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Religion, Space Exploration, and Secular Society

Religion, Space Exploration, and Secular Society This article concerns the efforts of Reverend John M. Stout and the Apollo Prayer League to land microfilm copies of the Christian Bible on the lunar surface during the Apollo era. The efforts of Stout, a NASA information scientist and industrial chaplain who orchestrated the years-long undertaking, underscored manned spaceflight not only as a technological and geopolitical achievement, but as a collective spiritual quest. The venture was countered at the time by the renowned head of the American Atheists, Madalyn Murray O'Hair, who insisted that religious artifacts and observances had no place on state-sponsored, taxpayer–funded missions. Stout believed that the astronauts themselves had rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. The rancorous debate between Stout and O'Hair, which was played out in the media, laid bare the innate conflict between personal religious freedom and the specter of state-sponsored religion in a secular society making its first expeditions into deep space. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Astropolitics Taylor & Francis

Religion, Space Exploration, and Secular Society

Astropolitics , Volume 11 (1-2): 14 – Jan 1, 2013
14 pages

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Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1557-2943
eISSN
1477-7622
DOI
10.1080/14777622.2013.801933
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article concerns the efforts of Reverend John M. Stout and the Apollo Prayer League to land microfilm copies of the Christian Bible on the lunar surface during the Apollo era. The efforts of Stout, a NASA information scientist and industrial chaplain who orchestrated the years-long undertaking, underscored manned spaceflight not only as a technological and geopolitical achievement, but as a collective spiritual quest. The venture was countered at the time by the renowned head of the American Atheists, Madalyn Murray O'Hair, who insisted that religious artifacts and observances had no place on state-sponsored, taxpayer–funded missions. Stout believed that the astronauts themselves had rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. The rancorous debate between Stout and O'Hair, which was played out in the media, laid bare the innate conflict between personal religious freedom and the specter of state-sponsored religion in a secular society making its first expeditions into deep space.

Journal

AstropoliticsTaylor & Francis

Published: Jan 1, 2013

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