Portside carries this piece:

[The abstract of the recent study of the power of prayer
reported on below concludes, "Intercessory prayer itself
had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG
[coronary artery bypass graft], but certainty of
receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a
higher incidence of complications." The article is
published in the American Heart Journal,
 -- moderator]

Long-Awaited Medical Study Questions the Power of Prayer

March 31, 2006

Prayers offered by strangers had no effect on the
recovery of people who were undergoing heart surgery, a
large and long-awaited study has found.

And patients who knew they were being prayed for had a
higher rate of post-operative complications like
abnormal heart rhythms, perhaps because of the
expectations the prayers created, the researchers

Because it is the most scientifically rigorous
investigation of whether prayer can heal illness, the
study, begun almost a decade ago and involving more than
1,800 patients, has for years been the subject of
speculation. . ."


To come to the point, I think it's downright disingenuous [to use that
Faculty Term] for Portside to run this quite questionable, limited and
ostensibly "medical research" piece for its 10,000 plus readers without at
least giving equal time at the same time for a comprehensive piece from "our
side."  I've subbed to Portside since its initial appearance some years ago
and, in its earlier period, it occasionally ran a piece or two of mine --
though not very much in the past three years.  It has incurred some
criticism lately for becoming essentially a "reprint" operation with the
sometimes accompanying dimension of dullness.  On the other hand, I very
much like two of its prime individual movers [who are on a couple of my
lists] and, even more to the point, do recognize its very frequent
effectiveness in raising significant issues and rallying The Folk to good

But it does reflect, as do all too many "radical tendencies," the secularism
[and oft shallowness] of some urban/industrial "materialistic" thought -- a
perspective that misses and/or antagonizes much of America west of New York
City and environs.

Normally, from my Native and American Western perspectives, I don't argue
much about religion and spirituality or the lack of all of that. I'm
certainly glad that I got my primary tutelage in radicalism from the very
homegrown perspective of genuinely and Very Old Time Wobblies -- one of
whom, a veteran hardrock metal miner advised me that "atheism" can be as
much as religion as religion.  He handed me a book by Colonel Bob Ingersoll,
the legendary agnostic, which I read and appreciated.  It didn't make a dent
in my maverick [Jesuit] Catholicism which is mixed in syncretic fashion with
our own traditional beliefs-- and joined as well with my life-long and deep
appreciation of the richness and effectiveness of traditional Navajo and
Pueblo [Laguna] theological beliefs and practices.  And I do like and
respect the humanism of the Ethical Culture Movement.

I and our entire family and obviously a huge throng of humankind make no
bones about the fact that we all are indeed Believers -- both deeply and
highly.  And I have seen and experienced much in 72 long and stormy years of
Life.  Recently, in connection with an interesting discussion on our tiny
Lupus List, I wrote in part:


This is not, let me say, an effort to get "the last word" in on the matter
of healing approaches. [ I was tempted to bring this in yesterday but did
want to keep the door open for any additional comment.]

A full fledged, traditional Navajo Medicine Man -- using ritual and
sometimes herbal and related approaches as well  in the context of
traditional theology and spirituality -- trains rigorously for about
seventeen years before he is deemed a full fledged practitioner.  Anyone who
has spent any substantial time in the vast Navajo Nation is well aware of
the healing effectiveness of this approach. [This is not "simple"
psychology -- but something much higher and deeper.]  About a generation
ago, US Indian Health Service and many Navajo Medicine Men began working
closely with each other -- and the results of this cooperation have been
extremely beneficial.  Traditional tribal healing approaches anywhere in the
world have long demonstrated their great effectiveness.  Western medicine
certainly has its many plus points as well.  Join the two together and
everyone can benefit very much indeed.

I have said for many decades that the basis for traditional healing in all
great probability is found in telekinesis -- also called psychokinesis:
i.e., "mind over matter." [It has been well demonstrated and proven both
spontaneously and laboratory-wise on a global basis.]  It's possible that
this, like certain other parapsychological dimensions, is an inherent
quality in most, maybe all, human beings [and perhaps in our furry friends
as well.]  Place this in a theological/spiritual context and it then is
given a powerful boost and specific direction.

Frequently throughout my own life, I have had telekinetic experiences. Every
member of my family is well aware of this.  We recall that these experiences
were evident when I was fighting off SLE on my own forty years ago.  During
this past "very bad period" in this current struggle, they were not that
openly evident.

And now they are becoming once again quite increasingly evident in the open

Best, H

As everyone who reads this is only too aware, I have been openly fighting
for almost three years now an open  war of great intensity with the most
deadly version of Lupus: SLE [systemic lupus erythematosus].  [And, as a
very somber rheumatologist eventually told me, I have a "very, very serious
case" of that.]  It took awhile for the physicians [in due course there were
more than a dozen in the group], to spotlight and corner the Awful Thing.
There were, at the outset of all of this, some initial mess-ups.  To one
medic, a seasoned and good person, my problem involved a serious colon
difficulty -- but another, a colon specialist, disagreed. They argued but,
in the end, I wound up with a colonoscopy which, in addition to determining
that I had no colon problem, resulted in two and maybe three cardiac arrests
within a forty minute time span -- very, very close brushes with Death.
Later, when the inherent and considerable strength of my heart was
definitely ascertained, these almost lethal and quickly sequential episodes
were attributed to my seriously anemic situation.  SLE had attacked more
than a half dozen of my vital organs -- including my cardiovascular system.
In giving me the colonoscopy, Medical Science had screwed up badly and
dangerously.  In my even more weakened condition, diabetes moved in on top
of the eventually and conclusively diagnosed SLE [following a myriad of
blood tests, x-rays, biopsies.]  By that time, I couldn't even get out of
bed, let alone walk.

During this entire period -- and to the present -- family and vast numbers
of friends rallied with great faithfulness and intensity.  Once the Moccasin
Telegraph carried the word, a large inter-tribal prayer circle -- embracing
about three dozen nations and encompassing both the 'States and Canada --
took shape immediately and then spread out in their respective communities.
At the time this began, many observers, medical and otherwise, figured I had
hit the end of the Sunset Trail.  I hovered, not only tremendously
encouraged by the extraordinary outpouring of personal support -- but also,
we are most firmly convinced, by the continual power of prayer and good
thoughts.  "We here in the Turtle Mountains [North Dakota] are praying for
you constantly," wrote an old Chippewa friend and former student, who
herself is a staffer for Indian Health Services.  Those kind sentiments have
been echoed many, many times.

And, they will continue to be -- and are at least as equally critical to me
as any Western medicine.

Although things have gotten somewhat better, some of these past days
indicate I will probably never get out of these Lupus swamps and thickets.
But I am still around and the Chase and Sanborn coffee can [as well as the
smaller one for my half-Bobcat, Cloudy] -- earmarked for personal ashes --
remain unopened and increasingly dusty.

Yours, H

Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'



Sam Friedman writes:

I have not read the entire article, but from the Abstract it looks like
a reasonably well-designed study.  Thus, Hunter, I think I disagree
with you in characterizing the research as "this quite questionable,
limited and
 ostensibly "medical research" piece."

Here, let me add, I think that your absolutely correct suspicion of the
thin level of thought on the part of many leftists (and NOT all of them
are from NYC or the East--as you well know if you think about it) in
relation to spiritual issues, and your absolutely correct suspicion
that sometimes us invaders of Turtle Island give short thrift to many
important traditions and beliefs, may have been somewhat misapplied. 
There is also a long history of religious people attacking scientific
findings for no necessary reason.  Many strands of thought can be true
in these areas.

I may, of course, have missed some errors in the article that you might
have caught.  I do have a modest familiarity with research, tho.

Having said all that, I think that there are some interesting issues in
interpreting what the study does and does not mean.

First, the prayer in question, as I remember from the Times article
when I originally read it, was third-party prayer.  I think it means
that they ask strangers to pray for you, or maybe some hospital
chaplain.  (But I have not read the original article to find out).

Second, it says that I may be more at risk of complications if I know
that some strangers are praying for me.  That has nothing to do with
anything involving the "great beyond and unknown," but is the kind of
potential boomerang effect you really want to know about.

Third, it says nothing about the kind of prayers being offered, nor to
the dity to whom/which they are being offered, (The full article
probably does say something about this, I would imagine.)  I am not a
religiously-inclined person, but even I know that there are lots of
issues there.

Fourth, it says nothing about prayers by  yourself or those who know
you -- for or against your recovery.

Now, I too share a certain skepticism about Portside, and think their
understanding of science is not very deep.  I do not see why they
carried this.  But I also am not sure that it necessarily calls out for
a representative of an opposing viewpoint, but rather for someone who
can first explain the article and what it does and does not mean.  THEN
there should be discussion on it.

On the other side, Portside can be jetisoned from the bilge side for
this discussion, and we might have a discussion of this article and
related issues on these lists.

sam friedman


John Salter writes:

One could, if one wished, argue that such an experiment is rather insulting to various deities who might be inclined to cover their ears during the study.

There is an eagerness among the left to try to diminish things spiritual unless the spiritual things are practiced by people we're bombing.  Then the left becomes awfully concerned.

John Salter


Sam Friedman writes:

think the point that John was originally trying to make (although it
is a little bit obscured by his form) is either that:
1. God, whatever her shape or nature, can befuddle randomized
controlled cards--which would truly be a turning from science of the
scale attributed to the more blind-eyed, but none-the-less astute, of
the heresy-hunters of the Renaiissance era.
2. A relatively from-the-hip reflex response.

The problem is that either of these may be intellectulally and
logically defensible on their own grounds, but neither really helps any
of us understand either reality nor struggles better.

I took some time (almost an hour) to think before I responded to
Hunter's note because I wanted this discussion to be thoughtful. I
think Hunter's position deserves it.  The study in question is actually
an interesting one, but one that by no means need be viewed as

sam friedman


Ed Pickersgill writes:

I have started responses three times now to Hunter's post for much the same reason as you mention. I keep arriving at a point where I am explaining my views on operations such as Portside have the same kind of difficulty maintaining the start-up vision and energy as do all sorts of front running "left" and/or "socialist" initiatives. Portside being from the socialist left and having a "five post per day" model must find it exceedingly difficult on many occasions to find five articles worth sending to the 10,000 subscribers. A few years ago it was a fairly unique daily package but in most cases today the information is otherwise widely available in dozens of other groups and thousands of blogs.

  There is the additional difficulty that Hunter has friendship with a couple of the Portside founders. That'll double the hurt when an article ostensibly dismissing prayer ceremonies is distributed by an otherwise fairly dependable source. My entreaty to Hunter would be that he (1) put the piece into the shredder;  and (2) consider that spirituality never really survives well in a non-oral cultural tradition.

  Edward Pickersgill

  (ps. John's from the hip reflexes are likely matched by my own.)


Jyri Kokkonen writes:

Dear Hunter Gray,
Thank your last comment on the intercessory prayer study: I read the link, too.
Frankly, I think the study sounds like a load of b*****t. Reminds of the village atheist heckling the pastor's sermon. There's no point in the whole thing, apart from getting publication points in the academic rat-race. How do they define "intercessory prayer" in the first place? In my book (being a Marianist-leaning Lutheran. How's that for maverick?)*, intercessory prayer has to do with the Mother of God or the saints, whom we can ask to intercede. We, on the ground as it were, can only pray, not intercede. So much for my two-bit theology.
The bottom line is that faith ain't science, though science can often turn into surrogate faith.
Prayer works and helps people, not always, but enough for faith to live on -  but it can't be studied in laboratory terms. A friend of mine, the former rabbi of the small Jewish congregation here in Helsinki, once used the expression "taking the quantum leap of faith" in a funeral eulogy. It was worth keeping in mind.
Best wishes,
*I worked in Lourdes, France in 1971 for three months at the age 17 to learn French. I saw things there and met people that shaped my outlook in these matters.

Jyri Kokkonen [Finland]


John Salter writes:

Sam, you're a class act and the fact that you took time to formulate a response shows this.  Yes, I tend to shoot as soon as the Colt clears the holster.  I don't think God, the Creator, Allah, screwed up the research.  I DO think that it is de rigueur to ridicule Christianity.  And I say this as a decidedly perennial doubter, what I'd define as an agnostic if I believed in pigeonholing.  I'm wary of fanatics in any setting.  The bulk of the people are not fanatics. 

John Salter


Mary Ann Hall Winters writes:  [Tougaloo activist, long-time social worker]

Hi  Mr. Salter,
I recently read about the results of this study in the Chicago Sun- Times . How does one really prove or disprove the power of prayer ?
I, too, try to avoid discussions of Religion because I believe to each his or her own but personally I do believe in God . I also know that some things cannot be explained .
Many years ago before my mother died , she had too have surgery . The surgeon,
an excellent physician and the most humane surgeon that I have ever met in my 30 + years of working in hospitals , came to see her on the morning of the surgery to reassure her that he was going to do his best but the rest was left up to God.
She assured the good doctor (Dr. Maker  ) that he shouldn't worry that another doctor had already gone ahead to the operating room and was waiting for  him .  I expected Dr. Maker to pooh pooh my mother's comments. Instead, he hugged her and said . " I'll see you upstairs "
My mother could see the sorrow , sadness and worry in my eyes and those of my sibs . She hugged us and told us not to worry that she had prayed to her God the night before and He told her that everything would be allright . My mother lived 20 + years after that surgery ( the removal of a malignant melanoma in her foot ) .
Dr. Maker had a  heart attack and became disabled before my mother's death .
I have yet to reach the height of my mother's faith but I keep trying.You keep trying.
One never knows.
Take care.
Mary Ann


Macdonald Stainsby writes:

I am in near full agreement with Hunter. The point of such "non
scientific things" is that are not scientifially measurable, and to
those who are wedded to the idea that if it isn't scientifically
provable, that it can't be then this study means something, but it
really doesn't.

Let's say that three participants all recovered suddenly, and they were
all prayed for subjects. These subjects would show medical reasons for
their recovery, but the variable in the experiment can't be
retroactively measured for one (you can't back in linear time to undo
the prayer), and even if you could, the body will show a medical reason
for the change (let us say it fought off an infection), for the simple
reason that such a change is clearly measurable and science needs to
have an answer.

Science, like all religions, needs to assert primacy in having answers.
So, using its own methods, it can find ways to denounce the
unscientific... Kind of like holding a witch trial. If you are innocent,
you keep getting tried, if you are guilty, you are knocked off.

The absolute assertion of scientific certainty is also part of the
reason that the left is so absolutlely confused and often traitorous
towards the struggles of indigenous nations.

If one believes in "progress", the advance of industrialization and
"civilization" as the benchmark for the bettering of humanity, then how
on earth are we to deal with nations whose demands are to be allowed to
live in concert with the earth rather than in concrete-beholden
conquering positions over it?

To this day, all means and manner of good thinking people on the left,
in particular (no fluke here, I assure you, though I've not done a
proper experiment with historical materialist thinkers as the variable!)
those who are shunners of all things ascientific, who get really
confused at the idea that development will decimate and alienate whole
peoples and traditions-- that's not what the data proposes!

Science is an indispensable tool, but just that, a tool-- a means by
which one can learn about those things that our previous knowledge base
hasn't yet learnt. There are a lot of things that cannot be learned by
science, but those who have the religious approach to science and
therefore tell you "sure, science can't tell you everything yet, but
that doesn't mean it can never tell you! We just have to figure out how
to prove this or that, and then we'll know... untill we do, give up

I have had too many "contra-scientific" things occur in my life, in
particular over the last year, to ever buy into the idea that the
universe is nothing but mere bits of atoms and so forth, interacting
without purpose and completely disunified. To believe that would require
a leap of faith in the anti-faith, and I'm simply not the religious type.



Sam Friedman writes:

The randomization process in these studies is designed precisely to
deal with the kinds of issue Erik (and some others) have raised. If the
N's are big enough--and these are pretty big N's--randomization should
assign approximately equal numbers of Calvinists,
free-market-liberals, Cloudy-worshippers or whatever to each group and
thereby make it feasible to see if the "treatment" condition (in this
case, the three arms of the study) makes any difference in average

These studies have weaknesses, but you can learn a lot from them.

I have been thinking about what would have happened if the unknown
prayer option had emerged as a big health-saver.  In some circles, the
sales of candles might almost equal the sales of indulgences 500 years



Bob Gately writes:

Howdy Hunter:

Good to know the C & S can is gathering dust....The coffee still works it morning magic and the whiskey bowl sends up in smoke the un-said words....Blessings all.
Bob is coming back to earth at the speed of light...Welcome aboard !


The vigorous Redbadbear interaction regarding Prayer and its various
discussional spin-offs are invigorating.

It seems to me that arguments within our good little List family on such
things as "left" and "liberal" and "right" are, beyond a certain level,
pointless.  It's obvious that we all at least are united in a commitment
against exploitation and to a full measure of social justice.  We can
certainly discuss, even argue, about the various streams and the finer
points -- but we are all on the same side.  For us, I daresay, the Meaning
of Life is in The Struggle -- whatever the nature of that perennially
challenging trail.

Attached is a post on parapsychology [psychical research] that I initially
made half a decade ago and reposted awhile later.  [Many have probably not
seen it.] For me, this realm has been of very strong personal interest
virtually all of my life -- and, about 45 years ago, I began to
systematically support the careful, scientific research of such well
established groups as the American Society for Psychical Research.  Anyway,
this field certainly covers a fair piece of the non-tangible dimension of
individual humanity.  Depending on one's inclination and perspective, it may
or may not embrace a belief in what we broadly call Religion. I am a
believer in such but some attuned to "parapsych" are agnostic or atheist.

The early pioneers in this field -- among the many, William James and to
some extent his brother-in-law, William M. Salter -- dealt carefully,
painstakingly, and in healthily skeptical fashion with spontaneous psychical
phenomena.  Later researchers have continued that tradition of "field
reportage" but also very careful laboratory work as well.  The case for
extrasensory perception -- telepathy, clairvoyance, telekinesis,
precognition, and several related dimensions -- is well proven. The Survival
Question -- survival of the human personality beyond bodily death -- does
seem for many of us well answered in the affirmative by experience,
observation, research.  But, even that does not necessarily connote, for
some of its proponents, God.

But we humans -- as our very List reactions indicate! -- are truly as
complex and often, beyond a certain point, as non-analytical  as myriads of
fused copper wires.  An anatomy class can cut up cadavers and classify each
segment -- and much in the realm of ESP phenomena can be delineated, ranked,

But I don't think God and Prayer and Its power can ever be categorized or
quantified.  I see these Matters as Real -- very much so -- but the
intricate comprehension of their thrust and essence lies far beyond an
infinite spread of many mountain ranges.  Perhaps at some point in our
passage and development, we will stand "upon a peak in Darien" -- and
glimpse the Truth.

Anyway, this on a truly fascinating dimension of All of Us:


About the time I was ready to surrender to the horrific heat plaguing even
the Idaho mountains -- as it is most of the rest of the country -- I noted
the good Adam Levenstein [whose wit I genuinely appreciate and with whom I
would agree on the greatest number of Big Issues in the Cosmos] has invoked
Skepticism and attacked Alternative Medicine and The Paranormal etc. Several
other voices have lent support to Adam -- and I've even heard that, a very
long time ago -- 'way, 'way back in the 19th century -- Marx and Engels
voiced opposition to some facet of this.

I'll deal at this point with the paranormal -- or, to put it as it's
generally known, parapsychology.

First, what Marx and Engels may have said on this much more than a century
ago impresses me not a whit. There are a good many things in and around the
circle of science today that a great many people didn't accept 'way back
yonder. Clarence Darrow put it nicely at Dayton when he spoke of the great
danger of "marching backward, ever backward, into the Middle Ages."

Secondly, Adam and I and others had -- on another list long, long ago and
far, far away -- a little fencing match on all of this. My presence on
Marxism Discussion at this moment is, of course, well known.

But, anyway, I'm certainly not going to rant and flame -- and most
definitely not with people with whom I vigorously agree vis-a-vis the
necessity and the basic flow and the inevitability of socialism.
Everyone to his/her own thing on these other issues -- just like religion or
the lack of it -- but here is where I stand:

I think the case for the reality of parapsychology has been very well made
from a scientific standpoint. I'm speaking of telepathy, clairvoyance,
telekinesis or psychokinesis, precognition and certain related phenomena.

And I think a very strong case can be made, scientifically, for the
"survival of the human personality beyond bodily death" -- i.e., immortality
of the soul [this doesn't necessarily have to entail a belief in a Divine

In that friendly little discussion on the other List, I made -- as so many
of us always do -- some reading suggestions:

My thought to anyone who might be
interested in exploring any of this, would be to check through the various
not-hard-to-find older classic works by Dr J.B. Rhine (Duke), Prof. J.G.
Pratt (University of Virginia), and Prof. Gardner Murphy (New York
University.) More recent researchers who've published extensively in this
area are Dr. John Beloff, retired Chair of Psychology, University of
Edinburgh; and Professor Charles Tart, Psychology, UC-Berkeley. Beloff
has a very interesting summary of things in his The Relentless Question:
Reflections on the Paranormal [Jefferson, N.C. and London: McFarland &
Co., 1988.]

But if I were suggesting one single work -- with much basic lab stuff --
it would be Gardner Murphy's The Challenge of Psychical Research: A Primer
of Parapsychology [New York: Harper & Brothers, 1961.] Murphy was long-time
research director at Menninger's Clinic, served extensively as president of
the American Psychological Association, was a professor at NYU, and the very
long-time president of the quite old and well-established (founded by, among
others, William James), American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR), 5
West 73d Street, N.Y. NY. 10023. And that's a very scientific outfit to
which I've felt perfectly comfortable belonging to for about the last 40
years. In this just cited and very lucid and tightly organized and trenchant
work of Murphy's, he covers telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and
psychokinesis and the very convincing lab work involving all of these, and
he also provides a quite interesting and provocative chapter on
"survival" -- survival by the human personality of bodily death.

In this area-- survival -- he stops short of a personal acceptance.
Confronting some very intriguing material indeed, including much secured
under carefully monitored conditions, Murphy seriously ponders and wonders.
"But if this means," he writes, "that in a serious philosophical argument, I
would plead the anti-survival case, the conclusion is erroneous. I linger
because I cannot cross the stream. We need far more evidence; we need new
perspectives; perhaps we need more courageous minds."

Murphy was himself a very brave man. Years later, the NDE -- near-death
experience -- researchers such as Kubler-Ross have carried things a little
closer toward the other side of this great canyon.

An extensive compilation of Professor James' extensive work a century or
so ago in this whole field of psychical research is Frederick Burkhardt,
General Editor and Fredson Bowers, Textual Editor, The Works of William
James: Essays in Psychical Research [Cambridge, Mass. and London, England:
Harvard University Press, 1986.

I had several extremely impressive materials involving Soviet and other
Eastern Bloc research in parapsychology, especially in the area of
psychokinesis [telekinesis] -- which is, to state it with barebones
simplicity, the effect of mind on matter -- but these I loaned to students
who, I trust, still have them safely in their own personal libraries. One
that I do have, however, is Leonid Vasiliev, Mysterious Phenomena of the
Human Psyche [New York: University Books, 1965.] ASPR would be, I'm sure,
happy to make other appropriate suggestions on Soviet and general Eastern
Bloc research.

I am, of course, a tribal person who has, in my own tribal traditions,
[Micmac, St. Francis Abenaki, St. Regis Mohawk] -- and those of several
other tribes, very especially the Navajo in and right around whom I grew
up -- observed many things indeed which defy any blackboard analysis by
conventional "western" science. Our cousins in the Gobi have impressed
many westerners in this vein, starting with Roy Chapman Andrews in the
1910s and 1920s, and to this very moment.

No tribal person anywhere in the world would discount this "mysterious"
dimension of human existence and being -- and I certainly never would, nor
will I ever dodge the issue.

I see nothing in any of this -- or in the recognition of a spiritual
dimension in humanity and in other creatures of the Creator -- including
my one-half Bobcat cat that sits by my computer looking on approvingly --
that in any way runs counter to socialism. I certainly have had no problem
at any point being, I think, an effective radical agitator. I like logic --
and I also listen to intuition.

And I credit intuition with my staying alive through some very interesting
and challenging and thoroughly lethal situations.

Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'


Reber Boult writes:

The first two research papers I ever wrote, late high school/early
college, were on jazz and extrasensory perception.  The research at Duke
loomed large in the latter; my experience as a 16-year-old drinking at a
speakeasy with a Dixieland band in the former.

- Reber Boult



I personally know little, Eric, about the "membership" composition of
Portside.  I would assume, as you do, that there is a relatively sizeable
proportion of various kinds of agnostics and atheists -- but I am not sure
that those sometimes mercurial categories are pervasive. A few years ago,
Portside added very large numbers by leaps and bounds -- from what sources I
know not. [I have gotten to know two of its listed moderators pretty well
via Cyber -- and I know of them reputationally also -- and they are good and
eminently sensible folks.  Of the others, I know  nothing.]  Quite aside
from my own pro-prayer feelings, I think posting the thing Portside did
[regardless of its research quality] is strategically very poor. Anyone
really savvy about bona fide "Organizing" doesn't strike at the heart of
anyone's religious beliefs.  And, as most of us are very well aware, one of
the driving forces [if not THE basic engine] behind the Southern Movement
was certainly Christianity -- and frequently rather fundamentalist
interpretations at that.  From 1961-1967 alone, I spoke many hundreds of
times and every meeting -- almost all in Black churches -- featured much
Prayer.  "We Shall Overcome" has, of course, the segments "We are not
afraid" and "God is on our side."  And, no matter how often I disclaimed, I
was frequently [as I have mentioned before on RBB] introduced as "Reverend."
[Unlike some of you genuinely fine activists, I can't even say I was a Red
Diaper kid:  Dad, as am I, was/is Catholic -- mixed with our old,
traditional beliefs, Mother was an Anglican [Anglo-Catholic], Eldri is a
mainline Lutheran.]

Anyway, to quote our very fine and loyal colleague, Dave McReynolds --
Peace.    H.


Note by Hunter Bear:

Steve Rossignol, a really good guy in the Socialist Party USA [not the only good person therein, I hasten to add], is, more to the immediate point, a Texan and, like myself, an admirer of the late J. Frank Dobie, a great [and lucid] writer/historian and courageous liberal in very tough settings. Steve is re-reading Dobie's Coronado's Children -- which deals with lost mines and treasure troves. As I wrote my response to Steve's kind comments [these follow immediately], I recall a key reason why I believe in God.

Best, Hunter Bear

Hello Hunter Bear--

This was a great article---came about the same time I am re-reading
Coronado's Children.  [Steve is referring to my piece on the Lost Adams Diggings.]

I've got an inkling to break out the metal detector and dig! Shit, I'd be
happy to find a quarter in the parking lot!


Steve Rossignol

And I respond:

Thanks very much, Steve, for the kind comments on the Adams gold post and Frank Dobie. You've seen those before, but They-all live on! Dobie is one of the people I would really liked to have met. I have read virtually all of his books and some related things. He was a good friend of a good friend of mine, courageous Prof Jim Silver at Ole Miss [History] who wrote Mississippi: The Closed Society [1964.] Jim told me Frank Dobie consistently sent him every new book Dobie published -- and Jim sent him much stuff. Both men were Southern liberals in the best sense of the word -- and Dobie was a South-Westerner to boot.

Now and then, I've spotted a dime and, on rare occasions, a quarter. But not often by any stretch. But once -- when I was about ten years old -- I had no money at all when Saturday night drew nigh. Early in that evening, I wandered down town and found myself on a dirt side street. On one side was a hitching post and a water trough -- still used -- and, on the other, Mr Sumner's barber shop. Suddenly a breeze blew dust from the Shop area toward the Post -- and right in front of me was a green one dollar bill. There was no one around who could have lost it. Those were the days when a "pop" cost a dime, a Sparkler comic book was a dime, and a big Milky Way candy bar was still a nickel. [Haircuts were 15 cents.] I took care of my soda pop, candy, and comic book needs -- and then treated my also penniless buddies. Hog Heaven. And I've always believed in God forever after.

All the best, Hunter [Hunter Bear]


Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'

Honored with The Elder Recognition Award by Wordcraft Circle of Native
Writers and Storytellers:

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear]