|Cargo planes have landed in Haiti‚ reaching thousands of families with supplies including oral rehydration salts‚ to combat the deadly effects of diarrhoea‚ water purification tablets‚ and tarpaulins and tents to provide temporary shelter. We urgently need your help so that we can reach more affected children.
A gift of £30 could provide 3 families with basic water kits.
UNICEF is funded entirely by voluntary contributions. We receive no funding from the United Nations budget. So please make a donation today.
The situation for children in Haiti was already difficult before the earthquake hit the island. It is one of the poorest countries in the world and is struggling to recover from years of insecurity‚ instability and massive natural disasters.
All children have rights — these are most at risk of being denied in emergencies. UNICEF is working to ensure that the rights of children affected in Haiti are not forgotten.
Please give whatever you can to help protect and support children affected by the earthquake in Haiti by making a donation today.
British Humanist Association e-bulletin
18th January 10
As emergency response teams throughout the world hurry to Haiti to try and alleviate the suffering of those caught in one of the most devastating earthquakes in living history, inevitable theological discussions have arisen. Pat Robertson, an American TV host of a Christian talk show, blamed the earthquake on a pact with the devil whilst ‘pray for Haiti’ has become a popular icon on online networking website Twitter.
Meanwhile, our Chief Executive Andrew Copson has been answering press calls about the existence of a loving God in a world where natural disasters cause such suffering, whether people are comforted by religion in a time of such uncertainty and fear, and whether science has the answer to the prevention of future disasters. You can hear an example of this here.
Whatever the outcome of such theological discussions, the people of Haiti urgently need your help. Humanism is based on the belief that humanity can solve its own problems through mutual action and shared values. The need for such action has never been so great.
You can donate to the following secular organisations:
UNICEF | Oxfam | Actionaid | British Red Cross | Concern Worldwide | Merlin | Save the Children | Help the Aged | Care International
If you can afford to donate over £500, the Big Give website will DOUBLE YOUR DONATION.
Darwin Day Lecture 2010: Prof Chris Stringer on Darwin and Human Evolution
Chaired by Prof Richard Dawkins, run in conjunction with South Place Ethical Society.
11th February 2010, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL, Doors open 6pm
Tickets are £12 or £7 for members of the BHA or South Place Ethical Society.
Buy tickets today!
When On the Origin of Species was published in 1859 the only recognised human fossils were from Europe, and this was still the case when Darwin completed The Descent of Man in 1871. Nevertheless, he argued by inference that humans had probably originated in Africa. However, it was not until 50 years later that Africa started to produce a fossil record which showed that Darwin’s educated guess was correct.
Professor Stringer is Research Leader in Human Origins at the Natural History Museum where he has also been Head of Human Origins Programme and Head of Anthropology. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and Visiting Professor at Royal Holloway, University of London. His Homo Britannicus: the incredible story of human life in Britain (2007) won the Best Archaeology Book and Kistler Book Award in 2008 and he is a leading proponent of the ‘Out of Africa’ theory of modern human origins.
See the full stories on our website.
Government defends protection of Humanism in domestic law
The BHA has welcomed the Government’s firm stance taken during debates on the Equality Bill, that people who hold humanist beliefs should continue to have equal status before the law and equal protection from discrimination as those with religious beliefs, or those who have a lack of belief.
Speaking to an amendment tabled by the Conservatives, which would take out the term ‘or philosophical’ from the meaning of ‘belief’ in equality legislation, Baroness Thornton, the minister on the Labour frontbench in the Lords for the Equality Bill, stated, ‘Removing protection for philosophical beliefs would mean that acceptable and long-recognised belief systems such as Humanism would no longer be protected under law. I am sure that many here in this House would not wish for that – not only those who have humanist beliefs, but those who recognise and appreciate the right of others to be protected for holding that belief.’
Read more about our work on the Equality Bill.
BHA briefs Lords on humanist commitment to open, equal and democratic society
The BHA has briefed Peers ahead of a debate in the House of Lords. The debate, called by BHA Distinguished Supporter Lord Harrison, is on the progress made in making the UK a more tolerant, democratic and open society.
BHA Head of Public Affairs Naomi Phillips said ‘By reason of their belief that this world is the only one we have and that human problems can only be solved by humans, humanists have often been active social reformers. However, the contribution of ethically concerned, non-religious people in the promotion of tolerance, equality, rights, social justice and so forth is sometimes overlooked. Often this will be because humanists make their contribution not as “humanists”, but as socially minded members of society, committed to working with others for the common good.’
Read more about the humanist tradition.
Read the BHA’s briefing for the debate.
BHA welcomes call to tackle homophobia in faith schools
The British Humanist Association has welcomed comments from Nick Clegg MP, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, about the urgent need to tackle homophobia in faith schools.
Asked whether his party would make it a legal requirement for schools, including faith schools, to teach that homosexuality is normal and harmless, he replied: "Yes – and crucially faith schools should have a requirement to have an anti-homophobic bullying policy at their school."
BHA faith schools campaigns officer Paul Pettinger said ‘Homophobic bullying is an issue for all schools, but the evidence shows that it has a much higher incidence in faith schools than community schools.’
BHA responds to General Pharmaceutical Council consultation
The BHA has sent a response to the General Pharmaceutical Council’s consultation on new standards that are to being written to regulate the profession. The standards include areas such as confidentiality, education and ethics.
Pepper Harow, Campaigns Officer, commented, ‘The BHA response focuses on the conduct, ethics and performance section of the standards with which we have a number of concerns. We have made it clear that the rights of employees to express their religion or belief must be subject to limitation when delivering a public service in order to prevent a “conflict of rights” with the service user. If pharmacists are allowed to refuse certain services to patients because they believe it conflicts with their beliefs to supply such services, it should never be the case that those accessing services should suffer. At a minimum, it should be expected that the patient or the public be referred to someone who can meet their needs – but only if this would not cause them any distress or particular inconvenience. Where this is not possible, we suggest that the service provider is not obliged to accommodate the wishes of the pharmacist over the needs of the patient.’
If anyone fears that the internet is no place for debate, the new www.HumanistLife.org.uk site seems to be characterised at the moment by some excellent and lengthy comments, more like articles in themselves!
We’ve also seen lots of popular star-ratings on your articles. Last week’s most popular articles were “Andrew Copson on BBC Asian Network” (10/10 with 9 votes), “How I discovered the power of Jesus” by member Kevin Patterson (9.7/10 with a 12 votes) and “Beating Brand Allah” by member Glen Slade (8/10 with 5 votes). You can write for HumanistLife!
AFFILIATED GROUP EVENTS
Find a local humanist group near you
20th January, (Upper Floor) Custom House Inn, Chester, CH1 2LB, 7pm
‘Discussion – Humanism: what does it mean?’
Everyone has a view – what’s yours?
South Hampshire Humanist Group
24th January, Sembal House, Handel Terrace, Southampton, SO15 2FH, 2pm
‘Prescribing Religion, What is the Harm?’
Speaker: Dr Antony Lempert, GP and member & organiser of the Secular Medical Forum
Related links: http://www.southhamps.humanist.org.uk/; http://www.secularmedicalforum.org.uk/
Greater Manchester Humanists
2nd February. Friends Meeting House, Mount St, Manchester, M2 5NS, 7.00-8.30pm
PUBLIC MEETING: Humanism – Any Questions? Ask a panel of Greater Manchester Humanists about their beliefs . . . including why, with no supernatural powers or sacred texts to guide us, we have to take responsibility for our own lives and actions and for the world we live in. All welcome. Admission is free but advance booking is requested.
Trick or Treatment: alternative medicine on trial
30th January 2010, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL, 10.45am-3pm
A day discussing alternative medicine, with speakers: Simon Singh, author of Trick or Treatment, Andy Lewis, runs Quackometer on the web and Professor John Garrow, founder member of the charity “HealthWatch” which promotes proper testing of the health claims of all therapies, alternative or orthodox.
Free to members of the BHA. To book go to www.cfiuk.org and hit button “support cfiuk” and follow instructions. Credit and debit cards welcome. Alternatively send a cheque payable to ‘Center for Inquiry London’ to: Executive Director Suresh Lalvani, Center for Inquiry London, PO Box 49097 Centre for Inquiry London N11 9AX, and include names of those coming, phone number, return address, etc. £10 on the door.
Keep our faith schools officer!
We are fundraising to keep our faith schools officer for another year!
Donate at justgiving.com/nofaithschools (this site is separate from the BHA website – your BHA username and password won’t work here).
Or donate directly on our own website. Log in at www.humanism.org.uk with your BHA username and password, then visit www.humanism.org.uk/shop/donations and pick the “No
Faith Schools appeal”. (If you receive this e-bulletin directly then you already have a profile on our website. Visit here if you don’t have your login.)
Not already a BHA member? Join now and support our vital work!
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The British Humanist Association
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Tel: 020 7079 3580