Today there are two examples of religion causing harm.
Prominent medical journal The Lancet said the Pope had "publicly
distorted scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine on this
issue".It said the male latex condom was the single most efficient way
to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV/Aids. "Whether the Pope's error
was due to ignorance or a deliberate attempt to manipulate science to
support Catholic ideology is unclear," said the journal. But it said the
comment still stood and urged the Vatican to issue a retraction. "When
any influential person, be it a religious or political figure, makes a
false scientific statement that could be devastating to the health of
millions of people, they should retract or correct the public record,"
it said. "Anything less from Pope Benedict would be an immense
disservice to the public and health advocates, including many thousands
of Catholics, who work tirelessly to try and prevent the spread of
Full story at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7967173.stm
So-called "honour killings" in Turkey have reached record levels.
According to government figures, there are more than 200 a year – half
of all the murders committed in the country. Now, in a sinister twist,
comes the emergence of "honour suicides". The growing phenomenon has
been linked to reforms to Turkey's penal code in 2005. That introduced
mandatory life sentences for honour killers, whereas in the past,
killers could receive a reduced sentence claiming provocation. Soon
after the law was passed, the numbers of female suicides started to
All Elif had done was simply decline the offer of an arranged
marriage with an older man, telling her parents she wanted to continue
her education. That act of disobedience was seen as bringing dishonour
on her whole family – a crime punishable by death. "I managed to escape.
When I was at school, a few girls I knew were killed by their families
in the name of honour – one of them for simply receiving a text message
from a boy," Elif said.
Full story at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/women-told-you-have-disho...
Sydney Atheists, together with 185 other non-governmental
organizations from more than 50 countries around the world, called on
U.N. member states to reject a "pervasive and mounting campaign" by
Islamic states to ban criticism of religion under international law.
"It’s an attempt to gut the concept of human rights of its original
meeting, which is to protect individuals from harm or state control, not
to shield a set of beliefs from critical inquiry," said Hillel Neuer,
executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, an independent human
rights monitoring organization.
"Our freedoms of speech and religion are facing a combined assault by
multiple regressive resolutions this week at the U.N. Human Rights
Council, and proposed provisions for next month’s Durban 2 conference
that endorse the Islamic proposal to change a core UN treaty on racism."
Following is the joint NGO statement and list of 187 signatories:
Joint NGO Statement on Danger of U.N. “Defamation of Religions” Campaign
We, the undersigned non-governmental organizations,
Deeply concerned by the pervasive and mounting campaign
by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to produce U.N.
resolutions, declarations, and world conferences that propagate the
concept of “defamation of religions,” a concept having no basis in
domestic or international law, and which would alter the very meaning of
human rights, which protect individuals from harm, but not beliefs from
Deeply concerned by the attempt to misuse the U.N. to
legitimize blasphemy laws, thereby restricting freedom of religion,
freedom of expression, and freedom of the press;
Deeply concerned that “defamation of religions”
resolutions may be used in certain countries to silence and intimidate
human rights activists, religious dissenters, and other independent
voices; Alarmed by the resolution on “defamation of religions” recently
tabled at the current 10th session of the UN Human Rights Council;
Alarmed by the draft resolution on freedom of expression
circulated by Egypt, whose amendments seek to restrict, not promote,
protections for free speech;
Alarmed by the recently-announced initiative of the U.N.
“Ad Hoc Committee on Complementary Standards” to amend the
International Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
(ICERD) by adding a protocol on “defamation of religions”;
Alarmed by provisions in the latest draft outcome
document of the Durban Review Conference that, through coded language
and veiled references, endorse and encourage these anti-democratic
1. Call upon all governments to oppose the “defamation
of religions” resolution currently tabled at the UN Human Rights
Council, and the objectionable provisions of the freedom of expression
2. Call upon all governments to resist the efforts of the “Ad Hoc Committee on Complementary Standards” to alter the ICERD;
3. Call upon all governments not to accept or legitimize
a Durban Review Conference outcome that directly or indirectly supports
the “defamation of religions” campaign at the expense of basic freedoms
and individual human rights.
(I've highlighted some of our australian friends below -ND)
1. UN Watch 2. International Humanist and Ethical Union
3. Freedom House 4. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty 5. Centre for
Political Studies (CEPOS) 6. Muslim Council of Canada 7. International
Association of Prosecutors 8. World Evangelical Alliance Religious
Liberty Commission 9. Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and
Transparty (Italy) 10. The International Quranic Center (IQC) 11.
International Press Institute (IPI) 12. Human Rights Without Frontiers
International 13. Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et
l’Antisémitisme (LICRA) 14. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) 15.
American Islamic Congress 16. World Union of Progressive Judaism 17.
United Nations Association of Mauritius 18. World Jewish Congress 19.
Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI) 20. Association for
World Education 21. Association of World Citizens 22. International
Publishers Association 23. The Institute for African Alternatives 24.
International Jurist Organization 25. Frontiers Association (Lebanon)
26. International Association for the Defense of Religious Liberty 27.
Rationalist Association 28. Greek Helsinki Monitor 29. British Humanist
Association 30. Sidmennt Ethical Humanist Association 31. National
Secular Society 32. B’nai B’rith International 33. International
Foundation for Population and Development 34. North London Humanist
Group 35. Endeavour Forum Inc. 36. Association Suisse des Libres
Penseurs 37. Humanist Academy of Scotland 38. Media Institute of
Southern Africa (Regional Secretariat and its chapters in 11 SADC
countries) 39. American Humanist Association 40. Darfur Peace And
Development Centre 41. American Atheists 42. Media Institute (Kenya) 43.
Union of Freethinkers 44. Maharat Foundation (Lebanon) 45. Open Doors
USA 46. Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji) 47.
One Law for All Campaign 48. Organisation against Women’s Discrimination
(Iran) 49. The DiaHumanism Institute 50. Women’s international Zionist
Organization (WIZO) 51. Canadian Humanist Publications 52. Institute for
Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS-Azerbaijan) 53. Indian Humanist
Union 54. The Tandem Project 55. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community 56.
International Committee to Protect Freethinkers 57. Center for Security
Policy 58. World Citizens Foundation 59. South Sudan Movement in
Disapora 60. International PEN Writers in Prison Committee 61. Atheist Foundation of Australia
62. Minority Rights Group (Greece) 63. Nigerian Humanist Movement 64.
National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) 65. Social Development
Foundation (India) 66. Swedish Humanist Association 67. Rationalist
Forum of Hyderabad (India) 68. Manava Vikasa Vedika (India) 69. European
Union of Jewish Students 70. Centre for Study of Society and Secularism
( India) 71. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the
Southern Baptist Convention 72. North East Humanists 73. Associação
Brasileira de Jornalismo Investigativo (ABRAJI) 74. Center for Human
Rights and Democratic Studies (CEHURDES-Nepal) 75. New Zealand
Association of Rationalists and Humanists 76. Centro para la Apertura y
el Desarrollo de América Latina (CADAL) 77. International Council of
Jewish Women 78. Humanist Canada 79. NGO Forum (Mauritius) 80. European
Humanist Federation 81. Association of Independent Electronic Media
(ANEM-Serbia) 82. Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations 83.
Burgerbewegung Pax Europa 84. Media Watch (Bangladesh) 85. Finnish
Humanist Union 86. Humanist and Ethical Union of Kenya 87. Arabic
Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI-Egypt) 88. American Jewish
Congress 89. Atheist Centre Andhra Pradesh (India) 90. Spurthi Dalit
Humanist organisation (India) 91. German Forum for Human Rights 92.
Jihad Watch 93. Rationalist Association of NSW 94. Adhra Pradesh
Rationalist Association (India) 95. Satya Shodhak Sabha, Gujerat (India)
96. Arab Archives Institute (AAI-Jordan) 97. Open Doors International 98. Council of Australian Humanist Societies
99. Jubilee Campaign USA 100. Simon Wiesenthal Centre 101. Humanist
Society of Queensland 102. Algerian Centre for the Defence and Promotion
of Press Freedom (CALP) 103. Atheist Alliance International 104. CWA,
Switzerland 105. Rationalist Society of Australia 106.
Media Rights Agenda (MRA-Nigeria) 107. Humanist Society of New Zealand
108. Consultative Council of Jewish Organisations 109. Center for
Inquiry, Low Countries 110. Military Association of Atheists and
Freethinkers 111. World Union of Jewish Students 112. Humanist
Association of Northern Ireland 113. Instituto Prensa y Sociedad
(IPYS-Venezuela) 114. Center for Religious Freedom of the Hudson
Institute 115. Humanist Association of Ottawa 116. Center for Media
Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP-Liberia) 117. Liberté de Conscience
118. Syria Reform Party 119. The Free Press Society (Denmark) 120.
International Free Press Society 121. Muslims Against Sharia 122. Centre
for the Study of Social Change (India) 123. Danish Atheist Society 124.
Mouvement Pour la Paix et Contre le Terrorisme 125. Minnesota Atheists
126. Free Media Movement (FMM-Sri Lanka) 127. Cultural Bridges 128.
American Ethical Union 129. Hotline Human Rights (Bangladesh) 130.
Trinidad and Tobago Humanist Association 131. Women’s Missionary Society
AME Church 132. Unie Vrijzinniger Vereningingen (Belgium) 133.
Humanistisch Verbond 134. Humanistischer Verband Deutschlands 135.
Montagnard Foundation, Inc. 136. Humanist Association of Ireland 137.
United American Committee 138. Humanistiche Vrijzinnige Vereniging
(Belgium) 139. Quadlibet Strategic Ventures NFP 140. Netradana
Protsahaka Sangam (India) 141. Human Rights Service (Norway) 142. Pink
Triangle Trust 143. Gujerat Mumbai Rationalist Association 144. Southern
California Ecumenical Council 145. Viveka Vidyalayam (India) 146.
International Christian Concern 147. The International Religious Liberty
Association (IRLA) 148. International Multiracial Shared Cultural
Organization 149. Disha Dalit Humanist organization (India) 150.
European Union of Public Relations 151. Socio-political Analysis and
Research Organization (India) 152. Canadian Journalists for Free
Expression (CJFE) 153. Jana Vignana Vedika (India) 154. Society of
Catholic Social Scientists 155. Society for Humanism and Social Change
(India) 156. Evangelical Alliance UK 157. Indian Radical Humanist
Association 158. Fondation Genereuse Developpement (FGD-Cameroon) 159.
Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association 160. Center for Inquiry
International 161. Swedish Youth Humanist Association 162. Religious
Freedom Coalition 163. Act for America 164. Belfast Humanist Group 165.
Council of ex-Muslims of Britain 166. Unione degli Atei e degli
Agnostici Razionalisti (Italy) 167. Secular Student Alliance 168. Summit
Ministries 169. Doha Centre for Media Freedom (Qatar) 170. Fire Rescue
Development Program 171. Sydney Atheists 172. Adil Soz,
International Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech
(Kazakhstan) 173. European Network Church on the Move 174. Traditional
Values Coalition 175. Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) 176.
Humanist Society of Queensland 177. Jewish Human Rights Coalition (UK)
178. Redeem the Vote 179. Pray in Jesus Name Project 180. Humanist
Society of Victoria 181. Index on Censorship 182. Unity Coalition for
Israel 183. Sociedad Humanista-etica, Deodoro Roca (Argentina) 184. Secular Party of Australia 185. India Committee of the Netherlands 186. Humanistische Alliatie (Netherlands) 187. Norwegian PEN
You should head over to PZ's blog (one of my favorite sites
on the net) for a eloquently written piece about what runs through the
mind of a Christian when innocent children are killed in a plane crash. http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/03/a_heartless_faith.php
I'll give you a taste, I wish I could write like this.
Once again, I am confirmed in my opinion that Christianity is a
breeder of evil, a cesspit in which the most hateful and inhuman
commitment to lies and delusions can ferment. Don't ever preach at me
about Christian morality: I've seen it, and it is empty of love for
humanity, replaced with sanctimonious idolatry and commitment to dead,
Sure the car in the background is small, but this is still some huge billboard.
Inspired by the London bus campaign, a group of Dutch atheists and humanist organisations pooled together to start their own buscampagne.
Since the responsible advertising company refused to run their ad on
buses, they went with another company and billboards. And its up since
today, close to Amsterdam Airport. In a virtually flat country this one
should stand out. Unfortunately, for two weeks only.
If you go their site
you might have noticed a picture taken inside NewQ of our Dutch Mardi
Gras bus. They liked our idea when I asked them about their slogan a few
weeks ago, that they put up a picture of the half finished bus up onto
Thanks to everyone who showed up to mardi gras and helped make it a fantastic night.
I've put the first photo up at sydneyatheists.org/queer (see above, under About Us) and more will follow.
Please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any photos to submit - or any suggestions on what Sydney Queer Atheists should do next!
Hi all, at a committee meeting a while ago, almost the whole room put
up your hands indicating you would march in the mardi gras if we made a
float. Well since then, I've heard from very few of you, while a few of
us have done all the hard work and provided you with a float. Now don't
let all that go to waste, all that you need to do is RSVP, and show up
on saturday. And read all of this:
mardi gras is now less than a week away! please read this email carefully, it contains everything you need to know.
firstly, please rsvp to email@example.com
or 0417450802, even if you did earlier, to let me know who to expect
and that you've gotten all the information below. please give me you
mobile number too, it'll make life a lot easier once there are ten
thousand people trying to get into the marshalling booth!
the day will be saturday, march 7. we will be meeting by 4.30 on Pitt
St, near Goulburn St, outside the Mandarin Club. please don't be late,
or more chaos will ensue and you may be left behind. we have been
allocated in the last timeslot for registration, so if we don't do
everything smoothly at that point, we will be locked out.
NewQ will be open from early for last minute work on the buses, and a
group will leave there at 3.30 to travel in together, with the buses. it
will be good if a number of people can be there, to help handle all the
you'll need to record these details:
our float is number G11 and we are the Sydney Atheist Bus Campaign.
in case you can't find us or anything happens, contact kate 0417450802 or frank 0421618534.
we're not specifying a dress code, but it would be good if people who
have Sydney Atheists tshirts would wear them. if you don't, they're
still being sold for $20 and we can bring one for you on the day, so if
anyone is interested in buying one let me know and we can talk sizes,
colours and slogans.
as one of the later floats, it will be a long night. we can expect to be
finishing around 11pm. this means you need to bring enough food and
water and weather-appropriate clothes for quite a long time waiting in
the street, but remember you will need to carry everything you bring.
i also have to tell everyone that the entirety of mardi gras will be an
alcohol free zone, it's a public event and you may be photographed, and
that the parade will be broadcast live - but only on foxtel, pay per
view. i can send you the official email about how to register for that,
if you're interested.
meanwhile, NewQ will be open again today (Sunday 1/3) for more bus
making. nine buses are coming along nicely, but we still need harnesses,
a banner and some painting. see you there!