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September Newsletter out now

September newsletterOur latest newsletter is here for you to download with articles on the Pope’s visit to the UK, an Indian Humanist’s opinion of Mother Teresa, Skeptics in the Pub, and suffering. There’s also news about our next meetings and Peter Tatchell’s forthcoming TV programme.

This is from Denis Johnston’s article on suffering:

We are alive during the first period in history where we’re able to substantially control physical pain—and because we can do that we can also reduce the mental pain associated with having to endure watching the suffering of others.

A song for atheists

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers sing the first song in the Atheist Hymnal.

Some things for the weekend, including ‘No to Faith Schools!’

Richard DawkinsDid you watch More4 TV last week, when Richard Dawkins launched his attack on faith schools? Were you horrified by some of the things that were going on, such as those girls in a Muslim school, who thought the Qur’an’s version of our origins was true, and didn’t believe in evolution? Tom Sutcliffe wrote an excellent review for the Independent (and yes, I’m biased). If you’re a BHA member, you should have had an email from Richard Dawkins today, appealing for funds for the BHA’s campaign. If you didn’t, here’s what he wrote:

I am writing to you today to ask for your help in fighting the expansion of state-funded faith schools. This is not a campaign against religious education (teaching about religion) but against faith schools, which teach a particular religion as the one true faith (indoctrination in religion).
There are nearly 7,000 state-funded faith schools in England. These schools have many special privileges – they can select pupils on the basis of parents’ religious observance, discriminate on religious grounds in the employment of teachers, and teach their own RE syllabus, free of Ofsted supervision and free of any National Curriculum.

Ipswich Skeptics in the Pub – Open Talk Night postponed

Their first open talk night, when three speakers will give a talk on a subject of science, skepticism or general interest.

ISP say,

The format that we’re going to try and keep to is a speaking event every other month, alternating between a guest speaker, and an open talk night, where anyone can take the floor and talk about something that interests them. Non speaking nights will be a casual get together over a beer.

Note: This meeting has been postponed from the 21st.

Why can’t I own a Canadian?

Something that’s been on the Internet for a while, but maybe you haven’t seen it – how to deal with homophobes who justify their bigotry by quoting the Bible –

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a US radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. On one of her shows she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a US east coast listener, which was posted on the Internet.

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

Holiday reading for MPs?

MulticulturalismWhile Michael Gove’s Academies Bill offers more opportunties for people to set up faith schools or to make existing ones less accountable, the Labour leadership candidates all say they’re pro-faith schools. Faith schools are a part, a rather large part, of the problem of “multiculturalism”, about which so much nonsense has been spoken and written by ignorant politicians.

Rumy Hasan’s book, Multiculturalism: Some Inconvenient Truths, ought to be on every MP’s holiday reading list. Barry Thorpe’s review for the NSS explains clearly why:

This book articulates very clearly the dangers and fallacies inherent in the current concept of multiculturalism, illustrated with example after example. It should be compulsory reading for every MP and every government department.