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Mesdames et Messieurs, il est temps d'élection!

On April 7th, Quebeckers will head to the polls because of a snap election called by the PQ minority government. Of course, as in this part of Canada, election time is never without controversy. Between Liberal leader Phillippe Couillard touting the benefits of bilingualism and CAQ leader Francois LeGault presenting his budget if his party is elected, it all pales to this past weekend's announcement that Quebec media oligarch Pierre Karl Peladeau is running in a riding for the Parti Quebecois. [more inside]
posted by Kitteh on Mar 11, 2014 - 105 comments

“If the state is neutral, its agents must be neutral.”

Public hearings of Quebec's controversial Charter of Values is set to begin today. The proposal of Charter of Values seems to be a divisive issue in the province for native Francophones, Anglophones, and allophones. It has led to a rise of ugly incidents. Previously.
posted by Kitteh on Jan 14, 2014 - 45 comments

Good alternatives for an ethical secular family

Is your family looking for an inclusive alternative to the Boy Scouts of America? Lance Finney posts a rundown on the Skepchick parenting blog Grounded Parents. The list is based on research he did when working to start a group with families from the Ethical Society of St. Louis that was “fully inclusive of religious belief, ethnic background, sexual orientation, and gender.” [more inside]
posted by audi alteram partem on Jan 10, 2014 - 22 comments

Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here

Inspired by her father's struggle against fundamentalism in Algeria in the 1990s, Karima Bennoune interviewed hundreds of people of Muslim heritage from dozens of countries who also work for social reform. She hopes their stories will counterbalance oversimplified narratives about majority Muslim nations. Bennoune's website provides an excerpt from the book, and she is interviewed on Open Democracy (transcript).
posted by audi alteram partem on Sep 6, 2013 - 3 comments

A Woman's Place

"A Woman’s Place? The Dearth of Women in the Secular Movement" by Susan Jacoby
posted by brundlefly on Aug 26, 2012 - 121 comments

The voice of reason... in Washington, DC?!

Organized irreligion! This weekend , Washington, D.C. will be invaded by the voice of reason. A free rally featuring Tim Minchin, Paul Provenza, Richard Dawkins, Eddie Izzard, Adam Savage, James Randi, Bad Religion, and many others, in what is anticipated to be the largest gathering of non-believers in America.
"If we don't organize, we will be the only ones not organized. Religion will be organized. We won't be organized. That means we lose... and they win."
posted by markkraft on Mar 23, 2012 - 489 comments

Bollywood's Soft Power

What might help defeat Muslim extremists in Pakistan for good? Bollywood!
posted by reenum on Feb 2, 2012 - 11 comments

I'm just gonna go ahead and Godwin this in-title.

Yesterday, 1500 protesters denounced the Netanyahu government, carrying signs reading "Zionism is racism" and wearing yellow stars to emphasize comparison between the Israel and the Nazi state. “What’s happening is exactly like what happened in Germany,” said one man wearing a yellow star. “It started with incitement and continued to different types of oppression. Is it insulting that we wear these stars? Absolutely, and it hurts people to see this, but this is how we feel at the moment, we feel we are being prevented from observing the Torah in the manner in which we wish.” Wait, what? Yep -- the protesters aren't Arabs or latte-sipping Berkeley radicals, but ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem, angry about recent TV news coverage of incidents in which haredim threw rocks at handicapped Modern Orthodox children in Beit Shemesh who were using their wheelchairs on Shabbat. The angry crowd was also protesting the jailing of Shmuel Weisfish, a member of the "Modesty Squad" who recently started a 2-year prison sentence for beating and threatening employees of a computer store for selling MP4 players which might expose customers to inappropriate content. As always, Failed Messiah is your (admittedly one-sided) source for bad behavior among the frum. [more inside]
posted by escabeche on Jan 1, 2012 - 75 comments

Rethinking the Idea of 'Christian Europe'

Rethinking the Idea of 'Christian Europe'. Kenan Malik's essay is awarded 3 Quarks Daily's Top Quark for politics & social science by judge Stephen M. Walt: "Soldiers in today’s culture wars believe 'European civilization' rests on a set of unchanging principles that are perennially under siege—from godless communism, secular humanism, and most recently, radical Islam. For many of these zealots, what makes the 'West' unique are its Judeo-Christian roots. In this calm and elegantly-written reflection on the past two millenia, Malik shows that Christianity is only one of the many sources of 'Western' culture, and that many of the ideas we now think of as 'bedrock' values were in fact borrowed from other cultures. This essay is a potent antidote to those who believe a 'clash of civilizations' is inevitable—if not already underway—and the moral in Malik’s account could not be clearer. Openness to outside influences has been the true source of European prominence; erecting ramparts against others will impoverish and endanger us all."
posted by homunculus on Dec 19, 2011 - 87 comments

Netanyahu Government Suggests Israelis Avoid Marrying American Jews

The Netanyahu government has paid for US TV ads saying US Israelis will never understand what it means to be Israeli, and American Jews will lose their religion
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Nov 30, 2011 - 189 comments

Religion and America's Academic Scientists

Science vs. Religion: a new book, Science and Religion: What Scientists Really Think by Rice University sociologist Elaine Ecklund, discusses the results of her detailed study of 1,646 scientists at top American research universities. Among her findings: ~36% of those surveyed not only believe in God but also practice a form of closeted, often non-traditional faith. They worry about how their peers would react to learning about their religious views. Interview with the author from the Center for Inquiry's Point of Inquiry podcast. Also, here's a webcast from an author discussion forum held at Rice University on April 7th. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 30, 2010 - 89 comments

Holy Knapsacks

Christian Privilege: Breaking a Sacred Taboo discusses the dominance of Christianity in America, including a privilege checklist, and a longer standalone list was previously linked. More writing focuses on secular college campuses. In American jurisprudence, such as in the case of Sheri Klouda, fired as a language instructor from a Baptist seminary when a new president decided she should not be teaching men, religious freedom often supersedes other rights. Moving away from the specific case of Christianity, some articles from a British secularist viewpoint criticize the special consideration given to religious views and practices. When the last article was reprinted by Kolkata newspaper The Statesman, there were riots and the editor was arrested under a law against "deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings."
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim on May 31, 2009 - 148 comments

Unholier than thou

"The debaptism certificate started out as a kind of satirical comment on the idea that you could be enrolled in a church before you could talk, but it seems to have taken off from there. People are beginning to take it seriously."
posted by WPW on Mar 14, 2009 - 191 comments

Humanism

The Virtues of Godlessness. "It is not the most religious nations in our world today, but rather the most secular, that have been able to create the most civil, just, safe, equitable, humane, and prosperous societies."
posted by plexi on Feb 1, 2009 - 108 comments

Kick your (a)theism up a notch: go "post-secular"!

Habermas debated the Pope (pdf) when he was just Ratzinger. In German. In Spanish. In English. Summaries: 1, 2. Money quote: "Secular society must acquire a new understanding of religious convictions" (Habermas) while avoiding the "pathologies of reason and religion." (Ratzinger)
posted by anotherpanacea on May 14, 2007 - 23 comments

Fighting Words for a Secular America

"Question with boldness even the existence of a God... In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own... History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government." These heretical words, spoken by a government official now, would surely result in him being targeted for removal by the GOP in the next red-state "mandate." But they were written by Thomas Jefferson, one of the founders of the increasingly pious, "faith-based" United States of America. A timely reminder from Robin Morgan in Ms. Magazine [via the sublime wood s lot.]
posted by digaman on Nov 24, 2004 - 48 comments

American (re)construction of Afghanistan government should require secularism,

American (re)construction of Afghanistan government should require secularism, according to this op-ed piece by Robert Scheer in the LA Times. I've been advocating this from the beginning, but this is the first media piece I've seen that argues the point.
posted by yesster on Dec 19, 2001 - 10 comments

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