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Imposing Religion Upon
A Captive Audience
Ann Murray
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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Ann Murray"
Subject: Re: He has a way of popping up in the oddest places ...
Date: Wednesday, August 09, 2000 5:04 PM

In late 1988 and for most of 1989, I got $248 per month until the Social Security came through, and paid rent and fed myself with that.

I did well, and consider myself fortunate that my country would take care of me when I became unable to compete in the job market. Before that, from May of 1985 on, I had lived on the streets, with a few momentary reprieves in the form of a check from Mom, etc., to get a little single-room occupancy for a few weeks. If I were religious, I'd thank God for this little check.

I became so strict with my money (quitting smoking, etc.) that I had saved up over $1,000 behind this income. From about March of 1989 for about two years, I lived in a little single-room nothing of a studio. The manager was very helpful, doing my laundry for a dollar a load, and when my Social Security Disability came through, I got a kitten, who I named "Baby," who is still with me today. She's been there for me when everyone else bolted.

Before I lived here, I was sleeping under a bridge in outer East Portland during the coldest winter anybody alive can remember for the NorthWest. I did this because I was too disoriented to go through the process of finding a place -- even though I had almost a grand -- cash -- in my pocket. I went to an agency and asked them to help me. The worker said they had no more funds to get me a place, so I whipped out that wad of cash and explained that all I wanted was her to find me a place.

The only imposition I experienced was in the form of the mandatory Twelve Step participation, which was rewarded by all the agencies. I can just imagine where I'd be had I not cooperated with the Program. Those who participate can expect many, many perks when trying to rebuild their lives -- to the point where even a never-addicted person could gain from feigning a drug problem.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Ann Murray"
Subject: Re: He has a way of popping up in the oddest places...
Date: Wednesday, August 09, 2000 6:05 PM

With "Faith-Based Partnerships" being the sacred-cow plan for both Presidential tickets, this is one of the more appropriate letters we've received all month. In fact, I'm going to drop everything and post it with these follow-ups, and then send a link to Conrad Goeringer of American Atheists.

The point is this: If we cannot prevent this from happening in secular providers, how do they expect to prevent it when the evangelists are administering our welfare resources?

But, by the time I made it onto welfare (and eventually disability), I had freed myself of superstition altogether, stood up for my atheism by refusing a court order to attend Twelve Step meetings (which resulted in my serving 24 days in jail). With this, with my rediscovered atheism ("the faith of my fathers," as Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. describes it), I was ready to live life to the fullest. Though my depressive disorder produces suicidal ideations almost daily, my experience with Albert Ellis's Rational Emotive Therapy and Jack Trimpey's Addictive Voice Recognition Technique has enabled me to "place" the ideation as a hallucination at best and as a primordial "It" part of the brain at worst. I experience them, but they are not real.

So, I had only hope during these times. I did quite well. That $250 combined with my new outlook made the difference between me being able to survive and me going ahead and committing slow suicide.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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