A Challenge

James Randi --- Wizard (randi-hotline@ssr.com)
Tue, 29 Aug 1995 11:36:38 -0400

Any zealots out there who will enforce the law?

It's about time that I made a move that I've been contemplating for
some time now. This posting is a gauntlet that I throw down, and I
encourage others who read this to do the same.

This is 1995, a fact that seems to have failed to register with at
least seven of the United States of America. These communities have
laws against "blasphemy," meaning that any person who "reviles God or
religion" is subject to fine and/or imprisonment. Mind you, these
states have made one great advance, in that they have no laws against
heresy. Small comfort for those who, like me, look upon gods, devils,
ghosts, angels, etc. as childish fictions. Oops!

By typing out the above, I have made myself culpable in: Colorado,
Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Rhode
Island. Since I visit those locations regularly, I will henceforth
post here a notice of each time I have plans to be in any of those
states, and I invite concerned authorities there to charge me with
this dreadful crime. And I agree in advance that I will admit my
transgression.

I'm in good company. Thomas Jefferson compared the Christian
mythology to the equally incredible story of Minerva springing from
the forehead of Jupiter. For that act, Mr. Jefferson could today be
imprisoned "in jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not
more than three hundred dollars, and may also be bound to good
behavior" in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The mind boggles.

To make sure that my blasphemy is thoroughly expressed, I hereby state
my opinion that the notion of a god is a basic superstition, that
there is no evidence for the existence of any god(s), that devils,
demons, angels and saints are myths, that there is no life after
death, heaven nor hell, that the Pope is a dangerous, bigoted,
medieval dinosaur, and that the Holy Ghost is a comic-book character
worthy of laughter and derision. I accuse the Christian god of murder
by allowing the Holocaust to take place -- not to mention the "ethnic
cleansing" presently being performed by Christians in our world -- and
I condemn and vilify this mythical deity for encouraging racial
prejudice and commanding the degradation of women. (This
comprehensive statement was arrived at by examining the statutes of
those seven states that have remained in the Dark Ages, so that I
might satisfy their definitions of blasphemy.)

My present travel plans call for me to be in Holland in October and
also in Japan. I don't know the situation in those countries, but
would ask for any update on the state of enlightenment in those areas.

Stay tuned!
J.R.
**************************************************
** PROVIDED FOR YOUR REFERENCE BY THE MODERATOR **
**************************************************

Requests to be added to or deleted from the randi-hotline mailing list,
must be sent to the service address:

Internet: randi-hotline-request@ssr.com

PLEASE BE PATIENT. All requests are processed before each new mailing
to the list and these can be widely spaced. You *will* be added if
your request was sent to the correct address.

Mail to James Randi can be sent to:

Internet: randi-hotline@ssr.com

The Amazing One reads all mail and will generally respond eventually.
This can change with growing volume, of course...

Thanks to Anson Kennedy, back issues of the randi-hotline are now
available on the World Wide Web:

http://www.mindspring.com/~anson/randi-hotline/

Back issues of the randi-hotline are also available via anonymous FTP
to:

USA:
ftp.netcom.com directory: /pub/an/anson/Mailing_Lists/geller-hotline
ftp.ssr.com: directory: /Randi

Please try netcom.com first, since ftp.ssr.com is very busy.

EUROPE:
mercurio.iet.unipi.it directory: /pub/Randi

Our gratitude goes to Anson Kennedy and Massimo Macucci for providing
the ftp sites at netcom and unipi.it, respectively.