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Supporting Civil Rights for Atheists and the Separation of Church and State
The Hon. Atheist Governor: Culbert L. Olson.
Culbert Levy Olson was born on November 7, 1876, in Fillmore, Utah, of Western pioneer parents, Daniel and Delilah (King) Olson, and was a descendent of one of the signers of the U.S. Constitution. His early youth was spent on a farm in Utah. He was the second of two boys, his elder brother being Emmet Olson. He was apparently reared in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), although all of his references to that church were oblique.
Typical of the \aside\ remarks he made concerned with Mormonism was a story he related about his first experience of disbelief. But, referring to his mother, it seemed impossible for him to associate the word Mormon even with her.
I was born in a small country town. The entire community belonged to one religion and church, which controlled the educational, cultural and civic affairs of the community. Any apostate was looked upon as having fallen by the wayside by the influence of the \Devil.\ It may be that I was naturally a skeptic, for, notwithstanding the religious influence of my early youth, I did not join in the emotion that other children seemed to enjoy in their emotional response to the passionate sermons of the church teachers who told of revelation from God and the appearance of an angel to the prophet, seer, revelator and founder of the church. Reason forced me to conclude that the founder was a bold, ambitious imposter whose revelations did not make sense. My conclusion was not reached easily because of my desire to conform with the religion of my Mother whom I dearly loved — the kindest, most humane and self-sacrificing person I have ever known.
In a 1961 interview with Paul Coats, a popular Los Angeles television personality, his reply to a query concerned with his religion was that his mother \followed the beliefs of her ancestors.\
At about age ten he refused, in his school environment, to participate with other children in their fancy of seeing angels.
Well, it was a Mormon school and the principal in his sermons to the children would arouse emotionalism and the children would become so emotional that they would declare they saw angels. Of course I did not see any angels and therefore did not join in the emotionalism stirred up by the preacher. I was called into the principal's office by him. He said that he noticed that I didn't participate in the spirit of the occasion. I told him that I didn't see angels and I didn't believe that the other children did.
In his short recountings of this period of his life, he referred to his older brother, Emmet, who \shared his disbelief\ and who, in fact, \became an Atheist himself.\ His father he described as \certainly . . . not orthodox in religion, and . . . not very much dedicated to religious activities.\ His other siblings \were not orthodox.\
At age fourteen, in 1891, he went to work as a telegrapher. Subsequently, he attended the Brigham Young University at Provo, Utah (1890-91 and 1893-95), from which he graduated at age nineteen. At age twenty he became associate city editor of the Daily Ogden Standard (1895-97). In the following year he had the opportunity to move to Washington, D. C., as a newspaper correspondent and congressional secretary. While he was in Washington, D.C., doing secretarial work for congressional members, he learned that Robert G. Ingersoll was going to speak on a Sunday evening and he attended the lecture. He recalled the experience in this way:
I had felt so much alone in my disbeliefs. I didn't believe in any of the religions and I had come to the point where I didn't believe in the existence of a God. When I heard Ingersoll's bold and reasonable address, I felt that I wasn't quite alone and there must be many others who were disbelievers too.
During the years he spent at the national capital he studied law (1897-99 and 1900-1901) at Columbian Law School (now George Washington University), and later (1899-1900) at the University of Michigan. He graduated from Columbian with an LL.B. degree in 1901. At that time he returned to Utah, was admitted to the Utah Bar in 1901, and entered the practice of law in Salt Lake City.
There he met and later married on October 21, 1905, Miss Kate Jeremy. Of that union, there were three sons: Richard Culbert, and twins John Weber and Dean Jeremy. Richard followed his father in taking up the profession of law. In describing his wife's attitude toward religion, his statement was extremely short:
Well, I can't say that she was entirely an Atheist. She was a Mormon as was her family. I knew that she was aware of my disbelief and she was not critical of it. She was not a church attendant. She was what I would call a freethinker who didn't take religious beliefs seriously.
Olson was elected as senator to the state legislature of Utah in 1916 and served as chairman of the Senatorial Judiciary Committee until 1920. In that state he sponsored acts relating to political reform, education, equitable taxation, social services, and fair legislation regarding labor and industry. He remained in office four years.
Olson, shown here two days after his victory on November 8, was the first Democrat elected to the governorship of California in forty years.
In 1920, Olson moved to California where he bought a home, at 506 S. Mariposa Avenue in Los Angeles, in which he was to live for the next thirty-nine years. Once there he became active in the Democratic party, particularly supporting the candidacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Through this work, he attained a high ranking post in the Democratic party. He was a leader not alone in California state but in national Democratic policies. A strong \New Dealer,\ he supported all of the liberal, even progressive, politics of the Roosevelt regime. He subsequently ran for and in 1934 was elected as a state senator for the district of Los Angeles, in which office he remained until 1938. As a senator, he fought through the passage of the Olson Oil Bill, which \marked the first instance in California history of the oil monopoly losing its control over oil legislation.\ He subsequently supported the government suits against the oil monopoly for oil royalties. With the personal endorsement of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, he ran for the office of governor of California with central issues of public power development, the Workmen's Compensation Act, old age pensions, and compulsory health insurance. This consistently carried forward his championship of social justice and the rights of the working people. He was the first Democrat over a period of forty-four years to occupy the governor's chair in California.
A November 3, 1938, advertisement in the San Francisco Chronicle emphasized Olson's support for \such progressive measures as 'increased old-age (cash) pensions, the Central Valley project, utility co-operatives,' \ while quoting Time magazine as describing his opponent, Governor Frank Merriam, as \an arch political trimmer, paying harmless lip service to the Townsend Plan.\ These issues proved important to California voters.
After his election in November 1938, he did not take the full oath of office in 1939 since he refused to utter the words, \So help me God.\ Asked how he managed to avoid the oath, he patiently explained:
I just told the member of the Supreme Court [of California] who came to swear me in as governor that there was no use to ask me to say \So help me God\ because God couldn't help me at all, and that there isn't any such person, and I will have to just say \I will affirm.\
For over two decades, the nation had argued over whether labor leader Tom Mooney had been unfairly imprisoned for the bombing of a Preparedness Day parade in San Francisco on July 22, 1916 (right). Olson made it known that he would pardon Mooney as soon as he was in the governor's office.
He did, however, take the office of governor and served until 1943. The most controversial aspect of his entire career was his pardon of Tom Mooney. This radical labor leader, revered by the labor groups in the world, had been convicted of a bombing which occurred in San Francisco on Preparedness Day in 1916. He had been sentenced to life imprisonment. After Olson's election he was petitioned by the labor movement to pardon Mooney who had spent twenty-two years in jail. After a long study of the legal record of the case, he became convinced of Mooney's innocence and undertook what no governor before him, in any state of the Union, would have touched. Olson absolved Mooney of all guilt and unconditionally pardoned him in a ceremony in Sacramento on January 7, 1939. Subsequently, in October of the same year, he also commuted the sentence of Warren Billings, who had been convicted with Thomas Mooney.
Some of the worst poverty in the nation existed among the migrant farm workers of California. In 1939 a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Committee on Education and Labor, under its chairman, Robert M. LaFollette, Jr. of Wisconsin, visited California to investigate violations of the workers' civil liberties. Governor Olson gave a moving, compassionate statement to the committee which detailed how this socially disadvantaged class had frequently had their civil liberties violated and documenting their \miserable living and working conditions\ as well as their \appalling low earnings.\
Yet, through all of this, rather than bleating that he was moved by his Christian charity, Olson, on any occasion that he was asked, openly avowed what he termed, at that time, his \secularism.\ He had a specific definition of the word.
Secularism is defined as follows: \Supreme or exclusive attention to the affairs of this life; specifically an ethical system founded on natural morality which seeks the development of the physical, moral, and intellectual nature of man to the highest possible point as the immediate duty apart from theism or religion and choosing as the method of procedure the promotion of human improvement by material means.\
Although he was circumspect as to public statements on religion during his political career, after the conclusion of his term as governor of the state of California, he slowly began to make known a central idea which he held: \God is a myth.\ A typical reply which he made to a query about whether or not he had read the Bible is typical of the man:
I don't see how anybody can read the Bible and believe it's the word of God, or believe that it is anything but a barbarous story of a barbaric people who were so ignorant that they lived terrible lives. The Bible itself is the most obscene book that was ever published.
When queried as to whether or not his Atheism was an impediment in his career, he simply stated that his stand on religion was not an issue in the campaign or during his term of office. Any Atheist, however, knew what his position was. For example, in a public address in April of 1941, at the laying of the cornerstone of a neuro-psychiatric institute in San Francisco, he made the following statement:
[W]e no longer talk about the divine purpose of the various organs of the human body in an attempt to make it appear to be a logical and rational piece of construction.
He was not cautious, however, about his stance on the need for complete and absolute separation of state and church. He also came to be highly critical of the theopolitics of the Roman Catholic church.
At the time he was governor there were two bills which passed the legislature of California, both of which were for the assistance of the parochial school systems in that state which were, at the time, predominantly Roman Catholic.
The first was a bill which provided free transportation to students of [Roman] Catholic schools on public school busses running between points of their regular course. He had instinctively sought to deny this aid, but in later recounting the circumstances of his signing the bill which had been passed by the California legislature he related:
What I wish to do now is to revert to the political activities and influence of the [Roman] Catholic Church under its priesthood direction in our secular government of California.
Who in public life now or heretofore has not felt that pressure of that influence?
I dare say everyone in a legislative or executive office of the state or local governments have something to do in connection with the purposes of the [Roman] Catholic Church in secular affairs even to some extent at least members of the Judiciary, and the Boards of Education. I dare say this because both as a member of the California Legislature and as Governor of the State, I have encountered that pressure backed by reference to the political power of the Church and its large membership whose concentrated separatist action may decide an election in favor of one who yields to such pressure. Frankly, as Governor, I once yielded to that pressure for signing instead of vetoing a bill which provided free transportation to students of [Roman] Catholic schools....
The second of these California laws provided for \released time.\ This was a system whereby school activity was stopped during the day, with the Protestant children held in the schools doing nothing, while the Roman Catholic children were \released\ for a stipulated \time\ to go to their churches to study parochial catechismal lessons. Olson opposed this, feeling that all the children should spend such \time studying the educational programs of the public schools\ and he vetoed the bill.
He continued to be acutely aware of and disturbed by the political power wielded by the churches and noted in a proposed address:
California established a secular state government in Section 30 Article IV of our Constitution, forbidding the passage of any law \Granting anything to or in aid of any religious sect, church, creed or sectarian purpose, or help to support or sustain any school, university, hospital or other institution controlled by any religious creed, church or sectarian denomination whatever.\ However, as you may well know, provisions of our Federal and State government constitutions have been violated by Congress and by state legislatures in this and other states, sometimes supported by a majority vote of citizens; and, it seems to me, we must realize that these constitutional violations are caused by religious influence and the political power of priesthoods and their churches, which influence has reached the stage of threatening to convert our secular government into religious governments controlled by churches, or by one church if one church develops more political power than others. If this occurs, the traditional fights between church denominations for power and privileges, as in Colonial days, will be revived. In fact, such a conflict is already proceeding.
His wife, Kate Jeremy Olson, died during Olson's term as chief executive of the state of California.
He was defeated in his bid for a second term, as he related it to Robert H. Scott, another active California Atheist, \because of the active hostility of a certain privately owned power corporation and the Roman Catholic Church in California.\
Throughout his political career, both as a state senator in two different states and as the governor of California, he repeatedly emphasized several lessons of politics and religion. The first was that religion had failed as a moral force, in collective society and for individual persons:
Our present state of affairs has been reached after centuries of the predominant power and influence of religious superstition and god-worship. Organized religions, led by church priesthoods, claim leadership of the people's minds and thoughts by virtue of divine authority....
It is certain that organized religion and prayers to their almighty deity have not been the means of saving humanity from want or from wars, a large proportion of which have been wars for power between conflicting religious dogmas. Nor have the principles of morality taught as a part of religious doctrine, become prevalent by that method. Witness the extent of selfishness, greed, opportunism, hypocrisy, and crime which now permeates our society.
Secondly, he hammered away on the need for education generally and also specifically against religion:
[W]e know that social progress advances, is retarded, or retrogrades depending upon the extent of the education and political intelligence of the electorate.
It is obvious that the primary condition retarding social progress is a lack of educational qualifications for intelligent political action on the part of the great majority of the people who are benefited by social progress.
His evaluations of politicians of the day, who utilized religion as a recourse to voter acceptance, were telling:
Sometimes competing candidates let the people know during elections that they completely depend on God for their thinking and guidance. For instance. General Eisenhower, in his home-coming speech at Abilene, Kansas, after sanctioning the admonition that \the fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom,\ said, with reference to a break in the weather allowing the allied invasion of Europe to proceed \with losses far below what we anticipated,\ \if there were nothing else in my life to prove the existence of an almighty God, that did.\
I see little difference in the inanity of that statement of General Elsenhower's and a declaration by a fundamentalist church leader in Chicago that he knows the world is flat because the Bible says so.
He blamed many of the evils of society directly on the churches:
Church hierarchies are represented on boards of directors of big business corporations interested in financial, not social \gains,\ and the influence of their leaders reaches into every powerful business enterprise.
All this is to the point that the secular purposes of a government \of and by and for the people\ are hampered, and social progress is obstructed and retarded by superstitious faiths and organized religions. ...
It is in the temporal affairs of mankind, not in the delusions of religious faiths, that man's actual well being and happiness on this earth is attainable.
Gov. Olson playfully crossed his fingers as he cast his ballot during the polling for his own reelection as governor on November 3, 1942. He later said that he lost that election \because of the active hostility of a certain privately owned power corporation and the Roman Catholic Church in California.\
After the expiration of his term of office as governor, he actively campaigned against the adoption of the phrase \In God We Trust\ as the official motto of California. Questioned why he would do this, when he was \obviously. . . against fanaticism of any type,\ and subsequently asked, \How can you feel that such a motto is harmful?\ He responded,
Such a motto is untrue. We don't trust in God. . . . The harm is that it is a violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States to pass any act respecting religion.
The act, of course, failed, and Olson explained the final aspect of his campaign against the motto and the response to his campaign.
I had a wonderful response. And, furthermore, I want to say that when that act passed the lower house of the legislature unanimously and then went to the Senate committee, I went before the committee and gave my reasons for opposing it, saying that the motto is not true and that God is a myth anyhow. A majority of the committee, which were [Roman] Catholics, recommended a \Do pass,\ but the Senate rejected it by a majority vote. The campaign accomplished that much.
In the mid-1950s there was an attempt in the California legislature to exempt parochial schools from ad valorem (real estate) tax. The matter finally was accepted for review by the Supreme Court of the State of California in the case of Lundberg v. County of Alameda, City of Oakland. The Roman Catholic Welfare Corporation of San Francisco had been accepted as an intervener in the case. Olson, acting on his own behalf, filed an amicus curiae brief with that court asking for a rehearing of its decision favorable to the church. At issue was Section 30, Article IV of the Constitution of California which forbade any act
. . . granting anything to or in aid of any religious sect, church, creed or sectarian purpose, or help to support or sustain any school, college, university, hospital or other institution controlled by any religious creed, church or sectarian domination . . .
To get around this provision the court had held that this law \does not expressly mention tax exemptions\; that, in any event it was superseded by a subsequent law which exempts property \used exclusively for religious purposes, hospitals, or charitable purposes\; and that the parochial schools should, therefore, be tax exempt as they fell under the \charitable purposes\ test and not under the \school\ test.
The next step of the [Roman] Catholic Church is to be for direct grants for the support of its schools in our state budget, relying on this decision for constitutional authority — and why not? There is no difference in indirect and direct financial aid. Each accomplishes the same purpose.
Olson's brief reflected his fury at the decision. He accused the court of having \a manifest desire, not to say anxiety, to follow the contention of the [Roman] Catholic Church\ that it should be totally tax exempt on all of its institutions.
Naturally, Olson would gravitate to whatever existing Atheist, free-thought, or secular organizations there were in the nation. He finally settled on membership in and an activist role with the United Secularists of America and accepted the presidency of that organization in the fall of 1957. He was elected by the board of directors and remained as president until the time of his death in 1962. During those years he devoted his full time, and considerable financial aid, to the organization.
He was much involved with some vicious in-fighting which occurred in 1957 between various factions of the secularist, freethought, and Atheist organizations in the country. He was particularly concerned that one of the organizations could at least found a headquarters building from which to operate. He spent personal time, effort, and money attempting to save a building fund which had been started, to raise additional funds, and to see that the persons causing the strife would be appropriately verbally chastised.
His affiliation with United Secularists of America does not, of course, appear in any of the reference works on governors. The only mentions of organizational membership in such compendiums are that he was a member of the Phi Delta Phi, of the Democrat Club, and he was the president (ex-officio) of the Board of Regents of the University of California.
Olson did, however, continue to identify himself as a \Secularist\ even in his writings for the Progressive World magazine, which was the official organ of the United Secularists of America. In one instance, in March 1959, he described himself as \a consistent agnostic.\
Later, when directly queried by Associated Press concerned with his ideas in respect to religion, he simply said to the reporter, \I am an Atheist.\ And, in a television interview in January 1961, he discussed his Atheism openly. He was at that time eighty-five years old. When questioned on the program about a \fear of death\ he replied, \I am not afraid of death.\
There is only one recorded instance when Olson's commitment to state/ church separation caused some consternation in other quarters. This was when the Commonwealth Club of California cancelled his May 15, 1959, address because he wanted to speak on the subject of \The Problem of Separation of Church and State.\ At that point it had been sixteen years since his term as governor expired and the club desired a speech related to those sixteen years. Club officials were apparently aghast when he delivered the title of his proposed speech to them and immediately declined to hear him.
The prepared message was very straightforward, an example of it being the following:
No God has ever shown himself. The thousands of Gods that man has worshipped are myths born of his fears and his imaginations. How any informed man, who thinks about it today, can accept and cower to the weird imaginations of \Saints\ past or present, upon the representation that they speak for a personal God, or a God of any description, I cannot understand.
California farm workers were notoriously underpaid, and their strikes for better wages were met with violence. Olson felt that the plight of these workers was perhaps the most acute problem he had inherited from the prior administration. In 1939, he strongly urged a subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Education and Labor to help end the economic and political abuse of these workers.
Olson was completely politicized and understood well the state/church issues of the nation. He was on top of everything. He attended the first meeting of the group which designated itself as \Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of State and Church\ and immediately saw that it was so Baptist-dominated that he designated himself as one of the \Other Americans.\ He caustically noted that Pat Brown was an Atheist until he desired to run for public office, at which time he joined the Roman Catholic church. He opposed the nomination of Al Smith and later John E Kennedy to the office of the presidency. He related that when Al Smith bolted the Democratic party in 1932 and organized the so-called \Liberty League,\ a feature of the convention of that group in Chicago was a special Roman Catholic Mass performed for Smith. He was quite critical that Joseph Kennedy had established a foundation from which he had funneled $2,609,000 to the Boston Roman Catholic archdiocese. He noted with chagrin that a new appointee to the Supreme Court, Justice William Brennan, was a Roman Catholic. He wrote critically of opinions delivered by the Supreme Court, especially that of Zorach v. Clausen (343 U.S. 306, 72 S.Ct. 679, 96 L.Ed. 954 ) which approved the released time program in the public schools. He pointed out that:
Nearly every candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for the Presidency since the turn of the century has chosen a [Roman] Catholic for his campaign manager, and, if nominated, has usually retained him as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. There has not been a non-Catholic in that position since Al Smith selected the [Roman] Catholic millionaire, John J. Raskob, as chairman in 1928.
He decried that:
Priests are employed as chaplains for religious exhortations to the military forces of the Army and Navy, and to open the sessions of legislative bodies by prayer to God, and so do the national conventions of the major political parties for nominating candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency. And we have a President now who opened his inaugural address with his prayer to God and his hand on the Bible. Laws enacted have required the words \Under God\ to be included in our allegiance to the American flag, and the words \In God We Trust\ on the coins, currency and postage stamps issued by the United States.
We have laws, federal and state, subsidizing churches by way of tax exemptions of billions of dollars in value of church properties and all church purposes as they grow and grow into big businesses, and send out their missionaries all over the world to indoctrinate inhabitants to become believers and donators. They patronize and are supported by most of the press, which publishes their sermons reaching millions of readers.
Members of Congress and State Legislators — religionists or not — do not dare to oppose the political power of religious influence for fear of losing re-election to office. Any bill which contains the word \God\ is almost sure to be passed.
Olson was eighty-four years old in 1961 when he was questioned about religion having promoted social progress. His answer was critical:
I wouldn't say that religion has promoted the social progress of mankind. I say that it has been a detriment to the progress of civilization, and I would also say this: that the emancipation of the mind from religious superstition is as essential to the progress of civilization as is emancipation from physical slavery.
Olson also spoke to the concept of miracles. In 1958, with more and more doubt arising as to the miracles performed in the Bible, two theologians, one Roman Catholic and one Protestant, published each their separate books attempting a subtle distinction in order to save the concept of miracles. They drew, Olson noted,
. . . a distinction between believing in the principle that miracles can happen and believing that any particular miracle did take place.
But to deny the possibility of miracles was \to deny God's omnipotence, and by implication, his very existence.\ The Protestant author, in dealing with the miracle of virgin birth denied an intent to \mystify the believer\ and Olson was cryptically cynical of the claim.
It may be that the virgin birth was not \intended to mystify\ the believer, but we feel that [the author's] effort to explain it is sufficiently mystifying to make up for it.
His son, Richard Culbert Olson, predeceased him, dying on January 26, 1961. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he had served as his father's secretary during the time that Olson was governor and later practiced law with his father. He, as his father, was an Atheist and was a member of the board of directors of the United Secularist Society.
Olson himself died on April 13, 1962, after several months of failing health complicated by an attack of pneumonia. He was eighty-five years old at the time of his death. Although Olson was unable to properly identify himself as an Atheist because of his desire to pursue a political career, he did carry into that career the basic value systems of Atheism and through his application of those value systems in the political arena did much to ameliorate the hard conditions of human life which have come from the imposition of Judeo-Christian irrationalities on our culture.
On August 10, 1952, delivering an address to the convention dinner of the United Secularists of America, he had indicated what he felt were the duties of government. If American Atheists is to develop a political party it may well be that the \duties\ should be a central core of its platform.
The scientific approach to . . . problems - . - must invoke searching analysis and apply direct action to the solution of all social problems.
Social problems are created by economic maladjustments, poverty in the midst of plenty, mass unemployment occurring when war or preparation for war is not providing full employment; continued concentration of the wealth and control of the national economy in the hands of a small percentage of the population opposing every effort of government to interpose controls for economic stabilization and for the general welfare.
To my way of thinking, it is the social responsibility of government in promoting the general welfare, to exercise controls of stabilization of the national economy; to plan and provide for full employment when private industry fails; to prevent business cycles which result in industrial depressions; to provide for ways and means of making available to all the people health protection, and the utmost in educational services; to protect the national resources against wasteful exploitation for private greed; to plan and carry forward huge projects in the great river valleys of the country for flood control, reclamation, and conservation of water resources, harnessing the water power and providing and making available to the people hydro-electric power at reasonable cost; to protect civil rights and enforce social justice in industrial relations regardless of race or creed and, I might add, to require the federal licenses of radio and television circuits to grant secularists equal rights with churches to discuss religious subjects over the air. . . .
The political cry that such progress will lead to dictatorship and regimentation is pure demagoguery. Socially minded citizens, and certainly all secularists, in our constitutional democratic-republican form of government will be the first to protect the rights of man in our American democracy as social progress develops through democratic processes and constitutional means.
Although Olson was not as openly Atheistic as many of us now would have desired him to be, one must recall the cultural climate of the United States during the period from post World War I through post World War II. As an Atheist he was, before anything else, a realist and he recognized the damage that his outspoken endorsement of Atheism might bring to the political ends he hoped to, and did, obtain.
His complete inner commitment to Atheism, his repugnance of Judeo-Christianity, and its Bible was made clear:
I attended and heard sermons in other churches in quest of some light that would at last lead me to believe in a God. I witnessed revival meetings and heard idiotic harangues of charlatans such as Billy Graham is now, and street scenes of Holy Rollers and Holy Jumpers. All the sermons and religious ceremonies, Protestant and [Roman] Catholic, that I heard and witnessed left me with the thought that they all represented blind faith with emotionalism interpreted as a Holy Spirit. I was not converted. On the contrary, I was confirmed in my advance toward secularism. I read the Bible (called the Word of God) in both the Old and New Testament. I could not, and do not yet, understand how any reasoning person could read the Bible's absurdities without classifying them as a monotonous exposition of ignorance and primitive barbarism. The relating of cruelties, massacres and wars in the name of God, and the vile sexual lewdness related in the Bible make it the most obscene publication ever published. I could never understand why either educated persons, or any person who thinks and reasons, could regard the Christ story as anything but a myth. . . .
Those clinging to the idea of a spirit world believe that the mind of man is a vague, spiritual something, not derived from his brain; but to me this is a most unnatural, strained, and unreasonable assumption. ...
What protection have God-worshipping and God-fearing people ever received from their God against either natural or man-made evils? The answer is — absolutely none.
Biography Index, September 1961 — August 1964, p. 443.
Biography Index, September 1964 — August 1967, p. 503.
\Commonwealth Club not Permitted to Hear Ex-Governor Olson's Speech.\ Progressive World, May 1959.
\Culbert L. Olson.\ Progressive World, April 1959.
\Ex-Governor Olson Speaks for Humanism.\ Progressive World, January 1951.
\Governor Olson Again Interviewed On Popular TV Program.\ Progressive World, February 1961.
Obituaries on File, vol. 7, 1979, p. 446.
Olson, Culbert L. \My Trip to Europe.\ Progressive World, April, May, and June, 1956.
\Hon. Culbert L. Olson Opposes Tax Exemption for Parochial Schools.\ Progressive World, August 1956.
\Address of the Hon. Culbert L. Olson to the 1956 Annual Convention of the United Secularists of America.\ Prognessive World, October 1956.
\A Personal Letter.\ Progressive World, January 1957.
\Church and State.\ Progressive World, February 1957.
\The P.O.A.U. Conference.\ Progressive World, May 1957.
\Hon. Culbert L. Olson Accepts Presidency of United Secularists of America.\ Progressive World, October 1957.
\Dissensions in Secularist Organizations\ and \The Tirade of Fred P Wortman.\ Progressive World, February 1958.
\They Tackle the Problem of Miracles.\ Progressive World, April 1958.
\Will American Democracy Elect A [Roman] Catholic President?\ Progressive World, November 1957.
\Why Not A [Roman] Catholic President? An Answer.\ Progressive World, January 1959.
\The Problem of Separation of Church and State.\ Progressive World, May 1959.
\Secularism and Social Progress.\ Progressive World, October 1952, October 1961.
Olson, Richard C. \Will We Be Good, for Goodness Sake?\ Progressive World, November 1958.
\Let's Set Forth Our Secularist Faith.\ Progressive World, March 1959.
Orr, Hugh Robert. \In Memoriam, Richard Culbert Olson.\ Progressive World, March 1961.
Orr, Hugh Robert. \Culbert L. Olson, A Courageous Progressive.\ Progressive World, June 1962.
Scott, Robert H. \A Tribute to Culbert L. Olson.\ Progressive World, June 1962.
Who's Who in America, vol. 23, 1944-1945, p. 1598.
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4 2012-02-28 20:16:18 65 6 0 Ernestine Rose: A Troublesome Female