This is the weekly summary of the Humanist Network News (HNN). The Humanist Network News (HNN) is published every Wednesday via e-mail and the Institute for Humanist Studies (IHS) Web site. This diary is a slightly reformatted copy of the weekly email, posted every Thursday.
August 11, 2005
Humanist Network News
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- Survey: Most Americans want legal abortion, death penalty
- NY Gov. vetoes emergency contraception bill
- IHS Pres. speaks about world humanism
- Listen to artist talk by Joel Pelletier on “American Fundamentalists”
- Christian group wants law school to OK discrimination
- Being intelligent about Intelligent Design
- Religious leaders are not good allies in war against terrorism
- Film Review: Murderball
- Media Roundup
- Strange Times
- Cathartic Comics
- Humanist Humor
- Poll of the Week
Summaries and links across the jump. As always, if one of these stories captures your interest, feel free to write a more in depth diary.
I normally don’t comment on the HNN, but a few stories really jump out at me as being significant this week, so I have added MY TAKE to a few of the summaries.
1. Survey: Most Americans want legal abortion, death penalty
A national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, titled “Abortion and Rights of Terror Suspects Top Court Issues” is available online. The survey found that most Americans: want abortion to remain legal but more limited, favor stem-cell research, favor the death penalty for murderers over 18. LINK MY TAKE: Further proof that it is a lie that the American people are moving to the right.
2. NY Gov. vetoes emergency contraception bill
On Friday, Gov. George E. Pataki vetoed a bill that would have increased the availability of emergency contraception in New York state. For the past three years on behalf of the Institute for Humanist Studies, IHS Public Policy Director Tim Gordinier has lobbied for this legislation. LINK MY TAKE: Last week’s HNN said this was likely, as Pataki positions himself for a presidential run in 2008.
3. IHS Pres. speaks about world humanism
Larry Jones, president and founder of the Institute for Humanist Studies spoke to the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia (FSGP) last week on “The Challenges to Humanism in the Developing World.” In the talk, he described his experiences with, and impressions of, humanist organizations in Nepal, India, Africa and China during his world tour of humanism in 2003 and 2004. MORE
4. Listen to artist talk by Joel Pelletier on “American Fundamentalists”
Didn’t get the chance to hear artist Joel Pelletier speak about his “American Fundamentalists” painting at the IHS Humanist Center in Albany, N.Y.? We have an audio recording of the event that you can listen to here. MORE
5. Christian group wants law school to OK discrimination
A Christian legal society wants California to recognize them as a bona fide student law organization at the state-run Hastings Law School. But the group also wants to be able to exclude those who don’t adhere to its religious principles — which would include gays and non-Christians.MORE. MY TAKE How does a legal society, even a religious one, not understand the 1st Amendment?
6. Being intelligent about Intelligent Design
From the American Progress Report: On Tuesday, just a few weeks after the 80th anniversary of the famous Scopes Trial, President Bush expressed his support for teaching intelligent design in public schools, saying, “[b]oth sides ought to be properly taught…so people can understand what the debate is about.” MORE. MY TAKE: The only way I think ID should get into schools is as an example of unscientific clap-trap.
7. Religious leaders are not good allies in war against terrorism
In this week’s installment of his column, Canadian writer Doug Thomas says: “Every time there is another terrorist act, religious leaders fall all over each other distancing themselves from the terrorists. According to these leaders, Zionist fanatics, Jihad fighters, IRA bombers and Sikh terrorists are never representative of the true religion that spawned their fanaticism. Oh, really?” MORE MY TAKE: This is delicate. I don’t like to argue that Jihadists are just being good Muslims, because that villianizes all Muslims. On the other hand, Jihad is an element of Islam and can be interpreted in many ways – including (literally) war against all non-Muslims. I would argue that nearly every religion began as a way of organizing and controlling people. As such, there very good tenets for organizing the “in-group” and getting them to live peacefully and productively as a community, and very bad parts intended to at least demonize the “other” and at worst calling for genocide against the “other.” Christ’s message is a notable exception, calling for a breakdown of the in-group vs out-group paradigm. Unfortunately, that message has been largely lost by continuing to couple the New Testament with the Old Testament.
8. Film Review: Murderball
HNN film critic Carolyn Braunius writes: Murderball is a smashing good time. MORE
9. Media Roundup
Rallying the Humanists; Ad Campaign Says Roberts Backed Violent Protesters; Rich Liberals Vow to Fund Think Tanks; and more in this week’s roundup of the news. MORE
10. Strange Times
Men do have trouble hearing women, scientists find; Straight men to marry; and more in this weeks Strange Times. MORE.
11. Cathartic Comics
In this week’s freethought comics section we add a new cartoon, Idiot Box by Matt Bors. In this strip, Bors reveals to us the founding fathers’ original intent when they wrote the Constitution. MORE
12. Humanist Humor
We have a joke about rotten eggs and a map showing the world as Americans see it. MORE. MY TAKE: I love the map according to Americans.
13. Poll of the Week
In this week’s poll, HNN wants to know: On average, how often do you send a letter to the editor of a mainstream newspaper, magazine, or website about a topic related to humanism? CAST YOUR VOTE
About the IHS:
The IHS promotes nonreligious perspectives on social, political, and ethical issues and serves as a resource for and about the humanist community. Questions, comments, concerns, got a better joke or a story? Send a letter to the editor.
If anything here interests you, you may also be interested in my diary on what it is like to be a secular humanist in today’s political climate: I Am The Boogeyman.