Created by: Robert Heinlein reinterpreted by Garry Stahl for Star Trek

Appearance: None as of yet.

Number of Members: Over 10,000,000 claimed at the height of the Church. Real figures are believed to be much lower.

Nature of Members: Human, and mostly Anglo-Americans.

Organization: Hierarchical holy class system

Game Role: Real tin plated bastards. The face of religion intolerant.

World Role: A violent reaction to violent times.

Relative Influence: In their time major. Far out of proportion to their real numbers.

Public or Secret?: Public, and secret.

Publicly Stated Goal: Salvation and happiness for all believers.

Real Goal, if different: Power and influence for the Church leaders.

Relative Wealth: Major.

Group advantages: Numbers and a willingness to use violence to pursue their agenda.

Special Abilities: Hey, a direct line to Ghodd!

Group disadvantages: A willingness to use violence made sure that everyone they kicked on the way up, took a swipe on their way down.

Special disadvantages: An inflexible belief that they were right!

Those who favor them: Ghodd, and themselves. Politicians willing to sell their souls, and the Fosterites were always buying.

Those opposed to them: Anyone in the path of their boot heels and truncheons.

Area of Operation: Earth in the old United States

Headquarters Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Public Face: Religion intolerant, and don't you forget it.

Notable Members:

  • Prophet Joesph Foster:     First Prophet and founder of the religion. Foster was a tireless salesman and huckster that only stole from the best, but was always careful to file the serial numbers off. He was called to Heaven just as the money really started rolling in.
  • Prophet Ezekiel Short:     Short took up the reigns and guided the Church of the New Revelation through its best years. He nearly had the Man from Ares in the bag when Ghodd gave him the honor of direct transfiguration into Heaven.
  • Prophet Jedidiah Bailey:     A blunt man that lacked the vision of Foster or the diplomacy of Short, Bailey was the author of the disastrous Grokite riot and the PR fallout that resulted. Unlike his predecessors, Bailey left this world by his own hand, and a bullet bought from sinners.

History of the Organization: It was shortly after the AI War that Reverend Joesph Foster received the Holy Word. A new revelation for a new age. It looked like good old fashioned social-capitalism with a sugar coating of dust-stomping southern preaching, a pinch of stern Mormon morals, a dash of Carnie atmosphere with a firm handshake to Madison Avenue, and a plain and evident appeal to the old saw of Us and Them. To survive the coming tribulation, the good people of Ghodd had to band together and cast off the sinner and his works, also his goods and services, and form a mighty fortress against evil and oppression. That would be those with any dissenting opinion or critics.

At the core of the deal was a two tiered plan of salvation. For the Seeker was the stern morals and holy word. For the Chosen was a near unlimited license to joy (however you defined it), as long as you stayed within the confines of the Church community. Seeker and Chosen alike were to buy only from each other, not to partake of the goods of sinners. Sinners could buy from them all they wanted to. Brand loyalty assured by Ghodd's word and power. To buy from sinners was to sin, and well, you didn't want that.

The second feature of the Fosterites was aggression. Bad press was not only not tolerated, it was attacked with fire and clubs. From the ranks of Seekers came the Soldiers of Ghodd who were willing to do mayhem to get that golden key to the Ranks of the Chosen and the license from Ghodd for happiness.

Lastly was that direct connection to Heaven above. Ghodd sent directives to the head of the Church, when he spoke, Ghodd spoke, and don't you doubt that son.

Ten years after the AI War the Fosterites had beat, bought, and wheedled, their way to a major force in Earth politics. They were always looking for some small and powerless group that they could point their soldiers at, preferably one that the general public would not care about. Had events gone according to their plan, they would have had a total theocracy by the Year 2120.

Things did not go according to plan. Two events stand out as the downfall of the Fosterites. First was the fact that the growing Earth Alliance did not see the aggressive and bullying Fosterites as having a place in New Earth they were creating. Fosterites behaved in exactly the way that the EA considered had started the whole problem in the first place. Them and Us was out of fashion, and so were Fosterites. Second was the Grokite riot in LA. Not so much the riot, but the fallout. Seen live on the worldwide datanet and repeated endlessly thereafter, the images of the Fosterites attacking the unresisting peaceful Grokites revolted the world audience. When the Fosterites attempted to pressure the Ane Truthteller to change her rendition of the events, the Earth Alliance had an ally willing to pepper the Fosterites with lawsuits.

The Earth Alliance seeing a good thing redoubled the efforts. Within five years the Fosterites were broke. Church property was seized, and Fosterites were out of business. Nor was it good business to be known as a Fosterite approved shop.

By the mid 22nd century the Fosterites were history. A small insular congratulation lasted for most of the century well out of the public eye. They eventuality died out. Their place in history is to be known as the last gasp of the bad side of religion. Into the 24th century they are mainly remembered for the mean spirited attack on a minor fringe sect that sealed their doom.

Heinlein gives a good report on the Fosterites including several things I left out here. In any case reading Stranger in a Strange Land has never hurt anyone.

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