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The Current Issue of the
 Promethean Humanist Newsletter

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SELECTED ARTICLES FROM PREVIOUS NEWSLETTERS AND OTHER SOURCES

Two ten-year-old boys in fourth grade working at their computer created a huge problem. The were to enter the word jets for an internet search, but input boobs. They saw a picture of a nude. The two newspaper accounts found this so horrible that the picture was not described, but must have been a female.

The teacher saw the picture on the monitor and informed the principal. The principal wrote up a level 4 offense, used for murder, arson, drugs, weapons, and similar offenses, and put them into the boys’ permanent records. The principal also called the police to talk to them about pornography. Now the parents of the two boys want the citations removed from the boys’ records.

Had the adults involved known about child development, they would have told the boys, who show normal curiosity, such pictures are not appropriate to school and gone back to work. Instead, they overreacted and gave the public schools another blemish. They show the fear of nudity so common in a Christian society. Had the boys found a picture of a battlefield with parts of bodies strewn and other signs of carnage, the adults would probably have been far less concerned.

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The governments of the United States require higher standards of morality than white male Christians can provide. We will not have good governments until white male Christians are a minority in them. We will probably have better governments when the majority is composed of women, blacks, Jews, Hispanics, atheists, homosexuals, Native Americans, humanists, Hindus, agnostics, Buddhists, orientals, and other minorities.

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The preacher in the middle of his sermon on the coming end of the world warned of the coming catastrophe and the terror and the widespread gnashing of teeth. “But I have no teeth,” said the little old lady. “Teeth will be furnished.”

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Humanists and Christians have difficulty dialoguing because they talk past each other at this time. Christians object to humanists because of their beliefs. Humanists object to Christians because of their beliefs and activities.

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Some Christians claim ours is a Christian nation. Their biggest obstacle is our history. For example, here is a brief summary of The Fugitive Slave Act (1850). This act amending the law of 1793 did the following: placed all slave cases under federal law; authorized commissioners to hold hearings, and order arrests of fugitives and return them to their masters; accepted an affidavit costing $10 if granted and $5 if denied as enough evidence of ownership of a slave; authorized pursuers to call for aid from bystanders or summon a posse to recapture a slave; denied freemen the right to a jury trial or accept their testimony; fined heavily evasion, obstruction, or escape.

The Senate passed the bill 27 to 12, the House 109 to 76. Only a thousand slaves out of four million escaped, and most were returned to their owners. Northern states passed laws to aid runaway slaves and rescued a number of them. Southerners objected. The conflict eventually led to the Civil War. Only Cuba and Brazil continued slavery longer than the United States.

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REVISED NONSTANDARD BIBLE

–When the Hebrew school teacher intoned, ‘The Lord God is one,’ the student asked, “When will he be two?”

–In Sunday school, the youngster drew a picture of the journey into Bethlehem, showing an airplane flying over the desert with Joseph, Mary, and Jesus in the passenger area. The teacher asked, “Who is that in the front flying the airplane?” “That is Pontius the pilot.”

–Another child drew a picture of Adam and Eve leaving the Garden of Eden. God is at the wheel of a car, driving them out of paradise.

–The first five books of the Bible are Genesis, Exodus, Laxatives, Deuteronomy, and Numbers.

–Noah’s wife is Joan of Ark. He built an ark in which the animals came in pears. Lot’s wife was a pillar of salt by day and a ball of fire by night. Saddam and Gomorrah are twins.

–Moses went up Mount Cyanide to get the Ten Commandments. The First Commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple. The Fifth Command- ment is humor thy father and mother. The Seventh Commandment is thou shalt not admit adultery. The Ninth Commandment is thou shalt not bare faults witness.

–Job had one trouble after another. He lost all his cattle and all his children and had to go live alone with his wife in the desert. Then came Shadrach, Meshach, and To Bed We Go, and then Salome, who was a wicked women who wore very few clothes and took them off when she danced before Harrods.

–The people who followed the Lord were called the 12 decibels. The epistles were the wives of the apostles. One of the opossums was St. Matthew who was by profession a taximan.

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MOST CHRISTIANS LIKE CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

Karla Faye Tucker was executed in Texas for a double murder. She was not given a reprieve despite her repentance and her religious conversion. She was supposed to become a different person because she converted. But conversion did little to change Rev. Jim Bakker, Rev. Jerry Falwell, Rev. Pat Robertson, Rev. Oral Roberts, Rev. Jimmy Swaggart, Rev. Benny Hinn, Rev. Peter Popoff, Rev. Robert Tilton, Rev. W. V. Grant, Rev. Henry Lyons, and other Christians who have had problems with morality. Religion does not always change people for the better.

Most Christians approve of capital punishment. Furthermore, Gov. George Bush had to commute her sentence to life in prison for political reasons; morality had nothing to do with his decision. The election later this year precludes his showing mercy. Most Texans support capital punishment. Had Tucker been given life imprisonment in the first place, this turmoil would not have happened.

Floridians like capital punishment too. They have 380 persons on death row now. The average cost of executions is $3 million. The total cost for all these executions would be $1.14 billion. The people would apparently rather spend this money on executions than for schools.

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Lee County public high schools may teach the Bible, but not the New Testament. They may teach the history found in the Old Testament, presumably such as the Exodus, Jonah and the big fish, Adam and Eve, the Flood, dividing of the Sea of Reeds, and so on. The New Testament may not be taught because the miracles, Resurrection, and similar events are not found in sources outside the Bible. The Old Testament course will be closely scrutinized to ensure that it is not used to proselytize. This court decision is a partial victory for Christian fundamentalists.

Since this decision, the school board settled a suit by basing the course on a book, Introduction to the Bible, rather than the Bible itself. Apparently the intention originally was to use the King James Version specifically. Now proselytizing will be far more difficult.

Judge Roy Moore in Alabama may keep his Ten Commandments on the walls of his courtroom and begin each session with prayer. Gov. Forrest “Fob” James and his attorney general were denied standing in the case. This appears to be a victory for fundamentalists, including members of Congress who approved the display and prayer. Possibly lots of other judges will now copy Moore, with more litigation to follow. Very likely the battle to separate government and religion will continue.

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PURITANISM REIGNS

Susan Wilson has provided some examples of fear of sex. She is executive coordinator of Network for Family Life Education at Rutgers University.

Robie Harris went on radio in Oklahoma to promote her book, It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health. It is intended to encourage parents to talk to children age 10 to 14 about sexual topics. But first, the host of the show asked her not to use the word sex’ and told listeners “this books is about the birds and the bees.”

An educator in Texas dared not distribute the newsletter SEX, etc., written by teens for teens.

In a North Carolina city teachers are forbidden to use these words: abortion, bisexual, gay, homosexual, lesbian, masturbation, orgasm, transsexual, transvestites. In addition, below grade 8, they may not use: birth control, condom, contraception.

In New Jersey, the State Board of education decided that fourth graders are too young to learn about puberty and reproduction because teachers might have to explain intercourse. It postpones this instruction to eighth grade when pupils are about 14 and well into puberty. Also, a health educator objected to a letter in SEX, etc. which discussed protected sexual intercourse. She feared open discussion would lure the students astray, many of whom are already sexually active.

Educators and other adults assume that if students learn something they will try it.


MANY SCIENTISTS ARE SKEPTICS

Most scientists don’t believe in God. Six hundred out of a thousand responded to a survey: 60% are skeptics and 78% of physicists and astronomers deny the existence of God; the largest group of believers is mathematicians–44.6% believe in God. The numbers have not changed appreciably in 80 years. The Gainesville Sun Newspaper (4-5-97) headlined the article backward: SURVEY: SCIENTISTS STILL BELIEVE IN GOD.

ATHEISTS ARE BLAMED AGAIN

When 14-year-old Michael Carneal killed three fellow high school students and wounded five others, the people of Padukah, KY wondered why. He said he as sorry. He did not know why he did this.

Some people immediately after the shooting said he was an atheist, or at least consorted with atheists who had ridiculed the prayer sessions of the Agape Christian group.

Then the family’s minister called a news conference to say Carneal had been confirmed in the Lutheran church about six months previously. “I’m firmly convinced Michael Carneal is a Christian. He’s a sinner, yes, but not an atheist.”

But no one in the community blamed the shooting on Carneal’s consorting with Lutherans as they had suspected his consorting with atheists. The Christians blamed atheists but remained silent about Lutherans.

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BIBLE COURSE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS?

LEGAL BATTLE LOOMS OVER LEE SCHOOLS’ BIBLE COURSE

(From article in The Miami Herald by Lori Rozsa, October 23, 1997, here summarized)

The Lee school board voted to teach a course in the Bible after public demand. This controversial move brought 55 persons to speak at one meeting. The speakers were for, against, and indifferent. The 18-month controversy has forced the superintendent and board attorney to resign, and has cost the school district $15,000 so far.

The claimed purpose is to teach the Bible as history. This means that it should include verifiable events. Thus, Adam and Eve, Jonah and the whale, and the resurrection of Jesus cannot be included. This has upset the fundamentalists. One replied to the claim that the course is unconstitutional, “The constitution you should be concerned with is God’s constitution, and that’s the Bible.”

The three male members of the board voted for the course while the two female members voted against it. Conservative Christians won. It is intended to be optional. But students may be coerced into taking it, and non-Christian religions are slighted. ome opponents suggest that home and church is where the contents should be taught as a matter of faith.

The course outline comes from the National Council for Bible Curriculum in Public Schools. The North Carolina organization claims three hundred schools use it but refuse to disclose names.

People for the American Way is opposing the course with legal help. It will undoubtedly wind up in court long before a single class is taught.

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