline of a
church that is in crisis and losing
members across the Americas."5
The paper added that "millions of
the once-faithful have turned to
evangelical faiths ..."
Mexico can claim the secondlargest Roman Catholic population
of any country; about 87% of the
nation's 95 million people identify
themselves as Catholics. Studies
indicate, though, that Protestant
groups and "other faith" have
siphoned off perhaps as much as
10% of the Vatican's market share
in the belief bazaar; just a few
decades ago, up to 96% of Mexicans
announced their Catholicity."
Page 5

Despite John Paul's calls for

ecumenical unity that are the frequent subject of Vatican press
releases, the pope was more adamant in denouncing competing religious groups. Indeed, the Holy See
has increasingly referred to Protestant evangelical missionary outreaches as "sects" and "ravenous
wolves" gnawing away at the cultural hegemony of Rome. Winning
the loyalty of straying Christians,
the pope chose important metaphors and venues for his message.
He wrapped a strong' antiabortion
and anti-birth control message
within his call to challenge "the culture of death," and even touched on
subjects like drug trafficking and
"As a matter of urgency, we
must stir up a new springtime of
holiness on the continent so that
action and contemplation will go
hand in hand."?
Similar concerns about the erosion of Vatican influence were cited
by Bishop Trinidad
Rodrigues of Guadalajara, Mexico's
second most populous city. 'We feel
invaded by the avalanche of groups
that are coming from north and
east," lamented the Bishop. "Now
we are not only facing evangelism

continued on page 8

The Myth of the

Virgin of Guadalupe
by Rius.

One of
most sacred
and beloved
myths is
that of the
Virgin of
Rius' lightI L::========~JJ
cartoon treatment shows how
and why it was fabricated.
69 pp. Paperback.

Page 6


The public expense incurred by papal visits is often defended
by citing the Vatican's status as a national entity. Few
Americans know that embarrassing history.
by Conrad Goeringer
ONE, the pope reigns as
head of one of the world's
largest and wealthiest religious
groups. Open door number two,
and this same pontiff is a political leader in charge of the
Vatican State. And door number
three? It depends on the situation. The pope is venerated as a
religious leader and spiritual
guide for dictators, presidents,
governors, royalty, the media,
and ths "common"person. When
the matter of public money is
involved, though, lavish papal
visits are often subsidized by
taxpayers with the justification
that "the pope is also head of a
government." .
How did this happen? How
did a small parcel of land (108.5
acres) in Rome which houses the
administrative offices of a religion come to be recognized as a
sovereign political entity?
As far back as the sixth century CE, the popes of the church
were the de facto political rulers
of Rome and the surrounding
regions. It was the Frankish

Spring 1999

king Pepin the Short (?714-768),

son of Charles Martel, who formally granted those lands to the
church during the reign of Pope
Stephen II. Pepin had defended
the papacy in battle against the
Lombards, and went on to found
the Carolingian dynasty. He
gave Stephen II sovereign control over the "exarchate" of
Ravenna, and conquest and
booty that was dubbed "the
Donation of Pepin."
By the sixteenth century, the
papal holdings embraced nearly
the whole of central Italy.
Napoleon seized much of this in
his conquests, but the bulk of the
territory was restored to the
papacy in 1815 by the Congress
of Vienna. To the south emerged
the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies,
to the north the Grand Duchies
of Tuscany, Modena, and Parma.
Within the papal domain, the
pope reigned supreme; laws
against Jews were promulgated,
and any popular uprising was
put down by the Austrians who
acted as surrogate troops for the
Holy See.
The Papal fortunes changed,
though, in 1870 when Victor
American Atheist

Emanuel II drove the French

army from Rome and united the
country. Papal authority was
confined to a small area in
Rome, and in protest a series of
popes designated themselves as
"voluntary prisoners."
That changed when the fascist regime
Mussolini came to power. In
1929, the Lateran Treaty and
between the Italian government
Church. It formally recognized
the sovereignty of the Vatican
state, officially declared Roman
Catholicism to be the state religion, and nominally called for
the papacy to remain neutral in
international affairs. In compensation for the "expropriation" of
church land and other holdings,
it provided compensation of
$85 million.
Additionally, the church was
granted control of various properties outside the territorial limits of Vatican city which were
also given a tax exemption.
Mussolini's government was
even more generous. During the
war, for instance, a policy was
established covering all Vatican
investments in Italy with a special tax exemption.
That special status has been
an on-going issue of contention
between the Vatican and secular
Parsippany, New Jersey

Italy. Various governments,

including that of the late AIdo
Moro, have attempted to tax or
regulate the Holy See's vast
holdings throughout the country, and on several occasions
Vatican officials have threatened to wreak financial havoc by
unloading their stock portfolios
and other assets in retaliation.
The papacy's link with financial
scandal has exacerbated the
issue as well, particularly the
of the Vatican
Bank (disingenuously labeled
the Institute
for Religious
Works) in the collapse of
financier Michael Sindona's
empire, and the scandal involving Roberto Calvi and the Banco
Today, while secular governments fall, the Vatican retains a
striking continuity with all of
the trappings of a nation state.
It issues its own postage, and its
theme-park sized territory is
beyond the legal jurisdiction of
prelates often wear two hats, as
ecclesiastical leaders and diplomatic representatives. Over a
hundred nations have extended
formal diplomatic recognition to
the Vatican, making the Roman
Catholic Church the only religion on earth which is both a
faith-based institution and a
political entity.
Spring 1999

There are also "two Italies,"

one a society of civic and secular
institutions, the other a culture
linked inextricably
to the
authority of the Roman Catholic
Church. The church's grip on
politics has loosened somewhat
over the years, and papal teachings on abortion, civil liberties,
rights for women or other issues
are not automatically considered legal Diktat. Conflicts do
remain, though, some of them
even humorous. As this issue of
American Atheist heads for
press, there is a confrontation
between the Vatican at Rome's
ACEA. The agency says that the
Vatican is $23 million in arrears
on its sewer bill. But Holy See
Spokesman Joaquin NavarroValls (a man often mentioned in
the international press for his
authoritative decrees on wider
issues, to be sure) says that
ACEA shouldn't be expecting a
check any time soon, and maintains that free water services,
including sewer, are guaranteed
free of charge to the Vatican
under the provision of Mussolini's 1929 Lateran Treaty.
Despite wars, revolutions and
other changes, it appears that
Italian taxpayers must still pay
for the disposal of the Holy See's
Page 7

and Protestantism, but a high tide

of New Age religions from the
In addition to exploiting the
themes of ''life," terrorism, and drug
dealing - the "culture of death" the papal visit also chose one of the
most venerated Catholic shrines on
the continent as a locus for one of
John Paul II's homilies to church
clerics and rank-and-file. This was
the Basilica of the Virgin Mary of
which had been erected nearly five centuries 'ago by
Spanish invaders and priests
over the ruins of an ancient
According to legend, in 1531
a brown-skinned Virgin Mary
appeared to an Indian peasant named Juan Diego, and
left a miraculous image of
herself on Diego's cape. A
shrine was hastily constructed, and later the Basilica de
Guadalupe was constructed
as a permanent monument.
Juan's cape, a crude garment
made from cactus fiber, is
now enshrined there for public viewing, and each year
millions of faithful
whisked by on a moving sidewalk for a brief glimpse of the
miraculous apparition. The
imagery of the Virgin of
Guadalupe - an icon of the
virgin depicted standing on a crescent moon or even bull horns'' - has
become a powerful symbol throughout Latin America, and especially in
Mexico. Furor erupted in September, 1996 when the head of the
Basilica, Abbot Guillermo Schulemberg, downplayed the significance of
the Virgin and suggested that the
story of Juan Diego was "a symbol,
not a reality." Schulemberg also
opined that Pope John Paul II's
beatification of Juan Diego "is a
recognition of a cult. It is not a
recognition of the physical, real
existence of the person."lO Even so,
the Virgin remains a potent symbol
in the region, adorning everything

Page 8

from battle flags and posters to

gear-shift knobs on cars. Her visit is
celebrated on December 12 of each
year, an event that rivals Christmas
and Easter in religious importance
for believers.
Speaking at the Basilica, John
Paul not only excoriated the straying flock for succumbing to the
temptation of Protestant "wolves"
and "sects," but announced plans to
enforce the provisions of a new

church document on the Americas

which he had signed after arriving
in Mexico City. That document was
the result of a meeting held with
American clergy at the Vatican in
1997, and attempts to "balance
widely different social, economic
and cultural issues on the American
continent."ll It skirted the issue of
the ordination of women priests/
priestesses in the Catholic church,
calling instead for including females
"in the decision-making processes,
especially on issues which concern
them directly." John Paul also reiterated the Vatican's stand against

Spring 1999

New Targets: Globalization,

Secularism, Individualism
Perhaps most significant in
John Paul's visit to the Americas
was not his intransigent stand on
abortion and other issues - that was
predictable - but a shift in focus to
what the Roman Catholic Church
sees as a new foe, global consumerist culture and capitalism.
Having won a victory over the
Soviet Union and "godless" Marxism,12 the church now feels
threatened by a spreading
culture of economic prosperity and materialism where
people are less concerned
with the spiritual and "hereafter," and more focused on
the fulfillment of material
wants. The Church remains
highly critical of many newfound social practices and
liberties in both the western
world and newly liberated
Eastern Europe, convinced
that "freedom has led to
license" or that "there is too
much freedom."
Back To That Vatican
There was little reference in
the press to the fact that
John Paul's latest mission to
the America's was intended
as a pulpit to enforce the
findings of that November,
1997, conclave with church leaders
in Rome. What transpired at that
meeting is revelatory and significant in understanding the Vatican's
future ideological direction.
At a plenary session, speakers
took turns denouncing American
individualism and called for new
efforts to "revitalize" their church.
Bishop Donald W. Wuerl of Pittsburgh told the assembled prelates
that in the United States, "Heavy
emphasis on the individual and his
or her rights has greatly eroded the
concept of the common good and its
ability to call people to something
beyond themselves."13 Wuerl then
went on to denounce what he
American Atheist

termed "the privatization of religion

and morality" and the fact that
"Both were seen by many as matters
of purely personal and private concern, such as a hobby or an appreciation of music, but without a proper
role in the public arena."
Not to be outdone by Bishop
Wuerl's denunciation of individual
rights, Monsignor Dennis Schnurr
of the National Conference of
Catholic Bishops declared, "In our
democracy, divergent political viewpoints are more often resolved by a
facile reliance on the rule of the
majority than by a genuine discernment of what is best for the common
good." While not enunciating who
specifically would "discern" this
"common good" - the churches? Schnurr then quickly cited "unspeakable crimes" such as abortion
and physician-assisted
which are "embraced in the name of
individual rights and democracy."
This diatribe was followed by an
equally blistering address from
Cardinal Adam Maida, Archbishop
of Detroit. Readers may recall that
Maida mobilized church resources
last November, raising several million dollars to defeat a proposal that
would have permitted physicianassisted euthanasia for patients suffering painful terminal diseases.
Maida told his Vatican City compatriots, ''We in the North (America)
are constantly seduced by the false
voice of freedom that calls for individual choice, even the point of a socalled 'right to die'." A similar homiParsippany, New Jersey

ly echoed from Archbishop Francis E.

George of Chicago,
who warned that
immigrants leaving
Latin America for
the social mobility
and freedom of the
United States, were
in danger of being
seduced by a more
secular and prosperous lifestyle. "Basically, an immigrant
community has one
generation to adapt
its practice of Catholic faith to a
new cultural situation before they
lose faith and become secularized,"
he said.tIn covering the Vatican conclave, the Washington Post observed, "One of the themes raised by
US bishops is their concern with
what they view as the secularization of American society." The paper
noted that during the conference,
"Little of the debate has specifically
addressed the disillusionment of many American
Catholics in the Church
over its stands on social
and sexual issues. When it
did touch on these subjects,
placed blame on an overemphasis on the individual. .."15
It becomes significant,
then, that upon landing in
Mexico, John Paul II used
that occasion to sign the
summation document from
the 1997 Vatican conference. The theme of wariness of secular culture and
individual rights - the
sense that "people have too
much freedom," and reject
religious institutions and
beliefs for a secular-consumerist lifestyle - resonated throughout the pontiffs addresses in Mexico,
and into the next leg of his
tour - St. Louis, Missouri.
Spring 1999

John Paul also skillfully

redefmed an important element in
the Roman Catholic culture wars the issue of "life." Church teachings
include the notion of a seamless garment where all "life issues" such as
abortion, suicide, euthanasia, fetal
tissue research, murder, and capital
punishment are reduced to a single
concept. Most Americans - indeed,
most ethicists and moral philosophers - don't see it as so simple an
issue. Each of those subjects is complex, and people will disagree on
whether or not it is possible to "murder" clumps of fetal tissue in the
same way one kills a human being.
Going to the other extreme, though,
John Paul told a throng of followers
in Mexico City: "This is our cry: life
with dignity for all. For all who have
been conceived in their mother's
womb, for street children, for
AfroAmericans, for immigrants
refugees, for the young deprived of
opportunity ..."

Page 9

Randy Gorman can solve the problem

of the National debt
On To St. Louis
The pope's plane, dubbed "Good
Shepherd," touched down in St.
Louis on Tuesday, January 26.
Although the pontiff would be staying only 36-hours, his itinerary was
packed with public ceremonies and
private meetings with political and
ecclesiastical officials. On hand to
greet John Paul II at Lambert Field
were President Bill Clinton and
First Lady Hillary Clinton. From
the moment "Good Shepherd" landed, any semblance of a "wall" separating religious ritual from the
expenditure of government money
ceased to exist.
Subsidizing the Pope's
American Visit
American Atheists had scheduled a two-day conference and picket in connection with the papal visit.
This included Tuesday's "OPPOSING THEOCRACY - Standing Up
To The Vatican's Political Agenda
for America" conference at a local
hotel. As members arrived in St.
Louis, it was clear to all that this
visit would follow the pattern set in

Page 10

previous papal road shows, including the "blowout" of non-related

Vatican news in the media, and a
pervasive use of government money
to support the pope's activities. We
constantly encountered the /refrain
in both print and electronic media
that John Paul's visit to St. Louis "is
bigger than if the President himself
came." Indeed, the President of the
United States did come, and that
fact was reduced to the status of a
footnote in the whole affair. Media
wondered whether the pope had
mentioned Clinton's dalliances with
Monica Lewinsky in the course of
their twenty-minute gathering.
American Atheists had also
become used to another threadbare
refrain, one often heard when objections are raised about the use of
public monies for these papal visits:
"The Pope is here as a head of
state ..." This presumably justifies
the expenditure of public funds for
everything but explicitly and directly-related religious activities. In the
case of St. Louis, those expenses
were considerable:
700 of the city's 3,500 police
officers were mobilized for "security"
during the papal visit, and another
200 for traffic control. Sixty other
police agencies from the area contributed another 800 police officers,
who were allegedly "fed and housed
by the archdiocese."16 Backing up
the police was a small army of federal officers including agents from
the US Secret Service.
"About 95% of downtown
streets were repaved," and the
twelve-mile papal parade route was
decorated "from the airport through
downtown to the Trans World
Anticipating an influx of as
many as 500,000 people for some
part of the Vatican road show, normal life in the city came to a halt.
Businesses in the downtown section
shut down (often under the coercive
threat of "security"), traffic was rerouted, and hospitals went on emergency stand-by.
With police, public officials
Spring 1999

and media (especially an obsequious

St. Louis Post-Dispatch) predicting
record crowds, clogged freeways,
and long lines of rubber-necking
Roman Catholics,
some public
schools reduced or canceled classes
altogether in order to accommodate
the papal visit. The Post-Dispatch
noted, "School officials in the city of
St. Louis and the Bayless School
District also decided to close
schooL." In addition, the Missouri
Education Commissioner, Robert E.
Bartman asked area school superintendents to "adjust" their calendars
as well for January 26 and 27.18
Bayless Superintendent
Sucharski justified his district's
decision to close schools for the
papal visit from both a practical
standpoint - "traffic concerns" - but
then added "This (the pope's visit) is
a once-in-a-lifetime event. We're
talking about a world leader that
probably people in the world know
more than anyone else.
765 trees were planted on
city streets "to mark the pope's
visit."19 "This is the biggest grassroots effort for the pope's visit,"
gushed Mary Lou Green of Operation Brightside, described as a nonprofit city beautification organization. While the cost of an individual
tree, $15 purportedly came from
donations, city personnel and equipment were used to plant them. On
Friday, December 18, 1998, St.
Louis Mayor Clarence Harmon dedicated a brass plaque in front of one
of the trees on Forest Park Boulevard during a ceremony with
Archbishop Justin F. Rigali. Based
on Harmon's statements
to the
media, up to 1,000 trees would eventually be planted. "As a practicing
Catholic, it is a true honor and a
privilege I never dreamt I would
ever experience in my life," declared
A very revealing statement
appeared in the Post-Dispatch:
"Neither the archbishop nor the
mayor said he knew exact costs of
the (papal) visit. Harmon said that
until all the overtime expenses for
American Atheist

loaned police are added up, the city

will not know costs. The city's costs
will be detailed and announced after
the visit... "20
Another government subsidy appeared in the form of a
$400,000 grant to St. Louis to combat "terrorism" during the pope's
visit. In July, 1998, it was
announced that St. Louis had not
been selected to receive some of the
$12 million being distributed by the
US Department of Justice since its
population was too small.s! But St.
Louis fire chief Neil- Svetanics complained that exclusion "may hurt
the city's ability to protect Pope
John Paul II during his January
visit." Rep. Bill Clay (D-St. Louis)
also expressed disenchantment in a
letter to Attorney general Janet
Reno. Even so, Justice Department
spokesman Christopher
declared "there is nothing we can
do" about the city's declining population, which excluded it from
receiving the grant money.
Incredibly, between July of last
year and the time ofthe pope's visit,
something did change: $400,000 in
the form of an "anti-terrorism"
grant brought a small army of

AI Griffin has classified the pope.

Parsippany, New Jersey

Messages brought by American Atheists to St Louis

seem clear enough.
agents and hi-tech equipment to
town, just in time for the papal visit.
More revealing was the fact that the
46 cities originally chosen to receive
equipment won grants ranging from
$150,000 to as much as $500,000.
For a city not in the original running for the funding, the $400,000
gift was indeed ''heaven sent."
While officials would cite
the pope's role as head of state as
the rationale for providing "infrastructure" support - traffic cops and
trash pick-up - other expenses more
related to religious ritual crept in to
the city budget. Case in point: taxpayers picked up a $48,000 tab paid
for hiring the orchestra which performed at the papal Mass in the
Trans World Dome.22 That money
came from a grant from the Missouri Arts Council. Spokesman
Christiana Heithaus justified the
expense, declaring, "Obviously, we
don't view it as a purely religious
What was the total tab for
the papal visit? And how much did
taxpayers put out? The real cost of
the pope's tour is difficult to calculate. "Of the $2.7 million in governmental expenses, the city of St.
Louis is in for more than $1 million
of its own money, and the state of
Missouri about $800,000."23 The
Post-Dispatch noted the $400,000 in
Spring 1999

anti-terrorism money. The paper

estimated the total expense at $7
million. It is not known, however, if
that accounting includes the state
tourism agency's promotion of the
papal visit ($530,000), an estimated
$10,000 in incidental emergency
medical costs, and $100,000 to "rent
and manage" satellite parking lots.
In addition to financial subsidies, there were other actions
which public officials took which
may well have violated the Establishment Clause. These include the
renaming and promotion of a downtown area, the parkway between
City Hall and Soldiers memorial,
which was rechristened
Other costs associated with the
visit may never be known. Throughout the downtown' area, colorful
banners commemorating the pope's
visit hung from municipal light
poles. The federal government
apparently covered the cost of the
pope's arrival and meeting at
Lambert field with the Clintons,
Archbishop Rigali, and some 2,300
hand-picked guests. While justified
as a "state" visit, news reports noted
that the crowd "was singing religious songs when giant television
monitors showed President Bill
Clinton stepping from Air Force
Page 11

One can safely assume that these bishops didn't have to pay for parking.
Joining the Clintons in rolling
out the welcome wagon for John Paul
was a host of political dignitaries,
including three members of the federal cabinet, Missouri Gov. Mel
Carnahan, House Minority Leader
Richard Gephardt, St. Louis Mayor
Harmon, and St. Louis County
Executive George R. Westfall.
Political Pressure
While foreign political dignitaries and heads of state would
discuss international
affairs when meeting with the
President of the United States, John
Paul II took a different tack. It is
known that during his 20-minute private meeting with Mr. Clinton, the
pope focused not only on the situation in Africa and the Middle East,
but on issues closer to home- like
abortion rights.
Other issues got mixed in with
the pope's visit as well, such as the
question of capital punishment. In
December of 1998, the Missouri
Supreme Court rescheduled the execution of Darrell J. Mease which had
been set for the night that Pope John
Paul II was scheduled to spend in St.
Louis. Mease, 42, had purportedly
ambushed and murdered a former
drug partner and two other individuals in 1998. There was no public reason given for the court's decision, but
an attorney who had challenged
many of the state's death sentence
penalties suggested that it was to
avoid "the adverse publicity" of executing an inmate in the midst of the
papal tour.25
Page 12

John Paul II has been a vocal

critic of the death penalty, and uses
the issue of capitol punishment to
link. to other positions which reflect
church doctrines, including the "life"
stance in respect to abortion rights,
fetal tissue research, and euthanasia.
Within hours of the pope's departure from St. Louis, Gov. Mel
Carnahan permanently commuted
the death sentence which had been
pronounced on Mease. According to
news reports, Carnahan made after
meeting with the pope when the pontiff reportedly told him, "Have mercy
on Mr. Mease."26
A "Papal Moment" of
But John Paul's pleading, and
Governor Carnahan's new-found sensibilities on the capital punishment
debate did not sit well with many
people. Three jurors who sat on
Darrell Mease's trial lashed out at
the decision.s? "I'm pretty mad that
the pope can come over and undo
what we did on the jury," declared
Helen Locke. Juror Duane Mariage
"said that the jury had to set aside
passion - why not the governor?"
Ironically, the jury for Mease's trial
came from Green County, "an area
known as the Bible Belt for its abundance of churches and bedrock conservatism," according to the PostDispatch.
Letters to the editor expressed
similar opinions. One writer opined
that the pope "does not have the
authority to dictate the decisions of
Spring 1999

our judicial system or influence the

allocation of our tax dollars."28
"Is the Vatican willing to feed,
clothe, house and rehabilitate Mease
for however long he lives by transferring him to the Vatican," asked a
South County couple?
"How dare the governor erase the
countless hours of effort, time, and
money that the jury, judge, prosecutors, investigators and families of the
victims have to endure," declared
another. The governor came in for
harsher words: "After all, the great
people of Missouri pay his salary, not
the Vatican."
Another writer posed a more
complex question: "So the governor
has been persuaded to commute the
death sentence of a convicted killer!
Do I dare hope he is now ready to
commute the death sentences inflicted day in and day out on innocent little boys and girls in the abortion
mills of our state?"
And Post-Dispatch
writer Bill
McClellan, in one of the few critical
pieces which appeared in mass media
concerning the papal visit, charged
"Giddy Carnahan was carried away
by a Papal Moment." McClellan compared the governor's "intoxication" as
he basked in the pope's patience with
folks who give home-run balls back to
Mark McGwire insisting "I don't
want a million dollars, I'd rather
have a signed bat." The governor "got
hooked on a feeling," and his actions
were "a terrible way to run a state."

American Atheist

Mobilization For Consensus

Perhaps the most overwhelming
and objectionable aspect of John
Paul's visit to America, and specifically to St. Louis, was the uncritical
and fawning attitude of mass media.
Inevitably, when local media covers
this sort of event, the concept of
"news" is suborned, and the papal
road show takes on the coloration of a
glitzy infomercial with an audience of
unthinking hand clappers. St. Louis
replicated the pattern American
Atheists has seen elsewhere during
previous papal visits - in New York,
Phoenix, Denver, Chicago and elsewhere.
Local media often preempt any
national media information, so the
net effect is to "blow away" a substantial amount of other news and
instead devote extravagant quantities of ink and air time to the pope's
every move, and every conceivable
story connected with his arrival. In
St. Louis, for instance, commentators
and reporters generated considerable
copy over the weather report, and
how a local order of nuns had spent
the last several months praying fervently for clear skies. (There was no
mention of meteorological havoc elsewhere in the world, though, such as
floods which claimed hundred oflives
in Latin America, where the pope
had just visited.)
In effect, publicity for the papal
tour "took over" the pages of the leading newspaper and the evening news
coverage. Headlines began to read
like publicity broadsides rather than
legitimate news stories. And the
"pump" began building even before
John Paul II landed in St. Louis.
"As visit draws to a close, Mexico
basks in warmth" declared the PostDispatch headline for January 26.
Already the pope was big news, and a
7" x 11" color photo graced the front
page and depicted two men atop ladders decorating the entrance of the
local cathedral.
"Kiel will be jammin' with music,
joy, spirit" declared another full banner, suggesting "Service will draw
power from special chemistry
between pope, the young." That story
began what turned out to be a series
of publicity pieces that included phoParsippany, NewJersey

tos of people in various states of

ecstatic bliss, eyes closed, arms
raised, mouths open, presumably in
an altered state of (un)consciousness.
"Politicians hustle to meet the
pope," headlined another piece which
noted, "Presidents once avoided the
pontiff, but in the United States,
John Paul II is a hot item.
From there, coverage went further downhill. Local news inevitably
included the customary talking
heads, but always in the company of
a local Roman Catholic "spokesman"
who was on the set to "help us understand" or "interpret what is going
on."29 The Post-Dispatch became a
hand-out and collectable hyping the
pontifical tour. A special supplement
titled "Springtime of Faith" was lavishly illustrated with half-page color
photos and insightful headlines such
as "John Paul breaks bread with
"John Paul's simple theme
stresses sanctity of life," declared
another, along with such provocative
topics as "What would you tell the
pope?" Ads for "papal commemoratives" were everywhere, too, hawking
the usual line of religious kitsch,
including jewelry, commemorative
tee shirts, caps, tote bags and plates.
A $4.95 cup was christened an "angel
mug" and offered under the elevated

Spring 1999

heading of "The Vatican Museum

American Atheists Speaks Out
Criticism of the pope's visit was
generally muted; unlike New York,
there seemed to be minimal involvement from the groups most targeted
by the Vatican's social and cultural
agenda - gays, women, advocates of
abortion rights.
Protestant fundamentalists and
Pentecostal extremists were organized, and saturated the papal events
- including the mass at the Trans
World Dome - with lavishly illustrated booklets that argued arcane theological differences with the pope. A
90-page booklet from "Modern
Manna Ministries" in California, for
instance, attacked the church's fixation with the cult of the Virgin Mary.
Literature from other groups suggested that the pope and his church
were "the beast," a theme which has
resonated in the debate between
Protestants and Catholics for centuries.
Some protests did occur from
Catholic lay groups which simply
want more inclusion in the rites and
administration of the church. A number of Catholic Women camped out in
front ofArchbishop Rigali's palace for
a candle-light vigil. The "alternative"

Page 13

home in New Jersey,

American Atheists still
managed to "give a
damn" and raise some
crucial issues in the
middle of a compelling
and all-consuming religious spectacle.
Pope John Paul II
may not be back to
visit America. Eightyfive trips overseas and
years of life constitute,
admittedly, quite an
American Atheists President Ellen Johnson gives the accomplishment even
if for the wrong cause.
media a different picture of the pope's visit.
It is highly questionweekly paper in the area, The
able whether his successor will subRiverfront Times, likewise confined
stantially change the course the
itself to this "in the church" debate,
church has taken - one which places
noting that while St. Louis was welit squarely on a collision course with
coming the pope, "many devout
enlightenment, globalization, and
Catholics don't feel so welcomed by
modernity in general. There is no
him. They say he's blocking the fight
guarantee that Atheists can win that
for women, intellectuals,
nonconfrontation. The Vatican has twenWesterners, gays, lesbians and
ty centuries of experience and reremarried Catholics - and dimming
sources to draw upon, and, alas,
the prospects for an inclusive
there is always that streak in the
human character that secretly wishOne reason why more groups
es to bow, submit, and bask in the
might not have chosen to protest the
aura of an avuncular if authoritarian
visit of Pope John Paul could be the
father figure.
very rationale for why the Vatican
chose St. Louis. The city enjoys a long
Catholic history, and the church
1 Washington Post, Friday, 22 January
counts nearly 650,000 adherents in
1999 "This Papal Visit Is Brought To You
the area. It has a sprawling Parochial
By... (article by John Ward Anderson).
school system, and thus a large "cus2 Ibid.
tomer base" which could mobilized to
3 Ibid.
4 Associated Press, 23 January 1999.
produce a good turnout.
5 Washington Post, 24 January 1999, "Pope
American Atheists gathered outside
Moves to Reverse Catholicism's Decline in
the Trans World Dome with a more
the Americas," article by Molly Moore and
focused message. Signs called for the
John Ward Anderson.
separation of church and state, and
6 Ibid.
7 Ibid.
an end to the US Government's diplo8 New age and UFO groups have become
matic recognition of the Vatican.
popular throughout Mexico and much of
American Atheists President Ellen
Latin America. Spurred on by the growth
Johnson kept busy with interviews.
of the internet and the popularity of
This writer is of the opinion that at
"tabloid" style programs the popular
times some reporters were relieved to
media, there have also been several epi.demics of alleged flying saucer sightings,
be covering an alternative point of
including one in Mexico City.
view amidst the papal ''''blowout'' and
9 Scholars have not overlooked the inherent
spectacle. Our "Opposing Theocracy"
symbolism of the Virgin, and her identifiConference was lightly attended, but
cation with fertility symbols including the
the reception to the speakers was
cusp moon, or even horns.
10 Associated Press, 7 September 1996.
positive. In short, in the midst of disSchulemburg had earlier submitted his
ruptions like the relocation of our
resignation as head of the Basilica
American Atheist Center to a new
because of his age, 80 years.
Page 14

Spring 1999

11 Washington Post, 24 January 1999.

12 The church's role in helping to facilitate
the final stages of disintegration of the
former Soviet block are well documented.
Indeed, the Vatican served as a conduit
for money from Western governments and
the Central Intelligence Agency to insurgent movements within Eastern Europe,
including the Solidarity Union in Poland.
But especially in Poland, Europeans finally liberated from the military and
economic fetters of Moscow - found themselves facing a new would-be master. As a
result, the tension with Russia has now
been replaced in many former Eastern
block nations with a new paradigm of confrontation between secularism and the
efforts of religious groups (especially the
Roman Catholic Church) to take control,
especially in matters of education, abortion, and other rights for women. The
Church remains adamant that people
"now have too much freedom," and are
succumbing to the maladies of secularism
and consumer culture.
13 AANEWS, 30 November 1997.
14 Washington Post, 29 November 1998.
15 Ibid.
16 USA TODAY, 26 January 1999.
17 Ibid.
18 St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
24 December
19 St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
19 December
20 Ibid.
21 Columbia Missouri Tribune OnLine, 13
July 1998.
22 St. Louis Post Dispatch, 26 January 1999,
"The Cost of the Visit" by Mark
23 Ibid.
24 St. Louis Post Dispatch, January 27,1999
"Meeting with Clinton joins patriotism,
spirit" by Jo Mannies, Mark Schlinkmann
and Terence Samuel.
25 St. Louis Post Dispatch, December 2, 1998
26 St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
January 28,
1998, "Carnahan grants pope's plea to
spare killer's life," by Kim Bell
27 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 29,1999
28 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 31, 999,
Editorial section
29 Atheists have frequently encountered the
dilemma of being asked to appear on a
talk program or interview show, only to
find that Rev. so-and-so or Father X was
there, too. Such tactics are often justified
as providing "balance" to a program.
Unfortunately, when prominent religious
leaders including the pope speak out, this
same desire for "balance" does not appear
to reign, and Atheists are not invited onto
the program.

American Atheist

Why We Picket
The Pope
by Ellen Johnson
As President of American Atheists, Ellen Johnson presided over a
special American Atheists conclave in St. Louis at the time of the
foray of Pope John Paul II into that city in January of 1999. The
theme of the conference was "Opposing Theocracy: Standing up to
the Vatican's Political Agenda for America." In her speech for
that occasion, Ms. Johnson explains why American Atheists
always pickets the pontiffs invasions of America.

hose of you who will be joining us in tomorrow's picket are carrying on a tradition that began two decades ago not too far
from here - in Chicago, in 1979. American Atheists became the
first organization in the United States - and possibly in the world
- to go out and picket the Pope of Rome. There were 47 people
there for that demonstration; because of that, they earned the
affectionate title of "The Chicago 47."
When the pope made subsequent visits to the United States,
American Atheists was there too: in Phoenix, San Diego, New
York, and Denver. Sometimes we were alone - especially when we
demonstrated in Chicago. But as the years have gone on we have
found much to our pleasant surprise that at least some groups are
now willing to join us on the picket line.
Tomorrow we will be asked by both theists and Atheists,
"Why are you bothering to picket the pope?" We are told that we
are wasting our time. Some have said, "How dare you picket that
dear, sweet man?" Well, I want to discuss the reasons why we are
going to picket the pope tomorrow and why we shouldn't be the
only ones out there doing it. The pope has an agenda for America,
and it is not just for Catholic Americans. His agenda is intended
for all Americans.
Why are we picketing? It is all about freedom and the
Constitution. It's about the freedom to think for yourself, to have
control over your own body, to be free from the strictures of religious ideology. It's about the separation of state and church; it's
about defending our constitutional liberties against the intrusion
of religious dogmas. It concerns choice, freedom of the mind, and

The Catholic Church has a new tactic in undermining

American women's access to reproductive services: controlling the
hospitals women go to for those services. About sixty percent of
women access healthcare through these services. The magazine
Nation did a story on this in its January issue, where it reported
According to the records ofthe Catholic Health Association,
10 percent of nonfederal hospitals and 15 percent of nonfederal hospital beds are Catholic. And Catholic hospitals are
the largest nonprofit healthcare
provider. The Catholic
church currently owns five of the ten largest hospital corporations - amounting to more than 800 hospitals and healthcare systems and caring for more than 70 million patients.
As Catholic HMOs proliferate, they are serving a growing
number of Medicaid patients as well, which is a frightening
prospect for low-income women; because as more and more
hospitals merge with Catholic hospitals, the result has been
that in half of those instances, reproductive health services
have either been cut back or wiped out completely. It is called
stealth elimination. The result is a healthcare system that
effectively bypasses not just Roe v Wade, but Griswold v
Connecticut - the 1965 Supreme Court decision that allowed
married couples to use contraception.
Let me assure you that the reasons why the Roman Catholic
Church is making war on abortion rights for women isn't just
because they are concerned about clumps of fetal tissue. The real
issue here is an old one - the status of women. Western Christianity has served to reinforce the institutions of patriarchy, the
notion that women were a form of chattel property, that women
should be "silent in the churches" as the Bible commands. Without
Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Sanger, Elizabeth Cady Stantonjust to name a few who have opposed this patriarchal system where would we be today? Do you think that positive change for
women would come out of the Vatican?

freedom from religion.

What about gay rights?

The Roman Catholic Church remains a leading threat to civil

liberties, the rights of Atheists (and a lot of other people tool), and
the separation of government and religion. It remains in the forefront of the effort to abolish reproductive rights for women. Over
the past four years, it has campaigned vigorously against lateterm abortions, and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops
has even gone as far as to condemn the president of the United
States for vetoing bans on such operations. When bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and local priests get on television and talk
about the alleged evils oflate-term abortions, the real agenda is to
use that as a wedge in trying to eventually ban all abortions - at
any term and under any circumstances.

The foreign entity known as the Vatican is in the forefront of

the campaign to slur and marginalize ten percent of the world's
population, which happens to be gay. Gay men and women who
are struggling for simple legal equality can always count on the
full opposition of the Roman Catholic Church. Take the issue of
medical benefits for same-sex partners. A few cities like San
Francisco, and even many companies such as Disney, are finally
enlightened enough to extend equal coverage to both same-sex
and mixed-sex partners. When they campaign for that equal treatment under the law, they inevitably have to go up against the considerable opposition of the Roman Catholic prelates.

What especially outrages me, as both a woman and a

mother of two wonderful children, is that a group of men,
supposedly celibate, at the urging of a foreign potentate the pope - want to use the American political system to
take away what is a legal right in this country.

It never ceases to amaze me how the pope convinces

the American people that he truly wants civil and equal
rights for all people when it is religious institutions like
the Catholic Church that are exempt from all anti-discrimination laws.


New Jersey

Spring 1999

Page 15

Women should be equal with men says the pope. BUT, not in
the Church where they cannot be priests. The Catholic Church will
take government money to house AIDS patients in their nursing
homes but will not follow laws that require safe-sex counseling
and condom distribution for those patients. They do not have to
abide by fair-employment laws in their hospitals and even claim
that hospital unions are contrary to the teachings of Jesus.
So, if you ask me WHY ARE WE HERE? WHY ARE WE
PROTESTING? at least part of my answer has to focus on these
two issues - gay rights and equal rights for women.

What about the Atheist?

The catechism
be regarded as one
I guess that reason
and love of humans

Funding Parochial Schools

Another issue which has emerged since 1979 is the question
of public funding of Roman Catholic and other religious schools.
Historically, the Catholics and Protestants have battled each other
over control of the minds of the nation's youngsters. In Baltimore,
Philadelphia, and other cities, full-scale riots took place during the
nineteenth century, as sectarian mobs battled in the streets over
whose version of the Bible was to be used during religious instruction in the public schools.
You can be proud that it was a lawsuit filed by an Atheist, the
founder of this organization, Madalyn O'Hair, which was one of
the pivotal cases - Murray v Curlett - that ended the practice of
forced prayer and Bible-verse recitation in the public schools of
America. You can also be proud of the fact that Murray v Curlett
stands tall as the first legal suit of its kind that unabashedly stated a case for Atheist civil rights, for freedom from religious indoctrination and coercion. Murray boldly let the world know that, in
that case, "Your petitioners are Atheists ..."
It was this contest over whose version of the Bible was to be
used in the public schools that precipitated the founding of the
parochial school system. Today that question faces us as religious
institutions mobilize behind the so-called "charter and private
school voucher" movement. We know that in city after city,
whether you're talking about New York or Milwaukee, the greatest beneficiaries of voucher programs are the parochial schools,
where legal discrimination on the basis of IQ, religion, gender,
race, and sexual orientation.
We also know that vouchers and charter schools drain money
away from our nation's public schools. You, as a taxpayer, indirectly fund religious organizations, including schools, through
your tax money. You can pay for busing of students, textbooks, and
other materials so long as "technically," that subsidy does not pay
for religious indoctrination. But let's admit it, and stop the legal
obfuscation - we all know that the parents who receive the money
are simply the conduits for that money to be funneled into the
Catholic schools which are nothing more than the extensions of
The voucher issue isn't about "bettering
education" or
"putting kids first." If the supporters of charter schools were really interested in those goals, they would be out supporting the public school system rather than trying to destroy it. It isn't about creating "safer" schools or "fighting drugs." It's about getting rid of
the nation's secular educational system, and herding tens of millions of American youngsters into religious schools. AND, having
the taxpayer pick up the tab. That is what it is really all about!

of the Catholic Church states "Atheism must

of the most serious problems of our time." Well,
- rather than superstition - scientific thinking,
over love of ghosts are all serious problems for
the Catholic Church, but not for America. Still, this is Roman
Catholic bigotry and every' able-bodied Atheist in America should
make a point of being here in St. Louis to challenge the words of
the Catholic Catechism. When we march tomorrow at the papal
mass, another of the points American Atheists will be raising is
the issue of diplomatic recognition of the Vatican. In 1980, Ronald
Reagan was elected President, and it was under his administration that the US government extended full diplomatic recognition
to the Vatican. This makes the Roman Catholic Church both a religious and a political entity. The Vatican is a geopolitical entity: it
has ambassadors, it has diplomatic ties throughout the world. It
has observers and representatives
at the United Nations, and it
has an apparatus-of-state working in capitals such as Washington,
Diplomatic recognition of the Vatican is wrong and should be
withdrawn. It is unconstitutional; it is violative of the principle of
separation of state and church. Non-Catholics - and this includes
the 25 million or so Americans who are Atheists or profess no religious belief - are compelled, through their tax dollars, to support
this diplomatic arrangement. And this special diplomatic status
for the Vatican makes the Roman Catholic Church the only religious entity receiving such special treatment by the US government. No religious entity - Protestant, Jewish Islamic, you name
it - is accorded this privilege, nor should it be. So let me say that
one of the goals of American Atheists is to call upon the Congress
of the United States to end official diplomatic recognition of the
When the foreign pope and his prelates call for action against
reproductive rights, and the Catholic bishops pass declarations
condemning our president, or spend millions of dollars in publicity campaigns for or against legislation (which they do illegally,
because tax-exempt religious entities are prohibited from lobbying
by the IRS) aren't they de facto acting as agents of another country? We continue to hear revelations about the soft money scandal
which enveloped the 1996 presidential campaign, a scandal which
has raised questions about foreign "countries and interests" meddling in our American political process. We would be outraged if
the Russian Federation, or China, or any other country- especial- .
ly one which is not democratic - insisted on conducting political
campaigns, threatening candidates and telling voters how to vote
on issues which affect our lives. We would be outraged if any foreign leader, whether it be Tony Blair or Boris Yeltsin or Muammar
Qaddafi, funneled money into this nation with the goal of restricting American civil liberties, or telling voters which candidates
they may select, or threatening political leaders with retaliation
and even excommunication (if they happen to be Catholic). But
this is precisely what the so-called "Holy See" is doing. Some
Catholic officials like Cardinal John O'Connor have even gone as
far as to threaten our public officials with excommunication and
damnation in hell if they don't toe the church line on the abortion

There is another area I want to briefly talk about, and that

concerns the impact of organized religion, and especially the
Roman Catholic Church, on our pocketbooks. In 1974, J. P.
Tarcher, Inc., published a book written by Madalyn O'Hair titled
Freedom Under Siege. It still stands as one of the few books ever
published which tried to excavate the truth about the financial
holdings of religious groups in America, especially the Vatican.

Page 16



What about sexual crimes committed by the clergy?

We will picket the pope tomorrow because he and the popes
before him have turned a blind eye to the thousands upon thousands of sexual assaults committed against women and children
by those who supposedly should know better - the clergy. If religion makes people more "moral," then one would think that those
who are "professionally religious" would be the most moral. But
no. One of the more despicable aspects about the predatory clergy
that has so outraged me when reading about these cases in the
newspapers is that the church and the clergy never admit guilt
and never apologize for their heinous crimes. When the church
gets sued over these cases, it pays up and that's it.

The Church in Your Pocketbook



Now, back to an earlier point. I asked: how would Americans react

if Tom Blair or Muammar Qaddafi, or some other foreign leader
openly and aggressively poured money into the American political
process with the intent of electing candidates and influencing legislation. I think most people would be outraged.
So let me rephrase this question: how would Americans feel if
they knew that a foreign political entity had accumulated vast

financial holdings in this country, everything from real property to

financial instruments, and that most of these holding were tax
exempt? How would they feel?
Madalyn O'Hair's book - and remember, this was written
twenty-five years ago - talked about the corporations, holding
companies, stock portfolios, and other assets which religious
groups in the United States had accumulated. Much of it was and
is tax exempt. The figures about church wealth were based only on
the public record. It told only a part of the larger story. Another
point, is that we simply do not know what the total holdings of
religious groups are in the United States. It's generally agreed
that the Roman Catholic Church leads the pack in terms of
wealth, but because of the tax laws and the history of this nation
- and again, I suggest that you get a hold of Freedom Under Siege
- because of this, we simply have no way of ever discovering the
full holdings of churches and other religious groups. In 1974,
O'Hair estimated that the average American was paying hundreds
of dollars a year extra in taxes, because the churches didn't pay
While we're on the topic of economics, let me just say something about another popular stereotype. One of the arguments we
constantly hear as Atheists, especially when we talk about the
fmancial power of religious groups is "Well what about all of the
charity the churches provide?" My response is that I am very gratified when religious institutions employ Atheism to help solve
society's problems. After all, feeding, providing medical treatment,
housing, and clothing is Atheism. Praying or waiting for miracles
is the province of the religious.
Let's look at some statistics. Since the 1960s, religious groups
have moved aggressively into the "business" of obtaining public
funding to operate social services. The government has permitted
this because it put in place "guidelines" which stipulated that this
money could not presumably be used for religious proselytizing,
which is the same rationale which is cited on behalf of aid to
parochial schools. So, you can have a "Catholic" hospital which
accepts Medicare, or a religious agency which runs homeless shelters or other social outreaches and is funded with government
money. And for the government, anyway, as long as this funding
isn't used directly for proselytizing, that's okay.
Most of the money for these religious social services comes
from us - the taxpayer. We know that last year, for instance, over
60% of the revenue for National Catholic Charities, Inc., which is
the largest religion-oriented
charity except for the Salvation
Army, came from public funding resources. It didn't come from the
local parishioners or the bishop, or even the Vatican - it came out
of your pickets. A lot of religious groups are cashing in on something called "Community Development Block Grants." This basically doles out government money - your money - to any non-profit organization that has a social program.
So, we have to ask ourselves: why, if we're going to spend public monies on schools, or shelters, or rehab programs, or anything
else, why should it be funneled through religious groups which
inevitably end up getting the credit? There's something else for
you to remember. We know that in plenty of cases these religious
groups are making money for their administrative
They're paying salaries, or the money is moving around and we
don't always have a full accounting, and the religious groups end
up benefiting. Let me give you one example, in Perth Amboy, New
Jersey - and this is just one example, in one state, that we happen
to know about - public money paid for the purchase and renovaParsippany,

New Jersey


tion of an old movie theater which is owned by a neighborhood

church and is used for worship services. It's also used for other
functions which are euphemistically placed under the catch-all
phrase of "community services," but this is all you need to do in
order to have the government, that is, you, the taxpayer, pick up
the tab.
Unfortunately, I cannot tell you exactly how much money is
being siphoned out of the public treasury and into the bank
accounts of groups like National Catholic Charities. We simply
don't know. Congress, the Office of the Budget, other government
agencies - nobody is keeping any sort of central data base that we
know of that provides you with that information. I can tell you
that none state where we have begun to investigate, and this is
thanks to our New Jersey State Director, Dave Silverman, we're
fmding evidence of millions of dollars being funneled into religious
social programs. And when you call the government agency that is
handing out the money, and you ask what sort of oversight program they have in place to make sure that there is no violation of
the establishment clause, or that the money is not being used to
facilitate religious indoctrination or rituals, they have no idea. In
fact, we know of cases where state attorneys have simply "signed
off' on these programs, and there is often little or no follow up or
enforcement of state-church separation guidelines. We give them
the money, they walk. It's that simple.

Evading the Reporting of Income

Let's make one thing perfectly clear about religion and social
services. No religious group ever gets into the area of social services unless it can proselytize. This includes hospitals and schools.
If they couldn't proselytize they wouldn't get involved. And I think
it is important to mention one more thing about religion and charity. If an organization provides charitable work, it can take its tax
exemption under the category of health, education, and welfare as
a 501c3 organization. But, it then has to file form 990s with the
Internal Revenue Service reporting annually on what it does with
its income. Religious groups that provide charitable services never
take that 501c3, because they don't want to report on their income.
They take their exemption under Religion so that they don't have
to report to anyone, not the government and not their followers,
what they do with their money.
So, one of the areas that American Atheists is going to be
moving into, concerns this whole question of public funding of religion-based groups. We've always been told that religious groups
are wary of public funding because it might result in their loss of
"independence" or somehow "compromise" their outreach. We do
not see any evidence of this. In fact, often we see just the opposite.
I think that faith-based groups are getting greedier than ever
when it comes to fmding a way to tap into the public treasury, and
they have support for this from both ends of the political spectrum.
As you know, we've been working hard to establish what we call a
"beachhead" in our nation's capital, Washington, DC, so that we
can start monitoring more closely the legislative process. Looking
into the next millennium, I see American Atheists getting more
involved in the fight to end this dangerous trend toward public
funding of religion. We're up against both the liberals and the conservatives on this one, just like we are when it comes to the
Religious Freedom Restoration Act. You have political figures like
Congressman J. C. Watts and his American Community Renewal
Act, which would prohibit the government from discriminating:
against faith-based social programs. What Watts' bill is all about

is public funding of religion.

At the other end of the political spectrum you have liberal
religious groups like the Call to Action who are demanding a socalled "partnership" between churches and the government. So,
looking ahead, I think that the state-church separation fights of
the coming years will not just include prayer in schools, or nativity displays at Christmas time, but this whole question of public

Page 17

funding of religious institutions

and programs. I think that
American Atheists will become more involved in this fight against
what amounts to a special religious tax, even if it is an indirect
American Atheists opposes the nation's largest tax-exempt
organization, the Roman Catholic Church, calling for social programs which are funded by the American taxpayer. This is what
the pope will be speaking about during his visit to St. Louis. Last
week he said that "international
institutions, national governments, and the centers controlling the world economy must all
undertake brave plans and projects to insure a more just sharing
of the goods of the world." He offered the church's social teaching
"as an indispensable and ideal orientation" for governments to follow. Translation: Give the money to the church.
It is hypocritical for the pope to denounce the "culture of consumerism," or castigate working people who want to enjoy some
material pleasures in life, while priceless treasures and trappings
adorn the Vatican. I should also note that I recently saw a nun
selling religious doodads from a vendor's cart in a shopping mall.
I guess that is not considered materialistic. Don't get me wrong even if the pope and the archbishops lived in mud huts and begged
on the street for food, even then they should not have the right or
the power to dictate the lifestyles of Americans, or anyone else.
Incidentally, Ijust heard a new phrase to describe secularists.
I suspect we will hear it more and more, since a replacement for
"Atheist and Communist" has been needed for a long time. The
new term is "secular and alienated." Did you know that you are
The Religious Assault on Civil Liberties
Let's discuss the religious assault on civil liberties. Religious
groups in the United States have always called for the censorship
of books, magazine, plays, and other forms of communication.
Some of you in this audience (especially if you are a recovered
Catholic) might remember the notorious Index which was the
Vatican's official "hit list" oftaboo publications or programs which
the faithful were forbidden to see. Now, think about that, what
kind of social organization, what kind of political or religious
movement sets up lists of what it does not want adults to see or
read? Now what we see is religious groups protesting anything
which they consider to be demeaning or insulting to faith per se.
It's not just the Christian Coalition, or the Reverend Donald
Wildmon's American Family Association. I thing that we also have
to start being concerned about the Catholic League for Civil
Rights, a poorly-named organization if there ever was one. The
Catholic League isn't about "civil rights." It is an insult to our
intelligence, and to the language, for them to appropriate those
words. The League IS about trying to stifle any critics of the
church, or those who might make insulting or questioning remarks
about the Catholic faith.
As an Atheist, I don't think that ANY group, or topic should
be immune from critical examination or debate. And that includes
us. You find Atheists being smeared in all sorts of ways today,
especially in the media. I recently saw a poll which suggested that
nearly 20% of voters would not cast their ballots for a candidate
who did not believe in a god. It's only recently that Atheists have
won the right to serve on juries, or hold public office in some
states. If Roman Catholics were discriminated against in this fashion, they would surely be up in arms and invoke the cause of "civil
rights." I don't see "the Atheist police" out passiilg laws to restrict
what people may write, read, see, or hear. I don't see us telling
women or gays or anyone else what they may do with their bodies.
Let me wrap this up by getting closer to home. We know from
past visits by the pope that these extravaganzas never end up
being paid for entirely by the Roman Catholic Church. I didn't
invite John Paul II here, and neither did you. Why should we be

Page 18

compelled to finance this or any other visit? I would rather see that
money spent on the public schools, not the papal road show.
Recently there has been a spate of news coverage about the
Church of Scientology and other religious cults. Scientology is
often taken to task for believing that there was an enormous intergalactic battle billions of years ago with disembodied spirits coming to our galaxy. Yet today, in St. Louis, the president, the media,
public officials, and thousands of followers will welcome a man
who believes that he communicates with a ghost. It is a church
which teaches that about 2,000 years ago, the son of a ghost was
born of a virgin, performed incredible miracles, died on a cross,
rose from the dead, flew off to heaven and communicates his will
to the world through papal encyclicals which are divinely inspired.
Sorry, but I don't see any difference between that and the equally
bizarre teaching of the so-called cults. I think there is something
dangerous and unhealthy when a human being - and that is what
Karol Wojtyla, who calls himself Pope John Paul II is - is extolled
and worshipped, and praised, and elevated and, yes, deified, the
way this man is. No man who truly embraced the notion of human
liberty would ever tolerate people kneeling at his feet, kissing his
ring, and singing his praises as he parades around in a dress.
Somewhat to their credit, the Protestants have outgrown this
ostentatious gaudiness. This is one of the truly dangerous facets of
modern religion, and especially the brand peddled by the Vatican
- the deification and fatuous extolling of people who claim to be a
god's representatives
on earth. In a pluralistic society, which
should embrace the concept of human reason, liberty and equality,
this papal spectacle is more akin to a royal ceremony. It is a throwback to medievalism. It is hypocrisy, especially when practiced by
a pope said to be "of the people." If any foreign leader came to our
shores accompanied by this type of fabulous and ostentatious display of wealth, pomp, and theater, we would surely send him back
home, packing - and rightly so.
My predecessor, Jon Murray wrote in 1994 about the pope's
then planned trip to the United Nations:
John Paul II is truly a purveyor of medievalism in its most
base form and should be corralled in the Vatican state as
something of a museum piece to be used to educate the youth
of the world as to the fallacy of Christian dogma, rather than
being allowed to prowl the nations of the world corrupting
them. It is beyond belief that an institution
such as the
United Nations would provide a stage for such as the Pope
upon which to preach to the nations of the world and to chastise them against the "evils" of modernism, science, freethought, and democracy. American Atheists shall do what it
can to raise the public consciousness against Vatican imperialism. In doing so, we will be ignored by the media ... No one
will be able to say, however, that we did not try.
We carryon a tradition of protest and intellectual questioning
that began two decades ago. Our numbers may be small, right
now, but I think that we make a loud, clear, and necessary statement that we will tolerate no foreign despots, whether they lay
their claim to the political or the spiritual realm. We need to
remind the American people that not everyone agrees with what
the pope and his church have to say. We clearly show, using the
best tradition of American protest and freedom of expression, that
we intend to exercise that right to speak out against John Paul II's
agenda for the American people.
Our message is clear, forthright, and blunt. No submission!
THESE knees will not bend, and these heads will not bow.
Maintain the wall of separation
between state and church.
Question authority,
be it political or religious.
And stand
fast for the ultimate freedom - freedom of the mind!
Thank you.

Spring 1999



The Pope Wants to T ell Y ou

How to Die:
Will you stand for it?

Faye Girsh, Ed.D.

Executive Director, The
Hemlock Society USA

Dr. Faye Girsh was a featured

speaker at the American Atheists St.
- Standing
Up To
The Vatican's Political Agenda For
America." We are pleased to be able
to reprint the text of the speech she
delivered on Tuesday, 26 January
Parsippany, New Jersey

ince 1980, the Hemlock

Society has argued that
should be one option in the continuum of care at the end of life. Most
people in this country agree. Polls
repeatedly show that at least two
thirds of the population support this
choice, including a majority of
Catholics. And not only is the sentiment in this country supportive of
assisted dying, but more than 70%
of the population in Canada,
Australia, the United Kingdom, and
in Europe want this option. Where
the population is predominantly
Catholic - such as in Quebec, Spain,
and France - the support is even
higher. In Colombia, a Catholic
country, the equivalent of our
Supreme Court declared in 1997
that physician aid in dying is not a
If there is so much support for
the idea, why isn't it happening?
Let's examine what just occurred in
Michigan on November 3rd, 1998.
Seventy-one percent of the voters
said No to Proposal B, which would
have legalized assistance in dying
by a doctor under strict safeguards.
The repeated, deceptive advertisements broadcast on TV six weeks
before the election, at a cost of more
than five million dollars, worked to
dissuade the 70% of the voters who
were initially favorable to physician
assisted dying.
A front organization was set up
calling itself Citizens for Compassionate Care; 90% of the money for
Spring 1999

their anti-campaign
came from
Catholic sources. Here are some of
the large donations: $250,000 was
donated from the US Catholic
Conference, an amazing $1,080,000
from the Archdiocese of Detroit,
another $1,750,000 from other dioceses in Michigan, $50,000 from the
Catholic Health Association, and a
mere $125,000 from the Daughters
of Charity. Michigan Right to Life,
which has worked with the Catholic
Church to undermine this initiative,
$135,000. Cardinal
Maida, in Detroit, made nineminute video tapes against physician aid in dying. Thousands of
copies were distributed all over the
state together with letters decrying
suicide as a sin. On the Sunday
before the election he even spoke to
the two largest Baptist congregations in Detroit!
Merian's Friends, the sponsors
of the assisted dying proposal, spent
$900,000 just to get the signatures
to qualify it for the ballot and had
$75,000 left to run the campaign.
They were outspent $5.5 million to
$75,000, or a 74:1 ratio. The
Hemlock Society USA, through our
political arm PRO-USA, contributed
$75,000 - money from the grassroots supporters to gather signatures and then to run the actual
campaign. That's a lot of money for
Hemlock, but nothing compared to
the corporate contributions by the
Catholic Church and its tax-free
"charitable" organizations. Doesn't
this raise a question about the inorPage 19

din ate influence of one religious

group over the most intimate practices - how they die - of people who
have no interest or belief in that
An interesting poll taken after
this election showed that the No
vote on Proposal B was correlated
with church attendance. Only 13%
of people who attended church services weekly voted to legalize physician aid in dying compared with
51% of people who said they attended
Differences between church attendees and non-attendees is significant and profound and probably
extends into many areas of belief.
In November, 1994, Oregonians
voted to legalize physician aid in
dying. After extraordinary lobbying,
the legislature tried to reverse the
will of the people and sent an initiative to rescind their vote back to
them in November, 1997. More than
$4 million dollars was spent to
rescind that vote, mostly from

Page 20

Catholic sources. Fortunately, the

opposition was not able to get away
with their religious domination. Not
coincidentally, Oregon has the least
number of people with a religious
affiliation of any state. When
Catholic leaders and the religious
right saw this happening, they
geared up to make sure it would not
happen in Michigan. In two years
the people of Maine will vote on this
and, again, the Catholic Church,
with the Right to Life groups, are
preparing to get millions of dollars
In contributions from Catholic organizations (to say nothing of large
Catholic individual donors.)
In Congress, leaders of the religious right introduced a bill to punish doctors who prescribed medications to help terminally ill, suffering
patients die. The Hyde-Nickles bill
was withdrawn during the last session in the house and senate, primarily because of opposition from
the AMA and forty other medical,
nursing, and pain groups. They

Spring 1999

argued that the bill would have

restricted the prescribing of adequate pain medication. Both sponsors have sworn to reintroduce it in
some form. This is how Henry Hyde
thinks about this issue:
We must protect life, the intrinsic
value of human life, no matter how
wretched ... It is stated in our constitution that we have an inalienable
right to life. I believe we have that
inalienable right from the time of
conception to natural death.

This philosophy means that

every fertilized egg has to become a
child - despite the wishes of the
woman carrying it - and every life
must end "naturally" despite the
suffering of that patient, the medical technology which is extending
that life, the loss of any quality in
that life, and the insistent wish of
that person to end the suffering by
The wish to extend life for life's
sake can be respected. It is the case,
however, that many
doctors and hospitals
will not provide medical care which is considered
existence regardless of
regardless of the wishes of the person whose
existence it is - is
immoral and, in many
cases, amounts to the
torture of the patient
and his or her family.
The question at issue is
whether certain people
have a right to impose
their values on others
who do not hold those
values. We cannot permit people to essentially be tortured, to lose
their dignity, to endure
the distortion of their
life story because some
religious groups feel
that only God can take
a life or that suicide is
a mortal sin. These are
American Atheist

beliefs which have no empirical

base, which are a matter of faith,
and with which many if not most
Americans disagree. Justice Steven
Reinhardt wrote for the majority in
the 1996 9th Circuit decision in
Washington v Glucksberg:
Those who believe strongly that
death must come without physician
assistance are free to follow that

they were unable. The Hugh Finn

case in Virginia was an example of
where these sentiments lie and how
even the Governor could be illegally
influenced to intervene in a situation in which he had no legal right.
Mr. Finn was a TV announcer who,
in 1995, was in a severe car accident
which left him in a persistent vegetative state. This year his wife
asked that he be removed from arti-

My own experience, and that of all

physicians with whom I have spoken, is just the opposite. The value
of life assumes a new dimension
when you have personally helped to
bring it to an end.

The government should not

interfere with the right to control
the time and manner of our dying
with medical assistance. Some, like
Dr. Kevorkian, believe it should be

'Suicide shortens the living process; we argue for

an option to shorten the dying process. '
creed, be they doctors or patients.
They are not free, however; to force
their views, their religious convictions, or their philosophies on all
the other members of a democratic
society, and to compel those who
whose values differ with theirs to
die painful, protracted, and agonizing deaths.

Many Hemlock members have a

strong belief in God but see their
deity as merciful and one who has
given us choice and intellect to be
able to make these decisions. For
those who are not theists it is insulting to thrust this value on them and
insist that they die a certain way to
please someone else's god. As legal
scholar and philosopher Ronald
Dworkin said,
Making someone die in a way others approve, but he believes a horrifying contradiction of his life, is a
devastating, odious form of tyranny.

The religious right is not only

opposed to physician aid in dying,
they want to turn the clock back so
that the decision in the case of
Nancy Cruzan (1990) by the US
Supreme Court would be in danger.
In that case the Court upheld the
right of all Americans to refuse
including food and water, and to
designate proxies to make their
health-care decisions for them if
Parsippany, New Jersey

ficial food and hydration and

allowed to die. Religious relatives
got into the act, contacted Virginia
Right to Life which picketed, held
press conferences, and cast aspersions on his wife because she said
Finn would never have wanted to
live that way. They enlisted the
Republican governor who decreed
that Finn's life support could not be
removed. Fortunately, the Supreme
Court of Virginia made it clear that
the law was on his wife's side and
Mr. Finn was allowed to die (albeit
by removal of the feeding tubes,
thus by dehydration.)
How important is it to our lives
to have the right to die? Let me
quote from Dr. Charles McKhann, a
professor of surgery at Yale, a member of the Hemlock Medical Advisory Board and author of the recent
book, A Time to Die: A Place for
Physician Assistance:
The cruel fact is that death comes to
some only after such prolonged disability and intolerable pain that the
person feels emotionally naked and
deprived of any real humanity. A
dignified life deserves a dignified
death ... It seems beyond reason
that people who manage their
affairs successfully in life should
turn over the management of their
death and dying to others ... Some
observers fear that allowing physicians to assist in dying would
desensitize them to the value oflife.
Spring 1999

governed only by the medical boards

of each state, as are nearly all medical procedures. He is a physician
who has sacrificed his license, and
now may face the loss of his liberty
and even his life for this principle.
Last year the Supreme Court overturned two appellate court decisions
'which agreed that state prohibitions
against physician assistance in
dying violated the 14th Amendment. Unfortunately, the Supreme
Court disagreed that it was a constitutional right and left the matter
for the states to decide. As democratic as that appears, it ignores the
fact that legislators are strongly
influenced by pressure groups such
as the Catholic Church, and that
statewide initiatives are often won
by the side with the most money.
It has also been argued that the
state should have minimal control
over our lives; this would be accomplished by allowing the practice of
physician assistance to be decriminalized without any specific provisions. Decriminalization has never
been seriously considered in any
state legislature. Since 1988, the
Hemlock Society, With other rightto-die organizations, have proposed
state ballot initiatives which would
permit the practice, but under careful safeguards. This is the kind of
law that was passed by the people of
Oregon. Here are the provisions of
that law:
Page 21

A competent, terminally ill

adult must make repeated requests
over a period of time.
Two doctors must confirm
the terminal diagnosis.
A psychological examination
is an option if the physicians are
concerned about depression, incompetence, or coercion.
An oral request must be confirmed in writing and reiterated
orally after a waiting period.
All alternatives
must be
explained to the patient.
If the patient. still wants a
hastened death, a prescription for
lethal medication is written.
The patient may choose to
take the medication when hislher
suffering is too great.
Neither loved ones nor a
physician in attendance is subject to
criminal or civil penalties.
The doctor reports the death
to the state health department
keeping the name of the patient confidential.
may sound
bureaucratic and complex, it dra-

matically reduces state interference

in the very personal process of
dying. This law provides the kinds
of safeguards which ensure that
people who could continue their
lives do so. The Oregon Death with
Dignity Act has been in effect since
November, 1997, and has been used
by a small number of dying patients
whose death was peaceful, quick,
and gentle. Someone said this about
This is a permissive law. It allows
something. It requires nothing. It
forbids nothing and taxes no one. It
enhances freedom. It lets people do
a little more of what they want,
without hurting anyone else. It
removes a slight bit of the weight of
government regulation that hangs
over all of us all the time if we step
out of line. So why are the opponents so dead set on getting the law

The Hemlock Society provides

information and counseling to people who are contemplating a hastened death or are generally planning for a peaceful death and want

q'he Altar gog


Published by
New Jersey
Page 22

Did someone really set a pornographic

panel in a window of a
Philadelphia Italian Catholic church? Or did
a preadolescent surge of hormones merely
make it seem so? Can you really get syphilis
off a toilet seat? How can a really good
Catholic boy be thinking of sex all the time,
yet have as his personal hero that zany third
member of the Trinity - the Holy Ghost? Can
a child who is both brilliant and artistically
gifted grow up Catholic - and stay Catholic
all the way?
Tony Pasquarello has written an affectionate and often hilarious memoir on what
it was like to grow up in a Catholic Little
Italy during World War II. The head-on collision of inscrutable dogmas with a mind
that is reflexively logical is an immensely
amusing spectacle. Add to this the bewildering perplexity of pubertal transformation
going on in the midst of the most sexually
repressed culture since Victoria's England and you have a book you will want to order
from American Atheists
right away.
(Product No. 5583, $16.00 + $2.50 postage &

to know all the options available to

them. Until assisted dying is legal
in the 49 other states, we will continue to supply information about
self-deliverance, advance directives,
hospice care, nursing homes, pain
management, and other options.
Suicide is never a solution for temporary distress. Suicide shortens
the living process; we argue for an
option to shorten the dying process.
Hemlock does believe that, as a part
ofthe continuum of care available at
the end of life, assisted dying with
medical help should be an option.
We support hospice and better pain
relief but even with the best end of
life care, a small number of people
will choose to hasten their dying
process and this should be available
so that people can choose a gentle,
peaceful, quick and certain death in
the company of their loved ones.
Knowing that there is a way out will
actually extend life.
For more information about the
Hemlock Society, visit our web page
at www.hemlock. org / hemlock or
call for an information packet at 1800-247-7421.

is an emeritus philosophy professor
(The Ohio State
University) who
has successfully
pursued a second
career as a popjazz-classical musician and popular
performer. A
Philadelphian, he
studied piano and theory at the Settlement
School, the Philadelphia Conservatory, and
the University of Pennsylvania. With over
five thousand works in his repertoire, he
has concertized throughout the United
States, Europe, and Central America. The
author of numerous technical articles on
philosophy and the teaching of philosophy,
he also has written popular pieces such as
"Proving Negatives and the Paranormal,"
which appeared as a featured article in the
journal Skeptical Inquirer. Once an altar
boy and possible candidate for the priesthood, he evolved into a skeptical philosopher whose delightful-but-trenchant writings are eagerly sought after by a variety of
free-thought publications.

Spring 1999

American Atheist


Recent legal decisions about nativity
and other religious displays on public property threaten the separation
of church and state. Are courts producing instruction manuals for religious groups?
By Conrad Goeringer
st hould have been an open-andshut case. In 1995, citizens in
Jersey City, NJ, challenged the
constitutionality of a local nativity
display erected during the December holiday season in front of their
city hall. The display included the
typical nativity creche and a Jewish
menorah. A court ruled the presentation to be an unconstitutional
endorsement of religion. Public officials then decided to add other nonreligious items such as a plastic
Santa Claus and a Frosty the
Snowman figure in hopes of "secularizing" the entire scene. That
strategy did not pass muster with
US District Judge Dickinson R.
Debevoisie, who in December of
1997 ruled, "the display of a creche
and menorah on the lawn in front of
the City Hall violated the Establishment Clause notwithstanding the
addition of secular items."
As I said - it should have been
an open-and-shut case.
It's four years since this legal
contest began, and now the Third
US Circuit Court of Appeals has
weighed in with its decision. Jersey
City, with the help of the Beckett
Fund, a private "religious liberty"
advocacy group, argued that the
modified display (which by now
included a Kwanza symbol) was a
celebration of the community's "cultural" heritage. In a 2-1 decision,
the Third Circuit Court of Appeals

Parsippany, New Jersey

agreed, and Judge Samuel Alito

declared that "government may celebrate Christmas in some manner
and form, but not in a way that
endorses Christian doctrine." The
presence of Frosty, Santa, the
menorah and Kwanza decorations
thus sufficiently diluted the religious nature of the original display,
so that a "reasonable observer"
would not see an endorsement of
religion. With Kwanza added, the
new seasonal presentation represented instead "pluralism and freedom to choose one's own beliefs."
Only Circuit Court Judge
Richard L. Nygaard dissented,
warning that "the addition of a few
small token secular objects is not
enough to constitutionally legitimate the modified display." He perceived the more fundamental issue
as, "whether simply adding Kwanza
symbols to the tree and placing
Frosty and Santa, and a sleigh in
the display sufficiently changed the
display's context so as to negate the
message that was conveyed by the
original display."
The Third Circuit ruling might
not stand, of course, but it does suggest a dangerous trend within
America's courts. It means that
Baby Jesus is no longer "religious"
or sectarian as long as he is in the
company of Santa, Frosty, and
maybe some elves or other symbols.
My friend Ron Barrier argues that
on one level, he sees nothing wrong
with this. "They're all fantasy anyway ..."
Having It Both Ways
Originally, supporters of the
Jersey City nativity and menorah
display didn't appreciate the suggestion that their seasonal presenSpring 1999

tation just might pass constitutional muster by calling upon the services of Santa, Frosty, and the rest
of the holiday party crowd. Mayor
Bret Schundler denounced the effort
to include the seasonal kitsch saying that they "desacrilize [sic] the
holy." For His Honor, this case was
not about trying to secularize displays, and it had nothing to do with
"cultural diversity," a phrase later
enlisted to describe the Jersey City
decorations. "Jersey City should not
have to censor the display of certain
symbols just because they have religious significance," he declared. To
make their point that the battle in
Jersey City was indeed about religion, faith-based groups and supporters of the nativity rallied in
front of the City Hall. Bitterly disputing the original court injunction
against the nativity and menorah,
Schundler ordered signs erected one proclaiming: "As the Constitution of the State of New Jersey
reads, 'let us remain grateful to
Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long
permitted us to enjoy, and let us
continue looking for Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure
and transmit the same unimpaired
to succeeding generations'."
This case was, and remains, all
about religion.
Across the country, separationists who challenge religious displays on public property are now
confronted with claims that these
same displays are no longer sectarian and religious; instead, they are
"cultural," or secularized thanks to
a legal cavalry which rides in to
save the day - on sleighs, rather
than horses. In Somerset, MA, for
instance, American Atheists State
Page 23

Director Gil Lawrence Amancio won

his round against the local solons
who had erected a Christian nativity scene in front of the Town Hall.
Come next Christmas season, Baby
Jesus will have company in the form
of an enormous plastic Santa - aptly
dubbed "Santazilla" - in hopes of
rendering the display secular, and
Gil will have another legal challenge which he may very well lose no thanks to Santa.
Supporters of nativity scenes or
other religious displays know full
well that the issue is (c): about religion and (b) about the public identification and display of religious
symbols adjacent to the seats or centers of government power - an
implicit message that church and
state are joined. Government attorneys and jurists may sincerely
believe that "with enough Santas"
or other holiday decorations - and
let's add some giant candy canes to
sweeten the mood - a religious
nativity creche is, magically and
legally rendered secular. Throw in
enough different religious symbols,
including a token Jewish menorah,
add some cultural icons mentioning
Kwanza and - presto - it no
longer supposedly conveys "to a
endorsement of religion. Baby
Jesus, as awkward as he might
be next to the jolly fat guy in the
red suit, is suddenly a statement
of "pluralism and freedom to
choose one's own beliefs."
Pardon me, but didn't we just
hear this sort of reasoning in the
Bill-and-Monica fiasco? Oral
stimulation of the genitals is not
sex? Nothing short of a bedroom
liaison sans every stitch of clothing is something other than having "sexual relations"? Really?
Court Rulings As
Instruction Manuals
Some recent court decisions
pertaining to the display of religious symbols in the public
square are not constitutional
explanations as much as they are
"instruction manuals" for governPage 24

ments and religious groups intent

on finding some way - no matter
how absurd - to maintain nativity
scenes in the public square.
Want to keep Baby Jesus and
the manger scene? Get a plastic
Santa. Frosty, too. Position them
sufficiently close to the manger so
that the latter is not "central,"
throw in some holiday lights, don't
forget the sleigh and candy canes
and - best of all - talk about the
whole melange as a "cultural celebration," or mutter something about
the ''holiday spirit" or "diversity."
I'd argue than any "reasonable
who dispassionately
examines these displays does indeed
sense the presence of religious elements. Jesus, Mary, and other religious figures are just that: religious.
In fact, church groups become outraged any time that sacred icons are
used to peddle commercial products.
How would the Vatican react to a
Christ-like figure being used in an
ad for Calvin Klein underwear?
Anything like this would and does
elicit the admonition that religion
and religious symbols are being
"debased" and appropriated for see-

ular purposes. But isn't that the sort

of thing that occurs when Santa and
friends show up to salvage the legal
case for Mary, Joseph, and Jesus?
With Enough Santas ..
Well, which is it? Is the nativity
scene what we all really know it to
be - a religious symbol and statement on public property? Or is it
something else, a "cultural symbol"
in the reasoning of government
wordsmiths intent on finding a way
to keep these displays in front of
municipal buildings, court houses,
and other government venues? It
reminds me of the claim made during the waning days of the cold war
that "with enough shovels," the
American population could survive
a full-scale nuclear exchange of
40,000 atomic warheads. Grab those
shovels, dig those holes, duck for
cover ... right. With enough Santas
(and maybe some help from his
friends), these religious displays
really aren't religious.
If you believe it, let me tell you
about "sexual relations" - and this
bridge I have for sale in Brooklyn ...


Coming to Clinton's Spiritual Aid

Spring 1999

American Atheist

(praf'at) n.
prophete < OPr < LL propheta,
soothsayer, in LL(Ec), prophet <
Gr prophetes, interpreter of a
god's will < pro-, before + phanai,
to speak] 1 a person who speaks
for God or a god, or as though
under divine guidance 2 a religious teacher or leader regarded
as, or claiming to be, divinely
inspired 3 a spokesman for some
cause, group, movement, etc. 4 a
person who predicts future events
In any way.

Formerly a professor of biology

and geology, Frank R. Zindler
is now a science writer. He is a
member of the American
Association for the
Advancement of Science, the
New York Academy of
Sciences, The Society of
Biblical Literature, and the
American Schools of Oriental
Research. He is the editor of

American Atheist.

Frank R. Zindler

Parsippany, New Jersey

romtime to time, people who
call the Dial-an-Atheist= line
write me letters. A surprising
number of these letters are positive,
me for providing a
moment of rationality in a world
drunk on religion; they urge me to
my often humorous
approach to the Bible and other religious idols. Sometimes, however,
the letters are negative, telling me
I'm goin' ta burn, and I better read
the enclosed comicbook telling what
I need to do to be saved. These letters almost always are anonymous,
and rarely require any more attention than guidance to the circular
file. On rare occasions, negative letters are signed and deal intelligibly
with some topic the writer thinks is
important and also thinks cannot be
dealt with by an Atheist. A surprising number of these letters deal
with passages in the Bible thought
to be prophecies that have been fulfilled. Almost always, the writers
think that the fulfillment of weird
prophecies requires supernatural
intervention and that this should be
taken as a proof of the existence of a
It never strikes these people as
being more than a trifle odd that a
god should use such a bizarre
method as prophecy to give people a
hint of its existence. Imagine
prophet A saying something to audi-

Spring 1999

ence B. The message appears to be

something that has meaning for
audience B, but that is only a trick.
The message is really intended for
audience C, which will be born more
than two thousand years later! God
was only joking with audience B.
Once in a while, of course, the
prophecies cited are prophecies
which are alleged to have been fulfilled within the lifetimes of a
prophet's audience, and we, thousands of years later, are supposed to
be impressed by the fact. We are
supposed to interpret such ancient
happenings as signs of the existence
of a god, even though we often have
little opportunity to check up on the
facts and see if things indeed happened exactly the way the Bible
apologists claim. We are supposed
to ignore the fact that gods do nothing at all in our own lifetimes. That
is, if there are any gods today, they
simply aren't getting involved anymore.
Getting back to letters, it so
happens that some while ago a man
identifying himself by name wrote
to me to urge me to consider the
case of the prophet Ezekiel. The
poor fellow really thought I would
be impressed by the predictive accuracy of a prophet many New Agers
think either had been consorting
with aliens in flying saucers or perhaps more significantly - had
Page 25

been putting some really amazing

kinds of mushrooms on his pizzas.
My correspondent could not have
known that years earlier I had'
already decided that if Ezekiel were
alive today he would be employed by
the Bureau of Long-Range Weather
The letter focused on verses 114 of the twenty-sixth chapter of
This was written in 598 B.C. (the
dating of this book is unchallenged
by scholars). At the time, there was
a city on the coast of what is now
southern Lebanon named Tyre.
Jerusalem had just been destroyed,
and the inhabitants of Tyre were
glad since it meant more business
(commerce, trade) for them. Ezekiel
made these prophecies:
1) The physical site ofthe city will
be scraped down to the bedrock. (v
2) After it's [sic] destruction, it
will never be rebuilt. (v 14)
3) Nebuchadnezzar will be the
first ''wave" of invaders who will
destroy the city. (v 7-11)(''he")
4) Other attackers will scrape the
site clean by throwing the debris
into the water. (v 12-14) note: this
was not a normal or easy thing to
So what happened? In 585-573
B.C. Nebuchadnezzar besieged the
city and destroyed it. The city and
it's [sic] people moved to an offshore
island. In 333-332 B.C. Alexander
the Great came along, demolished
the old city, took the ruins and used
it to make a causeway to the island.
He conquered the island-city. In
1291 the Muslims attacked the city,
which had become a Christian city
via the crusaders, scraped it clean
and dumped the debris into the
ocean. Did Ezekiel's prophesies
[sic] come true? Yes. Were any
prophesies [sic] made that didn't
come true? No. Can this be verified
by non-religious history books? Yes.
A conservative estimate of these
prophesies [sic] coming true by
shear chance are 1 in 75,000.
Why would God give us this information? To entertain us or cater to
our curiosity? No, he did it so we
will listen and respond to his direction for our lives. Frank, there are
many other verifiable predictions. I
Page 26

hope your mind is open and you'll

check out what I've said.

As already indicated, I had

looked into the Ezekiel matter long
before my correspondent wrote the
above letter, with its astonishing
claims - which if true would be
grounds for thinking that there is
indeed some sort of spooky power
controlling the tides of history. But
a careful analysis of the Ezekiel case
in question will show that Ezekiel
was a would-be prophet, and readers will not need to lose any sleep
because of Ezekiel - unless, of
course, they learn the identity of his
mushrooms and indulge in la cuisine psychique it la Zehe.
The facts of the case.
We begin with the dating of the
Book of Ezekiel. My correspondent
claimed that "This was written in
598 B.C." and assured me that "the
dating of this book is unchallenged
by scholars." The 598 BeE date
seems important, since chapter 26
of Ezekiel is thought to be predicting events that occurred in the period 585-573 BeE - a time well in the
prophet's future if the 598 BeE date
for authorship be true. It is in the
period 585-573 BeE that our writer
alleged Nebuchadrezzar* besieged
Tyre and destroyed it. Why did he
assure me that there was no controversy in the dating of Ezekiel? While
I cannot know for sure, it may be
that he was aware that a lot of
prophecy - such as that in the Book
of Daniel - was actually written
after the fact, the so-called prophet
actually living in the times supposedly being predicted- or even after
the predicted events were history.
Perhaps he wanted to assure me
that Ezekiel was actually writing
before the target time of his prophecies. AF, we shall see, it wouldn't
*The Babylonian king's name was actually Nabiikudurri-usur (''Nabu, protect the
eldest son!"). Ezekiel's Nebuchadrezzar
is thus closer to the Babylonian original
than is the more common form
with n dissimilated
from r.
Spring 1999

make much difference when Ezekiel

lived, since his prophecies were
abysmal flops for the most part. But
let's see about the dates anyway.
The second verse of Ezekiel
chapter one tells us the Word of
Yahweh came to the priest Ezekiel
son of Buzi in the fifth year of King
Jehoiachin's exile. That would be in
593 or 592 BeE - five or six years
later than the date alleged to be
unchallenged by scholars. Actually,
the prophecies now contained in the
book of Ezekiel were written over a
period of at least 22 years, extending from 593 to 571 BeE, according to
Moshe Greenberg, t author of the
Anchor Bible volumes on Ezekiel, or
from 592 to 570 BeE according to the
Old Testament
scholar Samuel
Rolles Driver.t one of the most
famous biblical authorities in the
early part of this century.
Since 571 is later than 573 (the
date alleged by my correspondent as
the end of Nebuchadnezzar's siege),
we see that Ezekiel would have had
time to amend his prophecies after
their non-fulfillment. The 1975 edition of the Encyclopedia Americana
simply that
"The neoBabylonian conqueror, Nebuchadnezzar II, subjected the island to a
13-year siege (585-572) without success." As a matter of fact, Ezekiel
did amend his prophecy on Tyre
after it failed to be fulfilled by
In chapter 29,
verses 17-19 we read Ezekiel's
admission that his prophecy against
Tyre had failed:
These were the words of Yahweh
to me on the first day of the first
month in the twenty-seventh year:
Man, long did Nebuchadrezzar
king of Babylon keep his army in
the field against Tyre, until every
tThe Anchor Bible, Vol. 22, Ezekiel 1-20,
A New Translation with Introduction
and Commentary, by Moshe Greenberg,
Doubleday & Co., Garden City, NY
(1983), p. 12; Vol. 22A, Ezekiel 21-37
Mn Introduction to the Literature of the
Old Testament, by S. R. Driver, The
Meridian Library, New York (1957), pp.
American Atheist

head was rubbed bare and every

shoulder chafed. But neither he
nor his army gained anything from
Tyre for their long service against
her. This, therefore, is the word of
Lord Yahweh: I am giving the land
of Egypt to Nebuchadrezzar king
of Babylon.

Either Ezekiel died before learning that his amended prophecy also
was a failure, or he amended the
amended prophecy and the keepers
of biblical manuscripts thought it
too embarrassing to transmit.
Untiring Tyre.
Readers will recall that my correspondent said that early in the
sixth century BCE, "At the time,
there was a city on the coast of what
is now southern Lebanon named
Tyre." The curious use of the past
tense would make it sound as
though the city at some point ceased
to exist. Indeed, verse 14 of chapter
26 tells us that Tyre will be
destroyed and never rebuilt. Moreover, verse 21 of the same chapter
claims that Yahweh "will bring you
[Tyre] to a fearful end, and you shall
be no more; men may look for you
but will never find you again. This is
the very word of Lord Yahweh."
This will come as a surprise to
all the people now living in Tyre,
and it will come as a surprise to the
Israeli terrorists who from time to
time drop bombs on the Lebanese
city. Of course, Ezekiel didn't have
the benefit of modern road-maps,
and so he couldn't predict how easily people would find Tyre long after
Nebuchadrezzar was forgotten. *
My correspondent seemed curiously unaware that Tyre has never
ceased to exist, even though he enumerated three alleged destructions
of the city and cited the prediction
that it would never be rebuilt! After
which of its destructions should it
not have been rebuilt? Since it was
rebuilt immediately even after
being reduced almost to ashes by
the Mamluks in 1291, we must suppose that Ezekiel was referring to
Parsippany, New Jersey

Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day
of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the
heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. Ezekiel 1:1
some destruction still in the future.
Now that the Israelis have atomic
weapons, we may expect that
Ezekiel's prediction of Tyre's final
destruction may come any day now.

* For readers who wish to check it out

for themselves, if they're driving north
from Haifa on Israeli Route 21, keep
going north after Route 21 turns into
Route 4. After you cross the Lebanese
border, stay on Route 4 for 25 km until
you come to the road to BOIj. Stay on
Route 4 for three more km and take the
first road to the left. You can see Tyre
(sur in Arabic) as soon as you get off the
highway. Incidentally, Tyre no longer is
an island city. It is now connected to the
Spring 1999

Geography of Tyre
The Pheenician city of Tyre
appeared during the reign of the
Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III,
who ruled from 1490 to 1436 BCE.
Tyre was located on a small island
just off the coast of Phoenicia. The
island city was a natural fortress
which was given extra fortifications
such as walls, towers, and a famous
heavy chain across the harbor on
the island's northeast side, the socalled Sidonian harbor. The harbor
on the south side of the island, the
so-called Egyptian harbor, lay just
outside the fortifications.
early on, an extension of the city what today we might call the subPage 27

urbs and industrial parks - lay on

the mainland immediately opposite
the island.
The 26th chapter of Ezekiel predicts that Nebuchadrezzar would
destroy the city and that it would
never be rebuilt. My correspondent,
however, had a somewhat variant
understanding of what the chapter
was saying. He made the rather
strange comment that "Nebuchadnezzar will be the first "wave" of
invaders who will destroy the city,"
and that "Other attackers will
scrape the site clean by throwing
the debris into the water." He
seemed to think that only verses 7
to 11 refer to Nebuchadrezzar, and
that verses 12 to 14 refer to somebodies else. Actually, the entirety of
chapter 26 refers to what Nebuchadrezzar will do as Yahweh's agent of
A possible reason for my correspondent's confusion is the fact that
verse 3 says that "I am against you,
Tyre, and will bring up many
nations against you as the sea
brings up its waves; they will
destroy the walls of Tyre and pull
down her towers." Superficially, it
might appear that Ezekiel was talking about a succession of nations, of
which Nebuchadrezzar was but the
first. But of course, that is not at all
what Ezekiel expected. He envisaged a coalition of many nations in
alliance with Nebuchadrezzar joining in a single act of destruction.
After all, the verse reads they will
destroy the walls of Tyre and pull
down her towers. Unless the nations

were all acting together, this would

not be possible. After one nation
destroyed the walls and towers,
there would be nothing left for the
others to do, since Tyre was not supposed to be rebuilt after the destruction of her walls.
The common-sense interpretation of Ezekiel's false prophecy is
reinforced by the Greek Septuagint's' rendering of verse 7: "For
thus saith the Lord: Behold, I will
bring up against thee, a Sor,
Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon
from the north; he is a king of kings,
with horses, and chariots, and
horsemen, and a concourse of very
many nations." Clearly, the many
nations that are to be expected to do
in the city ofTyre will be Nebuchadrezzar's helpers, not successors.
Now my correspondent wrote
that "In 585-573 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar besieged the city and
destroyed it. The city and it's [sic]
people moved to an offshore island."
But this misunderstands the geography we have discussed earlier.
The city didn't move onto an island,
it was always on the island. Only
secondary districts were on the
mainland. Despite Ezekiel's threat
The Septuagint (from Latin septuaginta, seventy) is a translation into
Greek of the Hebrew scriptures made
during the last several centuries BCE.
According to fable, seventy translators
were set up in seventy isolated cells to
translate the scriptures. Without conferring amongst each other, when they
finished it was discovered that all seventy translations were identical right
down to the last iota-subscript!

that Nebuchadrezzar "will trample

all your streets with the hooves of
his horses and put your people to
the sword, and your strong pillars
will fall to the ground," it never happened. Tyre remained secure in its
insular fastness. Its extensions on
the mainland were destroyed, but
that was no big deal. Even Ezekiel
admitted as much. In chapter 29,
verse 18 he noted that "Long did
Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon
keep his army in the field against
Tyre ... But neither he nor his army
gained anything from Tyre ..."
What Ezekiel Wrote
Let's return to Ezekiel's 26th
chapter and see exactly what he
Starting with verse three, we
read: "These are the words of Lord
Yahweh: I am against you, Tyre,
and will bring up many nations
against you as the sea brings up its
waves ..." [Of course, this is a gross
exaggeration. Not even Bible believers think that many nations ever
attacked Tyre!] "they will destroy
the walls of Tyre and pull down her
towers. I will scrape the soil off her
and make her a gleaming rock, she
shall be an islet where men spread
their nets; I have spoken, says Lord
Yahweh. She shall become the prey
of nations, and her daughters shall
be slain by the sword in the open
Did Nebuchadrezzar turn the
island city of Tyre into a bare rock
where fishnets are spread out to
dry? Did anyone ever do it? Of
course not. Verse 14 reiterates just
how smooth and barren the island of

Ancient war machines such as Ezekiel immagined would be used against Tyre.
Page 28

Spring 1999

American Atheist

Tyre was to become: "I will make

you a gleaming rock, a place for fishermen to spread their nets, and you
shall never be rebuilt." Although
Alexander the Great did succeed in
conquering the city centuries after
the time of Ezekiel, he simply plundered it and killed a lot of its citizens. He didn't scrape it clean, and
neither then nor subsequently was
the island a barren place used only
to spread fishnets out to dry. Even
nearly 1900 years later, when the
Mamluks practically reduced the
place to ashes, it was not scraped
clean and made into a gleaming
rock as Ezekiel's prophecy required.
Moreover, it is quite absurd to
think, as some Bible-believers do,
that it was the event of 1291 that
Ezekiel had in mind sometime
between 593 and 571 BeE. when he
penned his prophecy against Tyre.
If that were the case, why wasn't he
honest about it to his listeners? Why
didn't he say something like
"Seventy-five generations from now,
you will be turned into a rock as
bald as Aristotle Savalas"? Why
would he have been talking about
Nebuchadrezzar, if it wasn't Nebuchadrezzar who was going to do all
the nasty things he was threatening?
To get back to the text of Ezekiel, resuming with 26:7: "These are
the words of Lord Yahweh: I am
bringing against Tyre from the
north Nebuchadrezzar
king of
Babylon, king of kings. He will come
with horses and chariots, with cavalry and a great army." [Remember,
the Septuagint Greek text reads "a
concourse of very many nations,"
where the New English Bible reads
"a great army."] This did, of course,
happen. But Ezekiel would have
had to be deaf, dumb, and blind not
to see that that was, indeed, happening as he was prophesying. To
''Your daughters in the open
country he will put to the sword. He
will set up watch-towers against
you, pile up siege-ramps against you
and raise against you a screen of
shields. He will launch his batterParsippany, New Jersey

ing-rams on your walls ..." Clearly,

Ezekiel's statement here is an accurate description of how Nebuchadrezzar generally attacked cities; but
it is clear also that Ezekiel did not
fully understand the implausibility
of applying siege-ramps against an
island fortress such as Tyre. But
any of his contemporaries could
have said the same thing - unless
they understood the geography
involved. This is a graphic description of how Ezekiel had heard
Nebuchadrezzar waged war. Unfortunately for the cause of belief in
prophecy, this graphic description of
the battering-rams and siege equipment ends with the prediction that
Nebuchadrezzar would "break down
your towers with his axes." That
didn't happen, and Ezekiel later
admitted as much.
Not only was Ezekiel wror g
about what Nebuchadrezzar would
do to the towers, he incorrectly
prophesied that "He will cover you
with dust from the thousands of his
cavalry; at the thunder of his horses
and of his chariot-wheels [how
would they get onto the island?] your
walls will quake when he enters
your gates as men enter a city which
is breached. He will trample all your
streets with the hooves of his horses
and put your people to the sword,
and your strong pillars will fall to
the ground. Your wealth will
become spoil, your merchandise will
be plundered, your walls leveled,
your pleasant houses pulled down,
your stones, your timber anc--~lr
rubble will be dumped into the & ea."
But of course, no horse - let alone
chariot - of Nebuchadrezzar ever
made it into the island fortress of
Tyre. He never breached the walls.
Moshe Greenberg* suggests
that Nebuchadrezzar must have
blockaded the city from the mainland and severely curtailed Tyre's
trading activity. "In the end the two
sides must have come to an agreement of sorts. King Ethbaal III was
deposed, and in all probability is
'the king of Tyre' who appears

* Moshe

Greenberg, op. cit., Vol. 22A, p.

Spring 1999

among other royal captives deported to Babylon in the 'Court List of

Nebuchadnezzar' (ANET3, p. 308a).
A Babylonian royal high commissioner was appointed over the town.
But Tyre remained intact; it evidently was not even subjected to pillage (see Ezek 29:17ff). 'The war
was, therefor, hard for both sides,
and Tyre was the actual loser, but
the destruction of the city itself,
prophesied by Ezekiel, did not come
to pass' (Katzenstein, p. 331)."
Dumped into the Sea?
Ezekiel's 26th chapter, verse 12,
as we have already seen, says that
Tyre's walls will be leveled, her
houses pulled down, and - I'm quoting now from the New English Bible
- "your stones, your timber and
your rubble will be dumped into the
sea." But what are the facts?
Scientific Bible scholars are in
agreement that it was Nebuchadrezzar who was supposed to do this.
But since he didn't in fact do it,
Bible apologists think it must have
been somebody else who was supposed to do it. My correspondent
thought Alexander the Great was
the one Ezekiel had in mind - 240
years or so earlier when he wrote
the line just quoted. He claimed
that "In 333-332 B.C. Alexander the
Great came along, demolished the
old city, took the ruins and used it to
make a causeway to the island. He
conquered the island-city."
course, there is a little geographic
problem here. It was rubble from
structures on the. mainland, not
rubble from the fortress of Tyre,
that was dumped into the sea to
form the huge mole joining the city
to the mainland, the mole on which
he could move his siege apparatus
up to the walls of the city. When
Alexander finally conquered the
city, he did not reduce it to a bald
knob and dump all its substance
into the sea. Moreover, what should
we have to think about a god who
sent a prophet to threaten the people of a city with destruction but
didn't have the prophet explain that
the destruction would come 240
Page 29

years in the future? Pretty stupid,

don't you think? Maybe deceitful is a
better word.
To continue with our reading of
the sacred scripture: Verse 13: "So I
will silence the clamor of your songs,
and the sound of your harps shall be
heard no more." Certainly, there
have been harps in Tyre up until
modern times. I'll bet a dollar to a
doughnut, if you go to Tyre today,
you will find a harpist or two.
Continuing with verse 14: "I will
make you a gleaming rock, a place
for fishermen to spread' their nets,
and you shall never be rebuilt. I, the
Lord, have spoken. This is the very
word of Lord Yahweh." Since Tyre
never became a gleaming rock, and
since it has been rebuilt a number of
times, we must conclude that "the
very word of Lord Yahweh" is not to
be trusted any more than that of
Jimmy Swaggart. Two of a kind, if
you ask me. The only major difference, of course, is the fact that one of
them exists.
Ezekiel's Non-Prophet Status
It would appear that we're on a
roll - rolling over the so-called
prophecies against Tyre delivered
by Ezekiel in the 6th century BeE.
We have already seen that the first
half of chapter 26 of Ezekiel is mostly false prophecy, but we have a bit
more to consider. We resume at
verse 15:
These are the words of Lord
Yahweh to Tyre: How the coasts
and islands will shake at the sound
of your downfall, while the wounded groan, and the slaughter goes on
in your midst!

[Let's be generous and suppose that

Ezekiel was indulging in hyperbole
and metaphor when he said that
coasts and islands will shake
because of what Nebuchadrezzar
was supposed to do to a tiny city on
an island in the Mediterranean.]
Then all the sea-kings will
come down from their thrones, and
lay aside their cloaks, and strip off
their brocaded robes. They will
wear coarse loin-cloths; they will sit
Page 30

on the ground, shuddering at every

moment, horror-struck at your fate.

Can one believe this ever happened? Certainly, it never happened

during the reign of Nebuchadrezzar,
since Nebby never really conquered
Tyre. Do you think it happened
when Alexander conquered Tyre?
While I'm not absolutely certain, 1
think that all the sea-kings had
already fallen prey to Alexander
before he conquered Tyre. If any
were left, 1 guarantee they were
putting armor on, not taking clothes
off, after they heard the news of how
Alexander took Tyre.
Verse 17 continues about what
the sea-kings will do:
Then they will raise this dirge over
How you are undone, swept
from the sea, 0 famous city!
You whose strength lay in the
sea, you and your inhabitants, who
spread their terror throughout the
mainland. Now the coast-lands
tremble on the day of your downfall, and the islets of the sea are
appalled at your passing.

That's the words of the song.

Can we think that even one sea-king
ever sang that ditty? Can we think
even one king ever sang it in his
own language, let alone in Hebrew?
The remainder of chapter 26 is
even more extravagant about what
is going to happen to Tyre after
Nebuchadrezzar gets done with iteven claiming that the ocean will
cover it up:
For these are the words Lord
Yahweh: When I make you a desolate city, like a city where no man
can live, when I bring up the
primeval ocean against you and
the great waters cover you, I will
thrust you down with those that
descend to the abyss, to the dead of
all the ages. 1 will make you dwell
in the underworld as in places long
desolate, with those that go down
to the abyss. So you will never
again be inhabited or take your
place in the land of the living. 1
will bring you to a fearful end, and
you shall be no more; men may
look for you but will never find you
Spring 1999

again. This is the very word of

Lord Yahweh.

And this is the very word of

Frank Zindler: if you want help in
finding Tyre, just call directory
assistance in Lebanon and ask for
Mistaken Revision of
Mistaken Prophecies
We have seen - perhaps, it is
felt, in nauseating detail - that
Ezekiel's prophecies against Tyre
were not fulfilled. But there's one
last piece of skunk cabbage 1 want
to rub Ezekiel's nose in. We have
seen that his prophecy that Tyre
would fall to Nebuchadrezzar was
already falsified in Ezekiel's lifetime, and that he modified it to say
that in compensation for Nebuchadrezzar's good efforts against Tyre,
Yahweh would give him Egypt. This
is in the 29th chapter of Ezekiel.
But even Ezekiel's amended prophecy failed. We read at the 8th verse:
This therefore is the word of Lord
Yahweh: "I am bringing a sword
upon you [Egypt] to destroy both
man and beast. [Arrest that god for
cruelty to animals!] The land of
Egypt shall become a desolate
waste, and they shall know that 1
am the Lord, because you said 'The
Nile is mine; it was 1 who made it."
1 am against you therefore, you and
your Nile, and 1 will make Egypt
desolate, wasted by drought, from
Migdol to Syene and up to the very
frontier of Cush. No foot of man
shall pass through it, no foot of
beast; it shall lie uninhabited for
forty years. 1 will make the land of
Egypt the most desolate of desolate
lands; her cities shall lie derelict
among the ruined cities. For forty
years shall they lie derelict, and I
will scatter the Egyptians among
the nations and disperse them
among the lands."

AB you know, it was the Jews

who were dispersed, not the Egyptians. Egypt was never depopulated
for an hour, let alone for forty years,
in its five millennia of recorded hisSee Ezekiel page 56
American Atheist


In caverns depth Erectus crept
Where silent voices spoke.
Whatever heard not put to word,
Yet gathered all the folk.

I. Fear
It is as inevitable as birth
Yet we can not help but be afraid

The musty air, the fire's glare:

Whose shadows were revealed?
What great astound when slightest
From all directions pealed!

We take a blessing as a curse

Like paranoid beasts
Our fear is only
Effects of unharnessed
Culture and instinct

Should not surprise how did arise

Our superstition old
That spirits dwelt and could be felt
Amid the dark and cold.

We take the briefness of

Our lives for granted
And then complain of death

And so today when need to pray

We gather still in caves
Of arching stone, though just a clone
With apses, pews, and naves.

II. Beauty
We are beings
With a great gift
For beauty is the only joy, and
Death the only reason
We are beautiful


III. Immortality

The silent lockers somehow know

I passed this way a while ago
Like others, now recalled as ghosts
By walls and stalls who're sentry posts.

The rose's sweet scent fades

Its petals wilt
Turn brown
Crumple and disintegrate
Lost beauty becomes it and
It becomes immortal

The former once alive and well

Long quieted by funeral bell.
If speech possessed, what tales might tell
These tiles of granite, under spell?

The hands stiffen

Bones brittle
Skin thins and wilts
Like rose petals
We die
And become

My time elapsed they measure brief.

On tapestry, I'm just a weave.
How arrogant to dare believe
Once I've departed stones will grieve!
Have made a difference? Sorely doubt.
No truths discovered, pearls plucked out.
Of my transcendence none will shout.
That I was once, who'll care an ounce?

Martha Knox
Parsippany, New Jersey

HV Gallucci


Raymond HV Gallucci
Spring 1999

Page 31


Faith Fails in Medical Test

patient to marry because the data

show that marriage is associated
with lower mortality," and they contend that counselling religious
involvement would be similarly
unethical and could lead to grossly
inappropriate actions. "If evidence
showed health advantages of some
religious denominations over others,
should physicians be guided by this
evidence to counsel conversion?
Attempts to link religious and spiritual activities to health are reminiscent of the now discredited research
suggesting that different ethnic
groups show differing levels of
moral probity, intelligence, or other
measures of social worth. Since all
human beings, devout or profane,
ultimately will succumb to illness,
we wish to avoid the additional burden of guilt for moral failure to
those whose physical health fails
before our own," stated the research
Sloan's study called into question the conclusions of an Israeli
kibbutz study showing decreased
mortality in orthodox kibbutzes vs.
secular kibbutzes; the Alameda
County and Tecumseh Community
Health Studies which claimed
decreased mortality in those who
attended religious services; the
Pressman study which claimed that
elderly women who had surgical hip
repairs had better ambulation at
discharge if they were religious; the
Comstock and Partridge
showing a positive association
between church attendance and
health (Comstock himself later
admitted this finding was probably
due to a failure to control for his
subjects' prior functional ability);
the Colantonio study that showed
lower rates of stroke in persons who
attended weekly religious services;
Koenig's study showing decreased
inflammatory proteins in those who

Page 32

Spring 1999

new study published in the

premiere British medical
journal The Lancet (1999,
353: 664-667) confirms what skeptics have been saying all along: that
studies purporting to show the
health benefits of religious belief
and church attendance -are flawed
methodologically or statistically;
and more importantly, that doctors
who incorporate these studies into
their practice might be stepping
across the line into unethical medical practice. "Even in the best studies, the evidence of an association
between religion, spirituality, and
health is weak and inconsistent,"
said the study. Lead author Dr.
Richard P. Sloan of Columbia University noted that many of the studies finding health benefits for religion failed to take into account such
obvious variables as "age, sex, education, ethnicity, socioeconomicstatus and health status."
team noted that when these variables were controlled for in several
widely publicized studies, the health
benefits for religious belief vanished.
More importantly, the study
criticized doctors who might use
these studies to influence their
patients as unethical. "Health professionals, even in these days of consumer advocacy, influence patients
by virtue of their medical expertise.
When doctors depart from areas of
established expertise to promote a
non-medical agenda, they abuse
their status as professionals" noted
Sloan's team. They point out that
even if religious activity was shown
to have positive health benefits, it
would simply join such categories as
socioeconomic status and marital
status, already known to have positive health consequences. "We
would consider it unacceptable for a
physician to advise an unmarried

attend church weekly; and the Byrd

cardiac study that claimed that cardiac patients who were prayed for
had better outcomes.
Kevin Courcey, a registered
nurse who is also an Atheist, has
been tracking this genre of studies
for years, and has published critiques of similar studies in American Atheist
magazine and an
upcoming article in The Scientific
Review of Alternative Medicine. "I'm
glad that the scientific community
has finally decided to stop giving
this research a free ride," said
Courcey. "When I began investigating the health claims for religious
practice, I was afraid I might not
have the statistics
needed to properly evaluate the
studies." What he found, he says,
was that the studies' flaws were
immediately apparent, even to him.
"Fortunately, it doesn't take a brain
surgeon to question a study which
says that people who go to church
every week have lower levels of
Obviously, people
with debilitating arthritis aren't
going to be trotting off to church as
readily, and this devolves into a
"chicken-or-the-egg question pretty
quickly." Courcey said he started
wondering why researchers would
publish such flawed studies. ''What
I found was that in many cases, they
are being paid by groups with a religious agenda." Courcey found that a
primary religious source of research
funding was The Templeton Foundation.
The Templeton Foundation's
stated goal is to reintegrate religious faith into modern life by promoting "clinical research into the
relationship between spirituality
and health and documenting the
positive medical aspects of spiritual
Courcey has concerns
about such research being biased.
American Atheist

"Noticethat they are only willing to

fund research which shows a positive link between religion and
health," says Courcey. "This puts
on the
researcher to find such a link."
In fact, several of the studies
criticized in the Lancet article were
published by researchers who have
received funds from the Templeton
Foundation. "The research projects
of Koenig, Benson, Larson, Cohen,
George, and McCullough have all
been beneficiaries of Templeton
Foundation grant monies. Koenig
and Benson are also on the faculty
of Templeton's Spirituality
Healing in Medicine course, and on
Templeton's Board of Advisors.
David Larson is not only on
Templeton's faculty, but is the president of the National Institute for
Healthcare Research (NIHR), which
is funded by Templeton at approximately $3-4 million per year. And
Michael McCullough is the research
director at NIHR," notes Courcey.
George Lundberg MD, former
editor of the Journal
of the
American Medical Association, is
also skeptical of the research relating religious faith and health.
"Evidence of religious faith producing healing is anecdotal only," says
In an article in the
Washington Post, Lundberg stated,
"In the past 15 years, not one of the
articles submitted to the journal
describing the direct effects of spirituality, prayer or church attendance
on staying well or getting well has
survived the journal's peer review
Sloan's study in The Lancet also
urges caution. "There is a temptation to conclude that this matter can
be resolved as soon as methodologically sound empirical research
becomes available. Even the existence of convincing evidence... may
not eliminate the ethical concerns
that we raise here," he states.
"[Ulntil these ethical issues are
resolved, suggestions that religious
activity will promote health, that illness is the result of insufficient
faith, are unwarranted."
Parsippany, New Jersey

Canadian author

DavidW. Hopewell
FUNDAMENTALISM has produced a work
A Journey into the Heart of Darkness

we feel to be a major
contribution to the
study of the dangers
of Christian Fundamentalism, showing
that those who are
drawn into its vortex
are embarking upon
A Journey Into The
Heart Of Darkness -

David W. Hopewell


to borrow a title
from Joseph Conrad.



Spring 1999

Page 33


( ... and


ention the
Stephen Girard and you
will probably be rewarded
with a blank expression. Yet, without his presence, our stamps would
be adorned with depictions of Queen
Elizabeth II and we would cast our
votes for members of Parliament
rather than for members of Congress. Few United States citizens
are aware of the fantastic history of
this poor, uneducated French immigrant who rose to be the first multimillionaire in the United States and
who literally saved the country from
reverting to British colonial status.
Still, perhaps our ignorance is
not so surprising. While the citizens
of the United States gladly took the

Carole Gray is an Atheist

historian specializing in rescuing the lives of Atheist
heroines from oblivion.
Presently she is completing
her magnum opus, the twovolume Nineteenth Century
American Women of
Freethought, which we hope
will be published next year.
Carole is also well-known for
the well-researched Atheist
and Freethought calendars
she has produced.

Carole Gray
Page 34



millions he gave them in his will,

they perverted his last wishes thoroughly. So hated was his philosophy
oflife that the great Daniel Webster
himself fought in court to negate
Stephen Girard's last will and testament.
But before we get to the end of
his life, let's look at the beginning
and middle, for Stephen Girard was
a hero many times over to the
adopted country that he loved.
Born in Bordeaux, on 24 May
1750, Stephen's family was not
wealthy, and little Stephen did
without extensive education. In
addition to being poor, Stephen's
right eye was diseased at a very
early age, unilaterally blinding him,
and the other children persecuted
him for the deformity. In later life,
he never remembered his youth
with any enthusiasm. Indeed, as
soon as possible, he became a cabin
boy and left his home forever.
Stephen proved himself so
trustworthy and sound that the captain of the vessel gave him command of a small ship of his own.
This Stephen used to embark on
as the sailors called
the~ at the time. These trips
involved sailing with goods on consignment, hoping not only to arrive
safely, but to be able to sell them at
a profit large enough to satisfy the
investors, while making a tidy profit for the captain and crew. This success was not mere luck. A captain
Spring 1999




The mind of Girard was too

powerful to be swayed by superstition, and his life too active,
ever to suffer him to become a
victim to chimeras. He had studied philosophy in the nakedness
of reason, and the divinity in the
sublimity of nature.

-Biography of Stephen Girard,

with his Will Affixed, S.Simpson,
1832. (UMI Books on Demand,
Ann Arbor, MI, p. 206)
had to be very aware of the markets
in different locations, the weather,
currents, and pirate traffic, as well
as be a superb salesman once the
ship had docked at its destination.
Stephen was remarkably knowledgeable about all of these factors,
and always brought home a profit.
American Atheist

Stephen was so successful at

trading between the West Indies,
New York, and New Orleans, that
before too long, he was able to afford
to purchase his own ship, on which
he served as captain.
His first visit to the city he
would call his home, Philadelphia,
was in 1769. There, he set up a
small business, and stayed to manage it, while maintaining his ship
with another captain.
During the American Revolutionary War, Stephen temporarily
moved his small business, but did
not quit it. Instead, he broadened it,
and began bottling cider and claret,
and continued administering his
trade through shipping.
Stephen Girard had a very definite philosophy toward work. He
saw no work as degrading. He only
saw the absence of work as degrading to a person. He would be just as
apt to throw offhis jacket to help dig
a ditch as to sit pondering over his
ledgers, and as inclined to discourse
with a tanner as with a mayor. He
considered all labor as laudable, and
one profession equally honorable
with another. In his opinion, nothing was so disgraceful as idleness. It
was, indeed, a favorite theme for
him, when he grew rich, to relate
that he commenced life with sixpence; and that a man's best capital
was his industry.!
Stephen's personal appearance
was reported to be anything but prepossessing. The younger merchants,
upon meeting him, treated him with
contempt, for he appeared a vulgar,
ignorant, and rough man. But these
same men later stated that this was
a mistaken first impression, for
upon knowing him, they learned his
true worth, and described their
admiration of his sound judgment
and extensive views. Stephen,
meanwhile, on no occasion allowed
the taunts of others to raise his
anger or resentment, but rather
lived the patient and kind philosoParsippany, New Jersey

phy that would later make his deeds

much more notable than his wealth.
In 1779, Stephen returned to
Philadelphia. By this time, he was
able to afford several stores, which
he stocked with shipbuilding materials. His enthusiasm for the new
country was unbounded, and he
helped raise a Liberty Pole with his
neighbors in celebration of the new
country. His profits continued to
grow between the shipping trade
and the storefronts he now owned,
and by 1790, he was worth $30,000,
a fortune in those times. Using
money to make money, Stephen had
several more vessels built, which
were to sail as far as Calcutta and
Canton. He bestowed the names of
his favorite philosophers upon his
ships, the Montesquieu, Helvetius,
Voltaire, and Rousseau.
In 1793, a great tragedy visited
Stephen's adopted city of Philadelphia - the dread plague of yellow
fever. Few of us today can imagine
the real terror this disease caused,
with parents fleeing their children
and husbands their wives.
One observer, Matthew Carey,
Esq., recorded that "Dismay and
fright were visible in almost every
person's countenance. Most of those
who could, by any means, make convenient, fled from the city. Of those
who remained, many shut themselves up in their houses, being
afraid to walk the streets." The
smell of burning tobacco, gunpowder and vinegar filled the air, as it
was thought these odors might eliminate the epidemic. "While affairs
were in this deplorable state, and
people at the lowest ebb of despair,
we cannot be astonished at the
frightful scenes that were acted,
. which seemed to indicate a total dissolution of the bonds of society in
the nearest and dearest connections. Who, without horror, can
reflect on a husband, married, perhaps for twenty years, deserting his
wife in the last agony; a wife, unfeelSpring 1999

ingly, abandoning her husband on

his death-bed; parents forsaking
their children; children ungratefully
flying from their parents,
resigning them to chance, often
without an inquiry after their
health or safety; masters hurrying
off their faithful servants to Bushhill, even on suspicion of the fever,
and that at a time, when, almost
like Tartarus, it was open to every
visitant, but rarely returned any;
servants abandoning tender and
humane masters, who only wanted
a little care to restore them to
health and usefulness - who, I say,
can think of these things, without
horror? Yet they were often exhibited throughout our city; and such
was the force of habit, that the parties who were guilty of this cruelty,
felt no remorse themselves - nor
met with the censure from their fellow-citizens, which such conduct
would have excited at any other
period. Indeed, at this awful crisis,
so much did self appear to engross
the whole attention of many, that in
some cases not more concern was
felt for the loss of a parent, a husband, a wife, or an only child, than,
on other occasions, would have been
caused by the death of a faithful servant."2
No amount of money could procure treatment for the sick, and
kindness was in short supply.
It is important to realize just
how horrific this epidemic was for
the people of Philadelphia. To gain
some understanding of the virulence
of this disease, it is recorded that
from 1 August to 9 November, 4,031
interments took place in the burial
grounds in and about the city, out of
a population of not quite 25,000 persons who remained in Philadelphia
and the Districts
during the
Plague.f When Stephen Girard
offered to help, it was not with his
money, although he also gave freely
ofthat, but in the most odious job of
all: that of seeking out and nursing
Page 35


the abandoned citizens of the city.

Rather than using his money to
escape the disease, Stephen rolled
up his sleeves and went into homes
that even his companion servant
refused to enter.
Stephen's own outlook on his
voluntary accomplishments
seen in a letter he wrote at the time,
in which he states that "The
deplorable situation to which fright
and sickness have reduced the
inhabitants of our city, demands
succor from those who' do not fear
death, or who at least do not see any
risk in the epidemic which now prevails here. This will occupy me for
some time, and if I have the misfortune to succumb, I will have at least
the satisfaction to have performed a
duty which we all owe to each
At the same time Stephen was
helping afflicted individuals, he also
took control of the city hospital,
securing supplies as well as monitoring the care of the sick, many
times personally administering
medicines, or washing the wretched
bodies. So great were Stephen's
deeds during this epidemic that one
biographer noted "I trust that the
gratitude of [his] fellow-citizens will
be as enduring as the memory of
[his] beneficent conduct, which I
hope will not die with the present
Still, Stephen was sometimes
called "hard," for he would not
employ friends or relatives. Instead,
he insisted on hiring those best suited to the particular job at hand. He
never made any rules for his
employees by which he himself
would not abide, and, when one of
the more pious among them refused
to work on Sunday, which to
Stephen held neither more nor less
significance than any other day in
the week, he fired him.
By 1810, Stephen had $1 million in one bank in England alone,
with more funds placed elsewhere.
Page 36

While he did not change his

lifestyle, remaining in plain clothes,
with plain furniture and housing,
and working as hard as ever, his
wealth, joined to the absence of children on whom to bestow it, caused
him to be almost constantly importuned for assistance or relief, from
all parts of the country, and from
known and unknown sources.f
If approached honorably, Stephen was known to give thousands,
even tens of thousands of dollars to
charity, but if approached in the
spirit that it was a rich man's duty
to give, the recipient would leave
Stephen respected the Quakers,
and was liberal in his donations to
their hospital. When the superintendent of the hospital approached
Stephen for a donation, Stephen listened to him state his cause, then
wrote out a check, which he presented to the man. The Quaker folded the check and put it in his pocket without even looking at it. When
Stephen asked him why he had not
examined the amount, the man told
him he would be happy with anything Mr. Girard might give the
hospital. This so pleased Stephen
that he requested the $2,000 check
back, and wrote a new one out for
On the other hand, the pastor of
the Baptist church received very
different treatment. He also called
upon Stephen, and presented his
case, which was to raise funds for a
new church building. Stephen presented him with a check for $500.
"Only five hundred dollars, Mr.
Girard!" the pastor lamented,
"Surely you will not give us less
than a thousand dollars." "Let me
see' the check, Mr. Staughton,"
replied Girard, "perhaps I have
made one mistake." Stephen then
promptly ripped up the check, and
the pastor left with nothing.
Stephen did give to churches,
but never attended any ofthem. Nor
Spring 1999

did he subscribe to any religion. His

donations were, in his opinion, to
improve the city, not to help any
particular sect. On one occasion,
after giving $500 to a Methodist
who wished to build in a poor section of the city, which Stephen felt
would improve it, he was visited by
the more wealthy Episcopal sect.
The Episcopal sect came to the
meeting with the idea that if
Stephen had given $500 to the poor
Methodists, surely he would give
much more to them. When he wrote
them a check for $500, they were
appalled. Certainly, they said, you
left out a figure and meant this
check to be $5,000. "I don't think
I've made a mistake, but if you say
so, it must be so. Let me see the
check," Stephen replied. When it
was delivered into his hands, he
tore it up and sent them on their
In 1812, Stephen had the opportunity to purchase the Bank of the
United States for one third its'
value. He purchased the bank, and
began business using his personal
assets of $1,300,000. These were
terrible times for the country. The
British had invaded Washington,
DC, and the young United States
were without their powerful ally of
the Revolutionary War, for France
was involved in her own affairs. The
government was bankrupt, and
asked the citizens to subscribe to a
loan, similar to buying bonds, of
$5,000,000, to which the government promised to pay 7% interest.
But the nation was in such turmoil
financially and emotionally, with
the threat of the loss of their freedom terrifying the businessmen,
that only $20,000 was raised.
At this point, Stephen Girard
stepped in and subscribed to the
whole $5,000,000. This bold step
electrified everyone. If this one
man, who was known for his good
business judgment,
dared risk
$5,000,000 on the United States
American Atheist

government, then perhaps there

was hope after all. Businessmen
began applying to Stephen to purchase part of the subscription they
had previously refused to buy, and
he sold them portions at the original
price, without profit, although he
could have increased the price by
When, in 1816, a bill was passed
by Congress, and sanctioned by Mr.
Madison, to charter a new Bank of
the United States, subscriptions
were first sold at Stephen's banking
house, he being appointed one ofthe
commissioners. Stephen waited
until the last day on which subscriptions were accepted, and then, as
the bank was about to close, placed
his name opposite the balance of the
stock. It was important that all the
subscriptions to the bank were sold
so that it would be successful, and
the fate of the government rode on
the bank's success.
The balance to which Stephen
subscribed was $3,100,000. Again
his actions caused others to gain

confidence in the bank, as it had

previously done in the $5,000,000
loan, and businessmen applied to
him to buy shares. He sold to them
at the price he had paid, keeping
less than $1,500,000 for himself.
In 1829, the state of Pennsylvania was so bankrupt that the governor traveled from city to city
attempting to raise funds from the
citizens to simply maintain the government. Stephen again stepped
forward, giving the state $100,000.
The old sailor also donated $375,850
to improve navigation
of the
Schuylkill river.
In 1831, the country was undergoing yet another economicdisaster,
which Stephen quickly ascertained
to be attributable to our trade deficit
and the loss of metals from the
country on which the value of the
specie was based. At great loss to
himself, he immediately withdrew
large sums from his accounts in
England and placed them in
American banks, to shore up the
economy. Once again, he had come

to the forefront to save the United

States economically.
Stephen worked very hard, but
work did not totally consume him.
While young, he had fallen in love
and fathered his only child, who
died while quite young. But he did
not like being alone. He had a mistress, and raised his nieces and
nephews, filling his home with their
youthful laughter. In his study were
the busts of his beloved Voltaire and
Rousseau, while on the bookshelves
of this poorly educated man rested
the works of the great French
One of his longtime employees,
whose father had also worked for
Stephen, said of him, "on the subject
of religion, his opinions were atheistical. Let not the reader start, to
fmd himself in company with one,
who utterly disbelieved in all modes
of a future existence, and who
rejected with inward contempt
every formulary of religion, as idle,
vain, and unmeaning. Yet such were
the convictions of Girard, held to his
dying hour, and perpetuated in his
last testament as a legacy to future
generations .... He was known to be
totally irreligious; and to attempt to
conceal what is notorious, would be
to suppress one of the most extraordinary features of his character."6
However, Simpson continued,
"Desirous to experience toleration,
he was equally willing to extend it,
with a measure of liberality which
might put to the blush those bigoted
opponents who denied him the same
exemption from moral persecution.
But Girard was a philosopher; he
knew that the measure of his belief
could be the standard for no other
man's belief; and that all who
judged honestly, judged rightly. He
did not, therefore, preach his opinions on the house-top; he did not
attempt to stimulate the public
mind against religion, which he
knew would be as nefarious as it

Parsippany, New Jersey

Spring 1999

Page 37

would be intolerant; but he aided its

ministers to erect houses for those
to worship who felt that worship
was a duty necessary to their moral
perfection, and the fulfillment of a
practical duty as good citizens. He
claimed the same right for himself;
and considering INDUSTRY as the
great deity of man, he took delight
in labouring throughout every day
in the year, observing no Sabbath
himself, because his opinions did
not sanction its observance in idleness."7

knocking him down. He was struck

by the wheel, his right cheek broken, his ear half torn off, a deep cut
running from mouth to ear, and his
previously damaged eye now permanently closed. Although he recovered, his health was deteriorating
rapidly. In December, 1831, at 82,
he contracted influenza, and on the
26th of that month, he died.
Once it was known Stephen was
dead, the ships at port placed their
flags on half-staff, and the city council voted him a public funeral.

throughout his life; but Stephen

Girard's great generosity did not
end with his death. His will was
even more fantastic, and certainly
raised more controversy, than any
monetary gifts made during his lifetime.
His Will Reveals His Will
Stephen Girard possessed so
much love for his adopted country
that his greatest gifts to the United
States occurred after his death,
when, as a man who did not believe

~~Fewmen, not even Voltaire, ever deported

themselves through life, with so perfect an exemption

from all the weaknesses of superstition, as Girard."
"Few men," Simpson reported,
"not even Voltaire, ever deported
themselves through life, with so perfect an exemption from all the weaknesses of superstition, as Girard. He
feared no judgment, and no retribution. He trusted to no Providence,
and he was never disappointed. He
was wont to say, 'I always keep my
shoulders to the wheel, but I never
pray to Jupiter.' No storms, no tempests, no thunder, no lightning, ever
moved him. Amidst all the horrors
of the yellow fever of 1793, he never
thought of Providence, and never
dreamed of prayer. But his actions
rose to the highest pitch of moral
sublimity; and he, perhaps, was as
much indebted to his exemption
from superstition, for his safety, as
to any other cause."8
Stephen's industry did not recognize aging. Yet, his body was defying his attempts to remain industrious. He was becoming quite blind,
yet allowed no one to help him as he
groped for doorknobs or steps. This
very independence almost cost him
his life when, one day in 1830, he
was crossing the street and a horse
and wagon rushed by furiously,
Page 38

Indeed, according to those who were

present, "...every manifestation of
respect was heaped upon him,
which it was possible for a grateful
people to exhibit towards a public
benefactor. This feeling of respect
and gratitude, mingled with a sense
of sincere admiration for his talents
and beneficence, extended to all
classes, with the exception of the
Clergy; whose good will he could
hardly possess, for not having
bestowed upon their religious establishments any portion of his wealth.
He endowed no churches, and left no
money to defray the expenses even
of a single mass."? No clergyman
attended his funeral, and no religious rites were observed, although
he was buried in a Roman Catholic
This was probably
because he had been baptized
Roman Catholic as an infant, before
his faculties had led him to reason
over superstition.
Stephen Girard spent a lifetime
working industriously and, with his
sharp economic mind, he became
the wealthiest man in the United
States. The money he earned was
used to help his fellow citizens
Spring 1999

in a god or an afterlife, he knew he

would be insensitive to accolades.
But then, Stephen had never sought
personal recognition for his generosity, and indeed, maintained a very
private home life. Although he did
himself with nieces,
nephews, and a mistress, he did not
entertain, or attend the theater, or
dine out, as most extremely wealthy
men would do. Stephen Girard's life
was consumed with working, and
his idea of relaxing was to work on
his beloved fruit trees and garden,
rather than moving among the
haunts of the rich. Indeed, he said,
"To rest is to rust," and "The love of
work is my greatest ambition ... As
for my fortune, I do not seek for it."lO
When he died, everyone waited
anxiously to learn how this French
immigrant to the United States
would devolve his funds. Apprehensive relatives hoped their rich uncle
would divide the richest estate in
the country among them; neighbors
in his home city of Philadelphia
waited to see if their city would be a
while independent
charities nervously hoped their
causes would be addressed.
American Atheist

When Stephen Girard's will was

made public, citizens rushed to purchase the newspaper to read of the
devolvement of his estate. As is
usual in such cases, the will pleased
some people, and infuriated others,
but in one particular, it not only
enraged the populace, but caused
them to set aside Stephen's last
wishes altogether.
It was learned that Stephen
Girard's estate was worth about
$7,670,000. This was at a time when
it was not unusual. for a person to
live comfortably on $200-$350 a
year, and when even the wealthy
presidents of prominent banks
earned around $2,000 annually.
Stephen bequeathed personal
gifts as well as gifts to his community in his will. He freed his AfricanAmerican servant, giving her an
annuity of $200. To his mistress,
who had been by his side for over
thirty years, he gave $300 a year,
but he gave the same amount to her
two sisters, who had also lived in his
home, and to her niece. Stephen's
housekeeper received $500 a year,
as did the housekeeper on his farm,

niece he left $20,000. To the many

nieces, nephews and a brother left
in France, he left $5,000 each, with
his brother and one niece receiving
the house in which Stephen was
born and had later purchased. A
received a lifetime
income of $400 a year.
Altogether, his bequests to individuals equaled about $150,000, less
than 2% of his fortune. The rest,
Stephen gave to his community.
Stephen bequeathed $10,000,
for the purchase, out of the annual
interest of that sum, of wood, for distribution among poor white women,
who were house or room-keepers.
He donated $30,000 to the Pennsylvania Hospital, and $20,000 to
the Pennsylvania Institution for the
Deaf and Dumb, as well as $10,000
to both the orphan asylum and the
school system of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. To the Shipmaster's
Society, which cared for the widows
and orphans of sailors, Stephen presented another $10,000. He gave
$6,000 to Passyunk Township,
where his farm was located, for the
purpose of purchasing land and

while the larger section was given to

the city of Philadelphia, with instructions that the land, or the
money raised from the sale of the
land, was to go for "such uses and
purposes ... most likely to promote
the health and general prosperity of
the inhabitants."
Five hundred thousand dollars
were set aside for a trust fund for
the city of Philadelphia for various
purposes set down by Stephen. This
included funds to pay for the police
force and watchmen, in Philadelphia, and to "improve the City property, and the general appearance of
the City itself, and, in effect, to
diminish the burden of taxation,
now most oppressive, especially on
those who are the least able to bear
it." Stephen's will then bequeathed
$300,000 to the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania for the improvement
of the canal system.
Although all these gifts were
retained the largest portion of his
estate for a very special purpose: the
of a "college" for
orphan boys. Although he used the

"No ecclesiastic, missionary, or minister of any sect whatsoever,

shall ever hold or exercise any station or duty whatever
in the said College; nor shall any such person ever be
admitted for any purpose, or as a visitor, within the premises
appropriated to the purposes of the said College."
with an additional $300 going to his
rural housekeeper until her daughter reached the age of twenty-one.
In addition, this housekeeper's son
received $1,000 in a lump sum.
His relatives were frustrated with
their share. Expecting millions, his
nieces, all in their thirties and married, received amounts ranging from
$10,000 plus the interest from a
$50,000 trust fund, to a flat $10,000,
to a lifetime income obtained from a
trust fund of $10,000. To his grandParsippany,NewJersey

building a school for both boys and

girls and a teacher's residence.
At his death, Stephen owned
208,000 acres of land in Louisiana.
One thousand of these acres were
given, for twenty years, to Stephen's
Louisiana business manager, after
which it was to devolve to the city of
New Orleans.
The remaining
207,000 acres were divided into two
parts of one-third and two-thirds
the sum. The smaller section he
gave to the city of New Orleans,
Spring 1999

word "college," it was really an elementary and secondary school for

children as young as six years old.
He went into minute detail
about the construction of the buildings comprising the school, on land
he had already purchased. He also
insisted that "no ecclesiastic, missionary, or minister of any sect
whatsoever, shall ever hold or exercise any station or duty whatever in
the said College; nor shall any such
person ever be admitted for any purPage 39

pose, or as a visitor, within the

premises appropriated to the purposes of the said College."
This particular stipulation was
to cause the predominantly Christian culture of the United States to
overturn the intent of his will, and
greedily steal the money from that
gift he considered most important of
all his gifts, by perversion and
underhanded legal trickery. With
all Stephen Girard had done both
personally and financially for the
citizens of the United States, his
wish for the exclusion of religion
from his College made him a monster in the eyes of a majority of
those same people who reaped the
rewards of his civic endowments.
Of course such a wish on the
part of this patriot must be ignored,
it was determined, and first to
attempt it were his relatives. They
waited until they had first gotten
the money he had left them (in case
their attempt at overturning the
will failed), then proceeded with
their arguments. First, they argued
that all the wealth Stephen had
accumulated after the will was written should not be subject to the
terms of the will, but should be
turned over to them. Amazingly, the
judge agreed, and an extra $66,418
was given to the relatives to split
amongst themselves.
Encouraged, they then went
after the college, their argument
being that Stephen's exclusion of
ecclesiastics, missionaries and ministers from the school, "was fundamentally at odds with freedom of
religion as constitutionally guaranteed to the people," and "was
derogatory to the Christian religion,
contrary to sound morals, and subversive to law." Daniel Webster,
arguing for the relatives, said his
central objective was "a defense of
Christianity against the inroads of
paganism and infidelity."ll

Page 40

The lawyer defending the will,

Horace Binney, did nothing to protect Stephen's last wishes. He
denied that the will was antiChristian or even that it barred
Christianity from the school. After
all, said Binney, Stephen required
that the students be taught morality, a love of truth, sobriety and
industry, and what better source of
these lessons can be found than the
Bible? Besides, he said, there was
no law that said Christianity had to
be taught in public schools.
The Supreme Court upheld
Stephen's will. Justice Story, writing the court's opinion, said, "The
testator does not say that Christianity shall not be taught in the
College, but only that no ecclesiastic
of any sect shall hold or exercise any
station or duty in the College.... The
objection, itself, assumes the proposition that Christianity is not to be
taught, because ecclesiastics are not
to be instructors or officers. But this
is by no means a necessary or legitimate inference from the premises.
Why may not laymen instruct in the
general principles of Christianity,
as well as ecclesiastics? Why may
not the Bible, and especially the
New Testament, without note or
comment, be read and taught as a
divine revelation, in the College its general precepts expounded, its
evidences explained, and its glorious principles of morality inculcated? What is there to prevent a work,
not sectarian, upon the general evidences of Christianity, from being
read and taught in the College by
lay teachers? Certainly there is
nothing in the Will that proscribes
such studies."12
This, of course, opened the way
for religion to be taught at the
College. On 1 January 1848, the
College opened with 100 boys being
enrolled. Enrollment thereafter
would average 600 pupils, and at
times reach 1,000 students.
Spring 1999

Primary School Number Two

was for the youngest children, who
were taught the alphabet, spelling,
reading, writing, arithmetic, notation and tables, grammar, and geography, the two latter being taught
orally. 13
After successfully completing
these courses, the student then
moved to Primary School Number
One, where he was taught orthography, punctuation, reading, writing,
grammar and composition, geography, mental and written arithmetic,
commencing with vulgar fractions,
etymology, history (of the United
States and England), French, and
drawing. 14
In the highest grades, called the
Principal Department,
were taught reading, grammar and
composition, arithmetic, algebra,
geometry, trigonometry, surveying,
mensuration and astronomy, ancient and modern geography, general history, French and Spanish,
penmanship, drawing and bookkeeping, natural philosophy, and
chemistry. 15
All very well and good. But the
board controlling the school felt
compelled, not only to ignore
Stephen's will, but to overcompensate for his wish to exclude religion
by having an extraordinary amount
of religion taught. The way they circumvented the meaning of his last
wishes while still obeying the letter
of his will was to have the religious
ceremonies performed by laymen.
The lay preachers could be anyone who was not directly a minister
of a church. To understand this
through an application of contemporary
models, Randall
Phyllis Schlafly,t Joseph Scheidler,:!: Judie Brown, Bill McCartney, <JI, and similar lunatics would
be acceptable as instructors and the
children would be forced to listen to
them, all because, technically, they
are not "ministers." As dreadful as
American Atheist

it is to think that the children might

be exposed to creatures such as
these, it is all the more tragic to
knowthat the children's attendance
at these displays of irrationality was

Stephen Girard's College instituted

the following schedule for students:
On weekdays, the pupils rose at
6:00, ate breakfast at 6:30, attended
morning worship at 7:00, took recreation until 8:00, assembled in see-

This meant that the children

were forced to participate in over ten
hours of religious training a week!
And this in a school funded by a
man who specifically wrote in his
will that "no ecclesiastic, mission-

When Stephen Girard's grave was opened in 1851 ... it was

reported that only a skull and a handful of bones remained.
No wonder! He had probably turned over so many times in his
grave by then that there was little left of him!
Stephen's intentions were evident
from the opening of the school. The
first president of Girard College,
Judge Joel Jones, was a Christian
author who brought his Bible with
him on the first day of work. His
first official exercise was to open the
College with Bible reading and
prayer. In a plan that can only be
called the grossest placation of religious institutions, the directors of

* Executive Director of Operation

Rescue, who said, "I don't think
Christians should use birth control.
You consummate your marriage as
often as you like - and if you have
babies, you have babies ..."
t President of Eagle Forum, who said,
"It's very healthy for a young girl to
be deterred from promiscuity by a
fear of contracting a painful, incurable disease, or cervical cancer, or
sterility, or the likelihood of giving
birth to a dead, blind, or brain-damaged baby."
t Executive Director, Pro-Life Action
League, who said "For those who say
I can't impose my morality on others,
I say just watch me."

American Life League,

who said, ''We are totally opposed to
abortion under any circumstances.
We are also opposed to abortifacient
drugs and chemicals like the Pill and
the IUD, and we are also opposed to
all forms of birth control with the
exception of natural family planning."


Founder of Promise Keepers, who

said, "Churches are 75 percent filled
with ladies. That's not the heart of

Parsippany, New Jersey

tions at that hour, met in the schoolrooms at 9:00, remained there, with
15 minutes recess, until noon, then
took recreation for half an hour,
dined at 12:30, took recreation from
1:00 until 2:00, remained in the
schoolrooms from 2:00 until 5:00,
with recess of 15 minutes, attended
evening worship at 5:00, took recreation an hour, supped at 6:30,
assembled in the section rooms at
7:00, then retired to the dormitories
from 8:00 to 10:00, according to
their age. "Worship" consisted of
scripture reading, prayer, and the
singing of a hymn or song.
This meant that during the
week, the children were required to
attend "worship" services TEN
TIMES. On Saturday, the schools
were not in session in the afternoon,
so it is probable they only had to
attend "worship" services once on
that day.
On Sundays, the pupils assembled in their section rooms at 9:00 in
the morning, and at 2:00 in the
afternoon, for religious reading and
instruction, and at 10:30 in the
morning, and 3:30 in the afternoon,
they attended worship in the
College Building. At least five hours
OR Sunday was devoted to religious
instruction. The Sunday chapel services consisted of an opening prayer,
a reading, two scripture lessons, a
long prayer, three hymns, an
an address,
prayer, and an ascription.
Spring 1999

ary, or minister of any sect whatsoever, shall ever hold or exercise any
station or duty whatever in the said
College; nor shall any such person
ever be admitted for any purpose, or
as a visitor, within the premises
appropriated to the purposes of the
said College."
At the daily or Sunday religious
exercises, the President of the
College, or some other layman
selected by him, officiated. On weekdays, the chapel exercises consisted
of singing a hymn, reading a chapter
from the Bible or New Testament,
and prayer. On Sundays, in addition, an "appropriate
adapted to the comprehension and
situation of the Pupils," was delivered.16
When Stephen Girard's grave
was opened in 1851, while being
transported to a new memorial at
the College, it was reported that
only "a skull and a handful of bones"
remained.t? No wonder! He had
probably turned over so many times
in his grave by then that there was
little left of him!
Another early president of Girard
College, Dr. William H. Allen, was
later president of the American
Bible Society. In his inaugural
address in 1850, he stated, "For
myself, I can see no secure basis of
morals but in an immutable and
perfect standard, which is God.
Deprive us of this, and virtue and
vice would become mere names.
Page 41

There could be then no higher merit

than a successful calculation of interest; no deeper demerit than the making of a mistake."
Dr. Allen also developed the
Manual of Devotion to indoctrinate
the boys. An example of the words
the boys were required to repeat is
Merciful Father, we humbly look
to thee for a blessing upon every duty
to be discharged during this day. Let
the pupils of this school realize and
remember that they are indebted to
Thy providence [Forget the providence of Stephen Girard!] for the
great opportunities which they here
enjoy, and may they daily lift up
their hearts in thankfulness for the
mercies vouchsafed to them. Let it be
their aim every day to become wiser
and better, and with steadfast purpose to pursue those things which
are honest in the sight of men and
approved of God.
a Thou whose name is love, and
whose loving-kindness changes not,
fill us with love to Thee and to one
another. Breathe into our hearts a
spirit of kindness and goodwill. Give
us meekness and forbearance one
toward another, and dispose us to
assist and comfort one another. Let
the teachers and officers who serve
here be guides and examples to these
young persons, to whom life is an
untried scene. Give the boys a spirit
of obedience; may they diligently
improve the precious years of youth,
and have that fear of the Lord which
is the beginning of wisdom.
We render Thee grateful thanks,
a Lord, for the blessings of the night
and pray for Thy protection throughout the day. a Thou who slumberest
not, nor sleepest, watch over us and
shield us from harm. Permit us to
rise each morning with new strength
for Thy service, and may Thy Holy
Spirit guide us into the way of all
truth, and bring us to the end of our
course in peace, through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen.
Page 42

At the 75th Anniversary Celebration of the opening of Girard

College,alumnus Joseph M. McCutcheon, stated,
The facts are that from the day
that the college opened for the reception of students to the present time
there has been in it a definite and
continuous reverence for the things
spiritual, the Bible and prayer and
religious hymns having been part of
the worship. Every student begins
the day's activities by the attendance
upon morning prayers; Sunday services assume the character of the
usual church services. A reverent and
spiritual atmosphere pervades the
exercises. The singing by the students is inspirational. The address by
a layman on a topic related to some
aspect of religious living must contribute to deep and lasting impressions upon those in attendance. The
meals are preceded by prayers of
thankfulness for God's mercies.

Rene Guillou was one of the "laymen" asked to speak at Girard. He

presented a series of addresses under
the title, "ClockTalks." These, twelve
in number, were termed "the tooth of
time," or "what the clock says." As
each was delivered the hands of a
clock dial which was placed by the
side of the speaker's desk were
moved forward to record the progress
of the series. The subjects of these
Clock Talks were: (1) "Watch"; (2)
"Christ Crucified"; (3) "Remember
Lot's Wife"; (4) "Quench Not the
Spirit"; (5) "Prepare to Meet Thy
God"; (6) "The Wages of Sin Is
Death"; (7) "The God of Jacob Is Our
Refuge"; (8) "For by Grace Are Ye
Saved Through Faith"; (9) "But
Except Ye Repent, Ye Shall All
Likewise Perish"; (10) "Remember
Now Thy Creator, in the Days of Thy
Youth"; (11) "The Lord is Nigh Unto
All Them that Call upon Him"; (12)
"And at Midnight There Was a Cry
Made, 'Behold the Bridegroom
Spring 1999

Indeed, as a later President

reported, ''The exclusion of clergymen from Girard College has not
resulted in an exclusion of religious
education. Instead it has proved a
happy means of avoiding all danger
of denominational interference in the
management of Girard College.Not a
few clergymen, when they have
learned how the prohibition of Girard
has worked out, have expressed their
entire approval of this clause of the
When money for a statue of
Stephen was being raised in the late
nineteenth century, contributions
were requested from former students. Pearl Geer reported meeting
one former student, writing, "One
man, who had been educated, clothed
and fed when a boy by Stephen
Girard's wealth, wrote to the board
having the work in charge, stating
that he could not conscientiously contribute to the statue because he did
not agree with Girard's Infidelity!
This is undoubtedly the meanest
man in the world. It didn't hurt his
conscience to receive Girard's charity, but he is too good a Christian to
give even ten cents towards a work of
art in memory of him."18
This attitude is not surprising.
As President Herrick wrote in 1927,
"The real test of the chapel exercises
is their effect. The boys participate
heartily and reverently in the
responsive readings, the concert
recitations, and the congregational
singing; they listen with respectful
and devout attention. Boys are in the
spirit of worship in their attendance
on these religious exercises, and men
with a message feel that they get a
real hearing in the Girard College
''The habit of regular attendance
on religious worship, both week days
and Sundays, is of unmistakable
effect on the lives of the boys... When
boys... leave the college to take up
the responsibilities of life, they generally find their way into the churchAmerican Atheist

es of their choice, as Girard obviously

intended they should."19
While Stephen wished to instill
morality into the orphans he supported, his executors chose the absolutely
worst textbook as their guide to teach
it - a book that teaches of fathers
killing their children, wives being
sold into prostitution, daughters
seducing fathers, and a god that kills
little children who make fun of a bald
man's head, demands the foreskins of
enemies to be cut and collected from
their dead bodies, prostitutes women,
and tells his followers to abandon
their families. What a book to teach
morality! As Josephine Henry wrote,
"If the boys who go out from Girard
Collegewere not dosed with religious
superstitions, and allowed to think
and reason for themselves, as Girard
intended they should, they would be
a power in the progress of the race."20
In the late 1880s, several Freethought groups, including The
American Secular Union, discussed
the Girard College through their
newspapers and at their meetings. A
resolution was presented at one
meeting requesting that a member
investigate and report on conditions
at the College and to advise as to the
wisdom of instituting legal proceedings against the directors and officers. It seems the effort fizzled out
without reaching a courtroom, and
the School continued its religious
indoctrination of its captive audience.
In 1923, a further improvement
on religious indoctrination
implemented: student participation.
Now the boys would have a part in
the Sunday morning services and
have almost total control of the
Monday morning chapel service and
the meetings of the older boys on
Sunday evenings. On Sunday mornings, boys now led the responsive
readings, read both scripture lessons,
and announced the hymns.
Some changes have come about
in recent years. In 1968, the US
Parsippany, New Jersey

Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the provision that restricted

admission to "white" applicants only.
No mention was made of making the
school stop indoctrinating the students with Christianity. In 1984, the
court made the school co-educational.
No mention was made of making the
school stop indoctrinating the students with Christianity.
In 1997, I wrote to Girard College
seeking information about their religious program. I was told, "Chapel
services are held bi-weekly. Speakers
select topics which carry moral, ethicalor philosophical implications and
which do not constitute sectarian
appeal inasmuch as our services are
nondenominational."21 At least the
captive audience is not required to
attend hours upon hours of religious
training each day.
Between his death in 1831 and
1991, the fortune Stephen Girard left
to his community had grown from the
original $7,670,000 to $230,000,000,
even after providing support to thousands of orphans, as well as contributions to charitable and civic enterprises. The coal land that Stephen
had purchased for $30,000 in 1830
had paid his estate $65,000,000 in
royalties by the late 1930s. Certainly,
Stephen Girard's beneficence was
greater than any other citizen who
ever loved this country. And yet,
what has been the gratitude shown
him? In the one area to which he left
the majority of his estate, and for
which he drew up extremely detailed
plans and rules - the one area he
thought most important of all his
bequests - he was totally and thoroughly thwarted.
But things are looking up!
Students are now forced to attend
services only twice a week! Given
another 200 or 300 years, the executors of Stephen Girard's estate might
actually follow the intent of his last
will and testament, and do him the

Spring 1999

honor of obeying his last wishes,

thereby thanking him at last for his
to the
United States of America.









Simpson, S., Biography of Stephen

Girard, with his Will Affixed, 1832, UMI
Books on Demand, Ann Arbor, MI, p. 20.
Ibid., p. 50.
Arey, Henry W., The Girard College and
Its Founder: The Biography of Mr.
Girard, The History of the Institution, Its
Organization and Plan of Discipline,
with the Course of Education, Forms of
Admission of Pupils, Description of the
Buildings, &c. &c., and The Will of Mr.
Girard, Philadelphia, Sherman & Co.,
Printers, S.W. Corn. Seventh and Cherry
Sts., 1869, p. 14.
Ibid., Letter from Stephen Girard to Les
Fils de P. Changeraux and Co.,
Baltimore, September 16th, 1793, p. 15.
Ibid., p. 22.
S. Simpson, op. cit., p. 182.
Ibid., p. 182-183.
Ibid., p. 204.
Ibid., p. 214.
Wilson, George, Stephen Girard, The
Life and Times of America's First
Tycoon, Combined Books, Conshohocken,
PA, 1995, p. 371.
Herrick, Cheesman A., Stephen Girard,
Founder, Philadelphia, 1945, pp. 152153; Wilson, op. cit., 348.
Arguments of the Defendants' Counsel
and Judgment of the Supreme Court
U.S. in the case of Vidal and Another,
Complainants and Appellants, Versus
the Mayor, Etc., of Philadelphia, the
Executors of Stephen Girard, and Others,
Defendants and Appellees, January
Term, 1844, Philadelphia: Girard College
Print Shop, 1929 (reprinted from
Philadelphia Edition, 1854), pp. 113-114;
Wilson, op. cit., pp. 351-352.
Arey, op. cit., p. 41.
Ibid., p. 42.
lbid, p.42.
Arey, op. cit., p. 43.
Freemasonry in Pennsylvania, 17301907, Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania,
Philadelphia, 1918, p. 365-366; Wilson,
op. cit., p. 362.
Torch of Reason, Vol. III, No. 29,
7/27/1899, p. 2-3.
History of Girard College, Cheesman A.
Herrick, Ph.D., LL.D., President of
Girard College, Set up and printed in
The Mechanical School, Girard College,
Philadelphia, 1927, p. 197-198.
The Blue Grass Blade, Sunday, October
25, E.M. 303 (1903).
Devlin, Joseph T., Head of School,
Girard College, letter to Carole Gray,
January 28. 1997.

Page 43

Atheist Masters

". '"f



Atheist reporter, essayist,
pamphleteer, and polymath
who, because of Catholic
censorship of the major
American media, had to publish much of his writing
with the Haldeman-Julius
Company, an Atheist press
located in Girard, Kansas.
The present article is an
abridgment of the second
volume of his series The
Black International, exposing the international cabal
of the black-suited Roman
Catholic clergy. Published
in 1941, when the outcome
of World War II was not at
all certain, this piece is
almost an eye-witness
account of the connivance of
Eugenio Pacelli - a.k.a. Pope
Pius XII - to destroy social
democracy wherever possible and help Defenders of
the Faith such as Hitler and
Mussolini come to power.

Joseph McCabe
Page 44

I. The Red Record of the

Holy Fathers

he col.orchos~n by t~e. Popes

is White. Their flag, It IStrue,
is White and Gold, to remind
us that they are Kings and need a
royal revenue of a billion a year, but
that is, they say, necessary to a
ruler of the world. Their personal
color-theme is white, a flowing
white cassock and a white-silk
skull-cap: symbols of their purity of
life and purpose and their neverceasing efforts to keep the world in
peace and tranquillity. The vast economic organization over which they
preside, the Black International,
takes its name from the blackgarbed clergy. For more than a hundred years after America had
embodied the elementary rights of
man in a Constitution the priests
called the claim of those rights in
other countries Liberalism and
waged a bitter, blood-soaked fight
against it. This was the historic battle of the Blacks and the Whites
Spring 1999

Toward the end of the nineteenth century a new color, Red,

appeared in the arena. Whites and
Blacks shuddered and got together
to oppress it. Red meant blood, violence, war. Our folk are now educated in so false a version of history,
because truth is offensive to our
Catholic fellow-citizens, that few
knew the irony of this. Particularly
in America men and women were
persuaded to greet the new banner
with hatred, rage, and disgust.
These newcomers who preached violence, cruelty, and war were outside
the pale of our Christian civilization. Shoot the dogs down, as
Luther said about the rebel-peasants of his time. Let me here just
outline the historical evidence that
the real Reds, in this sense, are, and
always have been, the Popes and
their bishops.
We have read hundreds of times
the prophecy of the famous British
essayist, Lord Macaulay that when
in some remote age a traveler comes
from New Zealand to see the ruins
of London the Papacy will still flourish. These literary men! The idea
American Atheist

that an institution which has lasted

1800years will last another few millennia, or even a century, is childish. In Macaulay's time the world
was beginning to perceive that institutions which appeared thousands
ofyears ago probably had their roots
in ignorance. There were then twenty Kings in Europe. A century later
there were ten, and most of them
looked nervously out upon a hostile
world. In another ten years they will
probably be reduced to one.
The Papacy is far more vulnerable than monarchy. As the supreme
head of the western half of Christianity it was established about the
middle of the fifth century. It is
quite literally what Hobbes called it,
"the ghost of the Roman Empire sitting crowned upon the grave thereof." As long as that Empire maintained civilization every branch of
the Church, east and west, scorned
the Pope's pretensions. But in a
world of blind men the one-eyed
man is King, and Rome ruled the
ruins. The Popes were masters of a
world that was so debased that during the next seven centuries all
Europe did not produce one book
that any but a bookworm now reads
or raise one building that any but an
antiquarian would cross the street
to examine.
The brilliant civilization which
the Arabs meantime created in
Spain and Sicily at last awakened
Europe from its hog-like slumbers,
and for the next eight centuries the
power of the Popes was based upon
violence and bloodshed. A distinguished German historian has estimated that their victims numbered
more than 10,000,000 in 500 years.
Certainly they numbered some millions. Until the American and
French Revolutions these were
frankly called Heretics. Then the
world, under the lead of America,
decided that it was a crime to put
men to death for religion, so they
were called Liberals, and the
Church got half a million of them
liquidated. By the twentieth century
civilization generally had become
Liberal so they were called Reds or
Parsippany, New Jersey

Bolsheviks. Very few people are

taught in school - except in those
disreputable Communist Schools that it is simply an historical truth
that their flag is "red with martyrs'
Is it credible that the Holy
Fathers, clad in the symbols of
peace and purity, were guilty of
these things? I recently published in
England a History of the Popes
(1939) in which I could pay more
attention to the characters of the
Popes than in my larger True Story
of the Roman
Catholic Church
(1930). Let me say, that I read the
original authorities in Greek, Latin,
Italian, Spanish, German, and
French, and no Catholic has ever
attempted to answer any of my historical work. And I say, coldly, that
these Holy Fathers shed more blood
in defense of their wealth and power
than all the other historic religions
put together and that the record of
their vices is the worst in the whole
history of religion.
There have been about 260 of
these Vicars of Christ, as they call
themselves. It is difficult to tell the
exact number because in certain
periods there were two or three truculently fighting for the holy title. In
the tenth century there were 30 in
100 years - there have been only six
in the last 100 years - and it is
impossible to be sure how many
were murdered by rivals. Let us say
that there have been 260. We know
nothing about the character of the
great majority of these during the
first thousand years of the Christian
Era. Catholic literature gives the
title of martyr to nearly every Pope
to the year :310, though their most
learned historian, Duchesne, admits
that only two were martyred. It
gives the title of Saint to all but one
of them to the fifth century, whereas we have definite information
about only three of them, and one of
these (St. Victor) was at least shady,
the second (St. Callistus) was definitely a crook, and the third (St.
Damasus) was a forger, and an
employer of murderous mobs and
was charged under the civil law
Spring 1999

with adultery. In short, of the 150 or

so Popes about whose characters we
can be fairly sure at least 80 were
sexually loose men (six or seven of
them sodomists) and about a dozen
murderers. Scores besides these
were men of vile temper and great
cruelty; and most of them were
guilty of simony, nepotism, and protecting corruption.
So put out of your mind the conventional gush about "venerable
heads of the great Church," and
remember that even the best Popes
were terrible shedders of blood. The
holiest of them all, Innocent III, was
responsible for about 500,000 victims in 18 years (1198-1216). The
question here is whether this is
ancient stuff that throws no light or
has no bearing on the conduct of the
Papacy in modern times. That is
what Catholics say and most people
believe; but you will not understand
the situation today unless you realize that the "Red Record" which is
the title of this chapter mainly
refers to the record of the Popes
from the fall of Napoleon (1814) to
our own time.
500,000 men, women, and children
were done to death by the Church
and the feudal monarchs in alliance.
With that disgusting meanness to
which the difficulties of their case
drives them, Catholic writers represent, and try to compel other writers
and works of reference to represent,
these martyrs as a sort of early type
of Reds, or dangerous agitators
against the social order as well as
religion. On the contrary, they were
as a rule less radical than Washington and Jefferson. Republicanism
was rare amongst them, and they
had no idea of persecuting the
Church or, even in most cases, of
disestablishing it. They were just
men and women who wanted kings
to govern them constitutionally and
the Church to suppress the horrible
Inquisition and its vile dungeons.
For this Kings and Popes fell upon
them, through the armies, police,
and fanatical mobs, with incredible
Page 45

Do not listen to the excuse that

it was still the Middle Ages.
Napoleon had made an end of that
horror. Some now put Napoleon on a
level with our modern dictators, but
with all his faults he was a clean
fighter, only in one case accused of
murder (the Due d'Enghien), and he
did magnificent work for Europe.
He was a skeptic, of course, as Lord
Rosebery shows in The Last Phase
(1900), but he showered wealth and
favor upon the Church - on the
usual terms: the priests must keep
the old Republicans quiet for him.
Yet after his fall the bishops joined
with the royalists in a White Terror
which was more brutal than the Red
Catholics represent Pope Pius
VII as a "martyr" under Napoleon.
They do not tell how under this Pius
VII, when Napoleon was beaten,
tens of thousands of Liberals were
martyred and under his three successors hundreds of thousands.
Well, what were these Holy
Fathers, of modern times, like, and
what were they protecting? If you
want a serious and unchallengeable
answer look up that highly respectable and most weighty authority the
Cambridge Modern History (Vol.X).
You will find that Leo XII, who succeeded Pius - the Catholic Encyclopedia admires his "intelligence and
masterly energy" - was a converted
rake and a doddering old fool who
was "hated by all, princes and beggars" (as the famous historian L.
von Ranke who knew him, said) and
his death was hailed by the Romans
"with indecent joy" (the Prussian
ambassador at Rome said). While he
shot birds in the Vatican garden his
troops, with a sanguinary cardinal
in command, shot down his rebels,
and many thousands of them suffered a living death in jails of a repulsive character.
At his death the cardinals, after
invoking the light ofthe Holy Spirit,
elected, to meet the grave problems
of the new Europe, a man in the last
stage of senile decay, drooling at the
mouth as they wheeled him round
the Vatican garden in his baby-carPage 46

riage. The carnage of rebels went

on. He soon died, and the fierce contest of cardinals for the holy office
was renewed. The ablest candidate
was Albani, but he was as notorious
a roue that they thought the heretics of England and Prussia might
make ribald remarks if they elected
him Vicar of Christ, so they made
him Secretary of State (and real
ruler of the Church) and elected a
monk, Gregory XVI.
Gregory was according to all
Italian historians vulgar, sensual,
and frivolous. As one of the more
distinguished of them says, he
absorbed himself in ignoble interests while the country groaned
under misrule. It was widely
believed in Rome that he was intimate with the wife of his valet, and
he was notorious for his love of
strong wine and candy. His horrible
jails were crammed with rebels 6,000 at one time - and the best
blood of Italy was poured out or driven abroad. His ignorance was
weird. He refused to admit even gas
and railways into the Papal States,
as if that meant that the devil got
his foot in the door.
After fifteen years of this the
cardinals elected what Catholics
call a Liberal Pope, Pius IX. But
when he found that Liberals wanted
real freedom and a share in reforming his corrupt kingdoms, He fled in
disguise and called upon the
Catholic powers to kill his rebels for
him. Then the jails were crammed
again. In a villa at Civita Vecchia,
which had once been enlivened by
the orgies of medieval Holy Fathers,
rebels with a life-sentence were
chained to the wall and not released
even for relieving themselves. So
the brutality continued until the
Italians bought off the Pope's
French protectors and took over,
with an overwhelming vote of the
inhabitants, the Papal Kingdom.
What was this kingdom (the
Papal States) which they had shed
so much blood to protect? There is
no dispute amongst non-Catholic
historians, and some Catholic historians agree, that it was the most
Spring 1999

corrupt, backward, VICIOUS, and

inept in Europe. The British ambassador publicly declared it "the
opprobrium of Europe." The leading
monarchs of Europe in 1812 publicly warned the Papacy - which is
now pressed upon us as the most
profound and serene oracle on political morality - that unless it cleaned
up its Augaean stable they would
clean it themselves. Rome was
described by a devout French priest
as "the most hideous sewer that was
ever opened up to the eye of man"
and this is approvingly quoted by a
Catholic historian in the Cambridge
Modern History (X, 164) in which all
this is admitted. The real ruler or
Secretary of State. Cardinal Antonelli, who had been born in a peasant's
hut, died worth $20,000,000, and left
a bastard daughter, the Countess
Lambertini, clamoring for it.
South Italy, the Kingdom of
Naples, was virtually an extension
of the Pope's Kingdom in respect of
Papal influence; and it rivaled the
Papal States in corruption and
viciousness. Its monarchs, the
Popes' beloved sons, were veritable
Neros. From 1790 to 1860 they
slaughtered, sometimes with revolting barbarity,
"Liberals." And since the Kings of
Spain and Portugal were just as
servile to the Popes we are entitled
to bring their misdeeds also under
the heading of the "moral influence"
of the Popes. Their "butcher's bill"
in 50 years was between 50,000 and
100,000. The savagery was so indiscriminate that no one can get nearer to the truth.
Well, well, the Catholic says,
this is still ancient history - less
than a century ago - and with the
glorious pontificate of Leo XIII a
new era was inaugurated; the era of
those beautiful encyclicals on sociopolitical matters which are quoted
in every Catholic apology that is put
before the American public. For an
understanding of the present situation it is very important to realize
that there was no change of policy
whatever at the Vatican. That is
why I have given this very slight
American Atheist

outline of the bloody history of the

past, which is fully described in my
earlier works. The policy of violence
was merely suspended until it could
once more be applied.
Leo XIII could not, ifhe wanted,
maintain the vile practices of his
predecessors. Italy and France witnessed a rapid growth of skepticism
in high quarters after 1870 and
would not tolerate Papal interference or advice. Poland was under
Russia, which treated the Pope as
an Italian monkey. Austria, brought
down by its defeats was becoming
very Liberal. The horrors of the
dead Papal Kingdom and of Naples
were told by hundreds of writers
and orators in Europe and America.
Moreover, the Vatican had begun to
see remarkable
wealth in "converting" America and
Great Britain, and the Catholics in
those countries had as yet not the
least influence on the press and
education and could not have concealed atrocities as they now do. So
the wolf put on sheep's clothing for a
few years.
Then the menace of the Reds
began and gave them their opportunity. There was still only one
country in which the "right to kill,"
which was solemnly re-affirmed by
Leo XIII, could be made the basis of
policy. Spain was geographically
isolated and few people abroad took
much notice of it. In fact, in the last
decade of the century the ruling and
wealthy classes everywhere were
beginning to sniff at this Red menace and would not inquire too closely. So in Spain the hierarchy, which
was more intimately connected with
Rome than that of any other country, began to cooperate with the corrupt state on the old lines. From
1895to 1909, when Ferrer was murdered and I roused so much public
attention that the policy had again
to be suspended, hundreds of rebels
were shot and thousands tortured in
They were not "anarchists." I
became an intimate friend of one of
Parsippany, New Jersey


Marmol, who fled to London and

was under sentence of death in
Spain. He was a fine scholar and a
Spanish gentleman of the best type,
a man of aristocratic family. He
loathed violence and was an anarchist only in the Tolstoian sense.
His great crime was that he was a
rebel against the Church. In the vile
dungeons of Montjuich, where he
was imprisoned. he saw what was
done. Men were fed for days on salt
fish and dry bread and refused
water. Cords were tied tightly on
their genitals. It was afterwards
proved that most of the "anarchist
plots" were police plots, and the
Church was fully implicated. This
went on under Leo XIII and Pius X,
and it brings the Red Record of the
Popes down to our own time. It continued in the only country in the
world in which it could be continued.

Eugenio Pacelli,ak.a. Pope Pius XII,

who never excommunicated Hitler nor
condemned Mein Kampf to the Index
Librorum Prohibitorum.
He reigned
(rom 1939 to 1958

Spring 1999

II. Who is this Pius XII?

The present Pope, Pius XII, is
hailed throughout
the Catholic
world as the Pope of Peace. Cardinal
Hinsley explains in his introduction
to The Pope Speaks (1940) that the
beautiful motto of his ancient and
aristocratic family is (translated):
"Peace is the Fruit of Justice." Yes;
Mussolini has said that hundreds of
times, with the accent on the word
justice. Hitler merely wants justice
and then he will give what is left of
us peace. I am going to show that
Pius XII above any other Pope of
modern times, even Pius IX, is entitled to be called the Red Pope, the
Pope of War.
One of the flatterers of "the venerable Church" has called him "the
Greatest Neutral." He never has
been neutral. For at least five years
he has openly called for war on Bolshevism in Mexico, Spain, China,
and Russia. Does anyone suppose
that he was thinking of ancient
Jericho and merely wanted the
priests to blow their trumpets? He
was summoning Italy, Germany,
Japan, and the United States to
war. Leaving out the United States,
which was unwilling to draw the
chestnuts out of the fire for the Pope
and Wall Street, in this slogan
which Pacelli, as Secretary of State,
sent echoing through the Catholic
world he was shrieking for just that
war on Spain, China, and Russia
which we have seen.
I am sometimes asked what
Catholic apologists reply to these
very serious historical and actual
charges which I make. They never
reply. They forbid their people to
read me, which is much easier. But
do not Catholics regard that maneuver with suspicion? Listen. The
Catholic Truth Society of Ireland
published a cheap booklet by the
Jesuit priest D. A. Lord with the
title I Can Read Anything. It meets
the natural wish of many Catholics
to read both sides, and it takes the
usual line that the books they are
forbidden to read are filthy and
Page 47

mendacious but dangerously clever.

Catholic young men and women are
asked to be too sensible to "pit their
minds" against "the trained, clever,
brilliant minds" of the Church's critics. And lest the Catholic should ask
if the Church and its 350,000,000
followers does not include a few
equally brilliant writers to reply,
the priest goes on (p. 22):
And when they [the anti-Church
writers] are utterly unscrupulous,
as let's say, Joseph McCabe is, and
will twist any little bit of history to
make a case, and pile yarn on yarn
to construct a proof, and use fable
for fact; and supposition for solid
argument, what chance has the
average reader against them?

The English Catholic Truth

Society dare not publish this,
because the British libel courts are
the straightest in the world. In an
Irish court I would get as much justice as a Jew in Berlin. So when folk
in England write to ask for the
Catholic reply to me, the officials
send them an address in Dublin
where they can get this cowardly little rag.
If anybody is unaware, which
hardly seems likely, that the present Pope has for the last five or six
years used all his influence to get
Italy, Germany, and Japan to make
war, respectively, on Spain, Russia,
and China, which would mean a
world-war, he will have ample evidence later. First let us see how this
Red Pope became what he is.
Eugenio Pacelli comes of what is
commonly called an ancient Italian
noble family which had lost its
wealth but not its piety. His father
was a Papal lawyer and, as is usual
in such cases, one son was destined
for the clerical career. More than
four-fifths of the inhabitants of the
Papal States had voted to be transferred from Papal rule to that of the
Kings of Italy but that meant nothing to the "democratic" Leo XIII. He
was "the prisoner of the Vatican,"
eliciting golden sympathy from
America, and the Italian statesmen
were robbers.
Page 48

I do not suggest that Pius XII

does not believe his theology, as
probably half the clergy do not in
one degree or other. No one is likely
to know except himself what he
believes. Priests hardy ever tell each
other. Zeal is no criterion, however.
The Catholic priesthood and hierarchy are an immense economic corporation centered in Rome just as
Christian Science is, in its official
framework, a business with headquarters in Boston. Naturally its
members are zealous; and the more
responsibility they have (which is
won by the extent of their zeal) the
more zealous they are. The Catholic
who imagines its Pope and his cardinals regarding money as a mundane affair with which they have to
soil their white fingers occasionally
should hear two or three priests
talking about them when they get to
the second bottle.
But understand that I suggest
nothing whatever about the Pope's
belief or unbelief. He has a job of
work, and this was his apprenticeship for it. In college he discovered
an ability for learning languages
and a special zeal for learning
Canon Law, so he was drafted into
the Secretariat of State very soon
after he became priest, and there he
would find himself on the fringe of
the mysteries of Vatican diplomacy.
He also, being of noble birth, joined
and became a professor in The
Academy of Ecclesiastics of Noble
Birth. Of course, the less said about
that the better in America, where
one has to protect the legend that all
his life - when the great ones of the
earth kissed his ring during his
tours of the world, when he occupied
a gorgeous suite in the Vatican as
Secretary of State, and even now
that he sits on the golden throne his one ardent desire was that he
could become a humble parish priest
amongst the poor. He is an aristocrat to his finger-tips. He loathes
democracy. He doubles Leo XIII (in
his crooked diplomacy) and Innocent III (who virtually founded the
Inquisition) .
Spring 1999

Pacelli made such progress in

the department that at the comparatively early age of 41 he was
sent out on a very important mission. Pope Benedict XV, who had
notoriously intrigued
with the
Germans and the Austrians against
the Italians, during the war recollected that he was a Pope of Peace
when, in 1917, it became doubtful if
the Germans would win. He then
wanted to have the world-prestige of
bringing it to a close, and he sent
Pacelli as Nuncio (ambassador) with
plans of peace to Germany. Pacelli
was announced
as Nuncio to
Bavaria, but within a week he was
in Berlin seeing the Chancellor. He
even saw the Kaiser, who told him
to take his plans home because he
was sure to win the war. Why does
not the Pope rather, he said, detach
Italy from the Allies and link it with
Austria, as they are both Catholic
countries? Because, said Pacelli,
there is a very strong patriotic
movement in Italy in favor of continuing the war led by a fiery young
journalist named Benito Mussolini.
The Pope's biographers say that the
Kaiser told Pacelli to take no notice
of "that scum" but to go ahead and
detach Italy from England. It is a
neat little picture.
The gaunt, grim, swarthy young
Nuncio next year saw the fall of the
Kaiser and the riots in Munich. He
met the "mob" with simple heroism,
of course - in Catholic literature but the important point is that this
was the beginning of his knowledge
and hatred
of the Reds. He
remained in Munich until 1925, so
he saw, with what feelings he has
not told us, the rise of a similar
"scum" in Bavaria and the comicopera "March on Berlin," when
Hitler made the record run of his life
- backwards. In 1925 he was sent as
Nuncio to Berlin, and as this was
the beginning of the best period in
recent German history, the five
years of peace and comparative
prosperity under a Liberal-Socialist
coalition Pacelli must know better
than any man in Italy that the
excuse which was later made for
American Atheist

Hitler in the world-press, the flattery under shelter of which the

Nazis created their formidable
power, the plea that they had saved
Germany from chaos and distress, is
a lie.
As part of the evidence, if evidence is required, that Pius XII has
only one aim in all his policy - not
the peace of the world but the power
of the Church - the twelve years he
spent in Germany are important.
He acquired a thorough knowledge
of German, though he speaks it (and
French) with a "marked accent, and
as far as German affairs are concerned he has never been at the
mercy of bigoted and muddle-headed Vatican officials. He saw the
years of confusion after the War end
in a working compromise and a new
Germany rising cheerfully from the
ruins. Lamentable as the feud of
Communists and Socialists was, it
was a domestic squabble and did not
seriously disturb the national economy after 1924; and the Catholic
Church had more freedom and prestige than ever. Pacelli knows as little about economics as he does
about history and science, but at
least he was intelligent enough to
see, during his four years in Berlin,
that under a predominantly Socialist rule Germany was making all
the progress that could be expected
with so crippling a debt, and it was
not internal confusion but its share
in the world-slumps and the cessation of fat loans from America and
Britain from the end of 1929 that
led to the comparative distress of
1930-32 of which the Nazis took
advantage. We shall see that Pacelli
at one time (1934) in a fit of temper
wrote the sharpest condemnation of
Hitler that ever came from a clerical
pen. He always loathed Hitler as a
plebeian upstart and an apostate
from the Church, even when he was
compelling the German bishops to
bow humbly before him and beg to
be allowed to have a share in his
dirty work. But Hitler promised to
make an end of Socialism, and that
- not (outside of Russia) Communism or Bolshevism - is the Big Bad
Parsippany, New Jersey

Wolf in the eyes of the Vatican.

Socialism has a consistent antiPapal tradition, and to oblige its
wealthy supporters the Vatican has
been compelled for half a century to
condemn it as immoral on the
ground that private ownership is a
right based upon natural moral law .
It was, however, not until
Pacelli had left Germany that the
Nazis showed any prospect of ever
attaining power, and he regarded
them as a vulgar and disorderly
rabble led by a bunch of unsavory
apostates and "pansies." Three

~chille Ratti, a.k.a. Pope Pius XI, who

signed the concordat with Mussolini
establishing the Vatican State. He
reigned as pope from 1922 to 1939,
dying on 10 February 1939.
years later he would, as Secretary of
State, compel the proud German
hierarchy, against their very decided will, to greet Hitler as the Savior
of Germany and the White Hope of
the Church. Let us remember, that
Pacelli did not act from ignorance.
He was less innocent than Chamberlain. If he had any ability at alland he has considerable ability - he
knew Germany thoroughly. Will
Catholics call it a wicked suspicion
if we assume that this observer of
events, who lived eight years in
Munich and four in Berlin, had read
Mein Kampf? He knew the program:
Spring 1999

the glorification of the German race,

the domination of Europe, the
annexation of the Ukraine, the massacre of the Jews, the annihilation
of France - in a word, war on a stupendous scale. Catholics do not
obtrude today his intimate knowledge of Germany.
He was recalled to Rome in the
summer of 1929 while Germany was
still cheerfully recovering and the
Catholics cooperated amiably with
the Socialists and Liberals. Pacelli
had been head of the diplomatic
corps at Berlin. The French ambassador had the real right to that position and the Papal ambassador no
right. But the Germans hated the
French too much to let the honor fall
to them. It is another point to hear
in mind about this pre-Hitler Germany, which Pacelli helped to ruin,
that it genially tolerated a Papal
Nuncio at the head of the diplomatic corps and a Catholic Chancellor
in the Wilhelmsstrasse. German
Catholics had never before seen
such things.
Pacelli's patron, the Secretary of
State Cardinal Gasparri, was now
80 years old and unfit for office. He
seems to have marked out Pacelli as
his successor, and he brought him
back to the Vatican for a few
months of final training. Even
Catholic literature is a little confused here. Pacelli became Secretary of State, which is the highest
position in the Church after that of
the Pope, in February, 1930. In
1931 a gossip-paragraph appeared
in the Italian press to the effect that
it was expected in Rome that the
new Secretary of State was about to
be dismissed and old Gasparri reinstated. Clearly the old men were
conspiring against Pacelli, but the
same Catholic writers who say that
it was because he was too lenient to
Mussolini had already said that
Gasparri had always been in favor
of alliance with that brutal adventurer. We will return to the point in
a moment, but it will be useful first
to run a cursory eye over the ten
of Pacelli
Secretary of State.
Page 49

and Pacelli then ordered

the German hierarchy to
withdraw their opposition
to him so that he secured
power and entered upon
his career of blood.
In 1934 Pacelli went
to South America to preside at a Eucharistic Congress and saw the heads
of each Republic and their
bishops; and by a remarkable coincidence, if you
can think it that, Fascism
began to sweep the country, rebels against the
Church went to jail in
tens of thousands, and the
Germans and Italians in
South America entered
upon their
Adolf Hitler, a Catholic in good standing to the
plans. In the same year
bitter end. His book Mein Kampf, not being
the Christian Socialists of
Austria, after their lead"offensive to the Faith or Catholic morals,"
ers had visited the Pope,
was never placed on the Index.
He took up residence in the gorSocialism and prepared the way for
geous suite of rooms, with heavy gilt
Hitler. In the same year Mussolini
furniture and magnificent decorabegan the slaughter of Abyssinia
tions, in the Vatican Palace. Just at
and the whole Italian Church made
the time when the Pope [Pius Xl]
whoopee, and at the end the Pope
and Mussolini, who had in the pregave the Queen of Italy as Empress
vious year signed the infamous comof Abyssinia the Golden Rose, which
pact by which (in effect) the Papacy
is the highest mark of Papal
undertook to condone all Mussolini's
crimes in return for $90,000,000
In 1936 General Franco visited
and a royal independence, had
the Vatican, and his revolt, which
begun to quarrel fiercely, as crooks
had the most open and solemn
are apt to do over the bargain.
blessing of the Papacy, was the first
Pacelli smoothed out the quarrel,
serious step of the Axis brigands in
got the Duce to bend his knees in St.
their projected campaign. In 1938
Peter's, and got the Pope to have a
Hitler annexed Austria with the full
cordial chat with him. So Mussolini
support of the Austrian Church,
was safely launched on his bloody
which is one ofthe most docile to the
Vatican in the world. In the same
In the same year, 1931, Japan
year the Sudeten Catholics at one
seized Manchuria and began to
end of Czecho-Slovakia and the
debauch the Chinese. While all the
Slovak Catholics at the other
world looked on with disgust at the
betrayed their country and put
brigandage, Pacelli accepted the
Hitler in a position to defy the rest
overtures of Japan and the more
of Europe and prepare for his insane
Japan advanced and became a menattempt to dominate the world.
ace to half the world, the deeper
A remarkable ten-year record
Pacelli made the Vatican's alliance
for the Pope of Peace, the Greatest
with the callous and unscrupulous
Neutral, the Friend of Democracy, .
bandits. In 1932 Hitler made his
and the Black International which
supreme bid for power and failed,
carried out his instructions! PacelliPage 50

Spring 1999

Pius's ruling idea throughout has

been the extinction of Bolshevism by
the peaceful bombs and bayonets of
the Germans, Italians, and Japanese; to which in furtherance of the
work of peace, he now wants to add
the bombs and bayonets of Vichy
France, Franco Spain, Salazar
Portugal, and Horthy Hungary.

III. His Glorious Ally

It was on March 12, 1939, that
Eugenio reached the summit of his
ambition and was crowned in St.
Peter's. Next day a man who lived
on the frontier of Italy and France
sent to the most respected newspaper in Great Britain, the Manchester
Guardian, a letter which it - and
probably it alone of the British or
American press - had the courage to
publish. The writer reminded people
that March 12th was also the last
day for Jews to remain in Italy. He
described from personal observation
the appalling sufferings of the
70,000 Jews who, robbed of their
goods, were racing for frontiers
which to a large extent were sealed
against them. He saw old men,
women, and children panting up the
Alpine slopes to France and says
that the Italian carabinieri and
frontier-troops had "orders to facilitate their migration if necessary
with the help of a bayonet." He saw
elderly folk "collapse on the way up
the vast acres of the Italian slope";
little children "stagger, their feet
bleeding, into the frontier villages";
women try to throw themselves
under the traffic when the French at
last put up the barriers; babies
abandoned or lost by the wayside.
This had gone on for a week and
it was continuing in a last frantic
rush of the robbed Jews while the
bells of St. Peter's and all the
churches in Italy rang out joyously
over the sunny land. What did the
Pope of Peace do? The writer of the
letter says that the Italian carabinieri and soldiers were so moved
American Atheist

that they forgot their instructions

about the bayonet and carried children tenderly to the frontier. What
did the Pope do? Nothing: except
receive the splendid congratulations of Mussolini and his ministers. Catholic biographers boast
that during the week which followed his coronation Pacelli-Pius,
sinking under the burden of work,
slept only three hours every night.
Very heroic, but a little puzzling,
because as Secretary of State he
had been doing just that work for

Benito Mussolini, whom Pius XI and

Pius XII helped come to power and
hold it When he expelled the Jews from
Italy, newly crowned Pius XII muttered
not a word of disapproval.
Parsippany, New Jersey

It was on March 12, 1939, that Eugenio reached

the summit of his ambition and was crowned in
st. Peter's. March 12th was also the last day for
Jews to remain in Italy. What did the Pope of
Peace do for the Jews? Nothing, just nothing.
ten years. Why the arrears? But
what did he do for the Jews, for the
crushed and bleeding democrats of
Italy, for the heart-broken and suffering Czechs? Nothing, just nothing.
The Italian problem had been
the first to engage Pacelli when he
became Secretary of State. In 1911
Mussolini and his cut-throats were,
as the Kaiser had said, "scum."
They were atheists, republicans,
and gangsters until 1921. Then, to
the surprise of many, Mussolini
asked Cardinal Ratti for permission
for the Black Shirts to make a
solemn procession to the tomb of the
Cathedral and the cardinal "gladly
accepted and gave them a place of
honor," says the Catholic Teeling (p.
106). Next year was the march on
Rome (with Mussolini 100 miles
away) and the Duce pompously
declared St. Peter's and all church
property under his special protection and ordered a thanksgiving service with the King in attendance, at
one of the principle churches of
Rome for the salvation of Italy.
From Scum to Savior of his Country
in two years!
There is no secret about it. It is
one of the most painful features of
the American literature of the subject that the respected head of a
great university, Nicholas Murray
Butler, dupe of American Catholics,
lent his pen (Looking Forward) in
that glorification of Mussolini which
was so useful as a smoke-screen to
the Fascists while they prepared for
war. Professor Salvemini (Under the
Axe of Fascism, 1936) has given Dr.
Butler a chastisement such as few
scholars ever give each other for his
gullibility in accepting Catholic lies
shoot the "confusion and ruin"
Spring 1999

caused by the Communists from

which Mussolini saved Italy. The
author Seldes shows that Mussolini
later confessed that he invented the
Communist bogie to help the loan
he had floated in America. The danger was Socialism, which was conquering Italy, and so politicians,
royalists, generals, and industrialists put Mussolini in the saddle.
But in spite of this powerful
support of throne, army, and capital
the seat in the saddle remained very
insecure for seven years. Mussolini
had not dared to extinguish the
democracy for which Italians had
fought so nobly from 1790 to 1870.
Liberals and Socialists were powerfully organized and, as in Spain,
commanded the majority of the
votes in the cities, where the most
intelligent and the best-informed of
the Italians lived. When, in 1924,
Mussolini was believed to have had
the most respected leader of the
Socialists, Matteotti, removed by
murder - his public utterances on
the murder were so gross and callous that his guilt seemed clear - so
many turned against him that at
the elections of 1920 his power was
ominously shaken. He needed just
one element to turn the scale in his
The peasants and a certain
number of the urban workers were
organized in a powerful Catholic
Democratic movement. The Pope
had, as in Germany and Austria,
allowed this bastard Socialism to
grow up under their eyes as one way
to check the loss of so many millions
to the Socialists and Communists.
These Catholic Democrats fought
the Fascists as truculently as the
Communists did and, while they
equally detested the Socialists end
Liberals and would not cooperate
Page 51

final extinction of liberty in Italy

So the fascists had to swallow
with them, they at least represented
and, as a minimum, the recovery of
the conditions, and in 1929 the
further millions in opposition to
Blackshirt and the Blackmailer
Savoy and Corsica from France,
Malta from England, and Dalmatia
signed their compact. The Pope got
Both sides, Blackshirts and
nearly $100,000,000, the indepenBlack International, saw that they
from Yugo-Slavia - and, instead of
talking about peaceful recovery by
dence and sovereignty of the
must sooner or later enter into
alliance against Socialism, and
negotiation Mussolini was thunderVatican City, the control of all
ing about his millions of bayonets
Italian education except in the uniMussolini's backers, the throne,
army, and capital, insisted on it.
whenever he opened his elegant
versities, and the enforcement of the
Canon Law, the establishment of
Mussolini, as I said, ordered a
superb thanksgiving
service in
In 1928 the Maltese got up a
the Church and endowment of the
kind of revolt against Britain. There
priests. The Duce got a free hand for
church for his accession to power
and presented a very valuable old
was a trial of strength between the
the complete destruction of demolibrary to the Vatican. He then comcivil and the clerical authorities,
cracy in Italy and the silence of the
Pope while he
Vatican about the
murdered democonduct of the Cacrats and set out
on his glorious
under the priest
; make an empire
Sturzo. The priest
,-dA by selecting weak
because of obscure
Fascist threats of
This was the
the Church, Seldes
year of Pacelli's
says (The Vatican,
return to Rome,
p. 331) and the
but his biograparty was weakphers are not
ened. But the oppolavish with desition went on and
tail at this point
Mussolini made litand do not entle progress. The
able us to say
Vatican knew the A proud Mussolini poses with Vatican prelates after concluding the 1929 concordat
definitely-and I
strength of its hand
refuse to go on
giving the popes a bundle of money and the Vatican State, while giving him a
and wanted a price
license to kill - or butcher as was often the case.
if any,
feared his followers would never
and the Premier, Lord Strickland,
share he had in this sordid business.
agree to pay.
though a Catholic, bitterly resented
I have to recall it, as briefly as posSeldes says that the revelation
the interference of the clergy in the
sible, because it was the first great
of the Pope's prestige in America at
elections. It was proved that they
triumph of the Black international
the Chicago Eucharistic Congress in
even used the confessional to intimin our time, and it was one of the
1926 at length stirred Mussolini to
idate voters. Mussolini watched
most important steps in the advance
bold action. It was more probably
with great interest, and, when the
of the brigands toward the realizathe menace of the Italian elections.
British Government in the end
tion of their plot. It finally estabSecret negotiations began at that
began its historic policy of appeaselished the power of Mussolini. It
time but the Pope's terms were so
ment and Strickland was sacrificed,
caused Catholic papers and writers
exorbitant that they dragged out for
the Duce had a new proof of the util(and sympathizers like Dr. Nicholas
two years. In 1926 Farinacci,
ity of the Church. A high Anglican
Murray Butler) to take the lead in
Mussolini's bulldog and leader of
official in Malta at the time
that praise of Fascism in Italy - had
the anticlerical Old Guard of the
informed me, privately, that the
not the Pope blessed it? - which was
Fascists, publicly declared that the
Governor ofthe island, who let down
of the greatest importance to the
alliance was necessary. Mussolini,
Strickland, was "grossly deceived by
brigands in preparing their armahe said - Seldes gives his words the Papal Delegate, Msgr. Pascal
ments, And it gave Mussolini's imiwas ready to deal with the Pope "in
Robinson"; and he added "more mistator in Germany the idea that after
return for the moral support of the
chief-making in Dublin." The Black
all it would pay to come to terms,
Vatican for his policy." What the
International won first blood for
with the Black
policy was every child knew - the
Page 52

Spring 1999

American Atheist

But, whatever share Pacelli

may have had in drafting
treaty of alliance with Mussolini, he
had a full share in securing that the
alliance was not wrecked. The Fascist Party was still so bitterly antiPapal that Mussolini had, in soothing his followers, to use language
which the Pope angrily described (in
the Osservatore, May 30) as ''heretical, and worse than heretical." The
Pope spoke publicly of the possibility that he would repudiate the
Treaty, and in that case, he said,
"Vatican City itself would fall
together with the state that is
dependent on Vatican City for its
being" (same letter in the Osseruatore). The Catholic world and the
were alarmed.
Mussolini fell, they said, Socialism
would capture Italy. As Cardinal
Hinsley, head of the Church in
Britain, said at a later date, Fascism was "in many respects unjust"
but it "prevented worse injustice - if
it goes under, God's cause goes with
it." (Catholic Times, October 13th,
1935) God's cause is, in the mouth of
a cardinal, the power of the Church;
and the end justifies the means.
Pacelli to the rescue. Old
Gasparri, who was stirring the Pope
to resist, was pushed aside, and the
Saint George who wanted to save
the world - the world of wealth and
privilege - from the Dragon Socialism donned his shining armor.
Friction continued, of course. Most
of the leading Blackshirts hated the
Pope, and the Pope and his new secretary of State heartily hated them.
But the alliance was indispensable.
Mussolini now roared like any sucking dove about the beauty of religion. "I wish to see religion everywhere in the country," he said; "let
us teach the children their catechism" (Manchester Guardian June
19, 1931). He, as I said, publicly
prayed in St. Peter's. Cardinal Gasparri at the Eucharistic Congress of
1922 hailed him as "the man who
first saw clearly in the present
world chaos" the man who is "getting the State to work in accordance
with the moral law of God" (Catholic
Parsippany, New Jersey

Herald, September 15, 1932). The

friction was reduced and the world
was officially assured that the last
Census had proved that 99 percent
of the Italians were Catholics.
It was an insincere alliance. The
organization of lay dupes known as
Catholic Action now gave Mussolini
trouble. He demanded that the Pope
check it, and something seems to
have been done, but secretly Pacelli
got the Pope to write glowing praise
of the international Catholic Action
and knowing that in spite of the
sacred independence of the Vatican
City Mussolini's spies watched it
closely, he sent the document by two
priests to Paris for publication.
The old trickery of Vatican
diplomacy was cultivated. When, as
in the case of the annexation of
Austria, local prelates, who would
not dare to stir a finger against
Papal policy, acted in support of the
Axis, the Vatican Radio would
announce to the World that the
Pope disapproved.
When this
angered Axis supporters they were
assured that the radio message was .
unauthorized and sent out without
consulting the Vatican. Sometimes
the Papal newspaper, the Osseroatore, was used and, to please both
sides, was then declared unauthorized. Neither the Radio nor the
Osservatore would dare to send out
or print, an unauthorized message
on an important point. Foreign correspondents in Rome received telephone messages from the Vatican
which were later declared unauthorized. Ambiguous utterances, as in
the case of Abyssinia, were put into
the mouth of the Pope, and Axis
Catholics were encouraged to read
them one way and democratic
Catholics to read them in the opposite way.
Christmas the beautiful message of
Peace rolled out, while between
those festivals the Catholic world
was inspired everywhere to demand
war on Spain, Russia, China, and
There was another aspect of the
alliance. While Cardinal Gasparri
Spring 1999

assured the Catholic world that

Mussolini was "getting the state to
work in accordance with the moral
law of God" and Cardinal Hinsley
was warning it that "God's cause"
would be lost in Italy if Mussolini
fell, it was open to anybody to ascertain what social improvement, if
any, the Duce had actually accomplished. Reference books like the
Statesman's Year Book which were
in every good library gave year by
year time official Italian returns of
crime, education, production, trade,
debt, etc.
It is astonishing today to reflect
how very few people thought of testing in this simple and positive way
what truth there was in the almost
universal press admiration of the
efficiency and national service of
Fascism. It must, at least, seem
astonishing to any man who does
not accept my suggestion that
Mussolini's work in crushing a great
Socialist movement was so appreciated in the world-press that it
would not inquire whether his boast
of efficiency was true or not. It
reproduced everything that its correspondents in Italy,
Catholics, cared to send it about
finer rail-services (on some lines),
new buildings, great farms on
reclaimed land, and so on, and it
refused to see in works of reference
which were at every editor's elbow
that production was decaying and
the internal debt (chiefly due to
forced loans) was increasing at so
formidable a rate that bankruptcy
loomed ahead-unless
brought off, and brought off successfully, the aggressive war he promised his people and founded an
Italian Empire by murdering and
looting other peoples.
On the religious side it was
worse. The only definite test
whether a nation is or is not getting
more in accord with "the moral law
of God" is to examine its criminal
statistics. In the Papal States,
before the Kingdom of Italy had
been established, there had been no
statistics of any sort, but not a single authority questions the statePage 53

That was taught to every child

dinals would not successfully run a
ment of contemporary
in every school in Italy. Didn't the
large grocery store. Pacelli has constatesmen and foreign visitors that
Vatican know it? Are we supposed to
siderable ability. He is also the most
crime and corruption were appalfind documentary proof that the
widely-informed cardinal on the
ling. Italy then, from 1870 onward,
Vatican knew what was going on in
world-situation. Pacelli has traveled
had a very fair success in reducing
every part of Italy?
more than any. Besides spending
crime, though the success was not
Pacelli had come from Germany
twelve years in Germany he has
nearly so great as in less-Catholic
where he had seen Socialism as a
made three visits to England, travcountries. But from the time of the
mighty power already in control of
eled all over North and South
accession to power of Mussolini
more than one-third of the country,
America, and visited France, Huncrime increased amazingly. Convicdreaded by the Catholic hierarchy
tions rose from about 500,000 a year
gary, and other countries.
in the period which Dr. Nicholas
because, though the Social DemoUpon which boast of his biogracrats now worked with the Cathophers we may make two comments.
Murray Butler describes so darkly,
Socialist-ComFirst, that in very
munist-Liberal perifew of his acts can
Pacelli had come from Germany where
od (before 1923), to
any apologist make
800,000 a year in the
excuse of ignohe had seen Socialism as a mighty power
period of Mussolini's
rance or misinformadreaded by the Catholic hierarchy because tion, the common
remarkable efficiency.
Catholic excuse for
it drew millions from the Church. His
rather worse that
this was due to some
might degrand idea, war on Socialism, gradually
extent to the poverty
ceive some people
took shape.
and distress he had
with his bland assurbrought upon both
ances that his counlies, they drew millions from the
the workers and the middle class
try sought "not the good of Japan
but the good of humanity" and (in
while the Church, as I said, got an
Church, dreaded by imperialists,
enormous accession of wealth.
the spring of 1941) that it had "not
landowners. He came to Italy where
the slightest idea of taking advanOther causes were the impoverishhe saw how just such a powerful
. ment and prostitution of education
tage of the misfortunes of France,"
Socialist organization had been
and the preparation of the people for
but he no more deceived Pius XII
completely destroyed as it was from
than he deceived Stalin. The Pope
the wanton bloodshed of aggressive
war. It was at the very time when
1928 onward by just such a coalition
knew well that Japan was pledged
of royalists, industrialists,
miliPacelli, the future Pope of Peace,
to a course, in its selfish interest,
tarists, and landowners taking up a
was bringing the Pope and the Duce
which would lead inexorably to war
to have a cordial meeting in the
brutal spearhead resembling the
with America and Great Britain.
Vatican that Mussolini was writing
German Nazism and consolidating
So it was in every other part of his
its position by an alliance with the
the most official statement of the
Church just as in the good old days
nature of Fascism for the new
The second comment is that,
of the early nineteenth century. His
instead of flowers springing up
grand idea, war on Socialism, gradwherever Pacelli trod, as is told of
ually took shape. How in its interest
holy men in earlier ages, the path
he kept the Pope silent and the
When Fascism looks to the
might generally be traced by blood
future, the general development of
Italian Church wildly patriotic
and misery. The violence had
humanity, apart from considerawhen Mussolini began his imperial
occurred in Italy before he returned
tions of present politics, it rejects
brigandage in Abyssinia we shall
to it, but he took care that it was not
the idea that perpetual peace is
see later. Other problems meantime
relaxed. He compels the Church in
either possible or desirable. It repuconfronted him and the Black
Germany to help to power the most
diates Pacifism, which means a
dangerous psychopath in Europe.
renunciation of struggle, a refusal
goes to South America, and his
to make sacrifices. War alone raises
visit is followed by the triumph of
IV. He Organizes the Plot
the energy of man to the highest
pitch and impresses a seal of nobiliFascist violence nearly everywhere.
in South America
ty upon the nations which have the
He goes to the United States, and
manliness to undertake it. All other
there is a fresh demand for the
Pacelli-Pius was rightly selected
trials of strength are substitutes
extinction of Bolshevism in Mexico
for the Papacy as the ablest cardinal
which never prove a man's worth by
and Russia. He goes to Paris in 1937
confronting him with the alternain the Church of Rome. That does
and France prepares to betray
tive of life and death.
not imply genius. Half of these carPage 54

Spring 1999

American Atheist

Czechoslovakia and, when the time

comes, to betray itself. He goes to
Hungary in 1938 and it is ready to
see Austria and Czecho-Slovakia
enslaved and to march itself against
Russia and help in every way the
destroyers of civilization.
The visit to South America was
in 1934, when the usual excuse for
Papal intrigue was given: he must
preside at the Eucharistic Congress
at Buenos Aires. Twenty years, even
thirty years ago, the priests of
Buenos Aires would not have dared
to hold such a function. The historic
conflict of the Blacks and the
Whites in Latin America had ended
in an incomplete but considerable
victory for the Liberals. The middleclass was substantially skeptical. In
1906 the Freethinkers of South
America held a Congress in Buenos
Aires. The delegates crowded the
Teatro Argentino. Argentinians of
high position (Vice-Admiral Howard, Soto and Alvarez of the Council
of War, etc.) supported them. The
of Guatemala
Uruguay sent telegrams of congratulations in the name of their
republics. The Women's Committee,
of fifty members, included some of
the most brilliant writers in South
America. The leading papers treated the Congress with respect
And in 1934 the public men of
Argentina were falling over each
other to kiss Pacelli's ring. What
had happened? The Reds, of course.
Socialism spread through South
America with extraordinary rapidity after the last war, and the news
of the revolution in Spain in 1932
gave a powerful impetus to the
movement. So impartial an observer
as the famous woman traveler
Rosita Forbes said in 1933 after a
prolonged visit that "it is possible
that the organization and methods
of Soviet Russia may be destined to
provide the machinery necessary to
liberate the South American Republics" (Eight Republics in Search of a
Future, p. 7.) In Peru, she found
that "the educated youth of Peru is
in the hands of Moscow."A minister
who introduced an anti-Communist
Page 55

law in the Chilean Congress was

compelled to resign, and the government refused to recognize degrees
granted by Catholic universities. An
American merchant who had lived
25 years in Chile reported that
"Communism of the intellectual
type" was very widespread. The
Alianza Popular Revolutionaria
Americana (Apra) swept the continent, and its leader would have
become President of Peru but for
Black corruption of the vilest kind.
The Rev. Dr. McKay, a Protestant
missionary in the Argentine, said
that the Trade Unions turned out
any worker who supported the
Church, that the workers now commonly called a man they wanted to
vituperate "you poor Christ" (equivalent to the American "son of a ladydog"), and that one of their leaders
said publicly that the sound of the
word God made him spew. I was
editing the Militant Atheist in 1933
and gave plenty of details of this
Pacelli to the rescue. At the time
Pacelli was still an obscure emissary of the Vatican whose position
as Secretary of State was, according
to the Italian Press, not very secure.
How bitterly we pay for not watching the Black International more
closely! In South America, as in
America and Britain and Italy and
Germany, there were Socialist leaders who said that the fight against
the Church was over-some wanted
friendly alliance with it-and
attention must be concentrated on
the politico-economic struggle. And
in the whole of South America as in
Italy, Germany, France, Austria,
Spain, Czecho-Slovakia, etc., within
a year or two Socialism was bloodily
trodden underfoot and the Church
was triumphant.
Not only was "the menace of
Bolshevism" destroyed in South
America but the Church got
between ten and twenty million
apostates bullied into silence and
their leaders flung into jail. Figures
are farcical in Latin America. In
Mexico a high official warned me
privately that their published stateSpring 1999

ment that their population consisted of 4,000,000 Indians

12,000,000 Mexicans might be
turned the other way round. A careful recent estimate is that there are
90,000,000 Indians in South and
Central America. Few people seem
to realize that these provide about
one-third of the total number of the
Pope's real subjects. As in Mexico,
the majority of them would turn
against the priests as soon as they
got encouragement to do so from
their government. The situation
was closely parallel to that of
Russia. Within another ten years
the great bulk of the 90,000,000
would be lost to the Vatican. Are we
asked to think that Pacelli scrupulously avoided political maneuvers
that promised to avert that tragedy?
Remember the Irish revolutionaries
confiding their plot to the Pope;
remember Dollfuss, Franco, Henlein, and all the others.
But we are concerned with actualities. The cream of the Indians, of
the millions of workers of such
mixed blood that it is time we
dropped these racial distinctions,
are the industrial workers. The
majority, we saw, had abandoned
Rome. Add the university youths
and a large number of their professors and other middle-class men
and Liberals of the old school, and it
will be seen that Rome had to envisage an actual secession of between
ten and twenty millions. They are
now back in the fold - on paper.
They are bullied into silence and
their most active representative are
in jail. By the end of 1935 there
were 10,000 political prisoners in
jail in Brazil alone. Yes, says the
Catholic, the scum who had recently organized a rebellion. So it was
reported in America, But the very
impartial British Annual Register
(1935) which gives the above figure
adds: "Among these were university
professors and many other distinguished Brazilians belonging to the
best society" (p. 312). They were victims of the Black International.
And by one of those blunders
into which the brutality and calPage 55

lousness of the agents of these

Fascist governments are always
betraying them we learned that this
Church-Wealth coalition is not only
using force but, as it has always
done, using it savagely. The
Brazilian police arrested as spies
two ladies ofthe British aristocracy,
Lady Hastings and Lady Cameron,
who were visiting Rio. Viscount
Hastings wrote a letter to the
London press (News-Chronicle, July
14, 1936) on what they saw. It contained such things as:
In the prison they saw men and
women who had been so badly beaten that they could only move with
the greatest difficulty; a man's wife
had been beaten insensible in front
of him to make him confess; the
hands of another man had been
mutilated by having iron spikes driven underneath the nails ... The day
before my wife and sister were
arrested, the American boy Victor
Baron was found dead in prison
after 'questioning' ...

Immutable Rome! So it was in

France in the thirteenth century, all
over south Europe in the nineteenth, in Spain forty yeas ago, and
is now in many countries. If a mere
working man, or even a professor,
had reported these things, most people would say "Red lies." There is
obviously some use in aristocrats.
In Mexico the struggle with the
Church and the attempt of Catholics
in America to get intervention,
which would certainly mean war
and annexation, had begun long
before Pacelli became Secretary of
State. I am tracing the action of the
Black International not of Pacelli
alone but I have written this earlier
history so fully elsewhere that I will
not return to it. I need repeat only
about the acute conflict of 1926 that
I was then in Mexico and saw with
what remarkable indifference the
people accepted what was mendaciously called the persecution of
the Church, and read article's by
Mexican Catholic journalists in the
leading Havana paper a little later
expressing deep disgust with the
Page 56

lies (executions of priests, etc.) sent

by the priests to the Knights of
Columbus, who zealously enlarged
them and circulated them in Wall
Street. If you want a Catholic (or at
all events pro-Catholic) witness to
this close alliance for years of
American Catholics and Wall Street
read George Seldes' The Vatican
(1934, pp. 278-86). There was, of
course, an outcry, and the American
Catholic bishops published a letter
denying that they were working for
armed intervention." They merely
felt it their duty to "sound a warning
to Christian civilization that its
foundations are being attacked and
undermined." God, they said, would
find a way to destroy the evil. By
priests blowing trumpet I suppose.
A thinner pretense of pacifism it
would be hard to find. It has a
Japanese ring.
Pacelli did not go to Mexico, but
the brilliant Church-Fascist success
that followed his visit to South
America had echoes in the north. In
1935 F. V. Williams, AI Smith's publicity agent, had a revolting article
in Liberty (Aug. 24) calling for intervention. A Mexican Catholic annihilated his statements in the Forum;
in fact, they had been answered in
advance by various visitors to
Mexico (World-Telegram,
June 8,
1935, etc.) The Catholic Teeling also
admits that Catholics intrigued at
Washington to get intervention and
that Msgr. Burke served as intermediary.
It is, at all events, true that
from 1936 Pacelli included Mexico
in the list of countries in which he
invited the great powers to "extinguish" Bolshevism. It was so
clearly a war-program that I have
never read even a Catholic attempt
to give his words, the slogan he sent
through the whole Catholic world,
any other meaning. An innocent
young nun or a Lord Halifax might
suggest that he meant "extinguish it
by prayer." Is that what he meant
when he sent Cardinal Faulhaber to
beg Hitler to allow the Church to
cooperate with him in the good
work? It was a war-program; a call
Spring 1999

to, as it has proved, the bloodiest

war in history. So who are the real


from page 30

tory. This is a very good reason not

to believe in Ezekiel's god.
One more false prophecy, beginning at verse ten of chapter 29, and
we are done with this examination
of the non-prophet Ezekiel:
These are the words of Lord
Yahweh: "I will make an end of
Egypt's hordes by the hands of
Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon.
He and his people with him, the
most ruthless of nations, will be
brought to ravage the land. They
will draw their swords against
Egypt and fill the land with the
slain. I will make the streams of
the Nile dry land and sell Egypt to
evil men; I will lay waste the land
and everything in it by foreign
hands. I, the Lord, have spoken."

I am sure all my readers know

that Nebuchadrezzar never conquered Egypt and that the Nile has
never dried up in historic times.
Unlike the author of the book of
Daniel, Ezekiel was a reasonably
honest man- even if he was a quisling who sold his pen to his captor.
He just wasn't a very good prophet.
But then, no one ever was. The
thing closest to a good prophet that
our species has ever produced is the
astronomer, who can predict with
split-second accuracy eclipses centuries before they actually occur.
But as far as the Bible is concerned,
there are no true prophets to be
found in it.

American Atheist

A Third
"Bank of Wisdom"

A Second
"Bank of Wisdom"

Vol. III of Emmett Field's "Rare Books

On CD" is titled Facts of Freethought
and contains classics such as
Macdonald's Thumbscrew and Rack,
A.D.White's 2-vol. History of the

If you already have the I st CD ROM

(Collected Works of Robert G.

Ingersoll,#4500) you won't want


miss the 2nd in the series: An


to Freethought:The Religion of Freedom.

Containing 26 Freethought classics, this CD is notable for its

inclusion of S. P.Putnam's 400 Years of Freethought.

Cat. No. 4501


Warfare of Science with Theology in

Christendom, Lea's 2-vol. History of Sacerdotal Celibacy in the
Christian Church, Heston's 2-vol. Freethinkers' Pictorial, H. White's
Massacre of St. Bartholomew, and more!


Cat. No. 4502

on both IBM and Macintosh computers.


A Fourth
"Bank of Wisdom"

on both IBM and Macintosh



The Legend of St. Peter

LEGEND by Arthur Drews. Early 20th-century


Vol. IV of Emmett Field's"Rare Books

On CD" is titled An Appreciation of
Thomas Paine and contains Wheeler's
IO-vol.Life and Writings of Thomas
Paine, Conway's4-vol. The Writings of
Thomas Paine, Conway's 2-vol. The Life of Thomas Paine, Paine's
The Age Of Reason with Part Three, Remsburg'sbiography of Paine,
and other biographies of Paine.

Cat. No. 4503


on both IBM and Macintosh

German scholar demonstrates that St.

Peter was not a historical person, but
evolved from gods such as Janus, Mithra,
rETEK and the Tyrian Hercules (Melkart).An
appendix provides full texts of classical,
biblical, and patristic sources cited.
Translated by Frank R. Zindler.
182 pp. Paperback.
Cat. No. #5580


~" UOOl"





Canadian author
FUNDAMENTALISM David W. Hopewell has produced
a work we feel to be a major
contribution to the study of
that worrisome phenomenon
Christian Fundamentalism, showing that those who are drawn
into its vortex are embarking
upon A Journey Into The Heart
Of Darkness - to borrow a title
from Joseph Conrad.

by q:onypasquarello
The hilarious

romp of a logical mind

trying to grow up Catholic in

Philadelphia's Little Italy during
World War II.
214 pp. Paperback

Cat. No. #5583



Cat. No. #5581


To order, please include check (payable to American

Atheists) or credit card payment for the price of the
books plus shipping and handling ($2.50 for the first
title plus $1.00 for each additional title.
Send order to:
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Francis Ellingwood Abbot

n January 1,1874, as a gang of Presbyterians and Episcopalians was attempting to force a "Christian Nation"
amendment into the US Constitution, Francis Ellingwood Abbot published "Nine Demands for Separation of
Sate and Church" on the front page of his weekly paper, The Index. In the 125 years since that publication, only
a part of one of those demands has been attained - the part of the fourth demand calling for the abolition of the
use of the Bible in the public schools. In June of 1963, in the case of Murray v Curlett, reverential Bible reading
was barred from the public schools of our nation. That case had been brought by the founders of American
Atheists, the Murray-O'Hair family. American Atheists is still working to achieve the fulfillment of the remaining demands.

Nine Demands For Separation of State and Church


We demand that churches and other ecclesiastical property shall no longer be exempt from just taxation.

We demand that the employment of chaplains in Congress, in state legislatures, in the navy and militia, and
in prisons, asylums, and all other institutions supported by public money shall be discontinued.

We demand that all public appropriations for sectarian educational and charitable institutions shall cease.

IV. We demand that all religious services now sustained by the government shall be abolished; and especially
that the use of the Bible in the public schools, whether ostensibly as a textbook or avowedly as a book of religious
worship, shall be prohibited.
We demand that the appointment by the President of the United States or by the governors of the various
states of all religious festivals and fasts shall wholly cease.
VI. We demand that the judicial oath in the courts and in all other departments ofthe government shall be abolished, and that simple affirmation under the pains and penalties of perjury shall be established in its stead.
VII. We demand that all laws directly or indirectly enforcing the observance of Sunday as the Sabbath shall be
VIII. We demand that all laws looking to the enforcement of "Christian" morality shall be abrogated, and that all
laws shall be conformed to the requirements of natural morality, equal rights, and impartial liberty.
IX. We demand that, not only in the constitutions of the United States and of the several states but also in the
practical administration of the same, no privilege or advantage shall be conceded to Christianity or any other special religion; that our entire political system shall be founded and administered on a purely secular basis; and that
whatever changes shall prove necessary to this end shall be consistently, unflinchingly, and promptly made.