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October 1999, Vol. 4, No. 10
The monthly newsletter of the Internet Infidels

In this issue:


 the wire

Eric Roode wires you into news affecting freethinkers everywhere. Get wired.


What's new on the secular web?

Beginning last month, James Still has assumed the position of Interim Executive Director of the Internet Infidels until a permanent director can be found. "It is a great honor to have such responsibility entrusted in me," Still said, "although I have resisted the temptation to compare myself to John the Baptist who also filled in for a time until someone mightier than he came along. Let's hope I don't lose my head before it's all over," Still continued tongue-in-cheek. On a serious note, Still promised to keep the Secular Web running smoothly and to focus on organizing and systematizing the submission, editing, and publication process. He also said that his goal was to boost the quality of the content published on the Secular Web and to ensure that the world's best secular web site becomes even better in the next millennium. "If you are a writer," Still said, "then I want to speak with you about publishing your articles, papers, and opinion pieces on the Secular Web." Still said that although he can't pay the industry standard five-cents a word he can promise an even greater reward: over 140,000 readers a month--a figure which continues to grow daily--and the satisfaction that comes with presenting one's ideas before a sophisticated and educated readership. Writers and scholars are encouraged to consult the submission guidelines at and to send their work to James Still at Internet Infidels.

The Infidels have teamed up with political commentator and television personality T. J. Walker to produce the Secular Web Radio Show. Each week T. J. will interview scholars, activists, and freethinkers to discuss substantive issues relevant to nonbelievers. In an increasingly commercialized Internet of infotainment, our goal is to bring you the sort of challenging content that will help you to understand issues in greater depth. Two shows have been produced already and many more are planned for the coming months. Check in regular with the home page for announcements of new programs.

Wedding bells ringing? Infidel Bill Schultz has put together a guide for  Secular Wedding Ceremonies, based on his personal experience that will help guide you through the deeply meaningful ritual of marriage. While others get off to a god start, you and your sweetheart can get off to a good start.

Eric Roode has put together an excellent voter's guide for the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election. If you are a U.S. citizen, 18 years or older, then now is the time to register to vote.  Register first, then check out our voter's guide.

Campaign 2000

Upcoming events

  • Symposium: Toward Rational Living, November 6, with keynote speaker physics professor Victor Stenger, University of Hawaii, Portland, Oregon, USA. For more information e-mail Wayne Orgar <WarGar > or telephone Klaus Mahr at +1 (503) 645-8599.


Book of the month

ImageSuffering Belief: Evil and the Anglo-American Defense of Theism

By Andrea M. Weisberger

One of the most intractable problems for the contemporary Anglo-American theist is reconciling the enormous amount of apparent gratuitous suffering in the world with the existence of an all-perfect deity. Suffering Belief reviews the leading attempts at justifying the existence of evil and salvaging a rational basis of belief in the traditional Western God. Through a systematic evaluation of the kinds of evil that most strongly call belief into question, such as genocide, natural catastrophes, animal suffering, and disease, it is shown that there is scant basis for continued belief in an all-perfect God and compelling reason for abandoning such a damaging construct.


Web Scan


Helping you to sip from the information firehose

Each month mathew dredges the bottom of the net to bring to you strange religious claims, flim-flam schemes, pop-culture memes gone awry, and the downright superstitious. Can your browser handle the upgrade to web.scan?


The Christian Coalition: Political Powerhouse Or Paper Tiger?

An Americans United Special Report

When Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition holds its "Road To Victory" Conference in Washington, D.C., this week it will find a bevy of Republican presidential candidates eager to address the crowd. Confirmed speakers include Texas governor and GOP front-runner George W. Bush, as well as former Reagan administration official Elizabeth Dole, millionaire publisher Steve Forbes, Sen. Orrin Hatch, pundit Pat Buchanan, conservative commentator Alan Keyes and Religious Right activist Gary Bauer.

The Coalition seems to revel in its reputation as a GOP political powerhouse. But is that reputation well founded? Recent developments suggest that a strong case can be made that behind the public relations claims and self-congratulatory rhetoric of the group's leaders lies an organization in, at the very least, transition, and at the very worst, serious trouble.

The Christian Coalition remains the largest and most powerful Religious Right group in the nation. However, the organization has been hampered recently by internal divisions, loss of staff, declining revenues and revelations that it has inflated its claims about its membership and activities. In addition, the organization is still reeling from the Internal Revenue Service's decision earlier this year to deny the Coalition a much-sought tax-exempt status.

The only "victory" the organization can claim this year is a federal judge's ruling dismissing the bulk of the FEC's lawsuit against the group. The FEC had charged the organization with improper partisan politicking, but the judge dismissed most of the charges. This ruling came as no surprise to most observers, given the weak state of federal election law.

Despite that minor victory, the Christian Coalition remains in a state of rebuilding. While it is much too early to say the organization's power has peaked, the Coalition is struggling to regain lost credibility and influence. The outcome of these efforts will determine what role the organization will play in federal and state elections in the year 2000 and beyond. This background paper examines some of the recent developments that have affected the Christian Coalition and assesses the organization's power as we approach the year 2000.

The IRS Ruling

Undoubtedly the most important development for the Christian Coalition this year was the decision by the Internal Revenue Service to deny the group's application for tax-exempt status. It is unclear exactly when the IRS took this step. On June 10, the St. Petersburg Times reported that the IRS had denied the Christian Coalition permanent tax-exempt status. Apparently, the organization's leaders had been notified some time before that this action would occur. The news was a political bombshell that dominated the headlines for several days afterwards; it was also a significant blow for the Coalition.

In the wake of the IRS's action, Coalition officials struggled to put a good face on the development and acted as if the denial was not a big deal. Indeed, the Coalition quickly issued a press release claiming that it had voluntarily withdrawn its application for 501 (c)(4) tax-exempt status. But the fact remains that the Coalition desperately wanted to remain tax exempt and had tried repeatedly to negotiate with the IRS to find a way to keep the provisional tax exemption it operated under for 10 years. Only when the negotiations failed, and it became clear that the IRS was going to deny the group final tax exemption, did Coalition leaders withdraw their request.

Why was tax exemption so important to the Coalition? In a nutshell, the group spends most of its time these days working to find ways to distribute millions of "voter guides" in conservative churches. These guides, while couched as "non-partisan," are in fact heavily stacked to favor the Coalition's favored candidates in given races (almost always ultra-conservative Republicans). Most church leaders are well aware that houses of worship, as tax-exempt entities, cannot legally distribute partisan material. In the past, the Coalition tried to allay these concerns by claiming that its guides were permissible for in-church distribution, since they were prepared by a tax-exempt organization. The IRS action thus dealt a severe blow to the group's credibility. In short, loss of tax exemption quickly exposed the Coalition's claims to be "non-partisan" as specious.

The Coalition Reborn

Despite the IRS ruling, the Christian Coalition has refused to give up its quest for tax exemption. In the wake of the IRS action, the Coalition split into two separate entities. The first, Christian Coalition International, is a for-profit organization that will supposedly be organized and run like a business corporation. The second, Christian Coalition of America, will be tax-exempt, using the already secured tax exemption-under IRS section 501(c )(4)--of the Coalition's Texas affiliate.

Robertson and other Coalition leaders have stated that they plan to continue many of the same activities, including distribution of voter guides, under the banner of the tax-exempt Christian Coalition of America. However, it remains to be seen if this audacious gambit will be successful. The reasons for the IRS's denial of tax exemption to the Christian Coalition have not been made public; however, it seems reasonable to assume that too much emphasis on partisan politics was a determining factor. If that is the case, it seems unlikely that the Coalition could simply operate in the same manner under an already constituted tax-exempt affiliate without also jeopardizing that group's tax-exempt status as well. (Americans United and other watchdog groups are monitoring the activities of the Christian Coalition of America very closely and will report any instances of partisan politicking to the IRS.)

The FEC Case And What It Means

Less than two months after the IRS denied the Christian Coalition tax-exempt status, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., dismissed the bulk of a lawsuit against the Coalition that had been filed by the Federal Election Commission. The FEC had accused the Coalition of improperly working in coordination with several Republican campaigns since 1990. U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Green noted the clear ties between the group and the campaigns, but ruled that the organization's activities did not go so far as to violate federal election law.

Coalition leaders immediately proclaimed vindication and said the ruling had cleared its voter guides for distribution in churches. While it may serve the Coalition's interests to create confusion in the public mind, the facts simply do not warrant the group's conclusion. In her ruling, Judge Green noted that many of the Coalition voter guides favored certain candidates over others, which would make them partisan literature advocating for the election of candidates-in other words, verboten material for churches and other non-profit entities. Judge Green read federal election law, which is already weak, exceedingly narrowly, and this enabled the Coalition to slip through some legal loopholes. Nevertheless, the judge's ruling is replete with examples of how the Christian Coalition worked to help GOP candidates. Judge Green simply said those actions did not run afoul of the current federal election laws, which she acknowledged are largely toothless. Federal tax law, unlike federal election law, is very strict. Federal tax law prohibits all tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organizations, which includes houses of worship, from engaging in partisan politics. Thus, the distribution of voter guides that a federal judge concedes are biased toward certain candidates would seem to raise serious tax issues for churches. (It should also be noted that the case was not a total loss for the FEC. Judge Green did find that the Coalition had acted illegally in two instances and agreed that the organization should pay a "civil penalty" in these cases.)

As far as the Christian Coalition's legal liability is concerned, the issue appears to be settled, as the FEC has said it will not appeal the case. But the issue is not so cut and dried for houses of worship. The bottom line for churches remains the same: Houses of worship may not distribute partisan campaign material or material that advocates for the election or defeat of specific candidates. Churches that do so are putting their own tax-exempt status at risk. In that respect, the FEC's unsuccessful lawsuit against the Christian Coalition is a mere footnote to what the IRS did two months previously. The issue for the 1999 and 2000 election seasons will be determined by how bold the "new" Christian Coalition chooses to be. If the group continues to distribute large quantities of voter guides through churches, work in close conjunction with Republican campaigns and engage in other highly partisan activities, in other words, conducts "business as usual," it will do little more than invite further IRS scrutiny of its activities.

Coalition Internal Divisions and Financial Difficulties

The Christian Coalition's tax problems could evaporate tomorrow, and the organization would still be facing some significant problems. The Coalition has a reputation as a powerful force in Republican politics. Recently, however, evidence has come to light indicating that the group may not be as large, wealthy or as widespread as many have assumed. When the St. Petersburg Times broke the story about the IRS's decision to deny tax exemption to the Coalition, it also reported that the group's number of active state affiliates had dwindled from 25 to about six. The organization's income was down, too-from $26 million in 1996 to $17 million in 1997. Newsweek reported that Robertson had to shore up the group with $1 million from his personal fortune in 1998 because revenues had fallen short. One ex-Coalition official told Religion New Service in June that the Coalition currently has a deficit of $2.5 million.

Coalition membership is nowhere near what the group claims. The Coalition claims to have nearly two million members and supporters. This figure was routinely reported in the media. Yet, simple arithmetic shows it cannot be true. Coalition membership dues are $25 annually. If the organization had 1.9 million dues-paying members, its annual budget would be $47.5 million. The organization has never had a budget anywhere close to this. In fact, USA Today reported that, according to an internal fund-raising document, the Coalition mailed only 428,000 membership cards in 1998. This figure jibes with Coalition membership figures put forth by Americans United for Separation of Church and State. AU analyzed Coalition postal statements in the mid 1990s, when the group mailed a bimonthly membership magazine to supporters. Based on those figures, Americans United estimated Coalition membership at between 400,000 and 450,000. (The New York Times reported in August that the Coalition's membership rolls were swelled with "thousands of names of dead people and wrong addresses" as well as "many one-time contributors and people who once signed a petition or called an 800 number.") Reports have also surfaced that the Coalition wildly inflated the figures for the number of voter guides it has distributed. Coalition officials routinely claim that the group distributes 40 or 50 million voter guides in an election year. (Some group leaders have claimed that the Coalition will distribute as many as 70 million in 2000.) But Dave Welch, the group's former field director, told The New York Times in August that those figures are not reliable.

"We never distributed 40 million guides," Welch said. "State affiliates took stacks of them to recycling centers after the election. A lot of churches just put a pile of them on the back table. I never considered effective distribution anything short of inserting them into church bulletins, but in very few churches did that actually happen."

The Coalition worked hard to keep up appearances, however. On a few occasions, it hired temporary workers to staff its national office in Chesapeake, Va., during media interviews, creating the appearance of a busy work environment. On other occasions, staff members were told to leapfrog from office to office, making empty rooms look like centers of activity.

Personnel Problems

The Coalition has also been roiled by internal divisions and staff turnover. When Ralph Reed departed the group as executive director in 1997, he was replaced by two men-former Reagan administration official Don Hodel and Randy Tate, a former one-term congressman from Washington state. Hodel lasted less than a year, reportedly forced out after a dispute with Robertson. Tate has been demoted from executive director to head of the Coalition's Washington lobbying office, leaving Robertson to oversee the group's day-to-day operations in Virginia.

Several members of the Coalition's executive staff have left the organization. These include National Operations Director Chuck Cunningham, National Field Director Dave Welch and Communications Director Arne Owens. Robertson subsequently hired Roberta Combs, a member of the Coalition board of directors and former head of its South Carolina affiliate, as executive vice president for field operations. The Hill, a weekly newspaper published on Capitol Hill, reported in June that Combs quickly created an atmosphere of distrust and even paranoia in the Chesapeake offices. Dissenters on the staff nicknamed Combs "Hurricane Roberta" and told stories of finding that their desks had been rifled through or of catching staff members eavesdropping on one another.

Coalition state activists complained as well. Following a February conference of Coalition state leaders, one activist charged the group with "Gestapo tactics. It was the topic of conversation throughout the conference and among state leaders. The state leaders never felt so intimidated and violated.

Robertson Says, 'I'm Back in Charge.'

Robertson insists that the Coalition will overcome its problems. Earlier this year he announced the creation of a project called "21 Victory," which plans to raise $21 million for "voter education and registration" leading up to the 2000 elections. Robertson also promised to hire new state directors in key states, including Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Michigan and Indiana.

Robertson also seems determined to take a more hands-on approach to the Coalition. Following the FEC ruling, he told The New York Times, "I'm back in charge. We have a new sheriff in Dodge, and it's a brand-new game. The Coalition, based on this ruling, becomes extremely significant in the year 2000 race."

But Robertson's critics say that having him run the Coalition on a day-to-day basis is, at best, a mixed blessing for the group. Robertson is prone to shoot from the hip verbally, and his reckless comments have gotten him into trouble or proved embarrassing on several occasions.

Reckless comments from Robertson, in fact, led to Hodel's departure. Hodel objected when, during the height of the Senate impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton, Robertson told his national audience on the "700 Club" that the matter should be dropped because the Senate did not have the votes for conviction. This was sharp reversal from Robertson's previous comments, in which he demanded that Clinton be removed from office, and led to a spate of stories in the media. According to The Washington Times, Hodel felt that Robertson's comments were counterproductive and sent him a memo, proposing that Robertson step down as Coalition chairman of the board and assume a less active, "emeritus" position. Robertson responded by writing Hodel back to accept a resignation Hodel had not offered.

Last May, Robertson sank a multi-million dollar business deal with the Bank of Scotland when, in a pique, he insulted the entire nation by airing a story on the "700 Club" calling Scotland a "dark land" under the sway of homosexual groups. Three months later, Robertson appeared on the "700 Club" and said he believes U.S. foreign policy should be changed to allow for assassination of world leaders. Acknowledging that the policy may sound "somewhat Machiavellian and evil," Robertson insisted that government-sponsored assassination could sometimes be the country's best interests.

An organization can be only as stable as its leaders. If Robertson is any model, one is forced to conclude that there will many rocky days ahead for the Christian Coalition.

Robertson as GOP Team Player

Despite his loose cannon style, Robertson is unlikely to ever be disowned by the Republican Party. GOP officials consider Robertson to be the leader of a bloc of voters large enough to influence the outcome in close national races, including the presidential race. Therefore, they are careful not to antagonize him too much.

Robertson enjoys easy access to top GOP elected leaders in Congress. In June Robertson traveled to Washington, where he met with the Republican Senate leadership and discussed ways to "re-energize" grassroots support in favor of party candidates. (The Coalition issued a press release boasting about the meeting.)

In return for this insider status, Robertson performs an important function for Republican presidential candidates: He gives them a pass when they are accused of being insufficiently conservative on social issues. Recently, he vouched for the anti-abortion credentials of GOP front-runner and Texas Gov. George W. Bush when Bush came under fire from some ultra-conservatives for allegedly being soft on the issue.

Robertson is a GOP team player. He has stated repeatedly that any of the GOP candidates would be preferable to Democratic front-runner Al Gore, whom he once dismissed as "Ozone Al." Robertson's bottom line is the Supreme Court. He has stated several times that the next president may name as many as three new high court justices. Robertson wants to make certain that a Republican names those justices, in the hopes that the court will reverse decisions Robertson and his Coalition do not like, such as the 1973 ruling legalizing abortion and various church-state decisions.

Robertson is also working hard to keep the conservative evangelical vote in the Republican Party column. On Sept. 13 he appeared on CNN's "Larry King Live" and criticized Pat Buchanan for threatening to leave the GOP and seek the presidency as the Reform Party candidate. Robertson said Buchanan's candidacy would help elect a Democrat.

"I admire Pat," Robertson told King. "We've been friends for a long time, but I think this would be a very bad decision because it will put him in the role of the spoiler. That's what [Ross] Perot did. If you go back, Perot got 19 percent of the vote in '92 and he drew about 8 percent in '96 in that Reform Party, and all they did was just throw the election to the Democrats. So he [Buchanan] is not going to win it. He hasn't got a chance as a Reform Party candidate."

To better understand Robertson's value to the GOP, contrast his behavior to that of Religious Right leaders like James Dobson and Gary Bauer, both of whom have in past threatened to leave the Republican Party (or go fishing on Election Day) if it does not give enough emphasis to contentious social issues. Dobson has fired several broadsides at the Republicans in the past year, and attempts by the party leadership to mollify him have been only partially successful. Robertson, while he occasionally criticizes party leaders over certain decisions or actions, has never threatened to leave the GOP and remains a dependable team player.

Conclusion: Whither the Christian Coalition?

The Christian Coalition is now 10 years old. It is to be expected that any organization that has survived a decade will show signs of fatigue and erosion. This does not mean that the organization is on the ropes, however. It should be noted that the Coalition has already outlived earlier Religious Right groups, such as the Rev. Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority, and that the group has eclipsed older Religious Right organizations, that, although they have been around longer than the Coalition, have failed to win a nationwide reputation or have gone into decline.

Robertson is a millionaire many times over. He can, if he chooses, use his personal fortune to prop up the Coalition and help it survive temporary economic downturns. And, even if the Coalition does not have two million members, it retains an ability to attract attention from powerful political figures in the House of Representatives and Senate. The group also has powerful appeal to Republicans seeking the presidency, as evidenced by the long line of party hopefuls who plan to trek to the "Road to Victory" conference this year, including front-runner George W. Bush. Despite its problems, the Coalition is still seen as representing an important constituency that few top Republicans believe they can ignore. Is the Coalition-and by extension, the Religious Right-finished? It's too early to write that obituary. Too much information remains unknown. The year 2000 elections may help fill in the gaps. Until then, Americans should stay tuned.

[Americans United for Separation of Church and State prepared this report and keep a close watch on the activities of the religious right, notably Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition.]


Science and Pseudoscience

By Dr. Praveen Gopinath

The very apparent progress of our civilization from ancient times has been brought about by science. Science is a systematic study of anything that concerns us. It used to be that scientists were stoned to death or prosecuted for misleading people against or society, but despite these setbacks science has flourished. Of course, the people who were really misleading and cheating the gullible people in those days still exist. They either continue to oppose science or have embraced science only to misinterpret it in order to substantiate their own pet theories. This practice is called borderline science or pseudo science. 

The first group of people--the borderline science advocates--argue that science is full of contradictory theories, that scientific theories have been proved wrong many times, and that modern science had already been discovered by ancient people as described in religious and other books (the "The Tao of Physics" or "the Chariots of Gods" for instance). To make things clear, science considers itself 100 present correct. Each theory discovered is a step further towards the ultimate truth. Many modern inventions have been thought of, or fancied about, in the past, like the atomic theory or the idea of flying. Science has confirmed these speculations or made these fantasies come true, but it has also disproved many others like the five element theory or the notion of the philosopher's stone. It is childish to argue that because it has been written that Ganapati was fitted with an elephant's head, the ancients could perform microsurgery. As the German born, Oxford educated, Sanskrit scholar Max Muller says, the historical importance of vedas can hardly be exaggerated, but discover in it the modern science and philosophy and you deprive it of its true character. 

The second group of people--the pseudo scientific--take advantage of the incomprehensibleness of modern science to mislead people. Gone are the days when new developments in science were keenly studied by the public. Science has become increasingly complicated and has been distanced from the common man. For example very few people know that modern physics deals with ten dimensions, or are aware of the unmanned spaceships that landed on mars, or of the recent and sensational discovery of top quark. This situation is exploited by some. Today claims are made of scientific proof of astrology, bioienergy, pyramidology and other pseudoscientific fads. But these "scientific" claims do not contain anything scientific even as they use exotic scientific terms to appear legitimate. All of the real scientific research conducted in these fields have yielded negative results. For example, Godfrey Dean in 1986 found that the individual horoscopes were altered to make them as opposite in meaning to the authentic ones as possible, thus reversed interpretations were accepted as readily as authentic ones by the people. 

Why is it that in spite of living in a modern world people go after such irrationality? One reason is that they promise short cuts in life. They foretell the problems of the future and provide the means to overcome them. They may also promise good health without having to do regular exercises of cutting down on meat. They even promise to keep milk from getting spoilt without the help of refrigerators. People often confuse science and technology. They are tired of a mechanized life style and turn away from science. But science is just the pursuit of truth. Many scientists live simple lives and some even have an aversion for mechanized gadgets. For instance, all of the pioneers of quantum mechanics could play some musical instrument to include Einstein who derived solace from his violin. Science is just as, if not more, capable of turning us toward philosophical reflection as anything in the pseudosciences. People also follow these other "sciences" because they were followed by their revered forefathers. But it's interesting to note that the same ancestors who dabbled in astrology also observed Sati, Caste system, slavery, and polygamy. 

Why should we keep away from pseudoscientific explanations? First of all because they are all false. They are also dangerous, such as when people consult astrologers before taking important decisions in life. To rely upon them is to lose your free will and courage. Swami Vivekananda has said, "Astrology and all these mystical things are generally signs of weak mind. Therefore as soon as they gain prominence in our minds, we should see a physician, take good food and rest". Also, government funding for scientific projects depends upon the public's interest in them. Politicians won't cooperate with scientists if increased spending on the military brings them more votes. (As is the case with the money-starved NASA space program.) If we're not careful our civilization may go back to the dark ages of irrationality when, for about 2000 years, science was hampered every step of the way. If not for its stagnation, science may have allowed us to have built colonies in nearby planets by now or perhaps we would be communicating with life in some other star system. Isaac Asimov wrote, "when Greek secular and rational thought bowed to Christianity what followed was a dark age." We can't afford another. 

[Dr. Praveen Gopinath is a physician at Mukunda Hospital, Payyanur, India and an active thinker who writes about issues of importance in secular humanism.]


Goodbye ii: Last Issue of Newsletter

By James Still

What? No more newsletter! Yes it's true, but don't swamp me with mail just yet, let me explain. Over the last two years or so I've worked hard to revive the newsletter, to make it interesting, relevant, and just plain fun. With your encouragement and loyalty it has worked and ii enjoys over 7,000 readers a month. But with growth comes change. The newsletter has a popular monthly feature but so does the front page, causing some confusion. Further, I have taken over as editor-in-chief of the entire web site rather than just the newsletter, which is a greater demand on my time. Beginning next month, I plan to streamline our content and to publish features, opinions, and announcements on the front page rather than to duplicate those efforts in the newsletter. Many readers prefer to bookmark the home page and to visit there regularly in order to see new content while others still don't know that the newsletter even exists. And since we're few and our readers are many we need to marshal our resources in the most effective way without sacrificing good content. Look for a whole new look on the front page to go along with these content changes. Providing the world doesn't end on January 1st or that God doesn't decide to release electronic viruses, plagues and pestilences, the Secular Web will have a new look for the millennium that will be better than ever. 


About the Internet Infidels Newsletter

Copyright ©1999 Internet Infidels, Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Internet Infidels' newsletter "ii" is a general information publication only. Internet Infidels, Inc. takes no position on the issues expressed herein and all opinions are the sole responsibility of their respective authors.