Positive Atheism Forum
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The Jesse Ventura Flap
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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Positive Atheism List"
Subject: Jesse Ventura Meets Atheophobia
Date: Sunday, October 03, 1999 8:05 PM

Positive Atheism has teamed up with American Atheists in an effort to encourage each atheist to send Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura a letter of support for the atheophobic flack he has received for saying that organized religion is "a sham and a crutch" and that it encourages people to "stick their noses in other people's business."

The reaction to Ventura's interview is classic atheophobia, a term we have coined to describe the fear of atheists and the fear of criticism of religion.

Ventura is a refreshing change in American politics, considering that the pro-theocracy forces are meeting in Washington this week to woo the support of politicians including Presidential hopefuls George W. Bush, Elizabeth Dole, and Steve Forbes. Bush has called for state funding of religious "charity" projects, and both he and Forbes favor teaching creationism in the public schools.

Meanwhile, last summer, Ventura refused to abuse his office to endorse or acknowledge a "day of prayer." No less than President Thomas Jefferson committed this very same "crime" against the organized religion in 1808.

What we at Positive Atheism want from you are some suggestions for "Talking Points" so people can write to their local press on this issue: How can we point out what we see as dangerous and what we see as fraudulent without being seen as a "hate group" or as "bigots"? My hope is to encourage those who care about atheist dignity to write careful letters to the press. I do not think sending "canned" or preformatted letters to the press is effective; it must be you and it must be real. The commercial journals almost always rewrite your letter to make the grammar and phrasing more readable. I have always had good luck writing to the papers where I live.

We encourage you to check out the Jesse Ventura flap and to send an e-mail to Governor Ventura supporting him for taking a much-needed stand.

Ed Gauci, Conrad Goeringer, and myself spent much of last night and today working out a sample text that you may use, or you may want to write your own letter. You can also send a Fax or even a letter through the mail. The addresses and Fax numbers are listed on the American Atheists form.

Meanwhile, I wrote on the topic of atheist groups seen as hate groups in my December, 1996 column titled "How Do Others See Us?"

I also covered this topic extensively in my 1999 coverage of the World Church of the Creator in an article for American Atheists titled "Our Identity As Atheist Organizations":

While this latter article generated quite a response, the questions I had hoped to raise, namely, are we bigots for being atheists, was not addressed like I had hoped it would be.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Temy R. Beal"
Cc: "Conrad Goeringer"; "Ed Gauci"
Subject: Re: Jesse Ventura
Date: Sunday, October 03, 1999 9:37 PM

I'll ask Conrad and Ed where they got their information.

The Christians are famous for claiming people as their own: Thomas Paine and Charles Darwin are falsely said to have undergone deathbed conversions. Calvary Chapel Pastor Mike McIntosh claimed that he had led John Lennon to Christ days before he was gunned down by a fundamentalist nut.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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    Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.