"We all come into this world knowing nobody, and the purpose of our earthly existence is to make friends of as many people as possible. That is what I believe and why I started HateBusters." --Ed Chasteen, HateBusters Website.
Ed Celebrates 70th Birthday
Ed Chasteen - Criminal
Birth Control Plan
Ed moved to Kansas City in 1964 as a graduate student on a fellowship from the University of Missouri-Columbia, planning to study race relations in Kansas City, earn his Ph.D., and return to Texas. Instead, he fell in love with the people of William Jewell College and Liberty, Missouri. He joined the faculty of William Jewell College in 1965 and retired in 1995. He returned in the Spring of 2006 to teach a class called U.S. Pluralism. Liberty has been his home for over 40 years. Ed is married with three grown children.
In 1971, Ed made waves with his book, The Case for Compulsory Birth Control. He was a national board member of Zero Population Growth and a board member of Planned Parenthood of Greater Kansas City. Ed was frequently cited as a "bad guy" by pro-life conservatives. His proposed law for forced birth control was a lightening rod for them.
When he was a cultural anthropology teacher at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, he read in the paper that Louisiana had elected a Klansman to the legislature. He brought the issue to his Race Relations class, and out of the discussion HateBusters was formed. Founded in 1988, HateBusters is a 501 c3 non-profit organization with offices at Central Baptist Theological Seminary.
In 1995, Ed left teaching to promote HateBusters full time. In 1996, he was chosen as one of the community heroes to carry the Olympic torch as it passed through Kansas City. Currently, HateBusters promotes a number of programs and initiatives, but the focus remains on fostering respect for those of different backgrounds and in helping people to no longer hate themselves and others.
HateBusters responds to all calls to oppose hate acts and to train others in HateBusting. Early 2005 was an especially urgent case when the Aryan Nation announced they were moving their headquarters to Kansas City, right into HateBusters' backyard. HateBusters responded, along with many other local citizens, and together stopped the move. When Ed Chasteen learned that Aryan Nations was leaving, he sent an e-mail to HateBusters supporters, “Praise God,” he wrote. “We have been spared a national embarrassment. The nation will know that we love and care for one another.” Rather than cancel a protest rally he had scheduled, Ed transformed the gathering into a victory rally.
In 1981, Ed received terrible news: he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Ed was discouraged when the doctors said he could no longer be active. Then, "One day I had a crazy notion to ride a bicycle," Ed reports. "Doctors had recommended that I not do it because I wasn't supposed to get hot." He went against doctor's orders and began riding regularly. In 1989, he rode 5,126 miles in 105 days from Orlando to Seattle to Los Angeles. "I rode from Disney World to Disney Land," he said. "Having done it, I learned some things I would have never known." He rode alone and without money, depending on others for water, a sandwich, or a bed for the night. More than 500 people assisted him. The cities and towns where he received help were:
Florida: Orlando, Ocala, Bronson, Chiefland, Cross City
Georgia: Americus, Plains, Atlanta, Fayetteville, Cartersville, Calhoun, Dalton
Tennessee: Chattanooga, East Brainerd, McMinnville, Jasper, Monteagle, Tracy City, Hillsboro, Manchester, Murfreesboro, Nashville, Clarksville, Hopkinsville, Cadiz
Illinois: Metropolis, Anna
Missouri: Perryville, Festus, St. Louis, Marthasville, Hermann, Jefferson City, Syracuse, Knob Noster, Independence, Kansas City, Liberty
Nebraska: Lincoln, Grand Island, Kearney, Gothenburg, North Platte, Hershey, Bridgeport, Scottsbluff
Wyoming: Glenrock, Casper, Riverton, Wind River Reservation, Kinnan, Dubois, Togwotee Mountain Lodge, Coulter Bay, Grant Village, Yellowstone
Montana: Gardiner, Livingston, Bozeman, Three Forks, Whitehall, Butte, Deer Lodge, Missoula, Superior, The Ten Thousand Dollar Silver Bar
Idaho: Wallace, Kellog, Couer d'Alene
Washington: Spokane, Ritzville, Moses Lake, Ellensburg, Easton, Issaquah, Seattle, Olympia, Centralia, Kelso
Oregon: Portland, Gresham, Eugene, Roseburg, Azalea, Sunny Valley, Wolf Creek, Medford
California: Yreka, Mt. Shasta, Redding, Red Bluff, Willows, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, King City, San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Lompoc, Santa Barbara, Carpenteria, Santa Paula, Pasadena, Anaheim
Ed Chasteen is a bicycle enthusiast, and uses cycling as therapy for his MS. In 2003, at 68, he rode 10,000 miles to raise funds for MS and HateBusters. He began riding everyday to towns surrounding his home, but he decided he would like company on Saturdays, so he sent invitations for cyclists to ride with him, and they rode for the first time in November, 2003 as The Greater Liberty Riders. Ed sends weekly reminders of the five revolving Saturday destinations.
In November, 2004, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society named Ed Chasteen a 2004 MS Achievement Award winner, and in January, 2005, The Mid-America chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society presented its annual MS Achievement Award to Ed Chasteen, a 20-year veteran of the MS-150 Bicycle Tour in Kansas City, the bicycle ride conducted annually to raise money for research to combat the neurological disease of multiple sclerosis.
Hear Ed in an 8-07-03 radio interview.
See the Hate Busters Website
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Ed has written sixteen titles, mostly about HateBusters, MS, bicycling, and sociology. In January, 2006, at 70 years old, Ed released his newest book William Jewell College: My Camelot. Some of his books are out of print, but many are available at the HateBusters website.
William Jewell College: My Camelot, privately printed for William Jewell College, 2006
The Human Family Reunion, 1987
Counterpoint: Life beyond a Damnable Disease, Amity Books, 1986
Amity Papers: Essays on Race and Sex, 1985
Runner, Amity Books, 1980
The Ethnic Activities Center of Mid-America: Purpose and Program, 1979
1977 Kansas City Survey, 1978
How to Like People Who Are Not Like You, 1976
The Case for Compulsory Birth Control, Prentice-Hall, 1971
Mental health in the Community: A Follow-up Study of Former Mental Patients, 1967
Hey, Bicycle Rider—Don’t Worry about That Dumb Dog
Pedalin’ Pilgrim--Alone and without Money across America
A Fairy Tale—Phillip of Sapphire College and Those Who Could not Hate
Ridin’ Bikes and Bustin’ Hate—Stories to Warm Hearts and Make Heroes
Thinkin’ and Livin’ by Bicycle
HateBusters—Who We Are and What We Do
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In 2004, the silliest criminal drama played out on Chastain Central News. As bicycle enthusiasts, Ed Chasteen and his friends ride on Saturdays to restaurants in five neighboring towns. They breakfast at Mill Inn in Excelsior Springs, Catrick’s in Lawson, Fubbler’s Cove in Orrick, Rayville Baking Company in Rayville, and Sarah’s Table in Kearney.
One of Ed's stopping places for fourteen years was for biscuits and gravy at Catrick's in Lawson, Missouri. Hundreds of times he has ridden up to Catrick's front door, propped his bike against the wall, and stepped inside. In July, 2004, Ed stopped there once more, leaving his bike on the sidewalk as always, but this time was different. A Lawson police officer ticketed him for violating an old Lawson bike law. Lawson bans bicycles, whether ridden, pushed, or simply parked, within a three-block area on Pennsylvania Avenue in Lawson's downtown business area.
The problem of riding bikes to Catrick’s first came to light in May when a bunch of riders stopped there for the free lunch they were providing in support of the Greater Liberty Bike Ride for MS. A police officer stopped some riders that day and told them they couldn’t ride there. Ed went to the police station and talked to the officer. He then talked to the mayor and thought everything was cleared up.
Since May, Ed visited Catrick’s many times alone on his bike, and the Saturday morning riders returned several times. But when Ed arrived on September 4, 2004, twenty-five of the bike friends he was to meet were already turned away by police. Ed propped his bike along the wall by the door in its customary place. As he stepped inside, a nice-looking man in civilian clothes identified himself as Lawson's Chief of Police and asked Ed to step outside. He pointed to Ed's bike and said, "You can't ride that here. You will have to move it."
"I've been coming here for years," Ed replied. "I've always put my bike here."
"There's a city ordinance prohibiting bikes on Pennsylvania between Third and Fifth Streets," he said.
"Bicycles have the same rights to public streets as cars," responded Ed.
"The mayor told you if you would call ahead when your group wants to come, we would rope off a spot for your bikes up the street."
"When those who drive cars call to let you know they're coming, then bike riders will, too," said Ed.
"Move your bike," he ordered.
"I have Multiple Sclerosis," Ed replied. "This bicycle is my wheelchair. I can't move it. I'm going inside to talk to my friends."
A uniformed policeman appeared shortly and they stepped outside to the bike. The chief asks Ed again to move his bike, and Ed said No. "Write him a ticket," the chief told the officer.
Ed's court date was set for October 4, 2004. Ed invited cyclists to join him and pack the court in support of cycling. Ed promised to go to court on October 4, but refused to pay any fine. If jailed for refusal, he planned compose Letters from Lawson Jail. Instead, the Lawson city prosecutor did not want to prosecute the ticket. So, the city of Lawson fired him and hired a new city prosecutor. Ed's case was re-scheduled for court on Monday, January 3.
The hard-line approach of the city of Lawson against Ed in this trivial matter gained quite a bit of coverage and comment in blogs and news stories. Other town officials weighed in against Lawson's action. A variety of cycling organizations saw it as a larger anti-cycling issue as well.
Ed Chasteen's main problem was in having an antiquated law enforced against him after fourteen years of it being ignored. He stated, "I first rode my bicycle up Pennsylvania Avenue in the summer of 1990. If I had been stopped by the police on this ride and told that I was doing something illegal, I would not have done it again. If I had been told at anytime over the next few months, I would have stopped and made no complaint. But when after 14 years I was told, my sense of justice was offended...When law is enforced arbitrarily, it ceases to be law and becomes a tool used by those in authority to maintain their power."
Besides that, however, was the nature of the law itself. The code read:
SECTION 225.020: BICYCLE REGULATIONS
A. That no person shall be permitted to push or ride a bicycle on the sidewalks or streets of Pennsylvania Avenue from fifth Street to the Santa Fe railway tracks.
B. That any bicycles on the streets after the street lights are turned on in the evening, must be equipped with lights.
C. That any parent found guilty of permitting any of the provisions of this Section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be fined an amount not less than one dollar ($1.00) nor more than one hundred dollars ($100.00). Ord. No. KK169—3,7-7-70
The old law does not seem to apply to Ed's case or to his cycling friends, but to children and their parents. There are no longer any railway tracks crossing Pennsylvania Avenue, so it is impossible to know where bicycles are prohibited. And the penalty is that the parent of the offending party be fined. This last item created some question as to whether Ed's 91-year old mother in Corpus Christi, Texas would pay the $75.00 fine and court costs for which she was liable.
On January 3, 2005, Ed's friends and supporters packed the courtroom. Representatives from the Greater Kansas City Bicycle Federation and the Missouri Bicycle Federation were there. Lawson's Mayor George Green, Police Chief Norm Hemmerling, and the officer who wrote Ed Chasteen's ticket all testified against Ed. Ed's attorney, Jerome Patience, argued that the wording of the no bicycle law is unconstitutionally vague, the law includes an inappropriate penalty designed for parents of children, and the law violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Ed Chasteen was found guilty. Though Ed was very opposed to paying the fine, some of his friends in Lawson were being verbally abused because he protested the arbitrary application of law. Therefore, Ed announced, "I have decided to pay the $97.50. I will not in the near future ride to Lawson. More friendly places beckon. What the mayor and the police chief have won I'm not sure. But they did win. My hat's off to them."
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Posted by EWTN.
EDGAR CHASTEEN'S PROPOSED COMPULSORY FAMILY PLANNING MEASURES
PUBLIC LAW NUMBER _____:
REVERSIBLE FERTILITY IMMUNIZATION
As of January 1, 1975, it shall be unlawful for any American family to give birth to more than two children. Any family already having two or more natural children on that date shall not be allowed to give birth to another. Toward this end, it is hereby lawfully determined that all Americans above the age of 10 years will, at least one year prior to the aforementioned date, present himself/herself for reversible immunization against fertility at a local county health department or physician's office. An official "Certificate of Immunization" shall be issued to and in the name of each citizen so treated. Said certification shall be signed by the authorized medical practitioner who administers the immunization, and shall be entered into the official records of the county in which immunization occurred. After marriage, any citizen may present himself/herself at a local county health department or physician's office and obtain a fertility restorer. At the birth of the second child, immunity against fertility shall be readministered to both parents. If the first birth shall be multiple, no other births shall be permitted to that mother, and both parents shall thereupon be re-immunized.
Reference: Edgar R. Chasteen. The Case for Compulsory Birth Control. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1971.