criticallythinking – Secular Policy Institute https://secularpolicyinstitute.net Tue, 23 Jan 2018 07:15:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 International Update: World Groups Call On Britain To Better Review Sharia Law https://secularpolicyinstitute.net/international-update-world-groups-call-on-britain-to-better-review-sharia-law/ Thu, 07 Jul 2016 13:27:27 +0000 https://secularpolicyinstitute.net/?p=5706 Groups from around the world are now calling on the British government to expand its independent review of the impact of Sharia law in governance. Specifically, concern has been raised over the rights of women and children, which most believe […]

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Groups from around the world are now calling on the British government to expand its independent review of the muslim-woman-aoe2impact of Sharia law in governance. Specifically, concern has been raised over the rights of women and children, which most believe are unfairly denigrated through the Sharia law process.┬áThe womenÔÇÖs rights campaigners are calling on the Home Secretary to establish a thorough and impartial judge-led human rights investigation, which will fully examine arbitration in family matters and whether violations of human rights are condoned or even promoted by Sharia bodies. Some examples are: women’s testimony being worth half that of a man’s, marital rape, and sexual violence and domestic abuse ┬áBroader issues such as the treatment of religious minorities including minority sects in Islam have also been highlighted.

Women’s rights and the rights of children and minorities have long been a subject of intense discussion as it applies to their unfair treatment under Sharia law. Now, as so many refugees enter the United Kingdom, the intersection religious tolerance and human rights have sparked new discussions over the balance needed to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected. Without a doubt, the events in the U.K. will spread like wildfire and impact Sharia law’s use around the world.

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Nonbinary Identity in Oregon https://secularpolicyinstitute.net/nonbinary-identity-in-oregon/ Wed, 15 Jun 2016 16:25:48 +0000 https://secularpolicyinstitute.net/?p=5681 In support of LGBTQ rights, Oregon has just legalized the new gender identity of nonbinary. This means that individuals in the state can now choose “neither” sex as an option. As a ruling, this case represents a landmark achievement for […]

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00xp-nonbinary_web1-articleLargeIn support of LGBTQ rights, Oregon has just legalized the new gender identity of nonbinary. This means that individuals in the state can now choose “neither” sex as an option.

As a ruling, this case represents a landmark achievement for the LGBTQ community, one that could have a ripple effect both here in the United States and around the world. It is the first such ruling of its kind known.

Individuals can petition the state, and through the process, receive a decision in less than two weeks’ time. Those at peace with their biology can now rest assured that their government will be as well – at least, for the time being, in Oregon.

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Recording of the SPI International Call — June 2, 2016 https://secularpolicyinstitute.net/recording-spi-international-call-june-2-2016/ Thu, 02 Jun 2016 00:53:41 +0000 https://secularpolicyinstitute.net/?p=5658 About the International Coalition Calls Every first Thursday of the month, the Secular Policy Institute holds an international coordinating call for its 300 members to discuss the future of the secular movement. Call for June 2, 2016 Here’s the latest […]

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About the International Coalition Calls

Conference-Call1Every first Thursday of the month, the Secular Policy Institute holds an international coordinating call for its 300 members to discuss the future of the secular movement.

Call for June 2, 2016

Here’s the latest recording of the Secular Policy Institute’s international coordinating call.

Agenda

SPI International Hot Spot of the Month ÔÇô Iran and Pakistan
Sign-on Letter content:

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20520

The Honorable Jeh Johnson
Secretary of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528

The Honorable León Rodríguez
Director
U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services
Washington, D.C. 20529

Dear Commissioner Grandi, Secretary Kerry, Secretary Jonson, and Director Rodriguez:

The Secular Policy Institute and Atheist Alliance International call on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United States to intervene and begin┬áasylum┬áproceedings for two individuals who face imminent risk to life and limb.┬áAn Iranian and a Pakistani expatriate whose countries of origin employ capital punishment for apostasy have been denied┬áasylum┬áin India and Malaysia. An overarching first principle of┬áasylum┬áand refugee policy is designed to protect those who face a fear of persecution for reasons for race, religion, nationality, participation in a social group, or political opinion. Where the network of international agreements and treaties is neither comprehensive nor consistent, the clear commitment from the majority of states, NGOÔÇÖs and Civil Society Actors is to aid the most vulnerable and those in the most imminent of danger.

The United Nations expresses a global consensus and sets global standards for human rights and refugee and asylum procedures. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights lay a clear standard for the inviolable freedoms of conscience and political agency. The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951) and its 1967 follow-up protocol establish a framework from which those unable to achieve the full recognitions and dignity of equal-personhood can receive the relief of temporary settlement or permanent repatriation. According to protocol, those seeking asylum must present a well-founded fear of persecution. There are known and reported incidents in both Iran and Pakistan of those put to death for expressing doubt in religious doctrine or text.

Article 259(c) of PakistanÔÇÖs Penal Code states that ÔÇ£[W]hoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.ÔÇØ The vagaries of what could be construed as ÔÇ£innuendoÔÇØ give license to persecution. Such strictures have listed Pakistan as a Tier 1 Country of Particular Concern for the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) (a designation carrying automatic calls for executive remedy). Iran is similarly listed as a USCIRF Tier 1-recommended state. In ÔÇ£Prisoners of BeliefÔÇØ (2014) the USCIRF has detailed specific incidents where individuals have been imprisoned or executed for the reasons why said expatriates have sought┬áasylum. The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain have published further reports of greater specificity of the persecution of Atheists and Humanists in these states.

We call on the High Commissioner of Refugees and the U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security to help find safe harbor for those refugees of conscience who face extended imprisonment or death itself.

Sincerely,

Edwina Rogers
Secular Policy Institute
401 Ninth St., NW, Suite 640
Washington, DC 20004
edwina@secularpolicyinstitute.net
(202) 430-1888

I ÔÇô┬áProject and Member Spotlight

  • V├®ronique┬áPluviose-Fenton
    • Last week, Representatives Bobby Scott (D-Va) and Joe Kennedy (D-Ma) introduced the Do No Harm Act, a bill that would amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, to ensure that RFRA is no longer used to undermine the civil rights, liberties, and health of third parties. Civil rights counsel for the House Education and the Workforce Committee will provide a briefing.
  • Jason Frye (dimanso@hotmail.com)
    • Frye will discuss recently distributed sign-on letters, which address issues such as controversial legislations in Tennessee and Louisiana.

II ÔÇô┬áSPI Overview
ÔùÅSPI Mission
The Secular Policy Institute (SPI) is a think tank organization of thought leaders, writers, scholars, and speakers with a shared mission to influence public opinion and promote a secular society. We believe governmental decisions and public policies should be based on available science and reason, and free of religion or religious preferences.
ÔùÅCommunity Action Network (www.CommunityActionNetwork.org)
ÔùÅParent Teacher Community Action Network (www.PTCan.org)
Community Action Network (CAN) promotes the development and application of science and reason in an ongoing quest for secular solutions to local problems. As an inclusive, affirming, and action-oriented initiative, CAN seeks to promote rational relationships and effective community building in support of collective problem solving and the ongoing advancement and enjoyment of a more just and reasoned world.
ÔùÅPTCAN Mission Statement
ÔùÅPTCAN Bylaws
ÔùÅPTCAN Charter
ÔùÅPTCAN Gives to Get School Support

ÔùÅWorld Future Guide 2016
The World Future Guide collects the public policy recommendations and findings on demographic trends from the foremost fellows at the Secular Policy Institute. Leading thinkers give research and opinion on law, education, and healthcare, practical advice on defense and surveillance technology, the big picture trends on the interplay between secular government and religion, and more. And we give you the scoop: even a peek into the finances of the Islamic State!

Our ten articles are written by fellows from seven countries representing diverse points of view.  Yet each is committed to a rational, evidence-based analysis of a timely topic that can inform effective public policy.  The first in a series of Guides, the World Future Guide 2016 provides critical secular insights into timely topics of international import in the hopes of guiding more informed public opinion and policy-making in our increasingly secular world.

ÔùÅSecular Resource Guide
ÔùÅUS Policy Guide
ÔùÅRecruit National and Regional Leaders
ÔùÅInternational Hotspots in Need

III ÔÇô┬áFellowsÔÇÖ Corner
(Madeline Schussel, Policy Director, madeline@secularpolicyinstitute.net)

SPI would like to welcome Peter Karl (PK) Jonason as our newest Fellow. Jonason is a faculty member at Western Sydney University in the greater metropolitan area of Sydney, Australia. He is a social-personality psychologist who uses evolutionary, primatological, and behavioral economic models to conduct research on (1) sex differences, (2) the dark side of human nature, (3) sexual and romantic relationships, and (4) sexuality. Please read more about his background and research interests here.

Elizabeth F. Loftus, Professor of Law, Psychology and Social Behavior at UC Irvine, will receive the 2016 Isaac Asimov Science Award from the American Humanist Association.

In the study ÔÇ£Increased Affluence Explains the Emergence of Ascetic wisdoms and Moralizing ReligionsÔÇØ, Ian Morris and three other researchers explore the correlation between the rise of moralizing religions, with economic development and political complexities.

Michael Semple wrote an opinion piece about the challenges facing the newly appointed Afghan Taliban leader, Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada.

Daily News Clips Now Available (Follow this link to register)

IV ÔÇô┬áCoalitions & Resources
(Johnny Monsarrat, Alliance Director, johnny@secularpolicyinstitute.net)

ÔùÅWorld SPI Calendar┬áÔÇô Upcoming Major Conferences
ÔùÅVolunteers & Interns ÔÇô SPI Volunteers/Interns Recruitment
ÔùÅCoalition Update
ÔùÅNewsletter ÔÇô weekly, please sign up. (Subscribe to newsletter)
ÔùÅSecular Leaders League
You do a lot through the SPI coalition in 2015. See our report! (2015 report)
Now weÔÇÖve launched two Secular Leaders email chat lists: the┬áUS Secular Leaders League┬á(secular-leaders-usa@googlegroups.com) and the┬áGlobal Secular Leaders League┬á(secular-leaders@googlegroups.com). The purpose of these groups is to:

  • Trade group emails on the secular movementÔÇÖs future;
  • Plan a global ÔÇ£business plan competitionÔÇØ to coach secular leaders;
  • Host a donor conference where plans get presented judged, and funded, and;
  • Fund winners through a ÔÇ£Secular Donor Advice FundÔÇØ for investment firms like Fidelity

Coordinating makes us stronger. Please contribute your needs and ideas!  Please join via the Google group email invitation you received. You may leave at any time.

Thank you! With you, weÔÇÖre going to change the world in 2016.

Resources:
ÔùÅWorld Future Guide
ÔùÅAbuse in American Faith Based Initiative System
ÔùÅUS Secular Policy Guide
ÔùÅSecular Resource Guide
ÔùÅReligiousness by Country
ÔùÅReligiousness by US State
ÔùÅBack Office Support
ÔùÅHelp secure Volunteers and Interns
ÔùÅHelp Draft Press Releases
ÔùÅAccess to Press Database
ÔùÅBrochures
ÔùÅWebsite Design
ÔùÅSecular Directory

V ÔÇô┬áPublic Policy Update

  • TennesseeÔÇÖs Unethical Barriers in Seeking Mental Healthcare
  • TennesseeÔÇÖs recent passing of legislation that allows mental health counselors and therapists to refuse to treat patients based on religious objection or personal beliefs has garnered strong reactions from the public. Critics say it could result in discrimination against individuals seeking counseling, such as LGBT people. For what the ACLU calls unethical barriers to accessing care for almost unlimited reasons, the law would also permit those with ÔÇ£sincerely held religious beliefsÔÇØ against warfare the ability to refuse service to PTSD-suffering veterans. The American Counseling Association also called the legislation an ÔÇ£unprecedented attack on the counseling professionÔÇØ.
  • LouisianaÔÇÖs Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Order
  • In April, Louisiana Governor Edwards issued the Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Order, effectively terminating former Governor JindalÔÇÖs discriminatory ÔÇ£Religious FreedomÔÇØ order. The order takes a memorable step toward inclusivity, requiring everyone, including LGBT individuals, to receive equal access to state services and benefits.

Recent Letters:

ÔùÅ┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á Sign-on Letter: In Support of Transgender Rights

  • Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina has received much attention for his recently passed HB2 bill, which prevents transgender people from using public bathrooms designated for the gender with which the user identifies. His explanation for the bill, however, displays a fundamental misunderstanding of and prejudice towards the issue at hand. This law is oppressive to a marginalized group of people and stems from an antiquated and hurtful perspective. The United Kingdom has rebuked this action by issuing a travel advisory to the state of North Carolina.

ÔùÅ┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á Sign-on Letter: Texas Reproductive Rights

  • As the United States Supreme Court deliberates two cases involving reproductive freedom in Texas, the Secular Policy Institute regards this current term all the more important to remain committed to opposing faith-based resistance to reproductive rights. Texas, in particular, has been at the center of the intersection between religion and womenÔÇÖs reproductive rights. A growing public health concern, we continue to advocate for female empowerment by means of providing sex and birth control education.

Checking in on the UN:

Upcoming Events:
ÔùÅReason Rally┬áJune 4, Washington, DC
ÔùÅAtheist Pride Day┬áJune 6, All Over
ÔùÅBritish Humanist Association Annual Conference┬áJune 10-12, Birmingham, UK
ÔùÅReason for Change┬áJune 11-15, Buffalo, NY
ÔùÅWorld Humanist Day┬áJune 21, All Over
ÔùÅUnitarian Universalist General Assembly┬áJune 22-26, Columbus, OH
ÔùÅSecular Student Alliance Annual Conference July 8-10, Columbus, OH
ÔùÅInternational Conference on Critical Thinking and Educational Reform July 25-29, CA

Monthly Conference Call Schedule:
First Thursday of Every Month at Noon Eastern Standard Time (GMT -4): July 7; September 1; October 6; November 3 (No conference call in August and December)

SPI Staff:
Edwina Rogers - edwina@secularpolicyinstitute.net
Madeline Schussel - madeline@secularpolicyinstitute.net
Johnny Monsarrat - johnny@secularpolicyinstitute.net

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Trump: Why Do So Many People Like Him? https://secularpolicyinstitute.net/5649-2/ Wed, 01 Jun 2016 14:54:39 +0000 https://secularpolicyinstitute.net/?p=5649 Can the Dunning-Kruger Effect explain why so many people love Donald Trump’s rhetoric? As it turns out, very few people are actually aware of the cracks in their own expertise. Believing themselves to be the authority on virtually everything, when […]

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trump-iowaCan the Dunning-Kruger Effect explain why so many people love Donald Trump’s rhetoric?

As it turns out, very few people are actually aware of the cracks in their own expertise. Believing themselves to be the authority on virtually everything, when any new information is received, they instantly attach their own meaning to the new so-called “facts”.

In the case of Trump, whenever he gives political soundbites to individuals without educational backgrounds, those individuals receive that information as fact itself, simply because it has come from someone who represents “authority”.

Donald Trump, to a person struggling to make ends meet, represents authority, because he has made a great deal of money. He represents the type of person that most of his supporters would like to one day be. To this end, it is in their best interest to support him and swallow his information part and parcel. However, if their perspectives were broadened through education and other worldly experience, they may have a very different view on what represents their best interest.

All of this and more can be found in this recent article. Enjoy, and think better about the elections!

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Science Report: Can We Transcend The Human Condition? https://secularpolicyinstitute.net/science-report-can-we-transcend-the-human-condition/ Tue, 24 May 2016 15:04:59 +0000 https://secularpolicyinstitute.net/?p=5641 This author thinks so, and lists a number of outstanding new technological innovations that more than prove the case. Transhumanism is the idea that human beings can and should transcend the limitations of the human body and mind. Obviously, such […]

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transhuman1This author thinks so, and lists a number of outstanding new technological innovations that more than prove the case.

Transhumanism is the idea that human beings can and should transcend the limitations of the human body and mind. Obviously, such notions fly in the face of standard religious notions about the role of humanity in theological hierarchical structures. However, as the pace of innovation moves forward at an ever-increasing rate, even our most ardently conservative leaders have come to judge the merits of the work itself as much more critical to the evolution of our species than the means themselves.

New technologies like CRISPR gene editing have shown the incredible possibility of actually reducing human aging and its effects in real-time. Beyond even CRISPR, researchers at Harvard have begun exploring the possibility of synthesizing the human genome itself, creating new lifeforms of our own design.

Even more exciting technologies are in he works. Recently, a dancer and artist added a chip inside of her own arm that enables her to feel the seismic vibrations of every earthquake in the world – an experience that she transmits into her art.

The next phase of human evolution is beginning – and it starts with the revolution of the mind from religious structures first and foremost.1

 

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Do Higher Fees Make Good Schools Better? https://secularpolicyinstitute.net/do-higher-fees-make-good-schools-better/ Wed, 18 May 2016 14:32:43 +0000 https://secularpolicyinstitute.net/?p=5632 SPI Fellow A.C. Grayling thinks so. In a recent article for The Guardian, Grayling supposes that innovation at the U.K.’s top schools will lead to further opportunities for greatness for the academies. Based off of the notion that incentivizing the […]

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SPI Fellow A.C. Grayling thinks so.

In a recent article for The Guardian, Grayling supposes that innovation at the U.K.’s top schools will lead to further opportunities for greatness for the academies. Based off of the notion that incentivizing the good will only make it better, he argues that higher fee caps at schools with the greatest levels of excellence will only increase their educational value to students.

Grayling believes that the U.K. governments current plans for addressing insufficient services to disadvantaged communities would not be affected by this move, and encourages the government to continue its bold steps forward in both areas, for the overall growth of the educational opportunities the nation offers its citizens and the world.

Read more here.

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Why Are World Religions Losing Their Members? https://secularpolicyinstitute.net/why-are-world-religions-losing-their-members/ Wed, 11 May 2016 21:02:16 +0000 https://secularpolicyinstitute.net/?p=5628 In this week’s original content, we profile SPI Fellow Ian Morris as he and his team of researchers examine the dropping rates of participation in religion throughout the world, and the factors that may be causing it. Ian and his […]

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download (2)In this week’s original content, we profile SPI Fellow Ian Morris as he and his team of researchers examine the dropping rates of participation in religion throughout the world, and the factors that may be causing it.

Ian and his fellow researchers theorize that there is a direct correlation between the rise of moralizing religions and increased economic development, population sizes, and political complexities in ancient cultures. However, in our modern day, this same theory supposes that the increase of affluence has resulted in the decrease of religious participation.

Moralizing was brought to bear by wealthier upper classes against the poor, keeping their pace of work, sexual reproduction, and other actions in line to a specific and controlled pace.

Now, as more and more individuals realize economic freedom, religion has begun to lose its luster, and to the extent that the researchers believe religion may soon go the way of the dodo.

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Recording of the SPI International Call — May 5, 2016 https://secularpolicyinstitute.net/recording-spi-international-call-may-5-2016/ Fri, 06 May 2016 00:53:18 +0000 https://secularpolicyinstitute.net/?p=5657 About the International Coalition Calls Every first Thursday of the month, the Secular Policy Institute holds an international coordinating call for its 300 members to discuss the future of the secular movement. Call for May 5, 2016 Here’s the latest […]

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About the International Coalition Calls

Conference-Call1Every first Thursday of the month, the Secular Policy Institute holds an international coordinating call for its 300 members to discuss the future of the secular movement.

Call for May 5, 2016

Here’s the latest recording of the Secular Policy Institute’s international coordinating call.

Agenda

International Hot Spot of the Month
Sign-on Letter content:

Her Majesty the Queen
Buckingham Palace
London
SW1A 1AA

The Rt Hon David Cameron MP
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London
SW1A 2AA

Your Majesty and Your Excellency:

The Secular Policy Institute and the undersigned organizations call upon Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Excellency, Prime Minister Cameron to carry out an investigation regarding the compliance of state-funded schools with existing law in terms of non-discriminatory admissions practices and the support of religious freedoms and beliefs.┬áRecently, while speaking in an official capacity, EnglandÔÇÖs Chief School Inspector (Ofsted) Sir Michael Wilshaw said that as society becomes increasingly ÔÇ£secular and materialistic,ÔÇØ and as intolerance toward other peopleÔÇÖs views have seemingly increased, that the need for Christian students to ÔÇ£stand up for their faithÔÇØ was needed now more urgently than ever. Inspector WilshawÔÇÖs statement discriminates against British Humanists and Atheist children in state-funded school admissions and curriculum.

According to the Pew Research Forum, as of 2010, at least 38.9 percent of persons in the United Kingdom lack a religious affiliation. In the report ÔÇ£Any Unholy Mess,ÔÇØ the BHA found in a representative sample of nearly 50 religiously selective secondary schools more than 1,000 documented breaches where virtually all religiously selective state schools in England are breaking the law. As state-funded schools in England are required to provide religious education to all of their students, this education should be balanced, broadly-based, and promote the spiritual and moral development of all pupils, regardless of the nature of their particular religious beliefs or non-beliefs.

Against Secretary of State Education Nicky MorganÔÇÖs declaration that British schools are not obliged to give parity to non-theistic viewpoints in secondary education graduation requirement (GCSE) in religious studies courses, the High Court sided in favor of three Humanist families. In November 2015, Mr. Justice Warby ruled that by state authorities removing Humanism from the co-equal curriculum, that an ÔÇ£error of lawÔÇØ was committed as well as a ÔÇ£breach in the duty to take care that information or knowledge included in the curriculum is conveyed in a pluralistic manner.ÔÇØ

For many people, Humanism is at least a religion-analog, if not a religious-type affiliation itself; no less deserving of recognition. These infringements on these beliefs send a message to children from atheist or Humanist families that their beliefs and values are less legitimate than those of their peers. The codes concerning education are clear that discrimination based upon religion (or the lack thereof) is unacceptable. We call on the government of the United Kingdom to reaffirm the pre-existing and established value of pluralism and integrity of youth education, and arrange for the Department for Education to remedy admissions-discrimination and issue new guidelines including co-equal representation in religious studies courses.

Sincerely,

Edwina Rogers
Secular Policy Institute
401 Ninth St., NW, Suite 640
Washington, DC 20004
edwina@secularpolicyinstitute.net
(202) 430-1888

I ÔÇô┬áProject and Member Spotlight

  • Carl Blackburn for┬áthe International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU)
    • The speaker will represent the IHEU and its upcoming 2016 General Assembly in Malta. Its agenda and papers, including the 2015 annual report, financial statements, General Assembly regulations, etc., can be accessed┬áhere.
  • Bruce Long (bruce.long@sydney.edu.au)
    • Long will speak on behalf of┬áMemetic Planet, a platform for secular, atheist, scientific, and philosophical critical thinking.
    • If interested in submitting an article, please inquire┬áhere.
  • Jason Frye (dimanso@hotmail.com)

1. Religious Freedom Restoration Acts:
A. The Alliance Defending FreedomÔÇÖs push to enact them across the United States.
B. History of RFRAÔÇÖs for new people joining the call.
C. The adverse impacts of RFRAÔÇÖs to the burdened populations and from corporate pressure.
D. Louisiana: 2015 RFRA failure in legislature.
E. Mississippi: ÔÇ£Religious Liberty Accommodation Act furthering state-sanctioned discrimination under the guise of ÔÇÿprotecting freedom of conscience.ÔÇØ
F. Tennesse: Governor Bill Haslam vetoed a bill recognizing the Bible as the state book.
G. North Carolina: The governor just issued an executive order to restrict the impacts of HB2.

2. Bangladesh:
Islamists have killed gay rights bloggers and another freethought blogger.

3. Previous: An additional sign-on letter mirroring the one for Palestinian Poet Ashram Fayadh; and another for local police department decals.

II ÔÇô┬áSPI Overview
ÔùÅSPI Mission
The Secular Policy Institute (SPI) is a think tank organization of thought leaders, writers, scholars, and speakers with a shared mission to influence public opinion and promote a secular society. We believe governmental decisions and public policies should be based on available science and reason, and free of religion or religious preferences.
ÔùÅCommunity Action Network (www.CommunityActionNetwork.org)
ÔùÅParent Teacher Community Action Network (www.PTCan.org)
Community Action Network (CAN) promotes the development and application of science and reason in an ongoing quest for secular solutions to local problems. As an inclusive, affirming, and action-oriented initiative, CAN seeks to promote rational relationships and effective community building in support of collective problem solving and the ongoing advancement and enjoyment of a more just and reasoned world.
ÔùÅPTCAN Mission Statement
ÔùÅPTCAN Bylaws
ÔùÅPTCAN Charter
ÔùÅPTCAN Gives to Get School Support

ÔùÅWorld Future Guide 2016
The World Future Guide collects the public policy recommendations and findings on demographic trends from the foremost fellows at the Secular Policy Institute. Leading thinkers give research and opinion on law, education, and healthcare, practical advice on defense and surveillance technology, the big picture trends on the interplay between secular government and religion, and more. And we give you the scoop: even a peek into the finances of the Islamic State!

Our ten articles are written by fellows from seven countries representing diverse points of view.  Yet each is committed to a rational, evidence-based analysis of a timely topic that can inform effective public policy.  The first in a series of Guides, the World Future Guide 2016 provides critical secular insights into timely topics of international import in the hopes of guiding more informed public opinion and policy-making in our increasingly secular world.

ÔùÅSecular Resource Guide
ÔùÅUS Policy Guide
ÔùÅRecruit National and Regional Leaders
ÔùÅInternational Hotspots in Need

III ÔÇô┬áFellowsÔÇÖ Corner
(Madeline Schussel, Policy Director, madeline@secularpolicyinstitute.net)

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi was a guest on an article by Al Jazeera discussing the finances of ISIS and how long it could sustain itself.

Elliot Cohen penned an op-ed article advocating for Bernie Sanders to run as a third party candidate.

Taslima Nasreen participated in a debate in the European Parliament about potential factors that influence young people to become radicalized.

Elham Manea┬áwas involved in the making of a recent British documentary by Trevor Phillips, ÔÇ£What BritainÔÇÖs Muslims Really ThinkÔÇØ, which presents a comprehensive survey of the views British Muslims on various contemporary issues.

Daily News Clips Now Available (Follow this link to register)

IV ÔÇô┬áCoalitions & Resources
(Johnny Monsarrat, Alliance Director, johnny@secularpolicyinstitute.net)

ÔùÅWorld SPI Calendar┬áÔÇô Upcoming Major Conferences
ÔùÅVolunteers & Interns ÔÇô SPI Volunteers/Interns Recruitment
ÔùÅCoalition Update
ÔùÅNewsletter ÔÇô weekly, please sign up. (Subscribe to newsletter)
ÔùÅSecular Leaders League
You do a lot through the SPI coalition in 2015. See our report! (2015 report)
Now weÔÇÖve launched two Secular Leaders email chat lists: the┬áUS Secular Leaders League┬á(secular-leaders-usa@googlegroups.com) and the┬áGlobal Secular Leaders League┬á(secular-leaders@googlegroups.com). The purpose of these groups is to:

  • Trade group emails on the secular movementÔÇÖs future;
  • Plan a global ÔÇ£business plan competitionÔÇØ to coach secular leaders;
  • Host a donor conference where plans get presented judged, and funded, and;
  • Fund winners through a ÔÇ£Secular Donor Advice FundÔÇØ for investment firms like Fidelity

Coordinating makes us stronger. Please contribute your needs and ideas!  Please join via the Google group email invitation you received. You may leave at any time.

Thank you! With you, weÔÇÖre going to change the world in 2016.

Resources:
ÔùÅWorld Future Guide
ÔùÅAbuse in American Faith Based Initiative System
ÔùÅUS Secular Policy Guide
ÔùÅSecular Resource Guide
ÔùÅReligiousness by Country
ÔùÅReligiousness by US State
ÔùÅBack Office Support
ÔùÅHelp secure Volunteers and Interns
ÔùÅHelp Draft Press Releases
ÔùÅAccess to Press Database
ÔùÅBrochures
ÔùÅWebsite Design
ÔùÅSecular Directory

V ÔÇô┬áPublic Policy Update
(Hugo Estrella, Latin America Regional Director, hugo.estrella@secularpolicyinstitute.net)

  • Supporting Transgender Acceptance
  • Representative Mike HondaÔÇÖs (D-CA) resolution ÔÇ£Expressing Support for Supporting Transgender AcceptanceÔÇØ brings awareness of the millions of fellow Americans who are marginalized and endangered living under a system that does not recognize the full range of human identities. Awareness such as this and support for our fellow Americans can help to end generations of pain and suffering one day.
  • Texas Reproductive Freedom
  • TexasÔÇÖs HB2, a law which imposes medically unnecessary requirements on abortion providers and clinics, could shut down more than 75 percent of all womenÔÇÖs health clinics providing abortion services in the second-most populous state in the country. This would be a grave threat to womenÔÇÖs right to choice for the well-being of their own bodies.

Recent Letters:
ÔùÅ┬á┬á┬á┬á┬áGeorgia GovernorÔÇÖs Fight For LGBTQ Rights

On Monday, March 28, Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia announced that he will veto the stateÔÇÖs ÔÇ£religious libertyÔÇØ bill that would have allowed faith-based organizations to deny services to those who violate their ÔÇ£sincerely held religious beliefÔÇØ, as well as fire employees who did not comply with those beliefs. The bill had garnered much criticism from gay rights groups, pressure to not become law from major businesses, and support from religious conservatives. We wholeheartedly agree with Governor DealÔÇÖs caution toward governmental intrusion over negative liberties protecting conscience enshrined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. His commitment to acknowledging the inequality and discrimination that GeorgiaÔÇÖs LGBTQ community faces is laudable.

Checking In on The UN

Upcoming Events:
ÔùÅSkepKon┬áMay 5-7, Hamburg, Germany
ÔùÅNortheast Conference on Science and Skepticism┬áMay 12-15, New York, NY
ÔùÅA Conference Called Wonder┬áMay 19-22, Utrecht, Netherlands
ÔùÅEuropean Humanist FederationÔÇÖs General Assembly┬áMay 20, Valletta, Malta
ÔùÅ2016 IHEU General Assembly┬áMay 22, Valletta, Malta
ÔùÅAmerican Humanist Association Annual Conference┬áMay 26-29, Chicago, IL
ÔùÅBalticon 50┬áMay 27-30, Baltimore, MD
ÔùÅFuture of Ethical Societies Conference┬áMay 27-30, Brooklyn, NY
ÔùÅReason Rally┬áJune 4, Washington, DC
ÔùÅAtheist Pride Day┬áJune 6, All Over
ÔùÅBritish Humanist Association Annual Conference┬áJune 10-12, Birmingham, UK
ÔùÅReason for Change┬áJune 11-15, Buffalo, NY
ÔùÅWorld Humanist Day┬áJune 21, All Over
ÔùÅUnitarian Universalist General Assembly┬áJune 22-26, Columbus, OH
ÔùÅSecular Student Alliance Annual Conference┬áJuly 8-10, Columbus, OH
ÔùÅInternational Conference on Critical Thinking and Educational Reform┬áJuly 25-29, CA

Monthly Conference Call Schedule:
First Thursday of Every Month at Noon Eastern Standard Time (GMT -4): June 2; July 7; September 1; October 6; November 3 (No conference call in August and December)

SPI Staff:
Edwina Rogers - edwina@secularpolicyinstitute.net
Madeline Schussel - madeline@secularpolicyinstitute.net
Johnny Monsarrat - johnny@secularpolicyinstitute.net

 

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It Looks Like Nobody Wants The Donald After All https://secularpolicyinstitute.net/looks-like-nobody-wants-donald/ Wed, 04 May 2016 22:13:01 +0000 https://secularpolicyinstitute.net/?p=5618 This week Russell Moore,┬áthe Southern Baptist Convention,┬áand the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission have decided to┬ávery publicly┬átake down Republican contender Donald Trump. We think that the┬álargest Protestant denomination in the U.S. — and one of the most influential religious leaders […]

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trump-iowaThis week Russell Moore,┬áthe Southern Baptist Convention,┬áand the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission have decided to┬ávery publicly┬átake down Republican contender Donald Trump. We think that the┬álargest Protestant denomination in the U.S. — and one of the most influential religious leaders among conservative Protestants — have the power to stop him.┬áAccording to the American Values Atlas, 15 percent of Americans identify as Baptist, with sizable proportions in Mississippi, where they make up half (50 percent) of the population, as well as Alabama (42 percent) and Arkansas (37 percent). Combine that with the growing number of secular leaders in America, and it all boils down to a recipe for disaster for Mr. Trump.

Trump’s recent rise to the forefront, while remarkable, just doesn’t change the polling data or the numbers. Even if the Donald makes the Republican nomination (and there is still no guarantee that he will, or that he can even raise enough money to effectively run a presidential campaign) in every single poll he is projected to lose to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Whether or not you’re “Feeling the Bern” or “With Her”, one thing is for certain: this country is headed for at least four more years of untold prosperity. Get ready for it, and start relaxing now!

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Policy Resources for Future Letters https://secularpolicyinstitute.net/policy-resources-for-future-letters/ Wed, 04 May 2016 18:24:08 +0000 https://secularpolicyinstitute.net/?p=5605 Edwards’ Non-Discrimination Order HaslamVetoLetter MS HB1523 Rel Lib Accomodations 2016 NC HB2 2016 RFRA 1993 TN HB1840 Therapy Conscience Objection

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Edwards’ Non-Discrimination Order

HaslamVetoLetter

MS HB1523 Rel Lib Accomodations 2016

NC HB2 2016 RFRA 1993

TN HB1840 Therapy Conscience Objection

The post Policy Resources for Future Letters appeared first on Secular Policy Institute.

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