Date: Mon, 2 Sep 1996 12:38:52 -0700
Subject: [Atheist] AANEWS for September 2, 1996
MORMON PRESIDENT CALLS FOR NEW BATTLE AGAINST ATHEISM
Speaking to a meeting of the American Legion yesterday, the President of the Mormon Church (Church of Latter-day Saints) called for a "battle" against Atheism, and conjured "an unequivocal trust in the power of the Almighty to guide and defend us." According to a report in today's Salt Lake Tribune, Gordon B. Hinkley praised veterans of various U.S. wars, "but warned that their sacrifces may be in vain unless the nation turns itself again to God."
The event was the 78th national convention of the American Legion being held in Salt Lake City. Hinkley praised those "who have been defenders of our liberty at great cost," but warned that "those battles are over and another battle goes on."
"The new battle is one against atheism," noted the Tribune. President Hinkley remarked: "As you once knew so well, there are no atheists in foxholes. In times of extremity, we plead for and put our trust in a power mightier than ourselves."
Hinkley's address took place to an overflow audience of American Legion members gathered at the Mormon Tabernacle; today, the LDS head receives the Legion's "Good Guy Award", which according to a spokesman "is presented to someone for their lifelong contributions to society, to the betterment of America."
According to the Desert News, the Sunday event was "a program laced with patriotic and religious hymns performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir," and began with a parade of flags into the famous religious venue. Hinkley's talk included a number of areas of concern for Atheists and state-church separation defenders; he noted, for instance, that the Boy Scouts had been taken to court to defend their oath which states "On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty to God, and my country." Civil libertarians have challenged the discriminatory practice of the Scouts, and other groups, due to the requirement of acknowledging a deity. Hinkley added that the omission of god from areas of life "is one of the reasons for the great host of social problems with which we deal these days," and cited a litany of complains including broken homes, teen pregnancy and disrespect for property.
"Our people are forsaking the Almighty, and I fear he may forsake us."