Europe To Counter Bush's
Anti-Abortion Move
Victor Gijsbers

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From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Victor Gijsbers"
Subject: Re: Bad news, Good News, Site
Date: Wednesday, January 31, 2001 12:41 AM

Please make it clear to those involved that most Americans disagree with this move as well.

Perhaps we can get an effort a-fly, not unlike the global outrage known as the anti-Apartheid movement, which shamed and later financially sanctioned South Africa to changed her ways.

I realize the two cannot be compared, but Bush's plan has grave implications. I know: I was once in need of food, due to a long succession of serious and debilitating medical problems. Even with secular agencies in place, my choices eventually became: (1) starve; (2) endure a fundamentalist Christian sermon in order to qualify for a meal; (3) shoplift. As my criminal record and the fact that I still live will show, I chose Option 3. As the result, I served 180 days in the County Jail in 1988. On Day 179, I was hauled in to court and ordered to undergo the patently religious indoctrination of the Twelve Step Program. I argued that I was an atheist and that it was wrong for her to force me into a religious program. I also noted that I had not even been charged with a drug- or alcohol-related crime, much less been convicted of one; that I was in need of ongoing medical care and some sort of resocialization training. The judge's response was to place me on a "30-day hold" to think about what she'd said. This was her prerogative, and it can be argued that this was not a direct response to my refusal to undergo religious instruction (in other words, I would not have had a case against the judge, because the "hold" was entirely in her power, regardless of her reason).

However, until now, we have been able to successfully fight this and similar abuses when they occur in an institutionalized setting, such as a prison. Now, though, these abuses will be institutionalized by law, and far from being able to stop these abuses here and there, we will be powerless to even oppose them: many of us will be required by law to undergo religious instruction.

The scariest part came to light when someone asked Bush if he would support the public funding of an organization run by Minister Louis Farrakhan's religion. Bush said no. In other words, the government will now be put in the position of deciding which religions are "legitimate" and which are not. Be assured that the laws will be written to give advantage to Bush's own religion, that of Christianity, and will be written so that anybody with even a half-assed legal team should be able to skirt any so-called safeguards against abuse. Insight can be gained by looking up the reference citations in our collection of Scary Quotes by Rev. Lester Roloff.

Meanwhile, politics is a slow-moving behemoth, and works something like this:

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[From a Skeptics Society e-mail dispatch:]

Dear Fellow Skeptics,

I thought some of you might still be unaware of the fact that, after nearly three years of effort, we've won a substantial victory for the cause of science and reason in veterinary healthcare. The new and much-revised "proposed" 2001 AVMA Guidelines for Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine have now been posted to the AVMA Website at: <http://www.avma.org/compaltmed.asp> (or <http://www/avma.org>), but will remain available on line only until January 31, 2001. Veterinary practitioners AND members of the general public have been invited to comment on them.

The 1996 Comp and Alt Vet Med Guidelines they will supercede are available on line at <http://www.seanet.com/~vettf/Guidelines.htm>. As you can see, the '96 Guidelines were, to say the least, "highly promotional." They include such inane comments as:

    "Veterinary acupuncture and acutherapy are now considered an integral part of veterinary medicine."

    "[S]ufficient research exists documenting efficacy of chiropractic in humans..."

    "Sufficient clinical and anecdotal evidence exists to indicate that veterinary chiropractic can be beneficial."

    "Clinical and anecdotal evidence exists to indicate that veterinary homeopathy may be beneficial."

    "[H]olistic veterinary medicine incorporates, but is not limited to, the principles of acupuncture and acutherapy, botanical medicine, chiropractic, homeopathy, massage therapy, nutraceuticals, and physical therapy..."

Worse still, the document, which is intended to "guide" veterinarians in their consideration of "complementary and alternative" therapies, fails to mention the word "science" even once.

To the contrary, the "proposed 2001 CAVM Guidelines" eliminate the promotional gobbledygook and put the emphasis where it belongs: on science.

Not only do these new guidelines constitute a major victory for proponents of medical rationalism, I believe they also constitute an extremely important "first." So far as I'm aware, to date there have been no analogous "showdowns" between proponents of science-based medicine and "everything-else-based medicine" at the level of a national medical professional association -- in the U.S., or for that matter, anywhere else in the world. Certainly there has been no similar confrontation within the AMA (American Medical Association), ADA (American Dental Association) or the ANA (American Nurses Association). I hope and expect that our successful efforts to induce the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) to courageously and proactively identify and address the issues attendant to unproven and disproved medical therapies will eventually "boil over" into controversy among the other healthcare professional associations on a state, national, and even international basis.

Not surprisingly, the new guidelines are being received by alt vet med proponents with overt and extremely vocal hostility.

As I stated earlier, the AVMA has invited not only veterinarians, but also members of the general public, to submit written comments on the new "proposed" guidelines. Written comments postmarked by February 15, 2001 will be forwarded to the AVMA Alternative and Complementary Therapies Task Force for its consideration. (No e-mail or fax comments will be accepted. They will accept SNAIL-MAIL ONLY.) If you are concerned about either the recent propagation of unproven and disproved medical "alternatives" or the welfare of veterinary patients and clients, I urge you to mail your supportive comments to Dr. Craig A. Smith, AVMA, 1931 N. Meacham Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360. The AVMA needs to know that the public and the veterinary profession appreciate their courageous stand on these issues.

Thank you,

Robert Imrie, DVM
coordinator, NCRHI Veterinary Task Force

NCRHI Alt Med Advisory Page
<http://www.seanet.com/~vettf/> <http://www.ncahf.org/>
The Entirely On-Line Alt Med Primer
<http://www.seanet.com/~vettf/Primer2.htm>
The Alt Med Book Review Page
<http://www.seanet.com/~vettf/Review.htm>

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Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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