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 September 3, 2015

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


I ÔÇô┬áSPI International Hot Spot of the Month – Nigerian Nine Sentenced to Death

August 3, 2015

H.E. President Muhammadu Buhari
The President of the Republic of Nigeria
Nigerian Presidential Complex, Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja

H.E. Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, OFR
The Executive Governor, Kano State

H.E. Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye
3519 International Court NW
Washington, DC 20008

Dear President Buhari, Governor Ganduje, and Ambassador Adefuye:

It is with a great deal of satisfaction that we congratulate you and the Nigerian People on the election of new Federal and state-level governments in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, culminating campaigns which promised to restore the rule of law, eliminate corruption, and to rebuild NigeriaÔÇÖs credibility in the world community. However, we at the Secular Policy Institute, along with the below listed organizations, have deep concerns over the death sentences handed out for blasphemy last month by the Kano State Upper Sharia Court to nine individuals affiliated with the Tijaniyyah Sufi sect. We urge the government of Kano State and the Federal Government to issue full pardons and to ensure protection of the nine

International conventions (e.g., Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights) and growing global consensus call for the preservation of the rights of free conscience and religious expression. We write to advocate on behalf of Abdul Inyas and the other eight who are being sacrificed to pacify a mob. With the lack of transparency in the trial (including the names of the accused) and comments by local-authorities expressing relief at stemming further vigilante acts; this situation has the appearance of political expedience rather than a fair administration of justice.

We also are highly concerned with the nature of the listed ÔÇ£offense.ÔÇØ With two countervailing jurisprudences (Customary and Sharia), where the Customary Criminal code (┬º204) would call for a maximum two-year sentence for purported violation, and the Sharia code (sections 110 and 382b) specifying a death sentence, at a minimum the State should uphold civil over religious law. Ideally, we would ask for a full pardon and civil protection of the condemned. We appreciate that this issue is complex. But justice demands due process and the protection of individualÔÇÖs rights of expression.

We are requesting a meeting with Ambassador Adefuyeto discuss how our organizations can be of  assistance in protecting these fellow humans and their right to freedom of religion and expression


Edwina Rogers

Please notify Ms. Rogers if you would like to join this letter at

II 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.

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.

First Thursday of Every Month at Noon Eastern Standard Time (GMT -4): September 3; October 1; November 5; and December 3, 2015.

  • Recruit National and Regional Leaders

  • International Hotspots in Need

III ÔÇô┬áFellowsÔÇÖ Corner

(Madeline Schussel, Policy Director,

We would like to highlight these new SPI Fellows:

  • Elliot Cohen,┬áApplied Ethics, Mass Media, & Philosophical Counseling – Florida

    • Dr. Cohen received his Ph.D. from Brown University, and is one of the principal founders of ÔÇ£philosophical counselingÔÇØ in the United States. He is also founder and editor of the┬áInternational Journal of Applied Philosophyand the┬áInternational Journal of Philosophical Practice, as well as the ethics editor of┬áFree Inquiry Magazine. He co-founded and is Executive Director for the National Philosophical Counseling Association (NPCA), and he is the President of the Institute of Critical Thinking, a national center for logic-based therapy.

      He has written twenty-five books and numerous articles in philosophical counseling, applied philosophy, and applied ethics. His books and articles have been translated into several languages, including Chinese, Korean, German, and Italian. Elliot has also been interviewed by┬áNew York Times Magazine, The Chicago Tribune,┬áand the┬áLondon Observer, among other national and international media platforms. ┬áIn the field of applied ethics, Cohen has contributed heavily to the development of professional ethics (medicine, law, and journalism, as well as counseling). He has also published six books on various aspects of mass media ethicsÔÇômost recently, two political science books on mass surveillance. ┬áHere is a link┬áto a recent press press release about Elliott’s new book.

  • Silvian Ionescu, Politics, Global Democracy & Environmental Policy — Romania

    • Dr. Ionescu has a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Lucian Blaga University and a Ph.D. in Management from the Academy of Economic Sciences in Bucharest. ┬áFor 15 years, he served as Chief of Service for the Romanian Ministry of the InteriorÔÇÖs Intelligence Department. ┬áHe was the General Secretary for the Democratic National Salvation Front Party in the early 90s, and recently, he served as President of the Democratic Liberal Party for the 3rd District of Bucharest.

      Silvian has served twice as Secretary of State and General Commissioner for the National Environmental Guard, and he now works independently as an Environmental Consultant. ┬áDr. Ionescu also invented POLIBEST, a combination of two recycled materialsÔÇô80% plastic and 20% fibre cementÔÇôthat results in a new, multi-purpose product, similar to any plastic. ┬áThe asbestos typically found in the cement portion of the product has been neutralized, making the material safely recyclable.

  • John Joseph Joseph Kisakye, Environmental Science, Parasitology – Uganda

    • Dr. Kisakye currently serves as a Lecturer in the department of Biological Sciences in the College of Natural Sciences at Makerere University in Kampala. ┬áHe holds a Ph.D in Environmental Science and a MasterÔÇÖs in Zoology (Parasitology), as well as Postgraduate Diplomas in Biology Education, Project Planning, and Management. ┬áHis doctorate thesis work explored the diversity and ecology of dragonflies in the Bwindi Impenetrable, Mabira, and Mt. Elgon Forests. ┬á

      Kisakye is an educator with particular interest in teaching Biology. His current naturalist research explores many aspects of human ecology, and he approaches all of his work as an avid humanist.

  • David Wilson, Evolution – New York

    • David S. Wilson is a SUNY Distinguished Professor at Binghamton University. He is an evolutionist who studies all aspects of humanity in addition to the biological world. He manages a number of programs designed to expand the influence of evolutionary theory in higher education (EvoS), public policy (The Evolution Institute), community-based research (The Binghamton Neighborhood Project), and religion (Evolutionary Religious Studies). ┬áHe communicates to the general public his┬áScienceBlogs┬ásite.

    • Dr. Wilson is creating a new┬áSociety for the Study of Cultural Evolution (SSCE)┬áunder the auspices of the Evolution Institute. It will advance both the academic study of cultural evolution and its practical application to a wide range of policy issues.

Daily News Clips Available — How to sign up

IV ÔÇô┬áCoalitions & Resources

(Johnny Monsarrat, Alliance Director,

  • World SPI Calendar┬áÔÇô Upcoming Major Conferences

  • Volunteers & Interns ÔÇô SPI Volunteers/Interns Recruitment

  • Coalition Update

  • Newsletter ÔÇô weekly, please sign up.


V ÔÇô┬áPublic Policy Update

  • Latin America Update

    • Hugo Estrella

    • SPI is seeking ┬áUN Special Consultative Status. ┬áEdwina will be representative in NY and Hugo in Geneva. ┬á┬áWe are looking to build coalitions and join networks. ┬áSPI will seek UNESCO consultative NGO status. ┬áThen we have the EU, there, they have an office which would be more than appropriate for us to lobby, which is the European Commission for Fundamental Rights.

Our fellows from the Italian Union of Atheists Rationalists, Agnostics and Freethinkers (  to which Hugo belongs and who publish news from US matters and internationally as well (they are members of the European Humanist Federation) have office space in the city (Circolo UAAR di Pisa).  SPI will share the office thanks to Hugo.

VI ÔÇô┬áProject and Member Spotlight

  • John Kirbow

    • John Kirbow is a member of the NY Skeptics and NY Center for Inquiry, and other various communities. He is a linguist, social innovator, an OIF / OEF Army veteran and social science advocate, who has been working on several projects involving free thought, science, reason, and Socratic discourse

  • Micael Langer

    • Director of an upcoming documentary called ÔÇ£The truth Beyond BeliefÔÇØ (working title). It deals with atheism, secularism and the discrimination and persecution of atheists in America and around the world, while investigating the roots of intolerance, from an historical, social and psychological point of view.

  • Jason Heap

VII - Upcoming Events

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