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IHEU News

IHEU

This is an update of news from International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU). You can find the full versions of these news stories on their web site. They’re also on twitter, Facebook and YouTube.Visit www.iheu.org/newsletter to subscribe.

IHEU condemns Holy See for undermining democracy and human rights
Speaking at the 18th session of the UN Human Rights Council on 23 September, IHEU representative Cathy Buchs condemned the Vatican for attempting to undermine democracy and human rights by insisting that child abuse cases be judged under the churches’ own rules of canon law rather than the laws of the state…. Read more

National Secular Society intervention aims to protect UK equality laws from religious onslaught
The National Secular Society (NSS), an IHEU member organization, has submitted an intervention with the European Court of Human Rights to argue that Britain’s equality laws should be upheld and not compromised by religious exemptions. Read more

Research debunks the myth that Christians contribute more to society
Secular people are just as likely to participate in society as religious people, suggests new research by the British government. The British Humanist Association (BHA) has welcomed the findings as further evidence against the idea – increasingly advanced by religious and government leaders – that religion increases people’s contribution to society. The survey also revealed that Christians were much less likely than any other belief group to mix with people of different beliefs or ethnicities. Read more

Otley Green

Otley Green

Suffolk Humanists & Secularists member Tony Barrett is chairman of Otley Green, and has sent the following urgent message (Otley Green has until 5pm today, Friday 30th September, to find more Energyshare supporters):

OtleyGreen’s Community Turbine project has successfully reached Energyshare’s second round. We need yet more supporters to get into the third round. If you haven’t yet become a supporter we would be very grateful if you would sign up. If you are already one of our supporters, please pass this message on.

Becoming an Energyshare Supporter is an easy 5 step process:

  1. Go to www.energyshare.com/otleygreen;
  2. Press the SUPPORT THIS GROUP button on the right hand side of the screen;
  3. Press the SIGN UP button in the new window;
  4. Complete the form. You can ignore the profile information. You will not get emails unless you want them;
  5. You will receive a confirmation email. Just click on the confirmation link. You are now a supporter.

Thank you very, very much for your support Tony Barrett, Chairman OtleyGreen.

Otley, Suffolk

Village a few miles north of Ipswich.

Science in the Pub

The Pub people are doing experiments at their next meeting. This is what they wrote on Facebook:

Our next meeting will be at the new venue of the Brewery Tap. It has the advantage that we can use a side room so any bubbling experiments can be more easily contained 😉 We’ll either be in the room immediately on the right as you go in, or upstairs.

Then, as an afterthought:

If you bring something that starts bubbling that isn’t beer, the garden area outside would be more appropriate.

Feeling connected not only does you good, it makes you good, apparently

Recent research by academics from Britain and Austria has indicated that when people feel connected to others, they’re more likely to act altruistically. The report showed that “Nearly half of the participants who had been reminded of their social connections donated to the Red Cross, whereas fewer than 20 percent of the other participants did.” Click here to read more.

More bad news about African gay men – Cameroon locks them up

Alice N'Kom

In the last two weeks, Cameroon gay men have been thrown in jail just for being gay. The situation is approaching a crisis and Alice N’Kom, an attorney, is ready to confront the President to demand the release of those arrested and an end to laws that make being gay a crime. Please click here to support Alice by signing a letter to the President of Cameroon.

New books: God as a teenage boy, and making science magical for young people

September booksHave you noticed how people who believe in God are always telling us how he/she/it wants us to behave, while God (the one in the Bible, anyway) behaves rather badly? What if he isn’t an old man on a cloud but is, in fact, a teenage boy? That might explain the behaviour. Mariella Frostrup interviewed author Meg Rossof on BBC Radio 4 today about her new book, ‘There is no Dog’, which imagines what the world would be like if God was a petulant teenage boy called Bob, who spends the majority of his time sleeping or having sexual fantasies about the human women he has created and causing floods, geological disasters and much suffering in his wake. In the first chapter (available to download online), she wrote,

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Only it wasn’t as simple as that. The preferred candidate for God withdrew at the last minute saying he wanted to spend more time with his family, though privately everyone suspected he was having second thoughts. You couldn’t really blame him. Earth was badly positioned – miles off the beaten track in a lonely and somewhat rundown part of the universe. At a time of high employment, not many top-level candidates were willing to take on a tiny unproven planet, not to mention the whole creation rigmarole, which, when done properly, could be a real headache.

Great fun!

Richard Dawkins latest book was published today. He was interviewed about it on Newsnight a couple of night ago – you have a few more days to listen on i-Player. ‘The Magic of Reality‘ is a book for children that aims to replace myth with science, and make it just as exciting and magical.

Note that if you decide to buy either or both of these books, we’ll get commission if you do it through the link to Amazon on our website.

Bus missionaries

Seems you can’t even get on a bus these days without risking some god-botherer trying to convert you. Mormons have been targetting passengers on Stagecoach buses in Lancashire. The Guardian reports,

Robert Preston, England Manchester Mission President for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, said he considered the 140 young people in the north west of England actively engaged in trying to convert people as “persistent and courageous”. He added: “They will sit next to someone, and they will introduce themselves and try and have a good conversation to explain a point of view that someone might never have heard before. We do encourage this, but we would not want people to feel intimidated. “If it becomes clear that someone does not want to hear that message they should move away.”

Stagecoach has asked the Mormoms to stop bothering its passengers.