Michael Newdow Wins Libel Case

Michael Newdow may have lost the Supreme Court case over “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, but Yahoo News (via Christianity Today) reports on a consolation prize: he’s just won a $1 million dollar libel suit against the Rev Austin Miles, although he does not expect to receive the cash:

In an Internet posting shortly after the federal appeals court ruling [favouring Newdow in 2002], Miles accused Newdow of perjury, saying he lied about his daughter suffering “emotional damage” and “a sense of being left out” for not reciting the pledge at school.

Newdow argued that he never said any such thing. Miles has also claimed that Newdow had undertaken frivolous lawsuits against WorldNetDaily and ASSIST News Service (which Miles contributes to), among many others, with the aim of persecuting Christians. Newdow is a qualified attorney, and Miles sought to use all these grounds to have him disbarred in California. Miles’ full complaint, filed in 2003, can be found here.

Miles also objected to Newdow on moral grounds. Writing in BushCountry.org, he tells us that:

Michael Newdow, the atheist whose persistence resulted in having the Pledge of Allegiance declared illegal shortly after the attacks on America on 9/11 (which made his actions even more outrageous), is a man who can count on support from the liberal establishment. One would be hard-pressed to witness a more traitorous action than that of this man who latched onto one of America’s greatest emergencies in order to bring attention to himself; giving comfort to the enemy in the process while dividing America (to the delight of the enemy) and harpooning the morale of a grieving and shocked country still digging for bodies of loved ones buried under the rubble of the World’s Trade Buildings and the Pentagon.

Miles also claims that Newdow runs Evolvefish, which contains a link to (weird grammar and square brackets in original)

the most shocking blasphemous website of all that Newdow is connected to, called: God’s ex boyfriend. The site is blatantly homosexual and explicit and the name of the ‘writer’ is Scott, which is possible [to be] one of the names that Newdow uses. And to suggest that God is homosexual and had a ‘boyfriend’ is, I believe, the unpardonable sin.

However, Evolvefish, which is based in Colorado, denies any official connection with Newdow, (although it supports him) and Miles offers no reason why he thinks Newdow is Scott, except that Newdow is a Bad Person. But a look at Scott’s website shows it to be an obviously unconnected blog by someone else who just happens to agree with Newdow. Miles, a 70 year old who has suffered two strokes, also makes much of Newdow supposedly persecuting an old man in ill health.

But who is Austin Miles? Several stories from the mid 1990s have been gathered by someone called Shy David here [UPDATE: Shy David has now contributed to the comments]. It appears Miles has clashed with the law in the past:

A former evangelical preacher has been convicted of violating a state law by publishing a sheriff deputy’s home address in his conservative Christian newsletter.

Prosecutors said the Rev. Austin Miles published the address of Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Deputy Charles Mould in The Connecting Link as a protest last year after county officials took over custody of a 6-year-old with leukemia.

Miles had also allegedly claimed that there exists an “alternative treatment for cancer including herb therapy which has been proved amazingly effective”.

Miles is a former clown and ringmaster, and is the source of a number of other claims, most recently that school children in California were being indoctrinated into Islam, a story Miles broke in ASSIST. He also tells us that Madalyn Murray O’Hair almost converted to Christianity before an unnamed evangelist she was impressed by fell from grace. Interestingly, for a while Miles was himself an atheist, having left the Assemblies of God and Jim Bakker’s entourage, and during this time he wrote an exposé, titled Don’t Call Me Brother. This book contains the following accusations, according to an advert:

Austin Miles opened the door on the steam room where Jim Bakker was cavorting – in the nude – with three other men.

Austin Miles watched the development of Jim Bakker’s violent mood swings and saw the chilling possibility that Jim Bakker could have become another Jim Jones.

Austin Miles was there when Jim Bakker started a fist fight with his producer over the favors of the current Miss America.

However, another Christian has taken issue with Miles’s book:

Miles does spend a great deal of time describing how the Assemblies of God church ruined his life, his health, his finances, and so on, supposedly with some help from the FBI. Yes, the FBI. I must admit that I do find much of what I read in his tell-all hard to believe. After all, it seems odd that Miles should have been privy to so many damaging and important conversations, been victimized by so many people, been at just the right (wrong?) place at just the wrong (right?) time so many times, peeking in doors, standing in hallways, just as this or that person does this or that thing that evokes a startling revelation…had we not known otherwise, we would have supposed that this was the biography of a Montana Freeman. But that’s what he’d have us swallow, and I’ll just have to accept it at face value. If I didn’t, he’d undoubtedly accuse me of being judgmental.

No doubt the same malign forces that have victimized Miles through the years will now be held responsible for Newdow’s legal victory against him.

UPDATE 1: Austin Miles has re-surfaced in relation to James Watt. See here.

UPDATE 2: The default judgement has been set aside. See here.

4 Responses

  1. I believe Miles subsequently repented of the harsh way he treated the AoG.
    Btw, thanks for this blog. I always enjoy the updates, and am impressed with the breadth and quality of research that goes into them.

    Are you getting a lot of hits from folk looking for info on Douglas Goodman, incidentally? I’m getting at least a few hits every day from searches on Goodman and his church.

  2. […] and an accusation of perjury (The article is gone, but a statement from ASSIST can be read here). As I noted on this blog last year, Miles also railed against Newdow at the now-defunct BushCountry.org and […]

  3. […] also been persecuted by the Assemblies of God, the FBI, and a deputy sheriff in California – see this entry). And in August 2003 WorldNetDaily reported: The atheist activist whose lawsuit last year targeting […]

  4. Greetings and merry Meet.

    Your web page mentions me and my ugly run-in with Rev. Austin Miles back in the year 1995. At that time I had been working on the “Satanic Hysteria” problem the USA was experiencing, as a researcher for the California Department of Justice (which later issued a report on the issue, which I have on my web site). I collided with Rev. Miles after he posted his opinion, stated as a matter of fact, that the California DoJ was hiding the truth about what he perceived to be a massive Satanic conspiracy in the USA.

    To research Rev. Miles I read his book “Don’t Call me Brother.” I then wrote a letter to him. He replied by sending a copy of his first “The Connecting Link” newsletter. I wrote to him requesting a subscription to his newsletter, including payment for the subscription fee. He was kind enough to grant that subscription; however, imagine my surprise and anger when his second newsletter libeled and defamed me, and misrepresented what I had written to him! I sent a second letter demanding a correction and an apology.

    Rather than Rev. Miles setting the record straight and repenting of his falsehoods against me, he not only repeated the falsehoods but added several more lies and mis-quotes he presented as being written by me in his third newsletter. My ire was piqued so I sent yet another letter demanding retractions of the falsehoods presented as being written by me, and apologies. His “reply” was to merely defame me yet again in his fourth newsletter.

    At issue was Rev. Miles falsehoods concerning the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s proposed guidelines regarding religion in the work environment. Those guidelines clearly and emphatically insisted that every employee in the United States has the right to religious expression and practice and that no employer has the right to inhibit or prevent that right. However, Rev. Miles chose to ignore what the EEOC’s written policy actually stated and instead presented the policy, to his newsletter readers, as diametrically and radically opposite what the policy actually stated. Rev. Miles insisted that the EEOC was mandating that (I paraphrase: I no longer have a copy of the newsletter) “mentioning the lord Jesus in the workplace [will be / now is] against the law.”

    By no possible stretch of the imagination could the EEOC’s guidelines be misconstrued to state what Rev. Miles insisted it stated. It was therefore my opinion that Rev. Miles deliberately lied to deceive his newsletter readers. Subsequent letters I sent to Rev. Miles (none of which he replied to) ended up being falsely and deceptively mis-quoted in his newsletter, which confirmed to my mind the fact that Rev. Miles was a deliberate and wanton liar.

    Rev. Miles held a newsletter contest in which he offered a quote from a “famous American” and the readers were to guess or research who that person was: the first person with the correct answer was to receive a free year’s subscription to his newsletter. I telephoned his office and told them who that person was, and I also sent a letter with that information. Rev. Miles agreed that I was the first with the correct answer, and he sent one free issue of his newsletter (instead of a full year of free issues).

    By the way, the quote from the “famous American” was also mis-quoted! What Rev. Miles presented as the valid quote was close enough to the actual quote for me to recognize the speaker. It seems Rev. Miles had a very difficult time honestly and correctly quoting people— World War Two combat generals as well as myself.

    That was ten years ago and I have not heard any news about or from Rev. Miles since then. I am very sorry to hear that he has apparently suffered one or two strokes; I am also sad to hear that he is apparently in very poor health. I am even more dismayed that he has learned nothing at all from his mistakes and that apparently he libeled and defamed yet another person— who sued him and won that tort.

    Mr. Miles apparently has very little time left on this Earth; it sorrows me to see that apparently he is spending that brief time in counter-productive ways.

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