North Texas Church of Freethough on CNN

The following is a transcript of the portions of the CNN story featuring The North Texas Church of Freethought. The story ran at least twice on CNN's worldwide network on October 9, 1997. Transcripts of two different 'teasers' are provided, as well as the transcript for the story itself, which ran as a complete package.

Promo on CNN's midday news hour, CNN Today (2:00 PM ET):

CNN Anchor Lou Waters: Atheists of the 90's rewrite the book on heaven and hell...

Scene: NTCOF Pastoral Director Tim Gorski, M.D. giving a sermon at the September 7, 1997 service of the North Texas Church of Freethought at the Wilson World Hotel in Irving, Texas. Church Member Debbie Stockton shown listening to the sermon at the front of a large group of Church Members seated for the Service.

NTCOF Pastoral Director Tim Gorski, M.D.: ...yet the Christians own Holy Bible says at Revelations 12:7 that 'There was war in heaven'. So unless the Bible is flat out wrong, it looks as if the closest thing to heaven on earth might just be some place like Bosnia!

Scene: Faith-based church goers crossing themselves.

Scene: NTCOF Executive Director Michael Sullivan and his wife, NTCOF Special Projects Director Marilyn Sullivan, juggling three beanbags in front of the NTCOF congregation at the September 7, 1997 Sunday Service.

Waters: CNN's Charles Zewe takes us to church with the atheists. Ahead on CNN Today.

Promo on CNN's prime time news hour, The World Today (10:00 PM ET):

CNN Anchor Leon Harris: ...and then coming up next, can an atheist perform an act of faith? Stay with us for a look at what atheists really believe.

Scene: Gorski speaking in front of the congregation. Scenes of the hotel room with the congregation listening on. Long shot of the hallway outside and a view into the hotel room.

CNN week-long special series, 'Acts of Faith,' installment for Thursday, October 9th, 1997

Video: Opening title sequence for the CNN series 'Acts Of Faith'.

CNN anchor Joie Chen: For tonight's report in our series on religion, 'Acts of Faith', we look at the people who profess NOT to believe, atheists. Here's CNN's Charles Zewe on the small but vocal professionals and family members who make up the modern face of atheism.

Scene: Protesters along a major thoroughfare in Washington DC are yelling out to the street and holding protest signs that say: 'Real Men Don't Pray,' 'Promise Keepers Cult Cult Cult,' 'American Atheists,' 'Matt. 6:5 Pray in Private,' 'Keep Government Secular,' 'Keep Gods out of Government,' and 'Real Men Don't Need God,' and 'No Prayer in Government'.

Unidentified street protester #1 (shouting): God is the tooth fairy, God is Santa Claus, Be good or God will get you.

CNN correspondent Charles Zewe: In your face, Godless, and proud of it.

Unidentified street protester #2: We don't need guidelines.

Unidentified group of protesters: Tax the Church! Tax the Church! Tax the Church!

Zewe: Although estimated to represent less than 1% of the US population, non-believers are mounting new efforts to win respectability for the 'A' word, atheism.

Scene: Faith-based church service with clergy speaking Latin and church members responding, a stained glass window, a guy kissing a book.

Zewe: For millions of Americans, church is scripture, hymns and rights, a belief in God and an afterlife.

Scene: NTCOF Directors Mike and Marilyn Sullivan are juggling in front of the congregation at the beginning of the Service. Shot of Church members holding the Church's Bulletin and program for the Service.

Zewe: At the North Texas Church of Freethought, where services begin with juggling, they believe none of that.

Scene: Sit-down interview shot with Mike Sullivan.

Sullivan: It's best to make the best of this world and do good while we're here and not to trivialize this life by pretending that there's a better one yet to come.

Scene: Gorski speaking in front of the congregation, long shot of the hallway outside of the service, guest speaker at the podium.

Zewe: No gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. Once a month, the ungodly gather at a hotel near the D/FW airport. There's a talk on avoiding funeral rip-offs and a sermon from Pastor Tim Gorski.

Gorski: And what is heaven like? Well it's perfect, we're told. Yet the Christian's own Holy Bible says at Revelations 12:7, that 'There was war in heaven.' So unless the Bible is flat out wrong, it looks as if the closest thing to heaven on earth might just be someplace like Bosnia!

Scene: Freethought Sunday School at NTCOF, being held across the hall at the Wilson World Hotel during the September Sunday Service. Two adults and several children are making ice cream using liquid nitrogen. Adults are handling the nitrogen and stirring the ice cream as the children look on. The bowl of ice cream is smoking like a witches' brew as its being stirred and the liquid nitrogen is being poured around it.

Adult #1: And so what is this stuff we're pouring in here again?

Child #1: Liquid nitrogen!

Zewe: Across the hall, their version of Sunday school.

Child #2: 200 degrees Celsius.

Adult #1: No, minus! (200 degrees Celsius)

Zewe: No Bible stories here. Instead, science. Kids make ice cream using liquid nitrogen.

Scene: Inside the Gorski residence. Kids are getting dressed for school and eating breakfast. NTCOF Youth Service Director Debbie Gorski is preparing rolls for breakfast and cleaning up the kids, Tim is serving breakfast.

Zewe: For Tim and Deborah Gorski, atheism is a way a life.

Gorski: We just believe that thinking is more important than believing.

Zewe: They're rearing five children with a simple creed that treats what some religions consider doctrine, as a fairy tale. Religiouss experts say the Gorski's are typical of a new breed of atheists who call themselves freethinkers, humanists, or secularists. As a group, they're well educated family types who define their own beliefs and who are...

Scene: Office of Lonnie Kleiver, Southern Methodist University.

Kleiver: ...much more passionately concerned about the moral and even the spiritual life but do not see morality or spirituality requiring belief in a personal creator God.

Story continues with short segments on a student atheist group at Texas A&M University and American Atheists in Austin, TX.