How Idiot America got that way
… increasingly frenzied claims have become so detached from reality that they often seem like black comedy. The right-wing magazine US Investors’ Daily claimed that if Stephen Hawking had been British, he would have been allowed to die at birth by its “socialist” healthcare system. Hawking responded with a polite cough that he is British, and “I wouldn’t be here without the NHS”.
This tendency to simply deny inconvenient facts and invent a fantasy world isn’t new; it’s only becoming more heightened. It ran through the Bush years like a dash of bourbon in water. When it became clear that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, the US right simply claimed they had been shipped to Syria. When the scientific evidence for man-made global warming became unanswerable, they claimed – as one Republican congressman put it – that it was “the greatest hoax in human history”, and that all the world’s climatologists were “liars”. The American media then presents itself as an umpire between “the rival sides”, as if they both had evidence behind them. …
How do they train themselves to be so impervious to reality? It begins, I suspect, with religion. They are taught from a young age that it is good to have “faith” – which is, by definition, a belief without any evidence to back it up. You don’t have “faith” that Australia exists, or that fire burns: you have evidence. You only need “faith” to believe the untrue or unprovable. Indeed, they are taught that faith is the highest aspiration and most noble cause. Is it any surprise this then percolates into their political views? Faith-based thinking spreads and contaminates the rational.
If children are taught to not only believe things on faith, but to also reject claims that are supported by evidence and reason when those claims contradict faith, then it shouldn’t be surprising that we get beliefs like those listed above. This sort of attitude is a great benefit to authority figures since they are, of course, the ultimate arbiters of which beliefs should be taken on faith and which shouldn’t.
What would happen if American schools instituted not just classes on critical thinking and skepticism, but actually inserted lessons on critical thinking throughout the curriculum? What would happen if students in public schools were consistently taught the importance of believing things based on evidence and reasoned arguments, not faith or slavish adherence to tradition or authorities? Who would be able to object without looking completely foolish? — Austin Cline, About.com
Religion Makes Conservative Republicans Impervious to Facts
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Why people believe in evolution, *not*
Do you want to know why people believe in evolution? Read evolution denying Christian, Wayne Jackson. Here we have in one concise document all the contorted rationalizations you could possibly imagine for *not* believing in evolution.
Wayne Jackson, is an expert propagandist. What he churns out are classic pieces built around the strategy of “turnspeak”. Turnspeak is a technique of deliberately confusing issues by turning the truth upside down. Jackson attacks Darwinians, but then the claim is weirdly made that the Darwinians are actually the attackers. Black becomes white and white becomes black. Joseph Goebbels, the NAZI propaganda genius is credited with inventing the technique. A variation of turnspeak is the use of disingenuous descriptions that seem to conflate opposing positions into advocacy. It’s easier to persuade others to agree with an argument for something rather than against something. For example “pro marriage” and “protection of marriage” really mean anti-same-sex marriage. Pro life really means anti-abortion. Paranoid propagandists like Jackson seek to create their own version of reality so they can ward off the unwelcome truth of actual reality. Jackson’s Christian Courier web site is a monument to his delirium.
A facebook member, Prince St. Cyr follows the Christian zealots and is an expert in analyzing propaganda of practitioners like Wayne Jackson that are part of the assault on reason. St Cyr informs us:
“One of the impressive things about paranoid literature is the contrast between its fantasied conclusions and the almost touching concern with factuality it invariably shows. It produces heroic strivings for evidence to prove that the unbelievable is the only thing that can be believed. … Respectable paranoid literature not only starts from certain moral commitments that can indeed be justified but also carefully and all-but-obsessively accumulates “evidence.” The difference between this “evidence” and that commonly employed by others is that it seems less a means of entering into normal political controversy than a means of warding off the profane intrusion of the secular political world. The paranoid seems to have little expectation of actually convincing a hostile world, but he can accumulate evidence in order to protect his cherished convictions from it.”
Why should anyone care about Wayne Jackson and his writing? Isn’t he too far off the wall? Jackson matters because he has so many followers and they represent a dangerous segment of our population. The enemies of reason, which is what we are talking about here, are passionate about spreading their propaganda and they enjoy political power and have money funneled to them by wealthy patrons. They represent a malignancy in our collective body politic and they have succeeded in making ignorance fashionable and desirable. Recall Joe the plumber? Sarah Palin‘s preposterous candidacy for vice president revealed exactly how virulent the malignancy grew in the waning days of the Bush administration. We may have gone into remission, but the cancer is still there. Just tune to the Fox network or the many Christian zealots on radio and television.
We should care because as Charles Darwin said: “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” We care because the lies and half truths of Jackson’s propaganda are easily believed by people who have been systematically turned away from rationality and reason. They have been methodically robbed of the training they need to see through the lies. Worse yet, they can be influenced to vote and to support the systematic assault on reason. They disrupt public meetings, and divert public money into court battles such as the Dover case and the countless challenges that arise around Christian holidays that involve Christians openly challenging the separation of church and state.
In Texas, the State Board of Education is chaired by a radical literalist Christian who constantly seeks to introduce his flavor of religion into the science curriculum and now into the social studies curriculum.
The Texas Board of Education will vote this week on a new science curriculum designed to challenge the guiding principle of evolution, a step that could influence what is taught in biology classes across the nation.
The proposed curriculum change would prompt teachers to raise doubts that all life on Earth is descended from common ancestry. Texas is such a huge textbook market that many publishers write to the state’s standards, then market those books nationwide.
“This is the most specific assault I’ve seen against evolution and modern science,” said Steven Newton, a project director at the National Center for Science Education, which promotes teaching of evolution.
Christians are angered or distressed when anyone states the obvious: that they are deluded. But as a final example of turnspeak, here is Wayne Jackson concluding his article:
“People do not believe in evolution because they have been led there by solid evidence. They are stampeded into the Darwinian community by superficial, emotional, and personal factors. They only delude themselves when they think otherwise.” A golden nugget of turnspeak.
People believe evolution because it is based on solid evidence. They cannot be stampeded into the Darwinian community by superficial emotion and personal factors in the manner that Christians are stampeded into Christianity. Darwinians do not delude themselves like Christians delude themselves.
According to Gallup only about 12% of Americans accept the scientific arguments and mounds of data as proof that natural forces are sufficient to explain evolution. No supernatural intervention is required. The widespread acceptance that a supernatural force has to be behind evolution can only be regarded as a national disgrace because it exemplifies how willing people are to embrace the wild rationalizations of propagandists like Wayne Jackson. Charles Darwin gave humanity one of the most elegant and brilliant intellectual achievements ever created by a human and his theory is routinely and stupidly dragged through the mud and mire of Christian and Muslim propaganda.
American understanding of science and the scientific method is woefully lacking and the proximate cause is a deliberate program of propaganda directed towards intellectuals, the public schools, and in particular the appreciation of science and reason. The propaganda merchants are literalistic evangelicals that clearly understand the relationship between education level attained and the acceptance of fanciful supernatural beliefs. The more education you have, the less apt you are to accept dogma and superstition as guides to living. The problem is that people opposed to education and rationality indoctrinate their hapless children with their backward outlook and beliefs. You do not see such ignorance in Japan, Canada, or the secular democracies of the world. Unfortunately, the Muslims are just as adamantly opposed to evolution as our hillbilly theologists.
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Patriotism for all
A Patriotic Activity for Every Student
It is a sad day in America when every child cannot join in a unified expression of patriotism, cannot stand with pride and declare, “I, too, am an American.”
In school districts across the nation, thousands of patriotic students are not only deprived of the opportunity to express and develop their patriotism, but are actively discouraged in their patriotism.
The standard options of remaining silent or waiting outside the classroom do not solve the blatant discrimination and hurtful exclusion in the current practice.
To correct this injustice, we are asking that a patriotic alternative be afforded to every child who, for reasons of conscience, must otherwise abstain from daily participation in the Pledge of Allegiance. It is through group participation with our community that we feel our bonds to our country. Patriotism is not something that can be taught only at home.
- We are not asking that “under God” be removed from the Pledge.
- We are not asking that the Pledge be removed from the school.
- We are asking that a patriotic exercise be afforded to every child.
For several solutions to this vexing issue, go here:
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Nate Phelps and Religious Abuse
I hope to post several blogs inspired by the American Atheists Conference, but for right now, I’m going to write about the experience that was the most meaningful to me. I mentioned before going that I was anxious to hear Nate Phelpsspeak, and I have to say that his speech was much more than I expected. For one thing, I learned afterwards that this was the first time he’s spoken publicly about his experiences. For another, in speaking with his wife, I learned that they had driven forty-one hours from British Columbia to Atlanta so that he could speak.
Nate’s speech, which lasted for around forty minutes, was sometimes painful to listen to. He spoke of horrible, despicable acts of abuse, both physical and mental, and of the tyrannical, sociopathic dictator of a father who literally made the lives of his wife and thirteen children a living hell. He read his speech, rather nervously, and it was obvious that he is still living with the mental scars of his upbringing. At one point, he showed us the kind of handle Fred used to beat his children — a four or five foot long piece of wood not unlike an axe-handle. He explained how his father learned the most effective ways of causing excruciating pain; for instance, he would hit his children in one particular spot enough that a bruise would raise up and blood would accumulate over the course of ten or fifteen minutes, and then he would hit them again in the same spot, causing the skin to break, and inflicting terrible pain. When he was particularly irate, he would hit them behind the knee, or on the small of the back, where the pain would be the most searing and brutal.
Like everyone else in the room, I listened with a mix of shock, rage, and pity. We all felt sympathy for him, and also pride and admiration at the physical bravery and mental courage he’s shown since deciding to leave the family. But I felt an additional emotion, and after the speech was over, I was lucky enough to be able to tell him personally what it had meant to me. In listening to Nate, I discovered something about myself that was deeply disturbing, but has instilled in me a new sense of determination to end the power of parents to indoctrinate their children into religion.
As I’ve said before, I don’t like talking much about my own life, but I must do so now to make my point clearly. I have nothing on Nate Phelps. I was mainly raised by my mother, who loved me and doted over me and never once, in my entire childhood, did anything with the intention of causing me pain. Though I was probably over-sheltered, anyone looking at my upbringing would probably say that it was about as good as anyone could expect.
However, I was indoctrinated into religion. We were in church every Sunday morning, and most Sunday nights, as well as Wednesdays at various points of my life. In many ways, church was my most frequent social activity, and though my indoctrination was not mean-spirited, it was thorough. By the time I was in high school, I was a full fledged born again Christian, and I thought quite poorly of everyone who was not (and many who were, but didn’t live up to my standards). I went to Vacation Bible School, and summer camps not unlike that in Jesus Camp. We went to healing services, prayer services, Bible studies, exorcisms, Christian Values seminars, Christian Finance seminars, evangelism crusades, and Christian music concerts. My mother and my grandmother, despite being warm, compassionate, loving people, brainwashed and indoctrinated me into not only the Christian faith, but also the Christian mindset — nonrational, repressive, patriarchal, divisive, and exclusionary.
Back to Nate Phelps. As I was listening to his speech, there were several moments when tears welled up in my eyes, my heart raced, and I felt as if I was having trouble breathing. At first I thought I was feeling sympathy for Nate, but I quickly realized that wasn’t the case. I wasn’t moved to tears at hearing about how Fred beat his children, or about how he made them run 20 miles a day after selling candy in strip clubs for seven hours. I was moved to tears when he spoke of the mental anguish he felt while his child brain tried to work through the cognitive dissonance, and the outright absurdity of the beliefs that his father had brainwashed him into accepting.
I was not feeling sympathy. I was reliving my own childhood.
That realization hit me like a ton of bricks, and brought a whole new set of emotions. Even after more than a decade of being an outspoken atheist activist, living hundreds of miles from home, and leaving my Christian life behind, I am still moved to tears when I remember how hard it was for me to break free from religion. My chest still constricts when I recall the cold sweats that came unbidden when I pondered the “reality” of hell as a true believer. I feel rage when I remember sitting on the toilet after masturbating, feeling intense guilt at having succumbed to weakness — again — and even more guilt for enjoying it, and even more guilt for not being good enough to remove myself from my own sexual desires. I remember the first girl who wanted to date me in high school. Mary. (I can’t recall her last name.) I was terrified of her, and even more terrified of holding hands with her or kissing her, because I had been taught in church and in Bible Camp that even such seemingly innocuous activities could lead to the fires of hell, since they were gateways into premarital sex. I held hands with Mary once, and then told her I couldn’t go out with her.
My mother didn’t intend to cause me mental distress. She had no idea that after hearing one particularly charismatic (and fundamentalist) preacher, I would — for nearly three weeks — keep myself awake at night for fear that as I drifted off to sleep, my thoughts would stray to something sexual (and therefore wrong) and I would be possessed by a demon. She had no idea that I would marry the first girl I dated seriously so that I wouldn’t feel guilty about having sex anymore. How could she possibly have known that even though her own views were substantially more moderate than many of our preachers, my vulnerable brain would soak in and accept the most draconian views with which I was presented?
The answer is that she couldn’t know. She is innocent of the charge Intent to Cause Mental Harm. Nevertheless, I was mentally harmed, and decades later, when I listened to someone who I should have almost nothing in common with, I felt the same emotions he was feeling, because I had experienced them, too. Make no mistake — Nate Phelps has been abused in far more ways than me. He was the victim of intentional, mean-spirited, sociopathic physical, mental, and emotional abuse. He was the victim of intentional brainwashing, fear-mongering, and vicious repression. His father is a horrible, horrible man who should be locked up.
Yet, as I sat there, I realized that I, too, was abused. My abuse was unintentional, but does that make the tears I shed yesterday any less real? Even as I type these words, I feel a pang of guilt. Even though I am emotionally distant from my mother, and have been so since leaving religion, it galls me at a very deep level to admit to myself, much less to thousands of readers, that my mother subjected me to brainwashing and emotional abuse. I want desperately to clear her of the charges, for she meant well. She never wanted anything but the best for me, but because she, too, was brainwashed, she unintentionally heaped on me the same baggage she has carried her whole life, and still carries to this day.
On one level, I can’t empathize with Nate Phelps. I have no frame of reference from which to try to imagine what he went through. On another level, I know precisely what he experienced because I went through it, too. Nate’s wife told me that he had been feeling as if he didn’t have anything meaningful to say to a bunch of atheists, but he couldn’t have been more wrong. He is a product of one of the worst kinds of religious abuse, but his story casts glaring light on the dirty fact that even the most well-intentioned religious indoctrination is still religious indoctrination — and therefore,still abuse.
I am now more firmly convinced than ever that any pretense of religious moderation is a lie. Religious indoctrination is child abuse. Religious indoctrination that includes lies about human sexuality is sexual abuse. Abuse committed by those who did not intend to abuse is still abuse. Those who would dismiss Nate Phelps as the product of a mentally ill extremist would be partially correct. Most theists love their children and try not to cause them harm. However, the stark clarity of Nate’s religious abuse cannot be so easily dismissed. If we are honest, I believe that most of us who grew up in a religiously indoctrinating environment would have to admit that we suffered. Perhaps not everyone was as sensitive as me, but does the sensitivity of the victim change the nature of the crime? Do we punish rapists based on how much mental trauma was suffered by the victim, or by the nature of the crime itself? We can no longer look at religious indoctrination and turn a blind eye. It is abuse, and if we are not standing firmly against it, we are silently condoning it.
UN Secretary General’s Report on Violence Against Children
Appendix: The 12 Overarching Study Recommendations
- Strengthen national and local commitment and action: This refers to establishing a national focal point on violence against children by the end of 2007, to coordinate actions, and especially to ensure that actions to stop violence against children are integrated into national planning processes by 2009.
- Prohibit all violence against children: This refers to legal reforms including implementation of laws to stop all forms of violence against children, in all settings, including all corporal punishment, harmful traditional practices, such as early and forced marriages, female genital mutilation and so-called honour crimes, sexual violence, and torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, as required by international treaties.
- Prioritize prevention: This refers to preventing all forms of violence against children in all settings by addressing underlying causes, as well as more immediate risk and protective factors.
- Promote non-violent values and awareness-raising: This refers to transforming attitudes that condone or normalize violence against children including via public information campaigns which promote non-violent values and protect children in all media coverage.
- Enhance the capacity of all who work with and for children: This refers to developing the capacity of all those who work with and for children to improve prevention, detection and responses.
- Provide recovery and social reintegration services: This refers providing accessible, child-sensitive and universal health and social services, including legal assistance to children and, where appropriate, their families.
- Ensure participation of children: This refers to States and their partners actively engaging with children and respecting their views.
- Create accessible and child-friendly reporting systems and services: This refers to establishing safe, well publicized, confidential and accessible mechanisms for children, their representatives and others to report violence against children.
- Ensure accountability and end impunity: This refers to building community confidence in the justice system by bringing all perpetrators of violence against children to justice.
- Address the gender dimension of violence against children: This refers to the integral role of gender biases in violence against children, and that States should promote and protect the rights of women and girls and address all forms of gender-based discrimination as part of a comprehensive violence-prevention strategy.
- Develop and implement systematic national data collection and research: This refers to the urgent need to improve data collection and information systems by 2009, in the context of a national research agenda and agreed international indicators, and with particular reference to vulnerable subgroups.
- Strengthen international commitment: This refers to States ratifying international treaties and implementing international standards agreed to.
Child soldiers root causes and UN initiatives
Let me begin my talk to you today with a description of my visit to a Maoist army cantonment site in eastern Nepal in December. The cantonment was set up after a peace agreement. In this cantonment were child soldiers recruited by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in their struggle against the Nepalese state. We had earlier met many young people who had been recruited by the Maoists with false promises, who had run away because of abuse. But these were another group, those who for some reason or another had chosen to remain. We were allowed to meet these children to have a discussion about their future. They were teenagers and about a third of them were female. Initially they were hostile. One of them told us to go away. “We are soldiers, we want to remain as soldiers, we want to be part of the armed forces, we do not need your help,” he said. We had come to rescue them they did not want to be rescued.
Then we began a conversation with them about the future. We spoke of the many opportunities that are available to young people, opportunities that could be provided to them if they came to a civilian environment. We spoke of computers, of technical skills, of entertainment; we spoke of other child soldiers around the world and what they had done with their lives. After awhile their eyes stopped having that glazed over expression. They began to listen. When we left, they remained sceptical but no longer hostile. This would then be the beginning of a long conversation.
THE CONSTRUCTION OF CHILDHOOD
Before we begin our discussion of child soldiers, we must first ask– what do we mean by childhood? A great deal of discussion among academics has focused on the construction of childhood in different societies. For the most part, international law, influenced by the research of Piaget and his followers, accepts the fact that there is a link between chronological age and cognitive development; that there are stages in the development of cognitive thinking, especially the ability to make moral judgments, and that eighteen is the age where such development is complete. For this reason, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other subsequent documents has stated the eighteen is the age of maturity.
Academics who are anthropologists, influenced by recent work by psychologists such as Lev Vygotsky and others who point to the influence of everyday life experience in the formation of moral judgment, argue that childhood is a construction that differs from place to place. As David Rosen, Professor of Anthropology as Pfarleigh Dickinson, writes “adopting a single universal definition ignore that childhood is understood and experienced in different societies in divergent ways”. He argues that straight 18 is part of the modern politics of age” and an aspect of “norm entrepreneurship” that characterize humanitarian advocacy. At a UN gathering he presented a slideshow of children that voluntarily joined and fought with the military both in the war of independence and in the civil war in the United States. He points to the fact with regard to initiation rites in most tribes and ethnic groups, the age varies from 14-16 thus recognizing an early end to childhood.
Susan Shepler, Professor of Anthropology at University of California at Berkeley also concurs with this approach of childhood as a construction of a particular community. Focusing on Sierra Leone, she has outlined how the prevalence of child labour along with child soldiers was an acceptance that children could work, accept responsibility and need not ber protected as expected in other societies. She also points to the initiation rituals in secret societies for young adolescents, both male and female. Joining an armed group was often seen as an extension of that ritual. These cultural factors, once understood in Sierra Leone, helps us understand how, when the social framework disintegrated due to war, these bizarre manifestations could take place. For both Rosen and Shepler, understanding the cultural context was an absolute precondition to understanding the phenomenon of child soldiers.
via The Island-Features.
Blasphe-ME Event Planned for Convention « No God Blog
Blasphe-ME Event Planned for Convention
American Atheists will stage a mass-blaspheming event at the American Atheists National Convention in direct defiance of the new BINDING UN Resolution restricting people from ridiculing religion, specifically Islam. Those who try to squelch criticism are the ones who fear it, and Islam has a LOT to fear when it comes to open and honest discussion.
UNITED NATIONS – Islamic countries… won United Nations backing for an anti-blasphemy measure Canada and other Western critics say risks being used to limit freedom of speech.Combating Defamation of Religions passed 85–50 with 42 abstentions in a key UN General Assembly committee, and will enter into the international record after an expected rubber stamp by the plenary later in the year.But while the draft’s sponsors say it and earlier similar measures are aimed at preventing violence against worshippers regardless of religion, religious tolerance advocates warn the resolutions are being accumulated for a more sinister goal.“ It provides international cover for domestic anti-blasphemy laws, and there are a number of people who are in prison today because they have been accused of committing blasphemy,” said Bennett Graham, international program director with the Becket Fund, a think tank aimed at promoting religious liberty.“Those arrests are made legitimate by the UN body’s (effective) stamp of approval.”
During this event, those who so choose will defy the UN’s demands that we keep quiet about the absurdity of religion in the name of political correctness. We will, en-masse, recite a statement ridiculing God, Allah, Muhammed, and any other mythological being or false prophet and openly plead guilty to the victimless “crime” of blasphemy. People will be given the opportunity to speak their personal views and give their names. We will then challenge the US to arrest us for this crime, or openly rebuke the UN’s resolution. In the words of President Obama, “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers.” We all enjoy the right to openly criticize each other (as we often do), and we invite people of all religious and theological beliefs to join us in this effort by recording their own blasphe-ME event, or even a personal statement, and posting it on the Internet. Of course, those who believe in a deity are expected to blaspheme gods in which they do NOT believe, as is their right (unless/until the UN gets its way). This is one issue where every American of every religion should be on our side. The United States is a nation where freedom of religion, press, and speech are paramount. They are our First Amendment. We will not back down and bow to pressure from any governing body who seeks to take our freedoms away. We will not yield to terrorism cloaked in politics. I’ll go first: My name is David Silverman. I openly and freely state that religion is ridiculous, and all gods are fictional. I also state that Islam, specifically, is a barbaric religion, based on the teachings of a false prophet, that promotes ignorance, hate, and violence (including terrorism). I plead guilty to blasphemy and promise to do so in court if need be. I do this in direct violation of the UN resolution, and I personally challenge President Obama to rebuke this resolution, or order my arrest. United we stand.
This entry was posted on Sunday, March 1st, 2009 at 1:07 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
Liberals call for mandatory sex ed – The Local
Liberals call for mandatory sex ed
Published: 6 Mar 08 08:13 CET
Dictionary tool Double click on a word to get a translation
The Liberal Party wants to remove the option for parents to request exemptions from sex education classes for their children.
* Councils fail in duty to provide mother-tongue instruction (25 Feb 08)
* Swedish for Immigrants to undergo overhaul (18 Feb 08)
According to the party, all students, irrespective of religious or cultural beliefs, should receive instruction in the same subjects.
In a debate article in the Dagens Nyheter newspaper, three Liberal Party representatives propose changes to the law that would scrap any exceptions from lessons based on religious reasons.
“It’s inappropriate that a rule about freedom from obligatory lessons which was meant to be used in exceptional cases has resulted in that every fourth foreign-born girl doesn’t participate in an important teaching moment in school,” write Party Leader Jan Björklund, Integration Minister Nyamko Sabuni, and Party Secretary Erik Ullenhag.
The three point to a doctoral dissertation which shows that 27 percent of foreign born girls don’t receive instruction in athletics, swimming, or sexual education.
“Our belief in a tolerant society should never result in us covering our eyes when women are the victim of attacks or being denied their rights with the excuse that it is a part of their culture or religion,” the three write.
Current regulations allow for students to avoid certain lessons in the case of “special circumstances.”
The suggested changes to the law are due to be discussed at the Liberal Party’s council meeting in October.
TT/The Local (email@example.com/08 656 6518)
Why is Secularism essential? Sweden, 8 March 2009 | International Humanist and Ethical Union
Why is Secularism essential? Sweden, 8 March 2009
Submitted by admin on 18 February, 2009 – 17:22.
* Conference news
Meeting (people) Sweden
The Organisation for Women’s Liberation is holding an international conference in Sweden on thr occasion of International Women’s Day, 8 March 2009, called: Why is Secularism essential? The conference will focus on the detrimental effect of religion on women’s lives.
International Conference in Gothenburg/Sweden on 8 March 2009
Why is Secularism essential?
Organization for Women’s Liberation is organizing a one day conference in commemoration of 8 March, International women’s day on the impact of religion on the situation and status of women. Why is secularism essential? In this conference veteran women’s right activists and scholars are coming together to analyze the devastating effects of rise of religious movements and religion’s influence in the running of state in many countries on the situation of women: the effect of catholic church, orthodox church, Judaism and political Islam will be discussed.
Among the speakers will be:
Homa Arjomand; coordinator of No Sharia Campaign; Canada/Iran
Caroline Fourest; writer; journalist and women’s rights activist; France
Maria Hagberg; Chair of Network against Honour Crimes; Sweden
Lilian Halls French; sociologist, President of the European Feminist Initiative; France
Azar Majedi; President of OWL, writer; England/Iran
Layla Naffa Hamarneh; Director of Projects, Arab Women Organisation of Jordan
Frances Raday: Chair, Israeli Association for Freedom of Science, Religion and Culture; Israel
Nina Sankari; Polish Rationalist Organisation and EFI Poland
Sabine Salmon; President of Femmes Solidaires; France
Lisa Sorush; women’s right activist; Afghanistan
Moderator: Maryam Kousha; editor of Women’s Liberation,
We invite all concerned feminists, secularists and human right activists to participate in this event. We need to demonstrate a show of secularist strength against the inroads of religion in society.
Make a note of the date: 7 March 2009
Venue: Folkets Hus Göteborg
Olof Palmes Plats
Admission: 100 SKr or 10 Euros
For more information or to register please write to:
Phone: Azar Majedi:+44 (0)7886973423
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Rights For Our Future: The New Child Health Insurance Bill Provides Momentum for the Systemic Reform of Child Rights in the US
In last year’s campaign for the U.S. Presidency, Barack Obama admirably deemed himself as “a champion for children.” Given his recent child advocacy plan, he has begun to show a serious intention to live up to that title. In the plan, he has promised that every child will be granted health insurance. The plan will also expand educational opportunities for children in low-income families, extend other necessary resources for these families, support and supplement the foster care system, and provide better protections for children within the U.S. from violence and neglect.
Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) states that it is the right of a child to enjoy the highest attainable standards of health. Consistent with this crucial Convention, on February 4, 2009 President Obama signed the Children’s Health Insurance Bill. The recently passed Child Health Insurance Bill expands the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to increase coverage to 11.1 million children. Currently SCHIP provides coverage for 7 million children who are otherwise ineligible to receive Medicaid. This action is in line with an eventual goal to secure health insurance for every child within the U.S.
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