The Catholic Church in Australia has issued a national
apology over past adoption practices that have been described as a
"national disgrace". The apology was prompted by national media investigation into claims of abuse and trauma in Newcastle.
is believed at least 150,000 Australian women had their babies taken
against their will by some churches and adoption agencies between the
1950s and 1970s.
ALMOST 15,000 people have joined an Atheist Foundation of Australia push to mark "no religion" on the coming census.
The foundation has begun unveiling billboards urging people to take the religion out of politics.
Thousands have also vowed to mark "no religion" in a Facebook campaign.
AFA president David Nicholls said many people selected the religion they were born into, despite not being religious.
He said the transfer of taxpayers' money to religious organisations was justified on the basis of the census results.
than 70,000 people declared themselves Jedi order members in 2001 but
Mr Nicholls warned such an answer was now marked as no response.
The Rev Klaas
Hendrikse can offer his congregation little hope of life after death,
and he's not the sort of man to sugar the pill.
An imposing figure in black robes and white clerical collar, Mr
Hendrikse presides over the Sunday service at the Exodus Church in
Gorinchem, central Holland.
It is part of the mainstream Protestant Church in the
Netherlands (PKN), and the service is conventional enough, with hymns,
readings from the Bible, and the Lord's Prayer. But the message from Mr
Hendrikse's sermon seems bleak - "Make the most of life on earth,
because it will probably be the only one you get".
"Personally I have no talent for believing in life after
death," Mr Hendrikse says. "No, for me our life, our task, is before
Late last month, the UN issued a new statement on the extent of
freedom of speech under international law. It says that laws restricting
blasphemy as such are incompatible with universal human rights
The statement came from the Human Rights Committee, the body of
eighteen “independent experts” mandated to monitor compliance with the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, or ICCPR, the 1966
human rights treaty that provides for freedom of opinion and expression
and other fundamental rights. The Committee’s general comments
represent authoritative interpretations of the provisions of the ICCPR.
Unlike the highly-publicized resolutions produced by the Human Rights
Council and the General Assembly, the provisions of the ICCPR are
legally binding to its more than 165 parties.
Understanding the importance of the protection of the
life and safety of all citizens of Russia, including that of the religious
leaders in our country, the Good Sense (Zdravomislie) Public Fund has met the
news of the upcoming amendments to our secular law with alarm.
The Public Fund Good Sense learned that the government
of Russia initiated an amendment in the state Duma of the Russian Federation in
the form of bill № 5861785, containing a clause to expand the list of individuals
being protected by government, with taxpayers money, to include an unspecified
number of people that do not have any relation to government service or the
functioning of the state. Among those listed in the expanded list was the head
of the Russian Orthodox Church.
This bill was apparently created in order to legalize the
state security which has been provided for the church Patriarch for many years
now without any legal basis.
In relation to this, the Good Sense Foundation
addresses an open letter to the President of Russia, Dmitri Medvedev, in which
we ask him to answer two questions:
1) Will somebody be held accountable for the violation
of legal principles that have been going on for a number of years?
2) How does the government’s initiative to support
just one out of many religious organizations registered in Russia
correspond with the secular nature of our state, as indicated in our national constitution?
The Fund is also addressing a letter to the head of
the dedicated Security Committee in the State Duma, Vasiliev V.A, with a
request to act out of a sense for public consent in terms of ethnic and
religious cross-relations when discussing the bill. We also ask that the Duma
keep the secular basis of our national constitution in mind when determining
what private Russian citizens should be eligible to receive government-paid
From the Secular Humanist League of Brazil, an AAI Affiliate Member:
One year and a half has passed since the foundation of the Secular Humanist League of Brazil, LiHS, the owner of this debuting blog. So many things have happened since then that I am caught in the vertigo of loads of long term memory yet to be consolidated. (And my routine as a rebel sleeper has most certainly something to do with that.)
I remember vividly my dream of taking Brazil and more of Latin America to the global secularist community, especially reaching IHEU (International Humanist and Ethical Union). Well, we did it! And it happened last week, when our international relations director Daniel Martin traveled from France to Norway (yes, to Oslo, the site of that conservative Christian terrorist attack) to attend the General Assembly in the World Humanist Congress, where we were approved as members of IHEU. Also, before that, LiHS joined the Atheist Alliance International.