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Today is World Humanitarian Day

Humanitarian Day posterToday is World Humanitarian Day. This explanation is from the World Humanitarian Day website:

The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted in its Plenary Session on 11th December 2008, the Swedish sponsored Omnibus Resolution on “Strengthening of the Coordination of Emergency Humanitarian Assistance of the United Nations”, that carried the historic decision by the world body, to designate the 19th August as World Humanitarian Day to honor all humanitarian and the United Nations and associated personnel who have lost their lives in the cause of duty and those who have worked in the promotion of the humanitarian cause.

Visit the website to find out more.

Gay Humanists support Alan Turing campaign

Alan TuringThe gay Humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT) has warmly welcomed the decision of Richard Dawkins to back the campaign to win an official apology for Alan Turing, the code-breaking genius and father of the modern computer who committed suicide in 1954 after being prosecuted for being homosexual.

More than 2,500 people have now added their name to the on-line petition calling for the Government to recognise the “consequences of prejudice” that ended the life of the scientist aged just 41.

Professor Dawkins said that an apology would “send a signal to the world which needs to be sent”, and that Turing would still be alive today if it were not for the repressive, religion-influenced laws which drove him to despair.

Less agreeable?

Via the NSS, ‘A new survey by the Center for Inquiry entitled “Profiles of the Godless” (pdf), examines both the preferred labels that non-believers attach to themselves and the personality types that tend to be connected with those labels.’

It notes that ‘non-religious people tend to be highly educated, unmarried males who are intellectually adventurous but personally “less agreeable”.’ Surely not!

Hubble deep field

If you missed Tom Boles’ talk about the Hubble space telescope and what it’s revealed about the universe at our July meeting, this might give you an idea of what you missed.

Mad missionaries & toxic gifts

OCC logoThis was first posted in November 2007, but as it’s Operation Christmas Child time again, it’s being reposted.


 

I don’t know how many American missionaries there are, or where they all are, but there are a lot of them. I posted a story in June about the Joshua Project:

Our Mission … to highlight the people groups of the world that have the least Christian presence in their midst and to encourage pioneer church-planting among every ethnic people group.

I wrote “Mad missionaries” because they do seem to suffer from a collective psychosis. They’re programmed to go and poke their interfering evangelical noses into communities that “have the least Christian presence”, regardless of the existing religious beliefs, or lack of beliefs, of the people involved. Their unshakeable belief that they’re doing God’s will is not just misguided, it’s very destructive.

Toys for injured Afghani kids

Via a Facebook friend, a message from a doctor serving in Afghanistan:

A request for support from a doctor serving in Kandahar Hospital, Afghanistan, who tells of some of the awful injuries suffered by many children as a result of the fighting. He has asked if people could parcel together a few toys, colouring books, toy cars, soft toys (but not dogs), and post to him: 5766271 Captain A J Stubbs, UK-JF Med Gp, Op Herrick 10b, BFPO772. NB: a parcel up to 2kg is free to post to a BFPO address.

Everything’s our fault, and other stuff from the web

I try to resist watching The Big Questions on BBC TV (Sunday mornings), as it only makes me cross. They never give anyone time to develop an argument and it often ends up as a shouting match. Last Sunday (you have until the weekend to watch on i-player), the last question was “Is atheism an intolerant belief?”, so you knew it was going to be silly. Belief? Atheism is a lack of belief. Intolerant? Compared with tolerant religion, presumably. Intolerant of what? Yes, I admit to being intolerant of bullshit, hypocrisy, false reasoning, etc.

Currently, atheists are being blamed for just about everything. We’re nasty meanies, who have the temerity to question religionists and suggest they get things their own way too often, and at public expense. And it’s our fault that people murder one another, apparently. Yet, as one of my Twitter friends says, “Every day I don’t commit murder, theft, rape or adultery, I surprise even myself.”

Fundamentalist exams on a par with A- levels

Nessie

A creationist exam syllabus for evangelical Christians that orginated in Texas in the 1970s has been ruled equivalent to international A– levels by a UK government agency, despite teaching that the Loch Ness monster disproves evolution and racial segregation is beneficial.

The Times Edicational Supplement reports that –

Hundreds of teenagers at around 50 private Christian schools in Britain study for the certificates, as well as several home-educated students.