Blasphemous Blogging: The Blog of Edwin Kagin

Blasphemy is the crime of making fun of ridiculous beliefs others hold sacred. This blog is about satire, truth, inquiry, and critical thinking. It is about enjoying life before death. It is about how some try to control many through their notions about a make believe supernatural world and imaginary rewards and punishments after death. This blog says that blasphemy is a good thing, a healthy thing, and a good antidote to harmful superstition. This blog is about freedom. Edwin.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Kentucky News from Edwin Kagin

KENTUCKY ATHEISTS NEWS & NOTES Date: September 23, 2008

Kentucky Atheists, P.O. Box 666, Union, KY 41091; Email: ekagin@atheists.org

Phone: (859) 384-7000; Fax: (859) 384-7324; Web: http://www.atheists.org/ky/

Editor's personal web site: www.edwinkagin.com

Editor’s personal blog: http://edwinkagin.blogspot.com

Edited by:

Edwin Kagin, Kentucky State Director, American Atheists, Inc.

(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)



IT IS OKAY TO BE AN ATHEIST



To Unidentified Recipients:

Better get busy readers. People get the kind of government they deserve.

Vote for the least undesirable candidate who can be elected.

Edwin.

=====================================================================================


Edwin Kagin is to speak to San Francisco Atheists

On Saturday, September 27, 2008 at 6:00 pm.
At Schroeder's Restaurant, rear dining room, 240 Front Street. SF Financial District, San Francisco, California (2 blocks north of Market, between California and Sacramento Streets. Use California Street cable car, or BART/MUNI Embarcadero stop. Parking on street or at nearby garage. Restaurant and bar remain open after meeting).
Topic:
"Laugh at Them: Humor as a Weapon Against the Evils of Fundangelicalism."
"Being a review of the origins and progress of the American Religious Civil War, together with Battlefield Reports therefrom, all punctuated with samples of Edwinian humor as employed therein as a morally acceptable, yet fearsome, weapon of personal defense, and a balm for maintaining personal sanity."

============================================================================================================================================
It's not too early -- make plans now to
join us for a seasonal tradition!
The 2008 AMERICAN ATHEISTS Winter Solstice Gala & CESAALA Dedication
Friday, December 12,
Saturday, December 13, 2008
http://www.atheists.org/wintersolstice.html

Mark your calendar now for a weekend of exciting events hosted by American Atheists and the Charles E. Stevens American Atheist Library & Archives (CESAALA)
Join us Friday afternoon, December 12, 2008 for an Open House and Dedication ceremony at the American Atheists Center in Cranford, NJ, and a tour of the largest private archive of Atheist, Freethough and related materials in the United States. This welcoming event runs from 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM, with a special ribbon-cutting at 1:30 to dedicate the remodeled Center and CESAALA facility, along with the new Eddie Tabash Conference Room. Special guided tours will be conducted. Included in the CESAALA facility are over 25,000 bound volumes, plus over 500,000 related items – pamphlets, signed letters, historical ephemera and other items that tell the story and preserve the legacy of Atheism and Freethought in America!
On Saturday, December 13, 2008, join us (11:30 AM – 4:00 PM) at the luxurious Crown Plaza Hotel n nearby Clark, NJ for the American Atheists 2008 Winter Solstice Gala featuring entertainment, speakers, great food and company and much, much more! Following the Solstice bash, make the short drive to the American Atheist Center for a live taping of the The Atheist Viewpoint television show in our new Conference Center, and more tours of our facility including CESAALA.
AND MAKE A FULL WEEKEND OF IT! We’ve arranged for a special rate at the Crowne Plaza Hotel that includes “shoulder dates” to allow you to visit the area, including nearby New York City! Rail transportation to Manhattan and other points is available at Cranford and Iselin-Metro Park. To qualify for the special rate of $109.00 (plus tax) per night – effective Thursday 12/11 through Wednesday 12/17) – you must make your arrangements directly with the Crown Plaza Hotel. Call them at 732-574-0100, or visit their web site.
Registration for the American Atheists 2008 Winter Solstice Gala is $34.00 per person ($17 for children ten and under) and includes all taxes and gratuities. There will be a cash bar. Register on-line using our secure transaction server below. Hurray, and reserve your seat now!

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From reader Jim:

A puff piece about creationism followed by my letter to the editor.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/creationist-britain-would-you-adam-and-eve-it-935419.html

Contrary to what reporters and columnists of your paper would have us believe, creationism is not a harmless belief. Creationism / Bible literalism is a growing movement that teaches children that the Earth is young and radiometry a lie, that dinosaurs and humans were once friends, that human beings have no genetic/ancestral relationship to other life forms, that all animals came from one of 16,000 "kinds" that an 700 year old Noah put on an Ark, and that there is a cabal of evil scientists that want to keep this information hidden from God-fearing people. Adults are free to believe this mumbo-jumbo. It is however, clearly an injustice when children are taught that these superstitious myths are true and/or that they deserve the respect of science educators. If Professor/Reverend Reiss had said that creationism and Intelligent Design are religious beliefs, have no scientific basis, and should be discussed in the science class as an example of what science isn't, he would not have been asked to resign. He said no such thing.

If creationism is allowed into the science classroom, then so should other faith-based / evidence-lacking beliefs such as astrology, ESP, humans crawled out of volcanos (scientology), flying spaghetti monsters, etc. Take it from me, a former science teacher in the highly religious state of Kentucky in America (ranked 49th out of 50 states in education), any movement that teaches young people that much of modern science is the work of evil secularists and that the Bible, Koran, etc. already give us all the answers, is not a good thing. The goal of education is to eliminate ignorance, not give it equal billing.

Jim Willmot



Kentucky Action Alert. IGWT License Plates.


Representative Jim Gooch (D)

House District 12
Daviess (part)
Hopkins (part)
McLean
Webster

Mailing Address
714 North Broadway B2
Providence KY 42450
Frankfort Address(es)
702 Capitol Ave
Annex Room 370D
Frankfort KY 40601
Phone Number(s)
Home: (270) 667-7327
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 687
Work: (270) 635-1139
Work: (270) 667-5111 (fax)
Email Address(es)
Annex: Jim.Gooch@lrc.ky.gov

*****

Representative Hubert Collins (D)

House District 97
Floyd (part)
Johnson
Martin
Pike (part)

Mailing Address
72 Collins Dr
Wittensville KY 41274
Frankfort Address(es)
702 Capitol Ave
Annex Room 329H
Frankfort KY 40601
Phone Number(s)
Home: (606) 297-3152
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 654
Uses LRC website e-mail form - http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Mailform/H097.htm

*****

Representative Rick G. Nelson (D)

House District 87
Bell
Harlan (part)

Mailing Address
Rt. 3 Box 686
Middlesboro KY 40965
Frankfort Address(es)
702 Capitol Ave
Annex Room 466D
Frankfort KY 40601
Phone Number(s)
Home: (606) 248-8828
Home: (606) 248-8828 (fax)
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 612
Email Address(es)
Annex: Rick.Nelson@lrc.ky.gov
=====

http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/09RS/HB24.htm

BR 78 - Representative Jim Gooch Jr., Representative Hubert Collins (09/05/08)

AN ACT relating to motor vehicle license plates.

Create a new section of KRS Chapter 186 to establish an In God We Trust license plate as an alternate standard issue license plate; set forth design characteristics and eligibility standards; amend KRS 186.240 to conform; EFFECTIVE January 1, 2010.

(Prefiled by the sponsor(s).)

=====

AN ACT relating to motor vehicle license plates.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

âSECTION 1. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 186 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) The Transportation Cabinet shall design and distribute an "In God We Trust" license plate in respect and honor of the national motto of the United States. An "In God We Trust" license plate shall be available in the county clerk's office as a regularly issued license plate in addition to the license plate issued pursuant to subsection (2) of Section 2 of this Act. The license plates shall be reflectorized and subject to the fifty cent ($0.50) fee collected and distributed pursuant to subsections (2)(c) and (3) of Section 2 of this Act. The cabinet shall prescribe a plate of practical form and size for law enforcement identification purposes and shall include the following design features:

(a) A basic design for the plate with an alpha numeric sequence displayed to properly identify the motor vehicle;

(b) A background design, emblem, or colors that include the word "Kentucky" and the words "In God We Trust" on the license plate; and

(c) Any other design features the cabinet determines to be appropriate.

(2) An "In God We Trust" license plate may be displayed on the following motor vehicles at the request of the owner:

(a) A motor vehicle registered pursuant to KRS 186.050(1) with payment of the appropriate fees; and

(b) A recreational vehicle registered pursuant to KRS 186.050(11) with payment of the appropriate fees.

(3) Any motor vehicle bearing the license plate established pursuant to this section shall be subject to all provisions of KRS 186.005 to 186.260 unless otherwise provided by this section.

âSection 2. KRS 186.240 is amended to read as follows:

(1) It shall be the duty of the cabinet to carry out the provisions of KRS 186.005 to 186.260, and:

(a) Prepare and furnish to the clerk in each county a sufficient supply of all forms and blanks provided for in KRS 186.005 to 186.260. The forms for receipts shall be designated for the writing of not less than triplicate copies, the originals of which shall be numbered consecutively for each county, the second and third copies bearing the same number as the original. Receipts to be used as duplicates for lost receipts, as provided in KRS 186.180(1), shall be in duplicate only, and shall not be numbered;

(b) Keep a numerical record of all registration numbers issued in the state, for which they may use the second copy of receipts forwarded by the clerk of each county, and also keep a record of motor or vehicle identification numbers required by KRS 186.160; and

(c) Furnish to each clerk, originally each year upon estimate, and thereafter upon requisition at all times, a sufficient supply of plates and other insignia evidencing registration for all classes of vehicles required to be registered. The cabinet shall prescribe a plate of practical form and size for police identification purposes that shall contain:

1. The registration number;

2. The word "Kentucky;" and

3. The name of the county in which the plate is issued, or in lieu thereof the words "Official," "Transportation," "Executive," or "Farm." Plates for commercial vehicles, shall contain the year the license expires and words or information the Department of Vehicle Regulation may prescribe by administrative regulation, pursuant to KRS Chapter 13A. Numerals indicating a year shall not be placed upon any license plate issued pursuant to KRS 186.060, relating to the licensing of vehicles owned exclusively by the state and KRS 186.061, relating to the licensing of vehicles owned exclusively by a nonprofit volunteer fire department, volunteer fire prevention unit, and volunteer fire protection unit. A state slogan may be placed upon the plate.

(2) License plates issued pursuant to KRS 186.050(1) shall conform to the provisions of subsection (1)(c) of this section except:

(a) The word "Kentucky" shall be centered above the county name in which the plate is issued;

(b) The words "Bluegrass State" shall be centered at the top of the plate above the registration number;[ and]

(c) The name of the county in which the plate is issued shall be centered in the lower portion of the plate below the registration number and shall be printed in letters that are the same size as those used to print the word "Kentucky." Beginning January 1, 1993, the Transportation Cabinet shall provide for the issuance of reflectorized plates for all motor vehicles, and shall collect a fee, in addition to the fee set out in KRS Chapter 186 and KRS 281.860, of fifty cents ($0.50). The fifty cents ($0.50) fee to reflectorize license plates shall be used by the cabinet as provided in subsection (3) of this section; and

(d) The "In God We Trust" license plate shall conform with the provisions of subsection (1) of Section 1 of this Act.

(3) The reflectorized license plate program fund is established in the state road fund and appropriated on a continual basis to the cabinet to administer the moneys as provided in this subsection. The fifty cents ($0.50) fee collected by the cabinet to reflectorize license plates shall be deposited into the program fund and used to issue reflectorized license plates. If at the end of a fiscal year, money remains in the program fund, it shall be retained in the fund and shall not revert to the state road fund. The interest and income earned on money in the program fund shall also be retained in the program fund to carry out the provisions of this subsection. The Transportation Cabinet shall begin issuing the new reflectorized license plate under the provisions of this subsection on January 1, 2003, and shall continue to issue a new reflectorized license plate on a schedule to be determined at the discretion of the cabinet in the years thereafter;

(4) Except as directed under subsection (3) of this section, the Transportation Cabinet shall receive all moneys forwarded by the clerk in each county and turn it over to the State Treasurer for the benefit of the state road fund;

(5) The Transportation Cabinet shall require an accounting by the clerk in each county for any moneys received by him under the provisions of this chapter, after the deduction of his fees under this chapter, and for all receipts, forms, plates, and insignia consigned to him. The Auditor of Public Accounts, pursuant to KRS 43.071, shall annually audit each county clerk concerning his responsibilities for the collection of various fees and taxes associated with motor vehicles. The secretary of the Transportation Cabinet, with the advice, consultation, and approval of the Auditor, shall develop and implement an inventory and accounting system which shall insure that the audits mandated in KRS 43.071 are performed in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. The Transportation Cabinet shall pay for the audits mandated by KRS 43.071; and

(6) When applied for under KRS 186.160, motor or vehicle numbers assigned shall be distinctive to show that they were designated by the cabinet.

âSection 3. This Act takes effect January 1, 2010.

=====

http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/09RS/HB25.htm

BR 120 - Representative Rick G. Nelson (09/15/08)

AN ACT relating to motor vehicle license plates.

Create a new section of KRS Chapter 186 to establish an "In God We Trust" license plate as an alternate standard issue license plate; set forth design characteristics and eligibility standards; amend KRS 186.240 to conform; EFFECTIVE January 1, 2010.

(Prefiled by the sponsor(s).)

AN ACT relating to motor vehicle license plates.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

âSECTION 1. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 186 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) The Transportation Cabinet shall design and distribute an "In God We Trust" license plate in respect and honor of the national motto of the United States. An "In God We Trust" license plate shall be available in the county clerk's office as a regularly issued license plate in addition to the license plate issued pursuant to subsection (2) of Section 2 of this Act. The license plates shall be reflectorized and subject to the fifty cent ($0.50) fee collected and distributed pursuant to subsections (2)(c) and (3) of Section 2 of this Act. The cabinet shall prescribe a plate of practical form and size for law enforcement identification purposes and shall include the following design features:

(a) A basic design for the plate with an alpha numeric sequence displayed to properly identify the motor vehicle;

(b) A background design, emblem, or colors that include the word "Kentucky" and the words "In God We Trust" on the license plate; and

(c) Any other design features the cabinet determines to be appropriate.

(2) An "In God We Trust" license plate may be displayed on the following motor vehicles at the request of the owner:

(a) A motor vehicle registered pursuant to KRS 186.050(1) with payment of the appropriate fees; and

(b) A recreational vehicle registered pursuant to KRS 186.050(11) with payment of the appropriate fees.

(3) Any motor vehicle bearing the license plate established pursuant to this section shall be subject to all provisions of KRS 186.005 to 186.260 unless otherwise provided by this section.

âSection 2. KRS 186.240 is amended to read as follows:

(1) It shall be the duty of the cabinet to carry out the provisions of KRS 186.005 to 186.260, and:

(a) Prepare and furnish to the clerk in each county a sufficient supply of all forms and blanks provided for in KRS 186.005 to 186.260. The forms for receipts shall be designated for the writing of not less than triplicate copies, the originals of which shall be numbered consecutively for each county, the second and third copies bearing the same number as the original. Receipts to be used as duplicates for lost receipts, as provided in KRS 186.180(1), shall be in duplicate only, and shall not be numbered;

(b) Keep a numerical record of all registration numbers issued in the state, for which they may use the second copy of receipts forwarded by the clerk of each county, and also keep a record of motor or vehicle identification numbers required by KRS 186.160; and

(c) Furnish to each clerk, originally each year upon estimate, and thereafter upon requisition at all times, a sufficient supply of plates and other insignia evidencing registration for all classes of vehicles required to be registered. The cabinet shall prescribe a plate of practical form and size for police identification purposes that shall contain:

1. The registration number;

2. The word "Kentucky;" and

3. The name of the county in which the plate is issued, or in lieu thereof the words "Official," "Transportation," "Executive," or "Farm." Plates for commercial vehicles, shall contain the year the license expires and words or information the Department of Vehicle Regulation may prescribe by administrative regulation, pursuant to KRS Chapter 13A. Numerals indicating a year shall not be placed upon any license plate issued pursuant to KRS 186.060, relating to the licensing of vehicles owned exclusively by the state and KRS 186.061, relating to the licensing of vehicles owned exclusively by a nonprofit volunteer fire department, volunteer fire prevention unit, and volunteer fire protection unit. A state slogan may be placed upon the plate.

(2) License plates issued pursuant to KRS 186.050(1) shall conform to the provisions of subsection (1)(c) of this section except:

(a) The word "Kentucky" shall be centered above the county name in which the plate is issued;

(b) The words "Bluegrass State" shall be centered at the top of the plate above the registration number;[ and]

(c) The name of the county in which the plate is issued shall be centered in the lower portion of the plate below the registration number and shall be printed in letters that are the same size as those used to print the word "Kentucky." Beginning January 1, 1993, the Transportation Cabinet shall provide for the issuance of reflectorized plates for all motor vehicles, and shall collect a fee, in addition to the fee set out in KRS Chapter 186 and KRS 281.860, of fifty cents ($0.50). The fifty cents ($0.50) fee to reflectorize license plates shall be used by the cabinet as provided in subsection (3) of this section; and

(d) The "In God We Trust" license plate shall conform with the provisions of subsection (1) of Section 1 of this Act.

(3) The reflectorized license plate program fund is established in the state road fund and appropriated on a continual basis to the cabinet to administer the moneys as provided in this subsection. The fifty cents ($0.50) fee collected by the cabinet to reflectorize license plates shall be deposited into the program fund and used to issue reflectorized license plates. If at the end of a fiscal year, money remains in the program fund, it shall be retained in the fund and shall not revert to the state road fund. The interest and income earned on money in the program fund shall also be retained in the program fund to carry out the provisions of this subsection. The Transportation Cabinet shall begin issuing the new reflectorized license plate under the provisions of this subsection on January 1, 2003, and shall continue to issue a new reflectorized license plate on a schedule to be determined at the discretion of the cabinet in the years thereafter;

(4) Except as directed under subsection (3) of this section, the Transportation Cabinet shall receive all moneys forwarded by the clerk in each county and turn it over to the State Treasurer for the benefit of the state road fund;

(5) The Transportation Cabinet shall require an accounting by the clerk in each county for any moneys received by him under the provisions of this chapter, after the deduction of his fees under this chapter, and for all receipts, forms, plates, and insignia consigned to him. The Auditor of Public Accounts, pursuant to KRS 43.071, shall annually audit each county clerk concerning his responsibilities for the collection of various fees and taxes associated with motor vehicles. The secretary of the Transportation Cabinet, with the advice, consultation, and approval of the Auditor, shall develop and implement an inventory and accounting system which shall insure that the audits mandated in KRS 43.071 are performed in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. The Transportation Cabinet shall pay for the audits mandated by KRS 43.071; and

(6) When applied for under KRS 186.160, motor or vehicle numbers assigned shall be distinctive to show that they were designated by the cabinet.

âSection 3. This Act takes effect January 1, 2010.





And yet another attempt by the forces of darkness:



Representative Melvin B. Henley (D)

House District 5
Calloway
Trigg (part)


Mailing Address
1305 South 16th St
Murray KY 42071
Frankfort Address(es)
702 Capitol Ave
Annex Room 432C
Frankfort KY 40601
Phone Number(s)
Home: (270) 753-3855
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 611
Use LRC website form for e-mail ( http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Mailform/H005.htm )

=====

http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/09RS/HB25.htm

BR 120 - Representative Rick G. Nelson (09/15/08)

AN ACT relating to motor vehicle license plates.

Create a new section of KRS Chapter 186 to establish an "In God We Trust" license plate as an alternate standard issue license plate; set forth design characteristics and eligibility standards; amend KRS 186.240 to conform; EFFECTIVE January 1, 2010.

(Prefiled by the sponsor(s).)

=====

And, this . . . .


http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/09RS/HB8.htm

BR 21 - Representative Melvin B. Henley (06/19/08)

AN ACT relating to voluntary student expression of religious viewpoints in public schools.

Amend KRS 158.183 to permit students to voluntarily express religious viewpoints in school assignments free from discrimination and organize prayer groups, religious clubs, or other religious gatherings before, during, and after school to the same extent that students are permitted to organize other noncurricular student activities and groups; create a new section of KRS Chapter 158 to require each board of education to adopt and implement a policy regarding voluntary student expression of religious viewpoints and to establish a limited public forum for student speakers at all school events at which a student is to publicly speak, including graduation; designate procedure for selection of student speakers; require subject of speech to be relevant to event; require district disclaimer indicating nonendorsement of the content of voluntary expressions by students.

(Prefiled by the sponsor(s).)
To: Interim Joint Committee on Education

=====

AN ACT relating to voluntary student expression of religious viewpoints in public schools.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

âSection 1. KRS 158.183 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A student shall have the right to carry out an activity described in any of paragraphs (a) to (d) of subsection (2) of this section, if the student does not:

(a) Infringe on the rights of the school to:

1. Maintain order and discipline;

2. Prevent disruption of the educational process; and

3. Determine educational curriculum and assignments;

(b) Harass other persons or coerce other persons to participate in the activity; or

(c) Otherwise infringe on the rights of other persons.

(2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, a student shall be permitted to voluntarily:

(a) Pray in a public school, vocally or silently, alone or with other students to the same extent and under the same circumstances as a student is permitted to vocally or silently reflect, meditate, or speak on nonreligious matters alone or with other students in the public school;

(b) Express religious viewpoints in a public school to the same extent and under the same circumstances as a student is permitted to express viewpoints on nonreligious topics or subjects in the school;

(c) Express religious viewpoints in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of the submissions;

(d) Speak to and attempt to discuss religious viewpoints with other students in a public school to the same extent and under the same circumstances as a student is permitted to speak to and attempt to share nonreligious viewpoints with other students. However, any student may demand that this speech or these attempts to share religious viewpoints not be directed at him or her;

(e) Organize prayer groups, religious clubs, or other religious gatherings before, during, and after school to the same extent that students are permitted to organize other noncurricular student activities and groups;

(f)[(d)] Distribute religious literature in a public school, subject to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions to the same extent and under the same circumstances as a student is permitted to distribute literature on nonreligious topics or subjects in the school; and

(g)[(e)] Be absent, in accordance with attendance policy, from a public school to observe religious holidays and participate in other religious practices to the same extent and under the same circumstances as a student is permitted to be absent from a public school for nonreligious purposes.

(3) No action may be maintained under KRS 158.181 to 158.187 unless the student has exhausted the following administrative remedies:[;]

(a) The student or the student's parent or guardian shall state his or her complaint to the school's principal. The principal shall investigate and take appropriate action to ensure the rights of the student are resolved within seven (7) days of the date of the complaint;

(b) If the concerns are not resolved, then the student or the student's parent or guardian shall make a complaint in writing to the superintendent with the specific facts of the alleged violation;

(c) The superintendent shall investigate and take appropriate action to ensure that the rights of the student are resolved within thirty (30) days of the date of the written complaint; and

(d) Only after the superintendent's investigation and action may a student or the student's parent or legal guardian pursue any other legal action.

âSECTION 2. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 158 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) A board of education shall adopt and implement a local policy regarding voluntary student expression of religious viewpoints that includes the following provisions:

(a) A student's voluntary expression of a religious viewpoint, if any, on an otherwise permissible subject shall be treated in the same manner as a student's voluntary expression of a secular or other viewpoint on an otherwise permissible subject, and the district may not discriminate against the student based on a religious viewpoint expressed by the student on an otherwise permissible subject;

(b) Homework and classroom assignments must be judged by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance. Students may not be penalized or rewarded on account of the religious content of their work;

(c) Student religious groups must be given the same access to school facilities for assembling as is given to other noncurricular student groups. If student groups that meet for nonreligious activities are permitted to advertise or announce meetings of the groups, the school district may not discriminate against groups that meet for prayer or other religious speech. This provision extends to advertising in a student newspaper, putting up posters, posting on a student activities bulletin board or Web page, making announcements on a public address system or Web cast, or handing out leaflets to the same extent provided to student groups that meet for nonreligious activities; and

(d) A disclaimer that school sponsorship of noncurricular groups and events neither favors nor disfavors groups that meet to engage in prayer or religious speech.

(2) A board of education shall adopt and implement a local policy regarding the establishment of a limited public forum for student speakers at all school events at which a student is to publicly speak. The general policy for limited public forums shall:

(a) Require that a limited public forum be provided in a manner that does not discriminate against a student's voluntary expression of a religious viewpoint, if any, on an otherwise permissible subject;

(b) Provide a method, based on neutral criteria, for the selection of student speakers at school events and graduation ceremonies;

(c) Ensure that a student speaker does not engage in obscene, vulgar, offensively lewd, or indecent speech;

(d) State, in writing, orally, or both, that the student's speech does not reflect the endorsement, sponsorship, position, or expression of the district; and

(e) Include a disclaimer to be provided at all graduation ceremonies or any other event at which a student speaks publicly to affirm the district's nonsponsorship of the student's speech.

(3) A board of education shall adopt and implement a local policy regarding the establishment of a limited public forum providing an opportunity for students to speak at graduation ceremonies. The policy may include the following criteria:

(a) 1. A student may be selected to speak to begin graduation ceremonies and another student to speak to end graduation ceremonies.

2. For each speaker, the district shall set a maximum time limit reasonable and appropriate for the occasion.

3. Only students who are graduating and who hold one (1) of the following neutral criteria positions of honor shall be eligible to use the limited public forum:

a. Student council officers;

b. Class officers of the graduating class;

c. The top three (3) academically ranked graduates; or

d. A shorter or longer list of student leaders as the school district may designate.

4. A student who will otherwise have a speaking role in the graduation ceremony is ineligible to give the opening and closing remarks.

5. The name of the eligible volunteering students will be randomly drawn with the first name drawn assigned the opening and the second name drawn assigned the closing.

6. The topic of the opening and closing remarks shall be related to the purpose of the graduation ceremony and to the purpose of marking the opening and closing of the event, honoring the occasion, the participants, and those in attendance, bringing the audience to order, and focusing the audience on the purpose of the event;

(b) 1. In addition to the students giving the opening and closing remarks, certain other students who have attained special positions of honor based on neutral criteria, including without limitation the valedictorian, may have speaking roles at graduation.

2. For each speaker, the school district shall set a maximum time limit reasonable and appropriate to the occasion and to the position held by the speaker.

3. a. The subject of the addresses shall be related to the purpose of the graduation ceremony, marking and honoring the occasion, honoring the participants and those in attendance, and the student's perspective on purpose, achievement, life, school, graduation, and looking forward to the future.

b. The student shall not engage in obscene, vulgar, offensively lewd, or indecent speech.

c. The student's voluntary expression of a religious viewpoint, if any, on an otherwise permissible subject, shall be viewed in the same manner as a student's voluntary expression of a secular or other viewpoint, and the district may not discriminate against the student based on a religious viewpoint expressed by the student on an otherwise permissible subject; and

(c) A written disclaimer shall be printed in the graduation program such as: "The students who will be speaking at the graduation ceremony were selected based on neutral criteria to deliver messages representing the students' own choices and opinions. The content of each student speaker's message is the private expression of the individual student and does not reflect any position or expression of the board of education, the district's administration, employees of the district, or the views of any other graduate. The content of these messages were prepared by the student volunteers, and the district refrained from any interaction with student speakers regarding the student speakers' viewpoints on permissible subjects."

(4) (a) A board of education shall adopt and implement a local policy regarding the establishment of a limited public forum providing an opportunity for students to speak at events other than graduation.

(b) For each speaker, the district shall set a maximum time limit reasonable and appropriate to the occasion.

(c) Student speakers may introduce:

1. Athletic events designated by the district;

2. Opening announcements and greetings for the school day; and

3. Any additional events designated by the district, which may include without limitation assemblies and pep rallies.

(d) Only those students in the highest two (2) grade levels of the school and who hold one (1) of the following positions of honor based on neutral criteria are eligible to use the limited public forum:

1. Student council officers;

2. Class officers of the highest grade level in the school;

3. Captains of sports teams; and

4. Other students holding positions of honor as the school district may designate.

(e) An eligible student shall be notified of the student's eligibility, and a student who wishes to participate as an introducing speaker shall submit his or her name to the student council or other designated body during an announced period of not less than three (3) days.

(f) The announced period may be at the beginning of the school year, at the end of the preceding school year so that student speakers are in place for the new year, or, if the selection process will be repeated each semester, at the beginning of each semester or at the end of the preceding semester so speakers are in place for the next semester.

(g) The names of the volunteering student speakers shall be randomly drawn until all names have been selected, and the names shall be listed in the order drawn.

(h) Each selected student will be matched chronologically to the event for which the student will be giving the introduction.

(i) Each student may speak for one (1) week at a time for all introductions of events that week, or rotate after each speaking event, or otherwise as determined by the district.

(j) The list of student speakers shall be chronologically repeated as needed, in the same order. The district may repeat the selection process each semester rather than once per year.

(k) 1. The subject of the student introductions must be related to the purpose of the event and to the purpose of marking the opening of the event, honoring the occasion, the participants, and those in attendance, bringing the audience to order, and focusing the audience on the purpose of the event.

2. The student shall not engage in obscene, vulgar, offensively lewd, or indecent speech.

3. A student's voluntary expression of a religious viewpoint, if any, on an otherwise permissible subject shall be treated in the same manner as the district treats a student's voluntary expression on a secular or other viewpoint on an otherwise permissible subject, and the district may not discriminate against the student based on a religious viewpoint expressed by the student on an otherwise permissible subject.

(l) At each event in which a student will deliver an introduction, a disclaimer shall be stated in written or oral form, or both, such as "The student giving the introduction for this event is a volunteering student selected on neutral criteria to introduce the event. The content of the introduction is the private expression of the student and does not reflect the endorsement, sponsorship, position, or expression of the school district."

(m) Certain students who have attained a special position of honor in the school have traditionally addressed school audiences from to time in recognition of their achieved positions of honor, such as the captains of various sports teams, student council officers, class officers, homecoming kings and queens, prom kings and queens, and the like, and have attained their positions based on neutral criteria. Nothing in the board policy shall eliminate the continuation of the practice of having these students, regardless of grade level, address school audiences in the normal course of their respective positions.

âSection 3. This Act shall be implemented beginning with the 2009-2010 school year and shall be referred to as the "Public School Student's Religious Liberties Act."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Two Lines by Edwin Kagin

TWO LINES


The future waits in one of two great lines, two endless human queues
And each of us is in one line—there is no other line to choose.

Our journey as human creatures has fashioned these two lines
With very different features following very different signs.

Through kingdoms and through ages these lines unbroken run
One line snaking into darkness; one line straining for the sun.

One line holds shining visions of what humankind can be
When at last we make decisions free of myth and tyranny.

Our race, our creeds, our sex, and the religions we proclaim
In this line yield to human needs we cannot always name.

Some careless few within this line may hurt you and make you cry
But villains in the other line will kill you to watch you die.

Those marching in that other line seek to control not to achieve
By trying to deceive our minds with lies that they believe.

Prizing money over friendship, and power over human need
They do not work for kinship but only for their greed.

Anyone can leave their line, whenever they see fit
If perhaps they change their mind, from facts, or acts or wit.

No one must stay within a line where rules are learned by rote
That dictate how we all must live, and breed, and love, and vote.

In the coming great election, one line will finally decide
If our future takes direction from the bright or evil side.

Set aside all pious passion of who you are and where you have been
What now must be in fashion is “Which line are you in?”

How will you answer to the future when a new world starts to dawn
How will you tell your children which side of history you were on?

There are but two great questions to be raised when life must end,
“How did you use your roads and days?” And “Which line were you in?”


By Edwin Kagin


Copyright by Edwin Kagin, September 2008.
Permission is granted for non-profit reproduction.
If you make money on it, I want some of it. ek

Friday, September 12, 2008

Atheist News by Edwin Kagin

September 12, 2008 - Friday

Atheist News by Edwin Kagin

KENTUCKY ATHEISTS NEWS & NOTES Date: September 12, 2008


Kentucky Atheists, P.O. Box 666, Union, KY 41091; Email: ekagin@atheists.org



Phone: (859) 384-7000; Fax: (859) 384-7324;



Editor's personal web site: www.edwinkagin.com

Edited by:



Edwin Kagin, Kentucky State Director, American Atheists, Inc.



(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)







IT IS OKAY TO BE AN ATHEIST







To Unidentified Recipients:





WE HAVE WHITE SMOKE!



ED BUCKNER IS THE NEW PRESIDENT OF AMERICAN ATHEISTS.







Y'all get busy and help get this organization get going again y'hear!!!



It is a rat race. And the rats are winning.



We need to change this sad fact, and our new leader is going to help us do just that.



Congratulations to our new President of American Atheists, Dr. Edward M. Buckner, aka Ed.



Quit feeling sorry for yourself, join American Atheists, get others to join, volunteer, and help him out.



Our greatest days are yet to come.



This is the first day of the rest of your life.




Edwin.


==================================================================


(by David Silverman, National Spokesperson for American Atheists)
09/12/08
American Atheists Names ED BUCKNER as President

Ladies and gentlemen,

As the National Spokesperson for American Atheists, I am proud to introduce our new President, Dr. Ed Buckner.


Many of you who are active in the movement will know of Dr. Buckner's accomplishments, originating in the Atlanta Chapter of the Society of Separationists (then an American Atheists affiliated corporation), helping to grow the Atlanta Freethought Society through its formative years, and then most recently serving as the Executive Director of the Counsel for Secular Humanism.

A hardcore Atheist, Dr. Buckner has written, spoken, debated, and appeared often in the media, both locally and nationally. He has been on MSNBC, Good Morning America, CBS Evening News, Fox News, the Michael Medved Show, CNN, the national CBS Radio News, NPR, and on nearly every local media outlet (radio or television) in the Atlanta and Buffalo areas, most repeatedly. He's been quoted, sometimes at length, in newspapers all over the nation and, occasionally, elsewhere in the world, been a featured guest on many Internet broadcast shows, and given the keynote address for Atheists Alliance International.

Dr Buckner has debated or spoken in Alabama, California, Connecticut, DC, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and a few times outside the U.S. He earned a doctorate (1983) and M.Ed. (1975) from Georgia State University; B.A., English, Rice University, 1967.

We had a FANTASTIC response from world-class atheist leaders for this position, and on behalf of the Board of Directors I thank every applicant.

Please help me welcome Dr. Ed Buckner, President of American Atheists!

--------------------------------------------------------

Ed's first official statement follows:

Dear American Atheists Members, Volunteers, and Supporters,

I'm deeply honored to have been named as President of American Atheists by the Board. I'm determined to show all of you, in due course, that the Board, which had an important but difficult decision, was wise to choose me. I don't know all the details of who else applied, but I know enough to know that the list of applicants included many Atheists of the first order, men and women of great promise, intelligence, creativity, and accomplishment, including leaders from within American Atheists and from beyond. While this makes me even prouder of being chosen, it also puts great pressure on me to work hard.

I promise—

1. I will put American Atheists and her members first.

2. The many other leaders and supporters of the group who make themselves available to help, with advice or work or financial contributions, will be welcomed and encouraged.

3. Communication will be a top priority, especially with Atheists wise and strong enough to be card-carrying members. The excellent blog that David Silverman edits will be a major part of that—I will read and take seriously what all of you choose to say there. I will at least occasionally contribute to the comments, always openly and under my own name. The American Atheist web-site will, with the help of many, be kept up to date.

4. American Atheists will remain true to its proud heritage as the vanguard of American atheism and religious liberty; we have always been the most forthright, unabashed, unapologetic, confident people in this nation who have no religion, and that will continue.

5. American Atheists will openly cooperate with and support other groups, local, national, or international, to the extent that doing so will serve the interests of our philosophy and our members. The only exceptions to this promise will come where there are conflicts with 4, above.

6. If a local group of American Atheists anywhere in this nation wants me or some other official representative of the organization to visit, to speak or to debate against some bombastic preacher or condescending media personality, we will do everything we can to fulfill that want.

7. If a newspaper, radio program, TV program, or Internet show anywhere in this nation invites me or some other official representative of the organization to speak or to debate against some religious leader, we will do everything we can to fulfill that invitation.

8. The Center in Cranford New Jersey, including our fine library, will be protected and enhanced to improve its usefulness to members and to future Atheists.

I'm not Frank Zindler or Ellen Johnson or Jon Murray or Madalyn Murray O'Hair, and I won't pretend to be—but I hope to demonstrate that the best days of American Atheists are ahead, not historical. I'm grateful, and I think all of us should be profoundly grateful, to our previous leaders, who have stood strongly and proudly for us, helping us protect our rights, our reputations, and our freedom. All of them have demonstrated wonderful creativity, wit and humor, extraordinary intelligence, and profound courage on our behalf.

Anyone who wants to know more about me can send me an e-mail message and I'll send you a copy of what I submitted to the board when I applied.

I invite you to hold me accountable.

Sincerely,
Ed Buckner
President,
American Atheists, Inc.

==================================================================================

Jana Reports:
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Stalking the Devil's Advocate

There is surely a temptation to follow Christopher Hitchens around with a pen and notepad so as not to miss the gems of humor, wit and sincere passion- had I known the day would be so long, I myself might not have resisted. I'm glad I did. What follows is my chronology of a day in the life of this very public figure leading up to, during and following his debate with Frank Turek at Virginia Commonwealth University on September 9th 2008 entitled "Does God Exist?".

My daughter Julianna and I arrived the night before to meet with Roy Roberts, president of the Secular Student Union, who had arranged the event. It was then that he informed us that we would be invited to attend a luncheon with Mr. Hitchens prior to the debate. Our pleasure was redoubled when we discovered that this would take place at an Indian restaurant. Having traveled from Cincinnati Ohio to Richmond Virginia for the event I could have scarcely imagined better news. We had come in the hopes of gleaning a few short moments in which we could ask some questions for our Answers In Atheism podcast on Thursday evenings, now we would get to observe him in a small group as friends, relaxing over a buffet.

Books in tow for signing and cameras ready, we arrived to join the group of organisers. The place was small, our group of about fifteen took up most of the restaurant. It is always a pleasure to meet the people who put their efforts toward the advancement of understanding of the issues we all face, and these were no exceptions. Christopher Hitchens appeared unceremoniously, the ward for the day of the students who had worked so hard to plan the debate. There were no formal introductions, he asked if we should help ourselves to the buffet, and we all raced to fill our plates. That was it, we were off. Having been an avid fan for some time of his debates and lectures, I was already familiar with his stances on many of the more topical issues. What I really wanted to learn about was the man behind the words. Arguably among the most well-read authors of our time, Hitchens has a reputation of being strident if not arrogant. I have often wondered if this was more a reflection of the subject material than of him as an actual person. The man I spent the day with was the very embodiment of patience, eloquence and candor. He would get no breaks from the relentless questions from myself and everyone else for the rest of the day, the requests for "just one more" picture, autograph, or answer to some burning question from both sympathisers and detractors. He would disappoint no one.

It was my sincere intention to eat and listen, however my big mouth has a mind of its own. I was sitting directly across the table from a man I admire greatly- an opportunity not likely to be repeated in the near future. I only wanted to know one thing- everything. Barring that, I'd settle for everything else. Why does he support the war? He explained that in a quieter time he would be a one-issue voter on the issue of separation of church and state, a condition that makes America unique from the rest of the world. That we stand alone as the only country to have a truly secular government is a fact to be celebrated and defended, he reminds us. He makes me proud to be an American, at a time when I'm not so sure. However, we find ourselves where we are at present, our country embroiled in a nasty war of dubious beginnings, with the dire necessity of some sort of resolution. He reminds me that people all over the world are human beings and have a right not to live under the tyranny of religious zealotry, and that they need and deserve our support. I do believe that human rights supersede American rights, although I remain in turmoil as to our responsibility to insure them. I countered that many of us who willfully take on the title of "lefties" are doubtful that such a goal as emancipation from religious tyranny is likely, and not even on the agenda of our military. He believes the downfall and scattering of the most egregious regimes will accomplish improved secularism by default. He is asked by another attendee if there was a catalyst that made him feel this was particularly important right now, and he replied that September 11th made it clear what kind of threat the parties of god offer. As a man who has spent a great deal of time both on travel to and study of these cultures, he is someone from what is often the "other side" from me politically whose opinions I seek out.

There was round two at the buffet, and I asked if he might spare some time for a brief interview for our podcast on Thursday. He invited Julianna and I without hesitation to join him immediately before his debate, a time he claims is always boring and uneventful. I looked across the sea of faces hoping to get their questions in, and doubted he'd have time to be bored. There was nice strong Indian tea. More conversation. The restaurant was closed for midday before we were ushered out, at which time the meeting convened on the sidewalk. Hitchens was whisked away to visit some local sites of interest including the Jefferson Hotel, but not before he reminded Julianna and I to find him before the debate for the interview, to my delight.

The room was huge and the crowd sparse an hour before the show. The planning was coming together- I recognised doormen, ushers, cameramen and film crews from lunch. We found our reserved seats, and were quickly summoned to interview Hitchens in the green room. As the results will be discussed on our Answers In Atheism podcast with Edwin Kagin, I won't repeat them here, but Hitchens was as cordial and generous with his time as could be imagined. Cameras clicked, people wandered in and out interjecting throughout and he never lost his composure, or his place in our conversation. This, only moments before he would take the stage. Turek came in to introduce himself before the debate, informing Hitchens that he's a great fan. Hitchens replied, "It's early".

We reclaimed our seats in the now jam-packed auditorium of five hundred, with two overflow rooms full as well. The debate was, well it was a debate between a theist and an atheist so there really isn't anything new that can come out of it. Turek made the usual objections which amount to "I personally don't understand science so therefore goddidit!!!" and Hitchens volleyed back with great dignity that human beings deserve more respect than to be shamed by people claiming to represent a non-existent being. Check youtube for video of the nearly two-hour debate, it was frustrating to me to have to sit silent through the litany of irrationality Turek passed off as "evidence". Apparently evidence is now something an incredibly ignorant person manufactures in their own head- baseless assertions and postulations that the rest of us are supposed to "respect". Ugh. Why is Hitchens mad at god? Ugh. How did something come from nothing? Ugh. Why can't he just accept that things are too perfectly in tune not to be the intentional creation of a supreme being? Double ugh. Quotes from "important people" who proclaim supernatural necessity. Christ. You get the picture. As passionate as Hitchens clearly is on the subject, he avoids underlining the problem as it actually exists- you can't reason with utter absurdity. That large numbers of people believe utter absurdity makes no comment on its truth content. Hitchens prefers instead to refute specific claims rather than to call the man stupid, I doubt I could have managed that myself. I've heard there are no such things as stupid questions, and this I now know for certain to be false.

Does the long day near a close? Hardly! After a standing ovation for what was surely among the more interesting debates I've seen of his, the moderator announces that Hitchens will be available afterward for pictures and book signings. The line of hopefuls spills out down the corridor and out the door- he will not leave the table for another two hours until every last request is satisfied, every picture snapped. He declines my offer for coffee, reminding one of the organisers it's nearly 10 pm and he'd like to get a sandwich when they're done. He grants one last filmed interview at nearly 11pm on the condition that we walk while it's being conducted, it's his only hope of eventual escape. Julianna and I are invited again to join the group for the "Well, how did that go?" segment of the evening at a local pub. More pictures, more questions, poor Christopher doesn't get to even eat his sandwich while it's hot. He doesn't seem to notice, he certainly never gets perturbed. Every person in the room is as important as the next and I realise that he granted my interview for one reason alone- because I asked. It's after midnight when he leaves to be driven two hours to get home, he'll be catching a plane at 9am for another city, another day.

When Mother Teresa was being proposed for sainthood, the Vatican called in Christopher Hitchens to argue against it, thereby playing devil's advocate. Of course, her own journals would support his claims against her, but that did not lessen the horror some felt at the fact that he argued against the presumably unassailable woman to begin with. Few who wish to believe utter nonsense actually even hear his arguments- at least not the content. We know this because they never answer the content- they only address the form. Why won't he just concede to their baseless assertions? Why won't he accept "testimony" as evidence? Why is he a big fat meanie? WHY? Because in this age of coddling insanity, it has become obvious that reason needs a defence among far too many Americans. I retire from what was for me a long, exciting and thoroughly exhausting day relieved that this defender of reason we have in one Christopher Hitchens is so tireless.

Jana ~ AnswersInAtheism.net =

Monday, September 08, 2008

Edwin Kagin on Atheist News

KENTUCKY ATHEISTS NEWS & NOTES Date: September 07, 2008

Kentucky Atheists, P.O. Box 666, Union, KY 41091; Email: ekagin@atheists.org

Phone: (859) 384-7000; Fax: (859) 384-7324; Web: http://www.atheists.org/ky/

Editor's personal web site: www.edwinkagin.com

Editor’s personal blog: http://edwinkagin.blogspot.com

Edited by:

Edwin Kagin, Kentucky State Director, American Atheists, Inc.

(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)



IT IS OKAY TO BE AN ATHEIST



To Unidentified Recipients:

Your editor must confess to being a tad despondent. He considers himself to be a creator of humor of modest merit, yet he has been so eclipsed by the events of the past few days that it is tempting to wonder if anything he, or anyone else, might ever again invent could be funnier than reality. Just imagine, the Governor of Alaska, a lady moose hunter, a soon-to-be grandmother next door, the mother of a pregnant unwed underage teenage graduate of the abstinence only pro-choice traditional family values program, a proponent of teaching creationism in public schools, a treasonous advocate of state secession, a born again Fundangelical, a rabidly anti-choice example of just why some women indeed should not work outside of the home, has been nominated as the Vice-Presidential candidate on the ticket of Geezer and Gidget, for the 2008 Presidential election. Mrs. Sarah Palin, a cross between Our Miss Brooks and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, is a poster girl for constitutional ignorance and American Fascism. For the satirist seeking material, she is indeed low hanging fruit.

How could any made up humor, invented by a humorist, possibly top that?

Perhaps she would be a guest on our soon-to-be-award-winning Internet radio talk show “Answers in Atheism” (www.answersinatheism.net ) to explain her views on just why we should become a theocracy.

Maybe she would be a great President of the United States.

And maybe Queen Elizabeth will appear naked in Playboy.


Edwin.

======================================================================================================================================================


AMERICAN ATHEISTS MEDIA ALERT
http://www.atheists.org

SILVERMAN DEBATE MONDAY RADIO, INTERNET
"Was American Founded on Judeo-Christian Values?"
Monday, 9/8 -- 6:00 PM 971 Talk, St. Louis

DAVE SILVERMAN, National Communications Director for American Atheists, will be the guest this Monday September 8, 2008 on the popular Dave Glover Show airing from St. Louis, MO. and on the Internet.

Mr. Silverman will be debating the question: "Was the United States founded on Judeo-Christian values?"

The program begins at 6:00 PM EST, and can be heard live on the Internet at http://www.971talk.com .

WHO & WHAT: Dave Silverman of American Atheists on the Glover Show

WHEN: Monday, September 8, 2007 -- 6:00 PM EST

WHERE: 97.1 FM Talk Radio, on the Internet at http://www.971talk.com

MORE INFO: http://www.971talk.com

(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights of nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)


===================================================================================================================================================================


From reader Jan:

Subject: If you weren't afraid before...

Get scared now:

Palin's Churches and the Third Wave

Part 1: http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/9/5/0244/84583

Part 2: http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/9/5/03830/11602

Scary video in the second part:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K_1Eit0pxM&eurl=http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/9/5/03830/11602

With links to other scary videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQ4WOOceGis

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVIPF_PmHuQ&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpKR0REYrnY&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7n3h0fCAYk


http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=964

'Arming' for Armageddon
Militant Joel's Army Followers Seek Theocracy
By Casey Sanchez
Photography by Lowell Handler
Intelligence Report
Fall 2008

===================================================================================================================================================================


From reader Len:


http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/9/4/155547/0997

Sarah Palin used AK tax dollars to fund dominionist churches
Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 03:55:47 PM EST

Over the past few days, I've done reporting on Sarah Palin's extensive dominionist connections--including the attempt to run her as a "stealth" dominionist candidate and her connections to some scary dominionist groups including not just "Joel's Army" folks but a far-right Christian Reconstructionist political party linked to domestic terrorism.

As bad as all this--and the scandals regarding her misrule in both Wasilla and as state governor--are, there's apparently still more.

Today, we find that part of those funding scandals include the tax money of Alaskans used to pay for youth programs at Juneau Christian Center. We also reveal info regarding a particularly disturbing Assemblies frontgroup Palin recently did a talk at, and we go into researching the dominionist connections of her most recent church--Wasilla Bible Church.

Your tax dollars, going to support dominionism for kids

In another example of what appears to be some extensive whitewashing at almost all of Palin's former and present churches, there were some very interesting links removed from JCC's site regarding an interesting bit of largesse by Sarah Palin to the church.

Fortunately, an astute blogger happened to archive the material, which included not only documentation of a $25,000 grant to JCC's "The Hub" from Palin's administration, but also a request for $100,000 total in state and federal funding and pictures of Palin actually being at the opening of "The Hub" (which have since been scrubbed from her website).

And all is definitely not as it seems with "The Hub".

"The Hub" is essentially a frontgroup run by JCC for recruitment of future members--much of its activities focus on recruiting kids. The page itself begins with the phrase "Destiny Has Begun!"--a codephrase commonly used in "Joel's Army" circles to denote the "generation of destiny" (the new rebranding of "Joel's Army" borrowed from an Assemblies-linked church in New Zealand, now that the press is starting to catch onto the "Joel's Army" branding). "Destiny" in and of itself is a favourite codephrase in these circles--in "Joel's Army" theology, people are "destined" to inherit all manner of wealth and take over the planet and whatnot.

The original blogger has also noted he's received some info to suggest that ongoing prosyletisation may be going on at "The Hub":

I also found some publicly available videos about JCC's "Ground/Zero" youth program through a rather circuitous route that I won't post here to protect the privacy of people in the videos that lead me to believe that more goes on here than what is described in the application.


The "GroundZero" program, too, is worth noting--and even based on its rather scrubbed page, the intent is to essentially set up an army of teen "God Warriors":

groundzero - the center of rapid or intense development or change.
Our name speaks our purpose. At groundzero we have a vision to develop youth that are marked by purity, passion, and the presence of God. This vision exists to create young people that will carry groundzero as a movement, not just a meeting.
ground/zero is not a place, it's not a time, but it is a movement transported by people that will impact this generation with a message that instills hope and a purpose. The movement meets Wednesday nights.
Doors open at 6:00PM and service begins at 6:30PM for Middle and High School service.
Doors open at 8:30PM and service begins at 9:00PM for University service (ages 18-26).


(Last I checked, "ground zero" was the central blast point of explosions. And also a name that at least the New York community would probably find in extremely poor taste.)

Seeing as it's actually been established through some quite official sources that Juneau Christian Center is an Assemblies church, that means that at least $25,000 of Alaskan taxpayers' money may have gone for active efforts to convert Alaskan teenagers to "Joel's Army" theology.

More evidence of Palin's dalliances with Joel's Army

Possibly some of the more damning info yet on Palin's membership in "Joel's Army" comes from the recent revelations of Palin's speech to a group called "Master's Commission". The full transcript of her speech has now come out, and it's actually worse than the initial reports of her claiming that Gulf War II was a holy crusade.

Some of the badness is from specific codewords she uses (at the beginning, she literally describes the members as being under the "umbrella of the church"--a codephrase used in orgs that use abusive "cell churches" to denote the cell-church relationship). And she gives some real zingers, too, including one which notes pretty much why I get alarm bells when I hear neopentecostal dominionist churches ranting about "destiny":

But, um, so, having grown up here, and having little kids growing up here also, this is such a special, special place. The Assembly of God here has been a real center point in the Valley for all these years, and the Valley has been a center point for the state of Alaska. So what comes from this church I think has great destiny. And I say this to the Master's Commission students who have been here under this umbrella, who are going to be sent out now and bringing people in.
. . .
I just want to bless you, and oh, because I didn't know if I was going to get here tonight, I flew in from Juneau last night and I fly again to Juneau tomorrow. So I didn't prepare anything, thinking my schedule wouldn't allow me to be here. But I have a word, but really I'm cheating 'cause it's a, I think it was given to me today but I'm going to give it to the Master's Commission students because I think it's so applicable to they are headed. And this word was given to me, bless his heart, by Pastor Ed Kalnins this morning at our big Valley-wide church service.

It was called Ephesians 1:17, and this is what I want to pray over you guys too: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give to you a spirit wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, and that spirit of revelation also including a spirit of prophecy, that God's going to tell you what is going on and what is going to go on, and you guys are going to have that within you, and it's just going to bubble up and bubble over and, and it's going to pour out over the state of Alaska. Again, good good things in store for the state of Alaska. Let us pray for God's will to be done here, for all of your destinies to be met in this state.


(Yes, you're reading this right--Palin is stating, flat out, that the whole reason that Alaska is rich in natural resources and why people are moving there is so that neopentecostals can hold the Great-Grandmother Of All Revivals.)

However, this isn't all of why this is disturbing. For the rest of it, you have to do a little bit of digging into Master's Commission itself.

The efforts at whitewashing haven't been so successful with Master's Commission, as a fellow blogger has recorded, but even more enlightenment is found via some Google-massaging.

There are a number of groups using this name (and a surprising number of them are Joel's Army connected, indicating this may be one of the "rebrandings" we need to keep an eye on), but in this particular case, the "Master's Commission" we're concerned about is a post of an Assemblies frontgroup at Wasilla A/G that is connected to Phoenix A/G (Ted Haggard's present church). Whilst the main headquarters are now in Texas, the group did have its origins in the largest Assemblies church in the US (and one of the largest megachurches in the country).

The group promotes itself as a "discipling and shepherding" group (which is bad enough), but the info on Wasilla A/G's site--amazingly, not yet redacted--is even worse.

A preview of just how far we're going to be going into the rabbit hole becomes obvious on the website for Master's Commission North Pole (the state org--which, incidentially, has one of the most annoying Flash-based websites known). Aside from all the "sword" imagery and spouting off "destiny" every five seconds, it's let out that participants engage in "marathon fasting" of the type popularly promoted in Assemblies circles (which is to say, 21- and 40-day fasts with nothing but water, no food); in comparison, Lent just drops certain food groups, and Ramadhan only has daytime fasting. Such extreme fasts are considered quite unhealthy by medical personnel, and are seen as one major "warning sign" of a potentially abusive religious group.

Have I also mentioned the fun of the group targeting Native Alaskan and Inuit communities for conversion? And this is just baby steps, really, compared to what we're about to dive into.

The truth is, the group exists primarily as an ordination mill for the Assemblies of God:

Q: What sort of materials will I be taught?
A:
-Berean School of the Bible (work towards being credentialed with Assemblies of God)
-Scripture Memory (hidding God's word in our hearts)
-John Bevere Curriculum (Under Cover and Bait of Satan)
-Francis Frangipane (In Christ's Image Training)
-Steve Thompson (developing and operating in prophetic ministry)


Of note, that "Berean School of the Bible" is the Assemblies of God's mail-order correspondence school--and the Assemblies tends to have particularly lax standards for ordination (you can get by with two good words from other Assemblies preachers, a multiple choice "Bible quiz", and two years of "ministerial experience" without setting foot in a seminary hall).

Another sign that Something Is Not Right is the fact that a big part of the work of "Master's Commission" is working with another Assemblies front--namely, the "Dream Center" chain of "faith based rehabs":

Here at Masters Commission Wasilla Alaska you will be involved in many different ministries. Here are just some of them:

. . .

Dream Center: You will be serving Rob and Cherise Hyslip who are taking on the vision of a dream center here in Wasilla. Like the one Pastors Matthew and Tommy Barnett have started in L.A., it is a shelter and resource for those facing homelessness, poverty, drug addiciton, and hopelessness.


Ah, yes, Dream Center. :P Dream Center is one of several chains of "Faith Based Rehabs" that the Assemblies of God operates; in Dream Center's case, it is largely the Western District of the Assemblies promoting it, but it has spread to areas outside the Western District (such as Alaska). Past readers may remember Dream Center Phoenix as the site of Ted Haggard's so-far-unsuccessful degaying (he was ultimately dismissed from the program, as expected).

And--much like other Assemblies-operated "faith based rehab" chains such as Teen Challenge and Mercy Ministries, there have been reports of abuse...some egregrious.

One of the more disturbing reports of abuse at Dream Center facilities involves profiteering off Katrina evacuees and holding them in conditions identical to people in rehab (complete with random pee tests). Much like similar cases at Teen Challenge, at least one facility had a registered sex offender working with youth in Dream Center St. Louis in violation of Missouri law, and there are similarly coercive practices at Dream Center as exist at Mercy Ministries and Teen Challenge (including forced conversions as a condition of receiving aid--including Katrina evacuees who were targeted quite aggressively

Back to "Master's Commission", though. Probably some of the most damning material as to what and whom that speech Palin made was meant for is revealed on the "About Alaska" page, including textbook use of the term "Destiny" as a neopente dominionist codeword--and noting some very frequent offenders here:

Alaska has a divine destiny that has been spoken about by many church leaders and prophetic leaders from all over the world such as Dutch Sheets, Todd Bently, Steve Thompson, Woody Woodson, and Dr. Cho just to name a few.
You will have an awesome opportunity here in Master's Commission Wasilla Alaska to partner with God as he is getting ready to pour out His Spirit like never seen before and cause a great awakening that will see millions all across our world come to know the Lord in a radical and intimate way.


If this isn't a veritable "who's who" of modern Joel's Army promoters, I don't know what is.

Listed prominently is Todd Bentley, who recently became the primary focus on a new Southern Poverty Law Center article on "Joel's Army" groups; also listed prominently is Paul Yonggi Cho (nee David Yonggi Cho), head of the largest megachurch in the world in Seoul and pretty much the "founding father" of Joel's Army stuff in the Assemblies--oh, yes, and there's always Cho's lovely connections to the party responsible for a particularly genocidal attempt to establish the Republic of Gilead in Guatemala. Steve Thompson is connected with Rick Joyner's Morningstar Ministries (and Rick Joyner is one of the names most consistently connected with "Joel's Army") and tends to show up frequently in reference material re "Joel's Army"; Dutch Sheets is a real piece of work and a major, major promoter of this stuff as well (in fact, he's also engaging in rebranding of "Joel's Army" as "Gideon's Army" on his end) with connections to "Joel's Army" promoter C. Peter Wagner. Woody Woodson is proba bly the most obscure of the lot--he's heavily promoted on the Assemblies "traveling pastor" circuit along with a number of "word-faith" promoters.

And this is still not the full extent of the "Joel's Army" linkage; one group they're connected with is the International House Of Prayer along with Morningstar Ministries. (The International House Of Prayer has been mentioned in the SPLC report om "Joel's Army" groups; I am, to this day, surprised that the proprietors have not had the living you-know-what sued out of them by the proprietors of the International House of Pancakes.)

If that's not enough to curl your nosehairs, apparently the intent--as I noted above--is to essentially hold the Great-Grandmother of Revivals, for the express purpose of turning the Great White North into Jesusland:

In 1967 during the Alaska Purchase Centennial, Richard Peter wrote our Alaska State Motto. The motto is meant to represent Alaska as a land of promise. "North to The Future", we believe this is Prophetic; Alaska will be in the middle of a great outpouring.


Yes, you read that right...apparently the state motto is seen as a prophecy of a giant tent meeting. I can't make this up if I tried.

Again, I hope this puts to rest any doubt on the whole "Joel's Army" thing. :3

And her present congregation aren't exactly angels, either

Compared to this, Palin's present congregation--Wasilla Bible Church--seems rather harmless.

Unfortunately, appearances can be deceiving...especially with all the whitewashing of info critical of Palin going on. Wasilla Bible Church may not be Assemblies-scary, but it is definitely in the "SBC-level of dominionism, post-steeplejack" levels of "worrisome".

Finding out any solid info in regards to Wasilla Bible Church has been difficult, because there's very little info on the church's website; it claims to be nondenominational, but some things like the Statement of Faith point to similarities to so-called "Independent Christian Churches" (which, in the case of the megachurch variety, trend dominionist).

And an early, non-purged Internet Archive version of Wasilla Bible Church's page already turns up, as early as 2003, links to Focus on the Family--and both WBC and its parent church, as we'll see, are closely connected to FotF.

The linkage continues to the present day--in the most recent church flyer I've been able to find online, a Focus on the Family frontgroup called "Love Won Out"--which promotes the "degaying" bogosity--is actively promoted.

We actually tend to find more revealing info at the parent church of Wasilla Bible Church--a Palmer, Alaska church by the name of Lazy Mountain Bible Church. Again, there's an almost-deliberate attempt to hide where the origin was (all that is noted is that people apparently came to Alaska to found the church at some unidentified date, no bios on the pastors, no nothing)...but there are some indications of a potential neopente bent, and a definite dominionist bent.

One of the first warning signs is actually from a want-ad for an assistant pastor--specifically someone into "discipling and shepherding". (I mentioned earlier how this could be a Bad Thing in regards to Wasilla A/G.)

One surprising thing that I did find in research was apparent promotion of a popular women's writer in SBC circles within Lazy Mountain's church newsletter; in the same newsletter, though, we also find more promotion for that FotF frontgroup conference.

Another thing that pinged my radar--and may give a clue to the true denominational affiliation of WBC and its parent--was the discovery of a "Potter's Group" course. This raised my alert, in part, because some highly abusive "Assemblies daughters" tend to use this imagery (including the "Potter's House" group).

The application also gives hints of a potentially neopente group--it is in fact very similar to the form Matt Taibbi filled out to attend weekend at John Hagee's "Jesus Camp for Grownups" that turned into a literal vomitorium. (One of the giveaways we may be dealing with neopentes: one of the questions asked re abuse is a history of "Satanic Ritual Abuse", something that is pretty much only taken seriously in neopentecostal circles and which has been pretty well thoroughly debunked elsewhere.) Interestingly, it is one of the few applications for joining a cell-church group that I've seen that includes an indemnity form.

And yes, this too has links to Focus on the Family:

An Adult Sunday School Class featuring Focus on the Family's The Truth Project meets at 9:15 a.m. on Sunday mornings in room #11. The class is facilitated by Jonathon Peters, Doug Prins and Ed White.

A Truth Project Discussion Group will meet on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. in the home of Ed White. This is open to men and women.


(Again, the "Truth Project" is a little FotF project--only this time going for explicit dominionist indoctrination, in a surprisingly blatant attempt (via cell-churches)...and when I mean blatant, I mean flat out Christian Nationalism 101.)

And it wouldn't just be these two pet projects the "Bible Churches" in question are associated with. Another group that LWBC likes to promote is the Alliance Defense Fund--a dominionist legal group that effectively operates as the de facto legal battering-ram of FotF. (Yes, it's little known, but the Alliance Defense Fund is actually a Focus on the Family "daughter".)

The particular speaker that LWBC had from ADF is also particularly damning--and disturbingly in-line with Palin's past history. Chuck Lane, in addition to being a regional ADF head, also has connections with Campus Crusade for Christ (yes, the same Campus Crusade now linked to attempts at military steeplejacking and coercive tactics aimed at college students, among other fun things--yes, the same Campus Crusade that runs the "Fellowship of Christian Athletes" that Palin held membership in, the same one that is practically joined at the hip with the Assemblies) and Promise Keepers (the infamous dominionist "men's org" that came into controversy because of its use of abusive "cell church" tactics; to this day, Promise Keepers is still listed as a coercive religious group by some exit counselors).

Of note...this is on top of the documented promotion of conversion of Jewish people to "Messianic Jews"; in fact, the speaker in question literally blamed terrorist attacks against the Israeli community on Jewish people failing to convert and God giving a smiting as a result:

"Judgment is very real and we see it played out on the pages of the newspapers and on the television. It's very real. When [Brickner's son] was in Jerusalem he was there to witness some of that judgment, some of that conflict, when a Palestinian from East Jerusalem took a bulldozer and went plowing through a score of cars, killing numbers of people. Judgment -- you can't miss it."


And yes, this is the same "Jews for Jesus" that is almost universally considered a coercive religious group because of deceptive recruitment tactics--as documented by many independent researchers and exit counselors (in fact, the last exit counselor noted got into exit counseling due to attempts by Jews for Jesus to recruit his grandmother when she was in a nursing home).

And this is still not all. Apparently, WBC's pastor has pulled his own version of a John Hagee foot-bullet--claiming in a sermon that America is due for a smitin' due to "rampant immorality".

So...yeah, Wasilla Bible Church are definitely not angels here.

And it's not entirely accurate to say that WBC is her sole congregation, either. Some media reports have indicated she may be attending both WBC and Juneau Christian Center--though there's definitely some ongoing spin on that.

And in fact, it looks like Wasilla Bible Church itself has been recruited into whitewashing the muck covering Palin:

On Monday, the church had another cause for notoriety. Kroons told NEWSWEEK that Palin's campaign staff had contacted him that morning to ask for his discretion when discussing the pregnancy of Palin's teenage daughter Bristol. "All I'll say is that Bristol is a young lady. We care about her and want to support her and the family," Kroons said. Ashley Brown, another pastor at the church, said he'd also been contacted by the campaign with the same request.


All the more reason, methinks, to keep shining that million-candlepower light in Palin's direction.