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Secularist of the Year Awarded to Turkish MP, Safak Pavey

350x[1]Turkish MP and human rights campaigner, Safak Pavey, has won this year’s award for Secularist of the Year. She was presented with the £5,000 Irwin Prize by honorary associate and shadow foreign office minister, Kerry McCarthy MP, at a lunch-time event hosted by the National Secular Society on Saturday. Safak Pavey is a member of Turkey’s main opposition party and sits for the Istanbul constituency. She is known for her international work in human rights, the promotion of the rights of women and minorities in Turkey, as well as humanitarian aid and peace-building. [Read more]

Secular Values, Not Religion, Make Us a Tolerant Society

350x[1]The secular mind is better equipped than religion to reach reasoned and compassionate judgments. That was the argument of Ian McEwan at the Oxford Literary Festival this week. It should not be controversial. Religious belief resolves no moral problem and yields no knowledge. On the contrary, much suffering is caused by people who believe they know the will of God and have a duty to enforce it. Of course, not all religions are like that. [Read more]

Arabs In Israel Contemplate Borders Of Palestinian State

Mideast peace talks pushed by the U.S. could include a borderline that leaves some Arabs, who are in Israel as part of a minority of non-Jewish Israeli citizens, into a new Palestinian state. [Download Story]

Challenging Obedience Without Question

catholicschool[1]Obedience without questioning ” the will of god” is taught to every child raised in a faith as the highest virtue. Constant examples in the world of reality show the opposite to be true. Usually, the Inquisition and the slaughters of non-believers or those of other faiths than the prevailing one, throughout religious history, are dragged out as examples of just how damaging obedience to religious tenets and authorities can be. These are dismissed by true believers, who are disturbed by negative facts of any kind in their beliefs. [Read more]

Americans United Tells Phoenix Officials To End Use Of Anti-Prostitution Program Anchored In Religion

Government officials in Phoenix are violating the law by compelling individuals suspected of prostitution-related offenses to participate in a program administered by religious groups, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says. In a letter sent today to city officials, attorneys with Americans United assert that the program, Project ROSE, clearly violates the First Amendment. [Read more]

Talk of Freeing a Spy for Israel Stirs Old Unease for U.S. Jews

pollard-profile-videoSixteenByNine540[1]Each year, just before Passover, Malcolm Hoenlein writes a letter to President Obama requesting that he grant clemency to Jonathan J. Pollard, the American sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for passing suitcases stuffed with classified documents to Israel. This week, with his goal suddenly within reach, Mr. Hoenlein, the leader of an umbrella group of American Jewish organizations, has held off sending the letter. [Read more]

500 Mormon Women to Enter Temple Square to Seek Priesthood Tickets

Even though the LDS Church asked Ordain Women participants to stay off Temple Square in their quest to gain tickets to an all-male priesthood meeting at this weekend’s General Conference, an estimated 500 plan to enter that space Saturday night. [Read more]

Science, God, and Rock ’n Roll (Part 2)

UnbelieversPoster-200x300[1]A physicist, a zoologist, an imam, and a priest walk into a debate about origins… It’s no joke. Rather, it’s a glimpse into a documentary on the quest of two scientists to confront religion head-on. Zoologist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and physicist Lawrence Krauss, each a bestselling author, have been traveling the world together to champion the virtues of science and reason and shatter the pretensions of religion. [Read more]