Anti-Catholic Book Makes the Rounds

ALEXANDRIA — During the summer months, Catholics in the Diocese of Arlington may have found in their mail boxes a copy of "National Sunday Law" by A. Jan Marcussen. Those who read past the first few pages were probably shocked to find a stream of accusations and insults against the Catholic Church. Paula Kougeas, a member of St. Rita Parish in Alexandria, alerted the HERALD of the mass mailing. She was appalled at what she called "94 pages of anti-Catholic rhetoric — it was offensive and scary." The book labels the Church and the papacy as the "beast" described in the Book of Revelation. The main focus of the book seems to be to prove that the Catholic Church, inspired by Satan, instituted Sunday as a day of worship in violation of the real Sabbath, which the author says is Saturday. Marcussen writes, "Sunday worship is the mark of the papacy’s authority. … Sunday worship is the mark of the beast!" Sally Harmony, a member of the pastoral team at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Alexandria, read the book after it arrived at the church. She was curious about the title and as she read she realized that "basically the papacy was being identified as the devil." She found it quite deliberate that the book seems to engage the reader before the subject matter is clear. "It took a little digging — it was cleverly written that way," said Harmony. "It was inflammatory and erroneous, but you had to read it to find that out." Published by Amazing Truth Publications in Thompsonville, Ill., the books arrive at homes and churches addressed to "resident." The inside leaf of the book says the book is in its 73rd printing with 14.9 million in print. The book has no visible return address on the outside cover and cannot be "returned to sender" at the cost of the sender. According to United States Postal Regulations, it is considered junk mail and will be thrown away. Marcussen, pastor of a Seventh Day Adventist Church in Thompsonville, has authored several other books and has produced a series entitled "Charismatic Catholic Attack on the Church" and "Roman Catholic Attack on the Church." The receptionists who answered the phone at Marcussen’s office told the HERALD that the book is privately funded and immediately insisted that the pastor is a "very trustworthy man." Dr. John Giz, director of public affairs and religious liberty at the North American Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, was adamant that Marcussen is in no way connected to the recognized Seventh Day Adventist church. He called the book and its author "extreme" and said that he does not represent Seventh Day Adventists. "We cannot support this man," said Giz. "We believe in prophecy, but we also believe in honesty and fact and not just repeating a dramatic scenario. Honesty is very important in our work and we cannot accuse people of things they did not do." Giz referred to the importance of maintaining a good relationship with Catholics. The book is strikingly reminiscent of full-page ads which have appeared in such papers as USA Today on Aug. 10, and The Washington Times last summer. The multi-thousand dollar ads were sponsored by the Eternal Gospel Church of West Palm Beach in Florida. The ad that appeared in The Washington Times advertised free copies of National Sunday Law at an upcoming conference in Washington. There is currently a legal dispute between the North American conference of Seventh Day Adventists, based in Silver Spring, Md., and the Florida church, which sponsored the ads. The Maryland-based group claims no affiliation with the Florida group and would like to see them cease using the name Seventh Day Adventist. Marcussen can be reached at P.O. Box 68, Thompsonville, Ill., or telephone: 618/627-2357.

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