• LIBERTARIAN CHURCHES
The United States, with its long tradition of the separation of Church and State, has endowed its religious institutions with privileges and freedoms beyond those accorded to private citizens (for instance, see PRAISE THE LORD FOR TAX EXEMPTION by Larson and Lowell, Robert B. Luce, Inc., New York, 1969). It is not surprising, then, that some libertarian strategists have turned their attention to the church as an instrument both for promulgating and protecting Objectivist and other libertarian societal and ethical ideals.
The oldest of the libertarian churches is the Rationalist Church of America, founded in 1969, with shires in Wisconsin, California and Texas. The RCA believes that "each individual is an end in himself and does not exist to serve a mythical concept of an 'other', whether that 'other' be God or the State. Further, religion, if it is to be relevant, must be concerned with life on earth and must provide a practical and worthwhile code of ethics by which its adherents can live," and specifically conceives of itself as "a bulwark against government oppression." The RCA recently revived its long-dormant NEWSLETTER which contains articles on ethics and personal relations as well as Church news. Further information on the RCA can be obtained from Elaine Bergstrom, 2984 S. Delaware, Milwaukee, WI 53207.
Similar to the RCA in terms of ideals is the Rational Libertarian Church. "It is our creed that God is manifested only in the form of Natural Law, within any man's power to perceive and understand by means of his free will and rational faculty. God is not to be understood by accepting blindly the unsupported pronouncements of priests, mystics or witch doctors. Scientists and philosophers can help us understand the Law which is God—only if they themselves are free of the insanity gripping the world today. Mentors of the Rational Libertarian Church do not exist to interpret reality for others, but to educate people to interpret reality for themselves." The RLC publishes TANSTAAFL! ($5/13 issues) in which L. Neil Smith is developing in some detail the concept of a church as a sanctuary for preserving civilized values and as a vehicle for social change (ala Robert Heinlein's novel THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW). Further information on TANSTAAFL! and the Rational Libertarian Church may be obtained from L. Neil Smith, P.O. Box 2032, Ft. Collins, CO 80521.
The RCA and especially the RLC are organized hierarchically. A more anarchistic organizational approach is taken by the Association of Churches of the Tolerants with the view "Every man his own priest, every woman her own priest," on the theory that each individual is best able to detail and minister to their own individual beliefs. Hence membership in the Tolerants is achieved by being ordained as a Tolerant minister. The Tolerants are particularly concerned with economic benefits resulting from church status—for further information contact S.O. Wott, P.O. Box 36099, Houston, TX 77036.
• TEXANS ACTIVE
The Harris County (Houston), Texas Libertarian Party chapter (P.O. Box 5202, Houston, TX 77012), under the leadership of Georgiann Trammell, has been particularly active in dealing with local issues. HCLPers were involved in the movement to defeat the proposed Houston Area Rapid Transit Authority, attending meetings of the local ad-hoc committee opposed to HARTA, distributing copies of Robert Tinney's critique of the proposal, appearing on radio shows, holding a fund-raising garage sale (it might not be glamorous, but it fills the coffers!), etc. The transit proposal was overwhelmingly rejected at the polls October 6.
Meanwhile the HCLP, in conjunction with the Houston Chapter of Individuals for a Rational Society (5905 Glenmont #64, Houston, TX 77036), turned out to protest the appearance at Rice University of Nancy Hanks, chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Copies of Mike Holmes' pamphlet "He Who Pays the Piper Names the Tune" ("The same government that brought you conspiracy trials, censorship of so-called pornographic films, and management of the media is now bringing its critical expertise to the realm of aesthetics") were distributed to all persons attending Hanks' lecture.
A Midwest Libertarian Conference is being planned by the LP of Illinois. The two-day convention is scheduled for December 15-16, with speakers hopefully including Murray Rothbard, Mayor Youngstein and Milton Friedman. For more information call Joe Cobb at 312-288-2270.
The LP of Kentucky is sponsoring The Free Woman's Seminar in Louisville on November 24. The program will last all day and feature LP Vice Presidential candidate Tonie Nathan, Sharon Presley of Laissez-Faire Books, and state LP Chairman Susan Brown. This is shaping up to be a major libertarian event and those interested should write to Ms. Brown at 1836 Algonquin Parkway #4, Louisville, KY 40210.
The East Coast Libertarian Conference will be held on November 17 in Philadelphia. Scheduled speakers include Dr. Murray Rothbard, Dr. D.T. Armentano and Karl Bray. For further information contact the sponsor, Society for Individual Liberty, 304 Empire Bldg., Philadelphia, PA 19107.
Donations from libertarians across the country have been sufficient to buy television time for Fran Youngstein's campaign for mayor of New York City. Her ad was shown to 1.5 million New Yorkers on October 18 with one or two more tentatively scheduled as we went to press. Fran's campaign continues to generate remarkable publicity and she is now considered by the media to be a more viable candidate than any of the other minor party hopefuls. In a recent press release, New York's Free Libertarian Party blasted Rockefeller's very tough new drug law because it "does not protect anyone's rights, but merely attempts to legislate morality, causes an increase in drug-related crime, and improperly treats addiction as a legal problem, rather than a medical one."
Speaking on the issue of pornography New Jersey LP gubernatorial candidate John Goodson remarked, "H.L. Mencken defined a guardian of the public morals as a person who wakes up at midnight with the cold fear that someone, somewhere is happy. It is not pornography that is the crime, it is censorship." The New Jersey LP has increased its membership by over 50% since the beginning of the campaign and expects to grow faster as the campaign nears its conclusion. Goodson's "political contract" in which he will be legally bound to his campaign promises was publicized just prior to the November 6 election.…"No increase in existing taxes and no new taxes levied by the City of Fairbanks, Alaska will become law without said increase or new tax being ratified by a simple majority of those voting on the question at the next city election…" So reads an initiative petition being circulated by the Alaskan LP.