The Abimelech Society
from The Canadian Atheist (a quarterly newsletter)

The Abimelechs are an association of Atheist commercial, business, and professional men and women who have as one of their objects: The removal from circulation of the so-called Word of God or Holy Bible, from hotels, motels, hospitals, school classrooms, university dormitories, penal institutions, and many other places, and by the confiscation of New Testaments from school children, service personnel, and nurses.

The Association was founded in Canada 29 years ago by a couple of Freethinkers who, in a hotel room, found the only reading material to be a Gideon Bible, and were angered by this overt propaganda by the Christians and decided to do something about it. There are now adherents in many countries around the world, and thousands of Bibles and New Testaments have been withdrawn from circulation, confiscated, destroyed, or put to some useful purpose.

The Abimelechs named themselves after the bastard son of Gideon and his followers who, in the story related in ninth Chapter of the Book of Judges, were inspired to usurp the work of the Judge Gideon and his associates, who had wrought havoc upon the many peoples whose religious beliefs differed from their own conviction that Yahweh was the Only True God.

The above 'mission statement' of the Abimelech Society describes the purpose and the work. It is not a formal organization: there are no dues or elected officers, no annual meetings, and anyone who supports the aims of the society as described in the mission statement is welcome to consider themselves a member. We do encourage discussions among members of topics relevant to the Society such as: what to do with specimens once confiscated. The Society maintains a Book Depository in Winnipeg, Manitoba for temporary storage of specimens.

Among the known final uses of specimens are: insulation material in home construction and rolling papers for smoking tobacco and other herbs. Because of their dense nature, specimens burn poorly in fireplaces, although they have been employed as fuel in restored steam locomotives by Atheist rail buffs. Bible paper usually is poorly absorbent and therefore is not recommended for hygienic purposes except in case of extreme need.

It is hoped that the direct actions of Atheists in endeavors such as those represented by the mission statement of the Abimelech Society will contribute to the diminishing influence of organized religion worldwide. From the psychological point of view, involvement in this type of direct action gives freethinkers a sense of participation in the ongoing struggle against ignorance and superstition, and reduces their sense of helplessness in a society of religious dupes.

The question has been asked at times, is this confiscation of Bibles and New Testaments possibly an illegal activity? Would we be liable to prosecution for theft? I rather think not, for many of the specimens indicate that the readers should take it along if they become engrossed in the text. So we don't think the removals are in themselves actionable, given that the original distributor, the Gideon Society, permits their removal.

"The Canadian Atheist" a quarterly newsletter, Autumn 1995 issue.

Graphic Rule

Proof that Bill Gates
is the anti-Christ
(source unknown)

 M S - D O S 6 . 2 1
 77+83+45+68+79+83+32+54+46+50+49 = 666
 W I N D O W S 9 5
 87+73+78+68+79+87+83+57+53+1 = 666
 S Y S T E M 7 . 0
 83+89+83+84+69+77+32+55+46+48 = 666

Coincidence? I think not!

The real name of the Bill Gates is William Henry Gates III. By converting the letters of his current name to the ASCII-values and adding his (III), you get the following:

       B    66
       I    73
       L    76
       L    76
       G    71
       A    65
       T    84
       E    69
       S    83
    + III    3
    -- -- -- -- 
           666 !!

Some might ask, "How did Bill Gates get so powerful?" Coincidence? Or just the beginning of mankind's ultimate and total enslavement??? You decide!

[Author unknown -- or too scared to admit to having written it!]

Graphic Rule

Virgin Appears on
Subway Urine Stain?
by AANEWS from American Atheists (June, 1997)

As we approach the end of the century and a new millennium, the file on "Jesus and Mary Sightings" is expanding faster than ever. Is this indicative of "millennium madness" as some suggest? Like UFOs, poltergeists and other problematic apparitions, these cameo appearances by the Mother or Son of God himself are often elusive, vague and even ridiculous. If the Virgin -- or some prophet -- really is carrying a message of cosmic importance from the One True Deity, why not show up on the steps of the Capitol, or suddenly appear on the Vatican balcony next to the pope, or on the "700 Club"?

That would certainly make more sense than some of the venues which have been selected, but that hasn't stopped the fervent belief process in these visitations and sightings.

Recall that last summer, hundreds of thousands of people flocked to see a shimmering image of what some insist was the Virgin in the reflection of the glass on a Florida office building. Skeptics pointed out that the Plate Glass Virgin was just an effect from residue left when the building's lawn sprinkler system activated -- plus a lot of wishful thinking. Half a continent away in California, thousands now flock to the Mohave Desert on the 13th of each month to listed to Maria Paula Acuna who leads enthusiastic followers in prayer, waiting for Mary to stop by. Religious-themed jewelry is reportedly a hot item for vendors, and there's even an Automatic Miracle Fold umbrella to protect the brains of the faithful from baking in the unforgiving desert sun.

In April, Mary was said to have appeared on the back of a traffic sign on the Yakima Valley Highway.

The latest sighting of this cosmic rambler happens to be the Hidalgo subway station in Mexico City, where the religious have lined up to see an apparition of the Virgin on a water-stained tile. The crowds have been of such size that police have assigned 25 guards to handle the traffic and lines at the metro station. As with other apparition venues, people are leaving candles, roses, coins or other mementos. Many kneel in prayer near the sacred stain, others weep and gape in astonishment. One believer told the Los Angeles Times, "It's the virgin. Who else would it be? It's a miracle."

Many apparently believe that the Mary appearing in the stain on the station floor is specifically the Virgin of Guadalupe, a powerful cultural and political symbol in Mexican history. Last summer, controversy erupted when it was learned that Mexican Abbot Guillermo Schulenburg had given an interview to a Catholic publication in which he said that the existence of the Virgin was "symbolic" rather than literal. According to church mythology, Mary appeared to a native peasant named Juan Diego in 1531; Diego has since been given a special status within the church pantheon as "blessed," and Catholic groups in Mexico have been promoting his ordination to sainthood.

But many historians and anthropologists suggest that the Virgin of Guadalupe is, at best, a blending of Catholic and native symbols which proved useful in the religious conquest of Mexico by the Spanish. Early accounts of the legend say that the Virgin was dark skin when she appeared to Juan Diego, coincidentally at a site which was formerly occupied by an Aztec temple. Indeed, even the title of "Virgin of Guadalupe" is a corruption of the Nahuatl (Aztec) term Coatlallope meaning "the one who crushed the serpent."

Church authorities display a cloak they say belonged to Juan Diego and has a miraculous image of the Virgin on it. The lavish portrait of "La Virgen" is now a popular symbol throughout the region, appearing on everything from prayer cards carried in wallets to pop-art, decorations, calendars, menus and even automobile emblems. But ecclesiastical authorities are cagey about pronouncing the "Virgin of the Metro" to be an authentic miracle. Despite the enthusiasm of many credulous faithful, the archdiocese of Mexico City last week issued a statement proclaiming, "There are no theological elements that permit us to confirm that there is a divine presence in these lines that were formed by a water leak." A spokesman for the church, however, hedged his bet, saying, "We haven't totally negated that it is a miracle."

Still, there remains an uncritical form of "religious populism," with rank-and-file believers swept away by their faith. One man after touching the stain told reporters, "As a believer, I think this is something divine ... The church can think what it wants, and we, the believers, are free to think what we want."

Graphic Rule

George Carlin
by Robert Anton Wilson

Absolutely the funniest man alive on planet Earth. If you have any doubts about that, try his videos Playing With Your Head, Doing It Again, What Am I Doing in New Jersey? etc., all available at any high class video store catering to that special, select audience that the FBI keeps under 24-hour-a-day surveillance.

Carlin's contribution to Trajectories magazine recounts his experience with the FCC over his classic comic routine, "The Seven Dirty Words You Can't Say on Television."

Graphic Rule

Prayers Unanswered?

September 6, 1995

Dallas, Texas (AP) -- Thirty Texas churches are backing evangelist Robert Tilton in a fraud lawsuit filed by four people who say they gave him money but their prayers went unanswered.

"If someone slips on a church parking lot and there is a claim, that is a proper lawsuit," said the churches' lawyer, J. Shelby Sharpe. "But when it comes to prayer requests and how they are handled ... the secular courts have never had the power to review that."

In Monday's brief, the mostly mainline Protestant congregations support Tilton's claim that a church cannot be sued without violating guarantees of freedom of religion, his lawyer, Rhonda Byrd, said Wednesday.

The state Supreme Court refused to dismiss the 1993 suit last month, ruling that the Texas and U.S. Constitutions "do not necessarily bar all claims which may touch on religious conduct."

A 1991 ABC "PrimeTime Live" report highlighted Tilton's luxurious lifestyle and questioned whether individual prayer requests were addressed as promised. His libel suit was dismissed.

Tilton took his "Success-N-Life" TV show and live Sunday broadcasts off the air in 1993. His Word of Faith World Outreach Center Church in suburban Dallas, which once boasted more than 10,000 members, now has fewer than 1,000.

Graphic Rule

Spooky Presidential Coincidentia
by John Leavy

This offering is an idea that springs from a bull session among us computer programmers at the University of Texas Data Processing Department. Ann Landers had just reprinted, for the zillionth time, a list of chilling parallels between the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. We wondered aloud why no one talks about similarities between William McKinley and James Garfield.

Well, the joke took on a life of its own. Before long, we thought of common themes in the lives of Zachary Taylor and William Henry Harrison. In fact, Thomas Jefferson and Richard Nixon seemed to have as much in common as Lincoln with Kennedy.

Coincidence? You Decide.

You get the idea. Finding spooky parallels is easy. I figure that with minimal effort, anyone should be able to think of five or six eerie similarities between any two presidents.

Graphic Rule

Classic Bunk

Supernatural Elements
in the Menendez Case
by Dan Whitcomb

Los Angeles -- The Menendez brothers were driven to kill their wealthy father and mother not out of greed, as prosecutors allege, but because they feared their parents' "supernatural powers," an attorney for Lyle Menendez said at their retrial Thursday. Completing opening statements, Charles Gessler said Erik and Lyle Menendez had begun to believe their parents had such powers and were planning to kill their children.

Gessler said the brothers became terrified the week before the killings because their parents seemed to "know everything" about their sons' activities. "Mr and Mrs Menendez were pretending to have supernatural powers," he said. "Really, they learned through bugging the phones and other means. They even talked seriously about whether or not their mother was a witch," said Gessler, who told the court the brothers later found out that a tape recorder had been placed on Erik's telephone.

Graphic Rule

Books Denouncing
Other Religions Remain

Mayor Pulls Anti-Catholic
Books From His Store
by Cliff Walker

April 23, 1998

Lynchburg, Virginia -- Books critical of Catholicism are no longer on the shelves at a Christian bookstore owned by mayor James S. Whitaker.

After receiving complaints from members of the Holy Cross Catholic Church, some of his constituents, pulled the books. Still remaining, though, are books against Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Unitarian Universalists, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism. They live on a shelf marked "prophesy and cults."

Many of the books, soft-covered pamphlets, deal with how Christians should relate to other faiths. Calling them "cults" is one way to do it, but this method poses special problems if you are the mayor of the city. Such books usually amount to scathing denunciations of the other religions, with a call to convert members to fundamentalist or evangelical Christianity.

Jeff Spence, from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, criticized the tone of the books in Whitaker's store: "The problem for me ... is when they are not religiously sensitive." He added, "We're a multi-religious society. The goal should be to have an honest and open dialogue."

Graphic Rule