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SOAR Goes on
Indefinite Hiatus!!!

(Posted July 2, 2000) Is this Temy's "Independence Day"? Time will tell.
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NEW!!!!! I just started the SOAR Directory, which is a list of SOAR readers who wish to be listed. The Directory will be mailed out quarterly (January, April, July, October) with your copy of SOAR. There is no extra charge for this service. The point is to help foster better communications among freethinkers.

Hi. Thanks for checking it out. The basic info on SOAR is this: SOAR is the title I have given to the little print publication I created. Why print? Mainly because several people have told me that although they love having their computer for writing and researching the web, they really hate to have to read large amounts of text from the screen. I tend to agree with that. Other reasons.

The premier issue of SOAR was mailed out in August '99, and has been successfully published monthly since then. The next issue will be Vol. 2, No. 7 - July 2000. I try to have each issue mailed by the fifth of the month. It is a small monthly magazine (approximately 16 - 20 pages [sometimes bigger!]) of articles, letters, humor, poetry and information of all sorts that may be of interest to the person who considers him or her self to be a freethinker. What's a freethinker?

SOAR needs YOU! SOAR combines articles and items of fact, with the personal opinions of any readers who care to offer comment. There is NO TOPIC that is off limits in SOAR. We cover everything from anarchy to zoology. It is sometimes said that there are at least three things one simply does NOT discuss in polite society: politics, religion and sex. SOAR has never (yet) been accused of being "polite society." If you have an opinion on any of the issues of the day, the "BIG Questions" of life, religion, politics, economics, sexuality, etc., and are willing to share it with others, send it in. Handwritten (if it's legible), typed, email, Word format; I'll take almost anything I can read.

SOAR will succeed or fail based entirely on the response it gets from the public (and so far it's been more positive than not). I would gladly offer it free of charge if I were able, but I am very poor and cannot afford to do so. This is NOT an attempt to make money for myself. I only hope to get enough subscription money to cover the actual costs of production and distribution.

SOAR is NOT affiliated with nor supported by any group whatever - it is entirely my personal project.

Also, although SOAR will never intentionally offend anyone, some issues MAY contain language and/or graphic images which some people may find offensive. If you are easily offended you probably should refrain from reading it.

My purpose in publishing SOAR is to offer all those interested a CIVIL forum in which to teach, learn, express opinion, and generally to foster more communication between people. I will certainly welcome and carefully consider all reader input. Go here for a sample of recently included material.

Think you're up to SOARing with us? If you're a little squeamish you can send me a buck which will get you a copy of the most current issue.
If you're bold and like to try new things, send me $20 which will get you a one-year (12 issues) subscription.
You want back issues? Hey they're only a buck each, or 5 for $3!

Please make all checks or money orders payable to Temy R. Beal.

Please send cash, check or money order (US funds only), along with your name and postal address to:

SOAR/Temy R. Beal
P.O. Box 447
Ariton, Alabama 36311-0447

Thank you for your attention.


The most common definition these days seems to be the one used by the FFRF. I basically replace the word "religion" in their definition with the words "all areas." My definition of "freethinker" is:

"One who applies critical thinking and logic to ALL AREAS of human experience; rejects supernatural and authoritarian beliefs; values rational and scientific inquiry, individual freedom and responsibility, and recognizes the need for tolerance and cooperation."

   Why do I place such emphasis on this? Because during the past year I have discovered, to my surprise and disappointment, that some people who call themselves freethinkers, do not have a very "freethinking" attitude at all once the subject matter gets aways from church/state separation issues. I'm sure you all know there are some people who are so obsessed by their religious dogma that civil discussion and/or debate with them on the issue is impossible. One would think (I did) that those who call themselves freethinkers would be a little more open minded about things, at least be willing to listen to a different point of view and maybe debate the relative merits of the idea or opinion. Sadly, some alleged "freethinkers" are so bound by political and/or social dogmas that they are as impossible to reason with as the rabidly religious.


I seem to be just naturally a writer and editor (of what quality you may judge). After being the editor of a group newsletter for almost three years and it suddenly being discontinued, I felt the need to continue in some way - hence SOAR.
    Another reason is potential censorship (if I had made it only a web zine). Censorship. Simply put, I hate it with a passion. I do not believe that anyone should have the right to censor the content of any web site that is not their own creation. Period. Censorship is no less censorship if it is done by private business than if done by government. In my opinion, Tripod is the best place on the web to have a free site. But Tripod, like most other free site providers, is very much into censorship of the content of its members' sites. This shows that they value the almighty dollar and mob "herdthink" more than the First Amendment. For a while Tripod had something on its member login page that essentially said your site is YOURS - YOU own it. But that was an outright lie, because if my site is MINE and I OWN it then I should have no fear whatever that Tripod will delete the site because of content. This is one example of the dangers of the monetary system currently in place. There can be free and open exchange of ideas IF those ideas meet with the approval of the rich folk who control the medium. This is one major reason why I have chosen to make SOAR a print publication. So far, neither business nor government has found a way to completely control paper and ink.

What others have said about SOAR:
"...I meant to write earlier about SOAR, it's pretty fucking awesome. have some really, um, controversial topics that even freethinkers might find disturbing, but hey, I love 'em even though I don't fully agree. I just thought it was great that you could bring them up without worrying about popular opinion. have some kinda "out there" ideas, as far as I see it, but at least you have ideas! And well thought out I must add. Keep up the good work, I can't wait for this month's issue. ...I recently was banned from seeing a friend because her parents saw my page, and now think I'm evil. They barely even know me and already judge me - people can be such assholes!"
            Aaron Chapman - Garland, Texas

"I just received your excellent publication today. It's terrific! ... Here's my subscriber's fee and a donation to help in your success with this publication."
           Leland W. Ruble - Toledo, Ohio
[Leland publishes his own excellent FREE newsletter called Freethought Perspective. Write him at:
833 Orchard Street, Toledo, OH 43609-3359. -ed]

"Temy Beal is one of the truest freethinkers ever. I, the Christian, could not respect him more. With freethought at the base, as a conviction, theists and atheists can learn to live together harmoniously. It is a pleasure to have made his acquaintance. I hope to graduate to friend."
         G. Zeinelde Jordan - Marietta, Georgia

"G. Zeinelde Jordan has been winning friends and influencing people, and, well kinda sorta vice-versa with 'Birth and Death of an Atheist.' As expected, SOAR publisher Temy Beal received complaints for printing it in its six-page entirety (beginning on the front page). One Jordan foe wrote, 'How come Mr. Jordan gets front page and so many pages? Hey, I'd give my eye teeth for that!!' Jordan has been assured of space to respond in SOAR to the over 12 columns of reponses to 'Birth and Death of an Atheist.' Beal stuck to 'both barrels' of his guns, pointing them not only at Jordan's article but at his readers; to ensure his freethought newsletter will encompass all positions, he started 'Ye Olde Debate Pages,' inviting comments from both sides."
[from: The Literary Round Table Museletter, (Vol. 12, No. 11, Nov. '99) Jordan is the editor of the LRT Museletter. -ed]

Temy, I don't know how you do it, but SOAR remains lively throughout and a pure pleasure to read. I esp. like your honest commentary on whatever strikes your eye, so always include that, even just a sort of running record of what is going on, how you see events unfolding, etc. You are a "natural" writer, though I also know you have worked at it, and have developed your craft well.
On Sunday I debated a famous Creationist, Dr. Duane Gish, at a big Southern Baptist church in Johnson County. The topic: Creationism vs. Evolution. 900 attended, 875 of them Creationists. Quite an experience. Weirdly enough, the church people had contacted scientists at KU, MU, etc., and no one would accept the challenge, which of course would have given the field to Gish. Once more, Kansas Citizens for Science (so called) failed to meet its opponents, and chose to hide out. I took it up, even though I am "not a scientist" because surely the contest of ideas is always worth making.
Later, I'll write up a longer report about it, but I should say at once that all the staff and members of the congregation were very polite, and cordial. And they were attentive for a solid three hours (try to get that from college or even med school students!). Gish is known for his Biblical literalism, but I countered that by showing slides at length of the many fossils found in the chalk beds of western Kansas, which as one historian has put it, confirmed and supported the theory of evolution within ten years of its first publication. Gish, who grew up in White City, Kansas, acknowledged that he had learned much about science in Kansas from my talk. So I think "our side" did well enough....
[Dr. Fred Whitehead - Kansas City, KS]

Soar, for there are no ceilings on our thoughts.
The fear and guilt they taught us as small tots.
Once crusted over, hard as any scab,
Held tight against the demons' constant jab.
But, I broke through the hardened scab one day.
The tight bonds of religion dropped away.
At last the joys of reason flooded in,
No more a need for salvation from sin.
The sin was just not knowing how to think.
My head would hit the cap so thoughts would sink.
I soar and they can never stop me now.
This atheist they don't want anyhow!
Dorothy B. Thompson - Bandon, Oregon

"SOAR is stimulating and enjoyable reading. I still think that your prices are too low. Actually I disagree with quite a lot of the opinions you express, but that is good because I learn more and am stimulated more by opinions with which I disagree."
            Bob Truett - Vandiver, Alabama
[Get info on The Natural Way. -ed.]

"Great publication. Glad I subscribed. Please send #1 and #2 before the religious deluge at Thanksgiving begins."
            Barry C. Kaplusnik - Brooklyn, NY

"Dear Temy, Just finished reading 4th issue of SOAR. Very good. Glad to see you are hard at work. Keep up the excellent work. Enclosed is a check for $500 to cover subscriptions for 5 years, cost of 3 back issues, plus a kickoff donation."

"Dear Mr Beal, Spectacular magazine! You will not find such courage and honesty in the yellow press! Finally an editor with intellect! Your views mirror mine, and many others', exactly. "The Sexual Need of Pubescent Males" was particularly important I thought. The main point certainly rings true in my own experience, however I think the speculation on homosexuality was a little irrelevant. Desmond Morris in his book The Human Zoo identifies imprinting as important to sexuality. Freedom of choice is the imperative in all things. Legalized prostitution would be a great choice to have. Relief, what a marvelous choice! Keep up the good work! ...You are a rebel without a pause, my friend! Onward toward Revolution,
Jason Wimpey - Rome, GA My site.

SOAR Goes on Indefinite Hiatus!!!

Dear SOAR subscribers and other friends:
As many of you know, my personal financial situation has been deteriorating steadily for some time. (When you have to choose whether to pay your bankruptcy payment or your power bill – something has to give.) I have been extremely loathe to make any serious attempt at getting a minimum wage job, since the benefits are barely worth the effort at best. I did register (yet again) with the Alabama State Employment Service in May and, so far, they have maintained their 22-year record (with me at least) of taking no discernable actions to get me a job, which makes me seriously question just what the hell the “Service” part of their name is supposed to mean.

I tried to get back into the JTPA (Job Training Partnership Act) program that I went through in 1987, which resulted in my getting a job as a trucker. Briefly, the history of that is as follows:
After about 7 months I was involved in an accident in which two children were killed. The accident was not at all my fault, but that was of no consequence to the crooked judge who was up for re-election and wanted it on his record that he “helped get those killer truckers off the road.” He convicted me of two counts of vehicular homicide and I had to pay a 2,000 dollar fine. He got me off the road alright, and with that on my record I was uninsurable and thus unhirable by any trucking company. The result has been 12 years of poverty. (Perhaps you can glimpse my opinion of our “legal system” from this.)

The people at the alleged Employment Service told me that now my household income was over the official poverty line by a few dollars, which made me ineligible to get into the JTPA program again. Yeah, right, I’m too rich!

Very unexpectedly though, a potential opportunity has arisen whereby I might be able to get back on the road as a truck driver. (One doesn’t simply walk in off the street and get hired as a truck driver.) This is the only job I have any reasonable chance of getting that will pay a decent wage. Potential earnings are between 30 and 50 thousand a year which, to me, is big bucks since Philis and I have been surviving (barely) on her disability check for a dozen years now. Today, June 30, I learned that I have been accepted to go to a 2-week truck driver training course at Franklin College in Decatur, Alabama (at the north end of the state, near Huntsville – about 250 miles from me). Being “accepted” means that they have agreed to extend to me six thousand dollars of credit, which is the price of this course. It is an absurd price, but it appears to be my only option at this point. Franklin assures me that they will work to get me hired upon my completion of the course (and it’s certainly in their best interest to do so since there’s flatly no way I could ever repay the money without one).

There are no guarantees though. IF my driving record is clean (I think it is) and IF I pass their physical which will be given at some point during the first 3 or 4 days of the course (will my blood sugar or blood pressure be too high?), and IF I successfully complete the course (I can do that I’m sure), I MIGHT get a job with a trucking company. I’m told there are a few companies (such as Burlington) that will pay the entire tuition if I agree to drive for them for a year and a day after the course. We’ll see how that works out. Meanwhile I must clear the various hurdles that have been set for me to jump. Franklin will pay for my motel during the course (you’d think they’d put me up in the Ritz for 6 grand!) but I must get my own food. I was down to a single pair of decent pants to wear, so I took a leap of faith that would make the most devout Christian proud, and spent several hundred dollars I can’t afford AT ALL on some clothes and getting the car’s brakes fixed so I could get there. I wasn’t about to go up there on a bus, even with Franklin buying the ticket – I simply MUST have my own wheels when I’m that far from home. I will have to live in a room for 2 weeks (assuming I last the whole time) with some guy I’ve never met. This will be quite difficult for me but I’ll manage.

So what does all this mean to you? It means that SOAR is going on indefinite hiatus. I say specifically hiatus, because I don’t intend that this be the end of SOAR. My idea is that, if I do manage to get back on the road, I can then afford to get myself a laptop computer and some other aids and produce a kind of rolling SOAR, perhaps interspersed with incidents encountered along the highways of America. (If I do get on the road, I may be coming to a town near you!) Having some money and equipment could mean SOAR might be bigger and better than ever. There will probably not be a July issue. Until SOAR resumes publication, everyone’s subscription will be adjusted accordingly. I have only 2 working days, Saturday and Monday, in which to prepare for this little excursion. I must leave home early on Tuesday the Fourth to get to the motel in Decatur, forage for food, and try to get some sleep and be ready for the first day of training on Wednesday the fifth. There will be 14 straight days of 7AM to 6PM truck stuff. By the end of the month I should have a good idea whether I have succeeded in getting a job or whether I have succeeded only in acquiring another large debt I cannot pay. Is this course a ladder of opportunity leading out of the pit of poverty, or is it an inverse ladder leading only to a deeper pit of the hell that is poverty? I cannot know until I attempt to climb it. We shall find out together. I won’t leave you hanging – I will send further dispatches as the saga unfolds. Meanwhile please refrain from sending me emails since my computer will be off for at least 2 weeks. If you wish to talk to Philis, you may call but please call only in the afternoon, since the morning is her best sleep time. Feel free to share this info with anyone who may ask.

Christians – pray for me; others – please wish me well; all – thanks for your understanding and patience.