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 4, 2015

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


I ÔÇô┬áSPI International Hot Spot of the Month – Bloggers Killed in Bangladesh

Please Join SPI in agreeing to be included in a sign on letter to international decision makers to demand reforms in Bangladesh.Avijit Roy, activist, blogger, and founder of┬áMukto-Mona, a freethinkers blog, was attacked and killed while on his way home home with his wife on February 26, 2015 by machete-wielding members of the Ansarullah Bangla Team, an Islamic Extremist Organizations.┬á RoyÔÇÖs wife claims police stood by while the attack took place and did nothing.Washiqur Rahman,┬áatheist blogger, killed by members of the Ansarullah Bangla Team for his anti-Islamic writings March 30, 2015.

Ananta Bijoy Das┬á– A writer for┬áMukto-Mona┬áwhere Avijit also worked, was on an extremist hit-list for his writings, and killed by masked assailants on May 12, 2015.

US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Senator Bob Corker, Chairman
425 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member
509 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

US House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman
2310 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Congressmen Eliot Engel, Ranking Member
2462 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515

Ambassador Mohammad Ziaduddin
The Embassy of Bangladesh in Washington, DC
3510 International Drive, NW
Washington, DC 20008, USA

His Excellency Abdul Namid
Peoples Republic of Bangladesh
Bangabhaban President House
No: 5/14,5 No Gate – Dhaka
1000 Dhaka, Bangladesh

Assistant Secretary General Ivan Šimonović
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Headquarters
OTCHR in New York
Room S-130, 13th Floor
Secretariat Building
New York, New York 10017, USA

Mr. Heiner Bielefeldt
UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief
UN Human Rights Council
Ôäà Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations at Geneva
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
CH-1211 Geneva 10

Draft Proposal Letter Language

Dear _____________:

As members of the Secular Policy Institute, we are saddened that three bloggers in Bangladesh have been killed with machetes and meat cleavers for voicing their opinions on religious belief.

The full range of religious beliefs should be respected, even when they differ substantially from others. Both religious groups and their adherents must remember that they are not immune from having their beliefs questioned, nor do they have the right to kill others who do not share their faith.

We are asking that you stand up for religious freedom and freedom of expression by lodging formal complaints with the government of Bangladesh over these violations of the most basic human rights.

Please use all means with your power to right these wrongs and demand justice and protection of basic human rights.


I ÔÇô┬áSPI Overview
(Edwina Rogers, CEO,, 202-674-7800)

  • SPI 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.
  • World Future Forum & International Secular Leaders Summit
    • The Secular Policy Institute convenes some of the worldÔÇÖs most prestigious scholars and scientists to develop and disseminate compelling resources to influence the worldÔÇÖs decision makers. Open to policymakers and the public alike, the inaugural World Future Forum provides an unparalleled opportunity for an informed discussion of authoritative perspectives on the critical issues facing contemporary societies across the globe.
    • Registration opens Friday, May 8, 2015 at┬á
      • Cost will be $295 per person.
    • The World Future Forum will take place at the Phoenix Park Hotel, at 520 North Capitol St NW, Washington, DC 20001
      • Hotel Room Blocks available at the Phoenix Park Hotel:
      • Single/Double Occupancy, 1 Bedrooms are $249 a night (tax addÔÇÖl)
      • Additional $30 per person / per day for triple/quadruple occupancy.
      • Reservations can be made at┬á, using the Group Code┬á19849┬áin order to obtain the GroupÔÇÖs rate.
    • Sunday, October 25, 2015, @ Phoenix Park Hotel
      • 2 ÔÇô 5 PM: International Secular Leaders Summit and Training
      • 6 ÔÇô 7 PM: Cocktail Reception
      • 7 ÔÇô 9 PM: VIP Dinner ÔÇô Keynote Speaker on the Future of Nations and Humanity
    • Monday, October 26, 2015, @ Phoenix Park Hotel
      • World Future Forum ÔÇô Emcee Lawrence Krauss
      • 9 ÔÇô 10:30 AM: Future of EarthÔÇÖs Climate
      • 10:45 ÔÇô 12:15 PM: Future of Violence and Terrorism
      • 2 ÔÇô 3:30 PM: Future of Space Exploration
      • 3:30 ÔÇô┬á4┬áPM: Conclusion
      • 7 ÔÇô 9 PM: World Future Forum Great Debate, @ GWU Lisner Auditorium
        • Separately ticketed event: $30 ÔÇô $100; students $20.
  • Community Action Network (
    • 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.
    • World Future Guide
    • Secular Demographic Guide
    • Monthly Conference Call Schedule:
      • First Thursday of Every Month┬áat┬áNoon Eastern Standard Time (GMT –4):┬áJune┬á4; July 2;┬áAugust 6;┬áSeptember 3;┬áOctober 1;┬áNovember 5; and┬áDecember 3, 2015.
        • Recruit National and Regional Leaders
        • International Hotspots in Need

II ÔÇô┬áFellowsÔÇÖ Corner
(Madeline Schussel, Director of Policy,

  • FellowsÔÇÖ Update
    • 30 Fellows:
      • 11 International, 19 US
    • Daily News Clip Now Available- How to sign up

III ÔÇô┬áCoalitions & Resources

(Johnny Monsarrat, Alliance Director,

  • World SPI Calendar┬áÔÇô Upcoming Major Conferences
  • Volunteers & Interns ÔÇô SPI Volunteers/Interns Recruitment
  • Coalition Update ÔÇô 312 groups
  • Newsletter ÔÇô weekly, please sign up.
  • Resources:
  • Abuse in American Faith Based Initiative System
  • Religiousness by Country
  • Religiousness by US State
  • Back Office Support
  • Help secure Volunteers and Interns
  • Help Draft Press Releases
  • Access to Press Database
  • Brochures
  • Website Design
  • Secular Directory

V ÔÇô┬áUS Public Policy Update

ÔùÅ┬á┬á┬á┬á U.S. Supreme Court on Same-Sex Marriage

  • Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of gay marriage.
  • The justices are considering whether the Constitution requires states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and, if not, whether states must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states where they are legal.

ÔùÅ ┬á ┬á┬áAnti Science Bill in Alabama

  • HB 592, introduced in the Alabama House of Representatives on┬áApril 30, requires education authorities┬á “assist teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum framework developed by the State Board of Education as it addresses scientific subjects that may cause debate and disputation” such as “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, and human cloning.”

V ÔÇô┬áInternational Public Policy Update

  • Uganda Humanist Schools Trust
    • SPI Coalition member UHST as well as Humanist Schools in Uganda have received a 6,500 euro grant.
    • UHST strives to build and maintain secular schools, an uncommon commodity in Uganda.
  • Former Ultra-Orthodox Jews Sue over poor education
    • Former students of state sponsored Israeli seminaries say they did not receive an adequate education
    • The only subject of study of the Torah, leaving young men in their twenties with the education level of a grade school student in most subjects.

VI ÔÇô┬áProject and Member Spotlight

SPI Staff:
Edwina Rogers ÔÇô
Madeline Schussel ÔÇô
Johnny Monsarrat ÔÇô