Category: Diary

Number10.gov.uk response to Iris Robinson petition

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to reprimand MP Iris Robinson on her recent comments about Homosexuality.”

Details of Petition:

“MP for Strangford has recently suggested that all homosexuals should receive psychiatric treatment to help ‘cure’ them. These comments are not fitting of a MLA let alone an MP. They show narrow minded views and the belief that in Northern Ireland that bigotry is acceptable.”

BHA ‘Face to Face & Side by Side’ Campaign

BHA-logoAs part of their community cohesion work, the Government has proposed in its White Paper ‘Face to Face and Side by Side: A Framework for Partnership in our Multi Faith Society’ to champion the role of ‘faith groups’ and ‘inter faith’ work in local social dialogue and action.

We [The British Humanist Association] believe that the paper gives disproportionate support to ‘faith groups’ and overplays the importance of ‘inter faith’ work in social cohesion. It fails to recognise work done by organisations which are not based on religion or belief, or by organisations which are based on non-religious beliefs.

To find out more and join the campaign, click here to go to the BHA Campaign website

BBC NEWS | Saudi police to enforce pet curbs

The Saudi religious police have reportedly vowed to strictly enforce a ban on the sale of pet cats and dogs in Riyadh and walking animals in public.

A senior official said it was to stop a rising trend of people trying to evade strict rules on sex segregation.

Council of Ex-Muslims first international conference

Council of ex-muslims part logoThe Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain presents its first international conference: Political Islam, Sharia Law, And Civil Society

Friday 10 October 2008 – International day against the Death Penalty – 10am-6pm (Registration begins at 9am)

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL (Closest station: Holborn)

Surely it’s time to disestablish the church?

All through Sunday night Anglican bishops were leaving their student rooms on the campus of the University of Kent and getting into mini-buses and taxis for the airport, and journeys to most of the 160 countries they represent.

Blears “supporting faith communities” with government grants

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears today set out how Government envisages working in future alongside the many faith based organisations already making a real difference to their communities.

The Framework for Partnership published today [21 July 2008] outlines new support and £7.5m worth of investment to encourage and enable greater local activity bringing people from different religions and beliefs together. It also reaffirms government support for the valuable work faith groups contribute to delivering services, responding to some of the toughest challenges that society faces.

The National Secular Society’s position (and ours) is:

Public services that are intended for the whole community should be secular. The trend towards handing them over to religious control must be stopped, and the NSS is working to ensure that “faith based welfare” does not impose religious conditions on service provision. We do not want the “soup for prayers” situation that has arisen in the USA to become the norm here, where public services have traditionally been provided by secular local authorities and other public bodies that served all without favour.

Message from the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain was one year old on June 21.

For many, this will come as a surprise given the organisation’s importance and the scope of its activities so far. In the short time since the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain was launched in June 2007, it has achieved much with volunteers alone.

Ten Non-Commandments – John Palmer

John PalmerIn 1963 the magazine New Society ran an article by Ronald Fletcher, then a lecturer in sociology at Bedford College, London, entitled “A Humanist’s Decalogue”. The author was suggesting an updated version of the Biblical list of dos and don’ts as a set of non-commandments – “principles on which the individual must work out his/her own conduct when faced by particular problems”. The article was one of a series dealing especially with young people’s values.  Fletcher’s four page article expanded on each non-commandment. Ronald Fletcher finished his academic career as Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Reading.

Fletcher’s list made an impression on me, at that time a lad of twenty-something years of age, and I kept the article. I have it still, and although it’s brown with age and getting increasingly tatty, its content still seems relevant to me.