Canadian Atheist ONLINE

Issue 4

A Quarterly Newsletter

Autumn 1995

Web Edition


Religion has cast a thick pall of ignorance over this planet for thousands of years. Nowhere, it seems, is that pall thicker than in Newfoundland. A ridiculous “referendum” was conducted on September 5th in that province in an attempt to ease the church stranglehold on the education system. The proposal is only to move from denominational religious schools to non-denominational religious schools and to give the Provincial government more say in funding matters. The ‘yes’ vote won by a narrow margin. It looks like the current church powers over education content -- but now in non-denominational schools -- will be just as entrenched as ever and it would take another referendum to remove them. Oh, well. Maybe in another hundred years. There are no secular schools in Newfoundland! Here in BC, as in most provinces, if parents want religious indoctrination for their children they can “put” them into church indoctrination centres. Where do atheists go to school in Newfoundland? In reality the voters in Newfoundland were being asked if they want to continue institutionalized discrimination against a significant segment of the population. Or maybe there aren’t any atheists in Newfoundland?

Believers: “The sheep who beg to be fleeced and butchered, and who will battle to preserve their right to be victimized.”

James Randi


This publication is an attempt to gather atheists into a cohesive group. A single letter writer can seldom achieve anything, but a blizzard of letters to elected officials can. We urge readers to write to Minister of Justice Alan Rock and your MP’s. Object to the “supremacy of god” reference in the first sentence of the preamble to the Canadian Constitution. Object to the arbitrary transformation of the National Anthem into a prayer with the addition of the “god keep our land” phrase in 1982. If you live in a town that has a prayer on its municipal crest like we do here in New Westminster, object to that! Write to city council and object! Write to provincial MLA’s and object to the saying of prayers at the opening of every legislative day. Write to talk show hosts and ask them if they care that there are millions of atheists in Canada who are systematically discriminated against. Object to bibles in court rooms. Object to the tax-free church monolith. Do it!


REAL Women, an anti-choice, “pro-family”, Christian political lobbying group sent representatives to the fourth United Nations Conference on Women (Aug. 30 - Sept. 11) in Beijing.

These REAL Women fought against the promotion of rights for lesbians in the Beijing Platform for Action and urged women to just say no to “reproductive health” and “fertility regulation” fearing these may lead to abortion as a “right”.

REAL’S reps are “women, who with God’s help, will encourage the support of “family values” and pressure our government delegation to represent the wishes of the pro-family majority of Canadians rather than special interest groups” says Laurie Geschke, REAL Women’s western vice-president, according to Christian Info News, Aug/95 issue. Well, Geschke wouldn’t have had much to worry about if the other Canadian government delegates were anything like B.C. Reform Party M.P. Sharon Hayes. As chair of the Reform Party’s family task force, Hayes has been zealously spreading stories that the Chinese people are cannibals, that they eat aborted fetuses -- a story being promulgated by the homophobic, anti-woman American evangelical organization Focus on the Family. “Dr.” James Dobson, its founder, condemned the U.N. conference as “the most radical, atheistic (yikes, that’s us!) and anti-family crusade in the history of the world.” Hayes planned to blather the prevarications of this powerful evangelical group (formerly known as the Christian Coalition) in Beijing and we taxpaying dupes bought her ticket!

Meanwhile, Amnesty International had condemned and hoped to spotlight China’s condoning of the brutal torture of women in that country. But Sue Mackay-Smith, an Anglican and head of a development education coalition of five mainline churches hoping to attend the conference, said she understand’s Amnesty’s concerns but “I’m ambivalent”. Her special interest appears to lean more towards gender equality so we can only suppose that that would include the equal right to be tortured. (Conference update: Reform Party MP Sharon Hayes couldn’t take all that human rights stuff and walked out of the conference two days early. Hope she enjoyed her “holiday”) Pray, n. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner, confessedly unworthy. Ambrose Bierce


In our Spring ‘95 issue of the Canadian Atheist we warned about another loony men’s only movement of the evangelical Christian Right hatching out of Colorado called the Promise Keepers. Well, they’ve been a busy bunch of Jesus-freaks - filling stadiums all over America with up to 800,000 weepin’ and wailin’, whoopin’ and hollerin’ real men willing to shell out 55 bucks a pop to jump-start that old testosterone flow and restore themselves to their divine-rightful places as masters of the house. And now they’re here! They have established their national headquarters where else but in Langley, B.C. and with their very own home-grown Canadian president, Bill Rutherford, a casualty of Calgary’s oil industry down-sizing. Rutherford has recouped his lost potency no doubt through his leadership of 6,000 western Canadian brainless chest-beaters -- all stampeding to re-commit themselves to their church and “family” values. (Have you noticed how the word family as in Focus on the Family, Contract With The American Family, etc. has quickly become an integral part of catch-phrases for groups whose interests lie in control through religious tyranny?) The Promise Keepers condemn homosexual “activity” and they lump homosexuals right in with murderers and rapists. The Promise Keepers are committing themselves to building strong marriages through Biblical values -- values which happen to espouse that women are the enjoyable evil, wanton, devious, unclean, treacherous, ignorant, singularly responsible for the sins of the world and in need of moral guidance and punishment from their well-meaning guardians, namely men. Hey! What’s not to like?? And if they can just get funding of shelters for battered women completely cut off, then happy days will truly be here again.


For those cool cats out there who still wear pegged black slacks and greased, combed back d.a.’s, who are tired of the same old C hristian/Islamic/Buddhism schlock, there’s a new time religion just for them, according to The Sun, August 8th edition. It’s the First Presleyterian Church of Elvis the Divine (why not?). The Presleyterian faith was founded by Mort Farndu, the church’s pastor, after he saw a heavenly vision of The King of Rock’n Roll. “He came to me in all His glittering glory,” says Rev. Farndu. “I had always been more of a Beatles and Rolling Stones fan, but seeing Elvis before me changed everything.” Church officials in Denver, Colorado insist they aren’t mocking established religions. They say that all new religions throughout history have been condemned and ridiculed at first and they are no different. When Presleyterians pray, they face Las Vegas -- the site of Elvis’ greatest triumphs and Farndu predicts that Elvis will make his second coming at the end of the millennium (an event that will no doubt come as quite a shock to all those Burger King patrons who swear He has never left us). Farndu’s church is growing every day and now has l50 members. Like Elvis they believe in eternal youth, guilt-free sex and overeating.


Douglas Todd, the Vancouver Sun’s religion promoter picked the following quote from a book he reviewed: “Two ends of the spectrum have often been played against each other in the study of religion: that one who knows one religion knows none and that one who knows too many does not know any.” Total crap. The book is Our Religions, edited by Arvind Sharma “of Montreal’s McGill University”. Sharma is a professor at McGill but Todd doesn’t tell us what the hell it is that Sharma is a professor of. He’s probably one of those guys that can hear the sound of one hand clapping.


We Prescribe: A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom (Andrew D. White) US $20 The Woman’s Bible (Elizabeth Cady Stanton) US$15 The Book Your Church Doesn’t Want You to Read (Edited by Tim C. Leedom) US$17 If not available at your library, these books may be purchased from: FFRF, Inc., PO Box 750, Madison, WI 530701 Postage and handling is included. Our all-time favourite - The Born Again Skeptic’s Guide to the Bible by Ruth Hurmence Green is available from our bunker at our cost of CAN$13 Back issues of this newsletter are available. Call us. If you would like more copies for whatever reason, call us. You may copy it yourself without calling us. Call us anyway. We’ll talk.


We send several copies of each edition of this publication to 65 public libraries in South Western BC, and to about 40 religious colleges in Western Canada. (Trinity Western “University” gets 50 copies). We received an anonymous answering machine message from the West Point Grey branch of the Vancouver library system claiming that they “are a very small branch”, they don’t have space enough to make it available in the free handout section, and please stop sending it. We received written requests from Laura Klassen, librarian at Briercrest Bible College in Caronport, SK, and from Kathy Seidler, librarian at Southern Baptist Seminary in Cochrane, AB. Both of these guardians of knowledge asked that we not send our stuff. We wrote to them and to the presidents of their “schools” quoting the selection policy developed by the American Library Association. Amendment II of their Library Bill of Rights states: “Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.” We think all libraries should aspire to that ideal. We will continue to send copies to those folks. Our goal is to offer a rational alternative to students who have virtually never had the opportunity to consider the fact that the case against religion is airtight.


We received the following from The Abimelech Society in the Yukon. We like their style: THE ABlMELECHS are an association of Atheist commercial, business, and professional men and women who have as one of their objects: The removal from circulation of the socalled Word of God or Holy Bible, from hotels, motels, hospitals, school classrooms. university dormitories. penal institutions, and many other places, and by the confiscation of New Testaments from school children, service personnel, and nurses. The Association was founded in Canada 29 years ago by a couple of freethinkers who, in a hotel room, found the only reading material to be a Gideon Bible, and were angered by this overt propaganda by the Christians and decided to do something about it. There are now adherents in many countries around the world, and thousands of Bibles and New Testaments have been withdrawn from circulation, confiscated, destroyed, or put to some useful purpose.

THE ABlMELECHS named themselves after the bastard son of Gideon and his followers who, in the story related in the lXth Chapter of the Book of Judges, were inspired to usurp the work of the Judge Gideon and his associates, who had wrought havoc upon the many peoples whose religious beliefs differed from their own conviction that Yahweh was the Only True God. The above “mission statement” of the ABIMELECH SOCIETY describes the purpose and the work. It is not a formal organization: there are no dues or elected officers, no annual meetings, and anyone who supports the aims of the society as described in the mission statement is welcome to consider themselves a member. We do encourage discussions among members of topics relevant to the Society such as: what to do with specimens once confiscated. The Society maintains a Book Depository in Winnipeg, Manitoba for temporary storage of specimens. Among the known final uses of specimens are: insulation material in home construction and rolling papers for smoking tobacco and other herbs. Because of their dense nature, specimens burn poorly in fireplaces, although they have been employed as fuel in restored steam locomotives by Atheist rail buffs. Bible paper usually is poorly absorbent and therefore is not recommended for hygienic purposes except in case of extreme need. It is hoped that the direct action of Atheists in endeavours such as those represented by the mission statement of the ABIMELECH SOCIETY will contribute to the diminishing influence of organized religion worldwide. From the psychological point of view, involvement in this type of direct action gives freethinkers a sense of participation in the ongoing struggle against ignorance and superstition, and reduces their sense of helplessness in a society of religious dupes. The question has been asked at times, is this confiscation of Bibles and New Testaments possibly an illegal activity? Would we be liable to prosecution for theft? Although I have not secured a legal opinion, I rather think not, for many of the specimens indicate that the reader should take it along if they become engrossed in the text. So I don’t think the removals are in themselves actionable, given that the original distributor, the Gideon Society, permits their removal. Prudence is nevertheless advised to avoid hassles: so far the ABIMELECH SOCIETY is not listed in the Yellow Pages. The Founder and Dominion Director of the Society, Mr. E. Van Beetfield, may be contacted by Email at: or by “snail-mail” at: Box 31107, 211 Main Street, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory Y1A 5P7. Where doubt, there truth is - ‘tis her shadow. P.J. Bailey


(no kidding!)

The chicken Industry was in terrible shape, losing money and laying off employees. Industry leaders hit upon a plan: they went to see the Pope and said, “We’ll give a million dollars to the Church if you agree to change the Bible: where it says, “Give us this day our dally bread,” change it to “Give us this day our daily chicken.” The Pope was outraged and said, “No.” The chicken leaders said, “OK, 10 million dollars.” “Absolutely not! I won’t tamper with the Word of God!” After some consultation, the chicken leaders said, “Okay, 100 million dollars and that’s our final offer!” The Pope couldn’t turn it down. He accepted. At the next General Council, the Pope announced, “I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that I’ve made 100 million dollars for the Church, The bad news is, we lost the Wonder Bread account!”


James Randi is one of our genuine heros. He is an internationally famous magician and debunker of new age quackery and author of Flim Flam, The Mask of Nostradamus, etc. The following statement was gleaned from “the net” at We offer it to you: Any zealots out there who will enforce the law? It’s about time that I made a move that I’ve been contemplating for some time now. This posting is a gauntlet that I throw down, and I encourage others who read this to do the same. This is 1995, a fact that seems to have failed to register with at least seven of the United States of America. These communities have laws against “blasphemy”, meaning that any person who “reviles God or religion” is subject to fine and/or imprisonment. Mind you, these states have made one great advance, in that they have no laws against heresy. Small comfort for those who, like me, look upon gods, devils, ghosts, angels, etc. as childish fictions. Oops! By typing out the above, I have made myself culpable in: Colorado, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island. Since I visit those locations regularly, I will henceforth post here a notice of each time I have plans to be in any of those states, and I invite concerned authorities there to charge me with this dreadful crime. And I agree in advance that I will admit my transgression. I’m in good company. Thomas Jefferson compared the Christian mythology to the equally incredible story of Minerva springing from the forehead of Jupiter. For that act, Mr. Jefferson could today be imprisoned “in jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars, and may also be bound to good behaviour” in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The mind boggles. To make sure that my blasphemy is thoroughly expressed, I hereby state my opinion that the notion of a god is a basic superstition, that there is no evidence for the existence of any god(s), that devils, demons, angels and saints are myths, that there is no life after death, heaven nor hell, that the Pope is a dangerous, bigoted, medieval dinosaur, and that the Holy Ghost is a comicbook character worthy of laughter and derision. I accuse the Christian god of murder by allowing the Holocaust to take place not to mention the “ethnic cleansing” presently being performed by Christians in our world and I condemn and vilify this mythical deity for encouraging racial prejudice and commanding the degradation of women. (This comprehensive statement was arrived at by examining the statutes of those seven states that have remained in the Dark Ages, so that I might satisfy their definitions of blasphemy.) My present travel plans call for me to be in Holland in October and also in Japan. I don’t know the situation in those countries, but would ask for any update on the state of enlightenment in those areas. James Randi

The Canadian Atheist Published by The Canadian Atheist Society
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“Children see clearly; they see things as they really are. Only after 
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Tom Anderson
Summerland, BC

superstition, n.    a belief or practice founded on ignorant fear or 
mistaken reverence.  World Book Dictionary


An interesting item pointing out who hangs with whom appeared in the Spring/95 issue of Covertaction Quarterly. We offer it without comment: Another Canadian Holocaust denier with links to the anti-abortion movement is Barry Wray, President of the local Pro-Life Society in Melville, SK. His association with neo-Nazis goes back at least to 1986, when he attended a meeting of the Aryan Nations at Hayden Lake, Idaho, a leading centre of the North American white supremacist movement. He currently counts among his associates Wolfgang Droege, founder of the neo-Nazi Heritage Front, and Ernst Zundel, one of the world’s largest publishers of neo-Nazi literature. A frequent contributor to . . . The Christian Info News, Wray wrote in the September/94 issue that he couldn’t condemn Paul Hill’s double murder. Wray’s brother Dan, a former leader of the British Columbia Ku Klux Klan, spoke at a 1989 public meeting on “Satanism and Bolshevism,” co-sponsored by the racist “white culture” group Canada First, the anti-abortion Life Gazette, and supporters of US neo-fascist Lyndon LaRouche. Sharing the platform with unadulterated neo-Nazis and fascists were Peggy Steacey of the anti-abortion group REAL Women; Elaine Stewart of Concerned Citizens for Fetal Rights and Dignity; and Dr. Wayne Poley, editor of Life Gazette. The church is only a secular institution in which the half-educated speak to the half-converted. W.R. Inge


Thousands of Hindus around the world are placing seriously-misguided importance on an easily-explained “phenomenon”, that porous material absorbs liquid. The liquid of choice is milk, and the absorbers are idols. Hindu big-shot Murh Ram in Vancouver says “It’s a miracle . . . a sign of peace and love and unity.” We wonder what it would all mean if the “offering” was ink. Or whiskey. Or cow’s blood.


According to Project Censored, an inter-nationally recognized media research project based at Sonoma State University in California, the number 2 story of 1994 “missed” by the corporate media was the disturbing rise to power of the religious right wing in the US. Project Censored researchers argue that “the Republican establishment is married to the Christian right. It can’t win an election without them.” One of the lesser known but kookier characters of this righteous cabal is R.J. Rushdoony of the Christian Reconstruction movement. He wants to transform the country into a Christian nation where “true to the letter of old testament law, homosexuals . . . adult-erers, blasphemers, astrologers and others will be executed.” The Christian right is highly organized and works hard to elect people to high office, town councils and school boards all over the country. (We do not argue against their perfect right to do that.) The Canadian connection to this phenomenon is evident in Abbotsford, BC. The chair and vice-chair of the Abbotsford school board both teach at a large Fundamentalist Evangelical “University” in the Fraser River Valley. Kudos to BC’s Minister of Education Art Charbonneau for forcing the board in Abbotsford (The Land That Time Forgot, as talk-jock David Berner calls it) to follow the BC curriculum and not teach religious mythology as science. Having issued a strong directive to the board with a Sept. 15th deadline, Charbonneau said “It is not a debatable issue.” Quite right. Now, if the rest of the NDP cabinet would have the guts to eliminate prayers and bibles at parliamentary ceremonies and openings, it might assure us that they really don’t believe that a deity is running the province.

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ATHEIST ALERT! Is there an election looming near you? Then know this. It is strictly illegal for bibles or prayer books to be placed over ballot box openings at polling stations. We challenged this arrogant tradition in Revelstoke, BC in 1993 and being backed by a letter from Jacques Girard, Director of Legal Services at the office of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada in Ottawa, we threatened to get an injunction to close down the polling stations if they did not remove the bibles. Those bibles disappeared like magic! We are sick of having the simple civic act of voting linked with illegal, forced, religious piety! If you are too, get out there and stop it. (A copy of M. Girard’s letter is available on request.)

lost text insert wherever?! Tell us where and win a prize [just joking] rt of Concerned Citizens for Fetal Rights and Dignity; and Dr. Wayne Poley, Hand coded to HTML by Galen Thurber oct95 [in a rush as usual] by converting thru MSword to HTML writer. Wow all is not lost! Sorry for any mistakes.